Morning Musing: Acts 1:8

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the big educational trends of the last generation is the great focus on all things STEM. STEM, of course, is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. This comes out of a recognition that those particular disciplines are of an increasingly vital importance in the modern world, coupled with a desire to prepare students more thoroughly and effectively to gain meaningful careers in related fields. This STEM focus plays itself out in a variety of ways from schools offering more of the relevant courses in these areas, to the development of entire STEM schools – like my own boys attend – where STEM has become an entire educational philosophy where real world problem solving and interdisciplinary interactions are the foundation on which all learning is built. What this helps students see is that just because an idea is properly understood through a single set of lenses doesn’t meant there are not still more implications to the idea that can help us understand other ideas in new and important ways. What has me thinking about all of this today is a reflection I recently read on this well-known verse from Acts. What it means is clear. But there are some implications of those ideas that I hadn’t considered before. Let’s explore these together.

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Morning Musing: Mark 12:35-37

“While Jesus was teaching in the temple, he asked, ‘How can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? David himself says by the Holy Spirit: “The Lord declared to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.'” David himself calls him “Lord”; how then can he be his son?’ And the large crowd was listening to him with delight.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I remember playing school with my sister one time when I was growing up. I was the teacher and she was the student (which of course is how it worked since I was the older brother and it was my natural right to assign positions between us). I made up a math worksheet for her to do. Feeling a bit prideful in my own abilities, I created an entire sheet of math I had recently learned in class. It was a subtle, jerky way of telling her how much more than her I knew. She couldn’t answer any of them. My own kids occasionally do that to each other. It must be a sibling rite of passage. In a larger sense, though, there’s just nothing quite like a well-placed question to reveal ignorance. The religious leaders were smugly confident in their understanding of the law and of the nature of the Messiah. One question from Jesus, however, stripped them of that entirely. Let’s see how this morning.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:29

“And he told them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Are you a sudoku fan? I’m a word and numbers puzzle guy. You pick the puzzle. Crossword, sudoku, or something else doesn’t really matter. I don’t get to do them as often as I’d like, but I enjoy doing them. I maintained a USA Today subscription for a few months mostly so I could do the puzzles in them. The thing about these kinds of puzzles, though, is that there’s only one solution to the problem. You can try everything in the world, but if it’s not the right way, it won’t work. Well, sometimes life is a bit like a sudoku puzzle. You can try every way imaginable to overcome some challenge, but there is only one way that will ever positively move you forward. Jesus tells the disciples what it is here. Let’s learn with them.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 7:26-27

“The woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she was asking him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, because it isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Serving in ministry can be tough in ways many other jobs simply aren’t. I don’t say that as a complaint. I love what I do. I say it merely as an observation. I have a friend who was serving a church many years ago and had gone on vacation with his family during the summer months. While they were gone, someone connected to one of the prominent members of the church passed away. The member called him to let him know about it and fully expected that he would leave his family on vacation (or else cut short their vacation entirely), fly back home, and perform the funeral service. There are a few other jobs where that kind of thing might happen, but not many. Getting away – really getting away – isn’t easy to do. Jesus was trying to get away with the disciples here and ministry came calling. How He handled it leads to one of the strangest and hardest stories about Jesus in all of the Gospels. Let’s take a look at it together.

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Morning Musing: Joel 3:10

“Beat your plows into swords and your pruning knives into spears. Let even the weakling say, ‘I am a warrior.’” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things critics of the Scriptures like to do is find apparent contradictions and use them to argue against their reliability. This is one of those places. This verse is set against Isaiah 2:4 where the prophet talks about just the opposite: beating swords into plowshares. Is this really a contradiction of that? What are we supposed to do with places like this?

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