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Friday, March 1, 2013

Wrestling in the Night


What is success? Perhaps to some success is having a lot of people notice your Facebook post. To some success is making a lot of money and being out of debt. To some success is being able to genuinely help people. To some success is being able to be useful. To others success is having good relationships with the people they care about most. To some success is seeing their kids prosper spiritually, relationally, emotionally, and financially. To others success is knowing they are right with God and being able to do his bidding. To some success is having fun. To some success is consistent growth in sales or people or profits. Likely success is a mixture of many of these things in our minds. I propose, not for the first time and am not the first to do so, that success was clearly revealed through the prophet Micah long ago: 
Micah 6:8 (ESV)
 He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

As I write this, looking at my computer it is 3:24 AM on Friday morning. I've not been able to sleep tonight. It's just been one of those nights where I was losing the battle against worry and so a while ago, I got up to pray and wrestle with God. Questions trouble me: How do I need to parent differently? Do I need to lead differently in my role at Bethany Place? What kind of friend do I need to be? What sort of financial manager do I need to be? Even when things are going well, sometimes at night I can get bent out of shape creating trouble sometimes out of nothing. So tonight after agonizing over these questions, I'm back to this: What is success? It's knowing God, being in a right relationship with him, and faithfully following his calling. In the next few Sunday mornings at Bethany Place we will rigorously explore God's call on our lives through a close look at a few scenes in Jesus' life as recorded in Mark. We spent several weeks in Mark in the first months of 2012. In March and April of this year we pick up where we left off then. Such a close look at Jesus is precisely and practically how we follow Him now. As we look, we will be provoked in every good sense of the word to make adjustments to our lives so to more resemble the one we follow and the one we worship. To follow Jesus is to be constantly changing because he is infinitely good and glorious but we are not. We will either look and be transformed or refuse and turn away. For the most part, God's call, or God's will if you prefer that term, is no mystery. Most of what God wants us to do is already clearly revealed in his Word. The remaining part of God’s call that's unique to each, God will likely make clear if we are fully engaged in the school of following what's already been revealed. The series title is, “Discerning? No, Following God's Call.” 

You can the scripture and outline of Sunday’s message below.

Just Do Something
Mark 3:1-19
Discerning? No, Following God's Call, Part 1

1.         Put people before processes

Mark 3:1–6 (ESV) Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

See also v. 7-12

2.         Be with Jesus and his people

Mark 3:13–19 (ESV) 13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

3.         Minister the whole gospel from your unique personality

Mark 3:13–15 (ESV) 13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons.

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