Digging in Deeper: Acts 19:20

“In this way the word of the Lord flourished and prevailed.” (CSB – Read the chapter

Have you ever watched a movie, gotten to the “and they lived happily ever after” part, and thought, “There’s got to be more to that story”? So often, when a movie ends—especially a romantic comedy—it ends at a point where there is still a whole lot left to sort out between the characters. We’re just to assume love will work everything out. The fact is, in the real world, life keeps going. Here in Acts, we see this incredible victory by the believers in the city of Ephesus and for me at least, it gets me thinking there has to be more to the story. Well, there is. 

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Morning Musing: Romans 12:2

“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
— ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter

We’ve talked recently about how to counter bad religion with the help of some things James, Jesus’ brother, wrote. Christians often have a reputation that we’ve unfortunately worked hard to earn that all we are concerned about is policing the behavior of the people around us. If we really put into practice what Paul says here, we will go a long ways toward fixing both the perception of ourselves and of our religion. 

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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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Morning Musing: Malachi 2:10

It’s vacation week! Blogs will keep appearing this week, but the audio recordings may not. Things will be back up and running like normal starting next week.

“Don’t all of us have one Father? Didn’t one God create us? Why then do we act treacherously against one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

As the prophet Malachi was offering various warnings to the people of Israel to get back on track with God, he took a minute to remind them of who they were. He reminded them of the common heritage they all shared. Although this reminder wasn’t aimed at us, the spirit behind it is still very much relevant today. It is relevant for our nation. It is relevant for the church. Let’s talk about why this morning.

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