Miss part 1? Read it first here.
The next chapter really began when I shared about my personal devotion project with my friend, partner, and the pastor of FaithBridge, Ben Carson (or Parson Carson). His response was something to the effect of, "We now need to do a sermon series on the sermon on the mount."
And he was right. Jesus spoke these words to a crowd. It was a communal event. The "you" that Jesus said over and over again in his sermon could more appropriately be translated into our southern term, "y'all." We tend to forget in our individualistic culture that faith has always been about the community together.
So we spent that summer studying the sermon on the mount as part of a 10 week sermon series at FaithBridge. We called the series "Upside Down" because these words paint a picture of the kingdom of heaven, which turns our worldly values on their heads. Those on the bottom are blessed and our treasures are not material but spiritual. You can hear most of those sermons, including a couple from our then intern Nathan Fox-Helser, by watching this Youtube playlist.
That summer of 2014, I brought the songs that had meant so much to me already out from the privacy of my living room and into the setting of corporate worship and the loving community of my church family. It was an amazing experience for all of us to hear the scripture read, then to experience the scripture as sang in song form, before further expounding upon the passage in the form of proclamation.
It was a powerful series because these words pack a lot of punch. It isn't easy to be told to love our enemies, to cut off the hand or tear out the eye that causes sin, or to forsake our idols of wealth and material possessions. But on the other hand, these words also inspire us by calling the lowly blessed and calling us the salt of the earth and the light of the world. And invites us into a life of joy by ridding ourselves of unnecessary worries and anxieties.
So it was during this sermon series of sharing the songs that God gave me to share when people started asking, "When are you going to record these?" And there it was. The next step that I felt needed to happen. These words are meant to be heard and shared, but most importantly lived out in the world.
But where would I go to record a project like this?
Stay tuned for part 3...