Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:38-40

“John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.’ ‘Don’t stop him,’ said Jesus, ‘because there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name who can soon afterward speak evil of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We are naturally tribal. Our world has always been divided into two groups: Us and them. Now, sure, the exact makeup of those two groups changes. There are all kinds of different “uses” and all kinds of different “thems.” A person might fall into both categories within the same group of people depending on which particular flavor of us and them is being considered at the moment. But while there is all kinds of variety when it comes to exactly who goes in which group and when, the basic dividing line between us and them remains consistent. It is natural. It always has been. When Jesus came and began teaching about the kingdom of God, He didn’t try and tell us to operate differently. Surprised by that? Jesus didn’t try to undo our tribalistic impulse. He simply invited us to think about ourselves as part of a much bigger tribe.

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Morning Musing: Malachi 2:10

It’s vacation week! Blogs will keep appearing this week, but the audio recordings may not. Things will be back up and running like normal starting next week.

“Don’t all of us have one Father? Didn’t one God create us? Why then do we act treacherously against one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

As the prophet Malachi was offering various warnings to the people of Israel to get back on track with God, he took a minute to remind them of who they were. He reminded them of the common heritage they all shared. Although this reminder wasn’t aimed at us, the spirit behind it is still very much relevant today. It is relevant for our nation. It is relevant for the church. Let’s talk about why this morning.

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Morning Musings: 1 Corinthians 1:12-13

“What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’  Is Christ divided?  Was Paul crucified for you?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Unity is a hard thing to establish in the church.  The reason is fairly simple: Sin causes divisions.  One of the fundamental consequences of sin is that it divides us from one another.  This was the case right from the start.  When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, the first thing they did was to hide from one another.  Division.   Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Romans 16:17-18

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.  For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”  (ESV – read the chapter)

When it comes to non-Christians, the church is to be open to all people.  We should receive with grace and gladness anyone who is interested in becoming a follower of Jesus regardless of their background or what they’ve done.

In the church and among people who claim to be followers of Jesus the story changes somewhat.  Oftentimes today, people who are most concerned with protecting the purity and unity of the church work to keep out the world.  In the New Testament, the exact opposite approach is taken.  The biggest threats to the purity and unity of the church are never from without, but rather within.

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