So I definitely need to catch my blog up on my life in the last 10 days or so and I’ve got 4 or 5 draft posts sitting in my postbox but I haven’t finished any of them yet. Maybe I’ll do that in a few minutes but for this moment, I want to talk about church this morning.
I think I’ve found a church that calls to me to be involved here in Kansas City. I’ve been here a year and feel like I’m behind as a Christian because I just keep serial visiting. I’ve tried multiple denominations (have you ever noticed that the first part of that word is “demon”? That almost seems fitting since it is really what separates The Church around the world and the Bible defines separation from God as sin which is desired by Satan/Demon) but haven’t found a church family, until today I think.
My future roommates have been going to Redeemer Fellowship. We all went to church together at Village Presbyterian a few weeks ago, to the non-traditional service. I am almost backwards conservative when it comes to church. That’s just how I was raised. I want the traditional. I crave the traditional. It’s safe. It’s comfortable. It’s expected. But it’s also hard to find.
The service had projector screens (not a fan in school, definitely not a fan in church) and the sermon ended with a clip of Martin Luther King Jr speaking about equality. It was a decent sermon and the clip was appropriately placed but it turned me off. My two roommates weren’t very thrilled with it either. I assumed (wrongly I know now) that my roommates were into very non-traditional services. They had also never invited me to Redeemer and I wasn’t in the forcing mood with it since I figured I wouldn’t like it.
This morning was Race for the Cure (more on that in another post) very close to my apartment. Several of my friends and I ended up running the race and I invited everyone back to my place when it was over. Drew had left clothes at my house Friday, Rachel was going to take a shower to go to Redeemer for service and Kenny was just along for the ride. Rachel offered for me to go to church with her this morning and I’m so happy that I did!
We went to the 11am service. The church is held in an old church building. The sanctuary has mixed style from being used by multiple churches over the years and there is not a cross anywhere to be seen but there is a pulpit and some balconies. The seats are very comfortable and there are stained glass panels on every wall.
People came in with their coffee and were chewing gum in the sanctuary. My grandmother would be appalled! There were tons and tons of children running around outside the sanctuary prior to the service but the sanctuary was extremely quiet and attentive during the service. Everyone was dressed very relaxed, lots of blue jeans and colored shorts but almost everyone was respectful in their dress.
The sermon was over 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 which discusses sexual immorality. It was extremely refreshing to hear a message from a pulpit about sex. I wish I had heard this message prior to some decisions I’ve made already but with God it’s never too late so I’m starting to work on it.
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” – God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by this power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! OR do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
The first portion of this passage is in quotes because Paul is quoting the Corinitians who are quoting him. He has told him that they have been made free in their belief of Christ but he cautions them that not everything is helpful. If it is lawful, and you have freedom in Christ, then you can do it but if it dominates you, enslaves you, misguides you, then you should not partake of it. He doesn’t deny the freedom, he reiterates God’s power and grace.
The second portion of the passage starts the conversation that your body is part of God and says not to join it will a prostitute. He discussed how God is going to raise our bodies for the afterlife so they are not disposable on Earth. What we do to them here will follow us to Heaven.
Paul uses a specific example for the Corintians with the prostitute reference. Pagen worship at that time involved being able to spend time in the temple with prostitutes and then return to a person’s everyday life. Since converting to Christians, Corinitians are not able to do that although some of them still do. Paul is correcting their error in thinking that they are completely free to do whatever they want to do with prostitutes because they should use their body to honor God.
The pastor discussed a couple different forms of sexual immorality and body image here. One is the person who says that their body is their body and no one should tell them what to do with their body. This is a secular view and stems from a low viewpoint of the body. The second is the person who questions the line of what is and what is not. If you are questioning, then call it what it is, sexual immorality.
Remember that when you sin with sex, you cannot escape it. It grows inside you and consumes you from the inside outward. When you sin against another person you are able to flee from it. Do not sin sexually (Flee from sexual immorality) because you were bought with a price, Jesus Christ. You should live you life for the glory of God which includes how you live sexually. Use your body as a temple for the Lord.
It was fantastic lesson. It was free of judgement and it gave me a tremendous amount to think about. It was refreshing to not have a church shy away from the harder passages in the Bible. This isn’t the most popular story but it was a story that I needed to hear.
I want to go back next week. He’s preaching on good sex and the blessings and promises God has made to us about good sex. I also want to join a small group. I haven’t felt called to join a small group since a pastor at Hope Presbyterian Church in Austin Texas told me that my opinions weren’t worthy and that I wasn’t wanted at church anymore. It’s amazing how much that person has impacted my life and how much anger I still have connected to it but I am trying to work through it. Maybe my next step is to try to trust a church family again by joining a small group.
Go forth to greet the world at work, as here the Lord has greeted us in worship.
Go forth in the name of God the Creator, whose strength empowers us;
in the name of Christ the Redeemer, whose love transforms us;
and in the name of the Holy Spirit, whose presence guides us. Amen.