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The Corinthian Church Mess

It is Monday and we are continuing our reading thru the New Testament in a year. We have come to a new book and will be reading thru 1 Corinthians over the next couple of weeks or so. This morning we begin by reading 1 Corinthians 1:1 - 31. Read it carefully and think about what Paul is dealing with in writing to this church he founded. When you are finished reading, I’d invite you back here to get an introduction to the Corinthian church and to walk through this first chapter with me.
Paul had founded the church in Corinth on his second missionary journey. You’ll recall, he had traveled from the north (beginning in Philippi) down to the south, ending in Corinth - where he then stayed for eighteen months (Acts 18:1-18). It was the leading of the Holy Spirit that had brought him from Asia to Greece (Europe). It had been a difficult journey. He was mistreated and severely opposed in his preaching of the Gospel in every city - beaten, arrested, jailed, and assaulted, he often was…

FriendsThat Matter and Make Life Much More Worthwhile - Romans 16:1-27

The Weekend, July 4 – We come to the weekend and the celebration of our nation’s independence – when we declared our intention to form a “more perfect union”. We have a day to realize that God has given us a country of diversity and yet unity. Two words that highlight the final reading in the book of Romans. I would ask you to read Romans 16:1 – 27. I know there’s a lot of names, but slow down and look at them to catch the words Paul uses to describe these “friends”, “brothers”, “sisters” in the faith. Come back after you’ve finished and we’ll walk through this together.
After almost 50 years of pastoral ministry, I have a lot of friendships that have developed. Being a pastor is not always easy because you live in a fishbowl of expectations – and therefore, people are not always happy with decisions or direction. Yet in reflecting back, I have memories of some great people God put into my life – people who served alongside me in leadership, and sometimes people who just served …

Plans, Purpose, Prayers - Romans 15:8-33

Friday, July 3 It is the end of the workweek (for most) and we continue our daily readings in the New Testament. Today we’re reading Romans 15:8 – 33. After you’ve finished your reading of the Scripture, I’d invite you back to ponder together what Paul is saying.
Having dealt with Christians in fellowship with one another, Paul begins to wrap up this monumental writing by sharing some final thoughts. What he has on his mind can be seen in three things: First, He recalls the words of Scripture that have guided his Missionary endeavors among the Gentiles. Paul did not seek to take the Gospel to the Gentile regions of the Empire because he liked to travel and go to different places on a sort of Gospel sight-seeing tour. Paul says, “I became a servant to the circumcised (the Jews) because of God’s truth that the Gentiles were to be included in God’s plans for redeeming his creation” (15:8-9, my paraphrase). How did he know this is what God wanted him to do? We know that Paul had r…

Living with Our Differences - Romans 14:1 - 15:7

Thursday, July 2 –It is Thursday in our reading thru the New Testament, and we will read Romans 14:1 – 15:7. It is a continuing lesson on living with one another in harmony and avoiding things that lead to disunity. After you’ve read the scripture come back and we’ll look at it a bit more closely.Unity is an essential element in any relationship that is going to foster life. Take marriage as an example. A husband and wife make their vows to one another before God and others. Among their pledges is that they will strive for “oneness” – unity. It is not an erasure of each of them in order to create a hybrid that is neither of them, but a wholeness that recognizes each person has something valuable to give to the other person in order that their marriage might make their individual lives even greater than it could be alone. So also, Christ’s Church is a place where unity is meant to foster so that greater growth might take place. Notice, I said “unity”, not “uniformity”. We are called to…

Our Citizenship - Here on earth, and in Heaven - Romans 13:1-14

Wednesday, July 1 –It is Wednesday and we’re mid-week in our readings thru the New Testament. Today we read from Romans 13:1-14. It is a short chapter but packed with relevance for how we live for Christ in the public arena, as well as in our homes. Take it all in and come back to spend some time with me in “musing” over the instructions Paul gives to us.
Romans 13 continues to follow the basics of walking out our lives as consecrated and transformed people in God’s Kingdom. In chapter 12, Paul had emphasized the need for a proper view of God (12:1-2), a proper understanding of ourselves (12:3-8), a proper way of dealing with others (12:9-16), and even a proper response to those who don’t like us (12:17-21). The chapter division is again not helpful since his point is made in three further areas as he writes that we have to have a proper view of living as a citizen (13:1-7), a principle to guide us in all that we do – love (13:8-10), and to cap it all off, he adds that we must learn h…

Living It Out - the Transforming Life, Romans 12:1-21

It is Tuesday and in our reading thru the New Testament in a year's journey, we have come to the half-way point on this last day of June. First, I want to thank you for coming along with me, and secondly, I want to encourage you since you’ve made it through 6 of the 12 months in this journey. Today our reading is in Romans 12:1-21. I’d encourage you to read the passage first...read it slowly and take in the many different things Paul writes, and then come back that we might look at it together. “I appeal to you, therefore” is the beginning of this transition from the doctrinal, theological aspects of the Gospel (Romans 1 – 11), to the beginning of the rest of this letter – the practical aspects of the Gospel. You might see vs 1 as a transition in the manner of – “Now that we have settled all of these things God does and is doing, let’s put it all into practice, personally doing the things we know are a result of God’s good news inside of you”. Paul’s “appeal” comes from the first …