NEW For 2021!
“Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him” (Isaiah 51:1, 2).
Four thousand years ago in the religious, economic, and cultural center that was Ur of the Chaldeans (present day Iraq), there lived a family: husband and wife. Their names were Abram and Sarai. How is it that forty centuries later, these two, among the millions of forgotten souls of Mesopotamia, would be remembered and revered by billions of people on planet Earth today?
The short answer is that God chose them. He plucked them out of the pagan masses for His own sovereign purposes: to remove the curse and restore the blessing to all creation. We remember this family because they heard God’s call, trusted God’s promises, and faithfully followed Him (Genesis 12:1-4).
Abram and Sarai still fascinate and inspire all servants of Christ who would be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:1, 2). Their story is powerful not because they were perfect, but because they are like us in our hopes and fears, loves and limitations. And if we are to be faithful families, faithful followers of God, we do well to “walk in the steps of the faith” as they did (Romans 4:12).
These lessons retrace those divinely directed, promise-laden steps of faith. As we journey alongside Abraham and Sarah with sure strides and stumbles, it is my hope that we better understand what it means to be a faithful family in our own world of increasing unbelief — mothers and fathers of faith bringing God’s blessing in Christ to all we meet.
— Jason Overman
2020 — “The Ministry of Reconciliation”
Series and Quarterly Introductions
This year’s quarterlies are dedicated to what the apostle Paul called “the ministry of reconciliation.” What is reconciliation and this essential ministry? The exciting truth is revealed in one of the Bible’s most profound passages: 2 Corinthians 5:14 — 6:2 (see “Passage Prologue” on opposite page). We will take our time this year exploring it and learning how to participate in it.
The ministry, message, and ministers of reconciliation Paul writes about correspond to the three central agents addressed in the text. These form the basis of the first three quarterlies, each focusing on one agent and their role in reconciliation and the divine relationship in which they all partake.
The Author of the ministry of reconciliation is our heavenly Father. The first quarter seeks to praise and exalt Him: for “all things are of God” (v. 18). We will learn who God is as our loving Father, the ground and source of all good relationships.
The Center of the message of reconciliation is Jesus Christ. The second quarter focuses on what God has done through Christ: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us . . .” (v. 21). There’s no reconciliation apart from Him. We will learn what Jesus accomplished as the Prince of Peace, the healer of all relationships.
Remarkably, we are the ministers of reconciliation — God’s priests! The third quarter surveys our role “in Christ.” No longer living for ourselves, we are compelled by love to be “ambassadors for Christ,” bringing reconciliation on His behalf (v. 20). We will learn how the church is to be a joyous family, modeling relationship.
Finally, in the fourth quarter we stress that the purpose of God’s ministry of reconciliation is nothing less than the new covenant and a new creation: “old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (v. 17). We’ll learn how as workers together with God, salvation dawns every day (6:1, 2).
– Jason Overman, editor
Order November 1st at https://cog7.org/online-store/
“Transforming Vision into Reality”
(2017-2019) 3-Year Series Overview
The three stages of Transforming Vision into Reality (TVR) are Jesus as our Savior, Jesus as our Lord, and the Great Commission. The Holy Spirit transforms our vision into reality as we focus on Jesus (Stages 1 and 2) and follow His plan (Stage 3). The first series of quarterlies is a detailed study of the ten-point vision of a vibrant 21st century church. The second series of the TVR trilogy focus on Jesus. In the final series, we’ll follow His plan.