Morning Musing: Mark 2:8

“Right away Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were thinking like this within themselves and said to them, ‘Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever had someone read your mind? There are some mentalists (the branch of magic that deals with mind-reading and such) who specialize in being able to guess and even predict what someone is thinking. The best of these can put on pretty amazing shows. But at the end of the day, talented mentalists are just folks who have a knack for understanding people, have studied a fair bit of human psychology, and are good at predicting patterns based on quick, careful observations. No one really has access to what’s going on inside your head except you. Oh, and Jesus.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 2:5-7

“Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ But some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts: ‘Why does he speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Have you ever prayed for someone else? I suspect you have. Even as our culture seems to grow more secular all the time, a sizable majority of people still claim prayer is something important in their lives in some form or fashion. And when we pray, we pray for ourselves, yes, but we also pray for others. But do those prayers really accomplish anything? Can they? We don’t necessarily get an answer to that question here, but we get some important evidence that prayer just may be a whole lot more powerful than we imagine.

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The Nature of Our Work

One more week and we are finally through our series, Telling Our Story. I hope this has been as encouraging and productive a journey for you as it has been for me. Today, having spent lots of time talking about the how and the why of the things the first church did, we shift gears and talk about the what. What was is they were doing that enabled them to be so successful? Read on to find out.

The Nature of Our Work

What does it look like when you’ve done a job well? That depends on the job, of course. A school project done really well looks like a paper with a big A on top. If you’re selling insurance, it looks like helping someone understand the worth of investing in a personal safety net should the tightrope that is life get plucked, sending you falling to the ground. If you’re a firefighter, it looks like a rescue made with as little collateral damage as possible. For a NASCAR team, it looks like a trip down victory lane. If you’re building something you ordered from Amazon, it looks like not having any extra pieces beyond the ones that are supposed to be there. The list here is as varied as the jobs we could imagine. Let me give you one more, though, what does it look like when we’ve done church well?

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 2:5

“Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Sometimes, when a good thing is done in a way or at a time that no one was expecting, it doesn’t seem so good anymore. Have you ever noticed that? I believe the cynical adage is that no good deeds goes unpunished. That could have been the theme of Jesus’ whole ministry. He did a whole lot of good things during His three years in the spotlight and yet again and again He did them in ways that broke the mold. They broke the mold for a people who were very much fond of their molds. The result was a whole lot more conflict than you would think someone so committed to doing good would attract. This first story in Mark 2 is a perfect example.

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Morning Musing: Mark 1:40-41

“Then a man with leprosy came to him and, on his knees, begged him, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he told him. ‘Be made clean.’”
— ‭‭Mark‬ ‭1:40-41‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Have you ever tried to solve a problem? That’s a silly question. Of course you have. In many ways, life is about problem-solving. We encounter one challenge—problem—after another, and have to figure out how to overcome it. We are living in a season now when this is even more true than it has been in a long time. School systems in particular are operating in a problem-solving mode all the time these days. The thing about solving problems, though, is that there is a way to do it well and a way to do it poorly. Jesus demonstrates the former for us here. Let’s see how.

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