Matthew 18:21-35 The topic of forgiveness is a difficult one. An improper understanding of forgiveness can be damaging. Sometimes the notion of forgiveness can be used as a tool for abusive relationships. When Jesus spoke about forgiveness he was not suggesting that the abused should go back to the abuser and suffer in silence. However, Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness was radical and revolutionary. So what did he mean when he told his disciples to forgive? Why should I forgive? What does it mean to forgive? What are the consequences of forgiveness?
Where does our sense of security and fulfillment come from? Is it our financial/material situation? If so, we need to hear Jesus’ parable of the rich fool! Josiah leads us to contemplate Jesus’ teaching to those who love money.
In Mark 9:33-41, Jesus interrupted a dispute between the disciples. They were so embarrassed by their own dispute that they did not want to respond to Jesus when he asked why they were arguing. No wonder they didn’t want to answer–they were disputing about which one of them was the greatest. Is this a dispute between children or adult Christ-followers? Well, actually it is both, something that if we are honest we have seen or been involved in many times. As usual, Jesus “turns the tables” on them by redefining greatness. If you want to be great you need to get to the back of the line – humility is a prerequisite for greatness and leadership in the Kingdom of God. How does your resume look?
What’s the main take away for us from the familiar parable of the Good Samaritan? Pastor Bob explores this parable and addresses a popular misunderstanding of the passage, as well as helps us think through what it means for us in our Monday through Saturday lives.
Our guest speaker this Sunday was Liam Atchison from Global Scholars, an organization that places Christian professors in universities around the world. His message challenged us to think outside the box as it relates to foreign missions. His message, “Living Missions: Come Sail the Blue Ocean,” focuses on Acts 19:8-10. In this passage we see Paul presenting the Gospel at Ephesus, but in doing so he took the path less traveled and it made all the difference. Yet, this was not the first time Paul had an apparently risky strategy. Could this have implications for how we spread the Good News today?
A look at the authority of Jesus, from Mark 2:23-3:6.
After feeding the 5,000, Jesus again turns to solitude and instructs his disciples to do the same. He sends them on ahead in a boat, and they are sailing across the lake when a storm forms and threatens the boat. The picture that the writer gives us is this: that all this time Jesus is walking in the hills around the lake, praying. When the disciples run into trouble in the boat, he appears out of the storm, walking on the water. In this message, Pastor Bob helps us to consider how Jesus is always present in our lives as we look at Matthew 14:22-33.
In Mark 6:30-44, Jesus feeds the crowd of 5,000. The root of this story is that Jesus is the Bread of Life, but perhaps it also concerns our calling to partner in ministry with Jesus. Noting the difficulty of the situation, the disciples turn to Jesus for the answer. His response? “You feed them.” They, of course, cannot. Only after they acknowledge their inadequacies does Jesus step in. Let us look at this story, noting aspects of service, solitude, and sacrament.
We have assumptions about evangelism that are hard to overcome. But as Bob shows us this week from John 4, leading people to Christ can be done gently and often begins with simple questions.
It wasn’t John the Baptist’s finest hour. He had bravely called Herod into account for his immorality and was languishing in prison. In his cell he begins to doubt. This man who had pointed his finger to Jesus and said, “There he is; he’s the one,” now sends messengers to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one?” He has [reasonable] doubts. How Jesus handles these doubts is helpful for us as we minister to people with doubts and wrestle with our own doubts.