Morning Musing: Mark 15:8-11

“The crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do for them as was his custom. Pilate answered them, ‘Do you want me to release the king of the Jews for you?’ For he knew it was because of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd so that he would release Barabbas to them instead.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever read or listened to someone else read the Bible out loud? Forget about the Bible for a second, have you ever read or heard someone else read any story out loud? How does that usually sound? If we’re being honest, pretty dull and lifeless. Most people read out loud with a monotone voice. Have you ever noticed that? That’s really interesting to me. I don’t know many people who talk like that. When you’re telling someone else a story you care about, you put all kinds of emotion and feeling into it. Your face is animated, you move your hands, you alter the pitch and tone of your voice for emphasis. It’s engaging for others. But when we read something someone else wrote, all of that goes away. I’ve never really been sure why exactly that is. Now, come back to the Bible with me. When we read the Bible out loud like we read everything else out loud, what gets conveyed to the listener is that this is really boring stuff. There’s no life to it. There’s no excitement. There’s no real story. It’s just…blah. The thing is, though, the Bible is anything but blah. Here’s a story that proves it.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 12:10-12

“‘Haven’t you read this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This came about from the Lord and is wonderful in our eyes?’ They were looking for a way to arrest him but feared the crowd because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. So they left him and went away.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever witnessed a moment when someone finally realized they had nothing left to lose and just went for it? The courage of such a person doesn’t just double. It increases several-fold. When there’s nothing left that can really be done to a person, their willingness to face down any amount of suffering to achieve their aim becomes incredible. Obstacles become meaningless. There’s only one other thing that can give such a boost. When a person is supremely confident in the righteousness of their mission the consequences of its pursuit cease to matter. As the number of Jesus’ days before facing the cross grew shorter He became bolder with His words than He had been before in His ministry. Let’s listen in closely today as He puts the religious leaders in their place.

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Morning Musing: Joel 1:2-3

“Hear this, you elders; listen, all you inhabitants of the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

What kind of stories do you tell? What kind of vehicles do you use to tell your stories? The prophet Joel used a recent plague of locusts to tell his. I think there’s something we can learn from him. Let’s talk about what that is.

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Thoughts for a snowy day

The weather won this Sunday.  The slush and ice piling up on streets and branches kept us home, but technology saved the day.  Here’s what I shared on Facebook Live yesterday morning (click here to watch it).  Enjoy!

Thoughts for a Snowy Day

One of the most magical Christmases I remember happened in 2007. Lisa and I were living in Littleton, CO while I was in seminary and that year both of our families came out at the same time to celebrate the holiday.  I know what you’re thinking: The Christmas miracle was not that we all got along that year.  That Christmas Eve we all went downtown to see the Broadway version of the classic Christmas movie, White Christmas.  It was a terrific show.  Driving home it was about 60 degrees with a big full moon shining brightly.  It made for a beautiful evening, but not the kind of weather as to put you in the mood for the season.  The next morning,Christmas morning, we woke up to a foot of snow; our very own white Christmas.  We scoped out the load Santa left, ate some breakfast, played in the snow, and warmed up afterwards by a crackling fire.  It was about as perfect a Christmas as I could imagine.  The only thing that could have improved it would have been having our boys around for us to experience the wonder through their eyes. 

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Morning Musings: 1 Timothy 1:15-16

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Paul was called to receive the gift of salvation so that others might come to a saving faith as well.  We know this is true from Paul’s own testimony, but also from the example of his life.  Do you know who else was saved so that others might come to a saving relationship with Jesus?  You were!  So was I.  So was every person who is a follower of Jesus or who has ever been in the past.  God gives us the gift of salvation not only for ourselves, but so that others might come to a saving knowledge of Him through us.  In other words: If you have been blessed by God, the purpose of that blessing was so that you might be a blessing to others. Read the rest…