Digging in Deeper: Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Every worldview has a creation story. After all, we had to get here somehow. No one has ever believed we’ve been here forever (or that we will be here forever, but that’s a story for another time). This verse here is obviously the beginning of Christianity’s creation story. Well, although it’s not actually a worldview anyone believes in because it’s a fantasy story, but this past year, Marvel finally told its creation story on the big screen. This was done in the movie, The Eternals. The Eternals, more than any Marvel movie before it, invites viewers to ask some pretty big questions. It also reminds the perceptive believer watching of just how good the Gospel is. This is a longer post than usual, but there was a lot here to think about. Let’s dig into it.

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Digging in Deeper: Luke 16:13

“No servant can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been a slave? Probably not. That being said, there are more people living as slaves around the world right now than at any other point in human history. Human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar industry. How about this one: Do you have a master? Once again, your gut reaction to that question may be to say, “No,” but give this one just a little bit more thought. Just because you don’t have a human master (and, no, neither parents nor bosses at work count) doesn’t mean you don’t have any master at all. The truth is that we all have a master. What kind of master we have and how much freedom that master grants us is the real question. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Exodus 31:13

“Tell the Israelites: You must observe my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, so that you will know that I am the Lord who consecrates you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When was the last time you truly took a day off? I guess a better question than that may be this: What does it even mean to take a day off? A day off from what? From work? What kind of work? Maybe you’ve taken a day off from your paid work, but spent the entire day running errands and doing chores around the house. That doesn’t seem like much of a day off. Perhaps you took a day of absence from work to spend the day volunteering with a charitable organization. That felt good, but you’re just as tired as if you’d spent all day at your “real” job. How are we supposed to get any rest if we don’t even really know what it means to rest in the first place?

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 5:43-47

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what are you doing out of the ordinary?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Two things for you this morning right out of the gate. First, an update, then a more normal introduction. Here’s the update: This will not be yesterday’s sermon this morning. Yesterday we had a special service called Celebrate Sunday. We took the morning to delight in what God has been doing in and through our community over past year. We had special guests and a fantastic testimony from some of our newer members, and generally a lot of fun. I shared many of the things God has done in the last year rather than giving a formal sermon. Thus no sermon to post here. But, it would be worth your time to go and watch the service for the stories alone. You can do that on our YouTube channel here.

Just because I don’t have a sermon, though, doesn’t mean I don’t have anything for you this morning. Normally I have been taking Fridays to engage on various cultural happenings (especially from the big and small screen) and where they intersect with the Scriptures. And, when I’m watching a whole season of a particular series, I’ll usually wait until the end of the season to reflect on the whole thing. But as I’ve been watching the latest season of Cobra Kai on Netflix, I can’t help but offer some observations after watching episode 4 last night. Cobra Kai, of course, is a continuing of the story of the classic movie, Karate Kid, into the modern day. In the original film and the third of the series, the good guys and the bad guys were clear. Mr. Miyagi and his style of karate are good, John Kreese and his Cobra Kai dojo are bad. In the new series, especially as the story has developed, things are less clear than that. But rather than this being a mere modern, relativistic, woke attempt to obscure moral lines or to otherwise pretend they don’t exist, season 4 is so far displaying real life through a lens that, if not strictly Gospel-oriented, is certainly shaped by it. Let’s talk this morning about Cobra Kai and loving our enemies.

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Digging in Deeper: Psalm 32:1-5

“How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How joyful is a person whom the Lord does not charge with iniquity and in whose spirit is no deceit! When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer’s heat. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever done anything wrong? I have a sneaking suspicion the answer to that question is yes. How did that make you feel? Be honest now. If you did it right, in the moment it probably felt good. That’s the tricky thing about sin. In the moment it usually feels pretty good. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be so drawn to do it. The thing is, though, that in the moment feeling doesn’t tend to last very long. After a while, it gets replaced by something else: guilt. Guilt doesn’t feel so good. Guilt is a feeling we want to get rid of. David in Psalm 32 here tells us how. Let’s see what he has to say this morning.

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