Friday, September 27, 2013

Touching Base, Part 217

TB 217
Lost in the City 2013 – PART 2
What Grocery Bag Are You Eating Out Of?
29 Sept 13

(You can find a recording of this sermon here.)

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Can you relate to any of the following statements If so, why and when?

“ I am overly consumed with…..”
“I can’t get my mind off…..”
“I feel all knotted up inside.”
“I can’t focus because…..”
“This is killing me.”

We all know what it is like to have something eating us up inside. In fact, I am sure we would get 100% agreement on the statement “what is in you might be destroying you.” This is our big idea from today’s text, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.

This week in our series, Lost in the City, we are looking at a section of Paul’s letter that is addressing this very issue - what is in you might be destroying you. But the additional complicating factors are,
a. They are boasting about what is destructive. In other words they don’t understand the damage being done to them, both as a church and individually
b. The issue at the core is sin, downright, outright sin. Something Paul says they need to get rid of.

Note: Sometimes what is eating us up inside is not a sin issue but part of the brokenness that we accumulate in our lives as a result of living in a broken world.

So let’s look at this issue as we answer the question, “how can what is in you destroy you?“

1. What is in you, can permeate you (v.6)

Note the phrase “works through the whole batch”- like the smell of a skunk, it knows no boundaries. Have you ever noticed how all-consuming internal issues can be? They seem to seep into every blood vessel, every organ of our body. They seem to have enough energy to bother us 24/7… unless, that is, you are a Corinthian and you are so ignorant of the damage being done that, in fact, you are boasting!

Notice the analogy Paul uses to help the Jewish and predominantly Gentile audience understand the power of what can be in us.

It was customary in both Gentile and Jewish homes to keep back some of the dough of last week’s dough, allowing it to ferment, then adding it to this week’s dough. Note how much dough Paul refers to. This tells you something of the power of what we are talking about. If you were a Jew, you would think of the Feast of Unleavened Bread/Passover and the command to Jews in the Old Testament to cleanse their house of any leaven once a year. It was potentially toxic. In the New Testament, leaven became a symbol of the process by which an evil spreads insidiously throughout a community until the whole batch is infected.

Do you think they get the point Paul is making? He wants them, not to boast, but to be broken and get rid of this stuff! The phrase “get rid of” can mean to cleanse, “to pierce” with a lance or sword, and thus “to kill”.
Read in v.1-5 in context and we know Paul is not talking about using swords literally and killing.

Read through the following texts and discuss the power of leaven:
- Regarding attitudes - Hebrews 12:15 (defile means to stain, taint, pollute)
- Regarding teaching - Luke 12:1. Think of this issue of teaching in the context of the many students who attend Bethel:
“From the moment Christian students first arrive on campus, their faith is assaulted on all sides by fellow students and teachers alike. According to a ground-breaking 2006 study by professors from Harvard and George Mason universities, the percentage of agnostics and atheists teaching at American colleges is three times greater than in the general population. More than 50 percent of college professors believe the Bible is ‘an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts.’ Students are routinely taught that Darwinian evolution is the substitute creator, the Bible is unreliable, that Jesus was like any other religious figure, and that any Christian who thinks differently is at best old-fashioned and at worst intolerant, bigoted and hateful. These ideas are perpetuated in the classroom through reason, logic and evidence.” (Apologetics for a New Generation, p.19)
- Regarding character- 1 Corinthians 15:33
- Regarding someone else’s weakness – Galatians 6:1

2. What is in you, can rob you (thief) (v.7,8)

Note the last four words of v.7 “as you really are.” What is Paul saying? Christ can save us, set us apart, make us His sons and daughters but leaven can rob us (not of our salvation, that is not Paul’s point), but of our spiritual health, wholeness and well-being.

This is why Christianity says “be egalitarian (equal) regarding persons, be elitist regarding ideas.” Not every statement, position, worldview, attitude, or behavior is equal. Some beliefs are downright destructive.

If you are reading this in a group take some time to talk about healthy choices and truths to live by, in contrast with what bad choices and “truths” look like.

The result for a believer making the leaven a staple of our diet is that we are not as we really are, instead we become the accumulation of our bad choices. That was Corinth: living way below who God had made them to be.

Discuss the following:

Why does God insist that we worship Him? For the same reason that parents tell their young children to stay away from fire, or speeding cars. God doesn't want humans to detach themselves from ultimate reality, which only ends up hurting us. (Is God A Moral Monster? Paul Copan, p.30)

Look at the price we are paying for making leaven part of our diet as a society.
“Prominent secular psychologists Edmund Bourne and Lorna Garano note that moral relativism (relativism was defined by Nietzsche as “ You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”) has come to dominate modern life. …. They add that this is a major cause of anxiety among Americans.” (Apologetics For A New Generation, p.43)
This is one of the reasons why the Gospel means “good news” - Jesus invites us to build our lives on truth that is good (though not always easy and sacrifice-free) for us.

Note in the remaining section, what Paul says about the gospel v.7b,8.

As the Passover Lamb, what has Jesus done for us? Remember what John said? John 1:29

Remember that at the Passover, unleavened bread was used.

Three quick things as we wrap.

• How do we get rid of this leaven? Verses 7 and 8 show us: Jesus our Passover Lamb that takes away leaven is the key. We need to repent of leaven to Jesus. Secondly, note that getting rid of these kinds of issues, at times, takes community. The pronoun “you” in our text is plural. Paul is addressing a community of believers that need to deal with leaven. Sometimes, we need key people in the community to help us with our leaven.

• Note that this leaven is not in the world but in the church. Our greatest battles and temptations can come from other believers.

• Note that the gospel is liberating news. Some people say Christianity is restrictive and oppressive. I think Paul might beg to differ.

Don’t get lost in the leaven but walk in the wholeness of God’s truth.

If interested in joining or starting a small group contact

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Touching Base, Part 216

TB 216
Lost in the City 2013 – PART 1
Tripping on our past and falling backwards. Ouch!
22 Sept 13

(You can find a recording of this sermon here.)

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

So, has anyone ever tripped on their past? You should be able to answer that question when done working through this Touching Base.

To start I want you to think about “decision” vs. “discipleship”. When you came to Christ, was the gospel presented to you as just a decision - for example, “I just need to ask Jesus into my heart and my eternity is secured.” Kind of like fire insurance. Or was the gospel presented to you more as an invitation to discipleship - “In surrendering my life to Jesus I am beginning a long walk in the same direction that will challenge me to embrace the values of His Kingdom here on earth.”

Text: 1 Corinthians 5:1-5
Big Idea: Lost Christians often fail to break free from the past.

In our text this morning, we saw a church not quite getting the “discipleship” idea. They had embraced Jesus but certainly were not walking in obedience and surrender. Perhaps they thought it was just a decision they made, not a lifestyle they agreed to embrace. The result was that they were lost, misguided, and just plain wrong in their walk of faith. Let me show you what I mean.

V.1 What is being reported to Paul? Who are they worse than?
Paul’s statement about how they compare to Corinth is astounding. Corinth was a place where the pursuit of pleasure, immorality and various forms of idolatry flourished. One of its main temples, devoted to the worship of Aphrodite, had more than 1000 priestesses who engaged in prostitution as an act of worship. What was going on in the church was just as, or even more, perverse.

What is the specific example of sexual immorality? Note that it says this was his father’s wife, implying it was his stepmother. Under Roman law and God’s law incest of this kind was illegal.

Now just stop for a moment and comment on the following:

Why are people not responding to the gospel? The institutional church is a far cry from what Jesus taught. There are a lot of non-Christians who realize the church looks nothing like what Jesus envisioned.

So the issue is sexual immorality, correct? Well, yes and no. Whenever there is an issue presented, often there is a deeper driver, a root that is causing the problem. As he moves on in this letter, Paul reveals the big issue in the Corinthian Church that he has been addressing since chapter 1. This is the fundamental root issue that is causing this church to get lost, to be misguided - check out v.2.

Pride is a posture of the heart that tolerates what does not belong in our lives, and causes us to insulate ourselves from the truth of God’s word. In failing to break free from their past habits and attitudes, they were moving in a completely godless direction.

You might want to stop and pause here and ask “what attitudes, habits, belief systems from my past (or the current world system) are hampering my walk, misguiding my steps and blurring my vision?”

Note how Paul points out how they should be acting. Work through v.2b-5 as a group and note how radically different their response should be. Let me give you some notes to help your discussion.

V.2 This is, no doubt, the last step in a series of steps that churches need to take at times with this kind of person. Note the implication that this person is flaunting his behavior along with the rest of the church. You can read the following verses to see how healthy communities embrace less harsh steps first. Matt 18:15-17, Gal 6:1-2, 2 Thess. 3:14-15.

V.4 Note that this issue had impacted the whole church (v.2), thus discipline was to be done by the entire church. But at other times, not all sin is everyone’s business.

V.5 What is hard to understand about this verse? What is clear? What is the intention of handing this man over to Satan? If we are correct in assuming that this man is a believer, how do you interpret Paul’s reference to being saved? (When you read v.9-13 you will see that he definitely was a believer and the stepmother was probably not, therefore no mention of disciplining her.)

Have you ever been in any kind of situation where you had no choice but to kick the person out? How tough was that? Did you do it well?

I want you to see how different this response is to how they are currently responding (v.2a and v2b). Without making these hard calls, they are getting lost as a church/individuals. They need to break free from the past (pride, in this case) so they can walk the life of discipleship.

When you hang on to some of the old habits, attitudes and beliefs of the past, you can become a pretty godless Church, a pretty unchristian Christian. Often, the old way is very accommodating; the new way deals with sin.

Two comments as we close:

I think that the church must be courageous these days in addressing tough issues in the body of Christ. Sexual sin, like in Corinth, is one of the issues that plague the North American Church. Without courage, we will get “lost in the city”. Our sexual practices will simply reflect the culture or, at times, be even worse.

Secondly, I think that what needs to accompany courage is compassion. We see compassion in this text by noting that the larger context of Scripture clearly shows us that this is the last step in a series of steps in dealing with this kind of individual. Compassion is also demonstrated in that the intention of this action is restoration, and healing. Check out 2 Corinthians 2:5-8. This is probably referring to a different man but note the heart for restoration in Paul. Also note in our text that no one in this church is considered lily white. They are all proud, there is sexual sin, the place is full of people in need of grace. Perhaps as we understand our need for grace, our approach to those who are struggling will be filled with compassion and grace. What do you think?

Have you lost your way as a Christian because of the ways of the past (attitudes, beliefs, behaviors)?
Are there all kinds of issues flooding in to the group you lead, because the root issue, an attitude of the past, a belief system of your life before Christ is still very much in charge?
Do you have the courage to deal with yourself first?
Do you have the compassion and courage required to deal with others?

Don’t trip on your past, but instead walk in obedience.

If interested in joining or starting a small group contact

Friday, September 13, 2013

Touching Base, Part 215

TB215 - Constance Lake

You can find a recording of this sermon here.)

God Listens – Luke 4:18-19
15 September 2013
Fred Grendel

(This article can also be found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

This past Sunday, our Big Idea was “God Listens.” In this TB I challenge you to do two things: firstly, gather some of your own information using the Internet and follow the instructions below. As you read from these sources, try and listen to the hearts of our First Nations People. Secondly, we ask that you take the information from the service Sunday, from your own fresh research and from the requests we will list for you in this TB and use them to pray for our First Nations People.

A. Gathering Information and Listening to the Hearts of our First Nation People:

I. Google “Constance Lake First Nation” (make sure you look at the links on page 2 as well). What does this teach you about Constance Lake?

II. If you have access to Facebook, go to or search FB for “Constance Lake Classifieds”. Read the “about” and the posts.

III. Go to and take a look around.

IV. Listen to this powerful song. (Language Disclaimer: It is “authentic”).

V. Finally, listen to this fun song. First Nations people, and in this case Native Americans are talented and so much fun to be with!

B. Prayer - God Listens!

I. Pray for the children and youth who just went back to school, that they would have the ability to stay in school and excel in their year.

II. Pray for the young man who received Bethel’s $1000 scholarship. He is taking a year off this year to work.

III. Pray for the teachers and leaders in the education system, for strength, wisdom and guidance.

IV. Pray for Chief and Council - Chief Fred Sackeney is the new Chief. Tracy Thomson’s brother Rick Allan is on Council as is Darius Ferris. Darius is active in the local church.

V. Pray for local church leaders - Pray for Pastor George and Margret, pastors of the Full Gospel Church. Pray for Linda and Ronnie Martin, Harmony and Darryl Wesley, and Steven Martin, all strong Christ Followers of the Full Gospel Church. Pray for Jimmy Sutherland and Stanly Stephens, the Elder leaders of the Anglican Church.

VI. Pray for people to respond to the heart of God. Our First Nations people are very spiritual - pray that they come to know the true Spirit.

VII. Pray against the oppression of drugs. Pray Luke 4:18-19 over the community.

VIII. Pray that the Lord would protect and bless Bethel’s/Day Star’s relationship with CLFN.

IX. Pray for our planned Christmas Trip, December 7th to 14th. Pray that we would receive confirmation about what we should give the children this year.

X. Pray for our summer trip of 2014. There is a new vision brewing that needs clarity.

XI. Pray for the Lord to send full-time workers to Constance Lake, who will go and work for the purpose of God’s kingdom.

XII. Pray for the relationship between the Federal Government and our First Nations People. Pray that the Federal Government and the Harper Administration would give our First Nation People a voice.

Kitchi Migwetch (Cree: A Big Thank You!)

Fred Grendel
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact