Digging in Deeper: Hebrew 10:26-31

“For if we deliberately go on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries. Anyone who disregarded the law of Moses died without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, who has regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know the one who has said, ‘Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever had one of those moments when you knew you had lost, and you were just waiting for the defeat to be completed? I’ve had lots of those moments while playing video games over the years. Honestly, most of the time I responded by simply turning the game off. If I’m watching one of my sports teams lose – especially in a big game – I’ll turn off the TV. Why bother sticking around when you know the results aren’t going to be what you had hoped? In life, though, that’s not an option. And with Jesus, grace and redemption are always possible. What the author of Hebrews is talking about here, however, is a situation when a terrible loss becomes unavoidable. Let’s wrestle today with what may be the most disturbing warning of the letter. Hang on tight for this one, and don’t look away until we reach the end. You’ll not want to miss this.

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Digging in Deeper: 1 Peter 4:14-17

Thanks for coming back with me this week. We had a terrific time away and now I’m ready to hit the ground running.

“If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler. But if anyone suffers as a Chrisitan, let him not be ashamed but let him glorify God in having that name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would you do if you suddenly discovered that your parents are not really your parents? I think we can safely say at the very least that this would be a pretty major shock to your system. Let’s add one more layer to this, though: What if your discovery and shock were shared by your parents? A recent documentary film on Netflix pursues this very question in a true crime story that didn’t even have to be designed to shock and disturb. The story Our Father tells does those two things on its own. Yet the story itself isn’t the thing that most got my attention and sparked my writing this morning. That prize goes to the particular angle the director chose to take with the storytelling. It offers a good reminder of where the culture is when it comes to the church and why getting the life of Christ right is so important for followers of Jesus.

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in Christ’s triumphal procession and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

A few weeks ago, I was riding in the car with some friends. As we drove, one of them popped a mint in her mouth. It was something she’d done numerous times before. For whatever reason, though, this time was different. A few minutes later, not realizing what she had done, I began noticing an odd smell in the car that was gradually growing stronger. It was minty fresh, but it was quickly becoming overwhelming. Eventually, wanting to be sure I wasn’t the only one smelling this, I asked what was going on. We finally had to have her spit out the mint and we opened the windows the smell was getting so strong. What has me thinking about that this morning is recent, heartbreaking and infuriating news from the Southern Baptist Convention, and something Paul says here about our lives smelling like Jesus. Let’s talk about it.

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Good Friday 2022

Today is Good Friday, a day set aside to focus our attention on the cross of Christ. While Easter is rightly the highlight of our year as followers of Jesus, Easter and the empty tomb came by the road of the cross. Without dying, Jesus couldn’t have risen from the grave. Today is the day we remember the weight and cost of our sin. It is also the day we remember the incredible grace and mercy of our God. Each year, we have a special service here at First Baptist Oakboro to reflect on all of this together. Tonight will be no exception. Here’s what I’m going to share with my congregation this evening. May it be a blessing to you as you prepare for celebrating our risen Lord this Sunday.

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Digging in Deeper: Judges 21:25

“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would you do if you had an animal inside waiting to come out? I don’t just mean that you have a bit of a wild streak you let hang out on occasion. I mean you have a literal animal spirit inside of you that can turn you into said animal at will…once you learn how to control it with the help of some friends. And what if this animal happened to be a 10-foot tall, fluffy, red panda? Well, I suppose in that case you would have Pixar make an animated movie telling your story. We are a couple of weeks past the small-screen opening of the latest Disney-Pixar movie, Turning Red, and it has so far managed to generate a whole lot more conversation and criticism than just about any of its predecessors. The reasons for this are many. Some of the criticism hasn’t been particularly thoughtful, but a fair bit of it has made some pretty sound points. Let’s talk this morning about the movie, the good, the bad, and whether it’s worth your time.

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