Morning Musing: Mark 14:37-38

“Then he came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour? Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever get caught sleeping in class? I’ll confess that I dozed in class a lot through college and grad school. I never got caught that I know of, and I never fell totally asleep like this girl in my eighth grade algebra class who actually fell out of her desk she was asleep so hard, but I definitely dozed. I would later laugh at my notes that got more meager and difficult to decipher the longer class went. The trouble with falling asleep is that we miss things. Now, if what we miss is just part of a lecture, that’s probably not going to be the end of the world, although it may make the midterm more challenging. Sometimes, though, sleeping through life can be entirely more problematic. Peter learned that the hard way here.

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Morning Musing: Mark 11:25

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Yesterday we looked at a few verses in which Jesus seems to give us a blank check to essentially demand whatever we want from God and if we believe we’ll receive it strongly enough, we can expect to get it. We talked about the challenges of those verses and how they are all too often used improperly. The other thing I mentioned then was that in those verses there didn’t seem to be any clear “buts” that would lead us away from a straight line Prosperity Gospel. Well, this verse which follows immediately on the heels of what Jesus said about prayer gives us a bit of a “but.” This exception, though, is pretty important to note because it’s something Jesus said several different times. Let’s talk this morning about the relationship between forgiveness and prayer.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 11:22-24

“Jesus replied to them, ‘Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for – believe that you have received it and it will be yours.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever watched a really slick Prosperity Gospel preacher deliver his ace sermon? He will take you on a journey. You’ll be laughing one minute, crying the next, and ready to fork over your whole wallet to do your part to sustain the vital ministry the Lord has called him to do so that you can receive the blessings He wants to pour out into your bank account by the end of it. You will feel empowered to name what you want the Lord to give you, and to claim it boldly in prayer. It is a powerful experience, an encouraging experience, a truly religious experience, and a big, fat load of heresy. Verses like this one, though, would seem to disagree. Let’s talk about it.

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The Secret Sauce

As we continue in our conversation about what we should do with what we believe, Tell Someone, this week we are talking about the most essential ingredient in sharing our faith with another person. There are many things that might be considered to be the most important thing, but what we’ll talk about today really lies at the heart of the matter. Keep reading to find out what it is.

The Secret Sauce

Think for a minute with me this morning about your favorite recipe. I’m talking about the thing that if this was going to be your last meal on earth, this is what you want to have on the menu. What is the most essential ingredient in that recipe? My wife is a really good cook. Like, really good. If I was going to eat a final meal, as long as she was cooking it, I really couldn’t go wrong. There are several things she makes that would land on my list of favorites, but right near the top of that list right now is this chicken and Bisquik biscuit dish that is just amazing. She first made it several years ago, but pulled it back out a couple of months ago and it was like being reintroduced to a long, lost friend. I could have eaten that stuff until I exploded. The essential ingredient in that dish is the chicken. But not just any chicken. You really need thigh meat for it to have the flavor it needs. Better yet, when she does it with one of those whole roaster chickens you get from the deli section at the store…wow. Just, wow. How about you? What are some of the most essential ingredients in your favorite dishes?

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:29

“And he told them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Are you a sudoku fan? I’m a word and numbers puzzle guy. You pick the puzzle. Crossword, sudoku, or something else doesn’t really matter. I don’t get to do them as often as I’d like, but I enjoy doing them. I maintained a USA Today subscription for a few months mostly so I could do the puzzles in them. The thing about these kinds of puzzles, though, is that there’s only one solution to the problem. You can try everything in the world, but if it’s not the right way, it won’t work. Well, sometimes life is a bit like a sudoku puzzle. You can try every way imaginable to overcome some challenge, but there is only one way that will ever positively move you forward. Jesus tells the disciples what it is here. Let’s learn with them.

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