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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Digging in Deeper: Acts 2:42

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” (CSB –Read the chapter)

One of the dominant sitcoms of the 1980s and early 1990s was Cheers. Its writing and acting were always terrific and its cast of characters was both quirky and compelling. It generated one spinoff series (Fraiser) that itself lasted longer than the original and is slated for a reboot sometime soon. More impactful than the show itself, though, was the idea behind. We all want to go to a place “where everybody knows your name.” Last night, a modern sitcom ended its 6-year run. It was rather starkly different from Cheers, but that same idea beat at the heart of the show. It’s an idea that is bigger than any single sitcom. It is a part of who we are as a people and what drives the church when it’s working like it should. This morning let’s talk about the church and Superstore.

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Morning Musing: Mark 9:5-7

“Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it’s good for us to be here. Let’s set up three shelters: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’ – because he did not know what to say, since they were terrified. A cloud appear, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been around someone who is a nervous talker? That’s always an interesting experience. Nervous talkers express their anxiety with words. The words may not be about the anxiety itself, but the higher their anxiety level goes, the more words come out of their mouths. They’ll talk about anything. Really what you’re getting is a kind of stream-of-consciousness as they do everything they can think of to reduce their nervousness. The trouble is, when words are coming out in a flood, sometimes those words aren’t well thought out or particularly suited to the situation. In most situations when we feel overwhelmed, the best thing to do is not to talk, but to listen. Peter had to be reminded of that here. Let’s learn the lesson with him this morning.

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Morning Musing: Mark 9:2-3

“After six days, Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves to be alone. He was transfigured in front of them, and his clothes became dazzling – extremely white as no launderer on earth could whiten them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Men have a reputation in this culture. Okay, that’s a setup for a political and cultural fight which is not what we’re going to have this morning. Let’s try that again: One of the stereotypes men carry in this culture (and most cultures, honestly, because this is a human trait) is that we don’t like to quit when we’re behind. Perhaps to put that another way: We don’t know when to quit. Admitting we’re lost when driving is a perfect example. The stereotypical man doesn’t look at a map and insists he knows right where he is even when he’s hopelessly lost. And heaven forbid he stops and asks for directions. Well, sometimes what is true about men on the road, is true about all of us when we read the Scriptures. There are places and stories that are hard to understand. Let’s talk about one of them this morning.

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Morning Musing: Mark 9:1

“Then he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God come in power.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things that seems to mark wisdom gurus is the fact that they spout off things that don’t make a whole lot of sense. This is particularly true in the various religions of the East. I think about the child in the Oracle’s house in the first Matrix film (which was heavily influence by Eastern philosophy). He’s sitting there bending spoons with his mind and when he explains what he’s doing to Neo he says, “Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead, only try and realize the truth: There is no spoon.” Now, in the context of the movie, this eventually makes sense; as a metaphor for something outside of the movie, though, it is nonsense. One of the things that makes Jesus so different from the various New Age gurus with whom He is sometimes compared is the fact that He tended to say things that made sense. Most of the time. Sometimes He shot a little over our heads. Let’s wrestle with one such statement together this morning.

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