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In addition to navigating the pandemic, this season has been marked by another theme: racial injustice. And again, strong feelings emerge that have greater potential to further divide than unify. What ought the church's role to be in such a time as this? And is there a "right way" to fight for what's right? How would God intend His people of faith to advocate for justice and equality? And what would God desire for justice-hungry believers to become in order to advance justice and equality in ways that result in greater degrees of oneness instead of greater division? Is it possible to be advocating and unifying? If so, what could the church and the world become if we discovered the power of leveraging both of those values dear to the heart of God?
Life Through The Pandemic Lens
If this pandemic has done nothing else, it's polarized our society. Some are paralyzed with anxiety regarding the medical threats while others rant about conspiracy theories. Parents are ravaged to know whether to send their kids to in-person school or keep them home to learn online. Some people are taking every precaution, wearing facemasks and observing physical distancing, while others are eager to resume everyday life as it was before COVID-19, believing there are greater health risks in not doing so. Who's right? And, more importantly - especially from God's perspective - what's right? Over six months into navigating this pandemic, what does God want to teach us?
If COVID-19 has done nothing else to Christians, it's challenged them to ask, "How can you continue to be a church without going to church?" This has not only confused faith-based families; it's muddied the waters for how the world understands what the church is and is supposed to be and do. But what has the pandemic actually helped clarify about the church's purpose and its role in the world today? And - this year at Southridge - how can we leverage this season to see God do amazing things among us as He continues to grow us toward that vision, even if we can't gather in large groups? What emerging vision would God want to inspire in all of us together in the coming season?
A Fruitful Faith
As a western democracy, one of the values we cherish the most is the value of freedom. Whether it is the freedom of conscience and religion, the freedom of thought and speech, or the freedom of assembly and association, people from all over the world leave their homes, sometimes making treacherous journeys, just to immigrate to our country, in search of the very freedoms we enjoy and even take for granted. But what is freedom, really? Especially as a follower of Jesus, what does it mean to be free from sin and religion, as Galatians has been insisting? What does it look like to live a life that, by grace through faith in Christ, is truly free?
Our New Normal
A lot has happened since we began our journey into the book of Galatians. We began this series in the fall of 2019, as a way to re-explore the biblical concept of grace. We wanted to ask ourselves what our church would look like if it was fundamentally shaped by the Gospel: the good news that our life with God is given by grace alone (as the free gift of God), through faith alone (not earned by human effort), in Christ alone (not the result of our religious rule-keeping). So, where has this book taken us? What have we learned, and how have we been transformed, along the way? And where is the message of this powerful book taking us in the future?
The Point of a Good Life
"No good deed goes unpunished," or so the saying goes. It is a sarcastic commentary on the frequency with which acts of kindness backfire on those who offer them. In other words, those who help others are often doomed to suffer as a result of their being helpful. And everyone likely has a story that validates the truth behind the cliché. It kind of makes you wonder, at the end of the day, what the point of it all really is, why anyone would ever bother to make an effort to do good at all. But what if there really is a point to doing good? What if the Bible presents a completely different perspective on the point of a good life?
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Southridge has healed my wounds with my previous relationship with Christianity. I have found an accepting community of diverse individuals who I can see Jesus in! Love how accessible these services are as well. Nothing but love!