We continue this week with a series on the apostle Paul's letter to the church in the very Roman city of Philippi. We think this church was mostly made of Gentile converts because this letter really doesn't contain any Jewish imagery or Old Testament references. This is a letter of consolation, written to help the church learn how to have joy in all circumstances. Last week we talked about how the healthiest practice of our faith is a practice of interdependence.
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This week we begin a six week series on the short book of Philippians. Sometime in the next week, I encourage you to sit down and read this book for yourselves as a refresher, and then bring your Bibles with you on Sunday morning. This is a letter written by the traveling evangelist Paul to the Christians in the city of Philippi. If you remember from a few weeks ago that church was founded by a woman named Lydia who heard Paul and his companion Silas sharing the good news of God's love.
BIG IDEA: When we live as part of the Body of Christ, there is no difference between our worship and our service. While our worship may feel deeply personal and meaningful, what I believe the text is suggesting to us this morning is that our service can be equally as life-giving as our worship.
Here’s a little pop quiz to get us started: I’m going to give you a list of people and you can guess what they have in common. Ready? Babe Ruth, Larry Bird, President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Mozart, Bill Gates, Helen Keller, Joan of Arc, Mark Twain. They were all left-handed!Where are my lefties in the room this morning? Come on, southpaws. Left hands up and proud. I’m so glad you came to church today, because this is your day. Usually phrases having to do with leftiness are not compliments. You have two left feet means you’re clumsy.
A few weeks ago we read the origin story of Jesus from Joseph's perspective and realized that Immanuel means "love with us." On Christmas Eve we mixed all our gospel stories together in one bowl, which is what we usually do. But really they are very different. From now until Easter, we are going to focus our discussions on the gospel according to Matthew. The genre of gospel is something unique in literature. It's not a novel, but it's also not a strict biography. The gospels are not concerned with the hard facts about the life of Jesus of Nazareth. They are concerned with the meaning of Jesus the Messiah as an event in the world. And it's important that we know the difference so that we approach these stories the right way. Matthew's gospel was written 30 to 60 years after Jesus died. Everything that is remembered about Jesus is colored by the truth of his resurrection and what his followers are doing in the world.