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

 

The Age of Angels and the Birth of Christ

Angels were created to fulfill a role in the Cosmos.

Hebrews 1:14Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Daniel 3:28Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.

Angels even have specific jobs like destroying angels.

Psalm 78:49He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels.

…or choir singers…

 Revelation 4:8And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”  

The phrase of “enthroned on the cherubim,” is also found 2 Sam. 6:2and Isaiah 37:16.

The ark is the throne of God, a chariot of angels as described in 1 Chronicles 28:18also, his plan for the golden chariot of the cherubim that spread their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.

Ezekiel 1:4-28describes a scene in which God’s actual chariot is made of multiple angels who first look like angelic beings and then like wheels with spokes, etc.

Angels have jobs. They are made in the image of God as servants who can travel between heaven and earth.

Even Satan had a job. And though fallen, His primary function is found in some of the key verses about him.

Genesis 3:1-6. Job 1:6-12. Matthew 4:1-11. Luke 22:31-34.

Satan shakes the tree to see what falls out…. Continue reading “The Age of Angels and the Birth of Christ”

The Ten Commandments of Marriage

Romans 13:8–10Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. [9] For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [10] Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Love is always defined by God’s law. Not Hollywood or Nicholas Sparks or your own preferences. The commandments are a good place to begin when it comes to serious marriage counseling.

The law is how you love. The law puts handles on the big nebulous idea of love. The first four commandments all deal with our treatment of God. If we don’t obey these we will not love anyone at all. Loving God is the beginning of our ethics. Love God orients us.

You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3). Every man must love his wife less than he love God. Loving God as we ought enables us to love others as we should. Making idols of our wives is dangerous for both us and them. First, if your wife is an idol and you pray that God would destroy your idols? Dangerous. Next, oddly enough, when a wife is an idol she will often find herself mistreated because her man has separated himself from the true God who is love; the true source of real grace charity and all the other fruit of the spirit.

Luke 14:26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

A man will not become a disciple of Christ unless he hates his wife and he will never learn to love his wife unless he becomes a disciple of Christ. Continue reading “The Ten Commandments of Marriage”

Holy With Thanksgiving

1 Timothy 4:4–5 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Made holy translates Greek hagiazō which means to “sanctify, make holy, consecrate”. Everything is, of course, everything.

Ordinary things should be considered “made holy” by God, and Christians, the priesthood of all believers, have the privilege of using such “holy” objects every day.

The word of God is probably a reference to Gen. 1:12, 21, 25, 31 (“God saw that it was good”)

Since all things are good and must be received with thanks, all things are gifts from the creator.

By giving thanks for all that comes to hand, the Christian correctly indented the character of created things as created gifts.

For Paul, thanksgiving has a performative effect on the things received. Receiving God’s gifts with thanks does not merely identify them as gifts but also sanctifies them, consecrates them as holy things.

For saints; those set apart by God, we sanctify the world, we make it holy, through the giving of thanks.

As God’s Saints, indwelt and anointed by the sanctifying spirit of Jesus, the priesthood of believers, everything we touch, eat and use, ought to be holy. If we receive anything that is impure, our priesthood is defiled.

Purity and holiness taboos continue to operate in the New Testament. Holy people must have holy things, but for Paul no elaborate ceremonial rites of sanctification are required: only the giving of thanks.

Once consecrated by thanks, a thing can be used only for God’s purposes. Holy food could be eaten only by priests in the OT, holy implements could be used only in the sanctuary, holy incense could be used only on the altar.

If Christians consecrate whatever they receive by thanks, they are not only claiming it as God’s own, but also obligating themselves to use it in a particular way; to use it with thanks.

Thanksgiving is thus the liturgy of Christian living.

It is the continuous sacrifice that Christians offer. Gratitude to God is the continuous sanctification of the world.

Therefore, if our nation is going to have a day of thanksgiving; who ought to lead the celebrations and set the standard? Well, the people whose very lives are a liturgy of thanksgiving.

A.W. Tozer, in his book The Roots of Righteousness, states “We should never take any blessings for granted but accept everything as a gift from the father of lights. Whole days may be spent occasionally in the holy practice of being thankful. We should write on a tablet one by one the things for which we are grateful to God and to our fellowmen. And a constant return to this thought during the day will serve to fix the habit in our hearts….In trying to count our many blessings the difficulty is not to find things to count, but to find time to enumerate them all.”

Let us therefore, try to enumerate the Glorious graces of God.

Be extravagant in your gratitude.

2 Corinthians 9:6–8 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Luke 6:38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Deuteronomy 14:26 and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.

And so, beloved of God, go forth and buy the best and cook it well. Uncork the finest and lay out the best table dressings you possess. Welcome warmly and with a song in your heart, let love cover a multitude and lift your glasses, pass the pie round twice….

For Thursday, the 22nd of November 2018, is a day of thanksgiving. Let us enjoy it with overflowing hearts of gratitude.

Amen

The Typology of a Withered Hand

Colossians 2:20–23 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—[ “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Mark 3:1-6.

Jesus was not simply another scribe who advocated an independent opinion; he constituted a threat to their perception of true religion and the ancestral tradition. When Jesus failed to submit to the scribal regulation of the Sabbath he broke the tradition, and authority confronted authority. It was inevitable that conflict should ensue, and that the Pharisees should seek to destroy Him.

Jesus calls a man with a withered hand to stand before the crowd. Why a man with a withered hand? Lots of people are there to be healed. The man wants his hand healed, but Jesus is using Him as ammunition against His enemies. Think about that. Jesus is about making trouble and using His followers to do it. Its good trouble. God trouble.

Jesus is taking another shot at the perceived wisdom and learning of the Pharisees by using the typology of the withered hand.

Exodus 4:6–8 Again, the LORD said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign.

Exodus 4:29–31 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed…

Healing a withered hand is about God demonstrating the authority of the prophet.

God heard the prayers of His enslaved people in Egypt and sent a mighty man, a wonder worker to deliver them and the sign was a withered hand. This time, the people of God are enslaved by evil men who use the law of Moses as a noose instead of a lifeline. And the sign of the withered hand is rejected violently.

Jesus is the living embodiment of Israel. Their history is a type and shadow of His life.

A similar clue to this is found in 1 Kings 13:3–6 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: ‘Behold, the altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.’” And when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” And his hand, which he stretched out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. And the king said to the man of God, “Entreat now the favor of the LORD your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.” And the man of God entreated the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored to him and became as it was before.

The healing of a withered hand is a sign from God that His words and authority are with the one doing the healing. In both OT examples it was God who did the healing on behalf of the prophet. What does it mean that the Prophet is doing the healing Himself?!?

The idolatrous Jeroboam responds with repentance. The King who had established worship at unauthorized shrines had better discernment than those who prided themselves for their alleged devotion to God’s regulations for worship. The rank idolater has better grasp than the keepers of God’s actual temple. Jeroboam goes on to invite the prophet to feast with him. The Pharisees do no such thing.

Israel is worse than idolaters. Mark wants us to think of the synagogue itself as something in the order of jeroboam’s wicked alter. The things of God are not used to Glorify God but are used by the Pharisees as a means to enslave His people and persecute the Lord Himself.

In Jesus’ first salvo against the false teachers of Israel, He asserts Himself as the Son of Man, with the authority to forgive sins and demonstrates it by healing the paralytic. Jesus claims He is greater than the Law and the Sabbath and proves it by healing a man with a withered hand as fulfillment of the sign in the OT.

Jesus is showing forth the blessings and curses Moses placed before the people of Israel as a choice between life and death.

Deuteronomy 30:15–16 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

Solomon presented wisdom as a way of life and foolishness as a way of death.

Proverbs 12:28 In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.

Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

Jesus presents the Pharisees with a rather polarized alternative reflecting the Law of Moses and the wisdom of Solomon. Do the Pharisees wish to help or to harm, to save a or to kill? Are they wise or are they fools? Are they for life or death?

But they keep silent and go out to plan Jesus’ death with the Herodian party. The Herodian party of course, being descendants of the Edomites, the followers of the house of Herod who murdered all the babies back when Jesus’ birth was reported by the wise men. Herod who arrested and beheaded John the Baptist to reward a poll dancer.

The Pharisees are aligned with a political party that seeks its own good, aligned with Rome against the people of Israel. Here in Mark 3 we get a whiff of where the story is going.

The crucifixion already impinges upon Jesus. This was inevitable from the moment he decided to submit to the Father and bear the brunt of the judgment upon the people. But Jesus now feels the sting of that decision with a new reality.

Jesus answered the question of what is permitted on the Sabbath by healing the man with the withered hand. Ironically, the guardians of the Sabbath determine to do harm and to kill.

This conflict points forward to the Passion, but it also contains the seed of self-destruction. The rejection of Jesus entails the rejection of life and redemption and leaves men prey to distress and death. This is the bitter fruit of that hardness of heart which provoked in Jesus both anger and godly sorrow.

Psalm 137:5–7 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!”

The Pharisees problem is that they don’t get which character in the story they are.

Who questioned God’s son in the wilderness about what the word of God says? What does the restoration of a withered hand mean? What are the sabbath regulations for? Life or Death.

We must guard our hearts form misreading this story the way they did.

When we read the story, wagging our heads at the Pharisees, sympathizing with the angry grief-stricken Jesus – we are as self-righteous as they were.

How often have you heard the sermon and thought of someone who needed to hear it? How often have you avoided reading the word of God because you think you already know it so well? How often has your manmade religion prevented you from unburdening and loving people?

Are your own law and regulations a burden to your spouse and children to the point of spiritual death and loss of joy? How often has your “understanding,” of Scripture and self-made religion been the means to judge and ridicule the word and sinners as you bask in your self-righteous pride?

When we read this story we should pray, “O God, do not be angry with me. Do not let me give you cause to be furious with me. Do not let me grieve the you because of my hard heart. Instead, tell me what you want from me. Give me ears toe hear and heart open to embrace everything that you say. To repent. To use my authority to give my loved ones and friends rest and pace. Life and joy.”

Church Newsletter 2018-12-12

Saints,

Blessings to you and yours. I want to remind you to pray for everyone who receives this email – for their vocations, relationships, households, childrearing and above all – their faith.

God has graciously provided you with co-belligerents in your war on sin and so we are not without comrades, friends and confidants. Lift one another up. Remember we are made members of Christ’s BODY. And when one part of the body is working well, none of us are.

Blessings! See you Friday!!

Filling up the edges

Mark 3:7-19

Jesus was intent upon fundamentally reshaping the people of God, and when that reshaping proved to be impossible within the existing structures of Judaism, Jesus created new ones.

The appointment of the Twelve follows Jesus’ rejection of the synagogues and precedes the description of the enormous crowds that came from all the surrounding areas, some of which were outside the historical boundaries of Israel and Judah.

Their appointment symbolizes a fundamental reshaping of the people of God. Mark has crafted this material to cast Jesus’ death against the backdrop of the formation of a new nation. He implies a connection between Jesus’ death and the formation of a new nation without specifying yet what the connection is. At this point Mark is content to imply that the death of Jesus is connected to the formation of a new people.

Jesus treated religious institutions not only as centers of spiritual life, but also as centers of power. When it became clear that the synagogues would not embrace the gospel, he turned away from them and created a new center of power: he appointed twelve people to be with him and share his authority. His standard of judgment was not the success or vitality of the institution. It was whether the synagogues would embrace the good news of the kingdom of God.

In v. 14 Jesus “appoints,” the twelve. This is the form of a verb that could also mean “to create.” God did not appoint the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1:1. He created them. Jesus is the one in whom and through whom and for whom all things are made.

Jesus called 12 men to follow Him, not because of what they were in themselves when He met them for the first time, but because of what, under His direction and by His power they would become. Like a sculptor, Jesus could see the form buried in the marble and proceeds doing the difficult work of a sculptor of granite.

The whole world came to know what the example and leadership of Jesus made these 12 men – twelve of the strongest, noblest, and most fearless and serviceable men who have appeared in human history.

The transformation of the twelve was not the least, it was almost the greatest of Christ’s miracles though – look at Peter.

The application for our hearts in all this is that it is not what we are, in ourselves, when we hear and respond to Christ’s call, but what by His grace and power He can make us as we accompany him.

Jesus said in Mark 1:17, “Follow me, and I will make you…” so there are no self-made Christians in His service; they are all christ-made. Self made men are usually not made of good material, and they can be wrapped up in a very small parcel.

But those whom the Lord wants and wins, are those He is able to fashion into human books to tells the story of His love and grace.

As did those He gathered around Him in the days of His flesh, disciples today begin their apprenticeship by following Christ, daily learning of, and from, Him (Matt. 11:29). Then, as they grow in grace and knowledge, they become more fitted to represent the savior in a world of sin and need.

You are all gentiles. Born under the OT system it would have taken generations after you first believed, for your descendants, to enter the temple. And you, sons of Adam are made sons of Abraham. You, Sons of Adam, are made sons of God.

1 Peter 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

What identity – your surname, your nation, your profession, your beauty, your prestige, your wealth, your knowledge – could compare to being made one with God?

Why do you hang back? Why are you afraid to draw near to throne of grace? What other treasure can a man possibly possess that is of greater worth?

Hebrews 12:18–24 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Repent and believe.

Around the worldwide web

Try not to sing along….

Devotional

A Prayer to My Redeemer ROMANS 8:33

Almighty, Eternal God of Truth,

I confess, and I am deeply sorry, that I am sinful and have so often sinned against you. I implore you to forgive me all my sins, be gracious to me, and justify me for the sake of your beloved Son, whom you have made my Redeemer. With your Holy Spirit purify my heart and guide my soul that I may truly know, adore, and be obedient you, O God of Truth, Eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Church Calendar

Service 12-16-18

Keith, Call

Nate, Prayer

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY

Friday, December 14, 7PM at the church. Dinner and drinks included. Bring a white elephant gift – one per couple.

PARENT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING EVENT

Saturday, December 15, from 10AM-2PM at the church. Volunteers welcome; Lunch provided.

TRINITY CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE: LESSONS AND CAROLS

Monday, December 24, 7-8PM at Trinity Church; 6400 108th Ave NE, Kirkland.