Digging in Deeper: Mark 8:34

“Calling the crowd along with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the lessons in English class that was always a bit more challenging than the rest for me was identifying various figures of speech. The reason for this is that there are so many different kinds of figurative language and the difference between some of them can seem pretty slight. The real trick, too, is that all of the different categories of figurative language are simply multiple ways of saying the same thing: the author didn’t mean what he wrote and he wrote it that way to more effectively and creatively make his point. Does it really matter if this sentence functions more like a simile or is a metaphor being slapped down on the table for you to understand what I’m saying? (Did you see what I did there?) Well, while naming various kinds of figurative language is good to be able to do, recognizing them when we see them is better. And in this verse, Jesus is using figurative language…or is He? Whether He is or not, He certainly got the attention of His audience. He should have ours as well.

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Morning Musing: Mark 8:33

“But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever gotten more than you bargained for? Sometimes this feels like a very good thing. I once dropped four tokens on a Kung Fu Panda video game at an arcade where you had to punch these pads in the right sequence…and won it. The whole thing. Right in front of my kids. I was super dad. We got so many tickets all three boys went home with playground balls. If you know how arcade reward transactions go, you’ll understand we hit the jackpot. Maybe you’ve hit an actual jackpot. You put that one last nickel in the slot, pulled the handle, and filled up your bucket. (Disclaimer: I’ve never actually been to a casino, but that’s how it looks like it works on TV.) Sometimes, though, it doesn’t feel so nice. You playfully tease someone after a day that’s been much harder than you realize and instead of playfully teasing back, they bite your head off. What Peter experienced here was a bit more in line with this second situation. His getting burned, though, offers a lesson we do well to learn (spoiler alert: it’s not that we shouldn’t argue with Jesus).

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What Will You Leave Behind?

This week as we get back into our series, Going It Alone, we’re talking about legacies. How do you want to be remembered? Your answer tot that question matters a great deal. Whatever you might affirm verbally, your behavior will always bear out what you really believe. A strong, good legacy can last for generations…but so can a weak or ugly one. Let’s talk about it.

What Will You Leave Behind?

How do you want to be remembered? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind after you’ve left this place? That’s a question most folks wrestle with at some point in their lives. It’s something that everybody thinks about whether they are a follow of Jesus or not. Christians don’t have any kind of monopoly on that kind of thinking. In fact, for folks who aren’t followers of Jesus, this is an even bigger deal because if there’s nothing after this life, then the legacy we leave behind is the closest thing to immortality there is. And so, for many, many people, the idea of their legacy is a really important one. But, not only will we leave a legacy behind us, but we are also the heirs to someone else’s legacy. Most of us are the way we are and have experienced the things we have experienced because of what someone else did before us. It may have been your parents. It may have been your grandparents. It could have been someone else as well. It could be that you’re doing the things you’re doing as a conscious effort to continue the legacy of one of these people. It could be that you’re doing them as a conscious attempt to thwart it.

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Morning Musing: Zephaniah 1:4-5

“I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the residents of Jerusalem. I will cut off every vestige of Baal from this place, the names of the pagan priests along with the priests; those who bow in worship on the rooftops to the stars in the sky; those who bow and pledge loyalty to the Lord but also pledge loyalty to Milcom.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I have some good friends, a married couple, who live in a divided house. What I mean is that one of them cheers for one college team, and the other cheers for their arch rival. Oh, they get along just fine. But when the two teams play each other things are just a little more interesting than usual. The thing about these divided-house situations, though, is that while each partner may tolerate living with fans of their rivals, they don’t usually start actually cheering for them. Instead, they tend to double down on their commitment to their own team…sometimes just to get under the skin of each other. Trying to cheer for each at the same time would just be weird. God agrees…sort of.

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Contagious Holiness

How do you combat a virus? With an anti-virus. The wider the spread of the virus, the more vigorously you have to spread the anti-virus. When it comes to the spiritual virus of sin, there is a powerful anti-virus. If you are a follower of Jesus, you have it in you. What you need to do now is something Jesus pointed us to in an interesting little episode from His life. It’s also something we talked about yesterday. Check it out.

Contagious Holiness

It is a good day to be a fan of comic book and superhero fare.  Never in the whole history of the silver screen or the small screen have we had as many offerings featuring one comic book storyline or another.  And it’s not just that the volume is high.  The quality is great too.  The comics giants Marvel and DC are in a growing competition for audience loyalty and while Marvel has so far dominated the games, the level of excellence they have achieved has set a high bar that DC is doing their best to clear which in turn simply spurs Marvel on to keep upping their own game.  Well, for a fan of this genre, the net result of this is a ton of great movies and tv shows to enjoy. 

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