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How the church aims to shape you

August 22, 2022

Daily Scripture

2 Peter 3:17-18, Corinthians 1:1-3

2 Peter 3

17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been warned in advance, be on guard so that you aren’t led off course into the error of sinful people, and lose your own safe position. 18 Instead, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him belongs glory now and forever. Amen.

1 Corinthians 1

1 From Paul, called by God’s will to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, and from Sosthenes our brother.
2 To God’s church that is in Corinth:
To those who have been made holy to God in Christ Jesus, who are called to be God’s people.
Together with all those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place—he’s their Lord and ours!
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Defining who we are at Resurrection begins with knowing we’re not fixated on short-term results. We have chosen a set of goals for 2030 (that you can see—or review—at Basic to all of them is to “deepen the spiritual vitality of all Resurrection members.” Jesus said God calls us to be “the light of the world,” (cf. Matthew 5:14-16), through whom God’s light brightens the dark, hurting places around us. We always have room for further growth in doing that.

  • Scholar William Barclay wrote, “The Christian must daily experience the wonder of grace, and daily grow in the gifts which grace can bring; and must daily enter more and more deeply into the wonder which is in Jesus Christ.” * That’s a lot of “daily’s”—serving Christ is not a once-a-week process! But what eating program tells you that one meal a week will make you healthy? How can you choose to “grow in grace” every day, not just once a week?
  • Paul called Corinthian Christians “those who have been made holy to God in Christ Jesus” (verse 2). Paul’s Greek words mean “that Christians ‘belong’ to God and are therefore set apart to serve God’s purposes….it is the idea of belonging to God, not that of sinlessness, that is important here.” ** The full letter showed that those people still had lots of room to grow. How clear is it to you that as you choose to follow Christ, you are “holy” even as you keep growing spiritually?

Lord Jesus, thank you for honoring me with a place in your holy family. Continue to show me the places where you call me to grow deeper in your amazing grace. Amen.

GPS Insights

 Chris Abel

Chris Abel

Chris Abel now leads a Methodist church in the Blue Springs, MO area. When he wrote this blog in 2019, he was the Pastor of Students and Young Adults at Resurrection. He describes himself as a "Pastor/Creative-type/Adventurer." A former atheist turned passionate follower of Christ, he completed his seminary education in Washington, DC, and was a campus pastor near St. Louis, MO.

When I was 14 years old I was invited to preach at church during our annual “Youth Sunday.” I had never preached or prepared any kind of speech, and was so nervous I plagiarized the entire thing. Every word. Even a joke about Hugh Hefner. (I didn’t even know who he was. But looking back makes sense why I got so many muffled laughs…)

When I got to college and took Speech, I (thankfully) didn’t plagiarize, but was so nervous I bombed my first speech. I stuttered, couldn’t look people in the eye, and felt like I wasn’t worth listening to. Speaking in public was a nightmare.

Everything changed when I discovered one thing: Conviction.

What no one told me as a young man was that the most powerful thing about speaking is the source from which your energy comes. Your drive. Your “why”: Your conviction about what’s really important in life. I am not a natural public speaker. But when I found the source of my “why”—my purpose and conviction—I had something worth saying.

This was my “why”:
I believe Jesus has been hijacked by fundamentalist Christians, and I want to help every-day people encounter the Jesus who is so much more than condemnation and judgment.

I’m not saying this should be your conviction, but it’s mine. I want to help people trapped in bad religion. And finding this moved me from a place of apathy and fear to a place of action and risk.

But sometimes I drift from my conviction. I get lost in life’s day-to-day stresses. I stop reflecting on why I started this path in the first place. I drift from my source of energy.

When I drift, I lose my conviction. When I lose my conviction, I lose my gifts. So when I read passages like today’s Scripture, I’m reminded that it takes intentionality and discipline to guard and chase your God-given conviction.

When you hear about leaders who fall from grace, about people who quit something that once gave them life, about servants who lose their heart for others… they have slowly drifted from their source. These things don’t happen overnight. They happen one moment at a time—so subtle that they don’t even realize they’re drifting.

As followers of Christ, we have found our source. But we all are at risk of “losing our safe position.” Being “on guard,” as the author writes, isn’t about being suspicious of people. It’s about being cautious that we stay connected to the source of our power—to our Creator and God.

So if you’re reading this right now and you find yourself nodding your head, remembering the person and the conviction you once had, the good news is that you can return to your source. It is never far. God will always be there—even when we drift.

Keep growing.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, pp. 350-351, emphasis supplied.
** Paul Ellingworth and Howard A. Hatton, A Handbook on Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. New York: United Bible Societies, 1993, p. 7.