Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jesus Begins His Ministry

What a great group of ladies today. If you were there last week, and weren't able to come today, we missed you and prayed for you! Hope you can make it back next week. And welcome to the 4 new ladies today as well! We had 15 ladies today, and 12 kids!

We looked at Mark 1:14 - 3:6 and here are some of the questions we discussed.

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. " The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" Mark 1:14b-15

His ministry consisted of several things... preaching and teaching, performing miracles like healing people and driving out demons, and working with his disciples. Jesus also drew the attention of the Jewish leaders and came into conflict with them because of His teachings.

1. Why did Jesus start His ministry by saying, "The time is come. Repent and believe..." what would this mean to his listeners?

2. Jesus didn't just come out and say who He was and what He was doing there. Why do you think He chose to not explain this right away?

Read Mark 1:16-20
3. Would you leave your job and follow Jesus at a moment's notice?

4. Why do you think Jesus chose fishermen to be His first disciples?

Read Mark 1:21-34
5. What an amazing day! What do you think was going through the disciples minds after that first day with Jesus?

Read Mark 1:40-45

6. How strong was the leper's faith?

7. Why is it significant that Jesus "touched" the leper?

8. Why do you think Jesus repeatedly told people that He healed throughout the Gospels to "not tell anyone," but to go directly to the Priest, or to their families?

Read Mark 2:1-3:5

9. Who has the power and authority to forgive sins?

10. Why were the Jewish leaders upset by what Jesus said to the paralytic?

11. Who was upset that Jesus chose to dine with Matthew? Why did this bother them so much?

12. How do you think the Pharisees viewed themselves?

13. Why did Jesus say His disciples didn't need to fast while they were with Him?

14. Think about Jesus' actions on the Sabbath. Why did He not follow the law as the Jews knew it?

15. The Pharisees watched Jesus closely. Why?

16. Why did the Pharisees feel so threatened by Jesus?

Throughout His ministry, Jesus' fame and influence grew quickly. People followed Him everywhere. He showed that he was God's agent through his authoritative preaching and miracles of healing.

Have a great week everyone! Hope to see you next Tuesday. I will post some thoughts on these questions before next Tuesday.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Prepare the way of the Lord

I hope you've had a chance to think about the questions we talked about last week. Here are a few thoughts based on our discussion and the questions. Please feel free to comment.

John the Baptist came preaching a new Baptism of Repentance for the forgiveness of sins. God's mission for him was to prepare the way for Jesus to begin His ministry. Baptism is the symbol of cleansing used to show repentance and the receiving of forgiveness. This was necessary in preparation for the Messiah whose role was to baptize with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ the Son of God. By calling Jesus the Son of God, and the Christ, it would have caught the people's attention. These were names from God. A title sets the listener/reader up for expectation. A name places you in society, and names/positions of respect have to be earned.

Does the idea of someone being both human and Divine prove to be a difficult concept to grasp? Some at our study last week said yes, some said no. We don't understand everything that Jesus taught, or who He is, nor do we need to know everything. We just need to believe. To accept through faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Before Jesus began His earthly ministry he may not have given too many hints about what was in store for Him on earth. But He was most likely not just like everyone else. Think about Him talking with the church leaders when he was only 12 years old. Not every 12 year old could do that so easily. But then to many who knew him from living in the same town, He was a local boy - Joseph's son - a carpenter. So when Mark opens his Gospel by introducing Jesus as "Jesus Christ the Son of God" it would cause some people to sit up and take notice... they would want to see what was so special about Jesus.

So, this is where John comes in. The Old Testament prophesy says, "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way - a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' " (Mark 1:2-3).

If John the Baptist had not gone ahead, the people would not have been ready. Think of when a king would come to a town in ancient times, a messenger would go ahead and make the people ready. They would make sure their town was clean, and that there was a path for the king to ride on, perhaps an elegant place to stay, etc. When I was a Page in the BC Legislature, each day the Sargent at Arms would come to the back of the house and call out in his loudest voice, "Make WAY for Mr. Speaker." Then everyone would stop talking and stand... they were prepared, so they could be ready. If you have been to a wedding, you know that this happens then, too. The pastor would tell you to rise, and you would stand and watch a glowing bride walk down the aisle.

The Bible is like this for us, too. It has all we need to know about how to get ready for when Jesus returns. We should not be surprised at what is going to happen. Even though we may not be told everything about what is going to happen, we know how to be ready.

We meet again tomorrow to talk about Jesus' "Early Galilean Ministry." We will be looking at Mark 1:14 - 3:6. We'll be meeting at the church tomorrow at 9am. Hope to see you there, and if you can't make it, join us online, right here, afterwards!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mark, Lesson ONE

We had a great start to our ladies Bible study this morning. There were 13 ladies that came out, and a record 11 kids!! We are going to need 2 sitters - a GOOD problem to have! Today, Helen stepped in (thank you!) to help with the little ones, and next week we will have another College girl to help Nicole out.

As we go through this week, and look at the questions from this study, please feel free to add comments or questions in the comments section on this post, or any other post on this blog.

Mark - Lesson One

Read: Mark 1 : 1-13 Preparing for Public Ministry
(some questions taken from Nelson IMPACT Bible Study Series MARK).

Mark Facts:

- Mark is believed to be the first Gospel written, as there is evidence that both Matthew and Luke have referenced Mark in their Gospels.
- written around A.D. 58
- Mark writes about Jesus as the Perfect Servant. Mark himself was a servant, so was the perfect person to give this perspective on Jesus.
- Mark is often referred to as the action packed, fast paced Gospel. He deals with the "now" rather than looking back at the Old Testament... he wrote about what Jesus was doing, rather than what he was saying.
- Mark was described by some as Peter's interpreter, which is also helpful for new Christians reading Mark because he explained things clearly.
- The Gospel of Mark opens by identifying Jesus as the "Son of God" and spends the rest of the book demonstrating why we should see Jesus this way too.

Think of the significance and meaning of each of the parts of the title of Jesus: "Jesus Christ, the Son of God." What does each one mean? How do you relate to each one?

Jesus -
Christ -
Son -
God -

Do these help you relate easier, or with more difficulty to Jesus?

Mark 1:1-3 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ the Son of God. It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way, a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' "

1. What was God's mission for John?
2. How might the people have responded differently to Jesus if John hadn't prepared the way?

Mark 1:4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

3. What is Baptism?
4. Why was John's baptism necessary?

Mark 1:9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

5. Why did Jesus ask to be baptized?
6. How was Jesus clearly set apart from everyone else who was baptized that day? (read Mark 1:9-11)

Next in this chapter comes a couple verses on how Jesus was led into the desert for 40 days, and was tempted by Satan.

7. Why would God allow Satan to tempt Jesus just before the beginning of His ministry?
8. Do you think that Jesus was really tempted?
9. Why is the final verse in this section "and the angels attended Him." (vs. 13) so important?

Thanks for joining us! May God bless you today :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bible Study starts tomorrow...

The Bible study on the book of Mark will start tomorrow at our church. Please feel free to follow along and participate here on this blog!

Verses to read this week:
Mark 1:1-13
We will take a look at how the book of Mark is laid out, as well as some background info on Mark and the Gospel he wrote. The focus this week is Jesus preparing for public ministry.

Hope you will join us!! Come back tomorrow for some questions, and you can add your comments and questions in the comments section on the posts as well.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Do Not Fear

When I graduated from high school, we had to pick a class theme verse for the year. Our verse was Isaiah 41:10. School has just started again and there are always uncertainties for students as they go to new classes, meet new friends and teachers, and maybe even go to a new city and school. Think about this verse... it's God's promise to you. He is always with you. Whether you are a student, or have left school behind you, whatever your situation or need today, remember that God is near to those who seek Him and he will strengthen you and hold you up in good times and in bad.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Come on over for tea!

I am reading through James Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys right now, (yes, still!! I just read it here and there!) and it is really a good book. I would highly recommend it to you if you have a son, or a grandson, or have any boys in your life at all!

Here's part of what I read yesterday.....

Chasing the Caterpillar (excerpt from chapter 8, p. 99-100)

The Great French naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre once conducted a fascinating experiment with processionary caterpillars, so called because they tend to march in unison. He lined them around the inner edge of a flower-pot and then monitored them carefully as they marched in a circle. At the end of the third day, he placed some pine needles, which is the favorite food of caterpillars, in the center of the pot. They continued walking for four more days without breaking rank. Finally, one at a time, they rolled over and died of starvation, just inches from their ideal food source.

These furry little creatures remind me in some ways of today's moms. Most of them are trudging around in circles from morning to night, exhausted and harried, wondering how in the world they can get everything done. Many are employed full-time while also taking care of families, chauffeuring kids, fixing meals, cleaning the house, and trying desperately to maintain their marriages, friendships, family relationships, and spiritual commitments. It is a backbreaking load. Sadly, this overcommitted and breathless way of life, which I call "routine panic," characterizes the vast majority of people in Western nations.

Are you one of these harried women running in endless circles? Have you found yourself too busy to read a good book or take a long walk with your spouse or hold your three-year-old child on your lap while telling him or her a story? Have you taken time to study God's Word - to commune with Him and listen to His gentle voice? Have you eliminated almost every meaningful activity in order to deal with the tyranny of a never-ending "to do" list? Have you ever asked yourself why in the world you have chosen to live like this? Perhaps so, but it is not an easy problem to solve. We live our lives as if we're on freight trains that are rumbling through town. We don't control the speed - or at least we think we don't - so our only option is to get off. Stepping from the train and taking life more slowly is very difficult. Old patterns die very hard indeed.

When was the last time you had friends drop by unexpectedly for a visit? For many of us it's been entirely too long. There was a time when families made a regular habit of packing into the car and driving over too a friend's home for an afternoon of good conversationand a piece of banana-cream pie. It was one of life's special little pleasures. (end quote)

I loved it growing up when people would stop in and stay for coffee. When we saw people coming in the driveway we would yell out to our parents that we had company, and my mom never skipped a beat. She would tell one of us to put the coffee on, the other to clear the table or "disappear" this or that, and one would have the job of "stalling them in the drive!" By the time the small talk outside was done between the visitors and my dad, or one of the kids, my mom would appear at the doorway and say, "Please come in for coffee!" When the guests would enter the kitchen, the table would already be set and it would seem like we were expecting them to come!

There is one man, in particular, who would visit often and my dad loved chatting with him around the table or in his workshop. This man, who now, unfortunately, lives too far away to drop in like this, would come with an empty container, knowing that my mom would not let him leave without a fresh batch of cookies. And if there weren't fresh cookies already, then she would bake them while he was there.

I wish people would do this more often. We do it once in awhile.... we've stopped in on Steve's aunts and uncles, and will drop in on his parents. But there are only a few friends that I would do this to because what if people don't feel comfortable with it? When someone comes by our house unannounced, it is not guaranteed to be as clean as if they were invited, but that doesn't hinder the visit. So what if I am folding clothes on the couch while the kids play at my feet? Shove the clothes over, watch where you step, and friends - have a seat!

Maybe this all sound too "Leave it to Beaver" for you, but I think it sounds like a much happier way of life... many people don't even declare their Sundays as a day of rest anymore. Whatever happened to Sunday afternoon naps? (well, we still have them!) So, here's my challenge, slow down, and enjoy a simpler day.

Excuse me now, my tea is ready!

Monday, September 3, 2007

What God thinks matters!

Just came across this quote in my "bloghopping" and thought I'd share it here.

"Don't worry so much about what others think of you,
they are not thinking of you that much!
It's true."
-Author Unknown

What matters is what God thinks. Think about Moses, or Gideon (my boys' personal fave, thanks to Veggie Tales!), or Noah, Esther, or Mary... if they had listened to what other people thought, rather than following the voice of God, they would have accomplished nothing.