Digging in Deeper: Mark 1:11-12

“And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.’ Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Growing up is hard. It’s hard on every level. Your body changes and stretches and that doesn’t always feel good. It seems like just when you get really comfortable with one phase, another one comes along and bumps it out of the way. You manage to overcome one set of challenges, to ascend to the top of a hill, only to discover that there is a whole other range of mountains still waiting to be climbed beyond that one. Yet climb on we must because the path to the best stuff is always forward. This is exactly what we see Jesus experiencing here in our next step forward into Mark’s Gospel.

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Making God Happy

This past Sunday, we continued our new series, Being Useful, by looking at the first character trait on Peter’s list that will make us more useful to Jesus. Item number one: Faith. What is faith? What does it look like to have faith? And how does growing in faith make us more useful to Jesus? Read on to find out.

Making God Happy

We were sitting in a restaurant the other day and over my shoulder a family had been seated at a pretty large table.  They needed the space.  The waitress came over like she would for any customer and took drink orders.  Not long after, they called her back.  They wanted to make some special requests.  Then they called her back again.  Then she came to take their food orders…and they made some special requests.  Then the drinks came out.  And those weren’t right.  The appetizers were wrong too.  So was their dinner.  The manager came to the table at least once, maybe twice.  It took a couple of trips by the waitress to get dessert ordered and right too.  Now, this was a busy restaurant and certainly mistakes are occasionally made in the industry.  But as we looked around the room, we didn’t notice anybody else getting the amount of specialized attention they were getting.  Now, they were never ugly that we could tell, but the fact that just about all of their stuff wasn’t quite right began to suggest a pattern.  The pattern wasn’t a restaurant that couldn’t get its stuff together.  The problem was a family that was hard to please. 

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Planting Seeds

God designed you to grow. And, when you’re growing like you should, you’ll be producing seeds that can be planted in other people that will affect the way they see and interact with and think about the world around them. The question is: Are these Gospel seeds, or are they seeds for something less savory. As a community, God designed us to be a place where people grow in Christ. Read on to see what this means for us, what it can mean for you, and what we should to about it.

Planting Seeds

I don’t have any corn growing in my front yard.  You can drive by my house any day of the week, any time of the day, and you won’t ever see any there.  It’s the weirdest thing.  It just isn’t there.  I like corn.  I love eating it.  I love it when we buy a whole bunch at the store, strip it off the cob, freeze it, and pull it out months later to enjoy.  Lisa is a wizard with those goodie freezer bags.  But there just isn’t any in my front yard.  There aren’t any green beans either.  That’s really too bad too, because it’s the one vegetable we’ve managed to be able to get all three boys to eat without much in the way of complaint.  I can’t tell you how convenient it would be to simply go out the front door and pick what we need rather than having to go to the store all the time for them.  Alas, though, the yard is bereft of beans.  And greens.  Now, I’m not much of one for greens myself, but Lisa likes cabbage.  You won’t find the first leaf of it in my front yard. 

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 10:24-25

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going to an auto parts store makes you a mechanic.”  Ever heard something along those lines?  “I can worship just fine when I’m on my own, so I don’t need to be in church all the time.”  How about that one?  Or maybe this: “I connect with God better out in the woods than I do in a roomful of people.”  Or perhaps this: “The church is full of hypocrites; it’s better for my faith to not be around all those people very often.”  You know what?  There’s at least a little bit of truth to every one of these. Read the rest…