Anchored, Part 8 Preview

School is a process of preparation.  You learn the things you learn, in the order in which you learn them, so that you are prepared for life.  For instance, the preschooler learns his ABC’s so he can read later.  The elementary student learns arithmetic so that they can balance their checkbook or (for some) to engineer buildings later.  The high school student reads works of great literature to learn how to think.  The college student wanting to go into government learns history so they know what not to repeat.  The medical student learns about human anatomy so she can treat it.  Much of our educational process is designed to prepare us for what comes next.

When the author of the book of Hebrews picked up his pen to write this magnificent letter, he spent ten chapters detailing the greatness of who Jesus is.  After these 10 chapters, however, the final few chapters transition to talking about what we are to do with the information we have just received.  In other words, the author of the book of Hebrews wanted his first ten chapters to prepare us for the applications outlined in the closing chapters.

After 7 weeks of progressing from Hebrews 1:1-10:18 in our sermon series titled “Anchored,” this week we begin to look at the concluding applications the author of Hebrews has in his letter.  If 1:1-10:18 are designed to prepare us for something, what are they designed to prepare us for?  We will begin to look at that this week as we dive into Hebrews 10:22-25 in week 8 of our “Anchored” study.  Hope to see you in either our 9:30 or 10:50 services this week at Wildwood.

Just the Fax, Ma’am (Anchored Part 7 Preview)

In the fall of 1996 I needed a job. Kimberly and I had just got married, moved to Dallas, and started seminary. Neither of us had a job when we moved to Dallas, so neither of us had any income. This was complicated by the fact that both of us were spending money. Not tons of money (mind you), but our car needed gas, our bodies needed food, and the Silverwood Apartments expected us to pay rent every month (imagine that!) This negative cash flow situation prompted us to not be terribly selective in our job search. We were not looking for our careers, we were looking for J-O-B-$. With this in mind, we both accepted positions at a bartering company that ran out of a local hotel.

If you are unclear about what a bartering company does, don’t worry . . . it is not relevant to this story. What is relevant is that somehow, as a part of my job with this company, I was tasked with selling used fax machines. I had about 50 broken down fax machines that I was pretty sure were used in the Eisenhower administration, and I was supposed to sell them for about $300 a piece to clients of this bartering company. The machines themselves looked terrible, did not have all their parts, and worked only sporadically. After making several sales calls, I had to actually demonstrate the machines to stupefied clients, none of whom bought one (thank God).

Why did people NOT buy the fax machines? Was it because of my lack of salesmanship? Possibly. However the real reason I think the fax machines did not sell was because a NEW fax machine could be bought at Office Max for $99. That’s right, our broken machines were 200% more expensive than a brand new one still in the box. I asked my boss about this, and he assured me that we were selling “business quality machines, not the junk you get at the big box retailers.” Right. Anyone who believed that line also probably believes that professional wrestling is real and that “The Blair Witch Project” really happened.

This story illustrates an important point for us. Most of the time, we do not spend more to get less. Within our budget, we always want the best we can afford. Why would we intentionally and knowingly buy less than the best that we could afford? Knowing that this principle is true, marketers and advertisers spend big money to sell you their product. They are attempting to tell you why their stuff is the best your money can buy. They argue that it is the best because they know if you come to that conclusion, you will choose their product over their inferior competition.

In Hebrews 7:1-10:18, the author of this book unpacks the longest single section of exposition in the entire book. In this section, the author is arguing for the supremacy of Jesus Christ over the Old Testament system. The reason for this argument is simple . . . if the people remembered that Jesus was better then they would continue to invest their lives in Him. If they ever began to think that Christianity was broken down and overpriced, they might be tempted to float back into Judaism or some other religion.

This is a relevant conversation not just for first century Hebrew Christians, but also for us today. If we fail to remember that Christianity and Christ are the best investment of our lives, we can begin to drift away to other “big box” ideas marketed to us by the world.

This Sunday at Wildwood, we will be looking at this long section in part 7 of our series from the book of Hebrews entitled “Anchored.” We would love to have you join us this week as we see how Jesus is the best and fully worth investing all our lives in Him. Hope to see you Sunday in either our 9:30 or 10:50 services.

For 24 Minutes . . . (Anchored, part 6 preview)

For 24 minutes, it looked like we were going to game 7.  For 24 minutes, it looked like San Antonio Spur’s point guard Tony Parker was going to score 50 points in the game.  For 24 minutes, it looked like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s plans to close out the series on their home floor and make preparations for a date in the NBA Finals was a bit premature.  For 24 minutes, the Thunder got their tails kicked by the veteran Spurs.  Last night for 24 minutes, the energy was getting sucked out of the Chesapeake Energy Arena.  For the 24 minutes of basketball that made up the first half of last night’s Western Conference Finals Game against the San Antonio Spurs, the OKC Thunder looked like they were headed for sure defeat.  Many teams would have been demoralized by that start, started to point fingers at themselves, their coaches, or the referees, or blamed the crowd for their lack of pizazz.  Many teams would have quit.


However . . . the Thunder are not many teams.  


In the midst of their first half beat down, the home team kept their composure and kept their hope alive.  They believed they could beat the Spurs, and their confidence about the next two quarters, powered them to stay in the game when the situation looked dire.

Minutes 25-48 played out quite differently for the Thunder, as they outscored the Spurs by 23 points in the second half to fly to an 8 point victory.  Their sustained hope and confidence in the first half paid off big time in the second as the Thunder are headed to a place they have longed for all year . . . the NBA Finals.

I was thinking about this game today (probably too much if you must know the truth) as I was preparing for Sunday’s sermon at Wildwood.  This Sunday, we will be looking at Hebrews 6:11-20.  In these 9 verses, the author talks extensively about “hope” and the assurance hope brings for the Christian who perseveres.

It seems that the original audience of the book of Hebrews was in the midst of what appeared to be a “losing game.”  After years of walking with God, the Hebrew Christians were experiencing some real crises of their faith.  The fact that Christ had not yet returned was a surprise to the early church, causing some to wonder about the integrity of God’s promises.  The fact that the Roman Empire had begun a systematic persecution of Christians, caused some to wonder if it was worth it to persist.  Seeing the difficulty around them, many people would be demoralized, start to bicker among themselves, or blame their leadership for lack of vision.  Many people would quit.


However . . . the author of the book of Hebrews does not think that the Bride of Jesus Christ is just “many people”.


In Hebrews 6:11-20 the hope that we have that gives us the confidence (in Christ) to persevere to the end is outlined.  Join us Sunday as we see how we can enter the second half of our Christian lives prepared to win the game.  We’ll see you at 9:30 or 10:50 Sunday morning.