Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:19

“He replied to them, ‘You unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you are a parent, have you ever finally lost it with your kids? I’m not talking about a time when you fussed at them and they settled down from whatever tiff they were working out among them. I’m talking about a time when you finally blew your top. They had been at each other’s throats and argumentative with you over an extended period of time. You tried to be patient at first, but that ran out an hour ago. You upped the ante to sterner warnings and assurances of punishment if the chaos didn’t abate and that failed to take. At last you just erupted at them. Everybody got yelled at. Everybody’s feelings were hurt. Everybody was then sent to their rooms to sulk for the rest of the day and probably forever. My take is that if you haven’t hit that particular parenting milestone, one of three things is true: Your kids are too young and haven’t quite gotten to the age where that kind of thing starts happening; your kids are too perfect and you need to check to make sure they haven’t been replaced by body doubles; or you are Jesus. Actually, scratch that last one. As this passage reminds us, even Jesus hit His frustration max on occasion. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 7:24-25b

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Sometimes when you set out to do something, you just don’t get it right the first time. That was the general reaction to the much-hyped Justice League movie when it hit theaters in 2017. DC Comics was desperately trying to achieve with their major characters what Marvel was accomplishing with theirs. By all accounts, they should have been successful. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are names easily as recognizable and arguably more famous than Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. Or at least, they were. But they came late to the party and rushed to get their parity product into the theaters. The result was largely panned even though they hired Joss Whedon, the creator of the original Avengers magic, to helm the ship after the original director, Zack Snyder stepped down following the tragic death of his daughter. And that should have been it. But in a remarkable twist, HBO decided to take a risk and give Snyder the chance to make the film he had planned from the beginning. The final product released yesterday…and is over 4 hours long. I’m most of the way through it, but here are some thoughts I’ve had along the way.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 7:26-27

“The woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she was asking him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, because it isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Serving in ministry can be tough in ways many other jobs simply aren’t. I don’t say that as a complaint. I love what I do. I say it merely as an observation. I have a friend who was serving a church many years ago and had gone on vacation with his family during the summer months. While they were gone, someone connected to one of the prominent members of the church passed away. The member called him to let him know about it and fully expected that he would leave his family on vacation (or else cut short their vacation entirely), fly back home, and perform the funeral service. There are a few other jobs where that kind of thing might happen, but not many. Getting away – really getting away – isn’t easy to do. Jesus was trying to get away with the disciples here and ministry came calling. How He handled it leads to one of the strangest and hardest stories about Jesus in all of the Gospels. Let’s take a look at it together.

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Morning Musing: Mark 6:56

“Wherever he went, into villages, towns, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch just the end of his robe. And everyone who touched it was healed.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

You never know what actions on your part are going to have the most significant impact on the people around you. Something you do that seems utterly mundane could be the thing that completely changes another person’s life. More than that, it could be the thing by which you become known. In our story timeline in Mark, a few weeks ago Jesus healed a woman when she surreptitiously touched the edge of His robe. It was a one-off sort of moment that happened while He was on the way to what everyone around Him believed was a more important appointment (He, of course, understood the importance of the woman and paused to honor her faith much to the consternation of the people with Him). The power of that moment, though, didn’t stay in that moment. Jesus became the man who could heal people simply by their touching His robe. That’s how He became known. What I want to talk about this morning is how you want to be known.

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 14:13

“Therefore, let us no longer judge one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in the way of your brother of sister.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I used to wear rubber bands on my wrist. It was a phase in high school. I always had a least one and sometimes wore several. Whenever I found one sitting around somewhere I’d slip it on and wear it. The thing about rubber bands is that over time they begin to lose their elasticity when they are exposed to the rigors of life. It doesn’t happen all at once. But eventually, when you stretch them, you begin to notice that there are cracks in them. Once these start forming as long as you leave the rubber band alone, you can’t see them. If you stretch them, though, they show up. The further you stretch them, the more they show and the bigger they become. Stretch too far – and what counts as “too far” narrows over time – and eventually they snap. Our culture is like a rubber band right now. The church is too. Let’s talk this morning about how to avoid the snap.

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