The Gospels of

Matthew, Mark, 
Luke & John

 

 

February 2020:

Dr. Kevin Calhoun

February 3-7

Matthew 24-28

 

Jonathan Norton

February 10-14

Mark 1-5

 

Rev. JT Overby

February  17-21

Mark 6-10

 

Dr. Craig Bowers

February 24-28

Mark 11-15



  • February 3, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Matthew 24

     

    Questions – people all around us have questions. Some questions are easy to answer.  Some are not.  One question none of us can answer is, “When will the Lord Jesus return?” I don’t know.  Jesus, Himself, said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone,” (vs 36).  Simply put, we do not know when the Lord will return. 

     

    However, there are some truths concerning His return we can know.

     

        1. Difficult days of persecution and “great tribulation” (vss. 9, 21, and       29) will   precede His return.  Those who remain until that time will be       called upon to persevere.

     

        2. When that time comes Jesus will gather His people to Himself.  “And     He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL  GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other . . . “ (vs. 31).

     

    3. We are called to be prepared for His return.  “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will,” (vs. 44).

     

    In the children’s game of “Hide and Seek” one person counts to ten while everyone else hides.  When the person is through counting, we can hear him/her yell, “Ready or not; here I come!”  I wonder, are we ready for Christ’s return?

     

    Application:

    Is there an area in your life you need to turn over to the Lord and seek His forgiveness?
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    What steps can you take today to be better prepared for the return of our Lord?

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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I pray I will be found faithful today in word and deed! Amen!



  • February 4, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Matthew 25

     

    The final portion of our Scripture reading today presents a very strong challenge to us.  The passage refers to a judgment to come in the presence of our Lord.  As we read in verse 32, “. . . all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats . . .” The  challenge to me in this passage concerns how I relate to and treat other people.

     

    The way we treat other people is an indicator of our relationship with the Lord.  To show love and compassion to others is as if we have shown love and compassion to the Lord himself. "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me" (vs. 40).

     

    Likewise, to be uncaring toward others is the same as mistreating the Lord himself. "Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me" (vs. 45).

     

    I like the way John states this truth in 1 John 2:9 - 10, “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”

     

    Application:

    List some opportunities you have had recently to help and assist someone in need.
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    List any opportunities you had when you failed to assist someone in need.
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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, open my eyes and my heart to those I meet today who are hurting! Amen!



  • February 5, 2020


    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Matthew  26

     

    A familiar phrase for all of us is, “Appearances can be deceiving.” It is a comment that lets us know we can easily be fooled by outward appearances. This is certainly true as we look at our reading for today.  Several observations we might make from this chapter could be:

     

    1. Unanswered prayer – Jesus prayed, “. . . if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt,” (vs. 39).  We might wonder why Jesus’ prayer was not answered as He asked.


    2. An Angry Crowd – Verse 47 tells us a multitude of people came with Judas and verse 50 tells us they helped seize Jesus.


    3. Complete Betrayal – In verse 56 we read, “. . . and all the disciples left Him and fled.”  Matthew fled, John fled, James fled, Peter fled, the ALL fled.

     

    Notice with me, however, how Jesus understood these events.  As the soldiers took Jesus into custody, Jesus said, “. . . all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled,” (vs. 56).  As Isaiah had written several hundred years earlier, Jesus was “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities,
    (Isaiah 53:5-6).

     

    Yes, Jesus understood the purpose and plan of God.  Jesus came to save sinners, and this salvation was accomplished through His death on the cross. I am reminded of the words we often sing, “How great the Father’s Love for Us?”

     

    Application:

    List ways you can love and obey Jesus today.   ________________________________________________________________


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    Also list ways we can worship Him through our lives each day.    ________________________________________________________________

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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I pray I will trust in Your sovereignty today.  Help me to seek Your purpose and plan in my decisions this day! Amen!

     


  • February 6, 2020
                                                                                                         

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Matthew 27

     

    I once heard a preacher say the crucifixion of Jesus is a picture of humanity at our absolute worst, but it is also a picture of God at His absolute best.  As hard as it is for me to understand, the death of Jesus on the cross has made forgiveness and salvation for all who turn to God by faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord. That is why the centurion’s statement of faith in verse 54 is so marvelous to me.  As he watched the events surrounding the death of Jesus, the centurion exclaimed, “Truly this was the Son of God!

     

    As darkness fell upon the world, Jesus died that we might walk in light.  As we saw in our reading yesterday, Jesus was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5-6).  A chorus we sing states, “He was forsaken so we could be forgiven.” Jesus was the once for all, never to be repeated again, perfect sacrifice for our sins.”

     

    My questions for all of us today are these:  Have we trusted in Christ Jesus for our salvation? Have we turned to God by faith in Jesus, believing He is our one and only means of salvation? Are we seeking daily to walk by faith in Him? Do we desire to glorify God in all we say and do?


     

    Application:

    If you have not turned to God by faith in Jesus, are you willing to do so today? 
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    Write a simple prayer to God expressing your desire to walk with Him by faith. 
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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for Your love and mercy.  Thank You for giving Your life as a sacrifice for my sin.  Lead me in truth today.  Amen! 



  • February 7, 2020

     

    by Kevin Calhoun

     

    Read Matthew 28


    As we come to a close of Matthew’s Gospel, we are confronted with an invitation, “come and see” (vs. 6), and a challenge, “go and tell” (vs. 7).  Each of these terms has a special meaning for us today.

     

    The invitation to “come” encourages us to look beyond our fears and turn to Jesus.  Whatever fears were before them, the angel invited them to “come.” The angel then invited them to “see.” Seeing involves understanding.  Don’t simply come.  We are also called to look, to gaze upon, and to understand.  If we look closely we can see the horror of our sin, the amazing love of our Father in Heaven, and the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.  Thus, we are invited to “come and see.”

     

    We are also challenged to “go and tell.” Going into the world is the commission for the Church. As we go, we are to preach the Gospel, we are to make disciples, and teach others to observe the commands of God (vss. 19-20).  But what are we to tell those we meet. My friends, if we have experienced the love and forgiveness of Christ Jesus, we have a testimony to share. You and I may not have answers to all the    questions people may ask, but we are experts on what God has done for us.

     

    That is our mission: come and see, go and tell.

     

    Application:

    If you have not turned to God by faith, will you come to Him today and see what He can do for you?  ________________________________________________________________

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    If you have already trusted in Christ, list ways you can go and tell others of His love.  ________________________________________________________________


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    Prayer:

    Lord Jesus, as I come to You each day, give me strength and courage to tell others of Your love. Amen!

     


  • February 10, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read Mark 1

     

    We begin this week with the Gospel of Mark, the shortest of the four gospels. Mark’s Gospel portrays Jesus on the move, focusing on what He did rather than just what He said. Mark reveals Jesus as God’s servant sent to minister to suffering people and to sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world. This book helps us know what Jesus did and how He lived during His earthly ministry. It is written with action in mind and should challenge us to be Christians who are doers of the Word, not simply hearers.

     

    The two things that stand out to me in Chapter 1 are actually two people and their actions. First we are introduced to John the Baptist. John came on behalf of Jesus to clear the way, prepare the way and then get out of the way (vs 7-8). The first evangelist in the New Testament was not what you would describe as a polished or witty speaker. He was direct as he preached repentance and boldly claimed the Messiah had come. John the Baptist is an example how we can still have an impact for the Kingdom even if our life is brief.

     

    Second, Jesus himself models the power we can receive when we take time to be alone with our Heavenly Father. As servants of Jesus Christ we must start on our face in dependence on Him. Circumstances might have us battling temptation in a wilderness as Jesus did (vs. 12-13), or we could be in a secluded place in the morning spending time with Him in prayer (v. 35). Regardless of what situation we are in we must never fail to spend time alone in His Word and in prayer.              

     

    Application:

    In what ways can we be servants like Jesus? 
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    How often do spend time alone with God? 

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  • February 11, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read Mark 2

     

    Charles Swindoll sums up Chapter 2 eloquently by reminding us that “Jesus is our Model, Servanthood is our Method, People are our Ministry and Involvement is our Means”.


    It is important to remember we do not serve things, we serve people. And if people are our ministry we must be involved with those we are serving. We must listen, spend time, help, care and meet needs. As Christians we are called to touch, hear and help – that is servanthood.

     

    As I read verses 1-12, I could not help but think of our Sunday School Classes or Small Groups at Wynnbrook. This text is a reminder of why we need that ministry in our lives. We all need Godly friends to pray for us and walk through life with us (especially the difficult times and the times when we need to be held accountable). In verse 9 Jesus heals the man and forgave his sins because of his faith and the faith of his friends. They overcame great obstacles together just to see the Lord because they knew He was the only answer. Are you willing to go to great measures to see our Lord? Are you willing to sacrifice your time and go against the crowd to help a friend get closer to the Lord? To me that is what Sunday School Classes are for, to bring us all closer to the Lord and to serve each other in the name of Jesus. When we do this Warren Wiersbe reminds us that Jesus brings us three wonderful gifts that we see here in Chapter 2: Forgiveness (vs. 1-12), Fulfillment (vs. 13-22) and Freedom (vs. 23- 28). Praise God for those people in our lives that help us draw nearer to the Lord!               

     

     

    Application:

    What inspires you most about the four men who lowered their friend through the roof so Jesus could heal him?

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    How can we practice the Model of Jesus in serving others (even the unlovable)?

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  • February 12, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read Mark 3

     

    Let me just be blunt – Legalism is an enemy to our faith. Legalism is not a friend who means well, it is a foe who robs us of our joy. Legalism delights in shaming and guilting others who do not obey a list of unbiblical rules and regulations. We have a serious problem in the church when people avoid us because of our condemning spirit. In verses 1-6 of Chapter 3 we see the religious authorities did not care about the man in need, they were more concerned about the rule put in place to guard the life God created. If we want to give a litmus test of our theology and morality it would be to simply look at our response to the weakest and most vulnerable people in our community. One of the many beautiful things about Jesus is that He desires to share His life with those everyone else has written off. Do we have that same desire?

     

    We see in verse 13 that the disciples “Came to Him”. Notice they did not go to a program, an event or a building. They came to a person and that person was Jesus! Also notice that Jesus did not have a list of rules nor did they have a legal contract to sign. They came to Him and He trained them by spending time with them. He listened to them, talked with them, shared meals with them, laughed with them and answered their questions. No event or ministry beats spending time with our Lord in fellowship, prayer and in the study of His Word. Verse 14 says “He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him”. Are you with Him today?            

     

     

    Prayer:

    Lord, thank you for walking with us and always being there to spend time with us. Our prayer is that we focus more on spending time with You and others in need.



  • February 13, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read Mark 4

     

    In verses 4 and 15 we read that the seed fell on a path which was a hard service due to a lot of foot traffic. When I read about this path I think of the person who is too busy for God. This person is not involved in disgusting or hateful sin, they are just too busy for God. Their lifestyle has created a hard heart. Oh, they might show up to church on Sunday from time to time so they can check it off the list of good things to do. But their hearts are crowded with things of this world and too hard for the seed that is sown to take root. That very same seed of truth that brings joy to some people in the church, gets stepped on by the “Busy Christian” that is on the “hard path” to keep up their schedule. They have meetings to attend, a plane to catch, a golf game to play, a hunting engagement or a ball game to go to. There is very little time for  prayer, Bible study, reflection or self-evaluation. When this happens the      enemy comes and takes away the truth before it can take root (v.15). That is the path of the disinterested and preoccupied heart.

     

    Verses 9 & 23 say “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”. God does not force us to listen to His words. He might place us in some difficult situations to try to get our attention, but choosing to hear Him or not is completely up to us. The only way we will make it through the storms of life (vs. 35-41) is if our hearts are prepared like fertile soil to receive God’s Word through listening to His truth. Then the seed of His Word will take root in our lives and we will consistently grow in our faith.                       


    Prayer:

    Heavenly Father, our prayer is that we are never too busy for You. May we take time to study Your Word, hear Your truth and let it take root in our lives. May we have faith like a mustard seed. Amen.

     



  • February 14, 2020

     

    by Jonathan Norton

     

    Read Mark 5

     

    In this chapter we see the servant Jesus declare victory over demons (vs. 1-20), disease (vs. 21-34) and death (vs. 35-43). He conquers them all! We also see how Jesus can take any person, no matter how bad their past was, and restore them to be used by God.

     

    In verses 1-20 we read about a man demon possessed. God is so powerful and merciful that he heals this man and uses him to grow His Kingdom. Isn’t that marvelous and amazing (v. 20)?  It is important for us to understand that almighty God can restore anyone and use them for His glory. If you have ruined your marriage, been a horrible parent or caused problems at work, whatever chaos you might have created through your sin, you are not finished! God can restore any life. Not only can God restore you, He can use you in a marvelous way to make an amazing difference.

     

    Now we must notice God does not permit the man to do what he wants to do. He wanted to follow along with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go home and tell his friends and family about the great mercy of the Lord (v. 19). We must understand that His mercy goes beyond letting us do as we please. The Lord may prevent us from doing what we want to accomplish for Him. But remember, His plans are better and we will see His Glory if we surrender, trust and obey.

     

    Warren Weirsbe points out that “We see in this text three different forces at work: Satan, Society and the Savior”. The same forces that are still trying to control lives today. Which force are you allowing to control your life today?                 

     

     

    Application:

    Why are we often amazed when we pray for something and God answers? ________________________________________________________________


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    Think about people that you have seen God totally transform. How has God used them that amazes you? 

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  • February 17, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Mark 6

     

    Who is Jesus and what authority does He actually have? These are central questions in Mark's gospel, and they need to be central questions in our life. 


    We see that Jesus is dishonored in His hometown. The people who think they know Him the best, actually know Him the least. Jesus marvels at their unbelief. Are we so familiar with Him that we practically deny who He is and the authority He has over our lives? Do we think we have it all figured out and don't need Him?


    John the Baptist (Mark 1) came as one preparing the way for the true God to come into the world. Jesus displays the authority He has as He gives authority to His apostles to go out and heal and cast out demons plaguing people's lives. In a  desolate place He blesses a few loaves and fish and is able to feed well over five thousand. As waters represent chaos and evil to the Jews, Jesus even shows His  authority over them as He walks on the waters. People are healed as they simply
    touch His garment. 


    It is good to marvel at the power of Jesus. It is even better for us to marvel at His power and then to confess with each passing day that His power is over us, and that we submit to His authority. His power and presence in our lives bring healing, restoration, and true life. 


    Who do we say Jesus is? What authority does He have in our lives?

     

    Prayer:
    God, by your gracious working in my life, give me eyes to see anew just how great and how powerful You are. Give me grace to submit with joy and gladness to You, the true King. Protect me from dullness to the marvelous truths found in Your Word.



  • February 18, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Mark 7

     

    Jesus "came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him" (John 1:11). Those who should have known Jesus and received Him chose their ways, their interpretations over the one sent by God. Yet, graciously, we see lives changed in chapter 7, and one of them is a Gentile! 


    Notice the connections between foods being called clean and this Gentile woman finding healing for her daughter. This should remind us of what we see in Acts 10 when Peter comes to see that all foods are now clean, and that in Jesus, all people can be made clean as well. 


    God's promise to Abraham was that all the nations would come to be blessed through his offspring. We know that Jesus ultimately fulfills that promise. He brings salvation and makes the blessing of God available to all people. What grace! 


    When Jesus comes to us what does He find? Does He sigh because we have become deaf to His Word? Do we care more about the traditions of man, more about the world, more about our own morality, or more about our  status? What does He find in our hearts? Does He find hearts perverted by sexual immorality, wickedness, pride, gossip, slander, and foolishness? 


    We need to pray as David did in Psalm 139 that God would search our hearts and minds and if there be anything that grieves Him inside of us, that He would lead us in the good and right way. And may we come to Jesus every day and cry out, "Jesus, give me ears to hear!" What a gracious Word it is if we have ears to hear!



  • February 19, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Mark 8

     

    The blind man in Mark 8 acts as a real-life metaphor for all the people around Jesus, especially the disciples. Jesus spits on the man's eyes and he can see, but only partially. The Pharisees demand a sign that Jesus really is the Christ, and this is after He had just fed 4,000 people. The disciples receive teaching from Jesus about being on guard against the teaching of Herod and the Pharisees, and they don't get it. Peter confesses Jesus to be the Christ, but is rebuked by Jesus in the next moment. What is going on?

     

    We see in John 1 that Jesus came to His own people but they didn't know Him. They can see, but only partially, not clearly. They have expectations for who Jesus is and what Jesus will do and because of that they can't see clearly. They have expectations for who the Christ will be and because Jesus isn't meeting those expectations, they fail to see Him clearly.

     

    No wonder Jesus says that if you want to follow Him you must take up your cross and deny yourself. We all come to God with expectations. We want God to serve us, give us what we want, and meet our expectations. We want a god in our own making. This keeps us from seeing Him as He truly is in our lives. 


    We need to pray to God for grace to see Him clearly, for grace to take up our cross. Our expectations, our wants, our desires must be shaped by God through His Word. Jesus will be ashamed of those who refuse to do this, but will  welcome into loving arms those who receive Him as He truly is.



  • February 20, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Mark 9

     

    Moses and Elijah represent the pinnacle of Old Testament prophets, yet even they could not bring about perfect salvation and reform in Israel. Under Moses, Israel was brought out of slavery but lived and died grumbling in the wilderness, and Moses  himself died outside the Promised Land because of his sin against the Lord. Under Elijah, even though he boldly spoke out against idolatry and did wondrous signs, the people still continued in their idolatry. Yet, they pointed to someone greater. 


    Jesus came to confront sin, darkness, and evil head on. He casts out demons where no one else can. If some are found to be casting out demons, it is only by His name. He is the one to be listened to and worshiped. 


    But He is also the one who is walking to His death. He is heading towards Jerusalem where He knows He will be put to death. In His death, Jesus will confront sin and evil like all the heroes of Israel's past wanted to do. Jesus will die. But unlike the heroes of the past, Jesus will be raised victoriously over sin and death on the third day. Who can stand in His way! He is the true God come to earth to deliver His people. He is the one we need to look to and listen to. 


    May we pray for grace to live in dependence upon Him and not try and change our lives, our families, or our friends through our own strength. Salvation is found in His name alone.

     



  • February 21, 2020

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Mark 10

     

    They brought children to Jesus but the disciples rebuked him. A king doesn't have time to be blessing children. A blind beggar cries out to Him and the people rebuked the beggar. A king doesn't have time to spend with blind beggars. The crowd followed Jesus and were amazed by Him and also afraid. If He really is the Christ, the true king, does this mean that war is coming, that governments will be overthrown? Who will sit in power next to Jesus? Surely the rich and powerful, the influential, and certainly those closest to Jesus.

     

    This is not the way of the true King, and this is not the way the Kingdom of God will come into the world. Jesus receives the children and those who receive the gift of God like children receive a gift. Jesus stops and speaks with beggars and heals them. Jesus loves the rich and powerful enough to tell them that their hearts are not set on God, and that in order for them to be truly set on God, they need to be rid of all that is a snare to them.

     

    Jesus came to be a ransom for many. He came to make payment for sinners with His very life. He came to be a servant. He came to be delivered up, condemned, and  crucified. Those closest to Him wouldn't sit on His right and left when He is glorified as King. Two thieves would be on either side. Jesus becomes the least in the Kingdom for our sake, and surely our Savior is the greatest, the one worthy of our worship.

     

    Prayer:
    Son of David, have mercy on me and give me sight to see You, the true King.



  • February 24, 2020

     

    by Craig Bowers

     

    Read Mark 11

     

    Faith is difficult to define but easy to see! Faith is simple obedience to the instructions of God even when it makes us uncomfortable or look foolish. Jesus asked two of His disciples to do something that they did not understand at the time. Faith’s obedience is not based on comprehension, understanding, or agreement with God’s instructions. These two disciples did not realize that they were fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 that was written over 600 years earlier!

     

    “Without faith it is impossible to please God…” Hebrews 11:6. God’s Word gives us clear instructions. God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, prompts us. The measure of your faith is your complete obedience even when you don’t understand. Or maybe you do understand and you are uncomfortable. God will ask you to do things that make no sense to your human mind. He will stretch you, which means you are going to be   uncomfortable.

     

    Faith embraces the sovereignty of God. The two disciples trusted Christ to somehow notify the owners of the donkey so that they would release the donkey to them. A step of faith tests our trust in the sovereignty of God. Will He take care of us when we “go out on a limb”? What happens when the limb breaks? Will He catch us? Cushion the fall? Have paramedics close by?

     

    Faith does not always understand the end but that’s because faith trusts in the One who knows the end from the beginning. Often we think we know the end, when the truth is, we don’t even understand the beginning!!! Oh my.

     

    So today, Christ is giving you instructions. It may sound like this: “Be silent! Speak up… Buy their meal…. Speak a word of encouragement to a person you don’t know…. Do a kind deed…. Go the extra mile….”  Whatever He asks you to do, do it! You may be  uncomfortable, do it anyway. You may not understand, obey anyway.



    Application:

    Throughout today, remember His instructions and obey. Listen to the voice of the  Holy Spirit and obey.

     

    Prayer:

    My Lord, may my actions reflect a deep faith in You.

     



  • February 25, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Mark 12


    “Is he talking about me!?!” URRR. How do you respond when someone tells you the truth? Maybe it’s about something you are doing that you shouldn’t, or not doing that you should? What if that person shared it perfectly? The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were offended when they heard the parable about the owner of a vineyard and the vine-growers. Why? Because He told them the truth.

     

    Here’s the truth about the truth – our natural tendency is to become defensive when someone tells us the truth about ourselves that we don’t want to hear. Let’s  consider both sides of the coin.

     

    You are the one sharing the truth with someone. First, ensure you have the actual facts. Jesus knew the facts! He didn’t rely on hearsay or unreliable sources. Second, evaluate your motive. Why are you sharing? Do you really care about this person? Have you demonstrated that you really care? Third, use some tact. Fourth, prioritize their well-being over your “feeling better” because you unloaded. Fifth, do not share in anger. 

     

    Let’s flip the coin. You are the one who just heard the truth. First, seek to listen  without becoming defensive. It helps if you know the person really cares about you. This will allow you to do what is next - listen. It’s hard to listen when you are building your defense in your mind. So, listen for the truth. It may be hard to accept, but sometimes the hardest truths about us are the greatest helps to us. Third, as a Christ-follower we are called to change. Change only happens by the grace of God and our willingness to change. So be willing to change. Avoid the immature response that says, “That’s just the way I am!” That’s the point! Fourth, be grateful that someone cares enough about you to tell you the truth. Unfortunately, their tribe is few.

     

    Application:

    Think about the last time someone told you a difficult truth. How did you respond? Are you grateful for that person? Flip the coin. Are you willing to share truth in love?

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  • February 26, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Mark 13

     

    Eyes widen, jaws drop! That was the natural response of those who saw the Temple in Jerusalem. To say that it was impressive is an understatement. Think for a moment about that which impresses you the most! An exquisite home. A great looking  physique. Crazy wealth. Talent. Let’s bring it down to “church.” Most people are impressed with buildings. We see a huge, beautiful church building, an impressive auditorium, incredible architecture and we are impressed.

     

    One of the disciples was impressed with the Temple and wanted to have his impression affirmed by Christ. Jesus did not offer affirmation but perspective. Jesus reminded the disciples that the Temple was TEMPORARY. Few people have ever experienced long-lasting, life change based on something temporary. Or put another way, the veneer doesn’t necessarily validate the value. Now that’s a hard pill to  swallow when the world exalts the veneer.

     

    So here’s a test we need to take: How many beautiful church buildings have you seen only to discover that once inside, the place was dead or decaying? Have you been to Europe and seen the impressive church cathedrals that now sit empty? We are SO easily impressed with that which shines. Jesus is impressed with substance.

     

    This passage teaches us that the place of worship is not the priority! The place of worship can actually blind us to the reality of the lack of worship. Real worship is not based on a place or a performance. Authentic worship is based on the position of the heart! A heart impressed with the awesomeness of God is far less likely to be impressed with the “awesomeness” of glitter. Please don’t misunderstand. We should appreciate having a nice place of worship. But the fact remains that God is not  impressed by the place of worship. He is impressed by the heart of worship.

     

    Application:

    What impresses you? What captivates your heart and makes your eyes round? What does that say about you? 

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  • February 27, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Mark 14

     

    I ate an incredible meal the other night! It was delicious and I felt fulfilled. I noticed the next day, I was hungry again! This wonderful chapter begins with a lady being called out by others for being wasteful. They thought her money could have been used for a better cause. We are quick to evaluate the investment of money! That’s a really good thing. It’s important that we are good stewards of our money. However, we must be very careful here. This lady was called out by a group of guys. Jesus    rebuked the guys and praised the lady. Got it? Their beef with her seemed legit! She “squandered” her money when it could have been used for a higher cause! WRONG!

     

    I’ve noticed that people can get very passionate about money. Maybe if we were more passionate about the eternal as we are the temporal, more eternal things would get accomplished.

     

    Jesus said to the money managers – ‘Feeding the poor would have lasted maybe a couple of days, but what this lady has done with her money is going to last for a   couple of millenniums.’ So, what is the better deal?

     

    The use of money, in your personal life as well as in the life of the community of faith to which you belong, is a very spiritual matter. Money has no inherent ethics. Those who possess money will use their own “values” to decide how to use it. The money managers in Jesus’ group had their own values. Jesus’ values differed. Is this not a spiritual issue? Absolutely!! Jesus talked more about money than any other subject other than the Kingdom of God.

     

    Application:

    How do you evaluate the use of money? ________________________________________________________________


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    Prayer:

    My King, You own it all. May I have eyes to see beyond the immediate to the eternal as I evaluate the investment of money.

     


  • February 28, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Mark 15

     

    We learn from the first 15 verses, the two common temptations that lead to disastrous choices. Let’s focus on the two and the antidote for both. The two temptations are envy and people pleasing.

     

    Verse 10 tells us that Pilate knew that the religious leaders hated Jesus    because of envy. Envy, jealously, and resentment are the same. The religious leaders were envious of Jesus. They wanted the crowds to follow them. They wanted to impress others. They wanted their words to have impact and    power. They wanted what Jesus had! They hated him for possessing what they didn’t. Their envy blinded them to His power, love, truth, and miracles! They were driven by resentment, envy.

     

    The second temptation is prioritizing pleasing others. Verse 15 states, “Wishing to satisfy the multitudes…” Pilate fell to the temptation of seeking to please others. He knew releasing Barabbas instead of Jesus was wrong. He knew Jesus was innocent and certainly had not committed a crime worthy of death. But, he wanted to please the crowd. The drive to please others  overcame his desire to do the right thing.

     

    The only antidote for envy and people pleasing is contentment. When we are content, we will not be envious of others. When we are content with who we are in Christ, we will seek to please Him over them.

     

    The greatest decisions are made with clear eyes and an uncluttered mind. Learning contentment is a spiritual discipline to be pursued by every Christ-follower. Seeking to please Him more than others fosters contentment.

     

    Application:

    Are you content?  
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