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Descended into Hell?

The independent Christian Church (of which FCC is a part), has historically been cautious of creeds at
best. If you grew up in a mainline denomination or the Catholic Church, you probably have memories of
reciting the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed in services. Our question today has to do with a difficult line
in the Apostles’ Creed that says (in some versions) that “[Jesus] descended into Hell”. There’s a lot to unpack
here.
 

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Justification and Sanctification

One question I received was the difference between justification and sanctification. These are both big
“churchy” words, but they are full of deep meaning for Christians. Justification is our legal state before God.
Because of Christ we are justified. One preacher commented that when Jesus justifies us, He makes it “just as if
I” never sinned. That’s pretty accurate. Justification means to give us the standing before God as pure, righteous
and holy.
 

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Will We Get Bored in Heaven?

Will we get bored in heaven? Consider this: God is infinite. It will take infinity to get to know God. We will
never fully understand all that God knows. In heaven we will learn something new every ‘day.’ So how could
we get bored? (Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:28). –Charles Stanley


Exmas and Chrissmas

C. S. Lewis writes a satirical essay about how the strange nation of Niatirb (yes, that’s Britain
backwards) celebrates Christmas. He remarks that is seems as if there are two separate holidays on the same
day: Exmas and Chrissmas. Exmas is a time of great stress, labor, and weariness. People get cards to send one
another, and there is great lamenting when they receive a card from someone they didn’t send one to. And then
the gifts:
 

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Keep Watch!

We live in a society where surveillance and privacy are major concerns. Every store you enter has
security cameras, many stoplights have cameras, not to mention just about everyone walks around with a
camera in their pocket or purse these days. “Who is watching?” is a valid question in our day, but, in another
sense, it’s always been a good question.

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Who Are You?

I had a professor once who pronounced my last name differently when calling role each class period. I
corrected him the first three or four times, but when it was obvious my corrections weren’t sticking, I gave up
and just said “here” to whatever butchering of my name he did that day. As you can imagine, I never felt
particularly “known” by that professor. When someone doesn’t know your name, they don’t know you.

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Sacrificial Love

Years ago I led a small group of high school boys. Like many teens, they were always hungry. We joked
that they were our garbage disposals, because any leftovers we had they would happily consume. On one youth
trip, we were at an ice cream shop that had a challenge: if you could eat this massive bowl of twelve scoops of
ice cream, it was free. This one boy talked up how he could easily eat that much ice cream. So the other
students pooled their money and ordered it for him. He had to back up his words with actions. And he barely
got through one scoop.

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Help My Unbelief!

In Mark 9, we encounter a parent of a child with seizures. He’s tried everything to help his son. Every
medicine, every healer, and nothing has worked. Then he hears about this miracle worker named Jesus. Nothing
else has worked, so he’s not too hopeful. But he still takes his son, travels for what was likely many miles, and
finally he arrives. When he does, Jesus isn’t there. He’s off on a mountain with three of his disciples. The other
nine assure him they can handle the problem. They try, but the healing doesn’t work.

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Worry or Faith?

Fight or flight? God created our bodies with the ability to react to dangerous situations with a flood of
adrenaline into our system, giving us the ability to confront the threat or flee. This works great when the threat
is something concrete and present, like a tiger, an out of control fire, or an intruder. However, when we worry
about some potential future, our bodies tend to respond similarly. What if I lose my job? What if the stock
market crashes? What if my kid doesn’t get into the preschool I want them in? We fret and worry about so
many things, often things outside of our control. Our bodies are constantly soaked in these fight or flight
responses. This makes us tired, stressed, and miserable.
 

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Secret Agents

You log on to your favorite social media network, and you see all of your friends have changed their
profile picture to support some cause. As you scroll down, you see videos of them doing various “challenges” to
raise awareness for another issue. While these efforts to support a cause are laudable, recent research has
suggested that public, low-cost support of a cause tends to quickly fade. Researchers found, though, that when
someone supports a cause in a more personal and private way (writing a congressman, giving privately, etc),
those individuals remained more committed to those causes for a longer time.
 

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