Archive for the ‘Mark’ Category

November 13th, 2015

Stay Awake

“Therefore stay awake–for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning–lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13:35-37 (ESV)

Jesus is coming again! What an incredible message of hope for us as believers. He has not forgotten us, nor abandoned us. He will come again to finish what He started, and He won’t be coming on a donkey this time! This message of hope for believers is also a challenge to prepare the way of the Lord, continuing the proclamation of the gospel and the building of His kingdom in His temporary absence, for while this truth is a message of joy for us, for those who do not believe, the reality is far more sobering. The coming of Christ will secure a future of wrath for those outside of His grace, meaning that because we are uncertain of when He will come, we should do everything we can to prepare everybody we can until we hear that trumpet sound.

Dear Christian, are you awake to this reality? Or has the urgency of the second coming of Christ disappeared having been distracted by the business of your day to day schedule. Do not be found sleeping on the job. God has given you a purpose in your time here to proclaim His goodness, calling those around you to join in worship. Don’t forsake this glorious purpose and eternal glory for temporary pleasures and vain rewards. Be on guard and stay awake, knowing that at any moment the Lord could return to reclaim His creation fully.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, November 13th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Alert, Mark, Second-coming of Christ.
Interact No Comments
November 7th, 2015

Revenge or Restoration?

“And Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” Mark 10:42-45 (ESV)

James and John approach Jesus with an interesting request. They ask Him to grant them to sit at His right hand, presumably as a sign of special honor for them once Jesus has been raised and established as a political ruler (revealing a still false understanding of future events). Jesus challenges these two disciples, whom He loved, by rooting out the motivation for their request. Why did they want this honor? Why did they want this power? Was it to be in a position of influence to rule over people? Or was it to be in a position of power to help people?

You could understand, I think, why James and John would want earthly power, having been persecuted for following Jesus and likely economically or socially oppressed their whole lives as Jews under Roman rule. Yet, Jesus did not come in power to exact revenge;  He came to serve and restore.

The tendency of mankind is to find new and ingenious ways to rule over one another, seeing subjection of people as affirmation of one’s superiority to another. The more people we have looking to us, the more unique and special we feel. Truly, we seek to be like God. The message of Jesus, though, is not a means to get the same old thing, i.e. leverage over others. Rather, the message of Jesus suggests our chief goal is not ruling over one another but serving, knowing that ultimately God is the only one worthy of worship and devotion. Who will you serve today?

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, November 7th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Mark, Power, Serve.
Interact No Comments
October 28th, 2015

The Problem with Miraculous Mountains

“And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.’” Mark 9:4-5 (ESV)

What an incredible event! Can you imagine experiencing what Peter experienced on this mountain? Can you imagine how you would react if you were to see Moses, Elijah, and Jesus all in their glorified form? Peter wanted to build a memorial. He wanted to stay there indefinitely and just revel in the miraculous moment. Isn’t that exactly how we react to incredible, life-changing encounters with God? When we experience the Lord in this way, we want to stay there forever, and when we have to leave we immediately begin to long for the next mountaintop experience. Reacting in this way, though, completely misses the point of these impactful moments. These moments aren’t meant to be ends unto themselves; rather, they are meant to be launching pads for ministry, motivating and encouraging us to continue our ministry as disciples. Jesus didn’t let Peter build the tents because if he had, Peter would have missed all of the ministry He had for him in the valleys between the mountains.

May we not miss the ministry Christ has for us in our desire to experience the Lord in new and exciting ways. When the Lord reveals Himself to us so profoundly, the purpose is always to better enable us to accomplish the mission of the Church in building the Kingdom of God. Be thankful for these special moments, but don’t allow the pursuit of them to become distractions. Seek the Lord while He may be found, but when you find Him, serve Him.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Mark, Mount Transfiguration, Mountaintop Experiences.
Interact No Comments
October 24th, 2015

The Complete Sustaining Nature of Christ

“He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff–no bread, no bag, no money in their belts–but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.” Mark 6:8-9 (ESV)

What an interesting command from Jesus found here in Mark’s gospel. Jesus has called to Himself “those whom he desired” and allowed them to walk alongside Him as they learned (Mark 3:13 ESV). Now, as He is preparing to send them out, He commands them to take nothing with them except what they have on their back. Why would Jesus demand such a thing from His disciples? Why would He not allow them to “prepare” more thoroughly for the task at hand?

Jesus was teaching His disciples (and us) about the importance of fully relying upon Him and His provision for the purposes of ministry. If Jesus sends us under His authority and calling as His disciples, then He will sustain us as we go. If He sends you, He will provide for you. The disciples, like us, had to learn this truth in order to properly submit to the will of the Lord as His representatives, thereby allowing Him to receive all the glory for the work that He would do through them. Further, how could they communicate the complete satisfying nature of Christ without having experienced it themselves? In their mission, they were learning as they were going.

Do you fully rely upon the Lord to accomplish that to which He has called you? Or do you overcompensate, not fully trusting in His ability to work miraculously through you? When we fail to fully rely upon Him to sustain, we often miss the opportunity to be part of something extraordinary, since only in Him is such a work possible.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, October 24th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Mark, Provision, Sustainer.
Interact No Comments
October 22nd, 2015

Let Your Light Shine

“And he said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’” Mark 4:21-23 (ESV)

The Kingdom of God is being established by the Church through the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world. We, as God’s ambassadors, are proclaiming hope and purpose as a result of the cross, demanding the darkness of depravity to recede in the glory of the light of God’s beautiful revelation in Jesus. We are revealing God’s purpose for all things and calling creation to restoration, enabling all things to worship the Lord and give Him the glory that He alone is due!

In light of these profound truths, how could we ever consider keeping the light within us as a result of the Spirit’s regenerative work hidden? Why do we allow the darkness to demand authority over the light? When we walk into a room as God’s chosen people, that room should be lit by the joy in our hearts, demanding the hearts of those who have not responded to Christ’s sacrifice to consider the difference in our worldview and theirs.

We have been called to be witnesses, which should not be a hard thing given this image from Jesus. Witnessing should be a natural thing, in that any time light steps into darkness the difference is noticeable. This was certainly true of Jesus, the ultimate light, whose radiance in the midst of darkness changed the course of human history! Will you follow His example? Will you let your light shine and build the Kingdom of God today?

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, October 22nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Light of the World, Mark, Witness.
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October 11th, 2015

Prepare the Way

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,”” Mark 1:1-3 (ESV)

We are the beginning of the gospel for many of the people around us today. We are called to “prepare the way” as John the Baptist did for the message of Jesus to come into their lives and call them to a place of repentance. We are messengers, proclaiming the most important message ever to be proclaimed: “The Christ has come to take away the sins of the world.”

This proclamation is a verbal proclamation, yes, but it is also a lived declaration. We are to make the path of Christ “straight,” removing obstacles to the impact of this transformative message. In becoming like John the Baptist, then, in our prophetic role, we must be sure that we have not trivialized our message for temporary pleasures. John found his entire identity in speaking forth the gospel. He did not value material things, but rather only valued ministry. Let us be sure that our lives communicate as effectively the unique satisfying power of Jesus.

Are you preparing the way of Christ? Are you making the path of the gospel straight? Consider for a moment some things in your life that may hinder the spread of the gospel. Repent of those things even as you call others to repentance in light of the glorious reality of the good news of Jesus!

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, October 11th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Evangelism, Mark, Preparation.
Interact No Comments
November 13th, 2012

Stay Awake

“Therefore stay awake–for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning–lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13:35-37 (ESV)

Jesus is coming again! What an incredible message of hope for us as believers. He has not forgotten us, nor abandoned us. He will come again to finish what He started, and He won’t be coming on a donkey this time! This message of hope for believers is also a challenge to prepare the way of the Lord, continuing the proclamation of the gospel and the building of His kingdom in His temporary absence, for while this truth is a message of joy for us, for those who do not believe, the reality is far more sobering. The coming of Christ will secure a future of wrath for those outside of His grace, meaning that because we are uncertain of when He will come, we should do everything we can to prepare everybody we can until we hear that trumpet sound.

Dear Christian, are you awake to this reality? Or has the urgency of the second coming of Christ disappeared having been distracted by the business of your day to day schedule. Do not be found sleeping on the job. God has given you a purpose in your time here to proclaim His goodness, calling those around you to join in worship. Don’t forsake this glorious purpose and eternal glory for temporary pleasures and vain rewards. Be on guard and stay awake, knowing that at any moment the Lord could return to reclaim His creation fully.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 310: Mark 13)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, November 13th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Alert, Mark, Second-coming of Christ.
Interact No Comments
November 7th, 2012

Revenge or Restoration?

“And Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” Mark 10:42-45 (ESV)

James and John approach Jesus with an interesting request. They ask Him to grant them to sit at His right hand, presumably as a sign of special honor for them once Jesus has been raised and established as a political ruler (revealing a still false understanding of future events). Jesus challenges these two disciples, whom He loved, by rooting out the motivation for their request. Why did they want this honor? Why did they want this power? Was it to be in a position of influence to rule over people? Or was it to be in a position of power to help people?

You could understand, I think, why James and John would want earthly power, having been persecuted for following Jesus and likely economically or socially oppressed their whole lives as Jews under Roman rule. Yet, Jesus did not come in power to exact revenge;  He came to serve and restore.

The tendency of mankind is to find new and ingenious ways to rule over one another, seeing subjection of people as affirmation of one’s superiority to another. The more people we have looking to us, the more unique and special we feel. Truly, we seek to be like God. The message of Jesus, though, is not a means to get the same old thing, i.e. leverage over others. Rather, the message of Jesus suggests our chief goal is not ruling over one another but serving, knowing that ultimately God is the only one worthy of worship and devotion. Who will you serve today?

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 304:  Matthew 19; Mark 10)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Mark, Power, Serve.
Interact No Comments
October 28th, 2012

The Problem with Miraculous Mountains

“And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.’” Mark 9:4-5 (ESV)

What an incredible event! Can you imagine experiencing what Peter experienced on this mountain? Can you imagine how you would react if you were to see Moses, Elijah, and Jesus all in their glorified form? Peter wanted to build a memorial. He wanted to stay there indefinitely and just revel in the miraculous moment. Isn’t that exactly how we react to incredible, life-changing encounters with God? When we experience the Lord in this way, we want to stay there forever, and when we have to leave we immediately begin to long for the next mountaintop experience. Reacting in this way, though, completely misses the point of these impactful moments. These moments aren’t meant to be ends unto themselves; rather, they are meant to be launching pads for ministry, motivating and encouraging us to continue our ministry as disciples. Jesus didn’t let Peter build the tents because if he had, Peter would have missed all of the ministry He had for him in the valleys between the mountains.

May we not miss the ministry Christ has for us in our desire to experience the Lord in new and exciting ways. When the Lord reveals Himself to us so profoundly, the purpose is always to better enable us to accomplish the mission of the Church in building the Kingdom of God. Be thankful for these special moments, but don’t allow the pursuit of them to become distractions. Seek the Lord while He may be found, but when you find Him, serve Him.

 Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 294:  Matthew 17; Mark 9)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, October 28th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Mark, Mount Transfiguration, Mountaintop Experiences.
Interact No Comments
October 24th, 2012

The Complete Sustaining Nature of Christ

“He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff–no bread, no bag, no money in their belts–but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.” Mark 6:8-9 (ESV)

What an interesting command from Jesus found here in Mark’s gospel. Jesus has called to Himself “those whom he desired” and allowed them to walk alongside Him as they learned (Mark 3:13 ESV). Now, as He is preparing to send them out, He commands them to take nothing with them except what they have on their back. Why would Jesus demand such a thing from His disciples? Why would He not allow them to “prepare” more thoroughly for the task at hand?

Jesus was teaching His disciples (and us) about the importance of fully relying upon Him and His provision for the purposes of ministry. If Jesus sends us under His authority and calling as His disciples, then He will sustain us as we go. If He sends you, He will provide for you. The disciples, like us, had to learn this truth in order to properly submit to the will of the Lord as His representatives, thereby allowing Him to receive all the glory for the work that He would do through them. Further, how could they communicate the complete satisfying nature of Christ without having experienced it themselves? In their mission, they were learning as they were going.

Do you fully rely upon the Lord to accomplish that to which He has called you? Or do you overcompensate, not fully trusting in His ability to work miraculously through you? When we fail to fully rely upon Him to sustain, we often miss the opportunity to be part of something extraordinary, since only in Him is such a work possible.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 289:  Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Mark, Provision, Sustainer.
Interact No Comments