Risen

Jesus is risen! Let us rejoice together in this incredible truth. Today we are talking about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. We’re talking about not simply the fact that it happened, but what it actually means for our lives. Thank you so much for taking time to remember the hope we have with me today. This week is Spring Break for my family. This will be the only post for this week. I look forward to seeing you next week. Don’t miss the next stop on our journey through Mark’s Gospel. It just keeps getting better from here.

Risen

I have a bit of a…unique sense of humor. It’s not that I don’t find things funny that most other people do. It’s that I think things are funny that some other people don’t. As a case in point, I’m a big fan of Monty Python. I actually own the special edition version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And while I’ve never gotten to watch their original sketch comedy TV show, I have seen most of their movies.

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Brand-Spanking-New

We have talked so far in this series about God, people, and sin. Those are all good things to know, but we left things last week in a bit of a hard spot. I told you to come back this week and I’d finish the story. Well, here we go. Although you and I are sinners, God wasn’t content to leave us there. Let’s talk together today about just how He fixed that problem. It’s quite a story.

Brand-Spanking-New

When was the last time you got something unexpectedly good? That happens every now and then and it’s always fun. I remember an occasion like this several years ago when we were eating at a Buffalo Wild Wings. I happened to be wearing a KU shirt. In the next booth over were several young women from the military who were all stationed at Fort Lee. One of them noticed my shirt and immediately asked where we were from. We talked for a minute and figured out that her parents actually lived right around the corner from where my folks live. It was one of those occasional small world experiences that are hard to explain as anything other than a God wink. In any event, they finished their meal and left, but when we later went to pay for our meal, it had been covered in full. I can’t imagine it was anyone other than that soldier who got what was perhaps a welcome taste of home who paid for the meal. We never had even the slightest chance to do anything for her in return and almost certainly never will.

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The Trouble with Holes

The next stop in our journey of understanding in a bit more detail just what we believe as followers of Jesus isn’t an easy one. This is going to be one of the more difficult conversations we’ve had together. This isn’t a fun subject. But it’s one we have to talk about or else we run the risk of missing out on something absolutely essential to a relationship with Jesus. This week we are talking about sin. Hang on tight and stay tuned for what comes next. This one is hard, but it gets a whole lot better.

The Trouble with Holes

Have you ever been in a deep pit, but managed to pull yourself out of it? I remember crawling over and around and through some boulders at a park somewhere near Gettysburg, PA on a family vacation when I was growing up. We were playing tag or something with some other kids and I went into a passage that was pretty narrow. I remember crawling in and thinking, “I’m not going to be able to get through this.” Thinking about it today still makes me feel claustrophobic and panicky. Fortunately, I managed to stay calm then and squeeze through the passage to get out the other side.

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On Being Stewards

As we continue our conversation about the basic beliefs of the Christian worldview this week, we are talking about people. What are people? More importantly, what should we think about them as followers of Jesus? The answer to that question is entirely wrapped up in how we got here and who put us here. Whether we like it or not, we are ultimately beholden to whatever or whoever that is. Let’s go back to the beginning to see just what people are for.

On Being Stewards

Let’s play a little game this morning. I’m going to describe an object and I want you to tell me what it’s for. The first object has three long legs and a large flat surface on top. Got an image in your minds? Okay, what’s it for? If you said, “for sitting,” you owe me some money because you probably just broke the floor tom for my drum set. A floor tom is for making music (or noise), not sitting. I really wish you’d be more careful. Let’s try this again. This time I’m thinking of an object with a handle usually made out of wood or some kind of composite material, and out of one end protrudes a long, thin piece of metal. Now you again: What’s it for? If you said, “putting in screws,” you are going to have your work cut out for you trying to put in screws with an ice pick. You can turn it all day long, but you probably aren’t going make much progress. You’re just so-so at this, aren’t you? I’ll give you one more chance. This time I’m thinking of an object that is usually made out of wood, though sometimes metal is used instead. It is typically about as long as your arm and tapers from a thicker end to a thinner one. What’s it for? If you said something along the lines of, “hitting balls,” it would technically work for that, although you’d probably better get the table leg back to whoever’s table you took it off of to play ball with along with an apology.

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Three-in-One

Our culture is changing. Quickly. Christianity has not been the dominant worldview for a long time, but a clear alternative is rising fast to take its place in ways we haven’t really seen before. This new alternative is aggressive and intolerant and it increasingly has access to the levers of political power. What this means is a number of things, but perhaps most significant among them is that for followers of Jesus it has never been more important that we have a clear and firm handle on exactly what we believe and why those beliefs are better (that is, more in line with reality) than the available alternatives. This week we kicked off a brand-new teaching series aimed at addressing this very matter called, You Believe What? For the next few weeks we’re going to be talking about some of the most basic beliefs of the Christian worldview and why those matter so much. In this first part we start at the top with God. What is He like and what does that mean for us? Let’s talk about it.

Three-in-One

When I was a senior in college, I had to take biochemistry. Other than advanced courses focusing in on one particular branch of chemistry or another, biochemistry was the hardest chemistry course there was at the school. It took all the hard parts of both chemistry and biology and combined them into one challenging package. And the big project for the course was to write a research paper on some biochemical molecule. I still remember my molecule: cisplatin. It’s one of the earliest-discovered chemo drugs. I worked my tail off for that paper. I spent hours in our library. I took a day and drove down to the University of Missouri to use their much bigger and more equipped library to find some really obscure old journal articles so that I could cite original sources accurately instead of merely referencing them from other articles. I think the final project came in at something like 25-30 pages with a bibliography that ran for 5-6 pages. I did really well on it too. It helped that Dr. Nagan was a great teacher.

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