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Archive for September, 2012

Give to Caesar or God

Then Jesus said to them,
“Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s

and to God what is God’s.”

And they were amazed at him.
– Mark 12:17 (NIV)

Some people sought to trap Jesus.  He knew it from what we learn within the Gospel of Mark.  Just look at verses 13 and 15.  He knew their hearts, their hypocrisy, and their intentions.

This discourse comes right behind Jesus sharing the parable of the tenants who slayed the master’s son who was innocent.  That sent a pretty strong message to those who could discern its underlying meaning.  After all, the Lord did say: “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

That spells it out.  If taxes and other matters of this world are part of how we are to obey authority, give it to Caesar or the feds, whoever may be in power.  Obviously, Jesus was not into that form of insurrection.  He said for us to give it to Caesar.  Yet, He also shared that we should give God what is His.

What is God due? Is it just tithes and offerings? Is it just our praise? Is it more than that?
When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
– Mark 12:34, NIV

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In The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren stated: “If the church isn’t growing, it’s dying.” That is enough to shock and stun some pastors, even petrify others.  Yet, the ones who read those words and take proactive actions to set their church to growing tend to see results.  Others who dare not do anything different seem to be doomed to see their church see very few results.

If you want to see some growth in your church, you need to get growing.  Get busy doing the things that grow the church.  Don’t simply pay attention to who you have in attendance.  Get in touch with those who are not in attendance.

What do you do about those who:

  • Stopped coming to Sunday school?
  • Quit serving in ministry?
  • Never signed up for anything at church?

Get a team together to work on reconnecting with such people as soon as possible.  Work with that team on how to reach people in a variety ways.  Develop a plan for getting in touch with these people.  Schedule when to execute the plan.  Start bringing the plan to life.

Once you get that going, bring another team together and see how to reach those within the community.  Plan outreach activities where you can reach people through the Word and your good works. 

Jesus fed folks, healed some, and taught others.  He used parables many times rather than laying out a exegesis of the Scriptures through a sermon. 

Don’t trip.  God has already gifted both you and your team with what you need to reach others.  You just got to get busy growing.
Three books that can help you grow:

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Jesus Enters Jerusalem

Our lesson coming up this Sunday is about Jesus entering Jerusalem.  It marks the final days of the Lord before the cross.  This narrative passage of Scriptures depicts Jesus interacting with all kinds of folks, especially His own disciples.  This is the portion of the Lord’s ministry where He takes it up a notch by cursing a barren fig tree and cleansing the temple. 

Dig into the Gospel of Mark’s latter chapters and see how Jesus hits Jerusalem on His way to Calvary and the ultimate sacrifice for mankind.  Expect great things to come out of studying this section of the Scriptures as we seek to learn more and more about our Lord and Savior.

FYI: Sunday students will shift classrooms from MLK 210 to MLK 301 (inside the building and in the loft).  We will be there from now on.

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Left Behind for Jesus

Then Peter began to say unto him,
Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
– Mark 10:28 (KJV)
Think about it for a moment.  Peter and Andrew left behind their nets and boats to follow Jesus.  James and John did the same, even leaving their daddy Zebedee behind.  Levi (Matthew) left the tax collecting booth.  Simon the Zealot left behind the rumblings of revolution and uprising against the Romans.  They all left something behind andin the past in order to follow Jesus.

What have you left behind to follow Jesus?

Family and friends?
Your old ways?
Your old hangouts?
How about your habits?

Think it through and see what Jesus offers to those who leave something behind for His sake.

29And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.  – Mark 10:29-31 (KJV)

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Look at chapter 10’s conversation on divorce and answer some questions on our online survey.  We won’t disclose any names, but we will discuss and share some of the responses and how we deal with the Word versus the world when it comes to making decisions.
Go to the online survey now. . .

To share the survey with others send the link: http://bit.ly/QjOw88  

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And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Jesus was the ultimate master of the teachable moment.  We see that a lot in the Gospel of Mark.  Through encounter after encounter, we are given bits and pieces of what the Lord came to accomplish through his earthly ministry.  Yet, we also see how he handles the short-sighted thoughts of man.  He deals with the limited faith and other aspects of mankind throughout His ministry.
Have you do something to “offend one of these little ones?” I mean, let’s be honest.  You know that you can cover a wide range when it comes to how you might “offend” others.  Watch your ways with others with your feet (where you go) and with your eyes (what you see).  Watch it! You may lead someone else down the wrong path with you.
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FYI: Our Sunday S.I.C.L. class will resume in Room 210.  See you there!
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