Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Refuse Stick Figure Virtue

We love to use our personality type and other versions of our natural "wiring" as an excuse.
"I'm an introvert."
In other words, I can't come out of my shell and love people like that.
"I'm an extrovert."
In other words, I don't like to sit alone and still for very long with the Lord, and I don't really like to read or think deeply.

Of course we're all going to have our strengths and weaknesses, but don't we want to grow and become more like Jesus?

How about this:

Enough of accepting static, reductionistic, one-sided personhood. We know it is God's will that we be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). And he most certainly wasn't one-sided. The grace of God is stronger than our excuses. There's no reason for us to remain stick figure humans, when well-rounded, multi-faceted, Christlike humanity is ours for the taking.

So, let's push back on our weaknesses and un-Christlike inclinations of soul. Let’s go deep like introverts and move toward people like extroverts for the sake of love...to become more and more like Jesus. 

He loved people proactively and he retreated to be alone with his Father and pray.
He was tough and tender.
He was lion-hearted and meek.
He was thick-skinned and soft-hearted.
He loved in word and deed.

Let’s not sell the grace of God short! 

Do we have to choose tenderness or toughness? NO! 
People or tasks? No!
Compassion or courage? No! 

Enough either/or.
Let’s go for both, in Jesus' name.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Intro to 1 Corinthians & Getting Hungry For Sunday

We start our study through 1 Corinthians this Sunday. We'll be considering the whole of chapter 1.

Any time you spend familiarizing yourself with the book as a whole will help keep you from "losing the forest for the trees." A good study Bible (like the ESV Study Bible) can provide this kind of introduction and overview.

The Bible Project videos are another great way to gain an introduction and overview of any Bible book. Here's the one for 1 Corinthians:

In addition, I would encourage you each week to read over the upcoming sermon text several times before Sunday. Try to get a grasp on what it's all about. Write down any questions that pop up and see if repeated reading and thinking will yield answers. Take some time to pray over the passage and ask God to prepare your heart for it and pour out his blessing on our church as we meet together.

The Puritans used to talk about Sunday's as "the market day for the soul." We don't have "market days" anymore, but you can easily picture the old village "market day." All the farmers and artisans peddled their wares such that there was a rich supply of provisions to stock up on for the week. Sunday should be like that. A rich feast of grace and truth for the soul to stock up on for the week ahead. Pray that it would happen.