Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 5:1-4

“For every high priest taken from among men is appointed in matters pertaining to God for the people, to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he is also clothed with weakness. Because of this, he must make an offering for his own sins as well as for the people. No one takes this honor on himself; instead, a person is called by God, just as Aaron was.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Being a pastor can be confusing. It’s not necessarily confusing for me. I know who I am and what I’m doing (well, at least the first one most of the time). It’s confusing for everyone else. For instance, what should I be called? In my particular faith tradition, there are several options. Which one gets used depends on the circumstances and who’s talking to me. I have at various times been called “pastor,” “preacher,” “reverend,” and even “father” or “priest” by someone who was raised Catholic and really didn’t have a frame of reference beyond that (although, admittedly, my favorite has been a man who unfailingly calls me “Rabbi”). Which is right and what do they mean? What got me thinking about all of this is a description of the high priest here at the opening of Hebrews 5. Let’s talk about it.

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The Necessity of Growth

This week we are taking the next step forward in our conversation about who God has designed First Baptist Oakboro to be. We are a people with whom anyone can connect, but connecting can’t be the end of the journey. Once someone has connected, it is time for some growth to happen. Let’s talk about what that means, why that matters, and how it can happen here.

The Necessity of Growth

Lisa and I both grew up in the suburbs. Now, I remember doing a pretty good-sized garden when I was growing up. It was a suburban backyard garden. We grew green beans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and probably some other veggies, but those are the ones I remember. After we got through seminary and settled in a little town in the middle of rural, Virginian farmland, though, neither of us had grown anything for quite some time. Naturally, we thought planting a garden would be a great idea. Noah was still at the age where we could put him down and he really couldn’t go anywhere, so we had our friend Larry till us up a 30×60 plot of ground with his tractor. We had a ball. We would spend hours each week pulling weeds (just so we’re clear: when you’re a bit OCD, keeping a 30×60 garden completely free of weeds is no small task) and watering and then picking and canning. It was great. That worked out for a couple of years and then we found ourselves with another baby and a toddler…and the garden got smaller. Then came baby number three and it got even smaller. 

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How to Get More of a Good Thing

We’ve all been warned about having too much of a good thing, but getting more of a good thing is something worth trying to do. As followers of Jesus, we know that the best things are the ones that move us in His direction. Getting more of those is always good. In this third part of our new series, A Fresh Start, we talk about how to do exactly that. Thanks for reading!

How to Get More of a Good Thing

Have you ever had something really good—or even just really cool—happen that you wanted to have happen again? What did you do in order to try and bring that about? When I was in high school my youth group went to Branson, MO for a special church weekend event at Silver Dollar City—the Ozark’s equivalent to Dollywood. One morning when we were still in the hotel getting ready for the day, the power suddenly went out in the whole place. I think everyone in my room was pretty much ready, so it was nothing more than mildly inconvenient. Being kids and being silly, though, I stood up on a chair in the room and proclaimed, “And God said, ‘Let there be light!’” And would you believe the power came back on right then. It was instantaneous. I couldn’t have planned it better if I had someone hiding in the next room manning the power switch for the hotel. It was awesome.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 12:2-3

“keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so that you won’t grow weary and give up.” (CSB – Read the chapter

Have you ever had somebody do something for you that went way over the top? How did you feel toward them afterwards? You were grateful to be sure, but did you feel a sense of duty toward them? There’s a chance the greater the thing that was done for you, the deeper the sense of duty toward the doer went. And perhaps you managed to work yourself out from under that weight of duty, but you may not have. You may still have someone you feel like you need to serve because of the pressing sense of dutiful gratitude you have for them. 

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Morning Musings: Jeremiah 17:5-8

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.  He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.  He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.  He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This is really a marked contrast by the prophet here.  Our temptation in this life is to trust in ourselves or another person.  In other words, we are most inclined to trust in what we can see, not in what we can’t.  And, from the perspective of the world, this makes perfect sense.  Why would I place my trust in what I cannot see when there is something or someone in front of me promising me help and who has a good record of following through on his promises? Read the rest…