1 Corinthians 15:42-58

1 Corinthians 15:42-58

In this passage, Paul talks a lot about both the physical and spiritual aspects of our being. He points out that "the first man Adam" is the origin of our physical body, while the "last Adam" is the reason we are able to have a second, spiritual body. Through the life and death of Christ, we have been given an element of our being that is eternal. We live bearing both the "image of the man of dust", and the "image of the man of heaven". Our lives here on earth should look drastically different to those around us, simply because we have the knowledge that this physical life and body is not all that we have. We are spiritual beings.

Paul also brings up something we too often forget- the fact that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable". Though the passage references that one day God will unite the physical and spiritual world (vs. 52-54), we can't live our lives focusing on the physical while forgetting the spiritual. It's easy to give in to our physical bodies and their wants, but as Christians, we are called to live a life where we have our sights set on Heaven rather than on earth.

Maybe the most moving part of this passage is the reassurance we receive that in the end, death will not have the final say. "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?". In a world where death can seem so frightening and so final, we live knowing that death has been swallowed up. It is not victorious and it has not won. Though this doesn't always lessen the pain of losing a family member or friend, it is a beautiful reminder of God's faithfulness to us and His promise to us that He is victorious, even over death.

Pray that God would continuously remind you that you are more than dust and bones. You are a spiritual being, loved by your creator more than you'll ever know. Pray that He would show you what it looks like to have your sights set on heaven as you go about your daily life. Pray He would show you what victory over death looks like, and thank Him for the incredible gift of eternal life that has been given to us.

 

Author | Madelyn Livingston

Wesley-isms: Encouragement Rooms

Wesley-isms: Encouragement Rooms

Have you ever felt distant from God and wished you could have an immediate phone conversation with Him?

If you’ve ever felt unsure of whether God really knows who you are or what you’re dealing with—or if you’ve never even entertained the idea—you might want to try out the ‘encouragement rooms’ held after Wesley’s Wednesday night service.  

It’s not exactly a phone call, but Natalie Griffin, a second year intern serving Wesley’s Encounter ministry, said the rooms can be helpful for students that are struggling to believe God knows them or is close to them.  

“When He uses a stranger to speak about something in their life, I think it is really powerful, and it brings them back to a place where they know God really is present in their life, really near to them. He knows what's going on,” she said.

What exactly is an ‘encouragement room’ you ask?

Wesley’s Media team reached out to Natalie and Blake Wiggins, the associate director over the Encounter ministry, to find out a little bit more for you:

What would I experience?

If you come to an encouragement room, you would just experience someone praying for you then telling you what they think God is saying. You would usually sit with a group of Wesley interns—and that’s all you have to do, sit and receive. (And maybe bring a phone or a pen and paper to record what the interns say.)

What is the goal?

The main goal of an encouragement room is exactly as it sounds—to encourage you. We believe God has something good to say about everybody. No one is going to tell you anything you have done wrong or know about any secrets you have. All the room is designed to do is to help you leave more hopeful about your life and your relationship with God than when you came in.

This is weird, isn’t it?

This might seem very new-aged or mystical, but the idea of an encouragement room is rooted in the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul talks about the need for Christ followers to strengthen, encourage and comfort others through the spiritual gift of prophecy. Prophecy is just listening to God’s still, small voice for information you do not already know.

What do I do with what I receive?

After receiving words, it's important to go to the Bible, go to your personal prayer time and go to a discipler. If the word lines up with the truth in the Bible, and if it makes sense through the discernment God gives you in your own prayer or through your discipler, it's a safe bet that the word was from God.

The cool thing is, you don’t have to stop hearing God like this once you leave the encouragement room. All the interns are doing are asking God what He thinks about you and what He has to say to you. You can do the exact same thing on your own by asking Him the same questions.    

OK I think I’m ready. How do I do this?

You can sign up for an encouragement room at the beginning of the Wesley service on Wednesday when you sign in for Lead or Grow. After the service, come out to the left side of the hallway surrounding Tate Grand Hall.

 

Author | Lindsey Conway

1 Corinthians 13

1 Corinthians 13

Without love as the center of it all, without love being our motivator and the spirit in which we operate, Paul says that prophecy, knowledge, and even fullness of faith is useless and has no value.

 

Because we will miss his heart completely if we don’t have love. and out of love comes all the things we want to see in our lives. Everyone wants to learn patience, and out of love comes patience. We want to stop feeling jealous when people seem to have more than us; love is never envious and always wants what is best for the other person.

Pursue love, even above faith and hope.

 

Author | Kelley Losinger

1 Corinthians 12:12-31

1 Corinthians 12:12-31

In this passage, Paul is comparing a physical body to the body of Christ. A physical body would not be able to function half as well as it does if all of the separate parts did the exact same thing or if some decided to give up on their job. We have ears, legs, elbows, eyes, toes, and so so much more, all for a specific reason. They all work together toward the same goal - a healthy, and well functioning body. The body of Christ works in the same way. There is no part that is unneeded, and it is the specialization that makes the bigger picture so diverse and beautiful.

We can visualize that a physical body fails to function without all of the separate parts working together to create such a well-oiled machine, and furthermore understand that neither can the body of Christ. It takes every single part that God puts in to place for it to function properly. Often times, we may find ourselves feeling insignificant and as though there is absolutely no way God can use us where we are, whether that be physically or spiritually. This passage is an excellent reminder that He can and WILL use you - that His body NEEDS you.

In times when we are feeling worried, or stressed, or as though we could not possibly be good enough, I challenge us to look to this as a reminder. We may tend to compare ourselves to others and notice that we don't look like, sound like, sing like, have the same friends as, or even pray the same way that someone else does. In those moments, though, it is important to step back and notice how crucial it is that we ARE different. We aren't the same as those that we observe around us, and that is what is so beautiful about it all. When we begin to accept this, love on those who are different than us, and learn from those around us, we begin to grow closer as one big unit for Jesus. And that will, ultimately, bring more glory to God's name.

Prayer

Lord, I pray that when times come where it would be easy for me to feel inferior or as though my life couldn't possibly be used for something greater, that you will remind me of your plan and of your love for every single piece that you have placed in this puzzle. I know that I may not always be able to see the big picture, but I pray that you will guide me in new and uncomfortable experiences that will ultimately draw everyone involved closer to your love and to your plan for their lives. And I pray that You will give us the courage to do so. I ask this all in your precious name, Amen.

 

Author | Haley Hall

Victoria Grubbs: Testimony Blog

Victoria is a first year Prayer intern at Wesley. In this video, she talks about how her experience with the mission trip to the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City completely changed her life by allowing her to encounter the Lord and establish a close community.

1 Corinthians 10:23-33

1 Corinthians 10:23-33

In this passage, Paul is stating that even though we have the freedom to do and say as we please, we should be mindful of our actions because they can and will be seen by those we have influence on. This is important especially to those that are new in the faith. All of our actions are used to glorify God. 

This is important especially to those that are new in the faith. All of our actions are used to glorify God. Even the things that we eat and drink are considered as such. We can not let the things that we might find to be ok cause our brothers and sisters to stumble.

Moving forward, we should have a "Christ-minded' attitude when it comes to our everyday lives. We need to be considerate of the struggles of the people who surround us and try not to cause them to stumble and instead be ready to pick them up.

Prayer

Lord, I ask for greater self discernment when it comes to the words that come out of my mouth and actions I commit on a day to day basis. God I pray that I become more aware of my surroundings and the spiritual and physical struggles of the people who I am around so that I may not be a instrument to greater temptations in their lives.

 

Author | Sam Carroll

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Holy. We serve a Holy God.

The hard truth here: He demands our all. In the previous chapter Paul encourages believers to run their race with intentionality. “Run in such a way as to get the prize,” he commands. In this passage Paul details the ways in which the people of God in the Old Testament failed to keep their eyes on the prize. Even though God split the sea for them, provided daily bread and water, and led them through the wilderness – they started running after aimless idols and indulged fleeting desires. They turned their back on their God, “testing Christ,” and giving way to grumbling and complaining.

 

Where do these crazy folks fit into our story and the greater story of Christ? “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things we did.” (10:6) Thanks Paul.

 

These accounts warn us. They point to the common pitfalls of the human heart, the strong pull on our will to give in to selfish thoughts and self-serving ways.

And yet, Holy – we serve a Holy God.

The beautiful truth here: He demands our all because He is the only One worthy of it. Evaluate your race - are you intentionally chasing after the prize?

 

Author | Claire Jordan

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Paul mentions victory, but that isn't the point. What Paul is emphasizing is the journey we have to take to reach that final victory or, as Paul puts it, the "strict training" we must endure. This is our process of faithfully fine-tuning our lives to live out the path that Jesus intended for us, which means enduring and persevering in an effort to live with self-control and discipline. Without those two ideals, it would be difficult to do what God calls us to do. When a runner trains for race, they have to stick to a specific schedule and diet, as well as maintaining and improving their skill. Paul notes that we must live out our lives as Christians in the same detailed manner. Paul also points out that the victory is not some medal or crown that will perish, but rather "a crown that will last forever." This everlasting victory is the true motivator of the discipline and endurance it takes to follow the call of God.

What Paul is saying is a great reminder that even when the journey is hard, the victory waiting at the end is so much greater. The perseverance it requires to stay true to God can be difficult to find sometimes, but it is exactly what is necessary to live a full and faithful life. We rely on God to give us a good life, but we have to hold up on our end of the deal too, which is what Paul is getting at: we train well so that we can run God's race well. Also, the victory Paul is talking about isn't necessarily salvation, since that comes with the choice to believe in Jesus. In this case, the victory is looking back on life, knowing that you lived it fully and faithfully, which is why it matters that we endure and persevere, even when the road gets rough.

What this looks like is a range of things. Mostly, it means that we should shift our focus from those obstacles in life that push us further from God and instead look to God himself and what He wants for us. We can put Paul's message into action by asking God for help when we feel like we cannot continue to endure or when the obstacles seem to get too big. We can prayerfully consider our actions and decisions and faithfully serve God through everything we do. When we learn to endure, we can learn what a beautiful thing it is to rely on the Lord to guide us through our days and weeks and months without regret and in complete joy.

 

Author | Caitlin Cooper

Megan Diebboll: Testimony Blog

Megan is a Junior at UGA. In this video, she recalls her experience on the Jamaica mission trip and explains how working with Robin's Nest greatly impacted her life.

1 Corinthians 6:1-11

1 Corinthians 6:1-11

Paul mentions how we are subject not only to one heavenly judgment, but also to human judgment here on Earth, regardless of whether or not Earthly judgment is under the authority of Jesus. However, he says we will judge the angels! What?! But, under all of the fancy talk, Paul demands that as followers of Christ, we deal with our own issues within the body, with justice and righteousness, before letting the world judge our shortcomings.

As a Wesley body, this passage is essential. Basically, it is saying for us to refrain from gossip and sin that defiles the body of Christ. If we are involved in sin that defiles the body, we are promoting disunity and dysfunction.

With all of that information, our job therefore is to be as patient and gracious as possible. Yes, we will screw up, and yes, we will sin, but we must submit to the authority of our brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers through discipline in secret. As a Wesley body, that means taking issues to our interns, directors, and Bob, because they might have the authority to deal with very specific issues that as students we do not know how to deal with.

 

Author | Brad Schiebel

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

In this passage Paul tells us the sheer weight of sexual sin. Like the passage says our bodies are not meant for sexual immorality, but we are meant for the Lord. Everything that we are and have from the hairs on our head to breath in our lungs has been given to us by the Lord. We are not our own. We have no right to do whatever we want because we do not even deserve those hairs on our head or that breath in our lungs. Sexual sins are different than other sins because they involve the body in a away that other sins do not. And when our bodies are a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit this is something to be taken very seriously. The greek word for "sexual immorality" used in verse 13 is "πορνεία/porneia” and can be translated to mean fornication and also idolatry. When you look at this passage the idea of idolatry can be going hand in hand with sexual sin when we look at the body as something that is not our own. When we commit sexual sins, wether we know it or not, we are placing our own desires above the Lord and putting them on a pedestal at which we give our bodies to.

I would be willing to go out on a limb and say that this is one of the biggest things within Christianity that makes people think that God is just a big guy up in the sky giving humans rules so they can’t have fun. Fortunately this is not true at all. God doesn’t just tell us to not have sex outside of marriage because he doesn’t want us to have fun, but because he designed sex himself and he knows the weight that it carries. The bible describes sex in Genesis as “becoming one flesh.” It is the strongest connection that you can have with another human being. People can say day in and day out that sex can be purely physical, but this just isn’t the case because God didn’t intend it to be this way. He intended it to be shared with your spouse as an expression of passion and selfless love for them. When this is shared with multiple other people that aren’t your spouse it leads to deep emotional damage. It leads to having deep emotional connections with people that you may never see again, or people that you shouldn’t be with. It leads to shame and questioning one’s worth and so much more. The Lord is so aware of this and it pains him so deeply to see his children like that. That is why he doesn’t want us to sin sexually because he knows that our fragile and flawed human hearts are at stake - the same fragile and flawed human hearts that he could use for so much more if we would just be more aware of the fact that we are not our own.

Paul tells us in verse 18 to flee from sexual immorality. He doesn’t say "kind of try to avoid sexual immorality" or “see how far you can go with your boyfriend or girlfriend before you actually commit sexual immorality.” Paul uses the word “flee” which holds so much urgency. What if every Christian today took that seriously and literally ran away from situations where they felt like they might commit sexual immorality? People would definitely think that we were crazy, but less people would be committing sexual sins. In our day to day lives we need to go about it with the same urgency and weight in mind. This doesn’t necessary mean running away from your boyfriend every time you think he looks cute, but it could mean keeping the door open to his room when you go over to his house or never bringing your laptop into your bedroom. We need to constantly position ourselves to avoid sexual immorality. And within our hearts we need to put ourselves in a place of complete humility in front of the Lord and consciously place him above any desire of the flesh that we may have. Because giving yourself to the Lord fully is what ultimately brings eternal satisfaction.

 

Author | Madeline Current

1 Corinthians 4:14-21

1 Corinthians 4:14-21

In previous verses, Paul had made the Corinthians aware of the divisions that were taking place among them. He was reminding them of his role as a spiritual father, asking them to imitate him in order to become like Christ. He will hold them accountable to living with the true power of God rather than in their own arrogance and pride. Paul describes the consequences of their choice between living by their own power or God’s power.

Paul’s warning matters to us because we constantly have to choose to live by God’s power over our own power. When we operate out of our own power we become arrogant and prideful, which leads us to falsely glorify ourselves. Living out of God’s power forces us to give Him all the glory.

This applies to our lives because we should continually check if there are areas where we are living out of our own power rather than surrendering to God’s power.

Author | Jamie Cherf

1 Corinthians 4: 1-13

1 Corinthians 4: 1-13

To put this passage into context, Paul is referencing back to verse 5 in 1 Corinthians 3. "What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one." A division had formed in the church, with some members taking a liking to the teachings of Apollos over Paul and vice versa. Paul continues his message to the church in Corinth, appealing for unity among its members. In this section, Paul writes to the Corinthians, reminding them that the apostles are merely "servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God," meaning they were people responsible for showing love and kindness as Jesus would to others (Matthew 25:40, "The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'") and for keeping track of and teaching the knowledge and understanding given to them by God about God to the rest of His people. Paul says it is important that he or Apollos or whoever is teaching speaks the truth of God as accurately as possible, but he reminds the Corinthian church that the knowledge they are teaching does not come from them. It comes from God.

Therefore, there is no reason to compare or judge one teacher better than another or try to be the best teacher of God's knowledge, because "What do you have that you did not receive?" At the end of the 13 verses, Paul seems to lovingly rebuke the church for its focus on earthly intelligence and earthly pleasures. Paul says the apostles are considered fools for Jesus' sake while the Corinthians claim to be wise. He describes how they already live like kings while the apostles "are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed."

I think what we can take out of this letter from Paul to the Corinthians is a reminder not to focus on how the world views us and not to view things from a world mind-set. We don't look at ourselves and deem us more holy or less holy than someone else, and in the same way, we don't look at someone else and say they are more or less holy than me. We do this because "every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above," James 1:17. As Paul says in the passage above, this includes the wisdom and knowledge of the mysteries of God.

How do we do this? We recognize, even say out loud, that God has granted each of us with the particular giftings or knowledge. We don't covet someone else for the understandings that they have, and we steward our understandings of God well by sharing them lovingly with other people. We do not judge others for what they do or do not do, or say or do not say. We leave the opinion up to God.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for your word and for the lessons you reveal to us there. Would you transform our hearts to think and act more purely toward other people? We thank you for the perfect way you created each of us and for the things you reveal to us to make us more like you. Would you give us courage and boldness to love others the way you would? We love you. Amen.

Author | Lindsey Conway

Colin Chance: Testimony Blog

Colin is a first year intern at Wesley. In this video, he discusses how Wesley 1040 has opened his eyes to God's heart for the nations.

How to Outreach As a Student

How to Outreach As a Student

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded of you,” Matthew 28:16-20. 

When Zari Wilson, a current first year intern at the University of Georgia Wesley Foundation, received an email over the summer asking each new intern to consider outreach to the campus, she said she felt God “checking her heart.” 

“He was like ‘ok, you got this email, what are you going to do about it?’” 

In the past, what made Zari hesitant about outreach were her own feelings toward people handing out flyers on campus.   

“I tried to run away, put my headphones in, look busy,” she said. “Sometimes I would purposely walk the other way.” 

But over the summer she had been working at Camp All America, learning how to talk to any and everybody, and she realized it was OK when people turned the other way. 

So instead of answering the email with what she wish she could have said — a quick “I don’t really like any of these” — she responded in obedience to God, hoping to learn how to be a better servant at Wesley. 

“Whatever you need me to do, that is what I'll do,” she wrote.   

Zari is now the leader of Wesley’s creative outreach. Her first idea is called ‘Sweet Tea with a Dash of JC.’ Zari hopes she might get Chick-fil-A to donate sweet tea, and the creative outreach team would offer it to students in the Tate Student Center plaza, opening up the opportunity for conversation about Jesus and their faith.  

“It's sincere and it's honest, and it's creative,” she said.  

Just stepping up to the plate, embracing the fear of rejection and letting God work in the little mustard seed of faith that is you reaching out to someone else can have a huge impact in another person's life. 

“You don't know if this is where someone is supposed to be,” Zari said. “You don't know, so you have to play your part and if it doesn't work out, cool.”

Zari said she would regret the times when she wasn’t obedient more so than the times she tried but nothing seems to come out of her effort. 

“You have to share the gospel. God calls us to be disciples for Him. That's just part of it: being able to share what He's done,” she said. “God is so good. Isn't He worth sharing to people just as much as sharing a great song with a friend? Isn't Jesus worth sharing, too?“

We hope hearing a little bit about Zari’s story of obedience and confidence in God’s ability to show up in outreach situations encourages you to say yes to God when He wants you to share His love or a little about Him to others in your everyday life. Here are a few tips on how to reach out to other students from Zari and from Christina Hensley, Wesley’s associate director of outreach.  

First pray

Christina said to ask for God to give you the eyes to see and a heart to understand the people around you. “Every person around you has an enormous list of burdens and needs and issues. If we have eyes to see that and if we have a heart that is bent toward wanting to meet needs like Jesus’ would — a heart that’s shifted the focus away from ourselves — then it's very easy to just see opportunities in your day-to-day life.” 

Be sincere and honest

Zari said people can tell when you're being fake. Even you can tell when you are being fake. “If you are just being yourself, you never know what part they may connect with,” she said. 

A smile goes a long way 

Christina said a first step toward reaching out in your everyday life is just to say hi or even smiling at someone you don’t know. “That can be a massive thing for them, and you never know what's going to happen in response to you being obedient to the Lord,” she said.   

Don’t be afraid to share your testimony 

Zari suggests that prior to going on an outreach ask yourself why you believe in God and what you believe to be true about Him. Ask yourself why you believe God is good and why someone should come to Wesley. “It's going to be a lot harder for you to go out and try to convince other people if you don't even know, so ask yourself that and have those answers already set in your mind.” 

Reach out to the individual

Christina said outreach can be easier when you pinpoint a particular person or group of people to whom you want to show Jesus’ love. “Think about other people and then pray and ask the Lord to engage with you and let Him lead you. Ask Him simple questions like ‘what is something this person needs?’ or ‘what do you see when you see this person?’ or ‘what's a way that I can give them some of the joy or some of the life I've been given today?’” 

Find your outreach community

Christina said to find a group of people that will support and encourage you to reach out and share your faith with others. That can be a small group or even other students participating in Wesley outreaches. 

Wesley Outreach Times

Mondays: Prayer Walks starting at the Wesley main building from 12 to 12:30 p.m. 

Tuesday: Prophetic outreach, praying and speaking encouragement over other students on campus is from 3 to 4:30 p.m. 

Wednesday: Hand out flyers for the Wesley Wednesday service at Tate from 11 to 2 p.m. in the Tate Student Center plaza 

Thursday: Creative outreach, which can include everything from ‘Sweet Tea with a Dash of JC’ to handing out water bottles to runners on Milledge from 3 to 4 p.m.

 

Author | Lindsey Conway

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

In this passage, Paul informs believers that since the Holy Spirit lives in us upon salvation, and since we have the written Word at our fingertips, we have direct access to God’s mind, and therefore His wisdom. Because of this, we are able to recognize the divide between the beliefs of the world and what is right according to Heaven. This discrepancy between Heaven and earth creates a constant war against each other. It is crucial that we become familiar with the Word of God so we are able to stand firm when the world disagrees with us.

Paul knew that this war would continue until Christ returns, so he challenges us to be so in love with Jesus and so obedient to his instruction that we look foolish to the world. It is then that we know we are truly living righteously. Our job as believers is to bring Heaven down in our thoughts, actions, and love. Others will call us naive and foolish to have such hope, forgiveness, faith, and unconditional love, but it is then that we know that the Spirit is at work in us.

The church needs to be prepared and willing to look like fools for the expansion of the Kingdom. It’s time that we care more about being obedient to God and less about what other people will think/say about us. Obviously there is a difference between standing firm in our beliefs and forcing them on other people. Paul isn't calling us to drag everyone to church against their will or lecture others on how sinful their lifestyles are. It's not our job to make decisions for other people. He simply states that we, in our own lives, need to hold onto our faith in a world that will constantly make us feel like we are crazy.

The way you radically love people, the hope that you hold onto in the darkest moments, and the forgiveness that you extend when people least deserve it, will make people ask questions. Think about how strange those things seem in a world that doesn't know Jesus. Step out of your comfort zone, and stay true to what the scripture says. Be willing to look like a fool in how you love Him, and in the lengths you go to love other people.

 

Author | Meredith Ashburn

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Paul wants the Corinthian church to know that they follow Jesus, not Apollos or himself. Paul did a lot of work and mission for the people in Corinth, as well did Apollos, and there was often competition and rivalry between who everyone was taught and discipled by. Disciples of Paul would often brag that they learned from Paul, and there would be jealousy and strife in the church. Paul wanted to emphasize that he and Apollos are on the same team, and neither should get credit for what God did in the Corinthians' lives.

This issue that Paul addresses is not absent from the church today. It can be very easy for us to brag about the church we grew up in, or our denomination, or even who disciples us. We can be grateful for the people that God has placed in our lives that teach us, but Paul writes that we must be ultimately grateful to God. Inversely, it can be easy for pastors or churches or ministries to compete with one another, but it is God's will that we would be all unified as we do the work that God has called us to do. What is Wesley? What is Cru? What is RUF? Each campus ministry is one with the same goal, to see students' lives changed by the living God.

Because it is God that causes growth, we can all be united in that one glorious fact. This campus is God's field, and He has placed many different laborers with many different roles here to bring the gospel to this city. Because of the unity that Jesus brings, believers on the campus can all work together to see God do big things here.

 

Author | Hunter MacInnis

1 Corinthians 2:1-16

1 Corinthians 2:1-16

Paul is explaining to the Corinthian church the way in which he is able to preach. He wants them to understand that, ultimately, human wisdom will always fall short when compared with wisdom that comes from God and that is imparted by the Holy Spirit. Instead of preaching using trendy words that sound great, he "came in weakness." When he came in weakness, he was able to demonstrate the power of God at work. He was able to share the "wonderful things that God has freely given us" when he relied on the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.

This matters to us, because we are called to "go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). So often we will put pressure on ourselves to make that happen because we believe we have to do this out of our own strength. That we have to have all the right answers. That we have to "win-over" people through a persuasive argument so that they can believe in God. But Paul is telling us that isn't the case. Instead, God's power "works best in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). When we come in our own weaknesses, in our own deficiencies, we are actually making more room for God to move in power in others' lives. This is great news! As Christians, we all have access to the Holy Spirit, meaning that we all have the wisdom of God living inside us. We can actually live out the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, because others' salvation has nothing to do with wisdom that we muster up, but with our obedience to break the silence and let God, through the Holy Spirit living in you, do the rest. The pressure is off.

This means that in our daily lives whenever we interact with people, we actually have the opportunity to share the Gospel and share the heart of God with his children. We don't have to be afraid to share the gospel, because we aren't tallying the results of conversations and interactions we have-- "conversions" or "failures." When we get ourselves out of the way by humbling ourselves, and then follow the urging of the Holy Spirit to simply engage with those around us, we are being obedient to God-- a great place to see him move in power and change lives. By letting go of the worry of having all the answers or the perfect wording, we will truly begin to partner with God in making disciples of all nations.

Pray that the Lord would remove any pressure you feel to "convince" people of who He is. Pray that the Lord would instead reveal your weaknesses, and His perspective on them. That you would begin to see your weaknesses as His strength, and you would begin to have opportunities to live out of them. Pray that the Lord's voice would begin to come through loud and clear-- that you would be able to be obedient to the Holy Spirit calling you to certain people and places, and that the only wisdom you'll rely on is the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Pray that God would give you the courage to step out in faith, even when it is scary. Pray to have God's heart for the people around you.

 

Author | Erin Gilleland

1 Corinthians 1:1-17

1 Corinthians 1:1-17

Because of Paul’s frequent correspondence with the church in Corinth, we know a great deal about this early body of believers. His letters to the Corinthians are perhaps the most often referenced of the Epistles but I think a lot of that has to do with how those first century people are relatable to Christians today; especially younger followers of Jesus. The church Paul wrote to was young, passionate, gifted, culturally engaged and recently converted. The Corinthians also happened to be prone to quarrels as it seemed. Members of this church began draw up their own factions among themselves as followers of certain teachers. There appeared to have been a faction devoted to Paul and another devoted to the Apostle Peter, and their respective adherents were in opposition to one another. The schism disturbed Paul so much he expressed relief in that he had only baptised a few members of their congregation. He exhorts them to end the divisions among them, to no longer claim allegiance to his teaching or any of his other partners in Ministry, but to align themselves to the gospel of Jesus.

History tends to show trends among people will often resurface, and even after two millennia, we seem to find ourselves in the same quarrels Paul wrote to Corinth about. Still to this day we argue amongst ourselves about which books we ought to be reading, which churches we should attend and which pastors we ought to listen to. If a Biblical scholar were tasked with paraphrasing this passage with modern vernacular, he or she might as well insert “Bill Johnson” and “Timothy Keller” for Apollos and Cephas. God calls His church to be in fellowship with Jesus as one. The gospel ought to compel us to come together, no matter how different we are. Later on in 1 Corinthians 12 when Paul writes about the body of Christ, he makes it abundantly clear that while we are not called to be homogeneous, we are meant to live cohesively together as one unit. Though we have differences, we are all on the side of Jesus.

It’s easy to take sides and go to the extremes, but we must not let ourselves become petty. Can God’s people truly be unified in spirit if we’ve grown conceited and judgmental towards another? How much better could we be the body of Christ if we chose to serve and support one another instead of nitpicking? Unity sometimes means refusing to fuel an unnecessary argument and it can also mean speaking out against pettiness. It looks like praying for other churches and ministries you’re not directed associated with and choosing to see them as friends in God. It means having a personal knowledge of God apart from what we receive from other teachers. In ourselves, it means asking God to humble us and grow us in trust of His word.

When you truly align yourself with the truth and with the gospel of Jesus, you tend to find that the people in the other camp weren’t that much different from you either.

 

Author | Justin Patton

Danielle Von Mehren: Testimony Blog

On our last testimony blog of the year, senior Danielle talks about the ways Wesley and discipleship opened her up to vulnerability and deepened her relationship with the Lord.