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: 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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