Monday Morning: 13 May 2019 – Mark 9:30-50 ~ on the job training

Monday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for the Renewal of Life – Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 9:30-50 (NLT)

Jesus Again Predicts His Death

Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know he was there, for he wanted to spend more time with his disciples and teach them. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” They didn’t understand what he was saying, however, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant.

The Greatest in the Kingdom

After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.”

Using the Name of Jesus

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.”

“Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded.

“But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands. If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, ‘where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.’

“For everyone will be tested with fire. Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.”
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Morning Reflection:

on the job training

“Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee.
Jesus didn’t want anyone to know he was there,
for he wanted to spend more time with his disciples and teach them.”
– Mark 9:30-31a

The disciples had a lot to learn, as today’s reading reveals. Three of them had seen his glorified, risen presence on the Mount of Transfiguration, and still they didn’t understand the suffering dimension of his mission. And the others struggled with weak faith as they attempted to cast out an evil spirit in his name.

They were not yet ready for prime time, so Jesus devoted himself to their on-the-job training. What are some of the takeaways in today’s reading that can help us?

+ Expect betrayal and suffering: The forces arrayed against the advance of God’s Kingdom are both within the church and outside of it. Followers of Jesus Christ can expect misunderstanding and persecution.

+ Go to the back of the line: It’s not about our fame, or greatness. Followers of Jesus must take on his servant mindset, putting other’s needs before their own. And they must humble themselves, serving the least among them, even a little child.

+ You’re not the only game in town: God is at work through other followers of Jesus who are outside of your circle of friends. The defining mark is believing in Jesus, and working in his name. Expect to be surprised.

Questions for consideration:

  • Have you ever suffered for following Jesus Christ? If so, what was the source? If not, why not? Please explain.
  • What is your role as a follower of Jesus Christ – at home, at work, at church? Do you consider yourself a servant? How does that work out? Please explain.
  • Typically in the U.S. we pass many churches on the way to our own. What is your attitude towards them? Have you ever been surprised by what God is doing outside of your church, or tradition? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

The Persecuted Church: Prayer for Christians in the midst of persecution:

Heavenly Father: I pray for Christians suffering persecution and hardship because of their faith. Meet them in their deepest sorrow and comfort them. Strengthen them in faith that they may continue to follow you, and empower them with your Spirit to respond in love to the evil shown by their persecutors – that doors will open to share the Good News of your Kingdom. I ask this in Jesus’ name, who lives and reigns with you in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father: Give the me the humility and teachability of a little child, that I may be eager to learn from your Word and Spirit. Grant me the courage to speak the truth in the face of opposition, and to live faithfully as a follower of Jesus. Give me a servant’s heart to consider the needs of others before my own, that I might find peace and joy at the back of the line. Surprise me with your wonder-working power displayed by those I might least expect. And thank you for sending your Spirit to live in me, through faith in your Son, Jesus Christ – who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
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“Build My Life “ – Pat Barrett

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Friday Morning: 03 May 2019 – Mark 6:1-29 ~ on the job training

Friday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Endurance – Friday)

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 6:1-29 (NLT)

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples

Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.

“Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.

The Death of John the Baptist

Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles.” Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.”

When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.”

For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.” So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.

Herodias’s chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!”

She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?”

Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!”

So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!”

Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.
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Morning Reflection:

On the job training

Jesus called his twelve disciples together
and began sending them out two by two,
giving them authority to cast out evil spirits.
– Mark 6:7

In today’s reading, Jesus authorized the disciples to be his delegates with respect to both word and power. Their message and deeds were to be an extension of his own.

The disciples did three things: preached repentance, healed the sick, and cast out evil spirits. Their ministry was to be an extension of Jesus’ ministry – on the job training – demonstrating that Jesus’ power extended beyond his personal presence and that God would work through them as He did through Jesus.

So the disciples went out,
telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God.
And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people,
anointing them with olive oil.
– Mark 6:12-13

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you believe that the Kingdom power and authority that Jesus gave to his disciples is given to believers today? Please explain.
  • Do you believe Jesus’ Kingdom power and authority is only given to a chosen few, or is given to every believer? Please explain.
  • Have you ever seen, or experienced, Jesus’ Kingdom power and authority to preach repentance, heal the sick, and cast out demons through believers today? Please explain.
  • Have you ever been trained in this kind of ministry? How did it go? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Prayer for world leaders to fight against Christian persecution:

Sovereign Lord: All authority vested in governance comes from you and is accountable to you. Stir the hearts of every world leader to carry out their responsibilities justly and peacefully with special attention to Christians who are defenseless, in need of protection. Give them the wisdom to enact the necessary policies and procedures to make a lasting, global difference. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

My Prayer:

Lord Jesus: Use me as you will – teach me, train me, send me – to the lost, the broken, and the bound. Use me here where i am, or send me out where you want me to be. Give me eyes to see the opportunities and need you place before me. And give me the boldness to respond in faith. All to the glory of your name, and the advance of your Kingdom. Amen.
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“Here I Am Send Me” – Darlene Zschech

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen