Morning Musing: Mark 8:35-37

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life? What can anyone give in exchange for his life?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When is a time you have sacrificed something you wanted in order to get your hands on something you wanted even more? Was that decision easy or hard to make? If it was very easy to make, it probably wasn’t all that much of a sacrifice. The simple truth about this life is that we can’t have it all. Oh sure, we’re told we can, but those assurances are uniformly false. Our lives in this world are a complex series of tradeoffs and sacrifices. We want one thing, but want another more and so forego the first in favor of the second. But as Jesus reminded the crowd – and us – here, what’s true about our individual lives is just as true about our very souls. Let’s talk this morning about losing and gaining and swapping out what is good for what is even better.

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Digging in Deeper: James 1:13-14

“No one undergoing a trial should say, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever gotten caught doing something wrong? I remember disobeying my parents and throwing dirt clods from our garden at the side wall of our shed when I was growing up. I had invited my cousin to do it with me. The reason I had been told not to do this was because there was a window in the wall and they didn’t want me to break it with an errantly thrown clod. But the dirt clods splattered so satisfyingly against the wall. So I threw them anyway…and you can guess what happened next. I broke the window. Because, of course I did. When my dad asked me about it later, do you know what I told him? You can probably guess that too: My cousin did it!

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A Letter to My Sons

This past Sunday was Father’s Day. As a dad myself, it was a chance to get a bit reflective. What would I tell my three boys if I had the chance? Here’s what I said.

A Letter to My Sons

There are occasions in our lives that prompt us to do some deep thinking.  For me at least, days like today are one of those times.  As I was preparing for this morning, I began thinking about what I would like to say to my sons if I had the chance.  You know, one of those deep, parental wisdom speeches that they won’t want to sit and listen to until I’m lying on my death bed and they’re hanging on my every word.  As I grow in my experience as a parent and Noah and Josiah and Micah grow up some of what I have to say to them will probably change, but hopefully not much.  As it turns out, there isn’t children’s church scheduled for today which means they’re stuck in here and have to listen to this.  Well…I can’t make them listen—when I figure that out I’ll let you know just after I patent it and retire—but they’re at least going to be in the room while I’m saying it.  Anyway, as something a bit different this morning, I’ll let you in my head and heart for a few minutes and then we’ll all go out and celebrate Father’s Day together. 

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Digging in Deeper: Malachi 1:2-3a

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. Yet you ask, “How have you loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” This is the Lord’s declaration. “Even so, I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

This morning we ran into this incredibly hard statement on God’s part that He hated someone. Namely, He hated Esau, Jacob’s brother. But, the observation wasn’t specific to just Esau. It included the entire nation of his descendants as well. Fortunately, the way God was using the words “love” and “hate” in Malachi, wasn’t the same as the way we often use them today. He simply meant that He chose one over the other. There were no emotions involved. The thing is, even understanding that, this passage is still really hard to accept. Let’s talk about why.

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Morning Musing: Malachi 1:2-3a

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. Yet you ask, “How have you loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” This is the Lord’s declaration. “Even so, I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When God asserted His love for the people of Israel at the beginning of Malachi’s little collection of prophecy, the people whose hearts were hard from years of doing religion without any kind of relationship meaningfully in place, immediately fired back a challenge: “How?” God’s response is, for modern ears, one of the hardest things we find Him saying in the Old Testament. What are we supposed to do with this?

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