1 Corinthians 14:33 | Chaos Church

Church services are a formal structure. They start a certain time. They end at a certain time. There is an order to the flow with prayer, music, speakers, scripture reading, and greetings all taking the place assigned by the leaders who organized the service. Every Church has their own order to this. When I was younger my church tradition had a speaker preach for 45 minutes. I remember visiting a church and being surprised that the speaker only spoke for 5 minutes and the remainder of the service focused on taking the sacraments. When we come to 1 Corinthians Chapter 14, we find Paul giving instruction to a new church in the city of Corinth on how to order their service.

This chapter is controversial for two reasons. First Paul is comparing and contrasting two gifts of the spirit foretelling truth (Prophecy) and speaking in tongues. Some churches today elevate the gift of speaking in tongues to such an extent that one’s salvation might be questioned if not speaking in tongues. Other churches are resistance to tongues to such an extent that they are denied and practically forbidden. Paul emphasizes preaching over tongues because Paul wants the emphasis in the church to be order and instruction.

Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. 1 Corinthians 14:19 ESV

The second reason that this chapter is controversial is because Paul has what appears as harsh instructions for the place of women.

women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 1 Corinthians 14:34 ESV

Now there are church traditions where women are not allowed to teach or speak in church at all. And there are other churches where women become the leaders and preachers of the church. For the purpose of this review, we need to understand that Paul was not shutting women out of the worship of Church. Paul was encouraging order and peace within the worship service. The consensus answer to this issue is that the early church separated men and women in the worship service following the Jewish example. Now imagine husband and wife sitting on opposite sides of a room trying to speak over the other attendees with their own personal conversation. Additionally, this comment from Paul that women are not allowed to speak is contrary to his other instruction in this same letter so anyone reading into this verse that women must never speak, ever, is not consistent with the purpose of Paul’s comment.

Before I continue, I want to highlight the point where Paul discusses the appropriate and inappropriate method of women to participate in the worship of the church. Here Paul discusses what is appropriate and no appropriate for women when speaking, praying, and prophesying. Again Paul is looking for order and peace in the worship service.

Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. 1 Corinthians 11:4-5 ESV

This entire work must be taken into context of what Paul is communicating to this new church. He wants them to be orderly and uplifting. The role of corporate worship is to be encourage the believers both women and men.

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. 1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV

When Paul is writing this letter, he wants the people of the church in Corinth to be at peace and grow in their knowledge of God. How can this happen if the church is a disaster of disorder and disfunction. What does disorder look like? What is the root of disorder? James has the answer in explicit detail.

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16 ESV

What order is the worship at your church? Is it balanced? Is it giving and encouraging? It is organized and fruitful? The Church in Corinth must have been a crazy place. Men and women shouting at each other. Others speaking in tongues that no one understood. And still more trying to speak prophecy all at the same time. The only thing missing was someone handing from the rafters.

2 Peter 2:1 | Selfish Evil Teachers

How do I as a Christian know that I am following what Jesus actually taught and how do I know if I am listening to people God himself has raised up as guides and teachers? How do I avoid charlatans and selfish people who are in the church for their own personal gain? There are so many churches and so many people trying to claim they have the truth of God. Maybe the they are right and maybe they are wrong. The Bible speaks of false teachers as an ongoing existing problem right now.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1 ESV

So how do you know if the teachers you follow are legit? The answer is not for me to name names but to highlight what every believer should be looking for when they operate in the orbit of a church and the people in that church.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15-16 ESV

The fruits of the Spirit (God’s Spirit within us who are saved) are well known like love, joy, kindness but what we never talk about are the fruits of the flesh that Jesus is talking about when he tells us that we will know the false teachers by their fruits.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

Peter when he issued his warning to the church about false teachers goes on to describe the fruit or the results of the evil we will find from false teachers. Below are the key things one should look for.

And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. 2 Peter 2:3 ESV

Greed: It always comes down to money, power, and lust. People who don’t trust God to provide are always looking for more. Are the people you follow trying to accumulate stuff, money, and power under the guise that they can help more people if they have more stuff?

those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. 2 Peter 2:10 ESV

Lust and rejection of authority: God’s authority and laws constrain our passions to keep them from becoming a snare and the laws help us limit the destructive sin in our lives. Do the leaders and teachers you follow put controls and accountability in place to constrain the sin we are predisposed to follow? Or do they operate above the rules and above any kind of accountability?

For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 2 Peter 2:18 ESV

Boasts of Folly: Greedy people consumed by the passions of this world need others to provide for them and serve them. What better way than to boast of what they will do. The more outlandish and better. And people who are unstable in their footing want to be part of something larger but they overlook that they are part of God’s family and there is nothing larger than that. If the people you follow are always looking to grow their social media image and reach with outlandish big ideas then you may want to pause and evaluate that message a little more closely.

It can be hard to see some of these worldly passions in false teachers when on the outside looking in because they are liars and frauds by nature but for those close to the person these unholy fruits will be seen. Test everyone and ask God for wisdom. Ask God to direct you to people who have a heart for Him.

Ezra 8:21 | Self Absorbed, Anxious, and Alone

In my industry there is an influx of college hires, a new generation, and this new generation is changing the culture of the companies I work for. This generation is very much into saving the planet. They are into serving the community through activities that the company pays for. They complain immediately to any kind of disciplined hand of correction.  They bringing their collectable action figures to the office. They watch YouTube videos of their favorite stars while in the office. Not many have children and even less are married. The change to culture makes me ponder about the future of the country.

I am not convinced that the next generation’s desire to make corporate or government institutions their religion is a positive advancement for society. Government and other institutions should not be the spiritual structure of one’s life. Making government or wealthy business people the center of spiritual life will leave society dashed on the waves of ever-changing opinions of flawed peoples.

Ezra with a mandate from the unchanging God to return Jewish exiles home to Jerusalem had an opportunity to restore the Jewish community outside of the corporate and government institutions of their captivity. He had an opportunity to lead people away from dependence on men and this world and into a life dependent on God. The Christians of this age would do well to look at Ezra’s example because I fear that the Christian culture is almost indistinguishable from the self-absorbed culture at large.

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty. Ezra 8:21-23 ESV

Ezra had secured approval from the king ruling over the Jewish exile to return to Jerusalem. This was a once in a life time opportunity and Ezra, to his credit, boasted in God and also to Ezra’s credit he then humbly placed his trust in God and allow God to be glorified by that trust. We as an American culture, and more importantly Christian culture, have grown dependent on government bureaucracy, school sports and activities, and non-Church institutions for our well being and health. The results are not good. Anxiety, drug use both prescribed and illegal, suicide, family disfunction, sexual abuse, and other selfish acts of sinfulness have come to dominate society. We are not healthy because we, as Christians, have not humbled ourselves before God and placed our trust in him.

So, what does trust in God look like to the modern person? When I look at what I believe to be disfunction of the next generation here are three areas of focus that I think Christians are missing. These three areas I have struggled with myself and I have altered my lifestyle on more than one occasion to focus on these three areas.

First build life around the Church. Christians that look to government for solutions like the rest of society are always in meltdown when the political candidate of their choice does not win. We are not trusting God for the future. Ezra could have asked the government for a solution but he knew that solution was doomed to fail. Looking at government to fix culture is backwards. Government is a reflection of culture. So trust God and a major way to do that is through corporate worship through the local Church. Fellowship and discipleship. Community of believers living life together is the way God has designed us. We are built for close community relationships. And for those of struggling in fear and anxiety one of the greatest benefits of building life around church is a spiritual gift of encouragement.

11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.  Romans 1:11-12 ESV

Second build life around family. Children rebelling against parents. Parents being self-involved and not engaged in the life of their children. Not getting married. Not having children. These are all recipes of a lonely and broken life. God wants men and women to be married and to reproduce. But if you live a life that is self-absorbed then you will ultimately live a life that all alone. If it is God’s will for you then be married and grow a family. Yes it will be difficult. Yes it will be heartbreaking. Yes it will cut into your ability to “have fun”. But the blessings and the benefits of serving others in family will not be a regret. The only possible regret is not starting that family.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. ​Genesis 2:24 ​ ESV

Third and finally is to build life around God honoring education. Government education in current society has become hostile to family, church, and God. Many teachers are open and vocal about their desire to undermine the culture and ethic of the family a child comes from. If you have the means no matter the age of the children seriously consider altering everything to homeschool those children. If you have the means then look into different forms of private education. Post pandemic the other options of pod school and online learning are becoming available. Ask God for a way to put him first in education if you don’t see any other path. God will honor such a request. If you do not have the means then this is where the Church and the families of the local church need to step up and help support one another to start school pods or to take on other children to an existing home school. We as a church family need to build our lives around the larger church family and focus on teaching children to know and understand the wisdom and knowledge of God.

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10 ESV

I know that these three things are difficult because these are all consuming. Living life married with children, serving in a church, and homeschool will make you strange and you will feel that judgment from the world and your own extended family. Living life by these three as Christians will be costly in time and self fulfilment because these will interfere with the ambitions of the world. But the reward will be peace in chaos. The rewards are eternal with a life well lived in Christ and in the here and now the reward will be a life of healing selfless love vs the destructive self-love the world has to offer.

1 Corinthians 5:5 | Church, Flesh, and Spirit

Paul writing to the church in Corinth is responding to news of unashamed sexual deviancy in the church. There is a person living with his “father’s wife” and the church at this location has accepted his life and his choice. The mantra of this moment and of today “who are we to judge”? But Paul does not respond this way. Paul has harsh words for the church and Paul tells the church that they should remove this person from the fellowship by turning him over to Satan. Paul can make this judgement and this command because we know what is right and what is wrong as God has given us his moral laws.

5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:5 ESV

Paul wants to make it clear to the rest of the church and to this individual that is flaunting a sinful life that unashamed sin and the church cannot coexist. Paul’s plan to “deliver this man to Satan” is to send him out of the church and into the world where he can practice his sin as he sees fit. Notice also that Paul states this is an opportunity, maybe the only opportunity, that this man may have to recognize his need for God and to therefore save his soul. This man may go out and destroy his life in lust but hopefully he will learn how temporary and unfulfilling this lust filled life will be. How many a man has seen their life destroyed by lusts and passions?

The flip side of this problem is what would happen if the church allowed this man remain living in unashamed sin within their fellowship. What if the church did not judge and accepted his choice? There are two impacts of making that choice. First is the impact to this man. He would remain confused and unrepentant mistaking the Church’s approval for God’s approval. Regardless of what we claim to be true or claim to be false God defines truth. “Let God be true, and every human being a liar” (Romans 3:4 ESV). What kind of shock might it be when this man meets Christ and then says to Jesus I served in your church. To those words Jesus responds “I never knew you. Away from me” (Matthew 7:23 ESV). Second the impact of accepting this lifestyle in the church is that is would spread to others. Paul makes this point clear to the church by reminding them of the Passover instructions.

6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 ESV

I stated earlier that this man should be sent away so that he can live his life as he sees fit. Paul is not telling him to leave the relationship with his step mother. Leaving or staying with her is his choice. Paul is saying that he can’t choose that relationship and the church. And it is here that Paul concludes his instruction to the church.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 ESV

In practical terms very few churches will “kick” people out of the church. I have heard of such things but in modern America someone may leave one church and find open arms with one down the road. Many people never build roots in church they only jump from place to place until they are offended or are not shown the love they expect. In current culture this process is much more self-selected as the vision and message of the individual church conflicts with lifestyles of that type of member. But this is the purpose of the church to challenge us with God’s perfect standard so that repentance has a chance to bring new life. By not expecting change we remain dead and broken.

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39 ESV

1 Corinthians 5:13 | Excommunication is that a Real Thing?


Excommunication sounds painful and is always portrayed in a negative way. To be sure the very idea and the process could in no way be fun for anyone involved. In fact I imagine it would be recieved with tears and grief if practiced in real life.

“Excommunication is the exclusion of an irrevocably rebellious sinner from the communion of the faithful. Excommunication has been understood primarily as a medicinal measure, to recall to repentance and obedience. A secondary purpose is to safeguard the community’s purity. (Elwell, 422)”

Kicking someone out of the church based on this definition is done for two reasons. First as an act of discipline for an unrepentant member who is violating the standards of the church community. Second as an act of protection against an unrepentant member of the Church that could pull others away from the obedient life of service to God. So what is the real expectations and process of judging and condemning someone in such a way? Should it ever be done? How should the church approach the quickly shifting cultural standards of America and western society that require unending support for nontraditional lifestyles?

Paul in his letter to the Corinthians addressed just this issue in a Church that lived in a wealthy and sexually progressive society. Corinth being a hub for a major trade route would not have been an easy place to start one of the early Christian Churches.

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 1 Corinthians 5:9 ESV

Such a request would be impossible when the society itself has sexually immoral people in every stratus. Much like contemporary life where marriage is becoming an exception and who one has sex with can float between same or opposite sex at a whim. Where living together is more common because society champions selfishness by postponing family and children to much later in life if at all. Sexually immoral lifestyles are not only accepted but expected. Such a request from Paul would create a church so inwardly turned and cut off from the world that it would be almost impossible to share the gospel. Thankfully Paul clears up any confusion in the following verse.

11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 1 Corinthians 5:11 ESV

Anyone who bears the name of brother is the target of Paul’s call to not associate. When Paul says to not even eat with such a person he is in effect calling for excommunication of someone in the church. Before diving into that it would be appropriate to spend just a moment recognizing that this clarification also means that the Church must continue fellowship with the sinners who are not part of the church.

12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 ESV

The church has a completely reasonable and appropriate authority to discipline those who submit to Christ’s authority but those outside the church are the concern of God himself. This is why the Church can be out in the community serving those who do not know Christ in love and acceptance without judgment or condemnation. If you as a Christian like the idea of standing on a street corner with a sign condemning in unflattering terms certain groups of people then Paul is in effect telling you to stop it. That is not your job. Your job is to build relationships and interact with that community to share the gospel.

Paul’s intent in this letter however is really focused on the discipline within the church and why the Corinthians were accepting of a man who was living openly with his Father’s mother. Paul in no uncertain term makes it clear that this man should be removed from the fellowship in the church. “Let him who has done this be removed from among you”, “Cleanse out the old leaven” and ”Purge the evil person”. While this sounds harsh this person was openly living a life contrary the standards expected of someone born again who should be living for Christ. This man was championing himself not Christ. While the church is full of sinners the church cannot be full of unrepentant sinners. I know my shortcomings and I would in no way want to champion and justify those inside the community of believers. The Christian life assumes a few things namely that all the selfish ambitions of this world and the self-gratifications that are outside of God’s perfect standards be laid down.

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15 ESV

There are two domains. The “World” where Satan and sin rule and the “Church” where Christ and obedience to his standards rule. Bringing the world into the church is not acceptable any more than Christians bringing light into the world is wanted or desired by those who are hiding from their Creator. While is seems harsh that Paul would want them to remove this person from fellowship in the church it was not done in anger or spite. His goal was in hope that such discipline would change the man’s heart (notice the woman is not spoken of in the same way because most likely she is not part of the church) and he might leave this godless lifestyle and return in repentance to Christ.

5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:5 ESV

Paul by turning the man back out into the world where Satan has domain it hopeful that he will be saved because otherwise continuing in unrepentance the alternative is Hell. Is excommunication a real discipline that the church should be practicing? Yes but mostly this happens already in a kind of self-selection because an unrepentant individual is not going to be comfortable in the light that is natural within a church living through obedience to Christ. However there are times that someone who has intent to infiltrate and challenge the standards of God’s word from within the church must be removed publically in the manner that Paul asked of the Corinthians. The Church must be and remain a place of truth, trust, and togetherness in Christ Jesus.

2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV


Judges 4:4 | Gender Roles

Deborah is one of twelve judges recorded in the Bible that leads Israel in the time between Joshua and the eventual establishment of a king. What makes Deborah especially unique is that she is a woman and her introduction gives several keys about her role as a leader.

4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment. Judges 4:4-5 ESV

In this introduction we are given a glimpse into a powerful leader. She holds the office of Prophet and Judge demonstrating that God’s hand is on her both spiritually and administratively. Deborah is a successor and a peer to Moses in both spiritual and administrative leadership for the nation of Israel.

13 The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. Exodus 18:13 ESV

So it begs the question should women be spiritual or administrative leaders in the life of the Church? The contemporary culture would answer a resounding yes and it has become normal to see women successfully running large corporate organizations, holding leadership posts in government organizations, and possibly very soon the first woman may be made president of America. Inside the church however there are divisions around what spiritual leadership roles women should have and just how much influence that role should wield.

This question about roles of men and women is also directly linked to the current cultural shift of “genderless” bathrooms in the public square. The post gender society is just around the corner. The push in society to prove that women are equal to men has taken on other head scratching forms as well. The idea for example that women can do anything men can do even extends to the physical realms like war and sports. As a side note I once believed the Hollywood version of women’s ability to easily beat men who have height and weight advantages until I saw this boxing match between a wrestling body builder female and the average blue collar middle aged male. I was appalled at the real life way he abused his advantage and this boxing match quickly reminded me why it is in poor taste for men to fight women to begin with. The push to make men more feminine has also gained in popularity as abrasive “masculine” qualities are not as desired in business, school, or refined company. In the cultural quest to make men and women equal lost are wonderful things that make men and women unique and distinct. Women and men are equal in that both are created in God’s image, but contrary to culture norms women and men are not the same in design. They are distinctly different and as a society loosing that modesty and distinction may prove detrimental to the foundation of society.

Regardless what culture tells one about the roles of women and men the real answer in the organization of the church must come from God’s unchanging words and truth. The contentious words relevant to the question around women serving in spiritual leadership roles is found primarily here in Paul’s instructions to Timothy.

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 1 Timothy 2:11-14 ESV

There are two words that represent the two most popular sides to this issue. First is Egalitarian and the second is Complementarian.

Egalitarian – believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities

Complementarian – men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.

The Egalitarian view is the view held most closely by current society and it is a wonderful view to champion. America itself is founded on such a view even from the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”. The distinction however is that while all “men” are created equal before God in their rights they are not created equal in opportunity and that is where the Egalitarian view falls apart. I was born too short and without the athletic skills necessary to play basketball in the NBA. While I have an equal right to purse and try to play basketball in the NBA I do not have the same equal opportunity that Michael Jordan took advantage of. I am born as a man with male anatomy I do not have the same equal opportunity to be a mother and give birth to a child. The fact is everyone has unique unequal opportunities that set them apart and drive their passions in life. God has ordained an order and a plan for everyone.

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

God’s plan His opportunity for everyone is different and unequal.

Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? Romans 9:20-21 MSG

Egalitarian while noble cannot be used as an excuse to demand equal opportunity where God has limited design and purpose.

The other view is complementarian and it is here that we find more consistency with the God’s purpose and design for His creation. From the beginning God created Men and Women to be distinct and to care for each other in complementary but equal roles.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18 ESV

Both men and women are equal in rights before God just like the Egalitarian view however they are not equal in opportunity. Women have advantages that are not available to men and men have advantages that are not available to women. The real question is not if that is a true statement but where the lines of advantage are drawn. The culture wants to make that line disappear and the genderless bathroom is just a current example of that push. Complementarian worldview is especially noticeable in regard to family structure and it appears in Paul’s instruction to Timothy that this calling extends into the makeup of the church itself.

In family fathers and mothers have different roles and while those lines may look slightly different from family to family the general rules still apply. The larger point is that while family structures vary from a traditional father and mother, single parent, and even same parent (two mothers or two fathers) the ideal and original intent as designed by God is that of a father and mother. I was raised in a single parent home. It worked but only by God’s mercy and even then that family life would have been better served in a two parent home.

Fathers and Mothers have different roles in the home and in the same way God has established a similar order in the larger Church family. Women and Men are both capable of spiritual leadership and there are many examples of Godly women who are qualified to lead a church or teach even though Paul taught Timothy a role based structure for the Church. Exactly how that line should be drawn may vary between churches and denominations. And it appears that in some cases God has given women the opportunity to lead like Debora. However I believe like a single parent home this is a function of people working out their best plan in a fallen world outside of God’s perfect standards and leading the nation of Israel in Debora’s case is not leading a Church. I would vote for the right woman to be president of the nation, but I would be hesitant to make that same vote to run a church. In light of scripture the ideal that should be desired and worked at is a God directed role and function where we do not lose the role God assigned for each person to play. Pushing to make the church align to a post gender society does not honor God’s perfect plan for our lives and does not honor who God created men and women unique.

Genesis 2:24 | Marriage

genesis 2

Genesis means origin or source of a beginning and that is exactly what the first book of the Bible is about. Chapter one verse one of the Bible “In the beginning God…” it is clear, biblically speaking, that everything exists because of God. He is the creator. Chapter two while continuing the origin history takes a deeper look into the creation of man himself and it is most likely written not from God’s perspective like chapter one but from Adam’s perspective. Henry Morris the well-respected Creation scholar believes that starting in Chapter two we have the genesis account as written by Adam himself giving us his descendants the view of things as he understood them (Morris, 83). Reading Genesis two from this perspective brings much needed context to the text. That context is what Adam writes to tell us about is the first Marriage, the marriage of our eldest grandparents.

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 ESV

It all started because God recognized that Adam needed a companion and a peer of his own. The Triune God is relational and having created Adam in his image he knew that companionship would be required.

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. Genesis 2:18-20 ESV

God knew having created Man אִישׁ (ish) that the creation would need one more introduction before being complete on that sixth day (Genesis 1:27). Adam saw her and called her Woman אִשָּׁה (isha).

Man and Woman have been created and this relationship between Adam and Eve is established in the order and natural laws as God intended. Our own family histories are full of examples of two becoming one and our family histories are full of examples where this relationship has not worked out as one might have hoped going in.

Marriage is no easy relationship. It is amazing that two people man and woman would choose to come together and promise to continue the relationship until death separates them. There is something special and sacred about marriage and our forefather chose to write about marriage first. His being married to the most perfect woman ever created.

The example that God set for Adam is that marriage is between one man and one woman. As a society we have come to accept that many people want more than this singular ideal. However becoming one flesh with three or four people was not the model God created. Giving half of oneself to one person and then giving another half to someone else was not the model God created. Giving oneself to someone of the same gender was not the model God created. So why do we see so many people seeking after relationships and companionships outside of what God originally intended? Time does not permit an exploration of each of these detours from the original but I would like to address polygamy because it occurred, seemingly, with God’s blessing in the Bible and a time is coming in contemporary America where a push may be made to make that acceptable once again. I think by addressing this model through the context of Biblical history that we can see where God’s perfect plan of one man and one woman remains the ideal and it is an ideal that ultimately points to Christ.

We know that several men of the Bible had multiple wives. We know that that God did not forbid the act and it seems that it held a place in society out of necessity. I say necessity because the context and the time when it was practiced is not the same context we live in today. The rule of law was based on a more feudal system where power rested with those that could care and protect others. Women having a more difficult time securing a wage or daily necessities depended on an intact household for survival. Isaiah’s prophecy about the future doom of the nation of Israel and Judah because of their rebellion against God notes a relevant reality that took place because of the hardship and exposure that women would face.

And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.” Isaiah 4:1 ESV

In essence because of how few men would be left due to war and how desperate the social structure would be women would want to attach themselves to household name for protection so they would not be sold into slavery or worse. Another example is in giving ground rules for the king where God warns the king not to take many wives just because he has the power and the means to do so.

17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. Deuteronomy 17:17 ESV

God’s reason for telling the king to avoid this lifestyle is that it would turn his heart away from the true reality of life. God’s perfect plan was one man and one woman and a move to any other life that was born out of anything other than necessity would corrupt the heart of everyone involved.

What was permitted and what was born out of necessity is not needed in contemporary culture. Most, dare I say all, people living today would find that polygamy as permitted in the context of Old Testament is no longer needed. Women no longer need the protection of a household because they can make money on their own and they can call upon the resources of Governments and communities for their protection if needed. Even by the time of Christ this was becoming mostly true. Paul in his letter to Timothy that lays out much of the rules for the contemporary church organization and sets firm qualifications for leaders in the church.

12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 1 Timothy 3:12 ESV

Each household of one man and one woman fulfills God’s original perfect plan from the very beginning. Husband and Wife is the order just as Adam and Eve wrote in their letter to us in Genesis Chapter two. This beginning like many events recorded in the Bible also points to a more perfect relationship. That is the marriage relationship between Jesus and his Church.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33 ESV

It is most amazing to me that Adam’s letter written to us points to the future of Jesus being united to the Church making them one. Being part of the body of believers give you access to the Creator as the daughter-in-law of the Father. Being united with Christ the son of God with all the inheritance and protection that one could ever need through marriage. Now is the time of grace and mercy to be accepted and be part of that family of God. Will you reject or yield to that perfect marriage in Christ?


Acts 1: The Promise has Arrived!


Acts is the second half of the Gospel of Luke and primarily concerned with the actions of the apostles many of whom were direct disciples of Jesus in the gospels. In the conclusion of Luke and in the start of Acts we see the disciples soon to be apostles waiting for something unknown and unimaginable.

3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:3-5 ESV

Jesus has spent time with them and convinced them of his resurrection. Jesus has restored Peter and given him charge of the church (John 21:17)

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17 ESV

Jesus has been promising the Spirit to the disciples before his death and after the resurrection but God through his prophets has promised the Spirit to be in those who love him long in advance. While Jesus who is God in the flesh is powerful and amazing he is still finite in the sense that men are limited to time and space. The Holy Spirit will not be bound to those finite constraints. Jesus as always is allowing God’s prefect plan to unfold right in front of the disciples.

26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-28 ESV

God is going to do what we are unable to do ourselves and that is transform our hearts. He will put into us his Holy Spirit who will act on our hearts and transform our desires and hopes. In anticipation of this big day Jesus has asked the apostles to stay in Jerusalem and wait for Him to act.

Before Jesus ascends there is an interesting interaction recorded here in Acts. It is great example of how the disciples still did not understand the plans and power of Christ to build the eternal kingdom. Jesus has just told them to wait for the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem but their questions pick right up where they left off in their thinking before Jesus died.

 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:6-8 ESV

Jesus are you now going to destroy the Romans and restore Israel to power? This is what the disciples think they really wanted from Jesus. It is why Judas betrayed Jesus (John 13:29). It is why Peter was ready to go to war when Jesus was taken (John 18:10-11). But that was not God’s plan. God’s plan was not to enrich Judas or send Peter to war. God’s plan is grace and mercy here and now. God’s plan is to save mankind and restore our relationship with Him. God’s plan is just as he said through Ezekiel hundreds of years before to change the heart of men.

Acts 1:8 is the gospel charge from Jesus to the disciples once the promised Holy Spirit arrives and the same charge stands true for the church of today. It is a promise that Luke uses here “you will be” in the same way that Luke recorded Jesus’ words to the thief on the cross “you will be”. Jesus makes a promise about God’s plans and passion for saving mankind.

43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43 ESV


8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 ESV

Will you be part of that promise to witness to anyone and everyone through the power of the Holy Spirit living inside?

Adding Church to Vacation Plans?

When you go on vacation for an extended weekend or week-long trip what do you do with the time that is normally spent serving at your home Church? Sleep in? If visiting family go to their church? Just plan Sunday as one of the vacation days to visit the amusement parks, or go straight to the beach? Whatever your vacation plans do you ever think about visiting a local church in the area you are at for vacation?

While on vacation this year the thought crossed my mind. We as a family have not taken many vacations in fact this is the first time in over three years. This vacation is a bit of a celebration of stability, financial success, and down time to enjoy the fruit of our labors. While we may have worked hard to get to this place I must pause here to recognize that God has blessed us and provided for our needs and even more.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1 ESV

As I contemplate the idea of visiting a church local to the vacation area I start asking questions. What is the point? What will I benefit from visiting? Will I hear a sermon of such magnitude that it will change my life or give me pause? Lord, Father, seriously is this something you want from me? I dislike anything that is done simply because it is a duty. I must have a reason or I will only do it out of disgruntled obedience and that is no way to serve God. So I think about the positives for visiting a Church and see what stands out.

Here are some reasons I came up with why I should visit a church while on vacation out of town…

• I might hear a good sermon.
• Obedience to Jesus is a good thing even if I am skeptical. He does see the bigger picture after all.
• It would be good for my children as I set an example on how important church is even on vacation.
• It would only be an hour or two tops and then it will be over.
• I really think the Holy Spirit is asking that I do this in service to Him.

As I sit, think, and meditate on this idea running in my head the Holy Spirit speaks to me a fundamental truth. I am reminded what a selfish and ungrateful person I am to the blessing, power, and gifts He has given to me.

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. Romans 1:11-12 ESV

Look at the list I have written. It is a long list of what I would gain by visiting a church in the area where I am on vacation. It is a sad list and it is here that I am ashamed. It is not about me. It is about what others might benefit, it is what the church might gain. The gain is encouragement in the faith. Most Churches love visitors and are more than welcoming. What if my visit is an encouragement to them? If my family visits a church one Sunday and it is a blessing and encouragement to them to continue the work and service that they are doing for God then why should I withhold that blessing because of my own selfishness? God has called us to be one body in Christ. Why would I not make visiting other churches part of the planning process of vacations? Who knows how God might use my obediance to be a blessing others.