Power to the Nobodies

So far in our journey to discover the heart of Jesus’ being God with us, we have looked at the “God” side of things. Today, we’re going to flip them on their head to see more clearly what it means that Jesus is “with us.” I’ll give you a hint: It reveals a humility that is truly unique in a proud world. Read on in the third part of our series, God with Us, to find out just why this idea is such a good one.

Power to the Nobodies

We love rags-to-riches stories. We love hearing about people who are down on their luck, but by working really hard (and receiving a bit of good fortune), suddenly coming into a life of ease and plenty. There’s simply something that feels just to us when the arrogant rich are brought low and the humble poor are lifted up. Think about how many of our stories include this kind of an element in them. Cinderella is perhaps the most famous of them. But that same theme appears all over the place. If you think through the list of Disney Princesses, nearly half of them (there are twelve total) started out poor and became a princess because she married the prince. Of the rest, nearly all of them went through a season when they lost all the trappings of wealth before coming back into it again at the end of their story. We want to see this dramatic transition happen because most of us don’t feel rich and live vicariously through their good fortune. 

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Dirty Toes

This past Sunday we kicked off a brand-new teaching series called, Plugged In. For the next few weeks leading up to Easter, we are going to be talking about what it looks like to live lives that are connected to Jesus. We are going to do this through the lens of the conversations Jesus had with His disciples on the final night of His life, beginning with their final meal together in John 13. You won’t want to miss a single part of this journey as we learn together what it looks like to live plugged in.

Dirty Toes

By a show of hands (or thumbs-up if you are joining us online) how many of you have been to Disney World at least once? When you go to a theme park of any kind, the staff are usually pretty well-trained to stay in character as long as the park is open and guests are present. But if you’re a bit sneaky, sometimes you can catch employees having a conversation among themselves like normal people do. (You can also get this if you go “backstage.” I marched in a laser light parade at Magic Kingdom in high school. We started backstage before marching out. It was an interesting experience seeing famous cartoon characters walking around headless while taking a smoke break.) If you listen to those employee conversations very long, there’s a good chance you’ll start to hear some insider lingo. For instance, if you happen to be at Disney and overhear a park employee refer to a visitor as a “treasured guest,” (and hopefully you are not that visitor), you might think at first that these really are model employees to think so highly of the people who are forking over the exorbitant amounts of money that serve, in part, to pay their salaries. You would be wrong. In the insider, staff lingo of Disney World, calling someone a “treasured guest” is not a compliment. It’s a way to refer to a particularly difficult visitor in such a way that seeks to maintain the positive experience for the problem person without being ugly to his face. Here in the South we might just smile and say to the person, “Well, bless your heart!” 

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Morning Musing: Micah 5:2

“Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; one will come from you to be ruler over Israel for me. His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Christmas morning is a time when kids all over the place are looking forward to waking up, going to wherever their tree happens to be, and laying their eyes on their big Christmas surprise. The bigger the better too. I remember a few Christmases when I was little where I had some big toy or another greeting me as I walked in the living room. As you start getting a little older, though, something happens. The toys tend to get a little smaller. Then they get a little smaller still. And the first few times you find something smaller – still exciting, but smaller – it hits a little like a slap in the face. Yet, as the old cliche goes, big things can come in small packages. This verse offers us a potent reminder of that truth. As we continue our Advent journey this morning, let’s talk about God’s tendency to work big things in unexpected ways.

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Morning Musing: Philippians 2:3-4

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How important are the people around you? The answer to that question depends on how you’re looking at it. In an absolute sense, every person is of equal value. No one can claim to be objectively more important or valuable than anyone else. At the same time, in a relative sense, we do value some people more than others. I say this only by means of reflection, not evaluation. The question we need to answer, though, is how we should value the people around us. Paul gives us some wisdom here worth heeding. Let’s take a look at this together.

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Morning Musing: James 4:10

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Yesterday we talked about one of the great paradoxes of the Christian worldview. This was Jesus’ declaration that if we want to save our lives, we must be prepared to lose them. Our conclusion then was that even though these two ideas sound contradictory, they are nonetheless both completely true. This morning we’re going to look briefly at another paradox of the faith. This one appears in various places throughout the Old and New Testaments, so there were multiple different passages we could have looked at. This one from James has a context that puts a little more fire behind the observation. Let’s talk about the greatness found in humility and a good example from a man named, Ted.

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