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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Morning Musing: Philippians 4:7

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

God gives gifts in expected ways and times. They come from unexpected people too. He delights in using the least likely individuals to accomplish the most powerful kingdom good. The world was recently treated to an example of this that I suspect will reverberate far and wide before its impact begins to abate. If you haven’t already heard the name, this morning I’d like to set before you the story of Jane Marczewski, also known as Nightbirde.

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Digging in Deeper: 1 Thessalonians 4:13

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the ideas people like to throw around sometimes today is that dying is easy. Usually the corollary idea paired with that is that living is hard. That kind of notion can be made to sound philosophically sagacious. Someone with a loud pen (or keyboard as is more often the case these days) can fire it off and be guaranteed a near viral load of retweets and reposts. But the truth is that it is just a platitude. It doesn’t add anything really meaningful to a conversation that nearly everyone has at some point in our lives. Should our Lord tarry, death is coming for us all eventually. And while dying may be easy in the sense that it really doesn’t take any effort on our part, death is hard. I’m thinking about this today because a good man I know is facing his own death. These are some thoughts with him in mind.

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Morning Musing: Mark 10:45

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Humans are addicted to purpose. We can’t live without it…literally. Right now our culture is in the midst of a crisis. I’m not talking about Covid. We are in the midst of a crisis called “deaths from despair.” It started before Covid, takes nearly as many lives as the pandemic did, but unlike the virus, it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. A death from despair happens when a person ends his life either intentionally or incidentally by taking actions intended to escape a sense of hopelessness, purposelessness, meaninglessness that has taken hold of his heart. Purpose matters. A lot. Well, here Jesus reveals the purpose of His coming. Let’s pay attention to what He has to say.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:22-24

“‘And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘”If you can”? Everything is possible for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What does it mean to believe something? There’s a nice, deep thought to get you started on your day. It’s worth some pondering, though. It’s worth some pondering if for no other reason than we are on the cusp of celebrating the historical event in which belief grants us eternal life. Or at least, belief pared with a confession of Jesus’ Lordship will. That’s what the apostle Paul said. If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Boom. So, what does it mean to believe? Jesus’ interaction with a father who didn’t here gives us a good opportunity to do some thinking together.

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