One of the major lessons that my time under the weather taught me was how dangerous isolation is for the soul. So, often, whether we get busy, get sick, or we just can’t get around other Christians we develop habits that aren’t always good for spiritual growth. One of those is isolation. Proverbs 18:1 nails this: “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Just think about that for a moment: when we isolate ourselves, we break out against what is good and right for us. I had a friend tell me one time, “if Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” I have found this to be very true. Recently, one of the corrections I’ve tried to make, is that when I see someone, I try to greet them warmly and engage them. My friend Mike Keller is really good at this. To speak with Mike, makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room. I’m working to be more like that, because I think it reflects Jesus. And I’ve been working to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit when I’m engaging that person. A few times since I’ve been back to work, after having a spontaneous meeting with someone and them sharing what’s going on in their lives, I’ve asked them, “can I pray for you right now?” I’ve done it in parking lots and outside of restaurants. I want them to know they’re cared for and I believe that’s not only helping me come out of isolation, but it helps them not want to isolate.
Baptism for the dead?
In Sunday’s text, we ran into 1 Corinthians 15:29 that’s just really hard to translate. So, without giving you hundreds of different approaches/interpretations of this, let me just offer two of them that I think are the most plausible. You can study it yourself and see what you think as well.
First, let me say that anytime we approach a hard text like this one, we must keep an “open-handed” humility. I’ve read the top Bible scholars on this and all of them disagree! So, for us to be dogmatic on this would not be helpful.
The two ideas that seemed best to me on this verse are:
- The practice of being baptized for the dead might have been something the Corinthians were doing. The basic practice was this: if someone died, outside of Christ, then these Christians thought they could be baptized for them, & it would save the dead person from God’s judgment. That’s why Paul said, ‘they were baptized for the dead’. That seems plausible & reasonable, but it’s important to note that this is never mentioned anywhere in the Bible & is most certainly something that is not endorsed by any other text in the Bible, any Christian apostle, nor is it something we find in true historic Christianity. Now, if that’s what Paul is saying, he’s using this practice to show them that this practice would actually mean they believe in the resurrection of the dead. Mormons have taken this verse as a blessing on their practice of being baptized for the dead. They call it vicarious resurrection.
- Another idea that seems plausible is due to the flexibility in the Greek language with some of the words Paul uses in this verse. The verse could be translated, “what do people mean by being baptized because of the dead?” This idea would mean that some Christians in Corinth, were baptized, after they came to faith, because of what they saw or heard from a Christian who died. Meaning, a Christian lived faithfully in front of them, shared the gospel, or was possibly martyred in front of them and people believed in Christ and were then baptized because of the dead. If that’s the case, then Paul’s point is this…since baptism symbolizes being buried with Christ and raised with Christ, why would you be baptized, if you don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead? Paul is showing the Corinthians that they have misunderstood the importance of baptism.
Now, you can see why, the time to share this in Sunday’s sermon just wasn’t there. And honestly, vs. 29, seems to tie into vs. 12-19 where Paul uses the Corinthians arguments against them to prove that the resurrection is real.
Older folks helping younger folks:
When I first started in Christian ministry at the age of 19, I was always surrounded by young men. The reason for this is because I was mentoring them and challenging them to live distinct, Christian lives. As I got older, the same thing has happened in my life. But here’s what I found…I had to work harder to put myself in situations where young men were. It wasn’t that younger men didn’t want to hear from me or be around me, it was that I became too busy in my own life, work, and family to be around them. I had to go to them. I’ve done that through the years with coaching and by creating small groups for mentoring. And here’s what I’ve found…these young guys cherish this time and it’s always super fun for me.
So, I know this might be hard for some of you to think, but in our church, if you’re 45 and older, you’re considered older:). And I want to challenge you with something…who in the next generation are you encouraging, praying for, meeting with, or mentoring? The generational transfer of the gospel does not happen through osmosis or even through us only praying for it. It happens through us engaging and making room in our world for it.
Now, you might not want to hang out with “church kids”…so, let me encourage you to contact my friend, Dane Tornell with Youth For Christ. The Lord has been so kind to help Dane create mentoring opportunities all over Douglas County with kids who don’t attend church and who need Jesus. If that’s you, then contact Dane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Cheap Seats:
- I keep up with lots of sports…as you can probably tell. But one thing I don’t highlight enough is our teens in our church and their teams. So, I might leave some out, so if I do, forgive me. But here’s some teams that are doing really well:
- The Roseburg High Football team is off to a 7-0 start. Their starting running back, Cayden Eckel, attends our church with his mom, Annelisha, and his grandparents Daniel And DeAnna. They’ve got a huge game coming up this Friday with Sheldon. If you can make it, game time is 7:00 at RHS.
- The RHS Volleyball team is battling for a playoff spot in the very difficult Southwest Conference. Jayden Warmouth and Grace Luttrell both play key roles on that team. They’re actually 7-3 on their last 10 and on a bit of an uptick.
- The UVC Volleyball team is tied with Days Creek for 2nd place in the always rough Skyline League. They’re playing a ‘seeding’ game on October 17th to determine District Playoff seeds. Coached by members of our church…Candice Renyer, Shelli Heard, Jade Graham and Isaiah Heard, they’ve had a great year. Players that attend our church are: Hope Bancroft (who by the way is one of the best teammates I’ve ever watched); Amy Pappas, Zoe Pappas, and Tylie Bendele.
- Emma-Kate Crouse is a senior captain on Oakland’s volleyball team. Anytime a player is chosen as a captain, it deserves honor and knowing how much her family loves volleyball, I’m sure they’re very proud.
- As far as soccer goes, the RHS Soccer team has won more games this year than they have in quite some time. And key contributors from our church are Elijah Finlay and Moses Finlay. They play at RHS on Thursday night at 6:00, if you can get out and watch.
- And finally, UVC Soccer, like volleyball, is filled with coaches and players who attend UVC. Currently undefeated, with 2 ties (the one thing I hate about soccer), they’re in a battle for a state playoff birth. Coaches, Michael Graham, Luis Castellanos, Scott Goebel, and Matt Lee have all done a great job. And players with names you might know: Nathan York, Josh Luther, Joe Buechley, Levi Heard, Noah Evans, Vienna Tornell, and Sanford Sidlo. They play at home on Tuesday of this week at Fir Grove at 4:00.
- Now, I’m sure, with the growth of our church, I’ve missed someone. Please forgive me. If I did…would you inform me? I love keeping up with what players from our church are doing.
- Now, 5-1 isn’t a bad start. And…a good time for a BYE week.
- I’m really glad that the Premier League is back. It’s hard watching the USA Men’s Soccer team.
- And postseason baseball…last two wins for the Braves were walk-offs! How can you not love this??
Praying that grace will be more amazing to you today than it was yesterday.