Morning Musing: Mark 10:35-37

“James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, ‘Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.’ ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked them. They answered him, ‘Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever known someone who is truly tone-deaf? Most people have at least some sort of awareness of pitch and harmony and can recognize when they are out of tune with the world around them. But there are some folks who are just clueless. You could play a C for them, ask them to sing it back to you, they’ll sing a strong G, and think they’re right on the money while you shake your head in confusion. Just as much as there are folks out there who are musically tone-deaf, though, there are folks who are socially tone-deaf. These folks manage to not pick up on social cues that would have otherwise clearly indicated to them that whatever it was they were about to do or say wasn’t appropriate to the situation they were in. They charge in like a bull in a china shop, completely oblivious to the impact of their words or actions on the people around them. What we see here is that some of Jesus’ closest followers were afflicted with this condition. We also get a reminder that we sometimes listen to the wrong things too.

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Morning Musing: Mark 1:14

“After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever read something in one place, read something else in another place from a purportedly friendly source, and something about the two accounts didn’t quite sit right? We often see this today in modern politics. One person says one thing and another says something slightly different; different enough that the contradiction is glaring. Generally speaking, people don’t tolerate contradictions very well. Contradictions reveal either duplicity or hypocrisy, or both. This is bad enough when it comes to life in general. It’s even harder when we seem to find them in the Scriptures.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 1:4-6

“John came baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Several years ago I had the chance to participate in a weekend seminar with Pastor Mike Bonem. He is the author of the book, Leading from the Second Chair. Mike was then the executive pastor at Second Baptist Church in Houston, TX, one of the largest churches in the country. As the title of the book suggests, Mike’s message that weekend was about how to still be a leader when you aren’t the head honcho. Considering the state of our culture then and now, I struggle to imagine a more countercultural message than the one he was preaching. Nobody aspires to be the runner up. Nobody plans on making it almost to the top, but stopping just short of that. And yet, the very first person we are introduced to in the Gospel of Mark did exactly that, and Jesus called him the greatest man alive. Let’s talk about John the Baptist this morning.

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Digging in Deeper: Philippians 2:3-4

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When was the last time you came across someone who was truly humble? That’s not a virtue we see very often nowadays, especially from people who spend their lives in the spotlight. More than that, it’s not a virtue that’s taught as something worth striving for in the first place. Instead, the message we have preached at us from every direction is that we need to look out for ourselves. We need to work to advance our own interests. We need to toot our own horn because if we don’t, no one else is going to do it for us. We are told that we are the most important person in the world and should behave accordingly. This trend was all sold to us as something positive. So…what have the results been?

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Digging in Deeper: Obadiah 3-4

“Your arrogant heart has deceived you, you who live in clefts of the rock in your home on the heights, who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you seem to soar like an eagle and make your nest among the stars, even from there I will bring you down. This is the Lord’s declaration.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

On occasion I’ll help my boys work on something that they’ve never done before. Oftentimes it is something that I have done and know how to do. In these instances it is not uncommon for them to get a little resistant to my help. Parents, give me an, “Amen.” They protest that they don’t need me because they know how to do it. In my more gracious moments (I don’t have those all the time…) I let them go a bit and help them up when they fail. But their pride can be pretty maddening at times. Sometimes it is downright infuriating. Our heavenly Father feels the same way.

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