Author Archives: brad

Mark: Faith in Action

Easter Sonrise (April 1) – Resurrection of Christ

Scripture Reading: Mark 16:1-8

At the end of the dark days is always the brightest days of the Glory of the Lord.  There is the new life that Christ raises up in us that overcomes the darkness in the old life that we must kill.  Where the light shines darkness is driven out and there is no longer absence of light but instead true life comes forth.  Faith in Action is the new life in Christ putting to death the old life of the world.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Easter (April 1) – Appearances of Christ

Scripture Reading: Mark 16:9-20

As we see by Christ’s appearances, faith in action is not just about the new life it brings to us but it is to be about sharing with others that new life.  Whether it is one to one, one to two while walking on the road, or one to eleven while they are eating together, it is about sharing the new life.  Faith in Action means to “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”  Amen.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Mark: Faith in Action

Week 12(25-30 Mar.) – Palm Sunday

Sunday – Ultimate Betrayal

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:43-52

On the day of the Church Calendar that we celebrate the glory day of Palm Sunday, we look in our reading of the Good News of Christ of the dark day of the betrayal of Jesus.  Jesus was betrayed by Judas with a kiss.  But, he was also betrayed by the disciples as they fled on his arrest.  Their sin was laid bare like the naked man who left his loin cloth.  On Palm Sunday when Jesus rides into Jerusalem as the Messiah, we look to the dark day of Christ being betrayed, arrested and led off like a lamb to the slaughter as the Messiah, alone.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Monday – On Trial 

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:53-65

Just as the darkness puts Jesus on trial, so we have been told by Jesus that we will be put on trial for our faith in action.  We must remember that we may be falsely accused of things to discredit us in the world.  If so, we are to trust that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words to share.  We are to trust that God’s will will be done even when it may not seem like it.  We also must consider if accused of being disciples of Christ would our lives present enough evidence to be convicted.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Tuesday – Life Denial

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:66-72

As we read the story of Peter denying that he knows Jesus three times before the rooster crows, we are reminded that Jesus knows us –   the good and the bad.  In our darkest moment when we feel that we have totally let down Jesus, Jesus knew we would, Jesus loves us, Jesus forgives us and Jesus will change us that we may truly put our faith in action.  We know this because we know the rest of Peter’s story.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Wednesday – Questioning Jesus

Scripture Reading: Mark 15:1-5

Like Pontius Pilate, many will be “amazed” and ask questions of Jesus.  The question that we are faced with is does Jesus shine in our lives enough that people ask questions about Jesus?  Do people see that Jesus is our King, our Lord?  Do people see our Faith in Jesus in action that would raise questions from their amazement at what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives and lives together?   Do people see Jesus at work in us?

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Thursday – Maundy Thursday (Who is in our Midst?)

Scripture Reading: Mark 15:6-15

On Maundy Thursday, when the Church calendar looks to the Lord gathering with the disciples and instituting the Lord Supper, we look to Pilate offering up to the Jews Barabbas or Jesus, out of grace to be saved from execution.  Darkness seems to win when Barabbas is chosen from Pilate’s grace but the truth is that it sets the stage so that Jesus will be able to administer God’s grace justly and the light to shine through the darkness.  At the Table, we have chosen Jesus who gives us God’s grace that saves us from our sins and brings us into God’s kingdom.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Friday – Jesus Crowned and Crucified

Scripture Reading: Mark 15:16-32

As Mark relates the story of Jesus being crowned and crucified it is highlighting the torment that Jesus went through.  Mark shares the taunting that Jesus endures making this time even darker for Jesus.  When the darkness confronts the light it is to ridicule, to hurt, to destroy, to kill the light – for the days are evil – until the final victory.  As they treated Jesus so the darkness will treat His followers.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Saturday – Christ’s death and Burial

Scripture Reading: Mark 15:33-47

Some key points in Christ’s death and burial are that through Jesus’ faith in action, people are still being drawn to Him – The centurion and Joseph of Arimethea.  When Jesus cries out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me” is from Christ taking our sins upon himself and feeling that total separation from God.  The temple curtain is the curtain separating God’s room from the people’s part of the temple.  It being torn in two symbolizes Christ tearing down the separation of God and sinners.  Christ as the sacrificial lamb for our sins is also the Passover lamb that marks us for life and not death.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Mark: Faith in Action

Week 11(18-24 Mar.) – 5th Sunday of Lent

Sunday – Anointing Jesus

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:3-9

When Mary of Bethany comes to anoint Jesus with ointment of nard, there is an argument over whether the money for the ointment would have been better used by giving it to the poor.  As Jesus points out, that is a worthy use of money but you will always have the poor to help.  Mary, must have been one really listening to Jesus because Jesus points out that she is doing it in preparation for his body’s burial.  And for this, Jesus says, she will always be remembered.  Anointing Jesus for the dark days ahead.  There is a season for everything under the Son!

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Monday – Bargaining with the World  

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:10,11

Anytime we make a bargain with the world, we become like Judas Iscariot and we betray Jesus.  Whatever the motivation, when we turn away from Jesus as our Lord and we look to the world and its darkness as a Christian, it is like putting Jesus on the cross.  When we sin that is why Jesus was on the cross – that we may be forgiven and stay in the presence, in the kingdom, in the family of God.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Tuesday – Preparing the Passover

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:12-16

As Jesus prepares the Passover meal to share with the disciples we find that there is the behind the scenes work that is done and there is the work that the disciples are told to do to accomplish the Lord’s will in life.  The Holy Spirit is at work behind the scenes and there is the work that we are to do for faith to be in action in this world.  This brings about the Lord’s will and Glory.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Wednesday – Sharing the Passover

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:17-21

In the midst of sharing the Passover meal with the disciples, Jesus points out the need for the days ahead, the one who will betray him sits at the table and eats with Him.  For that one to be at the table requires the Passover Lamb.  For that one, the darkest of days are before him to the point “it would have been better for that one not to have been born.”  Caught in our sin, the guilt before our Lord brings more darkness than the sin alone.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Thursday – Communion at Our Lord’s Table

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:22-25

Christ becomes the Sacrificial lamb for our sins and the Passover Lamb for our death to life that we may be able to join Him at the Table of God’s Kingdom.  Jesus, our Lord, instituted the last supper as a celebration of the communion that we have together as his body through his blood and through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Friday – Fall Foretold

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:26-31

After Jesus and the disciples go back to the Mount of Olives, he informs them they will all desert him.  Peter swears to Jesus he will not!  Pride goeth before a fall and thus, Jesus assures Peter not only will he desert Jesus but he will deny knowing Jesus three times.  All of us are susceptible to the pull of the darkness and when we are most sure of ourselves is when we are most at danger of falling!

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Saturday – Faith in Agony

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:32-42

Jesus in Gethsemane is a story of great faith in action.  Knowing what lies ahead, Jesus goes off to pray, to talk with God, to plead with God, his Father, to remove the cup that is before him.   Faith in action is being honest in prayer with God.  Faith in action is being willing to do God’s will even if it means going to the cross.  Faith in action means not sleeping but being awake in prayer and in action.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Mark: Faith in Action

Week 10(11-17 Mar.) – 4th Sunday of Lent

Sunday – Best Giving

Scripture Reading: Mark 12:41-44

In the midst of people coming and making their offerings to God, Jesus points out a woman giving a very small amount compared to everyone else.  This woman, Jesus highlights, gives the most because out of the darkness of poverty she gives all she had.  We can’t see the heart or circumstances in the giving but God does.  Giving our all is the best giving – even in our dark days.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it mean to give everything to God?

Monday – OLIVET DISCOURSE (Present Age)  

Scripture Reading: Mark 13:1-13

As Jesus points out the coming destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, when they are sitting on the Mount of Olives, He warns the disciples of the coming dark days of ministry for them.  Looking back, we can see how these things came true for the disciples/apostles and the Church.  Jesus gives them this prophesy to warn and encourage them, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”  A disciple of Christ puts Faith into action.  Faith enables us to endure the dark days.  Jesus also gives this as a short-term prophesy followed by a long-term prophesy for us disciples of Christ so that as we can look back and see how the short-term prophesy occurred it confirms the long-term prophesy.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Tuesday – OLIVET DISCOURSE (Coming Tribulation)

Scripture Reading: Mark 13:14-23

The long-term prophesy is of the coming tribulation that will occur before the return of Christ.  It is of a time of great suffering for all.  It is a time when false prophets, false messiahs appear to lead “the elect” away from Christ.  Jesus forewarns us of the coming dark days of ministry so we may, “Be alert, I have already told you everything.”

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Wednesday – OLIVET DISCOURSE  (2nd Coming of Christ)

Scripture Reading: Mark 13:24-27

Jesus shares that the dark days precede the ultimate glory day of His return and gathering “the elect” from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.  It is of these times that we get a more descriptive view in the book of Revelation.  Storms/Dark Days are temporary but the Glory of the Lord is for forever.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Thursday – OLIVET DISCOURSE (Fig Tree)

Scripture Reading: Mark 13:28-31

Jesus then uses the fig tree as a lesson to not lose sight of the harvest season.  That just as the fig tree’s growth brings the promise of summer so as these things take place disciples of Christ will know the coming of Christ is at hand – “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Friday – OLIVET DISCOURSE (Watchfulness)

Scripture Reading: Mark 13:32-37

Jesus ends the Olivet Teaching of Prophesy to charge us to “Beware, Keep Alert…Keep Awake!”  It is here that we learn that no ones knows when it will occur not even “the Son.”  So, when someone predicts and says they know – Don’t Listen to them.  Instead, what we are to do is be alert and awake to what the Spirit is calling us to do in loving God and loving others that we will not be found asleep when Christ returns.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Saturday – Plot to Kill

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:1,2

While Jesus is teaching the Disciples and the Holy Spirit is moving in our lives so the darkness is at work.  We find that the chief priests and scribes are now plotting for a way to arrest Jesus and kill him in a way that the masses will not rise up.  Evil is always done in the secret, in the darkness so that people will not see them for who they are and what they do.  “For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.”  John 3:20

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this mean to a disciple of Christ?

Mark: Faith in Action

Week 9(4-10 Mar.) – 3rd Sunday of Lent

Sunday – Challenging Christ’s Authority

Scripture Reading: Mark 11:27-33

When Jesus and the crowd returns to Jerusalem and the temple the darkness is ready to attack and the glorious entry to Jerusalem becomes a memory and the battle begins with the chief priests, scribes, and the elders beginning to question Jesus’ authority.  When the light begins to work in our lives the first area darkness works to keep us away is to question authority.  We want our own authority.  We don’t like to give our authority to others.  Coming to Jesus is to give Jesus the authority in our lives.  Many do not come to Jesus because they don’t want to give him authority in our lives.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Monday – Parable of Wicked Tenants  

Scripture Reading: Mark 12:1-12

Darkness even uses religion as a way to keep the light from shining in the darkness.  These are the false prophets, priests and preachers that use the faith as a means for their own purposes.  Just as the tenants (you know who they are) killed the owner’s servants (Prophets) and will kill the Son (Jesus) So they will be punished but it will be so that “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes.”  When the light confronts the darkness, the dark is either filled with the light or it hides away and the darkness inside becomes darker.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Tuesday – Paying Taxes

Scripture Reading: Mark 12:13-17

The next response from the darkness is to keep people away on the grounds of politics.  In this story, we see the Pharisees (Jews that believed in strict following of the Rabbinical Laws) and Herodians (Jews that have adopted Greek culture) who are at the ends of the political spectrum but come together to politically lead people away from Jesus.  When our political leanings become an obstacle in our life of faith in action we let the darkness to begin to take the place of our light.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Wednesday – Sadducees and Resurrection

Scripture Reading: Mark 12:18-27

When the Sadducees come to question Jesus, it is to “trick” him with an unanswerable theological question.  Many times, it is these questions that the darkness uses to keep the light from shining in people’s lives.  There are questions that we won’t have answers for in this life.  Some feel that unless they have all the answers, they can’t believe.  Jesus answers with the reliance on God – the God of the Living not of the dead.  The God who is the way, the truth and the life.  In Him, do we trust – even without all the answers.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Thursday – The Great Commandment

Scripture Reading: Mark 12:28-34

Sometimes we can become so myopic that we lose sight of the light and the darkness can come in.  When Jesus is asked which is the greatest commandment, it is to discredit him because there is more than one commandment in the Law.  Jesus correctly points out that is about loving God and Loving others which summarizes all scripture.  We must do both in order to shine God’s light (which is God’s love) in the darkness within ourselves and in the world.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Friday – Christ’s Unanswerable Question

Scripture Reading: Mark 12:35-37

In the darkness, we can only see close to us but in the light, we can see eternity.  When Jesus asks “how can the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David… David himself calls him Lord: so how can he be his son?” it seems impossible.  When we look at this through human eyes and minds we can’t understand it but when we see it through God we can begin to see the bigger picture and understand with a peace that passes all understanding.  Humanly, Christ’s question is unanswerable.  Divinely, it speaks of the truth of life.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Saturday – Christ’s Warning to Us

Scripture Reading: Mark 12:38-40

Christ’s warning about the scribes is for all leaders who can run the danger of leading for the glory and not for the service.  When we lead for our own benefit and not to serve others, when we lead for our own glory and not for the glory of God and others, when we lead to make ourselves look better and not for the betterment of others then we bring condemnation upon ourselves just like the scribes.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this look like in life?

Mark: Faith in Action

Week 8(25 Feb. – 3 Mar.) – 2nd Sunday of Lent

Sunday – Christ foretells 3

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:32-34

As Jesus and the crowd is heading to Jerusalem, Jesus is leading them walking ahead of them.  Some were “amazed” and probably figuring that this is the time that Jesus as the Messiah will triumphantly ride in and begin to establish the Kingdom of David once again in all of its glory.  Some were “afraid” maybe because they believed that when this occurred what followed would be fighting and war and the dark days of battle looming ahead.  We are told that Jesus took the twelve disciples aside for the third time to explain to them what was to come so they were prepared to face the dark days of ministry that was ahead.  To truly understand what lies ahead we must rely on Jesus for the truth.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How can we best discern the future as disciples of Christ wanting to put our faith in action?

Monday – Wrong Ambition  

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:35-45

The danger of leading is losing sight of following.  The same personality that makes strong leaders is the same that can lead to false ambition.  True ambition as a leader is to follow Jesus.  But, even in the physical presence of the Lord, the disciples begin to think of themselves.  As the ones who were called in the beginning, the ones that are part of the inner circle and the ones there at the transfiguration, James and John, felt their place would be at the right and left hands of Jesus “in your glory.”  When the other disciples hear of this their thoughts then turn to “what about me?”  But, to be that close to Jesus, one must recognize that Christ came to serve, not to be served and we must do likewise as leaders.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What is required for Leaders of the Church to truly lead?

Tuesday – Bartimeus receives Sight

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:46-52

Bartimeus, a blind beggar on the side of the road along Jericho, begs Jesus to have mercy on him.  This mercy comes in Jesus calling to Bartimeus to come to Him.  When he comes, Jesus asks Bartimeus what he wants Him to do for him.  Bartimeus responds “My teacher, let me see again.”  Not only does his faith make him well to physically see but recognizing Jesus as the Teacher enables him to spiritually see.  As such Baritmeus follows Jesus on the Way.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this say to us about seeing and following The Way?

Wednesday – Triumphant Entry

Scripture Reading: Mark 11:1-11

The outward perspective of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem is of a glorious entry and day.  The miracle of the colt provision and the parade with people laying coats and palm branches on the road shouting, “Hosanna!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!” makes for a glorious day in ministry!  But in the midst of this is the knowledge of what this really will bring in the days ahead.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does it mean to be triumphant in ministry?

Thursday – Barren Fig Tree – No Fruit

Scripture Reading: Mark 11:12-14

Sometimes in life, we may witness Christ doing something that would seem to have no significance such as this moment with the fig tree.  It is only later that we may learn how God is using that moment for us to learn.  With the disciples we may be left to wonder what that was about until later when Christ makes it clear.  Then Christ is able to teach us to bear fruit.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What may be a barren fig tree be in your life that you are waiting for God to make clear for you?

Friday – Temple Cleansing

Scripture Reading: Mark 11:15-19

In Jesus teaching of the cleansing of the temple he states, “Is it not written, “my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations?”  We find that it is not just the marketing of the temple business that angered Jesus but also, the exclusion of others in the temple access that angered Jesus.  All faithful people were to have access not just the Jews.  With the profiteering of faith in action of people and the exclusion of the access to the temple, Jesus rightfully recognize it as a den of robbers – robbing God and the people!

Pastor’s Pondering:  How do we keep our churches as houses of prayer and not dens of thieves?

Saturday – Power of Faith

Scripture Reading: Mark 11:20-25

Now is the time to teach from the barren fig tree.  Amazed that the tree died, Jesus is able to teach the disciples about the power of faith.  Mountains are moved when we believe, pray (talking with God for proper perspective), and Forgive.  All three are required for God to move the mountains in our lives.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How can lack of faith, prayer and forgiveness keep us from having faith in action in life?

Mark: Faith in Action

Week 7(18-24 Feb.) 1st Sunday of Lent

Sunday – Transfiguration

Scripture Reading: Mark 9:2-13

Transfiguration – the physical embodiment of the “Glory of the Lord” the light that shines in the darkness.  When Peter, James and John witness Elijah and Moses coming to Jesus and witness Christ’s change, they were terrified and not knowing what to say ask Jesus if they should build shelters for Him, Moses and Elijah.  They were provoked to action but did not know what action to take.  Sometimes, the action to take is to watch, listen and learn and in due time, God’s time, will be the time to do.

Pastor’s Pondering:  For us how important is the action to watch, listen and learn to being transformed to shine with the “Glory of the Lord.”

Monday – Demoniac Youth Healing  

Scripture Reading: Mark 9:14-29

Straight from the mountaintop transfiguration experience to the reality of the darkness of the world in the valley, Jesus comes down to find the rest of the disciples and the scribes arguing with a crowd gathered around them.  A faithless generation is one that tries to do all things, even religion, on their own, in their own way, for their own benefit.  The only true way to overcome the darkness is by knowing Christ, growing in Christ, and sharing Christ which requires walking and talking with Jesus in our lives thereby praying without ceasing.  Prayer draws us close to God, God’s power and God’s light.  Thus, without prayer, disciples don’t have the power to overcome the dark days.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What is the connection to prayer and having faith in action especially during the dark days of life/ministry?

Tuesday – Christ foretelling 2

Scripture Reading: Mark 9:30-32

As we see in this passage, the reason Jesus did not want people to know he was there was so that he could focus on teaching the disciples especially about the forthcoming dark days of His ministry.  But, we see they didn’t understand and were afraid to ask Jesus.  This results in their being surprised, afraid and overcome when Jesus is arrested, tried, convicted, crucified, and buried.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How often are we afraid to ask God/Jesus/Others when we are uncertain about what is happening especially during the dark days of our lives?

Wednesday – Humility

Scripture Reading: Mark 9:33-50

One of the most important lessons we have to learn as disciples of Christ is of humility.  The darkness of the world is when Self is the most important thing in life.  That is our human nature.  The teachings of Jesus on humility focuses on making God and Others the focus in life.  The Salt that we are to have in life is our Love for God and having God’s love for others which means putting Faith (God’s Love) in action in the world.  True peace comes when the Love of Christ becomes our love in our life together – denying ourselves, taking up our crosses and following Jesus.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How is humility a sign of Faith in Action?

Thursday – Marriage

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:1-13

Why is marriage so important to our life and Faith in Action?  Because it is to be the closest thing in life that testifies to the covenant of love that God shares with us.  Marriage is to be a sign to the world of God’s love and what it means in life.  Divorce is the sign of not only the broken love between a couple but the brokenness of our world.  The more broken our world the more broken is our concept of marriage.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does marriage become a reflection of the world’s understanding of God’s love?

Friday – Blessing the Little Children

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:13-16

As parents are bringing their children to see Jesus, the disciples view them as the world views them – not important until they are older/adults.  Jesus emphasizes that not only are they important but we must be like them to enter the kingdom of God.  We must allow Jesus to take us up in His arms, lay his hands on us and bless us.  We must see this world as children trusting in God, our Father, to care for us, Jesus, our brother, to walk and talk with us and the Holy Spirit to bring God’s love to us that we may know God’s peace and light even in the dark days that we may have in life.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How are we to approach life with our faith in action as a little child in God’s kingdom?

Saturday – The Rich Young Ruler

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:17-31

The perils of becoming an adult is when we begin to trust and rely on our own ability.  The rich, young ruler may have been a good moral person by the ten commandments but when it came time to be willing to give all he had to follow Jesus, he was not willing and thus would not nor could not enter the kingdom of God.  When our possessions become burdens to us in life, weights that hold us down and barriers that prevents God’s light to shine through then we must strip them off so that we can “go through the eye of the needle.”

Pastor’s Pondering:  When our faith is in action in life how can we keep serving God and not our wealth?

Mark: Faith in Action

Past 2 – The Dark Days

Week 6(11-17 Feb.)

Sunday – Dogs and Crumbs

Scripture Reading: Mark 7:24-30

As we enter the “dark days of ministry” it is with the story of Jesus dealing with darkness of prejudice (seeing someone as less than human).  The Syrophoenician woman is seen by the Jews as a dog.  So, when Jesus talks to her he is using this situation to teach his disciples.  When Jesus talks about feeding the children first, he addresses the view of the Jews (children at the Table) and Dogs (everyone else).  When she responds with “even the dogs get the crumbs the children drop” it is recognizing that God’s love is for everyone.  Jesus physically affirms this in healing her daughter by casting out the demon.  She understands God’s love, gets God’s love and God’s light overcomes her darkness in life.

Pastor’s Pondering:  Who are the people you may view as dogs in your life and how can you bring light to their darkness?

Monday – Deaf mute Healing  

Scripture Reading: Mark 7:31-37

When Jesus heals the deaf mute, it is engaging the struggle this man had that brought darkness to his life.  Notice the unusual way Jesus went about healing him – privately, away from the crowd, stuck his finger in the man’s ears, spit and touched the man’s tongue, said “Be opened.”  Why?  Not sure, other than there is no cookie cutter, one size fits all, way to do ministry.  It has to be a personal, Spirit-led ministry that will bring about the change that people will take notice.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What needs to be done to keep ministry personal and Spirit-led for others to see?

Tuesday – Feeding the Crowds II

Scripture Reading: Mark 8:1-10

After three days of feeding the people the Bread of Life which is the Word of God, Jesus teaches the disciples that we are to also have compassion on the people not just spiritually but also physically.  This brings about the second miraculous feeding of the masses.  As people gather to hear the Word of God, the challenge can be how to provide for them by dealing with their needs.  Faith in Action means not just bringing light into someone’s spiritual darkness but also into their physical darkness.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How do we see this being lived out in the first church of Pentecost and the Church today?

Wednesday – Seeking Signs (Ash Wednesday)

Scripture Reading: Mark 8:11-21

Corresponding with Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent) when the Church traditionally looks to Jesus and his wilderness temptations, we look to the passage where the Pharisees come to Jesus seeking signs to prove that He is the Messiah.  Likewise, Satan tempts Jesus to do something that will prove to others that He is the Son of God.  Just as Jesus tells Satan, “No” so Jesus tells the Pharisees, “no sign will be given to this generation.”  Jesus follows this up with the lesson on not being like the Pharisees, “are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see?  Do you have ears, and fail to hear?  And do you not remember?”

Pastor’s Pondering:  This season of Lent, let us focus on having faith in action with softened hearts and open eyes and ears that the light of Christ may shine through us upon a darkened world.

Thursday – Blind man Healed

Scripture Reading: Mark 8:22-26

As Jesus heals this blind man, it is with two steps.  The first step brings light in but with Fuzzy sight and the second step brings clear focused vision.  Why?  Maybe to teach us that receiving the light into the darkness can be a process that it is not a once for all but rather a gradual process for the light of Christ, the Word of God, to bring about clarity in life.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How might this healing of blindness encourage us in our healing of spiritual blindness?

Friday – Great Confessions

Scripture Reading: Mark 8:27-30

What we are willing to say with our mouths, confess with our lips is what we really believe.  When Jesus asks, “Who do people say I am?” and “But who do you say that I am?” it is to bring this out.  Peter answers him, “You are the Messiah.”  Jesus then warns them not to tell anyone.  It is not the time for them to proclaim it because they do not understand completely what this will mean.  They have received the light but the picture is still fuzzy and have to receive more light for the darkness to be overcome in them in order for them to truly have a clear vision to be able truly confess that “Jesus is the Messiah!”

Pastor’s Pondering:  How important is it to have a clear understanding of the good news of Faith in Action before we can truly confess Jesus as Savior and Lord?

Saturday – Christ Foretelling

Scripture Reading: Mark 8:31-9:1

This begins Jesus work at trying to teach the disciples of the dark days of ministry.  When Jesus tries to tell them that “the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again, Peter rebukes Jesus.  Which, like Peter, when we do this we are letting Satan take control.  We must be focused on “divine things” which means taking up the cross and following Jesus!

Pastor’s Pondering:  What might “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me” look like in your life?

Mark: Faith in Action

Week 5(4-10 Feb.)

Sunday – Rejection in Life

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:1-6

Jesus’ first rejection at Nazareth occurred in the beginning of Christ’s ministry.  When he returns home with the glory days of ministry behind him, the expectation of the disciples probably was that it would be different this time.  After all, everyone will have heard all of the things that Jesus has done.  Yet, when Jesus came home and taught in the synagogue, “And they took offence at him.”  Even Jesus experiences and points out, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, among their own kin, and in their own house.”  With their lack of belief in Jesus then, “he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.”  Only a few would believe in Jesus.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this tell you about effectiveness in sharing?

Monday – Field Training

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:7-13

In this passage, we find that Jesus begins to send out the disciples two by two to help prepare them for what they will be doing as Apostles when He leaves them.  There is a time when we are expected to put what we have learned into practice by sharing the Glory of the Lord in our own ways.  For the twelve Disciples, it was to cast out demons and through anointing of oil curing people of their sickness.  For those who welcome them, they were to stay until time to leave.  For those who don’t welcome them, shake the dust off their feet and move on.

Pastor’s Pondering:  What does this teach us in sharing Christ with our faith in action?

Tuesday – Evil that men do…

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:14-29

In Herod, we find out what evil people can do and we are not immune to the consequences of it.  John the Baptist, recognized as a man of God, when talking with Herod, told him, “it is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  Herod puts him in prison and though he liked to listen to him, eventually cuts off his head, puts it on a platter and gives it to Herodias’s daughter as requested.  One must recognize that when we live lives of faith in action that it doesn’t mean that we won’t suffer the consequences of what evil people do.  Faith in action means that there will be times when there will be rejection, ridicule, and, yes, Christians being beheaded.

Pastor’s Pondering:  Where and how do you see this today?

Wednesday – Feed the Crowds

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:30-44

When the Apostles tell Jesus “all that they had done and taught,” Jesus takes them across the sea to rest but getting to the other side a crowd had formed to listen to Jesus teach.  Jesus takes this opportunity to teach the disciples/apostles that it is not just about teaching the Word but having compassion on the people and when needed – feed the people.  Without compassion, the Word is not heard.  Without faith in action the Word is not heard.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this challenge us in having faith in action and teaching God’s word?

Thursday – Walking on Water

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:45-56

In light of the miracle of Jesus walking on water to them as they were struggling against the wind, the disciples lack of faith and understanding comes out.  Even after the miracle of feeding the 5,000+, they are “astounded” that Jesus walks to them on the water “because they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.”  The disciples have not yet understood what it means to truly have faith.  In Jesus, they were just beginning to see what it means to have faith that can move mountains.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How does this story challenge us in the actions of our faith?

Friday – Ministry at Gennesaret

Scripture Reading: Mark 6:53-56

When Jesus arrives in Gennesaret, he finds people that have heard and believe and come to him for healing.  This is a place and scene where the Glory of the Lord is shown as Christ ministers to all.  It is this scene that the disciples are probably watching and thinking yes, this is the Messiah.  Look at what he is doing!  Look how the people are coming to Him!  This is the Messiah that is making all things right and the Kingdom of God is surely near!   When true Faith is in Action as a Church, people can see the things that are being done in the Lord.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How can true faith in action in the Church bring about the glory days of Ministry?

Saturday – Real Defilement

Scripture Reading: Mark 7:1-23

In light of the fame of Jesus, the Pharisees and scribes (the religious teachers) come not to observe and learn but to discredit Jesus and His followers.  These Teachers who were supposed to be teaching God’s Word and leading people to be clean in their life in God confronted Jesus about the disciples eating with their defiled hands.  When the glory of the Lord shines, some receive it, some will reject it and some will attack it.  Jesus confronts them and teaches the crowd about what real defilement is and where it comes from.  Christ’s ministry has reached the point where it now will be challenged and attacked by the false teachers as Jesus convicts them with the True Law and Faith in Action.

Pastor’s Pondering:  How do we see this battle continuing today in what is true faith in action?

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?