Scott's Thoughts – Sun, Mar 10, 2024

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(Apologies for links that make getting back to this ST post a slightly frustrating process. We’re annoyed, too. We try to avoid that, but it’s beyond our control.)

Yes, today is long. Sorry, it’s not only who I am (i.e., verbose), but it takes sooo much more time to be truly succinct and actually accurate. (And don’t mistake short for good—many are short and careless.)

A Multitude of Multifarious Matters

“Okay, But What About…?” – Some Follow-up on Last Week’s Sermon on the 5th Commandment: “Honor Your Father and Your Mother”
A Multitude of Multifarious Matters
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So… many… things…. Sorry, apart from this section’s title, these won’t be heavily thought through, intentionally ordered to match a trajectory I’m going for, or even edited to avoid ending clauses with a preposition. But don’t hold me to that last one—there are limits! (Ironically, I just realized I spent-slash-wasted a good 45 seconds trying to get in a third intentional preposition in a row.)
Easter Sun All-Church Worship @ Tusculum University, Sun, Mar 31, 10a, Pioneer Arena
Wow, can you believe it’s almost Easter?! We’ve made plans for another all-church, all-in-one-service, all-together service to celebrate how God opening Christ’s grave is how He opened ours! Don’t miss it because we’re going to have a combined band and choir, a great time of singing together, reading the Scriptures, coming around the Lord’s Table, hearing the Word preached, and being encouraged in fellowship with one another! Check out for more info and make sure to pick up an Invite Card and be praying about who the Lord wants you to invite to join us! (Wow, Scott, does every single sentence deserve an exclamation point?!) Yep, all of ‘em!

Weekly Bible Study Podcast
Have mentioned this once, but as part of aligning kid, student, and adult curricula around each Sunday’s sermon content, every Thursday we post a 30-min podcast where we work through the coming Sunday’s sermon text. We hope this will help anybody and everybody, of course, but especially leaders of Life Groups, 180 Small Groups, and Kids Small Groups/Classes prepare for the coming Sunday’s lesson/content (as well as helping Staff.) It’s on the “Watch” tab on the app, under “Resources” on, and on the normal socials (FB & YT).

Brown Bags & Bibles Podcast
On our biweekly Bible and theology podcast, where Elder Mark Liebert and I “break down life’s biggest befuddlements with Biblical basics,” we are about to start releasing a new series we’re recording on world religions, cults, denominations, etc. We’ll start with Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Judaism, and Islam, so be on the lookout on the app under “Watch,” under “Resources” on, and on the normal socials (FB & YT).

On the App: “Sermons” and “Media” (on the “Watch” tab) Reveal Many Resources
Small detail, but I’ve noticed a few folks who didn’t know where to find a couple things. To find a bunch of video resources (sermons, Weekly Bible Study, Brown Bags & Bibles, weekly Pulse videos, Sunday recaps, re:gen Fireside Chats & testimonies, Marriage Ministry teachings, etc.), go to the app, choose the “Watch” tab on the bottom, and then choose either “Sermons” or “Media” on the top. Boom, you’re in.

180 Youth, Men’s, & Women’s Retreats @ Long View Ranch
Just wanna report that almost 100 students and Small Group Leaders (highlight vid, made by 8th-grader Lily Shrader) as well as a couple dozen FCC men and their sons (follow-up H7 Story, written by Travis Chapman) had an awesome weekend at their recent retreats! If you missed either of those, make sure to join us next year. But if you’re a woman, you’ve still got time to register if you hurry up because it’s this next weekend, Fri–Sun, Mar 15–17 (and you can still make it to church on time!) Friendly reminder that 13-21 year old daughters are free, so make it a Mother-Daughter weekend! Details at the top of the app Home page or at

Kids Pine Cove City Summer Camp (and Splash), Mon-Fri, Jul 22-26
This summer, we are going all-in to make Pine Cove City happen for elementary-aged kids and our own Splash for early childhood at FCC and in our community. If you don’t know what PCC is or you’ve not seen the highlight video from a couple years ago, go to the Pine Cove Camp website, the post about PCC at the top of our app or go to and find out more. Really, y’all, PCC is a really great, super well-run, and fantastic experience for an elementary-aged kid. But lemme cut to the chase… We have a goal of 130 kids and, in addition to some of our own FCC kids, we have approached 4-5 local elementary schools and asked the principals to invite 20 kids who could use an amazing week of camp this summer. So… because Pine Cove City is not exactly cheap, at $298/kid, we need your help in blessing some FCC and community kids with a really amazing week of learning about Jesus in a context of fun, we tracking?! ;o) If you want to help fund kids going to Pine Cove City, just designate your giving for it using the normal way via, “Giving” on the app, memo on check or envelope, etc.

Old Peeps, Meet Some New Peeps
As I’ve tried to say here and there in Scott’s Thoughts, per-sermon banter, etc., since Covid the constant “people churn” means that our entire congregation has turned over more than once and is now comprised mostly of folks who are new within the last 1.5(ish) years. Also, we are typically seeing ~10-12 first-timers per week at all 3 campuses. What this means is that we FCC veterans must continue to become good at opening our hearts, doors, and schedules to meaningfully welcome and engage new folks. As it is so easy to get into our own heads and experience church as if everyone else is as connected as us, I just feel the need to keep putting this out there as an always-on-my-heart issue that I want us to do well.

Scott’s Thoughts and the Future of “Great Questions Answered”
It’s always sorta funny to me when titles like this give an inordinate weight and gravitas. In my head, Walter Cronkite is introducing the next news segment: “Now we turn… to Scott’s Thoughts and the Future of ‘Great Questions Answered!’” Anyhoo… (Anyhue? Anyhow?) Long story short, after a hiatus, I have more than a few articles I’m working on that I am trying to get finished so that we continue to build a trustworthy repository of biblical answers to issues and questions we encounter in life. Am working on an answer to the question, “Should A Christian Attend an LGBT ‘Wedding?’” so that’s on the way in the next week or so.

Miscellaneous Musings
  • Because we as believers have the Spirit and the Word, if you are off-mission, it’s because you’re letting someone or something else take you there.

  • The call to sinners is repentance because they are already condemned. I.e., for what does a sinner repent if not sin that condemns them before a holy God? Likewise, it seems that many Christians struggle to see their salvation as good news because it’s accompanied by a self-righteousness that ignores God’s holiness.

  • Ignoring God’s holiness is how a Cult of You—membership of 1—gets started. Cults are just self-righteous man-made systems of laws started by one person and they are as innumerable as those who start them. We just happen to know only about the ones that gain a following.

  • What is faith if not preceded by repentance?! Too often it is behavioral modification parroting gospel-sounding words while simultaneously ignoring the holiness of God because all along the project was self-righteous. When we ignore God’s holiness, we will encourage commitment to a god made in our image that results in worship of self.

“Okay, But What About…?” – Some Follow-up on Last Week’s Sermon on the 5th Commandment: “Honor Your Father and Your Mother”
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After last Sunday’s sermon, “Honor Your Father and Your Mother” (Exodus 21:12-17), which laid out how the 5th Commandment is the foundation for human and societal flourishing, a number of folks had good questions about how that should work out in their own lives. They roughly fell into two categories depending on personal perspective—child or parent. So I thought I would give some answers.

But first, a (not so) brief disclaimer (that turned into a long one. Is anyone surprised?! Ugh… How do 3 simple and helpful points of 2 sentences each become 7 points for a dissertation?! In my defense, such writing projects inevitably become moments to think through and refine my own ministry, methods, vision, etc. as they relate to serving the church.) So here’s some hopefully helpful explanation as to why my preaching often won’t answer all the specific questions, issues, and nuances implied by a certain passage. (And having now written way too much re my preaching under “Why My Preaching…”, it feels a bit tangential, a tad defensive, and a smidge me-focused, so feel free to jump down to the second heading, “The Actual Answers”.)

Why My Preaching Emphasizes Principles Over Practicals
Please note I have simply said my preaching emphasizes principles over practicals, without any specifics of percentages assigned, i.e., it could be anywhere from 51% principles to 49% practicals to 99% to 1%. This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the practical nor that I am unaware that all the blathering of truth in the world means nothing unless it results in change and is lived. But in preaching, as with most things in life, there are pros and cons to different approaches, or to maybe defang my inner negativity monster a bit (because I have an outer one, too), there are “consequences” to different preaching approaches. In my preaching—if not already abundantly clear—there are a few such “features,” as I feel the need to call them now, which may be helpful to name for all involved—listener and preacher. (‘Wait. How’d we get from “pros and cons” to “features” so fast?!’) These are not all strict personal rules, and some are flexible, but these are typical enough to help explain why some folks may want more specifics than I typically provide, especially the last two.

  1. I try to insist that the overarching redemptive story of the Bible is the illustrative color and context for the sermon, all the way from preaching prep to the listener’s experience. I want the arc of the Bible’s message and its content itself to be how the sermon is delivered. A less nerdy and succinct way to say this: I try to use the Word itself to be how I illustrate and preach the Word. This means, compared to many preachers, there is less storytelling and fewer personal anecdotes. I suspect that some people experience some of this as disconnection from their personal circumstances.

  2. Because I believe in sola scriptura, or “Scripture interprets Scripture,” (which is poorly understood and far less common than it should be among Protestant preachers), I will often refer to additional passages or verses that help clarify the main text. However, I try to stick to the main text and not go too far beyond it because I want to avoid imposing out-of-context verses (by doing biblical theology as preaching prep/delivery), fight Biblical illiteracy by simmering on one main text, make a deep and sustained argument for one main theme, and to help listeners develop a taste for faithful interpretation. This means I tend to use other verses a tad more sparingly than others unless the Bible itself is making those connections. So when listeners don’t hear me make as many general topical connections as they may, or they think of other or better passages, this may be experienced as disconnection from their understanding.

  3. I believe that ultimately we don’t read the Scriptures but the Scriptures are meant to read us. For the Christian, they define reality, tell us who we are, and are the filter through which we must learn to see the world. So, because I refuse to do my reading, preaching prep, and sermon delivery starting with human experience or our assumptions about reality, this may easily be experienced as disconnection with personal ideas or convictions. In fact—and this is going to sound harsh—it’s even worse than that because as a matter of principle, I don’t care about whether or how you or I might misunderstand, hear something wrong, or even receive it as offense because the goal isn’t to adjust the message to us but us to the message. So I think that means people may sometimes hear me as not caring or touching on their personal circumstances. (Which apparently is true—I don’t care. I just said it above. So suck it up and bend your will to the Bible.)

  4. Not particular to me, of course, (despite what some among us may believe!)… but there’s only so much time and you can’t get to half the important things.

  5. I think we too often narrowly define personal application as the most granular application possible, so I tend to shy away from going as specific as many may feel is personal enough.

  6. I assume application happens as the Spirit leads in your Bible reading and personal study, and in community with other believers (family, Serve Team, Life Group, organic convos, etc.) Yes, we have application thoughts every sermon, but because I’m not trying to say everything possible from a text but the most important thing(s) and because “The Big 3” is how we are designed to work, I try to make sure the application is further honing of those most important things and that sermons leave space for application from general principles to specific persons. This inevitably leaves out some specific application to people that can be made.

  7. One of my main goals is to draw out first principles in the main text. This will likely mean some listeners may experience my preaching as something with which they may agree and yet feel some distance from in terms of how it applies to them, especially since such application for them might mean going to passages I may not that say something similar but with a specific nuance, or that are a contrast that clarifies, etc.

My Method for Getting to The Actual Answers
While my actual answers and thoughts (under the heading “The Actual Answers”) are fairly succinct summaries and won’t show the sausage-making, it’s worth pointing out that in such “wisdom issues” (Job 28:28; Proverbs 1:7; 9:10; Daniel 1:20), where there is no specific command that clearly applies or answers the question, we must use a form of analogical reasoning where we reason from God’s ideal design to the question at hand by applying Scriptural principles and contexts with overlapping principles. Though not exclusively so from analogy, the Bible has many examples of such reasoning from and by means of the Scriptures (i.e., not merely in the Scriptures) and it speaks of the limits of human wisdom compared to God’s: Job 12:13, 20, 24-25; 32:11-12; Isaiah 55:8-9; Luke 24:27, 32; Acts 17:2-4, 17, 22-23; 18:4, 19, 26; 19:8; 28:23; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.
The Actual Answers
With regard to the 5th Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother, that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12), almost all of the questions I’ve heard this week fell into two categories depending on the perspective, child or parent.
#1 – What about abusive or emotionally distant parents, or a family situation that seems unworthy of honor? And as an adult, how much do I honor them, especially if they’re unable to care for themselves?

#2 – How can I be a parent worthy of honor? Can anyone, for that matter? And what if I haven’t exactly been worthy of any such honor?
My apologies. My answers to the above 2 questions aren’t yet ready for public consumption (by the throngs of dozens who are probably struggling to simply carry on without them.) I’ll post them ASAP.
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