The "Win-Lose" scenario...
Politicians engage it. Our court system often has to practice it. Divided families and congregations can suffer from it. It's built into sports competition and certainly part of the odds in a casino.
The "Win-Win" scenario...
St Paul has a better plan - actually he got the plan from Jesus who got the plan from his Father!
"For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1.21) This is the way the ESV translation says it.
Some of the modern-day paraphrases expand on this "win win" understanding.
The Message says, "Alive I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm his bounty. Life verses even more life! I can't lose!"
The New Living Translation writes, "For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better."
The Good News Translation says, "For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then, will bring more."
All summer we've been asking the same question, "Why Jesus!?" In this second-to-last Sunday we'll proclaim a Biblical Truth that produces a profound sense of confidence, courage and perseverance.
In Christ - you can't lose. You can only win. You've already won.
This isn't a denial of current suffering or a gloss over people's pain - but a message of depth and substance there is life now and later that is larger than all the world, the flesh and devil can dish out.
What kind of confidence might you have, how much anxiety might you shed since both living and dying are in Christ!?
Let's come together Sunday to celebrate the "win-win" we have been given in Christ!
Picture the scene...
Jesus responds to the question, "Who's the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?" It starts Jesus on a discourse of God's understanding of greatness. It's illustrated by a small child, driven by an urgency to find the lost and ready to work diligently to restore relationships.
It seems the time and work involved in reconciliation may be a bit much for Peter. There's the personal one-on-one loving confrontation, (and which of us likes that?); followed by a small gathering to continue the process; and finally, in the case of unrepentance, recommend the church excommunicate. I'm thinking this is registering as a lot of time-consuming hard work for Peter.
So... a little while later...
Peter approaches Jesus and asks, "How often will my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times!?" In the GUV (The Galik Unauthorized Version, which in addition to being unauthorized is also uninspired), Peter says something like, "Really and you want me to do this how often!?"
Jesus response to Peter is where our worship picks up.
We'll look to God's Word to provide perspective in forgiving one another - and the spiritual, physical and emotional power of forgiveness. You see some powerful stories that illustrate both Godly perspective and the Godly Power inherent in forgiveness. All of it will be from Matthew 18.1-35. Read it for yourself!
Integrated into our worship will also be time to honor dads in honor of Father's Day. We'll wish a happy Father's Day to dads and pray for the power of our heavenly Father to work in and through dads at Peace.
See you soon in worship, Good Lord willing!