Something Special

This week, as we continue our series, Standing Firm, we are talking about the third part of the foundation Peter builds before getting into the meat of his message. We’ve talked about the hope we have in Christ and the fact that we actually need to live out that hope if we want it to do anything positive for us. This week we’re talking about what that foundation can do in and for our lives if we’ll embrace it. We all want to be someone. Peter here tells us how.

Something Special

We live in a celebrity-obsessed world. Hopefully you don’t waste too much time doing this, but have you ever looked at the magazines in the racks at the checkout counters in stores? Almost without fail, their front covers are filled each month by one celebrity or another promising to tell readers about something they couldn’t possibly have known yet and on which their whole lives are hanging. Why are they covered with celebrities like this? Because the marketing folks know that you and I are more likely to buy something because Dwayne Johnson has something to tell us about physical fitness. We’re more likely to shell out some dough because Scarlet Johansson promises to give us the skinny on the squabbles her co-stars had on the latest movie set. The same thing goes with TV shows. We are much more likely to tune into the latest game show if it features a rotating celebrity cast than if it is just filled with…normal…people. News programs regularly include celebrities on their round table panels, not because they are particularly knowledgeable about the subjects being covered, but because they want more viewers and celebrities are the way to do that.

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Look Alike

As we continue in our new teaching series, Standing Firm, this week we’re talking about what to do once we have set ourselves firmly on the foundation of our hope in Christ. If we are going to claim such a foundation for ourselves, there should be some pretty profound implications that has for our life. What those implications are is what Peter explores in the next section of his letter. Thanks for joining me in thinking through these.

Look Alike

I am sitting down right now. What’s wrong with that statement? Well, perhaps most notably…it’s not true. My words and my actions don’t line up. We naturally expect there to be a connection—a rather direct one at that—between what someone says and what someone does. In fact, the whole of human society is rooted in that belief. When there is a disconnect here, everything is more difficult than it otherwise would be. For instance, think about what might happen if you went to the store and didn’t believe there was a connection between the words of the manager expressed in the price tags on various items and the action of the items’ actual cost. What would you do? It’s easy to simply say you wouldn’t buy it, but what if this was a jug of milk and you had a hungry little one at home? Now things are more complicated. You might try and barter the manager down to the price you believe it should really have. But what if the manager doesn’t believe there is a connection between your words regarding the amount of money you are able and willing to pay and what you will actually give him when the time comes? Now you’re thinking about how you can steal the milk because you have a baby to feed and he’s thinking about how he can protect his product. We’re starting to have a real mess on our hands, aren’t we?

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A Solid Foundation

This week we kick off a brand-new teaching series through the New Testament letter of 1 Peter called, Standing Firm. We live in a culture that is increasingly intolerant of orthodox expressions of Christian faithfulness. This intolerance is more and more frequently resulting in the world pushing back against such expressions in ways that do not comport with the freedom our Constitution guarantees. Yet seasons change and governing structures don’t last forever. Persecution has been the norm for the church more often than tolerance and acceptance. Still, this experience is new for many of us in this country and so we don’t know well how to stand firm after the pattern of Jesus. Peter offers great wisdom here and over the course of this we are going to explore together what he has to say by the Spirit. It all starts, though, with having the right foundation. That’s where we start in this part. Thanks for reading.

A Solid Foundation

We’ll start with a bit of name recognition this morning. How many of you have heard the name Jack Phillips? I suspect the number is a bit higher than it once was thanks to his high-profile win at the Supreme Court in 2018. But not everyone follows the news about Supreme Court decisions very closely, so his name may still be a new one to you.

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Morning Musing: 1 Peter 1:3-5

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

So far this week in our conversation about hope, we have made clear that Biblical hope and the more cultural value of optimism are not the same thing. Optimism is ultimately a fantasy whereas Biblical hope has an entirely more solid foundation. This isn’t to say that being optimistic is wrong. Having a positive outlook on tomorrow is a good thing indeed. But real hope is better in the grand scheme. Today, I want to give you one more reason why this is the case. When it comes to the optimistic, wishful thinking our culture commends to us, it can be hard to maintain such a thing over the long haul–especially when that long haul is difficult. Biblical hope, however, lasts. Why? Because for followers of Jesus, our hope is not some inanimate feeling, it is a living thing.

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On Being the Tallest Nail

For the past couple of weeks as we have started this conversation about Christians and politics called Being Good Kingdom Citizens, we have talked about the fact that Christians are different when it comes to politics. We must be because our first allegiance is to something other than a political party or leader. Being different, though, will make us stand out. This week we talk about how to handle this in ways that honor Christ. Thanks for tuning in.

On Being the Tallest Nail

Sometimes some of the most powerful films get the least amount of attention. Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that movies like anything Marvel puts out these days shouldn’t get the attention they do. As a dedicated fan of the superhero genre, I’m for all the attention they can get. There are some films, though, which fly under the radar, but which are truly terrific pieces of storytelling. One example from a few years ago is the movie The Good Lie starring Reese Witherspoon. Has anyone in the room seen The Good Lie? Has anyone heard of the movie, but hasn’t seen it? I figured that would be a pretty small group which just proves my point.

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