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This is the service from September 12th, 2021.
Immersion. When people want to learn a language, the best way to do that is complete immersion, living in the culture, speaking only that language, drinking it in (from a firehose). Immersion. We have spent three months in Corinth. What have you learned? What has changed? What will you take away? And how does it impact how you follow Jesus?
“My grace is sufficient for you,” That is the answer that Paul received when he pleaded with God to take away the “thorn” that Paul regularly faced. We all face our own “thorns” but the answer Paul received holds true for us today because God’s power is made perfect in weakness.”
Annie Oakley and Frank Butler spar back and forth in the song “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better.” The song makes us laugh, but it reveals a desire many people have to be the best (and for everyone else to know it). Paul certainly has plenty of reasons to declare he is the best follower of Jesus, but he chooses instead to boast about Jesus.
What kind of giver are you? I don’t mean the amount, and I am not limiting this to just money. When you give a gift, what happens with your heart? When you serve, what is your attitude like? When you see a need, do you turn the other way or jump in? Paul teaches the Corinthians that God LOVES a CHEERFUL giver. Our reading from 2 Corinthians 9 helps us see how that attitude is possible.
Sin destroyed relationships. Jesus restored relationships. Through the destruction and restoration, we have the opportunity to bring restoration and love to our relationships through our everyday lives as the hands and feet of Jesus.
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul uses the metaphor of jars of clay referring to human weakness. We face a variety of challenges and difficulties, but because of the work and power of Jesus we are not destroyed.
This past week in Vacation Bible School we were reminded that God has given us “the armor of God” so that we can stand tall and strong in the Lord to fight against challenges and difficulties that we face.
My Pastor in Illinois, Wray Offermann, often used the phrase, “God never wastes a hurt.” That short phrase captures the sentiments of 2 Corinthians 1:3-11. God does not want us to suffer; He does not cause our suffering. But God understands our suffering. He works in it to comfort us…and through it to comfort others. Wayne and Nancy Lippert have experienced great suffering. They share some of God’s work in their lives, and His comfort, with us.
We live in a world that is broken by sin. It doesn’t take long to see how sin has had negative effects on creation. On a regular basis, we experienced broken relationships, broken lives and broken bodies. All that is broken will one day be restored. The good news is that Jesus has already given us the victory.
The sells seashells by the seashore. Can you say it ten times really fast without messing up? If so, congratulations! But what good does that do? Can you encourage someone else through it? Can you express love to others with the recitation? In our section from 1 Corinthians this week we discover many gifts and abilities. The key is that we use them in love to build others up.
Every aspect of the Christian life gives honor and glory to God. Our mourning, our celebrations, our work and our friendships. Everything that we do can and should bring glory to God!
Are you a fan or fanatic? Fans typically go to a game and cheer, but don’t actually play in the game. Someone who is fanatic about the sport usually participates in that sport, training and devoting himself or herself to be the best. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul makes it clear he is much more than a fan of Jesus. Rather, he pushes himself to the limit as he follows Jesus and carries out the mission of Jesus.
Paul argues in circles: It is better to be single, but marriage is a blessing and it’s fine if people want to get married. But if a person can stay single, he or she should. What?! What are we supposed to do with that? And how does that apply to the spectrum of beliefs and expressions of human relationships today? As people who belong to God, who have the Holy Spirit in us, we look to God to show us what His plan is for people to experience God’s best.
Do you want to open a can of worms? Then bring up the topic of sex. Sexual freedom. LGBTQ+. Gender identity. Uncomfortable yet? How are we, as followers of Jesus, supposed to think about these things, much less live in our culture today? It all starts with knowing what we are worth and who gives us that value.
One of the most important parts of a structure is the foundation. If the foundation is not solid, the rest of the structure will be weak. Paul addresses the church in Corinth reminding them that the foundation of faith is not built by human hands, but rather God's hands.
This weekend we begin our summer sermon series on 1st and 2nd Corinthians. Just glancing through the books of 1st and 2nd Corinthians, you quickly realize the people of Corinth are not so different than we are. They dealt with the same temptations, the same conflicts, the same messed up beliefs. Addressing the congregation, Paul starts and ends with Jesus, with the message of the cross and the victory of the resurrection. As we begin our summer break, that’s where we begin as well.
Brookfield Lutheran Church
18500 W. Burleigh Rd.
Brookfield, WI 53045
Office: (262) 783-4270
Fax: (262) 783-4616
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