My wife and I are very excited about the curriculumn for our community group at church in the New Year. We'll be going through Sinclair Ferguson's excellent little book, Children of the Living God: Delighting in the Father's Love. From the Preface:

You cannot open the pages of the New Testament without realising that one of the things that makes it so 'new,' in every way, is that here men and women call God 'Father.' This conviction, that we can speak to the Maker of the universe in such intimate terms, lies at the heart of the Christian faith. Through Christ, says Paul, we have 'access to the Father' (Eph. 2:18). References to God as Father are exceedingly rare in the Old Testament. By contrast there are over two hundred different references to God as Father scattered throughout the New Testament. That is an astounding testimony to the new sense of God's grace that came with the message of the gospel.

Astounding, indeed.

Here's the Table of Contents:

   1. The Children of God 
   2. New Birth 
   3. Adopted Children 
   4. The Family Traits 
   5. Family Life 
   6. The Spirit of Adoption 
   7. Family Freedom 
   8. Fatherly Discipline 
   9. The Final Destiny

Could there be anything more practical and faith building than thinking through the implications of our adoption into God's family? As we begin to think more and more like a child of God how will our worship of Him be deepened and our love for people strengthened? What radical acts of service will a study like this promote? What resolutions will result from considering the Father's adopting love? What sins in my life will be weakend (even destroyed) as I embrace my freedom in Christ? In a word, how will we be changed?

I don't know about you, but I want to look more like Jesus in 2009 than I have in 2008. I want to more clearly reflect His glory to my family, friends, church, co-workers and neighboorhood. I want them to see not Mike, but Jesus. Isn't this the essence of Matthew 5:14-16?

Would you join me in striving to live as one adopted in 2009? In doing so I am convinced that the effort will have value not only for the next year, but for all eternity.