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Giving Our Hearts To The Lord – Mark 12:28-34

A teacher of the law asked Jesus one day, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important”? Jesus responded, “The most important one is this, Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. (vs.30) Jesus said that the most important commandment is that we love God with our whole being!

What does it mean to love God with our whole being? First, we must love God with all of our heart. We must value and esteem God highly, above everyone and everything else. Whom or what do you love most in your life?

Second, we must love God with all of our soul. The soul refers to the inner life, the seat and center of our being. Our souls make us unique and distinctive. They define us. Our souls will live eternally, either in heaven with God or in hell with Satan.

Third, we must love God with all of our mind. The word “mind” in this context refers to our mental, rational and critical intellectual faculties. God has given us our minds to use! Jesus served as a rabbi, a teacher. He taught people the truth about God. We have many educators in our church. We emphasize the pursuit of intellectual truth. We do this because we know God wants us to love Him with our minds.

Finally, we must love God with all of our strength. I find it fascinating that God wants us to love Him with something as fleeting as physical strength! But our faith has a physical dimension to it; we can use our hands, feet, eyes, ears, arms and legs to love God by serving Him in various ways.

Jesus commands us to love Him with our whole being. What a challenge for us



Community Breakfast

victorian christmas breakfast 2015



Produce Fruit – Mark 11:1-12

 

The parable of the Tenants teaches that God has replaced the nation of Israel with the church. When I say “replaced” I mean that God has a special plan for the Jewish people.  Paul discusses this plan in Romans, chapter 11.  The hardened hearts of the Jews allowed God the opportunity to bring Gentiles into his kingdom until the full number of Gentiles will be saved.  Then, the Jews who have not yet confessed Jesus as their Savior and Lord will turn to Jesus and they too will be saved!

 

Matthew, in his rendition of this parable has Jesus expressing it this way: “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit”. (Matt 21:43)

 

We, the people who make-up the church, are the ones who are supposed to be producing fruit! Are you producing fruit for the kingdom of God?  If not, why not?

 

We produce fruit by developing Holy Spirit infused personal and relational qualities.  The Apostle Paul provides a list of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”.  Look over this list again.  Are these fruit being produced in your life?

 

We also produce fruit by doing good works which build up God’s kingdom.  Finally, we produce fruit by sharing our faith in a way that wins people to Christ.  Simply doing good works is not enough.  We must care for people’s spiritual needs too!

 

We produce quality fruit by staying close to our Lord.  Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)  Let’s produce fruit for God’s kingdom!!



Minute for Ministry from the Choir

Click Below to see the minute for ministry from Sunday November 15.



A Necessary Ingredient In Our Prayers – Mark 11:12-14,20-25

In today’s lesson Jesus condemns a fig tree. Figs were a common fruit in Israel. They produced crops in both summer and winter. The fig tree Jesus approached didn’t have any fruit on it.

Why did Jesus condemn a fig tree because of its lack of fruit (see vs.13)? Most commentators believe that Jesus did this to warn Israel of God’s impending judgment. Since Israel had not produced the fruit of righteousness, God would judge Israel for her sin and failure.

After condemning the tree, Jesus taught the importance of faith and belief. The key verse is vs.25 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours”. Jesus emphasized the importance of belief in prayer. We must believe that God will answer our prayers! Do you believe God will answer your prayers?
Jesus taught the importance of believing in God as a personal being. Note that Jesus didn’t simply say, “have faith”. He said, “have faith in God”. Our belief has a personal object, namely God!

Second, when we pray, we must pray without any doubt. In vs.23 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea” and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen it will be done for him”. This call to pray without any doubt is a very difficult challenge for us!

Finally, we should extend forgiveness in our prayers if needed. Lack of forgiveness can be a block in our communication with God. Perhaps God is not hearing your prayers due to your lack of forgiveness for those who have hurt you or for your sin against someone.



Minute for Ministry – Deacons' Christmas Baskets

Click Below to see the minute for ministry from Sunday November 8.



Healings Still Happen – Mark 10:46

Jesus and his disciples traveled through Jericho. On their way out of town a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus confronted Jesus, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (vs.47) Jesus stopped and asked him what he wanted. He said, “Rabbi, I want to see”. The text tells us he received his sight immediately.

Many of us have needs for healing today. Some of us need to be healed physically, others spiritually, still others emotionally or relationally. In what way do you need to experience the healing touch of our Lord? Perhaps you have a loved one or a friend who needs to be healed.

We observe in Bartimaeus a passionate desire to be healed. Further, he pleaded with Jesus persistently. The text tells us after people rebuked him, “he shouted all the more, Son of David have mercy on me!” (vs.48) He really wanted to be healed!

Also, note that Bartimaeus asked Jesus specifically. When asked by Jesus what he wanted him to do for him, he responded, “Rabbi, I want to see”. (vs.51)

Finally, we must follow Jesus after we’ve been healed. Mark tells us after Bartimaeus was healed, he “followed Jesus along the road”. (vs.52)

As we think about our need or our loved one’s need for healing, converse with the Lord as Bartimaeus did. Be passionate and persistent in your praying, pray specifically and follow Jesus after you’ve been healed.



Portrait of a Real Servant – Mark 10:35-45

In our text, two of the disciples, James and John approach Jesus. They asked Jesus if they could be next to him in glory. These two men sought greatness! Jesus responded to their question by speaking of his death. In vs.38 Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” Jesus referred to a popular Old Testament metaphor, the cup of suffering. Jesus used baptism as a figure of death. In using these metaphors Jesus wanted these two men to understand that they would have to share in Jesus’ painful destiny of suffering and death.

The men responded in vs.39 by saying they could accept suffering and death. When the rest of the group heard of this exchange between Jesus and James and John they became upset. They were jealous of James and John; they were probably mad at themselves for not thinking of the request first!

Jesus called the whole group together and taught them a HUGE lesson: great people become great by being the servant of all. Jesus used himself as an example, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”. (Mark 10:45). As we apply Jesus’ teaching to ourselves we see: great people serve Christ! Great people serve Christ!

We serve Christ by serving all types of people including those easy to serve and those difficult to serve. We serve Christ by giving our lives to others! Have you ever noticed that unhappy people seem to focus their time and energy on themselves? If you’ve been battling unhappiness, loneliness, discouragement, reach out to others with the love of Christ and serve them! As you do, your unhappiness will vanish!

We offer plenty of opportunities to serve Christ in the church. We need more choir members, gatekeepers for our Sunday School program, ushers, and members for our ministry teams of adult education and discipleship. We could use a few more office volunteers. If you don’t yet have an identifiable ministry, find one and get plugged into the church!



Honduras Minute for Ministry

Click Below to see the minute for ministry from October 25 2015.