Discipleship to Jesus is a lifelong process; it cannot be short cut or fast tracked. When we say yes to Jesus and discipleship, we are in essence signing up for a long obedience in the same direction. Join us as we work through the Psalms of Ascent.
We need to be part of something bigger than ourselves – we need to be seen and known and heard and to do these things for others. We are created to draw life and nourishment from each other.
Community not only nurtures our humanity, but also our spirituality.
Community is the place where God meets us.
When we say yes to Jesus, we get adopted into his family and automatically become part of his church. And so, as Eugene Peterson suggests, the question we ask changes from “Am I going to be part of a community of faith?” to “How am I going to live in this community of faith?”
On Sunday we drew out the gold from two of Open Heaven's most humble and servant-hearted disciples. Part of our OH1 Summer series - 'A Long Obedience In The Same Direction'.
The next key to our long obedience in the same direction makes the journey of long obedience more pleasurable. Eugene Peterson suggests that 'one of the delightful discoveries along the way of Christian discipleship is how much enjoyment there is, how much laughter you hear, how much sheer fun you find'.
Joy is a fruit of the spirit meaning because we are in relationship with God others should expect to see 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control' flowing out of our lives (Galatians 5).
We get joy when we decide to live in response to the abundance of God. And because our joy is from God's abundance, even in the midst of pain and suffering, we can be real about the pain and disappointment, whilst also knowing a supernatural joy.
Stacey McSharry shares heart on what it means to be in your 20s and 30s in OH1.
Psalm 131 is described by Eugene Peterson as a “maintenance Psalm” which is active in “pruning away unruly ambition and infantile dependency”.
Jesus showed throughout the gospels that God isn't interested solely in what's happening in our external world, but was deeply interested in our internal world. Discipleship to Jesus requires regular heart-checks, as Nicky Gumbel says; “Are you focused on your promotion or on exalting Jesus? Is your ambition more for yourself or for Jesus?”
Taking up our crosses and following Jesus isn't a road to exaltation, it's the road of humility; the same one Jesus led the way in (Philippians 2:8). It is this same road that we must walk in our long obedience in the same direction.
The next ‘key’ to walking a long obedience in the same direction is hope. Pain, suffering and disappointment in life is inevitable; hopelessness, cynicism and dejection isn't. Psalm 130 puts suffering front centre.
Eugene Peterson suggests that we must immerse our suffering in God...pray it, bring it to him, go there with God. We watch and wait, which ultimately means we hope. And our hoping is not in vain, it is “based on the conviction that God is actively involved in his creation and vigorously at work in redemption”.
What do we turn to? What do we turn away from? These are the two questions of repentance and calling.
We are all called to bring and establish Kingdom - but what does that actually mean? We're not just here 'because,' but with a God-given vision and purpose.
Providence. Walking with Jesus doesn't exempt us from hardship, pain and suffering. This Psalm is a reminder that if we are looking to the hills for help (which was where the god's of the day would have lived), then we are looking in the wrong place. Our help comes from the creator, not the creation.
Security. The emphasis of Psalm 125 is on the solidity of the Christian life; “Living as a Christian is not walking on a tightrope without a safety net, high above a breathless crowd, many of whom would like nothing better than the morbid thrill of seeing you fall; it is sitting secure in a fortress”
Our security is found not by living by our feelings about God, but by facts about God. Our security comes from who God is, not from how we feel. As Eugene Peterson puts it - “Discipleship is a decision to live by what I know about God, not by what I feel about him, or myself or my neighbours”
What is obedience? Eugene Peterson argues that Psalm 132 shows it is “a lively, adventurous response of faith that is rooted in historical fact and reaches into a promised hope”. This pilgrim journey of long obedience in the same direction requires our feet on the ground and leaps of faith. Alan and Rach Radbourne share their struggles in obedience as they join us from Anglesey where they are outworking a call from God on their lives to plant a vibrant and growing church in Wales. Week 2 of 'A Long Obedience In The Same Direction'. Part of OH1 Summer 2018.
“It is not difficult in such a world to get a person interested in the message of the gospel; it is terrifically difficult to sustain the interest” Eugene Peterson.
Church-planter and friend of Open Heaven Pete McKnight joins us to share heart and wisdom as his family return from Annecy after 7 years of investment in an Open Heaven church plant called Connect: Annecy.
Week 1 of 'A Long Obedience In the Same Direction'. Part of OH1 Summer 2018.