We're excited to kick off a new preaching series as Autumn arrives! The New Normal, based on the book of Philippians, can be used as a handbook for Christian living, with a six-part guide to living as a follower of Jesus.
As a church we are believing that things are not going to be the same any more. Whatever was normal before is going to be abnormal now. The new normal for the people of God when they entered the Promised Land was mountains and valleys, no longer just a vegetable patch!
The series will run for six weeks and we will be asking ourselves some big questions including:
- What will our experience of God be in the new normal?
- What will be our new motivation and mindset?
- How will we live and what and who will we devote our life for?
- Who and what are we following in the new normal?
- What will our attitude be?
- How will we behave? What habits will we have?
The book of Philippians is all about change and tells us so much of what happens when we encounter and experience God.
Background to the Book of Philippians
Philippi is located in the north east of modern day Greece and was named after King Philip II, father of Alexander The Great. Philippi is famous for being the place that Mark Antony and Octavian defeated Brutus and Cassius in 42BC, the assassins of Julius Caesar, in a battle at Philippi.
It was also the place where the first church of Europe was established by Paul on his second missionary journey in AD 52. You can read how the church in Philippi started in Acts 16:1-40.
Paul originally went to Macedonia because of a vision in the night, described for us in Acts 16:9. In the vision Paul saw a Macedonian man standing and asking that he come over to help them. Paul responded and from that moment the gospel went powerfully westward, beginning in Philippi; the first city to be told the good news of Jesus Christ in Europe.
The church started with a woman Paul met by the river, named Lydia. Paul shared Jesus with Lydia, a businesswoman and convert to Judaism, and as she listened to Paul speak the Lord opened her heart to respond. Evidently her entire household responded as well, since all of them were baptised together (Acts 16:14-15).
This is how the church started -- with personal evangelism and the baptism of a family.
We're excited to study the book of Philippians, written to the then-growing church in Philippi, and see how God used that one family to change a whole nation.