Digging in Deeper: James 1:19-20

“My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever experienced the letdown of unmet expectations? I’m sure you have. We all do from time to time. Sometimes that’s our own fault because we placed too much hope in the wrong things. Sometimes it is the fault of someone else who sold us more than was available to buy. Oftentimes it’s a mixture of both. I recently experienced a theatrical letdown. My hopes were high for a great film, but it just didn’t deliver. This morning, we’re going to talk about the latest offering from Marvel Studios: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and why it just wasn’t what I expected. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, proceed with caution because I will include spoilers.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 13:20-25

“Now may the God of peace, who brough up from the dead our Lord Jesus – the great Shepherd of the sheep – through the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with everything good to do his will, working in us what is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Brothers and sisters, I urge you to receive this message of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. Be aware that our brother Timothy has been released. If he comes soon enough, he will be with me when I see you. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who are from Italy send you greetings. Grace be with you all.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

At long last, today we arrive at our big finish. This has been quite a journey. We are going to end today with a blessing. It’s not a blessing from me, but from the author. As we reflect on where we’ve come, let’s talk about this blessing and where we go from here.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 13:10-13

“We have an altar from which those who worship at the tabernacle do not have a right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the most holy place by the high priest as a sin offering are burned outside the camp. Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that he might sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing his disgrace.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The first sermon series I ever preached was through the letter of Hebrews. I don’t honestly remember why now. It was probably because I was fresh out of seminary and feeling ready to take on the world with my preaching. I still have all those manuscripts on a hard drive somewhere. I don’t particularly want to go back and read them as they were probably all pretty bad. My congregation was gracious to remember I was fresh out of seminary and had never pastored a church before and endured them patiently. I do remember that I labeled all my sections and made sure my big idea was in bold. They would have gotten at least Bs on manuscript form alone were I still in class. I think I wound up doing the series in something like eight weeks, which after this journey of nearly eight months, I can’t even imagine. Were I to preach through Hebrews again, it would be a much longer and very different series. In those eight weeks, do you know what I didn’t cover? Chapter 13. I didn’t touch it at all. We got to chapter 12, and then went on to the next series. These four verses are a big part of why. I’m still not totally sure what to do with them. This morning is going to be a bit of an exercise in figuring it out, and you get to join me in that.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 13:7, 17

“Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. . . .Obey your leaders and submit to them, since they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are several passages like this scattered across the New Testament. Given the position in which I serve, I pretty unfailingly feel really uncomfortable talking about them with other people. As someone who Paul would have (hopefully) identified as one of these leaders, it feels terribly awkward to me to imagine myself standing in front of my congregation and telling them, “you should submit to and obey me.” And yet, passages like these are nonetheless in here, and we have to deal with them. Let’s talk about what this means both for church members and also for church leaders as there’s a little something for everyone here.

Continue reading “Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 13:7, 17”

Digging in Deeper: Matthew 20:25-28

“Jesus called them over and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

This coming Sunday, Lord willing (and on here Monday), we are going to be talking about Paul’s words to the Ephesian church about marriage. One of the ideas he introduces there is that, in the Christian view of marriage, the husband is the head of the wife. Today is not going to be about that at all (stay tuned for Monday). Instead, something I’m going to say in an attempt to explain what this looks like through the lens of the Christian worldview as opposed to the lens of the world prompted another thought. I want to explore this in a bit more detail today than I will on Sunday as I offer a review of the latest Star Wars series on Disney+: Andor.

Read the rest…