Posts Tagged 'preparation'

Snapshots from Mark: Stay Awake

Snapshots from Mark: Stay Awake Sermon Audio Here

Mark 13:24-37

I found this WONDERFUL way to remind myself of things: WakeUpDialer.com Just listen… Now, wouldn’t it be great if God gave us wake-up calls? Well…

Jesus Gives Us All A Wake-Up Call:

A Call For Caution ~ Mark 13:24-27

  • 24 This refers to The Day Of The Lord cf. Isa. 13:9-10
  • 25 CODE: not actual destruction of stellar objects; language used to denote the end of a ruling era (cf Ezk. 32; Amos 8; Joel 2 – diff. Kingdoms, same ending language)
  • 26 God WILL REIGN (cf. Dan 7:13)
  • 27 cf Deut 30:3-6 (God will gather & restore His people);
  •    Jer. 32:37 (God will bring us back to Himself);
  •    Ezk 34:13, 36:24 (God will bring His people to His land);
  •    Zech 2:6 (God scattered His people to the ends of the earth because of their disobedience, and He calls them back home)

A Call To Clarity ~ Mark 13:28-31

  • 28/29 Cause and effect: summer follows winter; God’s plans bear fruit
  • 30/31 “this generation” = within the lifetime of His followers. A.D. 70 certainly was; hold onto Jesus’ enduring word

A Call Of Self-Control ~ Mark 13:32-37

  • 32 that Day under control of the Father
  • 33/34 each with his assigned task: God has tasked US to be His servants
  • 35 four watches of the night, 6pm-6am
  • 36/37 “to watch for him is to… use the time that remains before his coming in the work of winning others for him. It is to recognize him gratefully in his intermediate comings in the persons of the least of his brethren.”1

We do not need to wait until Jesus’ return to live as Kingdom people NOW.

1. (Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary; St. Mark, by C.E.B. Cranfield, p. 412)
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Snapshots from Mark: Listen Carefully

Snapshots from Mark: Listen Carefully Sermon Audio Here

Mark 13:1-13

Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie: the ending is ODD; they wanted to film a battle, but ran out of money, so they just had the police show up and shut down the movie. It was completely unexpected and out of “character”. Do you realize that God will, essentially, do the same thing? End everything in an unexpected way?

How Do We Prepare For THE End?

Teaching Moments on Time ~ Mark 13:1-4

  • 1 disciples caught up in appreciation of human achievement
  • 2 warning: human achievement won’t last
  • 3/4 disciples: end of the world is SOON?

End of the World Warnings ~ Mark 13:5-8

  • 5 some WILL try to deceive
  • 6 some WILL attempt to misuse Jesus’ name
  • 7 “end is still to come” There is MORE THAN ONE ENDING:
    • 1) Jerusalem (where the Temple was)
    • 2) The Day of the Lord, from Joel, Amos, Zephaniah
  • 8 This is probably reference to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70; (Scholars note that between this prophecy by Jesus in A.D. 30 (or 29) and the destruction of Jerusalem there were at least 4 earthquakes and 4 famines)

Acts of Proof ~ Mark 13:9-13

  • 9 Acts 5: apostles arrested & flogged; Acts 23: Paul handed over to Governor Felix
  • 10 Acts 2: gospel preached to people from all over Empire (“all nations”)
  • 11 Acts 23: Paul speaks at his trial
  • 12 Emperor Domitian, in his hatred of the Christian name, slew cousin and niece; Emperor Diocletian slew his own wife, and other relatives.
  • 13 “be saved” not spiritual salvation, but will escape the destruction of Jerusalem (Greek tense gives this away)

Jesus sits His disciples down to show them the ending is NOT like what they assume; He still does that for us today. We live our lives like actors in a play THAT IS STILL BEING WRITTEN. What a joy that the Lord knows how the End will play out – and what our part will be.

Epiphany: Unraveling the Riddle of Readiness

Epiphany: Unraveling the Riddle of Readiness Sermon Audio Here

1 Cor.3:1-9

The current snowy weather has certainly changed how we prepare to begin a journey. What might have been a quick trip to the supermarket is starting to resemble something from Scott of the Antarctic…

How Do We Get Ready for Wisdom?

Don’t Get Stuck in the World ~ 1 Cor.3:1-4

  • v1 follow up from 1 Cor 2:14-16, distinction between the person living according to the Spirit, or according to the world; Corinthians are living by the world’s standards
  • v2 the world can’t digest God’s wisdom as a whole; if we are caught up in that system, we can’t either
  • v3 indications one is caught in the flesh? They act like the world, with argumentative attitudes
  • v4 They even take spiritual leaders and reduce them to rallying slogans

Focus On Who’s Really At Work ~ 1 Cor.3:5-9

  • v5 simply, God does the spiritual work; we just help as God chooses
  • v6/7 we do different tasks, but God gives the growth
  • v8 God notices our specific help; we’ll be rewarded eventually (that’s another sermon)
  • v9 notice that the Corinthians are not counted among the workers (they’re too worldly); they are the recipients of God’s work, not the co-laborers

Deut 30:19-20a ~ This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

God chooses us for Salvation; We choose to live IN that Salvation, by responding to His Love, listening to His Word, and walking in His Way.

Advent: Preparing for the Child

Advent: Preparing for the Child Sermon Audio Here

Isa.7:10-16; Mat.1:18-25

Consider this: what does a young family do to prepare for the arrival of their first child?

How Can We Prepare for The Arrival of Christmas?

Be Aware of the Background ~ Isaiah 7:10-16

  • v10/13 God (through Isaiah) gives Ahaz a message: don’t worry about your current trouble, it will amount to nothing; Ahaz apparently doesn’t believe, and God says “I’ll prove it!” Ahaz says “no way” and God says, fine, I’ll show you myself! We can get so wrapped up in our own problems that we don’t even want to believe that God Himself can get us out of them – this is IDOLATRY – putting ourselves in God’s rightful place
  • v14/16 the FIRST sign is about TIME, not Person: gestation takes about 9 months; babies generally can eat simple solids by 6 months; children can generally tell wrong from right by age 5. Ahaz is being reassured that God will take care of the situation which so worries Ahaz before a child can tell wrong from right.
  • In short: Don’t worry, God is in control

Be Amazed at the Overlay ~ Matthew 1:18-25

  • v18 virgin (the Hebrew just meant young woman; the Greek shows specific miraculous intervention)
  • v19/20 angel (Isaiah was messenger; here, it’s an angel of God; another miraculous overlay)
  • v21/25 Emmanuel/Jesus (Yeshua=”Ye” is a short form of God’s name Yahweh; “shua” is “a saving cry”, what you yell out when you need help. “Yeshua” isn’t just the cry out TO God, but the ANSWER to that cry.)
  • God comes to you to rescue you. And THAT is Emmanuel – God with us… TO SAVE US!

As we enter this Christmas season, it helps to be aware of where IT came from: a fulfillment of a promise to an anxious man that God would care for the world. That promise is overlaid with supernatural power in the person of Christ. God HAS taken care of the world, DOES care for the world, and WILL bring it all to right. Let us enjoy the work He has done, is doing, and will continue to do as we wait for His Return.

Learning from Luke: Preparing the Way Today

Learning from Luke: Preparing the Way Today Sermon Audio Here


Luke 3:10-18

Preparations being made to depart for a trip – how to decide what to take, what to leave, what to do, what not to do in a new place?

How Does John Prepare The Way?

Practical Preparation for the Kingdom
Luke 3:10-14

  • v10 In response to John’s warnings: “make His paths straight” Yeah but HOW?
  • v11 Ordinary: care for the needy
  • v12/13 Rich: don’t take advantage of others
  • v14 Powerful: don’t use power for your own ends

Personally Pointing to the Kingdom
Luke 3:15-18

  • v15 these verbs describe an immediate response; the people hear John’s challenge, and they start wondering if John is the Messiah
  • v16 NO; Messiah greater WORTH and greater POWER
  • v17 greater ABILITY and crucial MINISTRY; “unquenchable” means unstoppable
  • v18 John’s Good News: God has sent the Worthy One, the Powerful Prince, the Capable Christ, the Unstoppable Emissary

John’s message is still applicable today – Get Ready: He Who Is ABLE to Save Is On The Way!


Pastor Ed Backell

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