Morning Musing: Amos 5:7

“Those who turn justice into wormwood also throw righteousness to the ground.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We live in a society that highly values the idea of justice. It’s baked into our very existence as a nation. Our Pledge of Allegiance closes by describing our country as a place of “liberty and justice for all.” One of our first and most popular superheroes’ slogans for a long time was that he stood for “truth, justice, and the American way.” Our ideals as a nation are indeed high and mighty. There’s a reason far, far more people leave their homes around the world in an attempt to live here – even illegally so – than the other way around. And yet, justice isn’t always something we get right. No society does. Let’s talk this morning about justice, God’s passion, and our aim as followers of Jesus.

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Morning Musing: Mark 10:41-44

“When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. Jesus called them over and said to them, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In my household, there is a simple rule that regulates our interactions with our three boys. Perhaps you have a similar, if unwritten and even unspoken, rule in your own household. If one child gets something, the others must be treated in similar fashion. If one child gets a snack before bed, all three need a snack before bed. It wouldn’t matter if the other two had finished eating dinner only moments before. They are suddenly starving and couldn’t possibly be expected to make it to breakfast without one more bite of food. There’s another rule at play as well: If mom and dad put you in charge, you get to act like you’re in charge. Now, we didn’t make up these rules. They came part and parcel with the parenting gig. I suspect they came with your own gig too. The reason for that is simple: These rules are how people naturally think and interact with one another. The disciples put both rules on display here…and Jesus explains (again) that this isn’t how the kingdom of God works. Let’s talk about it.

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Playing Fair

As we continued in our series, Telling Our Story, yesterday morning, we ran into an uncomfortable truth. Sometimes life is unfair. Sometimes it is unfair and sometimes it seems like God doesn’t do anything to fix that. We see this in the story of Stephen, one of the original deacons appointed by the church and who was having a powerful ministry until the unfairness of life struck him down. This isn’t an easy conversation to have, but it’s one we must have. Let’s do it together.

Playing Fair

This past February some of our brothers and sisters were gathered for worship in the tiny African nation of Burkina Faso. The landlocked country is about the size of the state of Nevada. It is also home to an active and ongoing attempt by Muslim radicals linked to the Islamic State to gain control of the nation in order to enforce their will on it. The believers worshiped that morning like they had done so for years and years together. This particular morning, however, their praise was interrupted by shouts and gunfire. Terrorists burst into the sanctuary with guns blazing. Twenty-four worshipers were murdered in cold blood including the church’s pastor. A dozen more were injured in the gunfire and many more still were kidnapped.

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Samuel 12:13-14 Part 2

“David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.””  (ESV – Read the chapter) ‬‬

These are two of the hardest verses I’ve yet encountered in this slow walk through the history books of the Hebrew Bible. In the first part of this note I began sharing about what has given me such trouble. I started out fairly easy. Here I will get into the real problem for me (and possibly you too). As I said before, here goes… Read the rest…

Morning Musing: 2 Samuel 12:13-14 Part 1

“David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.’”  (ESV – Read the chapter) ‬‬

I have put off writing this note for several days. I’ve resisted because I haven’t been sure I’ve wanted to wade into this mess. I’ve read this passage before many times because I’ve read this story many times. But, I’ve struggled with it this time in ways I haven’t before. Rather than just sitting on it, though, I decided to let you in on the struggle. Here goes… Read the rest…