Noticing the Little Guy

A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 2

Big Idea: God tends to use ordinary people for his extraordinary purposes. Truly mature believers don’t overlook Jesus’ unremarkable servants for a slick spiritual superstar.

Walk past him in a crowded street, you won’t stop to take a second look. By any measure, Joshua is utterly unremarkable. Skinny, black plastic glasses, floppy bowl haircut, baggy t-shirt, cargo pants, overstuffed backpack – he looks just like any other nerdy school kid in Hong Kong. To the authorities in Beijing, however, this skinny teen is dangerous.

Continue reading “Noticing the Little Guy”

When Genius is Dumb

A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Big Idea: The best ideas the world offers which so captivate our hearts, will ultimately let us down, unlike God’s one ‘foolish’ idea of the gospel.

For answers to our hardest problems, whom would you turn to? Over a billion people worldwide turn to Ted. Not Ted the person, but TED the community of experts in entertainment, technology, and design. It’s our online version of ‘Mars Hill’ (Acts 17:19) where global citizens come together to listen to the latest (and best) ideas on how to make humanity better.

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Team Paul or Team Apollos?

A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Big Idea: The sides we choose reveal where our true loyalties lie

Manchester United or Manchester City? Republicans or Democrats? Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Harapan? Rare is a 100% neutral observer in all things. Everyone has a stand on things that matter to them. And those with similar views (and tastes) tend to group together with others just like themselves.

But gathering alone is not enough. We also want to justify the choices we make. To be with other (name your favorite team) fans is good. To beat the other side (name the opposing team) feels even better. Why? It means we were proven right (or smart) for the choice we made. We feel like ‘winners’ because the team we chose won. That’s how our world works.

This partisan, competitive, one-upmanship spirit often finds its way into church as well. Continue reading “Team Paul or Team Apollos?”

Thank God for Trouble-makers

A Clash of Cultures ~ 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Big Idea: Give thanks for all God’s people, even those who failed you

Think of a ‘problem person’ in your life today. Someone who has disappointed, betrayed, or failed you in some way. It could be a co-worker, parent, spouse, or friend. What do you usually do when you talk about them?  Complain? Gossip? (Sometimes that’s disguised as “sharing.”) What’s your tone like? Bitter? Angry? Dismissive?

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A Clash of Cultures: Seed Notes on 1 Corinthians

Well, let’s get started. In the weeks ahead, let me take you on a tour of 1 Corinthians.

Why start with this book? Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is fascinating as they echo many of the problems we face today. What better way to discover the relevance of the Bible to our present-day challenges than by listening in to what the apostle said to first-century cosmopolitan believers in Corinth …

Introduction to the Corinthian Christians

Why is change so hard in our Christian character? Is it because we don’t know what the Bible says? Or is it because we willfully disobey what’s actually said? Was that the problem Paul had with the Corinthian church? If the problem was ignorance, then more biblical teaching would fix it. If the problem was rebellion, then more scolding (politely known as ‘rebuking’ or ‘correction’) would rein it in.

But what if the problem was neither?

Continue reading “A Clash of Cultures: Seed Notes on 1 Corinthians”

Welcome to Seed Notes!

Welcome to my little garden where I intend to plant gospel seeds – blog by blog – through short, readable commentaries of select Bible texts with the hope that it will flourish and bear much spiritual fruit in the lives of my readers (that’s you!).

The name Seed Notes comes from a story Jesus told about a farmer who scatters his seeds far and wide, with wildly divergent results. “The seed,” Jesus says (Luke 8:11), “is the word of God.”

To many, the Bible seems like a dense forest of moral laws, genealogies, poetry, ancient history, prophecies, and personal letters to long-dead churches. But actually it’s the living word of God that tells one compelling story about Jesus.

I hope the Seed Notes sown here will serve as a useful guide for you, dear Bible explorer, to taste and see the sweetness and fullness of God’s spiritual blessings in the unique and amazing collection of books we call the Bible.

Marvin Wong

(You can find out a bit more about me and my background here.)

*Note: You may read the following posts as a supplement to your individual study or devotion, or use them as discussion points with your friends, whether Christian or non-Christian. Included are a few questions to facilitate your personal reflection or group discussions.