Morning Musing: Luke 3:3-6

“He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight! Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be made low; the crooked will become straight, the rough ways smooth, and everyone will see the salvation of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of those unwritten laws of physics is that things in motion try to find the path of least resistance in order to get where they are going. One of the places we see this in action is on a college campus where lots of people are commuting on foot each day. There may be nice, clean sidewalks to get everywhere you need to go, but there will also inevitably be some well-worn dirt paths where people have left the sidewalks in order to get where they are going by a more direct, shorter route. Let’s talk this morning about what this has to do with our lives and getting ready for Jesus.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 13:5-6

*** If you’ve been tracking with me for very long on here, you know that I’ve written quite a lot over the years. As a matter of fact, this month will see my 1500th post. Each of those posts take up storage space on my site, and with the addition of pictures and audio recordings, they take up even more space. A couple of years ago, I upgraded the site for storage purposes, but I’m almost back to the new cap. In an effort to create some space without having to upgrade again quite yet (I don’t get enough traffic to justify that), I am going to begin going back through and deleting old audio files. I’ll start with the oldest and work forward from there. I’ll plan to keep at least a calendar year’s worth of audio files before deleting them. This means that if you go back to an old post, the audio link in it won’t work anymore. I could go through and remove all of those old links…but, honestly, that’ll take a lot more time than I have to give to it. The posts will still be there for reference, though, so still feel free to search the archives if you’re ever in need of some thoughts on a particular passage. I’ve covered quite a lot of the Scriptures over the years. Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing. You are why I keep writing every day. ***

“Keep your life free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for he himself has said, ‘I will never leave you or abandon you.’ Therefore, we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In 1984, Madonna sang what was arguably the anthem for the times when she declared herself a material girl living in a material world. That wasn’t just an anthem for the time, then, though, it was a description of the struggle we have always had to define our lives by the stuff we have. Jesus dealt with this directly. So did Paul. If we are going to live under the authority of the new covenant, we only get to have one God and Lord. And money’s not it. Let’s talk this morning about why we can trust God in that position.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

My oldest boys are running cross country this fall. Personally, I have enjoyed it immensely. It has been a nice, little nostalgia-fest for me of my own days running cross country. One of the things that was really emphasized when I was running was the importance of running light. Our shirts were made from the lightest material they could find. Our racing shorts were so short they barely covered our backside. And the best runners (a group that never included me) would pay huge prices for shoes that were as light as a feather. The goal was to eliminate anything that might slow you down because even fractions of a second could make a difference in a big race. As we turn the page at last on chapter 11, we find our author borrowing an illustration from the world of running to offer an encouragement in pursuing the life of faith. Let’s take a look at this with him.

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Making an Investment

This week we wrapped up our month-long series, How to Read the Bible. So far we’ve talked about what the Bible is and why engaging with the Scriptures matters. What we haven’t yet talked about is how to actually do that. This week we fixed that. In this message we talk about several different approaches to engaging with the Scriptures. Some of it may be familiar, some of it may be new. And this is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. All of it, though, will help you move in the direction of coming to know and better understand the God revealed within its pages. Dig in here and see what you can put into practice.

Making an Investment

One of the most common bits of investment advice given to young people is to start doing it now. If you can put a small amount away on a consistent basis, over time, that small amount has the potential to grow very large indeed. Now, sure, anything could happen, but all things being equal, and assuming on the basic stability of our nation’s economy, a little bit added to a little bit at a time can become a lot if you go far enough down the road. Even if you don’t know anything else about investing at all—and I don’t—taking this basic approach will pay off over time. You just about can’t go wrong if you take it. The very worst thing you can do here is not to make a wrong decision, rather it is to make no decision at all. Even a small something is better than nothing. 

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Digging in Deeper: Colossians 4:6

“Let your speech always be gracious and seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I don’t tweet. I never have. I hesitate to say, “I never will,” because who knows what the future holds. I was a hold-out on texting until long after it had caught on pretty widely and my lack of texting was actually causing frustration for people close to me. Now I send dozens, if not hundreds, of texts a day. But tweeting is different to me. I understand you’re not limited to 70 or even 140 characters any longer, but it is intended to be a short-form type of communication. I don’t really do short-form communication. Especially when it’s digital. The risk of being misunderstood or misinterpreted or taken out of context is just too great. Even when I text, I use full sentences and punctuation, and my texts tend to have more words than fewer. Also, I write like I talk, and I don’t talk in soundbites. But I am aware that tweeting is pretty popular, that some tweets generate multiple responses, and that sometimes, to be engaged culturally, you have to at least be aware of Twitter. With that in mind, I recently saw a tweet to which someone responded publicly, and this response generated quite a few comments. Normally I don’t give much credence to that kind of thing, but for some reason this one caught my eye…and what I saw bothered me. What bothered me was not so much that I disagreed with the response to the tweet along with most of the comments, but rather that they were generally posted by people I know and respect. Still, jumping into a comment-train is a little like jumping into a swimming pool filled with concrete – there’s no good way to swim across it, and eventually you get stuck without accomplishing very much – so, I held my digital tongue. But as I’ve continued to process the whole thing, I feel like I need to respond. This may or may not advance the conversation, but I am going to be as clear as I can, as charitable as I can, and thorough (remember: I don’t do short-form communication). Here goes.

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