Morning Musing: Mark 9:41-42

“And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ – truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away – it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you want to get in good with me, do you know the best way to do that? Love my kids. My kids rank pretty high on my list of priorities. In terms of the people I care most about in the world, there’s only one person who outranks them and I’m married to her. If you treat them in a way that reflects my passion for them, you’re going to be sitting pretty firmly in my good graces. In fact, if you love my kids well, even if I’m not terribly inclined to like you myself, I’m going to give you a pretty strong benefit of the doubt and you’ll have to work pretty hard before I write you off. The simple truth is – and if you’re a parent you know this – we love the folks who love our kids. On the other hand, if you’re ugly to my kids, I don’t much care how kind or generous or gracious you are with me, you and I are done. As we keep inching forward in Mark’s Gospel, what we see here reveals that Jesus feels the same way. His family just happens to be a whole lot larger than yours and mine.

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Name Tag

This week we kicked off a brand-new teaching series called, Love Like Jesus. All this month we are talking about why love matters for followers of Jesus and just what it looks like when we get it right. You won’t want to miss a single part of this journey. In this first part we start off by clarifying why loving one another is such a big deal for Jesus followers. The truth is that it’s far more foundational even than we often understand it to be. Keep reading to understand why.

Name Tag

Think for a minute about the last time you did something you knew you should be doing, but it really just felt like a chore. What kinds of things have fit into this category for you? Perhaps doing the dishes? Maybe fixing a meal for your family? If you have an exercise routine, I suspect it’s felt like more of a chore than a benefit on more than one occasion (although that does not mean you’re better off not having one so you can avoid the guilt of doing it inconsistently). Do you know what else can sometimes fall on that list? I know this is something you’re probably not expecting the preacher to say, but I’m just being real with you this morning. Sometimes being a Christian can go on that list.

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Morning Musing: Philippians 2:5-8

“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death–even to death on a cross.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Yesterday, we talked about something that could completely changed the world if we put it into practice: Putting others first and ourselves second. If we just took that one idea and ignored the rest of the Scriptures, our world would never be the same and infinitely better than it is now. But doing that kind of thing seems extreme beyond the pale. I mean, who really has done that kind of thing in a way that mattered? And besides, as we finished up asking, what if the interests of the people around us are contrary to our own? Paul realizes these instructions were pretty big to try and follow and so he goes on to offer an example. It’s a pretty good example. Let’s look at it.

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Love Done Right

In this final part of our series, I Do, we talk about the secret sauce that makes marriage work. You will perhaps be completely unsurprised to find out it’s love. But, love only works if we know what it is and how to use it. As we wrap up the last few weeks of work, that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about. Keep reading to learn more.

Love Done Right

How many of you have seen the movie Michael with John Travolta? Leaving aside the terrible theology for a moment, the movie itself is great. John Travolta plays the archangel Michael who has come to earth apparently to have a great time, do a lot of sinning, and help William Hurt and Andie McDowell fall in love. Again, as I said, terrible theology. In any event, Hurt works for a tabloid magazine in New York and McDowell is a dog walker who convinces the magazine’s editor, Bob Hoskins, that she is an angel expert. The two are dispatched to Iowa where Michael is staying with an old woman in her hotel, in order to see if the reports they’ve heard about the angel living in Iowa are true. If they are, the pair are to convince him to come back to New York City with them for an interview. He refuses to fly (get it?) and instead insists that they drive across the country through rural America in order to get back to the big city. Along the way they have all kinds of misadventures including obscure tourist stops, bar fights, and great pie. About halfway through the movie, just before the group crosses the border into Illinois, Michael starts singing a pretty well-known song and encourages everybody else to join him.

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Hard to Love

This week we kicked off a brand-new teaching series called, Hard to Love. Do you have anyone in your life who is hard for you to love? If you do, this is a series you will not want to miss a single part of. Together we’ll talk about why and how we can better approximate God’s own love for everyone in our lives, not just the people we like. We’ll see why doing this is so powerful. And, we’ll be reminded that in doing it we’re only ever giving what we have ourselves received. Keep checking back here each of the next few Mondays to catch the next part of this critical conversation.

Hard to Love

Do you remember some of the phrases your dad said a lot when you were growing up?  Every dad has these.  It’s part of the secret dad creed (but if you tell anyone I’m afraid the consequences will be quite grave so just keep this between us).  One of the things I remember my dad saying a lot to me was, “If you mess with the bull, you’ll get the horns.”  The point, of course, is that if you pick a fight with something or someone bigger and stronger than you there’s a good chance you’ll lose.  I learned this the hard way on a few occasions.  We had a friend of the family named Jerry who we saw every now and then who was always fun to mess with, but he wasn’t much one to go easy on you just because you were a kid.  One Christmas the family was all gathered at his house and I was being a bit bolder than wisdom would have suggested was prudent and quickly found myself locked in a closet, beating on the door, and screaming to be let out.  In messing with the bull that night I definitely got the horns. 

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