Jesus and the Temple Battles Part 1, Controversy 1, Mark 11:12-12:12

Hello everyone,

 

For the 2nd Look this week I have more questions for you to reflect upon:

 

How have I changed as a result of knowing Jesus?

What has Jesus taught me over this past year?

 

If the Holy Spirit is present in your life then it is completely reasonable to expect that He would be doing something in your life. What is that thing?

 

Take some time this week to consider this. Maybe even write it down somewhere. Let it be a matter of prayer for you. I often like to return to this question because it reminds me of just how much God is showing me. But it also may help me take a good hard look at things when it seems like I’m really distant from God’s hand in my life.

 

I pray for God’s peace over you this week!

 

Pastor Ryan



Jesus Enters Jerusalem and the Temple Battles Begin, Controversy 1 Mark 11:1-33

Hello everyone,

This week I invite you to enjoy Zechariah 9:9. In particular, I want you to consider the line in the verse that says:

 

“See, your King comes to you, righteous and victorious…”

 

What does it mean to you that Jesus is these things and not only that, but He has given you these things as well?

What does it mean to you that your Lord is righteous?

Does it help you trust Him more? How?

What about Jesus being victorious, what does this mean to you?

 

Take some time this week to reflect upon these things.

 

Have a great week everyone and may God’s peace be upon you all!

 

Pastor Ryan

 



Jesus’ Final Miracle in Mark: The Blind Beggar, Mark 10: 46-52

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s 2nd Look.

This week I invite you to meditate with me.

 

Um what? Meditate? Ryan have you lost your mind?

No, actually. Prayer is a form of meditation. Don’t let the word scare you. There is a lot of wonderful fruit in this practice.

 

Let me give you a very simple thing to try with me this week. You may find it helps you to relax, gives you hope and joy, or even reinvigorates you! Don’t knock it before you try it. Seriously.

 

So here is how you do it.

 

  • Find a quiet place.
  • A place with minimal distractions. Set aside your phone.
  • Get comfortably seated.
  • Find a comfortable chair; sit on the ground; or on your bed. I do not recommend you lie down because you may fall asleep. If a nap is what you need, then by all means take one, but this isn’t naptime. Try your best to sit up straight.
  • Set a timer for 5-10 minutes.
  • This is super-helpful so you don’t wonder how long you’ve been meditating.
  • Begin by saying or thinking the phrase: Lord Jesus, Son of God.
  • Then breathe in deeply either through your nose or mouth.
  • Listen to the air as it goes into you. Feel it.
  • Once it’s in, gently hold it and think: You call me to you.
  • Then breathe out.
  • Repeat process for 5-10 minutes.

 

You can change up the phrases if you want. This is an ancient practice called: “Breathing Prayer.” It was something that allowed you to intentionally sit with the wonderful truths of the gospel and allowed yourself time to reflect, letting in these truths. In addition to that, you are in a way, breathing these truths deeper into your mind and heart. I know it may feel weird, but give it a shot.

 

With my panic and anxiety issues, meditation has come highly recommended to me. I’m learning this new way of living and I can honestly say, I’m enjoying it. It is just awesome to be able to sit with these amazing truths and let them minister to my soul:

Lord Jesus King of Kings: You have made me holy and blameless

Lord Jesus Son of God: You have mercy on me, a sinner

Lord Jesus: You defeated my sin

Father God: How you love me and call me your son

Holy Spirit: you never abandon me

 

It can be all kinds of phrases but I encourage you to only use one or two phrases and simply breathe and reflect on them.

 

One last suggestion:

If you get distracted, that’s ok. Simply offer those thoughts up to God and return to your exercise. We all get distracted. Over time, you’ll find you’ll be less distracted.

 

I hope this blesses you as it is blessing me!

Have a great week and may God’s wondrous and incomparable peace be with you!

 

Pastor Ryan



Jesus and the Most Important Value in the Kingdom of God, Mark 10:32-45

The sermon passage is: Mark 10:32-45

Main verse: For even the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many!

The two major observations (And side notes):

– Jesus is the King who serves

  1. Jesus is giving himself as an example for how the disciples need to live
  2. Jesus is still serving us today

 Jesus is showing us the true way of greatness: being a servant

          Part of the reason it is great is because it takes the pressure off of us to be great

– Jesus Is the Ransom

          There is no doubt in Jesus that he will succeed. There ought to be no doubt in us that he has completely succeeded on our behalf.

Jesus is an absolutely victorious King who is the ransom for us, and even to this day, even in this moment, He serves us. 

Will we follow His example?

 

Thank you everyone

Ryan 



Jesus and the Requirement for Entering the Kingdom, Mark 10: 12-16

Lectio Divina

A Quick Guide for Next Step Groups

 

The following is an ancient practice used throughout different branches of the church. It is basically translated as “Divine Reading”. Lectio divina is an approach to reading the bible prayerfully. It draws you to listen to God as you read the Bible in a very fresh and sometimes challenging way. Below we will outline the simple process of “Lectio Divina”!

 

Part 1: “Silencio”- As you begin take a few moments to quietly prepare your heart. Take a moment to realize you are in God’s presence, slow down, relax try to quiet the busyness or chaos of your day. Simply take 1-2 minutes to do this. then at the end, invite the Holy Spirit to lead your time of reflection upon the Word.

 

Part 2: “Lectio”Read a biblical passage together; slowly; clearly. As one member of the group reads, everyone needs to listen to the verse. If there is a word or phrase from the verse that stands out to you; catches your attention; just pay attention to it. You don’t need to figure it out. Simply note that this stood out to you. And ask the Lord to lead you in this. Take 1 minute to reflect

 

Part 3: “Meditatio” – Have a different member of the group read the same passage again. This time as you listen to the words- think about what made these words significant to you. What makes these words stand out? What do you think these words might be saying? What is the Lord’s invitation for you to understand in these words? Take 1 Minute to meditate

 

Part 4: “Oratio” – Have still a different person read the same passage again. This time as they read it slowly and clearly- use that time to pray. What feelings do these words bring up? Is there anything in you that wants to push back against this? Is there some invitation here that you see calls you into a deeper relationship with God? Talk to God about these things. Take 1 minute to pray.

 

Part 5: Contemplatio – Take 1 minute to contemplate, rest and sit with the Lord. let these words continue to sink into your soul. Maybe pray and recognize you are surrendering your will to God.

 

May God bless you

 



Worship Reflection Sunday

Hello everyone!

For this week’s 2nd Look I invite you to ask yourself a very simple question:

God, what are you doing in my life?

This is a very powerful question. The problem is, we so often forget to ask it.

It assumes God is truly present with us.
It assumes God IS actually doing something… WITH US!  
It assumes we can actually have a sense of what it is.

What are the kinds of things God is doing?
Well, He is powerfully present with His Holy Spirit in our lives.  
The Spirit reveals things to us; he challenges us, encourages us, empowers us, confronts us, loves us, emboldens us, strengthens us, guides us.

God does all kinds of things.  

What is God doing in my life?
Let me invite you to ask this question…

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

Pastor Ryan



Jesus and a Controversial Question, Mark 10:1-12

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s 2nd look.

 

On Sunday we looked at a tough passage discussing the issue of divorce. I pointed out that this passage, while discussing the question of divorce, is really about the profound beauty of marriage. At one point in the sermon, we went back to Genesis 2:18-25. Please read the passage this week. Jesus quotes it in his response to the Pharisees in Mark 10:1-12. 

 

In this passage in Genesis, we see God’s profoundly beautiful plan in creating marriage. We see How God created Eve to complete Adam, because it was good he was not stewarding this earth alone. When Adam saw Eve he proclaimed, “At last.” I love that! I love this feeling of deep soul connection he felt when he saw her. He knew she was meant to be with him. He knew she fit him. She was home to him. She was his “At last.”

 

This week let’s reflect on the beauty of marriage. If you would like other readings on marriage for this week I have a couple deep ones to ponder by the guy whose sermons I listen to…  Tim Keller!

 

In sharp contrast with our culture, the Bible teaches that the essence of marriage is a sacrificial commitment to the good of the other. That means that love is more fundamentally action than emotion. But in talking this way, there is a danger of falling into the opposite error that characterized many ancient and traditional societies. It is possible to see marriage as merely a social transaction, a way of doing your duty to family, tribe and society. Traditional societies made the family the ultimate value in life, and so marriage was a mere transaction that helped your family’s interest. By contrast, contemporary Western societies make the individual’s happiness the ultimate value, and so marriage becomes primarily an experience of romantic fulfillment. But the Bible sees GOD as the supreme good – not the individual or the family – and that gives us a view of marriage that intimately unites feelings AND duty, passion AND promise. That is because at the heart of the Biblical idea of marriage is the covenant.”


Within this Christian vision of marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, I see who God is making you, and it excites me!
I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!”

Let me close with this… There is some confusion on this passage.  Lots of questions emerge.  Does God allow divorce ever?  Is God ok with remarriage? 

We had a brief time to discuss these questions.  If you’d like to go further with this, please allow me to suggest a fantastic website that very much reflects my perspective on things.  Here’s a few links:

https://www.gotquestions.org/grounds-for-divorce.html

https://www.gotquestions.org/remarriage-adultery.html

https://www.gotquestions.org/divorce-remarriage.html

 

This is a very difficult and often painful discussion.  We must always approach this with humility and gentleness.  I hope these resources are helpful for you!

 

Have a great week everyone

Pastor Ryan



Jesus Meets A Big, Bad Demon, Mark 9:14-29

Good day to all of you!

Pastor Ryan here to give you this week’s 2nd look.

 

This past Sunday we discussed spiritual warfare. We took a deeper look at some lessons we can learn about warfare and how to be victorious. Below is a little excerpt on 2 daily prayers that are absolutely essential in our daily lives (take from ransomedheart.com).

 

When you stop and think about it, there really are all kinds of prayer. Praying for guidance is quite different from praying for someone’s healing; prayer of confession is very different from praying for a loved one’s salvation.

But there are two essential forms of prayer we’d like to suggest ought to be part of your regular practice.

Taking Your Place in Christ Each Day

“Remain in me,” Jesus said, “and I will remain in you.” There is a decision to be made; apparently, we can wander away from Jesus. He urges us to take up a practice of “remaining” in him, because he goes on to say, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). And don’t we all know that to be true! Life just doesn’t work without the help of Jesus.

Now, God set about the restoration of our lives through the work of Jesus Christ—his cross, resurrection, and ascension. Taking our place in the work of Christ on a daily basis produces marvelous results and often takes care of issues we didn’t even know how to address.

Cutting off the Attacks

The second essential is essential because we live in a world at war. What an eye-opener this is when you come to see it! Jesus warned, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10). You have an enemy, and many of the things you are praying over are taking place because he is in fact trying to steal, kill, and destroy as Jesus warned. Ignore this and there is no real chance of making it through to the life you want for yourself and those you love. But again, God has provided everything we need to cut off the enemy from our life—if we will take advantage of it.

These two essentials make up the heart of what we call the Daily Prayer—so named because we pray it daily. Give it a try—give this prayer ten days of earnest engagement, and you are going to be thrilled with the results!

 

I invite all of you to take some time as you begin and end each day remembering your place in Christ, proclaiming and celebrating it with Jesus, and then speaking against spiritual attacks in the name of Jesus.

Below is an example:

 

Taking my place in Christ.

Jesus I thank you for the work you did on the cross for me. I want to proclaim that the blood you shed for me on the cross makes me holy and blameless before God. I want to proclaim that Jesus you are victorious over my sin and rebellion. I want to proclaim your love covers me, your grace defines me, and your power transforms me and leads me. Oh Lord, I celebrate that you are my king and my Savior and the love of my life, may your kingdom come in my heart as it is in heaven. Oh Jesus, it is because of you that I can stand before the throne of grace with confidence knowing that I am fully loved and at peace with you right now. Be glorified in me and through me today.

 

Cutting Off The Enemy’s Attacks.

At this very moment, I proclaim the authority of Jesus Christ over my life, over my family, over my kingdom and domain. The authority in the blood of Christ cover me, and now I wish to pray against any foul thing, any act of witchcraft, any curse that has been laid upon me by someone else or even by myself, and any claim made over my life by the enemy. I cancel all of these in the name of Jesus Christ. It is his power and his authority alone within which I make this stand. I take up the armor of God: the helmet of salvation, the breast plate of righteousness, the belt of truth, my feet shoed with the readiness of the gospel; the sword of the spirit; and the shield of faith. Oh, Lord in your strength and in your power, please allow me to stand against the enemy for as you said in Scripture: “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Thank you Jesus that I’m not alone. Thank you God that your authority rests upon me and that you are my strength today. Amen.

 

 

These are two examples of prayers you can make to take your place in Jesus, and to cut off the enemy’s attacks. This is not a formula kind of thing, this is a starting point. The most important thing is to pray as yourself, but if you don’t know where to begin, this might help you.

 

Have a great week everyone and may the peace of God grow and settle in your hearts! You are loved!

 

Pastor Ryan



Will The Real Jesus Please Step Forward?

Howdy folks,
 
For this week’s 2nd Look please check out this video! It’s another Bible project video on reading the book of Mark. Please read Mark 9:2-13 first, then watch the video. I think you’ll find it fascinating to see just how this week’s passage fits into the greater story of Mark.
 
Have a great week everyone.
 
Here is the link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGHqu9-DtXk&t=177s
 
Pastor Ryan


Passion Week

2nd look
 
Howdy everyone
This is passion week!  Wait… This is what?
 
 
PASSION WEEK!!!
 
This year in honor of our dearly departed brother Billy Graham, I have decided to use a beautiful devotional guide to the Passion Week that his organization has put together.
 
I invite you to join me as we work our way through this wonderful week and prepare our hearts for Resurrection SUNDAY!!!
 
If you would like the prettier version of this guide you can sign up for one and get it here at this link: https://lp.billygraham.org/easter/?SOURCE=BY133ENNG&gclid=Cj0KCQjwtOLVBRCZARIsADPLtJ0wr_6tD-c46U9oIUR_vnsl8xXgovTwq_0YlGr4mTXrudc67rhe61gaAvWeEALw_wcB
 
But, if not, here is the guide printed below for you.
 
Monday
READ: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:11–21
As we gaze on a confused and frustrated world, this Scripture comes to mind: “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached
to save those who believe
” (1 Corinthians 1:21). The idea of our world being saved by Christ on the cross was foolishness to the proud and boastful Corinthians of the Apostle Paul’s time, who thought that the wisdom of the world was vested in them. And there are many people like them today. But how different it is for those of us who in simple faith know Christ and Him crucified. For us, as the apostle wrote, the cross of Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
We have been saved by His grace and mercy. We do not deserve it, we did not pay for it, we did not work for it. It has been given to us as a gift. It is by the work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross—and by His resurrection—that we can claim any right to the great Kingdom that is yet to come.
When others look at you, do they see the hope that you have in Christ, both for this life and for eternity?
 
Tuesday
READ: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:22–28
Who looks forward to turning on the news these days? All we seem to hear about are problems. People are losing jobs and savings. A person can get depressed listening
to it all, and many people are fearful. If you are facing hardship during these tough times, my heart goes out to you. Life isn’t always fair or easy. You may feel you do not know where to turn. But one of the Bible’s greatest truths is this: God never abandons us when life becomes difficult. He is always with us and wants to help us, even when things seem to be going wrong. He does not guarantee to reverse every misfortune, but if Christ lives in our hearts, we have His promise that nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). What a guarantee! Instead of being fearful about the future, this Easter we can trust and believe that God is working a purpose in our lives. We can have hope!
Despite troubles and bad news, are you able to rejoice in the Gospel—the Good News of your salvation in Christ Jesus?
 
Wednesday
READ: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:29–34
 
 When the devil tempted Jesus, it was a real temptation. He tempted Him to turn stones into bread and feed all the hungry people (see Matthew 4:1–4). Jesus could have done it, but He was here to take people to Heaven, to give them eternal life. And He could do that only by going to the cross and taking their judgment and their Hell. From the cross He was saying, “I love you. I love you, whoever you are.” He would have died on that cross if you had been the only person in the whole world. He loves you. You are important to Him.
Outside the influence of the cross there is bitterness, intolerance, ill will, prejudice, hatred, crime, and war. That is why—if the world does not turn to Christ, and Him crucified and raised from the dead—we could see the judgment of God falling upon our world.
Have you met Christ at the foot of the cross, turned from your sins, and put your life completely under His control?
 
Thursday
READ: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:35–43
As we approach the celebration of Good Friday, I’m reminded of the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross and the glory and the power in each saying.
Jesus was alone. He had come to His own, and His own did not receive Him. When He was being arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, we are told that “all the disciples deserted him and fled” (Matthew 26:56). The crowds who had so recently shouted, “Hosanna!” would soon shout, “Crucify him! … Crucify him!” (Matthew 21:9; 27:22–23). Now even His loyal Twelve had left. And at last we hear Him cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Not only had He been forsaken by His human companions, but
now in that desperate and lonely hour, He— because He was bearing our sins in His own body on the cross—had been forsaken by God. Jesus was enduring the suffering and judgment of Hell for you and for me.
How can you show your gratitude to God for allowing His Son to endure the shame and suffering of the cross?

Good Friday—
(By the way- Good Friday service at our church 7pm!)
READ: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:44–49
 
Good Friday celebrates the day our Lord died for our sins on the cross. I have often sat by the hour and tried to imagine the agony and suffering He went through because of our sins. At one point He said from the cross, It is finished (John 19:30). He meant that God had accepted His work on the cross as the penalty for our sins. Christ’s death on our behalf is the reason God can forgive us and still be just. And His death teaches us the depth and breadth that there should be in our forgiveness of one
another. While that holy Friday was tremendous, it was only a prelude to Sunday morning when He was raised from the
dead. Godly women had come to see His tomb, but angels made
the glorious announcement, “He has risen!” (Luke 24:6). His resurrection guaranteed that we, too, will be raised, if we are believers and obeyers
of His Word.
As you celebrate the truth that Jesus came from Heaven to redeem you, are you re ecting His likeness to those around you?
 
Saturday
READ: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:50–54
 
From Genesis to Revelation, we are warned that “it is later than you think.” Paul writes to Christians in Romans 13:11–12: “The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we rst believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
There are millions of people around the world who do not have peace at this moment because they have never found the secret of peace. Some of them may have riches today as a result of greed and covetousness; but their souls are lean, their hearts are cold toward God, their consciences are dulled, and their minds are blinded. They need to know that there is a God of marvelous love who sent His Son Jesus Christ to this world. And as a demonstration of His mercy, Christ—who
is the Prince of Peace—went to the cross
to make a way for peace between God
and mankind.
Are you living in the reality of Jesus’ victory over death? In what tangible ways can you share that victory with others so that they, too, can have life?
 
Resurrection Sunday
 
READ: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:55–58
Easter is a season of great gladness for those who know Christ. But for those who are without “the light of the knowledge of God’s glory” (2 Corinthians 4:6), there is nothing to rejoice over.
Jesus left us with the great hope and certainty that He is going to return to bring a new Heaven and a new earth where, we are told, there will be no more sorrow, trouble, or death for those who have believed and followed Him. There will be trouble, sorrow, and suffering for those who have neglected or rejected Him. As Christians, our great task is to obey the command to tell the whole world about Christ crucified, buried, yet risen again. My prayer for you during this season of the year, when we meditate on our Savior’s great sacrifice for us on the cross, is that you will be filled with great peace and hope, because “He is risen!” That is the Good News.
As you follow Christ, are you obeying His command to tell others that He is risen indeed?