On Sunday February 16th, 2014, Sam Geli gave us a sermon on Little Zaccheus the tax collector and his first meeting with Jesus. Click on the picture of poor Zaccheus below and see the full powerpoint to learn the story of his transformation. Then ponder this - How has Jesus changed your life?
As I write today I am preparing for my final 8 worship services as your transitional pastor. Reading ahead in the lectionary I was drawn to the Epistle readings which for 5 more weeks are in 1st Corinthians. What a great letter to explore.
I decided to do a Sermon Series on 1st Corinthians – here are the topics and verses – reading the letter would be to your advantage!
January 26: But We Can Still Love – 1 Corinthians 1:10-18
February 2: The Wisdom of the Cross is Yours – 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
February 9: The Spirit Shows Us Truth – 1 Corinthians 2:1-12
February 16: You Are God’s Building - – 1 Corinthians 3:1-19
February 23: You Belong to God – 1 Corinthians
As we begin this Corinthian sermon series ask yourself this - When you notice a problem in your family or in your business, or your health or wealth – how do you fix things? Often we have a tendency to pinpoint the problem and start fixing what is broken right away.
Not Paul - in I Corinthians, even though the church had some grave issues to deal with, Paul starts off by identifying their giftedness and the strengths the community had been given through the amazing grace of God.
After that, THEN he got to the core challenge that this community was facing. “I appeal to you” he says. You have all these gifts, these sources of strength. So use them for God’s glory! Trust in the strength of your gifts and the power of the Giver to help you heal these urgent issues that are threatening your ability to give witness to Christ, or to perform your mission, and maybe even to stay alive and functioning as a community in Jesus Christ.
Paul is not a shy guy when it comes to naming the issues of the faithful. Right off the bat he hits on factions. They have formed clubby little factions based on which leaders they like the most. Have you ever known a church to do that? Gasp!
OK. But seriously, Paul wasn’t saying factions were the only challenge church could face. He sure wasn’t saying it was the Corinthians only problem! (You may note a few more in the coming weeks.) But he was identifying factions as the core issue that Corinth faced at the time that he was writing to them.
What it all boils down to is that whatever issues were causing them woe, the first step was for them to remember that they were made into one body in Jesus Christ by the grace of God. They were never meant to be a bunch of political or religious or personality groups who just happen to gather for worship in the same place at the same time.
“Knock it off, already!” Paul told them. Celebrate your differences, but play nice and play on the same team! After all, our fellowship is not in factions, or in leaders we like. Your fellowship, as the Body of Christ, is in Christ himself and Christ only.
Hmm… Think I just preached this week’s semon!
And in March we’ll be Getting into Lent -
March 2: The Changer and the Changed - Matthew 17 1-9 March 9: Lent Begins – Vision Quest - Matthew 4:1-11 March 16: Born from Above and So Very Much Loved – John 3:1-17
I am praying every day that the future brings you, by Go’s grace, a pastor who will guide you in the ways of God’s will for you – “a perfect for you” Pastor to walk with you into the future of the FCC(DOC) in Santa Barbara.
God bless you all!
Pastor Elaine Schoepf
This is a general blog by First Christian Church and has several authors. Our Pastor, Our Moderator, Webmaster, and some other members who sign their articles - mostly from our newsletter "The Chimes"