Digging in Deeper: Proverbs 14:12

“There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would you say if Captain America was British and female, Black Panther was an outer space Robinhood who reasoned Thanos out of destroying half the life in the universe, and the Avengers all got turned into super-powered zombies? I’d say you were reading a version of the comics different than the one most people have heard of. That would be correct. Marvel’s latest offering on Disney+ delves into a corner of the comics realm that is decidedly outside the norm and purposely so. Using a comic book line that first appeared in 1977, the latest Marvel series takes viewers on a beautifully animated journey into the question of “What if?” Now that the multiverse has been unleashed following the Loki series, each episode of What If? explores the universe that might have been created if a single event or decision by one of Marvel’s main characters had gone differently. This morning, I’d like to explore one of these with you.

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Look Alike

As we continue in our new teaching series, Standing Firm, this week we’re talking about what to do once we have set ourselves firmly on the foundation of our hope in Christ. If we are going to claim such a foundation for ourselves, there should be some pretty profound implications that has for our life. What those implications are is what Peter explores in the next section of his letter. Thanks for joining me in thinking through these.

Look Alike

I am sitting down right now. What’s wrong with that statement? Well, perhaps most notably…it’s not true. My words and my actions don’t line up. We naturally expect there to be a connection—a rather direct one at that—between what someone says and what someone does. In fact, the whole of human society is rooted in that belief. When there is a disconnect here, everything is more difficult than it otherwise would be. For instance, think about what might happen if you went to the store and didn’t believe there was a connection between the words of the manager expressed in the price tags on various items and the action of the items’ actual cost. What would you do? It’s easy to simply say you wouldn’t buy it, but what if this was a jug of milk and you had a hungry little one at home? Now things are more complicated. You might try and barter the manager down to the price you believe it should really have. But what if the manager doesn’t believe there is a connection between your words regarding the amount of money you are able and willing to pay and what you will actually give him when the time comes? Now you’re thinking about how you can steal the milk because you have a baby to feed and he’s thinking about how he can protect his product. We’re starting to have a real mess on our hands, aren’t we?

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 10:29-31

“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid; you are wroth more than many sparrows.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would happen if someone knew everything? I mean everything. Every decision you make; every word you speak; all known completely before you do them. What would that mean for your life? Would you really have any free will? Or would you simply be doing what this person wanted you to do? This week the latest Marvel Disney+ series, Loki came to an end. As has become the case for nearly all of their work, the show’s creators invited viewers into Marvel’s fantastically impossible world of superheroes and villains, of incredible technology and magic (but I repeat myself), and now of time travel and multiple realities. The story the comics giant has been telling for 13 years was not just continued, but launched in a whole new universe of directions. It personally left me as excited as I can be for what comes next. But as is equally true for nearly all of their content, it invited viewers to consider some of the big questions of life. Specifically, what would it mean for our lives if there was someone who was truly sovereign over them? This morning, let’s talk about Loki and how we as Christians should think about the questions it asked. By the way, this conversation will be filled with spoilers for the last episode, so if you plan on watching it, go do that first.

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Digging in Deeper: Philippians 2:12-13

“Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do the things you do matter? How do you know? What is it that gives our lives meaning? These are big questions for a Friday morning, but they are ones the latest offering from Disney+ has me thinking about. The series is the next chapter in the ever-unfolding storyline Marvel has been weaving together on both the big and now small screen for the last 12 years. Like Wandavision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier before it, this one picks up right where Avengers: End Game finished and reveals what happens next with one of the characters. This time, the character is Loki, the villain-turned-hero brother of Thor and a fan-favorite. Let’s talk about the series that bears his name.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 6:12

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.”‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Who is your enemy? Now maybe you’re saintly enough that your response to that question is some version of, “I don’t have any enemies.” Granting that, who comes closest to that status for you? If you’re at all like a growing segment of our society, the answer just may be the people on the other side of the political aisle. In our hyper-partisan times, political rivals are among the most bitter enemies we have. The latest entry from Marvel Studios offers an important counterpoint to this decidedly unhealthy trend. Let’s talk today about Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

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