The art of living?

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UPDATE DECEMBER 2023 : We have reached the start of chapter 5. We will come back to the rest of this letter and its relevance for us on one of the Sundays in January and then through February, finishing on the first Sunday in March. Well, at least that is the plan! During December, our focus will be on Advent and different aspects of the Gospel accounts connected with Christ’s birth.

In January, we look forward to celebrating and giving thanks that ICL is 20 years old!

All ‘The Art of Living’ talks are available on the ICL YouTube channel:

Original blog post:

Traffic jams, supermarkets, rain, tourists, ice creams, sunshine? All of these are aspects of life we may have experienced in recent weeks. Yet these are also all words that are ‘everyday’ vocabulary to us and perhaps we take for granted.

How about the word ‘grace’? What kind of response does this stir in us?

Perhaps our reaction is one of confusion – ‘Grace? Mmm, not quite sure how that has a relevance to our lives now?’

Or maybe we say we ‘get’ grace and what there is to know about it – ‘It’s God’s favour right? Can we move on?’

It could be that we have heard about God’s gift of grace but , ‘It is too good to be true isn’t it? Isn’t God like angry about sin and stuff?’

Whether you relate to one of these possibilities or have a different reaction, I want to encourage us to be open to God’s grace impacting our lives afresh (or maybe for the first time we will become conscious of His grace at work).

Beginning on the 27th September there will be a new teaching series on many (though not all) of the Sundays in ICL services. It will be based from the book of Ephesians in the New Testament. Ephesians oozes about grace!

Ephesus was an important Roman colony and there would have been people living in it from all over the empire. Not only was it cosmopolitan, it was home to all kinds of beliefs including that connected with the then famous temple of Artemis. Into this context, the apostle Paul and others brought the message about Jesus Christ, the good news of grace (see Acts 19 and the stirring in the city that the Gospel message caused).

Cosmopolitan? Different world views? Sounds a bit like modern cities – like Leiden for instance. Grace for life now too?

The title for the series: ‘The Art of Living’ was inspired by the following verse:

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10 New International Version

In the weeks ahead we will come to that verse and unpick it some more.

As to the subtitle of the series – that was stirred by another part of the letter:

“I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.”

Ephesians 3:7 New International Version

Again, to be explored.

Whether you have been a Christian for many years, are new to being a Jesus follower or curious if Christianity is good news, I encourage you – be open to the gift of grace. Why not join in the series in the weeks ahead?


For those who might like to have an overview of Ephesians – one opinion about it is given by The Bible Project. It is a short video (just under 9 minutes to watch):