Monday, October 29, 2007

2nd Annual RRCC Extreme Makeover

Last Saturday was the 2nd annual Fall workday at our church, and around 30 people showed up. Check out the list that Steve had for everyone to do, and guess what!? They got it all done!!!! The church looks great and it makes such a difference when people pull together to help out. Thanks to everyone that showed up and gave of your time and energy to dress up the church and support the Property Committee.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lesson Seven

This Tuesday from 9-11am we will be meeting for our Ladies Bible Study... Here is the outline of what we will be studying. It is lesson 7 in our 8 week study on the book of Mark. Our last Bible study will be on Nov. 6th, then we will meet for coffee on Nov. 13 at 9:30, place TBA... Hope you can join us for the last 2 weeks as well as our coffee time.

Mark 13 - 14

The Great Tribulation

"What will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?" (Mark 13:4)
Why did Jesus emphasize the urgency of flight?
How did Jesus describe the times to come?
What warnings were given?

Mark 13:24-37
What will be the signs of the coming of the Son of Man?

Mark 13:28-37
What is the meaning of the parable of the fig tree?
The disciples asked about specific signs so they would recognize the coming of the end times. But what was Jesus' response about his return?
Does this give you a sense of urgency?

Suffering And Death

Mark 14:1 - 15:47

Something to think about: if you had been a follower of Jesus at the time of His arrest and crucifixion, do you think you would have stood by him in his final hours?

Mark 14:1-9
What did the woman do with the flask of costly oil?
How did the people nearby react?

Mark 14:10-11
The priests and scribes originally planned on waiting until after the eight day festival, and the crowds were gone, to arrest Jesus... what made them change their minds?

The Lord's Supper

Mark 14:12-21
Why was Jesus so secretive about the location of the Upper Room?
How did the disciples respond to Jesus' announcement that one of them was a betrayer?

Mark 14:27-31 - Jesus predicts Peter's denial...
What did Jesus say about the disciples stumbling?
Who was so sure of his faith that he promised to die with Jesus rather than to deny Him?

Mark 14:32-42 - Gethsemane
This is Jesus' most human hour... he prayed that the cup be taken from him, but "Thy will be done." Such an amazing example of obedience to the will of God.

Jesus uses the term "Abba," an intimate expression for "father," in His prayer to God. It is the only time this word appears in the Gospels. Why would Mark include this detail a this moment?
In His humanity, what did Jesus ask for?
How are Jesus' words in this passage a model for our own prayers?

Mark 14:43-52
How did Judas identify Jesus to the multitude?
How did one disciple resist Jesus' arrest?
What did Jesus say in protest to those arresting him?
Jesus then said, "But the Scriptures must be fulfilled." - what did he mean by that?
What happened to the disciples? Why doesn't Mark simply say, "the disciples fled"?

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Welcome Kenya and Portugal!! Just noticed a couple new dots on the cluster map at the bottom... isn't the internet amazing? These are the first visitors outside of North America, and I am so glad you found us here.... hope you come back often to follow along with our Bible Study! God Bless you.
Read all of Psalm 19 right here!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jerusalem Ministry

Lesson Six
this week Mark 11 and 12

Thanks Helen for leading our study this week. Here are some of the things we discussed...

The Triumphal Entry - Mark 11:1-11

Jesus sent 2 of his disciples to get a colt from the village ahead of them and bring it to him. He road into the city on it. Many people spread their robes on the road in front of Jesus and the crowds lined the street shouting "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!"

What is different about the way that Jesus entered the city? Usually Jesus travelled by foot, not riding on a colt or horse. The people were waiting for him to overthrow their oppressors, and this is perhaps the first time that they saw him doing something that looked to them like an earthly king. A king would not walk from town to town as Jesus had been doing.

Jesus Clears the Temple: Mark 11:12-19

As Jesus was leaving Bethany, he saw a fig tree in the distance. He was hungry, so he went towards it to see if there were any figs for him to eat. It was not the right season for figs, so the tree was empty. Jesus cursed it and said that nobody would ever eat from it again.

Then he went to the temple and found that it was not being used as a house of prayer, but a "den of thieves." When people would come to make sacrifices and offerings at the temple, they would buy doves, and other animals for the offerings, but coming from all different countries, the people would often need to have their money exchanged to local currency in order to make their purchases. The money changers were not honest in their transactions. Also, the merchants selling doves may have been charging outrageous prices, and Jesus was mad.

Seeing Jesus do this, the chief priests and teachers of the law began to look for a way to kill Jesus. They were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. So, what were they afraid of? Jesus himself, or perhaps losing popularity to Jesus as the crowd began to favour his ways and teachings over theirs. Nobody had ever questioned their authority before, and they didn't like it.

As Jesus explains the withered fig tree to his disciples, he ends with "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. But if you don not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins." (Mark 11:25-26)

In our discussion, Leanne pointed out that Jesus was upset about the fig tree, and the temple... both were not doing what they were made to do... and later in the Bible our bodies are called the Temple of the Holy Spirit. How often are we not treating it as a Temple?

We also read through Mark chapter 12. The most discussion was spent on the section about the Widow's offering in verses 41-43. "Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasure. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on."

What are we offering to Jesus that costs us everything we have... time, money, popularity....?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Something to think about...

This is a quote that I have come back to often over the last few years... for some reason I can't get it out of my head. What do you think? Do you agree?

"The greatest difference between present-day Christianity, and that of which we read in these letters (of the New Testament), is that to us it is primarily a performance; to them it was real experience. We are apt to reduce the Christian religion to a code or, at best, a rule of heart and life. Perhaps if we believed what they believed, we could achieve what they achieved."
- J.B. Phillips

Monday, October 15, 2007

God is so CREATIVE!

Journey To Jerusalem

Tuesday at 9am is Ladies Bible Study... hope to see you there!

Here are the notes we will be going over this week:

Lesson Five

Mark 8:31-10:52 Journey to Jerusalem

- In this section of Mark, we see how Jesus moves past showing his disciples who he is, and starts telling them about what is mission is on earth.
- We also read about how Jesus teaches his disciples about his future betrayal, death and resurrection.
- We learn about the Transfiguration
- Jesus teaches many lessons about a servant attitude, sin, and discipleship, marriage, divorce, childlike trust, wealth and salvation.
- Over and over the disciples seem to miss the point that Jesus tries to convey
- Jesus continues to heal people. When he healed a blind man he showed his disciples how that was like them, and Jesus would open their eyes so they could finally see and understand who Jesus is.

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Mark 8:34-9:1
- what must you do to follow Jesus?
- How can someone lose his life to save it?
Mark 9:2-13
- What happened in the transfiguration?
- What does it all mean, and did the disciples understand?
Mark 9:14-29
- Why couldn't the disciples heal the boy?
Jesus predicts his death in Mark 8:31-33, 9:30-32, 10:35-45.
- Did the disciples "get it?"
Mark 9:33-37 - who is the greatest? What importance does attitude play in the service of God?
Mark 9:38-42 - A man is driving out demons in Jesus' name, and the disciples told him to stop. What was Jesus' response?
Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. This is not just the words of a Sunday School song, it is right there in the Bible. Mark 10:13-16. Why did the disciples rebuke the people that brought little children to Jesus? How can a child be more suited or ready to receive the gift of eternal life than an adult?
Mark 10:17-31 - Jesus teaches a rich man how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Bible Study This Week

On Tuesday we got together for Ladies Bible Study and Helen did a great job of leading us. Thanks Helen!

We looked at Mark 6:7 - 8:30 Jesus' Ministry in Galilee and Beyond.

What are some of the traditions that you have? Where do traditions come from?
- Holidays
- Family
- In our homes
- In our churches

Mark 6:8-12 In this passage, we see for the first time Jesus sending out his disciples on their own in pairs to do ministry without him right by their side. What did Jesus tell them to do? What were they allowed to take along with them... why?

(6:14-16) People had all different theories on who Jesus was... what are they?

(6:19-29) Do you see a parallel between the deaths of Jesus and John the Baptist? What did people think of John the Baptist?

(6:30-44) Jesus feeds the 5,000. How did Jesus see the crowd? What was the difference between Jesus' suggestion and the disciples' suggestions on what to do with the crowd? What happened?

(6:45-52) Jesus took some time to pray by himself. The disciples were on the Sea of Galilee and a storm came up. Jesus walked out to them and told them not to be afraid.
What was the disciples' reaction to seeing Jesus on the water?
Did they know who he was?
How often do we not recognize Jesus?

(6:53-56) Jesus was at the height of his popularity in Galilee. How does the scene in this passage contrast with events soon to come?

(Mark 7:1-23) The Pharisees were on a constant mission to find fault with Jesus. What was their complaint? What did Jesus say in response to their criticism? What are 13 things that come out of a man and defile him?

What is the difference between man's traditions and God's law? How can we mix these up?

(7:24-8:10) Jesus did many miracles among the Gentiles.
Healing a Gentile Woman's daughter - How did Jesus respond to the woman's request to heal her daughter? What did she say?

Healing a deaf-mute - What did Jesus do as he healed this man? How is this healing symbolic of Jesus' earthly mission?

Feeding 4,000 people - How is this similar to the feeding of the 5,000? Is there anything different besides the numbers? The disciples had seen Jesus do a similar miracle before, and yet they couldn't come up with this as a solution to feeding all these people. Why?

(Mark 8:11- 12) The Pharisees demanded to see a sign from Jesus to prove His authority. What did Jesus do about their request?

Read Mark 8:13-21... What was Jesus telling his disciples? Did they understand? What questions did he ask them to show their lack of spiritual knowledge?

Then Jesus healed another man, but it was not the same way that we are used to reading about... What is different about the story in Mark 8:22-26?

(8:27-30) Who did people say that Jesus was? Who did the disciples say he was? Who do YOU say he is?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bible Study Reminder...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I hope you all had a great weekend spent with family and friends, remembering to thank our God for all His rich blessings.

A quick reminder that tomorrow is Ladies Bible study... come and have a coffee at 9am, and we'll open our Bibles to Mark 6:7 - 8:30 (Ministry in Galilee and Beyond) at 9:30. Hope you can all make it!

Bring your Bibles and I'll see you in the Fireside room!

ps- the notes from last week, and the questions from this week will be posted on Tuesday afternoon if you are following along!


Friday, October 5, 2007

He's Waiting...

Today I was sitting in the living room watching my toddler play. For one moment I caught his eye and held out my arms to him. He flashed me a big smile and started running toward me. This is what a mom lives for! He was almost to me and I was ready to scoop him up when at the last moment he spotted a toy and turned to the right. How disappointing!
It's amazing how little, everyday things can give you such a clear picture of God. I know he's waiting to spend time with me and yet so often my response is "I'm coming Lord, I just have to fold the laundry and empty the dishwasher first, but I am coming, I promise..." And I leave him waiting, with his arms open wide, longing to embrace me...
Take a moment to spend some time with the Father... the laundry can wait!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

No matter who you are.....

In reading the book of Mark, as well as what we are studying in the book of Matthew at BSF, I am seeing that God uses ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE!! Think of the disciples - not all of them would be my first choice in followers... yet look how they learned by Jesus' side for 3 years, and then spread the Good News to the far corners of the earth.

If we look at the Old Testament we see countless examples of God using people that felt so inadequate, and often needed to be coaxed into doing what God called them to do.

Esther... when Mordecai asked her to go to the King and tell him about the plot to kill their people, she sure didn't want to... but she did, and her people were saved. Read the whole story in the book of ESTHER.

Gideon was not excited about going into battle with such a small army, but God gave him an amazing battle plan that caused confusion in the enemy camp, and the victory for God's people. Read more about Gideon in JUDGES ch.6

Ruth... the perfect example of how you need to lose your life to gain life. She walked away from the people that she knew and was related to, followed her mother-in-law to a foreign land, all because she knew that she wanted to be with God's people. That's faith! Read the whole story in the book of RUTH.

There are so many other examples in the Bible of how God used everyday people to fulfill his plan. What is your favourite Bible story? Why? Please share in the comments.

What about YOU!? Is God calling you to do something that you might not understand or even be too thrilled about? Take a leap of faith and you will see how God's plan is always best.
Quilt made by the ladies at Sidney Pentecostal Church - Sidney, BC

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mark - Lesson 3

Great discussion today! 9 women were there, plus 8 kids! If you weren't able to come, I hope you are able to come next week. And if you stayed home due to sickness, I hope you and your family are healthy again really soon! Please feel free to leave comments in the comments section on any of the posts on this blog!!

Mark 3:7 - 6:6
Later Galilean Ministry

Parables and Miracles in Jesus' ministry:

1) What is a parable?
* Mark 4:1-20 - Parable of the Sower
- what are the 4 ways people respond to the message of Jesus?

* Mark 4:21-25
- what is Jesus talking about when he mentions "light?"

* Mark 4:26-29 - Parable of the Growing Seed
- How is this parable like the parable of the sower? What do you think this parable means?

* Mark 4:30-32 - Parable of the Mustart Seed
- Who does the mustard seed represent? What about the birds?

- Why was it so hard for the disciples to see the truth behind Jesus' parables?

2) What is a miracle to you? When we hear that word used so lightly in today's world, we often don't think of it in its true form: a life changing act by God.

* Mark 4:35-41 - Jesus calms the sea
- The Sea of Galilee was also called Lake Tiberias, a freshwater lake that was eight miles across, known for its good fishing. It is still known, to this day, for its sudden, furious squalls caused by cool air from the Mediterranean Sea that is drawn down through the narroow mountain passes that surround it. This cool air clashes with hot, humid air lying over the lake, and stirs up large waves that are dangerous for the fishing boats.

* Mark 5:1-20 - Jesus heals a demon-possessed man.
- the demons knew exactly who Jesus was and called him "Jesus, son of the Most High God."

* Mark 5:21-34
- Jesus heals an afflicted woman
- what would it mean to this woman to be healed?

* Mark 5:21-24, 35-43 - Jesus restores a girl to life
- Jarius shows great faith.

3) Returning to his hometown, Jesus faced rejection:
* Mark 6:1-6 - Jesus rejected at Nazareth
- so many had a hard time accepting that Jesus had the authority of God.

Summary: Jesus continued to draw large crowds... so much so that he had to retreat to the water and private places to have a rest. Jesus appointed 12 apostles from those who followed him. In the section that we studied today, we see a contrast in the faith of different people. Think about who had great faith, and who had little faith. We have the same evidence today... will we believe?

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Further Look

Let's take a quick look at the discussion we had on the questions from last week's study. Mark 1:14 - 3:6 was our text, and in the last post I put the questions we were talking about.

Jesus started his ministry with 4 key aspects: teaching and working with his disciples, preaching to the people, miracles of healing and driving out demons, and coming into conflict with authorities who felt threatened by him.

Jesus entered Galilee and said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15). There were probably some mixed feelings about this statement. Some maybe thought to themselves, "here comes another one!" Or, maybe they saw Jesus as different right away. At any rate, the Jewish leaders were not seeing what they thought they would in a King. A local man, who was born in a barn, not paraded into town in royal robes. Some of the Jewish people had a hard time accepting Jesus for who he was because he had no intention of overthrowing the Romans, but rather, he came to save people from their sins and tell of the Kingdom of God.

A little bit later in the chapters, Jesus called his first disciples. He called Simon and Andrew, and then James and his brother John. Fishermen. Hard workers, but not glamorous positions. Why did Jesus choose them? Why did they follow him? Well, perhaps he wanted to get his point across that he really doesn't care what you do, or what you have done in the past, he can use you if you are willing. Also, these guys probably saw a great man standing in front of them on the seashore, and they wanted to follow him. Whether they fully understood who he was or not, I don't know. But, as was the custom of the day, a Rabbi would call students to study under him. If you didn't get chosen for this, then you would fall into your family's occupation. For these 4 guys, it was fishing. But to be called now, they got a second chance to learn something new. Obviously they wanted this, because the Bible says they left their boats, father, hired men, etc, and got up and followed Jesus. Wow! Would we do that today? If Jesus walked up to you and said, "leave your life as you know it and follow me..." would we? The commitment of a disciple had to be total commitment.

Often when Jesus healed someone, he would tell them to go to the priest, or to their families, but "don't tell anyone, keep quiet about what has happened to you." There are some different thoughts on why this might be:
1) Jesus wanted his identity to be kept silent because he didn't want to cause a misunderstanding about what his work would be.
2) He didn't want to only be seen as a miracle worker.
3) He didn't want a lot of publicity to hinder his work.
4) He didn't want to cause his death to come about too soon... he wanted to finish his ministry work.
5) People had to be pronounced clean by a priest, if it was made known that Jesus had healed the leper then the priest's decision may have been prejudiced.

But, as Mark reports in his gospel, the leper went and shouted about his healing anyway. How could he not? Being a social outcast for the entire time of his affliction, and then to be healed in an instant... who wouldn't want to shout their praises?!

Conflict between Jesus and the Jewish Religious Leaders was starting to heat up. Mark chapter 2 deals with a couple reasons why... The people were contiuously amazed by Jesus' miracles, and this caused the religious leaders to take notice of this man Jesus. The leaders were shocked when Jesus told people their sins were forgiven, and thus proclaiming that he was God, because everyone knew that only God had the power to forgive, even though he gave people the power to heal through Him. The leaders perhaps felt like they were going to be dethroned by Jesus as his popularity grew. Also, Jesus ate with "sinners." When Jesus called Levi to be a disciple(whose name was changed to Matthew) the Pharisees questioned what Jesus was doing. Jesus said, "I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." Mark 2:17.

Another conflict came when the Pharisees saw Jesus and his disciples not fasting on the Sabbath. Major offense! Jesus said his disciples couldn't fast while the bridegroom was with them. He said, "the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away form them and on that day they will fast." Mark 2:20.

Jesus also challenged their view of what was right and wrong on the Sabbath. Jesus said, "the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27). If Jesus healed people, ate grain from the field, and told the story of David and his men eating temple bread on the Sabbath, then it shows that it is more important to obey the Spirit than the letter of the law.

At the end of this Bible text, we read that the Pharisees went out and started plotting to kill Jesus, along with the Herodians. They had had enough of Jesus' teaching, and wanted to end it. Why is it that even today, Christianity is the one belief that people find the most threatening? I believe it is because it is the only one that is completely true. Why is the name of our Lord and God usually the choice for taking in vain? I never hear people cursing with the name of Buddah or other gods.

Hide His word in your heart.... one thought I had while watching Survivor China this week was that if we are ever in a spot without our Bibles, it is so important that we know how to recite verses from the Bible. There is a Christian on Survivor right now, and I hope she goes far. She has already had her faith tested a couple times, one instant was on the first day when she got up and fled a Buddist temple because she said she would not put her face on the ground for anyone but Jesus Christ. Then this last week, she was just wishing for her Bible. She said through tears, "If I just had my Bible, then I could spend time reading it and praying for God's strength." Don't wait for Survivor!! Read it now. I am being challenged this year, both by this Bible study, and by the group of ladies at BSF on Thursday mornings. There is a difference between reading the Bible and studying the Bible. Studying it involves thinking and praying, and writing down your thoughts. This is when it comes alive and we remember it.

"Grace be with you all." Hebrews 13:25