Today’s Reading -I and II Thessalonians
We always thank God for all of you when we mention you constantly in our prayers.
I Thessalonians 1:2 CEB
There is not much we can say that we ALWAYS do.
Yet, here is Paul saying that he always
give thanks for these people.
It is good to know that others are praying for you.
It is good to know that others give thanks for you.
It is even better to be the one giving thanks.
It isn’t too late to give thanks . . . or let someone know you are thankful for them!
Today’s Reading – Acts 17
Paul stood up in the middle of the council on Mars Hill and said, “People of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. As I was walking through town and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown God.’ What you worship as unknown, I now proclaim to you. Acts 17:22-23 CEB
Everyone has faith.
It’s just interesting when you discover what ‘it’ is that you have placed your faith in.
What do you put your faith in?
What do you worship as most important in your life?
Today’s Reading – Galatians 4-6
If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit.
Let’s not become arrogant, make each other angry, or be jealous of each other.
Galatians 5:25-26 CEB
It has been said that the church is the only place where we shoot our wounded.
When you read these words in Galatians, you realize how much we have to learn as a community of believers.
Today’s Reading – Galatians 1-3
You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:26-28 CEB
Can’t we all just get along?
Today’s Reading – Acts 15-16
Some people came down from Judea
teaching the family of believers,
“Unless you are circumcised according
to the custom we’ve received from Moses,
you can’t be saved.”
Acts 15:1 CEB
Really? Can’t be saved?
When did Jesus ever say that?
It is shame that today we have still not learned the lesson from this incident in the early church.
Through the ages (up to and including today) we have ADDED to the Gospel message.
In order to be saved you must . . . and we keep make the list longer and longer.
The Reformation tried to end the argument, but it still rages on.
Now we argue in the reverse, you can’t be saved and be . . .
When was Jesus ever about excluding people from the Gospel?
So let me ask you,
Does your faith add or subtract from the Good News of Christ?
Today’s Reading – James
My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity. James 2:14-17 CEB
The book of James has always been one of my favorite books in the Bible.
Perhaps because James is so forthright with common sense advice on how to live our faith. James is all about how you live your faith because with out living your faith it is dead.
Every week I end our worship services with the words:
God loves you . . . Jesus died for you . . .
and how you live your faith matters – NOW and Always!
Until today, I had not directly made the connection between my benediction and the words of James.
Good to know that the Bible can so penetrate your life that they become synonymous.
What part of the Bible has penetrated your life?
Today’s Reading – Acts 13-14
On their arrival, they gathered the church together and reported everything that God had accomplished through their activity, and how God had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles.
Acts 14:27 CEB
You probably know the joke that goes: A camel is a horse designed by a committee.
Let’s be honest, we all know that business and committee meetings are the least favorite part of church.
We all have thought at some point that the meetings were pointless and that the church would be better off without meetings.
But then we see that from the beginning there were called church meetings!
That is exactly what is happening in this verse. A meeting to report the activity of the church to everyone. If it was important then . . . why would it not be important now?
I think we have allowed corporate culture to influence out church structure.
Therefore, we allow meetings behind closed doors to be places where backroom deals are made and plans are plotted behind backs (not that all corporate structures operate that way).
The intent of church meetings was to be transparent and celebratory.
People should know what the church is doing.
People should celebrate the work of the church.
Perhaps we still have something to learn form the early church?