< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: May 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ashley Judd Quote

I just read an interview with Ashley Judd where she was asked about what she wanted to do with her life and she said “To make my life an act of worship.”

I love that! And I wish more people who are so in the spotlight would not only think that way and act that way, but come right out and say it too!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mark 5:25-34

Mark 5:25-34 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Whatever is wrong in our lives there is a God solution to help us. This story is all about our need for God. And about how the world can’t help us. This woman had been to doctor after doctor for years and had not only gotten worse, she was now broke.
And desperate. It took being desperate, just like Jairus was in the last story, to make the right choice. She came to Christ.

Romans 3:9 -18 tells us that without Christ all of us are lost in sin. That our paths are ruin and misery. We need Grace. When we finally realize this, the desperation will drive us to Christ. There is no other hope.

When we do come to Him, Romans 3:23-24 tells us that He offers us Grace as a gift. The woman touched Christ and the healing was immediate! Jesus felt power leave Him, showing that His healing, His salvation cost Him something. The cross cost Him.

In Mark 5:32 He looked to see who had touched Him. He knew who it was, but He was reaching out to give her spiritual blessing. She bowed to Him and told Him the truth, a beautiful picture of how we need to come to Him. Bow down, confess and repent. She had already believed.

And Jesus said, “Daughter”. In that moment she was saved and part of the family of God. When He told her to go in peace He was saying the warfare for her soul was over and she was at peace with God.

Romans 5:1 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mark 5:21-24; 35-43

Pastor Kurt continued his sermon serics on The Gospel of Mark Sunday.

Mark 5:21-24; 35-43 21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.
A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

We’ve heard Bible stories like this one so many times in our lives that we don’t really “get” it anymore. We say how awesome God is, that we are amazed at His power, but we don’t live like we think that way. When we read stories like this one, we should get down on our knees and worship the One who can bring us back from death!

Jairus was a synagogue official. He was successful, wealthy and a big deal in Capernaum. But this didn’t keep him from having a terrible problem. For him to come to Jesus, the problem had to be bad. He had to be desperate. The Jewish leaders hated Jesus; Jairus risked his position in going to Christ. But he loved his little girl and he had no where else to go.

In Luke 7 there is a story about a centurion who had a valued servant that was sick and about to die. He sent some Jewish elders to Jesus, who came and healed the servant. Jairus may very well have been one of the elders. He would at least have heard about that healing. So he knew Jesus could heal his daughter, if He would.

The interesting thing is, seeing the healing of the servant didn’t bring him to Christ. It wasn’t until he had a need of his own that he threw himself at Christ’s feet. He had to be desperate.

When he asked Jesus to come heal his daughter, Jesus turned toward the house. But he was delayed to help someone else (we’ll look at that story next time). During the delay, the daughter died and word was sent to Jairus that there was no need to bother Jesus anymore. It was over.

At least that’s what they thought! But Jesus went to the house and said “She’s not dead.” That they should not fear, but believe.

Fear won’t do anything for you. Believe and trust only in Christ. Then watch what happens!

Jesus was calling upon them to become believers. Fear is the failure to trust in God. They were being told the Gospel in a couple words: repent and believe! Fear not and believe!

Jesus has conquered death. Isaiah 25:8 says it has been swallowed up. Hosea 13:14 asks death “where is your sting?”

Jesus brings her back and then He tells her to get something to eat. He knows everything we need and cares about every part of us.

When He told the people not to go and tell what happened, He was telling them to not make too much of the physical miracle. This was really about the spiritual miracle. Physical is always sensational, but spiritual is way more important!

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mark 5:1-20

Mark 5:1-20 1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Jesus and His disciples were now on the other side of the lake. This was a Gentile region where the people wouldn’t have heard about Him and the miracles He was doing yet. Jesus was beginning to extend the Gospel beyond the Jews.

The demon possessed man was violent and very strong. A legion is a Roman garrison of 6000 soldiers so the reference here shows how vast and strong in number the demons inside this man were. Human effort would be no match for them.

The man ran to Jesus as He came ashore. He needed to be rescued! We ALL need to be rescued!

Ephesians 2:1-3 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

All non-believers are given over to the flesh and controlled by Satan.

The demons actually showed honor to Jesus here. When He showed up they began to be tormented. They ran to Him and bowed down. They confessed who He was. (They knew!) They responded obediently when He asked them their name. And they begged Him for grace.

The Demons are forced to act this way by His presence, His sheer power and because they really know who He is. We bow down, confess who He is, respond obediently and beg for grace because we love Him.

Sometimes people ask why Jesus said yes to the demons and sent them into the herd of pigs. It was because it would show the people who was in control and therefore honor Him the most. In doing this, He cleansed the man from the demons, He cast out the powerful legion with one word commanded and showed how powerful the demons were because they got 2000 pigs to react in a split second. He performed this miracle so they would make no mistake who He was!

The townspeople were very afraid and asked Him to leave. He said yes to this request also. The request He didn’t say yes to was from the man who wanted to go with Him. Jesus told him to stay and tell his story to his own people.

In His mercy, Christ left a missionary to the people who rejected Him. This also tells us not to be discouraged by His “no” answer. If He says no it’s because His plan is better: for His glory and for our good. He has all the pieces of the puzzle. And it commands us to tell our own story. We all have a testimony. We need to share with others how God has had mercy on us.

Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jewelry to express your faith

Show who's special in your life (or what's close to your heart) with this stylish and attractive friendship bracelet. With a personalized, printed charm, this bracelet is a great way to express yourself. You can choose from one of my designs or send me your own idea and I’ll create a unique bracelet or necklace just for you.

Cafe Press

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Monday, May 09, 2011

An Asheville Night of Worship

John and I went to The Cove’s open house on Saturday. We went last year too, but what a difference a year makes! In 2010 900 people attended. This year 2900! But the staff and volunteers couldn’t have been more gracious and as always the grounds and buildings were beautiful!

We also went to the Asheville Night of Worship there that evening. Robert Williams from Seacoast Church in Asheville did a terrific job as the musical director for the evening and brought the Seacoast band along. Will Graham gave the message.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mark 4:35-41

I'm continuing with posts from Pastor Kurt Gebhards' sermon series on The Gospel of Mark. To read all of them type Gospel of Mark into the search bar at the top of this blog.

Mark 4:35-41 35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Storms happen and will continue to happen! It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or not, because note; the disciples were right where Jesus told them to be and He was with them and they were still in a storm! James 1:2 says “when” the storms happen, not “if”. And he was talking to believers.

The Sea of Galilee gets very windy every evening. The disciples would have known that, especially the fishermen. Most people didn’t take a boat out on it in the evening. But Jesus wanted to get them away from the crowds for some small group time, so this is what they did.

Then he proceeded to go to sleep. Where the Bible says “that day” we need to go back to Mark 3:20 to see where the day began and how many things happened. It was a LONG and BUSY day. And Jesus was exhausted. So exhausted he was sound asleep in an uncomfortable boat with waves splashing over the sides and His disciples in a panic all around Him.

When the storms come our attitude is important. We need to be prepared. Many people play the blame game and that’s what the disciples did here. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” This is a natural human response, but not a good one. Of course He cares! He loves all of us deeply and to suggest otherwise is rebuking His very nature!

But in spite of their reaction, Jesus mercifully stopped the wind and waves. We need to remember how big our God is. We need to come to Him, turn our problems over to Him and trust that He’s there for us. He has authority over everything. Trials remind us of the one who can actually do something about them!

But then we have to allow Him to work in His way not ours.

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