Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:43-47

“And if your hand causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and go to hell, the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In 1986 a new term was coined to describe a certain class of radio disc-jockeys: Shock jock. Shock jocks were radio personalities who pushed the envelop of what was socially and morally acceptable (not to mentioned allowed by the FCC) as far as they possibly could in order to keep their audiences coming back for more. The idea of saying unexpected or potentially offensive things to get people to listen, though, has been around for a long time. While this kind of thing has often been a tool of comedians, its use goes further back than that. Using a bit of shock to get His audience to pay attention was actually something Jesus liked to do on occasion. Here is perhaps the most famous example of his doing this. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: John 14:6

“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

We want options. Lots of them. The more the better. We want cars with bells and whistles. We want television service with a million channels. We want restaurants with huge menus and buffets with over 100 items. One of the worst feelings in the world today is having no choice about something. As a result, this is one of the hardest things Jesus said. Can we make it any easier? 

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A Difficult Journey

In this second part of our series, Hard Sayings, we looked a bit more closely at the hard saying from last week that following Jesus is hard.  Here we have reaffirmed for us the difficulty of remaining faithful over the long haul, but we also get a bit of a reprieve: The rewards are pretty good as well.  Keep reading to see how this unfolds.

A Difficult Journey

When was the last time you did something that was hard, but which left you feeling like you’d done something worthwhile?  That’s a really good feeling, isn’t it?  You work hard, make some sacrifices even, and come out on top.  Like you, I’ve done this kind of thing a few times, but probably the thing that stands out the most to me was learning to play the drums.  I started when I was in seventh grade.  I had played the trumpet in sixth grade, but then I got braces.  Braces and the trumpet do not play well together.  Drums didn’t hurt.  I started taking lessons almost immediately from a teacher in my neighborhood.  That teacher moved.  I found another one.  I didn’t like him at all.  Found a third teacher who was great and stuck with him all the way through high school and into college.  And I practiced.  Much to my parents’…and probably the neighbors’ too…chagrin, I practice a lot.  Then I got to college.  I took more lessons and played with the percussion ensemble.  In fact, I played a lot, not only with the various university ensembles, but I also started playing with different bands including getting to tour and cut a cd with a rock band of some friends when their previous drummer quit. Read the rest…