Digging in Deeper: James 3:10

“Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

We planted a garden this year. We try to do one every year. We don’t put a whole lot in our garden, but we do have some staples. Squash and zucchini are two of those staples. This year, we planted three squash plants and two zucchini plants. But, once the vegetables started coming to bear, four plants were yielding squash. Do you know what we said? It’s a miracle!

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Digging in Deeper: James 1:26-27

“If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself. Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

So, last time, we started out by spending some time looking at our culture’s struggles with the idea of religion. I told you that one of the common self-distinctions people often make when it comes to religious identity is that they are “spiritual, not religious” (SNR). People claim this identity because although they have been trained by either personal or impersonal experience or both to think poorly of religion, they don’t consider themselves secular or even merely agnostic. They just don’t like religion. For professed Christians who would claim this identity this is a real problem because they can’t grow well without the church and the church is a form of religion. As I asked before: What do we do with this? 

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Morning Musing: James 1:26-27

“If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless and he deceives himself. Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

One of the trends over the last few years when it comes to self-identifying religious preference is for folks to say they are spiritual, but not religious. This has in some ways been a partner to the rise of the “nones.” Many folks from this media darling social group don’t want to identify themselves as associated with any particular religious group, but at the same time, they don’t want to give the impression that they are claiming to be atheists. So they’ll say, “I’m spiritual, not religious.” How should Jesus followers respond to this? 

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Digging in Deeper: 1 Samuel 15:22-23

“And Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.'”‬‬  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Saul’s excuse for disobeying the Lord’s clear command to destroy everything related to the Amalekites especially including all the spoils of war, was that he was going to offer a celebratory sacrifice to God. Now, this was probably mostly a lie because he’d gotten caught, but at least it sounded good right? I didn’t obey you, Lord, because I was going to give you a gift. What Saul reflects in this excuse is a fundamental misunderstanding of the character and identity of the Lord. It’s a misunderstanding that Samuel moves immediately to correct. Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Proverbs 22:15

“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”  (ESV)

We live in a culture that worships youth.  We fight the signs of aging (there are apparently seven of them).  We resist the pull of the years.  We celebrate youth movements.  We look for the young people to come and save us.  If a movement or idea is sparked by young people it is automatically assumed to be good and wise.  We are told to let children be themselves.  The truth, though, is that while it is good the humanity of young people is recognized and defended more than it used to be, most of this cultural moment is foolish to the highest degree. Read the rest…