Pentecost Sunday was such a joy. I do not think I have ever experienced such a meaningful Pentecost. Our sanctuary was decorated with the colors of fire (red, yellow, and orange) because we are told in Acts 2 that tongues as of fire appeared to the disciples with the coming of the Holy Spirit. Our evening choral concert and birthday party for the church, coupled with our morning worship, had me high on the church – so proud to be a part of the universal church of Jesus the Christ and proud, once again, to serve as pastor to First Baptist Church.
As a result of this high that I experienced on Pentecost, I would like to follow up on my Pentecost sermon – “Life to life” from Ezekiel’s account on the valley of dry bones. During this sermon, I suggested that the Spirit of God gives LIFE to life. That is, life with the Spirit is richer and more satisfying than a life not submitted to the Spirit of God. When compared with life in the Spirit, life outside of the Spirit is like a valley of dry bones.
Since the church is designed to assist us as we seek to live a life in the Spirit, it is imperative to the Christian life that we give high priority to our participation in the church. Yet we live in a day and time when wider cultural patterns do not make it easy for us to do this. The days of protestant privilege – when most businesses closed on Sunday and schools would never schedule an activity on a church night – are behind us. So, this means we must work a bit harder to give church participation / life in the Spirit the high priority it deserves.
To help us do this, I would like to issue a friendly pastoral challenge. Will you commit, for the next year, to miss no more than one (1) Sunday a month? This means, for the entire year you will do your best to miss no more than twelve (12) Sundays. I would love to get at least 30 people to accept this invitation!
I am very curious what this will do for our church. Likely, our weekly average attendance will increase. I’ve noticed though the years a sanctuary that feels full leaves people feeling good. However, more important than higher attendance numbers, I suggest more people of First Baptist will live lives that are more pleasing to God. And I suggest our lives will feel less and less like dry bones and more and more ALIVE as God, through Christ, intends. We will move from living life to living LIFE.
So, what do you think? Will you sign the dotted line to miss no more than 12 Sundays for one year? Of course, there is no dotted line to sign! And, if you should miss 13 Sundays, there will be no handcuffs. However, I am curious concerning the benefits that meeting this challenge might bring to your life and to our life together as First Baptist Church. Are you curious too? If you would like to give this friendly challenge a go, or if you have questions, please let me know via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), text, phone, or face-to-face conversation.