1 Cor 15 - Hope in the Resurrection of the Body

When you hear the phrase “Hope in the Gospel,” what comes to mind? What beliefs come into view? What actions does “Gospel” lead you into? Paul begins his last major section of 1 Corinthians with a reminder of the Gospel. He roots the Gospel as an event in history and not just in a belief. Jesus died for our sins…was buried…was raised on the third day. He then appeared to a bunch of people, including Paul (15:1-8). 

Jesus died to save us from our sins. But that is only part of it. The death of Jesus has been the main focus (and sometimes only focus) of Christian belief. Most discussions around the Christian life are centered around Jesus dying for our sins. Subtly, this shifts the focus of the conversations to personal salvation and what one is required to do to receive salvation. You hear one person living their life wild and free, “because you cannot earn grace,” and another person joylessly calculating each part of their life for fear of messing up, “because God has given us a clear guide for going to heaven.” These conversations are missing a clear piece of the conversation: the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Often when we hear the word “Resurrection,” we hear it as a fancy term for our souls going to heaven when we die. The New Testament speaks more about the hope of the resurrection than it does about spirits/souls going to heaven when they die. This would be a great study to do at a later time. Our souls going off to the “heavens” to sit on a cloud and strum a harp is more based in the Greek Philosophy of Plato and read into scripture rather than the Jewish understanding of the resurrection in which scripture was written. I still believe that there is a heavenly existence, but this is not the ultimate hope. The resurrection of our bodies is the final hope that we have. Death will be conquered, and we will be raised new fully illuminated by the Spirit of God as he intended us to be in the first place.

Paul concludes his letter with a discourse on the resurrection for two reasons; First, not only are people are denying it that we will be resurrected when Christ returns, but also because the resurrection is essential for understanding that what happens in our bodies right now does matter. This second part is the main focus this Sunday.

Paul ends each major section of chapter 15 with a call to righteous behavior and faithfulness in doing the Lord’s work, not because we’re trying to earn our way to salvation but because we have been brought into the resurrection of Christ and we work with Christ to make the resurrection a reality in others. 

“If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.” – 15:32b-34

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 15:58

The gospel’s proclamation of resurrection of the body serves both as a warning that we will be held accountable for what we do with our bodies and, at the same time, as a promise that our bodily labor is significant rather than meaningless.

Paul ends the argument of his letter with the resurrection because everything else he has said up to this point finds meaning in this foundational understanding of the Christian faith. Why do we seek unity? Because it is the reality of the resurrection. Why do we seek reconciliation with others? Because all will be made right in the resurrection. Why do we offer mercy to others? Because mercy is the only reality in the resurrection. 

Take a moment to read Romans 8 with the resurrection of all things in mind. When we start broadly with what God is doing in creation to make “all things new” (Revelation 21:5) and then move towards our own salvation, we see that everything we do in this life is working with God to cultivate the creation that he created in the first place. We are co-rulers and co-gardeners with God in bringing about the new creation.

I ran across this in a commentary on 1 Corinthians 15 and I’m still chewing on it. I’ll just leave it here for you to chew on it too: 

“If we deny the resurrection, we will find ourselves turning inward and focusing on our own religious experience as the matter of central interest.” - Richard B. Hays

1 Cor 11-14 - Guiding Principles for Addressing Issues

The issues facing the church in Corinth are fairly unique to their situation. Many of the problems Paul addresses in Corinth do not show up in other church contexts we find in the New Testament. While we may never have a debate over food sacrificed to idols, whether women can pray in the assembly with their head uncovered, or how to properly approach the usage of tongue speaking in the assembly, Paul provides some key principles all Christians need to adhere to when making decisions for their particular churches. 

A few weeks ago, Cody pointed to the guiding principle that becomes the measure you should use against yourself in every situation of debate: “Knowledge puffs up, love builds up” (8:1). Paul will continue with this principle in chapters 11-14. There are a lot of Christians out in the world, including the one who writes this, who need to be reminded to always lead with love and look to how they can build others up. Based on the dialogue I typically see/hear between Christians, we haven’t ready Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church with much seriousness. 

Paul works from this foundation of love, celebrated in the Lord’s Supper, and works from two guiding principles in navigating the issues in Corinth: First, do what builds up the church. Second, if it keeps people from receiving the Gospel, don’t do it. These two guiding principles, founded in love, play out in a variety of ways in different cultural contexts. 

Side Note: One of the principles in our faith tradition called the “Restoration Movement” is that every church is autonomous under its own leadership. This is an important part of our movement because what is best practices for a church in the cultural Midwest might be different from a church trying to seek and save the lost in the cultural Northeast. We shouldn’t expect a church in South Korea to look exactly like a church in Honduras. One of the important slogans which came out of our church heritage is, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, charity. In all things, love.” Part of the issue we have run into is that we struggle to define what the “essentials” are and in these debates, love went out the window a long time ago. 

There is a lot to talk about in 1 Corinthians 11-14 where Paul addresses issues that are taking place in their assembly. For your own reflection and study, I tried providing a few questions and comments to work through. In no way are these questions exhaustive. Please shoot me an email if you have any questions you’d like to add or clarification on things I’ve written.

11:2-16– Should women wear the head covering when they prayor prophesy in worship? Principle from this section: do not do anything that will hinder the expansion of the Gospel. How does this metric help us make decisions in different culture for how to move the Gospel forward? 

11:17-34– Divisive actions in the Lord’s Supper 

12:1-31– Unity is assumed. Paul is addressing the need for diversity. Gifts are given for the common good of the community. If a gift is used for the edification of the individual, it is an abused gift. Should every gift be used for the edification of the community of believers? 

13:1-13– What is the longevity of spiritual gifts (v8)? What lasts forever? 

Ch 12-13– When it comes to the faith community coming together for worship, chapter 12 tells us that every gift should be used for the edification of the entire church and not for the individual. Chapter 13 tells us that if you do not have love in your heart for others, you are following some other way than the most excellent way. 

14:1-25– What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? Which ones should you try to excel in? 

14:26-40 – Back to some basics, when everyone in the class starts talking the Kindergarten teacher says, “One at a time!” Again, the metric for what you should do is, “what is best for everyone else in the church?” One interesting observation from this section that those who receive a message in a tongue or prophesy have the ability to not speak. 

14:34-35– Questions always come up here. I want to point to a few things to consider when reading these verses: Paul gives specific instructions for how women should pray/prophesy in the assembly in chapter 11. The language Paul uses in the Greek is very strong and carries the implication that these women are causing such problems that they shouldn’t even make a sound. How do the principles Paul has laid out in chapters 11-14 shape how discussions around this passage should take place? Finally, is Paul addressing a specific situation in a particular congregation or is this a binding command for all people everywhere (even the women of chapter 11)?  

1 Cor 11-14 - Unity Around the Table

Cody did a fantastic job Sunday and set the stage well for this next section of 1 Corinthians 11-14. We’ll be in this section over the next two weeks because there’s a lot going on here. The nutshell of what we need to take away from 8-10 is that we should always look to what is best for the building up of others. Paul reminds us that, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” When it comes to disagreements in the church, how do I let me “knowledge” get in the way of unity? In the grey areas of disagreement, I need to think about the wellbeing of others in how I act. Cody ended his sermon with a reflection on our “participation” in the body of Christ through partaking in the “one loaf” together at the Lord’s Table (10:14-17). This section ends with Paul saying, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (11:1). This is a solid reminder that I’m called to set an example in Christ for people to follow and to look to Christ in others as a reminder of who I am called to be.

Chapters 11-14 are focused on what happens during the time of worship in Corinth. He’s going to address head coverings when women pay and prophesy in worship, how the Lord’s Supper is being abused in the assembly, the use of spiritual gifts for the common good of the church, unity, and what is proper for orderly worship. I’m going to address all of these topics in two parts. This week I will look at the central concern of this section: Unity of the Body. This is central to Paul’s letter to the church, central to Jesus’ prayer in John 17, and central to who we are and need to be as a Church. 

This Sunday, we will have a special communion service where the Lord’s Table will be the central focus of what we do. This will allow us to take time to practice what Paul address in 1 Corinthians 11. In preparing for Sunday, read chapter 11 (and 12-14 if you want to get the full context) and wrestle with these questions: if the way they are taking communion does more harm than good, what are they doing wrong? If the way they are taking the Lord’s Supper is causing divisions, what is it about the Lord’s Supper that should be bringing unity? What can you do as an individual and what can we do as a community in our practices around the Lord’s Supper to cultivate unity amongst our diverse congregation? 

I would love to hear your responses to these questions! See you Sunday! 


1 Cor 8-10 - How to Approach Disagreements in the Church

Reading through 1 Corinthians this time around I’ve been more aware of Paul’s love and concern for the church body. He continually points to what is best for the church as a whole over what each individual wants. This past Sunday, we looked at addressing major sin within the church. In Ch. 5, Paul is more critical of the church than he is of the world. The church often tends to be more critical of the world than it does of the church. What happens to the integrity of the church when we point to the sexual sin of the world, who has not committed to following Christ, while ignoring the sexual abuse of women and children and sexual promiscuity within the church, those who claim to follow Christ? We lose our voice in this world when we fail to address the integrity of the church while pointing to the flaws of the world. 

Paul shifts his focus to interactions between Christians. How do we decide what is right and wrong in a life that is filled with grey? The answer is simply put but hard to live: Love. What does love for other require in every situation? There are three passages that keep echoing while I read 1 Corinthians: One we read last week, “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?” (6:7); a passage we’ll focus on this week, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (8:1); and one we will focus on in the weeks to come, “Love never fails” (13:8). 

When you come to a disagreement on a practice, a doctrinal issue, or major decision for the community, how should those conversations be approached? How should you respond? Frankly, I don’t like the metric of 8:1 because I’ve spent a lot of time obtaining knowledge. There are issues we come to in life that it would be easier for me to say, “I know more than you because I have a piece of paper on my wall” (it’s actually in a box somewhere). But, if I have all of the knowledge in the world and cannot meet someone where they are on their journey and walk with them in love, I’m nothing more than an arrogant fool being used by Satan to cause problems in the church. 

Read the issues of 1 Cor 8 and see how love applies to decision making in those texts. We don’t have to deal with food sacrificed to idols so use your imagination for a bit. When would there be a situation where you believe something is right while someone else thinks it is wrong? What does it look like to add love to the equation as the one who “knows better” in the situation? Another way of asking this, when is there a situation where doing the “right thing” becomes wrong? 

Try ending your day reflecting back over the events of the day using love to examine how you handled yourself with others. Ask God for forgiveness where you failed. Think about the day to come when you might be in difficult situations, ask God to work through you to respond in love to those situations. 

1 Cor 5-7 - What you do in your body matters.

Last week in our study of First Corinthians, I framed Paul’s argument with 1:13 and 15:58. The church in Corinth had a whole host of issues in which Paul needed to address but he began his letter by addressing their divisions. The main focus of his call to unity is God’s redemptive action in the cross of Christ and in baptism, where each person receives the redemptive grace. In 1:13, he points to the centering foundation of baptism, that all of us who are baptized have a different way of living. We are all united in Christ. Christ is not, cannot, and will not ever be divided. His call for unity is rooted in the Resurrection of Jesus, which he addresses towards the end of his letter in chapter 15. One of his arguments in ch. 15 has been transformative for me and how I think about my work as a minister and the call of all Christians to bring about reconciliation in the world as Christ’s ambassadors. Paul uses the imagery of planting and harvesting. What is planted in this life as perishable will be raised imperishable. This imagery points to what we do to bring about unity in this life will be harvested in the life to come. Paul ends chapter 15 with reminding us that because of Christ’s Resurrection the work we do with the Lord is never done in vain. 

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is our hope. We too will be resurrected. This is the promise of God that he still loves his creation and has not given up on it. He intends to redeem it. The biblical understanding of the perfect human, as God created them in the garden, is that they are fully physical and fully spiritual. When we only live out our physical desires and ignore the spirit in our lives, we fail to be fully human. When we desire a spiritual existence without a bodily existence, we fail to be fully human. God loves the creation he created and wants to restore it to what he intended it to be. That is the hope in the resurrection. That is the New Jerusalem coming down in Revelation 21. We’ll say more about all of this when we get to chapter 15. 

Greek philosophy taught that the physical was bad, and the spirit was good. They taught that the true self was spiritual, and the physical would be cast off for a spiritual existence in the afterlife. The physical being inherently bad is convenient for people who want to fulfill their physical desires. It allows you to “sin in the flesh” as long as you keep your spirit clean. 

This is what Paul is addressing when he writes about the sexual sins in chapter 5-7. Read through these chapters and see how you can construct the Corinthian argument that Paul is writing against. One of the major underlying issues in Corinth was “hyper spirituality.” This also plays into the sexual sins Paul is addressing when it comes to marriage. There seems to be people who do not want to stay married to their pagan spouses because their spirit cannot be joined to them. They are also withholding sex from their pagan spouses because they will don’t want to be defiled. Read through these arguments from Paul and see how the conversation might come off the page for you. Where do you see these conversations coming up in our culture? 

One of the major points I want to look at in this section is how Paul addresses the sexual immorality in chapter 5 where the guy is sleeping with his stepmother. Paul wants them to kick him out of the church because there is something fundamentally wrong with calling yourself a Brother in Christ and living this way. He says not to associate with him. Take a moment to look at 5:9-13, who does Paul say to judge? Is it possible that churches can be too harsh to the world (who don’t know Christ) and too lenient on those in the church (who do know Christ)? We are to be a redeemed community of believers who live out the image of the resurrection for all to see.

1 Corinthians - Resurrected Life Together

On Easter, we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Resurrection creates in us a New Song which moves us to sing and dance in a way that the world around us has never known but that creation has longed for since the fall of humanity. Any argument we can make for the resurrection is negated when it is not backed up by a resurrected life. Allow this focus of Easter to launch us into a deeper conversation of what the resurrected life looks like. This life is not focused on “being good” to then “go to heaven.” This life is about having already received the first-fruit of the resurrection through the Holy Spirit in baptism and living out the reality of one who has been redeemed. A Christian faith that is self-focused has missed the target of what the Christian faith is about. 

Our focus this year has been on how we GROW together as a community with our passage focus being in Acts 2:42-47. The Apostles have seen the Risen Christ, he has given them the mission to go into all the world, and the Holy Spirit has descended on them. Peter addresses a crowd at Pentecost about who Jesus was and is. He proclaims that the Holy Spirit is to be poured out on all people! Through baptism, we are made clean through the sacrifice of Jesus and raised with him in his resurrection. Through baptism, we are moved from outsider to insider and we receive the Holy Spirit as a marker of this insider reality. In Acts 2:42-47, we see a glimpse of what a Spirit filled community of believers looks like. This passage is an answer to the question, “What does it look like for a community of believers to live out the reality of the resurrection?”

All you have to do is read the Acts for a few more paragraphs to see that this perfect community of believers does not remain the reality. When you have people together, you’re going to have divisions. The more diverse your community becomes, the more potential there is for divisions. To say this another way: the more diverse the community becomes, the greater the need to the love of Christ to bring people together. Christ showed us the ultimate sacrifice when he died. Who did he die for? Me. You. The Jews. Those who loved him. Those who hated him. Those who didn’t know him. Those who refuse to know him. Christ died for all people that they might find life. This kind of love is the love we’re called to have for others. So, how do we apply this love to conflicts in community? 

We are starting a new series to explore this question. If you’re looking for an example of a Church in conflict, look no further than Corinth. In First Corinthians, we will see divisions based on preachers, a man sleeping with his step mom, temple prostitution, believers suing one another, disagreements over food, tongue speaking, what women should wear when they prophesy in church, getting drunk during communion, chaos during worship, and people denying the bodily resurrection. This church has just about everything except a good argument on what color the carpets should be! 

Why should a church like Corinth bother with trying to fix these problems? Why is unity so important? What are the guiding principles for how to address these issues? 

The church is supposed to be the presence of God in this world. We embody a glimpse of what the resurrection will look like. God did not just save us from our sins through Jesus but has inaugurated us to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Just as Adam was called to be co-ruler with God and handed a shovel in the Garden of Eden, the church picks up our metaphorical shovel to join God in the redemptive action of bringing reconciliation to a broken creation in need of resurrecting. When issues come up in the church, we look to the example we have in the love of Christ through his death and resurrection. How does this love shape how we address these issues? Not everything is black and white in life. We can’t always consult a rule book. So, how do we address problems we face? 

Paul begins 1 Corinthians 15 with, “Let me remind you of the gospel…” This is the climax of his letter and he spends most of this section talking about the resurrection. We tend to spend more time talking about Jesus’ death. He then uses imagery through the resurrection that what is planted perishable will be raised imperishable. This imagery points to this – Whatever seeds we plant of reconciliation in this life will be harvested in the life to come. Our focus verse for this study through First Corinthians comes from 15:58. 

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

We are not here to try and work out our own righteousness for our own personal reward. What we do in this life to bring about reconciliation to the people and the world around us will be the seeds of the New Creation to come. Isn’t it beautiful that God actually desires us to partner with him in bringing about his Kingdom? The New Creation, cultivated in the love of Christ, becomes our guiding principle for how we interact with the world and how we address issues in the church. 

Series Overview

April 28 – 1 Corinthians 1-4 – Divisions in the Church

May 5 – 1 Corinthians 5-7 – What You do with Your Body Matters 

May 12 – 1 Corinthians 8-10 – Food – How to Approach Disagreements   

May 19 – 1 Corinthians 11-14 – Resurrected View of the Church – The Lord’s Supper Should Bring Unity 

May 26 – 1 Corinthians 11-14 – Resurrected View of the Church – Who is the Focus of our worship?

June 2 – 1 Corinthians 15 – Resurrection – What is Bodily Resurrection? 

We Sing a New Song

Today is Good Friday. Christ went to the cross and gave up his spirit willingly so that we might have a chance at life. Christ came to liberate. To set free. To give life. We aren’t liberated from an oppressor we can fight ourselves. The darkness of this world has a single origin. Darkness consumes everything. It binds everything. It oppresses everything. It kills everything. Darkness can only be overcome by one thing: Light. This light is Christ. God in the flesh. Emmanuel. He allows darkness to do its worst to him. He allows himself to be taken to hell by darkness. Being consumed by darkness. The single origin of all darkness, sin, pain, suffering, hate, and rage unleashed itself on Christ on this Good Friday. 

Today is Good Friday. Twenty-Four years ago, a government building in Oklahoma City was bombed by a domestic terrorist. Having lived there for a collective decade, I’ve heard the stories of horror people experienced and I’ve shed tears at the memorials. Turning on the news for only a moment sheds darkness on our day as we see the terrors or war, displaced peoples, violence, and corruption of our world. All of this darkness is embodied in an image this week of Notre Dame burning. This iconic symbol of Christendom in the Western world saw the darkness of history come and go, surviving the French Revolution and both World Wars. It will be rebuilt but this reconstruction points to a greater reality. Sunday is coming. In the day of resurrection, Christ stands at his throne and proclaims, “Behold, I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5). When we look to Revelation, we look through the lens of the Resurrection of Christ to a reality that the hell of this world will be overcome. The darkness will be turned to light. Mourning will turn to dancing. 

Out of the darkness, we hear a new song. The drums are beating. The song builds and you feel its pulse. You can’t see it yet, but you know it moves. There is a new song emerging. When you hear it, you cannot help but dance. Your body moves. You cannot tell if you are moving your body or if the music moves you. You can’t help but listen more intently. Intimacy with the song is all you crave. It changes the way you experience the world around you. You hear the new song and you catch the movement of the harmonies in everything you see. As this song overtakes you, the darkness lifts. The world is illuminated by the music. Everything has an energy to it that you want to feel deep in your bones. The pulse of the music is the light of life and you see the world in a new way. The old way is gone. Friday is only Good because Sunday has come, and you have a new song to sing (Revelation 5). 

Lessons From The Wilderness - From the Wilderness to the City

Throughout this Season of Lent, we’ve looked to the wilderness to learn lessons about the spiritual life. 

  • Jesus being taken to the wilderness before starting his ministry teaches us to slow down before moving forward. Spend time in prayer with God.

  •  Live life out of the reality of being a Child of God.

  • Jesus is God’s Son, listen to him!

  • To know God, open your eyes to see what he has done. God reveals himself through action and narrative.

  • Loosen your grip on what you have in your hand to allow God to reveal himself through it. 

  • Recognize God along the journey and in the valley so you’ll recognize him on the mountaintop.

This Sunday is the beginning of the Passion Week, leading to Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection, which we will celebrate the next Sunday on Easter. When we look to the lessons from the wilderness, we see that all Jesus learns in the wilderness leads him to go back to civilization to save it. Jesus didn’t come to rapture souls from a physical creation. Jesus came to restore God’s broken creation to the perfection God intended (Revelation 21:5). The enemy which needs to be conquered is death itself. This is why Paul says the Resurrection brought victory over death (1 Cor 15:54-57). 

When you have an enemy, who needs to be vanquished, we learn from the world that you need to carry a bigger stick. Jesus, who shows us the most excellent way, takes the path of love and allows evil to do its worst to him. When Jesus calls his disciples to pick up their crosses and follow him, he was showing them a new way to live: the way of the cross. This way of living has to be lived out of the foundation built on knowing that you are a daughter/son of God, knowing and experiencing who God is, and loosening our grip on our own lives so that God can use us for his glory. The wilderness teaches us to move towards the chaos of the world in order to bring it peace. 

The beginning of Passion Week starts with Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem as King (Luke 19). The people sing “Hosanna” ahead of him in celebration of the coming liberation. Jesus weeps over the city because they don’t understand what it will take to bring liberation saying, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace” (Luke 19:42). 

 Jesus moves from wilderness to city to bring peace to the chaos. We are called to do the same. He sees the chaos and offers reconciliation. We are called to do the same. The resurrection we celebrate at Easter is the assurance that our efforts for reconciliation will not be in vain (2 Cor. 5). Take time this next week to read through the Passion Week of Christ (Luke 19, 22, 23). Look at all that Jesus endures while thinking about all we’ve learned from the wilderness. How do these things aid Jesus in his journey towards the cross? How do these lessons from the wilderness aid you in your journey towards a Christ-like life? 

Lessons From the Wilderness - Learning From Others

The Wilderness continually calls God’s followers to slow down, listen, and learn about a relationship with God. As we’ve journeyed through this series, I’ve tried to point to some lessons we learn from the Wilderness. We’ve centered on Jesus’ prayer and fasting before starting his ministry (Matt 4:1-11), Jesus’ transfiguration where we are told to listen to him (Matt 17:1-13), Moses’ encounter with God in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-4:5), and Elijah’s journey to the Mountain of God (1 Kings 19:1-18). Each of these wilderness stories have taught us a few lessons:

Jesus fasting and praying for 40 days in the wilderness before starting his ministry teaches us to retreat before moving forward. Slowing down takes discipline. When we slow down, we present ourselves to God to ask him, “What statement do you want to make with my life?” – Tim Vanderbeek.

In Jesus’ baptism, he receives the Holy Spirit and God’s voice saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matt 3:16-17). His identity of being Son of God, the Holy Spirit within him, his time in prayer for 40 days, and having scripture written on his heart is how he overcame the temptations of Satan. We have all of these things at our disposal as well. You are a Daughter/Son of God. Live out of that reality.

Jesus’ transfiguration gives Peter, James, John, and us a glimpse of what is to come in the Resurrection. When Christ is glorified, we see that we too will be glorified with him. We learn lessons from Moses and Elijah, who were with him at the transfiguration, but it is Christ who remains forever and therefore, we listen to him. Listen to him.

Moses encounters God in the burning bush. We learn that God promises to be with Moses and that is enough. When Moses wants to know who God is, God points to the stories of the past. When Moses is still unsure, God points to what is in Moses’ hand. God is God of the past, present, and future. We learned that when we loosen our grip on our things and hand them to God, he will reveal himself to us through how our things can be used for his glory. What’s in your hand?

Elijah has the greatest experience in his life on Mt Carmel in 1 Kings 18. When things didn’t go as he planned, he fled to the place where he knew God would show up. He went to the Mountain of God (Mount Sinai/Horeb) where God met with Moses 500 years before. When Elijah arrives on the mountain, he is completely unchanged by his experience. We learned that God was with Elijah all throughout his journey through the wilderness and Elijah never recognized him. If you cannot recognize God in the valley, you’ll be unchanged when you experience God’s presence on the mountaintop.

This week I want to introduce you to a Brother of ours from Haiti who embodies the lessons we’ve learned from the wilderness. He and a few others have a deep love and passion for their people and have given their gifts to God to use to reveal himself to everyone they meet. I had the pleasure of meeting Wilguens a few years back and Tim Debbie have known him for a while now. We are excited about the work they have dreamt about and have begun to put into practice in Haiti. I pray that you will come Sunday, ready to learn from and be encouraged by this Brother of ours.