Mark My Words

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Keep in mind, Jesus healed some of the sick and hurting, solidifying his identity, showing his power, but he came not just to prolong an earthly life, but to bring eternal life. His purpose was allowing the once hurting to be part of healing— and as the ministry picked up steam, the demands increased, the crowds expanded, and it was there that Jesus reveals the source of his strength…

Inside to Outside (Mark 1:35-39) 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

How does Jesus keep going?  Jesus is constantly bombarded: attacked by Satan in the desert, pursued by crowds, pestered by his disciples. Jesus modeled for his disciples and for us—that it is only internal relationship with God which can change your external relationships in the world. It was ensuring that God wasn’t an afterthought, which enabled Jesus ministry was on the forefront! It would be overwhelming for anyone and Jesus, yes, fully God, but also very much fully human is, no exception. I bet some of you are in that same place. You feel run down with the kids, work, family responsibilities, maybe taking care of grandchildren, aged parents, bills, etc. the list is never ending. Like a battery indicator, maybe your battery is worn out, your heart isn’t into it, your arms and legs keep moving like the Energizer battery, but you are on autopilot. I cannot blame you!

Matt Barnett is the founding pastor of the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. He moved to Los Angeles in 1994 with big plans, the son of a mega-church pastor, when the realities smacked him in the face. Driving down “SKID ROW,” the homeless capital of area, he came to the “Wall” where the homeless go to die, where the outer shell of this body had been destroyed by drugs, neglect, weather, and creeping along he wondered aloud, “Can anything really change their lives?” It was a fair question—can anything possible fix the total despair, brokenness, and addiction that has turned a human being made in the Image of God into something more like garbage, stepped over and ignored. It was then that Jesus Touched Them! Like a modern day Bible story playing out before them, services started to be ushered by guys with ankle bracelets, or people with needle marks, and Jesus started turning people waiting to die into productive citizens for the glory of God. Over 700 families live on the Dream Center campus daily.

Barnett’s question isn’t rare—maybe you’ve wrestled wondering whether God can really change your husband, wife, friend, or the person in the mirror. I have news for you—Jesus strength wasn’t a secret sauce but an unlimited spring—John 14:16-17, 26 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you…But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. At the end of the day, wouldn’t it be crazy not to use the Holy Spirit, He is dwelling inside of you—it is convenient, teaching all that Christ did—he is knowledgeable, he is eternal—it is enduring, and he is here to Help–loving! Change only comes when we move from possessing the Holy Spirit to the product of the Holy Spirit. From Controlled by the tyranny of the urgent—to focusing on the urgent to break the tyranny of sin. Never expect an external change in your life, before you are willing to make an internal one with the author of life! You don’t expect your computer to work without power, or to use your microwave in a power outage.

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