End of Self

We’ve heard of ‘coming to the end of your rope.’  Have you ever felt like you were coming to the end of self?  People are taking every bit of you; your childrenask a little of you; your spouse asks a little of you; your friends…, neighbors…, work…, etc.  Well, in the passage we will look at on Sunday, February 27, Jesus seems to press these boundries.  If you are frazzled or have ever been ‘at the end of self,’ meditate on this passage and I hope you find your “self” in worship.

Luke 6:27-31    “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Beginning Small, Loving Large

This Sunday (2/20/2011) we will read from what is essentially an essay about Jesus’ life by writer identified by the name Mark.  Specifically, Jesus use of the parable of the mustard seed.  Jesus told these parable to convey good news to His hears, “as much as they could understand.”  It was to His followers that He explained it more fully.  What kingdom quality is Jesus trying to convey to the crowd?  Why is this good news?  What questions about the parable would you have for Jesus is you wanted a better understanding? 

Mark 4:30-34

30Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”
33With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

How Does It Grow?

This Sunday (2/13/11) we will look at an interesting parable which Jesus doesn’t interprete.  It’s been viewed as personal spiritual growth to church growth to God’s kingdom growth.  Who do you think the sower is?  What does “growth” look like?  How have you grown in Christ in the last 6 months?  I hope to see you Sunday when we wrestle with these questions and more.

Mark 4:26-29 NIV

 26He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Reveal the Secret

It’s interesting that from the Parable of the Sower, Mark (the writer of the 2nd gospel in the New Testament) gathers three other parables: Lamp on a Stand, Growing Seed, and the Mustard Seed (Mark 4).  During the next three Sunday’s services, we will look at each of these parables and ask ourselves, “What do each of them reveal about this Kingdom of God to which Jesus invites us?”

First, let us consider Mark 4:21-25.  Jesus not only wanted to teach, but encourage us to remove what from under “a bowl” or “bed?”  What secret does the light signify?  What happens if we don’t?  How does this relate to the Kingdom of God?  I look forward to seeing you Sunday.  Be safe in the snow!

Mark 4:21-25 

<Jesus> said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”