Wednesday Word: ‘Love First’ (1 Corinthians 8)

When I am confronted or questioned or criticized by a brother or sister in Christ, what is my first response?

If I am honest, my first response is usually along the lines of defense. I proclaim my innocence or my justification for whatever it is that we are discussing. I lay out my arguments, throw in some Scripture when I can, and do my best to defend my position. And normally this tactic works fairly well for me because I always feel as though I am right, or at least I feel like I won the argument (just ask my wife). 

Win or lose, truth is, I have probably accomplished very little because I did not begin with love. As I have been working through 1 Corinthians, I have seen Paul’s call to love over and over again. Thing is, it does not always look like what I expect. Love means laboring to end division (ch.1). Love means focusing on the gospel (ch. 2). Love means humbly recognizing my part and never boasting in men (ch. 3-4). Love means taking action against unrepentant sin (ch. 5). Love means suffering wrong and being defrauded (ch. 6). Love means committment and faithfulness (ch. 7). And love means caring more about my brother in Christ than I care about my rights (ch. 8).

The world has so poorly defined love that I am often hesitant to even use the word, but Paul continues to point me back to its importance when it comes to the local church. And how does he define it? The sacrifice of Christ on the cross for my sins. By fixing my gaze on the gospel, on the love of God displayed through the giving of His Son, I can defeat division, boast in the cross, walk through suffering, and lay down my rights for my friends. Through His strength and His grace, I can love the church as Christ has loved His Bride.

May love, true sacrificial love, always be my first response.

wm

Monday Music: ‘Stay away from Jesus’ (Matt Papa)

  
I was talking with a friend (HT: Jeff Polk) the other day and he asked me if I had ever heard of Matt Papa. I told him that I knew him as the guy who blogged about Christian music and was not too big on Christian radio (a sentiment that I share). He asked me about the song ‘Stay away from Jesus’ and since I have not listened to much of Papa’s music, I told him I had never heard it. So he pulled it up on his smart phone (ahh technology) and let me hear some of it. Next time I was in front of my laptop I looked it up on Spotify to hear the whole song. It is good song with a biting message, with lyrics like these:

  • “He’ll say, ‘Take your cross and die,’ so if you want a comfy life, then stay away from Jesus.”
  • “If your happy in your stuff and 10%’s enough, then stay away from Jesus.”
  • “Let the children come and let the prideful run, The Lord, The Lord is His Name.”
  • “If you think you are the way and in control you’ll stay, then stay away from Jesus.”

Papa is taking the strong words of Jesus about being His disciple and setting them to music. It is a great idea for a song, with an obvioulsy grab-your-attention title. Give it a listen here:

Stay away from Jesus
wm

The Routine

So I thought I would try blogging (because you know I need something else to do and blogging was really cool several years ago). It feels presumptuous to think that anybody would read anything I write so I figured I should just keep things simple and write about things I enjoy. Things like music, literature, the Bible, other articles, sports/hobbies, etc.

In my old age I have become a man who sticks to a schedule (my weekly routine is disturbingly routine). So I thought I should set up a schedule/routine for my blog. Here’s what I decided:

Mondays: Mondays are for music. I will pick a song, an artist, an album, something to do with music to talk about. I love music and I am not a big fan of Mondays, so maybe this will work out.

Tuesdays: I read some as a pastor and I am a regular at our local library, so I will give Tuesdays to talking about books.

Wednesdays: Preaching is a weekly activity for me as a pastor. I get the amazing privilege of teaching the Bible to a faithful flock on most Sundays. Spending a day writing about the Word can hopefully help in that task.

Thursdays: People are constantly posting articles to read and I rarely comment on them. I will now comment on some of them. On Thursdays.

Fridays: Growing up in Tennessee and moving to Missouri I became a big van of all things Volunteer (I stick mostly to basketball and football). I also like other sports too so I might say something about the rest of the sporting world on occasion. Things like “I heard that guy Stephen Curry is a Christian” or “Tom Brady’s a CHEATER” (you know, obvious stuff like that).

So there it is, my blog routine (have you already noticed that I use the word “so” too much in my writing, maybe I can fix that). Anyway, here’s to hoping I write something (and that somebody might occasionally read it).

wm