Dear friends in Christ,
The guiding principle of the Good Book Club is simple (but not easy): When people read scripture, they are transformed. And so are their families and friends, neighborhoods and cities.
By inviting people to read a full book of the Bible, in community with others around the world, we prayed the experience would spur a lifelong spiritual practice of reading scripture — sometimes wrestling with it, often times discovering new insight, and always letting God’s Word be a beacon of light for the journey.
Last year, thousands of us read together the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, learning and recalling the stories of Jesus and the early days of the Church. Ten days ago, we began the second Good Book Club journey, with Paul’s Letter to the Romans. By most accounts, this book is a harder read. Thanks to Christmas pageants and Charlie Brown, the opening passages of Luke are familiar territory for most. Parables such as of the lost sheep, the Good Samaritan, and the prodigal son helped form our core understanding of faith, and even if we couldn’t recount all of the plot points of Acts, Saul’s conversion is so well-known that a “Road to Damascus” moment is part of our pop-culture lexicon to indicate a sudden turning point.But Romans is different. Instead of the stories about what Jesus does, Paul is earnest and insistent about explaining the why: Why was Jesus born? Why did Jesus die? Why does this matter? Paul digs deep into theological principles of justification, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, precepts that scholars and priests have explored, dissected, and debated for centuries.
But at the heart of Romans is the profound and simple (but not easy) truth: We are transformed by God’s grace. Period. Nothing we do or say or strive for can save us from our sinful nature. We are saved only by the grace of an ever-loving God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
God loves us. God forgives us.
As you continue your journey through Romans (and if you haven’t started, it’s not too late! Join the Good Book Club community), let these two truths be your guide and open yourself to being formed and transformed by God’s Holy Scriptures.
Only God knows what might happen next.
Yours in Christ,
Deputy Director and Managing Editor, Forward Movement
Today’s Flash Sale: Note to Self
Discover what God has written onto your heart. What do you want for your life? Who do you want to be in your life, and how do you want to live? We humans need reminders, and when it comes to making a consistent effort to be better people, it’s important to have constant reminders. A “Rule of Life” is an ancient method for building soul memory, and offering reminders to ourselves of the person we hope to be—it is a practice of training your mind and soul to be kind and good.
Creating your own rule of life is grace that only you can offer to yourself, helping remind you to live the life you desire, and the life God wishes for you. Join author and Episcopal priest Charles LaFond as he guides you through the wisdom, creation, and application of your own Rule of Life.
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