I was blogging last week about when one member in our body (or the church) suffers, the whole body is also suffering. But in the same passage that Paul writes about suffering together, he also writes about rejoicing together. We read in the 1st letter to the Corinthians in the 12th chapter these words, “26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” ( NIV). Remember what led Paul to write this section in the 1st place. There was in the church of Corinth petty jealousies and disagreements over so many different issues. Those disagreements and jealousies would keep people from feeling other people’s pain but it would also keep “Christian” people from rejoicing in the Lord’s blessing on those whom God was blessing. I wonder how we are doing when we see God’s rich blessings on another member of the body of Christ?
In my family my daughter Ashley and I have a little competition as to who can get the most right selection in the NCAA basketball tourney brackets. I was struck this morning (Friday) by Ashley’s reaction when I informed her that I was 15-1 with my picks yesterday. She didn’t congratulate me for my wise selections but was instead seemed annoyed that I had do so well. Competition and jealousy might be healthy in some situations but it is not healthy in the body of Christ.
In the past God has given me some unique opportunities for study and personal growth. In 1995 I went to study in Scottsdale, Az. to become certified as a bereavement facilitator, a training that helped both my pastoral and counseling ministries. In 2003 I had occasion to go to Oklahoma City as part of my doctorate in ministry program. Once again this was beneficial in my personal and ministry growth. But now in one month I will be leaving to go to Israel to study at Yad Vashem which is the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. I believe this is going to be a profoundly significant training program that will have a major impact on my personal and ministry life. I hope you will rejoice with me in my selection to this incredible program. I am one of 20 pastors from a worldwide pool of pastors who has been selected for this training. All I did was apply for the scholarship to attend. I go not as private citizen Rich Sivo but as Pastor Rich Sivo of New Durham Chapel in Piscataway, NJ. It is because of my ministry at NDC that I was selected. I hope you will rejoice with me over this amazing opportunity and honor that God has given me. I would also cherish greatly your prayers and ask for you to specifically pray that God’s will would be done concerning this kidney stone issue that still remains unresolved. As God alone has opened this door for me, I trust His grace will be sufficient to see me through. Let us rejoice together in the great kindness and majesty of our amazing Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
All for God’s Glory,