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Monday, January 30, 2012

What Jesus Demands from the World, from the Story I Thought I Knew, Part 2 Audio

The audio from yesterday's service at Bethany Place Baptist Church is up and you listen to that here. You can see the outline, scripture and discussion questions for this message here.


One of the best books I read last year is the story of Louis Zamperini written by Laura Hildenbrand called Unbroken. This morning I've just listened to an interview with Louis by John Ortberg which was the message from Menlo Park Presbyterian Church just a couple of weekends ago. The interview is an excellent introduction to Zamperini's story and may provoke you to want to read the book. I listen to Ortberg often from his podcast through iTunes but you can hear or watch this sermon here at Menlo's website. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Jesus Demands from the World, from the Story I Thought I Knew, Part 2

Yes, the sermon title is from a book title by John Piper. I own the book, but I have not yet read it, so I can neither comment on the book or claim to be following it, but I do like the title. The outline is below, along with follow up discussion questions. 

What Jesus Demands from the World, The Story I Thought I Knew, Part 2

1.    Reject the attempt to fix yourself

2.    Embrace the good news

Mark 1:14–15 (ESV) 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

3.    Sharpen your vision of the right response

Mark 1:16–20 (ESV) 16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

4.    Respond (Repent and believe)

Mark 1:15 (ESV) 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Discussion questions for groups, individuals, or families:

Do you think popular Christianity as expressed in books and sermons leans more toward trying to be a better person on your own or more toward trusting in what Jesus accomplished on the cross?

What sense of urgency do you feel about responding to the good news of Jesus? Why do you think many seem to sense little to no urgency to respond to the challenge of Jesus’ message?

How would you describe the gospel? Why is it important that repentance and belief go together?

How would you describe following Jesus? How does a person follow someone that they cannot see? What is the significance behind James and John leaving their father in the boat? How does this story of their decisive action to follow Jesus inform your thought about what it means to follow Jesus now?

Have you followed Jesus’ call to repent and believe?

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Story I Thought I Knew, Part 1 (Audio)

The audio from this past Sunday's message is now up on the website.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Story I Thought I Knew, Part 1

Below is my  outline from the first message of a series on Mark that I am beginning this Sunday at Bethany Place. In case you are wondering about this, yes, the series title was influenced by Philip Yancey's excellent book, The Jesus I Never Knew. Though its been many years since i read the book, its still one of my favorites and I'm sure there may be indirect ways that it influenced my study of this passage. Also, I think that I first heard the description of the gospel as news rather than advice in Tim Keller's book, King's Cross. I would love to reference that book some in this study of Mark, but I can't seem to find my copy.

There is so much more for us to see and hear when it comes to knowing and loving Jesus. The most mature believer needs a fresh hearing of the gospel just as much as an unbeliever.

Advice vs. News
Mark 1:1-13

1. Focus your life on knowing and following Jesus 

Mark 1:1 (ESV) The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2. Recognize that we don't know as we ought to know 

Mark 1:2–6 (ESV)
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’ ”
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.
3. Adore and stand in awe of Jesus

Mark 1:7–8 (ESV) And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

4. Follow Jesus in submission and suffering

Mark 1:9–13 (ESV)
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Praying for God's Best-Audio

You can listen to my message from this past Sunday at Bethany Place here

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Praying for God's Best

This is my outline for Sunday. The points may seem simple but the message is a stiff challenge.

Praying for God’s Best

Zechariah 8

1.    Pray for closeness with God.

And the word of the Lord of hosts came, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. Thus says the Lord: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, the holy mountain. Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of great age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the Lord of hosts: If it is marvelous in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, should it also be marvelous in my sight, declares the Lord of hosts? Thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will save my people from the east country and from the west country, and I will bring them to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness.”

2.    Pray for strong encouragement

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Let your hands be strong, you who in these days have been hearing these words from the mouth of the prophets who were present on the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. 10 For before those days there was no wage for man or any wage for beast, neither was there any safety from the foe for him who went out or came in, for I set every man against his neighbor. 11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the Lord of hosts. 12 For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13 And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.”

3.    Pray for God honoring relationships

14 For thus says the Lord of hosts: “As I purposed to bring disaster to you when your fathers provoked me to wrath, and I did not relent, says the Lord of hosts, 15 so again have I purposed in these days to bring good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah; fear not. 16 These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; 17 do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.” 
2 Timothy 2:23–24 (ESV) 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

4.    Pray for joy

18 And the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, 19 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.

5.    Pray that God can use us to draw people to himself

20 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.’ 22 Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. 23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ ”