Thursday, February 16, 2012

A purpose-graced life

My Bishop has called all the churches in his diocese (half of London!) to his vision of 'Faith Hope Love' which he has requested we launch in Lent which of course we are now doing. To complement this, we are also calling our church to spend Lent working their way through The Purpose-Driven Life which are a set of forty readings that unpack the gospel and how we might live out of it. Personally, I found reading it a decade ago absolutely life-changing and so helpful and I am looking forward to going through it again. I wrote this called 'Read and read some more' about it. If you are interested in its doctrine, you can watch Rick Warren's fascinating interview about it here (It's probably time well spent to hear from the author of something that has sold 30m+ copies?)  I am excited that people are responding so positively and of all that God is going to do. Feel free to join us. Pop a copy on the bedside table and read a chapter a night or in the morning and just see what happens.

We have called Sunday 'Purpose Sunday' and we are preaching morning and evening on Ephesians 2:1-10 so I have spent much of what has been a difficult week reflecting anew on grace. My friend will tell you why it has been so sad. When I face choppy waters that either I am riding or those I love around me are, the person whose words I often turn to is Eugene Peterson as someone who deeply understands grace. I know it's unusual to like Rick Warren and Eugene Peterson but I can't help myself liking them both- sorry. It's what makes me so interesting :) Warren is a monergist and Peterson is, I think, a Calvinist or is he a Catholic or is he a Quaker or a Presbyterian-it's rather hard to work him out which is what I so like about him. His book Practice Resurrection (a bargain @ £2.99) on Ephesians has been a real encouragement to me once again. As C S Lewis once said 'I can't imagine enjoying a book and reading it only once' and hence all my Peterson books are becoming dog-eared and much loved friends. He would no doubt re-title the best selling non-fiction book in the world as 'The Purpose-graced life'. I wouldn't wonder that Rick might well roll with that. The chapter entitled 'Grace and good works' is tonic for the soul in which Peterson writes:

.'...There is no other option. It's grace or nothing. There is no 'Plan B'

The air we breathe and the atmosphere we inhabit as believers and followers of Jesus is grace. If we don't know what grace is the last place to go looking for help is the dictionary. Grace is everywhere to be experienced but nowhere to be explained.....'

[Page 94]

For more on grace read 'Our problem with grace

We have been singing a song about grace as a church over the last month and it is starting to get into my water. You would do well to let it get into yours too.

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