Pastoral Series

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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God Controls?

Monday, June 20Jesus’ Church: God Controls?Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5 are just so moving.  “For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all…”  The love of Christ controls us?  Some people are fond of this idea of God controlling things.  God is in control!  But love…

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Pleasing

Thursday, June 16Jesus’ Church: PleasingWhen we read Paul’s letters, we need to recall how in the background of everything he’s a little uncertain if he will survive the next few weeks. He lived a high risk life, between the peril of travel (especially at sea) in ancient times, and then his constant challenges to authority,…

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Courage

Monday, June 13Jesus’ Church: CourageI’ve never camped much.  A tent just seems too flimsy.  A tent can leak; there’s no security.  Paul says our human bodies are like tents.  Some coverage, it’s not being out in the elements.  But you’re vulnerable in your own body.  You do everything you can to shore up your flimsy…

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We do not lose heart, part 2

Thursday, June 9 Jesus’ Church: we do not lose heart, part 2 Paul repeats himself: “So we do not lose heart.”  Here, in chapter 5 of 2 Corinthians, Paul explains what transpired when we face daunting challenges, when we suffer what seems to be only unfair or unjust.  He offers three profound thoughts we might…

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