April 30, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Sharing the power of God, when it sounds like folly

This is one of my favorite passages, because of how much I can relate to it.  

Paul is telling us that the gospel has power.  Power to save.  We don’t need to add anything to it in order for it to work; in fact when we try to add to it, we consequently take away from it.  The simple message of the gospel has the power for salvation to anyone who believes (Rom 1:16).

Even though this is true, to the world the message of the cross sounds like foolishness.

Oh, how I can relate to this truth.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

Growing up in Chicago, I had very little exposure to the true gospel.  I was exposed to religion, but not to my need for forgiveness.  I wasn’t aware that God was holy, I wasn’t aware that I was a sinner, I wasn’t aware that I deserved hell and that no matter how “good” I was I couldn’t get to God, I wasn’t aware that I needed to place my faith in Jesus and decide to live for Him, and I wasn’t aware that I could be guaranteed eternal life.  In fact, not only was I unaware, but also once I did hear it I thought it was crazy and condescending.

But I am so grateful that someone still continued to share this “foolish” message with me, because it had the power to save me.  And it did!    

I think one of the main reasons we don’t share the gospel is because we’re afraid of the response we will receive.  

Will the lost world think it’s a foolish message? Yes. But we still need to share it, because it has the power to save!  So, let’s just resolve to be foolish people with a foolish message.  Let’s just be ok with it.  If we’re not ok with being seen as foolish, we won’t share a message that sounds foolish.     

  • Does the fear of being looked down upon prevent you from sharing the gospel?
  • Will you resolve to carry this “foolish” message into your community?

By: Sam Cirrincione

April 29, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

“I follow Matt Chandler”

“Well, I follow Andy Stanley”

“You need to follow John Piper”

And no, we’re not talking about Twitter over here, although I’m sure many of you who are on twitter do follow at least 1 of the 3 pastors and authors mentioned above. We’re talking about divisions that start to form in the church when we apply our allegiance to the people of God instead of the God who uses those people. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, Paul straight up calls out the church of Corinth for applying their allegiances to either Paul, Apollos and later Cephas, over the foundation each one was trying to establish in the Corinthian’s lives: Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3). Whether it’s a “celebrity” preacher or a personal mentor/discipler. We find great division among us when making a mere man of God into a type of false god instead of a servant whom God has used in the church (v. 10). It’s ultimately not about us. In fact, when people confuse our words with Jesus, the cross is emptied of its power (v. 17)

It’s Jesus who ultimately does the work and we need to keep that in perspective. God may have used John Piper to show you how we can find our greatest joy and pleasure in this life through Christ, Andy Stanley to polish off your leadership skills or Matt Chandler when it comes to the importance of belonging to the church. Or maybe He has used Tim Parsons in planting that seed of the Gospel in your heart, and Chad Wiles watered that seed as he plugged you into a connect group where others shared their life with you over God’s Word. Maybe Sam Cirincione and Todd Thomas have been integral in your spiritual growth. God may have used a person in your Connect Group to see what true Gospel community is or your parents when they modeled Jesus’ sacrificial love toward you. Whatever the case and who ever the people… “You are now Christ’s and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:23). If we forget this, we forget the purpose of the church and feel abandoned when “mere humans” fail us or leave us. Anything good of these people is because of the good we inherited by what Jesus did on the cross and what we received through the resurrection. Center Point Church, let’s keep building on that foundation in others lives while giving all glory to God (not us) while doing so.

  • How have you been following a person in certain ways instead of Jesus? Do you see how this can cause division as mentioned in v. 10?
  • How can you make it all about Jesus again while appreciating God using those people in your life but not making them into idols?

By: Erik Koliser

April 28, 2016

Today you should read: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Today we begin a study through Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth.  This is a great church – but it’s not without its problems.  

Paul begins by identifying himself and his calling in verse 1, and the church to whom he’s writing in verse 2.  He speaks encouraging truth into their lives.  Often we live up to the expectations that have been laid out for us – good or bad.

I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be His own holy people.  He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as He did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. (v. 2)

These words must have been so uplifting to this church!  Can you imagine being there the first time this letter was read?  If you read the last part of this verse, you realize that these words apply to you and me too (if you’ve come into a relationship with God through Jesus).

You have been called by God to be His own holy people…  How does this encourage you today?  God chose you – He called you!

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  Ephesians 1:4

And what did God call us to be?  Holy!

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.  For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:15-16

What does that mean?  What does it mean for me to live a life that’s holy?  It means that I chose to honor and obey God with my life.  To follow His word and do the things He tells me and avoid the things He tells me to avoid.  It means that when I mess up – I go to Him and confess that as sin and return to a life of obedience.  That’s what God has called us to.

Where would we ever get the power to do that?  How could God ever see me as holy?

He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus… (v.2)  The cross makes us holy in God’s sight and it holds the power for us to obey and defeat sin.

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. (v. 8)

  • What are some areas that you have not submitted to its power to make you holy?
  • Spend some time today thanking God for the cross and the incredible power it has in your life to purify and change you.

By: Tim Parsons

April 27, 2016

Today you should read: Exodus 40

The glory of the Lord. The reputation in the narrative of these verses emphasizes the point that the Lord is present with all his glory in the midst of his people: the tabernacle (vv. 34, 35, 36, 38) was to be the tent of meeting (v. 34) where the Lord’s presence was signified by the cloud (vv. 34-38) and fire so that they might be sanctified by the glory of the Lord and know that he was their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt in order that he might dwell among them. (ESV Study Notes)

God is a faithful father. He has always gone to the greatest lengths in order to sanctify and be near to his children. Our greatest example of his unstoppable love is of course is the cross. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)

So the real question for us is to what length will we go to in order to be near to him? Will you lay down your comfort in order to walk with him?

By: Chad Wiles