Date: 4/15/2003
Time: 5:53:48 AM


15:2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you--unless you have come to believe in vain.

I am wondering if this word, vain would be translated similar to vanity. Nancy-Wi.

Date: 4/15/2003
Time: 6:28:31 AM


Dear Nancy:

I answered your question over at the gospel side.

Date: 4/16/2003
Time: 6:45:11 AM


Easter is about faith and belief. Some only come on Easter and Christmas and miss the filling between. Kind of like eating a hollow bunny. The fullness the richness of the inner most core of faith, missing. I would call it empty faith. I wonder what gives the depth to our everyday faith. These two question occurred when I read this scripture. What is vain faith? What is it to persecuted the church today? Nancy-Wi

Date: 4/16/2003
Time: 6:46:00 AM


Thanks! Nancy-Wi

Date: 1/27/2004
Time: 7:20:18 AM


Paul stresses that the proclamation of the resurrection is not a novelty. Along with the story of Jesus' crucifixion and burial, this resurrection witness has shaped the whole church from the time of the apostles to the present. The Christian church is solidly founded upon this good news.

Paul shares with the followers in Corinth the most basic tenet of the Christian faith: Christ died and rose from the dead. In these verses, we hear echoes of God's earlier promises to King David and Isaiah. In Jesus' death and resurrection, new life comes out of what appears to be destroyed and promise grows out of what appears to be hopeless.

The teaching of the resurrection of the dead was controversial in the Corinthian community, so Paul addressed it as a pastoral issue, reminding the community of his own encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). How does God come to you in your life?

Date: 1/28/2004
Time: 7:45:57 AM


"For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."

This verse struck me today. How was your past shaping your presence and your future for God's Kingdom? In Psalm 138, there was a sense of God's past rescue can enable us to trust God in the presence hard-ship and His future victory. Here, Paul's past record as an persecutor propelled him to "work harder" (yet he recognized that God's grace and not his hard-work, is what really count.)

There are much talks about "Purpose-Driven" mechanism now a day. But can we really figured out a personal and particular purpose for our life until we have seen the trajectory path of God's redemption plan for my particular life?

Some said from our life experience came our theology. To that, I would add that the personal theology (or our personal life with God) would sprung out of the encounter with the ressurected Christ, (one way with Paul or the other with us today). That event of grace would energize our life, and bring us to the compelling "working hard" for the grace that we have discovered.

May I realized how God have met me in my past, so that I would be energize for the presence and the future for the grace I have discovered.

Coho, Midway City

Date: 1/29/2004
Time: 9:04:47 AM


As I read the scriptures for this week, I was struck by the "unworthiness" of those called to serve. I don't think this is false humility. It think in the presence of God/Christ, we see ourselves as we truly are. And yet, we are called to serve God. Amazing. I'll be focusing more on the the gospel, but Paul's strong statement of faith is a result of his encounter with and acceptance by Christ. This is powerful stuff.

Pam in San Bernardino

Date: 2/1/2004
Time: 6:52:51 AM


Hey Sally... was reading about your sourdough saga, and it occured to me that is a metaphor for the very Love we are talking about. God gives us this incredible gift (love)) ... and we say 'How wonderful! .... I'll just set it here in a safe place until I get around to using it." But how often do we forget about it, or nod to it when we get around to cleaning out the refrig. We know it's there for when we have time/inclination/need. Then the time comes to pull it out. How do I use it? Is it still good? God's love is like starter.. it needs to be "fed" and "used" ... and shared ... the more often the better. The reason old or aged starter has such a complex flavor is not because it is old, but because it has been used/employed again and again (in the best cases daily). That is why "shared" starter is such a gift.... someone is giving you the benefit of years of their loving attention to this one silent/unseen ingredient in their bread. OK... I've pushed the analogy far enough. Blessings, Rev.Pam in Eugene

Date: 2/2/2004
Time: 8:17:34 AM


Pam - thanks - that added some more "bite" to the sourdough.

I'd used it as a symbol of leavening, increasing the gift/s of faith, hope, agape, especially agape. Marge gave it to me, I baked it for the cong, we gave it to God, God adds the blessing of his Son, and gives it to us so that we can give it to others.

We pray the same words every month "make (these elements) be the body and blood of Christ so that we can be for the world the body of Christ redeemed by his blood..." but by the looks of peoples' faces, the concrete symbol had an effect.

BTW: it was the worst bread I'd ever had - and almost the worst I'd ever made. Somethibng happened and I accidentally cooked it at 200 degrees for 1/2 hour before recognizing my mistake. Then, before even that, I didn't let it rise long enough (the recipe said 1 1/2 hours, but it didn't seem right - or maybe our kitchen is too cool).

Anyways, it was CRUSTY and DENSE. I got a little tickled serving it, having to dig it out of the crust. I kept it as is, though, and made mention of its so-called "inadequacy" and indicated that the grace, the mystery, and the miracle of the whole event is that God was STILL able to use this event to give himself to us...

which ties us into this week's pericope! Cool, huh?


Date: 2/2/2004
Time: 8:21:14 AM


oh - I didn't make clear that the sermon was partly about "eternality." Those "maturing in faith" Christians ('when I became an adult ...') seek more than the shallow and self-serving faith that sees getting saved and going to heaven as its only goal. Most of us know that there's more to it ...

sourdough is eternal. Enough about last week! We had a good worship, can you tell?


Date: 2/4/2004
Time: 5:55:38 AM


Does anyone have any thoughts on the last two verses? "On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them - though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe."

I am always struck by Paul's need to compare himself with the other disciples. It probably has to do with the fact that he didn't see Christ before his ascension, but later. Does Paul have an inferiority complex, or is he just trying assert his place as an apostle, in the face of their opposition? It is almost like he is saying, "I worked hardest.... but if you heard the Gospel from the other guys, it is good too."

I realize this is a departure from the rest of the conversation. Is there anything here, or am I wandering down a bunny trail.......

Hop Hop

Date: 2/4/2004
Time: 1:53:19 PM


Hop Hop I don't think scholars see this in the Corinthian Church, but in others to whom Paul writes, other "apostles" have come behind him, saying that he is not a "real" apostle, so he defends his status. I hear vs. 10 as saying that Paul cannot take credit for his hard work because it is only through God's grace that he could work so hard. (If he had had and eraser or wanted to redo the whole letter, he might not have made the comparison.)

Max in NC

Date: 2/4/2004
Time: 2:55:44 PM


I think I'll be focusing this week on grace as a great motivator. Those forgiven a great debt usually respond with great love.

John near Pitts

Date: 2/4/2004
Time: 5:12:33 PM


This triple of call stories (Isaiah, Paul, Peter) has many a common thread, one of which is: None of them were looking for God, rather God came looking for them. Having lots of time to prepare (I am a lay preacher and only get called on occasionally) I pulled down C.S. Lewis's "Surprised by Joy" from my shelf, and read through his account of his early life until I reached the passage (P. 181-182 in my Fontana edition) where he says: "Amiable agnostics will talk cheerfully abour 'Man's search for God'. To me, as I then was, they might as well have talked about the mouse's search for the cat." Isaiah, Peter and Paul all had at least the wits to realize they had been caught, unclean lips and all. Is there a sermon here? Alan in Ontario

Date: 2/5/2004
Time: 7:54:40 AM


If the cross of Christ makes impossible any idea of "cheap grace," the resurrection of Christ is the rock upon which all attempts to make the Christian faith a "manageable" reality founder. It can be neither explained nor explained away. It is a continuing affront to the easy peace Christians have made with their world, and it is a continuing challenge to any attempt to reduce the faith to a kind of moral philosophy or spiritual system of self-redemption. As God's word of grace to humanity plagued by sin and death, it is God's word of judgment on any easy accommodation of the gospel to any world view, ancient of modern. As unacceptable to the first century in its thought categories as it is to ours, it nevertheless stands at the center of the Christian faith, a permanent warning against any attempt to make the gospel a gospel of self-help or self-salvation. Only the defeat of death gives any real promise of a future worth living. What humanity's ingenuity builds, their sin and pride will corrupt. If salvation is to be meaningful, it will have to find a way around that fact. The resurrection tells us that that is what God had done in Christ.

We have the same problems the Corinthians had when it comes to thinking about someone rising from the dead. It is beyond our experience, it contradicts our world view, it may even seem unnecessary. Yet it must be proclaimed, as the prime witness of our faith. One way to treat this theme sermonically would be to point to the meaning rather than the "mechanics" of resurrection. Christ risen points to a grace beyond human capacity. We can no more control it than we can raise ourselves from the dead. It is grace beyond human management. We cannot bring under control something we did not originate and do not fully understand. It is beyond human experience. We cannot judge it by the normal canons of experience-based analysis since it is, by definition, beyond the boundary of human experience that ends with death. Grace cannot be explained or controlled or manipulated. But if it is accepted, it can transform lives today as it transformed the life of Paul, giving his life a totally new meaning and changing by 180 degrees the direction of his efforts. Why that is so we cannot explain; that it is so, the world-transforming history of the Christian faith shows. The resurrection is the final witness to a grace that comes from God, and that means from a point beyond our control. Grace is God's power at work, not ours, and Christ risen from the dead makes that stunningly clear.

Date: 2/6/2004
Time: 2:06:42 PM


Note: I am posting this to all three list.

Using all three readings I have titled my message "Unfit," using Paul's self-description of his qualifications for apostleship. There seem to be various human preoccupations that would tend to distract us from the activity of God in human events.

That somewhat nebulus idea leads me to wonder about Isaiah's preoccupation with Uzziah's kingship and the future of Judah now that he's finally gone. Does anyone have awareness of that particular topic or a reference that I might consult?

Any refinement of these thoughts or this outline would be appreciated.

Things that disqualify us from discipleship. 1. Politics - Isaiah. Relied too heavily on the king.

2. Profession - Peter. Relied too heavily on his work.

3. Prejudice - Paul. Relied too heavily on his self-righteousness.

The only way we are made fit is by the cleansing blood of Christ.

Hey, I've still got 40 hours to develop it . . . or go another direction.

PKFlyer in TX

Date: 2/6/2004
Time: 2:24:18 PM


ADDENDUM: The point being that as unfit as we may feel for kingdom work, God's call makes us fit.

God doesn't call the qualified.

God qualifies those who God calls.

Date: 2/6/2004
Time: 3:44:34 PM


Greetings, DPSers! I have been enjoying your discussions but I'm going to have to go a different way this summer. We've spent 3 weeks talking about spiritual gifts in general in chapters 12 and 13 but when it becomes time to get to specifics, the Common Lectionary jumps ship. Nowhere does chapter 14 of 1st Corinthians appear in the 3 year cycle (at least in the United Methodist version). It has some hard teachings that have caused trouble in some churches but I don't think that is a reason to avoid it. Yes, that also includes dealing with the part that says that women should be silent in church. I expect that not everyone is going to agree with what I might say but I pray that, in all of our churches, our people won't receive as the people in the Isaiah lesson, with calloused hearts, dull ears, and closed eyes.

Mike in Soddy Daisy, TN

Date: 2/6/2004
Time: 3:47:05 PM


I must have something like pastoral appointments on my heart. That should have been that I am going another way this Sunday, not this summer. Mike in SD,TN