Morning Musing: Matthew 5:39-42

“But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to the one who asks you, and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There is a famous quote about good versus evil that is often attributed to Edmund Burke, but which he almost certainly never said. It goes like this: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Whoever happened to say that, it certainly sounds good. Where there is evil in the world, we should put a stop to it. Otherwise, evil will flourish out of control. But how exactly we should go about doing that is another matter entirely. What if the ways we normally think to stop it are all wrong? Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: John 15:9-10

“As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We hate hypocrisy and people who take up contradictory positions. And this is not without good reason. Seeing someone claim one thing to be true – and in such a way that they are actively seeking to force others to live up to these standards – and then to see them live in such a way as to betray a belief that it isn’t really true is to witness a lie. It is to see someone creating a fantasy world into which they are trying to force others, but in which they won’t live themselves. It’s disgusting. Because this so bothers us, critics of the Scriptures are always on the lookout for hypocrisy and contradictions in the them. As people who would uphold the integrity of the Scriptures, we need to be ready to explain why places like this aren’t examples of it.

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Morning Musing: John 15:2

“Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The school where my boys go has an incredible front yard. It’s gigantic, for one. Even more important for me, though, are its trees. It has several humongous, mature, beautiful oak trees scattered across its expanse. When they all bloom in the spring, they are exquisite to behold. Big, old trees are one of my favorite things, and these are among the best I’ve seen anywhere. Over the last few weeks, though, some tree guys came and butchered them. They cut the end off of all the branches. Now, instead of being perfectly formed specimens, they’re all gnarly skeletons of what they once were. Yet as much as I hate to see them lose their perfect form even for a little while, this was something that needed to be done. It was actually an illustration of something Jesus said here. Let’s talk about it.

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On Vines and Branches

This week, as we continue in our series, Plugged In, we’re talking about why staying plugged in matters at all. Knowing that and knowing why are two different things. We’ve talked about some of the thats and the hows, but the whys haven’t been so clear. In this passage, Jesus gives us three reasons staying plugged in matters so much. Check these out and thanks for reading and sharing!

On Vines and Branches

When we first moved into our house almost four years ago, it was a little like clearing a jungle. I’m not sure the bushes or trees or vines around the property had been trimmed and maintained…ever. Noah’s window looks out the second story on the side of the house over the air conditioning units. You couldn’t see out of his window the bushes were so tall. You could see the front of the house a little bit, but not much. And in the back, our property sits next to a great big field, but you wouldn’t have known it standing on the deck. You couldn’t see into the field behind us because the vines and trees were so thick and overgrown. Several of the wonderful folks here at the church came and helped us clean it up. It actually took two different days because there was so much. I believe Jim hauled off 14 total loads of brush from the yard and somebody finally just suggested we burn the rest of it. I think the remaining pile burned for about three days. It was a mess. But, with the help of this wonderful community, we got it cleaned up. Keeping up with it since has rightly fallen to us. 

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Digging in Deeper: Judges 21:25

“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would you do if you had an animal inside waiting to come out? I don’t just mean that you have a bit of a wild streak you let hang out on occasion. I mean you have a literal animal spirit inside of you that can turn you into said animal at will…once you learn how to control it with the help of some friends. And what if this animal happened to be a 10-foot tall, fluffy, red panda? Well, I suppose in that case you would have Pixar make an animated movie telling your story. We are a couple of weeks past the small-screen opening of the latest Disney-Pixar movie, Turning Red, and it has so far managed to generate a whole lot more conversation and criticism than just about any of its predecessors. The reasons for this are many. Some of the criticism hasn’t been particularly thoughtful, but a fair bit of it has made some pretty sound points. Let’s talk this morning about the movie, the good, the bad, and whether it’s worth your time.

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