Esther and I had a great time in Grand Rapids, Michigan over the weekend. Its a beautiful city in late September as the weather is cool and the leaves are just starting to change, and just being away for a few days after a very demanding fall kick-off was so refreshing. The best part, of course, was getting to celebrate with Jake and Ruth (Esther’s sister) at their wedding. Saturday was one of the most joyful days I’ve had in a long time – watching them take their vows, connecting with old friends and family, and then dancing with Esther at the reception. The whole weekend was awesome and I’m so refreshed. I’ve been thinking about it as a significant personal milestone, because it marks not only my first time officiating a wedding, but also the completion of my first year here in Sierra Madre, and the launching of our fall programs. The rest of the fall should be a great season. I’m excited about what we’ll be going through in the ministry this fall, and I’ve got a few other projects I want to finish up: studying for and taking the GRE (part of my application to Fuller seminary for a Phd – I will start taking classes in historical theology next fall on a part-time basis if I get in), a few final books on my 2011 reading list, and one article on Christ’s intercession I’ve been slowly chipping away at.
This morning I’ve been preparing for our next Sunday morning series, based on Colossians. Its called “Christ is Better” and we are going to look at how the book presents us with Christ’s sufficiency for every situation in life, and then walk through various “false/rival Christs” and examine what it means to find Christ as “good news” in replacement of them. I had an awesome time reading through Doug Moo’s helpful commentary about the background situation in Colosse. My takeaway is that just as the Colossians were being damaged by false teaching which detracted from Christ’s sole sufficiency and supremacy, so can we – but in our case its probably not angel worship, asceticism, holy days, etc. It could be anything that offers a rival sufficiency to that of Christ – whether it be popularity and human approval, a relationship, an identity, a hobby, an achievement, performance in a certain area of life, an experience, etc.
I like Colossians because it helps us think about Christ-centeredness in new categories – categories that I think will connect with the teens to whom I am ministering. It presents us with the same gospel as Romans and Galatians, but less in terms of law/grace, and more in terms of the sufficiency of Christ for everyday living. (I don’t see that as a difference of theology, but as a difference of focus or emphasis, in line with different pastoral challenges.)
Christ is not merely sufficient for all of life, but the end of all other false or rival forms of sufficiency. He is fullness and joy, and just because He is so is the end of all idols and their inevitable emptiness. He is better.
This morning I’m just grateful for the weekend, and the milestone it represents, and now looking forward to the fall as the adventure of life continues yet again into a new season.