Have you ever wondered what a preacher's nightmare is? I'll tell you.
Last week, we talked about how the church - this "body" of Christ - doesn't always look so "Christ-like," how so often our sinful selfishness gets in the way and members start fighting against themselves, against their own body. This week, I want us to keep looking at 1 Corinthians 12 and how God works with us when we don't get along, when we aren't acting like one body.
OK - time for true confessions. I have to admit something to you. My church does all sorts of things for the community - Easter 4 Kids, Vacation Bible School, Soccer Camp, Christmas 4 Kids, and the list goes on. In fact, as I write this, we just presented our Fall Festival - free food, games, hayrides, pony rides, face painting, cakewalk, music and so much more. It's a great party. But, I said I ...
Picture yourself in the courtroom, awaiting the verdict. How are you feeling? It's your verdict … your future. It's a death penalty trial. You're hoping your lawyer did enough, but ... in a moment, you will either be free - or condemned. Not a comfortable feeling, is it?
The shopping mall is a dangerous place. You know that, right? And I'm not just talking about the potential thief in the parking lot or the danger of having someone steal your credit card information. I'm talking about something much worse. I'm talking about danger for our souls.
I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a word in the English language that is more overused and a concept that is more underused than "love."
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"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Jesus said that. And remember, in his day, when you heard the word "cross" you weren't thinking jewelry or art. You were thinking torture and blood and suffocation and death. All that considered, his recruitment pitch seems to leave something to be desired, doesn't it? But that's what he said. In fact, in the words we're looking at ...
You wrote "friends forever" in her high school yearbook, and you meant it. But you haven't spoken to or heard from her in years. You vowed to love your spouse forever, but somehow wound up in divorce court. How did it happen? So many things in life seem to "just happen," even though we never would have chosen them. They just sneak up on you. Little by little they grow on or away from you. ...
"What is it?"
Are you tired? Has summer worn you out? Or is it the school starting? Or work? Maybe it's the stress. Doctors say that stress directly affects the amount and the quality of the rest you get, making you feel so tired. You could use some rest.
"Do you believe in miracles?"
You see a family member mistreating their spouse. You have a co-worker that's probably an alcoholic. There's a brother or sister in Christ who's spending less and less time in God's word and his house. Someone should say something, right? Of course, what they are doing is harmful to themselves, to those they love, even to their relationship with God. But do you want to be the one to have to speak up? It's just ...
Way back when, when I asked my wife to marry me, she didn't say "Yes." Well, eventually she did, but not right away. She said something much better. She grabbed my face in her hands and said, "You mean, I get you? You picked me?" as if I was some sort of prize. (You can see what they mean when they say love is blind).