Morning Musing: Exodus 4:27-31

“Now the Lord had said to Aaron, ‘Go and meet Moses in the wilderness.’ So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and about all the signs he had commanded him to do. Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites. Aaron repeated everything the Lord had said to Moses and performed the signs before the people. The people believed, and when they heard that the Lord had paid attention to them and that he had seen their misery, they knelt low and worshiped.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When you don’t have the rhythm or melody of a song, it’s really hard to understand and enjoy it. It makes it harder for other people to enjoy it too. I remember once when I was playing drums for my high school jazz band – and in a competition no less! – and I flipped the beat. I had had my hi-hat foot chomping along on the 2 and the 4, and suddenly I was riding hard on the 1 and the 3. Or, if you’re not a music person at all, I messed up big time. The whole band nearly fell apart, and would have but for our director’s quick thinking and directing like we were a concert band until I could get the beat back in the right place. In a similar sort of way, it’s hard to understand and apply passages of the Scriptures – especially in the Old Testament – when we don’t have their rhythm down. Let’s talk a bit about the rhythm of these verses, and what it might look like to incorporate them into our lives.

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How to Be Free

This Memorial Day Weekend we took some time together to reflect on the incredible gift of freedom we have been given by the sacrifices of those brave men and women who have served in our various armed forces. Their gift is a precious one indeed. The question we wrestled with is how we can be honor their gift. With some help from the apostle Paul, let’s explore that together.

How to Be Free

One of the more badly cliched ideas floating around out there about freedom is that freedom isn’t free. As cliched as the idea itself may be, though, it is nonetheless true. Freedom always has a cost associated with it. That cost has to be borne by someone. If you were not the one to pay it yourself, then it was paid by someone else. That’s simply the nature of freedom. It never exists on its own terms. It is consistently provided by someone else. 

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Morning Musing: Matthew 10:16-18

“Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves. Beware of them, because they will hand you over to local courts and flog you in their synagogues. You will even be brought before governors and kings because of me, to bear witness to them and to the Gentiles.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the most pernicious lies about the Christian life that has nonetheless remained popular in our culture over the last 100 years or so is that the center of God’s will is the safest place to be. Although the person invoking that kind of idea may or may not actually mean it this way, the way it is generally received by audiences is as an assurance that when we are endeavoring to be faithful to God, nothing bad can happen to us. Not a few people have had their faith wrecked because they bought into that idea only to discover by experience that it isn’t even remotely true. In this passage, Jesus reminds us of just how untrue it is while at the same time giving us a bit of a perspective shift for how to handle some of the hard times we face so that we come out with our faith intact. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Exodus 4:13-14

“Moses said, ‘Please, Lord, send someone else.’ Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and he said, ‘Isn’t Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, he is on his way now to meet you. He will rejoice when he sees you.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I played basketball for a few years growing up. Well, I played basketball for a team for a few years. I played a lot of driveway basketball until high school. Then we moved to a house that didn’t have a goal in the driveway and I was too busy with other activities anyway (also, I was terrible). But in my few years of playing, one of the stories my dad told me to encourage me was of Larry Bird’s practice regimen. Bird was, of course, one of the greatest of all time. And while there was certainly an element of tremendous natural talent at play, he became such a superlatively great shooter because he would shoot the ball hundreds of times a day. There was a time, though, when he wasn’t so great. There was a time when Moses wasn’t so great either. This was it. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 10:1-4

“Summoning his twelve disciples, he gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Sometimes a conversation about one thing can lead to a conversation about something completely different. I find that often happens when studying through the Scriptures in community. You start off studying a single passage, but then a particular detail leads down a touchy unexpected path. While it is tempting in these moments to stop and get back on track, I find that chasing them for a little while can lead to some interesting—and good—places if we’ll let it. This happened recently as I was studying with my congregation through Matthew 10. Let me tell you about how it went.

Continue reading “Digging in Deeper: Matthew 10:1-4”