Mary Callahan, together with her husband Roy, are the directors of Hands UP Outreach in Rankin County, Mississippi. Their ministry is primarily focused on the prisons in that area, and they provide many resources, including Bible studies, GED tutoring, literacy, and ESL programs. Mary encouraged us to open our eyes to the opportunities around us.
More information about Roy and Mary’s ministry can be found at https://missionaries.namb.net/full/roy-callahan.
Today, we were honored to have Michelle Beadle, a Messianic Jew based in New Orleans, walk us through the Passover meal (seder). Most of us know about communion, the first Lord’s Supper, and that Jesus was crucified and rose again during the Passover festival; however, the number of ways that this meal points to Him is much larger than many people realize.
(NOTE: This recording has some periods of silence (and searching) removed, and skips the offering we gave after her description of CJF Ministries.)
This morning, we entertained a guest from the first century, who witnessed Jesus’ earthly ministry from the inside. His testimony not only confirms Jesus’ claims as to who He is, but that His charge to His disciples then extends to us as well.
Two ladies in the church at Philippi had a falling out; Paul encouraged the church to take an active role in restoring their relationship, so that they could once again work together for the gospel. We, too, should not let disagreements get in the way of our service, and we should be willing to help others restore their relationships when they need assistance.
Paul switches from running images to military ones, as he encourages the church at Philippi to stand firm, just as a Roman guard would when he was acting under orders. Realizing that this world will be hostile to our efforts, we must be sure that we are committed to living for Christ in this world, while looking forward with an expectant hope that something greater is coming.
Paul uses the image of a runner to describe how he strives for continuing his Christian journey, and he encourages the church at Philippi to imitate him in this. We, too, should strive to run our race through its completion, both for our own good and the good of those who are racing after us.
Perspective is the way we view things; it comes from our particular vantage point. Paul shared his perspective, which is one that churches should have. For everything we have that we think is good, we should be willing to give it up to gain the only thing worth having or doing - knowing Christ.
As Paul shifts from his focus on unity, he warns the church at Philippi to be wary of people who would add anything as a condition of salvation. If Jesus’ work is sufficient, it needs nothing added; and, if it needs something added, it is not sufficient. Legalism is a trap that can rob us of our joy, and even our ability to worship in spirit and truth.
Paul takes what seems to be a break from his discussions of unity and strength; what he is really doing, though, is highlighting the faithful service of Timothy and Epaphroditus. May God raise up men and women of faith of who the same thing can be said, and may those people be you and I.
Paul continues his thought from earlier in this chapter, as he encourages the Philippian church to be a shining star in the world. We, too, should follow his exhortation to actively live out our faith in a positive manner, contrary to the abundant negativity in the world, and to be known for our joy even in the face of trials.