WELCOME TO 2014.
As we enter this new year in our life together, we have before us an exciting opportunity to continue being transformed by the Spirit with a “next step” focus on daring to live the Way of God.
In 2013, as we studied and dwelled with Luke’s Book of Acts, we discovered that the followers of Jesus were identified as those who belong to “The Way.” This was not a new or accidental reference, for in the Gospels, Jesus is described as teaching “the way of God” and often teaching “on the way.”
The Gospel writers make it clear that the telling of stories – parables – formed a core curriculum for Jesus’ teaching of The Way. In other words, what we will discover as this year unfolds is that Jesus’ parables reveal:
n The Way God reigns
n The Way of living in God’s kingdom
n The Way of God’s heart
n The Way people love God and love others
n The Way of transformation.
The parables of Jesus proclaim things hidden and tell the truth about life in God’s kingdom. For all of these reasons, we will now focus primarily on these foundational stories with the following goal in mind:
Dare to practice living the Way of God in accordance
with the truth as taught by Jesus in story.
As people who are continuing to be transformed by God’s Spirit, we will now journey on with Jesus as he uses story to encourage, challenge, instruct, and shape “anyone with ears” (Matthew 13:9) into effective and fruitful partners in the Way of God.
Last year, as we studied Acts, we followed a shared reading pattern, reading a chapter each day. This year I invite you to join together in a schedule that will involve reading and reflecting on one parable each week (occasionally more than one). The reading/reflecting schedule will be posted on the FBCS calendar and website throughout the year. Coinciding with our shared reading, the preaching-teaching-storytelling schedule will lead us through Jesus’ parables over the course of the first eleven months of the year. Then, when Advent next begins, we will begin following the common lectionary (Year B), and will do so through 2015 (more about this later . . .).
It has been observed that “the importance of the parables of Jesus can hardly be overestimated. At no point are the vitality, relevance, and usefulness of the teaching of Jesus so clear as in his parables” (Klyne R. Snodgrass, Stories with Intent). I pray you will join me in this vital and daring venture.
— With You On The Way, Pastor Jeff
“I will open my mouth in parables; I will proclaim things hidden from the beginning.”
Psalm 78:2, as quoted in Matthew 13:35