Morning Musing: Hebrew 6:19-20

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because he has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (CSB – Read the chapter)‬‬

In the ancient world, it was broadly understood that you weren’t going to have an audience with the gods. Ever. They were bigger, higher, and more powerful than you. No one thought about them as particularly righteous, but they were gods and you were not. No, getting into the presence of the gods took the right kind of sacrifices offered by the approved representatives following the right set of instructions at the right time. This one person went into the gods’ presence on your behalf. You never got such a privilege yourself. There was forever a distance between you and them…and you and Him. We were never saved by that, God was never happy with that, so Jesus fixed it. Here, the author of Hebrews tells us how, but in terms that would have made more sense to his audience than they do us. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Ecclesiastes 5:1-2

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Better to approach in obedience than to offer the sacrifice as fools do, for they ignorantly do wrong. Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How do you approach worship? Is it something you pretty much just do each week? Or, do you put more into it than that? In a book rife with cynicism about the world as it is, Solomon offers some reflections about the attitude with which we should approach the throne of God that should make us think twice about going to worship anything less than fully prepared for what we might experience there. It is a good reminder of not so much what we are doing as it is before whom we are doing it. Let’s talk for a few minutes this morning about getting worship right.

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Digging in Deeper: Acts 4:19-20

“Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Throughout the Scriptures, one of the most basic calls on the life of every follower of Jesus is to worship the Lord. We are called, invited, and even commanded to do it. And, each and every week, hundreds of millions of believers gather in church services all over the world to do just that. But if we are not careful, we can begin to develop some thinking about worship because of this repeating pattern of gathering weekly that doesn’t quite align with the fullness of the understanding of worship commended to us in the Scriptures. One of the things I’ve been reading about lately is worship. This morning, let me share some thoughts about it.

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Morning Musing: Mark 14:6-9

“Jesus replied, ‘Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a noble thing for me. You always have the poor with you, and you can do what is good for them whenever you want, but you do not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body in advance for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever been the victim of unfair criticism? That’s never a fun place to be. I once had someone come sit down with me in my office to offer “constructive” criticism. He came prepared a 4×6 note card filled front and back with everything he thought I was doing wrong. His complaints were all rooted in personal preferences of pastoral style rather than anything biblical, but he was convinced, as he told me, that I just didn’t preach the Gospel. Maybe you’ve been through something similar. Much to this man’s credit, he did not air his grievances publicly nor share them with a small group of others in an effort to build a coalition against me. And when it became clear we were not going to find common ground on some of them, he left quietly and found a church more to his liking. Other folks with less character and genuine intent to honor Christ with their life would have made a production of leaving. I respect him for that. Being criticized, no matter the source, is hard. When a woman made an incredible gesture of worship to Jesus, she faced intense criticism for it. Fortunately, she had Jesus in the room to defend her actions. Let’s look at the results this morning.

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Morning Musing: Mark 11:15-16

“They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I was listening to a counselor one time talk about how important it is to be engaged as a husband and father. He said that his wife and kids were having a heated argument one day. They were yelling and slamming things around. He walked into the kitchen where it was all happening and slammed a cabinet door good and hard. Everyone jumped and looked at him in shock. He said quietly, “I just wanted to feel like I was part of the fun.” He sent them the message that he was there with them even in their hard times. He made a scene, but for a purpose. When Jesus walked into the temple the morning after His grand arrival into the city, He made a scene for a purpose as well. Let’s talk about it.

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