I turned 60 this weekend, my wife had rotator cuff surgery, and along with other "life related" issues, I have found myself over the last few weeks experiencing a higher level of anxiety than usual. I am taking steps to deal with it in holistic way, but I am also finding that it comes down to knowing God better and trusting what He says. In recent days, my attention has been focused on a couple of chapters in Isaiah- 40 and 41.
The prophet is comforting Israel as they are about to experience God's discipline as Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians and the people are carried away into exile. This is the result of their own long term rebellion and refusal to trust God. It feels like God is fed up with them and their future is over.
Yet here is what God says to them.
But you Israel, My servant, Jacob, descendant of Abraham My friend, you whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts and said to you, 'you are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.'
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand... I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, 'do not fear, I will help you.'
I have a feeling there is more than enough comfort in those words for all us to take to heart and to believe! It is day by day, moment by moment, issue by issue.
We join with each other in our journey to grow in our faith. Remember we can pray for each other on the new prayer wall on our web site!
After yesterdays message on ambition and service, I found myself so grateful to be among a group of people who sincerely seek, by His strength, to serve those around them. A simple thank you seems not enough, but it will have to do. You will have eternity to celebrate when He says to you, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
P.S. I mentioned yesterday that we finished our Ministry Year in August and we spent less than was given! Our giving over all was up about $120,000 over last year, and we spent about $20,000 less than was given. That is a slim margin, but nevertheless something to rejoice about!
This year, the elders have approved a 5.3% increase over last year for our ministry fund. There are new and easier ways to give on our new web site. Thanks for all you do to support the mission of our church!
"Ambition" Mark 10:32-45
We may not be as “brazen” as James and John were about their ambition, but all of us have some kind of “passion” to dominate or control others. The symptoms speak for themselves. We are weary of it, the world is desperate for another way.
There is another way. His name is Jesus.
THINKING IT THROUGH
Example is the school of mankind; they will learn at no other end.
Marriage is more than finding the right person. It is us becoming the right
We can do no great things, only small things in love.
That the Potter should die for the clay is a stupendous miracle.
WORKING IT OUT
- What realm or circumstances of life did you find yourself thinking about the most as you heard this message?
- What surprised you about what Jesus had to say about ambition?
- What is the simplest, most immediate way you can act upon what you have heard today?
"Identity" Mark 11:12-12:12
Jesus entered Jerusalem accompanied by the expectations of a throng of cheering Jews. There was a buzz around the city and everyone must have been asking, “Who is this man?” The truth about Jesus’ identity was about to be revealed, and the implications of this truth would change the course of Jewish - and human - history.
LOOKING IT UP
- Read Mark 11:12 – 12:12. Most Bibles divide this passage into three sections (11:12-26; 11:27-33; 12:1-12). What common themes or ideas do you notice in these three sections? Is there an overall theme that ties them together?
- In his narration, Mark sandwiches the cleansing of the temple between two parts about the cursing of a fig tree. Do you think the incidents are related? If so, how?
- While He is cleansing the temple, Jesus quotes from the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. Read these verses in context (Is 56:5-8 and Jer 7:1-11). How do these passages add to your understanding of what Jesus was doing in Mark 11?
- Why do you think Jesus didn’t directly answer the chief priests’ questions in vs. 28? Why might He have brought up John the Baptist? (See Mark 1:7-11)
- How is the Parable of the Tenants (12:1-12) related to the questions of the chief priests in the previous section? How was Jesus identifying Himself?
- Commentators have noted that this parable seems to tell the whole story of the Bible. How so? Within this interpretation, what might the vineyard be a reference to? Who is the vineyard owner? The tenants? The servants? The son?
- How do verses 10-11 (a quotation from Psalm 118:22-23) fit in with the parable? What was Jesus trying to tell the chief priests and elders about who He is, who they are, and what is about to happen?
Posted on Mon, September 24, 2012
by Tom Oyler