Over the last few decades (mostly in my life as an adult Christian) there has been a radical and exciting transformation in church worship. The 1960s and '70s saw a move of the Holy Spirit renewing individuals, that led to a renewal of the forms of gathered worship. Expressed as it would have been in the language of the time: "the dry wineskins of formal religion were insufficient to accommodate the new life of the Spirit!"
One of the first sermons I ever preached in OCC (in the days when we still met in the cinema at Gloucester Green) was about the clash between Peter and Paul, recorded in the letter to the Galatians 2:11-12:
“When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.”
This Summer at OCC we are starting a new Sunday series titled, God’s Love.
In Ephesians 3:17-19, Paul prays "that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
We're about to start a new teaching series on Sundays: Following the Way.
We've just ended an important series in the life of OCC. As we explained in a previous blog, as we all emerge from the constraints of the last 18 months, the elders agreed it is time to invest again in our relationships with God ー both as individuals and as communities.
In the series we focused on nine 'keystone' habits, as we explained here, the habits most likely to lead to other changes.
This is a phrase from Jesus’ words in Matthew 11: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. The Message Bible beautifully paraphrases this as
September is here, a new year has a begun! Perhaps more than usual this year, the autumn can be a time of particular hope, vision, and expectation. As people move to Oxford during Sept-Oct, it’s our habit to take a few weeks looking at our vision as a church. But this autumn, we’re spending four weeks looking at both vision and money. Why would we do that?!
As we looked at Isaiah 51-52 we saw the repeated encouragement (that's a gentle British way of saying "challenge"!) from God to his people to wake up, and really get what he wants to say and show them. A short paraphrase of the passage could read: "Listen, listen, listen! Awake, awake; awake, awake; awake, awake!"
In my Sunday message from Isaiah 42-44, I commented on the prophetic words shared with OCC earlier in the year. Will you join with me in prayerfully reflecting on these words, and asking that God will he help us see what he wants to do in our city and communities?