Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 5:11-14

“We have a great deal to say about this, and it is difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature – for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever have a bad teacher when you were in school? I don’t just mean a teacher you didn’t like or who wasn’t particularly kind. I’m talking about a teacher who was genuinely not good at teaching. He stood there and lectured endlessly about things no one really understood and never really explained them or entertained questions. He tried so hard to be cool that he never really got around to the teaching part of his job, but then tested you anyway. He covered a difficult subject that he never quite unpacked sufficiently that anyone was following along with him. Bad teachers are frustrating. But sometimes our lack of understanding isn’t a teacher’s fault…it’s ours. We just don’t want to own it, so we blame someone else. The author of Hebrews has been covering some tough stuff so far. He’d like to go further with it, but he knows his audience won’t understand because they’re just average students. He challenges them on this here and leaves us with something to think about in our own lives. Let’s take a minute this morning to do that.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 5:8

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever seen a movie that didn’t know what it was trying to be? That can be a frustrating experience. You want to enjoy the film, but you only want to enjoy one film, not three or four at the same time. Writing a story (or much of anything for that matter) can be tough. I can speak to this rather personally as I write a few thousand words every week. Not many of those words are for the purpose of telling a story, but writing a sermon requires the same kind of discipline. Too many potentially good sermons have fallen victim to the curse of not knowing what they are trying to be. The preacher starts out making one point, but then just can’t quite restrain himself from making two or three others. The jumbled mess that results from this may feel very inspiring in a moment, but doesn’t often stick beyond that. I recently finished watching a movie that suffers from this very thing. It’s too bad too, because I really wanted it to be good. Let’s talk this morning about the latest offering from the wizarding world of Harry Potter: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 4:14-16

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens – Jesus the Son of God – let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There is a fantastic new ad campaign running in various markets across the country right now called, “He Gets Us.” Its goal is to get people interested in Jesus. Actually, it goes beyond that. People are generally interested in Jesus. People aren’t interested in the church, but they don’t connect the two like they should. That’s often the church’s fault. This campaign aims to address that. And this is a good thing too, because Jesus is someone worth being interested in. The writer of Hebrews offers us some really powerful reasons why. Let’s take a look at this together.

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This past Sunday was our Graduate Recognition Sunday. We had the privilege of highlighting the excellent work of 12 incredible students. What a treat it is to celebrate the hard work of bright young people as they prepare to move into the next phase of God’s big plan for them. This past Sunday was also the first Sunday of a new teaching series called, Generations. For the next few weeks, we’re going to be talking about whole generations of people each week and what they need to be doing that is unique to their generation to be an active part of the advance of the kingdom of God in their current place of life. This week, since it was Grad Sunday, we started with Generation Z. Tune in for this one and all the rest to find what your generation needs to hear about following Jesus well.

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“If only they understood!” I want you to think for just a second about the last time you thought something like that and what age you were when you thought it. If you have lived through multiple generations, I suspect you’ve thought it more than once and in more than one generation. And, no matter which generation you happened to be in when you thought it, you were absolutely convinced your frustration and exasperation were completely justified. But let me add one more challenge to this. If you’re from an older generation—let’s say older Generation X, Boomers, and Builders—it’s really tempting to look back at folks from a younger generation—perhaps your kids or grandkids—who are thinking this and laugh at them as silly because of course you understand them. You’ve been them. It’s you and your situation that they need to try to understand, not the other way around. 

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Peter 1:3-4

“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

For the last few weeks, I have been taking my congregation (and you as well) on a journey to understand how to read the Bible a little better than they did before. This has mostly been Christianity 101 type of stuff, and the next two parts of the series will be no different. I had been planning on this series for a few months and was pretty excited about it. Engaging with the Scriptures and encouraging followers of Jesus to do that in their own lives is something I’m pretty passionate about. But personally, I don’t always practice that passion as well as I feel it. As I fell asleep last night and when I was lying in bed for a bit this morning before getting up, I was thinking about what I would be writing about today. Leaving for the office a little later, I still didn’t know. Then God did what God has a knack for doing and gave it to me in a rush. We’re going to spend a little bit of time this morning engaging with the Scriptures together and seeing in action why doing it can make such a difference in our lives.

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