Digging in Deeper: Matthew 10:29-31

“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid; you are wroth more than many sparrows.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would happen if someone knew everything? I mean everything. Every decision you make; every word you speak; all known completely before you do them. What would that mean for your life? Would you really have any free will? Or would you simply be doing what this person wanted you to do? This week the latest Marvel Disney+ series, Loki came to an end. As has become the case for nearly all of their work, the show’s creators invited viewers into Marvel’s fantastically impossible world of superheroes and villains, of incredible technology and magic (but I repeat myself), and now of time travel and multiple realities. The story the comics giant has been telling for 13 years was not just continued, but launched in a whole new universe of directions. It personally left me as excited as I can be for what comes next. But as is equally true for nearly all of their content, it invited viewers to consider some of the big questions of life. Specifically, what would it mean for our lives if there was someone who was truly sovereign over them? This morning, let’s talk about Loki and how we as Christians should think about the questions it asked. By the way, this conversation will be filled with spoilers for the last episode, so if you plan on watching it, go do that first.

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Morning Musing: Mark 7:14-15

“Summoning the crowd again, he told them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What do you get when you squeeze a tube of toothpaste? I recently saw a magician squeeze ketchup and then pour salt out of the same tube of toothpaste. I’m pretty sure he monkeyed with the tube somehow. Normally, when you squeeze a tube of toothpaste out comes a glob of…toothpaste. This isn’t rocket science. Now, here’s the real trick question: Why does toothpaste come out of that tube when you squeeze it? Ready for this: Because that’s what’s in it. I know, I know, this is mind-blowing stuff. So why am I thinking about toothpaste this morning? Because of what Jesus said here. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Lamentations 3:17-18

“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.'” (ESV – Read the chapter)

Eighteen months. Eighteen months of nothing. There were rumors and reports, sure, but nothing concrete to embrace. Not a single thing. Then it suddenly arrived: Hope and the promise of a brighter future. We could all breathe a big sigh of relief because Marvel Studios had indeed not succumbed to the COVID economy. After waiting since July 2, 2019 when Spider-Man: Far From Home hit theaters, on Friday, January 15, 2021, the much anticipated new entry, Wandavision finally premiered on Disney+. Whether because it really is that good, or because we’d all grown so used to Marvel’s regular theatrical releases that the absence primed our hearts to be fond of whatever they released next, it has been a major hit. After months of nothing but rumors and scoops, the Marvel fandom finally had something solid to digest and debate. And so it has. This morning let’s talk about Wandavision and what it just may mean for you and me.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 7:5

“So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever crossed a taboo? I live in the south now where, “Yes, Ma’am,” and “Yes, Sir,” are a fundamental part of the culture. Not so where I grew up. I grew up greeting most adults with nothing more than their first names. You can perhaps imagine the shock, then, when I met my wonderful in-laws when visiting Lisa in Charleston, SC for the first time and greeted them warmly by name…first name. Much to their credit, they handled my massive faux pas without even blinking, but I had violated a culturally sacred custom. Every culture has its customs. Some are wise and rightly held (like patterns of respect and honor in the south), but some are just there because, well, they’re there. Others are locked in place because of the currently prevailing worldview whether or not that worldview accords with reality. Jesus and His disciples came up against some of these during His ministry. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: 2 Corinthians 3:5

“It is not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

You shouldn’t have to feel bad. That’s one of the unspoken mantras of our culture. The only thing that’s really bad these days seems to be feeling badly about something. What we want to feel—and others with us—is competent. We want to feel like we can do anything. 

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