SOAP 11.9.10

But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!
1 Corinthians 6:6

This ties in closely with my SOAP from yesterday. Paul is again observing how believers are treating each other. In this passage he is talking about believers bringing lawsuits up against each other. In this day in age, everything is done with a contract and with a lawyer because people are afraid of getting ripped off or getting sued. In the early church, it doesn’t seem too far off. I think the heart of the issue is not the lawsuits in and of themselves but really how do we treat others believers and nonbelievers. As followers of Christ do we treat others with kindness, respect, integrity and selflessness? Or we out to get ours; make sure no one messes with us. The most important part of this verse is the last part and this in front of unbelievers. Paul was greatly concerned with how this looked to the outside world. Just like yesterday with unity: the world understands anger, dysfunction, cheating and greed. Why continue to give them something they expect? Let’s treat everyone with integrity and walk in unity with fellow believers. When it gets difficult and we feel hurt or disagree with someone, let’s have the guts to work it out together not put our grievance on display for the whole world to see.

I must continue to seek integrity first in the way I do things. May I say what I do, do what I say and do the right thing. It makes everything else so much easier. I will continue to challenge myself to follow God in being an example of Christ to a world that does not understand but greatly needs Him.

Thank you for your word that is challenging and continues to cut deep to my heart. Help me to walk with integrity and treat others with kindness and respect. Help me to see them the way you see them. Help me to have the grace and godly confidence required to have fierce and necessary conversations with other people. Lord I pray that the way I live my life would be an example of your love and sacrifice. Bless my marriage and family. Bless Grace Church. Provide for your church and help us to be a source of love and blessing to our community. Bless Generation Grace. Continue to help us reach out to the young people of Clark County. I love you. Amen

SOAP 11.8.10- What is Unity?

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:10

Paul speaks with a directness that is sorely needed in this world. The church was divided. I can only imagine the quarrels and how stupid they probably sound to us today. Paul was pleading with them to stop. He knew that a group divided would fall. He knew that they would be distracted from more important things like furthering the kingdom, helping the poor, and teaching others about the good news of Jesus Christ. He knew others were watching. He knew that they couldn’t go far if they were all pulling in different directions. This verse is not only for the early church but for families, marriages, workplaces and of course the local church and the body of Christ.

As I write this I have a deep sadness in my core knowing that disunity keeps others from knowing the love of Jesus Christ. Anyone can say they have a dysfunctional family, workplace or organization. They can say there is great disunity. They experience bickering, gossip and division EVERY DAY. Having a relationship with Christ should look different. Our families should look different, marriages should look different, churches should look different. But all too often they look the same. They should look like something appealing. Now that doesn’t mean perfect, we are not Christ himself after all. It should look like we are trying to work together and that we work through the garbage and not let it build up. For me in marriage it means I give 200% and so does Matt. It doesn’t mean we always get along or always agree with each other. It means we work together and we are about the things we do. I am a youth pastor as he is and he is a communications pastor as I am. We are about each other in ministry and in family. Not just I cook, he cleans but I am about his needs and he is about mine. That is unity. At church, not only am I a Communications Pastor but I am children’s pastor, a worship leader, a senior pastor, I am about groups, I am about men’s ministry, I am a missionary, I am an evangelist. I may not be in a kids classroom, but I pray for them and I am about finding ways for children to come to know God, find a way to connect, grow and impact their world. It is more than being a team player. Unity is as Paul says being one in mind and thought.

Help me strive for unity in all areas of my life! Help me to walk in a spirit of unity in marriage, family, friends, and ministry. Lord I desire that Clark County would come to know you. Increase my capacity to love, problem solve, dream and work with others. Thank you for challenging me to grow. Bless Grace Church. May we be a family that pursue the lost and loves anyone who walks through our doors. Bless Generation Grace. Continue to help us grow and develop as a student ministry. We are your clay and desire your will. Bless our young people and leaders. Lord may they know your love and may we walk in unity.