Pastoral Notes - Sunday, October 1st, 2017

There’s something special about October.

The county fair arrived in my small Mississippi town every October. I’d circle the dates on the refrigerator calendar and mark with stars “arm band nights” where for one low price I could ride all night long. Needless to say, it was a boy’s dream. After spinning, racing, twisting, and falling through the air on the rides, I’d park myself under a tent floored with sawdust and wash down all that excitement with a sausage dog and a coke. After that, I’d waste my last $5 on a bag of homemade taffy before calling it a night.

I started falling in love with Christy in October 1998. The first time we ever held hands was on the Ferris wheel at that same county fair. I knew right then that there was something special about that girl. At 19, I thought it was her beautiful blue eyes. It was, of course. But I’ve learned over the years that it was a lot more than her eyes.

There really is something special about October.

It’s no surprise to me that one of the greatest renewal movements of church history happened in October. On All Hallows Eve 1517, an Augustinian monk by the name of Martin Luther changed the course of history with a hammer, a nail, and 95 Theses. Well, that may be overstating things a bit. It didn’t happen quite that fast, nor did Luther set out to change the course of history. His aspirations were far more humble. He simply wanted to see the church return to the Scripture as the ultimate authority for faith and practice, and in so doing, be restored to a right (biblical) understanding of the gospel.

This October is even more special than most. For this October, we celebrate the five-hundred year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. For the five Sundays of October, we’re going back to the foundations of the Reformation’s teaching to study what is commonly referred to as “The Five Solas of the Reformation”

·      Oct. 1 – “Scripture Alone” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

·      Oct. 8 – “Faith Alone” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

·      Oct. 15 – “Grace Alone” (Romans 3:21-23)

·      Oct. 22 – “Christ Alone” (Acts 4:11-12 & 1 Timothy 2:5)

·      Oct. 29 – “The Glory of God Alone” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Take time to prepare your heart each week by reading and meditating on the Scripture passages above. Further, commit to pray for this series with boldness and expectation. By God’s grace, let’s pray that October 2017 will share, in some very real sense, the gospel power of October 1517.