Free, a study in the book of Galatians
“If our inclination to both make, and then fail, New Year’s resolutions proves anything it is this: no matter if we be religious or irreligious, we are all aware of the feeling of being constrained by our innermost selves, and of the longing to be freed from those inner shackles. And almost yearly, until we give up in despair the possibility of the freedom altogether, we believe the key to our freedom is our own sustained resolve. But what if the freedom we seek comes from believing we are the beneficiaries of an entirely free gift? What if that’s the only way to the only freedom worth having? For twenty-five years Grace Mills River has grappled with and grown into believing in the only free gift capable of providing the only true freedom. In this next season of its share life and ministry, we want to consider again just how free is what we’ve received in the gospel—and then imagine how belief in that free gift frees us to act as freely with love as the God who did so to us in His Son. So in this new year of our new season together, we’ll listen to Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia.” - Patrick Lafferty
Guest Speaker, Steve Brown
Enter In: An Advent Series in Jonah
On December 3, we will begin our season of advent with a series in the book of Jonah.
“Echo chambers,” “safe spaces,” “thought silos”: they speak of a common impulse to retreat into communities of agreement as a refuge in a polarized and hostile culture. But to inhabit those communities is at the same time to think of other perspectives as Other with a capital O, which cultivates a habit of either steering clear or casting stones—never entering into their world to offer respect or to bring our best gifts. Jonah is an ancient story that reflects that modern predicament. It’s a story we need to hear if only to see ourselves—but moreover to grapple with the One who came later, who entered into a place of polarization and hostility to bring His best gifts, and whose birth we remember this Advent.
A new series in Psalms will begin September 10.
"A central thesis then begins to emerge: man is in his actions and practices, as well as in his fictions, essentially a story-telling animal. He is not essentially, but becomes through his history, a teller of stories that aspire to truth. But the the key question for men is not about their own authorship; I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question ’Of what story. . .do I find myself a part?'”
We all believe we’re in some kind of story, some account of history. And we all therefore believe that our task is to understand that story and live in harmony with it. What separates religious from non-religious is that the former believes some deity or power gives shape to the story. What separates Christianity from others is that we believe He entered into that story. And while it is our calling both to understand that story and live out that story, no less important is that we pray through that story--commune, wrestle, implore, and give thanks to the Author. So the series will be an attempt to pray through elements of the story, which will include emphasis on the priorities of Grace’s story.
Special Resource: Psalms Bookmark
*We are encouraging a renewed plan of reading and meditation, beginning with the Psalms. To guide you in reading through the Psalms, we've created a bookmark with a 30-day reading plan. Feel free to download, print, and share.