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When we belong to Jesus, we learn to embrace paradox. We give in order to receive. We humble ourselves to be exalted. We conquer life’s challenges through surrender. And this one: we accept our weakness in order to receive God’s strength. This paradox is a theme in one of the most heart-felt books of the Bible -- Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians.
This fall Pastor Steve Todd will give a series of Sunday messages based on 2nd Corinthians. Plus, we’ll have a copy for you of N.T. Wright’s devotional to read at home, Paul for Everyone: 2 Corinthians.
As we prepare to engage in this series, now would be a perfect time to join a FaithGroup – or help launch a new one. Each week these small groups discuss Sunday’s message and how it relates to their everyday lives. If you’re interested in joining a FaithGroup or starting a new one, contact Director of Adult + Family Ministry Holly Timberlake at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comfort: Copy and Share
2 Corinthians 1:3-11
When we’re hungry, we often turn to our favorite comfort foods. When we’re ready to relax, we enjoy the cozy feel of comfortable clothes. And when we’re hurting, we welcome a comforting hug. In our suffering God is ready to comfort us -- it’s a gift we then pass on to others. It starts a chain reaction of comfort during life’s most stressful times.
This week read 2 Corinthians 1:1-14.
A Dose of Healthy Sorrow
2 Corinthians 2:5-11; 7:5-11
How do you deal with uncomfortable feedback? Maybe you avoid it. Perhaps you deny its usefulness or shrug it off completely. But what if you choose to learn and grow from it? Facing difficult news about ourselves and resolving to change is what the Bible calls “godly sorrow.”
This week read 2 Corinthians 1:15 – 2:13; 6:14 – 7:16.
What Does This Church ‘Smell’ Like?
2 Corinthians 2:14-17; 3:1-6
There’s nothing like the smell test -- that informal way we use our own perceptions to determine whether something is reliable or trustworthy. When you hang out someplace, you can quickly tell if it’s the real thing or not. What about our church family? Is it real? Is it healthy? Is it honest? Is it true to the gospel? What does this church ‘smell’ like to you?
This week read 2 Corinthians 2:14 – 3:11.
The Gospel: For Us, Not About Us
2 Corinthians 4:1-6
The next time you visit a new church, ask yourself some questions as you walk away. Did you come away more impressed, more in love, with Christ – or with the technology? Did the message point to the day’s speaker or to the Savior? Did the people expect their needs to be catered to -- or did they lean into their Christian role as servants of the community? It’s all about how we understand the gospel.
This week read 2 Corinthians 3:12 – 4:6.
Treasure in Clay Pots
2 Corinthians 4:7-12
It’s totally human to try to impress others. We want to appear successful and beautiful and talented so we’ll get noticed. We want to be admired and respected. But there’s something refreshing – and freeing -- about being comfortable with our ordinary selves. In Christ, we can be at peace, because we’re all carrying a hidden treasure.
This week read 2 Corinthians 4:7 – 5:10.
Ambassadors for the King
2 Corinthians 5:16-21; 6:1-2
Who’s been your biggest influence in coming to faith? Think of someone who helped you know Jesus and learn what it means to belong to him. That person was an ambassador for Christ – they represented Jesus to you. How did you respond? How will you respond? Thank God for those ambassadors of Christ.
This week read 2 Corinthians 5:11 – 6:13.
More to come through Nov. 22...