WARNING - Work in Progress

WARNING - Work in Progress
WARNING - Work in Progress

Sunday, September 27, 2015

WARNING: PREACHY - 9/27/2015

Did you know that Jesus is actually present in the Church?  St. Paul calls it a mystery revealed but he says that Christ is in you – meaning the church.

While each church denomination claims this to be "the true church" in some sort of fashion (be it physically or spiritually) I am initially taken by Paul’s apparent lack of clarification on this point.  The Romanist will have filled in the thought by thinking to themselves ‘of course Jesus is present in the church, every time we take the Eucharist’, and the Protestant would think to themselves the same thing about the individual believers ‘who are filled with the Holy Spirit’.  Yes, my thoughts here are gross generalizations but I hope to make the point.

However, I actually do think Paul clarified his thought.  I believe that it was clarified by the context when he stated in 1:24 “Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” 

In Paul’s church-view he recognizes the necessity of the individual and the church being visibly sacrificial to the world – Just as visible as Jesus hanging bodily on the Cross.  For in the forgiveness of sin there was nothing lacking in Christ’s body (For it is finished) but Jesus said that if we would be his disciples then we would pick up our own crosses daily and sacrificially follow him (Matthew 16, Luke 9, & Mark 8).  The reality is that we (individually as well as corporately) fill up what Jesus was unable to do in his flesh – and that is to exist in his individual flesh in the world after his ascension.  For this is why the Church is called “His Body”.

I guess the point that I am trying to make is that we, Christians, are never alone, we are never free from the resurrected Jesus through the Spirit of God.  Just as Jesus is present in our churches he is also present in our lives- Always.  I am troubled by the myriads of us Christians who believe that just because the Eucharist has been put away or that we have left the church building that Jesus too is no longer present.  However, if Jesus in our minds and in our churches is not a constant light but rather blinks on and off like a faulty neon sign then we really need to consider if Jesus is really present in our lives in the first place.  

Go ahead and read the passage at the link below.  I’m hoping it will cause us all to think.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

WARNING: PREACHY (& unapologetically Christian) – 9/20/2015

Colossians 1:15-23

When my second child was born, the first child did not care for it much.  Don’t get me wrong, the first loved and adored her little brother but it was apparent that she was not fond of the spotlight being taken off of her and placed on her new baby brother.  Her tendency was to dance around and make herself the center of attention in order to distract everyone from the new baby.

Most people are like that where Jesus is concerned.

Colossians 1:15-23 can be a difficult section of Scripture for those of us who want to believe that spirituality is at all about ourselves.  Each of us, like my firstborn child, really wants the attention of God to always be on ourselves.  Like a child who desires to have the picture she drew magneted to the refrigerator we desire that God think of us as the most special too.  And while God is happy to hang our drawings, the reality is that Jesus is the reason that God has a fridge in the first place.

Literally volumes and volumes of books have been written about Jesus but in just nine versus Paul’s statements about Jesus overwhelm us and cause us to realize that even more volumes could not exhaust his infinity.

So go ahead and read these short nine verses in Colossians 1:15-23, it will likely do you good to see the eternal nature of our Lord.

A RABBIT TRAIL:  In John 14 Thomas asks Jesus to “show them the Father” and Jesus replied that he and the father were one.  And in Matthew 5 Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (complete it).  So when I put the pieces together I begin to see that God, as viewed through the lens of the Old Testament alone is not complete but God seen through the prism of Jesus is.  In these passages from Corinthians I see the utter eternity of Jesus as Immanuel (God with us)or the Word become flesh. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

WARNING: PREACHY - 9/13/2015

Last week I made the statement that “Christianity isn’t about YOU as much as it is about US.” This may ruffle the feathers of people who believe that Jesus was specifically thinking of them personally as he hung on the cross, you won’t find it anywhere in Scripture – But we humans love a good YOU focused sermon anyway.

However, what we do find in the Scriptures is that Jesus thought much of US - His Church. Like it or not, the church of Jesus is a team sport where everyone participates according their gifts. (But that’s for another sermon) That’s why we need to be part of a group of other believers. It is impossible to think in US terms if I constantly think of ME and my ability to worship God alone. I know it’s not always easy (or even enjoyable) but it is necessary that we congregate with other converts to Jesus as WE (the Church) are His body. We actually need each other to grow in Christ. Sort of like how a tree needs the soil, the sun, the water, the earthworm, and all the other elements of healthy growth.

As we read the first part of Colossians it is important to note that Paul is speaking to everyone at the church in Colossi. When Paul uses the word YOU he is using a Greek word that is best translated as YOU-ALL (a second person plural of the singular YOU). Read through the first 14 versus of Colossians 1 this morning saying “YOU-ALL” when you see the word YOU to get the idea. Farther in the thought, Paul speaks of US and WE. Notice that Paul states that He (God) rescued US from the dominion of darkness and WE have redemption from sin. Paul is speaking to the group of individuals who are the Church, the body of Christ.

But the discussion of YOU, YOU-ALL, WE, and US is really just a distraction from the moral of the story which is Jesus and the Cross. God has redeemed us and brought us into the kingdom of His son whom he loves. It is necessary to have the discussion of salvation though faith, it is necessary to have the discussion of loving God’s people, it is necessary to have the discussion of morality, it is necessary to have the discussion of being enabled by the Holy Spirit, and it is necessary to have the discussion of YOU vs. YOU-All, WE, & US, but never should any of these discussions cause us to lose focus on Jesus and His Cross.

Without the singular focus on Jesus and the Cross, everything else is just meaningless babble.

Read through the beginning 14 versus of Colossians 1 this morning. You may just find it beneficial to you.


Sunday, September 6, 2015


I have learned that most people reject Christianity because of its claims of morality. 

To this some might say that it's really because of the "hypocrites" in the church but I reject that reasoning as I also reject the reasoning that says that 
1. One cop is corrupt so therefore all cops are corrupt, 
2. One black guy is bad so therefor all black ppl are bad, and 
3. A gun was used to kill ppl therefore all the guns are the problem.

Believe it or not, your personal morality is not the crux of the issue in Christianity, in fact, Christianity is not really about YOU as much as it is about US. (But that's another sermon). The Crux of Christianity is about Jesus and Him crucified.

Jesus was crucified for Sin - Jesus died to destroy the sin of Adam.  It is the cross of Jesus which is the crux of Christianity and his resurrection from the dead that confirms it.  

Our personal moralities are simply the by-products of understanding this.  The more we have relationship with Jesus the more our personal moralities will change - all by themselves.  It really is an amazing grace to experience it.  Though I will admit that I really cannot explain the intricacies of how it happen more than to say it is a spiritual thing that is experienced rather than academically achieved.

But I often fall into the trap of thinking that it is my personal morality that really matters and so I find that a good read of St. Paul's four short chapters in his letter to the Colossians is a great reminder of The crux of the matter.

Read it, it's short, and it might just be beneficial for you.