Digging in Deeper: Matthew 19:30

“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We live in a day when everything old is being made new again. Now, on the one hand, this isn’t such a good thing. For instance, it is a symptom of our culture’s decadence. We aren’t creating truly new stories anymore. When cultures stop telling new stories, that’s a signal they aren’t really looking or thinking toward the future any longer, but living just for today. That’s not a good place for a culture to be because it is much more likely to be caught flatfooted and overwhelmed by unexpected challenges. Another example of not quite the same significance: mullets are back. And in case this isn’t clear: They look just as ridiculous now as they did on their first appearance. On the other hand, though, this trend does provide some pleasant trips into nostalgia. One of the most pleasant of these I have experienced in a long time just finished its run last Friday. As promised a couple of weeks ago, here is my review of the Disney+ series, Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.

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Morning Musing: Mark 10:17

“As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I remember when our oldest first hit the “why stage.” He was about three. Conversations with him – as much as you can have a conversation with a three-year-old – became an endless string of questions and answers. One why led to an explanation which led to another why which led to another explanation which led to another why and so on and so forth. So. Many. Questions. When I was feeling good and patient, I would see if I could keep explaining things until he quit asking. Usually I couldn’t. As he’s gotten older, the number of questions have decreased, but the ones he asks now have harder explanations. This is true for all people. We may understand more of how the world works than a three-year-old, but some questions persist. This man asked Jesus one of them.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:36-37

“He took a child, had him stand among them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but him who sent me.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Are you a humble person? That’s kind of a tough question to answer honestly. I mean, on the one hand, you don’t want to say, “No,” to it because you’ll be outing yourself as prideful. No one wants that. On the other hand, if you say, “Yes,” you’re also outing yourself as prideful because surely no one who was really humble would claim such a mantle for themselves. But, if you say, “No,” and you really are a pretty humble person, you’re lying about it and humble people are fundamentally honest about themselves and so you’re either humblebragging or being dishonest which are neither one marks of true humility. Next question please? Well, how about this one: How can you spot a humble person? That seems like it should be an easier one to answer, but sometimes people who act the most humble in public are the least humble in private. Thankfully, Jesus gives us a pretty good litmus test here.

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Digging in Deeper: Revelation 7:9-10

“After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In the summer between my junior and senior years of high school I got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend three weeks in Higashimurayama, Tokyo, Japan. It was an absolutely fantastic trip. It was made even better that I made the trip with a group of some of my closest friends at the time. Rather than staying in hotels, though, we all were assigned to a different family with whom we spent the bulk of our time. The total cultural immersion was a transformative experience. Our hosts were gracious far beyond what we could have imagined. They went out of their way to both make us comfortable, but also introduce us to the best their culture had to offer so that we could appreciate it more fully. It worked wonderfully. Traditional Japanese culture is beautiful. I got back home even more convinced of that than I was before I left. But during our time there, it was really nice to get together with our group members. There’s just something about relaxing in a culture with which you are familiar when you’ve been immersed in one with which you aren’t. I was reminded of this by a recent episode of Mixed-ish. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: John 13:35

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Love is something that I’ve been coming back to again and again this month. I guess it’s the season. The more I think about this one idea, though, the more significant it becomes. If you are a follower of Jesus, people will recognize you as such because of your love. I’ve said it before, but that’s the only sure test for being a follower of Jesus we find in the Scriptures. In other words, if we don’t get that right, our identity will remain clouded in uncertainty. That or we will be guilty of false advertising. Well, Fridays have become my days for cultural review. Today I want to tell you about a show that puts this principle on display in a way that has become really endearing over its several seasons. This morning, let’s talk about Superstore.

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