Digging in Deeper: Philippians 4:4

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We talked yesterday morning about people reacting to situations in the wrong way – happy when they should be sad, sad when they should be happy, mad when they should be glad, and so on and so forth. Reacting the wrong way is one thing. Have you ever reacted to a situation in the right way, but you didn’t really mean it? We talked some about gift-giving yesterday. I suspect you’ve been through the experience before of opening a gift on your birthday or Christmas and you either already had it or didn’t even remotely want it. But the other person had really put a lot of thought into it and fully expected you to love it. So, you put on a smile you didn’t feel and thanked them heartily for it. They left feeling good about themselves, and you left feeling…a bit dirty because you weren’t really honest with them. Sometimes we have to react to a situation in a way that doesn’t match our feelings because the circumstances we are in demand it, but that’s not ever something we enjoy doing. So then, what are we supposed to do with Paul’s command here to rejoice in the Lord always? Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Mark 16:8

“They went out and ran from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Today this journey comes to an end. It has taken us two days shy of 13 months. I’m so glad to have had you with me on it. As I said yesterday, we’ll start a new journey together soon, and I am very much looking forward to that. I’ll have more news on what that will be in the next few weeks. In the meantime, don’t tune out! We’ll spend the next few weeks looking at some of the lies followers of Jesus believe and why the truth is so much better. And just in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a link back to where we started on September 1 of last year. Thanks for reading and sharing. Now, let’s get to the task at hand.

Have you ever seen someone react to something in the wrong way? Perhaps it was a surprise party, and instead of excitement, they were angry. Maybe it was a Christmas present that made them start crying. It could have been really sad news that made them laugh. There is an endless combination of possibilities here. Sometimes people simply don’t react to something the way most folks think they should act. What we see here at the end of Mark’s Gospel is a perfect example of this. Let’s dig in to see what the reaction was, what it should have been, and what it means for us.

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Morning Musing: Mark 16:5-7

“When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he told them, ‘You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.”‘” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I’ve talked before about my love of magic. I love seeing the fruit of many years’ worth of hard work and dedication that talented magicians have put in to honing their ability to completely wow me by making something appear where it has no business being or knowing something there’s no way they could have known. One of my favorite categories of magic acts is where the magician looks like he has lost control of the trick. He “messes something up” and it appears you have caught him in the act of deception, only to find out he was perfectly in control of the situation the entire time and you only saw what you were intended to see. The truth is things were always unfolding just exactly like he planned for them to go. On the morning of the resurrection, it looked at first like things were flying out of control. The truth, though, was they were unfolding just exactly like God had planned for them to go. Let’s talk about it.

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The Necessity of Growth

This week we are taking the next step forward in our conversation about who God has designed First Baptist Oakboro to be. We are a people with whom anyone can connect, but connecting can’t be the end of the journey. Once someone has connected, it is time for some growth to happen. Let’s talk about what that means, why that matters, and how it can happen here.

The Necessity of Growth

Lisa and I both grew up in the suburbs. Now, I remember doing a pretty good-sized garden when I was growing up. It was a suburban backyard garden. We grew green beans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and probably some other veggies, but those are the ones I remember. After we got through seminary and settled in a little town in the middle of rural, Virginian farmland, though, neither of us had grown anything for quite some time. Naturally, we thought planting a garden would be a great idea. Noah was still at the age where we could put him down and he really couldn’t go anywhere, so we had our friend Larry till us up a 30×60 plot of ground with his tractor. We had a ball. We would spend hours each week pulling weeds (just so we’re clear: when you’re a bit OCD, keeping a 30×60 garden completely free of weeds is no small task) and watering and then picking and canning. It was great. That worked out for a couple of years and then we found ourselves with another baby and a toddler…and the garden got smaller. Then came baby number three and it got even smaller. 

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Morning Musing: 2 Corinthians 5:1

“For we know that if our earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Covid doesn’t care. I don’t think I can count the number of times I have thought or said those words over the last 20 months. The reasons for them have changed a bit over time, but the sentiment is true. Early on in this unfolding chaos, people were taking every precaution they could, but one little slip of exposure could so easily prove to be devastating. And while older and immunocompromised individuals certainly faired the worst, Covid just didn’t seem to care whether you were healthy or not. Perfectly healthy people in the prime of their life got it and died, while folks who “should” have been taken without a struggle weren’t even slowed down by it. Covid just doesn’t care. Well, another person who had no business dying was lost this week. This time it was a friend.

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