Morning Musing: Hebrews 6:11-12

“Now we desire each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the full assurance of your hope until the end, so that you won’t become lazy but will be imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When I was growing up, one of my heroes was Jacques Vaughn. Vaughn was the point guard for the University of Kansas Jayhawks basketball team. The fact that he was 19 or 20 really didn’t register for me. I wanted to be like him. He was a tremendous player, but he was also a great student and by most accounts I ever heard a good person. I still remember a play when he was going for a contested layup, faked a pass behind his back as he closed in on the basket which the defender completely fell for, and cleared his own way for an easy score. I had his picture taped on the front of my school folder and had memorized his signature. Having heroes like that can be a very good thing. They motivate us to become more than we are right now. And Vaughn did that for me. I became more like him…as far as being a good student goes; I was terrible at basketball. As the writer of Hebrews finishes up this warning section, he concludes with an encouragement to find some heroes. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Galatians 6:2

“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We are moving into the summer season and that means one thing more than any other: movies. Summer is the season for blockbusters. All the biggest, most fun, most exciting films seem to come out in the summer. The Top Gun sequel started things off this past weekend to great acclaim. The third installment in the Jurassic World franchise (which is really just a continuation of the Jurassic Park franchise) is next week. The fourth addition to Marvel’s Thor storyline is next month. Lots and lots to see. Perhaps the only thing you can’t see during the summer anymore are big budget original stories. That’s a criticism for another time. In addition to all of this, though, with the rise of digital streaming, the small screen is being treated to more and more must-see fare as well. Disney+ has just started its Obi-Wan series and will premier its Ms. Marvel series next week. But what is perhaps the summer’s number one show to stream is Netflix’s fourth season of Stranger Things. With Part 1 out now (which I haven’t quite watched in its totality), and Part 2 coming in July, let’s take a few minutes today and reflect on a powerful theme that has already made itself clear in the series.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 3:5-6

“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s household, as a testimony to what would be said in the future. But Christ was faithful as a Son over his household. And we are that household if we hold on to our confidence and the hope in which we boast.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been a part of something? I’m sure the answer to that question is yes. What that something looked like is going to vary, but you’ve been a part of something before. My interest isn’t so broad as that. Have you been a part of something big before? A movement perhaps? You may not have realized it at the time, but looking back, you can see more clearly. Often a movement like that only happens with a leader. And while there may be more than one leader in the movement, there’s always one person who’s at the top. As we continue unpacking Jesus’ relationship to the old covenant, let’s talk about His leading a movement.

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Digging in Deeper: 1 Corinthians 12:18

“But as it is, God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as he wanted.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in somewhere? Unless you just have one of those exceedingly extroverted personalities where as long as you’re around people, you’re pretty comfortable, you probably have (and even someone like that might feel out of place if they went to a conference of introverts…which I know is a bit of an oxymoron, but I’m trying here). Maybe it was your first day at a new school or a new job. It could have been a party where you weren’t really invited, but you went as some else’s guest. IT could have been the first time you walked in the door of a new church. Wherever it was, you probably know that awkward, uncomfortable, I-want-to-be-anywhere-other-than here feeling. Let me change up the question on you just a bit: Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in with your own family. Perhaps your family is really close and that’s wonderful. But it may be that you went through a season at one point during which you were just a bit – or a lot – different from everyone else in your family. That’s no easy path to walk. And still, if you’re connected to a local church, feeling out of place there can be equally as difficult. A recent animated film from Disney does a wonderful job exploring this whole idea of what it means to be a part of a family even when we don’t quite look the same as the rest of its members. This morning let’s talk about being connected and Disney’s Encanto.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 5:43-47

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what are you doing out of the ordinary?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Two things for you this morning right out of the gate. First, an update, then a more normal introduction. Here’s the update: This will not be yesterday’s sermon this morning. Yesterday we had a special service called Celebrate Sunday. We took the morning to delight in what God has been doing in and through our community over past year. We had special guests and a fantastic testimony from some of our newer members, and generally a lot of fun. I shared many of the things God has done in the last year rather than giving a formal sermon. Thus no sermon to post here. But, it would be worth your time to go and watch the service for the stories alone. You can do that on our YouTube channel here.

Just because I don’t have a sermon, though, doesn’t mean I don’t have anything for you this morning. Normally I have been taking Fridays to engage on various cultural happenings (especially from the big and small screen) and where they intersect with the Scriptures. And, when I’m watching a whole season of a particular series, I’ll usually wait until the end of the season to reflect on the whole thing. But as I’ve been watching the latest season of Cobra Kai on Netflix, I can’t help but offer some observations after watching episode 4 last night. Cobra Kai, of course, is a continuing of the story of the classic movie, Karate Kid, into the modern day. In the original film and the third of the series, the good guys and the bad guys were clear. Mr. Miyagi and his style of karate are good, John Kreese and his Cobra Kai dojo are bad. In the new series, especially as the story has developed, things are less clear than that. But rather than this being a mere modern, relativistic, woke attempt to obscure moral lines or to otherwise pretend they don’t exist, season 4 is so far displaying real life through a lens that, if not strictly Gospel-oriented, is certainly shaped by it. Let’s talk this morning about Cobra Kai and loving our enemies.

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