One of the dangers of reading the stories of those followers of Jesus that we find in the Bible is we can treat them as if they are almost super-human. Unlike us. Insulated from the cares, concerns, despairs, and discouragements that befall us merely mortal disciples of Christ. But that just isn’t true.
Case in point: the Apostle Paul, writing another letter to his beloved friends at the church he helped start in the city of Corinth:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death….You also must help us by prayer…
(2 Corinthians 8:8-9, 11; ESV)
And it doesn’t stop there. Throughout this letter you can feel Paul’s pain, brought on by strained relationships and ministerial attack, wounds that go deeper precisely because he has so willingly opened up his heart and his life (2 Corinthians 6:11 and context) to the very people now hurting him.
How does one respond in such circumstances? What do the realities of Jesus and his Good News have to do with such things?
This week, we read and dive into and prayerfully meditate on Paul’s deeply vulnerable letter to the church at Corinth. I am praying God gives us great insights as we do, in preparation for our study this coming Sunday morning. For further study, check out the resource page on this letter that The Bible Project has produced.
Looking forward to Sunday together,
In the book of James, we meet a follower of Jesus who is going to sit us down for a little chat. And fair warning here: James isn’t really too concerned about your feelings, or how comfortable you are with someone you don’t know nor have ever met getting pretty personal with you.
Sunday's Comin' (July 7, 2019)
I think all of us want to be wise. The question is, how do we get there?
Preparing For May 26, 2019
Do you know why the church exists? Do you know who formed the church, and how it was formed?
Just a brief reminder that a great way to prepare for the service this coming Sunday is to read the text we will be studying together.
Preparing For Sunday May 12, 1 & 2 Thessalonians
This last Sunday, I preached the first of two sermons on Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Here was the sentence I began unpacking, which is my summary of both letters:
Martin Luther warned that the people of the church are always in danger of their hearts straying from the truth of the good news of the kingdom of God found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
First, it is Palm Sunday. Which means it is the beginning of a week of remembering the most important events in the history of the world: the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, his last meal with his disciples, his death at the hands of sinful men as the result of a sham sentence in a kangaroo court, his burial by those who loved him, and his resurrection from the dead just three days later. All of it for the salvation and rescue of the world.