Re-Sounding Gong Christianity…

corb9310I’m curious about who sent the note.  It’s a Facebook request asking that I become a “Top Best Friend.”  My curiosity is peeked; I wonder who might consider me a ‘Top Best Friend.’

Clicking the link reveals an individual whom I scarcely recognize with a note attached asking for information about things like my birthday.  Shouldn’t a ‘Top Best Friend’ know that already?

The Internet is rife with all sorts of communication; much of it meaningless and banal.   Today words are being traded across the globe with a speed that is breath taking.  I heard a recent statistic that during the recent inauguration celebration, Internet requests for service were hitting at a rate of 5 million hits per second!

We seem to have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and connection.  Paul speaks about the power of  language in his famous love chapter, I Corinthians 13:1  “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

Essentially Paul is saying our multiplicity of words is simply NOISE if it is unaccompanied by love.  In our modern world, we have grown used to noise.  In fact some of us feel uncomfortable if something is not playing or droning on in the background.  Many of us have a continuous drumbeat of personal noise whirring around in our heads all the time.

But all of it is meaningless, a simple filling up of empty space…dark voids, cluttered with chatter  which lack substance and power when our motive and intention is not empowered by Love.

Noise can become a stumbling block which depletes us emotionally and spiritually because it hinders our ability to recognize the loving presence of God in our lives.  It is also easy to think that what is essentially noise has eternal value because the continual grating of noise dulls our sensitives.

God wants to fill us with Himself so that our words resonate with life and power.   This is the one element of the profound grace of the Love of God.

Is It About Fruit…or Roots?

green shoot

green shoot

This week we continued our discussion on ‘The Most Excellent Way.”

The class was a little smaller, but we had a couple new folks join us as well.  Here’s a  quick ‘shout out’ to Lindsey & Jeff.  Welcome!

After a brief review of our discussion last week on the most excellent way and how the journey along a road is experienced very differently depending on the mode of travel, we turned our attention to the ground level.

The text was Luke 6:43-45 in which Jesus tells a story about two kinds of trees.  One tree produces healthy fruit and the other tree does not.

In a society in which most of the fruit that finds its way to our grocery stores is in anything BUT a totally natural state, having been picked some time earlier, stored, ripened for market demand and then buffed and polished to shine…well, suffice it to say that our perspective of ‘healthy fruit’ may be somewhat skewed.

As we explored the differences in what creates healthy fruit, naturally…a couple points worth repeating were made:

1.  A healthy tree doesn’t mean the fruit has absolutely no blemishes

2.  The health of the fruit starts at the roots

Which brings us to the story that follows directly after this little discourse on fruits.  Jesus continues with the “Tale of the Wise & Foolish Builder.”  This story, which is all about foundations, demonstrates that the storms of life have a very different effect on a structure if it has a firm foundation.  A firm foundation allows a structure to sustain a lot of pressure.

Some good points out of the discussion:

1.  We don’t always know what our foundation looks like

2.  God allows storms to reveal to us what He already knows

3.  Storms will come, but we don’t have to live in fear.

4.  God is the builder…He knows how to create good foundations in our lives

So, there is a connection between Fruit and Roots.  It’s all in the foundation.  How are you building yours?

The Excellent Way…

Discover Another Level

Discover Another Level

In our unquenchable thirst for bigger and better, our attention is often garnished by the power words…the ones that carry a punch.  Bigger, Best, Excellent!.

In fact, I’ve read I Corinthians 12:31 (b) for years and always focused on the second to the last word…”And now I will show you a more EXCELLENT way.

It was as though what was going to come next was the prize…Love was something to be sought after, acheived, mastered and accomplished.

But now I’m seeing that the true power of that statement is in one three letter word…the WAY.  This is the real path of progress.  Excellence is merely the descriptive of the journey.

Christian Love is not a goal to be sought with relentless attempts towards self asserted perfection.  Rather, I now understand that it is a transforming process which leads the one who travels along it to a more excellent life.  A life of authenticity; one which is characterized by peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Chapter 13 says as much about what Love is not even as it gives poignant insights as to what it is.  I’m thinking this Way  of Love is more about lifestyle and character than about projecting outward appearances.  Your thoughts…

*This Blog is an outreach of the Challenge of an Excellent Life Class of First Evangelical Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, MI.  The class meets on Sunday mornings @ 10:30 a.m. directly after the 9:00 a.m. service.  You’re welcome to Join Us!

We’re also on Facebook

You’re welcome to join us:
1933 Tremont Blvd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-6346

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