A Letter from Our Publisher (Sep-Dec 2004)

By Matt Dabbs

by Larry Bridgesmith
September – December, 2004

Dear Friends of New Wineskins and ZOE,

In our desperation we are most likely to see God. Why then do we resist the honesty and vulnerability it takes to embrace our desperate moments? Equal portions of pride, fear and insecurity are likely culprits. As is the denial of our need for a sufficiency outside ourselves. In our more healthy times, we are best served by coming face to face with our own weaknesses, for in them we can embrace the power of the all-sufficient Christ and his Spirit living within us.

This issue of New Wineskins seeks to explore the desperation which leads us to God, rather than hopelessness. Our Western culture’s expectation of comfort has risen to the level of a constitutional guarantee in the eyes of many. When frustrated we seek someone to blame and demand our pound of flesh. Worse, we have learned to define our theology in terms defined by the degree to which comfort prevails. Growth, spiritual or otherwise, is often accompanied by painful progress. Were it otherwise, we could discard most of the biblical record. At least a third of the Psalms are laments which affirm the sovereignty of God even when challenging him in the circumstances of less than perfect lives. Tragedies abound. Losses multiply. Yet God remains.

The ‘Desperate’ theme of New Wineskins is consistent with the ZOE Conference 2004 theme precisely because our theology of loss and discomfort warrants our close examination in worship settings and in our expectations for a Zoe life of abundant living. In this issue you will be introduced to believers who have encountered a more mature perspective of God through their desperate moments. In addition to moving insights and theological discussion, you will find resources to further your personal or group study and enhance your worship encounters.

It remains our prayer that New Wineskins, like the ZOE Worship conference and the ZOE worship music recordings can become an increasingly valuable ministry resource to individuals, churches, small groups and Christian leaders throughout the world. We remain deeply grateful to the many contributors and our audience of readers, participants and listeners who continue to enlarge the interactive community of believers and seekers that have become the voice of New Wineskins and ZOE. These print, audio and conference resources as well as our internet sites enable us to learn from each other in our desperate pursuit of the God who desperately pursues us all. Visit www.wineskins.org and www.zoegroup.org and help us lift up Christ in our culture as we pursue him in our personal journey.

We are especially grateful to Brian McLaren for his thoughtful and challenging contributions to the Desperate theme by his New Wineskins contribution on worship authenticity, “An Open Letter to Worship Songwriters,” and his participation in our ZOE Look to the Hills conference in Nashville this year. A thinker and Good News proclaimer of his stature can assist us all find deeper and more meaningful methods of making Christ relevant to our age. Becoming “new wine” in the new wineskin of our culture requires us to become the “new kind of Christian“ of which he writes and speaks. Please join us in the pursuit.

To God be all the glory,

Larry W. BridgesmithNew Wineskins

Larry W. Bridgesmith

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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