Bev McCann

MGM

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Rooted With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on April 15, 2018 – 6:25 am -

Touching Jesus
Part Two

Last week we began a journey with some men that needed to get their friend to Jesus. Touching Jesus was all that mattered. So, let’s jump back into the story . . .

Whatever it Would Take

“And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd . . . ”
(Mark 2:4)

They start their journey. Gently—but firmly—they each take a corner of the mat that’s connected to wooden poles and lift. They begin to carry this man to the place where Jesus is. How far did they have to walk? Was it a few blocks or a few miles?
Obviously, the distance wasn’t a concern to them. The issue? Get to Jesus! Their arms become fatigued. Pain sears through their lower backs, and they’re realizing how difficult it is to carry a human across rocky paths,
up hills,
down dusty roads,
and through narrow streets.
Finally, they reach the home.
Now, their hearts sink.
They see the house. And they see the crowd spilling out the door and huddling around the windows. How will they ever get inside? They realize the nature of the crowd and the stature of a paralytic. They have to try.
Jesus was in the house!
​Touching Him is all that matters.
​They edge their way to the door.
​Desperation has now become personified.
​​It’s their heartbeat. It’s the sweat on their brows.
​​It’s the agony piercing through their strained muscles.
​They inch their way along the outside, but the crowd is ruthless. Someone screams, “Hey! We were here first.”
Another, “If we could move forward, we would! We can barely see and hear what’s going on. So, stop pushing.”
​They can’t get in.
​They don’t give up.
Desperation’s heartbeat only pulsates faster.
​Rocks inside their open-foot sandals have rubbed their feet raw.
​​Their palms, sweaty and burdened from the weight, slip on the poles holding the mat. The four men tighten their grip and clench their teeth in conjunction with the muscle spasms. They are burden bearers.
Jesus is in the house!
They will not give up.
​Desperation is alive.

“ . . . they uncovered the roof where He was . . . ” (Mark 2:4)
Unstoppable
​They exert the effort to carefully carry this man up the stairs toward the flat roof. Desperation pushes each one of the eight individual feet up each stair.
The mat hits the wall.
One of the four men trips.
​Regaining their balance, they continue up the stairs until finally reaching the roof. They’re actually on top of the house!
​Let’s watch as they lay this man down. No time is wasted. They immediately spring into action. They’re surveying the roof trying to find the exact location where Jesus is teaching. It wouldn’t do any good to lower him toward the back or middle of the house. They’ve already seen the crowd’s response. That won’t be good enough. They need to get to Jesus!
When they find where He is, their action continues as they begin to “unroof” the roof. With their bare hands they begin prying loose the tiles.
It’s hard work.
It’s painful work.
Nails are turned back.
Flesh is sliced as they uncover the roof.
But the price is worth the cost as they work to get this man, this burden to Jesus.

“So when they had broken through. . . .” (Mark 2:4)

​When the tiles are removed, the thatch that makes up the roof is exposed. They will not allow this barrier to stop them.
Jesus is in the house.
​Touching Him is all that matters.
​ Desperation.
On all fours—and with Navy Seal Team Six precision—they begin to remove the barrier. With bare hands they dig. And they dig. And they dig.
Can you imagine being on the inside of the house at this point? You’re captivated by Jesus presence. You’re hanging on every word. Then, you begin to hear scratching from the roof. Squirrels? Raccoons?
You try to ignore it when something suddenly hits your shoulder. You brush it away as another piece hits you on the head. What in the . . . All of a sudden, another piece hits the ground as light begins to shine down. Your attention is now focused upward as you watch dust particles in the light coming from a hole in the roof!
The roof is caving in. The crowd pushes back as you see four sets of hands tearing through the roof; four sets of hands digging through until they begin to lower a mat right to the feet of Jesus.

Target Reached

“ . . . they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying” (Mark 2:4)

​Hanging over the edge of the hole, they begin to carefully lower this man to Jesus’ feet.
​Jesus was in the house.
​Touching Him was all that mattered.
​When the crowd wouldn’t let them through the door,
​they uncovered the roof.
​They had to get to the Artist.
​What an incredible picture.
​What beautiful desperation.

Let’s Get Personal
​We have a lot to consider with this, don’t we? First of all, these four men give us a magnificent picture of genuine friendship. They also demonstrate their willingness to be burden bearers. And they display an intense desperation to have a legitimate encounter with Jesus.
​We also learn a lot from the paralyzed man’s situation. When it seemed impossible for him to get to Jesus, Jesus moved the right men into his life to bring him to the Great Physician.
​Can you relate?
​It’s about you.
​At times does it feel as though the distance between you and Jesus is just too far? The journey too difficult? The odds stacked against you are too high?
​That’s why sometimes we need a little help from friends.
​Real friends will move you closer to Jesus.
​Whatever it takes.

For more information on Billy Huddleston: HERE


Tags: ,
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on Rooted With Billy Huddleston

Rooted With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on April 8, 2018 – 9:15 am -

Touching Jesus
Part One

John Stallings penned the words,

“Touching Jesus is all that really matters,
then your life will never be the same.
There is only one way to touch Him,
just believe when you call on His name.”

​I hadn’t thought about that song for years. Until one night at a revival meeting in northeast Ohio that it flooded my memory.
It had been a good week. The crowds were good, services lively, and the Spirit of God was present. People had been responding, and lives had been changed. Masterpiece’s restored.
It was the last night of the meeting and a spontaneous testimony service erupted. It was beautiful. People stood to share what God had been doing in their lives. You could really sense a genuine atmosphere of praise.
​And then she stood. Her face was worn and tired. She stood with her shoulders slightly down. Her dress was very common. I’ll confess, I don’t remember her name . . . however, I’ll never forget what she said.
Her voice trembled as she spoke. She shared how difficult the past few years had been—especially the last year. I listened intently as she described how her husband of 60-plus years had lost his battle to Alzheimer’s Disease, her family had deserted her, and now she was facing sickness herself. Yet, she had a testimony.
She relayed to all in the sanctuary that night that God had been her constant and had proven to be true through it all. She continued her story and with a stronger, more determined voice concluded with this statement that has stuck with me:

“The last few years have been so very hard. However, I know this is true:
The promises that are before me are greater than the pain of my past!
You see, I have Jesus, and He’s all I need.”

​That’s when I realized that this woman had touched Jesus! And the memory of this song from my childhood replayed in my mind.

“Touching Jesus is all that really matters. . . . ”

​Can I confess to you there are so many times that I think of everything else but this? I come to a church service thinking about what I’m going to sing, what I’m going to preach, how the flow of the service will go, wondering who’s going to show up. . . . Consumed by so many things—everything but the most important: Touching Jesus.
I hope that statement’s not too shocking. I feel I can confess this because you’re likely the same way. I mean, we all live lives in a very real world. There are occupational issues, family concerns, and obligations that want to occupy our time and thoughts. If we’re not careful, these things will control us.
I need this reminder; perhaps you do, too. Touching Jesus is all that really matters. If we’ll touch Him, our lives will never be the same.

Another Broken Person

“Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men” (Mark 2:3)

This story is one that has been filled with heartache and struggle. We’re not sure when it began, but obviously, it’s been going on for quite some time. Another smeared life turned upside on the Artist’s canvas. What has happened?
He’s a paralytic. In other words, his body doesn’t work. No movement in his arms. No strength in his legs. His limbs are dead; useless.
He’s broken.
We don’t know how he ended up like this. It could be that he was born this way. Maybe he was dropped on his head as a child. Or perhaps it was the result of a tragic accident later in life. How he arrived here is unknown. He’s just here: paralyzed, dependent, pathetic.
Jesus—the One who speaks authority over evil, chases sickness away, touches the untouchables—is across town.
Was there a stirring in the paralytic’s heart to get to Jesus? Were thoughts rushing through his mind of getting to where Christ was? Or, did his friends simply insist that he go? Perhaps he was embarrassed. After all, he can’t feed himself, bathe himself, or go for a walk. He could never get to where Jesus was. Not, on his own. What a pitiful state. Just lie there. It was his sentence. It was his life.
However, the story doesn’t end there.
We meet four men. They’re nameless men.
No titles or position. But they have huge hearts.
They define the word friendship.
When the paralytic couldn’t get to where Jesus was, they would take him. What this poor man could not do for himself, they would do for him.
Matt carriers. That’s who they are.
Burden bearers.
​The Greek word pheró (fer’-o) can be translated to bring, bear, carry, or carry a burden. That’s what his life had become—a burden. He was a burden not only to himself but to others as well.
If he were to eat, someone would have to feed him.
If he were bathed, someone had to wash him.
A burden. And the burden has become much too heavy. So, they go to the only place they know to go. They bear the burden across town.

Jesus Was in the House.
​Touching Jesus was all that mattered.
​So, they bring him to Jesus.
You see, if Jesus would touch a leper, certainly He can meet this need.
​If He could banish sickness, disease, and evil . . . then paralysis is no challenge.
​ They’re so desperate for a genuine encounter with Jesus, they’re, willing to do anything to make it happen! Let’s highlight this. It’s an important fact!
​They are so desperate to get to Jesus, they’re willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES.
​Do you know that God absolutely loves it when we’re desperate for Him? Oh, how that blesses Him! Flash forward to Luke 18:35-43. We see this same kind of desperation in the blind man beside the road. He’s so desperate for a genuine encounter with Jesus, he starts shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
​He’s an outcast. Just like this paralytic.
​People consider him a freak. Just like this paralytic.
​He’s desperate for wholeness. Just like this paralytic.
​Jesus is so moved by the blind man’s desperation that in spite of all the other things vying for His attention, He stops in front of the blind man and heals him.
​Have you experienced this kind of desperation? Are you so spiritually desperate for a genuine encounter with Jesus that you’re willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to experience Him?
​We’ll pick up here next week . . . Until then, let’s live with this sort of desperation to touch Jesus in our lives. Not only for ourselves; but, for others as well.

For more information on BILLY Huddleston, visit billyhuddleston.com.


Tags: ,
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on Rooted With Billy Huddleston

What’s The Big Deal About Easter?

Written by scoopsnews on April 1, 2018 – 2:08 pm -

What’s the Big Deal About Easter?

This week, I want you to hear from my friend and coauthor Susie Shellenberger. Susie is passionate about Jesus, an author (she’s written over 55 books), a speaker, and an all-around great person.

For more information about my friend you can go here: SusieShellenberger.com

Now, let’s join her as she answers the question:

What’s the Big Deal About Easter?

It doesn’t get as much splash as other holidays, but it can hold its
own!

We need to give Easter a little help. Bless its heart. It just
doesn’t measure up to Christmas. Of course, how can you compete
with lighted trees surrounded by brightly wrapped gift packages?

If we surveyed everyone in North America, they’d probably
place Easter behind Halloween. While Easter gives us a few
chocolate bunnies, Halloween gives us entire sack loads of candy.
And for those who choose not to participate in the world’s custom of
trick-or- treating, churches open their parking lots, malls extend their
hours and people can still get all the candy they want without ever
having to mutter “Trick or treat.”

And Valentine’s day captures our hearts. It’s the time for
romance, and the opportunity to share love with friends and family members.
The day is filled with the smell of roses, boxes of chocolate
hearts, candy hearts, exquisite cards—all declaring love.
But Easter?
No tree. No parties. Not many decorations.
What do we get at Easter?
A sermon.
And sometimes even that’s a little flat!
A Little Help, Please
So maybe we should spruce Easter up a bit. If we could get
some really cool celebrities to get behind it, Easter might mean more.
It seems whenever we have a devastating tornado, tsunami or
earthquake that takes out a city, the celebrities rush to get involved
and make a difference.
So maybe we could get the celebrities to promote Easter on
television ads!

That would be a great start, but we’d still need a good
marketing plan. Maybe we bring the fashion industry into this. Put a
few models in some super cool T-shirts that boast “Easter Is Cool,”
“Vote Easter Best Holiday,” “Easter Is #1,” “Easter Rocks!”

Yes. If we can get the celebs, the athletes, the models and a
creative marketing plan, Easter might have a chance!

Wrong Plan

I’m glad it’s not up to us to make Easter popular. Easter was
never created to be popular.
Why?
Because it’s the message of the Cross.
And the Cross is an ugly message.
The Cross means death. And death doesn’t sell well.
You see, even if we could get the celebs to promote Easter . . .
if the celebs haven’t experienced and embraced the Cross the way
Christ did, what good would it do?
The truth is: God doesn’t need any celebs to take on Easter. He
doesn’t need help promoting it. He doesn’t even want help promoting
it. He doesn’t want people embracing Easter for the wrong reasons.
He wants true followers.
The God of color and rhythm and the Grand Canyon and
kangaroos and gravity and Niagara Falls and sound and lightening
and donkeys who talk and hyenas that laugh could have created an
amazing marketing strategy to promote Easter. But He’s not into
marketing. He doesn’t think strategy. He thinks love.

The Truth

The message of the Cross is an invitation to die. “Wanna follow
Me?” Jesus asks. “Then pick up your cross. We’re going over there.
It’s a hill called Golgotha. We’re going to die.”
How do you market this?
How can you make this sound glamorous?
You don’t. You can’t. If you try . . . you’ll miss the meaning.
But the truth behind Easter is dying with Jesus.
Why would anyone do that? They wouldn’t.
Unless—they’ve experienced first-hand the death of Jesus for
their own sins.
You see, once a sinner realizes that Jesus willingly picked up
the Cross and died in her place, she’s overcome with joy and love for
her Father. She wants to live for Him, obey Him, serve Him, follow
Him, die with Him.

A High Price Tag

Jesus told everyone to count the cost before deciding to follow
Him. (See Luke 14:25-30.) He reminds us that a contractor doesn’t
start to build a house without first counting the cost of all the
materials. If he doesn’t do this, he may only build half a house and
run out of money.
What does it cost to follow Jesus?
It costs a lot.
It costs everything.
You see, Jesus isn’t looking for half-hearted followers. He’s not
interested in being the next big fad. He doesn’t recruit with a polished
benefits package. That’s not the way He works. He’d rather have 12
sold-out disciples than an entire world that’s only talk.
So why would anyone want to follow Jesus?
Because of love.
No one loves like He does.
And forgiveness.
No one else has offered to pay for our sins.
And eternal life.
The only way to God (and to live forever in heaven) is through
Jesus (see John 10:10).
And peace. And purpose. And meaning. And joy. And real life!

They Don’t Compare

If you stack Jesus against all the other gods, none of them even
compare with Him! Think about it: In all other religions, you have to
work really hard to reach your god. You have to pray so many times a
day, or sacrifice so much, or travel thus far, or. …
All other religions show man reaching up to their god. ONLY
Christianity shows God reaching down to man! Wow. Read that
again, because it’s mega-powerful. ONLY Christianity shows God
reaching down to man!

Christianity is the only religion that offers free salvation. You
don’t have to earn it. You can’t pay for it. You’ll never be good
enough to deserve it. So God reaches down to YOU by sending His
only Son wrapped in human flesh to die an ugly death on the Cross
for YOUR sins.
That’s love!
And He invited you to participate.

Make This YOUR Easter
Many of you reading this have already accepted Christ as your
Savior. You’ve already asked Him to forgive your sins. (If you haven’t
done this, you can do it right now. You can tell Him you’re sorry for
disobeying Him, ask Him to forgive you and place your faith in Him.)
But many of you reading this right now really want to go deeper in
your relationship with Christ. We call this sanctification.
If you desire to give Christ your all, you can pray this prayer.
No, it’s not a bunch of magic words. You really have to mean it. And
God will know if it’s genuine.
Dear Jesus:
Thank You for forgiving my sins. I’m so grateful that You
died for me. I love being a Christian. But I want to go
deeper. I want to give You everything! So right now, I’m
choosing to die. I’m dying to my will, my dreams, my way,
“me first,” my future. I want You to be LORD of every area
in my life. I’m moving to the back seat; You’re now in the
driver’s seat. You’re in complete control. Please release
the power of Your Holy Spirit within me and enable me to
live a holy life pleasing to You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

New Plan

If you prayed that prayer and meant it, this Easter will become
something brand-new to you. More than a second-rate holiday, it will
be your love response to a God who’s crazy about you. He doesn’t
need a few celebs; He needs YOU.

YOU are His marketing plan.
YOU . . . simply loving one person at a time to Him.
YOU . . . dying to yourself and coming into new life through Him.
YOU . . . celebrating His resurrection from death.
YOU . . . living forever with Him.
This is Easter.


Tags: ,
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on What’s The Big Deal About Easter?

“Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on March 18, 2018 – 6:43 am -

What’s in Your Basket?
Mark 8:19-21

“When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?
They said to him, “twelve” . . . So, He said to them,
“How is it you do not understand?””

They were there.
When the leper was completely restored.
When a lame man began to dance.
When a withered hand was straightened.
When a demoniac was set free from his chains.
When the storm was stilled.

They were there.
They had gone out and preached the Kingdom.
They experienced the power of the Kingdom.
They touched the sick and they were made well.
They saw broken minds were restored.

They were there when five thousand people were fed with five loaves and two small fish. And, despite all the proof – they just didn’t seem to get it. With every new challenge, doubt seemed to arise.

Somehow, they just didn’t remember all He had done.

Are you facing new challenges this year?

If you said, “yes,” you’re in good company. Everyone will face something as the years go on. But the good news is, we don’t have to let those things defeat us. Let’s take a brief look at another example from the Gospel of Mark:

“And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided He among them all. And they did all eat and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments, and of the fishes.” – Mark 6:41-43

The disciples had a physical basket that reminded them that God was able to do what needed to be done. But more than that, when the physical basket was gone they would always have a figurative basket of remembrance to carry them through the rest of their days. Whenever they began to face something that seemed impossible, they could look back on that day and remember how their Master was able to make the impossible, possible.
In the Word of God, we are told to remember His works. Not so we long for that former place, but to remind us that the character of God is unchanging. If today, you’re facing the storm, an uncertain future or a bad health report, here is the question I want to ask you – What’s in your basket?

Don’t rush to answer that question.

Carefully ponder it and write down the blessings of God on a sheet of paper because the answer to that question will give you confidence to believe that what He has done in the past, He will do again. The Word says that Jesus is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” That means that what He has done, He is continuing to do right now and because He is moving in this moment, we can mark it down that bigger and better things are in store for the future!

I want to live my life remembering my basket!

Do you remember? How has God been good to you?

What’s in your basket?

 


Tags: ,
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on “Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

“Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on March 11, 2018 – 3:06 am -

Have you ever wanted to quit?

I have.

Looking back on those times, I realize it’s always because my focus has been wrong. I’ve had my eyes on all the wrong things . . .

This week, I’d like to do something a little different. I want to share two short devotionals from Psalm 73. Asaph, the psalmist, is experiencing those feelings. He’s questioning. And, he finds the answer.

Maybe you’re in a difficult spot right now.
Maybe you’re wanting to quit.
Maybe you’re trying.

Read Psalm 73.
Spend some time with Asaph.
Be encouraged.
Refocus.

Made for Worship
Psalm 73:1-17

​Asaph was appointed by the king to be a worshipper (1 Chron. 6:39). This wasn’t a one-time appointment, rather it was a life-time calling (1 Chron. 16:37). And yet, even worshippers can lose heart. How do you follow when all you want to do is quit?
​Asaph’s psalm is filled with raw emotion. At first, it seems that he has lost focus and forgotten his purpose. Looking around at others has seemingly brought him to his lowest point and has caused him to question his purpose. It was a battle that almost got the best of him.
​The shift came when he made the decision not to dwell long in his questioning. Instead, he chose that he would get back to what he was called to be – a worshipper. He determined to, “enter the sanctuary of God” and his perspective changed. That decision set his focus on One who was greater than this world or anything it should offer.
​Our tendency is to become distracted. And, it’s natural to become discouraged. In those moments remember the decision that Asaph made: Don’t remain in that despair and decide to worship.
​There is no greater purpose!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His mercy and grace
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”
Words by Helen H. Lemel


Tags: ,
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on “Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

“Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on February 25, 2018 – 6:36 am -

Blurred Vision
Mark 8:23b

“And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him,
He asked him if he saw anything.”

It was a journey in the darkness.
Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of Bethsaida.
So many, when they felt the touch of Jesus – or, even just heard His voice – were instantly made well.
But, not this time.
He was still completely blind.
So, it was a journey in the darkness.
Eventually, every journey comes to an end.

Last week, we thought about the distance that Jesus and this blind man walked. We just don’t know. All we know is that the journey started and eventually stopped. I’m still amazed at the trust of this man to go where Jesus was leading . . . All the while, still completely blind. I want to trust Him like that, don’t you?

Let’s jump back into the story . . .

At the beginning of verse 23, Jesus leads this blind man out of Bethsaida. At the end, they stop walking. And, this is where the story gets humorous for me. I want you to picture it – there is no conversation, no warning, no explanation – Jesus just spits on this man’s eyes.

Did you catch it?
He SPITS on his eyes!

They don’t do that at LensCrafters! I guarantee, if the next time you go to the eye doctor, you’re placed in the chair, they lean you back and lean over you, then he or she begins to clear their throat . . . Well, you’re out of there. You’ll go to Pearle Vision, Walmart, Sam’s Club, anywhere! You don’t spit in people’s eyes. But, Jesus did. I don’t know why. But, He did.

Then Jesus asks a question,
“What do you see?”

We must be careful not to simply quickly read past this question. It’s an important question. So important that it’s found (in one form or another) in verses 27 and 29. It’s a question that we are all confronted with in our journey; one we all must answer. And, the response will determine so much.

This is probably a good time to share some things that I believe about God:
• He does things completely
• There is a work He’s doing in me (and, in you too)
• He will finish what He started
In other words, He doesn’t half do it!
He longs to do a complete work in our lives.

What do you see?
I can only imagine how the conversation went:

“It’s better, Jesus.
I mean, before it was dark and now I see light.
There’s a blue sky. I see brown dirt.
I can see men, Jesus! But, they look like trees.
And, I’m pretty sure men aren’t supposed to look like trees.
But, it is better.”

Don’t you just love his honesty in this moment? You realize he could have just exclaimed, “I can see!” and gone on with his life. Because, the truth is, what he had now was better than what he had before. Before, he was in darkness. Now, he’s in light. Before, he had no sight. Now, he can see – just not clearly. His vision was blurred. So, he could have just said, “I can see!”, but he would have died thinking men looked like trees. He would have died never seeing clearly. He would have died with blurred vision. Instead, the man was honest.

May I ask you a question?

Why would you settle for less than God’s best for your life? So many of us settle for better when He has a best. Maybe I should express it like this: Why choose blurred vision when He has promised a brighter day? It doesn’t make sense does it?

There comes a time that we all have to be honest with Him.
The blind man was, and it made all the difference.

“I see men like trees, walking.”

Because of his honesty, Jesus touches him again. And, in that touch complete restoration came! Aren’t you thankful that we have a God that does things completely?!? In His touch the blurred becomes focused. He sees everything clearly. But, it came through his honesty.

So far, in our journey with this blind man, we have seen:
• We live in a blind city
• Most choosed to live in a blurred state
• Jesus came to offer a brighter day
And, if we believe that He does things completely we can see clearly now. But, it requires honesty before Him.

So, what do you see?

How is your vision?
Are you living in a blurred state?
Settling for better when God has a best?

Will you get honest with Him today?
Confess that wrong attitude.
Give Him that struggle that is dragging you down.
Deal with the negativity that keeps you defeated.

Whatever it is . . .
Get honest with Him so your vision can clear!


Tags: ,
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on “Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

“Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on February 10, 2018 – 11:23 pm -

Don’t Go Back to That Place!
Mark 8:22-26

The Nature of the Kingdom (8:22-10:52) section of Mark’s Gospel begins with the strangest miracle that Jesus ever performed. It is, at least, the only miracle where we see Jesus touching an individual more than once to accomplish the intended outcome. And, it is filled with great truth that should impact on our lives tremendously.

In my last devotional thought, I offered a broad outline of Mark’s story of Jesus. The first section, The Kingdom Revealed, comes to a close with Jesus confronting His inner circle with a series of questions (8:17-21):

Do you not yet understand?
Is your heart still hardened?
Having eyes, do you not see?
Having ears, do you not hear?

In other words: They simply weren’t getting it.

Suddenly, we’re in Bethsaida. You’ll remember Bethsaida . . . This is one of the cities that Jesus pronounced woes upon in Matthew 11 and Luke 10. Your subheading may call it an impenitent city. In other words, they were unwilling to be sorrowful over the Godless lives they had been living. Jesus had been amongst them revealing His Father’s kingdom. His message was very clear: “The Kingdom of God has come! Repent and believe.” (Mark 1:15). Yet, they refused. Bethsaida was a blind city. They had refused to receive the light that Jesus came to offer.

Isn’t it interesting that this is the backdrop of our narrative?

We may be tempted to believe that this is simply a story about a man’s physical blindness. But, the whole Nature of the Kingdom section is back dropped with blindness. It begins with Jesus’ question, moves to this physically blind man, and ends in chapter 10 with a blind man named Bartimaeus.

I’m convinced that it reveals the desire of this Kingdom:
• The King comes to us in our state of total blindness
• He refuses to leave us there
• He desires to lead us into the full light of the Kingdom here and now: The Kingdom has come!

Think about this:

The King has come so we can see fully.
We don’t have to remain in our blindness.
Here’s the question: Do we really want to see?

I want us to notice something about the story we might read over.

The first thing Jesus does, when they bring the blind man to him, is to take him by the hand to lead him “out of the town” (23). Before there is any physical sight restored, Jesus takes him by the hand and leads him out of Bethsaida to a place where He will do a great work in his life.

Don’t miss it . . .

He (Jesus) leads him out of the town (Bethsaida, the blind city) in order to do a deep work in this man’s life. This was the environment of darkness he had been living in and now, Jesus wants to lead him out. Before He does anything else–even before physical sight is restored–He wants to lead him out of the darkness he’d been living in for so long.

May I speak plainly?

I’m captured by this scene.
In its simplicity, I really am.

I have come to realize that many will never experience the deeper work of Jesus in our lives. Why? Because we’d rather remain in the environment of darkness that we’ve lived in for so long. He comes and longs to lead us out and we just keep going back to those dark places.

What is that He is leading you away from in order to do a deeper work?
Are you willing to leave that environment of darkness that only serves to keep you blind?
Would you trust Him enough to lead you out?
Do you really want to see?

Our story begins with Jesus leading a blind man away from a blind city.
It ends with Jesus speaking a command to this fully sighted man:
“Don’t go back to that place!”

Will you allow Jesus to lead you from your environment of blindness?

Then, heed His command: Don’t go back to that place!

More on Billy Huddleston HERE


Tags: , ,
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on “Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

“Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on February 4, 2018 – 5:15 am -

The Nature of the Kingdom
Mark 8:22 – 10:52

The Gospel According to Mark is often referred to as the Gospel of Action. That’s really a great description. Mark has a story to tell and he won’t waste any time in its telling. Scene after scene, with breakneck speed, he introduces us to Jesus.

Over the years I have divided Mark’s gospel in different ways. However, for the purposes of our next few studies I want to offer a simple outline:

• Mark 1:1 – 8:22: The Kingdom Revealed (The Jesus of Galilee)
• Mark 8:22 – 10:52: The Kingdom Requirement (The Nature of the Kingdom)
• Mark 11 – 16:20: The Kingdom Fulfilled (The Jesus of Jerusalem)

In the first section, The Kingdom Revealed: The Jesus of Galilee, we are introduced to the One who is the Source of Authority. . .

. . .Over mankind
. . .Over the realm of Truth
. . .Over the spiritual realm
. . .Over the physical realm
. . .Over every realm – even over sin and death!

It’s in this section that we see what the Kingdom is all about. The Kingdom of God has come near, and it stands in stark contrast to the kingdom that had been established by the religious leadership of the day.

It doesn’t take long for us to see that the Jesus of Galilee is very attractive. It’s evidenced by the crowds that are constantly gathering. That’s what happens when lame people dance, lepers are restored, evil is driven out of lives, and bellies are filled. People flock to this Jesus. Mark has a way of revealing that the hysteria of the crowd always hinders what Jesus has come to do: To present His Father’s Kingdom. Instead, they get caught up in the spectacle, the show, the miracles. In their excitement over these things they simply miss Him.

In the last section, The Kingdom Fulfilled: The Jesus of Jerusalem, we see how this Kingdom is realized. In our earthly minds we are tempted to see palaces and thrones, but this is a Kingdom that is established on a cross. The one place Jesus should have avoided He willingly enters. This entrance is not in the spirit of conquest as the crowds would recognize or even prefer. Rather, it seems He enters with a willingness to be conquered.

The Jesus of Jerusalem is not very attractive. Yet, it’s through this that the Kingdom is fulfilled! The cross does not puncture the hopes of mankind . . . It opens the door to the Kingdom and invites every man to walk through and take their place in this Kingdom!

So, how does Mark transition from the Jesus of Galilee to the Jesus of Jerusalem?

How is it possible to be part of this movement, this Kingdom?

The evangelist transitions us with a section that could possibly be described as the heart of the story, The Kingdom Requirement: The Nature of the Kingdom. Positioned between the revelation of the Kingdom and its realization, sandwiched by stories of blindness, the nature of this Kingdom is revealed.

It’s an exciting journey that I want to invite you to walk with me. It will begin and end with movement from backdrops of blindness to sight.

I want to see fully.

Will you join me?

More on Billy Huddleston HERE


Tags: , ,
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on “Rooted” With Billy Huddleston