John Lindell – 04/23/2017
Mark 14:32-42 – “They came to an area called Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He told them, “I feel bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”
Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: “Papa, Father, you can—can’t you?—get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want—what do you want?”
He came back and found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, you went to sleep on me? Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don’t enter the danger zone without even knowing it. Don’t be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
He then went back and prayed the same prayer. Returning, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open, and they didn’t have a plausible excuse.
He came back a third time and said, “Are you going to sleep all night? No—you’ve slept long enough. Time’s up. The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up. Let’s get going. My betrayer has arrived.””
Mark 14:32-42 MSG
- Straightforward, yet profound.
- 3 times Jesus was tempted in the Wilderness.
- Again, Jesus fights a battle with Satan in the Garden, as he prepares to take on His burden of sin for mankind.
- This time, the disciples, who are also present, are tempted with human weakness (sleep) three times…and they succumb – three times.
- Intentions do not equal follow through, and we are all able to observe the results of the failure to pray in the upcoming struggles of the disciples:
- Denial, confusion, separation and chaos throughout Jesus trial and after Jesus death on the cross – before He reappears, reunites, and reignites His disciples.
- In preparation for betrayal and his upcoming sacrificial trials.
4 Principles to Encourage & Strengthen our lives: (Prayer is the Key)
1st Jesus Prayed
- If Jesus needed to pray, and he did all the time, then it goes without saying that we should as well.
- Jesus didn’t wait till gethsemane to pray for the first time…
Hunger & Thirst
Mark 7:24-30 – “From there Jesus set out for the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house there where he didn’t think he would be found, but he couldn’t escape notice. He was barely inside when a woman who had a disturbed daughter heard where he was. She came and knelt at his feet, begging for help. The woman was Greek, Syro-Phoenician by birth. She asked him to cure her daughter.
He said, “Stand in line and take your turn. The children get fed first. If there’s any left over, the dogs get it.” She said, “Of course, Master. But don’t dogs under the table get scraps dropped by the children?” Jesus was impressed. “You’re right! On your way! Your daughter is no longer disturbed. The demonic affliction is gone.” She went home and found her daughter relaxed on the bed, the torment gone for good.”
Mark 7:24-30 MSG
Matt 5:6 – ““You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.”
Matthew 5:6 MSG
Matt 5:6 – “”Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Matthew 5:6 ESV
The Big idea: The person with a hungry heart will always reach God’s heart.
– The best leaders are not merely Christians, but GOOD Christians.
– We want our hunger and thirst to increase – rather than decrease.
– When we hunger and thirst – others are attracted to join our circle of influence.
THERE IS A BLESSING AND LIFE FOR THOSE WHO HUNGER AND THIRST (ALWAYS STARVING) FOR THE THINGS AND PRESENCE OF GOD.
- People are born with an appetite.
- We all have a void/hole that can only be filled by God.
- Hunger creates action. You will go out of the way to get what you crave.
- Hunger takes on a voice of it’s own (What are you craving?)
- With God – THE MORE YOU EAT, THE MORE YOU WANT.
- THE MORE YOU EXPERIENCE GOD, THE MORE YOU WANT TO EXPERIECE GOD.
- The more you give, the more you want to give (as you see God’s hand movethrough your obediance and faithfulness).
- Zacchaeus climbed a tree
- The woman with the issue of Blood.
- Blind Bartimaeus
- Mark 7:24-30 – Jesus tested the woman. – Others must come first.
- She was Hungry – she was undeterred.
- Jesus was impressed – He responded. The demon has left (past tense).
- When did the demon leave? Maybe when she stepped out in faith.
- She went home and her daughter was in peace.
5 Steps we learn from Mark 7:24-30
1. Stay humble enough to get on your knees before Jesus – receive the promise
– Get into worship – hunger and humility go hand in hand.
– Bring your sacrifice of praise – whether you feel it or not.
2. She stepped out in faith – she believed that Jesus had a solution for her.
3. She believed for greater things in greater days.
– She didn’t settle for less.
Eph 3:20-21 – “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!”
Ephesians 3:20-21 MSG
4. Make your request known to God in prayer.
– What is the JRC “Secret Sauce” – prayer – getting on our knees before God.
– She made her passion and her determination known.
5. Never Give up.
Rom 8:31 – If God is for US (not me/you). We exist in community – who can be against us.
– From Church of the Highlands – (ARC Director)
- Life is lived in small communities.
- The Kingdom (of God) moves at the speed of relationships.
- We are moving people from Rows -to- Circles.
- Spiritual growth happens in a different dimensions of circles of faith.
- 3rd greatest life choice – when you get involved, beyond consumer, at church and get plugged into giving back and living life in community.
Why I love LIFE Groups:
Acts 20:7-12 (NIV)
“On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.”
Acts 20:7-12 NIV
Acts 20:7-12 (Message).
“We met on Sunday to worship and celebrate the Master’s Supper. Paul addressed the congregation. Our plan was to leave first thing in the morning, but Paul talked on (on and on), way past midnight. We were meeting in a well-lighted upper room. A young man named Eutychus was sitting in an open window. As Paul went on and on, Eutychus fell sound asleep and toppled out the third-story window. When they picked him up, he was dead. Paul went down, stretched himself on him, and hugged him hard. “No more crying,” he said. “There’s life in him yet.” Then Paul got up and served the Master’s Supper. And went on telling stories of the faith until dawn! On that note, they left—Paul going one way, the congregation another, leading the boy off alive, and full of life themselves.”
Acts 20:7-12 MSG
- Don’t dance by yourself – don’t do anything by yourself.
- Value LIFE together.
- Eutychus got the invite to the private party with Paul – He fell asleep in the wrong place.
Problem – He decided to not sit close
- He didn’t sit under Paul.
- He choose to sit by himself.
- He choose to sit by a window – (with the potential to day dream.
- He dropped out of sight.
- He leaned the wrong way (Life Groups help people lean the right way).
- Life Groups (should) help people lean the right way.
Paul’s Example of Community Leadership:
1. Paul stopped what he was doing – He was willing to be inconvenienced.
2. Paul went down to him. – He didn’t wait for him to be brought to him.
3. Paul embraced him. – He did not remain distant.
4. Paul hugged him. – more than a “chin check” – He wasn’t afraid of intimacy.
5. Paul believed for his life. – It’s not about the blame or responsibility – He is still alive.
American Heritage Dictionary: Enthusiasm – a great excitement for or interest in a subject or cause.
En.thu.si.asm: origin Greek enthusiasmos, from enthous, en theos, God inspired, God in it.
“Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Enthusiasm spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” – Norman Vincent Peale
Romans 12:1 – “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”
Romans 12:1 NLT
Deut. 28:47-48 – “If you do not serve the LORD your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, you will serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The LORD will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until he has destroyed you.”
Deuteronomy 28:47-48 NLT
Haggai 1:14 – “So the LORD sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the enthusiasm of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God’s people. They began to work on the house of their God, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies,”
Haggai 1:14 NLT
2 Cor 8:7 – “Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us —I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.”
2 Corinthians 8:7 NLT
Acts 18:25 – “He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism.”
Acts of the Apostles 18:25 NLT
1 Cor. 15:58 – “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT
Eph 6:7 – “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Ephesians 6:7 NLT
Leadership Insight: Enthusiasm is not a by-product….it is cultivated!
WHY IS ENTHUSIASM IMPORTANT?
1. Enthusiasm is the great…Motivator – to get going, moving, doing.
2. Enthusiasm is the great…Energizer – to bring us to life.
3. Enthusiasm is the great…Eliminator – to help overcome problems.
4. Enthusiasm is the great…Emancipator – to set people free.
5. Enthusiasm is the great…Enticer – to bring people together (make it fun).
Stretched beyond what we expect in order to receive more than we could ever dream, Jesus defies expectations, per usual, in Mark chapter five. Inspired by the Sunday morning message at my local church, James River Church, and stretched as a result of additional life group discussion regarding the same message, I feel inspired to expand upon the themes introduced in the message.
In keeping with the overall theme of Mark, Jesus as servant, and giving readers a glimpse into the kingdom values of inclusion, inversion, and dramatic faith-building timing, Jesus emphasizes the personal nature of his kingdom.
Once again research has proven that the number one factor influencing Christian spiritual growth is time spent reading and meditating upon scripture. I would hope that this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone within the Christian community. There are so many scriptures dealing with cleansing one’s mind with the word, letting the word light your path, and meditating on God’s law that I almost can’t decide on which I prefer for this conversation. I’m going to choose Psalm 119. As the longest chapter in the longest book of the Bible, Psalm 119 stands out. for example:
Psalm 119:1-6 (NLT)
And that’s just the first six verses. Psalm 119 reiterates and expounds upon the importance of valuing and memorizing God’s commands. Needless to say, there are a plethora of scriptures that extol the value and critical importance of getting God’s word into one’s heart so that it might be cleansed.
The danger, one among many, is that so many Christians become desensitized to this daily task through multiple scripture reading and meditating inoculations. Everyone has experienced a “good run” and spectacular failure. I think I’m safe in declaring that there isn’t one Christian on the planet that hasn’t struggled, at some point, with devotional consistency. Still, regardless of the mind numbing, cliche like, painfully over preached and hammered nature of this command, it remains an unshakable truth and a vital element for Christian spiritual growth. Continue reading