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Mark 4 – The Chapter that Started This Blog

It’s been over two years and 660 blog posts since Ryan and I started blogging through the Bible.  In some ways, that journey began in Mark 4.  During a sermon series on how all Christians should seek to connect, grow, serve and go, I spent one week talking about the need to grow in our faith through learning about the Bible.  The two best ways to do this are by 1. reading the Bible and 2. discussing it in community.  During that sermon, I mentioned that Ryan and I would begin a blog where we would daily (or close to it) write about the Bible.  Since then, the blog has had over 36,500 views.  

The primary passage I used in that sermon was Mark 4.  I talked about the different types of soil that the seeds fell on.  However, Jesus didn’t consider a metaphor that would fit most of the people in our world and even in the church today: people who don’t even put seed in their soil.  If you remember the parable, Jesus explains that “The seed the farmer plants is God’s message.”  In our world today it seems that each passing generation, there is less and less commitment to reading the Bible or studying it in groups.

It’s not unusual for me to be teaching a Bible class and have somebody say, “Somewhere in the Bible, I am not sure where, it says…” and then they quote a line from a song (usually a Christian song) that is found nowhere in scripture.  If you look around the room, several people will be nodding and often somebody will add, “Oh yeah, I think that’s in the book of (insert their best guess here).”

There’s a strong desire among young generations in the church today to be genuine in their faith, to live our their faith in sacrificial and often radical ways.  It’s a great push towards being fruitful.  And yet, what fruit are they producing if they aren’t putting the seed of God’s word in their hearts and minds?  I am afraid that Christianity, if it continues to practice the love of Christ without the word of God as the foundation, will become a community of people who won’t know who God is or who He is truly calling them to be in the world.  Jesus ended his great Sermon on the Mountain by telling people that if you aren’t basing everything in your life on the teachings of Jesus then you are like a person whose house is built on shifting sands.

The word of God matters.  It tells us who God is.  It tells us what God has done.  It introduces us to the person Jesus and an entire way of living that he both demonstrated and proclaimed.  It calls us to a way of living in community that tears down barriers and provides ways for brothers and sisters in Christ to build one another up.  It promises us eternal life and then challenges us to bring that life into this world today.  But it doesn’t always happen the way we want it to or that we think it should.  So if you don’t read God’s book then you will probably make some bad assumptions.  You might make some bad decisions.  We need God’s message.  Its the seed that when planted in a soil that is ready can produce a crop one hundred times more than was planted.

Do you read your Bible and allow God to produce a crop in your life and in your world?  Do you challenge others in their understanding of God’s word and allow them to challenge you in yours?  I hope you do.  Having spent the last 2 years reading daily and writing about it has helped me to grow tremendously in my own faith and relationship with God.  And if you aren’t letting God’s word get planted in your heart and your mind, then you will end up a barren field.

 

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Mark

 

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My Pinterest Wall of Faith Stuff

So I am borrowing Leah’s computer to do my blogging today.  Not because there is anything wrong with my  computer other than being twenty feet from where I happened to be sitting.  So normally on “Hot Topic Fridays” I try to go through a bunch of my bookmarked news websites and see if there is anything really eye-catching to address.  But since I am on Leah’s computer, I followed her bookmark to Pinterest.  If you aren’t familiar with Pinterest, it is a predominantly female endeavor to make online bulletin boards of things you like on the internet.

So, I decided to tell you my “Pinterest Wall” of things from the Bible or my own personal spiritual journey.  Since I am not actually on Pinterest and am a guy, this will of course come in the form of a bullet list of things Scriptural and things Spiritual that I love.

(If you are too old for Pinterest and are just lost as to what I am talking about, then you just need to imagine Julie Andrews/Maria singing “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…” and picture me singing it with these things.)

  • Psalms.  A college class on Psalms (taught by Dr. Glenn Pemberton) opened my eyes to the power of honest and open prayers to God.  
  • Genesis.  Over the next couple of weeks many of you will be around your families and won’t be able to believe how messed up they are.  Read Genesis.  Your family is normal in comparison.  And if God can use them….
  • Construction type projects.  In ministry, if something is going well you keep doing it.  The only way you are ever done with something is when it fails.  As a minister, that means I need to be able to have projects that I can successfully complete and be proud of.  For me, a home improvement project has a spiritual element.  I also think a God who creates puts in us a desire to create.
  • Friends.  Right now I have some of the best friends of my life.  They are a blessing and anchor for me in more ways than they (and often I) even know.
  • Luke-Acts.  When I read the Gospels, I relate the most to Luke.
  • Counseling.  I love helping people.  Sometimes ministry can feel administrative and stuff.  Counseling is real and it’s with people.  It’s good for me (and hopefully others too).
  • Guyana.  I fell in love with the Guyanese people and telling people Jesus’ story while I was a teenager in Guyana.
  • Joseph.  A few months ago Ryan and I preached on the roller coaster life of Joseph.  It’s one of my favorite stories to tell and I really enjoyed getting to imaginatively explore and retell his story with Ryan.
  • Favorite songs: Thomas’ Song, In Christ Alone, There’s a Stirring, How Deep the Father’s Love
  • Praying with my elders.  I will never forget the times I have seen that group of men get down on their knees (literally) and cry out to God.  I have learned so much from those men.
  • Romans.  I have always felt a strong connection with Paul.  I feel like he wants to rely on his own rationality, intelligence and ability to communicate but realizes that he is incapable of anything without God.  Or maybe I just feel that way myself and place those feelings on Paul so I can better relate to him?
  • My wife and kids.  They teach me about love, forgiveness, patience, love, compassion, joy, happiness, love, sacrifice and God ever day.  They are my greatest blessing.

There.  If you liked this post, please pin it.  Hopefully that is the closest I will ever get to actually using Pinterest.  Maybe share some of your favorite scriptural or spiritual things….

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Hot Topics

 

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