Digging in Deeper: Judges 21:25

“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would you do if you had an animal inside waiting to come out? I don’t just mean that you have a bit of a wild streak you let hang out on occasion. I mean you have a literal animal spirit inside of you that can turn you into said animal at will…once you learn how to control it with the help of some friends. And what if this animal happened to be a 10-foot tall, fluffy, red panda? Well, I suppose in that case you would have Pixar make an animated movie telling your story. We are a couple of weeks past the small-screen opening of the latest Disney-Pixar movie, Turning Red, and it has so far managed to generate a whole lot more conversation and criticism than just about any of its predecessors. The reasons for this are many. Some of the criticism hasn’t been particularly thoughtful, but a fair bit of it has made some pretty sound points. Let’s talk this morning about the movie, the good, the bad, and whether it’s worth your time.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 12:33

“Either make the tree good and its fruit will be good, or make the tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree will be known by its fruit.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

It’s hard sometimes to know who people really are. In our digital world, we have become incredibly adept at hiding ourselves. Our disguises may not be elaborate, but they don’t have to be. Superman fooled everyone with a pair of glasses. We just want people to think the best of us whether we deserve it or not. Given this, how can we really know who the people around us are? Jesus told us: A tree is eventually known by its fruits. Sometimes, though, the world tells us that isn’t really true. A recent show from Netflix tries this very thing. The result is something that could be great, but settles for just being good. Let’s talk today about Sweet Magnolias.

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Digging in Deeper: Jeremiah 6:16

“This is what the Lord says: Stand by the roadways and look. Ask about the ancient paths, ‘Which is the way to what is good?’ Then take it and find rest for yourselves. But they protested, ‘We won’t!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What are the major sources of counsel in your life? Most people rely on something from the internet as one of their top ten at least; maybe top five. If not that, we’ll turn to one self-help book or another, all of which have been written in the last thirty years. Generally speaking, what this means is that most of our counsel comes from sources that aren’t very old. Now, on the one hand, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are folks in the last thirty years who have been really wise and can point us in some good directions if we’ll pay attention. But if all our counsel comes from recent sources, we’re missing out on something important. Let’s talk this morning about what and why that is.

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Digging in Deeper: Luke 1:60-63

“But his mother responded, ‘No. He will be called John.’ Then they said to her, ‘None of your relatives has that name.’ So they motioned to his father to find out what he wanted him to be called. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they were all amazed.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I saw a chart the other day from the Pew Research Group showing by comparison the percentage of Americans who claim Christianity as their religious identity versus those who claim no religious identity at all. The former has been on a steady decline, and the latter, a steady rise, since the turn of this millennium. In other words, for the first time in our nation’s history, we are finding ourselves living in a culture that is increasingly more likely than not to push back against us for seeking to live out our faith in public and meaningful ways. The question for us is not whether we can turn back this tide, but how we will respond to it. As we continue into the final week of our Advent journey this morning, we are reminded that this is a place God’s people have found themselves before.

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Morning Musing: Galatians 2:20-21

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you’ve got kids and watch television as a family, you probably have a subscription to Disney+. The fact is, like it or not, there isn’t anyone else out there producing as much, as high quality, and as generally family-friendly content as they are. As a family, we tune in often. There aren’t many family movie nights for us that don’t involve one of their shows in one way or another. One of the latest offerings is their remake of the popular 90s series, Doogie Howser, M.D. Instead of a suburban white guy from middle America, though, this one is based on a Hawaiian girl named Lahela. The show is called Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., and this morning I’m thinking about a missed opportunity to be different.

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