“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.
“Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were watching where he was laid. . .Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. They were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?’ Looking up, they noticed that the stone – which was very large – had been rolled away.” (CSB – Read chapter 15 here, and 16 here)
Have you ever mourned a missed opportunity? You had the chance to do something, but didn’t take it. And then it was gone. There was nothing you could do about it. It was too late. You simply missed it. As Jesus’ body was laid in His tomb, His followers all thought that He had missed an opportunity and them with Him. He had missed an opportunity to do an even greater good with His life. But now He was dead, and the opportunity was gone. If only they knew…
“Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came and boldly went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body. Pilate was surprised that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had already died. When he found out from the centurion, he gave the corpse to Joseph.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Conspiracy theories are everywhere we look these days. Some are new. Some are enduring old ones. There are still people, for instance, who believe the moon landing was a fake and that we never went. There are all kinds of conspiracy theories surrounding the death of JFK. More than a quarter of the country believes the government is hiding aliens in Area 51. Nearly a quarter is convinced 9/11 was an inside job. The trouble with conspiracy theories and those who have bought into them is that there is no way to convince them otherwise. Any evidence to the contrary is automatically discounted as part of the cover-up. You could fly someone who is convinced the moon landing was fake to the moon itself, but they’d just insist it was all an elaborate hoax. Well, when it comes to Jesus, one of the most enduring conspiracy theories is that He didn’t really die on the cross. At the risk of being a part of the cover-up, let’s talk this morning about why that is absolute nonsense.
“There were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women followed him and took care of him. Many other women had come up with him to Jerusalem.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
The church has a rough history when it comes to the position and treatment of women. Much of this is our own fault. We have too often taken our lead from a culture that has undervalued, underappreciated, and otherwise treated women terribly, and wrapped such harmful assumptions in a religious garb in order to sanctify them. Recent major revelations have shown we are far from rid of such sinful behavior. Where we have done this (and do it still), we have rightly taken our lumps from the world around us (even if such lump-giving is deeply hypocritical). But although we have perhaps done much to sully our own reputation, none of this has been in line with the ethic of Jesus. Let’s talk this morning about His position, that of the early church, and why the church should be the safest and best place for women in the world.
This past Sunday we kicked off a brand-new teaching series. For the next four weeks we are talking about who exactly we are as a church. Who did God design First Baptist Oakboro to be for the present season? He made us to be a people with whom anyone can connect to grow in Christ and reach out for His kingdom. What does that mean? Let’s dig into the first part, connecting, today. Don’t miss the rest!
When Come and See Becomes Go and Tell
Have you ever been to Allen Fieldhouse? Maybe you don’t even know what Allen Fieldhouse is. That’s okay. Not everyone is enlightened at the same time. Those of us who have walked that path already must teach those who have yet to discover it. I’m kidding…sort of. Allen Fieldhouse, named after famous coach Forest “Phog” Allen, is where the Kansas Jayhawks play basketball, and have been since 1955. No less an authority than Wikipedia calls it “one of college basketball’s most historically significant and prestigious buildings.” The actual playing surface in the fieldhouse is the James Naismith Court, who was, of course, the inventor of the sport and the first Kansas men’s basketball coach. His original rules of basketball are actually on display in the fieldhouse. When it comes to college basketball – and with apologies to fans of…anybody else – there simply isn’t a better place to play. If we lived close enough, and I was trying to convince you to be a Kansas fan (granting that if we lived close enough you’d probably already be a fan), I’d tell you to come and see a game there and then you’d know. If you are interested in connecting with the Kansas basketball nation (there’s not a Kansas football nation as most people like to cheer for a team that finishes above .500 more than about once a generation), that “come and see” invitation will make all the difference. I make that invitation because I’ve gone and I’ve seen and I know that if you go there too, you’ll experience what I did.