Church Life in Real Life

churchinreallifeThis Sunday we’ll be starting a new series called “Church Life in Real Life”, and we’ll be exploring the books of 1 & 2 Timothy.  There’s a pretty good commentary which covers at least 1 Tim online at Bible Gateway…you can find it and read it HERE (if you’re so inclined). 

Both the letters to Timothy as well as Titus have become known as the “pastoral epistles”, because they deal so much with church structure.  Some people assert that their only real purpose is to set up church policy and government, but I beg to differ.  It seems to me, that while the regulation of leaders and doctrine brackets the whole work, the real import of the message is how the gospel is supposed to effect our lives with REAL change.  Change that gets evidenced in the lives we live.  Church life should merely be a reflection of our everyday life, not a different aspect of life we reserve for Sundays and Wednesdays.  Church life should be in real life and visa versa.  Anyway…we’ll unpack that a bit more as we go along.

This week as we introduce the book, we’ll be reading chapter 1:1-11  (Also in the Message), and considering Paul’s “War on Error”.

After his greetings, Paul jumps right into correcting teachers in Ephesus (Where Tim is living and working, helping get the church there established), warning them that they’re veering off the path Paul originally pointed to.  What are some of the things he warns against in v4? 

So…what’s the big deal Paul?  Why is doctrine such a sticky issue with you?  What does it matter what some people believe?  Those kinds of questions seem appropriate…so what does v4 say about the results of what is being taught in Ephesus?  What does that tell us about the importance of maintaining a healthy doctrinal understanding?

The issue seems to be a slide into mysticism, and another attempt to introduce the Old Testament law into New Testament living.  Who does Paul say the the law is for?  How do we understand this, in light of Paul’s message of salvation and life in Jesus Christ?

Should be an interesting foray into a very timely epistle!  See yaz Sundee.

“Priorities Under Pressure”

When times are hard, and life seems to have the pressure set at “11”, it’s easy sometimes to forget what comes first.  I know in my own experiences, whenever there’s a problem, I have a tendency to fixate on that problem, and treat it as though it’s the most important thing in the world, until it gets solved.  But is that the right procedure for handling life’s difficulties?

We’re going to continue our study in 2 Thessalonians, and read v1-5 of chapter 3.  (In the Message)

In the first verse, Paul asks the Thessalonians to do something…pray.  What does that tell us about our priorities during times of stress?  What obstacles are in our way to praying?

Combining v1-2…what does Paul ask them to pray about?  What does THAT tell us about our priorities in life?  What is the most important thing in the world for the Christ follower?

In v3-4, Paul expresses his confidence in God, that he will continue doing his work in the people of the Thessalonian church.  Based on what he says, what else is our priority as a Christ follower?

Finally, v5 has Paul praying for them again.  Its a neat kind of rhythm to this…like breathing, or a heartbeat, how the prayer goes from one to the other.  What is his final request for the Christians there?  What is OUR priority, based on his hope for them?

Stuff to ponder.