Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians 13

Being Mystics in a Messed-up World

13 Mar

love-cross-upside-down1Last week, guest writer and teacher, Tony Blair introduced us to the idea of being Christian mystics.  And it is all about LOVE!

Then on Sunday he visited and taught at Faith Church, and I can say without reservation that it was a powerful morning!  So many people expressed their appreciation for his interaction with us.   At sermon discussion we laughed and cried and left inspired to be Christian mystics.  Thank you, Tony!

Mystics in Love

6 Mar
Today we welcome a guest writer, Dr. Tony Blair, president of Evangelical Seminary.  We’re looking forward to this coming Sunday, March 8th, 2015, at Faith Church as Tony will be our guest teacher.  As he is also a pastor, we are quite grateful to his church Hosanna, for sharing him with us!

Are you a contemplative or an activist?

People who are busy in the world sometimes look down on those who are more contemplative and withdrawn, and contemplatives sometimes look down on those who are bustling around doing good.

Jesus shows us through his own life that this is a false dichotomy—He is out among people, listening to them, arguing with them, feeding them, healing them, serving them… and then he withdraws for a while to be alone with his loving Father. He is a contemplative activist, what we might call a true mystic.

morning-with-jesus-quiet-time-with-the-Lord

How do you and I become true mystics, Jesus style?

Love.

Without love, a contemplative can be aloof, arrogant, without compassion. Without love, an activist can be “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Those who follow Jesus, however, are hopelessly in love. That’s why Paul, another true mystic, said that love was the primary characteristic of God’s People.

It doesn’t matter how spiritual I think you am, how gifted, sacrificial, knowledgeable, disciplined, or kind… if I do not love, I’ve missed the main thing.

The main thing is loving God and my neighbor. Like Jesus did.

When we love like that, we can give ourselves freely to service and try to change the world, like activists do, and we can pray without ceasing and savor of the intimacies of our union with Christ, like contemplatives do. And we can hold them in balance, like a true mystic, Jesus style…because we are in love with the One who has made us so.

Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13 and join us Sunday for more about “being mystics in a messed-up world.”

Google is confused about love! – 1st Corinthians 13

28 Aug

Love-Is-A-Feeling-Not-A-Chemical-Reactions

love_is_not_a_feeling_by_mihaisk

Google is confused about love. Is love a feeling or not?  I did an image search and found both answers!  So what is it?  When I love someone, I definitely feel something.  But I also know that those feelings can go away when that person is being difficult (not that I am ever difficult…).  It would be easy in those moments to say that the love has faded because the feeling has faded.  And yet in those moments I know that I haven’t just stopped loving them.

Years ago I heard the following quote and it helped me greatly in understanding love.  See what you think:

“The difference between an opinion and a conviction is that while you hold on to an opinion, a conviction holds on to you.” – Ravi Zacharias

Is love an opinion or a conviction?  A feeling or an action?  Let’s find out.

On Sunday we talked about 1st Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter.  As I mentioned last week, it is one of the most famous chapters in the Bible.  It is very sought after, apparently because people are searching for the true meaning of love.  Just what does 1st Corinthians say that makes it the Bible passage of choice for weddings?  Here’s the most famous part:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

I think we would be hard-pressed to find many people who are able to love at this high level, consistently, simply based on their feelings.  Our feelings are like our opinions, changing constantly.  Up and down, hot and cold.  He loves me, he loves me not.  And we rip off the metaphorical flower petals in bushels.

It requires a significant decision, a choice, to actively sustain a conviction of love for another person.  After worship on Sunday I had a great conversation with one person who told me the story of a family that was ripped apart by brokenness.  She was involved in their lives, and looking back on the situation, she regretted that the family didn’t get serious professional counseling.  I didn’t talk about counseling in the sermon, and I should have.  It is not romantic to say “my relationship is broken and needs counseling.”  Not that counseling is a magic balm to fix all unhealthy relationships, but it can be wonderful and is needed in so many difficult relationships where the feelings seem gone.  Love takes work.  That goes for any marriage, and it goes for the church too.

What I find so interesting is that 1st Corinthians 13 was not originally written for wedding ceremonies.  Paul wrote it primarily for the church. Sure you need to think about your love for your spouse and your family. You may be allowing yourself to confuse like (opinion) and love (conviction). You may need to set the bar much higher for yourself when it comes to how you think about and practice love. But that may also need to apply to your relationships with people in the church.

Remember that Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.” In the church we should have a high degree of 1 Corinthians 13 agape love for one another.  So who is the person that you really don’t like in the church?  What will it mean for you to love them?  What can you do this week to work on it?

What is Love? – Our theme for Worship in the Park this Sunday!

22 Aug

what-is-loveWhat is love?  Do you know for certain?  There is a popular song that asks “What is love?” and then responds with “Baby, don’t hurt me.”  Though we don’t think of love as painful, another popular song echoes what many people have found to be true: “Love hurts.”  You might have experienced that in your own life.  It leaves many people wondering what love is all about and why our culture is so focused on love.  It leaves many people wondering if they will ever find love.  Maybe love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  If you read on, you’ll see that people all over the world are searching for love.  In fact they are searching for answers in the Bible.  Can the Bible possibly have an answer to a question of such magnitude?  That’s what we are going to try to find out on Sunday, and a special Sunday it is!

I’m super excited for this coming Sunday because it is Worship in the Park and our annual church Picnic! Join us at East Lampeter Community Park on Hobson Road at 10am on Sunday August 24th.  When you arrive just follow the music to find us, as we’ll be in the middle pavilion.

Tons of people from the church are working hard behind the scenes to pull off the event, and I am so grateful for their work.  Getting sound and music to the pavilion is a big deal.  Our worship will finish with a special large-scale art project for all ages, and putting that together has required the people to help out.  Then there is the coffee, snacks, and later the picnic which involved a whole additional group of people.  Thank you all!

As you prepare for worship on Sunday, our theme is What is Love? 

In preparation for Sunday, I came across this video.  It is fascinating to see how many people all over the world are searching to find the meaning of love.  In our ongoing study of 1st Corinthians we come to chapter 13, which as the video points out, is one of the most sought-after chapters in the Bible.  In 2009 it was the most searched for chapter on Bible Gateway.  In 2013 “love” was the most searched for topic.  On just about any list of the most popular chapters of the Bible, people put 1st Corinthians 13 in their Top Ten.  It is used prolifically at weddings.  And for good reason!  1 Corinthians 13 is all about the meaning of true love.

Because it has become almost synonymous with weddings, many people don’t realize that it was not originally written for that purpose.  Surely it applies to marriage, as we believe that love should be the foundation of a healthy marriage.  But why did Paul include this chapter in his letter to the Corinthian Christians?  If he wasn’t addressing love in marriage, what was he addressing?  Is there some reason that he put this chapter on love in the particular placement that he did?  At first glance it seems odd, random.  A chapter about love right in the middle of a bunch of chapters about worship-related things like the role of women, spiritual gifts, and speaking in tongues.  Why not talk about love in chapter 7 which was all about marriage?

Paul has a reason.  Take a look for yourself and see if you can figure it out.  Read 1 Corinthians 13 (and boost Bible Gateway’s stats a bit in the process!) and prepare to answer the question What is Love?

Follow up to Favorite Love Song

6 Aug

In preparation for the sermon on Sunday, I asked the question on this blog, “What is your favorite love song?”  There were so many great responses!  We heard of another church that put together a whole bunch of love songs, made a fun medley out of it, and we played the video during the sermon.

Our culture has so many different views on love, doesn’t it?

“I can’t fight this feeling anymore…”  Often love is portrayed that way.  A feeling, an opinion, and something that can change.  But we learned from 1 Corinthians 13, that the love God wants us to have is deep.  More like the song “I will always love you.”  Take a look at this encouraging video that describes the amazing love God wants us to have.

Sometimes it is very difficult to love certain people.  Do you have one of those people in your life?  In your family?  Neighborhood or workplace?  Guess what, they’re in the church too. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.”  One litmus test for discipleship to Jesus is that we must love other disciples of Jesus.  We are to be known for this!

But again, it can be so hard!  It is okay to admit that we are having a hard time with someone in the church.  In fact, it is good to admit it, but in a very sensitive, caring way.  Maybe not in the middle of the worship service!  Instead, it is vital that we bring a trusted friend to help us.   Do you have an accountability partner?  Who can you reach out to that will help you love?

For the next month as we study the Fruit of the Spirit, we should be able to look back and see that fruit growing in our lives!  That means we should be more loving at the end of the month than we are now.  Having someone to walk alongside us to help us can be the deciding factor as to whether or not we are growing.  God uses people in our lives to encourage us.  So will you invite someone into your fruit-growing process?  And will you pray “Spirit, fill me that I might grow your fruit in my life.”?

Also feel free to discuss here!