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Week 04

Podcast Episode – Red Couch Theology

With Alex Walton & Aaron Bjorklund

In addition to our daily devotional readings we also produce a weekly podcast in which we discuss the previous Sunday’s sermon topic. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing our podcast episode on Friday’s here in the Daily. We hope it blesses you. You can find the episode either on Youtube OR on your favorite podcast platform

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCWnNSTN-6XA7oYy6TBfS0LAxqxPvxVjH

Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/guys-drinking-tea/id1616539767

Podcast Episode – Red Couch Theology2022-11-27T20:01:17-07:00

Advent Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary

Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. This Advent season our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary. You will encounter texts from the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament as well as formal prayers. Each text has been selected to build anticipation for the coming of Christ – the Light of the World – amid the dark, cold days of winter. Reflect on the first coming of Christ while yearning for his second coming.

Matthew 1:18-25

1:18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph,
but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

1:19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace,
planned to dismiss her quietly.

1:20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

1:21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

1:22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

1:23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”

1:24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,

1:25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Intercessory Prayer:

Brothers and sisters,
as we joyfully await the glorious coming of the Christ,
let us pray for the needs of the church, our community, and the world.

Prayers of the People, concluding with:

God of promise,
you have given us a sign of your love
through the gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior,
who was promised from ages past.
We believe as Joseph did
the message of your presence
whispered by an angel,
and offer our prayers for your world,
confident of your care and mercy for all creation. Amen.

Source:  Year A – Advent : Revised Common Lectionary

Advent Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary2022-11-29T13:19:51-07:00

Advent Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary

Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. This Advent season our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary. You will encounter texts from the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament as well as formal prayers. Each text has been selected to build anticipation for the coming of Christ – the Light of the World – amid the dark, cold days of winter. Reflect on the first coming of Christ while yearning for his second coming.

Romans 1:1-7

1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

1:2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures,

1:3 the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh

1:4 and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness
by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith
among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name,

1:6 including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

1:7 To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Scripture Prayer:

Shepherd of Israel,
may Jesus, Emmanuel and son of Mary,
be more than just a dream in our hearts.
With the apostles, prophets, and saints,
save us, restore us,
and lead us in the way of grace and peace,
that we may bear your promise into the world. Amen.

Source: Year A – Advent : Revised Common Lectionary

Advent Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary2022-11-25T10:58:16-07:00

Advent Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary

Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. This Advent season our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary. You will encounter texts from the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament as well as formal prayers. Each text has been selected to build anticipation for the coming of Christ – the Light of the World – amid the dark, cold days of winter. Reflect on the first coming of Christ while yearning for his second coming.

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

80:1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned
upon the cherubim, shine forth

80:2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!

80:3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

80:4 O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?

80:5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.

80:6 You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.

80:7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

80:17 But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.

80:18 Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.

80:19 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Intercessory Prayer:

Brothers and sisters,
as we joyfully await the glorious coming of the Christ,
let us pray for the needs of the church, our community, and the world.

Prayers of the People, concluding with:

God of promise,
you have given us a sign of your love
through the gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior,
who was promised from ages past.
We believe as Joseph did
the message of your presence
whispered by an angel,
and offer our prayers for your world,
confident of your care and mercy for all creation. Amen.

Source: Year A – Advent : Revised Common Lectionary

Advent Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary2022-11-29T13:41:51-07:00

Advent Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary

Introduction: For hundreds of years many Christian traditions have read passages of scripture using a tool called a lectionary. This Advent season our devotional team decided to resource you with selections from the Revised Common Lectionary. You will encounter texts from the Psalms, the Prophets, and the New Testament as well as formal prayers. Each text has been selected to build anticipation for the coming of Christ – the Light of the World – amid the dark, cold days of winter. Reflect on the first coming of Christ while yearning for his second coming.

Isaiah 7:10-16

7:10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying,

7:11 Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.

7:12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.

7:13 Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals,
that you weary my God also?

7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

7:15 He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.

7:16 For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good,
the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

Thematic Prayer:

O God of Elizabeth and Mary,
you visited your servants with news of the world’s redemption
in the coming of the Savior.
Make our hearts leap with joy,
and fill our mouths with songs of praise,
that we may announce glad tidings of peace,
and welcome the Christ in our midst. Amen.

Source: Year A – Advent : Revised Common Lectionary

Advent Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary2022-11-25T10:35:52-07:00

We Need Restraint

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

When you read these verses, be honest. Do you read this list with an eye of condemnation?

  • the sexually immoral
  • idolaters
  • adulterers
  • men who have sex with men
  • thieves
  • the greedy
  • drunkards
  • slanderers
  • swindlers

Perhaps you think you’re supposed to read this list with eyes of condemnation, because Paul notes they “will not inherit the Kingdom of God”
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10). However, does this reality denote total condemnation for those who practice such behaviors?

Paul gives little emphasis on the specificity of these behaviors. In fact, in this language he is determinedly vague. Throughout his entire discussion on sexual brokenness in this letter to the Corinthian church, he merely lists these in one verse. It appears Paul strategically keeps his comments limited as he intentionally uses the word “inherit.” This verbiage implies Kingdom behavior produces Kingdom dividends. The connection and familial blessings of God’s Kingdom are not present with these illicit behaviors.

The truth is that Paul says more in these verses than some want to hear on these subjects, yet he maintains his balance by saying less than others want him to say.

The question is “Can you see your own Kingdom brokenness mirrored in this list?”

When God asks us to restrain from that which brings about Kingdom disconnection, we have a choice, much like Adam and Eve in the good and beautiful garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-10). We can choose to acknowledge God’s request to restrain ourselves and surrender to his ways, trusting he has our good in mind. Or, we can shrug him off, believing he’s withholding good things from us.

Let’s do a little heart check today. Do you want Kingdom inheritance – which involves connection to God and the fruit of his inheritance?

Get honest and ask God to reveal to you any area where you may be resistant to his request for restraint. Confess your resistance and agree with the good inheritance Jesus offers you on the other side of obedience.

We Need Restraint2022-10-01T23:00:12-06:00

We Are Temples

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

The role of the body is inextricably connected to faith for followers of Jesus. We believe that God values the physical world enough to enter into it. One might even say that Christianity is the most earthy of the world religions. We also believe that eternity will be composed of some physical new heavens and new earth. Unfortunately, this truth seems difficult to believe. Dualistic heresies like Marcionism and Gnosticism have plagued church history, and we are not exempt today. We tend to think about our spiritual lives connecting to God while ignoring our body’s role in faith in the process.

The importance of the body is precisely where Paul turns to advocate for his sexual ethic. Our bodies matter because they are a temple. They are the domain in which the spiritual world can manifest into the physical world. Dallas Willard described our bodies as our “power packs”. Our bodies were meant to be tools through which God’s kingdom came into the world. Just like a temple was meant to be a place where God’s creation could encounter him. Our bodies are now in that place. We are the place where people meet God.

Have you ever thought of your body that way? How might this truth make you think differently about your sexuality? Remember, we are not our sexual desires, we are not our sexual orientation, but we are temples of the living God.

We Are Temples2022-10-01T22:44:39-06:00

Freedom

Freedom – what does this mean for a Christian, especially as it relates to our behavior? Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:12-13 NIV,

“Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”–but I will not be mastered by anything. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”–but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

Paul is quoting from the letter the Corinthian church wrote to him. Members of the church were focusing on the freedom they had in Christ, to the exclusion of the responsibility they had in Christ, that is, to behave in a manner worthy of followers of Jesus. Later in Paul’s letter to this church he says,

“Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. I Corinthians 10:23-24 NIV

We have freedom in Christ, freedom from following the Jewish law, because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross – once for all. But – just as with children growing into adults, as we grow in age and gain more freedom – we also grow in the responsibility we bear for our individual behavior. Not all behavior is beneficial or constructive for ourselves or for others. The Apostle Peter writes, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” I Peter 2:16 NIV. The Apostle Paul writes to the Galatian churches, “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13 NIV

It seems that several members of the Corinthian church were only focused on pleasing themselves. Paul is strongly admonishing this church to behave in a way that honors God and honors God’s design for marriage. The author of Hebrews encourages us, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4 NIV

So, what about our freedom? I believe we need to keep I Corinthians 10:23-24 in mind. Ask yourself “am I not behaving in a manner that is seeking the other person’s good?” “Am I behaving in a manner that will harm someone else, or harm myself?” If the answer is yes, then I believe we do not have the freedom to act in that manner. Spend some time examining your own motives, actions, and behaviors. Confess as needed, ask God to clarify your next steps.

Freedom2022-10-01T10:18:06-06:00

Proud of Sexual Immorality?

It is actually reported that sexual immorality exists among you, the kind of immorality that is not permitted even among the Gentiles, so that someone is cohabiting with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you have been deeply sorrowful instead and removed the one who did this from among you? 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 NET Bible

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough… 1 Corinthians 5:6-7a NET Bible

It’s fascinating to observe vocabulary modifications that overtake the Church as the culture around us changes. A term that has become popular as we talk about ourselves and our culture is “brokenness”. It seems to upset fewer people than saying “mankind is sinful” or a using a term such as “sexual immorality”.

In 1 Corinthians 5:1-8, Paul addresses the toleration and even celebration of sexual brokenness that has been reported to him about the Corinthian church. Maybe those 8 verses could be paraphrased in the words made famous by the comic strip character Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Although it’s important to remember none of us is 100% free of brokenness, it’s destructive to tolerate, much less celebrate, brokenness in our midst.

In another letter Paul observes that those who repent and turn to Jesus start as fully broken: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NET Bible

But instantly, Paul moves past that start to describe what Jesus has done for us (justification – reconnecting us with God): “But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24 NET Bible

And, in another letter, Paul elaborates on our ongoing transformative process:

Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 5:23 NET Bible

In terms of sexual brokenness, our culture has come to resemble ancient Corinth. In order to be relevant and inoffensive to those we want to reach with the good news of Jesus, it’s tempting to be “accepting” and bend to swiftly morphing cultural norms. But we have the above words of Paul to guide us within our Church community. Here’s a summary:

  • Although those in the Church are broken, we are now justified by Jesus Christ.
  • Jesus is transforming us to wholeness, and it’s a process.
  • Don’t celebrate brokenness.
  • Don’t contribute to brokenness.
  • Confront celebrations of brokenness in the Church.

Consider one of the following actions today.

One: Think about the challenges sexual brokenness has presented or is presenting in your life. Is there another brother or sister you trust who can help you in that area?

Two: If you have received help with sexual brokenness and know of another believer who is struggling in the same area, pray for them and ask God to show you how you can support them in obeying Jesus.

Three: Let your heart be broken in prayer for one or more of those you know and love who are not in the Church and are presently captivated by sexual brokenness.

Proud of Sexual Immorality?2022-10-01T09:53:04-06:00

Are “We” Like the Corinthians?

Thank you all for the opportunity to write these four devotionals. It has been an honor and a privilege.

How much are we like the Corinthians? In our current culture, do we wanna do what we wanna do, when wanna do it – even, how we wanna do it?

Like the Corinthians, do we also turn our eyes from sexual abuse happening within the church? Do we enjoy socializing and celebrating with people who claim to follow Christ, but are sexually immoral, greedy, idolaters, slanderers, drunkards, or swindlers (1 Corinthians. 5:11)? Imagine if the Corinthians had electronic devices like we have today, such as iPhones, televisions, iPads, or the Internet. If they would have had access to such electronic devices, they probably would have used them inappropriately. Do we? Do we watch porn and violent movies, or use our social media platforms to slander politicians we don’t like, or neighbors, co-workers, or family members? How are we even vulnerable to sex trafficking and the like? Meanwhile, many who are like this are professing to be Christians.

Paul emphasizes throughout this epistle there is an expectation for believers to strive to live a holy lifestyle. Even now, in our social climate we have spiritual leaders who try to lead their congregation towards an honorable lifestyle. As we see repeatedly in the church, it isn’t easy because of narcissistic attitudes and corrupted behavior. As we let this continue, our family legacy is decaying, our church community is becoming spiritually dead, consisting of an immature body of believers. Meanwhile, the church might resemble the corruption of unbelievers’ in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or Chicago? Yet, many churches refuse to believe that they are like the Corinthians.

But let’s take a minute to remember the gospel message.

Those who follow Christ (i.e. Christians) have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They’ve asked for forgiveness of their sins. They believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the cross for the atonement of all their sins. They believe Christ is the Messiah. Like the Nicene Creed states, the Son, Jesus Christ, was both man and Divine, miraculously born of the virgin Mary, yet lived a sinless life. He was crucified, resurrected, and will return for his children who believe.

After true conversion takes place in their mind, heart, and body, believers must turn away from sin, or at the very least have a strong desire to surrender to righteousness and holiness. As a new creation, they are forming into the image of Jesus Christ, having the mindset to hate what God hates and love what God loves. With God’s help, we can choose righteousness over sin.

Let’s remember our personal story of salvation today. Think back to when you first became a believer. Who led you through the sinner’s prayer? Where were you? Write down as many details that you can remember, sign, date it. Keep the letter in a visible place.

Are “We” Like the Corinthians?2022-10-01T09:05:27-06:00
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