2nd look

Jesus and the Demoniac, Mark 5:1-20

Howdy everyone!!!

 

I had several conversations after church yesterday and some interesting thoughts came up. Some things I didn’t mention.

 

Here’s a question that has been rattling around in my brain.

  • Why did Jesus allow these demons to go into these pigs? Does he hate pigs that much? Jeez Louise!
  • Jesus’ actions result in catastrophic economic loss for someone – it seems rather careless on His part – or just plain callous!
  • And why does Jesus allow these demons to remain in the area? Why not just annihilate those guys??

 

These questions made me wonder “Why Jesus?”

But Mark doesn’t really tell us. He doesn’t feel the need to explain Jesus’ actions. If Jesus wants to send a bunch of demons into a bunch of pigs then that’s his prerogative.

 

But, I wonder if one of the reasons may emerge in how Jesus deals with the demoniac.

 

Ok – let me back up a bit… give you some basic thoughts that might lead to an answer:

  • This was clearly a gentile area. We know that Jews didn’t eat pigs. They wouldn’t even touch them. This was not a Jewish area. They likely worshipped Roman or Greek gods and goddesses.
  • Jesus travelling through this area is another powerful indicator of God’s heart for those who aren’t Jewish (AKA “Gentiles”). The kingdom of God is for ALL people.
  • But these people have no respect for Jehovah and they do not understand Jesus at all. They don’t have any frame of reference for Him. Their minds cannot even grasp what Jesus is bringing to them.
  • So Jesus heals this man and when the man asks to go with him – Jesus says “No, go back to your people and tell them what God has done for you. Tell them of His mercy…”

 

And here’s where the pigs possibly come in…

 

When you tell them of what God has done for you – they will notice you are different – but then they may also say, “Wait a second – that huge pig incident was about you? You’re the guy with the pigs? You’re the pig guy? That was you??”

 

If this were a possible explanation for why Jesus would allow mass porcine genocide it paints a picture of a very intentional thought and plan on Jesus part. “Yea, I’ll let these demons remain and they will serve a purpose: to loudly announce the kingdom of God to a group of people that have no idea what the kingdom is. This will serve to begin to open their eyes and then they will look at the man who announces to them that God has done such great things for him!”

 

Maybe Jesus wasn’t a huge pig hater! Maybe Jesus wasn’t making a foolish mistake sending the demons out. Maybe Jesus had a plan behind everything He was doing and that plan involved using the destruction of these demons for His own redemptive purposes! Once again, what does this confirm to me? Jesus is the baddest dude in the room!!!!!

 

   If He’s that powerful perhaps He’s worthy of our trust! Just something to think about this week.

 

Have a great week everybody and may God grant you His wondrous peace!!

Pastor Ryan



Jesus and the Storm, Mark 4:35-41

“When faith is M.I.A.,
fear is not far away.”

 
Good morning SNC brothers and sisters.
It’s 2nd look time!
 
This week I invite you to consider the question I left you wit on Sunday.
 
The question went something like this:
Think about something you are nervous, worried or scared about in your life. Something that may feel like a storm coming against your “boat.” Now think about how you view Jesus in the midst of that storm? Does He seem distant, aloof, uncaring, or the opposite? In your mind is He the one with the solution or do you feel tempted to look elsewhere? Who is Jesus for you in the midst of this storm?
 
Bring this to God in prayer this week and consider Mark 4:35-41 again as you pray.  We mustn’t forget who Jesus is and just what He is capable of! 
 
Have a great week everybody and may God strengthen you in the grace of Jesus Christ!
 
Pastor Ryan



Jesus’ Kingdom Parable Part 2: , Mark 4:21-34

“God is always more profoundly moving than we think He is; even when it seems like He is doing nothing at all.”

 

This is perhaps the center point of the sermon from this past weekend. When we realize this, we come to see that our task is to find where He is at work- to find what He is doing and then to join Him in the harvest!

 

I closed the sermon on Sunday talking about how this idea was true in the life of Joseph. But he wasn’t the only biblical character where this was true. God was working in Moses’ story even when it seemed He wasn’t. God was working in the story of the Israelites even at those moments when He seemed silent. God was active behind the scenes in the story of Esther. God was a force-moving incognito at times in the story of David. The list goes on and on.

 

This week, I invite you to pray with me. “Father, give me eyes to see some of the ways your Holy Spirit is working around me, or in me. Father, give me the courage to join you when you reveal to me what you are doing.”

 

Don’t be surprised if He shows you something this week.

Have a great week everybody! May God grant you his peace beyond all understanding!

 

Pastor Ryan



Jesus, They Think You’re Crazy, Mark 3:20-34

Hello SNC brothers and sisters. 2nd Look is back!

There have been multiple factors that have influenced our “radio silence” for the last month or so, but things look to be getting back on track.

 

Here’s the main idea from this week’s sermon:

“When you have the Kingdom of God moving IN your heart and THROUGH your life, you are bound to be misunderstood, labeled, and at times, flat out rejected.”

 

This was not an easy sermon to prepare for or to preach. It’s basically giving people bad news. I don’t like giving people bad news. And yet, in the midst of all of this is the powerful truth that we serve a kingdom that is triumphant. So while Satan may wish to destroy us and he may throw all kinds of trouble our way- we ultimately serve a King and a kingdom that will not be defeated! (Can I get an “amen”?)

 

It reminds me of a song that we have sung several times in church by Elevation Worship called: Unstoppable God.

 

Below are the lyrics and a link to listen to the song. My invitation to you this week is to listen to this song, contemplate the lyrics…

AND

let yourself sit with the final questions from the sermon:

Do you find that the fear of being misunderstood, labeled or rejected keeps you from taking risks with God?

 

What would it mean for you to simply accept that this will happen and step out in faith?

 

Here are the link and the lyrics for “Unstoppable God”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBY2iZgBfr0

 

“Unstoppable God”

Heaven thundered…..   And the world was born
Life begins and ends…. In the dust You formed
Faith commanded…..     And the mountains moved
Fear is losing ground…. To our hope in You

Unstoppable God…… Let Your glory go on and on
Impossible things…… In Your name they shall be done

Freedom conquered…… All our chains undone
Sin defeated……. Jesus has overcome
Mercy triumphed…..When the third day dawned
Darkness was denied….. When the stone was gone
(oh)

Unstoppable God
Let Your glory go on and on
Impossible things
In Your name they shall be done
[x2]
(oh)

Nothing shall be impossible
Your kingdom reigns unstoppable
We’ll shout Your praise forevermore
Jesus our God unstoppable
[x4]
(oh)

Unstoppable God
Let Your glory go on and on
Impossible things
In Your name they shall be done
[x2]

(oh)


Strength For Dad’s: 5 Things That Strengthen Us For the Journey

Hello Dads!

I truly hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day. I want to give you the list of the power-ups for dads I shared in yesterday’s sermon. Anyone can be blessed to have these things in their lives, and as you look at the list- I invite you to pray and ask the Lord: “Father what would be your invitation to me with these power-ups?”

I truly believe in the restorative, inspiring, strengthening power of each of these things. Check them out and let them be a matter of prayer and conversation between you and God.
Here they are:

 

5 Power-Ups for Dads!

  • Regularly celebrating that first and foremost: I AM God’s Son

This can be a wonderfully freeing, and hopeful truth we so often forget but desperately need to have at the forefront of our minds.

  • The presence of true brothers in my life

A true brother is like-minded with you; walks alongside of you; wants to see you become the best version of who God created you to be; celebrates truth with you; has your back and supports you.

  • The gift of a haven

A haven is a place of refuge, restoration, and rejuvenation. We all need a haven… or several!

  • Embracing the fact that I am human, and so is everyone else

Dads are human beings. We need to embrace the fact hat we are human. This can show up in different ways. For some of us it means we need to give ourselves some grace- yeah we are human and we make mistakes. For some of us as Dads it means that we are only human and therefore we will always have things we can learn. We haven’t arrived. For some of us as dads embracing humanity means we can give grace to our kids or our own parents. Embracing humanity is a huge idea!

  • Holy Spirit empowering

Finally we need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Real transformation as dads doesn’t happen through our own sheer grit and determination- it happens through holding tightly to Jesus- walking with him- enjoying him and then letting God transform us!

 

As this week progresses, let these power-ups be present with you. Let me invite you to simply put these before God and see what He might say to you. What might he have you know or understand? Is there an invitation he is giving you in all of this?

 

Have a great week everybody!

 

Pastor Ryan



Jesus Doesn’t Do It Right, Mark 2:18-22

Hi folks-

Welcome to this week’s 2ndLook!

If you remember, this past Sunday we talked about how Jesus is joyful and so is his Kingdom. We often get this picture of God that He is an austere, overly serious, unhappy, and opposed to joy. Because we think God is all of these things we begin to think we must be these things as well. I have had multiple conversations with people through the years who think it’s actually inappropriate to get excited in church- to be loud, to jump around, to dance. I think in reality Heaven is going to be all of these things and more. We are going to celebrate for the rest of eternity.

 

Think of something you enjoy in life. I don’t know about you but I’ve often caught myself thinking- I enjoy this thing but I’m pretty sure God either feels nothing about the fact that I enjoy this thing or He actually is unhappy that I enjoy this thing. Maybe He thinks I enjoy it too much? But I would rarely think God is actually enjoying the fact that I’m enjoying this.

 

I used to go to the beach to play and ride waves. If you were to ask me if I thought God loved the fact that I enjoyed this I’d probably say that I didn’t think God felt one way or the other about it. But as the years have gone by I’ve begun to realize that God is a heavenly Father who loves His kids and loves to give good gifts to His children. Sure He disciplines us at times but He does this because He delights in us.  I have begun to realize that my enjoyment of His creation is an opportunity to celebrate with Him. Hey, even God saw what He created and said: “It is good!

 

Now one person might say: “What if what you are enjoying is sinful? God wouldn’t possibly enjoy that we are sinning would He?” I don’t think God enjoys us becoming enslaved to things. Certainly, He will call us away from things that are bad or enslave us. And that is where discipline comes in. But so often I’ve found myself thinking God may not even enjoy my laughter or the fact that I’m having fun. No, God only enjoys when we are beating ourselves up, denying ourselves something, reading our Bible and being super Christians doing spiritual disciplines.

 

We hear the phrase “spiritual disciplines” and it freaks us out because we can’t possibly imagine how the disciplines could be a joyful experience. The word “discipline” is such a heavy word. But even the disciplines can be acts of joy.

 

I think we need to add the word “delight” to the list of spiritual disciplines. What would it look like for us to intentionally delight in things and let our delight turn us towards God in gratitude and celebration? If you see a great sunset; delight in it, drink it in, and then proclaim with God that His creation is good. We get a great hug from our spouse, or kiss… delight in it! God made this to be a wonderful thing to us. Delight in it and thank God for it. We eat a great meal; delight in it, celebrate the great gifts God gives us in a simple meal.

 

Everyday there are reasons to be grateful and celebrate all around us. My invitation to you: Let’s delight and celebrate something every day this week. Your celebration can simply be to enjoy and then turn to God with a simple prayer of gratitude. Today I had a great lunch with a friend and during this lunch we spoke about real things close to our hearts. What a sweet time of discussion and being real with one another. I just sat back and enjoyed great food, good laughter, being vulnerable and thanked God for these moments because I think He was very much enjoying that conversation too.

 

The bible tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from our Father above. Let’s enjoy Him enjoying us this week!

 

Have a great week everyone!

Pastor Ryan



Jesus Has Authority to Forgive Sin, Mark 2:1-12

Hello SNC brothers and sisters!

For the second look this week let’s focus on a phrase from a verse within the story we looked at on Sunday.

Here is the phrase: “When Jesus saw their faith.”

This is a very interesting phrase that I didn’t have time to dig into during the sermon. What do you think about it? Take some time this week to sit with this phrase. How does it fit within the overall story? What do you notice from this phrase?

It’s amazing how God can so often speak to us from the bible with merely a simple phrase like this. I truly hope God will bless you this week as you consider these words.

Pastor Ryan!



Mary’s Song: A Mother’s Song of Hope and Joy

Hello SNC brothers and sisters and welcome to this week’s 2nd look.
 
I truly hope you had a wonderful holiday with friends and loved ones.
I want to invite you to consider this scripture this week:

“He has shown thee, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee. But to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God” Micah 6:8

Think about the three things Micah lists here:

  • To do justly.
  • To love mercy.
  • To walk humbly with God.

Take some time this week to consider what these three things are. Obviously one of our big points on Sunday was about walking in humility with God. What do these things mean to you; and how does it intersect with your life?

Have a great week everyone!

Pastor Ryan



Jesus the Compassionate

Hi friends,

This week I want to invite you to spend some time looking at a teaching on compassion and what it means to be a neighbor. Last Sunday we talked about what Kingdom Compassion (KC) looks like. Jesus teaches on this in Luke 10:25-37.

Here’s a question to consider while you read this: What ways is this man showing compassion to his neighbor? What makes it so difficult to show compassion in this way?

Enjoy this teaching and may God grant you his wondrous peace this week!

Pastor Ryan



Cultivate Contentment

Hi Everyone.

I’d like to ask you to reflect with me upon a passage this week. It’s a beautiful teaching of Christ, perhaps one of the most majestic of all that we have recorded. In this passage Jesus is teaching about contentment and the Kingdom of God. As you read, reflect upon what in this passage can help us to be content.

Have a great week everyone and may God grant you His glorious peace!

Here’s the passage: Matthew 6:19-34

Pastor Ryan