“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
One more recommendation for you this morning. This time a show from Netflix that started out on YouTube. This one combines great writing and acting, a terrific story, martial arts, and a heaping dose of nostalgia to make it even sweeter. The language is once again awful and it’s pretty violent, but the picture of redemption we are given along with the power of love over hatred once again shows why the Christian worldview is right and true. Today, let’s talk about why you should watch Cobra Kai.
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
It’s hard to find something to watch on television these days. No really, I mean it. It’s hard to find something to watch on TV. How can I say that? I mean, I know in terms of sheer volume there is more content being produced and released nowadays than anyone could watch even over the course of an entire lifetime, but that’s exactly the point. There is so much content available, it’s hard to choose one thing that’s really worth watching. How do you pick then? There’s always the approach of choosing something at random, watching for a few minutes to evaluate, and then sticking with it or moving on. You usually wind up sifting through a lot of junk by that method. A sometimes better approach is to listen to the hype. That doesn’t work for some things, but usually the best content gets the most hype. I recently went with that approach and was rewarded with a fantastic new show to watch that I can recommend heartily (with a caveat). This morning I want to tell you about Ted Lasso.
“They came to the leader’s house, and he saw a commotion–people weeping and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, ‘Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.’ They laughed at him, but he put them all outside. He took the child’s father, mother, and those who were with him, and entered the place where the child was. Then he took the child by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum’ (which is translated, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up’).” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Being a parent means wearing a lot of different hats. There’s the chef’s hat. The coach’s hat. The counselor’s hat. The boot camp drill instructor’s hat. The teacher’s hat. The pro-wrestler’s hat (if you have boys). The superhero’s hat (or so says my youngest about me). Lots of hats. My own boys are getting to the age where I’m having to don another hat more often than I like: the referee’s hat. It’s only natural, really. Sorting out issues with other people can be challenging, especially when we’re not willing to give an inch on our desired position. As a result, when we’re kids, we quickly appeal to a higher power to settle disputes for us: a parent. Wise parents know you can’t wear that hat too often or you short-change their opportunity to begin building some problem-solving skills of their own. But man is it tempting to solve things quickly for them so you don’t have to listen to the bickering anymore. The trouble is, when we sort things out, someone isn’t going to be happy. We’re going to be accused of playing favorites. And there’s some truth in that. We play favorites all the time. You know who didn’t play favorites, though, Jesus. And as we finally come to the end of this powerful story, we’re reminded of just how true that is.
“While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue leader’s house and said, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why bother the teacher anymore?’ When Jesus overheard what was said, he told the synagogue leader, ‘Don’t be afraid. Only believe.’” (CSB – Read the chapter)
In the enormous library of real estate series on TV right now, perhaps the one I like the least is “My Lottery Dream Home.” The basic format is the same as all the rest of them: a homebuyer is shown three different homes by a real estate agent and then chooses one of them to purchase. The twist for this version of that plot is that the homebuyers have all recently won the lottery and are using part of their winnings to buy a new home. Not all of them have won huge jackpots, and some of the lottery dream homes have been pretty humble, but every episode leaves you wondering, “Why won’t that happen to me?” Jealousy doesn’t sit well with me personally, so I don’t watch the show. But I can’t avoid the Scriptures, and this passage feels like an episode of “My Lottery Dream Home” that I don’t want to watch. Let’s look anyway.
As we continue in our new teaching series, A Fresh Start, we are examining yet another of the basic spiritual disciplines that all followers of Jesus need to be incorporating into their lives. This time it’s prayer. Like engaging with the Scriptures, prayer is basic. It is a foundation stone. It is one of those things we must get in place before we can do just about anything else. Let’s spend a few minutes thinking about why and how.
Taking a Pause
Have you ever been busy? Heh. How about, when was the last time you weren’t busy? Maybe the 13th of last Neveruary? We live in a busy world, don’t we? There’s always something to do. Even when there’s nothing to do, there’s still something to do. That’s the story of our household. Even when we don’t have any work to do, there’s still laundry to wash and laundry to fold and laundry to put away and bathrooms to clean and clothes to pick up and clutter to disperse and floors to vacuum and Nerf bullets…so…many…Nerf bullets to collect and Legos to build and the list goes on. Then there’s the list of things we actually want to do. It never stops. I don’t know about you, but some days I feel like the only real time I get to stop and breathe while I’m awake is when I’m in the shower. I’ll just about drain our hot water heater some days because that’s protected space. I can’t do anything for anybody else and I’m digitally disconnected which, for me, is even more important.