A Commitment Whose Benefits Far Outweigh its Cost (Mark 1:16-20)

fishers of people

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Mark 1:16-20

Commitment is waning in our society. Sociologist Peter Berger once said, “The modern mind is distinguished by this: to the modern person, our needs and our own fulfillment is more real to us than any other obligation.” Berger is saying that if it comes to choosing between fulfilling our own desires or fulfilling our commitment to another – say a child, parent, boss, our membership in a group, etc. – we have a greater tendency to choose fulfilling our own desires than we did several decades ago. Many sociologists say this trend has only gotten worse since Berger said this. Continue reading

The Mission of God’s Kingdom (Mark 1:14-15)

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Mark 1:14-15

The Gospel of Mark, and Jesus’ mission on earth for that matter, can be summarized in one verse: “‘The time has come,’ Jesus said. ‘The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:15) Continue reading

The Big Event Before the Big Event (Mark 1:1-8)

The Gospel of Mark
Mark 1:1-8

Imagine a signpost in a field nestling a tributary of the Pine Creek. On the sign is written the words, “The Big Event Before the Big Event!” No one knows what the big event is, let alone what the big event before the big event necessarily means. Nevertheless, everyone goes out to check it out. Cars line up and jam up traffic. Energy can be felt in the air, as well as excitement, intrigue, and mystery. Everyone goes out. Everyone wants to know what is going on and what will come next. Continue reading

The sacrifice that celebrates peace (Leviticus 3)

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Leviticus 3

The Hebrew word for “peace” surpasses most notions of peace today. Some think of peace as the absence of political or international conflict. Others of the absence of pain or presence of tranquility. Some think of relational harmony. The Hebrew concept of peace includes these things, but it goes further. It includes health, wealth, joy, and wholeness. But there is more. The peace that makes all other peace possible is God’s peace established between God and humans. Continue reading

The sacrifice that kills negativity (Leviticus 2)

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Leviticus 2

A critical spirit infects the world we live in. Instead of expressing gratitude, we are prone to grumble and complain. We complain about the school board, politicians, or the way people parent or spend their money. Our inner voice tempts us to think we could do things better in their shoes. The Israelites had an offering to counter such negative attitudes. It was called the Meal Offering (or “Grain Offering”). Continue reading

The sacrifice that reconciles (Leviticus 1)

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Leviticus 1

The late teacher and theologian R.C. Sproul once told about an encounter he had with the holiness of God. He was in college and a recent convert to Christianity. One afternoon, he felt compelled to leave his dorm, brace icy weather, and make his way to the chapel. There he sank to his knees, speechless. Terror overcame him, which gave way to deep peace. Continue reading

Oh time, where did you go? (Psalm 90)

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Psalm 90

An interesting thing happens when raising children. You will not need to teach a child to say, “mine.” As soon as the child understands the concept, everything is “mine.” That firetruck, “mine.” That sippy cup, “mine.” That book, “mine.” Everything is “mine.” But do you know what you will need to labor repeatedly to teach a child? To share with his or her sister. Continue reading

Confused about the Holy Spirit?

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John 14:16-18

Many people are confused about the Holy Spirit. In this age of spiritism and new age practices, how are we to understand the Holy Spirit? Continue reading

Is Christianity about rule following? (Romans 7:15-25)

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Romans 7:15-25

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” These are the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15. Paul was one of the champions of the grass root first-century church movement. He accomplished more for the church than almost anyone after him and wrote a significant portion of the New Testament. Yet, even the Apostle confessed he did not do what he wanted to. Continue reading

What is the church? (Acts 2:42-27)

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Acts 2:42-27

As a pastor, numerous people have told me that if they were to walk into our church building, the roof would cave in. I jokingly reply, “It has not caved in on me yet.” Continue reading