Tonight we begin the first of our Lenten Bible studies based around the epistle to the Phillippians. The theme I've chosen for the next few weeks is " The Cross Shaped Life" I want these evenings to be rooted in reality. However I also want them to be evenings of hope and encouragement. Evenings where people laugh a lot and share fellowship and make new friends. I also want them to be evenings when we can acknowlwdge that it is all right to feel sad, it is all right to wrestle and struggle to find answers and to realise sometimes we don't ever find a satisfactory answer but we can find ways to live with our questions.
Sadly for a great number of people their lives are in a cross shape permenantly. Somehow with every move and every turn there seems to be no escape from disappointment and disillusionment, hurt and painful musunderstandings. We are living in a world where trust is rapidly disappearing.
The message Paul tries to convey in his epistle to the Phillippians is "don't give up" So over the next five weeks I'm going to be reflecting on the story of Paul and how he managed to take inspiration from the life and teaching of Jesus. He became the one who lived out the reflected glory of Jesus in his own struggles. I hope you'll enjoy some of the teaching on this them over the next few weeks. You will be able to download the sermons from Sanctuary First under the section "Going Deeper" or you can listen via the www.standoneline.org.uk web page