Archive for July, 2020
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now, we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. [NRSA: 1 Cor 13]
This chapter is both wonderful and intimidating. We love it and we held to its words and love.
Paul calls us to “love like we are family.”
Families do not always agree. Families fight, divorce, hold grudges, abuse, neglect… why in the world would we want to love like a family’s love?
Too often we label our failures of trying to be a loving family as the standard. Therefore, we confuse reality with the model that is before us.
Instead of modeling family experience, we look to the fellowship God reveals for us:
Loving as Paul describes is
1) a love based in God. What is love? Look and listen to God for God’s examples of love and loving relationship.
2) a love that can hold people in relationship even when their thoughts and behaviors are out of bounds. (I love you even though you are doing ‘wrong’ or thinking ‘wrong’.
3) a love that is not grounded in emotions but loves us in relationship to God even when you and I both have failed to love as God loves.
The Framework of God’s family: Based in Love, Loving the sinner, Love is Eternal
It’s important to clarify: I family operating on God’s love will look like the love described in this chapter. And, a Church family or koinonia fellowship, operating on God’s love, will look and sound like the relation described in chapter 13. But it is not automatically true.
We are a church denomination, that has actively talked about divorce for 22 years. We have been more focused on trying to keep the family together than learning to love the sinners despite their sins. We have aligned ourselves in the those who are correct and those who are wrong, blaming each other for the current reality. WHEN the reality is that we have accepted this lie as our truth.
The Church has always been called to be Christ’s body and not ours. It even sounds awkward to hear ourselves say: RS Church is Christ’s church, we usually say, “RS Church is ‘my’ church.” My service, my music, my class, my friends, my history, my offering, my, my my…
Christ came to give himself for sinners. He always named the sin, and forgives the sinner, so that new life my eternally be in God.
Talking about loving people and actually loving people is the difference in saying the latest slogan or catch phrase about who we love, or who we support is not, in itself, AND loving enough to actually stay in relationship with God’s strength. This is to love as Paul describes. It is not at easy when we deal with the worst in each other.
There is a reason that many couples include this passage in their wedding ceremony as it is the description of the type of relationship that are setting as their measure. At the foundation of a marriage it is a good base to start. When half of all marriages end in divorce we must reexamine how we love.
Love sets boundaries for everyone in the relationship. When we are out-of-bounds, we break the relationship of love. Through GRACE God works to redevelop trust and rebuild. But our continued disobedience leads us to end relationships. Sometimes ending a relationship is the only way we can move forward.
In society, we recognize that we might love our enemies, but their behaviors so violate trust and respect that we incarcerate them to separate them from others. This is not the model of love, but it is the accountability of not loving.
• Just as God is revealed in creation, in the purposeful design of creation, with its order, beauty, and seasons of life, death, and renewal of life.
• God’s love can be seen throughout creation, in God providing for what we need not only to eat and drink, but to challenge and expand our minds, and to live together in community.
Pieces are the Whole
Wisdom, knowledge, faith, sacrifice are all parts of the relationship, but love is the reason behind them all. Prophecies, knowledge, physical nature all need to mature, but only mature in love.
Reclaiming the Heart and Hope for our Relationships
Love is.. (This activity ALWAYS requires God’s help, when we are on our own, we our out of bounds)
Love is patient; kind; not envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, not selfish, irritable, nor resentful; it rejoices in doing what is Godly, what is true. It bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things; Love never ends.
Starting with Confession
Which of these do we struggle?
Օ – Patient
Օ – Kind
Օ – Rejoices in Truth
Օ – Seeks what is Godly
Օ – Bears
Օ – Believes
Օ – Hopes
Օ – Endure
Reactive / opposite
Օ – Envious / Content
Օ – Boastful / Humble
Օ – Arrogant / Respects
Օ – Rude / Kind
Օ – Selfish / Selfless
Օ – Irritable / Care
Օ – Resentful / Appreciative
Which do we experience from others most?
Օ – Patient
Օ – Kind
Օ – Rejoices in Truth
Օ – Seeks what is Godly
Օ – Bears
Օ – Believes
Օ – Hopes
Օ – Endure
Reactive / opposite
Օ – Envious / Content
Օ – Boastful / Humble
Օ – Arrogant / Respects
Օ – Rude / Kind
Օ – Selfish / Selfless
Օ – Irritable / Care
Օ – Resentful / Appreciative
What are the correlations and connections with what we struggle and the struggles of others?
Are they connections that begin in opposition? Then we know where to ask for God’s help.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. [NRSA: 1 Cor 13]
Patient and Kind, Truth and Godliness
Bears and Believes, Hopes and Endures
Content and Humble, Respects with Care and Kindness
Selfless and Appreciative. Love is forever.
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. [NRVA]
Mark 2:27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.
Howard Thurman, a preacher, teacher, dean, and mystic, was an black preacher that knows the human condition and the path of a spiritual giant. He shared in sermon and later in in his many books and writings: he describes….
[The Coming to the end of one’s rope… we can’t go on. We just don’t have enough physical energy to move another step or do another chore or face another crisis,
And from some where we find what we call a “second wind” we are able to tap resources that were previously unaccessible. The body seems to know where the secret is and the energy flows. Researches can give descriptions of what happens, but what makes this possible, from where does this second surge come, just when it need to arrive to finish our work
[Though his ministry span from 1900 to 1980] He knew then as we know now: under In uncertain times, we too able to go beyond, the limits of our bodies, with the renewal of our minds, ..and so it must be true with our spirit, also.
It is in the moments of crisis we discover again and again there are resources of spirit, additional resources, other power, new life, That we ONLY discover in the very tests of life. It is here that we find the amount we CAN do, without destroying our joy,
And it is in these moments, in times just as we live now that, This is the gift of God, the gift of God’s work, not our strength, but the necessary resources, at the moment they are required, not before, and not with any extra.] (paraphrased from his own words)
We come to moments of exhaustion and see well trained athletes pedal one more hill in hills with thinking air. We see the fruit of preparing done long ago for this very moments in the battle of competition that the victors have anticipated but not yet realized.
It is with this very breath of God that we face the days in which we live.
I tell you truly that we much cherish the concept and invitation of Sabbath. Just as we push and push and find strength to complete the spiritual heavyweight lifting that surrounds us on every side…. we come to the sabbath and find out hunger and ghost for rest….
If we have arrived at the sabbath are not weary then we have not done the work before us. The weeks of bedrest in my recent recovery have been a powerful reminder of my limitations. The current confinement we all face and test the waters to overcome, we see that it is different, uncomfortable, tentative and uncertain, where we have come to find the very certainty that brings us peace and much find the power of sabbath rest.
In rest that is a different type of work. We rest from our labors and find ourselves spent, yet hungering to hear God, but to hear God, we must stop talking, planing, worrying, preparing, stop doing and be present for God and in God.
With the exception of the first five or six years and two years in college, I have been at work on the sabbath. As a child I tagged along fully dependent on my parents choices and blessings, and in college it was rare that I missed worship, but in al, the other years I have had some responsibility in worship that might at times look, sound and feel like work. I feel I have worked on the sabbath most of my life.
It was not until I met the words of Dr Thurman that I began to immerse myself in Sabbath rest. It is not always on a Sunday, but with out time to surrender ourselves in God we never grasp the fullness God has for us all.
If i am always in control, always responsible, always managing, always going and doing then I leave little to no room for trust, faith, devotions and thus Sabbath rest. We make take turns to assure that one another finds God refreshing and renewing rest.
No this is not a devotions to sleeping. This is not an excuse to be lazy or irresponsible, it is to place all that is of worth and value and ask God to hold the reins and give us the breath, the second wind, the extra resources that we need for the week ahead.
You and I need to ask one another in keeping that sabbath. Again is not about when to cut the grass or when to take a nap… it’s a spiritual part of being a spiritual being.
Let’s practice, join me a a meditation
Closer your eyes, find a comfortable as possible position and let’s everything else got for a few precious moments,
You are a work of art that God has thrown and spun with hope, purpose and love.
You are a child of the Gods breath and have value and meaning to god when we the whole world has other words and no words for you
You have come to find food and drink for your spirit
You have come to experience peace hope and belonging
You have carried much in your mind and with your body and with your emotions.
As you hear distractions give thanks that God has given you the ability to hear, and think and be responsible
In this moment focus toy hearing in the spirt ofGods blowing and moving
Be attentive to how God is reaching out to you personally
It may come in words and sounds, it may be feeling or something better
There may be many things that keep God distance, invite God unto your heart and give your rest.
Speak these words silently to god, OR JUST LOUD ENOUGH TO HEAR YOURSELF
“be my strength be my rest”
“Be in my breath and in be my peace”
“Show me your love, your grace”
“I release my control and trust you with my life”
“ be my strength and be make rest”
Being to open your eye to see, hear, touch, and taste the goodness god has for you and for us all.
Let us pray…. ah Holy Spirit, breath into us your life, your strength, your love. Amen
Luke 10:38-42 MARY AND MARTHA
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.[a] Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” [NRSV]
Once you have a regular rotation of prayer, study, fellowship and application in the areas outside your church, family and self, you have the experience to be a coach. Starting on third, you have three signals of encouragement.
1. Hands up — Stop You need to spend more time on Second
2. Hands down — Come to third and be ready to score.
3. Hands toward Home — Time to Bring it Home
Coaching is meeting folks in the third base part of life, community, work
and leading them in REVERSE
Imaging someone that is not already part of church, but it is someone you know, meet or work with in your life outside of church and family. It’s typically not easy start at home base with someone we don’t have an intimate relationship. So we meet at work, move toward invited them to join our family, then family to church, church to study or small group, to prayer and worship. This journey is leadership. We are coach and leading others in the journey where we have already been.
There are moments in history that transform our past into a new future. Some of these events we welcome and others we avoid. When mom and daddy are no longer with us.
When a child, grand parent, sibling or close friend dies… we are faced with a new reality in our understanding of life and death and our relationships with other family members as roles get changed up.
I remember having a black and white TV and how out lives changed watching the Vietnam war on the evening news changed our whole world.
I remember when I bought my first car, a green 69 impala named Lucy that got 8 miles per gallon and was my first expressions of freedom and exploration
I remember my pay check with taxes taken out and it changed by view of labor and government.
I remember the call just before walking in to preach at my first church, just a few months as a brand new pastor and received the news my grandfather had died
Or walking out for a Christmas Eve service to the test that mom had a major stroke
Or the news that we had a miscarriage.
I remember the first day waking up the a baby’s cry that we my own child
The church is under attack, not only our denomination but also the baptist, the catholic and The whole body of Christ.. by a growing majority that say we are backward, out of date and out of touch, saying we are just another passivity amount many that has no meaningful say.
And the trouble is we have grown accustomed to this new identity or we have ignored the slice of our perceived security is dwindling, critically.
Some would run away and leave us being interested in themselves about the rest of us.
Some would withdraw and want to ignore the whole responsibility and get by as best they can
None of this is Home Run living!
As a church family we are on the edge of one of those moments of transformation.
The world is steaming in one direction and the church is digging in to our hearts and heads trying remember that
1. Everything begins and ends in God
2. God’s purpose if my purpose, and Therefore I trust God to define my character
3. God places us in relationships of support, the church, family, friends…
4. Got is working through us when we are in the world, When we apply these gifts and skill in our responsibilities and opportunities we see God making Good on promises and using our lives for God’s glory.
So let me be clear where we stand.. it is not the world series, it is a crossroads of what is baseball? What does it mean to be the body of Jesus Christ in the world, What does the church stand, and breath and serve to become.
But here the good news, Jesus is not written us off! God is not down with us!
Now more than ever do we all need to be “HOME RUN” DISCIPLES.
WE DONT ACCOMPLISHING THIS BY:
Retreating to the past.
We don’t pass the buck to someone else
We step up and run the bases, gods way,
The hate, the emptiness, the clamoring for purpose and meaning we hear from then world round us is evidence that they do not have a better way,
They simply do not know, trust, share and grow in God as we know to do
BUT THE TRUTH IS The world is hungry for the Home Run life and it is up to us to live it and share it.
The truth is we have slacked off from going to bat for God.
Being honest with yourself as much as possible. Where are you in God’s game?
Are to at the plate just trying to get connected?
Are you at first looking for meaning and purpose?
Are you stuck sharing and caring for your family and friends, over helmed there?
Are you trying to make it though the day with your work, responsibility’s and money but are spinning your wheels?
You’ve made it through those bases but you are needed as third base coach?
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. [NRSA: Rom 12]
As a koinonia fellowship we are committed to being one in Christ as we live as a worship to God.
We are able because we live in the power of Gods grace and mercies. Without god we quickly serve ourselves and only those who are like minded.
1. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
2. Do not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober, logical, judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us:
- Showing compassion
Instructions for all
• Let love be genuine; hate what is evil,
• hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
• Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.
• Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.
• Contribute to the needs of the saints;
• Extend hospitality to strangers.
• Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
• Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
• Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.
• Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Busy ourselves with this list instead of worry fear and fighting
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Our task is to love!
“if your enemies are hungry, feed them;
if they are thirsty, give them something to drink;
for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good
Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and struggle because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. These are the things you must insist on and teach. Let no one despise your youth but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers. [NRSA]
Being a church committed to Koinonia Fellowship calls on us to have a balance of commitment.
We have put on hold most of our hands-on ministry of feeding and clothing ministries that have been “bread and butter” of our ministry efforts. We need to find new ways to make sure those who are hungry and naked have what they need as we respond to the Great Commandment. These new and renewed restraints are calling us to rethink how we witness as the body of Christ.
1 Tim 4 also recognized that the physical ministry of the church is valuable, but it is not the primary work we are called to be about. It might be easier and more rewarding in the moment for us. One of the cautions is that we not do ministry so that we can be praised, or we can feel good, or look good to others — these things do come when we are genuine in our ministry to physical needs, but we are a spiritual body as well as a physical one.
This is why Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit when he leaves. We are Christ’s presences in the world, doing God’s work, empowered by God’s Spirit as spiritual people of God.
1Tim 4 [Physical Training and service is of some value, but the more important service is living out our trust in God.]
There are things that we work our spiritual self and the spirit of others, and not just the physical.
Paul is encouraging Timothy with some of his strongest language: “Insisting” that he teach the church.
As for the physical work we do: Let your service reflecting God’s presence, love, and sincerity.
As for the Spiritual work we are to do:
1. Give attention the public reading of scripture, preaching, and teaching
(Your prayers you may do in private, but when it comes to exhortation:
Be walking billboard for the scripture.
2. Develop and Use your spiritual Gifts.
a. What are your spiritual gifts. There are a number of online helps and books, but a good way to start is to ask five people what they believe your spiritual gifts are. Their feedback reflects what you are already likely been doing.. Now you may have other spiritual gifts and differing times of your life, so this is not a one-time check list.
b. The Part two of Spiritual Gifts calls for asking God, and others do I have other Spiritual gifts as well as praying for God to reveal these to you. We also need to be anticipating hearing and coming to understand what talents, opportunities and gifts God entrusts with us.
3. Put these two things into practice: Be fluent in the scripture so that others hear the word through you and be diligent to use the gifts and opportunities God opens to your life.
We are living in a time and season when being open, direct and bold about our faith is clearly risky.
We are hesitant because we don’t want to be labeled, rejected, attacked or negatively effected by letting the world know we are God’s People in living for Christ, powered by the Holy Spirit.
I’m guessing you have heard the saying, “the way you live you life maybe the only Gospel someone reads.” While part of this is true, it comes without any interpretation, explanation, context, and we risk great misunderstanding.
The instruction is not to beat people up with being right or wrong about scripture, it is a call for us to be devoted to what we think in our head and act in our service, but to also be clear in our reasons and lessons WHY we think and act as we do.
Our clearest example is Jesus’s relationship with his disciples. He was ever placing real life observations and even conflicts, in the context of scripture: And drawing on the Old Testament as such. And sometime Jesus would give an new understanding to an older text as well.
Jesus Sayings and Teachings Are strong and give explanation of why we think and act as disciples do
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 NIV
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NIV
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 NIV
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
There are the “You have Heard, but I say”
Matthew 5:21 NIV 21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’
Matthew 5:27 NIV 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
Matthew 5:33 NIV 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’
Matthew 5:38 NIV 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
Matthew 5:43 NIV 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
The Contextual Power is revealed when scripture is lived out as a witness for God
Luke 7:22 NIV So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
The world is transformed by God, THROUGH US, when we become those who speak God’s work to the hurting, broken, blind, suffering world.
The Conviction: Not always the popular thing for the world to hear, because God is often using us as prophets and teachers… but if you and I are not telling, teaching, preaching, and proclaiming, what will the world hear from us?