Building a Common Community Understanding of God

Next Sunday I will begin my first expository Sunday morning series. My aim is to unfold the message of 2 Peter for his day and our day. It will take about 10 messages and carry us through June.

There is something exciting about immersing ourselves as a congregation in a single book for two months. Most of the time we tend to be so hit-and-miss in our Bible Study that we seldom ever feel we really know one of its books. Knowing a Bible book means being able to follow the thread of thought that runs through all the chapters. It means grasping the one main point and seeing how all the other parts work together to make that point. It means being able to put the Bible’s words in your own new words and see how they relate to the world you experience from day to day.

I am excited that as a congregation we can do this together with 2 Peter. I predict that this will be a very memorable time in our life together. In years to come we will look back and say, “Remember the two months we spent in 2 Peter in 1982?”

When I was considering leaving teaching to become a pastor some of the faculty suggested to me that I could satisfy my longing to preach by filling pulpits around the Twin Cities. But that did not attract me because what I wanted then (and want now) was to build a people through preaching. I wanted to create a common community understanding of God and his ways. I wanted to form the mind of a congregation as a whole. I did not want to give out sermons. I wanted to shape the way a people thinks. So I left teaching (where students are here today and gone tomorrow) and became a member of the family at Bethlehem.

Now we are on the way. And one of the great means of shaping our “family thought life” is to live together in 2 Peter for two months. Let’s eat, drink and sleep 2 Peter. Study it, pray over it. Read it once a week. Buy a commentary on it. Memorize its high points. Come on Sundays. Send me your questions. Let’s make this an unforgettable community experience!

Under the Word for your sake,

Pastor John

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