Hello Brothers & Sisters,
I have really enjoyed preaching through our Lenten series, 40 Days in the Desert: Faith Formed in the Wilderness. I hope you’ve been able to trek along with us in a small group and/or in discussion with your friends. I know that God has been speaking to many of you, some of who feel they are in a wilderness or just came out of one. It’s encouraging to hear how God is meeting you where you are and growing you in your faith.
If you missed the sermon from Sunday, you can now listen to Post-Wilderness Conviction (5 of 6) at our website or on the go at our podcast via iTunes. You can also watch the sermons onVimeo if you prefer that. Remember, if you’d like to see the entire service, you can check out a DVD in our church library. We have many resources in our library, including books related to this series. You can find those books on the shelf in the lobby.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday, which marks the end of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday is when Jesus rode into Jerusalem as a humble servant on a donkey, instead of a warrior-king on a horse. In remembrance of this special day, when the people welcomed Jesus as Messiah to the waving of palm branches, we will all (children and adults) receive palm branches in our worship this Sunday.
As I said on Sunday, Tony Campolo will be with us as a special guest speaker. I have asked Tony to close out our series by addressing the topic of wilderness faith in a post-Christian America, in a message entitled, Third Way Allegiance: Following Jesus in an American Empire. I learned several months ago that Messiah College was bringing Tony for an event, and I was glad to be asked if we wanted to be included in his itinerary. Tony had an influence on me becoming Anabaptist many years ago. From his popular sermon, It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming, to his other messages of Jesus’ radical love over the years, I’m thankful for Tony’s heart for Christ.
Let me also say that when guest speakers are invited to come to Grantham, I personally lead that process. I know that we have had (and continue to have) speakers that come share, who we may not agree with on every issue, but that’s fine. I’m aware that you don’t always agree with me, though the “Amen” section is growing. But seriously, I want you to know that I always share with our guest speakers a little of who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going, as I familiarize them with our context. And then I trust them to do their best in ministering to our congregation with the gifts God has given them.
This too is part of what I believe Being a Third Way Church is about. Let’s continue on that way together.
I admit that I’m proud of our church. We have a spectrum of theological and political views in our congregation, yet we continue to worship alongside one another as a family. Therefore, I’ve been intentional in trying to lead our church in a third way beyond partisan politics. It’s not only the right thing for our church, but something that needs to be modeled for all churches as the world looks at us to embody the gospel of the Kingdom. Having said that, thank you for helping us work toward that end. Thank you for being willing to embrace Christ as Lord and rise above the divisiveness that is so pervasive in our culture.
Please pray for Tony and all those leading in our service this Sunday. I believe that the Holy Spirit wants to challenge and encourage us in our time together on Palm Sunday.
Finally, today it is officially Spring, but we may be getting hit with another winter storm. It just started snowing as I finish this letter. The church office will let you know tomorrow morning if we need to cancel Wednesday night activities. While we’re not sure what will happen today and tomorrow, the weather is looking really nice for Sunday. I look forward to seeing you for a robust Palm Sunday service at 10:30 a.m. Come worship with us as we begin Holy Week at Grantham Church.
Blessings on the rest of your week.
Grace & Peace,
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