Digging in Deeper: James 1:19

“My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you noticed lately that everyone seems angry? No matter what the issue nowadays, it feels a bit like anger is the only tool in our toolboxes anymore. You pick what the situation may be. Someone is arrested and things don’t go as smoothly as they normally do. Anger. The markets drop like a stone. Anger. Covid infection rates go up…or down. Anger. Schools wrestle with what will be the best approaches this year to keep students safe while fostering a genuine learning environment. Anger. The Olympics are starting. Anger. Congress acts. Anger. Congress doesn’t act. Anger. The line is longer than usual at the grocery store. Anger. Anger, anger, anger. What’s wrong with us? This morning I don’t have any recent media reviews for you. Instead, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why we are so angry as a people. I’d like to share some thoughts if you’ll have them.

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Morning Musing: Micah 3:11-12

“Her leaders issue rulings for a bribe, her priests teach for payment, and her prophets practice divination for silver. Yet they lean on the Lord, saying, ‘Isn’t the Lord among us? No disaster will overtake us.’ Therefore, because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become ruins, and the temple’s mountain will be a high thicket.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

What kind of influence do you have? Who are some of the people who listen to you and are swayed by what you tell them to think differently than they did before? Who are the people in your life who look to you for assurance that the path they are taking is the right one? The fact is, most people have influence over someone. You have influence over someone. And if you do, how you use that influence matters a great deal.

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Digging in Deeper: Micah 2:6-7

“‘Quit your preaching,’ they preach. ‘They should not preach these things; shame will not overtake us.’ House of Jacob, should it be asked, ‘Is the Spirit of the Lord impatient? Are these the things he does?’ Don’t my words bring good to the one who walks uprightly?”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Nobody likes to hear bad news. Well, we like to hear bad news about somebody else—after all, that’s all they deliver on television and millions of viewers still watch regularly—but we don’t like bad news personally. We don’t like someone telling us what we’re doing is wrong. The most popular preachers are the ones who are best at telling us what we want to hear. This is the case now and it has been the case for a very long time.

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Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 18:1

“As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Do you have a friend? I don’t mean an acquaintance. I mean a real, genuine, honest-to-goodness friend. Someone you could call in the middle of the night with anything and they’d be there in an instant if you needed them? We live today in a culture where this kind of deep, soul-level friendship is a rare thing all the while people hunger for relationships. This story may be just the antidote we need for this poison. Read the rest…

Reaching Further

In this third part of our conversation about who God made us to be as a church, we talked about the fact that connecting and growing, while necessary, are not sufficient in and of themselves.  Thank you for taking part in this conversation with us and reflecting on God’s design for your own community.  Don’t miss next week as we put everything together and celebrate the thing that gives it all substance: The resurrection.

 

Reaching Further

Have you ever had a secret that was simply too good to keep to yourself?  It was news that you just weren’t going to be able not to share; you were just going to have to deal with the consequences later?  Or perhaps make this more personal: Have you ever gotten a bit of good news that you couldn’t possibly have not shared with the world?  In our social media-crazed world, some days it seems like most folks think everything is worth sharing.  “I got a promotion!”  “I ran a marathon!”  “My kid is on the honor roll!”  “My dog really like its new bed!”  “I woke up this morning!”  “I’m asleep now (my fingers are set on auto-post)!”  What starts to happen is that as everything gets shared, it can begin to seem like really, nothing is worth sharing.  I submit to you, though, that some things really are worth sharing.  What’s more, some places are designed to help us do that.  And I’m not talking about Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Read the rest…