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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Morning Musing: Proverbs 18:1

“One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound wisdom.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

A few years ago, Southwest Airlines did an ad campaign with the slogan, “Wanna get away?” Each of the commercials featured someone accidentally finding themselves in a horribly embarrassing situation. For example, a delivery man grabs a basketball in a driveway after making his delivery to a house, and with the homeowners both working in the yard and watching him, takes a shot on the goal which misses entirely and instead smashes through their garage window. Then there’s the guy trying to impress a girl with his dance moves who accidentally takes out the whole DJ stand, shutting down the entire club. We have all experienced times when we just wanted to get away from it all and forget about everything going on around us. But if we’re not careful, that getting away can translate into wanting to not be around people at all. Having times of solitude is good, but we need people. This proverb reminds us of why.

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Fueled by Boldness

As we prepare to enter into the new year together, many of us are thinking toward the future. What does it hold? Will we be able to handle what is coming at us? Those are big questions, but as followers of Jesus, all of them must necessarily fall subject to what His plans for us are. In the New Year’s sermon, we took some time together to talk about how to move into the future with the kind of attitude that will see the most Gospel advances happen in the world around us. Enjoy.

Fueled by Boldness

Have you ever made a really bold ask before? A woman named Demi Skipper did and she wound up with a house for her efforts. After watching a Ted Talk by Kyle MacDonald, a Canadian man who started with a paperclip and traded his way up to a house, Demi decided she was going to try the same thing. She started with a single bobby pin and began trading. After offering to trade that bobby pin for pretty much whatever anyone was interested in trading for it, she eventually found a woman willing to trade her a pair of earrings for it. These earrings became a couple of margarita glasses, and the race was on. Demi traded her way through a snowboard, a MacBook laptop computer, various other pieces of jewelry, a Peloton stationary exercise bike, three tractors, a celebrity card at Chipotle, which entitles the holder to free food, a solar-powered trailer home, and finally a small house in Clarkston, TN where she and her husband will relocate to from San Francisco. Not a bad deal. Sure, the taxes are a little higher on a house than a bobby pin, but it’ll serve them a few more purposes including giving Demi a home base from which to attempt the whole thing again with the goal in mind of giving the house away to a family in need. She documented her entire adventure on TikTok.

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Morning Musing: 1 John 4:19

“We love because he first loved us.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever have a free period in high school? Personally, I never did. We had a kind of study hall block every other day which probably came pretty close, but being part of the band nerd group, most of us checked in with our actual Home Room teachers and then went immediately to hang out together in the band room where we mostly all sat around doing homework. A real free period, though, gives you the chance to do fairly well whatever you want (within reason, of course). Well, this morning is a bit of a free period for me. I didn’t preach yesterday and so I don’t have a sermon to share. We’ll start a new teaching series next Sunday about which I’m pretty excited. Stay tuned for that. Instead, then, I’m going to share a few different thoughts and we’ll see where that takes us. Here’s what’s on my mind this morning.

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