Friday, August 21, 2015

To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain...

So - here are the questions to ponder, before, during, and/or after the sermon this week...

1. Last week, Jeff began a series in Philippians, entitled, "To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain".  When you think of that title, how does it immediately strike you?  It is from Philippians 1:21, which we will look at today in the sermon, but what are your initial thoughts?  Jeff said last week, "It takes courage to be a Christian, and we get our courage from Christ."  Would that mesh with the thoughts of 1:21?

2. Read 1:6.  The idea of completion Paul talks about has to do with Greek sacrificial rituals, language this Greek city would have been familiar with.  The language used for "begin a good work, and perform it (or complete it)" had to do with sacrificing something.  Here, God does the sacrificing, and who is the sacrifice?  Yep!  You and me!  How do you feel about that idea?  Its a good work for God to sacrifice you - it takes you someplace you might not go on your own (see Romans 12).

3. If God sacrificed His own Son, what might He want with you?  Paul emphasized this idea of living sacrifice (Romans 12), old man dead, rising as new man (Romans 6), crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20).  Now look at 1:12, "I want you to know that the things which have happened to ME...,  have worked for the furtherance of the gospel"  We have a saying, "It is what it is..."  I've thought a lot about that statement since first hearing it.  Its always bugged me, but I used it along with everyone else.  I'm not sure everyone had the same fatalistic bent to them that I can have, but it really seems a hopeless statement, used to express exasperation with situations that seem beyond our control.  While Paul could certainly say of his imprisonment and shipwrecks and trouble that, "It is what it is," it seems that over and over again, Paul says something more like, "It is what God wills," or, like Joseph, "what you meant for harm, God has used for good."  The things that have happened to you - are they useful to God?  Have you let go of them sufficiently for Him to grab hold and make beauty from ashes?

Have a great week!

Peace in Christ,

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

To Live is Christ...

Philippians: To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain

Beginning August 16th...                        

So as we have considered the makeup of our county, the 25,000 that are not experiencing the life-giving joy of a relationship with Christ and/or His church, and as we have considered the apologetic response to many of the arguments for not coming to Christ and/or His church, and for the last few weeks considered our own devotion level (is it 100%?), we turn our attention for the next several weeks to a little church from a couple thousand years ago, made up of elites, scoundrels, and all points in between - the Philippian Church.

Paul wrote the book of Philippians, and we have record of some of its happenings and activities in the book of Acts.  We will be looking at how that rag-tag group became a solid launch point for ministry, and how that might apply to us today.  How do we really live?  If it is all-in, our talents and creativity, and even our weaknesses, when taken together, make a pretty awesome spot for Jesus to show up and blow the lid right off this thing - and for us to literally develop the "to lives is Christ, to die is gain" mentality/discipline of life!

We've had the RightNow Media resource for a few months now, and we have several using it, but I would like to encourage you to jump into this particular study (if you haven't signed up, just go to the church web site,, and follow the links to free resources).  You can search on Matt Chandler, and it will bring this up.  Jeff won't be copying this study word for word, or anything like that - its just another really good resource on what we will be looking at.  Stay tuned for more blogs on this church and how it relates to our church as we move through this series.