Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jan 25 Sermon: Paul's Family Values

Sermon Texts: Psalm and Corinthians

One of the things I have noticed about churches and people looking for churches is that “family values” seems to occupy a place of prime importance.

Many seem to think that the pastor’s message, the Sunday school curriculum, the programming, and everything else should adhere to this nebulous social concept that we have that some things are full of family values, and other things are not.

Are family values actually lived, or are they just views, platforms. Do we care more about how one lives a married life, or how one theoretically defines marriage?

Marriage, I’d say is one of those family values. Mourning, of course is the expression of valuing your family, so I’d say it is a family value too. The accumulation and responsible use of money is a family value.

There are tons of churches which offer meaningful programming and entertaining topical sermons on these issues. Churches that approach ministry in this way are lauded for their practicality and worthwhile messages.

So, I wonder how Paul would fit into one of these immensely practical churches offering money management classes and marriage enrichment small groups with his odd advice to the Corinthians church. This requires a little digging into the context.

Paul believed that the second coming of Christ would happen at any moment, as evidenced by this scripture—so being the pressing nature of the apocalypse, Paul encouraged his disciples to focus on the relationship with God over all else.
Trying to help them “will the one thing” as Kierkegaard says.

Not nec. Bad things that compete with our dedication to God. Good things do too. (Nooma) Can we “will the one thing?”Psalm says “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
2He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
“God alone” I don’t think Paul was down on the relationships that people have in life. But he was aware of the fact that all these other things take time, and time spent addressing all the other needs first leaves little time for our relationship with the one “in whom we live and move and have our being.”
We need a re-orienting. Paul says to the Romans, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Make the time to acknowledge God’s presence. Be here in worship, be in prayer or devotion or worship on a regular basis. Put first things first, then all else will fall into place.
When we first place our trust and faith and hope in God, and we nurture that relationship with time and attention, then the other concerns we have can flow out of that relationship with God. We’ll find that we don’t feel hurried, we don’t feel stretched and pushed and obligated and guilted into doing things. We’ll find, that like Jesus, we are able to press on toward that “one thing” that God intends for us: life—and life abundant! 02

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