Digging in Deeper: Matthew 5:43-44

“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…” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I don’t mind owning the fact that I am pretty deeply influenced by the thinking, preaching, and writing of Andy Stanley. I’ve been engaging with his teaching for every bit of the last twelve years for sure and maybe longer, so I guess that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. And I really don’t listen to any other preaching. I should, but I only have time for so many podcasts. In any event, Andy has a new book out that I am just nearly through reading. It’s called Not In It to Win It: Why Choosing Sides Sidelines the Church. It’s brought together several ideas that have been cooking in the back of my mind for several weeks into one well-argued package. Let me process some of this with you.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 2:11-12

“For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying: ‘I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters; I will sing hymns to you in the congregation.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How are we supposed to understand the Old Testament? That is a pretty hotly debated question in some circles. It’s certainly not something to which the general public gives much attention, but if you are at all interested in getting a relationship with Jesus right, the question matters a whole lot more than you might think. If we are going to get it right, a good place to start is with how the various guys who contributed to the New Testament thought about it. This passage offers some interesting insights.

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Digging in Deeper: Colossians 4:6

“Let your speech always be gracious and seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I don’t tweet. I never have. I hesitate to say, “I never will,” because who knows what the future holds. I was a hold-out on texting until long after it had caught on pretty widely and my lack of texting was actually causing frustration for people close to me. Now I send dozens, if not hundreds, of texts a day. But tweeting is different to me. I understand you’re not limited to 70 or even 140 characters any longer, but it is intended to be a short-form type of communication. I don’t really do short-form communication. Especially when it’s digital. The risk of being misunderstood or misinterpreted or taken out of context is just too great. Even when I text, I use full sentences and punctuation, and my texts tend to have more words than fewer. Also, I write like I talk, and I don’t talk in soundbites. But I am aware that tweeting is pretty popular, that some tweets generate multiple responses, and that sometimes, to be engaged culturally, you have to at least be aware of Twitter. With that in mind, I recently saw a tweet to which someone responded publicly, and this response generated quite a few comments. Normally I don’t give much credence to that kind of thing, but for some reason this one caught my eye…and what I saw bothered me. What bothered me was not so much that I disagreed with the response to the tweet along with most of the comments, but rather that they were generally posted by people I know and respect. Still, jumping into a comment-train is a little like jumping into a swimming pool filled with concrete – there’s no good way to swim across it, and eventually you get stuck without accomplishing very much – so, I held my digital tongue. But as I’ve continued to process the whole thing, I feel like I need to respond. This may or may not advance the conversation, but I am going to be as clear as I can, as charitable as I can, and thorough (remember: I don’t do short-form communication). Here goes.

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Moring Musings: 1 Timothy 6:17-19

As this new year dawns, I am now six months into this venture. It came after a long period of thinking about it, with much encouragement from several sources, most notably my beautiful bride. Thus far it has proved to be more work than I imagined, but also more satisfying. I love to write and this provides an outlet for that. More importantly, you, the good folks who take time out of your day several times a week to read what I have to say, make it possible. Thank you for your time, your thoughts, and your willingness to share when something has struck your fancy. I am looking forward to what the future brings. Happy New Year! Here is 2018’s inaugural Morning Musing. And stay tuned for yesterday’s sermon this afternoon. We’ll talk about how to have the best new year yet. Blessings to you!

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes in the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

To borrow a bit from an idea that Andy Stanley has been proclaiming for several years, there is nothing inherently wrong with being rich.  The problem is that most people who are rich aren’t very good at it.  Most rich people think their resources are primarily for them.  They think they own them.  They think they can do with them mostly as they please.  If that’s how you are being rich, you’re not doing it right. Read the rest…

Morning Musings: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jews, in order to win Jews.  To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.  To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak.  I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

The lengths to which Paul was willing to go in order to see someone connect with Christ were vast.  If someone had asked him to stand on his head and shout the alphabet backwards and then they would do it, he probably would have done it then and there.  Nothing was as important as this and so everything was worthwhile to do to help advance someone in that direction.   Read the rest…