Going Deeper

5.29 - 6.3.2023

We want to help you "Go Deeper" by moving Christ a little closer to the center of your life every day. The following resources are provided to help connect the weekly message to your every day life and reveal God's desire to be in relationship with you.


Pastor Jim Hoffman




    • Galatians 2:15-21
    • Genesis 17:1-14
    • Deuteronomy 10:12-18, 30:1-10
    • Jeremiah 4:4


    There is a hymn whose opening line is, “I love to tell the story, of unseen things above.  Of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.  I love to tell the story, because I know ‘tis true; it satisfies my longing, as nothing else can do.”  The refrain continues with: “I love to tell the story, twill be my theme in glory, to tell the old, old story, of Jesus and his love.”  True or truth – what is true or truth today?  With competing messages and spun narratives on every news channel or billions of individual perspectives typed out on Twitter, you have to wonder what is true.  I know there are times when I struggle with the question, “what is the truth?” 


    I participate in several different conversation groups with church members, colleagues, friends, and family.  On more than one occasion, a participant has seized the platform to state something as if it is gospel fact.  However, I recall hearing a different side or other facts that draws into question their version or adds nuance to the story.  Whose story, whose account is true and whose is false?  This gets even more fun when it comes to a couple who share the same experience, but do not recall the same facts about the moment.  Is one partner’s recollection of the facts truer than the other’s or simply complementary?


    Paul influenced many people by sharing the message of God’s love made known in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, God’s son.  Jesus was God’s sacrificial gift of love that makes us right with God for the purpose of loving God and loving others.  Paul shared this message in a number of places including a region called Galatia.  This resulted in the establishment of churches in the Galatian area.  Then as Paul did, he moved on.  Later, a group of Jewish-Christian missionaries, possibly from Jerusalem, came in and told the people that they had to follow aspects of Judaism in order to truly be saved.  They must submit to the law of circumcision, practice other aspects of Torah law, and follow the Jewish festival calendar and observances.  Adherence to the law and practices of Judaism were true signs of God’s salvation.  For the Galatians who were Gentiles that grew up under pagan influence, practices and rituals seemed normal so they adopted the message and requirements of the missionaries.  Somehow Paul got wind of what had happened which is the occasion for the letter to the Galatians.  He tells them that the law will enslave them to a theology of working for your salvation, which is not the truth of the gospel.  The true message of the gospel is liberation from our works by the work of Jesus Christ.  Through his faithfulness, we are free to pursue a deeper relationship with God and a more loving relationship with our neighbors.  No amount of works will make us righteous – only the pursuit of loving God and others.  Unfortunately, we do not know if Paul was successful in convincing the Galatians however, I hope he is successful in convincing us.


    I invite you to take time and read each of the scriptures above as you move to reflect on the questions below.  Consider the practices you inhabit with the purpose of intimately knowing and living God.  Lastly, I pray that God bless the reading of God’s Word and the meditations of your heart.


    Questions to Consider this week:

    • Monday:  What is the prime objective of your daily spiritual disciplines?
    • Tuesday:  If you read your Bible daily, what is your main motivation for doing so?
    • Wednesday:  When you pray do you share a list of joys and concerns?  Do you also ask God to reveal his heart to you?  Why or why not?
    • Thursday:  What church rules do you try to follow hoping they make you acceptable to God? 
    • Friday:  How are you pursuing a deeper awareness of God’s love and presence in your life?
    • Saturday:  What area of mission, service, and justice could you join in to serve others?


    Actions for the Week:

    • Head:  Consider what it means for you to be free from “churchy” rules so that you can pursue a deeper love of God and neighbor.                                                                                
    • Heart:  Carve out space in your heart and soul for the pursuit of deeper knowing of God’s love.
    • Hand:  Commit to active service that shares God’s love with poor and oppressed people in the community.   


    Gracious God.  We are grateful for the gift of your son, Jesus, who, by faithfulness, has made us right with you.  Remind us that we cannot earn in anyway, your unmerited love and forgiveness.  We can only ask for it believing that you have already granted it to us.  From this, free us to pursue a deeper relationship with you and meaningful service to our neighbors.  This is what you have loved us and set us free to be and do.  Help us learn that all other things should be an outgrowth of the desire to love you and our neighbor.  Forgive us when we get things backwards or layer on unnecessary rules.  Help us to stay on a path that leads to your love and grace.  Amen.