JESUS SEES OUR STRUGGLE

Mark – The Facts.

Before problems arise in our lives, Jesus sees the imminent danger of the storm brewing on the horizon. He watches to see how we will handle the situation. At just the right time, He walks by and rescues us, even before we ask. That is our Savior. That is our Lord.

Mark 6, The Message
Walking on the Sea
45-46 As soon as the meal was finished, Jesus insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead across to Bethsaida while he dismissed the congregation. After sending them off, he climbed a mountain to pray.

47-49 Late at night, the boat was far out at sea; Jesus was still by himself on land. He could see his men struggling with the oars, the wind having come up against them. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the sea. He intended to go right by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and screamed, scared out of their wits.

50-52 Jesus was quick to comfort them: “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” As soon as he climbed into the boat, the wind died down. They were stunned, shaking their heads, wondering what was going on. They didn’t understand what he had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts.

53-56 They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat—that’s all. And whoever touched him became well.

Mark 6 it's God

Think about it…
–The disciples hop into a boat after miraculously feeding over 5000 people, leaving Jesus behind to spend time alone with the Father in prayer.
–Jesus insisted that the disciples go on ahead. Mm.
–Apparently Jesus had prayed all night after the miracle feeding and was now ready to join his helpers again. More ministry was waiting on the other side of the sea.
–Jesus sees their struggle with the wind and the waves. So about 4 in the morning, He walks across the sea to see how they are doing. He planned to just walk on by, but they were scared, probably at seeing a man walk on water!
–Jesus calms their hearts with, “Courage! It’s Me. Don’t be afraid.”
–How many times, right in the middle of life’s stuff, has God whispered “Courage, it’s Me…don’t be afraid” to calm our storm?
–Are we scared or grateful?
–Jesus is quick to comfort.
–The disciples have not reflected or been debriefed on the miracle feeding and now this?
–WHO is this man? The Son of the Living God. That’s who.
–Jesus sees our struggles. He is always there. His speaks words of wisdom, comfort, power, courage, insight and understanding through His Holy Spirit to those who believe He will. I believe. How about you?

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for seeing our struggles and delivering us. Thank you for your comforting words accompanied by peace in the middle of all our storms.

In Jesus Name, Amen

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SAY AMEN AND MOVE ON

Mark – The Facts.

Do you experience times of tiredness as ministry leaders and volunteers? For example, have you sat in the nursery or preschool room with many tenacious toddlers and wondered, “When IS the pastor going to say the benediction?! It’s been a long morning. The work has been challenging. You just want to go get something to eat after church and then get to the big afternoon nap you have been dreaming of all morning. Then, the closer you get to that precious moment of rest, the pastor says, “I know you are tired but there is a need that needs to be met for about 5000 people.” “Fix them supper”. WHAT!?!!

Mark 6, The Message
Supper for Five Thousand
30-31 The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.

32-34 So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke—like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them.

35-36 When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough—it was now quite late in the day—they interrupted: “We are a long way out in the country, and it’s very late. Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper.”

37 Jesus said, “You do it. Fix supper for them.”

They replied, “Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?”

38 But he was quite serious. “How many loaves of bread do you have? Take an inventory.”

That didn’t take long. “Five,” they said, “plus two fish.”

39-44 Jesus got them all to sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred—they looked like a patchwork quilt of wildflowers spread out on the green grass! He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples, and the disciples in turn gave it to the people. He did the same with the fish. They all ate their fill. The disciples gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. More than five thousand were at the supper.

Mark 6 5000

What do we learn?
–People broke Jesus heart with their desire to see Him and learn from Him. His heart still goes out to people in need of a Savior and Lord.
–We are His hands and feet.
–He is our strength when we are tired.
–When He commands us to “fix supper”, do we whine and complain and tell him all the reasons why we cannot do it?
–Do we take inventory of what we have, ask God to bless what we have and then move on to do what He has asked us to do?
–We get tired. We are human. But there is a difference in being tired IN the work and being tired OF the work. Following Jesus can be challenging and tiring, but He will provide rest in beautiful ways at just the right time.
–Jesus turned the whine and complaining into a few loaves and fishes and provided a miraculous event that declared the glory of God! We don’t want to miss out on God’s next. Say the last Amen and then go with God and do what He asks.

Lord, break my heart of those things that break your heart. Help me to see You and others from Your perspective. When I am weak and tired in the work, help me to see the bigger picture and provide the strength to accomplish what you have given me to do. And when you know I need rest, I trust you will provide it at just the right time. You are not a task master who doesn’t care about the workers. You are God and you love us so much we cannot imagine the depth of it. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to be a part of Your next miracle in my part of the world!
In Jesus Name, Amen

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THE MURDER OF THE MESSENGER

Mark – The Facts.

After rebellious living in ways to indulge self with denial and excuses for destructive behavior, God sends people with power and strength to stand and tell the Truth. The Truth is like surgery. It hurts but it heals. A lie is a painkiller. It gives instant relief but has side affects forever. Who are we drawn to? Those who tell the Truth or those who lie?

Herod was drawn to John who told him the truth about his adulterous living. “Whenever he listened to John he was miserable with guilt–and yet he couldn’t stay away. Something in John kept pulling him back.” That “something” was God’s Spirit in John. We have God’s Spirit living in us.

However, in a wicked turn of events, Herod is easily manipulated because of a drunken state and self indulgence perversion. He kills the man of Truth whose desire was to help him turn back to God. Now, he is faced with Truth in the Person of Jesus Christ. “He’s back!”, says Herod who is convinced that Jesus is John who has come back to haunt him.

Mark 6, The Message
The Death of John
14 King Herod heard of all this, for by this time the name of Jesus was on everyone’s lips. He said, “This has to be John the Baptizer come back from the dead—that’s why he’s able to work miracles!”

15 Others said, “No, it’s Elijah.”

Others said, “He’s a prophet, just like one of the old-time prophets.”

16 But Herod wouldn’t budge: “It’s John, sure enough. I cut off his head, and now he’s back, alive.”

17-20 Herod was the one who had ordered the arrest of John, put him in chains, and sent him to prison at the nagging of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. For John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery.” Herodias, smoldering with hate, wanted to kill him, but didn’t dare because Herod was in awe of John. Convinced that he was a holy man, he gave him special treatment. Whenever he listened to him he was miserable with guilt—and yet he couldn’t stay away. Something in John kept pulling him back.

21-22 But a portentous day arrived when Herod threw a birthday party, inviting all the brass and bluebloods in Galilee. Herodias’s daughter entered the banquet hall and danced for the guests. She dazzled Herod and the guests.

22-23 The king said to the girl, “Ask me anything. I’ll give you anything you want.” Carried away, he kept on, “I swear, I’ll split my kingdom with you if you say so!”

24 She went back to her mother and said, “What should I ask for?”

“Ask for the head of John the Baptizer.”

25 Excited, she ran back to the king and said, “I want the head of John the Baptizer served up on a platter. And I want it now!”

26-29 That sobered the king up fast. But unwilling to lose face with his guests, he caved in and let her have her wish. The king sent the executioner off to the prison with orders to bring back John’s head. He went, cut off John’s head, brought it back on a platter, and presented it to the girl, who gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and got the body and gave it a decent burial.

Mark 6 stand for truth

Think about it…
–Herod killed John to simply “save face” in front of his perverted peers. Have we been faced with similar tests of our faith? Do we deny, ignore, or lie to save face when faced with Truth?
–Are resentful toward others who love us enough to tell us when we are going astray or have lost focused on Christ?
–Are we the “messengers of Truth”? Have we knowingly put our selves at risk for truth telling?
–Very seldom is telling the truth easy, but if God has given you the message and opportunity, we must obey. As Paul reminds, however, “Speak Truth in love.” Make sure your message is from God to help others find and follow Him. Motivation of the heart is everything.

Dear Heavenly Father, The story of John and Herod is heartbreaking to us so it must of been excruciating to You to watch the story unfold with the beheading of your servant. There are many in the world today who are being tortured in much the same ways. Please be with them all and help their loved ones who are persecuted for telling the Truth of You. Be with us today and give us wisdom, insight and understanding to see and know Truth and stand for truth with all that is in us.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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THE MODEL FOR MINISTRY

Source: THE MODEL FOR MINISTRY

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THE MODEL FOR MINISTRY

Mark – The Facts.

When we are helping others for the fuzzy good feeling we get inside we are in MEnistry. When we crave being recognized for our good deeds to others, we are in MEnistry. When we feel under appreciated and overwhelmed at the work load we have said yes to doing, we might be in MEnistry. When we are trying to do it all by ourselves, without God’s help or guidance we are in MEnistry….not ministry.

What is ministry? Jesus explains it to his disciples who are getting ready to be sent out to help others find and follow Jesus, turn back to God because of Jesus, with power and authority from Jesus. It’s all about Jesus. It is nothing about ourselves, other than the mind to follow Him ourselves and help others find and follow Him, too. This is pure, organic, simple ministry. It is not a program but a way of living life to the full.

Mark 6, The Message
The Twelve
7-8 Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. He sent them off with these instructions:

8-9 “Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple.

10 “And no luxury inns. Get a modest place and be content there until you leave.

11 “If you’re not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.”

12-13 Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.

Mark 6 model for ministry

What do we learn? What instruction words are good for us to chew on today?
–You don’t need extra stuff. You ARE the stuff.
–No fund raisers. Keep it simple.
–Be content with what you have and where you lay your head.
–If the Message is not received, move on quietly to those who are ready and anxious to listen and hear.
–Assume nothing about anyone. Tell everyone.
–Preach with joyful urgency!
–Jesus gave us His Holy Spirit to help us who is our authority and power living in us. People are drawn to Who is living in us.
WHO is living in us?

Is there too much of ME for the Holy Spirit to move in and reside and move in me?

Dear Heavenly Father,
Help us to see You, know Your Presence, be guided by Your Holy Spirit in every moment of life. Be in every conversation we have today. Take up residence in me. I give you all the room you want…all of me. Change and transform me to be more and more like You and less like me. Thank you for this model of ministry and living life to the full each day.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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MARY’S BOY

Mark – The Facts.

“If we only knew” is a common phrase that tells us we didn’t listen to understand the first time. It also means we aren’t paying attention to what is right in front of us at times. We miss a lot in life in our busyness of making a living, the day to day details of surviving, the meals put on the table, a home to care for, lawns to mow, etc. We miss kids growing up and transforming into young men and women with wonderful, God-given talents and abilities until we realize how old they are or begin to see how they are applying those talents and abilities in challenging situations. “If we only knew…” We grew up, it’s time to notice others growing up, too…and affirm them.

This age old problem goes back to Jesus’ time when the older men and women could not believe that He possessed the power to heal, save and restore. How could this little boy who ran and played with our children, speak with such wisdom in the meeting place? “It’s can’t be, for he is just a carpenter…Mary’s boy.” To describe Jesus as “Mary’s boy” was a great put down, a slanderous way of saying he was born out of wedlock. Even though Joseph was betrothed to Mary, the birth was suspicious, and gossiped about in his hometown. Jesus, the Son of God, was not acceptable.

“How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?” Jesus hometown friends and relatives just didn’t get it…or Him.

Mark 6, The Message
Just a Carpenter
6 1-2 He left there and returned to his hometown. His disciples came along. On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?”

3 But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?” They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further.

4-6 Jesus told them, “A prophet has little honor in his hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child.” Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there—he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that’s all. He couldn’t get over their stubbornness. He left and made a circuit of the other villages, teaching.

Mark 6 hometown

Think about it…
–We must get passed what we assume, ignore and think we know to what is real and right in front of us.
–Allow others to change and grow in our lives and NOTICE it and affirm them.
–Jesus did what He could with the little faith in the people before Him. The hometown crowd just couldn’t get passed the reputation, or what they thought they knew, about Jesus and His family. So, He moved on to where a more a difference could be made for God’s Kingdom.
–When people move away and come back, see them for who they have become, not locked into who you think they were.
–Stubbornness keeps us from a ton of blessings! If we only knew…

Dear Heavenly Father, Help us not to judge each other so harshly. Help us to never assume, but to talk and listen to each other. Help to grow and affirm each other when we do mature in your love, grace and mercy. I don’t want to miss your blessings because of my stubborn streak.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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TRUST ME

Mark 5 – The Facts.

You might be right in the middle of a difficult circumstance wondering how in the world the situation might be resolved or if it will be resolved. Someone you love is at death’s door because of illness and pain. Maybe financial burdens are beginning to overwhelm you and you see no way out at this time. Maybe you are entering another phase of life and you don’t know how you will navigate the difficult journey ahead of you. Many voices all around you are quick to give advice but what they say doesn’t seem to fit. Life is confusing at times. This life is not perfect and will never be perfect but we have a Savior who desires to take the lead and be Lord of our entire life. He wants all the pieces.
You are not dead, but maybe you are just sleeping, waiting for the Master to take your hand and say to you, “Get up”.

Mark 5, The Message
21-24 After Jesus crossed over by boat, a large crowd met him at the seaside. One of the meeting-place leaders named Jairus came. When he saw Jesus, he fell to his knees, beside himself as he begged, “My dear daughter is at death’s door. Come and lay hands on her so she will get well and live.” Jesus went with him, the whole crowd tagging along, pushing and jostling him.

35 While he was still talking, some people came from the leader’s house and told him, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?”

36 Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”

37-40 He permitted no one to go in with him except Peter, James, and John. They entered the leader’s house and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and neighbors bringing in casseroles. Jesus was abrupt: “Why all this busybody grief and gossip? This child isn’t dead; she’s sleeping.” Provoked to sarcasm, they told him he didn’t know what he was talking about.

40-43 But when he had sent them all out, he took the child’s father and mother, along with his companions, and entered the child’s room. He clasped the girl’s hand and said, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, get up.” At that, she was up and walking around! This girl was twelve years of age. They, of course, were all beside themselves with joy. He gave them strict orders that no one was to know what had taken place in that room. Then he said, “Give her something to eat.”

Mark 5 trust me

Think about it…
–We have many voices that tell us we are doing it wrong, not doing enough, not being like them, not following the crowd, not, not, not. But with Christ we are enough, exactly enough, when we trust Him and not listen to others who only see the surface of our situations.
–Who is this Jesus who right in the middle of the funeral dinner raises a beloved daughter from the dead? He is the Son of God. He is our Deliverer, Savior and Redeemer!
–This daughter of Jairus would soon be redeemed by Jesus to live forever in eternity with Him. He didn’t just heal her for this moment in time.
–Get up from our circumstances, look up and trust Jesus, lean into His Holy Spirit guidance, take care of physical self so that we are always ready to follow Him wherever His Spirit leads and invites us to go.
–Live expectantly in the hope of our Savior and Lord.
“Trust Me” — Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Walking along with You on this life’s journey is all I desire. I have found You and You have restored the joy of my salvation and redeemed my soul. There is no one like You so why would I listen to anyone else but You. I trust You. I believe in what You say and how you work. Thank you for Your Word to day that teaches and challenges us. Help us to see You more clearly even today.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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