Colossians 2:4-9

There are several things that encourage and admonish me in this passage.  I don’t know what direction I will take so stick with me as I ramble.

First, we see that Christ rejoices when he sees us steadfastly following him.  Let’s take a step back and look at the context.  The colossians were a church that knew Christ well, yet had started to be deceived by philosophies of their contemporaries.  While we are not explicitly told what these philosophies are, we do know that they contradicting with what God had called them to do, and was divisive among the people (v1).

Paul had not met most of the christians in person, bustill when he hears of the struggles they are having he says v5.  He rejoices by their steadfastness in christ.

That was not what I expected. I expected Paul to jump right to the warning and instructions.  Instead, we have a picture of Paul rejoicing.  WHy would he rejoice for their steadfastness if the entire reason he is writing is to instruct them on avoiding being deceived and trusting no philosophy but Christ?

Though I am not a professional theologian nor do I know greek or hebrew, I would be willing to wager that Paul can rejoice because he know where that steadfast faith comes from (v6).

They have already received Christ and can find steadfast faith in the holy spirit.  Even when we feel we are doubting one of the tenants of christianity, Jesus in us still gives us reason to rejoice.

But what if that is you, being be cheated and deceived through philosophy like the colossians?  Paul gives us a few pointers:

  1. Walk in Christ. (v6-7)
    • What does this look like?  Walking with Him is complicatedly simple.  The simple part is laid out by Paul in v7.  We are rooted and built up in Him and establish in faith.  Notice that none of these are things that we do.  What we are called to do is to abound in what has been done for us with thanksgiving
  2. Rooted in Christ
    • This is parallel to the first thought but I am a  sucker for analogies and metaphors so this one deserves some thought of its own,
    • The picture of us as rooted in christ presents us with so many truths about our relationship with Him.
      • It is from the soul that we are rooted in that we draw the nutrients and water to thrive
      • It is the dirt that the roots are embedded in that keep the plant from being blown about by the wind.
      • the more we draw from and trust in the soil, the deeper our roots will grow.
  3. Find truth in Christ
    • There are many places we can draw truth from, but we are called to base ALL truth on Him
    • Lucky for us, God gave us His word.  By his word we can test and compare the traditions of men and the principles of the world.  If they do not line up with scripture, they probably are not from God.
  4. You are complete in CHrist
    • It is encouraging to know that no matter what philosophies you are wrestling with or which things you are in the process of testing, you are still complete in Christ.  We need nothing except him.

 

 

 

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Ecclesiastes 2

For those of you who don’t know, I work at a desk job where I manage data and email all day.  Some days are better than others.  At its worst, I feel like my work is worthless: why am I even there anyway?  And I contemplate all the life choices I have made that would have lead me down a different path.

I daydream about a more fulfilling job.  It was almost relieving to read Ecclesiastes 2:11 and know that our work is in vain, regardless of our profession.  Our work does not make us valuable (v22-23).  But instead, it is Christ that makes us valuable, and makes our work, in any profession, valuable.

2 Thessalonians 3:8-15

I enjoy serving people.  It brings me joy to be able to serve.  Because of my passion for service, I enjoy discovering what God’s design and plan for service is.

Before Paul closes this letter, he gives a brief word on how to serve people (v8-15).

This passage encourages us to serve joyously, and endlessly.  If you are a theologian, you may notice that while I am discussing this passage in terms of service, it doesn’t actually talk about service.  Instead, it talks about work and idleness.  Even talks about not serving (v10).  How then, is this passage an exhortation on service?

  1. the work that we do is service.

In v8, we are told to never stop working.  This is not trying to put-down those who can’t find a job or that enjoy a vacation, but is instructing that we should do our work fully, without wasted time and without unneeded delay.

It is the next sentence, the why, that points us to service (v8-9) we are working, so that we do not burden others.  This is an act of service.

As christians, we are called to serve others by giving and helping them.  If one person is helping me, when I can work and help myselef, we are striping them of the abilityies to help someone else.

An easy example is seen of this when I was growing up.  My mom was always a hard-worker and when I was young, would “help” clean my and my brothers rooms.   Usually, with the messes we made, it wasn’t a short process but she would help gladly.  In this circumstance, I could serve my mom by actively cleaning my own room so that she could be more productive with that time.

We are called to serve always, that doesn’t mean that we should quit our jobs to feed the poor; instead, it means that we are to do our jobs as best as we can to glorify God, as service.

Service doesn’t always look the way you picture it will.  Sometimes a big part of serving others is to care for yourself and glorify God.

Colossians 1: 24-29

I have been in a search for a definition of service.  What does it mean to serve Christ? How do we do that? Can we really serve him?  What would it look like if we were serving Him?

Paul’s words in Colossians 1:24-29 give us a part of the picture of what Christ-Centered service looks like.

  1. Rejoice in my suffering

a. There will be suffering, as a Christian

b. But we can rejoice in spite of that suffering because

c. Christ has given us a hope greater than any and all of our suffering

2. Filling our flesh with affiliations

a. We see here if we pay attention to the pronouns and verb tenses that Paul is willfully choosing to take on these afflictions.

b. He suffers greatly for the sake of the body of Christ, the Church.

c. I often think about the call to service and sacrifices as putting aside my own preferences so that God can use me to directly change someones life.  What we see here, however, is that Paul is sacrificing because Jesus is worth it, and he serves the rest of the body of Christ, as well as Christ himself, in his joyful sacrifice.

3. Ministry according to God’s Stewardship

a. God has granted us all lives with time and gifts.  Each one of them is a gift from God.  If we are going to fully glorify him who made us, it is not good enough to squander his gifts.  Paul’s gift was ministry , and he didn’t let suffering or even prison hold him back from what God had for him.

and the passage continues, but these are my thoughts for today.

Hope and Helping

The world we live in is not a pretty place.  From the hurricane that devastated Haiti to the violence that still ravages Syria and even still, more sorrow abounds.  In our personal experiences, we have a large variation in pain and sorrow.  Some constantly suffer while other seem impervious to suffering.

One of the ways that I have tried to escape suffering is to learn more.  For example, I figured if I know more about the homeless family begging for money, I would be able to help them out and better meet their needs.

The idea sounds great, but if I am being honest, I have never stopped to get to know  a homeless person well enough to be able to help any better than when I started.

The problem is that it is painful to get to know them and to hear that much of their story.  It brings more sorrow the more you know (Ecclesiastes 1:18).  How then can we help?

Solomon reminds us throughout Ecclesiastes that helping will be in vain all of our works will be in vain.  Noting gained.

The difference is that with Christ you do not need to bare that sorrow.  When you hear of the family locked in their situation at no fault of their own or the guy who made one stupid mistake when he was young and now suffers from sever medical distress and can’t get a job to pay his bills.  Or the kids that have to beg so that their parents can eat some food.  When you heat of these situations, we can feel their pain and we hear their sorrow but we know that Jesus has already overcome these struggles.  He has already cared for them.  He can provide hope.

 

Full bladder

So I have been pondering a really important question for some time now and thought I would share my struggle.

The question: what is the appropriate time to use the bathroom at church?

I mean, i’m sure you have had that time when you just really had to go but were not really sure what the best time to sneak out is.  Or maybe it’s just me #somepeopledrinkenoughwater.

So the question stands: what is the best time?

During the songs when everyone is already standing?

During the greeting when people might be walking around?

During the prayer when everyone’s eyes are closed?

It is a tough question to answer, and perhaps one of the most difficult question to answer theologically.  Have thoughts?  Have you found the answer hidden away in malalonians 3?  Let me know so we can share in the truth.

2 Thessalonians 3:3-5

Sometimes, I feel discouraged or down about how I am failing to live like I believe I ought to.

For example, there was a season of maybe 6 months where I did not have patience with my wife.  In fact, I would be frustrated and snap more often than not.  I know that was not glorifying to God, but I couldn’t seem to be any more patient, no matter how hard I tried.

Eventually, after much prayer, God is teaching me to be patient again.

I really love these verses in 2 thessalonians 3 because it is a great reminder that God is the one that directs us, He is, ultimately, in control and can guide and direct us to look more like Him when you feel like all you can do is fail at progress, it is a huge encouragement to know that the one that never falls will be our guide.