This coming Sunday, our church will begin going through the Gospel of Mark. The question is, “Why Mark?”
First of all, pastors pray long and hard for what to cover next in the worship gathering. I try to pivot between Old Testament and New Testament, as well as pivoting between genres (gospels to psalms to epistles, etc.).
But why Mark? For established churches like the one I’m blessed to undershepherd, going through the gospels brings us back to the basics, back to the foundation of the One on whom His church is built–Jesus Christ. Seeing how Jesus preached, what it meant to follow Him, how He interacted with the disenfranchished, and how He interacted with the religious legalists. Jesus came on a mission that was focused on the message found in Mark 1:15: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.”
How Jesus preached. With authority. In the synagogues. With parables. With clarity (to the disciples). In a boat. In the country. In the cities.
Jesus is the Son of God. Both the Father and the demons (along with a Roman soldier) affirmed Jesus as the Son of God.
Mark is a gospel that is on the move. Notice how many times the word “immediately” is used.
Jesus always had an eye on the leaders as well as “least of these.” While many religious leaders struggled with Jesus, others sought Him out for help, great and small.
And much more.
Join us as we look at the beauty of the Gospel of Mark.
Deacons serve a critical role in the church of Jesus Christ. In 1 Timothy 3, we see the two primary offices of the church: pastors (also called elders, overseers, and bishops) and deacons. Tonight we look at how deacons are a partnership of courage and care.
I was a Music Minister/Worship Leader for 10 years in the 1990s going into the 2000s before God called me into the preaching/pastoring ministry. And wow–do folks have opinions on these things. Well, here are some things to consider.
Good morning! God calls us to be merciful as He is merciful. How is that possible, since we are fallible, frail, and faulty imagebearers?
Let’s read the full paragraph:
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.Jesus Christ, Luke 6:32-36
In our flesh, we love those like us, lend to those who are friends and who will repay us–yet, Christ calls us to love our enemies sacrificially, knowing that our reward will come not necessarily in the “here” but in the hereafter.
God extended mercy to us when we didn’t deserve it. Now, we as imagebearers and covenant bearers of Christ behave as Christ on earth–which is what the church is, the body of Christ.
It’s not just Christ in you but Christ through you. Don’t be a reservoir–be a conduit of His grace and mercy to others.
Good morning! The Apostle Paul calls us to think on the things of the Spirit.
Christ embodies each of these perfectly. If ever anyone walked the earth with the qualities, it was Christ. And as we think on Christ more and more, the more we will think on the qualities that he has that are listed here—and the more we will think and practice on them.
We must remember, Christ is in us. Colossians 1:27 talks of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” He is our hope in all we have. He is in us. He in enough. But that’s not the last list: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).
Learned, received, heard, seen. What do we mean here? It’s a perfect progression. We learn the truths of Scripture and, ultimately, about the person and work of Jesus in and through us. But it’s not enough just to learn, but to receive it—that is, to embrace it, surrender to it. “Heard” means the continual listening of the word either from the pulpit in the main gathering, or in discipleship and conversation. “Seen” means that you are seeing Christ exemplified in Paul and those around him.
We won’t connect with something that doesn’t directly minister to us—but maybe God is calling you to (1) be reminded of things as a safeguard for you –remember 3:1, but also (2) to remember that Jesus himself did not come to be served but to serve, and God is calling you to serve as well. It’s not about you. Say that with me: “Church is not about me!”
Matthew Henry once said, “Peace is such a precious jewel, that I would give anything for it but truth.” You see, friends, we fight for truth. But if truth of God’s Word is not a part of the contention, then we strive in humility to stay level-headed and look to restore. We go to our prince of peace in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving.
Philippians 4:8-9 talks of thinking and practicing aspects of the Christian life.
Matthew R. Perry, Ph.D., is Lead Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO.
Good morning! We as followers of Jesus live in the “already” and the “not yet” when speaking of the Kingdom of God. Through the Church of Jesus Christ, He has established His kingdom here on earth spiritually-speaking. Upon Christ’s return, He will establish His literal and visible Kingdom.
“The day of the Lord” is a theme that plays prominently in the Prophetic Writings. This theme reminds God’s people that (1) this world will not last forever, (2) we have responsibilities as Kingdom people in the meantime. For those who are not among God’s people, they share the reality of the first item mentioned previously: this world will not last forever. Yet, they are called to repent of their sin and brokenness and turn to Christ as their righteousness.
Do you realize that time is short?
Do you know that Christ will return in glory to gather His people?
Do you know that Christ will return in glory to judge those who refused Him?
Do you know, dear Church, that time is short and that we have responsibilities tethered to the Great Commission?
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15-17
Matthew R. Perry, Ph.D. is Lead Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO.
Good morning! How astonishing it is that the transcendent God of heaven is near to all who call on him in truth. What a reason for praise and thanksgiving! As we pursue Him in His Word and in prayer, we recognize more and more of His righteous ways (Psalm 145:17) and thus our prayers are tailored to His revealed ways.
When Jesus approached the Samaritan woman, He told her the nature of worship:
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.Jesus in John 4:23-24
Too many in our culture invoke God’s name based upon, as Oprah Winfrey coined, “their truth.” “Well, I believe God is like….” Beware! You are not only violating the Third Commandment, you are replacing God’s truth with yours. And as Paul noted in Romans:
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”The Apostle Paul in Romans 9:20
Approach God in the truth of His Word and you will find Him near!
Matthew Perry, Ph.D., is Lead Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church in Centennial, CO.
Good morning! We can look at the culture around us and think, “How terrible! How godless!” And, from the perspective of a hopeful, joyful disciple, this would be a correct though incomplete accessment. Yes, the culture careens away from God’s perfect design, but this also serves as an opportunity for us to be workers among the harvest.
Even in Jesus’ day, the harvesters were few. Rather than going out into the field, they stayed in their homes surrounded by others in their family. This happens today–rather than going and reaching our sphere of influence (our friends, relatives, associates, neighbors, and strangers around us), we succumb to the temptation to huddle among those who share our beliefs, traditions, and worldviews.
God calls His people to ask His Son to send out workers. I remember serving on staff in a church in South Florida with a Minister of Discipleship and Family Life who urged us all to pray this prayer. Turns out, God sent him as a missionary with the IMB to Europe–where he still serves today. Yes, if we pray this prayer, God may send us. Yet, being led by Him, empowered by Him, is the place we all need to be.
Are you ready to follow Christ’s command to pray this prayer? Are you ready to be that worker among the harvest? That very culture you find so terrible and so godless–well, you might find yourself with an all-consuming burden to love them and reach them for Christ. And that’s how someone felt when they came to talk to you, dear Christian.
Aren’t you glad they did?
Matthew Perry, Ph.D., serves as Lead Pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO.