Morning Musing: Philippians 2:5-8

“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death–even to death on a cross.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Yesterday, we talked about something that could completely changed the world if we put it into practice: Putting others first and ourselves second. If we just took that one idea and ignored the rest of the Scriptures, our world would never be the same and infinitely better than it is now. But doing that kind of thing seems extreme beyond the pale. I mean, who really has done that kind of thing in a way that mattered? And besides, as we finished up asking, what if the interests of the people around us are contrary to our own? Paul realizes these instructions were pretty big to try and follow and so he goes on to offer an example. It’s a pretty good example. Let’s look at it.

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Digging in Deeper: Philippians 2:3-4

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

When was the last time you came across someone who was truly humble? That’s not a virtue we see very often nowadays, especially from people who spend their lives in the spotlight. More than that, it’s not a virtue that’s taught as something worth striving for in the first place. Instead, the message we have preached at us from every direction is that we need to look out for ourselves. We need to work to advance our own interests. We need to toot our own horn because if we don’t, no one else is going to do it for us. We are told that we are the most important person in the world and should behave accordingly. This trend was all sold to us as something positive. So…what have the results been?

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Morning Musing: 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

“So I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

No one likes a hypocrite. There’s just something inherently wrong, evil even, about someone who actively seeks to convince those around him to do one thing while personally doing something else. It makes our skin crawl and gets our justice hackles raised higher and faster than just about anything else in the world. Sometimes hypocrites knowingly embrace their hypocrisy because of the personal gains it allows them to enjoy. Sometimes, though, we can fall into hypocrisy without realizing it. For all of its lack of intentionality, though, that can be the most dangerous hypocrisy there is. It’s also what Paul warns against here. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

“Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown.”‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

In 2001 a movie came out called Rat Race. It was an ensemble film featuring a host of famous comedians and was essentially a retitled remake of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World from 1963. The movie is about a group of greedy gamblers who get suckered into a casino owner’s personal game of getting them to hilariously race across the country to see which of them can make it to a locker filled with money first. The plot is basically one slapstick moment after another, but there is a basic life lesson to it. It hyperbolically reminds us how foolish it is to make the acquiring of wealth our sole pursuit. How often, though, do we find life imitating art?

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Playing Fair

As we continued in our series, Telling Our Story, yesterday morning, we ran into an uncomfortable truth. Sometimes life is unfair. Sometimes it is unfair and sometimes it seems like God doesn’t do anything to fix that. We see this in the story of Stephen, one of the original deacons appointed by the church and who was having a powerful ministry until the unfairness of life struck him down. This isn’t an easy conversation to have, but it’s one we must have. Let’s do it together.

Playing Fair

This past February some of our brothers and sisters were gathered for worship in the tiny African nation of Burkina Faso. The landlocked country is about the size of the state of Nevada. It is also home to an active and ongoing attempt by Muslim radicals linked to the Islamic State to gain control of the nation in order to enforce their will on it. The believers worshiped that morning like they had done so for years and years together. This particular morning, however, their praise was interrupted by shouts and gunfire. Terrorists burst into the sanctuary with guns blazing. Twenty-four worshipers were murdered in cold blood including the church’s pastor. A dozen more were injured in the gunfire and many more still were kidnapped.

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