The Beginning of an Idea

This past Sunday morning was the first Sunday of Advent. With the season in mind, we kicked off a brand-new teaching series called, God with Us. For the next few weeks, we are going to take a look at this idea that Jesus was to be named Immanuel, which means, “God is with us.” Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll examine both the glorious and the humble aspects of this. Today, though, we’ll start with a look at where the idea came from in the first place. May this be the beginning of your preparing to receive Jesus as we move forward into this sweet, sweet season.

The Beginning of an Idea

One of the benefits of living in a culture steeped in nostalgia is that sometimes our forays into it can be pretty fun. One of the most classic sports movies when I was growing up was Disney’s The Mighty Ducks. It was one of those special movies that got everything just right. It certainly wasn’t going to win any awards, but it generated two sequels, both of which did reasonably well—especially once they left the theaters. More than that, the first film actually resulted in the naming of a new hockey team in the Los Angeles area that is still playing today: the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. I can’t think of another professional sports team that was named after a kids’ movie. Well, as Disney+ strives to attract subscribers by producing content intended for both kids and their parents who grew up in my generation, they are leaning pretty heavily on nostalgia to hook viewers and reel them in. One of the titles they have resurrected from the past in order to do this is none other than The Mighty Ducks. 

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Perspective Shift

This week we finally reach the end of our teaching series, Married for Good. This week, to wrap things up, we are talking about one of the simplest but most powerful ways we can improve not merely our marriages, but all of our relationships. Starting next week, we’ll begin an Advent series you won’t want to miss. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Perspective Shift

Everybody loves a good life hack. A life hack is a simple thing you can do to make some normal part of life easier and more efficient than it is right now. In honor of that this morning, I found a few life hacks to share with you. We’re getting into prime baking season. If you happen to be making cookies in the next few weeks, but you just don’t have time to do it from scratch (I see you) so you are using one of those premade logs of dough, use a bit of dental floss to slice them instead of a knife. You’ll get much cleaner and prettier slices. This also works really well if you are someone who makes cinnamon rolls from scratch (just saying). 

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Power Struggle

For the last couple of weeks, we have been working through Paul’s challenging words about marriage to the Ephesian church. What he describes there sounds awesome when it works, but the reality is that it doesn’t often work. Ideals are nice, but reality is rarely ideal. So, what do we do when things aren’t working like God intended, particularly when it comes to our marriages? That’s where something the apostle Peter said comes into play. This week, we are talking about what to do when reality falls short of ideal. This idea applies to our marriages, yes, but it applies more broadly than that as well. Read on to find out what to do and the impact it can have.

Power Struggle

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: Polycephaly is better than being monocephalic. Wait, you’ve never heard that one? Well, how about this version? Two heads are better than one. That probably sounds a bit more familiar. Be honest with me, though: How many of you have ever heard of the medical condition known as polycephaly? It is a rare genetic defect causing a creature (including human creatures) to be born with two heads. Perhaps you’ve seen a picture of a turtle like this one. This poor calf just tugs at your heartstrings a bit. This last one, however, is probably something you could only imagine seeing in a nightmare. As a general rule, God designed the various creatures He created to have one head. That’s all they need. When a creature enters the world with two heads, that is unfailingly a signal that something has gone wrong. If you want to be all theological about it, it is one of the many impacts of sin on the world. 

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One Anothering One Another

This week, as we continued our series, Married for Good, we started getting practical. What does it look like to get marriage right as followers of Jesus? In order to answer this question, we jumped headfirst into one of the most challenging – and misunderstood – passages about marriage in the entire New Testament. On this day for spooks and chills, this idea puts fear in the hearts of not a few couples. We’re talking about Paul’s words to the Ephesian believers which include the command for wives to submit to their husbands. Joy me this week and next as we work to make sense out of this, and to see how getting it right is a key to getting marriage right.

One Anothering One Another

Have you ever misunderstood something? There’s a difference between not understanding something and misunderstanding something. In the former instance, we have genuinely not grasped the details of some matter. Our acting in a manner inconsistent with it is out of pure ignorance. What’s more, this is often a known ignorance on our part. We understand that we don’t understand and can do something about that. Often, in this case, more time learning and gaining information about it will be the solution to the problem. But when we misunderstand something, the problem is deeper. In this case, we often think we do understand whatever it is. We think we understand, but in understanding it incorrectly, we react to it in ways that are inconsistent with reality. And, because we fail to grasp that we don’t understand it, attempts to correct us will often be rebuffed. They may even lead us to double down on our misunderstanding. It takes a lot of patience and often a lot of time to correct a misunderstanding. Well, this morning, we are going to start looking at something the apostle Paul said that is frequently misunderstood. We are going to see if we can set the misunderstandings to the side—both those of others and perhaps of ourselves as well—and get at what Paul is really trying to say. 

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Made for Each Other

This week we kicked off a brand-new teaching series called, Married for Good. For the next five weeks we are going to be talking about marriage: what it is, how it works, and how to do it well. If you are married, have been married, might be married someday, or even don’t have it on your radar at all, there is going to be something for you in this series. Let’s start today, though, by clarifying just what exactly it is. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Made for Each Other

Weddings are big business…marriages, not so much. This is because everyone loves the idea of getting married. Well, that’s not completely true. The idea of marriage itself has fallen on somewhat hard times of late, but nonetheless, most everyone enjoys a love story that ends with exchanged, “I dos,” at an altar. And, true to form, people will spend enormous amounts of money on a wedding. I did a bit of digging, and the best estimate I could find held that the U.S. wedding industry is worth about $78 billion this year. As much money as we are willing to spend on getting married, however, most folks are not willing to spend quite as much money on staying married. Once we get across that particular line, we tend to treat it like we have arrived. We’ve crossed the finish line and now we can sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of our many labors. Of course, if you are someone who has experienced any part of a marriage journey, you know that this isn’t perhaps quite so true as our culture makes it out to be—as indeed as we would like for it to be. Marriage can be harder than it is often made to seem. 

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