Morning Musing: 1 John 4:19

“We love because he first loved us.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever have a free period in high school? Personally, I never did. We had a kind of study hall block every other day which probably came pretty close, but being part of the band nerd group, most of us checked in with our actual Home Room teachers and then went immediately to hang out together in the band room where we mostly all sat around doing homework. A real free period, though, gives you the chance to do fairly well whatever you want (within reason, of course). Well, this morning is a bit of a free period for me. I didn’t preach yesterday and so I don’t have a sermon to share. We’ll start a new teaching series next Sunday about which I’m pretty excited. Stay tuned for that. Instead, then, I’m going to share a few different thoughts and we’ll see where that takes us. Here’s what’s on my mind this morning.

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More Together

Here we are at the end of our journey to better understand who God made us to be as a church. We are a people with whom anyone can connect to grow in Christ and reach out for His kingdom. That is who God designed us to be for such a time and place as this. But simply being that church is not enough. If we are truly going to grow into who He made us to be, that growth has to go somewhere. Well, God has plans to take us somewhere. In this final part of our journey we’ll talk about what it takes to be the church He created us to be and where He is taking us in the days ahead of us. Thanks for reading and sharing. I would invite you to join with us on this journey.

More Together

The Ironman Triathlon is widely recognized to be one of the most grueling endurance races in the world. To complete the course, participants must swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full marathon. Doing this once in a lifetime would be a major accomplishment. Doing it more than once in a year is almost beyond imagining. Then there’s William Pruett. This endurance superstar completed the Ironman course not merely once, not even merely twice. He once did it five times. In a week. That’s right: William managed to complete 5 Ironman events in 5 days. How was your week? If you didn’t swim 12 miles, bike 560 miles, and run 131 miles, you’re falling a little short. You may need to pick up the pace some this next week. 

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A Note on Being the Church

We’ve talked about connecting and we’ve talked about growing in Christ. But those two cannot be the end of our journey as followers of Jesus. They certainly weren’t the end of His. And they aren’t the end of who we were created to be as a church. This week we talked about one last, but critically important, part of our God-given identity: Reaching. Why do we reach out and what can that look like here? Read on to find out.

A Note on Being the Church

Have you ever played capture the flag? When we had P.E. in grade school, that was always one of my favorite games. We consistently played it in the gym. The P.E. teacher, Mr. Wilson, put a line of cones down the middle of the floor and split the class into two teams. On each side there was a zone of cones that was the jail and a zone that was where the flag stayed. The goal, of course, was to get the other team’s flag and make it back across the line to your side without getting tagged. The slowest people in the class always got stuck guarding the jail and the flag itself. The fastest group was tasked with getting the other team’s flag. We would line up along the halfway line in various places, trying to spread the other team’s defense as thinly as we could. Some of the group would be sent as decoys – guys we knew were going to get caught in order to distract the flag watchers and jail keepers which in turn created an opening around the flag. Once you made it into the flag box you were safe for the moment. The next trick was figuring out how to escape back to your side. I don’t know that we ever put that much strategy into things. We just ran around until the game was over. 

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The Necessity of Growth

This week we are taking the next step forward in our conversation about who God has designed First Baptist Oakboro to be. We are a people with whom anyone can connect, but connecting can’t be the end of the journey. Once someone has connected, it is time for some growth to happen. Let’s talk about what that means, why that matters, and how it can happen here.

The Necessity of Growth

Lisa and I both grew up in the suburbs. Now, I remember doing a pretty good-sized garden when I was growing up. It was a suburban backyard garden. We grew green beans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and probably some other veggies, but those are the ones I remember. After we got through seminary and settled in a little town in the middle of rural, Virginian farmland, though, neither of us had grown anything for quite some time. Naturally, we thought planting a garden would be a great idea. Noah was still at the age where we could put him down and he really couldn’t go anywhere, so we had our friend Larry till us up a 30×60 plot of ground with his tractor. We had a ball. We would spend hours each week pulling weeds (just so we’re clear: when you’re a bit OCD, keeping a 30×60 garden completely free of weeds is no small task) and watering and then picking and canning. It was great. That worked out for a couple of years and then we found ourselves with another baby and a toddler…and the garden got smaller. Then came baby number three and it got even smaller. 

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When Come and See Becomes Go and Tell

This past Sunday we kicked off a brand-new teaching series. For the next four weeks we are talking about who exactly we are as a church. Who did God design First Baptist Oakboro to be for the present season? He made us to be a people with whom anyone can connect to grow in Christ and reach out for His kingdom. What does that mean? Let’s dig into the first part, connecting, today. Don’t miss the rest!

When Come and See Becomes Go and Tell

Have you ever been to Allen Fieldhouse? Maybe you don’t even know what Allen Fieldhouse is. That’s okay. Not everyone is enlightened at the same time. Those of us who have walked that path already must teach those who have yet to discover it. I’m kidding…sort of. Allen Fieldhouse, named after famous coach Forest “Phog” Allen, is where the Kansas Jayhawks play basketball, and have been since 1955. No less an authority than Wikipedia calls it “one of college basketball’s most historically significant and prestigious buildings.” The actual playing surface in the fieldhouse is the James Naismith Court, who was, of course, the inventor of the sport and the first Kansas men’s basketball coach. His original rules of basketball are actually on display in the fieldhouse. When it comes to college basketball – and with apologies to fans of…anybody else – there simply isn’t a better place to play. If we lived close enough, and I was trying to convince you to be a Kansas fan (granting that if we lived close enough you’d probably already be a fan), I’d tell you to come and see a game there and then you’d know. If you are interested in connecting with the Kansas basketball nation (there’s not a Kansas football nation as most people like to cheer for a team that finishes above .500 more than about once a generation), that “come and see” invitation will make all the difference. I make that invitation because I’ve gone and I’ve seen and I know that if you go there too, you’ll experience what I did. 

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