Church Matters: Correcting the Corinthians (4)

For the past few weeks we’ve explored the book of 1st Corinthians. If we’ve learned nothing else, we’ve learned this—the Corinthians were a mess. The church in Corinth was plagued with problems ranging from humility to harmony, from immaturity to impurity, and from lawsuits to a lack of sanctification.

Up to this point, Paul has been dealing with the sin reported to be known in the Corinthians congregation. But chapter seven begins this way: “Now about those questions you asked in your last letter…” (1 Corinthians 7:1 TLB). Apparently the Corinthians were confused about some matters and wrote to Paul, asking for guidance. The first issue they ask about is marriage. That shouldn’t surprise us. Marriage can baffle the best of us. Marriage is like twirling a baton, turning handsprings or eating with chopsticks. It looks easy until you try it.

The speaker at a woman’s club was lecturing on marriage and asked the audience how many of them wanted to “mother” their husbands. One member in the back row raised her hand.  “You actually want to mother your husband?” the speaker asked. “Mother?” the woman echoed. “I thought you said smother.”


Church Matters: Correcting the Corinthians (3)

Years ago, a large statue of Christ was erected high in the Andes on the border between Argentina and Chile. Called “Christ of the Andes,” the statue symbolizes a pledge between the two countries that as long as the statue stands, there will be peace between Chile and Argentina. Shortly after the statue was erected, the Chileans began to protest that they had been slighted — the statue had its back turned to Chile. Just when tempers were at their highest in Chile, a Chilean newspaperman saved the day. In an editorial that not only satisfied the people but made them laugh, he simply said, “The people of Argentina need more watching over than the Chileans.”


Church Matters: Correcting the Corinthians (2)

One Sunday morning a little girl sat on the bathroom counter watching her daddy shave in the mirror. After gazing intently at their reflections for some minutes, she said, “Daddy, did God make you?” Smiling, her dad said, “He sure did.” Inquisitively, she asked again, “And did He make me too?” Her dad replied, “Yes, He did.” The little girl contemplatively gazed into the mirror for a moment before concluding, “I think He’s doing better work lately, don’t you?”


Church Matters: Correcting the Corinthians (1)

How many of you have ever heard someone say they’re not interested in going to church, because it’s full of hypocrites? What’s really sad is that according to a study conducted by LifeWay Research 72% of people surveyed actually believe that churches are “full of hypocrites.”

Of course, I like Zig Ziglars response to that claim. He invited a friend to church with him one day and he friend said, “I would come, but everybody knows the church is full of hypocrites.” Zig responded, “Oh it’s okay, there’s always room for one more!”

It’s a sad reality that much of the world views the church this way. In some cases I think it’s really just an excuse. But there are times when it’s true. Take the first century church in Corinth for example. In A.D. 56 the church there was in serious trouble. Sad to say, the problems didn’t stay within the church family; they were known by the whole community outside the church.


Being Mission Minded

Almost everyone loves to travel—we enjoy planning a trip, taking a vacation, or just watching the travel channel and learning about exotic locales. But few people have ever visited Timbuktu. This city of about 20,000 lies on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in west-central Africa, in the country of Mali. Somehow, through the years, Timbuktu developed a reputation for being the most remote and inaccessible place on earth. I don’t know if that’s true, but what I do know is—God wants to bring the gospel to the primarily-Islamic people of Timbuktu.

From here to Timbuktu, the Lord intends for His word to be proclaimed across the entire globe. There is no nation, no tribe, no hamlet on the face of the earth that God doesn’t want the gospel to go. Jesus told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NLT). In other words, “You will be my witness from here to Timbuktu. You will be my witness from here to the last place on earth.”


Ephesians ǀ Your Identity in Christ (4)

Several centuries before Christ, Alexander the Great came out of Macedonia and Greece to conquer the Mediterranean world. He didn’t know it, but God was using him to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. On one of his campaigns, Alexander received a message that one of his soldiers had been continually, and seriously, misbehaving and thereby shedding a bad light on the character of all the Greek troops. And what made it even worse was that this soldier’s name was also Alexander. When the commander learned this, he sent word that he wanted to talk to the errant soldier in person. When the young man arrived at the tent of Alexander the Great, the commander asked him, “What is your name?” The reply came back, “Alexander, sir.” The great conqueror looked him straight in the eye and said forcefully, “Soldier, either change your behavior or change your name.”


Ephesians ǀ Your Identity in Christ (3)

The last couple of weeks we’ve been exploring the New Testament book of Ephesians.


Ephesians ǀ Your Identity in Christ (2)

Last Sunday we began a new series exploring the New Testament book of Ephesians. As I said last week, Ephesians is all about identity—specifically your identity in Christ.

I’m reminded of a pastor who visited a nursing home that had several residents with Alzheimer’s in it. He went around and greeted the people who were very glad to see him. He spotted a lady who use to be a member of his church, walked up to her and asked, “Do you know who I am?” She smiled blankly then said, “No, but if you go to the Front Desk, they can tell you.”


Ephesians ǀ Your Identity in Christ (1)

A few of weeks ago, Modesto Christian Church held their end-of-summer celebration for the kids who attended their summer children’s program. Ashley and I arrived early with our three kids and I helped pack a couple cases of water bottles into a cooler while Ashley and the kids played on the playground equipment. When I was finished I walked over toward the playground and spotted Ashley sitting on a bench with her back to me. Walking up behind her, I affectionately rubbed her shoulder and patted her on the back as I surveyed the playing children. Then, suddenly, I spotted something strange. Sitting on a bench on the opposite side of the playground was Ashley giving me the stink-eye. Total embarrassment washed over my face as I looked down to see that the woman whose back I was affectionately patting was not my wife! I apologized immediately and intentionally neglected to mention that I was the pastor at Blooming Grove. We ended up having a good laugh about it later, but that was one the most embarrassing experiences.

Has a case of mistaken identity ever gotten you in trouble? Or perhaps your trouble is with your own identity.


Labor Day

Did you hear about the young college graduate who was interviewing for his first job? When the HR Director asked him what he was looking for, the young man explained that he hoped to get an executive position with a starting salary of $100K, be placed in a corner office and he wanted his own secretary. The HR guy responded by offering to add a matching dollar for dollar to his 401K as well an company car of his choice, probably a BMW. Then asked, “How’s that sound?” The young man replied, “Are you kidding me???” The HR guy said, “Of course I am but you started it.”

When it comes to our career, most of us have our dream job and then we have our real job. Abraham Lincoln put it this way: “My father taught me to work.  He did not teach me to love it.”  Can you relate? How did you end up in the job that you have? Are you happy with your career choices so far? Do you look forward to going to work each day? Have you ever considered the link between your work and how that impacts your walk with Christ? Your job is a big deal to God.