Author: Chase Moore

All in All –
A Journey through 2 Corinthians

Welcome to our summer series, “All in All!” As a church, we’re taking the summer to dive into the book of 2 Corinthians and find out how Jesus, through His work on the cross and His activity in our life today, truly can be our “All in All.” We invite you to join us on Sunday mornings as we walk through this book, and in your own Bible reading throughout the week. Follow along with us as we go through this reading plan together.

THE “BOOK” OF 2 CORINTHIANS

It’s strange we call 2 Corinthians a “book” because it’s actually a letter – written to a specific people at a specific time and for specific reasons. In this case, the apostle Paul wrote this letter to a church located in the ancient Greek city of Corinth. Paul started this church and as he continued on his missionary travels, he would write letters to this and other churches to instruct and encourage them from afar. Letters like this one would’ve been received by leaders of the church and read out loud to the congregation, saved and passed around to other churches in the future. This is what Acts 2:42 refers to when it says that the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings.”

It’s also funny that we call this “book” 2 Corinthians because there are several, small clues in the letter that make it clear this was not the second thing Paul ever wrote to the church.

THE STORY OF 2 CORINTHIANS

The story of how Paul started this church is recorded in Acts 18. After Paul left Corinth he received a report of major problems in the church (see 1 Corinthians 1:11).  Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to address these problems. But as we see in both the letters to the Corinthians, many people in the church rejected Paul’s leadership.

Paul followed up 1 Corinthians with a “painful visit” and then another letter written with “anguish and tears” (see 2 Corinthians 2:1-4) to confront these tough issues. It seemed that after all of this most of the Corinthians were ready to repent for turning against Paul. He wrote 2 Corinthians to affirm his love for the church, give some basic instructions and defend his own legitimacy as an apostle.

THE LESSON OF 2 CORINTHIANS

At the time of writing this letter, it had been a rocky road for Paul. He had traveled the known world and planted churches, but also suffered greatly as we’ll see in 2 Corinthians 11. We get a close look at Paul’s sufferings, hard relationships and personal weaknesses in this book, and we get a deep look at the things he learned from those hardships. The more Paul goes through the more he learns about not only God’s comfort, but God’s grace and strength in the midst of weaknesses.

2 Corinthians is an invitation for us to consider our own challenges not as something that detract from our faith but as something that gives depth and meaning to our relationship with Jesus. Jesus’ love and power were shown most in His own suffering and death. Wouldn’t it seem that God wants to show us His love and power in our weakness and hardship as well?

Paul had an encounter with Jesus that changed him forever. Jesus’ words to Paul are true for us today, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Join us this summer as we journey through this letter, and find out how Jesus truly is and will be our “All in All.”

RESOURCES

In writing this introduction I used the following resources, which I highly recommend for a deeper study of Biblical books:

By Chase Moore – Young Adult Pastor

How to Holiday // Contentment

Can you feel it? When I walk into Target, when I see the commercials or hear the music, I can feel it – Christmas spirit. It’s so funny how tangible the energy and momentum of the holidays can be.  And that energy stirs up a wide range of emotions and memories in each of us: some good, some hard.

SOMETIMES THE NOSTALGIA AND THE MEDIA AROUND US CREATE EXPECTATIONS WE CAN’T ATTAIN.

And sometimes the holidays are the most difficult time of the year because we face loneliness or pain in our families.

WHETHER ITS HALLMARK EXPECTATIONS OR HARSH REALITIES, HOW CAN WE FIND CONTENTMENT THIS CHRISTMAS?

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice.” – Philippians 4:4

Again and again, Paul’s advice in his letter to the Philippians is to rejoice. It’s ironic that he would use this word so much in his letter because he is writing to the church amid great struggle and some acute relational conflict. Paul himself writes this letter from prison, not knowing if he will live. Yet, repeatedly, he takes time to rejoice! He seems to realize that contentment doesn’t end in rejoicing.

REJOICING ENDS IN CONTENTMENT.

Contentment is Reasonable

In Philippians 4, Paul is writing to two women at odds with each other. Apparently the conflict is so severe, Paul feels the need to weigh in. He tells the others in the church to help these women reconcile and then moves directly into his encouragement, “Rejoice in the Lord” in verse four.  Then in verse five, Paul encourages the church to, “let your reasonableness/ gentleness be known to all.  The Lord is near.”

Each of us have different dynamics at play in our families when we are home for the holidays.  Some of us routinely face conflict or tension. Paul’s instruction amid relational drama is to rejoice and be reasonable (also translated to gentle or moderate). Paul is encouraging the people to avoid the emotional extremes that our relationships and circumstances can pull us into.  We want to rejoice and be reasonable, NOT overwhelmed and swept away in our relationships this holiday season.

We do this by zooming out and aligning our expectations:

  • Zoom Out // If you’re feeling discouraged or overwhelmed this season, take time to zoom out from your current circumstance by rejoicing at how God is working in the big picture and in other ways in your life.  When you can look back or look ahead and see how God is at work, it will give you faith for how He can move in your current situation.
  • Align your Expectations // Notice I said align and not lower your expectations. It’s amazing how our imagination and our expectations of what will or won’t happen over the holidays can run wild without realizing it. Take time to sit down and pray, “God, what do You want to do in my family and in my life this Christmas?” Write down what the Holy Sprit says and let that drive your expectations and faith.

Contentment is Not Neutral

“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will be with you always” – Philippians 4:6-7

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9

The promise of Scripture is that the peace of God beyond all logic and God Himself will be with us. Yet the Bible is clear that there are things we DO as believers to access the peace He wants to give.  Don’t sit back and wait for contentment to find you this season. To walk in peace we need to be proactive in praying and rejoicing.

  • Take time to pray this holiday season //  You aren’t too busy to find Him, and you’ll find Him in your prayer life.  Spend quality, if not quantity, time rejoicing out loud for what God has done in your life.  Pray specific prayers and ask for specific answers in areas your worried about this season.  You’ll be amazed at what God can do!
  • Practice// Paul encourages the church to keep doing what they’ve learned.  The holidays are a time for rest and celebration.  But too often we push pause on the disciplines of prayer and time with God that actually give us the peace, hope, joy and strength we need. Keep practicing the things you’ve learned in your walk with God.

Contentment is an Atmosphere

“…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…I have learned the secret of facing abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” – Philippians 4:11b-13

We often see that last verse on the wall of a weight room or maybe scrawled on the sweatband of some famous athlete. Ironically, this verse isn’t about victories and overcoming. This verse is about having the strength and character to face both victories AND defeat. Paul is expressing that he’s learned something about walking with God in good times and in bad times. Sometimes we have to walk through difficult circumstances to truly learn the contentment that Paul is talking about. Contentment doesn’t look like the ideal place or scenario you might imagine. Rather, it is the atmosphere you live in everywhere you go!

My final encouragement this season is to embrace the situation God has placed you in. Learn and get all that God has for you!

  • Embrace, don’t escape // Press into your relationships this season, press into that family Christmas or that difficult, even painful situation.  Leave your phone in the car when you go inside, get good rest and don’t stay up late watching endless media.

IN RESPONSE:

What is one thing you can do to embrace the season that God has put you in this Christmas? If nothing else, God wants to give you His contentment, His peace and Himself this holiday season!

By Chase Moore – Associate Young Adult Pastor

Young Adult Fall Out Recap

Recently our Young Adult Ministry went to Austin for a retreat and outreach weekend. It was a refreshing and fun weekend of worship, teaching and ministering to the community. Check out a few testimonies from our weekend:

  • On Saturday, we partnered with Antioch Austin to host a carnival for the neighborhood. One of our Lifegroup leaders, Nicole, connected with a 10-year-old boy when we got to the carnival. The boy mentioned that he wasn’t doing well in school and that his teacher told him he’d be in 4th grade forever and that he’d grow up to be no good. Nicole encouraged him and taught him to hear God’s voice. He heard God say, “I love you, son.” The boy’s friend was nearby and someone was sharing the Gospel with him, but he was unsure if he wanted to pray to follow Jesus. Then Ariel, the boy who had just learned to hear God’s voice, turned and encouraged the other boy to trust Jesus. He then prayed to receive Jesus!
  • Kristyn was our amazing details person, and helped us organize the whole weekend. By her own admission, she just wanted to get things done and hadn’t really thought about how God wanted to use her. Kristyn also shared with us that street evangelism was really challenging for her and she didn’t want to do it. After going with Darius, who is passionate about evangelism, they were able to reach out to people and have some amazing conversations. The next night, Kristyn decided to go on the late night 6th street outreach. She said she had never seen a healing before, but she had faith for it. That night she prayed for three people who got healed of pain in their bodies!
  • There were several people on our trip who were very new Waco and the Young Adult Ministry as well. Across the board God took a group of people and put us in a family. God reconciled people back to the Church and to His people, and did a huge work of unity.

My big takeaway was that anytime we give space to get more of God and more of His people, it works, He shows up and changes us!

By Chase Moore – Young Adult Associate Pastor

Accomplished


Slow, deep breaths. All attempts to sedate the butterflies in my stomach and the pounding in my chest are futile. I’m standing on a precipice, some 40 feet above the water, and I cannot “think” my way over the edge.  A moment of resignation, “Don’t think, just do.” It’s when my mind stops that I feel my feet leave the edge. I leap. I flip. I land in the water and then resurface. Alive. It’s over!

“Don’t think, just do.” That’s how you approach jumping off a cliff, but does it work in life? As summer gives way to fall, I feel my feet inching toward the edge of a new season. One of excitement, sure, but one that often carries an equal sense of blasé and even dread. Things speed up in the fall, life comes fast and gets busy. The thing about this ledge is, it won’t wait for me.

 When life gets hectic my tendency can be to go on auto-pilot.

To check out and become a mere passenger- that is if I don’t crash and burn first. How do we approach the plunge?

Jesus had to look over the precipice as He prayed in Gethsemane. Slow. Deep. Breaths. Drops of blood and desperate prayers, but He landed true, “Not my will, but Yours.” In His greatest moment of angst, Jesus had such clarity and peace about His calling. And He endured it, “for the joy set before Him,” as Hebrews 12 tells us.

Yet before Jesus interceded in the garden, He prayed with His disciples and it’s recorded by one of those men in John 17.  There is a piece of this prayer, a simple one-liner that I find so fascinating –

“I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work You gave me to do.” – John 17:4

Accomplished.

Thirty-three years old. A carpenter turned vagabond who roamed the near east telling tales, dining with scoundrels and doing wonders. This work that He accomplished led only to an untimely death- executed by His own people. His actual ministry hardly lasted three years, and He never left an area the size of New Jersey. Yet, in those brief wandering years with His small band of fickle followers, Jesus glorified the Father of heaven and He accomplished the work God gave Him to do. He finished the work, full stop.  And He knew He’d finished it, which is perhaps the most amazing part.

You may be thinking, “That’s easy for him to say! The son of God who took away the sin of the world? Of course HE accomplished the work!” But, it’s important to note that this prayer was uttered before Jesus ever took up His cross or took up the sins of the world on it. This was spoken by a man who put aside divinity and walked in our shoes.

“I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work You gave me to do.” – John 17:4

Jesus wasn’t simply describing His own journey. If you look at John 17 in totality, you hear the tone of a prayer not just made for the disciples, but a prayer made as an example to the disciples. Jesus was a man who was, “tempted in every way, as we are” (Hebrews 4:15), one who emptied Himself, and was born just like a man (Philippians 2:7). This Jesus, this man, finished the work with confidence.

He operated in peace and in rest, and we can too.

The questions of the hour becomes, “How? How on earth did Jesus do this?” Jesus’ list of best practices would be a lengthy one. And I find “How-To’s” on the Christian life a bit formulaic for my liking. Instead, let me leave you with one observation:

Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing.

Jesus was walked with the Spirit, and abided in God. Thus, He was ever cognizant of what God was doing.  That actually sounds scary!  Have you ever been afraid to pray because you were afraid of how God might answer and what He might ask you to do? I most definitely have. But for Jesus, He only did what He saw the Father doing.

“So Jesus replied, ‘Truly, truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself, unless He sees the Father doing it.  For whatever the Father does, the Son also does.’” -John 5:19

I look around me and I see people killing it! All over, I see people going after Jesus and doing amazing things. I want to do what they are doing. I question what I am doing, “Does it matter? Is it important?  Am I missing it?” I have to hone in on what I see God doing in my life.

I have to let Him set the agenda.

I cannot do it all, trying to leaves me burnt out, bitter and confused.

Jesus didn’t heal every person in the places He visited. He didn’t oust the Romans like His closest friends expected Him to. He didn’t do great miracles in His own hometown. At His death, all He had to show was a handful of jaded followers.

He is the Alpha and Omega, the Ancient of Days, the One who was with God and was God in the beginning!  But for all His wisdom and understanding of the infinite cosmos, with the weight of the world on His shoulders, Jesus never lost sight of what God was doing in each moment. He was present and engaged. He was ready to give His life for eternal salvation when the hour came, but He was just as ready to stop for lunch with little unimportant Zacchaeus. He was ready to kneel and cover the shame of an adulteress and He’d cry with Mary and Martha.

His method of global revival was to focus on 12 average dudes and dine with social misfits.

It wasn’t strategic. He did not infiltrate spheres of great influence. He did not do it all, not even close.  He did what He saw the Father doing, and that changed everything!

In Response:

Ultimately, all we can give Jesus is our yes right now. Regardless of whatever is ahead for you, whatever is next in life, take a moment to ask yourself these questions:

  • What is God up to right now?
  • Who has God put in your life today?
  • Who are you walking with?
  • Who do you keep running into?
  • How is God asking you to engage and be present?

Use this simple template to help you narrow in on what God is calling you to this fall. Pray it in, write it down, live it out and change the world!

By Chase Moore – Associate Young Adult Pastor