We Are Called To Love Everyone (Bible Study Mark 10 – Part 2)

In part one of this study we began to look at the story of Jesus and the healing of Bartimaeus the blind man in Mark 10.

Jesus has entered the town of Jericho and the crowd has gathered.  Bartimaeus a blind man and beggar is on the side of the road and hears that Jesus is going by.  He cries out to Jesus.  The crowd tells him to be quiet and stay out of the way.  But Jesus stops and tells the crowd to bring him forward.  They go and get him and Bartimaeus leaps at the chance and goes to Jesus.  Jesus asks him what he wants and when he says he wants to see, knowing that Jesus can give him his sight, Jesus heals him.  Bartimaeus is healed and follows Jesus along the road praising God.

Last time we looked at what this story tells us about Jesus.  One of the things we mentioned was that it shows that Jesus loves and interacts with everyone.  He is interested in every person from every background.

Today I want to look at what this truth about Jesus has to do with us.

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Obedience Is Our Part (Bible Study John 5 Part 3)

We’ve been looking at the story of the healing of the paralyzed man in John 5.

Jesus is in Jerusalem and ends up by a pool near the sheep gate.  It was believed that when the waters were stirred (perhaps a spring occasionally bubbled up there) that the first person in the water would be healed.  Because of this there were many lame, blind, and otherwise ill people laying there.  One such man was paralyzed and had been in that condition for 38 years.

Jesus approaches the man and asks him, “Do you want to get well?”  The man answers that he does want to but that he can’t get to the water in time.  In a sense, as we said last time, he is saying that if Jesus would help him with his plan to get well then he could be ok.  He is failing to recognize that Jesus is offering something different, something more.  Jesus is better than the pool.

Jesus of course does not help the man into the pool.  He also doesn’t say, “Man that’s tough.  I hope that works out for you at some point” and move on.  Instead he does something very Jesus like.  He gives him a command.

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Going To Church On Sunday Matters

We live in interesting times.  I don’t want to call them hard times because I don’t think that is very intellectually honest.  In most ways we have it easier than any generation before us. We have advantages and wealth, that no time period has ever had.  Frankly we even have more peace than pretty much any period in history.

The one place this might not be true, although I would need further study, is mental health.  At the very least we can say that it has not improved over the last few years and certainly not in the 2020 during COVID.

I knew this would be true of singles, having been single until I was 40, and I offered some thoughts here.  Might be worth a read.  I also knew that it would impact kids, and I’ll have more to say on that later.

But today I want to look at an interesting statistic from a recent Gallup Poll.  Now if you read through this study, you see lots of interesting things.  You can see we’ve got things to work on from looking at the starting point for each demographic and how they compare.  But today I want to focus on something really interesting in relation to the Church.

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Jesus Is Better Than Your Plan (Bible Study John 5 part 2)

Today we are diving into part two in a series on a story in John 5

Jesus is in Jerusalem and ends up by a pool near the sheep gate.  It was believed that when the waters were stirred (perhaps a spring occasionally bubbled up there) that the first person in the water would be healed.  Because of this there were many lame, blind, and otherwise ill people laying there.  One such man was paralyzed and had been in that condition for 38 years.

Jesus approaches the man and asks him, “Do you want to get well?”  Last time we looked at some probable reason why Jesus asks this question.  Today I want to look at this man’s response, and ours, to that question.

The man says this, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when it is stirred up.  I start to go there but because of my condition someone gets there before me.”

Here is what is interesting about this answer.  This man has a plan to get well.  He is counting on this plan.  He might need a little help to get there but he doesn’t need a new or different plan.  His plan is the only one that can work.  He’s had 38 years to think about this obviously.  It’s not his first rodeo and I’m sure it’s not his first plan.

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Do You Own Your Life Or Does God (Bible Study The Rich Young Man Part 4)

Over the course of several posts we’ve been looking at the story of the rich young man’s encounter with Jesus.  We looked at the original context, the two errors that we make about Christianity and money and the idea of starting with judging our own generosity before judging others.  Today I want to look at what it means to walk the line with wealth and the Kingdom and avoiding the fate of the rich young man.

The first thing I want to note is that the this man had it all.  He had prosperity by any standard.  He was not only in the top 1%.  In his day he was more likely in the top .01%.  Not only that but by all accounts he was a morally upstanding guy.  He kept the ten commandments at least generally.  Heck he probably tithed his 10% to the temple.

And yet, something was missing and he knew it.  Otherwise why would he have come to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

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Christians Are The Ones Being Converted (Thoughts on Romans 12:2)

I’ve had Romans 12:2 on my mind and heart a lot the last few weeks.  In the first eleven chapters Paul is basically laying out theological truth after truth for the Roman Christians.  He begins chapter with a transition of sorts.  He is about to share how to live this out and what it might look like.  But he starts with this in  12:1-2:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

It’s the second part that has had my attention lately.  The idea of not being conformed to this world.  Not being conformed to this age.  In other words not being transformed away from Jesus but towards him.  Not following the fads, directions, lifestyles, or flow of the culture.  Really, we shouldn’t be following anyone but Jesus.  And we should be leading.  We can test what is happening around us and lead with what is good. We should be leading others towards Jesus, at least whoever might follow.

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The Other Parable of Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32)

In todays look at the scriptures I’d like to look at what I like to call The Other Parable of Two Sons.  When most people think of a parable with two sons they immediately think of the familiar parable of the prodigal son.  That is indeed a great parable and perhaps we’ll dive in another day.  Today I want to look in stead at the parable of the two sons in Matthew 21.

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The Protestant Celibacy Problem

A couple of years ago I was asked by a campus pastor at a local Catholic University if I would be willing to sit on a panel about vocation and represent the unmarried people who don’t feel called to celibacy.  I said yes and was excited by the opportunity.

Now this is sort of funny but I was the only protestant in the room and perhaps the least educated.  Ha!  I was for sure the least educated person on the panel which included: the president of the university and his wife (married vocation – and they had been married for decades), a nun, a Jesuit Priest and a priest whose job it was to help students who felt they might be called to celibate ministry (becoming a priest or nun) discern that.

We went around and shared about our vocation/place in life.  A lot of questions from the audience were centered around how you can figure out what you are supposed to do. Everyone on the panel was great – I was in very solid company and would gladly share a stage with any of them, any time.

But the person who stood out the most (and not just because we kept agreeing with each other) was the priest.  This guy was unbelievably smart.  He also had ways of explaining the call to full time celibate ministry that I had never really heard articulated before.

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