There are times when I feel my weakness while preaching more than others. Sunday was one of those and these are days that are like milestones or stand out days that remind me of God’s faithfulness to His people, over and over. There were a couple of reasons for this: 1) This was the longest manuscript I had taken to the pulpit in quite a long time. I was a bit concerned about giving too much information and also belaboring some points; 2) my voice decided to start leaving me on Saturday about 4:00. It wasn’t because I was using it too much, but I think this cold I’ve had (and everyone has had as well), just finally got to my voice. So, my prayer was, “Lord, help my voice hold up and help me not overdo it.” And what’s amazing, is that my voice being weaker, made me aware of my limited vocals, which caused me to be more precise in what I was saying…there were some ad-lib moments, but not a ton and the awareness of my physical limitation, caused me to stay closely connected to my manuscript, which kept things from feeling too long. And, then, overtop of all of that, is simply the Lord’s faithfulness to re-teach His word to His people…He’s way better at that than I am.
Thoughts on the sermon:
- My original plan for Sunday was to cover 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. However, after studying that entire text, I realized that Paul was making a slight transition beginning at vs. 5, and vs. 1-4 were a complete thought. I didn’t feel I would have time to cover vs. 5-9, but also felt that fit better with vs. 10-17. So, this coming week, Lord willing, we will cover vs. 9-17.
- The issues of jealousy, strife, self-ambition, and pride are not only challenging, but they are very personal for me. I have seen (as I shared on Sunday) the consequences of living in these ugly things and have felt the heart-ache when others have treated me and Christ’s church with these. I honestly wonder…what is heaven going to be like, when none of these sins exist? I can’t wait for that day! And I wonder…if we, as the church, realize that these are some of the most natural sins for us to walk in and they are some of the main reasons why churches split and divide, will we lean into Jesus’ power more readily to stop? We must be aware of these dangers, but more importantly, we must be aware of Christ’s power to help us change…
- On milk and solid food…It saddens me, when I hear Christians think that God somehow has not shown them the “deep” things or that God’s solid food is somehow disconnected from Jesus, as if the life, power, and Kingship of Christ isn’t “deep” enough. This quote that was attributed to Mark Twain has always made me pause: “It’s not the things of Scripture that I don’t know that concern me…it’s the things of Scripture that I do know and don’t apply that concern me.” When Paul is dealing with milk and solid food, he’s connecting the truth, centrality of Christ, to every part of it. Milk=repentance and trust Jesus for eternal life; Solid food=how to live out Galatians 2:20 and the life of Christ living in us and through us; how does Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension transform every aspect of our lives and transform our world view…there’s enough meat there to keep us occupied until Jesus takes us home or comes for us.
- When I teach a passage like this to our church, I am freshly aware of 2 things: 1) our church is hungry for the gospel of Christ and eager to see Jesus glorified in their lives. It is an amazing thing to me that our folks come…ready and eager to hear from God, each and every Sunday; 2) the sins like jealousy and strife, by in large, aren’t things we’re currently going through and there aren’t divisions among us, right now…I’m really grateful for that…But, I am aware, these dangers are always lurking and I pray that God will empower us to not only maintain our wonderful unity, but abound, more and more in love for Jesus and His people.
Quotes I left out:
- “he seems to be allowing that there are “unspiritual” Christians—which is both true and not true. It is not true in the sense that the Spirit is the crucial factor in whether one is or is not a believer; one cannot be a part of the newly formed people of God and be devoid of the Spirit (cf. Rom. 8:9; Gal. 3:2–3; Tit. 3:5–7). On the other hand, the Corinthians are involved in a lot of behavior that runs counter to life in the Spirit; in that sense they are “unspiritual,” not because they lack the Spirit but because they are thinking and living just like those who live outside the household of faith, people who know nothing of the Holy Spirit.” Fee, G. D.
- “It is not so much that they have not made progress—that is part of the problem, they think they have—but that they are ‘adults’ acting otherwise when it comes to the life of the Spirit, hence ‘mere infants.’” Fee, G. D.
- Morna Hooker nicely put it: “Yet while he uses their language, the fundamental contrast in Paul’s mind is not between two quite different diets which he has to offer, but between the true food of the Gospel with which he has fed them (whether milk or meat) and the synthetic substitutes which the Corinthians have preferred.” Fee, G. D.
All around the globe:
You might know that I have had the privilege over the last few years to work with our denomination (Sovereign Grace Churches) with international churches. Our team is called Sovereign Grace Emerging Nations Team. From Latin America, to the Philippines, and to undisclosed parts of the globe, it is fascinating/exciting to hear what God is doing around the world. If you would like to receive a monthly email with updates on the Sovereign Grace Emerging Nations, please feel free to subscribe here: https://tinyurl.com/sgemergingnations.
From the Cheap Seats:
- Oddly, I’ve always wanted to be a Zamboni driver (along with a part-time employee at Staples & a bullpen catcher)…A Zamboni driver is the person who drives the Zamboni over ice rinks, getting the ice ready for hockey games…Well, this article confirms why I’d love to be that person: https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/28761372/zamboni-driver-42-stars-emergency-goalie-hurricanes.
- I saw this last night & was amazed. A solo run for a goalie! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3VUZdDFw1o
- I know this is totally lame, but if you know me, you’ll get it…last Friday, as I was finishing my sermon, I was listening to the first live baseball game of Spring Training for the Texas Rangers (or the Strangers, as I call them because they are strangers to the postseason).
- I cannot tell you what a cool thing it is for me to watch Christian coaches, who really believe in Christ and sports (in that order), work. We’ve got quite a few of them at our church and it’s a joy to do this stuff together in community.
- UCC started their 1st baseball season since 1985 at Legion Field (One Champion Field) this weekend. Off the a great start, they went 3-1 on the weekend. We’ve got to mention, their head coach and family, Jeremiah & Mareena Robbins, have been attending CLF & Jacob Luther is the son of Toby & Christina Luther, who are active members of our church. Great weekend for Jeremiah, resurrecting a program he grew up watching, and a good debut for Jacob getting 3 RBI’s in his first college game.
- Speaking of Legion Field…to go watch a game on Sunday, while it was raining, knowing the field was not going to be a muddy mess…was awesome! I cannot wait until UVC is playing our home games there & I won’t have to stress about the weather! Jill said that I won’t have to go in on Saturdays at the crack of dawn anymore to work the field…what an amazing thought.
Have a great week…