Morning Musing: Mark 10:45

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Humans are addicted to purpose. We can’t live without it…literally. Right now our culture is in the midst of a crisis. I’m not talking about Covid. We are in the midst of a crisis called “deaths from despair.” It started before Covid, takes nearly as many lives as the pandemic did, but unlike the virus, it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. A death from despair happens when a person ends his life either intentionally or incidentally by taking actions intended to escape a sense of hopelessness, purposelessness, meaninglessness that has taken hold of his heart. Purpose matters. A lot. Well, here Jesus reveals the purpose of His coming. Let’s pay attention to what He has to say.

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Digging in Deeper: 2 Timothy 1:8

“So don’t be afraid of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What brings you shame? One time in second grade, I wet my pants right in the middle of class. I had skipped out on a bathroom break for some reason and was too embarrassed to raise my hand and say I had to go. I held it as long as I could, but eventually I couldn’t anymore. Then I was really embarrassed. I’m honestly not sure how I managed to avoid getting made fun of for it. I must have had some really good kids in class with me. Sometimes our shame is obvious like that. Other times, though, what causes us shame is more abstract. We are ashamed of ideas and of being associated with them. One of the ideas that is increasingly bringing people shame today is the Gospel. There is nothing new under the sun. Paul here wrote to Timothy about this very thing.

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Making Connections

For the last few weeks we have been talking about what we believe as followers of Jesus. We haven’t covered everything in detail, but we’ve covered a lot of ground all the same. If you’ve been tracking with us, you hopefully have a better understanding of what you believe than you did before. That’s all well and good, but knowledge for its own sake isn’t particularly helpful. What are we supposed to do with all of that? Today we kick off a new teaching series in which we are going to offer an answer to that very question. In this new series, Tell Someone, we’ll be talking about how to share what you know with another person in hopes of leading them into a relationship with Jesus. This should be a fun ride.

Making Connections

A couple of weeks ago, Nate asked you an important question: What’s next? In his conversation with you, he set your sights on the Holy Spirit. I want to ask you the same question this morning, but with a little bigger a perspective in mind. For the last seven weeks we have been talking about what we believe as followers of Jesus. While we didn’t cover every possible detail by any stretch of the imagination, we covered some of the biggest and most important theological concepts. Knowing all of that, though, is one thing. The question I hope you found yourself asking as we finished up last week was this: Now what? What’s next? What are we supposed to do now that we know all of that? For the next few weeks, I want to talk with you about an answer to that question.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:38-40

“John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.’ ‘Don’t stop him,’ said Jesus, ‘because there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name who can soon afterward speak evil of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We are naturally tribal. Our world has always been divided into two groups: Us and them. Now, sure, the exact makeup of those two groups changes. There are all kinds of different “uses” and all kinds of different “thems.” A person might fall into both categories within the same group of people depending on which particular flavor of us and them is being considered at the moment. But while there is all kinds of variety when it comes to exactly who goes in which group and when, the basic dividing line between us and them remains consistent. It is natural. It always has been. When Jesus came and began teaching about the kingdom of God, He didn’t try and tell us to operate differently. Surprised by that? Jesus didn’t try to undo our tribalistic impulse. He simply invited us to think about ourselves as part of a much bigger tribe.

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Morning Musing: Mark 8:35-37

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life? What can anyone give in exchange for his life?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When is a time you have sacrificed something you wanted in order to get your hands on something you wanted even more? Was that decision easy or hard to make? If it was very easy to make, it probably wasn’t all that much of a sacrifice. The simple truth about this life is that we can’t have it all. Oh sure, we’re told we can, but those assurances are uniformly false. Our lives in this world are a complex series of tradeoffs and sacrifices. We want one thing, but want another more and so forego the first in favor of the second. But as Jesus reminded the crowd – and us – here, what’s true about our individual lives is just as true about our very souls. Let’s talk this morning about losing and gaining and swapping out what is good for what is even better.

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