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Tag Archives: Mark 4

Why Are You So Afraid?

Why Are You So Afraid?

New Sermon; MIGHTY COUNSELOR, is online (here) 

Published on Sep 10, 2014

Crossroads of Greeley welcomes guest speaker, Vanna In from Jobs of Hope to share God’s Word with us. Vanna teaches on encountering the storms in your life. Jesus is always with you, and Jesus has a purpose for your storm; it never goes to waste. Join us for real-life application of stormy lives being used of God.

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Sermons

 

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Walking Closer with God

Linda called me this week to ask a faith question while she battles the challenges of new faith as a freshman in college.

“Reid, do you ever feel like you really have your faith all figured out?”

“What do you mean?”

“Does it ever feel like you’ve… arrived? Or do you always run on this treadmill for more?”

“I don’t know what ‘arrival’ feels like, but as for figuring out my faith… yeah, I think I get it. God has called me to serve Him in this capacity of ministry in the church, and I feel like I’m living the dream.”

“I don’t,” she said. “I’ve been struggling to find the right truth of faith to believe the right thing. I’ve wondered if I should keep reading God’s Word out of obedience, or just read when I feel like it… which is not too much anymore.”

“What so confusing?” I asked.

“I don’t know what it’s all about anymore. What’s all this work for in figuring out my faith? Can’t I just make it make sense, and be good with it?” she inquired.

“I wish it was that way too, but God has other ways of growing our faith.”

I’m preaching on Mark 4:21-41 tomorrow at Crossroads Greeley Church and one of the main landing points is found in verses 35-41… Jesus calms the storm.

One of the most surprising things about our faith, Linda, is that God doesn’t leave us to our comfort along the sea shore. He loves us too much to leave us alone and sail off to the other side of the lake. There are storms that come and go in our life, but Jesus is right there with us in the boat. Oh, it may appear that Jesus is asleep in the stern of the boat and oblivious to the raging sea, but he’s not unaware. He’s simply resting in the trust of God the Father who is Lord of all creation and controls the wind and the waves.

There’s a play of irony that I find amusing in this scene too. The disciples rebuke Jesus for sleeping through the storm and not protecting them from drowning. He’s a lifeguard now, like the tee shirt says.

Here’s the foreshadowing of Mark’s authorship in his Gospel, people tend to fall asleep when you need them the most. In the reversal of events, the 3 closest people to Jesus fall asleep when he needs them to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is going through a storm of emotions, waves and wind surround Jesus’ last moments on earth and in prayer he is asking the Father to take this cup of death from him. He is willing to go through the storm of death, only to be resurrected on the other end of it and become the salvation for all humankind. His closest friends fall asleep and Jesus gets to ask them, “why can’t you stay awake and pray?”

I wonder if they were reminded of that evening on the lake in Mark 4, just 3 years prior when they rebuked Jesus for resting after talking all day about our faith in God’s growing Kingdom? I wonder if they ever asked Linda’s question, “Do you ever feel like you really have your faith all figured out?”

Reader, when you feel like you can’t figure out if you really have enough faith to walk with God, when you feel like the storms of this life are raging around you and your only hope is asleep in the back of the boat, when you feel like your circumstances and doubts are beyond your ability to understand God’s plan… remember that you’re not alone. The disciples went through this sort of thing for years as they walked with Jesus. God took them through faith growing exercises that allowed them to learn to walk with God too.

“Good question, Linda. You get me thinking more and more about growing in faith with God. Sometimes I feel like God has me in the right place, at the right time, with the right people and places we live so that everything we do and say is a way to reflect the trust in God that He is allowing us in our lives.”

May you come to find that though God looks like he’s asleep in the storms of your life, he’s able to control the wind and the waves simply with his voice. “Quiet, be still.” God is with us. We’re all in the same boat.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2012 in Ministry Calling

 

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Plant More Trees

I love preaching at Crossroads Greeley. We have an amazing fellowship of believers and God is doing awesome things in our area of the world. 

Last weekend I preached on “Plant More Trees“, which is a take off from Bill Hybels and the Willow Creek Association conference about evangelism. Thank you Bill. 

ImageWe are preaching through the gospel of Mark in the Bible and we encountered Jesus teaching parables from the bow of a boat. He is speaking to the crowds on the “soil” at the water’s edge. He tells the story of the sower who scattered seed on the path, the rocks, among the thorns and on the good soil. 

The disciples and some gathered around him asked what the parable meant and Jesus explained that the seed is the Word of God, the soils are the condition of the hearts of people who either reject the truths of God, or accept it and grow. 

As we talked at Crossroads, sometimes people who are “sowers of God’s Word”, or you and I who share our faith as believers in Jesus… sometimes we take the responsibility evangelism too seriously and try to own the “outcome” of the sharing God’s truth. I tried to let people off the hook of responsibility a little bit by saying that the outcome depends on the Lord and the soils of peoples’ heart, not how hard you work as a sower.

Sometimes we who call ourselves “followers of Jesus”, or Christians for short, take the responsibility of “closing the deal” with people by making them convert to Christianity, if they don’t know God. Now this is all well and good, for it’s a method we learned from evangelists like Billy Graham, Greg Laurie, Franklin Graham and Luis Palau back in the days of big tent revivals. Some are still effective today. I’m in favor of all these venues to bring believers into God’s Kingdom, btw… which isn’t the point of this blogety blog. 

I think Christians feel the ‘responsibility’ to win others over to believing in Jesus, and when we don’t “close the deal” it feels like a salesman losing a sale, or a potential client walking away. 

How do you feel about sharing your faith? 

Do you do it much? Are you comfortable talking about God with strangers? Or with friends who you know don’t like God? 

What most Christians tell me is that they are afraid of rejection about the entire thing, so they don’t plant trees (share God’s love and truth with others). 

I thought of the UPS delivery person who drops off packages all day. Do they take rejection personally? Do they feel the loss when someone isn’t at their home, or office to receive the package? NO. The UPS person is more than willing to take the little brown box back to their little brown truck and sign off that the package wasn’t delivered. If the receiver isn’t home to receive it, sometimes the UPS person just sticks a note on the door for the receiver to pick the package on their own time. 

What if we “believers” shared our faith in God without having to take the responsibility for how the soils receive the word? If the path is cold, let it go. If the rocks have no depth of soil, don’t trouble your own heart. If the thorns choke out the truth of the Word of God in others b/c of worry, deceitfulness of money, or desires for other things… coach a person along, but let them make their own efforts about the truth of God. And, if the good soil in others receives the Word of God with joy and begins to produce 30, 60 or 100 times the return… then don’t take responsibility for that either… 

It’s all God’s work, and God’s Word for people to receive.

Just scatter more seed, and as Bill Hybels would say, “Plant More Trees”. 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Leadership

 

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