Dear St. Matthew’s Church Family,
In last week’s eNote, I asked you to consider a question: am I becoming more like Jesus? There is also a corporate question that we, as a church community, should also be asking: are we helping people become more like Jesus?” But I’ve been thinking about what it would mean to become more like Jesus, as an individual. What does it mean for me to be more like Jesus? What does God really expect of me? What kind of changes is the Holy Spirit trying make in my life? What would that look like in 2018? And, how will I know if I’m becoming more like Jesus?
The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry reveal several answers to our questions. But there is one that seems to be the foundation on which all other answers rest: to be like Jesus is to have a deep, abiding, personal relationship with God. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can have the same kind of intimate parent-child relationship with God that Jesus had with his heavenly Father, the one he called Abba.
What the Gospels show us (and tell us) is how Jesus nurtured his relationship with God. He worshipped God (Luke 4:16); he spent time alone with God in prayer (Mark 1:35, 6:46, 14:32, Luke 5:16, 6:12); and he studied and understood the Scriptures (Luke 2:46, 24:32). Just because he was the Son of God, did not mean that he did not spend time maintaining his relationship with God. His relationship with God was a source of strength in difficult times. It was where he prepared for his ministry. It was the way he stayed connected to God through the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-22).
So, if we want to be more like Jesus, we will nurture our relationship with God through worship, prayer, and study of the Scriptures. We will make spending time alone with God a priority in our lives. By cultivating this primary relationship, we will be following Jesus’ example – and as our relationship with God grows, we will be changing in other ways, too. In future eNotes, I’ll continue to describe what I think becoming more like Jesus looks like for us. For now, take some time today to nurture your relationship with God: sit in silence, take your joys and concerns to God in prayer, read the Bible, and plan to attend worship services this weekend.
On Sunday morning at St. Matthew’s, we will begin a new sermon series called, The Good Life. The premise of the series is that we are all looking for “the good life.” Television shows have been produced about it. Hit songs have been sung about it. But long before this modern focus, Jesus told his disciples that he came to show them the way to the good life, and his teaching helps us reframe our thinking about it. Over the next three weeks, we’ll explore what the Bible says about the good life, what Jesus says about the good life, and how we might experience the good life (God’s version) for ourselves. The first message is called, Re-Framing the Good Life, and is based on Ecclesiastes 2:1-10 and Galatians 5:16-23.
Finally, I’m pleased to let you know that Chris Jackson will be serving as the (part-time) Interim Director of Youth Ministries. Chris is a long-time member of St. Matthew’s and has been helping lead youth ministry as a volunteer for over 10 years. He will be working with youth, parents, and a committed team of volunteers to continue St. Matthew’s youth ministry program while the Staff-Parish Relations Committee works to fill the permanent position. I want to thank Chris for serving God through this ministry and encourage all of you to offer Chris your prayer and support. Chris’ St. Matthew’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.