You Want Me to Cut It Off?

March 31, 2020

Lucky you this morning! Anyone up for contemplating with me amputations, devouring worms, and unquenchable fire? Anyone? Let’s just say this upfront: this is a challenging passage--one that none of us would likely choose to start this day with! So, how should we approach this passage together?

The G.O.A.T. Disciple

March 30, 2020

This passage begins with Jesus’ teaching on his death and resurrection. Jesus had a clear sense of his impending mortality and his determined journey toward the cross gave shape to the priorities of his life. The disciples, on the other hand, were looking for any topic at hand to distract themselves. So, instead of figuring out what this path to the cross might demand of them, why not figure out which of them is the G.O.A.T. (the Greatest of All Time)?

Transfiguration

March 27, 2020

The transfiguration of Jesus is something, isn’t it? Jesus performs many miracles along the way, but this seems extra, somehow more than the normal (if there is such a thing) miracle. Dazzling clothes. The sudden appearance of Moses and Elijah. The voice of God in a cloud. The disciples dumbfounded. And then it was over, almost as fast at began. What do we make of it?

Avoiding the Cross

March 25, 2020

When reading the Bible, understanding where something happened is as important as knowing what happened in a particular setting in the Bible. Caesarea Philippi is one of those settings. It was near the Banias spring, which gushed from a massive rock face and flowed into one of the streams that form the Jordan River. Near the spring was a cave with a seemingly bottomless pit and an unlimited quantity of water.

Heart Health

March 20, 2020

As I referred to yesterday, the church has argued for centuries over Communion. Who can serve it? Juice or wine? Unleavened bread or Hawaiian bread? 1st Sunday of each month or every Sunday? Many cups or one cup? The list could go on and on. If we don’t do it could actually make us sick. That is actually written in the Scripture!

Tradition in Love

March 19, 2020

Jesus’ birthday cake, a cross cake at Easter, a new white coat for Easter Sunday worship, an Easter Bunny, and teacake cookies, these were all traditions in my family. If any of these traditions were neglected, I felt cheated. Christmas wasn’t Christmas and Easter wasn’t Easter without these cherished traditions.

Pass Them By?

March 18, 2020

“He intended to pass them by.” What? Jesus saw his disciples struggling against the wind and waves and was going to pass them by? Jesus had a lot more faith in them than they had in themselves. Or was it they didn’t have enough faith in Jesus? After all, it was Jesus who put them in the boat and said, “I’ll meet you on the other side.” All this time Jesus was aware of their circumstances, while he was praying, when he looked upon the lake, and while he was walking across the lake to meet them on the other shore.

With God There is Always Enough

March 17, 2020

This is probably one of the most well known, popular miracles of Jesus. Here is the scene. Jesus is tired. He has been teaching and healing all day. This has depleted his body and spirit. Yet, when he sees the thousands of tired, hungry people, his concern is not for himself, but for the crowd, the children, the women and men who have been there all day too.

An Inconvenient Faith

March 16, 2020

This is probably one of the most well known, popular miracles of Jesus. Here is the scene. Jesus is tired. He has been teaching and healing all day. This has depleted his body and spirit. Yet, when he sees the thousands of tired, hungry people, his concern is not for himself, but for the crowd, the children, the women and men who have been there all day too.

Let It Be What It Will Be

March 14, 2020

The response Jesus receives in Nazareth as well as the instructions he offers to his disciples beginning in verse 8 has always left me a bit puzzled. We think of “hometown heroes” but that certainly was not the case with Jesus. Perhaps they simply knew him too well to allow themselves to continue in their initial amazement. It is now time for Jesus to expand the reach of his ministry and do so by sending out his twelve disciples. He shares with them the authority he has over “impure spirits.” He tells them what to bring only one thing and what they are to preach to the people.

A Moment Worth Remembering

March 13, 2020

When our oldest child was born I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “I will do anything to love and protect this child.” I still look back with some surprise when I remember that this was the very first thought that entered my mind when I saw Anna for the first time. It was more than “love at first sight.” It was a total surrender of my future for the sake of hers.

Desperate For Healing

March 12, 2020

Despite our current concerns about the outbreak of coronavirus, the blessing of modern medical care might be what we most take for granted of life in the 21st century. One of the more unique works of John Wesley, the 18th century founder of Methodism, was a book entitled, Primitive Physic which contains many prescribed remedies for a variety of ailments.

Continued Disruption

March 11, 2020

Through four chapters of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus has already caused a fair bit of chaos in the villages located along the northern shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. One of the most unexpected discoveries for anyone who visits the Holy Land is how small the geographical area is in which Jesus has been operating. Looking towards the shoreline from a boat not far from the waterline, you can see the entirety of it with a small panoramic view.

A Nice Afternoon Nap

March 10, 2020

Yesterday I shared that what made the message of Jesus so radical and difficult for his adversaries and many others to comprehend is the way he understood the nation of Israel. Israel expected the Messiah to come to them. Jesus came to reform Israel around him. When he says, “the kingdom of God is near,” he isn’t referring to a new political administration. He is the embodiment of this kingdom. The kingdom of God was literally standing right in front of them.

Take A Deep Breath

March 9, 2020

A little over a week ago when we began our journey through Mark’s Gospel, Pastor Shea emphasized the pace and immediateness of Mark’s Gospel. It is the shortest of the four accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and we have already seen how quickly the opposition to Jesus is formed in Mark’s writing.