Tag Archives: 1 Peter

Building a Lasting House

Have you ever considered all of the expense that goes into building and maintaining a sanctuary, that part of a church building where we gather to worship on Sunday morning? A space that is difficult and expensive to heat or cool? A space that is seldom used during the week?

Since the first place of worship was merely an elaborate tent (see Exodus 26), what if instead of an impressive brick and mortar building that would only be used a few hours a week, we had a tent plus a few stacks of chairs,  a table, and a piano that could be rolled into place each week? Perhaps a tent we would inflate early Sunday morning then roll away that afternoon; for the church is not the building, but a people who worship together.

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
— 1 Peter 2:4-5 (NRSV)

For when a congregation is focused on shaping the living stones rather than maintaining brick and mortar, then their spiritual house becomes stronger as the living stones are hewn to fit exactly together, matching the shapes of adjacent stones supporting and provoking one another.

Yes provoking one another. Smaller congregations are particularly good at this. If someone misses worship, they either call ahead of time or someone will check on them, perhaps even before worship begins. And not merely Sunday worship, for living stones have many opportunities to be the Church of Jesus Christ in the world.

While large ornate cathedrals leave me wondering how resources might be used more effectively, I do recognize the value of a permanent place for worship over the labor and wear and tear to erect a tent every week, and how all that labor can be come a distraction to being living stones in a community.

How are you a “living stone”?

I will have more to say about 1 Peter 2:1-10 and living stones on Sunday, May 14th at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.

Robert Shaw, Pastor

Testing Continues

St Mark's Cathedral
On Palm Sunday 2017, a bomb exploded at the entry of St Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, killing 17 people.

Recent bombings of Coptic Christian churches in Egypt remind us of the dangers of professing Christ as our Lord and Savior. This incident reminds us that following Christ has physical implications that will indeed test our resolve to trust the one true God.

Yet even Christians in Western nations are tested. First the Church is increasingly marginalized as Sundays, even Sunday mornings are being filled with secular activities. Our children’s coaches have told us that if our children wish to remain on the team they cannot miss games and practices, including those on Sundays.

Western Christians are also tested in the application of faith in political discourse. Should we support candidates who challenge our values for sexual morality, for responsibility to care for the earth, and for our neighbors who are hungry or homeless?

Our faith is tested in the hospital room watching a friend or family member suffer a debilitating disease. We ask: “How can a loving, all powerful God allow this to happen?” or “Where is God in all this pain?”

In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. — 1 Peter 1:6-7 (NRSV)

On Sunday, April 23rd, we anticipate receiving as new members, those who have completed the confirmation class. However, the tests of faith do not end when they receive a Bible during worship. If anything, this ritual marks the beginning of testing the integrity of faith in all phases of life.

I will have more to say about 1 Peter 1:3-9 and testing of faith on Sunday, April 23rd at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.

Robert Shaw, Pastor

Committed to Witness – Tuesday

Whenever anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready to defend it.
(1 Peter 3:15b)

Witnessing to Jesus is a two-fold task and includes inviting others to the life of discipleship and answering the doubts, questions, and difficulties that those inside and outside the church have concerning Christianity. As Alister McGrath writes, “Evangelism could be said to be like offering someone bread. Apologetics would then be about persuading people there is bread to be had and it is good to eat.”

When we are asked concerning our hope, First Peter instructs us to “be ready to defend it.” We are to seek answers actively that address the questions our world is asking, and to respond in thoughtful, reasonable ways.

You may feel ill-equipped to witness to others. But let me encourage you: If you desire to grow in knowledge of the Christian faith, there are resources to help you, foremost among them the presence of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to guide you into the presence of others who can train you to articulate what Christians believe and why, so that when you are asked concerning your hope in Christ, you can provide an answer that gives him glory and honor.

Lord Jesus, my hope rests in you.
Equip me to answer questions in a reasonable and intelligent manner. Amen.

From Committed to Christ: Tweets, Posts, and Prayers by Ben Simpson, Copyright © 2012 by Abingdon Press. Used by permission.