Which way is up? Finding the True North of our faith.

By the time I realized I was lost, it was too late.  A couple of hours earlier, I had wandered off into the woods, trying to get in an afternoon hunt before settling down to my tent for the night.  In my haste, I had set off into the woods without having a plan for where I was going, and without adequately marking my bearings for a return back to camp.  So, in the confusion of dusk, I set off along a different path.  Soon, dusk turned to dark, and I had no idea which way to turn.  I found a stream and followed it, because well...isn’t that just what you do?  It was more a guess than a direction, but in the pitch black, following the stream bed seamed to make sense.  Without the ability to see in front of me though, I repeatedly found myself trudging through thick patches of bamboo.  Nearing the point of exhaustion, and fear, I fought my way through, not knowing how long it would take, or where I would find myself in the end.  Finally...after some 5 hours of wandering, I tripped over a berm and fell into a road.  Not home yet, I finally had a clear path to follow.

So much of that awful night reminds me of the way we recklessly wander our way through life, with no fixed point of reference.  Sadly, this can often be said of Christians and non-Christians alike.  Even more sadly, we pastors aren’t helping.  I believe much of the wandering that takes place is because we have lost the wonder of Christ.  We have lost worship in the name of self help.  And far too often, what we call worship is still focused on self...self-preference and self-expression.  And again, far too often, our preaching has contributed as we move from Christ exalting to self-promoting.  We need a change in focus.

With that in mind, at Christ Church PCA we will enter the new year with a preaching series to try and re-establish our point of reference with a series entitled “True North: Focusing our hearts on the essentials of the faith.”  In it, we will take 7 weeks to preach on what we believe to be some of the core tenants of the Christian faith.  In the coming weeks, Andy and I will be writing to you to prepare you to worship with us, and to be fed by God’s Word.  Andy will lead off this week as he preaches on the Sovereignty of God from Genesis chapter 50.  We encourage you as you enter the new year to mark your bearings and to turn the focus of your heart to Christ.

But you may be asking, who is this series for.  It’s a good question, so let me give you my thoughts.  First, I would tell you this series is for the non-church goer, or the non-Christian.  If that is you, I am guessing that you fit in to that category for any number of reasons.  At least one of which though, is that you have never found a compelling reason to get up out of your bed on a Sunday morning and go to a place called church.  Now, it is outside the scope of what I am trying to say here, but know that the church is a body of people and not a place.  Besides that, however, I do want to acknowledge that we as Christians have largely failed to give you a compelling reason.  Much of that is because we have tried to give you life principles, and you can find that at Barnes and Noble or Books a Million or whatever book store you choose, whenever you want to go.  So to you, we are preaching this series to offer you Christ, and not self, as the only compelling reason.

Secondly, there are those who are in church, but frankly they don’t know why.  If that is you, if you are in church, but for whatever reason, you couldn’t explain what Christians believe or don’t know the basis of your salvation, much less why you need it...then this series is for you.  If you fit in to this category, I want you to know we understand.  I went hunting that night, but didn’t know what I was doing.  I was hunting, but not really.  Mostly, I was setting myself up for an exhausting night of activity.  We get it.  And, we want to share with you the beauty of this Christian faith by sharing with you the beauty of Christ.

Lastly, there are those who are in the church, who are worshipping Christ, who know why they need salvation and how they receive it.  If that is you, this series is still for you.  It is for you because the doctrines of grace found in the Word of God are nourishing for the soul.  Come and be reminded of the greatness of God’s love for you and fall in love with Him all over again.

Let me close by sharing this.  A friend recently sent me a video from RUF, the college campus ministry for my denomination.  In it, one of the students closed with a statement which has gripped me.  She was speaking about where she was from, and she expounded on where she was from, going far beyond geography...to the very foundation of her existence.  This college student then said, “I am from the overflowing, all consuming, never ending love of my Savior."

Can you say the same from the depths of your heart, and mean it?  If so, or if not, come and join us as we explore the overflowing, all consuming, never ending love of our Savior.