Digging in Deeper: John 8:31-32

“Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Sometimes the thing you see first isn’t the only thing to see. I had a puzzle book growing up where you had to find things hidden on each page, and use those things to solve a bigger mystery. Everything was there to see, but you had to spend a fair bit of time taking in each picture if you were going to see it. Once you saw it, you couldn’t miss it, but until then it might as well have been invisible. The Scriptures can be kind of like that sometimes. Everything we need to see is right there in the words, but some of it takes more time than others to find. This passage represents one of those places. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 12:2

“…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Think for a minute about the last time you had to do something you really didn’t want to do. How was that experience for you? Enjoyable? Boring? Unbearably awful? How did it leave you feeling afterwards? Were you glad you did it? Were you grateful it was over? Did you regret you had to give any of your precious time to it? Sometimes in life we have to do things that aren’t our first choice. Occasionally they are our last choice. And then there are times we face the prospect of doing that and God is the one leading us to do it. Not wanting to do something God has called us to do may bring guilt – especially in light of what we see in this verse – but let’s take a look at it this morning because there’s something here we don’t want to miss.

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Morning Musing: Mark 14:15-16

“He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” So the disciples went out, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.”
— ‭‭Mark‬ ‭14:15-16‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

I remember being given a worksheet to do when I was in an elementary summer school program years ago. I’m pretty sure it’s still around today. At a glance, it is a pretty simple worksheet. There are twenty instructions students are to follow. As soon as the list is complete, they may turn it in. The kick is, the instructions all seem pretty weird. None of them are difficult. There are short math problems, instructions to count out loud, easy geography questions, and the like. At the very top of the page, though, is one other instruction. In fact, it is the only instruction on the page. It says to read everything first, and then get started. That seems innocuous enough, but most students don’t follow it. You can tell because only one or two students walk up to the front of the room and hand their paper in almost immediately. They do this because the last problem gives a simple command: As soon as you read this, take this paper back to your teacher, you are finished. Students who followed the instructions carefully had a much easier road than those who didn’t. In another odd little episode between Jesus and His disciples here, we find a reminder of this same truth.

Continue reading “Morning Musing: Mark 14:15-16”

Digging in Deeper: Mark 7:5

“So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, ‘Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders, instead of eating bread with ceremonially unclean hands?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever crossed a taboo? I live in the south now where, “Yes, Ma’am,” and “Yes, Sir,” are a fundamental part of the culture. Not so where I grew up. I grew up greeting most adults with nothing more than their first names. You can perhaps imagine the shock, then, when I met my wonderful in-laws when visiting Lisa in Charleston, SC for the first time and greeted them warmly by name…first name. Much to their credit, they handled my massive faux pas without even blinking, but I had violated a culturally sacred custom. Every culture has its customs. Some are wise and rightly held (like patterns of respect and honor in the south), but some are just there because, well, they’re there. Others are locked in place because of the currently prevailing worldview whether or not that worldview accords with reality. Jesus and His disciples came up against some of these during His ministry. Let’s talk about it.

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Foes to Friends

Yesterday we continued our look at the story of the first church in Acts as told by Luke. This week we see how God can bring boosts to His kingdom work from places we would never expect them to come. But, if this is going to happen, He needs something from us. Read on as we talk about what that is.

Foes to Friends

Kanye West is not a man well-known for his modesty and humility. Over the course of his career, he’s bounced around from one name to another and one grandiose claim to another. He’s been crude and crass and just downright rude. One of his biggest moments in the spotlight came when he grabbed a mic out of Taylor Swift’s hands when she was accepting a music award in order to make the case why she shouldn’t have won it. He was never known as a friend to Christianity.

Then he became one.

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