Pastoral Series - Jesus' Church

Goodbyes

Monday, July 25Jesus’ Church: Goodbyes“Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace… Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the saints greet you” (2 Corinthians 13:11). Something lost in emails and texts is the kind of gradual winding up of things, making a summary request and expressing affection.  Paul’s…

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Test Yourself

Thursday, July 21Jesus’ Church: Test yourselfWinding up his correspondence to his Christian friends in Corinth, Paul rather pointedly says to them, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith.  Test yourselves.  Do you not know that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). John Wesley, taking Christianity seriously and caring deeply…

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Enough

Monday, July 18Jesus’ Church: Enough2 Corinthians 12 is one of the most startling, unconventional, life-giving passages in the entire Bible.  Paul continues with his lengthy list of spiritual credentials, moving from all he had endured for the cause of Christ to bragging of unimaginable spiritual things: he was “caught up” into the “third heaven,” where…

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Weakness

Thursday, July 14 Jesus’ Church: Weakness On Monday we investigated Paul’s wry thoughts about boasting.  In 2 Corinthians 11, he goes on a rant, as if reading off his own resume: “I am a Hebrew.  I am a descendant of Abraham.  I am a servant of Christ – and better than others! – with far…

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Boasting

Monday, July 11Jesus’ Church: Boasting The apostle Paul was the genius of early Christianity, both as a theologian working out the implications of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and as a strategic thinker and leader as he spearheaded the spread of the faith all over the world. You can imagine such a person might have a…

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Enrichment

Thursday, July 7Jesus’ Church: Enrichment When I study Paul’s letters, I marvel at the astonishing wisdom, the depth of expression, the wonder of his theology.  We miss so much of what he has to say, because we read too fast.  In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote of Ents, slow-talking trees whose language…

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Freedom

Monday, July 4Jesus’ Church: FreedomJuly 4 marks America’s festival of freedom.  As Christians, as grateful as we are for America’s freedoms, we pause and shudder a little when we recognize two theological truths.  One is that we exercise our freedom to do so many things that are not of God.  “Sin” is choosing against God’s…

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Love in action

Thursday, June 30Jesus’ Church: Love in actionEver gotten a fundraising letter from your church or alma mater?  Paul wrote the world’s best ever in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.  Severe famine struck the middle east, and Paul set out to do something nobody in the world had ever done in those days: ask people to…

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Accepting grace in vain?

Monday, June 27Jesus’ Church: accepting grace in vain?Paul says “We entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1).  This implies you can accept the grace of God, but in vain.  What could that mean?  God’s grace is simply God’s loving favor toward you, God’s merciful, unearned care and regard…

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Point of view

Thursday, June 23Jesus’ Church: Point of ViewWhat is your point of view?  From where do you look out on the world?  Hard to think critically about this, since you just look out from inside your head, right?  But can you choose your viewpoint?  Can you occupy some vantage point, and decide to and train yourself…

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