Tag Archives: body of christ

That time the Apostle Paul talked about unpresentable parts

15 Aug

I really think there was a twinkle in his eye.  He wasn’t there when they read the letter, so I have to imagine that twinkle, and the corners of his mouth turning up as he grinned to himself thinking about when they would read this. They would get the letter, gather the group of followers of Jesus together in the house where they would meet and some would read it out loud.

Were there snickers among the group when the reader got to this part?

“[T]hose parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment.”

Maybe I’m reading too much into it.  But with all the possible analogies in this life Paul could have used, he chose that one, and I for one find it humorous.  More importantly, Paul’s image of the church as the body of Christ is filled with images of unity in diversity.body-of-christ

As we think about that group of people we call our local church or our home church, would you say that yours is filled with diversity?  Faith Church has loads of it.  Not just the obvious differences like gender and generations, but also personality types, stations in life, experiences, and perspectives.  We are human. So alike, and yet so unique.  In the church we also see diversity in the varied spiritual gifts.

Because ours is a culture of celebrity, we love to put people with certain looks and talents in the place of honor.  Even though those celebrities are human just like the rest of us, we can start to believe that they are better.  They’re really not, but we treat them that way.  This is a widespread tendency in our world, and it goes on in the church.  We talked about a version of this in the beginning of the 1st Corinthians series when people were taking sides by aligning themselves with BNPs…Big Name Preachers.  Now Paul is talking about how people in the church of Corinth are elevating people with certain gifts.

Some of the spiritual gifts are very visible.  The pastor is front and center, especially by preaching the sermon every week.  This is similar to the worship leader or the teacher.  Then there are the gifts of tongues and prophecy which are very attention-getting.  In Corinth it seems the tongues-speakers and prophesiers were placing themselves in the limelight during worship gatherings.

Are people with certain gifts better?  Are certain gifts better?  And how does talking about unpresentable parts help us answer these questions?

Join us Sunday at Faith Church as we discuss this further!  In the meantime read 1 Cor. 12:12-31, the passage we’ll be studying, to get further acquainted with what Paul was thinking.

Projection gear, Mystery Light, Membership Application – The Monday Messy Office Report – February 24, 2014

24 Feb

My Friday, tidy office is mysteriously messy by Monday.  Here’s what I found today:

1. Mystery light – I saw this on Sunday, much to my surprise, because I had no idea how this got in my office or why.  It’s a pretty cool little light with a hanger that pops out of it’s back and a magnet.  I had a hunch how it got in here.  I had two people working in my office during the past week.  The first was a guy from Comcast who came to replace our modem.  I doubted it was his light because he was here early in the week.  The other guy was here on Thursday to work on our copier.  Thanks to my brother-in-law, we found out about Tech Soup, a company that provides donated software for churches and non-profits.  So this week we installed Office 2013 on our computers.  Unfortunately, after the install, our secretary’s computer stopped printing to the copier, which led to the service call.  I asked my secretary if he knew anything about the light and sure enough, it was the copier tech’s.  Maybe he wanted me to have it?

2. Projector, cords, and computer speakers – We have a lot of techy gadgets at the church, and the spare projector is not normally sitting on my counter as it was when I walked into my office on Sunday.  The reason is that we hosted the Lafayette Fire Company appreciation banquet on Saturday.   A bunch of people from Faith Church gave a lot of donations and time and energy to pull off what one Fire Co wife told me was “the best banquet they ever had”!  I’m thankful for the Fire Co., the relationship we have with them, and for the people of Faith Church who arranged the banquet.  At one point during the program, they used our projector to show pictures and video.  Since it is a $5000 piece of equipment, we normally store in my office cabinet for safekeeping.  And now you all know that!

3. Membership Application – I was surprised, but pleased to see this, as a couple from the church is applying to be members.  I’m thrilled that they are taking that step.  When I think of membership, I have to admit a bit of a quandary in my mind.  The Bible never speaks about a formal process of membership such as we utilize. As I look back over the little bit of church history that I know, I can think of abuses of formal membership processes.  I wonder if it would be better to have shorter-term covenants?  I do think it can be very helpful for people to have a public way of declaring their intent to join a local church family and be committed.  What if people would make a covenant to a local church for a year, then have the opportunity to renew their vows annually?  Interested in your thoughts on that.

4. The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken – I just finished reading this book, and because I referred to it in a recent sermon, I was the one who left it in my office.  I was challenged and encouraged by Ripken’s stories of God at work among persecuted Christians around the world.  These disciples of Jesus, in places like the former USSR, China and Muslim areas are imprisoned, beaten, and yet they demonstrate maturity in faith.  What concerns me is that our freedom, as wonderful as it is, along with our affluency, has led to a less-than-passionate faith in Christ.  Would you agree?

Now it’s time for me to clean up!

Is America the hope of the world?

28 Oct

About a year ago during his bid to unseat Barack Obama as President of the USA, former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, said this.

How do you feel about what he said?

What I came to learn as I was researching this post, is that Romney was actually quoting Abraham Lincoln.  It was a phrase that Lincoln used more than once, for example here, on the eve of issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

Yesterday Brandon Hershey spoke at Faith Church.  Brandon, at the end of the year, finishes his second three-year term as Faith Church’s Ministry Council chairperson.  After two terms our by-laws state that a person must take a break from serving in that capacity, so Brandon’s tenure will be complete.  I asked him to preach, to reflect on his time in leadership, and what the Lord might want to say through him.

In the sermon, Brandon quotes Bill Hybels who says “The local church is the hope of the world.”  As it ministers the love of Christ to a broken world, the local church, not America, truly is the hope of the world.  No doubt a nation can be a force for good in the world, and America certainly has been that time and time again.  But if you are looking for true, lasting hope, it can only be found in Jesus.  And that is what we, as a church, have to offer.

Brandon then pointed us to a foundational teaching of Scripture, about how the local church must handle itself in order to be the hope of the world.  Offering this hope is only possible when we, the local church, work together as we ought.  He said that we all have a role to play, and what we do matters.  Do you believe that?  Do you believe you have a vital role to play, that you have been gifted as part of the local church, or to use the metaphor that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, the body of Christ?  Do you need to discover your giftedness?  Do you need to step out of your comfort zone and serve in a new way?  What part of the body are you?  Are you using your gifts?  Do you need to develop them more fully?

You are vital to the local church being the hope of the world! 

Guest Post: What is the hope of the world?

25 Oct

Today we welcome Brandon Hershey as a guest on the blog.   One of my best friends, Brandon and I go on long distance runs together, and he always wins!  He and his wife, Kristen, have a daughter, Mya.  Professionally, Brandon teaches high school English. For the past six years he has been Faith Church’s Ministry Council chair As he finishes his tenure in that post this year, I asked him if he would preach one Sunday, given the vantage point he’s had on the Council. Here’s a teaser:

The local church is the hope of the world. Do you believe that?

hope of the world

The saving message of Jesus Christ has been entrusted to the church. WOW! What a responsibility this is for the local church! Have you ever considered that your God-given talents might be a crucial element in accomplishing this mission?

The apostle Paul had some good advice to the Corinthian church about how the church should function in order to embody the message of Jesus Christ. Join us Sunday morning to take a look at Paul’s advice and to consider what role you might play in fulfilling the church’s mission to offer hope to the world.