This year we are taking time each season to engage one of our ECC Touchstones of Welcome, Transformation, and Presence. In the fall, our focus was on Welcome. During the winter, we will focus on the second Touchstone of Transformation. Beginning January 10, 2021, we will enter a 12-week teaching series based on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In addition, as we did during the fall series, we recommend a book study as well—whether you want to read it on your own or as a part of an online small group.
The teaching series is entitled, Theirs is the Kingdom, which comes from the words of Jesus in the opening line of the sermon in Matthew 5.3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” As we will learn in January, these words are not Jesus promising to give the kingdom to us if we try to be poor in spirit. They are Jesus announcing the good news of the Kingdom of God upon those who were already poor in spirit, downtrodden, or “spiritual zeros”, as Dallas Willard called them. In other words, the Kingdom of God has been given to us in Jesus and is available to us even now, in this life. It is not something we have to earn or need to wait until we die to experience. Jesus wants us to have it, to live it, to experience it now. That’s good news!
The book we invite you to read along with us is James Bryan Smith’s, The Good and Beautiful God: Putting on the Character of Christ. While I believe it will be very beneficial for anyone who takes the time to read and engage the book thoughtfully, it is not necessary to read the book in order to take part in the teaching series. If you’re interested in learning more about what it might look like to take part in an online small group during this next season (whether for the book study or to find a place of connection and community), please go to ecclife.net/gbl.
Whatever level of engagement is best for you at this time, I pray you join us as we dive into the most famous sermon in history, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Pastor Stacey Littlefield