Archive for the 'Sermons' Category

Snapshots from Mark: Diagnosing a Demon

Snapshots from Mark: Diagnosing a Demon Sermon Audio Here

Mark 9:14-29

I ran across an inspiring quote this last week: “The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.” An admirable sentiment; but what happens when the problem is absolutely beyond our means to solve?

How Do We Deal With Devilish Difficulties?

Situations Solved Solely by Jesus ~ Mark 9:14-18

  • 14/16 Why RUN to Jesus?
  • 17/18 When we strike out solving our own struggle

Spiritual Solutions Accessed Through the Son ~ Mark 9:19-24

  • 19 “unbelieving” they’d tried to solve a spiritual problem by natural means
  • 20/22 “if you can”=the father doesn’t understand the spiritual world; he knows there’s a demon problem, but he doesn’t know Jesus’ place in that spiritual reality
  • 23/24 “I believe YOU can fix this – it’s beyond me” = the admission that leads to salvation

Supernatural Shows Up the Merely Natural ~ Mark 9:25-29

  • 25/27 The results of Jesus’ work are often misinterpreted, when viewed through a merely natural lens
  • 28/29 spiritual problems require spiritual solutions

The Disciples were using Jesus’ authority without understanding its origin: Jesus is LORD of Heaven and Earth. The Father has GIVEN all authority to the Son, and so when the Son’s name is appropriately invoked, as an agent of the Son, spiritual forces will pay attention!

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Snapshots from Mark: Lost in Translation

Snapshots from Mark: Lost in Translation Sermon Audio Here

Mark 9:2-10

How do you see this picture?

 

 

 

 

Here is a picture I showed the kids during Children’s message. What do you see when you look at it? What happens if you look at it upside down? We often form concepts in our mind that take some radical reorientation to see differently.

 

What Happens When How We See Jesus Changes?

Dazzled and Dazed ~ Mark 9:2-3

  • transfigured=changed form; cf. Phil 2:7 “grasping”
  • Jesus touched His Divinity for a few moments, and it dazzled the disciples
  • IT STILL DOES

Lean On The Living Word ~ Mark 9:4-6

  • Elijah, greatest of prophets; Moses, giver of Law
  • Jesus greater than the Law and the Prophets
  • THE LIVING WORD

Admit We Miss The Point Sometimes ~ Mark 9:8-10

  • EVEN AFTER seeing Jesus transfigured before them, they STILL MISS HIS CLEAR TEACHING “what rising meant”

Mark 9:7 Listen to the Loved Son

In the Old Testament, Elisha freaks out when Elijah is translated; Peter is overwhelmed when Jesus changes… how do WE deal with Jesus’ changes?

This calls for a Change IN OUR PERCEPTION of Jesus – we think He’s one way, when He reveals Himself to be ACTUALLY GOD.

Snapshots from Mark: What Are You Willing To Give?

Snapshots from Mark: What Are You Willing To Give? Sermon Audio Here

Mark 8:27-38

There is an old speech writer’s illustration of the monkey trap. In short, drill a small hole, put something desirable in it, and a monkey will come along to grab the item, and gets caught because he won’t let go to be free. (It was gratifying to find a YouTube video that actually shows this to work.)

What Do We Grasp That We Need To Give Up?

Chancy Understandings ~ Mark 8:27-30

  • 27/28 people are confused about Jesus: teacher? Miracle worker? Prophet?
  • 29/30 timing is everything: this was the truth, but it was dangerous to tell it in Caesarea… and too early in the ministry to be of use

Changed Expectations ~ Mark 8:31-33

  • 31 turns the idea of Messiah on it’s head: chosen for sacrifice, not supremacy
  • 32/33 the “easy” or “comfortable” way is to reject sacrifice. That’s Satan at work! “Get out of my sight”

Cherished Choices ~ Mark 8:34-38

  • 34/35 Deny; Die; Identify
  • 36/37 soul=breath of life: what in the world could you pay to extend your continued physical life?
  • 38 ask yourself: what is most precious to you (not what is SUPPOSED to be)?

What do you spend your time on? What do you spend your money on? If it’s not Jesus… WHY? What’s more important? Are you ashamed to compare Christ with your “precious”?


Snapshots from Mark: Opening Ears

Snapshots from Mark: Opening Ears Sermon Audio Here

Mark 7:24-37

The overall message of Mark’s Gospel is that God is at work among us through Jesus’ ministry. Jesus SHOWS the Kingdom of God instead of just talking about it. The Gospel can still catch us off guard: What happens when God shows us something out of the ordinary?

To Hear God’s Message At Work, Listen For:

God Working Where We Don’t Expect ~ Mark 7:24-30

  • 24/25 Jesus draws people to Himself
  • 26/27 even those we don’t think would be interested
  • 28/30 faith in Christ can spring up unexpectedly

God’s Ways Going Beyond Our Grasp ~ Mark 7:31-37

  • 31/32 bring others to Jesus who seem beyond help
  • 33/35 Jesus touches others in unexpected ways
  • 36/37 these non-Jewish folk recognized something special about Jesus

Are we willing to hear Jesus work with those who don’t belong to our preferred group? Remind one another: God’s going to work with whom He wants, how He wants, and when and where He wants. Our goal is to go where the Gospel is growing, and work there as well.

Snapshots from Mark: Choosing Rules

Snapshots from Mark: Choosing Rules Sermon Audio Here

Mark 7:1-23

According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with “faith” or “belief system”, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Since we know that some of these religions directly contradict each other, we can know that they can’t all be equivalent. So, how does someone choose what to believe?

Whose Rules Run The Show? To Find Out,

Calculate The Weight Of Our Own Rules ~ Mark 7:1-13

  • 1/5 Pharisees see disciples not following their tradition
  • 6/8 Scripture warns about traditions taking the place of God’s word (some traditions are okay: e.g., organ in the foyer doesn’t supersede the Law)
  • 9/13 Corban (gift) explanation

=> everyone has their own set of rules; some are intentionally created in response to experience; some are unexamined learned behaviors from our childhood; some change over time as we use them

Clarify The Why Of God’s Rules ~ Mark 7:14-23

  • 14/15 simple clarification of “kosher”
  • 16 (aside: explain manuscript omission)
  • 17/19 what we eat doesn’t spiritually degrade us
  • 20/23 what’s inside us is what counts

=> what’s in your wallet? Commercial same concept

“…our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority [of the Word of God] is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.” (Savoy Declaration/Westminster Confession) NOT the work of individual hearts; by the evidence of the work of the Word among ALL our hearts of those who trust God. (Not individual interpretation, but collective understanding: Congregationalism!)

This is NOT the same as choosing individual preferences: I might prefer sci-fi over westerns, but that’s not a definition of truth. (Full disclosure: there are some pretty awesome westerns out there as well). Some people might choose mac-n-cheese over Chinese food every time, but that’s not an indicator of eternal truth, no matter what Kraft Foods might say to the contrary.

Jesus challenged his followers to Choose God’s Rules above their own. This is our opportunity to show that Jesus’ challenge has taken root in our own lives: we, together as God’s people, choose to live our lives by God’s Agenda above our own.

Snapshots from Mark: Miraculous Moments

Snapshots from Mark: Miraculous Moments Sermon Audio Here

Mark 6:30-56

The Prince of Egypt is one of my favorite films; it’s the story of the Exodus of God’s people from slavery to freedom. One of the most moving songs is “When You Believe”. The original draft of the song used the lyric “you can do miracles when you believe”, but this seemed to imply that the believer, not God, was responsible for performing miracles; the lyric was later changed to “there can be miracles when you believe”. God is still able to be about His miraculous business. Here’s how we might see Him at work:

Miracles Manifest When We

Feed Because Of Need ~ Mark 6:30-44 (Jesus Feeds the 5000)

  • 34 compassion because of a shepherd shortfall
  • 38 find out what resources you already have
  • 41 thank God for what you share (God can do more with it than you can)

See In The Storm ~ Mark 6:45-52 (Jesus Walks On Water)

  • 46 Jesus took time to pray; what do we do with our time?
  • 48 Jesus sees us in the storm, but waits for us to call out
  • 52 we misunderstand what God is doing because of the hardness of our hearts

Share What You’ve Seen ~ Mark 6:53-56 (Jesus Heals The Sick)

  • 54 people STILL recognize Jesus today
  • 55 “they heard” – they’re still listening

The difficulty in seeing God in our lives aren’t because God isn’t still at work; it’s because, like the disciples, we’re distracted by our surroundings. Let’s encourage one another to take our eyes off the storm, and see the Savior instead.

Snapshots from Mark: Cost of Confrontation

Snapshots from Mark: Cost of Confrontation Sermon Audio Here

Mark 6:14-28

This time of year, considering conditions, fender benders are more likely to occur. This is no surprise to us; but did you know that insurance companies have decided you’re statistically more likely to get into another accident if you’ve had a first? It’s all part of how they count the cost of our premiums. As we leave the old year behind, and prepare to face a new year, what will the cost of following Christ be for us?

As You Count The Cost To Confront, Consider: ~

Spiritual Power Provokes a Response
~ Mark 6:14-16

  • 14 “this” – Jesus & disciples healing throughout the land
  • 15 the common people know God is at work somehow
  • 16 Herod panics because of his past sin

Political Power Preserves Its Privilege ~ Mark 6:17-20

  • 17/18 John confronted sin in governmental leadership
  • 19/20 sinners can enjoy God’s truth without conviction

Personal Power Doesn’t Protect From Pressure ~ Mark 6:21-28

  • 21/25 historical background
  • 26/28 political power doesn’t protect from pressure

29On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

When we make the decision to be His disciple, it means to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily. That Cross is an instrument of death, and just as John the Baptist paid the ultimate price, we too need to pay that price every day. That’s why we need You, Jesus.


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Pastor Ed Backell

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