Powerful Faith is a Faith that Prays

indexBy God’s grace we were able to gather and worship together through the Word this past Sunday. The main theme of the text in Mark 9:14-29 we explored was, “powerful faith is a faith that prays.”

I opened by explaining it this way…

Prayer is the outward action of faith that says, “I am weak. I am limited. I rely on your power God. I rely on your wisdom. In my weakness would your strength be seen. Without you I can do nothing. With you all things are possible.”

Click to listen to the sermon: Powerful Faith is a Faith that Prays, from the series in Mark, Jesus the Servant King.

God’s Kingdom, God’s Way

indexThis past Sunday, Mike Daling was with us, preaching from Mark 9:2-13. The main point of the text (Jesus’ transfiguration) that he brought out was that God was calling the disciples to see Jesus as he really is, and to “Listen to Him“. A phrase that has stuck with me is “We want God’s kingdom in our way, according to our time, etc.” Instead we ought to seek God’s kingdom in God’s way (connected back to Jesus’ “take up your cross and follow me” statement in 8:34). To have a better sense of this idea, click to listen to the message Listen to Him and be encouraged.

The Necessity of Jesus’ Suffering

indexThis past Sunday, we were back in Mark. Our text was 8:31-9:1; 9:30-32; and 10:32-33 – three times that Jesus predicted the necessity of his suffering, death, and resurrection that was soon to come. This quote from the ESV Study Bible is a great summary to why Jesus’ suffering was necessary.…

”Christ’s death is necessary because the eternal messianic rule of God begins with atonement for sin – the sacrifice that will bring about reconciliation between God and man.”

Click to listen to The Necessity of Jesus’ Suffering.

The Amazing Faith of An Outsider (Mark 7:24-30)

indexAs we looked at the interaction between Jesus and a gentile mom in Mark 7:24-30, we saw that the main focus was not on the incredible miracle Jesus performed (delivering her daughter from a demon), but was instead on her amazing faith. For Jesus, her simple, profound faith was a breath of fresh air that “dramatically contrasted with the hardened unbelief of the Pharisees and scribes, and even outshined the understanding of the disciples” (R. Kent Hughes).

How does our faith compare with hers? Listen…

Questions for Community Group & Family Discussion from Mark 7:24-30

UntitledWhen our Community Groups get together, one of the things they do is to talk through the sermon from that weekend, with a goal of application and life transformation. Yesterday, we jumped back into our Gospel of Mark series, Jesus the Servant King. Our passage was Mark 7:24-30, and the sermon titled The Amazing Faith of An Outsider.

To help you prepare for the time of worship in the word, we’re beginning to send these questions out before the worship service. Below are the discussion questions Community Group leaders will use. We’d encourage you to use these to: 1) prepare your heart for worship; 2) prepare for Community Group; and/or 3) discuss with your family or friends if you’re unable to make it to Community Group.

Introductory Question

  • Can you think of a time when someone unlikely did some thing completely unexpected?

Reflection Questions

  • Read the passage together…General thoughts and/or observations?
  • How does the woman make her request known to God? What’s the nature of her plea?
  • Is Jesus’ response harsh or hopeful? Explain either way.
  • What impresses you about the woman’s response to Jesus’ comment?

Application Questions

  • When you think about the woman’s faith, what characterizes it?
  • How does your own faith resemble that of the woman? Where does it need to grow?

Prayer

  • As you pray together: Praise God that he accepts the faith of outsiders like us –  that there is no distinction – any who believe are accepted! Pray that God would grow your faith to reflect the faith of the woman; that we as a church would be people of such simple, deep faith!

Why Am I A Christian?

MercyHillWhyIamAChristian2This Sunday, we wrapped up our brief series Why Am I A Christian?. Three simple messages in which I reflected and gave my answer to that important question. In case you missed any of those Sundays, here is a link to the audio recordings…

Questions for Community Group & Family Discussion for 9/28

When our Community Groups gqmarket together, one of the things they do is to talk through the sermon from that weekend, with a goal of application and life transformation. Last Sunday we wrapped up our brief series, Why Am I A Christian? with the concluding message flowing from Psalm 63:1-5 titled Jesus Satisfies My Deepest Desires.

To help you prepare for the time of worship in the word, we’re beginning to send these questions out before the worship service. Below are the discussion questions Community Group leaders will use. We’d encourage you to use these to: 1) prepare your heart for worship; 2) prepare for Community Group; and/or 3) discuss with your family or friends if you’re unable to make it to Community Group.

Introductory Question

  • What are some of the desires that are common to humanity?

Reflection Questions

  • Read the main passage together…General thoughts and/or observations?
  • How do our desires impact the way we live? Make decisions? Interact with other people?
  • What promises does God make to us regarding our desires?

Application Questions

  • Interact with this quote from John Piper…”I know of no other way to triumph over sin long-term, than to gain a distaste for it, because of a superior satisfaction in God.”
  • Think through a real-to-life scenario of how this might look.

Prayer

  • As you pray together: Ask God to help you understand how the desires of your heart can be met most in Jesus, and to reveal to you where you are settling for less than Jesus.

Questions for Community Group & Family Discussion for 9/21

qmark

When our Community Groups get together, one of the things they do is to talk through the sermon from that weekend, with a goal of application and life transformation. Tomorrow, we will continue our brief series, Why Am I A Christian? Our primary passages will be Genesis 1:26-27 and Mark 7:21-23 as we talk about how Christianity Makes Sense of Life.

To help you prepare for the time of worship in the word, we’re beginning to send these questions out before the worship service. Below are the discussion questions Community Group leaders will use. We’d encourage you to use these to: 1) prepare your heart for worship; 2) prepare for Community Group; and/or 3) discuss with your family or friends if you’re unable to make it to Community Group.

Introductory Question

  • Have you ever been bothered by the “paradox” of human nature – how we are capable of such amazing goodness and such unfathomable evil?

Reflection Questions

  • Read the two main passages together…Genesis 1:26-27; Mark 7:21-23. General thoughts and/or observations?
  • What does it mean that humans are created in the image of God? What traits come with that?
  • What are the characteristics of humanity’s sinful nature?
  • How is God at work restoring his creation back to its original design?

Application Questions

  • How does this discussion help you understand the human paradox?
  • Where do you see God at work in your own life redeeming you even now?

Prayer

  • As you pray together: Praise God that he sent his Son to be our Redeemer!
  • Spend time rejoicing in that and praying for his ongoing redeeming work.

God’s Love Finds Me…

MercyHillWhyIamAChristian2All of us have been in this place in our lives at some point – seeking to be loved; feeling unlovable. We are wired with that longing. It’s God-given, so that we will be drawn to fulfill it in him.

So this first week of answering the question, “Why Am I A Christian?” I want to share this: “I am a Christian because God’s Love Finds Me.” God’s love finds me where I am (struggling, in pain, in my wandering, at my worst, or at my best). God’s love actively pursues me, tenaciously grabs hold of me, graciously, mercifully, not letting go – in a way that fulfills that fundamental longing.

Listen to the exploration of that great truth…God’s Love Finds Me.