Empowered Servants

This past Sunday we had the pleasure of ordaining two new deacons, installing them along with two others, and ordaining a veteran minister out of a sister tradition into our own.  In other words, it was a great Sunday.  At the end of the morning, I took a few minutes to tell the story of where this all came from and to point the way forward to where we’re headed as a church.  Keep reading to see what I said.

Empowered Servants

Hasn’t this been a good morning?  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love being a part of the church being the church.  Seeing a group of Jesus followers come together to do the basic things we were called, equipped, and empowered by our Lord to do is really exciting to me and I hope it is to you.  Frankly, it’s hard for it not to be at least a bit exciting.  Whether you are part of a group or not, there’s something exciting about seeing one fulfill its purpose.  We are naturally drawn to purpose ourselves and so when we see one being fulfilled we root for it. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Corinthians 14:1-3

“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.  For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.  On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Here in this letter Paul raises the issue of the spiritual gifts of prophecy and speaking in tongues.  The latter has apparently always been the more popular and interesting of the two.  Still, there is a fair bit of ambiguity regarding what exactly these two gifts entail.   Read the rest…

Morning Musings: 1 Corinthians 12:31

“But earnestly desire the higher gifts.  And I will show you a still more excellent way.”  (ESV)

Verse 31 here of chapter 12 offers important context for understanding chapter 13 that most folks ignore.  Chapter 13 is, of course, the famous “love chapter.”  Paul offers us a beautiful and vaunted description of what love looks like and the necessity of its centrality in our lives.  And while it is certainly and obviously generally applicable, it’s context is advice on how to get our practice of the spiritual gifts right in the church body.  Read the rest…

Morning Musings: 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

It takes a lot to make the church work.  There are all kinds of different roles that need to be filled.  Some of them are out front and flashy.  Some of them are entirely behind the scenes and go completely overlooked…unless they’re not being done.

The challenge this presents the church is that we tend to assign value based on external factors only.  If something is visible, we count it as more valuable than something that is invisible.  If something draws our eyes because of its prominence, we count it as more valuable than something which is not as eye-catching.  Read the rest…