Speaking of Sunday: “The Spirit Reveals the Mind of Christ”

The Church for the Glory of God | 1 Corinthians 2.10-16

12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

Are you a Christian?

Lots of evangelists will ask people if they know God. But, have you every asked yourself if God knows you? Does he understand what you need and what you go through each week? “Does God ‘get’ me?”

The answer is, God certainly does. No, really – let that sink in for a minute. God ‘gets’ you. He knows you intimately – your thoughts and your desires. Not just the things you want in life but why you want them. Which is amazing considering that, on any given day, we many not even know why we want something, or why we’re working for this or that, or why we’re being nice to this person or why we’ve brushed that person off. God knows.

And he wants you to know him, too. Many people think that ‘getting saved’ is about asking Jesus into your heart. But, it isn’t really. That phrase isn’t even in the Bible. At the heart of salvation is a relationship. Like a husband who gives his fiancee a ring, we would be foolish to think that the ring was the end-all-be-all of life. Jesus gives himself and his Spirit, removing the barrier of sin between us and bringing you close. He not only knows you, but through his Spirit he lets you know him. “Salvation from sin” is the initial payoff of that relationship. But, the real gift of God is himself. It doesn’t just take a lifetime to enjoy that gift. It takes an afterlifetime.

This week, you may be wondering what God was thinking. The great thing is, you can ask him. Being “saved” is not just a way to avoid Hell – it is to know God in his Spirit in the everyday things of your life. For example: showing grace to people who hurt me is not my first reaction, and it probably isn’t yours, either. So, if God puts you in a stressful situation in order for you to forgive the same way Christ forgives you, that information would be a welcome help! In fact, you might come to love God more when you see him working directly in your life rather than just settling for “coincidences.”

To be “saved” – to stop unbelieving God’s Word and start believing him – is a gift, but it’s not the ultimate one. God himself is the root of our salvation. Now is the perfect time to ask God for the Spirit of Christ to show you what he “saved” you for.


Speaking of Sunday: “Not From Wisdom, But From God’s Power”

The Church for the Glory of God | 1 Corinthians 2.1-10
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

What do you know?

I mean, really know?  What is absolutely certain to you?  What cannot be undone in your heart and mind?  What is your first rational thought in the morning and the last idea that gives you peace before you sleep?  That’s the essence of Paul’s statement, “for I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” If there is any basis for a group of people to think they are children of God, it must start there.

Now, you might believe that the church is on earth to do a lot of really good things – and you would be absolutely, 100% correct. Paul even admits that God made the Church to do good work he prepared in advance.a In fact, in the next fourteen chapters of his letter to Corinth, he expounds on the importance of brotherhood, sacrificial love, service, family, the law, generosity and hope. The question Paul wants us to ask is, “why?”

God’s power is really on display when he acts in love against all human wisdom.

Why are we worrying about keeping a church together and loving other people by sacrificing our own time and money and comfort? Everything Paul says in the next fourteen chapters is rooted the first two; the mystery and wisdom of God is Jesus Christ and him crucified. If we are a “church” our daily struggle should emulate the crazy love of a God who dies for us sinners. Our mid-week frustrations should have the eternal investment of pointing others to a God who comes to dead people and gives them life.b

Now, if you knew my sin, you’d think God was crazy to invest himself in that kind of gospel work. On a Wednesday afternoon I can be pretty down on myself and life in general. My less-than-pastoral behavior is building up, and I just don’t feel that lovable. My human wisdom goes into fight-or-flight mode:
     fight: I can fight my bad work with good work to prove that I am lovable, or;
     flight: I can admit that I’m not that loveable and run from God.

But God’s power is really on display when he acts in love against all human wisdom. In his holiness, God agrees sinners are unlovable in our own right, and condemns all our attempts to earn his love. But in his love, he comes to sinners and freely gives the righteousness and holiness that we don’t deserve and can’t provide for ourselves: Jesus Christ and him crucified.

When a bunch of sinners come to cherish this kind of wisdom from God, they are the Church. Not because of our profound love for God, but because of God’s seemingly irrational love for us: Jesus Christ, and him crucified.


a  Ephesians 2.10: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984)

b  Matthew 5.16: In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your
Father in heaven.

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. ©1984, International Bible Society.

Speaking of Sunday: “But God Chose”

The Church for the Glory of God | 1 Corinthians 1.26-31
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

Have you been chosen by God?

Today, that’s a question that is likely to get you a lonely table at Starbucks. The idea that God reaches out and chooses us is just a little bit, well, kooky to most people. Our culture devotes so much energy to nurturing our goals and our wishes, that we have become comfortable with a god that we may choose on our terms for our purposes. A God that chooses us? For his own purpose? On his schedule? That’s just a little bit, well, offensive.

Imagine that. That God would be so close to you and your life that he could choose to claim you – and everything about you – for his wishes. Imagine a God who chooses people, not for who they have made themselves to be, but for what he will make them into. Imagine a God who, on purpose, chooses to come close to people who are hurting, questioning, troubled, weak and distressed. This is the God we need, but often have little time for.

And here comes God, choosing to bring broken people into friendship with Jesus to show the world that Jesus is strength, wisdom, and beauty.

God’s “choosing” goes completely against everything that is natural to humanity. How much time have you spent this week trying to look good enough for people to value you? How much effort have you put in to making yourself strong so that others admire and respect you? How many hours have you already spent this week covering up your mistakes so that people think you’ve got it all together?

We naturally value strength, wisdom and power, but it’s all a sham. Our muscles wear out. Our money gets spent. Our beauty fades. Our brains lose cells by the minute. And here comes God, choosing to bring broken people into a friendship with Jesus in order to show the world that Jesus is strength, wisdom, and beauty. He is the answer to the question that keeps you up at night. His glory will never fade. In a world that constantly changes, his forgiveness is our never-ending source of hope.


Reopening the Blog

So, I’m seeing the need to reopen the blog.

Why? I asked myself. Why write? Why agonize over words and deadlines?

Because words are important. Words are specific communication. Words communicate intent and design of ideas. And, while my nature wants pictures to be able to do this, pictures cannot bear the weight of a divine relationship. God speaks to us in many ways, but most importantly he speaks to us with words.

Take the word, “Quasimodo” for example. What’s in a name? It is possible that the man we know now as “Quasimodo” may have been an actual person. But since 1831, he has been immortalized by Victor Hugo as a troubled, misunderstood person whose material imperfections kept his spirit from being recognized as valuable in the eyes of God. So, I want to explain the name of this blog as coming from the character and his struggle as I see it in the Christian life: my spirit has been born from above [John 3], while my flesh is corrupted and waits to be resurrected in the image of Christ [1 Corinthians 15].

This is, I believe, is the struggle all Christians face. We are “half-formed” – knowing God, our minds are being renewed by the Holy Spirit to know God’s perfect will [Romans 12], but our “flesh” (as Paul says) continually fights against God’s renewing work. Paul laments this situation in Romans 7.14-25:

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. …Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

We laugh, we love, we hope, we hate and we desire many things. But, is Christ our Lord over the “body of death?” This is what I hope to ask in this blog. Thanks for reading.