Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 12:11-13

“No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you know why most people don’t exercise the way they should? Because they don’t want to. I rushed that, didn’t I? You were getting all of your excuses ready to start listing off in defense of your lack of exercise, and I cut your short. But the truth is, at the end of the day, we don’t exercise as much as we should (and I’ll let you define “should” in a way that makes you comfortable) because there are other things we’d rather do more. We have time for all of the things we most want to do. Period. Of course, the reason we don’t want to exercise as much as we want to do other things is because exercising is hard. We don’t like doing hard things. But sometimes, hard things that hurt us in the moment help us in the long run. This is an important thing to keep in mind in the next part of Hebrews 12 here. Let’s take a look at this together.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 6:1-3

“Therefore, let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And we will do this if God permits.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Living things grow. All of them. If there is something that is living, that something is growing. Now, what growth looks like isn’t the same for every living thing. Our oldest has grown something like eight inches in the last eighteen months (we’re taking up a collection for clothes and shoes…). His growth has been hard to miss. I haven’t gained an inch of height in decades (although I have gained a bit about the midsection). My growth looks different from his. But we’re both living and so we’re both growing. As the author of Hebrews begins a section that is perhaps the most infamously uncomfortable of the whole letter, he continues the argument we looked at yesterday that a living faith must be a growing faith. Let’s start here and then next week we’ll continue working through these challenging verses together.

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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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Growth Is Mandatory

This week we are continuing our series, Generations. Last week we focused our attention on Generation Z and talked about the importance of following. This week the Millennials are in the docket. What is it that Millennials most need to hear in order to get their faith right in the season of life they are in? Read on to find out.

Growth Is Mandatory

I’ve talked before about our gardening exploits. The little garden spot we use does weird things. Last year, for instance, while we had three tomato plants from Jim, only one of them actually produced a tomato. It made its grand appearance in June, grew to about the size of a grape, and stayed that way until about October when it finally turned red. With all of that in mind, this year we tried to get smarter. We have put all of our plants in the same area of the yard, but we put them all in pots. Six plants. Six pots. Easy to maintain and water and weed and the like. What could go wrong? We even have tomatoes on both of our plants. I took a picture of two of them just to document the evidence. And we have blossoms on the squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. Lots of them. But would you believe we still don’t have any produce? We got one little zucchini about the size of my pinky finger (which disappeared before it ever got any bigger), and that’s it. Oh, at the boys’ request, we planted a whole bunch of two different types of sunflowers including one variety that’s supposed to get up to 12-feet tall. About a quarter of those have popped up including just three of the twenty or so seeds we planted in the actual planter box. I’m starting to think there’s something weird about that whole side of our house. Or maybe it’s just us. 

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Making a Case

This past Sunday as we continued our series, How to Read the Bible, we talked about why engaging with the Scriptures is something worth your time. When the percentage of American’s who engage with the Scriptures has fallen 10% in the last year, this is something we need to know for ourselves and so that we can share it with others. Read on to discover some reasons this matters so much in your life and in the lives of the people around you.

Making a Case

Have you ever had someone try to convince you to do something you weren’t interested in or perhaps even opposed to doing? Have you tried to do it to someone else? How did that go? Did they succeed in their aim? What kind of an approach did you take? There are many different options available depending on the nature of the relationship between the two of you. In school, something like this often takes the form of basic peer pressure. They could have used the “everybody’s doing it” line. They might have offered a variety of reasons why you should do it. It could be they started mocking you for your unwillingness to join in, calling you any manner of names in the process—”scaredy cat,” “goodie two-shoes,” “weakling,” and so on and so forth. It could have been a pretty girl or handsome guy enticing you toward whatever it was with the promise of more personal attention if you came. There may have even been the threat of physical violence toward you if you didn’t join in. 

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