Digging in Deeper: Matthew 19:30

“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We live in a day when everything old is being made new again. Now, on the one hand, this isn’t such a good thing. For instance, it is a symptom of our culture’s decadence. We aren’t creating truly new stories anymore. When cultures stop telling new stories, that’s a signal they aren’t really looking or thinking toward the future any longer, but living just for today. That’s not a good place for a culture to be because it is much more likely to be caught flatfooted and overwhelmed by unexpected challenges. Another example of not quite the same significance: mullets are back. And in case this isn’t clear: They look just as ridiculous now as they did on their first appearance. On the other hand, though, this trend does provide some pleasant trips into nostalgia. One of the most pleasant of these I have experienced in a long time just finished its run last Friday. As promised a couple of weeks ago, here is my review of the Disney+ series, Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.

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Morning Musing: Matthew 5:43-45

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One more recommendation for you this morning. This time a show from Netflix that started out on YouTube. This one combines great writing and acting, a terrific story, martial arts, and a heaping dose of nostalgia to make it even sweeter. The language is once again awful and it’s pretty violent, but the picture of redemption we are given along with the power of love over hatred once again shows why the Christian worldview is right and true. Today, let’s talk about why you should watch Cobra Kai.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 22:36-40

“‘Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I love two for one deals, don’t you? Stores don’t do it all that often, but when they do, they are almost guaranteed to sell me on whatever it is. This is especially true at a grocery store. When I’m walking down one aisle or another and see some product is on sale, two for the price of one, all of a sudden, I’m hungry for whatever it is. Even if I don’t like it, I’m starting to think that maybe it’s time to expand my nutritional horizons so I can capitalize on this great deal. One day, Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment in the Law of Moses. In response He offered the most important two for one deal ever. As we continue in our Advent journey this morning, let’s talk about what this means for our lives.

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Morning Musing: Matthew 5:11-12

“You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

People don’t like it when you’re happy at times they think you shouldn’t be. There’s a great scene from the classic baseball movie Field of Dreams when Kevin Costner’s dad tells him how he hit when he played. He would look the opposing pitcher in the eyes, and just before he threw the ball, he would smile and wink at him. He said this would get in their head and make them think he knew something they didn’t know. Of course, when he actually got to put this into practice in the ghostly game near the end of the film, the pitcher threw the ball at his head in retaliation, but it worked. As followers of Jesus, we get to be like that batter. No matter how bad things may get in this life, we can smile and give a little wink because we know something the world doesn’t know. This is what Jesus tells us joy looks like.

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Family Stories

We all love telling old family stories. Well, as we continue in our series, All Planned Out, we are going to look at the family story of Jesus. Let me tell you right here and now: It’s a doozy. But if we’ll pay close attention, there’s something to learn here about just how committed God was–and is–to seeing His plans for us come to pass. So, lean in and listen with me to some really good stories.

Family Stories

When my grandma was 16, my grandpa snuck in the window of a dance she was at because he saw her in there. Within a few months they were married when she was still just 17. They went to an amusement park called Fairyland in Kansas City for their honeymoon. Her older sister, Peg, who was 15 years older, already married and living in Kansas City, chaperoned them, and wouldn’t let my grandma ride the Ferris Wheel at the park. That’s just one of a ton of stories I heard growing up. I don’t know that I can say any of them in particular shaped the direction I’ve taken in my life, but there was just something about knowing the stories of my past that helped me know who I was.

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