Follow the Instructions

Happy New Year! If you’re like everyone else in the world, I suspect you were about as ready for this calendar turning as you have ever been for anything. We made it. 2020 is in the books–and my how that book will be remembered! We have a fresh start ahead of us. Yet, how do we make this fresh start more than just a new set of challenges? In a new teaching series called, A Fresh Start, we’re talking about that very thing. Keep reading to learn more.

Follow the Instructions

So…are you ready for a fresh start? Do you even remember this time last year? Remember how excited we all were about the prospect of 2020. There’s just something exciting about the turning of a whole decade more so than a normal new year brings. And maybe it was because of the place of life I was in, but for some reason 2020 just felt more exciting than 2010 had. And then…well…you know. This mystery virus popped up in China and a year later nearly 350,000 of our fellow citizens have lost their lives to it. Worldwide we’re up over 1.8 million lives lost. We’re over three-quarters of the way to 100 million infected.

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Morning Musing: Zechariah 11:16

“I am about to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are perishing, and he will not seek the lost or heal the broken. He will not sustain the healthy, but he will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hooves.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

History matters. An adage that has become a cliché over time is if we do not study history, then we are doomed to repeat it. The idea is that if we do not make ourselves conspicuously aware of the mistakes we have made in the past, then we are likely to make the same ones again when given the chance. That may be a cliché, but it’s still true. This kind of thing is what God seems to have in mind here.

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Morning Musing: Joshua 1:8

“This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

Standing on the precipice of a new adventure is always a complicated emotional affair. On the one hand, there is the requisite nervousness. The unknown stretching out before us is always at least a little bit scary. What if we fail? What if we succeed? Both can be equally frightening. On the other hand, there is excitement. The possibilities before us are rich and we are excited to explore them. Having a little parting advice is always helpful in such situations. What kind of advice is the most helpful? 

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Digging in Deeper: Acts 4:1-2

“While they were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple police, and the Sadducees confronted them, because they were annoyed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

Why do you believe in Jesus? Maybe that’s a bit too forward for an opening question. Maybe you don’t believe in Jesus—no judgment here. But, what do you believe about Jesus? If you’ve ever even thought about Jesus before, what possessed you to do so? Why is His name something anyone is still talking about today? 

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 4:31-32 Part 3

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
– ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:31-32‬‬ (ESV – Read the chapter

We have so far covered the fact that we need some kind of a foundation for our efforts to be good beyond simple convenience, and that as Christians, citing the Bible as that source is problematic. It hurts both our walk and our witness. It hurts our walk by making us legalistic since a text doesn’t love you, it just tells you what to do. It hurts our witness by leaving us in a position of having to rigorously defend every single part of the Bible or risk losing all of it. Incidentally, the defense of the Bible is a big industry in Christian circles even as looking at it critically is a big industry in skeptical ones. We need—and have—a better foundation than this. Fortunately, we do have one: Jesus. 

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