Monthly Archives: January 2018

Mark: Faith in Action

Week 4(28 Jan-3 Feb.)

Sunday – Sower Parable Explained

Scripture Reading: Mark 4:13-20

In answer to our questions, what do you mean… Jesus explains to His disciples the meaning of the Parable of the Sower.  The seed is the word.  The soil represents those whom the word falls upon and the action and result of how we respond.  The word is meant to take root in us, grow in us, and ultimately bear fruit by sharing the word – seed in soil becoming the Sower.  Christ, the Living Word, casts the Word of God, the Written Word – Scripture and the Spirit plants and nourishes it to grow in us that we may then bear fruit by becoming Sowers of the Word.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What soil represents your life and/or where in the growth cycle do you think you are?

Monday – Parable of Lamp

Scripture Reading: Mark 4:21-25

In the glory days of ministry, the light is not hidden but shines throughout the room/world.  Faith in Action means that Christ is to shine in our lives at all times in all places.  When it doesn’t it means we have hidden the light.  This is an action that is taken contrary to the expected and normal outcome of Christ in us.  The light is within to shine without and the only way it doesn’t is if we take action to hide it.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What are the concerns and actions we do that hide the light of Christ and prevent it from shining?

Tuesday – Parable of Growing Seed

Scripture Reading: Mark 4:26-29

There is an action process of growing in Faith like the growing of a seed.  The seed(word) is planted in the soil(heart).  For the head to appear requires the Spirit to form a stalk which happens when we are actively studying/meditating on God’s word through the Spirit and the word begins to form us.  When the head appears is when the Word has effectively become central in our lives and has changed us to the point that it leads our actions in life which is when the full grain appears and we are able to love others as Christ loves us even to the point of sacrifice for others which brings us to the point of harvest.

Pastor’s Pondering:  Where are you actively in the growing point of the word in your life?

Wednesday – Parable of Mustard Seed

Scripture Reading: Mark 4:30-34

The parable of the mustard seed is an encouragement for action in that it takes the smallest seed, the smallest amount of faith given to God to transform us into the largest shrub that becomes home and provides for God’s creatures.  The glory days of ministry is when out of that small faith, we are able to love as Jesus loves us by providing shelter and provision for those who are in need and desire to abide in the kingdom of God.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this encourage and challenge us in our life and life together?

Thursday – Stilling the Storm

Scripture Reading: Mark 3:35-41

Storms will come.  These storms may be physical, spiritual, emotional, relational but they will come.  In this case, as they face a physical storm, the disciples are taught a valuable lesson about Jesus the Christ.  Jesus cares about us.  Jesus has the authority and power over any storm.  Jesus will help us through the Storm if we come to Him.  Jesus will respond in God’s time.  Jesus has a reason for all that He does in our lives.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What do we need to know about Jesus when we are in the midst of storms?

Friday – Casting out and being Cast Out

Scripture Reading: Mark 5:1-20

When the glory of Jesus shines it is interesting to note that not all people who witnessed it  were drawn to but instead push Jesus away.  When the people witness the demon and pigs event instead of wanting to know more of Jesus “they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood.”  But, even then, Jesus does not leave them to their own demise.  Instead, when the healed man asks to go with Jesus, Jesus tells him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.”  For many of us, our Faith in action is not to go to the mission field but instead recognize the mission field is where we are and the people we already know.  It also is to recognize that not everyone will receive the good news as good news.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this story impact our sharing the glory of the Lord?

Saturday – Healing and Raising

Scripture Reading: Mark 5:21-43

Jesus reached the point where he didn’t need to go to people, they were coming to him.  It was even to the point that it wasn’t about getting Jesus attention to heal but to just touch Him or His clothes for the power to heal.  They had seen and heard and believed in the power of Jesus.  Jesus teaches the woman and the crowd that the power of Christ comes not just through Him but through faith in Him.  This faith in Jesus brings about not just healing but in the ultimate healing with the power over life and death.  Faith in action brings about the glory of the Lord which brings about opportunity for life over death.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this story highlight the connection between Faith and Christ’s action in our Life?

Mark: Faith in Action

Week 3(21-27 Jan.)

Sunday – Healing the Multitude

Scripture Reading: Mark 3:7-12

As the news of this man, Jesus, spread, so more and more people from seemingly everywhere were coming to Jesus.  This begins what I call the glory days of Jesus’ ministry.  There are so many people that Jesus had “to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him.”  As the crowd’s witness, Jesus continues to heal diseases and cast out demons with them recognizing that “You are the Son of God.”  This would be a scene that, as a witness, would confirm to me that Jesus is the Son of God with faith in action.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What would be your reaction if you were part of the crowd witnessing this man, Jesus?

Monday – Appointment of 12

Scripture Reading: Mark 3:13-19

The next action step we see Jesus make here is appointing the 12 disciples that would be the Apostles.  These were people called to “proclaim the message and to have authority to cast out demons.”  Talk about a glory day in ministry, to be called by Jesus from the crowd of followers to be able to minister like Jesus as an apostle.  Though, there is one who’s position is to be the one to not be like Jesus but to betray Jesus as an apostle desiring not the glory of the Lord but the glory of the world.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it mean to be called to ministry in a life of action like the 11 disciples/apostles and how might that also lead to a life of betrayal like Judas, who betrayed Jesus?

Tuesday – Answering Slander

Scripture Reading: Mark 3:20-27

With more and more people recognizing the glory of the Lord in Jesus, the scribes of the Pharisees came to discredit him as a man of God saying he himself is possessed by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.  Jesus refutes them with common sense and logic, a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.  Instead, one must bind up the strong man of the house in order to plunder it.  Obviously, Jesus is able cast out the demons because he has authority over them (and Satan) which is the glory of the Lord.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this story teach and encourage us followers of Jesus in living our life of action with the glory of the Lord?

Wednesday – The Unforgivable Sin

Scripture Reading: Mark 3:28-30

The lesson of the unforgivable sin (Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit) comes as a result of the scribes/people accusing him of “having an unclean Spirit.”  If one’s life of action is through the Holy Spirit then they cannot speak against the Holy Spirit.  Only those without the Holy Spirit are able and willing to speak against/blaspheme the Holy Spirit.  God’s house is not divided against itself.  Especially since the Holy Spirit is not only the sign but the seal and the gift from Christ for God’s glory in us.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it mean for someone to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and what is that action itself a sign of when witnessed?

Thursday – True Family

Scripture Reading: Mark 3:31-35

Christ continues to teach about the unified glory of the Lord in that “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”  To truly be in God’s family is live a life of action like Jesus doing the “will of God.”  It is to recognize that all who repent, receiving forgiveness of sin, taking up the cross of Jesus and follow himing are those who do the “will of God” and become family – God’s family!   That is the true Kingdom, true Family, true Church are those who have taken the action of coming to Christ.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How can we recognize those that are a part of God’s true family?

Friday – Sower Parable

Scripture Reading: Mark 4:1-9

Christ’s next action in life is to teach a parable to the crowds that gather.  The parable of the Sower is told as an action story of a Sower of Seeds that Jesus ends with, “For those who have ears to hear listen!”  This doesn’t mean that the seed is corn but more importantly that the action we are to take in listening to Jesus is to have “ears to hear.”  That means not just listening and leaving like a form of entertainment but listening and thinking about what is being said like a form of education.  In order to have faith in action we have to have faith to Listen to learn to live.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How can we have ears that hear and ears that don’t hear?

Saturday – Reasons for Parable

Scripture Reading: Mark 4:10-12

When those around Jesus ask him why He teaches in parables, he shares with them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables…”  The difference is the action of the people.  To those truly following Jesus and are there asking him questions, “secrets of the kingdom are revealed.”  But, to those outside because they didn’t stick around to ask questions and truly listen…”they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand.”

Pastor’s Pondering:  How is the action of staying with Jesus, truly listening to Jesus key to having faith in action?

Mark: Faith in Action

Week 2(14-20 Jan.)

Sunday – 1st Preaching Tour

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:35-39 

The beginning of Ministry is just as Jesus did – “In the morning, while it was still dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.”  In our life of faith, the first action we need to take is to begin in prayer.  From there, the Spirit can and will lead us, make the opportunities for us, so that we may faithfully act upon the doors opened for us.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How often do you begin the day in solitude and prayer with God?

Monday – Leper Cleansing

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:40-45

When the Leper comes to Jesus to be healed, he comes in faith, knowing and proclaiming he knows “If you choose, you can make me clean.”  Faith in action not only knows that Jesus can heal/do but that Jesus/God has the right and authority to decide or choose what to do.  Jesus not only chooses to heal him but does it in a way that heals not just physically (leprosy cleansed) but also emotionally (with a human touch that this person would not have felt since getting the disease.)  This healing results in the man sharing with others what Jesus can and has done for him.  Faith in action results in sharing with others Jesus place in our lives and the results of it.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it mean to recognize Jesus’ authority and place in our lives and how can we share that with others?

Tuesday – Healing of Paralytic

Scripture Reading: Mark 2:1-12

The paralytic’s four friends put their faith in action on behalf of their friend.  Seeing it impossible to get their friend to Jesus through the door, they make an opening in the roof and lower him to Jesus.  The people listening to Jesus preach/teach had no compassion for the paralytic trying to get to Jesus.  Jesus uses the friends’ faith in action as an opportunity to teach that spiritual healing is the most important healing and that Jesus has the authority to do both.  One is the sign of the authority to do the other.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What action should result in recognizing that Jesus has the authority to forgive our sins and heal our afflictions?

Wednesday – Calling of Matthew

Scripture Reading: Mark 2:13-17

In the story of the calling of Levi (Matthew), the tax collector, we find that the call comes when we recognize that we are sinners in need of healing.  The action is allowing the work of Jesus to bring us true righteousness.  What prevents us from answering the call is our own self-righteousness which is a sin in and of itself.  Thinking we aren’t in need of Jesus is having a disease without recognizing it and therefore not going to the doctor.  The scribes of the Pharisees feel they have no need for Jesus because they have faith in their own actions instead of their actions coming from Faith in Christ.

Pastor’s Pondering:   What is the difference between actions of self-righteousness and actions out of true righteousness?

Thursday – Fasting Question

Scripture Reading: Mark 2:18-22

Fasting is a form of prayer lifted up to a distant God.  When the Pharisees’ and John’s disciples fast it is/was to God that is in heaven and separated from them by their sin.  Christ’s disciples did not need to fast because Christ is with them.  With Christ comes the new covenant, the new wineskin, that breaks through the hardness of sin, takes action and through grace that comes through Christ brings newness of life.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does the issue of fasting bring about an understanding of relationship with God through Christ?

Friday – Lord of the Sabbath

Scripture Reading: Mark 2:23-27

Faith in action means truly understanding the Law, the Word of God, which is given for us to know how to live.  The Sabbath had become a means of measurement of faith instead of being a means of maintenance of faith.  It had become a Strict law of do’s and don’ts without considering the intent which was to have a day spent resting, focusing and enjoying a day with God.  This was a day of the week given to us by God to restore ourselves and our relationship with God.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this tell us about how we should view the Sabbath?

Saturday – Sabbath Healing

Scripture Reading: Mark 3:1-6

To fulfill the Law, Jesus also teaches us that the Sabbath is not just between God and us but also other people.  In this healing, Jesus highlights that especially on the Sabbath we should do good to help other people.  If we use the Sabbath as an excuse not to help someone then we are not putting our faith in action but instead to inactivity and our faith is not a true faith in action.  It then leads us to sin and separation from God on the day that we are to be spending with God.  If God calls us to heal/help someone in need on the Sabbath then we are to step up in action.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this tell us about how we should view the Sabbath?

Part 1 – The Glory Days

Part 1 – The Glory Days

Week 1(7-13 Jan.)

Sunday – Beginning of Life of Faith

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:1-11

Mark begins his gospel with the purpose of it – sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.  The beginning of a Life of Faith is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  God provides Jesus to bring about a life of Faith in us that brings Faith into Action.  Just as God provides John the Baptist to “prepare the way of the Lord” so God provides us with people who put their faith into action that prepares the way of the Lord for us.  These are the people the Holy Spirit brings into our lives to bring us to Jesus that we may repent, be baptized, and begin our life of Faith in Action.

Pastor’s Pondering:  Who are the “John the Baptist” people in your life and how can or did you begin your life of Faith in action through Jesus Christ, God’s Son?    

Monday – Temptation in Life

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:12,13

Mark gives us a very short version of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness.  The key points Mark brings out is the Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness.  To live a life of faith in action is to follow the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was tempted by Satan.  In a life of Faith in Action, Satan will tempt us to bring us down to his level.  The angels waited on Jesus.  God sends us His angels i.e. messengers who bring us God’s Word to assist us.  A life of Faith in Action in Jesus is to battle temptation with the Word of God… and win.

Pastor’s Pondering:  In what ways have you experienced the battle with temptation as you live a life of Faith in Action?

Tuesday – Beginning of Ministry 

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:14,15

With the beginning of Christ’s ministry in Galilee, we are reminded what ministry is about – “proclaiming the good news of God… The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe the good news.”  This is what we are to be about, sharing with people how to be a part of the kingdom of God, repent and believe the good news of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, come to us.  As we put it – Knowing, Growing and Sharing Jesus – God’s love.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does Jesus challenge us through His ministry in defining what true ministry is to be about?

Wednesday – Call of Discipleship

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:16-20

When Jesus calls his first disciples it is to teach them how to “Fish for people.”  Discipleship is not just about our personal piety or changing ourselves but it is to learn how to share Jesus with others.  If we truly are going to be Christ’s disciples and live a life of Faith in Action then we are to learn how to share with others the Good News of Jesus, God’s Son, who brings us into God’s Kingdom and all the benefits that it brings.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How is sharing the gospel an integral part of being a Disciple of Jesus?

Thursday – Authority of Jesus

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:21-28

This passage highlights that a life of Faith in Action will recognize the authority that Jesus has in teaching us about life.  In the synagogue the people recognized that Jesus taught with authority.  The demon recognized the authority that Jesus has as the “Holy One of God.”  The people saw the authority that Jesus has over the demon in casting it out of the man.  Jesus is the authority when it comes to living a life of Faith in Action.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What authority do you give to Jesus in your life?

Friday – Mother-in-law Healing

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:29-31

The Mother-in-law’s response to Jesus is how we are to respond to Christ’s healing us – “and she began to serve them.”  Jesus and the disciples come to Simon’s house and find Simon’s mother-in-law sick in bed with a fever.  Jesus heals her by going to her and lifting her up by his hand.  A simple healing with a simple gesture that leads to her serving them out of gratitude to Jesus.  To live a life of Faith in Action is to do so and share out of gratitude as we know and grow in Jesus together.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What are the things that we can do to serve Jesus out of gratitude?     

Saturday – Sick healed/demons cast out

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:32-34

The word quickly spreads about Jesus and suddenly the whole town is gathered at the house witnessing Christ healing the sick and casting out demons.  No wonder the good news of what Jesus was doing spread like wildfire throughout the region even without the internet and social media.  When Jesus is at work in our midst as a part of God’s Kingdom and we are sharing what Jesus is doing in our lives then with the use of Social media and the internet, word should even spread that much faster today if we are living lives of Faith in Action.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What prevents the gospel from spreading like wildfire today?