Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mind the Gap

Last week in “From Fr. Tom” we talked about the importance of God’s Word, the process by which God works through it, and the end goal God is seeking to achieve through the Scriptures.  This week, we will talk about how at Good Shepherd we seek to know Scriptures, live the Scriptures, and teach them. 

At Good Shepherd we seek to pass on Christian practices, attitudes and teachings taught in the Scriptures.  Please take note: we are not merely passing on information (teachings/doctrines), but we are passing on the practices and attitudes that are lifted up in the Scriptures as well.  Just as we are called to love God with our whole being, so we are to apply the Scriptures to every area of our lives: what we do (practices), what we feel (attitudes), and what we think and believe (teachings or doctrines) (See John 14:20-21).  
Throughout Church history Christians have sought to provide disciples of Jesus with working summations of the key attitudes, practices and teachings a Christian must know for his or her spiritual health and maturity.  These basic lists come through the various catechisms of the Church.  As an Anglican Church, we’ve inherited a wonderful catechism.  Other such catechisms are out there as well; a more recent one can be found at this website.

In keeping with what Christians before us have taught and lived, and in keeping with the Catechism we’ve inherited, the leadership of Good Shepherd, both the pastoral staff and Life Group leaders are committed to passing on the following basic teachings, attitudes and practices.  We believe that learning how to live out these areas will equip you for walking with Christ your whole life: 

  • Practices (what we do): 
    • Worship (the Liturgy, our vocation)
    • Christ-centered Living (walking in the Spirit, whole-life submission to Christ) 
    • Bible learning (hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, meditating and applying)
    • Prayer (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication; daily private prayer, public prayer)
    • Christian fellowship (living in community, servanthood, using our spiritual gifts for the Body, discipling and accountability) 
    • Evangelism (how to communicate the gospel, how to share my own testimony, prayer/care/share, embracing my ‘sentness’) 
  • Attitudes (how we feel): 
    • About God (Seeing him as our Father, King, Creator, Savior, Comforter, etc.) 
    • About our neighbor (Healthy relationships with others, love for all people, etc.) 
    • About ourselves (Understanding our identity in Christ) 
  • Teachings (what we think, believe):
    • The Creeds of the Church - Basic Christian doctrine
    • The 10 Commandments - Basic Christian ethics 
    • The Lord’s Prayer - Basic Christian spirituality 
    • The Gospel Sacraments - How Christians come to God 
    • The Metanarrative of Scripture - Christian Worldview 
This list, along with the Anglican Catechism, can help us know where our “gaps” are.  As we look at these foundational Christian attitudes, practices, and teachings we may find we are weak in one area… we may find we’ve just neglected one area… or we may find areas in which we’ve simply never been taught.  I hope this gives you a broader view of what steps in maturity you might be able to take this year.  As Rocky famously said: “We all have gaps.”  Next week, we will look at how we fill our gaps at Good Shepherd.  

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