A Solid Foundation

This week we kick off a brand-new teaching series through the New Testament letter of 1 Peter called, Standing Firm. We live in a culture that is increasingly intolerant of orthodox expressions of Christian faithfulness. This intolerance is more and more frequently resulting in the world pushing back against such expressions in ways that do not comport with the freedom our Constitution guarantees. Yet seasons change and governing structures don’t last forever. Persecution has been the norm for the church more often than tolerance and acceptance. Still, this experience is new for many of us in this country and so we don’t know well how to stand firm after the pattern of Jesus. Peter offers great wisdom here and over the course of this we are going to explore together what he has to say by the Spirit. It all starts, though, with having the right foundation. That’s where we start in this part. Thanks for reading.

A Solid Foundation

We’ll start with a bit of name recognition this morning. How many of you have heard the name Jack Phillips? I suspect the number is a bit higher than it once was thanks to his high-profile win at the Supreme Court in 2018. But not everyone follows the news about Supreme Court decisions very closely, so his name may still be a new one to you.

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Digging in Deeper: Lamentations 3:17-18

“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.'” (ESV – Read the chapter)

Eighteen months. Eighteen months of nothing. There were rumors and reports, sure, but nothing concrete to embrace. Not a single thing. Then it suddenly arrived: Hope and the promise of a brighter future. We could all breathe a big sigh of relief because Marvel Studios had indeed not succumbed to the COVID economy. After waiting since July 2, 2019 when Spider-Man: Far From Home hit theaters, on Friday, January 15, 2021, the much anticipated new entry, Wandavision finally premiered on Disney+. Whether because it really is that good, or because we’d all grown so used to Marvel’s regular theatrical releases that the absence primed our hearts to be fond of whatever they released next, it has been a major hit. After months of nothing but rumors and scoops, the Marvel fandom finally had something solid to digest and debate. And so it has. This morning let’s talk about Wandavision and what it just may mean for you and me.

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Morning Musing: Micah 7:6-8

“Surely a son considers his father a fool, a daughter opposes her mother, and a daughter-in-law is against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own household. But I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me. Do not rejoice over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will stand up; though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you consider yourself more of an optimist or a pessimist? Do you respond to the circumstances you are in by looking for the best explanation possible, or the worst? Now, this may be the point at which you’re expecting I’ll start explaining why you should be an optimist. Natural pessimists are already gearing up to explain why they’re not really negative, they’re just realistic. But I’m not going there. In fact, you can be optimistic and still wrong. As followers of Jesus, we are not called to be optimists. We are called to be a people of hope. That’s different.

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Digging in Deeper: Psalm 130

“Out of the depths I call to you, Lord! Lord, listen to my voice; let your ears be attentive to my cry for help. Lord, if you kept an account of iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that you may be revered. I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in his word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning–more than watchmen for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord. For there is faithful love with the Lord, and with him is redemption in abundance. And he will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.” (CSB – That was the whole chapter :~)

We are now officially in the season of…Advent. Raise your hand if you thought I was going to say “Christmas.” While the retail industry may want us to believe we are in the season of Christmas and will be until December 24 at closing time (at which point we will enter the season of “Return-it-and-buy-something-more-expensive,” followed immediately by the season of “Buy-something-new-for-New-Year’s-before-your-annual-period-of-financial-good-sense-sets-in”), that’s not actually true. We are in the season of Advent. Advent means “arrival,” and in the season of Advent we are to be preparing for the arrival of the Christ child. With this in mind, all this month we are going to be reflecting together on how we can do just that. We’ll do this with the help of the four traditional Advent virtues of hope, peace, joy, and love. I hope you’ll come with me on this journey. I’m excited to get ready for Jesus with you.

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What I’ve Learned…

A little something different for you this morning. Yesterday’s post was the final post from one of the Minor Prophets for a little while. I have finally made it through all twelve of them. When I first started this journey last August with this post, I knew that I want to spend some time reading them closely because I hadn’t before. I figured it would take a few weeks at best. Here we are almost exactly a year later. For me it has been an enriching one and I hope that’s the case for you too. This morning I wanted to reflect with you for just a couple of minutes on what I have learned from it all.

Continue reading “What I’ve Learned…”