1 Corinthians: Lesson 2: 1:10-31: God’s Contrarian Ways

Plant breaking through Concrete (610x350)

Last week, we learned how Paul and Sosthenes (Silas) organized 1 Corinthians, using many elements of Greek rhetoric in that letter. They also wrote an extended greeting, in which they dropped hints to the content within the letter that would follow. Further, although 1 Corinthians has two authors, it also has extended parts where Sosthenes […]

1 Corinthians, Lesson 1: Introduction

Current-Day Corinth from Above (610x352)

  Author and Date 1 Corinthians identifies its writers as the Apostle Paul and Pastor Sosthenes, whose Hebrew name was Silas (1:1). Sosthenes would later become the Bishop of Caesarea. Sothenes assisted Paul and also served as his scribe. At the end of the letter, however, Paul wrote his “goodbye” in his own handwriting (16:21). […]

Jesus Prophesied in the Old Testament

Pantokrator2 (610x350)

This lesson came into being from a question asking to see where Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament, but also where we find its fulfillment mentioned in the New. But before we delve directly into what the Scripture writers have foretold, we look at how Jesus Himself understood the Old Testament. This is so […]

Vain Repetition

Whenever you pray, say, Our Father (610x351)

This lesson is born from a concern about “vain repetition” in our worship liturgy. In our Divine Services on Sunday, we rotate settings of the Liturgy based on the season. However, during our midweek Advent and Lenten services, we have used the exact same service, Evening Prayer, for the last few years. Thus, are we […]

It’s not a Religion but a Relationship (not quite!)

Its not a religion (610x351)

This is our pastor’s newsletter article for the December 2014-January 2015 edition of our congregational newsletter: The Shepherd’s Voice.   We’ve all heard others say it. Maybe, you’ve even said it: “Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with Christ.” Yes, we live in the age of the sound-bite, where “truths” are distilled into small, […]

How to Discern God’s Will in Your Life

Making Decisions (610x351)

How to Discern God’s Will in Your Life (Or how I learned to stop worrying and make decisions like a real Christian) By Pr Rich Futrell How does a Christian figure out God’s will in his life? Closer to home, how can you know what life choices God wants you to make? That’s the topic […]

Acts, Lesson 22: The Ugly Intersection of Religion and Money

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (610x351)

Paul is still in Ephesus, preaching, teaching, and being an evangelist. Earlier, after three months of proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah in the synagogue, many of the Jews there became flustered with Paul. Today, we learn that many Gentiles became angry with Paul, but in a way where monetary income was as important (or more […]

The Theology of Suffering

Crown of Thorns (610x352)

Today’s lesson comes from a request to explore how to understand suffering in our lives. How are we to view suffering and, then, based on such a view, handle the suffering that comes our way?   The Theology of Glory versus the Theology of the Cross Before we look into suffering, we need to look […]

Acts, Lesson 21: Paul Still in Ephesus–Healing through Paul’s Facecloths and Work Aprons

Work Aprons (610x351)

Paul Still in Ephesus–Healing through Paul’s Facecloths and Work Aprons By Pr Rich Futrell Paul Serving as Evangelist and Pastor  Read Acts 19:8 In Ephesus, where does Paul first go?   How long does he stay preaching and teaching there?   What does this say about the resistance that Paul first experienced there?   Read […]

The Personhood of the Human

Jesus Mosaic (610x351)

Today’s lesson comes from a question asking, “What’s the difference between a person’s soul and his spirit?” To look at that, we’ll look at how Scripture, primarily the New Testament, describes who a human is in his personhood.   The Soul distinguished from Heart and Mind Matthew 22:37: [Jesus answering what is the greatest Commandment]: “Love […]