The Way of Jesus!

Mark 10:46-52 , Common English Bible

What gets in the way of seeing?  What gets in the way of believing?  While focused on his mission, Jesus is headed to another place.  Luke reminds us that is simply, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

What will Jesus do this time?  Jesus is about creating space for discipleship.  Jesus is about to extend generosity to someone who has been blind, or better yet, discriminated against.  Generosity is a process worth examining.

Notice invisible people!
Jesus and his followers came into Jericho.  As Jesus was leaving Jericho, together with his disciples and a sizable crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, Timaeus’ son, was sitting beside the road.   Mark 10:47

Remember Jesus is the source of generosity and mercy!
When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!”  Many scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy!”  Jesus stopped and said, “Call him forward.”  They called the blind man, “Be encouraged!  Get up!  He’s calling you.”   Mark 10:47-49

Ask and you will receive!
Throwing his coat to the side, he jumped up and came to Jesus.  Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The blind man said, “Teacher, I want to see.”  Jesus said, “Go, your faith has healed you.”  At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus on the way.   Mark 10:50-52

W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Generosity brings Healing!”

The Request for a Shortcut!

Mark 10:35-45, The Message

Have you tried a shortcut?  Maybe in traveling and you got lost?  Or maybe a shortcut in your studying and your grade showed it?  Or even maybe a shortcut in your spiritual life and it led to suffering?

James and John are requesting from Jesus a shortcut into heaven.  Now before we become outraged with their request, think about those times when we asked for a shortcut instead of enduring suffering.  Let’s be real, suffering is too difficult, the shortcut always sounds easier.  There are no shortcuts or places of honor when following Jesus.  Listen for how Jesus responds with a heart of generosity in the narrative.

Ordinary people request things!
James and John, Zebedee’s sons, came up to him.  “Teacher, we have something we want you to do for us.”  “What is it?  I’ll see what I can do.”  “Arrange it,” they said, “so that we will be awarded the highest places of honor in your glory—one of us at your right, the other at your left.”   Mark 10:35-37

Our selfishness is met with Jesus’s sacrificial love!
Jesus said, “You have no idea what you’re asking.  Are you capable of drinking the cup I drink, of being baptized in the baptism I’m about to be plunged into?”  “Sure,” they said.  “Why not?”  Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you will drink the cup I drink, and be baptized in my baptism.  But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business.  There are other arrangements for that.”   Mark 10:38-40

Jesus’s cross comes before His crown!
 “It’s not going to be that way with you.  Whoever wants to be great must become a servant.  Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.  That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”   Mark 10:43-45

Today, meet Jesus.  Bring yourself to him in all of your selfish desires and requests.  Let his love overwhelm your life.  And no longer seek to be served, but look to serve others.

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Generosity is grounded in God’s grace!”

Communion must be evident in Christ-centered communities!

Greetings Holy, Healthy and Happy People of God,

As I write this eNote to our faithful and devoted community of radical and responsible followers of Jesus Christ, I recently encountered the communion in community.  We started a series of Implicit Bias.  Our working definition of Implicit Bias is an unconscious thinking that evaluates one group and its members relative to another group even when that thinking does not align with our started beliefs, values, or commitments.

Everyone has implicit bias and unfortunately, we are unaware of the impact on our relationship with other people.  However, we believe deeply that we are regularly immune to bias.  The myth is only bad people have implicit bias.  And the truth is all people have implicit biases.

How does Jesus invite us to recognize our implicit bias?  Jesus offers us to invite someone unlike ourselves to a table for conversation and ultimately reconciliation.  If we can come back to the table enough, we can form the foundation of a trusted community.  But without the next level of communion with each other, it is short lived.

Jesus is constantly inviting people into his presence through the table where food, fellowship and communion happen as instructed in Mark 14:22-25, And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.  And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”

Coming from our meeting this week, I realized that community and communion is possible if we can become aware of our implicit biases and release those to Jesus as we sit at the table of reconciliation with others.

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Communion must be evident in Christ centered communities!”

Remember to pray The Lord’s Prayer every day at 12 Noon!

As always, remember, God’s will for us is good, we must do the rest!
Pastor Stephen

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,

“Communion must be evident in Christ centered communities!”

Love is an on-going connection with God!

Greetings Holy, Healthy and Happy People of God,

As I write this eNote to our faithful and devoted community of radical and contextually conscious followers of Jesus Christ, I am in a season of offering premarital counseling for couples soon to be married.  While every couple is unique, each has similarities.  But for each couple, there is the exploration for a deeper love of God, self and the other.  Every couple is expected to live by the great commandment, “Love God and love neighbor!”

Learning to be in deeper, intimate, Christ-shaped relationships requires living with a few constant questions.  Answering these questions will allow us to stay curious about each other.

First is the idea of why do we love each other?  “We love because God first loved us.”  1 John 4:19

Second is how do we love each other?  Love is driven by the Holy Spirit so that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  There is no law against things like this.”  Galatians 5:22-23

Third is a new question, how do we make time for one another?  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Love must be a priority, which means we must develop a deep abiding trust by finding time for one another.  Love finds time for one another.  Jesus made time for those in need.  In Mark chapter 5, he wasn’t too busy to leave what he was doing, which happened to be ministering to a large group of people, to make time for a single girl.  (Mark 5:21-24, 35-42)  Jesus displayed the heart of the Father in going after the one.  Throughout his ministry, Jesus consistently made time for people around him.

So to those who aspire to be in deeper, intimate and Christ-shaped relationship with others, follow the three simple rules: 1) do not harm, 2) do good, and 3) stay in love with God.

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Love is an ongoing connection with God!”

Remember to pray The Lord’s Prayer every day at 12 Noon!

As always, remember, God’s will for us is good, we must do the rest!
Pastor Stephen

Poor People’s Procession!

Mark 11:1-11, The Message

Everyone had gathered for the Festival of the Passover.  But who was invited to the public procession and display of liberation?  People who needed hope were gathered to remember their deliverance from the oppressive acts of Pharaoh.  God had intervened then and was about to intervene again.

The Roman Empire was in control and Pilate would have demonstrated a position of power in the city.  Warhorses, chariots and weapons would have been highly visible to remind the Jews that the Roman Empire was still in control.

Then Jesus rides in on a colt.  By entering Jerusalem, Jesus is making a statement against the Roman Empire.   On the road would have been a group of poor people who would be remembering the stories of God’s liberation from the past.  Those gathered would be looking for an alternative to their current state of oppression.

Joining the non-violent, poor people’s procession requires a risk, but it comes with eternal rewards!

Jesus needs us to do our part!
When they were nearing Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany on Mount Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: “Go to the village across from you.  As soon as you enter, you’ll find a colt tethered, one that has never yet been ridden.  Untie it and bring it.  If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ say, ‘The Master needs him, and will return him right away.’”   Mark 11:1-3

Join the chorus of Hosanna!
The people gave him a wonderful welcome, some throwing their coats on the street, others spreading out rushes they had cut in the fields.  Running ahead and following after, they were calling out, “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!  Blessed the coming kingdom of our father David!  Hosanna in highest heaven!”   Mark 11:8-10

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Jesus Saves!”