Mark My Words-CORRUPT

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So you decide, (check out yesterdays post) was Jesus sane or did he have the marks of insanity? The religious leaders who had been following him rejected insanity for a different more spiritual response. If Jesus was insane it really wouldn’t be his fault, but if the Pharisees were right, everything would come down on the neck of Jesus as a servant of…

Satan- (Mark 3:22) 22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! (literally the Lord of the Flies) By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”The fastest way to discount Jesus Messianic Ministry was to claim he was actually working for the enemy of all, Satan. We hear this in politics today, the quickest way to denigrate or breakdown your opponent is to compare them to Nazis or to Hitler, because very few find that complimentary. Jesus gives this interesting answer, an answer quoted by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War (24-26) If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. Jesus defends his position—He is breaking down Satan’s strongholds, not building them up. The problem is we cannot just take Jesus at his word because if he is working for Satan, the Father of all Lies, then it naturally follows that Jesus is a liar as well. In fact, not just a liar, but the biggest LIAR, HYPOCRITE, FRAUD, and SWINDLER in the history of the world.

ARGUMENT: Today, people are less direct; the argument usually sounds different but gets at the same idea. For example, famed scientist and atheist debater and author Richard Dawkins said this of Jesus- “Jesus was a great moral teacher. Somebody as intelligent as Jesus would have been an atheist if he had known what we know today.” Continue reading “Mark My Words-CORRUPT”

Mark My Words-CRAZY

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Karen Donovan of Petaluma, California had an idea. It has started off as a joke, but had grown and built up steam into an actual idea. It was called Rent-A-Wife; Karen created a small company that allowed people to rent a wife to all the stereotypical things wives do from decorate their homes, balance checkbooks, run errands, etc. Donovan, who launched her business through a small ad in the local newspaper, was already thinking bigger after four months of operation. She wanted to hire her father to initiate Rent-A-Husband and her two teens to start Rent-A-Family. “We can do what any family does,” the newfangled entrepreneur joked. “We can come over and eat all the food, turn on all the lights, put hand prints on the walls, take showers and leave the towels on the floor. When clients are finished with Rent-A-Family, they’ll have to call Rent-A-Wife. The business was launched in 1980 and although you might not be able to rent a wife, husband or teens, more than ever before people are searching for family, searching to belong, to be a part of something bigger than just themselves. Campus Life, October, 1980. In fact, in one year the average American probably meets as many people as the average person did in a lifetime 100 years ago. And yet that everyman or every woman is far lonelier.

What we are going to find today, is that the challenge to belong is nothing new. As we continue in our sermon series called Mark My Words, we find Jesus in the midst of his momentous ministry, drawing huge crowds, is challenged with a simple idea: What does it mean to belong to the family of God? You probably won’t be surprised to know a lot of what the family of God is or should be depends on the identity of Jesus Christ. Today in our text from Mark 3:20-25, we will find three possible solutions given in our text and still argued today. As we move forward, we are going to weigh the evidence and allow you to cast your verdict: Was Jesus lacking Sanity, From Satan or really the Son of Man (God in the flesh).

The first solution ironically begins with Jesus immediate family- Let’s pick up in verse 20 and watch things unfold- 20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family[a] heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Pretty clear—they questioned Jesus- Sanity? Continue reading “Mark My Words-CRAZY”

Mark My Words-Condemned

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From the curious seeing Jesus as a commodity, to the committed seeing Jesus as Lord, we move to those who understand Jesus identity, those who comprehend his mission, but are unwilling to go along…the Condemned Followers (Mark 3:11-12) 11 Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him.

Three times to this point in Mark—the demons know Jesus identity calling him the “Holy One of God” the “Son of God” and finally without confusion, “You are the Son of God!” Yet instead of a following of commitment or even curios, we see a following of fear and opposition. A group in outright rebellion against God and yet in a foretaste of what is to come: we see Christ presence commands power over His enemy! The demons understood intellectually, had a great grasp of Jesus spiritually, but failed to commit tangibly—their very purpose was to destroy Jesus—and yet despite their effort, they were condemned…

Maybe we could call this a Myspace follower—people who stand against the gospel, they are still working, but have been made obsolete by a power and presence far greater than their own. Continue reading “Mark My Words-Condemned”

Mark My Words- Committed Follower

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There is nothing wrong with curiosity—regardless of what happened to the cat, but there is something wrong with never moving beyond curiosity–with only hearing about Jesus on a Sunday morning or for the people in our text just touching Jesus…Stopping there—would look like this: a laptop without a battery,  it may look good, but it is missing something essential. Contrast the Curious Twitter Follower (from yesterday’s post) with those who when called go further—

The Committed Follower (Mark 3:9, 13-15) Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him… 13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve[a] that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons.

We might be able to call this the FACEBOOK Follower—FACEBOOK has become famous for being the place where people finally Define the Relationship—in the same way the disciples of Jesus moved from curious to answering who is this Jesus: just a guy, good teacher, or God in the flesh? What contrasts the disciple—one who follows Jesus with those who chase after Jesus is critical: Continue reading “Mark My Words- Committed Follower”

Mark My Words-CURIOUS

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Let me start with an impromptu survey- How many of you belong to a social media site? We tend to be experts in following or being followed, it is a part of our cultural makeup, creating a brave new world- where some are even networking before they know how to tie their own shoes, or posting before they are potty trained. One mom said of her 1 year old’s Instagram account, “I think everything my son does is cute…but, I didn’t want him to hijack my page.” Another mom said that her daughter by 18 months had a solid 72 followers and had over 69 posts on her page.

What’s amazing is how widespread social networking is, right now there are about 2,351,180,025 people who to one degree or another spend part of their existence following the lives of those around them. The stats are surprising, social media crossing over barriers with both rich and poor, educated and uneducated, young and increasing old—we are all following someone, something, a life defined more and more by tweets and tumblers, pins and posts.

Today, as we continue in our series- MARK MY WORDS, seeing Jesus in action through the Gospel of Mark, we come to the heart of following in Mark 3:7-12. So far in the Gospel, Jesus has done a lot: multiple miracles which have multiplied the crowds, made claims of divinity, and eluded the religious leader intent on killing him. It is as Jesus withdrew from the crowds, that the different ways people followed then are revealed and the best way for us to respond today is made clear..

Let’s jump into our text beginning with the CURIOUS—in verse 7-8, 10: Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon…10 For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Continue reading “Mark My Words-CURIOUS”

Mark My Words- Conflicting Dates

So far, Jesus has broken the rules, investing in the rejected, bringing more than law—than good enough or sanitized—when only sanctification (remade) will do! In our third scene we find the disciples again are seemingly breaking the rules…

CONFLICTING DATES (Mark 2:23-24, 27-28) 2One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” 27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Rule: Working on the Sabbath is illegal! Great intention and purpose, but the disciples aren’t harvesting they are hungry! The stifling rules had gotten in the way of real-life… Don’t speed is fine until you have a pregnant person in the passenger seat screaming…Jesus puts things back in the right order—the law was meant to provide a blessing not to become a burden. From Israel’s story Jesus goes about planting the church’s story, fulfilling the old, but initiating the new, not based on regulations but on renewed relationship.

Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had had enough. You’re not supposed to talk out loud in church.” “Why? Who’s going to stop me?” Joel asked. Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, “See those two men standing by the door? They’re hushers.” Continue reading “Mark My Words- Conflicting Dates”

Does God Matter?

God we believe!

We believe in you God, just stay out of the halls of Washington.

We believe in you God, but we don’t need your commandments hanging in our Highest Court.

We believe in you God, as long as our students don’t utter prayers to you in the classroom.

We believe in you God as long as you stay out of the debate over our social problems.

We believe in you God as long as you don’t try to trump us with morality or universal truth.

We believe in you God as long as your impact stops at the Sunday service and doesn’t bleed in our marriages, families or relationships.

We believe in you God as long as you don’t interfere with the bottom line.

Oh we believe, but by then does it matter?