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Common Slaves

Common Men; Uncommon Master

Author

Joe Reed

Follower of Jesus, husband of Michele, father of the greatest kids, associate pastor at Lewis Lake.

Playing Heaven

Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Revelation 19:9

Deep in every soul is an instinctive yearning to be in a world we don’t yet inhabit. The yearning for this world is so inescapable and so powerful that, from time to time, we can’t help but pretend that we do live in it.

Puppies appear to lead a pretty happy, fun life, so it’s not surprising little kids like to enter the puppy world, bouncing around the house on all fours, barking, panting, clawing their way up your legs, or, if you’re caught unprepared, clawing your pants down. In any case, these precious little ones look up at you in their best puppy face and eagerly, shamelessly, joyously beg for attention. Kids play house, they play castles, princesses, and Robin Hood, they create and inhabit imaginary worlds built from Legos or maybe some sticks, scrap lumber, and crooked, rusty nails.

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Rights ’n Stuff

I have received several kindly criticisms of my previous article, good and responsible criticisms deserving a good and responsible response. I’m thankful for the pushback. Dangling a sword in the still waters of a quiet lagoon will never make it sharp, you gotta heat the thing up and give it a good smiting with a hammer. A good friend wounds, but faithfully. So yay for getting a loving thump and a friendly wound.

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Long-term Neighbor Loving

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is,Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:28-31, ESV

Whenever a biblical phrase goes viral across the Christian landscape, I get a little suspicious. And when that phrase is employed in a moment of confusion to help Christians reach the exact same conclusion as those who hate Christ, I add some natural crotchetiness and unnatural cantankerosity to my suspicion and this, quite naturally makes me a very pleasant person.

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Fall Conference Recordings Now Available

The audio for the Common Slaves Fall Conference “Let us Run With Endurance” is now available under the Conference Audio tab. I’m hoping the videos will be up shortly, and will let you know. Thanks again to Dr. Ardel B. Caneday for this significant presentation.

Also, be sure to subscribe to our podcast, “A Place for Truth,” where you’ll find cultural conversations with Drs. P. Andrew Sandlin and Ardel B. Caneday, and hopefully we’ll get the conference sessions up on there too. Look for it wherever you find your podcasts. If you’re an Apple snob like me, you can find it here.

Poor Little Ol’ What’s-His-Name

A little while ago, a little ways away, sits a sleepy little town. Little happens in this little town, little chance it will. The little baker bakes his little bread, and the cobbler cobbles his little shoes. The little river turns a little wheel for the little miller’s mill. 

In the middle of this little town you’ll see a little hill. On the little hill stands a little castle and a little flag flying overhead. Inside, on a little golden throne sits a little king with a little golden crown. His Little Majesty barks little orders to his little soldiers, who pick up their little swords and take their little stations on the little walls around the little town. They watch and they guard, but there’s little to see. Little happens in this little town, little chance it will.

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Witness Protection

note: At Eric’s request I’m experimenting with making an audio recording of some of these articles. So if you want to listen to me read it (and I don’t know why you would), you can do so below.

Witness Protection

I’ve been somewhat bothered by a phrase I’ve heard repeatedly as churches wrestle their way through the Covid era, so I thought I’d try to process it out loud. Here’s the offending line: Protect our witness.

The idea is something like this: Stuff Christians do, like gathering together in large groups, sitting in close proximity for an hour, singing so heartily spit flies at least twice the magical six feet, sharing meals, engaging in holy kissin’, and all with unveiled face before God and each other is dangerous, reckless, and destructive. It’s spreading disease, sorrow, and death. And who likes death-spreaders? Not I.

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Don’t Make Me Cry

You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?

Psalm 56:8

After my wife Michele discovered a small, simple upright piano free on Facebook Marketplace we found ourselves meeting a delightful lady in a delightful old farmhouse outside Elk River. Michele sat down to the piano that, for this lady, held many memories of her children learning and making music. Michele, as only she can, began to play Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the lady’s eyes filled with tears and she said, “It’s just so beautiful it makes me cry!”

Crying is an odd phenomenon, if you think about it. Michele played a series of notes on a mechanical contraption, they struck this lady’s eardrums, and as they did, her tear ducts produced so much extra fluid it ran down her cheeks. Somehow it’s less romantic put that way. 

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What We Have Here Is A Failure to Mistrust

by Pastor John Lawrey

where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom 5:20b-21

If you are following along at home, you might be wondering “Dude, where’s my country?” I won’t recite the tedious list of wrongs done in the name of coronavirus, but one stands out head and shoulders above the rest: closed and restricted churches. The salt in the wound is that blue state governors have restricted churches at the same time they have provided unfettered access to abortion, marijuana, alcohol, and the somewhat misnamed “peaceful protest.”

Something ought to be said about the blatant inconsistencies, hypocrisy, and double standards, not to mention a two-tiered justice system, but this article is about something much bigger: Will we even have a civilization at the end of this, and if so, what kind? 

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On Authority & Boundaries

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus

I want to noodle over with you the notion of authority, the right to impose one’s will on something or someone else, which also comes with the right to inflict pain upon the non-compliant. Jesus claims all authority in heaven and on earth, which means he has the right to impose his will on anyone or anything. He will reward those who comply and punish those who don’t.

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