1 Thessalonians 3 – Devotion

By John Barry, shared from https://www.jesuseconomy.org/blogs/news

Faith in Jesus often means opposing social norms. The Christian demands justice, lives a life of mercy, and bases all actions on love. The gospel itself also seems like foolishness to those who don’t believe it (1 Corinthians 1:26–31). Thus, we should not be surprised when we experience opposition. Paul the apostle came to expect it.

Read 1 Thessalonians 2:17–3:13. Reflect on 1 Thessalonians 3:3b–5:

“For you yourselves know that we are appointed for this, for indeed when we were with you we told you beforehand that we were about to be afflicted, just as indeed it happened, and you know. Because of this, I also, when I could endure it no longer, sent in order to know your faith, lest somehow the tempter tempted you and our labor should be in vain” (LEB).

In this passage in 1 Thessalonians, Paul is further reflecting on the difficulties he and the Christians at Thessalonica have experienced (compare 1 Thessalonians 2:14–16). From the time the Thessalonians came to faith, they experienced persecution (Acts 17:4–10; compare 1 Thessalonians 1:6–8). And Paul had experienced the same throughout his ministry (2 Corinthians 6:3–10).

Paul expected persecution because Jesus, other apostles, and the prophets all experienced the same. In Paul’s mind, his sacrifices for the gospel were part of his overall calling (Philippians 1:29). We should feel the same about our faith in Jesus.

Paul was deeply aware that the faith he professed—when put into action—directly opposed how many people lived. The love that the gospel demands means serving others (John 12:44–13:20). It means justice and mercy for all (Matthew 5:6–7). The gospel makes all people equal before God (Galatians 3:27–29). For the wealthy and powerful, these ideas overthrow their very way of life.

Paul’s gospel meant that the religiously and politically powerful would have to acknowledge their lack of power before God. All must admit that God, and God alone, saves. This makes whatever implements of politics and religion we have ultimately useless, unless they conform to the values of justice, mercy, and equality.

The gospel demands that we start with Jesus—letting him transform us. The gospel is based on self-sacrifice. This means loving others with everything we have, and giving whatever is needed to help the hurting. People living the gospel itself—that’s what our world needs.

In what ways is your life currently out of alignment with the values of gospel—what are some tangible actions you can take to change that? How can you take any persecution you are experiencing and use it for good—for the betterment of others and spreading the good news of Jesus?

Table Worship at the Walters, Sunday, January 22 at 4:30pm

This Sunday at the Walters’ (contact us for directions), starting at 4:30pm, The Table is gathering for worship. Bring some food to share, and after our meal we will continue our study of 1 Thessalonians, asking, “How shall we live on mission?” If you want to read ahead, look at 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13. Invite a friend and join us.

1 Thessalonians 2:8

In 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Paul says, “We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” This season at The Table we are praying that God will lay on our hearts 3 or so people who we will intentionally pursue in relationship. There is no hidden agenda in this prayer, we simply want to share our lives with those around us, participating in what they are doing, initiating times together, and serving side by side in shared projects – all so we can get to know others and put in a good word for Jesus along the way. This is a part of our rhythm of Hospitality. We make room “at the table” of our lives, because that’s what Jesus has done and is doing.

Will you join us in praying that God would show us who He would have us share our lives with this season?

Table Burrito Blessing – Sunday, January 15th, 1pm at Veltkamps

16366088_f556b12be8_mThis Sunday The Table is gathering to construct many burritos. These will be given to families/individuals who could benefit from a simple meal. All the ingredients will be provided, but bring a snack to share while we assemble. If you have a family/individual in mind who could benefit from a burrito or 10, let us know.

If you are able to make it, we will gathering at 1pm this Sunday at the Veltkamps (contact us for directions). See you soon!

1 Thessalonians Weekly Devotion

unknownThis season The Table is studying 1 Thessalonians, and our very own John Barry is providing us w/ devotions for the series. Below is the first installment. Subscribe to these devotions at www.jesuseconomy.org/blogs/

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WE’RE ALL MISSIONARIES: DAILY DEVOTIONAL

Missionary efforts are often treated as a foreign endeavor, reserved for the few brave souls in a distant country. But each Christian is called to live as a missionary—offering God’s mercy and hope to other people. We are to share the salvation of Christ in both word and deed. But how should that look? How are we to have energy for that each day? The apostle Paul has some answers in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica.

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10. Reflect on 1 Thessalonians 1:1–3:

“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (ESV).

When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he focused on how to live as a Christian and why we should do so. Paul emphasizes the great hope we have in Christ.

For many, though (myself included), hope can feel like a cliché. When I look toward my future and the future of our world, it’s hard for me to believe that things will get better. But Paul cuts right through all those difficulties with thanksgiving.

After introducing his coauthors Timothy and Silvanus (also called Silas), Paul tells the Thessalonian church how grateful he is for them (1:1–2). Paul reflects on how the Thessalonian believers are laboring for Christ out of love, noting the stability of their hope in Christ. When Paul considers the Thessalonians he does not see a ship that wavers off course as each difficulty sweeps over them. Instead, Paul sees a ship that is captained by Christ the Lord.

The Thessalonians look toward the horizon and see Jesus. They do not let worry, or even persecution, define them. Instead, Jesus defines them.

Think of someone you personally know who has great hope in Christ. In what ways does their hope inspire an attitude of thankfulness in you? What is one way that inspirational person acts as a daily missionary that you can emulate?

Table Worship at the Walters, Sunday, January 8 at 4:30pm

Join us at 4:30pm this Sunday at the Walters’ (contact us for directions) for a Table worship gathering. We will begin with a meal and then begin a conversation, asking, “How shall we live on mission?” Our text will be 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:16, if you want to read ahead. Invite a friend, everyone is welcome.

New Worship Time: 4:30pm Sundays

unknownWe are excited to announce that our Sunday worship gatherings will now start at 4:30pm (instead of 5:30pm). Our gatherings will continue to look that same, starting with food and followed by prayer/song/study. We hope this change will bless our families with kids and those traveling into town. See you Sunday at 4:30pm!

No Gathering Sunday, January 1

There will be no gathering this weekend. Enjoy the New Years holiday with neighbors and friends. See you for worship at the Walters Sunday, January 8th at 4:30pm.

Table Christmas Worship with Mosaic, 4pm December 23 at the Majestic

This Friday, we are joining our sister church, Mosaic, for a combined Christmas service. We will gather at 4pm at the majestic Ballroom (1027 N. Forest St.). Come celebrate the birth of our Savior with songs, candle lighting, and prayers to Him.

We will not be gathering for worship on Christmas Day. Enjoy the day with your family and friends! Our next gathering will be January 8th, at the Walters.

Small Group Table Gathering, Sunday, December 18

This Sunday at The Table we have a small group gathering in leu of a worship gathering (contact us for more info). This is the 4th Sunday of Advent, as we will be focusing on the Hope we have in Christ.

Have  great week!

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