Friday, May 18, 2007

It's About Jesus

Devotions for May 18, 2007

Proverbs 18
1 Corinthians 1
Center by Charlie Hall

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18)

I love the way Paul begins this letter to the church he founded. He knows that there are some problems going on in the church, especially with the leaders. He doesn't jump right into the confrontation, he begins with affirmation. Paul finds the good that God is doing in and through the people of Corinth. He shows his pastor's heart and love for these people, his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Paul then turns his attention to the division within the church. Some people are committed to Paul, others follow Peter, and some follow Apollos. I love Paul's statement - it's not about any of these men - it's all about Jesus. Paul didn't come to baptize, but to preach the gospel. He knows what it is that God has called and gifted him to do.

Then Paul turns to one of my favorite parts of all of his letters as he writes about the foolishness of the cross. I love verses 18-31. Every thing that Jesus did flies in the face of what was expected. Jesus didn't fit into any box that tradition created. Jesus came for sinners - to bring eternal life to those who would follow him - our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Let him who boasts boast in the Lord!

We all need accountability. It is very easy to focus in on the confrontation first and miss the opportunity to bring affirmation. We need to celebrate the good things that are happening in our families, at work, at school, and at Charter Oak Church. We also have to speak the truth in love about the things that divide us and take our attention and devotion away from Jesus.

I want to be obedient to Jesus. I don't care if that looks foolish to those on the outside. I want to love Jesus with all of my heart, all of my mind, all of my soul, and all of my strength. More than anything else I want to boast in the Lord. It's all about Him.

Father, I give you praise and honor. You choose a sinner like me, the weak and lowly of this world, to shame the world. I am in awe of you. I stand amazed at your glory. I pray that I will never make my work here about me. I ask that I will always have a humble heart and spirit. Help me to always make everything I do and say to be about Jesus. Please bring unity to Charter Oak Church. I love your bride. May I present her to you spotless and blameless for your glory, honor, and praise. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.