Digging in Deeper: Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Every worldview has a creation story. After all, we had to get here somehow. No one has ever believed we’ve been here forever (or that we will be here forever, but that’s a story for another time). This verse here is obviously the beginning of Christianity’s creation story. Well, although it’s not actually a worldview anyone believes in because it’s a fantasy story, but this past year, Marvel finally told its creation story on the big screen. This was done in the movie, The Eternals. The Eternals, more than any Marvel movie before it, invites viewers to ask some pretty big questions. It also reminds the perceptive believer watching of just how good the Gospel is. This is a longer post than usual, but there was a lot here to think about. Let’s dig into it.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Luke 16:13

“No servant can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been a slave? Probably not. That being said, there are more people living as slaves around the world right now than at any other point in human history. Human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar industry. How about this one: Do you have a master? Once again, your gut reaction to that question may be to say, “No,” but give this one just a little bit more thought. Just because you don’t have a human master (and, no, neither parents nor bosses at work count) doesn’t mean you don’t have any master at all. The truth is that we all have a master. What kind of master we have and how much freedom that master grants us is the real question. Let’s talk about it.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Corinthians 12:18

“But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in somewhere? Unless you just have one of those exceedingly extroverted personalities where as long as you’re around people, you’re pretty comfortable, you probably have (and even someone like that might feel out of place if they went to a conference of introverts…which I know is a bit of an oxymoron, but I’m trying here). Maybe it was your first day at a new school or a new job. It could have been a party where you weren’t really invited, but you went as some else’s guest. IT could have been the first time you walked in the door of a new church. Wherever it was, you probably know that awkward, uncomfortable, I-want-to-be-anywhere-other-than here feeling. Let me change up the question on you just a bit: Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in with your own family. Perhaps your family is really close and that’s wonderful. But it may be that you went through a season at one point during which you were just a bit – or a lot – different from everyone else in your family. That’s no easy path to walk. And still, if you’re connected to a local church, feeling out of place there can be equally as difficult. A recent animated film from Disney does a wonderful job exploring this whole idea of what it means to be a part of a family even when we don’t quite look the same as the rest of its members. This morning let’s talk about being connected and Disney’s Encanto.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Exodus 31:13

“Tell the Israelites: You must observe my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, so that you will know that I am the Lord who consecrates you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When was the last time you truly took a day off? I guess a better question than that may be this: What does it even mean to take a day off? A day off from what? From work? What kind of work? Maybe you’ve taken a day off from your paid work, but spent the entire day running errands and doing chores around the house. That doesn’t seem like much of a day off. Perhaps you took a day of absence from work to spend the day volunteering with a charitable organization. That felt good, but you’re just as tired as if you’d spent all day at your “real” job. How are we supposed to get any rest if we don’t even really know what it means to rest in the first place?

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Matthew 5:43-47

“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. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what are you doing out of the ordinary?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Two things for you this morning right out of the gate. First, an update, then a more normal introduction. Here’s the update: This will not be yesterday’s sermon this morning. Yesterday we had a special service called Celebrate Sunday. We took the morning to delight in what God has been doing in and through our community over past year. We had special guests and a fantastic testimony from some of our newer members, and generally a lot of fun. I shared many of the things God has done in the last year rather than giving a formal sermon. Thus no sermon to post here. But, it would be worth your time to go and watch the service for the stories alone. You can do that on our YouTube channel here.

Just because I don’t have a sermon, though, doesn’t mean I don’t have anything for you this morning. Normally I have been taking Fridays to engage on various cultural happenings (especially from the big and small screen) and where they intersect with the Scriptures. And, when I’m watching a whole season of a particular series, I’ll usually wait until the end of the season to reflect on the whole thing. But as I’ve been watching the latest season of Cobra Kai on Netflix, I can’t help but offer some observations after watching episode 4 last night. Cobra Kai, of course, is a continuing of the story of the classic movie, Karate Kid, into the modern day. In the original film and the third of the series, the good guys and the bad guys were clear. Mr. Miyagi and his style of karate are good, John Kreese and his Cobra Kai dojo are bad. In the new series, especially as the story has developed, things are less clear than that. But rather than this being a mere modern, relativistic, woke attempt to obscure moral lines or to otherwise pretend they don’t exist, season 4 is so far displaying real life through a lens that, if not strictly Gospel-oriented, is certainly shaped by it. Let’s talk this morning about Cobra Kai and loving our enemies.

Read the rest…