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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Morning Musing: Acts 17:26-27

“From one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever felt like you were searching for God? Maybe that’s too on the nose right out of the gate, especially if you’re not really much of a Jesus person. Have you ever felt like you were searching for something in life? Perhaps you were simply looking for more out of life. All people everywhere and in all times have a built-in awareness that there is more to life than our normal get-up-go-to-work-go-home-to-bed-and-do-it-again-the-next-day routine. But we don’t always have a clear sense of what this more should be. This morning, with the help of Paul’s attempt to teach a group of Greek intellectuals this same idea, let’s talk about what this more might be for you.

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Morning Musing: Philippians 1:12-14

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually advanced the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is because I am in Christ. Most of the brothers have gained confidence in the Lord from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the word fearlessly.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What do you do when things aren’t going like you planned? Maybe you’re the kind of person who is able to fairly well roll with it. But I suspect you are at least a little disappointed in that moment. Perhaps, though, “a little disappointed” doesn’t really cover it for you. Rolling with it isn’t a resource in your repertoire. This may be especially true when your plans were to help someone else or do something good. In that moment, you’re ready to simply throw up your hands and give up. Paul, here, though, offers us another approach to consider.

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Faith at Home

As we continue this week in our series, Standing Firm, through the New Testament letter of 1 Peter, it seems like the apostle is going off the rails. He’s been preaching a consistent and powerful message, but here it looks like he’s switching gears entirely. If you look closely, though – as we’ll do in this message – he’s being perfectly consistent with the theme he’s had running from the start. Although it looks like this passage is about wives submitting to their husbands and is thus terribly controversial, it’s about something much more important than that. Lean in with me and let’s see what Peter has to say here.

Faith at Home

You all know what a Chinese finger trap is, yes? A few months ago, I gave one to everyone in the room. Naturally, everyone who was here kept theirs in a treasured spot as you do with all your sermon freebies. I don’t suspect I need to explain to you how they work. You put your fingers in and when you try to pull them out, you discover they are trapped. The harder you pull, the more thoroughly you find yourself trapped. The trap works by taking your natural inclination—to pull harder when you’re stuck—and makes it work against you. The design tightens more the more it is stretched. In other words, when it comes to escaping from a Chinese finger trap, force isn’t going to do the trick. So, what does? Gentleness.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 14:1-2

“It was two days before the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priest and the scribes were looking for a cunning way to arrest Jesus and kill him. ‘Not during the festival,’ they said, ‘so that there won’t be a riot among the people.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

All good spy movies let viewers in on both sides of the story. What I mean is this: Rather than telling the tale from only the perspective of the hero, they let us peek behind the curtain on the villains as well. It gives viewers the sense that we know more than the characters do. Of course, the best ones manage to keep a few surprises waiting for the end just to keep things exciting. When I read the Divergent series a few years ago, the whole thing drove me crazy because it was entirely written from the main character’s perspective. The whole thing was in first person. We never knew anything more than she did. It didn’t add any drama to the story for me; it just made it boring. Well, here at the beginning of Mark 14, as we are preparing now for Jesus’ final hours on earth, Mark gives us a quick glance behind the scenes at what the “bad guys” were planning. If we do some careful thinking here, though, there’s even more than meets the eye.

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