So, it’s Wednesday morning already, and how are we progressing in our commitment at Blanchard Warrenville this fall to memorize all of Ephesians chapter 1? Yup, get used to it: I’m invading your personal space.
At home, we’ve started the work at dinnertime, breakfast and bedtime with our kids. I think I’ve got verses 1-2 down, the preamble of the letter, so to speak, where Paul introduces himself to the people in the early church he’s writing to. Many biblical scholars believe the letter to the Ephesians was more of a “circuit letter”, a letter Paul wrote from his prison cell in Rome to the churches in the area of Ephesus who would read it in their local context, then share it with another church in the area–it might have even been written to the church in Laodicea, because the earliest copies of this letter don’t reference Ephesus directly–and were probably added later.
Either way, I hope to more directly relate my blog posts this fall during our study of the book of Ephesians to the homework I’m inviting to you to take with you Monday through Saturday at home, at work, while training for your next marathon…wherever!
I hope my mid-week letters to you can help to break down the compartments we build in our lives which make it so difficult to position Christ in His rightful place in our lives, reigning over every aspect of our everyday human existence, not as a burden or “buzzkill”, but as the awesome, loving, purposeful Creator who from before the creation of the world had His redeeming purpose in mind to rescue anyone who might dare to believe in His incredible, life-giving authority to rule over all things.
As I raised the trouble with our compartments during my sermon last Sunday, have you been honest about yours?
Which compartment is the most difficult for you to cede control to Jesus’ reign and rule? If you’ve forgotten or weren’t in church on Sunday, you can stream my sermon here:
Here’s the list of compartments I asked you to think about: children, Church, job/career, health/fitness, fun (anything we do to entertain ourselves…the media choices we make from music to TV to movies…), money, neighbors (how are we purposefully demonstrating Christ’s rule over our lives with our neighbors?), spouse. I asked you to evaluate if any one of these compartment pull or tug your heart more than your worship of Christ. And if they do, I believe that’s a clear indicator of our need for realignment.
We have to be so careful as Christians to not like our lives worshiping at the altar of self-rule rather than Christ’s rule. This is in fact one of the primary reasons why secular culture and even our children are so skeptical of Christianity in North America today.
We don’t look any different than they do, we just happen to have an extra box in our life–the Church box (which they think is pretty weird, to be honest). Like Mark Ashton said,
There are two types of human beings on earth, followers of Christ and normal people.
Unfortunately, I’m way too normal for my own liking. I know I have a long way to go in ceding control of my life’s compartments to the majestic power of Jesus Christ. That’s where the “homework hymn” comes in from my sermon. I won’t attempt to match the scope of Paul’s hymn to Christ in Eph. 1:3-14, but there’s wisdom in disciplining myself to write an honest hymn of praise to Christ. So here’s mine for today…
“For Your infinite patience with me
For Your never-ending pursuit of this lost sheep,
You amaze me, Lord Jesus.
Your kindness does lead me to repentance, O Lord.
That Your plan had me in mind before you created this majestic world steals my words, stills my tongue.
What can I say to You in return?
‘Glory, glory, Lord Jesus Christ,
You deserve all the honor!’
With my Ellie at bedtime, we can’t wait for that day in heaven
When you’ll be our light at the center of that great city forever.
Hold us fast till that day by the power of your life-giving Spirit within us.
I can’t believe I’m your son and she’s your daughter.
What an awesome God You are!”
As you are part of the Blanchard Warrenville congregation (or wherever you are when you read this…), I’m calling you to envision our future together as God’s people at Blanchard Warrenville by:
- Believing Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God
- Naming your life’s compartments
- By the Spirit’s power, ceding complete control of them to Jesus
- Out of profound gratitude, writing a hymn of praise to what Jesus means to you (maybe even as a response to this blog?)
- Living like you mean it–as the tangible “not normal” expression of Christ’s Kingdom everywhere you are.
Can’t wait to see what else God has in store for us this fall as we move further in to the Book of Ephesians!