Church Newsletter 2019-5-14

Saints,

Spring seems to have taken a break, but I think our thirst for summer has been officially revived. It is supposed to be a particularly mild summer, so be sure to take the moments when they come. Make the most of the glorious outdoors.

As we come out of the winter and take stalk, do some spring cleaning, consider how we are running our race – we ought to consider what might actually be in our hearts without our realizing it. The following list is from out text on Sunday which I did not have time to enumerate. So, take this list slowly. Talk about them with your spouse and children. Break up the fallow ground of your heart with God’s word.  Pray for insight. Call what is inside you what Christ calls it. Repent. Rejoice. Repeat.

Filling up the edges

Mark 7:20–22 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.

Heart

The locus of a person’s thoughts, will, decisions, emotions and the knowledge of right and wrong. The sense of the word is your “self.”

It is the heart which makes a man what he is and governs all his actions Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

In the Bible it usually designates the whole personality. Both in the OT and NT it is the seat of wisdom (1 Kgs. 3:12), and of thought and reflection (e.g. Jer. 24:7, Lk. 2:19), the instrument of belief (Rom. 10:10) and of will, the principle of action (Ex. 35:21) which may be hardened so that it resists God (Deut. 15:7; Mk. 16:14).

It is the principle both of virtues and vices, of humility and pride, of good thoughts  and of evil thoughts.

Hence in Scripture the heart is the center of the human person, in which the physical and the spiritual life are concentrated, and therefore in the NT the dwelling-place of Christ (Eph. 3:17) in which reigns the peace of God (Col. 3:15).

In this sense it is used in the language of Christian spirituality, which regards the human heart as the special organ of the love of God.

The heart is a big deal and what does Mark consistently bring into play? What has Jesus been dealing with?

Mark 3:4–5….But they were silent. And [Jesus] looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart…

Mark 6:52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

Mark 7:6–7 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

The source of true defilement in men is the human heart, and the tragedy of man’s original sin reaches its demonic fulfilment in man’s wanting to sin in his heart.

There is no heart in which this radical evil has failed to take root. We have to be honest about what is going on inside of us.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Sin is just something that “happens,” to us. We wants it. Yet we feel shame, pain and estrangement. We fear man and what they think. Pride, fear and shame ties us in nots or cause our hearts to cool.

The answer is found in Psalm 44:21…God…knows the secrets of the heart.

God knows what is in the heart of man.

We have to let God show us what is inside of us.  And we have to accept the diagnoses and the cure, which is heart surgery. But, Heart surgery is a lot scarier then hand soap. Then gourmet kosher food. Than a religious to-do list.

A man is defined by what he holds in his heart. Eating or refraining from certain foods will not change this list one iota, nor will washing one’s hands. It is the heart that must be cleansed.

Your religion cannot be a matter of externals, but internals. Your internals.

At the head of the list is “evil thoughts.” The word “thoughts,” is itself amoral, which is why the word evil is added.

It carries the idea of discussion or debate, with an under-tone of suspicion or doubt. Either with one’s own mind or with another.

For example; Luke 9:46-48An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts…

Arguing with brothers about foolish things, quarrelling, ungracious suspicions, and doubt are all implied and summed up with this phrase, evil thoughts.

Fornicationis a broad term covering all acts of sexual immorality; it is wider than adultery.

The word “fornication” is used in the Scriptures to mean several different things. Its general meaning refers to every kind of illegal sexual intercourse, that is, any intercourse except that between a husband and wife.

But don’t be too hasty, patting yourself on the back.

Fornication is as common to modern men and women, Christian or otherwise, as having elbows.

Theft,murderand adultery. The three that stand in the mind of many as the, well I never sins, so I must be a pretty good person.

Matthew 5:21–22“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder… But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment….Matthew 5:27–28  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. ’But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Washing cups, bowls and hands seems a lot easier, doesn’t it? A long list of externals certainly seems a lot easier than what Jesus is teaching here.

So, murder and adultery are two big, yeah but I never sins – always brought up in a self-justifying way. But you can be a serial killer and adulterer and never leave the confines of your heart and mind.

While the Hebrew word for “covet” can also be translated “to desire,” in the tenth commandment it means an ungoverned and selfish desire that threatens the basic rights of others.

Coveting is sinful because it focuses greedily on the property of a neighbor that is his share in God’s grace.

Coveting is a gateway sin. It is a lack of contentment and gratitude.

It leads to theft, lying, adultery and a host of other potential sins. Coveting starts in the heart and unless it is uprooted it will not remain there. It will manifest itself in a host of sins.

Wickednessappears to be a general term denoting acts of deliberate malice, translated variously as evil, Ill-will, spitefulness, trouble or harm.

Wickedness refers to evil in its active form, i.e.mischief (Nu. 16:26). As such, it denotes perversity of mind (Pr. 15:26; Rom. 1:29) by which the natural man surrenders himself to evil impulses (Ps. 10:1–11).

Wickedness has its seat in the heart and is inspired of Satan (1 Jn. 3:12), it is progressive and contagious in its manifestation.

The wicked man is utterly perverse, finding unholy delight in the infliction of injury (Pr. 21:10).

It is like leaven in a bread. It spreads and affects the reaction and condition of the whole loaf. Wicked men seek are mischief. They don’t just gossip, they who to gossip to in order to cause the most damage.

They manipulate, muddy the waters of clarity and stir up strife.

Malice characterizes the life of men under the wrath of God (Rom. 1:29). It is not only a moral deficiency but destroys fellowship.

For believers it belongs to the old life according to Tit. 3:3, so there is still need for exhortation to ‘clean it out.’ 

1 Corinthians 5:7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

That is what this whole section is about. Jesus has begun a new work in you. You are not yet perfect. There are things in your heart that need to come out.

Deceit implies the components of cunning and treachery.

Sensuality is Moral abandon. Indulgence in sensual pleasure unrestrained by convention or morality.

Envy is more than coveting but a grudging jealousy with which a man looks upon the possessions of another. It’s not merely wanting what another has but resenting that another has it.

Slander is to speak critically of another person with the intent to hurt them. To falsely accuse another.

Elsewhere, Jesus said, “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak” (Matt. 12:36).

This should cause each person to be very careful what they say about others.

Pride The emphasis placed on pride, and its converse humility, is a distinctive feature of biblical religion, unparalleled in other religious or ethical systems. Rebellious pride, which refuses to depend on God and be subject to him, but attributes to self the honor due to him, figures as the very root and essence of sin.

Foolishness describes the dominant disposition of the man who is morally and spiritually insensitive; he does not know God and he does not wish to know him.

Foolishness is characterized by thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, or judgments that lack sense, prudence, and discretion. Foolish behavior may be immoral or dangerous and is often used for self-destructive tendencies. Foolishness stands in contrast to wisdom, prudence, and sound judgment.

Conclusion

Titus 3:3–7For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

He gives the spirit. He gives us new hearts and minds. He takes your envy, malice, fornication, lies, murders, deceits, etc. and replaces them. With what? How?

Galatians 5:22–24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

To you and me. No, don’t turn away. Don’t hide in shame and guilt and doubt. What’s inside you? You don’t want to face it. You don’t know what to do with it. You don’t know where it comes from.

Don’t be so willing to self-justify and remain in self-deception. That is slavery and death.

Let Christ give you the heart surgery you so desperately need.  You are muddled.

But Jesus knows what is inside of you. John 2:23–25[Jesus knows] ‘all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

He knows what’s inside you, that no one else knows. That you hardly know yourself. He will tell you. He will tell you what to call it. He will take it from you willingly. Its why He came. Its why He reigns. He is here to heal you. To cleanse you from the inside, out.

This parable is still connected to the parable of the sowers. Jesus is giving you the seed of eternal life.

But remember Jeremiah 4:3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

Come. Don’t linger. Don’t trust in the externals. Trust Him and He will give you new internals – a new heart and thus a new desire, mind, emotion and will and it will work from the inside out.

But you must remove the weeds, thorns and stones.

Come to His word. His spirit will teach you – Him. His law. His heart for you. He will give the new heart.

Godliness isn’t a list of action items. Godliness is not to be attained through a list of rituals. Godliness is not a matter of eating or washing.

What is godliness? 1 Timothy 3:16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Around the web

An important talk for men.

https://www.christkirk.com/sermon/make-men-pious-again/

Devotional

1 John 2:16-17

Increase my faith, O merciful Father,

That I may not swerve at any time form your heavenly word.

Give me an increase of hope and love, together with a careful keeping of all your commandments, that no hardness of heart, no hypocrisy, no lust of the eyes, nor any methods of the world, may draw me away from obedience to you. And, since we live now in these most perilous times, let your fatherly providence defend me against all violence and harm.

Amen.

Church Calendar

NEXT WEEK:

Keith, Confession

Byron, Prayer

GAME DAY WITH TRINITY

Join some folks at the Trinity Church Office for board games from 10AM-4PM on Saturday, May 18. Open house format; Snacks provided, bring your own lunch. Bring a game to play, or try one out there. 14623 NE North Woodinville Way, Suite 201.

THE CHURCH AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD

Worship service (not a protest); Wednesday, May 29 from 5:30-6:15pm, at the Planned Parenthood in Everett. 509 – 32nd St., Everett 98201

FREE BOOKS IN THE MONTH OF JUNE

Free books available, coinciding with a new sermon series in June: The

Meaning of Marriage, Decluttering Your Marriage, Father Hunger, Militant Motherhood, and Raising Little Ones.

PENTECOST PARTY

June 9, 5:30-8:30PM at the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell. More details to follow.

 

 

Church Newsletter 2019-4-24

Saints,

May the face of our Lord Jesus Christ shine upon you all and give you peace. May the Spirit so embolden and entangle your heart that bow humbly before your Lord Jesus and praise Him without ceasing. May the Father convict and comfort you that you know no righteousness but Jesus.

Amen

Filling up the edges

John 5:28–29 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

This is called, traditionally, the last things or by some, eschatology. And most of us think the last things take place in a remote time. In a nondescript, enigmatic future era: distant and unknowable. But eschatology, can be understood in two different ways. The end of the world is far off and unknowable, but the end of your life can be reasonably guessed with a fair amount of accuracy by a good doctor or a life insurance agent.

C.S. Lewis again fromWeight of Glory; “When any man comes into the presence of God he will find, whether he wishes it or not, that all those things which seemed to make him so different from the men of other times or even from His earlier self, have fallen off him. He is back where he always was, where every man always is….do not let us deceive ourselves. No possible complexity which we can give to our picture of the universe can hide us from God: there is not copse, no forest, no jungle thick enough to provide cover. It will happen to all of us in the blink of an eye. In a breath, in a time too small to be measured, at any time and in any place, all that seems to divide you from God and from other men, will flee away, vanish leaving you naked before Him, like the first man, like the only man, as if nothing but He and you existed.  And since that contact cannot be avoided and since it means either bliss or horror, the business of life is to learn to love it. That is the first and greatest commandment.” 

The business of life is to learn to love it. Because the Lord Jesus will call you forth from your grave and you will stand before Him. Everyone will be resurrected – those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

And that separation into two groups is the end of a long line of decisions. A long line of works. Actions. Words. Things done and left undone.

Because you stand before His gaze every day. But because we don’t see Him, we act as if each moment isn’t happening before His very eyes.

The business of life is to learn to love to stand in His gaze. Loving it is what leads to heaven. Not loving it leads to hell.

Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Loving the one who gazes upon us is what leads to Him – heaven. Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2019-4-24”

Church Newsletter 2019-4-11

Saints,

I pray that the Lord’s grace and goodness fills your hearts and minds with gratitude, peace and hope as you fulfill your callings, love your wives, respect your husbands, obey your parents and raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

May the face of Jesus Christ shine on you all.

Filling up the edges

Mark 6:48–50 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, [49] but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, [50] for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Between three and six, in the morning, in their time of greatest need, and in a totally unexpected way, Jesus came to their rescue.

Job 9:8 who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea.

 Jesus was walking on top of the water, a miracle unprecedented in the history of redemption. Jesus isn’t coming to them as their teacher, as their friend or leader. He is enacting a theophany.

Theophanyis derived from two Greek words meaning “God” and “to show.” A theophany, then, is a manifestation of the deity.

Appearances of God mark significant events in the life of Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Generally speaking, in the OT, God would manifest Himself as something comprehensible within creation as a means of communicating with man, such as the burning bush in Exodus 4 or the pillar of fire and smoke leading Israel through the middle chapters of Exodus or as the military commander in Joshua 5.

Jesus here turns the idea of a theophany on its head.  God, the transcendent revealed Himself to man in a comprehensible way. Jesus here reveals Himself not as comprehensible but as transcendent.

Jesus, a man bound by the “laws,” of creation reveals himself in a way that transcends created limits, communicating that he surpasses creation and the “laws,” of nature as the creator of the heavens and the earth.

The words “pass by them,” doesn’t mean he was going to walk passed them, ignoring them. It means He was going to display himself to them.

They are exhausted, tormented. They are hardened to His revelation. They are resisting Jesus and so Jesus goes further, pushed them further to break up the hardness of heart.

Two of the most famous theophanies in the OT occurred when Yahweh passed before two prophets, revealing His Glory to man.

Exodus 34:5–6 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 

Yahweh also passed before Elijah.

1 Kings 19:11 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 

Jesus is showing himself to be the greater prophet, but He is passing before the disciples which put the disciples on the same footing as Moses and Elijah.

Who does that make Jesus to be, then? This theophany works, in a way, contra to the OT ones, because a transcendent God is not veiling himself in a way human minds and senses can comprehend. Jesus, a man, is pulling the veil back and revealing His transcendence. Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2019-4-11”

Church Newsletter 2019-4-1

Saints,

May the joy of your salvation fill your mouth with gratitude and praise of the living God, even as He fills your hearts to overflowing with His love by His Holy Spirit.

Filling up the edges

Mark 6:30-44

All the under shepherds failed. The kings failed. The leaders of Israel failed. So God promises to come and shepherd Israel Himself.

Ezekiel 34:14–15 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD.

Jesus is revealing that this is not a merely a poetic flourish. God’s promise to shepherd Israel is incarnational. I’ve said Jesus embodies and parabolically lives out the history, prophecies and promises of God. But what does that mean?

Jesus is revealing Himself to be the true Shepherd of God’s flock. Jesus is revealing that He Himself, is THE Shepherd, the Lord; Yahweh Himself.

Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 Everything that follows is parabolic. Its living metaphor. Its fulfillment. Jesus is living out Psalm 23 as a witness to who he is himself and who the triune God is.

Jesus sits the crowds down and begins to “teach them many things,” verse Mark 6:34.

Psalm 23:3“…He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake…”

The news of John’s death is making the rounds. The righteous are meeting a bleak end at the hands of the wicked authorities.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  

God promised to be the shepherd of Israel and Jesus is revealing Himself in very great detail, to be that Shepherd.

Mark 6:35–38And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”

The disciples felt compelled to call Jesus’ attention to the lateness of the hour and the scarcity of provision for the evening meal which was close at hand. Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2019-4-1”

Church Newsletter 2019-3-20

Saints,

Blessings on you all this week, sons and daughters of God! Enjoy the taste of summer. I pray your families are healing fast or avoiding the flu.

May the work of your hands, your thoughts and your desires glorify God. May your homes be full of the joy of salvation; showing hospitality to God and his messengers.

Filling up the edges

Mark 6:7-13

The success of the disciple’s mission is hospitality. Those who are hospitable to the disciples are giving way to the gospel mission. Those who welcome the disciples, make them comfortable, give them a ready ear; accept the call to repentance and obedience are manifesting and spreading the kingdom of God.

Jesus anticipated that some places wouldn’t welcome the disciples. There are always some who would rather stay sick than face the bracing challenge of a new way of life, a new outlook.

But the disciples are to respond with a solemn symbolic action, shaking the dust of the place off of themselves.  But what does this symbolic gesture mean? We know from the oral traditions of the Jews that it was customary for Jews to shake foreign dust off their clothes when they had been traveling outside the Holy Land.

By this action they dissociated themselves from the pollution of those lands and their ultimate judgment. An analogous action on the part of the disciples would declare that a village was pagan in character. It would provide warning that the disciples had fulfilled their responsibility and that those who had rejected the mission would have to answer to God.37 Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2019-3-20”

Church Newsletter 2019-3-6

Saints,

Please be praying for Nate who is preaching this Sunday, the 10th. We canceled church due to weather the week he was going to be preaching.

Also pray for the Bakken boys Neils and Emmet, who will be baptized Sunday afternoon.

As we reach midweek, it’s important to recall how to build; a household, a marriage, a week, a business, etc.

The corner stone is Christ. Upon that is the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles. Upon that living foundation are placed the living stones of each believer.Pray. Hold Fast. Pursue Christ. Bear your cross. He is our shield bearer, the lifter of our heads and all our hope.

Filling up the edges

Mark 6:1-6

Now, the Nazarenes were right in rejecting the earthly background and relationships of Jesus as being the source of his power. It was not as Mary’s son, nor as eldest brother of Joseph’s family, that he did such things: nor was it as the village carpenter, as they would have considered him to be. But, having rightly rejected any human source, they refused to attribute either the wisdom or the miracles to a divine source.

They don’t understand what kind of builder Jesus is. They were deeply scandalized by Jesus’ remarks. The people of Nazareth ‘knew all the answers’ about Jesus: they were not prepared for any fresh revelation.[1]“And they took offense at him,” says Mark. The word for “offense” comes from Gk. skandalon, meaning a “stumbling block.” The verb form of the word means to “cause to stumble,” and in the present context to be “put off” or even “repelled” by Jesus.

Skandalizeinoccurs eight times in the Gospel of Mark; in each instance it designates obstructions that prevent one from coming to faith and following Jesus.

A stumbling block to faith, a signature motif in Mark, is a grave problem. The “offense” of v. 3 verifies that the amazement of the people in Nazareth is not one of faith but of incredulity and opposition.[2]

Jesus is fulfilling scripture. He is revealing more about His ultimate ends. Where is this story heading? He is causing Israel to stumble. He is a rock of offense. He is the cornerstone rejected by Israel, upon which a new Israel; a new temple – will be built.

Jesus is just a builder. But a builder of the kingdom of God. Before the new kingdom goes up, however, the old one needs to come down. Jesus is the one man wrecking crew.

Psalm 118:22–24The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Matthew 21:42–43Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore, I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”

Peter preaches inActs 4:11–13This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

What is the blueprint for ripping down the old and building the new? Jesus’ response to the people of his hometown marks the first time in the gospel that the term “prophet” is applied to him. He has come like a prophet and is rejected like a prophet. This rejection is therefore portentous because Israel’s history is to mistreat prophets.[3]

1 Kings 19:10He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

2 Chronicles 36:16But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD rose against his people, until there was no remedy.

They rejected the prophets by killing them.

Matthew 23:37–39“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”  

By referring to Himself as a prophet Jesus is fulfilling a great promise of Yahweh to Israel in Deuteronomy 18:15–19.

He is identifying Himself as a prophet and what does Israel do to the prophets?

Where is this story going? I thought Jesus’ revealed the enemy to be defeated is death itself, Satan’s greatest treasure? He has come to His own people and His own people did not receive Him.

It is revealed with the healing of the Garasene Demoniac, the woman with a hemorrhage and Jairus’ daughter – that Satan’s greatest treasure – death itself – is going to be defeated.

This is a set up; a transition. He needs to send out the 12. He needs to finish their training so that they are ready to carry on the ministry after the end of His ministry.

The rock that is rejected will be the foundation of a new house. A new temple. A new people. This section and the one that follows – His sending out the 12 – are the gospel story in miniature. Jesus comes preaching the kingdom and will meet the same end of all the prophets.

But He won’t stay dead. He will defeat death with His own death. And then He will equip the 12 with the Holy Spirit and send them out. He is just a builder after all.

Ephesians 2:18–22 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [20] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

This is great plan to build the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 4:11–16And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Like a mustard seed He starts small. Accepting Him is the foundation. Turning to the prophets and apostles, gathering to worship under the instruction of evangelists, preachers, teachers and pastors, we learn to minister grace, mercy and reconciliation to one another – building up the body of Christ.

Jesus’ plan is multi-stage, multi-generational and methodical. It’s not flashy. Its humble, its repetitive and it’s HIS – not yours.

But accepting Him, you are accepted into the work of scattering seeds and seeing the fruit 30, 60, 100 times greater than what was laid in the ground.

Around the Web

Read this article. Think of the how Survival bias applies to our culture within the church. To learning from one another’s sins, marital problems, childrearing failures and the whole culture in the Evangelicalism that focuses so much on celebrity pastors, etc.

https://www.boredpanda.com/world-war-2-aircraft-survivorship-bias-abraham-wald/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

Devotional

For humility and simplicity  – 2 Cor. 3:18

Grant, Almighty God,

since you have not only created me out of nothing, but intend to create me again in your only begotten Son; and since you have taken me from the lowest depths, so that you may raise me to the hope of your heavenly kingdom: Grant, I pray, that I may not be proud or puffed up with conceit; but may embrace your favor with humility, and submit myself to you in simplicity, until at last I become a partaker of that glory your only begotten Son has acquired for me.

Amen.

Church Calendar

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS

Sunday, March 10. Spring forward one hour.

BAPTISM

Baptism on the 10th, this Sunday, at 3pm at the Cejkas to baptize Neils and Emmett Bakken. The Bakkens will provide light dessert and coffee and drinks for kids. Street parking is available, especially near the park.

MEN’S MEETING

Wednesday, March 20, 8PM at the church

LADIES’ GATHERING

Wednesday, March 27, 7-9PM at Tami Gamble’s home.

MONTHLY PRAYER MEETING

First Sunday of every month; 9:30-9:50AM; church office. Join us for communal prayer, men & women

 

[1]Cole, R. A. (1989). Mark: An Introduction and Commentary(Vol. 2, pp. 170–171). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[2]Edwards, J. R. (2002). The Gospel according to Mark(p. 173). Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos.

[3]Garland , David E.. A Theology of Mark’s Gospel (Biblical Theology of the New Testament Series) (pp. 126-127). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Church Newsletter 2019-2-28

Saints,

It is beautiful outside and I hope that you are enjoying it and the longer days. Joy cometh in the morning. Have a blessed week and enjoy this midweek instruction.

Blessings on you, your work, your family and your faith.

Filling up the edges

Mark 5:21-43

Be aware that when you go to Jesus for help, you will give to and get from him far more than you bargained for.

The woman with a hemorrhage wanted to be healed and believed Jesus could do it. She just wanted to get close enough to touch Him; get healed and move on. She thought Jesus was pretty powerful if she believed he could heal her with a touch.What she did not want was to speak to Him. That was neither culturally acceptable (John 4:27) nor ceremonially safe (Lev. 11:39-40). She did not want to have to discuss such a personal matter publicly with a man. What she wanted was easy for Jesus to accomplish, she didn’t want much.

Once she is healed, Jesus stops the crowd and wants answers. Jesus healed her, but then asked her to do the very thing that terrified her. The one thing she did not want to do.

She had to publicly confess her need for healing and confess her belief in Jesus before the great teacher, his entourage and a large crowd.

He healed her and then called her to a public execution of self (Mark 8:34-36). She had to give far more than she ever thought possible and what she most dreaded.

But Jesus’ response was far more than she had ever hoped. For twelve years this woman has been estranged from the synagogue, the feast days; the community life of God’s people. She can’t get married or have children. She is an outcast.

Jesus calls the woman “daughter.” Except for the paralytic in 2:5 Jesus has not addressed anyone, not even the twelve, as members of his own family.

His family consists of all those who do the will of God. Here was a new definition of the family in which the bond that unites people who do the will of God is set above the kinship of blood.

In this woman who had suffered so much and who had violated the law of Moses, Jesus found a daughter. She had done the will of God by reaching out in faith to Jesus honoring Him.

Despite her fear she had hoped and believed in Jesus’ power to save her. This distinguished her from the disciples in the boat, whose fear had led them into sarcasm.

Her faith was a response to his power, and the singular quality of her faith was acting in hope in spite of the things she feared.[1]

What she receives from Jesus is so much more than what she had hoped for or believed was possible.

And then the messenger came to tell Jairus the thing he feared. His daughter was dead. All he wanted from Jesus was for Him to heal his daughter’s fever.

And Jesus is distracted. Jesus is attending to the needs of others. What Jairus wanted was such a small thing, but it was a greater danger and more imminent.

And now, though he had come to Jesus, exactly what he most feared and dreaded has come.

Jesus couldn’t save Jairus or his daughter from the storm.

We know that Jesus doesn’t have to be present to heal people (Mathew 8:5-13). So, what is Jesus doing to this poor man? Jesus doesn’t explain anything about His plan. Jesus commands them to continue on to see the dead girl and tells Jairus not to fear, but to have faith. Jesus is doing far more for Jairus than Jairus can imagine.

Think of the stunned, trembling, sorrowful faith in which Jairus went the short distance with Jesus.

And Jesus goes in and takes the little girl’s hand, tells her to arise and….

…she gets up.

All Jairus wanted was Jesus to heal his daughter from a fever but instead Jesus raises her from death.

Jairus gets far more than he ever thought was possible. But at Jesus’ side, he descended to fears and doubts and sorrow he had never known.

This is the way of the cross. The way of the disciple of Jesus.

Is there something you think God is delaying? Withholding? Something small and easy to address? Are you impatient with God?

God doesn’t call you to a path of ease, safety or even happiness. He doesn’t call you to your own agenda or timetable and He doesn’t promise complete understanding.

He calls you to come and die. To come and rejoice.

He will give you far more than you can imagine, but it will cost you far more than you can imagine.

Around the worldwide web

Zach Williams was newly married when his wife fell off a horse and was paralyzed. In his grief he wrote poetry. His friends encouraged him to learn guitar and deal with his grief by sharing his songs at open mics. They helped him.

His wife fully recovered. But from that tragedy, fear and self-expression of sorrow emerged a band called The Lone Bellow. Enjoy their folksy-gospel inspired sorta-take on Psalm 30:5.

Devotional

Father,

Because of your steadfast and abundant love

I turn to you with cries for mercy,

with shouts of joy,

in expectation of a ready ear.

Set my face toward Christ; the way, the truth and the life.

You hate the bloodthirsty, deceitful man who wildly pursues evil impulses,

walking in darkness,

who are inward evil in every way.

You will not let such a man reside with or even stand in your presence.

But to those who have found favor in your eyes,

You encircle them with your love,

You fill their mouths with expression of gratitude,

You enfold them with your grace as with a shield.

And so, I set this – my sacrifice of self – before you

And watch.

In Christ, as Christ, for Christ,

Amen

 

Church Calendar

Service 2019-03-03

Jered Leslie, Call

Steve Brown, Prayer

MONTHLY PRAYER MEETING

First Sunday of every month; 9:30-9:50AM; church office. Join us for communal prayer, men & women.

[1]Kernaghan, R. J. (2007). Mark(pp. 110–111). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Church Newsletter 2019-2-6

Saints,

I hope you find the rowing this week to be a blessing and not a curse. We have Christ, here in the boat with us and so we are the blessed, the strong, the loved of the Father of Heaven.

As you struggle with your circumstances and responses and obedience this week, remember that Christ died so that you could die. And He lives so that you can live. May His fullness fill you on the way of the Cross!

Filling up the edges

Mark 4:35-41

There is a new kind of tension. The earlier miracles contained seeds of conflict that matured into intractable opposition. Here, however, there is a lot of tension, but neither the teachers of the law, the leaders of the synagogues nor the traditions of the people are anywhere in evidence. The tension is between Jesus and his own followers. Their fear of death and his undisturbed sleep generate the conflict.

Jesus slept unconcerned, while they bailed furiously in fear of their lives. Unlike the earlier miracles, this has two focal points. The first one is consistent with all the earlier accounts in that it demonstrates the power of the kingdom of God. He spoke to the storm as though it were a demonic power. As he had already demonstrated his authority over the demonic powers in people, here Jesus revealed his authority over the demonic or chaotic in nature.[1]

The disciples rebuke Jesus. Jesus rebukes the demonic forces at work in the sea and His disciples, “Don’t you have faith?!!??”

Certainly, Mark understood the meaning to be faith in the saving power of God as revealed in the action of Jesus. Mark likely intended to indicate that faith is more than intellectual assent, that it is trust in a Person. Jesus rebuked the disciples for the lack of faith expressed in their terror and fear. This is the first in a series of rebukes (cf. Chs. 7:18; 8:17 f., 21, 32 f.; 9:19) and its placement at this point is important.

Between the disciples who have received insight through Christ’s words and the multitude who see only a riddle, the difference is one of degree, not of kind. The disciples themselves are still quite blind and filled with misunderstanding. When Jesus asks, “Do you not yet have faith?” he means specifically faith in God’s saving power as this is present and released through his own person.

The Parables continue in Jesus’ actions. Is following Jesus just about sitting around discussing theological mysteries? No. Following Jesus is riding with Him into a maelstrom in an open boat. Check your faith, there’s no life jackets on this trip.

Jesus’ words are hard to receive. Who is he? What do His words to the storm mean? And the parable of the soils is still the key.

The subduing of the sea and the wind was not merely a demonstration of power; it was an epiphany, through which Jesus was unveiled to his disciples as the Savior in the midst of intense peril, peril into which He commanded them to go.

Very early this incident was understood as a sign of Jesus’ saving presence in the persecution which threatened to overwhelm the Church. It is not surprising that in early Christian art the Church was depicted as a boat driven upon a perilous sea; with Jesus in the midst, there was nothing to fear.[2]

No command is more often reiterated in the Bible than the simple ‘Do not fear’ (see Exod. 14:13; 20:20, etc.). In spite of their lack of faith, Jesus calmed the storm with a word.

They wanted to be delivered from a storm and found out they were riding with an even greater storm resting in the stern sheets. The creative word of Genesis 1. The storm on the Mountain in Exodus 24 when Israel received the word of God and trembled. The whisper confronting Elijah’s lack of Faith. That Word is sitting on a pillow in the boat.

Their reaction at the mount of transfiguration (9:6), and even at the resurrection (16:8), was to be the same.[3]

In short, unlike the previous accounts of miracles this one ends with a question, has a hidden meaning and invites the followers of Jesus to come to terms with their decision to follow Him. The spoken parables confront their ability to receive His words. The enacted parable on the sea confronts their sincerity and trust in Jesus the Word of the God – which is not SAFE. But He is good.

The parables are open-ended, contain a hidden meaning and provoke people into coming to terms with who they thin Jesus is. The basic features of Jesus’ parables have taken root in this story, and this is the Evangelist’s signal that the miracles are no longer direct expositions of the kingdom of God.

Like Jesus’ teaching, the miracles have also become indirect. It was on the basis of his word, let us go over to the other side,that they found themselves in this predicament. Why would Jesus lead them to the brink of death and danger?

The question don’t you care if we drown?is not the stuff of faith—it is an accusation.[4]Instead of ending on a note of praise, as the healing of the paralytic did (2:12), this one ends in fear. The disciples were terrified, even more afraid after Jesus spoke than they had been during the storm.[5]

We always want our interactions with Jesus to be soft soap. Band-Aid like. But sometimes our questioning of God is impertinent and foolish. Sometimes God’s response to our pleas is more terrifying than the circumstances.

Remember Jonah prayed to for salvation from drowning, so God sent a whale to swallow him.

We get cancer and we want to be healed by miracle. We want to wake up one morning and the tumor is just magically gone! But sometimes the answer is to wake up in the NICU with 17 stitches closing the gaping wound in our chest, where the surgeon sawed us open to remove the tumor.

When Jesus speaks to us it isn’t always soft words of reassurance and gentle coos. We hear his voice: Why are you afraid? Don’t you believe?

And we can hardly answer in our trembling. The reality is that sometimes the grace hurts harder than hell.  Actually, if you sign on with Jesus for the kingdom of God, this will become your story whether you realize it, whether you like it, or not.

Wind and storms will come your way. You will find yourself in terrifying circumstances but don’t be afraid because the one sleeping in your pilot seat is more terrifying. The forces of darkness are afraid of direct confrontation. And the naked power of the Living God should fill us all with Holy fear. It should silence our foolish questions. It should clear our vision.

But remember, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of Wisdom and it requires wisdom to understand the parables. To understand the frightening word of God – lay down your life and live……it’s not a hallmark card.

That’s why Mark places this story at the end of this section. Do you want to understand what the parables mean? Understand who is speaking them. The one speaking and silencing His enemies without and within!!

The power of evil was broken on the cross and in the empty tomb. Christians – the church as a whole, local churches here and there, individual Christians – can get hurt or even killed as a result. They suffer and struggle. Mark’s first readers probably knew that better than most of us. They would have identified easily with the frightened men in the boat.

That’s Mark’s invitation to all of us: OK, go on, wake Jesus up, pray to him in your fear and anger. And don’t be surprised when he turns to you, as the storm subsides in the background, and asks when you’re going to get some real faith.[6]

Around the worldwide web

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x07PtAZ4PbU

Devotional

Mighty God, The forces that are arrayed against us in this life far outmatch our little strength. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against powerful spiritual forces in the heavenly realms. Our enemy is strong and crafty, and if we try to stand against him in our own strength we will inevitably fail. Yet, Father, we confess that we often trust in our own wisdom and strength, as if we were mighty and self-sufficient. We go through life oblivious to the dangers around us and not heeding the warnings of your Word. When we find ourselves defeated yet again, we complain and moan as if you had let us down, when the fault is entirely ours. Instead of praying and asking for your help, we grumble and resent our weakness. Father, forgive us.

Jesus, thank you that you have entered the battle on our behalf, leaving the safety of heaven to engage the challenges of living as a human being. You felt all of our human weaknesses, yet you endured without sin, because you constantly entrusted yourself to your Father’s mighty power. Thank you that you were triumphant for us, redeeming us and giving our souls complete safety in you. The strong forces that are arrayed against us can never separate us from you, and so our ultimate victory is secure.

Holy Spirit, thank you that you are at work strengthening us daily. When you give us the grace to stand, depending upon you, help us to remember that the strength is yours and not ours. When you leave us to ourselves and we fall, show us your good purposes in that, too—help us to learn our own weakness, to become more watchful and distrustful of ourselves, to pray more frequently and fervently, and to become more eager for the final day of our victory in Christ. Thank you that he is even now interceding for us and that he will continue to do so throughout our earthly warfare, until he welcomes us into his closer presence. In Jesus’ name we pray,

amen.[7]

Church Calendar

Service 2019-02-3

Call – Keith

Prayer – Mike

LADIES’ GATHERING 

Wednesday, February 27, 7-9PM at Kristin Bakken’s home.  

MEN’S GATHERING 

February 22nd at 7 pm. Men’s social at Moonshine BBQ @ 4911 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036

 

Church Newsletter 2018-10-10

Saints,

This last sermon was hard but so very necessary. So many Christians want churches whose ministry is to comfort in carnality and tickle ears with elegant and consoling words.

But Jesus is our only comfort in life and death. His peace comes only after the carnage of destroying sin. His life is offered through death. His righteousness is the only clothing in which to stand before God. What are your fig leaves?

The father is satisfied and loves you in Christ. Christ’s powerful word drives out the forces of Darkness. The scriptures are a scalpel, but the surgeon is good; a most gentle and compassionate physician.

Come and be healed. Come and rejoice. Come and die.

Filling up the edges

Hebrews 4:12–13For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

We know the revelation of Jesus is painful because it’s like surgery. We keep contact with the scalpel to a minimum. We don’t see it has a great reward because we can’t have it and our sin too. The evil inside us screams and writhes.

Just like the demoniac in the synagogue. Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2018-10-10”

Church Newsletter 2018-10-3

Brothers and Sisters,

My heart is filled with joy as my thoughts turn to another sabbath with you all. The Lord’s kindness in bringing me in amongst such a wonderful group of saints, is more glorious than I can say.

I pray that your house is full of mirth and fellowship. I pray that your marriages continue to be fruitful and strong. I pray that your tables overflow. That your children grow in wisdom and stature as they delight you. That your circumstances turn your hearts expectantly toward the throne of Christ. That Jesus’ victory over Satan, sin and death is a way of life for you all; every man, woman and child.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and give you peace.

Filling up the edges

The authority with which Jesus spoke presupposes a commission and authorization from God inseparable from His declaration that the kingdom of God had drawn near. In the presence of Jesus men are disturbed, and this disturbance is the precise act of fishing to which Jesus had called the four fishermen. Continue reading “Church Newsletter 2018-10-3”