Making a Case

This past Sunday as we continued our series, How to Read the Bible, we talked about why engaging with the Scriptures is something worth your time. When the percentage of American’s who engage with the Scriptures has fallen 10% in the last year, this is something we need to know for ourselves and so that we can share it with others. Read on to discover some reasons this matters so much in your life and in the lives of the people around you.

Making a Case

Have you ever had someone try to convince you to do something you weren’t interested in or perhaps even opposed to doing? Have you tried to do it to someone else? How did that go? Did they succeed in their aim? What kind of an approach did you take? There are many different options available depending on the nature of the relationship between the two of you. In school, something like this often takes the form of basic peer pressure. They could have used the “everybody’s doing it” line. They might have offered a variety of reasons why you should do it. It could be they started mocking you for your unwillingness to join in, calling you any manner of names in the process—”scaredy cat,” “goodie two-shoes,” “weakling,” and so on and so forth. It could have been a pretty girl or handsome guy enticing you toward whatever it was with the promise of more personal attention if you came. There may have even been the threat of physical violence toward you if you didn’t join in. 

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Peter 1:3-4

“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

For the last few weeks, I have been taking my congregation (and you as well) on a journey to understand how to read the Bible a little better than they did before. This has mostly been Christianity 101 type of stuff, and the next two parts of the series will be no different. I had been planning on this series for a few months and was pretty excited about it. Engaging with the Scriptures and encouraging followers of Jesus to do that in their own lives is something I’m pretty passionate about. But personally, I don’t always practice that passion as well as I feel it. As I fell asleep last night and when I was lying in bed for a bit this morning before getting up, I was thinking about what I would be writing about today. Leaving for the office a little later, I still didn’t know. Then God did what God has a knack for doing and gave it to me in a rush. We’re going to spend a little bit of time this morning engaging with the Scriptures together and seeing in action why doing it can make such a difference in our lives.

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On Vines and Branches

This week, as we continue in our series, Plugged In, we’re talking about why staying plugged in matters at all. Knowing that and knowing why are two different things. We’ve talked about some of the thats and the hows, but the whys haven’t been so clear. In this passage, Jesus gives us three reasons staying plugged in matters so much. Check these out and thanks for reading and sharing!

On Vines and Branches

When we first moved into our house almost four years ago, it was a little like clearing a jungle. I’m not sure the bushes or trees or vines around the property had been trimmed and maintained…ever. Noah’s window looks out the second story on the side of the house over the air conditioning units. You couldn’t see out of his window the bushes were so tall. You could see the front of the house a little bit, but not much. And in the back, our property sits next to a great big field, but you wouldn’t have known it standing on the deck. You couldn’t see into the field behind us because the vines and trees were so thick and overgrown. Several of the wonderful folks here at the church came and helped us clean it up. It actually took two different days because there was so much. I believe Jim hauled off 14 total loads of brush from the yard and somebody finally just suggested we burn the rest of it. I think the remaining pile burned for about three days. It was a mess. But, with the help of this wonderful community, we got it cleaned up. Keeping up with it since has rightly fallen to us. 

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Digging in Deeper: Psalms 119:27

“Help me understand the meaning of your precepts so that I can meditate on your wonders.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Granting you’re doing at least a little bit of this right now, but when was the last time you made a good faith effort to engage with the Scriptures? Notice, I didn’t say, “read your Bible.” We usually think in terms of the latter, but the first is more helpful. Either way, if you’re like most people who give the notion of following Jesus some part of the time of day, it’s probably something you’ve tried at least once or twice. And if you’re like most people who fit into that category, you probably got started pretty well, but then gradually fell off the wagon. The odds are better than average that the reason you eventually quit is that you ran into something you didn’t understand. Engaging with the Scriptures can be tough. What the writer of Psalm 119 – which is entirely dedicated to extolling the virtues and worth of God’s word – offers us here is a strategy for staying engaged even when it’s hard. Let’s talk about it.

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How to Get More of a Good Thing

We’ve all been warned about having too much of a good thing, but getting more of a good thing is something worth trying to do. As followers of Jesus, we know that the best things are the ones that move us in His direction. Getting more of those is always good. In this third part of our new series, A Fresh Start, we talk about how to do exactly that. Thanks for reading!

How to Get More of a Good Thing

Have you ever had something really good—or even just really cool—happen that you wanted to have happen again? What did you do in order to try and bring that about? When I was in high school my youth group went to Branson, MO for a special church weekend event at Silver Dollar City—the Ozark’s equivalent to Dollywood. One morning when we were still in the hotel getting ready for the day, the power suddenly went out in the whole place. I think everyone in my room was pretty much ready, so it was nothing more than mildly inconvenient. Being kids and being silly, though, I stood up on a chair in the room and proclaimed, “And God said, ‘Let there be light!’” And would you believe the power came back on right then. It was instantaneous. I couldn’t have planned it better if I had someone hiding in the next room manning the power switch for the hotel. It was awesome.

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