Heard at Café: 3/27/2019

Tonight was a good night. We had Oreo balls for dessert, and that's enough to make any night a good night.

Today at Café, Jeremy spoke about grace and peace. In particular, we looked at 2 Corinthians 11:21-31.

21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.

We also looked at Philippians 2:1-11:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first dayuntil now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heartand, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousnessthat comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Grace and peace. These two words are at the beginning of every letter that Paul writes in the New Testament. These are the two things that gave Paul life and keep him going, and he extends that to everyone. Why does he do this?

The grace and peace that Paul greets his fellow believers with is of a different variety than what grace and peace meant in those times.

Grace was used as a term for favor. In this context, grace is about God's full favor. Paul, once a person who passionately persecuted Christians, has himself received this grace and quite literally turned his life around. This grace means that God is for you and that you're forgiven. Paul offers grace to everyone, the same way that he was offered grace. Can I say grace one more time dang

Peace was a term used to refer to being free from violence and war. The Romans ruled in a way that presented peace under a threat of fear. Peace from God is completely different. Peace here speaks to the idea of shalom: wholeness and completeness, where everything flourishes. This means that everything is the way that things should be.

Paul lived a life that shows that even when things aren't going well, it can still be well. Paul wrote the letter in Philippians 1 from jail. We can also see from 2 Corinthians that Paul lived a life full of obstacles and troubles.  It's hard to imagine how someone who has experienced what Paul has could write letters filled with such joy. As Jeremy said tonight, even when it feels like it's the most absent, grace and peace still remain. God tells us to take heart because He's overcome the world [John 16:33].

Where do we seek shelter from the things that rob us of peace? We need more than an education or a paycheck; we need something more complete -- the things that go far deeper.

In the face of struggles, will we choose Jesus?

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