Morning Musing: Matthew 25:1-4

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they didn’t take oil with them; but the wise ones took oil in their flasks with their lamps.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Jesus loved to tell stories. He did it all throughout His ministry. He told stories prompted by the situations He was in. He told stories that connected with people because they could easily locate themselves in the stories. One of the His stories was about a bridal party getting ready for the arrival of the groom. It is a story that has everything to do with Advent. Let’s talk about why.

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Morning Musing: Genesis 3:14-15

“So the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike you head, and you will strike his heel.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever gotten a stain on a new shirt? If you have, you know what an enormously frustrating experience that is. This new thing for which you had such great plans and high hopes is now ruined. Sure, it’s one small stain on a big shirt, but once it’s there, the whole thing is polluted by it. It affects how you see all of it. It won’t ever be the same again. And for the person who caused the stain, you have nothing but fury (especially if it was you). Yet what if it could be restored again? When the dust of Adam and Eve’s first sin exploding the previous perfection of creation into bits was still settling, God spoke words of judgment. But He also spoke words of hope and restoration. When He did, the seeds of Christmas were laid, and the world entered the first season of Advent.

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Morning Musing: Titus 3:3-5

“For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy – through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Several years ago, I surprised my wife for her birthday by having one of her very good friends who lives a few hours away drive in for the weekend. It wound up being a very fun and special time, and she was completely surprised. Now, in that instance, surprise guests were a delight for her…but only because I knew they were coming and had prepared appropriately. Absent that, surprise guests would perhaps not have been such a good surprise. We want to know when people are coming – especially important people – so that we can be prepared. When Jesus came, God the Father had told us He was coming and even made a big announcement on the night of His arrival, but we were not prepared. We’re still not. Let’s talk about why His coming is nonetheless a very good thing.

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Bigger than We Imagine

This week we are continuing in our series, God with Us, by starting to unpack that phrase itself. If Jesus is God with us, what does that mean? Well, let’s think about the words themselves. There are two parts here: Jesus is God, and Jesus is with us. Let’s start with the idea that Jesus is God. What does that really mean? The apostle Paul had something to say to help us get our minds around it. Let’s talk about just who Jesus is and what that means for us.

Bigger than We Imagine

Over the last generation, The CBS network has proven itself to be a bit of a genius when it comes to creating really engaging reality shows that attract a fairly sizable and very dedicated viewing audience. As a result, they have a few that have been on the air for a very long time. I remember folks who would get together to have Survivor watching parties each week when I was in college, and the show is still going strong. Another of their more popular reality series that never made it to quite that level of popular impact, but which has nonetheless endured for more than a decade, is a show called Undercover Boss. 

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Morning Musing: Matthew 6:31-33

“So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will be eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What is the organizing principle of your life? If you are feeling particularly spiritual as you answer, you might say, “Jesus.” If you are feeling a bit more normal, though, you might be more inclined to admit it is something else. Perhaps there is a person (other than Jesus) on whom your life is centered. It could be a certain activity is the thing that drives everything else. Hopefully your life isn’t driven by an addiction of some kind. More likely than any of these things, though, is simply your desire to eat decent food, wear clothes, and sleep indoors. And that makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Those things are all basic needs everyone has. But what if there was another way to organize our lives that consistently put us in contact with what we need most of all? Let’s talk this morning about organizing our lives and making space for what matters most.

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