We started our new schedule this week. Two services at two different times. For the last twelve months, we've had two services at the same time. Decided to go ahead and separate them so we could give better focus. It went well. I took a pic of the band with my phone. It's not good, but you get the point!
We started our new series this week. Over the next several weeks we'll be looking at the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. Two things about the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 that strike me. First, they are a picture of what a follower of Christ should look like. We don't pick and choose which ones we want (or don't want) to emulate. They are not a checklist for the task oriented. The follower of Christ will be poor in spirit, will mourn, will be gentle, will hunger and thirst for righteousness, will be merciful, will be pure in heart, will be a peacemaker, and will be persecuted.
Second, the Beatitudes are a picture of approval. The word for "blessed" is makarios. It is unfortunate that so many translators prefer "happy" instead of "blessed." Scripture shows a duality of man blessing God and God blessing man. When man blesses God, he is praising (or eulogizing) God. When God blesses man, he is approving man. And so, when man finds himself approved, he will then be happy. In other words, Jesus is making an objective judgment about these people. Stott says, "He is declaring not what they may feel like (happy), but what God thinks of them and what on that account they are: they are blessed." Wow!
Isn't it great to know that we can find approval from God?!