Headlines from First Thoughts

Monday, September 27, 2010

Where do we go from the Festival of Faith @fbcknox? Through the wardrobe on the adventure blog

C.S. Lewis depicted the conversion of the Christian life like children entering the magical land of Narnia. The icy grip of sin melted away because of the bright light of Christ radiating through the lives of good and faithful sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. The passageway from this world to the next, according to Lewis, was like a wardrobe full of coats to wear in the new world. The children donned the coats, and they "came down to their heels and looked more like royal robes."

Over the past 6 weeks during the Fall Festival of Faith, we have been playing in the wardrobe. The robes are the virtues of the Christ-like character, cultivated and nourished through the worshiping life of the believer and practiced daily in the habits of living as God wants us to behave. God takes our mind, time, relationships, and experiences and restores us to the people he created us to be, good and faithful servants living the character of Christ.

Where do we go from here? That's really up to you. Mark Moeller has already been meeting with people interested in a new Bible study for empty nesters. College students will continue their Tuesday night Bible study led by Scott Erwin. Others have made personal decisions that shape life forever. I look forward to seeing other fruit that is cultivated. Let me offer a few suggestions for the coming days.

1.) Share the experience. As you return to your routines, share testimonies in Sunday School of what the Festival of Faith meant to you. One of the best ways we find meaning from the Festival is through hearing each other's stories in the days ahead.

2.) Pray to want what God wants, not for Encore. The easiest prayer to pray is, "God, do it again." The harder prayer to pray is, "Lord, I want what you want." We love for God to repeat himself, but he asks us to live into the now in our world. The way we do that is by wrestling with the question every day, "Do I want what God wants for me?"

3.) Find some accountability. You will be reading and hearing more about Monvee, an online accountability for individuals. Even if you're not handy with the computer, find someone to help you carry the burdens and live into the restored you.

4.) Cultivate new habits. It takes about 21 days or so consistently to develop new habits, but we cultivate those through regular diet and exercise. Decide ahead of time how you will live the fruits of the spirit, and choose one person, relationship, or office where you will practice those virtues.

5.) Plan for a reunion. You've studied the Bible with another class or met together in a small group with new people. Now plan to get together again in a few weeks for fellowship. Sustain the new relationships in the body of Christ with the one thing that brings Baptists together: food.

6.) Keep worship a priority. My prayer has been that we'll recommit to the worshiping life of the church. This is the garden where the soil of First Baptist is watered and fertilized.

7.) Celebrate forgetfulness. Dallas Willard once said that we know we're getting somewhere in the Christian life when we look back and realize that we have not thought about a bad habit, person, or grudge for a long time. With hindsight we recognize that our minds and lives have moved on. Give thanks when you realize what you no longer think about. The character of Christ is taking shape.

8.) Fill out the Next Step form. Already, 81 people have taken another step in the conversion of the Christian life. This form suggests just a few ways you can make that a reality at First Baptist.

When the children decided to move from the wardrobe into Narnia wearing their robes, Lucy innocently remarked, "We can pretend we are Arctic explorers." Older brother Peter responded, "This is going to be exciting enough without pretending." And so the adventure continues.

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