Digging in Deeper: Mark 15:33-34

“When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What do you do when you feel like God has abandoned you? Where do you go? To whom do you turn? For many folks, when God seems to be absent, they get angry and turn from Him as if that’ll somehow show Him. We might turn hard into some kind of sin like a small child turns to bad behavior to get the attention of parents he feels aren’t giving him enough. We may simply turn to apathy toward Him, convinced that if He doesn’t care, then we won’t either. While all of these reactions are totally understandable, none of them will ultimately accomplish their aim. Pushing away the very person you want to have near doesn’t accomplish anything like what you are trying to achieve. Jesus, hanging and dying on the cross, felt utterly abandoned by God. Theologically, we know that He was. Where He turns offers us a good reminder of where we should turn in our own lives when we are feeling alone.

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Morning Musing: Mark 15:29-32

“Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, ‘Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross!’ In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes were mocking him among themselves and saying, ‘He saved others, but he cannot save himself! Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.’ Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever made somebody’s bad day worse? There aren’t many things that can make you feel smaller than that. It often happens in a moment when, at first, we don’t even realize what’s happening. The other person is dealing with some awful bit of bad news, and in a moment of weakness offends us somehow. For our part, instead of responding graciously, we snap right back and then double down on our retort, adding insult to the injury she’s already suffering. Then we learn the truth. Or perhaps you’ve been a victim of this kind of thing. You were having a terrible day for some reason and somebody else came along and started dumping their junk all over you, making you feel even worse than you already did. That’s an awful place to be. It’s also a place Jesus understands with intimate familiarity. Let’s talk about it.

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Celebrating a Good Day

This past Sunday we celebrated baptism as a church. It was a good day. Eight different individuals were baptized including two of my own sons. It was a good day. Here are some thoughts on why baptism matters and what has to happen next.

Baptism Message 9-12-21 

This is a good day. Even setting all of my incredibly proud dad feelings aside, today is a good day. Today we are celebrating the growth of the kingdom of God in as direct and practical a way as we possibly can. Today we have baptized eight individuals in obedience to our Lord’s command. Now, different faith traditions believe different things about baptism. I’ve talked with you before about what we as Baptists believe, but let’s just refresh that for all of our sakes. 

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Digging in Deeper: Proverbs 14:12

“There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would you say if Captain America was British and female, Black Panther was an outer space Robinhood who reasoned Thanos out of destroying half the life in the universe, and the Avengers all got turned into super-powered zombies? I’d say you were reading a version of the comics different than the one most people have heard of. That would be correct. Marvel’s latest offering on Disney+ delves into a corner of the comics realm that is decidedly outside the norm and purposely so. Using a comic book line that first appeared in 1977, the latest Marvel series takes viewers on a beautifully animated journey into the question of “What if?” Now that the multiverse has been unleashed following the Loki series, each episode of What If? explores the universe that might have been created if a single event or decision by one of Marvel’s main characters had gone differently. This morning, I’d like to explore one of these with you.

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Morning Musing: Mark 15:24

“Then they crucified him and divided his clothes, casting lots for them to decide what each would get.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are certain moments when you know things have changed. If you happen to be a fan of the Oakland Athletics, in their 2014 Wild Card game against the Kansas City Royals, that moment came in the bottom of the 8th inning with their ace, John Lester, pitching against Royals shortstop, Alcides Escobar. Lester had been dominant all season and he had led his team to a 7-3 lead against a Royals team that had surged late in the season, but had over the course of a generation perfected the art of crushing the hopes of their fans. Then, on a 1-1 pitch, Escobar sent a drive right up the center. Both the shortstop and the second baseman ran for it, but as they crossed paths just beyond the bag, the ball went rolling on to the centerfielder, and Escobar was safe at first. That moment marked the turn in the game. It was the moment the A’s lost it. All the momentum then shifted in the Royals’ favor and they went on to complete a comeback for the ages. (And, as a Royals fan, it marked the two greatest seasons they’ve had in my lifetime.) This highlight video is worth watching, and if you’re really interested, you can actually watch the game in its entirety here. What has me thinking about that day this morning (beyond wishful thinking as the Royals are wrapping up another barely mediocre season) is that for Jesus’ followers, we have reached the moment in the text when they knew things had changed. It was the moment they knew they had lost. Let’s talk about it.

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