Morning Musing: Genesis 11:3-4

“They said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make oven-fired bricks.’ (They used brick for stone and asphalt for mortar.) And they said, ‘Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let’s make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered throughout the earth.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What are you building right now? That may sound like a strange question, but bear with me. I love building. I think I’ve passed that love on to my boys too. They all build different things – one builds amazing buildings and models, one builds incredible stories and songs, and the other builds exciting fantasy worlds of great imagination – but they are all builders. In a bigger sense, everyone is building something. The question is not whether, but what and why. One more question is who the building is for. In an interesting little story that falls right near the end of the creation story arc in Genesis, we’re reminded that why we build matters as much – or even more – than what.

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Strong Where it Counts

As we wrap up our series, Standing Firm, this week, we find the apostle taking a turn from everything he’s been talking about for the past nine weeks. But then again, he’s not doing that at all. Instead, after spending the rest of the letter telling us how to stand firm in our faith without sacrificing our Gospel witness, Peter closes things out by talking about where we can find the strength we need to do it. I’ll give you a hint: It comes from God, but it isn’t found inside of us. Keep reading to find out what is the source of this strength.

Strong Where It Counts

Some of you are builders and so you understand the ins and outs of building and building materials better than I do. But from my rudimentary understanding, concrete is a pretty good building material. It’s stable. It’s sturdy. It’s strong. It holds up pretty well under a whole variety of weather conditions. It doesn’t degrade much over time. It’s low maintenance. There are all kinds of advantages to it. If you’re building something that requires extra stability and support, though—perhaps because of its size, for instance—concrete isn’t enough by itself. It needs a little bit more to make it up to the task to which you are applying it. Specifically, it needs a steel skeleton. To add this, you build an internal rebar frame inside your concrete mold and pour the mixture over it. With the rebar encased in the slab or structure, its strength is increased many times over concrete by itself. Now, this doesn’t mean that concrete alone isn’t still really strong stuff. It is. But when it has that extra element of support, it can withstand just about anything that might be thrown at it.

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Building on the Right Foundation

Happy New Year! As we begin this new year, let’s take a few minutes to take stock of our lives and the job we’re doing at building them. Are we building on the kind of foundation that will last and carry us into the future, or are we building on something that’s going to give us trouble down the road? In this message we glean some of the wisdom of Jesus and His brother, James, to give us some guidance on getting this right.

Building on the Right Foundation

When Noah was a baby, he liked to shove balls around the house like any little boy does.  Well, the house we happened to be living in at the time was actually really good for this.  If you went to the little hallway right in the middle of the house and rolled a ball toward the bathroom door, just as it got to the door it would slow down…and start rolling back toward you.  The house came equipped with its own automatic ball return.  It was like living in a bowling alley!  We just had to set him in the floor there with a ball and he could entertain himself.  It was great!  Well…sort of. 

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Growing Stronger

This past Sunday as we continued our conversation about who God made us to be as a church, the next key element of our identity is growth.  Keep reading to see how growing people has always been a part of God’s approach to humanity and how it is, could be, and should be fleshed out in our community.  Thanks for reading.

Growing Stronger

Growth is natural.  As it was nearing the first summer Lisa and I spent in Virginia, we decided we wanted to plant a garden.  Neither of us really had any idea what we were doing.  We got some help and advice from folks in the church who were themselves avid gardeners, but much beyond help with the plowing of a 30 by 60 plot in our backyard, we pretty much did all the work ourselves.  We planted way too much.  We wound up spending almost every evening and Saturday morning pulling weeds and picking produce (and trying desperately to give away the hundreds of squash and zucchini and cucumbers we had).  We canned more green beans than would fit in our meager pantry.  But, by the time it was all said and done, we had successfully grown a pretty nice garden.  Here’s the funny part, though, and if you’re a gardener you know this to be true: The work we did had almost no impact on the actual growth of the garden.  Sure, by pruning and pulling weeds and spraying for bugs and watering when it got dry we might have extended the life of the plants and increased the size of the harvest, but there was not a single thing we did to cause the garden to grow save putting the seeds in the ground.  Once they were in the ground and covered with dirt, the rest happened all on its own.  Again: growth is natural. Read the rest…