Showing posts from May, 2015

Being the Church Today: Running

  Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be  in  on it! 24-25  You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. 26-27  I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living fo

Being the Church Today: Food Part 2

  Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 3 but anyone who loves God is known by him . 1 Corinthians 8 Okay, I confess I skipped over 1 Corinthians 7 dealing with relationships.  I have a bit of a defense, which is to remember that we are reading the Corinthians' mail.  Sometimes something is said in a personal card to me that is tough for an outsider to sort out.  Second, remember the last post about judging?  Seriously, let's grab coffee and talk about chapter 7.   In chapter 8, Paul picks up the theme of food dedicated to idols.  This would have been meat sacrificed to Apollo the god of music or Aphrodite the goddess of love.  Some thought, "Hey, I know there is only one God...what is the big deal.  Besides have you tasted the 11 herbs and spices?  Delicious!"  Others thought it was just

Being the Church Today: Judging

When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?  1 Corinthians 6 I grew up loving court room dramas.  Perry Mason...check.  Judge Wapner and the People's Court...oh yes.  Colombo, mysteries, CSI, Law and Order; yup, you bet, always, and guilty as charged!  What happens when we have a grievance with a church member?  I mean besides going out into the parking lot and gossiping?  It seems the people in Corinth were more comfortable in a public courtroom than trying to settle in a private conversation.  Of course, we all rely on the court of public approval.  Politicians, athletes, CEOs, and anyone who is every pictured on People Magazine  knows how quickly the tide of public opinion can turn.  Everyday we hear some one get swept by the undercurrent of someone in the public eye being judge (right now it is Tom Brady and deflat-gat

Being the Church Today: Body

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Should you not rather have mourned, so that he who has done this would have been removed from among you? 3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present I have already pronounced judgment 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. 1 Corinthians 5 Apparently arguing about who is the wisest of them all was not enough for the Corinthians.  Apparently baptismal divisions were not enough for the Corinthians.  Apparently debating food and being faithful stewards were not enough for the Corinthians...they gotta go and get all 50 Shades of Grey in Scripture.  I am going to go out on a limb and say most UCC churches have not spent a lot of time preaching on this.  In the last post, we spent some time thinking about why not follow that up with a

Being the Church Today: Stewardship

Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.   1 Corinthians 4 You might be feeling a bit of a disconnect between the picture and the text above.  Maybe wondering, "What is the deal with the pigs?"  I am born and bred in Iowa, where I think pigs outnumber people.  But actually, the picture is to make a point about the word steward, which is really an English word for the ward of the sty, as in pig sty, as in what y