Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 3:12-13

“Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Let’s start with a quick pop culture quiz: Who is the hero of the Star Wars film franchise? That’s a trick question, of course. There are several possible answers, and if you find yourself on the right fandom website, it could spark hours of vigorous debate. But if you were going to have to pick just one, who would it be? I’d personally lean in the direction of Luke Skywalker, but I could be persuaded otherwise. However you answer that question, though, do you know who you’re probably not choosing? The franchise’s most popular character. There are two primary contenders for that particular distinction and neither of them were heroes. In fact, one of them is one of the chief villains: Darth Vader. But while Vader’s story ultimately has an heroic arc (which, I believe, is a big part of why he is so popular), it begins in tragedy. Seeing someone succumb to what Star Wars calls “the dark side” is always tragic. Having made his second case about the greatness of Christ, the author of Hebrews here offers us another warning. This time it is essentially to not succumb to the dark side. Let’s talk about it.

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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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Digging in Deeper: Jonah 1:12-13

“He answered them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea so that it will calm down for you, for I know that I’m to blame for this great storm that is against you.’ Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they couldn’t because the sea was raging against them more and more.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

When I was growing up, we had a board game called Bonkers. The idea was that the game was different every time you played. The board didn’t have any instructions on the path you followed. Instead, you added them as you went. The results varied, but the roll of the dice could result in the loss of several points, or a turn that went on for several minutes. It was bonkers…kind of like the story of Jonah the further into it we get.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 4:4-5

“Come to Bethel and rebel; rebel even more at Gilgal! Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tenths every three days. Offer leavened bread as a thank offering, and loudly proclaim your freewill offerings, for that is what you Israelites love to do! This is the declaration of the Lord God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever done the right thing in the wrong place? I was watching one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies with my boys the other day. In one scene, the main character was at a hotel with his family. After a misadventure out in the parking lot late one night, he went back to his room and crawled in bed with his parents only to discover the next morning that it wasn’t his room at all. He had spent the night with another family. That was a pretty funny episode, but as Israel reminds us here, doing things that look right in the wrong places can actually be a pretty dangerous thing as well.

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Morning Musings: Judges 6:12-13

“And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.’  And Gideon said to him, ‘Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?  And where are his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, “Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?”  But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.'”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

The story of Gideon is one of my favorites.  This isn’t because of why you might think.  It is often presented to highlight the faith and courage of Gideon as he takes his army of 300 and defeats the thousands of Midianite soldiers in a decidedly non-traditional fashion (God seems to excel at devising…creative…battle plans to make sure He gets the glory for the victory).  While perhaps Gideon was courageous and faithful in that moment, I tend to see his story as evidence of God’s willingness and ability to work through anybody to accomplish His plans, even a whiney coward. Read the rest…