Good Stewards of God's Varied Grace - 1 Peter 4:10-11

1 Peter 4:10-11 gives a word of instruction and encouragement for both speaking gifts and for serving gifts. God’s grace is given in a variety of ways, but God’s goal for all of His gifts is the same: that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.The great risks of failing to understand this are that instead of embracing this God-given variety, we will flatten everything out into a boring sameness, and instead of speaking for God and serving in His strength, we will speak our own words and serve in our own strength. The first error downplays the…

Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 by CJ Bowen

Mark XI: Only Believe - Mark 5:21-43

When Jesus crosses the sea back into Judea, He is surrounded by the crowd once again when a synagogue ruler named Jairus came and fell at his feet. His daughter is dying, and her only hope is Jesus. And so no matter what happens to Jairus’ reputation, he puts his trust in Jesus, and Jesus responds by going with him.The crowd follows too, and here Mark gives us another one of his famous sandwich stories: we start with Jairus, but then Jesus is interrupted by a woman with a flow of blood, and then we return to Jairus. This isn’t…

Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 by CJ Bowen

Mark X: The Fear of the Lord - Mark 4:35-5:20

Does Jesus make you afraid? We talk about loving Jesus, knowing Jesus, or being amazed by Jesus, but do you fear Jesus? You ought to!We are still in the first section of Mark’s gospel, where the main question that Mark seeks to answer shows up in 4:41: “Who is this?” And what Jesus does in these two stories from Mark 4:35-5:20 moves us closer to an answer, but it’s not a safe or comfortable answer.What ties these accounts together is the response that Jesus gets. The structure of both stories is similar, and you can see it clearly when…

Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 by CJ Bowen