This study guide includes teaching and questions about encouragement (from 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12) and servanthood (from 2 Peter 1:1 and Mark 10:32-45).
This study guide includes questions from Mark 12:13-17 (morning lesson) and Joshua 8 (evening lesson).
Questions are from Ephesians 5:22-6:9 on marriage and family, and Mark 12:38-44.
Questions are from Ephesians 6:10-24 and Mark 12:28-34.
This Bible study guide contains questions from Ephesians 4:17-32 (morning sermon), Ezekiel 36:22-32 (supplemental reading to the morning sermon), and Mark 10 (evening sermon).
1. What is the difference between John's baptism and Jesus' baptism (1:4-8)?
2. What does it mean to "repent" of your sins and "believe" the good news (1:14-19)?
3. From chapters 2-3, what is different about Jesus compared to the Pharisees?
4. What is the point of the parable of the scattered seed (4:1-20)? What is the key to growing in faith, according to the parable of the lamp (4:21-25)?
5. What role does faith play in 5:21-6:6?
6. What role does faith play in 7:17-30?
7. In 7:31-8:26, Jesus heals two men by his touch. In between these two healings, what role does faith play, and how does the "touch" of Jesus factor in?
8. Is it significant that Peter's declaration of Christ and Christ's prediction of his death come after the block of teaching about needing a second touch from Jesus? Why or why not? (8:27-9:1)
9. What happens when Jesus predicts his death the first time? What teaching about discipleship does Jesus teach? (8:31-9:1)?
10. How do the disciples respond to Jesus' second prediction of his death? (9:30-37) What does this teach us about following Jesus?
11. How did the disciples respond to Jesus' third prediction of his death? (10:32-45) What does this teach us about following Jesus?
12. How does the fig tree stand as an image of the unfruitfulness of the people (11:12-25)?
13. What is the significance of Jesus' sermon in chapter 13?
14. What were the disciples doing while Jesus prayed in the garden (14:32-42)? How are we sometimes like this?
15. Why was the Temple curtain torn in two when Jesus died (15:37-38)?
16. Why did the women disregard the angel's command and tell no one about Jesus' resurrection (16:1-8)? Are we sometimes like this?
O Lord of love,
You have taught us that love is more important than all sacrifices.
May we love you and others more than our own created rituals
so that we may share your love with others
through Christ our Lord.
This is a continuation of my series about biblical church leadership. Read the most recent article, What is Oversight?, and follow the links to read the rest of the series.
In his book, The Myth of a Christian Nation, Gregory Boyd points out that the kingdoms of this world are built on power and control and that wherever a group of person exercises power over another, there the kingdom of the world is in operation.
[Caveat: He does not consider the exercise of power over others to be wrong at all times. Neither do I. But the danger exists for abuse.]
The kingdom of this world operates "from above," from a position of power and control over others. Jesus, in contrast, represents the kingdom of God, and operates "from below," in service.
Biblical leaders must be continually aware of the ways in which power can take hold in our ministries and lives. Do we look down on people? Do we press for "our way" in church services? Do we assume we know better than others? Do we teach and expect respect and obedience to us as leaders?
Or do we model a better way? a kingdom way?
Jesus repeatedly taught against power from above. In Mark 8-10, he corrected his disciples three times because they overreached for power and control. In one case, pride was in the way of true, genuine service (Mark 8:31-38). In another, they were arguing among themselves about which one had the highest degree of power with Jesus, who influenced him the most (Mark 9:30-37). On the third occasion, two of them bartered with Jesus for what they believed were the highest positions of honor with him; this later led to an argument among the disciples (Mark 10:35-45).
Jesus countered these power-grabs by reminding them that the path to greatness is a path that will never be understood that way by the world. It requires us to serve, to become last if we want to be first.
Biblical leaders will do well to continually remind ourselves to serve others, to operate "from below" them, rather than from above. True leadership follows first, and leads as others follow us in our imitation of Jesus.
What are your thoughts about this?
In this video devotional, I look at how we need to find balance between our personal spiritual disciplines and our action towards others in Jesus' name.
In Mark 12:28-34, Jesus taught a teacher of the law that the greatest commandment is to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. After several interactions with religious "leaders" who were not leading the people, Jesus finally broke out some teaching about the teachers of the law--they're hypocrites who neither love God nor love their neighbor.
They don't love God because they love themselves and their self-importance more. They don't love their neighbor because they'd rather abuse widows than serve them.
In contrast to them, in Mark 12:41-44, is, of all people, a widow! This widow loves God with all her heart, soul, strength, and mind. She gave a tiny fraction of what the rich were giving, but Jesus says she gave MORE THAN they gave.
How could she? Because she gave sacrificially, from her heart. It wasn't about the money. It's never about the money. She gave a gift of her heart because of her love for God.
We avoid hypocrisy by focusing on our love for God, seeing where that love leads us, and then loving him.
Sermon: How to Love God Without Hypocrisy (Mark 12:38-44)