Tag Archives: part

Partnership in the Gospel

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. (Philippians 1:18b-30, NRSV)

What would you say if I told you that some scholars think that Paul was contemplating suicide here? is really the

This part, ” I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.” Paul is talking about wanting to depart to be with Chris because that is really the place we as Christians should want to be. But Paul knows that the Philippians and others need him here to help them grow as disciples. Actually, this is good news for all of us. Aren’t there times you wish you weren’t where you are? And this is Paul. Paul knows that Christ needs him where He put him. We all have a part to play, and all of those parts are important.

So live your life as Christ called you to and be a beacon of His hope in the world.


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Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21, NRSV)

Has Jesus ever asked you to do something that you found to be unbelievable?

Well I can relate to how the disciples felt here a little bit. Now I did not feed 5000 men and then women and children on top of that, maybe about 10,000 people here got fed with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.

But when I was at my first call and it seemed about time for me to be moving on, I submitted my paperwork to seek a call, and I received a call from the assistant to the bishop of the Southwestern Texas Synod of the ELCA. He told me he had a congregation in a small town for me to look at. And I did not turn down any conversation with any congregation any where. This small town was a town of 65,000 people. I guess things in Texas really are big. And the congregation had a membership of 1,000. Now keep in mind they were looking for a senior pastor/head of staff, and I was in the 3rd year of my first call at a congregation that was just over 20 years old and a membership of 156. We had an average weekly attendance of 75, and the population of the town we were in was 1,000. So I was going from being the only staff, to head of staff, from a town of 1,000, to a congregation of 1,000, from a small town in Ohio to a SMALL TOWN in Texas! I have nothing to give, but God worked through me in that place.

How can we feed all of these people? Maybe we all need to change our outlook and ask God, How are you going to let us be a part of how you will do this?

All things are possible for God. Nothing should ever be unbelievable!


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For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31, NRSV)

So what did the eye say to the ear?

“Did you see that?”

And the ear replied, “no, did you hear that?”

And just how did the eye hear what the ear had to say anyhow?

And how did the eye say anything at all?

No part of the body is any more important than another. We are all interconnected and rely on each other to make this whole thing work, just as our bodies rely on all the parts to make it work.


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Gifts in the mission…

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Corinthians 12:1-11 ESV)

How complex is the body?  Actually the body changes over time from when we are born. Bones meld together we lose organs, some of us do. Organs that we say do not do anything but now we are learning do. Tonsils actually help protect your body from disease.

And how complex is the body of Christ? We are a body that is fighting against itself with turmoil and conflict like a body fighting off disease. But we as a body are just like our human body, made up of many members, some seen, some unseen, yet none less important than the other. God gifted us and called us to be a part of this complex system to be a part of His mission in this place. We are all called and gifted. Not just some of us. You have a gift to use!

I find it refreshing to be typing this waiting for worship at a senior high gathering with just under 200 high school aged youth where we are talking about how the body of Christ is 1 body and we are all called and sent to be a light to the world. Do not ever think you do not have a call. Even in the times where your call may not be clear or completely unknown to you, God is still with you and leading you and needing you!

You are called and you have a part to play in the mission of God!


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