Strong Where it Counts

As we wrap up our series, Standing Firm, this week, we find the apostle taking a turn from everything he’s been talking about for the past nine weeks. But then again, he’s not doing that at all. Instead, after spending the rest of the letter telling us how to stand firm in our faith without sacrificing our Gospel witness, Peter closes things out by talking about where we can find the strength we need to do it. I’ll give you a hint: It comes from God, but it isn’t found inside of us. Keep reading to find out what is the source of this strength.

Strong Where It Counts

Some of you are builders and so you understand the ins and outs of building and building materials better than I do. But from my rudimentary understanding, concrete is a pretty good building material. It’s stable. It’s sturdy. It’s strong. It holds up pretty well under a whole variety of weather conditions. It doesn’t degrade much over time. It’s low maintenance. There are all kinds of advantages to it. If you’re building something that requires extra stability and support, though—perhaps because of its size, for instance—concrete isn’t enough by itself. It needs a little bit more to make it up to the task to which you are applying it. Specifically, it needs a steel skeleton. To add this, you build an internal rebar frame inside your concrete mold and pour the mixture over it. With the rebar encased in the slab or structure, its strength is increased many times over concrete by itself. Now, this doesn’t mean that concrete alone isn’t still really strong stuff. It is. But when it has that extra element of support, it can withstand just about anything that might be thrown at it.

Read the rest…

More Like Jesus

As we draw near the end of our series, Standing Firm, this morning we set our sights on what is the end goal of our efforts to remain rooted in Jesus in spite of the culture’s attempts to pull us up. Any time we are on a long journey, it’s helpful to know where we are going. Peter gives us one of those points here. Let’s talk today about how we can become more like Jesus.

More Like Jesus

Have you ever arrived before? Now, you’re probably sitting there starting to think I’m just a bit off…okay, some of you were probably already thinking that, but this just confirms your suspicions. Of course you have arrived before. You arrived at church this morning and here you are. Duh. But that’s not what I mean. I’m thinking a little bigger than that, like when we finally arrived at my folks house a few weeks ago after having been on the road for almost 36 hours. I can’t remember a time I’ve been so thankful to be out of a car.

Read the rest…

No Good Deed

As we continue in our journey through 1 Peter, we get a reminder today that even though our best deeds often don’t go unpunished, that shouldn’t slow us down on our journeys after Jesus. Instead, the suffering we face for doing good is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to advance the Gospel in ways we won’t otherwise get. Let’s talk today about suffering and serving Jesus.

No Good Deed

I heard a news story the other day about a man named Paul Gaylord. Ever heard of him before? I hadn’t either. That’s okay, though, because he lives in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Paul has a cat named Charlie. Back in 2014, Charlie went missing for a few days. Now, if you have cats that are not strictly inside cats, you know that’s not so unusual. Cats do their own thing. Outside cats occasionally grace their owners with their presence, especially if they are hungry, but otherwise can sometimes vanish for a little while. Eventually Charlie came back. Unfortunately, Charlie was not quite in the same condition as when he left. His face was swollen up and he was clearly having some trouble breathing. Being a conscientious pet owner, Paul jumped into action. He forced open Charlie’s mouth and eventually figured out that there was a dead, rotting mouse lodged in his throat. I know…gross! Well, Paul got the mouse out, but as a reward for his troubles, Charlie bit him on the hand and broke the skin.

Read the rest…

Submit for Good

As we continue in our series, Standing Firm, this week, we’re finally getting into the heart of Peter’s message. If you want to know how to stand firm in your faith without compromising your witness, you need to read this message. Peter lays it on the line for us and doesn’t let us look away until he’s taken us all the way to the mat. His challenge does not mean we roll over and play dead for anyone. Instead, he’s calling us to stand firm in our identity in Christ and refuse to be made a slave to anyone including ourselves. The way to do this, though, is not what the culture around us would have us believe. The way of Jesus looks entirely different. It takes a great deal more courage and a great deal more strength. Read on and think about how God might be applying this to your situation today.

Submit for Good

Have you ever had a boss you didn’t like? I don’t mean just a little dislike either. I mean, you could not stand even to be in the same room for any longer than you had to be. He was rude. She was demanding. He was demeaning. She micromanaged everything and everyone. It just wasn’t a good situation. Maybe you’ve never had that misfortune, but if you have, how’d you handle that? Used to be the general cultural attitude toward that situation would be for you to just suck it up and persevere through the frustration. You had to work because you had bills to pay and mouths to feed. You needed to be a productive member of society, and that was more important than your feelings about your boss. If you wanted to switch careers, you could, but that wasn’t necessarily going to be an easy process.

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Mark 13:11

“So when they arrest you and hand you over, don’t worry beforehand what you will say, but say whatever is given to you at that time, for it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been put on the spot to speak? Some people thrive in that kind of an environment. I’m not generally one of those. I’m the kind of guy who wants to have everything written out ahead of time. I’m much better on paper than in person. I’d rather put in the effort to memorize a sermon entirely than to walk into the pulpit with nothing more than an outline. In fact, I’ve done that. In seminary, our preaching classes all pushed us in the direction of preaching without notes. They wanted us to learn how to think from an outline. I refused to play ball. I wrote my sermons, memorized them word for word, and dutifully delivered them without notes. The thought of being expected to deliver more than a few words without some sort of heads up makes my stomach churn. Sometimes, though, you don’t get that chance. Sometimes you don’t get that chance and the words you’re expected to deliver are a defense of the Gospel in a pressure situation. Jesus here offers some hope for those situations.

Read the rest…