The following is a part of our weekly devotional series, which is a companion to the 2013 Foursquare Life Journal. This week’s Bible reading comes from Joshua 1-20, Psalm 37, Psalm 69 and 1 Corinthians 3-9.
If you were to pen headlines about some of the issues facing the church today, you might write:
- Catholic Cardinals and Bishops Hiding Abusive Priests From Their Own Sin
- Disciples Shred Disciples in Courts of Law
- Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Status of Marriage in the Church
- Weight Watchers Anonymous: You Can Eat Whatever you Want!
- It’s MY Right, Thank you Very Much!
Sexual immorality abounds. Legal matters are taken into our own hands and played out in the courtroom. Marriage and its foundation are up for grabs by anyone who wants to take a shot at its definition. Eating disorders are on the rise. And legalism versus fundamentalism is deeply explored.
Were these headlines and issues pulled from news outlets today? They certainly could be. The funny thing is, the apostle Paul was writing about these very issues in 1 Cor. 3-9. That tells me these hot topics today were issues back then, as well.
Paul was addressing all the believers in Corinth in the 1st century, but these are issues that we regularly address in our pastoral and church leadership ranks in the 21st century. A recent article in Charisma Magazine cited the following statistics:
- 38 percent of ministers have admitted to an affair since they began their ministry.
- Even more have admitted to looking at pornography via their computers at home and/or at their church offices.
- 77 percent of ministers surveyed admitted that they do not have a good marriage.
- 1,500 pastors leave ministry each month due to moral failure, burnout or contention in their churches, never to return to ministry.
It’s important that the interior (the work of our heart and character) outpaces exterior growth (the work of our hands and competence) and not the other way around. Many leadership crashes we see happen today are a direct result of this backward dilemma. We too often reward competence before we have seen successful tests of character.
“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. … Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? … Do not deceive yourselves” (1 Cor. 3:10, 16 and 18, NIV). In these passages, Paul guides us toward a certain way of thinking and healthy living that helps us to consider whether the ways we lead line up with the way we live.
“I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me” (1 Cor. 4:14-16).
Ah, there’s the loving heart of a father, given to us by God the Father Himself!
God is so faithful to place the right “fathers” in our lives. We have all kinds of keywords for them today, don’t we? Mentor, counselor, pastor, elder, encourager, sponsor. Put your own word on it, and make a list of the people God has placed in your life this way in order to help keep you spiritually healthy. Healthy relationships allow for healthy lives!
By: Paul Kuzma, senior pastor of NewHeart Foursquare Church in Simi Valley, Calif.
Download the yearlong reading plan (PDF, 80 KB), or sign up for the full, online version of the Life Journal. To purchase a Life Journal for your own use or to place a bulk order for church-wide use, visit FoursquareJournal.com. Learn more about Foursquare’s 2013 Life Journal project.