One of the practical struggles most of us face is the disconnect between our minds and our hearts, between what we profess to believe in God, and how we live our daily lives. Our words, thoughts and actions often take no account of God’s presence, perspective, power, or purpose for our lives. We are theoretical believers but practical atheists.

As part of our vision to be a community fully alive in Christ, we are committed to spiritual formation. We see ourselves as a primary resource for shaping your mind, your heart, your soul, and your life. This coming program year, from September 2017 through mid-June 2018, we will pursue these goals through the Believe series. This church-wide series is a follow-up to The Story, the Bible survey course we did in 2013-2014. Believe will help us “live the Story of the Bible to become like Jesus.”

This August I’ll present three “pre-series” sermons to prepare for the Believe series. Each sermon will cover one of the three 10-week themes that we will study over the course of the next ten months. The first theme I’m calling “MindShaping,” learning to “Think like Jesus.” We focus on our core convictions as followers of Jesus. Our goal is to know what we believe and believe what we know. We’ll study these from September through November.

I’m calling the second theme of the Believe series “LifeShaping,” learning to “Act like Jesus.” What should we do as Jesus’ followers? This section focuses on spiritual practices in daily life that shape our inner life and outward behavior. We will learn how to make our faith a way of life by developing “holy habits,” consistent practices in thought, speech, and action as individuals and in community. Our goal is to let Jesus make a difference in us so we make a difference in the world. We’ll study these January through March.

I’m calling the third theme “HeartShaping,” learning to “Be like Jesus.” Who are we becoming as Jesus’ followers? This section focuses on the personal transformation of our attitudes and perspective. HeartShaping is the ultimate antidote to hypocrisy in the church. It is also the most personally rewarding benefit of following Jesus as well as the most attractive witness to the world. Our goal is for the life-changing power of Jesus to shape us into people who are maturing mentally, emotionally and spiritually from the inside out. We’ll study these from April through mid-June.

This promises to be a rich series. You’ll want to get the Believe book that contains the key scriptures for the entire 30 weeks as well as the Believe Study Guide. They will be available for a donation of $5 each. You’ll be able to use the guide both for personal reflection and small groups.

See you in church!