Sharing a Meal with Unbelievers

If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. (1 Cor 10:27)

It is easy to overlook parts of Scripture that aren’t the main focus of a passage. This week Paul mentions eating at someone’s house and the focus is on what you do while there. If they serve meat, do you ask where it came from? But let’s not overlook something that, for the early Christian convert in Corinth, may have been taken for granted. These believers were new to the faith and in the small minority among the religions in their city, so surely they had relationships with those outside the faith. Because of this, it would not be unexpected for them to share a meal with the pagans in the community.

I bring that up because what was a basis for this question is something that is increasingly a non-issue for many Christians today. How often are you actually invited over for dinner by an unbeliever?

If not, or at least if you have hardly any interactions with non-believers, that is a problem. How are we to have a witness to be concerned about in the first place if there is no one around us to witnes to?

Recently I saw an article on Christianity Today that revealed some statistics that display how big a problem this is becoming. In the article, which you can read in its entirety here, it is reported that “one out of five non-Christians in North America doesn’t know any Christians.”[1] That means 20 percent of the population, more than 13 million people, don’t personally know any Christians. How are they to hear of Christ? Do we assume here in the United States that they’ll just soak it in by osmosis? Christians need to be a people gathered, but not isolated. We gather to encourage each other, to worship, to be refreshed, and then we are sent. We need to see the “other”, a category Paul lifts up as deserving of our love, and seek them out.

Even if now you’re afraid of sharing your faith, let the first step at least be sharing a meal.


  1. In this report, North America is categorized along the lines that the UN uses, which designates Mexico as Latin America. ↩

If our bodies are for the Lord, does it matter if I exercise?

Given what Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 6 about the importance of our bodies and their role as temples of the Holy Spirit, it follows that what we do with and to our bodies matters. In light of that I found this discussion about exercise, sleep, and diet especially interesting. What sort of impact can the way we treat our body have on our sanctification? Is exercise a spiritual discipline?

Watch and let me know what you think.

I Will Not Boast in Anything–No Gifts, No Powers, No Wisdom

I always enjoy posting music that fits our readings so enjoy this wonderful song describing our God’s great love for us. The following lines especially fit with our repeated theme of boasting, and not doing so about ourselves, but only in Jesus Christ.

From How Deep the Father’s Love for Us:

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.

Jesus May Be Mocked, But He is Always Worthy of Praise

When Jesus was crucified, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, it certainly appeared foolish. Here Jesus is seen as a common criminal, a failure, and powerless. In Mark we read these words of how he is mocked at the crucifixion:

And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

Mark 15:16-20

That is our savior. Paul won’t waiver from this painful sight–the Messiah dying on the cross. It seems foolish. But it is our savior. It is love in action.

I thought I’d share a hymn that puts these two concepts together. Each stanza begins with what appears foolish: birth in a manger, a wandering existence with no home, his beating, and finally his crucifixion. But coupled with these scenes is the fact that such humble events do not diminish our Lord. Each stanza asks, “Who is this?” And the answer is always, regardless of circumstance, “our God.” We still praise him. Jesus Christ is the Son of God in these times and judging by the world’s standards, or by the world’s wisdom, does not fully comprehend his real power and glory.

Who Is This, So Weak and Helpless?

Who is this, so weak and helpless,
Child of lowly Hebrew maid,
Rudely in a stable sheltered,
Coldly in a manger laid?
’Tis the Lord of all creation,
Who this wondrous path has trod;
He is Lord from everlasting,
And to everlasting God.

Who is this, a Man of Sorrows,
Walking sadly life’s hard way,
Homeless, weary, sighing, weeping
Over sin and Satan’s sway?
’Tis our God, our glorious Savior,
Who above the starry sky
Is for us a place preparing,
Where no tear can dim the eye.

Who is this? Behold him shedding
Drops of blood upon the ground!
Who is this, despised, rejected,
Mocked, insulted, beaten, bound?
’Tis our God, Who gifts and graces
On His church is pouring down;
Who shall smite in holy vengeance
All His foes beneath His throne.

Who is this that hangs there dying
While the rude world scoffs and scorns,
Numbered with the malefactors,
Torn with nails, and crowned with thorns?
’Tis our God Who lives forever
’Mid the shining ones on high,
In the glorious golden city,
Reigning everlastingly.

You can also listen to the song here, in a rendition from Indelible Grace, sung by Sandra McCracken (although the video was not made by them):

Psalm 145, with bonus video

Psalm 145:3-8

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty–
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works–
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

In reading through the Bible we can’t help but see the greatness of God that is still so hard to fathom even though it is throughout the scriptures. But even though he is so good, we at times fail to take that next step of sharing his goodness with others. We do not witness to his mighty acts, passing on such good news from generation to generation.

In taking this year, I pray that it has been time to “meditate on [God’s] wonderful works” and may that spur us on to tell of his power, proclaim his great deeds, and celebrate. Our God is so gracious and compassionate that we ought to rejoice and sing praise to him.

As a bonus, enjoy this video by Shane and Shane based off this Psalm.

Music from the Psalms – Psalm 130

Several months ago I bought an album by Indelible Grace that leads off with the song “From the Depths of Woe.” It is a long song that builds from its mournful opening to a confident and hopeful end. I had heard it played a little differently before, but this is a powerful version that I was eager to share with you. But since it is a song based off of Psalm 130, I had to wait until this week when it falls within our readings.

Quick bit of history: It was written by Martin Luther way back in the 16th century. Not the psalm, of course, someone else wrote that. But he paraphrased it into German. If you didn’t know it yet, Luther was not only an accomplished nuisance to the church and great reformer, but he was a man of many talents, such as writing hymns.

If you enjoy playing the music, as well as listening to it, here is the music for it. (The links are on the right).

How is your time in the Word?

As close as we are to finishing our Year in the Bible, that doesn’t mean we are close to putting our Bibles down and moving on. We are developing habits of reading to continue for years to come. Since that is one of our aims, then now is as good a time as any to evaluate how our reading is going–and not just by the numbers. Is our time spent before God and in his word as it should be?

This article from The Gospel Coalition asks some good questions to get you thinking about the way you approach reading scripture.

Isaiah 43 – Do not fear

I love coming across scripture passages that immediately take on a certain cadence because I first learned the words in song. In college I used to sing Isaiah 43, and the best version of it I could find I included below. (I found other versions of the song with better production quality, but this is almost exactly how we sang it with the echoes and everything.)

You can also listen to another version here: Isaiah 43 – YouTube

And the music (chords, lyrics, demo) can be found here: Isaiah 43, Indelible Grace