1 Corinthians 6.12 – September 11, 2020

1 Corinthians 6:12

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.  (1 Corinthians 6:12, NIV)

 

“Reminder to me that just because its OK to have things, does not mean its helpful to me.”

Thought Questions:

In what ways does our culture condition us to believe everything is within our right to do or to have? Where does this idea come from?

What are things you can think of that you would consider good, but not necessarily beneficial?

How does focusing on following Jesus change your perspective of what you have a “right” to do or have?

1 Corinthians 10:11–13 – September 1, 2020

1 Corinthians 10:11–13

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  (1 Corinthians 10:11–13, NIV)

They say history repeats itself. Are we willing to look back and avoid mistakes of previous generations?

Thought Questions:

What sort of spiritual advice–both positive and negative–have you received in your life? How have you applied these things to your own spiritual journey?

What are some ways we ensure we are standing firm, not assuming we have it all together and are not at risk from Satan’s attacks?

In what ways have you found God to provide a way out of temptations you have faced?

1 Corinthians 13 – May 6, 2020

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues  of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,  but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
 (1 Corinthians 13, NIV)

Wondering what someone who is committed to following Jesus looks like? This passage may give one of the best answers we find in scripture and can be summed up in one word: love.

Thought Questions:

We often hear this passage read at weddings, but it really is focused on our giftedness and our relationship with one another. In what ways are our gifts and abilities related to how we treat one another?

Why do we at times put our “faith” or actions related to faith above loving one another? In what ways have you seen love triumph over everything else, including actions that we might consider “religious” actions?

Why is faith action oriented?

1 Corinthians 10.23-24 – April 21, 2020

1 Corinthians 10:23–24

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:23–24, NIV)

Think about your schedule today? In what ways are you working to seek the good of others?

Thought Questions:

What is something you would say you have the right to do, but would not consider it beneficial?

Why do we tend to seek our own good first and foremost, ignoring the consequences it has on others?

How well do you think Christians follow the guidelines stated here and what effect does you think that has on non-believers?

Have a great idea on how to seek the good of others? Tell us about it by clicking on “Leave a Comment” below…

1 Corinthians 12.12-31 – January 20, 2020

1 Corinthians 12.12-31

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12.12-31, NIV)

Each of us makes up a part of a larger whole and each one of us is important.

Thought Questions:

Why is it easy for people to think someone else’s gift or ability is better than our own? What factors into your evaluating someone else as better?

In what ways do you see yourself as a part of the body of Christ? Of the body at meets together here on this earth?

How do you use your gifts to support and encourage others?

Importance of Purity – August 17, 2019

Nehemiah 12.27-13.31; 1 Corinthians 11.1-16; Psalm 35.1-16; Proverbs 21.17-18

It is interesting to me that after Jerusalem is rebuilt and after Nehemiah has gone back home, he gets word that the people not following the laws God had outlined for the people. So what does he do? Back to Jerusalem he goes to straighten up the people, helping them do what God asked them to do. Why was following these commands, as God had called for, so important, not only to Nehemiah, but more importantly, for the people of Israel?

Questions:

Why is it important for men, women, and children to be able to to celebrate and praise God for the restoration he provides?

How comfortable are you in asking others to imitate your life of faith? Why is this the case? How can you become more confident to do this?

How does the Lord fight against those who fight against you?

Why does the love of pleasure lead to poverty?

Be Concerned About Others – August 16, 2019

Nehemiah 11.1-12.26; 1 Corinthians 10.14-33; Psalm 34.11-22; Proverbs 21.14-16

What would happen if you committed today, and then again tomorrow, to live your entire day seeking to do good for others, not being primarily concerned about your own good?

Questions:

How do you think the people of Israel felt coming back to Jerusalem after having been in exile for so long?

What things did you do today? How did you do them for the glory of God?

How can we keep our tongue from speaking evil?

Why does justice terrify those who do evil?

Be Careful Not To Fall – August 15, 2019

Nehemiah 9.22-10.39; 1 Corinthians 9.19-10.13; Psalm 34.1-10; Proverbs 21.13

I think if Paul had written 1 Corinthians today, when he got to today’s passage, he would have written: Do you remember that sports team, the one that was undefeated? And do you remember that time they played the team that had not won a game all season? And do remember what happened? They lost! The train wreck that everyone assumed would happen didn’t. Oh, and by the way, if you think you stand firm … be careful. Don’t be like THAT team.

Questions:

Rehearse the things God has done for you in your life that have brought you to the point you are at today.

Who has served as a warning to you about what happens when you do not pay attention to remembering God?

How can we constantly speak the praises of God as go throughout our day?

How do we shut our ears to the cries of the poor? What can we do to hear them better?

Celebrate! – August 14, 2019

Nehemiah 7.73b-9.21; 1 Corinthians 9.1-18; Psalm 33.12-22; Proverbs 21.11-12

When we are faced with our sins, with the reality that we have fallen short of the manner in which we wish to live, we have a couple of options in response. The first is to beat ourselves up, to cry, to lament, to mourn how poorly we behaved. At times this is a good response, but for those who live in the grace of God, perhaps the response Nehemiah proposes is a better one: Celebrate. Rejoice because the joy of the Lord is your strength! How do you typically respond when you fall short of the lifestyle you desire?

Questions:

Why is the people standing for the reading of God’s laws significant? How does this impact our own reaction towards God’s word?

What reasons do you have to share the good news of Jesus Christ?

What do you count on in your life for “victory?”

According to the proverb writer, what is the benefit of instruction?

Just How Bad Could It Hurt?

20170604 - 1HBSJust as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles or slaves or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
(1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

Today’s passages:
Psalm 33:12-22
Ezekiel 11:17-20
1 Corinthians 12:4-13
John 20:19-23

I do not know where I heard it or even if there is someone who can be identified as the author, but I heard someone once say: “Anyone who thinks there are inconsequential parts of the body has never stubbed their little toe.”

Think about it, is there anything that hurts worse, especially given the size of the offending object? You are walking through the house after everyone has gone to bed and you discover that the dresser sticks out from the wall more than you thought it did. Since it is late at night, you do not want to wake anyone up, yet between the noise of slamming your foot into the dresser and your muffled screams as you fall to the floor in agony (and perhaps your spouses laughing at the dramatics), everyone within three city blocks are probably awake at this point.

The next morning it still hurts and you try to walk without a noticeable limp, because it is your little toe, after all, but that little toe hurts beyond belief. NFL players sit out of professional football games due to “turf toe,” so the pain must be bad, right?

It is easy for us to forget the importance of the little things in our life. We spend so much time and energy trying to make a (big) name for ourselves and accomplish (great) things, the small joys we can find in simple things escape us.

This is true in church, too. We come to worship or Bible class and resign ourselves to sitting quietly in the pew because we know we are “not as important” as the preacher or the teacher. If we were asked to speak, we would just stumble around and be too embarrassed to say anything important or say it in a way that made a difference to someone else. We do not have the right gifts, or at least it seems at times certain gifts are important for a body of believers and other gifts, well, they are of the little toe variety.

Read carefully the words Paul pens to the Corinth church. Even if you have already read them, go ahead and read them again, start to finish. Now, in just a couple of words summarize what Paul stresses as important.

I don’t know what your words were, but as I read through this passage, I keep zeroing in on the idea of oneness or sameness. How many times does Paul use the word “same?” The emphasis Paul seems to be making here is even more than the little things (or gifts in this context) are important. All of our unique gifts and abilities—“big” or “small”—all come together in the sameness of God’s Spirit. It is the Spirit of God that takes the differences we all inevitably have and melds them together for the common good of one another. Your gift, my gift, his gift, her gift, all of them.

Next time you gather with your church family, look around the room. Look for who looks different, talks different, acts different, and maybe even believes some different things than you do. As you take inventory of everyone else, say a prayer of praise that God has called them—and you—together as his family, as his body.

 

Questions:

•“No king is saved by the size of his army.” How well do you think the people you know receive this passage from Psalms? What about the people who are our governing authorities? What is the point the psalmist is trying to make to us in this psalm? How can we better understand the power of God in comparison to our own power and might?

•In what ways do you feel you have an undivided heart? What are the things that divide you? Søren Kierkekgaard famously stated: “Purity of heart is to will one thing.” Similar to the undivided heart of Ezekiel 11, how do we will one thing? How does God help us be pure of heart?

•When you read through Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians, what role does the Spirit play within the body of Christ? Specifically, what does Paul say about the sameness of the Spirit in connection to the uniqueness each one of us have? How can you live today more in the understanding of the unifying actions of the Spirit?

•Jesus tells his disciples in John 20 that he is sending them out in the same way he was sent out. On what way was Jesus sent and how does this impact how you live a life of faith today? What did you do today that was the result of you being sent? What can you do as a result of that “sentness?”