June 2020:

Jonathan Norton

June 1-5 Matthew 20-24


Rev. JT Overby

June 8-12 | Matthew 25-28 | Mark 1


Dr. Craig Bowers

June 15-19 | Mark 2-6


Dr. Kevin Calhoun

June 22-26 | Mark 7-11


Jonathan Norton

June 29-30 | Mark 12-13

  • June 1, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Matthew 20


    Two words describe the Parable of the Vineyard Workers in verses 1-16: Humility and Generosity. Genuine humility is where nobody cares about who gets the credit and everybody wants God to get the glory. Whether you are a part of a church, a team, or a business, everyone has separate, yet important roles to fulfill. The important thing is the way you go about
    performing your role. Having a humble spirit is vital when serving the Lord or representing the Lord on a job. Charles Swindoll says “Humility is the most fragile flower that grows. As soon as you put it on display, it wilts”. 


    This parable also reveals the important truth of generosity (or grace). The owner was generous to those whom he overpaid, but he did not slight those who worked the full day for the agreed upon amount. It was the owner’s privilege to extend grace to all who worked for him. Just like the thief on the cross will enjoy the full blessings of heaven alongside those who have served Christ their entire lives. That is the incredible grace of God. The Lord can and does provide His gifts and grace as He wills. Grace cannot be earned or deserved, so God is free to bestow His grace however He chooses. Praise God for any grace we receive!


    The lesson for us as Christ followers, is we should not serve Him because we want to receive an expected reward, and we should not insist on knowing what we will get upfront. God is infinitely generous and gracious and will always give us better than we deserve. The same is true for any job or role we serve in at work or in the community. The important thing is we perform all duties with a humble and generous attitude.

  • June 2, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Matthew 21


    Let’s focus on verses 12-22 of Chapter 21 today, where we see Jesus perform two acts of judgement: He cleanses the temple and curses the fig tree. These acts of judgement were to reveal the hypocrisy of Israel. Jesus was teaching the seriousness of inward corruption and outward fruitlessness, unfortunately two things that can apply to some churches today.   


    Remember Jesus had opened His ministry with a similar cleansing of the temple in John, Chapter 2. Now 3 years later the temple of God is being polluted by the “religious business leaders”. Matthew quotes Isaiah 56:7 “for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples”. This passage reminds us that God wants three important things in His House:

    1. Prayer (v. 13) 2. People (v.14) and 3. Praise (v. 15). Sincere prayer is evidence of our surrender to God and our faith in His Word. When people come to the house of God, they should feel welcomed, wanted, and receive help if needed. People should see the power of the Holy Spirit changing lives in the church. Praise should be the constant in the house of the Lord. Like the children in the temple, we should all be crying out to our Lord and Savior in praise and worship.


    In verses 17-22 we have Jesus cursing the fig tree as a teaching lesson, not an act of anger. The fig tree symbolized the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 8:13, Hosea 9:10 & 16, Luke 13:6-9). Israel flaunted religion, but they did not have true faith, and they were not living Godly lives. Jesus was not mad at the tree; He was using the tree to teach His disciples that He wants to produce fruit in the lives of His people. I think there is a cyclical pattern here: “The Church should be a House of Prayer,
    People and Praise that will Help Produce Fruit in the Lives of His People, and that Fruit will Attract More People to His House”
    . All for His Glory and Purpose! Amen!

  • June 3, 2020

    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Matthew 22

    In verses 15-23 of this chapter, we see that the religious leaders are still angry at Jesus from the embarrassment he had caused them earlier with His series of parables. When we read this passage, remember that the Pharisees and the Herodians were enemies, but they despised Jesus so much they came together to destroy Him. We read in verse 15 they “plotted to entangle Him in His words”. Unfortunately, as followers of Christ in today’s world, we are sometimes faced with this very same attack from the enemy. The enemy will try to entrap us with tricky arguments in hopes that we take the bait and ruin our credibility for Christ.


    In verses 23-33 we read about the Sadducees launching their verbal attack with a hypothetical question for Jesus. Keep in mind that this group of people only accepted the authority of Moses and did not believe in the doctrine of the resurrection (Acts 23:8). Sadly, like lost people today, they see their future life only as an extension of their present life. They have no faith in a spiritual world.


    The question for us today is how do we prepare for and respond to these same kinds of attacks? First, we must honor and obey God, and our authorities (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2, 1 Timothy 2). As Christians we have dual citizenship, in heaven and on earth. The scriptures tell us we are to respect our elected leaders, obey the law, pay taxes, and pray for all who are in authority.  Secondly, we must stand on the authority of the Word of God. We must know and obey the scriptures to release the power of God (v. 29). The Bible does not tell us everything about the future, but it tells us everything we need to know. Studying God’s Holy Word and Praying over it daily is the only way to prepare our hearts, minds, and mouths for how to respond to the attacks of the enemy.            


  • June 4, 2020

    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Matthew 23


    We are reading in the last public message of Jesus and here He gives a rather blunt rebuke to the Pharisees. In this chapter Jesus gives eight “Woe” statements to the scribes (teachers) and Pharisees for being hypocrites. We can summarize Jesus’s message by understanding that those who refuse to listen to the Word of God will suffer stiff consequences. We must realize sin divides our mind and prevents us from knowing our Lord intimately. When we sin, we have broken fellowship with God and we do not allow our heart to be one with His. 


    My two biggest takeaways from Chapter 23 are:

    1.) God Despises Religious Pretense in His Followers .
    2.) God Desires a Personal Relationship with His Followers.


    Make no mistake, God denounces disobedience of any kind, but when we read this chapter He clearly has a special dislike for religious show and tell. Why? Because when someone pretends to be a Christian and only goes through the motions, their hypocrisy can stunt the growth of new believers, as well as push lost people further away from God. Their heartless religion destroys any witness they think they have. You know the type: They go out of their way to tell people they go to church and read the Bible. They make sure they are seen serving, singing and praying. They expect others to live by their legalistic ways by being good religious humans. Jesus says these type of people are hypocrites and are like white washed tombs (v. 27).


    However, He demands perfect righteousness and not even the most religious person can achieve that. Righteousness that brings eternal life only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A personal relationship that starts with complete surrender to His Lordship. Fully recognizing He is both Savior and Lord of your life. When we totally grasp, this we can begin to develop a growing and satisfying relationship with Him. When we are walking in deep fellowship with our Creator, our focus begins to shift to the things that matter most to Him, such as Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness (v. 23).  

  • June 5, 2020


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read Matthew 24

    What gives you a sense of urgency? Is it a deadline at work, cramming for a test for school, or maybe seeing a loved one towards the end of their life? All of these bring about a different sense of focus and attention in our lives. During these times, that is all that seems to matter. For the believer, we should have another sense of urgency that comes from the fact that Christ will return. In this chapter, Jesus counseled Israel to be ready because His return to earth while certain, is unknown to man about when He will return. Christians today should look for Jesus to return at any time, any hour or any moment (1 Corinthians 15:50-58 & 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). We must be ready, be prepared, and be alert. He is coming! So our commission to share the Gospel and make disciples to the world is incredibly urgent. Where people will spend eternity is at stake.


    Four times in verses 4-24, Jesus warns do not be “led astray”. The only way we can defend against being misled by this world is to commit to studying God’s Word. Pray to Him Daily and fellowship with like believers that will help guard our blind spots. That is how we get ready for His return. 


    I think there is something else we need to remember when reading about the prophecy of Christ’s return.  We need to remember that the purpose of the prophecy is not to entertain our curiosity, but to encourage us to live Holy and dedicated lives that glorify our Lord. How grateful we should be that God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation when Christ comes back. Praise God He has saved us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10 & 5:9-10). As Christ followers, we know we are going to experience tribulation (John 16:33 & Acts 14:22) while walking on this earth, but what a blessing it is to know we will not have to experience The Tribulation.           

  • June 8, 2020


    by JT Overby


    Read Matthew 25


    We like to talk about God’s good and perfect Kingdom. Yet, when speaking about the Kingdom we don’t always like to discuss God’s righteous judgment that will come with it. We live in a culture and time where we constantly demand justice and the harshest of punishments on the guilty, yet at the same time balk at the idea of a God who judges. This can be true for us even as Christians. We can often waiver in the extremes—being uncomfortable with the judgment or being callous to God’s judgment, forgetting that we deserve it. How do we feel about the judgment of God?


    Some will be brought in. Some will be left out. Some will be rewarded. Some will be cast into utter darkness. Some will be sheep and some will be goats, and the goats will even think they knew the Lord.


    Yet, God is more loving and gracious than we could ever comprehend. And He hates sin and wickedness more than we could ever fathom. He will come like a thief in the night and He will judge justly, perfectly, righteously.


    Even for Christians, God’s judgment should put a sort of holy fear within us. We should be the humblest people around. We see God’s judgment and should think, “I am totally deserving of that in every way… were it not for the blood of Jesus.”


    Our Bridegroom will certainly return to take His bride; that He paid for with his own blood; that He died and rose again for; to cleanse and make beautiful and holy before Him. We will see life because He will bring us into His life.

  • June 9, 2020


    by JT Overby


    Read Matthew 26


    After Jesus speaks of the coming Kingdom and God’s judgment in chapter 25, we see that Jesus Himself is heading towards His judgment. Unlike us who are so deserving, Jesus goes as the innocent and spotless Lamb to the slaughter. The religious leaders are looking for a way to get to Jesus. How can they get to Him when the crowds are all around Him? They need an insider to betray Him. How can they judge Him when they can’t pin anything on Him? They will have to sentence Him to death on the basis of His innocence, of Him telling the truth.


    Jesus is the Son of Man (Daniel 7). He will indeed be exalted to the right hand of the Father. All of this, after he has been trampled by the beast (Daniel 7),represents sinful humanity. The people will trample Jesus; they will do to God what they want to do to Him.


    Jesus is also the sacrificial Lamb. It is Passover. God’s judgment is coming. We all deserve death. Yet, Jesus offers Himself up as the Lamb so that we could be passed over and receive God’s mercy. It is our sin and our rebellion that earns such a death, yet we get life.


    In the midst of all this is a betrayal and a denial. Friends of Jesus. One has raised his heel against Jesus and the other denies knowing Him. Yet, at dinner, all the disciples wonder and question if they will be the betrayer. What kind of followers are they?


    What kind of followers are we?! Praise God that His mercy and love are not dependent upon our earning of it! Jesus lays down His life for His enemies, to call them His friend. How great is the grace and love of the Son of Man, the sacrificial Lamb!


  • June 10, 2020


    by JT Overby


    Read Matthew 27


    It is morning, and the chief priests sure up their case against Jesus. The right to put people to death has been taken away by the Romans. Only they have the authority to execute. Why would the Romans want to put Jesus to death when they do not care about the Jewish religion? The Jews must convince the Romans that Jesus is a threat and someone that could raise up an army against them. They bring the charge against Him that Jesus is making himself out to be King, the Christ of Israel.


    Pilate questions Him and does not feel too threatened by Him.  Pilate wants nothing to do with Him because of a dream his wife has. Yet, the people are foaming at the mouth, Pilate fears a riot. He strikes a bargain. Do they want Barabbas, a man who has riled up the people against Rome in the past, or would they take Jesus? Not only do they request the release of Barabbas, a guilty man, they cry out for the Romans to do what they do best—humiliating death on a cross.


    They take Jesus, beat Him, mock Him, crown Him with thorns (Genesis 3 and the curse should come to mind here), put the royal robe on Him, and lead Him to the cross. They crucify this supposed King of Israel. The people have forsaken their God.


    We see something more devastating than that. Jesus takes upon Himself the wrath and judgment of God. He feels the forsakenness of our sins, enters into the deep, unnatural darkness, and dies for us there. He does what only God could do, die as one innocent and free of guilt.


    They set a guard around the tomb and seal it. Is this the sad end of a failed Christ?

  • June 11, 2020


    by JT Overby


    Read Matthew 28


    Matthew 27 ended with darkness. Jesus dead at the hands of the Jews and Romans. Jesus seemingly forsaken by his God that he claimed was His Father. The tomb was sealed and a guard was set.

    Yet, the earth quakes at the glory of the Lord. An angel appears to Mary and Mary Magdalene. The stone is rolled away and Jesus has risen! The dawning of the day brings light where it seemed there was only darkness!

    This is exactly what Jesus said would happen. He is the Son of Man who would be exalted to the throne over all things, yet first He would be trampled. Jesus was trampled, but the grave could not hold Him! His Father had not forsaken Him, but rather is pleased and delights in the loving obedience and sacrifice of the Son! It is finished, the work is done!

    Jesus tells his disciples that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him. Jesus, the one who died and rose again for His people, now reigns over all! There is nothing outside of His dominion! Nothing catches Him by surprise! What a kind and gracious King we have.

    Jesus was not a failed Christ of Israel. He is the true King over all things, the King of Kings, the one worthy of all our worship. When the disciples see Jesus, they fall at His feet and worship. What is our response to this Jesus? Do we bow to Him, submitting all we are to Him, for His glory and honor in the earth? If He is our King, let us gladly spread the good news that Jesus brings salvation and make disciples of Him!


  • June 12, 2020


    by JT Overby


    Read Mark 1

    A messenger is sent to prepare the way for Yahweh, the God of Israel. He is coming to bring salvation! What will this look like?! We see the messenger, John the Baptist, baptizing in the Jordan. He baptizes his cousin Jesus and immediately when He comes out of the water, the Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove, and the Father speaks saying that this is His son. Yahweh has come to bring salvation, and the Son has come to accomplish that work. What great news!

    The heart of Jesus’ ministry consists of His teaching and preaching—the 
    announcement of God’s Kingdom coming and the call to repent and turn to Him. To show that He has the right to make this announcement and bring the Kingdom, we see Him turning the world upside down. He comes to the hopeless, those lost in the dark, and stuck in sin. He goes to the hurting and the wounded, the weak and the poor. He casts out demons. He touches and heals a leper. He heals the sick.

    At the heart of it all is why He came and who He came from. Jesus walks in complete obedience to the Father’s will. He withdraws to a desolate place to pray showing His dependence and submission to the Father. He came to accomplish Yahweh’s work, bringing salvation and the Kingdom!

    Now, if Jesus shows this dependence and submission to His Father, what should that look like in our lives? By some strange grace, we have been called to be messengers preparing the way for Jesus! Are we walking in dependence and submission to Him? Are we heralding the good news of Jesus? May we be caught up in the Father’s will all the more! 

  • June 15, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Mark 2


    A messenger is sent to prepare the way for Yahweh, the God of Israel. He is coming to bring salvation! What will this look like?! We see the messenger, John the Baptist, baptizing in the Jordan. He baptizes his cousin Jesus and immediately when He comes out of the water, the Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove, and the Father speaks saying that this is His son. Yahweh has come to bring salvation, and the Son has come to accomplish that work. What great news!


    The heart of Jesus’ ministry consists of His teaching and preaching—the 
    announcement of God’s Kingdom coming and the call to repent and turn to Him. To show that He has the right to make this announcement and bring the Kingdom, we see Him turning the world upside down. He comes to the hopeless, those lost in the dark, and stuck in sin. He goes to the hurting and the wounded, the weak and the poor. He casts out demons. He touches and heals a leper. He heals the sick.


    At the heart of it all is why He came and who He came from. Jesus walks in complete obedience to the Father’s will. He withdraws to a desolate place to pray showing His dependence and submission to the Father. He came to accomplish Yahweh’s work, bringing salvation and the Kingdom!


    Now, if Jesus shows this dependence and submission to His Father, what should that look like in our lives? By some strange grace, we have been called to be messengers preparing the way for Jesus! Are we walking in dependence and submission to Him? Are we heralding the good news of Jesus? May we be caught up in the Father’s will all the more! 


  • June 16, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Mark 3


    Anger and grief! We’ve all felt those emotions. It can never be more passionate than in a religious setting. While in the local place of Bible study and worship, Jesus was angered and grieved “at their hardness of heart,” verse 5.  A man with a “withered hand” was in the place! It may be important for you to know that he was disqualified from being there because of his hand- a harsh criteria set by man. So, when this man came to the synagogue, he hid his hand. He did his best to cover it so that no one would know his imperfection!


    How many people come to the modern day places of worship hiding their “withered hand”?! If they came to our place of worship, would they try to hide that which would be the source of scorn or rejection? People know instinctively what “disqualifies” them from being accepted in the circle.


    Jesus was angered and grieved at the hardness of their hearts. The man with the withered hand wasn’t the only one trying to hide something. The “religious” were hiding the ugliness of their hearts. But Jesus always exposes the heart. When He brought the man to the front and asked if it was lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, he was met with screaming silence! Hard hearts have a tendency to grow awfully silent when exposed.


    How do those with hard hearts respond to the goodness and grace of the Savior? Enemies join forces so that they might destroy Him. They were enraged and filled with murderous thoughts!


    This story is included in the Scripture as a sobering reminder that Jesus qualifies the disqualified! He loves the rejected. He embraces the ostracized. Praise His name for His grace.

  • June 17, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Mark 4


    Success! How is it measured? So many people have so many opinions. Countless books have been written. The popular pundits of our day say that success is measured by climbing the ladder, accumulating a great amount of cash, having a beach house on a private island, and the list goes on and on.


    Even Christ followers are confused about success. Is success huge church facilities? Ending the year in the black? Large crowds? Stellar worship? A popular preacher? Just what is success?


    Almost half of this chapter is a story Jesus tells about a sower. You’ve probably heard it a thousand times. But what is the point? Part of the point is that the sower is successful. Why? Because he was faithful to share the truth of the Gospel with others. Some received it while most rejected it. But, the sower’s success isn’t measured by the response of others. Faithfulness to cast the truth is success.


    That begs the question: How faithful am I in spreading the truth of the Gospel? That means that even in passing encounters, while I may not have but a few moments, I can speak a word of truth into someone’s heart. Fleeting encounters can be easily overlooked.


    I remember a brief encounter (one minute max) with a man in a big box building supply store. He said something about life going by so quickly. I replied, “That sounds like something from the Old Testament in the Bible.” He said, “Really?!” He was surprised. “Yes… teach me to number my days that I may have a heart of wisdom… the writer is talking to God about having an eternal perspective.” He said, “That’s cool” and walked off. Now, who knows if that seed was used by God or not. But, as the sower, I am responsible to cast the truth. That’s the Biblical basis for success. Please don’t misunderstand, I have missed opportunities.  But I am pressing on to be faithful.


    My Lord, may I be faithful to be aware and seize opportunities You give me throughout today to cast a word of truth onto the soil of another person’s heart.

  • June 18, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Mark 5


    Life is full of interruptions. Texts, phone calls, traffic jams, etc. Interruptions are never fun but there is nothing worse than when you have an extremely important mission that is delayed by an interruption. When your daughter is sick to the point of death and help is on the way, the last thing you want is an interruption. We find them aggravating and infuriating.


    Jairus’ heart must have stopped when he was finally able to get to Jesus and plead his case. His little girl was dying. Would Jesus come and lay hands on her? He went from hopeful to joyful when the miracle worker said yes. But then there was an interruption. A delay. A detour. It was maddening. Why would Jesus put on pause the urgency of his daughter’s health? It didn’t make sense.


    Interruptions in our lives cause heartburn, high blood pressure, and a host of other unguarded thoughts. Especially when the well-being of a loved one is involved. Throughout today, you will have “interruptions”! How will you deal with them?


    Jairus doesn’t appear to be offended. He knew the lady with the hemorrhage also had a need. We know he was gripped with fear, see verse 36. Jairus hadn’t read Mark 5. He was living it! When he heard the news that his daughter had died, he followed Jesus in faith. He didn’t know how things would turn out but he followed Jesus in faith.


    Today when you face delays, detours, and interruptions, see them as an 
    opportunity to follow Jesus in faith.


    Look for ways that God could be at work in the delays, detours, and interruptions of life.


    King Jesus, may I be sensitive to how you are at work in me during the interruptions of life.

  • June 19, 2020


    by Craig Bowers


    Read Mark 6


    Is God’s power limited by our unbelief? No! But the first 6 verses of this chapter teach us that our unbelief limits the demonstration of God’s power. His power is never limited. But, the lack of belief on our part does limit appropriation of His work.


    Jesus’ hometown rejected Him. So “He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.” Verse 5. Here’s the principle we learn: The demonstration of God’s power is funneled by faith. While we could never minimize the power of God, we can and often do minimize the work of God’s power in our lives.


    Think with me about this: God has the power to save anyone. However, only those who put their faith in Jesus Christ will be saved. Why? Because God’s power is funneled into our lives by our faith. Our faith is not a work we can do. Faith is simply trust in Him who does the work!


    Jesus performed all kinds of incredible miracles in Israel. However, in His hometown “he could not.” How sad! If they would not believe in Him before the signs, they would not believe in Him because of signs.


    Your life will experience the power and presence of God based on your 
    funnel of faith. Small funnel, little power. Think about Elijah. He believed God and prayed by faith that it would not rain for three years and it did not rain. Then he prayed it would rain. It rained. Faith!


    Maybe God is enlarging your funnel (stretching your faith) so that He can demonstrate His power more perfectly in and through you.


  • June 22, 2020


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read Mark 7


    Our reading for today begins with questions concerning the ritual/tradition of washing our hands before eating.  I want to focus on three statements made by Jesus.


    1.  “There is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of man are what defile the man,” (vs. 15).


    2.  “Whatever goes into the man from the outside cannot defile him; because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach . . .” (vss.18-19).


    3.  “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.  All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man,” (vss. 20-23).


    It is not ritual or tradition that puts us in a right relationship with God. It is a work of God as we turn to Him by faith in Jesus.  Genesis 6:5 tells us, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Thus, we have a better understanding of Ezekiel 36:26, "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”


    List any rituals or routines you might have developed in an effort to “earn” God’s  favor.  


    Have you turned to God alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone? If not, will you do so today? 



    Write your own prayer today expressing your faith in Christ. 




  • June 23, 2020

    by Kevin Calhoun

    Read Mark 8

    As a follower of Jesus, I constantly remind myself to “trust in the Lord.”  Sometimes this is easy. Other times it is not. Why is this the case?


    I believe we often forget God’s powerful past. In verses 14-17 of our reading today, the disciples are worried because they only had one loaf of bread with them.  Notice Jesus’ response:


    “‘Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread?  . . . do you not     remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?’ They said to Him, ‘Twelve.’ ’When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?’ And they said to Him, ‘Seven.’  And He was saying to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’” (8:17-21).


    Think about the miracles Jesus performed in the last few chapters.  In chapter 5, He healed a demon possessed man, He raised Jairus’ daughter, and He healed a woman with an issue of blood. In chapter 6, He walked on water and fed 5000 people with a few loaves and fish.  In chapter 7, He healed a deaf mute man. Now, in chapter 8, He feeds a crowd of 4000.

    How quickly they had forgotten His power.


    It is important for us to look back and remember God’s powerful past.  Then we are able to live in the present and look forward to the future with assurance. 



    Describe a time when God demonstrated His power in your past. 




    How does this provide confidence for you today? 




    Dear Lord, remind me daily of Your presence and power in my life.  Lead me in peace and assurance today. Amen.


  • June 24, 2020

    by Kevin Calhoun

    Read Mark 9

    Every parent knows the desperation of being unable to help a child in pain. When our son was young he sat up in bed one night and began gasping for breath. The harder he tried to breathe, the more difficult it became.  Susan and I were frantic as we tried to help.  We took Robert to the hospital where he was admitted with a severe case of the croup. I will never forget the helplessness we felt that night.


    In verses 14-29 of our reading today, Jesus encountered a man seeking help for his son who suffered from seizures. The father brought his son to the disciples but they were unable to help. Then the man brought his son to Jesus who said, “All things are possible to him who believes,” (vs. 23).  At this statement the man replied, “I do believe, help my unbelief,” (vs. 24).


    I believe this man speaks for many of us today. We do believe in Jesus.  We do believe in the power of God to save. We do believe God is able to do all things in His will. There are times, however, when we struggle to have faith.  Perhaps it is the result of continual difficulties. Perhaps it is because our pain has endured for great lengths of time. Perhaps it is because we have momentarily taken our eyes off of God. Whatever the reason, we are led to pray, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”



    Describe a time when you were overwhelmed with doubt and found it hard to truly believe. 



    Describe how God brought you through this experience (through scripture, a friend, or healing). 




    Lord Jesus, give me faith in times of doubt that I might trust You completely today. Amen!


  • June 25, 2020

    by Kevin Calhoun

    Read Mark 10


    What do the following phrases mean to you? 

    “Show me the money.”

    “Everyone has a price.”

    “What’s the bottom line?”

    “They have deep pockets.”


    Perhaps they tell us that “money talks.” That may be the case, but I would add, “Money talks, but it often lies.”


    In Mark 10:17-31, we are introduced to a man described as a rich young ruler. He came to Jesus asking, “What must I do to be saved?” Based upon the subsequent conversation with Jesus, the man went away grieved because he had great wealth.  His question, “What must I do?” reveals the problem. His focus was inward. He thought he could buy eternal life. Because he was a slave to his money, the man had no room for God. He had great wealth, but he was spiritually bankrupt.


    We all know life is missing something. But we often believe that money or possessions or achievements will bring us peace. Three times in this passage (vss. 23, 24, 25) Jesus refers to how hard it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Salvation does not center on what we do or on what we possess. We are called to surrender to Jesus and trust in Him as our only means of salvation. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and to God be all the glory.



    List any areas in your life you need to completely surrender to God. 



    Explain why this might be difficult and pray for God’s help in this matter. 





    Lord, please don’t let me take my family, my friends, my church, and my possessions for granted. But, I also pray I will make You Lord of my in all things.  Amen! 

  • June 26, 2020

    by Kevin Calhoun

    Read Mark 11

    As we look at our reading for today, I want us to focus on verses 24-25.  In these two verses, Jesus gives us two simple but essential components of prayer: believing and forgiving.


    In verse 24, Jesus says, Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.” Throughout the pages of the Old and New Testaments we are instructed to pray with faith.  In Mark 9:23 Jesus said, all things are possible to him who believes.”  Then, In Hebrews 10:22 tells us we can approach the throne of grace with boldness. As we turn to God in prayer, we can do so with confidence in His character and power. We are taught to trust His promises completely.


    Then, in verse 25, we read, “whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgressions.” Refusing to forgive others prevents us from experiencing the blessing of God in all of its fullness.  We are all familiar with the words Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” (Matthew 6:12). We are to forgive others because God in His mercy and grace has forgiven us.


    Application: As we turn to God in prayer today, ask yourself two questions:

    What are the circumstances in your life today preventing you from fully trusting God?



    Is there anyone in your life you need to forgive today?  Who are they? 




    Lord Jesus, open my eyes to any bitterness I may harbor in my heart and help me to forgive as I trust You today.  Amen!


  • June 29, 2020

    by Jonathan Norton

    Read Mark 12


    In verses 13-34 of Chapter 12, we read about three types of Jewish religious leaders all trying to trick Jesus into saying something that they could use against Him. The Pharisees in verses 13-17 presented a political question, the Sadducees in verses 18-27 presented a spiritual question, and a religious teacher of the law (Scribe) presented a biblical question. It is not surprising that they all fail and actually end up getting a Bible lesson in the process from the greatest teacher in history. These religious leaders of Jesus’ day had their own rules, laws, regulations, rituals and ways of living. The problem was these legalistic leaders were missing the point of who Jesus is and why He came to earth. The problem for us is that some of these same types of people are sitting in the church today. Let’s have quick self-evaluation and reminder.   


    A Modern-Day Pharisee would be someone who is legalistic, judgmental, 
    opinionated and strict on those who do not keep the rules of religion. This person never misses a meeting, loves to critique others while pointing out how often they pray and read their Bible. Jesus teaches in this text that you can be full of religion and still be lost (or far away from God in your walk).   


    The Modern-Day Sadducee is more interested in politics than religion. This person likes the teachings of Jesus, but uses them in a humanistic and arrogant way. They are really concerned about position and possessions more so than the people of God.


    Lastly, the Modern-Day Scribe is someone who is well studied, understands theology, and seems to be a faithful follower. This person is smart and sensible. Where they fall short is on grace and their need to fully surrender to the Lordship of Christ. It is hard for them to grasp faith, not just intelligence, as this is how we grow in Christ.


    I think it is always good to look in the mirror and self-reflect to make sure we are not becoming like any of these three “religious leaders”.          


  • June 30, 2020

    by Jonathan Norton

    Read Mark 13


    In this chapter, we have what is known as “The Olivet Discourse”, or “The Olivet Prophecy”. We also read this in Matthew 24 & 25, as well as Luke 21. This is where Jesus teaches about the end times. He first reminds His followers not to be caught up in the beauty and impressiveness of the buildings, for they will be demolished one day. This is a great reminder for us today, that while we are blessed to have incredible facilities on our church campus, the most important things are the people and souls that come and go from these buildings. Where will they spend eternity?


    When we continue read Mark 13, I think it is important to understand three truths in studying this great sermon of Jesus:


    First, we must study this discourse with comparison to the prophetic books, such as Daniel. When we study all the scriptures in their entire context, we begin to understand God’s truths through the harmony of His Word.

    Second, we must understand the application of this discourse. We apply these teachings by understanding that Jesus did not teach on the future to satisfy the curiosity of His disciples. He wasn’t trying to clarify their confusion. Jesus was simply trying to warn that the end is coming at a time unknown, so we must be ready! Four times He warns “Be on Guard or Alert”, “Watch Out” (vs. 5, 9, 23, & 33). So, while studying this sermon can help us better grasp the future, we must understand why we need to be “ready” for the future.    

    Third, we must see that “Perseverance” is a requirement for Christians. Persevering is not a work we have to do in order to be saved, it is a work we do because we are saved. It is the sign of a true believer and should be expected. The Christian life is a super marathon not a sprint. It is something we are always training for. Jesus instructs us in today’s reading not to be deceived nor discouraged. We accomplish this through the daily training of prayer and Bible study.