Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mark 3:20-30

By Jake Agnew

That’s rather intense isn’t it! Unforgivable sins, demonic possession, fighting Satan and binding up the strongman… but don’t get overwhelmed- All this passage is about the authority by which Jesus is able to cast out demons- the Holy Spirit. I wanted to know how we can actually walk in the Holy Spirit authority that Jesus did.

So here are three things that we must understand and digest so they become part of who we are: Sitting, Walking and Standing.


We are saved and forgiven. If we have believe that Jesus died and paid the penalty for our rebellion against God (sin), if we have asked for his forgiveness and received him into our lives as our loving, merciful and rightful ruler, creator and father, then nothing can take away our position in Christ.

This is SO incredibly important. If you aren’t convinced of this, drench yourself in scripture about what Jesus did on the cross until you believe it!

Sitting speaks of Christ’s victory over sin, how we are victorious over sin because Jesus was victorious and we are seated with Christ in his victory.


This is all about responsibility. Now that we have this secure position in Christ, we are required to deny all those crap desires and attitudes that we had as a result of sin. This is about stepping up to the call to love others, serve them, put God first etc. etc.


Stand in the victory that God has given you. Fight the devil, be aware what he is doing in your nation, your city, your church, even know your weaknesses. Now actively oppose him. Don’t be afraid of him or cocky either. The devil is defeated and he can only try to make you afraid or trick you into believing something that is not true. Put on the full armour of God and start to praise and declare scripture over situations where the devil has influence. He may oppose you but remember Christ beat him a long time ago and you are more than a conqueror through Christ who gives you strength.

If you want a start for some more verses, read Ephesians 1-3 for sitting, Ephesians 4-5 for walking, Ephesians 6 for Standing.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mark 3. 13-19

By Trevor Grenon

Jesus Chooses 12 Apostles:

From fishermen to disciples and now to becoming apostles, Peter, James and John couldn’t have conceived where following Jesus would take them. How ‘lucky’ were they, along with the other nine appointees to be chosen as apostles!

Many times, I have imagined Jesus sending me out to choose ‘The Twelve’. Would I have matched even one of my choices with his? It’s a thought that scares me.

Among these apostles were the fishermen Jesus had called from their nets to come and join him; men who were demonstrating their commitment to learning this new way of Jesus; Men who had earlier exercised genuine faith in freely leaving the reliability of their nets to follow the stirrings of their hearts. These were hearts with integrity enough to believe the truth and authority in Jesus.

The call to ministry requires the development of Godly character. I’m sure that Jesus saw the depth of character that his new apostles had, and knew in the Spirit that these were the ones on whom he would ‘build his church’.

Jesus chose character before talents; an eagerness to learn before eloquence; and perseverance over presentation.

Herein lies my personal challenge: Do I make choices each day that produce character – the kind that Jesus could use to minister, or is my development of character suffering at the expense of my tendency to focus on my talents and abilities?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mark 2:18-22

by Bevan Whiting

The last 18 months in Christchurch has reminded us all how inflexible the modern ‘wineskin’ is, probably far more effective in a bar fight than the Jewish, animal skin equivalent, but definitely inflexible. CCTV footage of wine isles turning into a sea of red glistening glass has been a favourite fodder of our media.

Although the question posed to Jesus in these scriptures is about fasting, His response is far bigger. His response challenges our very character – how flexible are we? Those challenging Jesus with these questions had dedicated lives to becoming inflexible, religious. Have I done the same? Or, could I possibly be the opposite – tolerant, changing, growing, open, accepting, progressive, alive ...flexible.

As we long for Jesus to do new things in us and through us, to pour out His new wine, let’s strive to remain soft and flexible.

When our radical Saviour stretches our hearts, challenges our thinking, questions our motivations what will happen? I guess there is the risk that maybe we have become so religious that the worst thing possible could happen...nothing. But if we can remain flexible then the most beautiful thing could happen...we become more like Christ.

When Jesus comes back and wanders down the wine isle will He have to wade through a sea of red glistening glass? Or, will there be plenty of fine vintage wine, fit for one serious party!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Psalm 25:1-10

In you, my God,I put my trust.

I trust in you;

do not let me be put to shame,

nor let my enemies triumph over me.

3No one who hopes in you

will ever be put to shame,

but shame will come on those

who are treacherous without cause.

4Show me your ways, Lord,

teach me your paths.

5Guide me in your truth and teach me,

for you are God my Savior,

and my hope is in you all day long.

6Remember, your great mercy and love,

for they are from of old.

7Do not remember the sins of my youth

and my rebellious ways;

according to your love remember me,

for you, are good.

8Good and upright is the Lord;

therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

9He guides the humble in what is right

and teaches them his way.

10All the ways of the are loving and faithful

toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mark 1:9-15

by Amy Whiting

Do you know these phrases?

“To boldly go where no man has gone before”

“Mama is like a box of chocolates...”

“Go ahead, make my day”

“Show me the money...”

These are all famous phrases from movies that have become part of our everyday language that when used have the echoes of something deeper, something shared, something understood. When my three year old son defies me and won’t put his seatbelt on...and I say “You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk”...we all know who is going to win this standoff!

It’s that kind of echo that was going on in this passage for the original readers - “You are my son. You are the one I love. You make me very glad.” (Psalm 2, Isaiah 40-55) 40 days in the wilderness. (Exodus journey, Exodus 15:18) “The time is fulfilled. God’s kingdom is arriving.” (Isaiah 40:9 & 52:7)

These words, grouped together evoked for the original reader the promise of God and the story of God – the long awaited arrival of the true King, the one who would put things to right...and what could not be missed was this: God was saying – my Son is the King, He is setting up His kingdom now...the appropriate action then (and now) is to...

“Turn back, and believe the good news!”Let God be God and establish His rule in our lives and through our lives.The question is: do we hear the call & are we responding?

Prayer for Today:

“Lord Jesus Son of the living God, help us to believe that you are the world’s true king, and to turn back from all that gets in the way of your rule in our lives.”

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mark 2:13-17

By Josh Taylor

In Jesus’ day there were social dining conventions, as there are today in some ways but probably more explicit. According to these social norms a host with status in the community such as a Pharisee should only invite people who boost their own standing in the community. So this would mean a person like a Pharisee would invite people within their own social standing. People did this so that they wouldn’t lose face socially. In a strong culture of honour and shame these things are very important.

So mealtime was a time for many to maintain the social hierarchy. People would use a network of relationships to maintain social power.

So, of course the Pharisees ask Jesus' disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" These people didn't rate highly on the social scale. Jesus' answer to the Pharisees was that he has come to those in need: the sick.

What we can so easily miss when we read this text is this: we can label everyone else as the "sinner or tax collector". The beautiful thing about Lent is that this is a time where we stop and examine our own lives. It won't take most of us very long to figure out that we are indeed sick and that we also need healing. The good news for us is that Jesus longs to sit at the table with us. He didn't come to pat the self righteous on the back but rather to heal broken sinners.

A prayer for today: Father, we come before you as people who are broken sinners in need of healing. Jesus, may you bring healing and wholeness to our lives. Holy Spirit, inspire us afresh to have love for those in our world who are also sick like us and in need of healing. Amen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mark 1:21-28

Recognizing Authority (Mark 1:21-28)

by Liam Cadigan

In our world today roles of authority are usually clearly visible, such as a policeman has his uniform or a Judge and a teacher/principle have a title.

A question I ask is, where does the authority for these roles, titles etc come from? If I get caught speeding, a policeman gives me a ticket because I broke the law, if I stand before a court on trial for theft, I am judged in accordance with the law, or if I argue and refuse to listen to the teacher, I am breaking the class rules. We see an occurring theme of law.

The authority for these roles then lies not on the uniform or title but in what the uniform and title serve, the law. If a Policeman, Judge or teacher is not a faithful servant of the law/rules their authority lacks plausibility.

“the people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority…” Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. God’s perfect, obedient, faithful and righteous Son fulfills Gods perfect law. Hence as Jesus teaches people begin to recognize the breadth and power of his authority. We also see however that Jesus authority is not recognized amongst the seen but also the unseen. The evil spirit knew who Jesus was, he knew his authority and power.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday Reflections - Psalm 51

By Josh Taylor

Today we begin a journey together...

In Mark chapter 1 we read that the Spirit pushed Jesus out into the desert. Here Jesus was tempted and tested. Lent is a time where we imitate Jesus' withdrawal into the desert.

(As we read through Mark together, the daily posts will be accompanied by pictures from 40,an illustrated book by Si Smith. There are 40 cartoons depicting the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert).

Lent is a time where we give up certain things or take on new practices. We don't give up chocolate or coffee or whatever it may be simply because we should because it's Lent. Rather, we give something up in order that we may be transformed. As we practice the disciplines of prayer, fasting and giving we discover afresh that life is in fact a gift, that all we have is given to us. We become more aware of God's loving grace in our lives.

In the opening chapter of Mark the words of the prophet Isaiah are echoed:
"Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him."

This is the word of God to us for this day:

"Prepare the way for the Lord".

Lent is a time where we prepare the way for Jesus. We clear out our lives, we freshly acknowledge that Jesus is Lord above all else.

A prayer for today from "Lent for Everyone" by N.T. Wright:

Wake us up, gracious Lord, by the message of your coming, and help us, in our hearts and our lives, to be ready.

A "to do" for today:

Pray through Psalm 51 today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rediscovering Lent

We are about to embark on the journey of Lent as a church. For some of us this is a new thing. Many of us did it for the first time last year. Some of us have grown up doing it. Some of us don't even know what Lent is about.

So for those of you having thoughts such as

"What on earth is Lent!"

check this good wee blog out:


"Isn't it just an old ritual?"

check this one out:

Let's rediscover the beauty of Lent together.