Mar 17, 2019
Left Wanting

ATurning Point                                       Mark 10:35-45

Left Wanting

Jesus Teaches about Serving Others
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.”36 “What is your request?” he asked. 37 They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
 
38 But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?”39 “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering.
 
40 But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”41 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
 

Focus

A simple request of a couple of followers of Jesus.  Followers who have given up everything.  They want something in return for their dedication and faithfulness.  They were left wanting.
 
Let's not be too hard on them.  There are church members who want things in return for that they do for the church.  In my experience, mostly they want their way.
 
There are clergy who think if they are faithful and dedicated, they should get something in return - mostly a larger church.  For many years that is the way the appointment system worked.
 
Disciples are left wanting, church members are left wanting, clergy are left wanting.  Following Jesus is not a meritorious reward based system.
 
It is a turning from honor to humility, from success to sacrifice, from aggrandizement to giving.
 
In our endeavors to be rewarded and recognized for our faithfulness we may be left wanting.
 

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  • Mar 17, 2019Left Wanting
    Mar 17, 2019
    Left Wanting

    ATurning Point                                       Mark 10:35-45

    Left Wanting

    Jesus Teaches about Serving Others
    35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.”36 “What is your request?” he asked. 37 They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
     
    38 But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?”39 “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering.
     
    40 But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”41 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
     

    Focus

    A simple request of a couple of followers of Jesus.  Followers who have given up everything.  They want something in return for their dedication and faithfulness.  They were left wanting.
     
    Let's not be too hard on them.  There are church members who want things in return for that they do for the church.  In my experience, mostly they want their way.
     
    There are clergy who think if they are faithful and dedicated, they should get something in return - mostly a larger church.  For many years that is the way the appointment system worked.
     
    Disciples are left wanting, church members are left wanting, clergy are left wanting.  Following Jesus is not a meritorious reward based system.
     
    It is a turning from honor to humility, from success to sacrifice, from aggrandizement to giving.
     
    In our endeavors to be rewarded and recognized for our faithfulness we may be left wanting.
     

    You can listen to or download more sermons here.

     
  • Mar 10, 2019One More Thing
    Mar 10, 2019
    One More Thing

    Turning Point                                              Mark 10:17-31

    One More Thing

    The Rich Man

    17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’ 20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” 21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
    22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
     

    It is hard to enter the Kingdom of God

    23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” 26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” 28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.
    29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
     
     

    Focus

    A rich man seeks out Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus says, "Obey the commandments."
     
    The man is happy, he obeys all of them. Jesus then says, "One more thing..."
     
    The man goes away sad. He couldn't or wouldn't do the one more thing to follow Jesus and inherit eternal life.
     
    He faces a turning point in his life - and instead of doing "one more thing," he turns away sad.
     
    What is the one more thing for you? What is the one more thing you need to do or give up to completely follow Jesus and inherit eternal life?
     

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  • Mar 3, 2019It Gets Personal
    Mar 3, 2019
    It Gets Personal

    Jesus Followers                   Mark 8:27-30

    It Gets Personal

    Jesus starts the questioning at a comfortable distance, "Who do people say that I am?"
     
    Then Jesus gets up close and personal and asks, "Who do you say that I am?"
     

    Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

    27 Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

    28 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

    29 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

    Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.*

    30 But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

     
    We may think we follow at a distance.  We might even attempt to follow at a comfortable distance.  Vibrant and vital discipleship get us personal and put us up close to Jesus .
     
    We all need to answer the question, "Who is Jesus?"
     
     
              
     
     

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  • Feb 17, 2019Familiarity
    Feb 17, 2019
    Familiarity

    Follow Jesus                            Mark 6:1-6

    Familiarity

    Jesus returns to His hometown.  He does not receive the homecoming one would expect.  The people in His hometown are wondering where He obtained His wisdom and the power to do miracles.  They say, "This is just Jesus, just the son of a carpenter, just Mary's son, this is just Jesus."
     
    Their familiarity make them resistant to Jesus.  The result is Jesus' power is limited.
     
    As is said, "Familiarity breeds contempt."  For us unbelief is not our problem.  We too may be so familiar with Jesus, so comfortable with Jesus, our discipleship is commonplace and mundane.  Familiarity has diminished any passion.
     
    When our discipleship is mundane, Jesus is limited to do anything new, anything extraordinary.
     
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  • Feb 10, 2019Dilemma
    Feb 10, 2019
    Dilemma

    Jesus Followers                                   Mark 4:35-41

    Dilemma

    Jesus Calms the Storm
    35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
    38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
    39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
    41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
     
    As followers of Jesus we will come to a point where we face a dilemma. Eventually we will have to decide to follow in Jesus' way or take a different way.
     
    On the Sea of Galilee the disciples ask themselves, "Who is this that the wind and sea obey?" You can almost hear the next question as it ripples across the water, "Do we also obey?"
     
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  • Feb 3, 2019Stop Following
    Feb 3, 2019
    Stop Following

    Jesus Followers                           Mark 3:13-19

    Stop Following

    13 Then Jesus went up a hill and called to himself the men he wanted. They came to him, 14and he chose twelve, whom he named apostles. “I have chosen you to be with me,” he told them. “I will also send you out to preach, 15and you will have authority to drive out demons.”

    16 These are the twelve he chose: Simon (Jesus gave him the name Peter); 17James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee (Jesus gave them the name Boanerges, which means “Men of Thunder”); 18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Patriot, 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.

    Focus Verse:
    Mark 3:13
    Jesus went up on a mountain and called those he wanted, and they came to him.
     
    Sometimes we think we are not good enough, popular enough, rich enough, smart enough, charismatic enough for Jesus to call us.
     
    These are not prerequisites to being called. From this group that Jesus calls, being a sinner is a prerequisite, being a doubter is a prerequisite, misbehaving is a prerequisite and maybe even an occasional disagreement with Christ is a prerequisite.
     
     
    Reflect on...
    What do you need to stop following in order for Jesus to use you?
     
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  • Jan 20, 2019Is it for You?
    Jan 20, 2019
    Is it for You?

    Jesus Followers                        Mark 2:13-17

    Is it for you?

    Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew)

    13 Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.

    15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and o

    ther sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

    17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

     
    Jesus again extends the invitation to follow.  This time to a tax collector, one of the more despised persons of the day.  Jesus was hanging out with many of these tax collectors and other sinners.  Naturally, Jesus is criticized for hangout out with such people.
     
    Pious people say, "Change, then join us."  Jesus says, "Join us, then you will change."
     
    Jesus says He didn't for for the pious,  He came for the unpious, unreligious, unsanctified, and the unholy people.  Did Jesus come for you?
     
    Reflect on...
    1) How does it impact you that Jesus said He didn't come for the pious, and the righteous, but that He came for sinners?
    2) In your life, do you put on the mark of piety or are you sincere about being one of the sick?
     
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  • Jan 13, 2019Uphill
    Jan 13, 2019
    Uphill

    Jesus Followers                           Mark 2:1-9

    There is a big difference between being a believer in Jesus and being a follower of Jesus. One is demonstrated by intellect and the other is demonstrated by action. The gospel is very clear that Jesus does not expect us just to think rightly about Him, but also to live rightly because of Him. To be a disciple of Christ is to actually do what He has called us to do. Are you a Jesus follower?

     

    Uphill

    Jesus offers forgiveness to a paralyzed person.  The person was expecting to be healed.  The people who brought him to Jesus were expecting him to be healed.  The legal experts were expecting to be healed.  Instead, Jesus offers forgiveness.
     
    We also expect Jesus to heal.  Most of the names on the prayer list are prayers for healing.  We expect Jesus to heal.
     
    Jesus asks, "Which one is easier, healing or forgiveness?"
     
    Like the people in the story, we think healing is harder than forgiveness.  We need to take to heart Jesus' question, "Which one is easier, healing or forgiveness?"
     
     
    Reflect on...
    Do you trust Jesus to forgive as much as you trust Jesus to heal?
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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  • Jan 6, 2019Jesus Says
    Jan 6, 2019
    Jesus Says

    Jesus Followers                                  Mark 1:16-20

     

    Epiphany Sunday is the day we celebrate the arrival of the wise men. It is the manifestation of Christ to the whole world.

     

    Jesus Says

     
    There is a big difference between being a believer in Jesus and being a follower of Jesus. One is demonstrated by intellect and the other is demonstrated by action. The gospel is very clear that Jesus does not expect us just to think rightly about Him, but also to live rightly because of Him. To be a disciple of Christ is to actually do what He has called us to do. Are you a Jesus follower?
     
    We say, "Jesus says", we say Jesus says 'Pray this way.'" We say "Jesus says, 'Do this.'" We say "Jesus says, 'Don't do this.'" We say Christianity is about doing what Jesus says.  But what if doing what we say Jesus says isn't what Jesus says to do at all?
     
    Jesus does say to "Come follow me."  All he wants is for you to be a part of the Body of Christ.
     
    Jesus says he will show us.  What?  How to become more like Him.
     
    He will make us fishers of people. How do we do that?  By becoming more like Him we are better able to expand his ministry to others.
     
     
     
    Reflect on...
    What is one thing you can do this week to begin to follow Jesus or to follow him more closely?
     
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  • Dec 24, 2018Good News
    Dec 24, 2018
    Good News

    The Heart of Christmas                              Mark 1:1

    Good News

    More so on Christmas Eve than other times, there is a mix of churched, non-churched, and nominally churched. 
    The people who come are experiencing joys and stress of the Christmas season:
    • some are excited to be reunited with family
    • others are weary from traveling
    • a few are going through divorces
    • several may be experiencing Christmas without a loved one, due to death, deployment or other reasons such as being in the nursing home or suffering Alzheimer's disease.
    • some are experiencing their first Christmas together
    • Many anticipate the giving and receiving of gifts
    • All come to hear the good news, to be comforted, assured, encouraged, and inspired.
     
    In Luke, Christ is born without a word being spoken "how silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given!" (O Little Town of Bethlehem).  The first words spoken are to shepherds.  Shepherds are the most unlikely to receive and spread the news -  this is consistent with Luke's purpose of Christ.  The shepherds are, ceremonially unclean, living in fields (transient, no shelter, like the baby Jesus) and lacking in credibility.
    The good news (euangeliov) that come is
    • live breaking news happening in real time.
    • When it is proclaimed and published it comes into effect (ginomai) it is God's word that heralded - as in Genesis.
    The word Givomai:
    • can be translated it came upon the stage. The word is a thread that holds the story together - Luke 2:1, 2, 6, 13, 15
    • The word is signal that the scene is changing and something significant is about to happen.  The story begins with, "In those days" (v. 1) - the same old thing, then dramatically shifts to "This day" (v. 11) something NEW
    • When God breaks on the scene it is never the same ol' story.
     

    When God breaks on the scene, something good and new happens.

     

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