Parable of the Sower (Fling the Gospel)

sowing_seedsIn Mark chp 4, one of the parables Jesus shares is the Parable of the Sower.  If you didn’t just click the link to Mark 4, it may be that you know this parable well.  I hope you either know this story already, or at least take the time to read it now.  After telling this particular parable, Jesus goes on to explain its meaning.  The seed is the gospel, and what happens illustrates many things that could happen to those who hear the gospel shared.  What I want to foucs on for a moment is exactly what Jesus meant by “went out to sow.” Continue reading

Jesus’ Example: Ministry

Jesus-healing-blindI have written many posts under the heading of Jesus’ Example.  So much of what Jesus did during his earthly ministry was to give us the examples to follow.  After washing the disciples feet, he actually told them it was an example and they were to do the same.  It was a dramatic demonstration of humility and service to one another.  We are commanded to imitate Christ by doing the things he did.  It should go without saying that must study his words and actions so that we can model our actions after his. Continue reading

Jesus’ Example: Knowing When to Shut Up

no talkingJesus certainly developed the reputation of knowing how to say exactly the right thing at the right time.  On many occasions the Pharisees tried to trap him with rhetoric, only to have Jesus make them look foolish instead.  His words could condemn with their harshness or heal with their gentleness, depending on what the situation called for.  We have all wished at one time or another that we could do that.  Yet Jesus also knew when it was appropriate to say nothing at all. Continue reading

Thoughts on Holy Week: Jesus’ Prayer from the Cross

jesus_crossIn his first sermon (Mark 1) Jesus offers a simple message: “Repent and believe the gospel.”  As he hangs on the cross some 3 years later, what is Jesus doing?  We have only a handful of words spoken by Jesus during the crucifixion, but there are some powerful lessons to be shared in them.

As he hangs on the cross, he was in between two thieves.  One of them mocked Jesus, but the other asked to be remembered by him.  Jesus replied that he would be with him in paradise.  Even while dying on the cross, Jesus won a convert!

But even more amazing: Jesus said the prayer of intercession for the very people crucifying him that day. Not just of the Roman soldiers, but for those really responsible, including the Jewish people, the priests and the Sanhedrin.  “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  He prayed for the very people taking his life.  Taking the form of a servant is one thing.  Washing feet is another.  Praying for those that despitefully use you is another entirely.  But none of those compare to asking forgiveness for the very people that are nailing you to a cross, where you will slowly bleed and die.

Jesus, Sheep or Shepherd?

jesus_shepherdThe LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

The 23rd Psalm; a very familiar passage and perhaps the most quoted poetry from the Old Testament.  In John 10, Jesus explains that he is the good shepherd.  He is not a hireling, but loves the sheep, and would lay down his life for them.  He has been entrusted by the Father to care for the sheep.  And of course, we’re the sheep.

We’ve all seen pictures of Jesus holding a lamb.   But it’s more than a cute analogy.  Sheep must be cared for.  They have few natural defenses, and are very near sighted.  They need the shepherd.  We too are no match for the devil, often nearsighted (or blind), and desperately need the Good Shepherd.  Continue reading

Jesus in the Wilderness, a short film

Thank you Noel Heikkinen for sharing this video.  Noel is doing a series on the Old Testament, and reminds us that each time Jesus resisted Satan he quoted from (what we call) the Old Testament scripture.

Jesus Shaped Spirituality

jesus-shapedWhat is Jesus Shaped Spirituality?  That is precisely the question that the InternetMonk tried to answer earlier this week.  In short, it is about making sure that our Christianity is modeled after the teachings and examples given to us by the Jesus of the Bible. 

If you’re a regular at this site, you know that I have written several posts on the examples given by Jesus.  Click “Jesus’ Examples” in the Categories list at right for a complete listing.  Each post is a specific lesson (or lessons) that we are to learn from something Jesus did himself, and in many cases encouraged his followers to go on doing.  Jesus didn’t lecture on how to be a Christian; he went around ministering to people’s needs and told his followers to keep doing the same things they had witnessed him doing. 

iMonk explains what a Jesus Shaped Spirituality looks like when we read the Scriptures and are challenged to conform to the image of Christ.  It’s not about denomination, emerging or church tradition.  It’s about each of us taking up our cross and following Jesus Christ.  Check it out.