Dear spiritual family, On September 18th, we are beginning the third part of our “Faithful Presence” series. Part one focused on mercy and justice while part two focused on identity and vocation. In the third part of this series, we will be focusing on “godly sexuality.”
This will be a ten week preaching series. Along with the preaching series we will be offering a number of different “paths” to press into this important area of our lives. First, I want to take some time to give you reasons for this preaching and teaching series. Second, I would like to explain what some of these different paths are.
The reasons for this preaching and teaching series
The first reason is a kingdom reason: Jesus Christ is Lord over our sexuality. There is not a square inch of life that Jesus Christ does not say “it is mine.” This includes our bodies, our sexual ethic, and our sexual practices. The Church must apply the truth of Jesus to this area of life in a winsome yet uncompromising way. She must also equip and encourage the saints to understand and address this vital area of life as we seek to live as citizens of the kingdom of God.
The second reason I chose this theme is a personal reason:Christians – all of us – including myself, struggle to some degree with sexual brokenness. At the same time, the gospel of Jesus Christ is able to provide powerful healing in this area of our life. This area of brokenness is often either neglected or taught in such an ungracious and legalistic way that Christians are trapped in their shame, confusion, and addictions. The gospel of grace redeems and liberates Christians to
- Find deep forgiveness and healing from cycles of sin and shame and to rejoice and hope in Jesus’ moral beauty and faithfulness in this area,
- Appreciate and enjoy our sexuality as a gift of God given to be exercised in appropriate ways and within appropriate boundaries,
- Learn how to live as an alternative community modeling a whole different way to be human.
The third reason is a social reason: We live in a sensual, post-Christian culture. Christian sexual boundaries and virtues are not shared by many of our friends, neighbors and associates and are often seen as personally and socially damaging. The resulting social pressure has led to confusion among Christians and churches even to the point of denominations moving away from the classical Christian ethic regarding sexual boundaries and virtues. The erosion of Christian sexual boundaries and virtues in both the society and the church is resulting in significant social disintegration. As the “pillar and foundation” of truth, the church must be willing to go to the “front-lines” where there is societal conflict (certainly this is one of those areas). In this context the Christian church must speak prophetically and act redemptively, bringing the truth of the gospel of Grace to bear upon the beliefs and practices of this central and vital area of human existence.
Last year my three sons, myself, and my brother began to meet on Monday evenings at our home to have a “guy time”. My brother and I wanted to create a safe and comfortable place for us to share with our boys God’s desire for us to walk in “godly sexuality”, to create a “safe place” for us to share concrete areas of sexual brokenness that we struggled in, and to be able to encourage one another. These were special times for us as guys to be together and talk. As we did this I thought to myself, “If this is important enough to do with my family, surely it is important enough to do with my spiritual family.” I pray that God will use this season to help us apply his gospel to this important area of our life.
“Paths” of the Preaching and Teaching Series
- Preaching Series: A 10 week preaching focus (creating a culture of the gospel and language in this area) beginning Sunday, September 18th – Sunday, November 30th (2011).
- Prayer: The Sunday morning prayer team would be honored to pray with you during the series including prayer for gospel healing and kingdom breakthroughs in your life in this area.
- Sunday Evening Teaching and Prayer: On Sunday evenings we will be offering another venue for more in-depth teaching regarding godly sexuality; this teaching will develop themes that were touched on in the Sunday morning sermon. The Sunday evening time will also include more in-depth testimonies as well as a time of sharing and prayer. Think large support group.
- Community Group Ministry: We seek for our community groups to be “safe places” for broken people to be known and loved and where the healing medicine of the gospel can be applied to their wounds in gracious community. Our community groups are “spiritual families” where we can repent of habits of broken sexuality and nurture new habits and patterns of godly sexuality. They are also to be “alternative communities” that model a new way of being human, i.e. godly sexuality.
- A Godly Sexuality “Tool Kit”: The church will provide resources which will include (1) summaries of the basic teaching of the gospel in this area and (2) resources available including support groups, seminars, books, counselors, etc.
- Pastoral Care: We will be identifying gospel hearted lay “listeners” and “pastoral care” providers who will meet with sexual strugglers for a 5 week period to listen, bring gospel truth, and help determine “next steps” for a life of healing.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
May God continue to make us a community of grace where we are experiencing the restoring and healing work of the gospel in our lives.