Restored by the Resurrection

The day has finally arrived. For the first time in three years, yesterday we gathered together in person to celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. It was quite a day. We also wrapped up our series, Plugged In. Getting and living plugged in to Jesus is a great thing. But it’s not a thing we can do on our own. The resurrection is what makes it possible. Let’s talk about it. Happy Easter! (P.S. It’s Spring Break week for us. I’ll be back with you next Monday. Have a great week!)

Restored by the Resurrection

When was the last time you failed? It could be a small failure. It could be a big failure. It could be an actual failure. It could be merely a perceived failure. Whatever form it happened to take, though, failing isn’t any fun. In fact, it’s a terrible feeling to have. And if there were just one feeling associated with it, that wouldn’t be good, but failure comes with a whole mixed bag of feelings and emotions. We feel like we’ve let down someone; maybe a number of someones. We feel like we’ve lost a bit of our purpose as people. We’re angry. We’re embarrassed. We’re ashamed. We want to hide—especially if the failure is the result of sin of some kind. Failure is just kind of a mess. Nobody wants to feel that. And yet, the truth about living in a world broken by sin is that sometimes…we do. 

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Digging in Deeper: Deuteronomy 6:6-7

“These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down and when you get up.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Here’s a nice, uncomfortable question to get you thinking on this lovely Friday morning: If you are a parent who professes Christ, what are you doing to make sure your children follow suit? Maybe you’re doing everything you can, maybe you’re not really giving it much thought, but either way, there’s probably at least something inside of you that considers the matter worthy of at least a bit of attention. I don’t have any great answers to that question for you this morning, but I do have a reflection on how not to do it. This occurred to me after watching an episode of the long-running CBS sitcom, Young Sheldon, a prequel series of the immensely popular The Big Bang Theory (of which I have never watched a single episode). Let’s talk this morning about something that doesn’t work when it comes to faith and the next generation.

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Digging in Deeper: Judges 21:25

“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What would you do if you had an animal inside waiting to come out? I don’t just mean that you have a bit of a wild streak you let hang out on occasion. I mean you have a literal animal spirit inside of you that can turn you into said animal at will…once you learn how to control it with the help of some friends. And what if this animal happened to be a 10-foot tall, fluffy, red panda? Well, I suppose in that case you would have Pixar make an animated movie telling your story. We are a couple of weeks past the small-screen opening of the latest Disney-Pixar movie, Turning Red, and it has so far managed to generate a whole lot more conversation and criticism than just about any of its predecessors. The reasons for this are many. Some of the criticism hasn’t been particularly thoughtful, but a fair bit of it has made some pretty sound points. Let’s talk this morning about the movie, the good, the bad, and whether it’s worth your time.

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Morning Musing: Colossians 3:10b

“You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

As far as genre goes, dystopian future novels tend to be a pretty unrealistic bunch. They imagine things being either much worse than they likely will be, much more technologically advanced than they’ll be, or both. They reflect either too great an optimism about the future, too great a pessimism, or, again, both. These features, unrealistic as they may be, are also what make them fun to read. They variously give us hope in what tomorrow might be and comfort that we aren’t as bad as we could be. Of all the entries into the genre, though, there are two that have proven to be the most prophetic of the bunch in their outlook. These are A Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, and 1984, by George Orwell. Although their respective visions of the future are not the same – in some ways they are opposites – something very similar lies in both of their hearts: The future will be marked by lies. Well, that may be where we are in the future relative to those books, but in another sense, it’s where we’ve always been. This morning, I want to talk about truth, lies, and the Gospel.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 2:6-7

“He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever received a gift that wound up being even better than you imagined it would be? When you get married, you receive all kinds of different gifts. Some people are really good at picking out practical or meaningful gifts. Other folks…mean well. My parents still laugh at a wedding gift they received. It was a serving dish shaped like a Weiner dog and you could pull out its tail to find a little knife for spreading dips. On the other hand, we received a set of basic utility knives from a friend’s mom that we used for fifteen years before they were finally so dull (and had been sharpened so many times they wouldn’t maintain an edge anymore) that we had to replace them. The gift of salvation is a little like our knives (not so much like the Weiner dog serving dish). In our verses yesterday, Paul told us about the salvation we have available in Christ. Here, he invites us more fully into it to see the real riches our God has in store for us.

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