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September 3, 2015, 11:33 AM

Faithfulness = Spiritual Success



Chapter sixteen of 1 Corinthians is filled with very mundane things. This is often the case with epistles. Paul is wrapping up his letter with greetings, future plans, and things we would normally address in business meetings. While these passages hold great value for us, the main thrust of Paul's teaching ends in chapter fifteen.

 

This is probably why chapter fifteen is so long and theologically dense. In chapter fifteen, Paul lays out a formal argument for the resurrection of Christ and all of its implications. One could easily divide chapter fifteen into a month long sermon series. With that being said, I want to note the significant way that Paul wraps up his teaching in this letter. The last sentence of teaching is: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.”

 

We need to remember who Paul is writing to. Corinth is a major metropolitan city of its day. It is a city of great wealth, great cultural diversity, and great influence. It is also a city of great sin. The people of the church there are struggling to be different than the culture of their city. The lure of success, and the temptations that often go along with is are at work this church. In many ways, American churches often find themselves in similar circumstances as the church at Corinth.

 

With his last sentence of teaching, Paul drove home his point that success in the Christian life is different from success in the worldly life. Evaluating success from the standpoint of wealth, worldly gain, personal prominence, or status has no place in the Christian's life. Spiritual success will always be determined by faithfulness rather than by effectiveness.

 

God does not ask us to be good at what we do for him. That is the point to spiritual gifting. Spiritual gifts are God empowering His people, to accomplish His will, through His means. This is exactly what God tells Moses when He calls him to speak before Pharaoh.

 

God" only requirement of us is to be faithful in the areas He has called us to. Proverbs 21:3 says “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” God has always desired faithfulness over effectiveness. He still desires obedience over religious activity. Noah understood this point as he preached for 150 years without a single convert. Noah understood the greater value of faithfulness.

 

Are you being faithful in the areas that God has called you?




May 22, 2015, 1:49 PM

A Daddy's Power



This post is from the Pastor's Corner on Feb. 22, 2015.  The message was on Jesus' interaction with the Samaritan Woman in John 4.

In today’s scripture passage, we come across a woman who is dealing with some life issues.  It has been well noted by many pastors that she is at the well drawing water during a very peculiar time of day.  This probably does suggest some sort of social anxiety, but it could also be explained by a number of other scenarios.  What does jump out at me is the fact that she is a very broken woman.  My question has always been: “What happened in her life to make her this way?”   I’ve often wondered what her relationship with her dad was like.  

 

Dad’s have a lot of power in their Children’s lives.  As kids, we learn very quickly in life what to expect as normal.  Then we will spend the rest of our life seeking out what is normal.  What your children grow up to expect from life will largely depend on their answer to a few questions.   Not your answer.   Not the right answer, or the real answer.  Certainly not the church answer.  But, what they perceive the answer to be.

 

1. Do they feel safe and protected by you?  - This has little to do with the security or resources that you provide for them.  It has little to do with the way you interact with threats to them.  But, it has a lot to do with the way you treat your wife and the overall environment and stability of your home. 

 

2. If you could change something about them, what would it be?  - Their answer to this question will define for them their deficiency and the obstacles they must overcome in order to be truly loved. 

 

3. What deserves your attention more than them? – Their answer to this question will set up for them what they must overcome in order to win your approval. 

 

I believe there are two small things that will help your children understand in a big way that you truly love them and are proud of them.  The first is to not let the stress of work and burdens of adult life infringe on your quality time with them.  The second is clear boundaries and expectations.  Boundaries and expectations are a two sided coin.  If you only set boundaries, there will be no path to earn your approval.  Expectations without boundaries will make your approval cheap and unsatisfying.  Or worse yet, you will end up with an entitled narcissistic teen.  Clear and realistic boundaries create safe lanes for your children to run in.  Clear and realistic expectations allow your children to know that you are truly proud of who they are and what they are becoming.  Sometimes those boundaries will be crossed or those expectations will not be met.  In those moments, you are given the opportunity to prove that your love is not based on performance, but rather is the foundation of your relationship with them.  With your loving relationship still intact, you can choose the best means through which to continue spurring them on toward growing and maturing into the man or woman God made them to be.  This is exactly the way that our Heavenly Father grows and matures us as Christians. 


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