Weekly Letter from the Pastor — February 27, 2017

February 27, 2017

Dear FBCD Family:

As I enter my sixth month as your Interim Pastor, I am grateful to God for you, dear church family. As more and more visitors come our way on both Sundays and Wednesdays, guests are impressed by the warmth, friendliness, and Christian devotion of our congregation. We are starting to see folks join our congregation – we had two young ladies join us in the last two weeks in Fresh Start. More are considering joining. Family, keep doing what you are doing – keep being who you are!

I was overjoyed by the warm response to my messages in the “Things Christians Do” series. How many can name all eight? They were:

— continuous repentance

— protesting evil

— making peace

— loving enemies

— disciplining our hungers

— learning to forgive

— praying like Jesus

— letting God be the judge

I learned a lot from crafting these messages in dialogue with you and trying to listen to God’s Spirit. One lesson is clear – we can only live as Jesus taught if we trust God the Father as Jesus did and if we are empowered by God the Spirit as Jesus was. The more I preach, the more I feel called to call you to ever deeper commitment to the Triune God. Church is about learning how to love God and love neighbor as Jesus taught. Everything else is secondary.

I hope that everyone will make a special effort to participate in Ash Wednesday this week (6:45, Sanctuary), all Sundays in Lent, our Good Friday Tenebrae Service, and then of course Easter Sunday. It will be a special season of Christian devotion.

Our preaching theme will be “Meanings of the Cross.” Christians generally agree that the Cross is central to our faith, but a surprising number of different interpretations of the exact meaning of the Cross are possible from Scripture and have been articulated in Christian tradition. This series considers six different major understandings of the meaning of the Cross. Each will be treated respectfully as offering one important possible angle of vision on the inexhaustible meanings of the Cross. Here is the schedule.

March 1: Ash Wednesday Service, 6:45 – Live Like You’re Dying. Ps. 90:1-6,9-12; 2 Cor 5:20-21, 6:1-2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18.

March 5: The Cross as Atoning Sacrifice. Romans 3:21-26.

March 12: The Cross as Peacemaking. Ephesians 2:11-22.

March 19: The Cross as Moral Example and Invitation. 1 John 4:7-11.

March 26: The Cross as Miscarriage of Justice. Matthew 27:15-26

April 2: The Cross as Self-Emptying Love. Philippians 2:5-11.

April 9: Palm Sunday: Dr. Jeff Willetts, McAfee School of Theology. Public Facts and/or Living Faith?

Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29; Mark 11:1-11

April 14: Good Friday Tenebrae Service.

April 16: Easter Sunday: The Cross as Site of God's Victory. Colossians 2:8-15; John 20:19-29.

See you Wednesday night!

For Christ,
Pastor David