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“But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water” (Mark 4:37 NLT).

February 20, 2018

Jesus told the disciples that He wanted to take the boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. So, they pushed off and Jesus lay down to sleep in the back of the boat after a long day of ministry. Soon a fierce storm came up and threatened to sink the boat. Fearful, they awoke Jesus and He stilled the storm with a simple command. Then, asked them why they were afraid and why they lacked faith.

Four observations:
1) Jesus led them into the storm.
2) Jesus was with them, but was sleeping.
3) Jesus had the power to still the storm.
4) Jesus made a point to question why they chose fear over faith.

What can we learn from this story?

“Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more” (Mark 4:24 NLT).

February 19, 2018

Jesus instructed His disciples to “pay close attention” to His teachings. For the “closer” they listened, the more they would receive understanding from His Word. This principle seems obvious: “listen and learn.” Yet, there is a spiritual component. For Christ is making a promise to those that pay close attention to His teachings that they will be given more and more understanding. This is why we love God’s Word. We read it everyday and everyday it brings new meaning to our lives.

Celebrate God’s Son

August 27, 2017 | Mark 12:30 | celebrate, three commitments, worship

Love and joy and celebration are connected. And where you focus your heart, where you put your affection, your first love, affects everything. What do you love first? You can tell by what you put first. Who or what comes first in your life? What are you celebrating? What is so important to you that you’re throwing a party, blowing out candles, setting off fireworks for, standing on your feet cheering for it?

Did you know that God cares about what you celebrate? In the book of Mark, Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment. In a sense he was asked to simplify all of the writings of Scripture down to one simple statment. Jesus didn’t pause. He gave them a simple command to celebrate God with all of their love.

The Word of Despair

March 19, 2017 | Mark 15:33-39 | crucifixion, jesus

In this sermon, we will be looking at the fourth of His last sayings, the word of despair. We will consider Christ’s questioning cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Have you ever cried out to God like Jesus did? Have you ever felt forsaken and alone? Have you ever felt distant from God? Have you cried, “God, where are you?” We all feel lonely at times. We all want acceptance. We want to be accepted and approved. But instead, we often feel rejected and alone. The truth is, if we would rightly understand how our sins have separated us from our Creator, we would cry out with a deeper feeling of despair than we’ve ever felt. It was for this, that Christ took on our despair, that we might receive in exchange, His oneness with God.

In the gospel of Mark, Jesus cried out in despair to God as He experienced the extravagant exchange that it cost Him for our reconciliation. We can understand the cost of this extravagant exchange.

“And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:37-38 NKJV).

March 11, 2017

At the sound of Jesus’ last cry, the thick curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple, was rent from top to bottom, opening the way. This must have been quite startling to the priests who witnessed it during the exact time of afternoon prayers. For it was at the “ninth hour” that Jesus cried out, which was the final time of daily prayers. The Jews counted time from sunrise at 6AM which they called the “first hour,” so the “ninth hour” would have been 3PM. There were three daily prayer times, except on the Sabbath when there were four. The daily prayer times were: Morning prayers at 9AM, Midday prayers at Noon, and Afternoon prayers at 3PM. It was during the third prayer time that Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying “It is finished!” (John 19:30). And the temple veil was torn asunder.

From that moment, Jesus, our Great High Priest, opened up “a new and living way” by His blood, so that we are able to enter the “Holiest” place and bring our requests before the Father (Heb. 10:19-22).

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is” (Mark 13:32-33 NKJV).

March 7, 2017

After visiting the Temple in Jerusalem, the disciples commented on its magnificence and the beauty of the surrounding buildings there. Jesus surprised them by saying, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another” (Mark 13:2). They asked Jesus two questions in response. 1) When will this happen? And 2) What will be the sign of its fulfillment?

Jesus answered both their “when” and “what” questions concerning the Temple. The Temple would be destroyed during the time of that “generation,” just as Jesus had said. For it was demolished in 70 AD by the Romans. But Jesus went on to tell them even more than they had asked. He also spoke of a time of tribulation followed by his coming again. Concerning this, he gave some of the signs, but not the time. In fact, he warned that no one except the Father knows the time of his return.

Therefore, do not believe those who predict the day or hour of Christ’s return. Jesus has already told us that they do not know. Instead, follow his instructions:
1) “Take heed.” – Be prepared. Live as if he could return today. Get your affairs in order.
2) “Watch” – Stand guard. Keep your eyes open for the signs of his return.
3) “Pray” – Let prayer be the main activity of your heeding and watching.

The destruction of Jerusalem was one of the many signs fulfilled exactly according to Christ’s words. The reality that he is coming again is just as certain.

“And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve” (Mark 11:11 NKJV).

March 3, 2017

And so ended the day of Passion Week, Palm Sunday, 33 AD. After a very eventful day, Jesus and the Twelve spent the evening in Bethany, no doubt at the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. The Bible offers more detail about this week, than any other week since the week of creation recorded in Genesis.

Creation Week Passion Week
Day 1/Sunday Light Triumphal entry
Day 2/Monday Sky and seas Cleansing the Temple
Day 3/Tuesday Land and plants Teaching in the Temple
Day 4/Wednesday Sun, Moon and stars Anointed in Bethany
Day 5/Thursday Birds and fish Last Supper & Garden
Day 6/Friday Animals and Man Crucifixion and Death
Day 7/Saturday Rested In the tomb

Day 8/Sunday Man’s Fall Christ’s Resurrection!

The Bible zooms in on these two weeks for a day by day account. In the first week, all is created, yet man falls into sin. In the second week, all is redeemed by Christ’s death and resurrection!

“And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire” (Mark 9:47 NKJV).

February 28, 2017

Jesus often used hyperbole to make a point. After taking a child onto his lap, he warned against anyone who would cause such a little one who believed in Him to stumble. He told them it would be better that such a one have a millstone hung around their neck and be cast into the sea. Then, he warned against allowing anyone or anything to cause us to sin as well. He illustrated this with three parts of the human body, the hands, the feet and the eyes, in his warning to drive home the extreme seriousness of sin’s penalty. He taught that it was better to enter heaven missing a hand, a foot or an eye, than to go to hell with them. Perhaps the apostle John had these three warnings in view when he wrote, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). Do not let anyone or anything, no matter how dear it may be to you, cause you to choose sin over believing in Christ.

“And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted” (Mark 3:13 NKJV).

February 18, 2017

Jesus selected the twelve disciples that “He Himself wanted.” Choosing them was preceded by His going up on the mountain alone to pray. It was there that He discussed each of the twelve candidates with His Father. Surely, the Father must have warned Him about the pros and cons of each, yet Jesus replied, “Father, I want them.” And so, knowing their hearts and their propensity for pride and rebellion, the Father sent Jesus down the mountain to call them, that they might be with Him and follow Him.

Today, I want Jesus. As the song lyric goes, “You can have all this world, but give me Jesus!” Yet, the only reason I have this burning desire for Jesus is because He first “wanted” me. For me to want Him is easy, for He is all beauty and grace. But that He wants me is astounding. For He knew, as the Father’s love sent Him down from heaven, the high cost He would pay to purchase “those He Himself wanted.” O how much He wants us for Himself that He would die for our redemption!

You are not unloved, nor unwanted. Jesus wants you for Himself.

“Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying” (Mark 2:3-4 NKJV).

February 16, 2017

What friends these were! Neither the crowds nor the barrier of the small house stopped them from getting their paralytic friend before Jesus. This is no doubt the same house, which belonged to Peter’s mother-in-law, where Jesus had stayed in Capernaum before. Perhaps Peter reflected back to when he had let Jesus use his boat and how it nearly sank with the huge catch of fish. And now, he was letting Jesus use his house and it was so full of people that they were crashing through the roof! Jesus commended the faith of the paralytic’s friends, he forgave his sins and healed him. So that the cripple who had been lowered on a mat through the roof, now picked up his own bed and walked out the front door a new man.

Two applications questions:
1) What kind of friend am I? Am I willing to overcome every barrier to get people in front of Jesus?
2) Am I willing to let Jesus use my stuff (my house, my car, my possessions) for His kingdom purpose?

I wonder if Jesus later helped repair the roof? He was a carpenter after all.