Thursday, July 17, 2014

"If I have to tell you one more time, I will . . ." (a blogpost for a sermon on 2 Corinthians 12 for July 20, 2014)

I can still hear the words, "If I have to tell you one more time, I will . . . "  Teachers, parents, bosses, instructors, you name it, I have heard it from everyone.

Paul addresses the Corinthian church and reminds them that this will be his 3rd visit to them.  He has hinted that he expects to find the church still tolerating the sexual sins that have plagued their group for quite awhile.  He, also, seems to think that the "false prophets" will still hold sway over them.

Warnings, why don't we heed them?  Why can't we listen the first time?  Why not correct our behavior before we get corrected?  Why?

Why do we see our own sin yet will not repent?  Why do we see the temptation laid before us by others but do not call them out?  Why do we persist in putting up with those who twist the truth to their purpose?  Why?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Spiritual Highlights and Resumes (a blogpost for a sermon on 2 Corinthians 12 for July 20, 2014)

We live in an age of spiritual hubris.

I can remember as a young youth minister in the late 1980's the dread of having to sit through the "Christian horror stories" that passed as testimony.  The more debauchery you told, the better the story.  Little room for the work of God but a lot of room for talk about how far you had come. No room for the prevenient grace protecting those of us who were lost but not absolute heathens. Amazingly, in some ways, I long for those days again.

Today, there is a more complicated problem with testimony.  So many people want to brag about what God has done as if that is proof of what they are.  There is no end of talk about miracles, gifts, blessings, revelations, visions, etc. etc.  Credentials via divine work seems to be the order of the day.

Paul, who was caught up in paradise and  heard inexpressible things, would only boast of his weakness.   Now that would be a great thing to put on a dust jacket, a bio on your website, a personal profile on Twitter, or resume.  Paul was only willing to brag about what he was-a broken vessel to be used by the master craftsman.  The vessel was nothing, only the Master was anything.

I wish that I could write my resume in a truly Pauline way.

Todd Lackie

Work History

25 Years of local church ministry experience (20 years in 2 churches/5 years in seminary in 2 churches)

Experience in youth ministry, children's ministry, associate ministry, preaching ministry, counseling ministry, and missions.

Educational History

BA in Bible and Christian Ministry from Kentucky Christian College
MDiv + 34 graduate hours in Christian Education from The Church of God Theological Seminary

Mission Statement

My strengths and weaknesses are the same.  I am no better than my weaknesses, and I only have strength when God shows up.  I am what I am; an available tool in the hands of the Master.  "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  (2 Cor. 12:9)


Loves people
Honors the Word
Looks beyond the obvious present reality
Aptitude for scholarship
Ability to network
Critical eye


Spends too much time with people
Takes the Bible too literally
Can disconnect from the routine
Too concerned about the little things
Has a broad influence that is not always reflected locally
Cynical nature


Monday, July 14, 2014

A Thorn in the Flesh (a blog post for a sermon on 2 Corinthians 12 for July 20, 2014)

"Well, that is my thorn in the flesh."  I have actually heard people use this phrase in response to their own poor choices and bad decisions.  Paula paints a very different picture about his "thorn in the flesh."

Paul states that he was given "a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment" him because of the "surpassingly great revelations" he had received.  His thorn was not the result of his irresponsibility; they were result of God's protective grace in light of his blessing.

How often have we written off difficulty and hardship as "not from God" when for the Blessed it could be His grace that is prevailing?  Does God work to keep His children humble?  Do we look for His hand working in our everyday existence?  If we looked closer, could we possibly see Him working in the bloom and the thorn?  Can we find God in the blessing and the curse?

Paul did.

2 Corinthians 12 New International Version (NIV)

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul’s Concern for the Corinthians

11 I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,”[a] even though I am nothing. 12 I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles. 13 How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
14 Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? 16 Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! 17 Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not walk in the same footsteps by the same Spirit?
19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. 20 For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arroganceand disorder. 21 I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.


  1. 2 Corinthians 12:11 Or the most eminent apostles
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Boasting about Suffering

Suffering . . . not the most exciting of topics for the church.

I have learned more in my moments of suffering than I have ever learned during all the wondrous blessings of life.  Don't get me wrong.  I am glad for the good and would choose not to repeat the bad, but suffering has its benefits (humility, dependence, perspective, shared experience, reliance, testing of faith, etc.)

Perhaps we have this bragging thing all wrong.  Maybe we should brag about what God has done in our lives and not what we have done for God.  Paul seems to shout that the only thing he has to brag about is the fact that God got him through some tough times.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Bragging is a full-contact sport when we are kids.  "My dad is richer."  "My mom is smarter."  "My dad is bigger."  That was mine.  I could honestly say that my dad was the biggest parent of any of my friends.  At 6'8" and around 300 lbs., he is one of the biggest people that I have ever known.

But, what did that bragging get me?  My gloating did not change any facts.  My gloating did not get me anywhere.  My gloating only escalated the intensity of the rivalry.

Actually, my boasting did not change the size of my father.   He remained unchanged.  I, however, became a champion at bragging.  My accomplishment - I demonstrated that I could take credit for something I had no control or influence over.  I had become a resounding gong.  I was all noise and no substance.

So, I won, but what did I really win?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Story Time

When has God used your weakness to demonstrate His strength?  (Responses are welcome.  Please give permission if I can use them on Sunday.  Thanks.)


Monday, July 7, 2014

Weakness as Strength (a blogpost for a sermon on 2 Cor. 11 for July 12, 2014)

For many of us, admitting weakness is a difficult devotional.  We want to hide, cover up, gloss over, distract, and circumvent any possible sign of a chink in our armor.  We have been told to accentuate our positives and diminish our negatives.  We have been told that we can be our best, and it can be attained by following these 32 steps.

Paul boasts in his weakness.  Who in their right mind, in the middle of an argument over who is the best apostle, would declare their own weakness?  Who would herald all of their beneficial actions and then trash them as unimportant for all to see?  Who would try to convince others that what God does in the midst of our weaknesses is more powerful than what we do in our strength?

The Apostle Paul

2 Corinthians 11 New International Version (NIV)

Paul and the False Apostles

11 I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me!I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with iteasily enough.
I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”[a] I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Paul Boasts About His Sufferings

16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!
Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.


  1. 2 Corinthians 11:5 Or to the most eminent apostles
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


What is the greatest commendation that you have received?  Was it an award or words?  Who blessed you with this accolade?

What praise have you given someone else?  How often do you commend those in your sphere of influence?  Who needs your "ata boy" or "ata girl?"