All Fired Up

This week we kick off a brand-new teaching series called, A Heavy Load. So often, as we go through this life, we seek to do it on our own. We try and solve our own problems. We overcome our own challenges. We bear our own burdens. And at least in this culture, we’re taught to do just that. If you can’t manage your own stuff, what good are you anyway? But doing life on our own gets heavy after all. The weight of it all can begin to drag on our lives in all kinds of ways that add up and have an impact over time. The better approach is to quit trying to do life on our own and start doing it with Jesus. Over the next five weeks we are going to look at four specific loads we try and bear on our own, why that doesn’t work, and why doing life with Jesus is better. Then, in the final part, we’ll explore just why exactly life is so much better with Jesus. You won’t want to miss a single part of this conversation. Thanks for reading and sharing.

All Fired Up

I want you to do some remembering with me for just a minute this morning. I want you to think back to the last time you were genuinely angry about something that did not impact you directly and over which you had no control. If that seems oddly specific, there’s a reason for it which we’ll get to in a little bit. I’m not thinking about that time you saw something that was mildly irritating on one social media platform or another. I’m talking about the time you were angry – really and truly angry – but the object of your ire was not something that was having any sort of a direct impact on your life, and you weren’t really able to meaningfully do anything about it anyway. 

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 4:14-16

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens – Jesus the Son of God – let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Confession time. Okay, we’ll just make it introspection time. That’s a little easier to do while you’re reading a blog by yourself. Have you ever struggled with a pattern of sin? I’m not talking about a sin you committed once and moved on. I’m talking about something you did once, then a second time, then a third time, and suddenly found yourself locked in a pattern where you kept coming back to it in spite of your best efforts and desires to quit it entirely. I suspect you have. That is, unfortunately, a trait humans of all shapes and sizes share. Even if you don’t accept a generically Christian definition of sin, you have some standard of right and wrong to which you’ve subscribed and which you violate on a consistent basis. How do you manage to break out of that? With grit, grace, no small amount of determination, and the reminder that you’re not alone in your efforts. Let’s talk about it.

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Something Special

This week, as we continue our series, Standing Firm, we are talking about the third part of the foundation Peter builds before getting into the meat of his message. We’ve talked about the hope we have in Christ and the fact that we actually need to live out that hope if we want it to do anything positive for us. This week we’re talking about what that foundation can do in and for our lives if we’ll embrace it. We all want to be someone. Peter here tells us how.

Something Special

We live in a celebrity-obsessed world. Hopefully you don’t waste too much time doing this, but have you ever looked at the magazines in the racks at the checkout counters in stores? Almost without fail, their front covers are filled each month by one celebrity or another promising to tell readers about something they couldn’t possibly have known yet and on which their whole lives are hanging. Why are they covered with celebrities like this? Because the marketing folks know that you and I are more likely to buy something because Dwayne Johnson has something to tell us about physical fitness. We’re more likely to shell out some dough because Scarlet Johansson promises to give us the skinny on the squabbles her co-stars had on the latest movie set. The same thing goes with TV shows. We are much more likely to tune into the latest game show if it features a rotating celebrity cast than if it is just filled with…normal…people. News programs regularly include celebrities on their round table panels, not because they are particularly knowledgeable about the subjects being covered, but because they want more viewers and celebrities are the way to do that.

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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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