The Unlikely Ones
In the final chapter of the Gospel of Mark, we encounter some unlikely heroes who accomplished bold and courageous acts of obedience.
Joseph of Arimathea was a prominent council member and secret disciple of Jesus. He asked Pilate for Jesus’ body to bury in a tomb and fulfilled prophecy.
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome purchased spices and waited until daybreak to rush to the tomb of Jesus to anoint Him. They didn’t give thought about the stone blocking the entrance to the tomb until they were on the way, but simply faithfully desired to minister to Jesus in His death.
These people took courage and did what they could do. That’s what gloriously ordinary people of God do when they serve a God who is anything but ordinary. They take courage, and they do the next right thing. They take courage, and they do what they can.
Maybe you feel gloriously ordinary. Take heart—you are in good company! Keep taking those steps of courageous faithfulness. You may never know on this side of eternity just how much of a difference those simple acts of faithful obedience have made.
Scripture is full of unlikely heroes. People you might not otherwise take notice of. People who simply offer up what they have to the Lord’s service rather than using what they don’t have as an excuse for inaction.
At the end of the Gospel of Mark, we meet some unlikely ones, whose hearts were reached by Jesus, whose lives were changed by His ministry, and whose examples show us what courageous faithfulness looks like.
Watch our final study in The Gospel of Mark series as we observe these faithful few who offer up what little they have to serve the Lord, trusting that God will do with it only what God can do.
Christmas Eve Worship Live Stream (12/24/21)
Join us for a special family Christmas Eve worship service as we gather to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus—Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! We gather in-person at 912 W. St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN and online at https://live.refuge.mn
Jesus was accused and abused, afflicted and oppressed. And yet, He was innocent of all the charges brought before Him. He could have defended Himself, but chose not to. At any moment, He could have ended it all with just a word…and yet He didn’t.
It wasn’t just to fulfill prophecies recorded centuries before in Isaiah 53, Psalm 22:16-18, and Zechariah 12:10 (among many others).
He didn’t put a stop to the suffering He experienced because of you. You are the joy that was set before Him. You are the reason that He endured. You are the joy—His joy—for which He endured the cross. It was for you that He endured so that He might have fellowship with you forever.
The Gospel of Mark 15:1-41 – Consider…Him
In Hebrews 12:3, we are invited to “consider Him”. Jesus—the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. (Hebrews 12:2)
As we encounter the cross in Mark 15, we consider Him—we wonder together what (or maybe who) was that joy that empowered Jesus to endure the cross.
Watch our study from this past Sunday as we worked our way through Mark 15 and considered Jesus—what He suffered and what He endured.
Join us Sunday at 10am as we worship the Lord and continue our study in the Gospel of Mark. We gather in-person at 912 W. St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN; online at https://live.refuge.mn; and on the radio at http://refuge.fm or 96.1 FM (in the St. Cloud area).
An unreasonable, irrational, and unhealthy assessment of our own ability to be independently awesome is such a difficult thing to let die, isn’t it?
We all secretly want to be the hero of our own story—able to muster up through sheer force of will, all the right answers, and all the right choices.
And yet…more often than not, we are anything but awesome independently. All of our bluster ends in failure, which we tend to gloss over so that we can give it another go next time. But in our own strength, it really doesn’t go any better next time.
Hopefully, the failure Peter experienced in Mark 14 can be our teacher so we can learn to be dependent rather than independent, wise rather than foolish. We can choose to learn these two complementary truths: apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15:5), and we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).
“If I have to die with you, I will not deny you!”
In our previous study in the Gospel of Mark, Peter and the other apostles made this bold declaration to Jesus after He revealed to them that they would all soon fall away (Mark 14:27-31). And this past Sunday, we see that none of them lived up to their promise.
No one felt this failure more than Peter. His failure taught him some important lessons. Through them, he changed from Simon (which means ‘shifting sand’) to Peter (which means ‘a rock’)—living up to the name Jesus gave him as a prophecy of who he would become.
How many times have we made a similar expression of pride or self-confidence in a vain attempt to impress or earn favor? Unfortunately, this bluster doesn’t bless or impress anyone—not even God.
Peter’s failure can be our teacher too so that we don’t have to repeat his mistakes. Watch our study in Mark 14:37-72 as we learn the lessons that transformed Simon to Peter.
Join us Sunday at 10am as we worship the Lord and continue our study in the Gospel of Mark. We gather in-person at 912 W. St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN; online; and on the radio – 96.1 FM (in the St. Cloud area).
The Shepherd of Bethlehem
Imagine what it would be like to have been in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth. Then to see and hear Him teach and preach as a man on the Judea hillsides. Picture what it would have been like to witness His crucifixion and death just outside of Jerusalem—and wonder what it all meant.
On Sunday, we were blessed to welcome Pastor Bill Welsh as the Shepherd of Bethlehem. In his portrayal of an onlooking shepherd from the outskirts of Bethlehem, Pastor Bill tells the story of the life of Jesus in an incredible presentation of the Gospel.
Watch or listen to Sunday’s message: The Shepherd of Bethlehem
Join us this coming Sunday (December 5th) at 6:15pm for an evening of worship with special guest Pastor Bill Welsh. Pastor Bill is a great personal friend of mine and our fellowship. He is also an incredibly talented musician and has a heart for leading others into a deeper intimacy with Jesus. He'll be leading us in a time of worship and sharing some original songs that will prepare our hearts as we prepare to celebrate Christmas.
Please join us this Sunday at 6:15pm in the Regency Venue for this very special event.
In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was pressed—not like the olives grown there. He was crushed by the weight of what was to come. In fact, the scripture tells us that He was troubled and deeply distressed. His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even to death (Mark 14:33-34).
This reminds us that Jesus is fully human—just as He is fully God. It was part of His human experience to feel sorrow and sadness—so much so that He felt He might die. And yet, Jesus was sinless. He was perfect.
This also shows us that it isn’t a sin to be sad, troubled, or sorrowful—it’s part of the human experience. Jesus was facing something so awful—to be a sin offering to receive the full wrath of God—that He was deeply distressed by it.
He understood what was about to happen and asked His Father if there was another way His will could be accomplished. “Nevertheless,” Jesus prays, “not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)
This is part of the human experience too—for a human whose heart has been gripped by the goodness and holiness of God. For God has promised that the trouble, distress, and sorrow of this life is not the end of the story.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends
Strengthened by grace is the Bible Teaching ministry of Pastor Dominic Dinger.
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