Monday, February 2, 2015

Words for the week: Jan 25-Feb 1


From Pastor Sarah
Last week, in a sermon about Jonah, I pointed out that Jonah's pouty response to the Ninevite's conversion reveals something true about all of us:  We find it easier to be righteous when we have a clear enemy.  Or put another way: it's easier to be the good guy when everyone knows who the bad guy is.
When a person you'd written off as unworthy changes, you may have a hard time allowing them to be different than they were before.  Their change means you have to change too.  Since God's mercy extends to the Ninevites, Jonah would have to accept those Niniveites were no worse than he was in the eyes of God.  Now Jonah would have to face them as equals which would mean confronting - yet again - his own shadow side.  He probably just wants to get rid of the fishy smell that lingers on his body and these Ninevites remind him, he's as in need of God's mercy as they are.
Listen to the whole sermon here:
This week, I will preach on 1 Corinthians 8. Paul wrote to a new church as they tried to figure out the rules that would govern their life together.  In their case, at issue is if they should eat meat that had been killed in a sacrifice to idols.  Since we no longer have that struggle, it's a safe, non-emotional case study for us to learn something about how to resolve conflicts within a church.
Churches can so often get polarized into our various camps that we forget that the central reason we are together is because God loves us. Church isn't made up of people who know the most or even who do the best.  We're made up of people equally in need of God's love.  Yes, we need order and rules, but it's love that undergirds them all.  As Paul writes, "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up."
Questions:
  1. Have you ever been so focused on being "right" that you damaged a valuable relationship?
  2. How would asking yourself "what's the loving thing to do?" change a conflict you are currently in?
  3. What small gift of undeserved love has someone given to you recently?

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