Amazement

Already through our reading of the gospel (which means “good news”) of John we have seen Jesus through the eyes of John the Baptizer, Nicodemus (a member of the Jewish ruling council), and a Samaritan women. To John the Baptizer, Jesus is the Messiah (translated ‘Christ’ in greek… the annointed one), the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. Jesus told Nicodemus that He is the only one who who can speak of heavenly things for He has been there (John 3:12-13). He also spoke of everyones need to be re-born of the Spirit. The Samaritan woman sees that Jesus is a Prophet and Jesus reveals to her that He is more than that, but the Messiah. In the Spirit and in the Truth, one day those who believe will worship, and it will not be focused on holy places.

Jesus is truly amazes people by His presence, speach and healings. This week you are encouraged to read chapters 5 & 6. What amazing discoveries do you find about in Jesus? This Sunday, we will focus on John 5:16-30. May the Lord reveal to us the true nature of Jesus and dispell any myths.

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.”

A New Alternative

Here is the Scripture passage for Sunday, Jan 30, 2011 (10:30am).  As you read this passage, consider “What is the Kingdom of God?” and “What about this kingdom is good news to its hearers and you?”  Feel free to comment with your thoughts and we hope to see you on Sunday.  ~ Pastor Bob

Luke 8:1-15

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

” ‘though seeing, they may not see;  though hearing, they may not understand.’ (Isa.6:9)

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”