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.

Read the rest…

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.

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Mark 13:11

“So when they arrest you and hand you over, don’t worry beforehand what you will say, but say whatever is given to you at that time, for it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been put on the spot to speak? Some people thrive in that kind of an environment. I’m not generally one of those. I’m the kind of guy who wants to have everything written out ahead of time. I’m much better on paper than in person. I’d rather put in the effort to memorize a sermon entirely than to walk into the pulpit with nothing more than an outline. In fact, I’ve done that. In seminary, our preaching classes all pushed us in the direction of preaching without notes. They wanted us to learn how to think from an outline. I refused to play ball. I wrote my sermons, memorized them word for word, and dutifully delivered them without notes. The thought of being expected to deliver more than a few words without some sort of heads up makes my stomach churn. Sometimes, though, you don’t get that chance. Sometimes you don’t get that chance and the words you’re expected to deliver are a defense of the Gospel in a pressure situation. Jesus here offers some hope for those situations.

Read the rest…

Playing Your Part

This week we finally wrap up our series, Tell Someone. For six weeks we have been talking about how to share our faith with another person. This last part offers a reminder: Although our work is vital, when it comes to the saving of souls, our work is not the only work that is happening. Jesus reminds us in the parable of the sower that there is someone else involved in the process and His work is pretty important too. Rather than worrying about doing the whole thing ourselves, if we will learn to play our part, things will go entirely more smoothly for us. Thanks for reading.

Playing Your Part

Have you ever watched a rowing competition? On occasion during a Summer Olympics event, I’ll manage to tune in just in time to see the rowing event. I don’t necessarily look to be able to watch it, but when it happens to be on, it’s not one of the events I’ll flip past to watch something else. While it’s not exactly one of the more popular sports in the world, rowing is one of those sports that requires both high skill and high strength. It doesn’t seem like it at a glance, but if you want to win big, they are a must. The most successful teams train rigorously until every single part of the team not only knows their part, but executes their part in perfect harmony with the rest of the team members. Every motion is coordinated. Every stroke is timed. One person who is even slightly out of sync with the squad will immediately become a drag on the rest. Oh yeah, and because they row with their backs to their destination, they are all completely dependent on the one person who can see where they are going. It’s almost like there’s a parable in there.

Read the rest…

Share It Everywhere

As we continue our conversation about evangelism, today we finally talk about actually sharing the Gospel with others. But rather than offer some tips and tricks, we’re going to take a slightly different approach. You don’t need to learn a particular method to share the Gospel effectively. You just need to learn to see the world through a Gospel lens. Then it will come as naturally to you as breathing. Let’s talk about how with a look at one of Paul’s most famous sermons.

Share It Everywhere

Have you ever felt put on the spot? Being a preacher it kind of comes with the territory. You eventually get to where you don’t even notice it. You just expect it. For most folks, though, that’s not something you sign up for. There may be a few spotlight-seekers out there, but most folks just want to get through their day without drawing too much attention to themselves. But more often than not, being put on the spot isn’t something over which you have any control. You’re just going about your normal day-to-day activities and then…bam…there’s a spotlight and you’re the only one in it. And again, a few folks have the kind of personality that they just roll with it, but most of us freeze and start looking for the exit.

Read the rest…