Posts Tagged 'Mark'

Snapshots from Mark: Highlights in Darkness

Snapshots from Mark: Highlights in Darkness Sermon Audio Here

Mark 14:27-38

In 1942, an experiment was devised to determine how sensitive our eyes can be. We’ve learned that the human eye can recognize as few as 9 individual photons in a completely dark room. (1 photon~2 thousandths of a millimeter). The farthest away we could see a candle in the dark is 2.76 kilometers. But what about when our SOUL gets dark?

What Are Some Bright Spots In Our Darkest Times?

Knowing Trouble Is Coming ~ Mark 14:27-31

  • 27 Zechariah warns Israel that they would turn on the Good Shepherd; He wouldn’t be accepted (Jesus KNEW trouble was coming)
  • 28 He ALSO knew He’d come through it (Meet ME in Galilee – where are you meeting Jesus?)
  • 29/30 Good intentions aren’t enough to protect us from our own weakness
  • 31 this is a blind spot for us; we think we’re more competent than we really are (Dunning-Kruger effect)

Showing Trouble Who’s In Control ~ Mark 14:32-38

  • 32/33 Jesus “distressed”=amazed, STRUCK at the weight of the task ahead (ever feel overwhelmed, inadequate to face a tough time? Jesus has been there!)
  • 34 soul is “grieved all around” NO WAY OUT
  • 35/36 caught between God’s ABILITY and God’s CHOICE: Answer? Surrender to what God wants
  • 37 Peter has the ABILITY to stay awake, but doesn’t CHOOSE to exercise it (opposite of Jesus)
  • 38 Problem: It’s easier to give in than to give your all

An effective answer for blind spots in driving: S.M.O.G: Signal, Mirror, Over the shoulder, Go
What’s an answer for blind spots in our darkness? Talk about our blind spots; encourage each other; decisions in community: in other words: S.O.S: Speak truth; Offer support; Stand together

Snapshots from Mark: Watch Closely

Snapshots from Mark: Watch Closely Sermon Audio Here

Mark 13:14-23

Secretary Brunnell Declares Fake News About His People is Being Telegraphed Over the Country.
—Cincinnati Commercial Tribune (Concinnati, OH), 7 Jun. 1890

The definition of “fake news” is not new: it’s been around a lot longer than we think. So if we’re supposed to watch the signs of the times… how do we know which signs can be trusted?

For What Signs Are We Supposed To Watch?

Signs That Point Out Local Problems ~ Mark 13:14-18

  • 14 historical background on “abomination” (168 BC desecration of the Second Temple by the erection of a Zeus statue by Antiochus Epiphanes. Later, during the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, The Temple Mount was covered over with rubble and a pagan temple dedicated to Jupiter was built when Hadrian became Caesar. Hadrian installed on the mount two statues: one of Jupiter and another of himself; this was seen by the Jews as idolatry.)
  • VERSES 15-18 have BOTH historical warnings AND lessons we can implement in our Christian lives RIGHT NOW:
  • 15 move out IMMEDIATELY; don’t delay (If God is prompting you to do something, don’t wait: obey right away)
  • 16 don’t go backwards (our Spiritual Growth isn’t found in our past; it’s in our FUTURE. What does God expect NEXT?)
  • 17/18 notice some will be caught in a tough spot: HELP THEM

Signs That Present The Bigger Picture ~ Mark 13:19-23

  • 19 until now-and= transition verse: Jesus moves from talking about the fall of Jerusalem to the Day of the Lord: there will be similar events, but not the same thing (cf. Daniel 12:1)
  • 20 this is a prophetic ECHO: it has happened AND it will happen again; God has cut short the number of times it will happen again (those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it)
  • 21/22 just like vs. 5-6, people will try to use false religion with a twisted idea of Jesus to lead people astray
  • 23 BE ON GUARD: if anyone claims to teach a Jesus that is NOT the same as the Biblical Jesus, who was Himself giving this warning, THEY ARE FALSE – DO NOT FOLLOW FAKE JESUS

We’re stuck in a paradox: we’re called to BE the Kingdom of God right here and right now; and yet, the fully realized Kingdom won’t happen until AFTER the Day of the Lord, and only God knows when that will end. BOTH ARE TRUE; Live for Christ TODAY & Every Day

Snapshots from Mark: The Main Thing

Snapshots from Mark: The Main Thing Sermon Audio Here

Mark 12:28-34

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Steven R. Covey, Scott Krippayne But ZEROING in on the main thing is no easy thing: the Choice is between good, better, and BEST…

What’s The Main Thing?

Love God ~ Mark 12:28-30

  • 28 Good question: what IS most important? Let’s be honest: we spend a LOT of our lives searching for meaning and purpose… and all too often, we leave God out of the picture
  • 29 Reminder: LISTEN (Shema) Important to listen to what God says to us
  • 30 Love God with EVERYTHING you have: not just a Sunday/Easter/Christmas thing. ALL IN (you can’t be a little bit pregnant: you either are, or you’re not)

Love People ~ Mark 12:31-34

  • 31 Shema was the most famous OT quote to Israel; Leviticus 19=more obscure (e.g., don’t wear clothes made of two kinds of material; don’t shave; don’t eat fruit from a new tree for 3 years) AND YET nestled in this obscure chapter Jesus says is found the second most important part of the entire Torah: love of neighbor
  • 32/33 the questioner agrees with Jesus: LOVE more important than religious duty
  • 34 “not far from Kingdom of God” – not enough to KNOW – we actually have to CHOOSE LOVE DAILY

Not a typical Easter sermon. We’re in the midst of a study in the book of Mark, and this is just what came up in the text. But it’s incredibly appropriate for Resurrection Sunday: Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross showed how much God loved us to make a way for us to love Him back; Jesus’ Resurrection showed that God loved us enough to show us that He wants us to know Him as FRIEND, not just Savior.

Snapshots from Mark: Fanfare of the Fronds

Snapshots from Mark: Fanfare of the Fronds Sermon Audio Here

Mark 11:1-11

I’ve been watching the “House of Windsor” documentary. I’ve noticed that every time the Queen shows up somewhere, a fanfare is played. When do WE hear fanfares today? Olympics, and beginning of movies. What would a fanfare that reflected every day life sound like? Maybe THIS??

How Can We Join Jesus As He…

Prepares A Plan ~ Mark 11:1-6

  • 1/6 never forget: 1) the Lord has a plan;
  • 2) He doesn’t always share all the details – just enough to get us moving

Plans To Praise ~ Mark 11:7-11

  • 7/9 notice the evidence of forethought: these disciples KNEW they were going to be proclaiming Jesus in public
  • 10 signal the social setting: let the people know what’s coming (Messiah)
  • 11 Jesus goes to the TEMPLE, not the Palace (a clue: praise, not protest)

Jesus spent His life dedicated to the service of the Father. To make that work, He had to Pray (listen), Prepare (gather what was needed), and Perform (carry out the plan to praise). Our turn!

Snapshots from Mark: A Shout In The Darkness

Snapshots from Mark: A Shout In The Darkness Sermon Audio Here

Mark 10:46-52

If you have Dish satellite TV service, there’s a neat benefit you may not know you have: the Dish Remote locate button. It finds the remote even in the dark. In those times when you feel lost in the dark, don’t you wish the Lord had a button like that?

Are You Willing to Shout for God’s Help?

Share Your Need ~ Mark 10:46-48

  • 46 the blind man is paying attention to his surroundings
  • 48 he won’t shut up about his need

Follow His Lead ~ Mark 10:49-52

  • 49/50 when Jesus calls, JUMP
  • 51 what does a blind man want? Our need might be obvious to US from within it, but still needs to be shared
  • 52 what is Bart’s response? Follow Jesus after Faith works!

We know God is there, but let’s be honest: too often, we’re unsure whether we should call out for help, because we don’t know if God will respond the way we want. Here’s the example: call out to God in darkness BEFORE we know He’s going to respond. Don’t give up: ask, seek, knock… SHOUT.

Snapshots from Mark: Properness of Power

Snapshots from Mark: Properness of Power Sermon Audio Here

Mark 10:35-45

I watched a CAPTIVATING mini-series on History Channel, The Men Who Built America. One of the conflicts described the competition for bringing electricity to the American people. Which standard would be used? Direct Current (DC) or Alternating Current (AC)? I found it telling that the men involved in trying to bring power to the masses used their own personal power to bring about THEIR will. Their choices were less about what was good for the people, and more about what was best for THEM.

How Does Power Work in God’s Kingdom?

The Process of Preparation ~ Mark 10:35-40

  • 35/36 admission: how often do WE do this same thing? Try to take advantage of our relationship with Jesus to get Him to do what WE want?
  • 37 they want power; no ifs ands or buts
  • 38 Jesus response ISN’T AUTOMATICALLY “no”; instead, He asks if they’ve counted the cost
  • 39 they haven’t
  • 40 “fitness, and not influence, decides…it consists of service, and he who serves most is greatest, a greatness already determined by the service, and not to be changed by any personal equation.” (International Critical Commentary on Mark, pg. 201, Ezra Gould) THOUGHT: the places are prepared for the people… AND the people are prepared for the places. Both the Master AND the servant are at work here.

The Inverse of Authority ~ Mark 10:41-45

  • 41/42 Were the disciples mad because of what James & John did… or because they didn’t think of it first? Jesus sets them straight about authority
  • 43/44 servant=deacon/waiter vs doulos/slave; servant implies freedom to choose (you may serve, or not); SLAVE means exactly that, even with all it’s ugly-to-us history. A SLAVE has no choice to serve, because they are OWNED by the master
  • 45 Jesus sets the example: HE gave up His right to be Master to show us how to be Slaves for God. John 15:15 – Jesus elevates us from Slave to Friend… but we do not lose our doulos status.

Remember our Job passage? Where were you, O human, when God put the universe together?

Answer: we were NOT. We had no power, no ability, no authority… no EXISTENCE. The bottom line: If Jesus is your Lord, YOU are His SLAVE. Time to ask ourselves: are we serving Christ, or our idea of Christ? James & John wanted power and influence, but they didn’t know the cost. The ACTUAL cost? ALL of you, ALL the time.

Snapshots from Mark: Matters of Marriage

Snapshots from Mark: Matters of Marriage Sermon Audio Here

Mark 10:2-16

To talk about marriage today is to navigate a mine-field. To even BEGIN a conversation, terms need to be defined. In fact, **contexts** need to be defined before terms can be decided. Are you talking about marriage as a social construct? Then which society will you use as the base model? Are you talking about Biblical marriage? Then which example will you use, because the Bible alone contains more than one example of various “kinds” of marriage. I think it’s helpful, as followers of Jesus, to ask this question:

How Does Jesus View Marriage?

Sidesteps the Set-up ~ Mark 10:2-9

  • 2/5 intent: trap Jesus into dismissing Mosaic Law
  • 6/8 original intent for marriage
  • 9 NOTE: Jesus affirms biblical pattern for marriage as one man/one woman; and then turns right around and admits that God allows other than His best intentions to be carried out (divorce) The IDEAL is life-long marriage; the reality is sometimes less than that

Stresses the Seriousness ~ Mark 10:10-12

  • 10/11 Leviticus 20:10: “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife– with the wife of his neighbor– both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.” Adultery was SERIOUS; Jesus equates divorce with adultery.
  • 12 It’s so serious that it transcends the male/female dynamic; if EITHER party initiates it, it’s the same as adultery: worthy of death

It’s my belief that Jesus is applying a Rabbinical Corrective here, just like He did in the Sermon on the Mount (“you have heard it said ___, but I say to you ___”) It’s just not possible to fully live God’s intended standard of holiness WITHOUT GOD’S PRESENCE. The whole point of the Law is to show that we need GOD, not the Law itself!

Scolds The Cold Shoulder ~ Mark 10:13-16

  • 13 “were bringing” = ongoing thing; annoyed the disciples
  • 14 indignant = GREAT translation; He was deeply offended and frustrated!
  • 15 important to Jesus that little kids have access; this is the example of the Kingdom of God which WE NEED TO SEE CONSTANTLY
  • 16 “blessed” = compound word: against + good + word = He laid the good word on them!

Marriage, then, seems to emphasize the ongoing choice to commit instead of quit; to be willing to die than to give it up; and to be a means of blessing for offspring, and the gathered people of the Kingdom of God.

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!

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

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

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: 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.

Pastor Ed Backell

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