Five for Friday

Cranberries Everybody Been a loooong time since I did one of these. An “Occassional Series” here at Inspired by Daniel at Alien Soil, I fire up Media Player on random and post the first 5 songs here.
Want to listen? Head over to my profile and look for the songs tagged #five4friday.

  1. The Cranberries – Not Sorry from Everyone Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We?
    Nice song that really highlights Dolores O’Riordan’s voice.
  2. Rush – Show Don’t Tell from Presto
    A neat track with syncopation in the intro that made me think at first it was one of those Rush tracks with alternating time signatures. Listening more carefully, though, I think it’s all in 4.
  3. Casting Crowns – Joyful, Joyful from until the Whole World Hears
    Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee is one of the best hymns of all time. I’m not sure Casting Crowns improves on it by adding a drum beat and their own chorus & bridge. Not bad, but give me a good acapella choir over this any day.
  4. Damn Yankees – Mystified from Damn Yankees
    Once again, Media player gives us a nice contrast. Hymn to a mildly suggestive hard rock love song.
  5. Wilson Phillips – You’re in Love from Wilson Phillips
    And now for something completely different. I guess this qualifies as a guilty pleasure, as I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I own this. I’d love to say it was my wife’s, but no such luck. I guess I’m a sucker for good female harmonies. Not my favorite song for sure, but light, fluffy and pretty. .

Your turn, fire up your MP3 player, put it on random and give me yours in the comments.

1 Corinthians 16 – Closing Comments

1 Corinthians 16:1-4 – Note there is no discussion here as to if there should be a collection, that was assumed. This concerned how they should collect it. That means that taking a collection is compulsory, right? Wrong. They could have had the discussion about if a collection was needed or required at another time. My point is that we must be careful what, we read into the text. I started typing this assuming that the collection was assumed, but realized that wasn’t necessarily correct. (Of course, Jesus and other parts of scripture clearly teach that giving is assumed, but this passage doesn’t do it by itself.)
1 Corinthians 16:12 – What, disagreement among leaders and no division? What a concept!

1 Corinthians 15 – First Importance

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 – After all these controversial questions, Paul is prompted to remind them of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

Everything rests on this truth. Everything. All else – the roles of women, proper worship, the use of spiritual gifts – is secondary and arises from what was done by Christ on the cross.
1 Corinthians 15:10 – Paul worked harder than any other, but why? It was the product of the grace of Christ. It wasn’t his motivation or his ability, it was the effect of grace on his heart that produced his work for the gospel.
1 Corinthians 15:19 – Too often I think Christians, myself certainly, live for the benefits of a life of discipleship here in now. We focus on how Christ or God’s ways can make our life here and now better. But it doesn’t fix it all, for we are still a fallen people in a fallen world. But we pretend that Jesus makes it all better now. He does, but the fullness of that fix will not be realized here, it is for the hope of that perfection, that complete fix for what ails us that will only come in heaven that we should long for. There are times, when life seems too hard, or more often when dealing with broken me is overwhelming, that I long to go home and be with God, but mostly I trudge along, thankful for a better life now. Though there are benefits here, Christ did not come to give us our best life now, he came to give us the best life – eternally. And ironically, keeping in mind our future perfect one means we have the proper perspective to deal with the here in now. So looking ahead to eternity means a better today.
1 Corinthians 15:29 – Some glorious day, I’m gonna ask Paul what the heck this means. 😛
1 Corinthians 15:35-37 – This illustration has my mind reeling a bit. I plant a seed, one little pod, and it turns into a tree or bush or corn stalk, none of which is worth comparing to the seed that was planted. On little orb turns into a glorious plant.
So, we die and are buried, what will we arise to be? Paul is implying, just as a seed can’t imagine what it will become, that we cannot fathom what we will arise to become.
The parallel isn’t just for the resurrection. When we submit to Christ and are buried in baptism, we cannot imagine what the simple, broken soul that is plunged into that water will arise to be. Clueless teenagers and college students turn to biblical scholars and evangelists. The shy become bold, the selfish become servants, the liars true and on and on. “It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.” (1 Corinthians 15:43)

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (emphasis mine)

Oh, how I long for that day. To be truly changed, transformed from this caught in the middle of the here and now, heaven and Earth broken being to the heavenly perfection. No more sin.
1 Corinthians 15:58 – “Therefore …” Since death has been swallowed, since we will be changed, since we have the hope of eternity, since Christ has come “… be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

1 Corinthians 14 – Tongues & Women

1 Corinthians 14:1-5 – Reading this, I can’t help but feel alienated from what Paul’s teaching here. I’ve never been a part of a church where speaking in tongues or other gifts have been practiced, and, frankly, always looked at them as suspect. Paul says in verse 3 that he wants them all to speak in tongues, while my history includes no speaking in tongues at all. I will not say that these gifts do not exist today, but I’m just not sure what to make of them.
1 Corinthians 14:6-19 – One of the reasons that speaking in tongues (the most common, it seems, of the Charismata) seems a bit suspect to me is the importance that some charismatic churches place on it. If you don’t, there’s something wrong. You aren’t really a Christian, you don’t have the spirit, God stands against you, you must be in sin, etc. This leads to all kinds of fakery and theatrics to prove that you have the spirit and are in a right standing with God.
Based on what Paul says here, it was no different in Corinth. Surely, speaking in tongues was an amazing gift. To suddenly be enabled by the spirit to speak in another language would get one’s attention. If it didn’t happen to you while it did to so many others, you might get insecure and spend an undue amount of energy perusing it. Paul here says it’s not that important, better to pursue a gift that will build up the church, like prophesy.
1 Corinthians 14:20-25 – This paragraph ought to bring chills to some in the Charismatic movement. So much is done for show, to prove to other believers that they are of God while unbelievers simply think they are nuts. Paul would call them children.
For those who wander in from Google, let me restate – I am not against the Charasmata. I do not, as some do, claim that they no longer exist (though I do believe their importance is less). Though I don’t understand them, I do not look down at those who practice them with sincere hearts. My criticism is of those who put undue importance on them, in direct contradiction with Paul’s teachings here. I would, someday, like a better understanding of those gifts and their applications today.
1 Corinthians 14:33b-35 – I wonder what this passage means for us today? Paul says it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. Of course, when we say ‘in church’ we think ‘in the Sunday service’, but I don’t think that the church of Paul’s day had what we think of as ‘Sunday service’. And today, we wouldn’t think of a woman speaking in a public gathering as shameful. I wonder, was the shame that Paul’s referred to because it was shameful for a woman so speak out at any sort of gathering, or is he referring to something innate in the roles of men and woman that makes it shameful?
I’m not comfortable taking a stand on this, based on these for sentences alone. Based on our present culture, it seems shameful to tell a woman that she cannot bring anything to the assembly to build it up (but I’m not sure I could go to a church where the minister was female). On the other hand, Paul clearly says that this is the practice of all the churches and his teaching is not unclear. It is not an easy passage to apply to today.

1 Corinthians 13 – Love

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 – In the first section of this famous passage on Love, Pauls sends up many of the things that modern Christians hang their hats on. Are you a Charismatic? Read verse 1. A social justice Christian? Read verse 3. Standing on “faith alone”? Read verse 2. All of those things are important and valuable, but worthless unless practiced and championed under an umbrella of love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – The passage you head at so many weddings. How many marriages would be saved if each partner went pack and reviewed them on a regular basis and strove to love like Paul describes here?
1 Corinthians 13:8 – In the NIV, it says “love never fails”, in the ESV it says “love never ends”. I like the NIV’s wording better. 😀 Anyone have insight as to what may be more accurate?
1 Corinthians 13:9-10 – I’ve seen these two verses, in the broader context of tongues & miraculous gifts, used to suggest that now that the perfect Bible is here, the imperfect miraculous gifts are no longer present. I like the logic of that argument, however, it always seemed like a forced use of these verses. I would tend to agree that the point of the miraculous at that time was validation that those were of God and therefore their message could be trusted. Today, we can fact check our teachers with the Bible, we do not meed miraculous confirmation of a messenger. I don’t believe, however, that the point that Paul was making here was that someday tongues will not be necessary. His point was that Love is supreme, even the miraculous is secondary.
1 Corinthians 13:11 – Immaturity seeks for showy confirmation of one’s status in the kingdom. Maturity simply seeks to love.

1 Corinthian 12 – Spiritual Gifts, the Body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 – Paul here says we are each given a manifestation of the Spirit, but not all of us have the same gift or gifts. We are to use them, however, for the common good. He makes pains to point out that though there are different kinds of gifts, they are given by the same Spirit. The implication that many miss is that none is more important nor should we insist that everyone have each gift. (although later, in 1 Corinthians 12:31, he does say that some gifts are higher and we should seek them.)
The other implication is that God has given us the church that we would be surrounded by others who have gifts that compliment our own and that our gifts would add to others. As a body, the church can do much because of the variety of gifts of the members. When churches shun people because they lack gifts the church somehow decided are more important or when individual Christians shun the church, they limit the working of the spirit by limiting the number of gifts present.
1 Corinthians 12:14-20 – Pauls uses our own bodies to reinforce the point. Our own bodies are made up of parts that perform different, specific functions. Each part is important in it’s own way. The body would quickly die if the heart weren’t present, but the heart cannot live without the lungs and blood vessels that feed it. Our body parts are interdependent, that is how God made us. So is the spiritual body, each individual christian has gifts to bring to the body and relies on the gifts of others in the body to bring their gifts to them. Just as our body parts are interdependent, so is the church.
1 Corinthians 12:21-31 – Paul blends his example of the human body with the church – to the point that it’s hard to tell when the metaphor stops and when he is talking about the church. It only serves to reinforce how vital the church is – there are no dispensable parts, each is valuable.

1 Corinthians 11 – Head Coverings, Communion

1 Corinthians 11:1 – I’ve seen a lot of silliness come from mis-applying this verse.
1 Corinthians 11:2-26 – This is an interesting, yet possibly contentious, passage about head coverings. I’ve seen women who come away from this with a conviction that they shouldn’t pray or attend church without a head covering. I’ve seen few men teach this aside from Alan Rouse, but even he was led to his convictions by his daughters (good post and comment thread).
I don’t have a conviction on this. It seems that the passage is cultural, at least it ‘feels’ that way. There are no other references, in either the New Testament or the Old that I’m aware of to the need for women to cover their head. Of course, what I believe the passage ‘feels’ like may have no bearing on what it actually is about.
Interestingly, I cannot recall any discussion of men having long hair in any of the discussions (including Alan’s) of the issue. It seems that either both ae important,or neither is. Today, most Christians fall into the ‘neither’ camp.
It sees that this all evolves around respect. Paul says the man ought to not be covered out of respect to the one he is under – Christ – and the woman ought to be covered out of respect to the one she is under – man. At the very least, those lines of respect must be honored, what you believe about coverings and long hair is between you and God.
I’d love to hear any of my reader’s opinions on this (and I know at least one who has researched it).
1 Corinthians 11:17-34 – Paul challenges teh Corinthians on how they’ve treated the Lord’s Supper. He challenges them to “examine themselves” before taking it. In my church, we take it every week and the frequency can make it so familiar that it doesn’t get treated with the reverence and importance it ought to. I’ve been to other churches where communion is the same each time, read from a book and following the same pattern each time. That can do the same thing, make it common instead of Holy.
Regardless of method or timing, however, it’s up to the one taking communion to pause and reflect, examining themselves to make sure they are treating the body and blood of our Lord with the proper respect, reverence and gratitude. Our corporate practices can aid or hinder that process, but that does not change where the responsibility for reverence lies.

1 Corinthians 10 – Timeles Christ, Idolatry

1 Corinthians 10:1-5 – There’s some deep stuff in here. Paul says that the people in Moses’ day were ‘baptized’ by the cloud over them and the sea, however, they were baptized into Moses.
I tried to wrestle my mind into an understanding of this with regards to what we know as baptism, but my mind failed me. There’s lots that could be read into it, but in the end it’s not really a passage to be dogmatic about. That Paul chose to use baptism as the parallel here may help illuminate what Paul’s view of baptism was, a gateway or a point of transformation perhaps, but then in verse 5 he points out that not all were transformed. Do you have any insights?
1 Corinthians 10:9 – Paul uses ‘Christ’ interchangeably with ‘God’ in this chapter. (He also says in verse 4 that they drank from the same ‘spiritual Rock’ and that Rock was Christ), Clearly, in Moses’ day, Jesus had not yet come, nor had most of the prophesies of His coming been made, I don’t believe. So one could argue that Moses and the Israelites could not have had any idea of Christ. Yet Paul says they tested ‘Christ’ and drank from ‘Christ’. Though we see Jesus existing at a specific point in time, Christ is timeless and one with God. So Moses and the people challenging and testing God was the same as challenging Christ, though he hadn’t yet been seen.
1 Corinthians 10:12 – One of the wisest single verses in the Bible, and perhaps one of the most ignored.
1 Corinthians 10:19-22 – We can look at this passage and say, “Yeah, no demons, OK, whatever.” because ‘demons’ seem so medieval or whatever. But Paul is almost pauses to make sure tehy get the point – demons are not to be taken lightly. Consider what you do and the implications. Oh, it’s just a movie with a little too much violence or nudity. It’s just a song, yeah, it’s not the best lyrics, but wow, what a great beat. When the world creates these things, they bow at the alter of sensuality. If you endorse it or participate, even though you know the difference, are you too participating in that offering? It’s not as easy as saying no R rated movies or no heavy metal or gasta rap, but neither is it as simple as to the pure all things are pure. We must guard our hearts and remember where our allegiances lie, and that will mean taking a stand sometimes where we really don’t feel like it.

1 Corinthians 9 – The Compelling Gospel

Sigh. Well, here I am again, a long time since my last Quiet Time entry. I’ll spare you the excuses, suffice to say the Spirit has been prompting me, I’ve just been ignoring it for too long. Last night’s midweek lesson pushed me over the edge to where I couldn’t any more.
1 Corinthians 9:2 – “If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” Reading this in the ESV struck me – “… you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” he says. Paul got validation of his identity in the Lord from those he had impacted for Christ.
1 Corinthians 9:15-18 – Paul in the preceding verses lays out a defense of ministers of the gospel being compensated. It is in no way wrong for a man to reap a material benefit from his work for the Gospel. But in these verses he states that, though he has the right to, he refuses to do so. He will not let it be said that he preaches for profit. His reward is in presenting the gospel freely.
What is the lesson here? Ministers, if you could not earn a living by preaching, would you still preach, even as you worked another job? Is your reward not in the paycheck but in the presentation of the gospel itself? It’s easy to say as a layman, but it’s a question that ought to be asked. For me and others like me, do I live for this world (paychecks and achievements) or is my reward in the gospel as well?
Paul thrived on the gospel and sharing it, frankly I don’t. That tells me that the gospel isn’t nearly real enough to me, it’s too conceptual or theoretical. It’s too nice. The reality of the gospel is that the God who created gravity and put boundaries around the oceans came down to rescue me because he wanted me. I couldn’t – and, frankly, wouldn’t – have made my way to him, so he came down. I was desperately broken and utterly depraved, but despite that, having me with him was important enough for him to humble himself and come and rescue me. That’s the gospel that’s compelling and one that must be shared. I need to think on it more so that it becomes irresistible, like it was to Paul. Take a look at what he says next:

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

The gospel was so compelling to him, so important to share, that what he was became secondary, in fact trivial. We are so concerned about who we are, but Paul didn’t care at all what he was, as long as he could share the gospel. If it meant getting the gospel out to more people, he’d become anything it took.
I want it to be that real to me, so real that it changes everything, that it changes even who I am.

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