Monday, May 11, 2015

Authentic Faith

I heard this story about Christians in the Soviet Union when being Christian was outlawed, and proclaiming Christ as Lord warranted execution. Some Christians were secretly meeting when Russian soldiers entered with guns. They gave the Christians one chance. They said if they would denounce Christ as Lord they could leave. The people were scared, terrified, and most did what was requested - fled the worship space. A few stayed and prepared to die. The Russian soldiers looked at them and put down their guns.  They said let us worship. We only want to worship with real Christians. They then began to worship. Those Russians congregants had the courage, and lived the faith.

-- Rev. Michelle

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Being Saints (1 Cor. 1:1-9)

Paul begins his letter to the Church in Corinth by saying, "To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ - their Lord and ours". Paul calls the church members sanctified, meaning they are saints, a term he uses again later in the chapter. Paul's use of saint does not mean someone of impeccable moral quality, like we often think about it. Paul knew that the Corinthians were spiritually immature. But he wrote Saint, because he knew a Saint was someone who was simply set apart from the world and belonged/sealed to Christ. When we think of the word "Saint" we think of all the good we must do to be good enough, but Paul said you are a saint not by what you do but by who you are in relation to Christ. As we learn in Romans - we are no longer sinners in our own clothes, but have been clothed in Christ and what God sees is His created love dressed in perfection.

I heard a story of a mother and her son Jeff. The mother said, Several years ago, Jeff played in a special Little League for kids with disabilities. After many seasons of watching from the bleachers and rooting while his big brother played ball, Jeff's opportunity finally arrived. When he received his uniform, he couldn't wait to get home to put it on. When he raced out from his bedroom, fully suited up, he announced to me, "Mom, now I'm a real boy!" Though his words pushed my heart to my throat, I assured him he had always been a "real boy."  That is what God does with us. When we do good works or serve others, or do other "saintly" things, we think now I am being a Christian. Now I'm doing right. But it isn't about what we do; it's about what Jesus did. God is saying I've seen you as a saint all the time, thank You for living in a way that brings us closer and you see what I see. Continue on in that direction and you will know Me more.

--Rev. Michelle