Sunday, October 30, 2011

Msg: On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! - Week 6

Sometimes the all too familiar blends in and we don’t see it anymore. We think we know what’s already there and don’t really notice anymore. The same thing happens with people. We sometimes keep thinking in terms of their past and not who they have become.
In today’s message, we look at the contrast between the familiar and unfamiliar. Jesus goes back to his hometown. The people are amazed, yet don’t want to believe in Him because they think they know about his past. After this, we see the story of Jesus sending out the disciples in pairs to share the Good News and call people to repent and turn back to God. When they get back, they are excited to share the news with Jesus, but tired. Jesus then teaches them of His unlimited resources and power with two examples of overcoming the impossible.
What about you? Have you ever felt like God gave you some task that seemed impossible for you to do? Our problem usually comes from looking at our limited resources and abilities in trying to solve the task. But God is unlimited. The disciples learned that day and night how to put their faith in action. It’s now our turn. On your Mark, get set, Go!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Msg: On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! - Week 5

   So far in this series we have seen who Jesus is through the actions He does. Sometimes He's healing in crowds, other times one-on-one. . He overcomes anything, to the surprise of His disciples. Whether it is a physical disability, sickness, demon possession, or even nature there is nothing He can’t do. And there’s a progression to the power we see through Jesus.
   Today, we jump into chapter 5 at the point where a man comes running to Jesus and falls at his feet to beg Him to heal is daughter. And this isn’t just any man, he is the ruler of the local synagogue. Any religions leaders we have seen up to this point have been challenging Jesus and looking for ways to kill Him. This man’s life is going to change regardless of whether Jesus heals his daughter. He doesn’t care what anybody else thinks, but simply comes trusting in Jesus to do something. That’s what faith is, acting on what you believe even if you haven’t seen it happen to you yet. Have you ever come to Jesus that way? As Jesus turns to follow this man, He is interrupted by another who has left it all behind to come to Jesus. I pray that as you listen to this message, your faith will be strengthened and you will have a personal moment coming to Jesus with faith like these. Now on your mark, get set, go!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Msg: On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! - Week 4

   I remember years ago being asked for the first time if I could give a sermon while our pastor was on vacation. If he thought I was ready, I figured I would give it a try. Since I was so nervous about making a mistake, I decided to share as much from the Bible as I knew. I must have used 15-20 verses I had learned about in Sunday School or Youth Group. Back and forth through the Bible we went for about 10 minutes. Much to my surprise, I was asked again the next year. Now what? I've already shared everything I know for sure. In my study time, I came across the story we hear again in today's message. Back then I had picked this because it's one of those rare times when Jesus explains the parable to the disciples. I figured can't get it wrong if I just repeat what Jesus said.
   Today, we go a little deeper into chapter 4 of Mark than I did those many years ago. The question to ask yourself from this passage is, what does the soil of your heart look like? Confused? Give a listen and find out what Jesus means by the parable of the sower.
   After the day was done, Jesus got into a boat with the disciples and fell asleep while a storm came in and threatened to sink the boat they were in. If you miss everything else from the message - get this: Your life has a purpose and you were created for something, not to avoid something. God wants us to live not in fear, but in trusting Him. Now on your mark, get set, go!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Msg: On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! - Week 3

   Do you prefer to be in the middle of a large crowd, or by yourself? While I prefer to be alone at times, I am finding myself more comfortable in larger crowds. I was recently at a Newsboys concert and stood in the 16th row. Being that close to the stage and having the keyboard player right over my head during part of the show was amazing. When I get to heaven someday, I want to be in the crowd worshiping  Jesus, as close to front as I can get.
   When we look at chapter 3 of Mark, we see crowds continuing to gather around Jesus, almost crushing him. People are coming for different reasons - some to see miracles, others to be healed, others to hear words of life, and a few who are looking to find fault. The message today starts with Jesus going out on a boat to teach because of the crowd pressing in on Him. Then He goes off on a mountainside to pray and calls those He wants to use for sharing His message of hope. As we look at the people He calls, they are ordinary people, just like you and me. They aren't religious superstars, and as we keep reading we will see they don't understand much of the time, and make mistakes along the way. I don't know about you, but that gives me a lot of encouragement to know that God wants to use someone like me, despite all of my faults and failures.
   When Jesus comes down with His disciples, He goes into a home and is again surrounded by so many people that He and the disciples can't even eat. Not only have the religious leaders come to challenge Him again, but his own family thinks Jesus has lost His mind and comes to take Him away. Maybe you are a believer and friends or family don't understand why you choose to live your life for Jesus instead of what they are pursuing. Take encouragement from what Jesus teaches about a spiritual family. Now on your mark, get set, go!

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Sunday, October 02, 2011

Msg: On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! - Week 2

   In today's lesson from Mark 2, we look at two very different men who meet Jesus for the first time. Maybe you've never really met Him either. Let their introductions encourage you.
   The first guy is paralyzed and is brought to Jesus by four friends. They have heard the miracles Jesus has been performing, and believe He has the power to help their friend. When they find Jesus, he is in the middle of a house full of people, listening as He preaches to them. No mention of miracles yet, just pressing in to hear what He has to say. When they can't get their friend close enough for Jesus to touch him, they climb up on the roof, make a hole in it, and lower their friend in front of Jesus. This is what everyone has been waiting for. Instead of touching the man and healing him, Jesus says something far more important, which gets to the true motives of why everyone is in the room. In this one encounter, we learn about the relationship between faith, healing, and forgiveness. It begs the question for those today that are followers of Jesus: Who are you carrying to Him?
   The other guy we look at today is very different. He doesn't have a physical ailment, in fact he probably has everything he wants. He was a tax collector, a known thief. Jesus challenges him that day to leave it all behind and follow Him. It was probably difficult for the other guys traveling around with Jesus to accept that this guy who had likely been cheating them for years could be forgiven and one of them now. Again, it's a challenge for us sometimes today to accept that God can forgive people who have done wrong to us and society.
   What will you do with the truth of God's forgiveness? It's your turn. Now, on your mark, get set, go!

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