A View From The Top

canucks1-550x288Have you ever been to a sporting event and had a view from the “cheap seats” (aka the “nose bleeds”). These particular seats offer up some disadvantages as well as some advantages depending on your perspective.  The view from the top tier of seats gives you the “big picture” experience. You can see the game being played, you can “feel” the energy of the crowd as they cheer on their team or yell at the referee; yet at the same time you miss the impact of the hard hitting body checks or skillfully placed shot on goal.

As I read through the book of 1 Corinthians I carefully combed through each chapter looking for and listening to what God was leading me to learn. As I worked through the many details of Paul’s letter to the church I had to take a step back to get a scope of the bigger picture, I had to take a seat in the “nose bleed” section to get a different view. Paul’s primary audience was the Christians at that time (the church), he had heard about their problems of inappropriate behaviour and different quarrels that had divided them between leaders and beliefs. Near the beginning of his letter Paul asks them to “recognize” their calling (1:26), a call from God to be saved through accepting the work of His Son Jesus Christ, a call to be in relationship with Him. Paul reminds the people how to live a life pleasing to the Lord, how to live in unity in their marriages, how to treat their neighbours, how to worship properly and how best to use their spiritual gifts for the benefit of all believers. The book of 1 Corinthians holds one of my favourite passages in scripture, it is often called the “love passage”. This short descriptive passage describes the love our Heavenly Father has for us, the kind of love that we should have for one another.

If I had to pick a “moment in the game” as I read through 1 Corinthians to run on the highlight reel or replay on the Jumbo-Tron it would come near the end of the letter in chapter 15. Paul gives the Corinthian church and us the most important reminder of all, the foundation of what our faith is built on, “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (15:3-4) This incredible act of love on our Heavenly Fathers behalf is the “ultimate play”, a moment in time that has been witnessed and recorded in His “play book” so we can be encouraged and learn from it.

Time for an Oil Change

oilchangeThis week I will be having an oil change done on one of my vehicles, it is something that we all know has to be done on a regular basis. But why? Well, I am no mechanic but I know that oil provides cooling, cleaning and has a bunch of other jobs to keep our engines working smoothly. When our oil is low, it becomes hotter and hotter and begins to break down, leaving our engine susceptible to internal damaged that can be very costly to fix.

In some ways I see the Apostle Paul as a bit of a mechanic. When we read his letter to the Corinthian church we can see that there is some friction among the community of believers that has the potential to harm the advancement of the Gospel message. There are divisions and quarrels over which leader to follow, some followed Paul, others Apollos, Cephas and others Jesus. Paul sets out to help the leaders understand where they have fallen short, why there is friction and why the community seems to be breaking down. We are reminded in the introduction to chapter 3 of 1 Corinthians that the influence of the world is wearing the people thin, “Are you acting like mere humans?” say Paul. The message of 1 Corinthians is kind of like that of an oil change, it is delivered to refresh the minds of the leaders and people whose tempers may be getting hot or whose relationships are being broken down by false teachings and human desires. It takes the people back to the foundations of their relationship with Jesus Christ whom everything is to be built on.

Psalm 133:1 says “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” When we lose sight of keeping God the center of our community there is a breakdown in our relationships because our focus changes, (we begin to wear thin and get a little hot under the collar). We lose sight of the unity that is critical to function as a community so that we can fulfill the mission God has set before us. As believers we need a “spiritual oil change” at times. The best part is that our “oil change” is free, it has already been paid for through Christ. All we need to do is make an “appointment” and exchange the bad for the good (confession and forgiveness). I often miss the mark on getting my oil changed done on time despite the sticker on my window, What about you? When was the last time you had a “spiritual oil change?”