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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Digging in Deeper: Romans 6:10-12

“For the death he died, he died to sin once for all time; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I’m going to ask you a question about which I want you to be totally honest with me. In fact, I don’t want you to answer immediately. I want you to think about it for a second. Then, I want you to raise your hand in the air if the answer is yes. No, really, raise your hand. Commit to your answer. If you’re by yourself, no one will see it; and if you’re in public, it’ll just look like you’re stretching. (If you’re reading this in class, you might want to raise two hands to disguise it a little better…and also stop reading this in class and pay attention to your teacher.) Are you ready now? Here goes: Do you struggle with sin?

Okay, survey time: How many of you raised your hand? I suspect it wasn’t just a few. But, in doing that, some of you are lying to me. In fact, I might even go so far as to say many of you are. You can’t fairly characterize your interaction with sin as a struggle because there really isn’t any struggle. When sin comes calling, you go right along with it. Maybe there’s a brief flash of resistance, but that doesn’t last long. What I want to talk about this morning with you is how to actually struggle with sin and why it will eventually become no struggle at all.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 2:4-5

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Zombies are hot right now. Well, technically they’re cold since they’re just reanimated dead bodies – and technically, fire is one of the ways you can kill them – but at a cultural level, they’re really popular. Case in point: There’s a decent chance the next Marvel movie, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, is going to feature Marvel zombies at some point. When something makes it into a Marvel movie these days, you know it’s popular. They have become a bit of a cultural barometer. Honestly, I could take or leave zombies (unless they’re chasing me in which case I could definitely leave them). They’ve never captured my interests the way other monster movies have. But there is something about them worth thinking about this morning. Paul points us to what this is here as he moves forward in Ephesians 2.

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