Morning Musing: Mark 6:16

“When Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, the one I beheaded, has been raised.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What lessons do you draw from a story that doesn’t make any sense? Well, not many usually. But what if that story happens to be in the Bible? In that case it feels like you should get something from it. After all, why would God have included it in the Scriptures if not to teach us something? That’s the whole point of 2 Timothy 3:16, right? Well, yes, but as Andy Stanly likes to say, “All Scripture is equally inspired, but not all Scripture is equally applicable or relevant to every stage of life.” Sometimes a story is just a good story for where we are. Let’s talk about one Mark includes here.

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Morning Musing: Mark 1:14

“After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever read something in one place, read something else in another place from a purportedly friendly source, and something about the two accounts didn’t quite sit right? We often see this today in modern politics. One person says one thing and another says something slightly different; different enough that the contradiction is glaring. Generally speaking, people don’t tolerate contradictions very well. Contradictions reveal either duplicity or hypocrisy, or both. This is bad enough when it comes to life in general. It’s even harder when we seem to find them in the Scriptures.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 1:4-6

“John came baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Several years ago I had the chance to participate in a weekend seminar with Pastor Mike Bonem. He is the author of the book, Leading from the Second Chair. Mike was then the executive pastor at Second Baptist Church in Houston, TX, one of the largest churches in the country. As the title of the book suggests, Mike’s message that weekend was about how to still be a leader when you aren’t the head honcho. Considering the state of our culture then and now, I struggle to imagine a more countercultural message than the one he was preaching. Nobody aspires to be the runner up. Nobody plans on making it almost to the top, but stopping just short of that. And yet, the very first person we are introduced to in the Gospel of Mark did exactly that, and Jesus called him the greatest man alive. Let’s talk about John the Baptist this morning.

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A Life of Faith

This week we kick off a new teaching series called, The Characters of Christmas, designed to get us ready to experience the incredible Christmas story as fully as we possibly can.  The Christmas story is a real story filled with real people.  Just like they all had a place in the story, so do we.  Let’s look at what place they had to see what our own might be.  

A Life of Faith

I wish I could have been there at the birth.  It would have been incredible.  Now, I’ll tell you straight up that nothing could even come close to comparing with the births of my own sons, but this one would have come pretty far down that road.  The couple had been trying to have kids for so long they’d stopped counting.  Then, it finally happened.  They finally got there.  They finally got to experience the joy and wonder of delivering a healthy, precious baby into this world.  They were able to hold in their arms this tiny miracle from God.  The shouts of joy in the room would have nearly drowned out the healthily screaming baby.  The mother was crying with wonder and relief as she looked into the face of her infant son. It had not been an easy journey by any stretch of the imagination, but she had made it.  And her husband was standing there with her, silently watching the events unfold just exactly as he had hoped they would. 

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Digging in Deeper: John 10:41

“And many came to him.  And they said, ‘John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.'”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Do you want to be great?  Most of us yearn for that.  I heard about another pastor a few weeks ago who does a blog too.  He has 200,000 followers.  My carnal first thought was, “I want 250,000.”  That’s inside of all of us.  We want greatness.  We want to be not just recognized, but recognized more than everybody else for what we have done.  Our culture encourages this too.  Our heroes are not great statesmen and scientists and public servants anymore.  Our heroes are sports stars and movie stars and social media stars.  It’s a great rat race whose catch is that there isn’t any cheese waiting at the end of the path. Read the rest…