Several years ago, my wife threw me a surprise birthday party. She booked a large table at one of my favorite restaurants and invited a bunch of my friends to come and celebrate with me. I hadn’t noticed before this dinner, but I had friends from many different walks of life, with my different beliefs and convictions. I had friends from church who shared my faith in Jesus, and I had friends who were atheists and didn’t even believe in God. Friends who boldly supported Donald Trump and others who longed for the “good old days” of Barack Obama. And they were all around one table. The night was a lot of fun, but I can remember hoping that none of my friends said anything that offended the others. It reminded me that living with your feet in two different worlds is challenging. It evokes tension; a tension that we’re called to manage rather than resolve.

When the Apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, he wrote to a church that had its feet in two words. Listen to the way he made this point in 1 Corinthians 1:2. He wrote, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours…” In Corinth and in Christ. They were called to live with their feet in both worlds.

Jesus’ followers have always been called to live with their feet in two worlds. When Jesus prayed for his church he said, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:15) We are called to live for and with Jesus, but we are called to live in the world. Throughout the history of the church, we’ve often struggled with this. At times the church has been accused of being “so heavenly minded that she was of no earthly good.” Retreat from the corrupt world to monasteries is one such example. However, at other times the church has been accused of looking so much like the world that she had nothing unique to say or contribute. It’s in this space between that Jesus calls his people to live – and it’s to this kind of a church that Paul writes. In Corinth, in Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I want to know how to live faithfully in that overlap. When all of my friends gather around the table, I want them to be different enough that there’s a potentially awkward situation on the horizon. I think that’s part of what it means to be in Corinth and in Christ. Or maybe better said for us, in Escondido/North County and in Christ.

Would you take some time today and prayerfully consider how you’re doing living in the overlap? Ask Jesus to give you a passion for his name and a calling to live faithfully right where he’s placed you.

Pastor Ryan Paulson
Lead Pastor

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