Weekly Letter From the Pastor — January 3, 2017

January 3, 2017

Dear FBCD Family,

Yesterday we began the new year at FBCD with pretty strong attendance (all things considered!) and a message on "Starting Over," based on Psalm 51 and Romans 12:1-2. Our new preaching series for January and February is called "Things Christians Do," focusing on basic practices of Christian discipleship. One of these basic practices is "continuous repentance," which I described as a posture of identifying and grieving over sin in our lives, taking responsibility without evasion, confessing our sin to God and probably to those we have hurt, seeking forgiveness, and committing to life change in the area where we have gone wrong. If you were unable to be present Sunday, the sermon audio and text are available, as usual, on our website here.

The remaining messages in the series will be:

1/8 Protesting Injustice — Texts: Exodus 1:9-21; Acts 5:27-39  Shelley Woodruff, preaching
1/15 Making Peace — Zechariah 8:15-17, Matthew 5:21-26
1/22 Loving Our Enemies — Psalm 7, Matthew 5:38-48
1/29 Disciplining Our Hungers — Romans 7:15-20, Matthew 5:27-30
2/5 Keeping Our Covenants — Isaiah 56:1-8, Matthew 5:31-37
2/12 Praying as Jesus Prayed — Philippians 1:9-11, Matthew 6:7-13
2/19 Learning to Forgive — Genesis 18:16-33, Matthew 6:14-15
2/26 Letting God Be the Judge — 1 Cor. 4:1-5, Matthew 7:1-5

I challenged all of us to feed our spiritual lives through enhanced practices of Bible study, smart Christian reading, and prayer. As part of that, I challenge everyone to seriously consider coming to our new FBU program on Wednesday nights, beginning January 11. Our Winter term courses offer something for everyone:

Three "Christian content" courses:
1) Understanding How the Bible Was Developed (Bill Fulkerson)
2) Restorative Justice I: Mass Incarceration (Linsey Addington)
3) CS Lewis' Mere Christianity (Bob Williamson)

Two support groups:
1) Grief Support Group (Larry Connelly and Tommye Morris)
2) Caregivers Support Group (Ann Murphy)

Two "life skills" classes
1) Financial Peace University (Matt Visser)
2) Total Body Conditioning (Kristian Smith) -- an exercise class, maximum 8.

The Winter term will run through February 22. After an all-church Ash Wednesday event on March 1, a Spring term will begin with only the exercise class continuing -- and all new classes and groups otherwise. It will be an exciting lineup of courses, just like what we are offering in January.

Childcare will be provided. Let's thank Dale Doud and his team for the extra work they will be undertaking to support the FBU program.

Why do FBU? 1) To deepen our Christian discipleship and strengthen our Wednesday night program. 2) To make better use of the gifts and skills of so many FBCD members. 3) To reach out and serve our Decatur community.

FBU is experimental, and undoubtedly there will be some kinks to work out. But I do hope we at least double our Wednesday night attendance, and I dream that our church becomes a magnet on Wednesday nights for the entire Decatur community.

This coming Sunday I will be out. I will be in New Orleans attending the annual meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics, at which I will become president. This organization is the professional guild for all people who teach Christian ethics in the US and many from around the world. I have been a member since 1990. It is truly an honor to become the president of this organization which has been so central in my own journey.

You will be in good hands as our own Shelley Woodruff preaches the second in our series on Things Christians Do.

The next time I will see most of you, then, will be January 11th for the launch of FBU! Come on out!

May 2017 be a wonderful new year for all who call FBCD home!

In Christ,
Pastor David