WS Update: Conversion and Desire

May 2, 2022

Yesterday’s sermon (listen here) explored the Apostle Paul’s retelling of his story of conversion to Christianity (Galatians 1:10-24). It was a reminder that following Jesus is ultimately a decision of the heart. We respond to his gracious sacrifice on the cross, underscoring the universal dynamic of ‘conversion’. Years ago I read an article reviewing William Hale Whites Autobiography of Mark Rutherford, a work of Victorian fiction that was actually White’s own story of leaving the Christian faith. In the novel the character, who is in his third year of seminary, is drawn away from God through the beauty of Wordsworth and others. The point of the review was that everyone undergoes conversions based on their loves:

Changing beliefs is akin to changing lovers (as) human desire launches out into the expanse of creation in a frenzy of wonder…like a bee ranging over a garden of delights, people sip nectar from the many varieties of earthly life, and in the process, take on the shape of their loves. Everyone converts, because everyone loves.

Paul’s concern that the Christians in Galatia were so ‘quickly deserting’ the gospel (1:6) was rooted in his personal experience that when Christ met him on the road to Damascus he met love incarnate which turned his life around. So to Paul deserting the gospel wasn’t about leaving one belief system for another, it was giving their hearts to another love and leaving the One whose love created, redeemed and sustained them. So take time this week to not only saturate your mind with the truth of God’s love, but also to warm your heart with the experience of it. How? Take time to write down your own story and share it with someone else.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:2

W83 – Our Home in the city

Join us on Friday night, May 13 for an evening of celebration as we give thanks to God for all He has done in and through our W83 church home. 

Join us on Sunday afternoon, May 15 for a luncheon about innovating ministry in the CIty. RSVP necessary.

Coming Up

  • Getting married?, May 7: Plan on attending Redeemer’s Premarital Seminar. You don’t have to be engaged to participate in the seminar. Even if you’ve just begun considering the possibility of marriage, this is a powerful way to discover whether you should continue in your relationship. This seminar is a lively day of biblical teaching on marriage, exercises that help a couple learn more about each other, and ending with a time of Q&A.
  • Questioning Christianity Group, May 9: We’re starting a new dinner-discussion group for people curious about Christianity and their own spiritual life. We will gather weekly on Mondays at 7 p.m. at an UWS restaurant for dinner and to talk about the basics of the faith and how it all relates to everyday life. Questions are welcome! Register online. 
  • Serve food at the Frederick Douglass Houses, May 26: Connect with and serve our neighbors living in the Frederick Douglass Houses by giving out food to the community. Come be a part of building relationships with and loving our neighbors in the West Side!
  • Gotham Applications Deadline, May 31: The Gotham Fellowship is a nine-month learning community designed to broaden your understanding of and deepen your connection to God’s redemptive work by applying theology, spiritual practices, and cultural renewal to your work, your relationships, and New York City. 
  • Pray with Do For One: Do For One is continuing its virtual prayer meetings focused on the Gospel of John. Attend one and also connect meaningfully with adults who have disabilities.
  • Continue connecting with homeless neighbors: Every year, amazing volunteers like you serve at Don’t Walk By to connect with homeless neighbors living on the street. Continue serving with other Rescue Alliance organizations that offer resources to homeless men and women!