“And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.” – Mark 1:29-39 (KJV)
Good Afternoon CLMNWA Family!
This is one of those days that looks a little bit nicer outside then it actually is. It’s not quite warm enough to take off the hoodie just yet, but the sunshine is out. So, it’s a perfect day to sit inside, and work on the fourth message of our Lent series. So far, I think the messages have been pretty good, and hopefully this one will continue that trend. We’ve been in the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark so far, and I hope that you’re taking the time to not just read the message but the Bible that’s attached.
There’s not much to introduce now that we’re in the midst of this series. So, with that let’s believe God for all those things we normally do as I get ready to type a message, and get into today’s message.
That Is Why I Have Come:
I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the importance of knowing our why? It’s important to know what it is we’re doing, but the deeper thing to look at is why. These messages, for example, are my what. My calling and vocation is to write blog posts like this one. One of the reasons why I do this is because it’s my way to do my part of fulfilling the great commission. Another reason why I do this is simply because I love God, and I want to show Him my love for Him by obey Him. How many of you know that the gifts and talents God gives us are WHAT we are to use to bless Him and those around us in return? However using these same gifts and abilities to bless God is the reason WHY we use them…such is the case with these messages. My “why” is that I want to help those of you who have never met Jesus to Him, and help those of you who do know Jesus to know Him better and deeper. In other words, I guess I use my what to illustrate my why.
As we look at our Scripture we see Jesus’ growing popularity, but being popular wasn’t Jesus’ why for coming. We all know that the greatest why Jesus came was to reconcile man back into fellowship with Himself, but before we get to the Cross we get to take a glimpse into the journey Jesus was on to get there. I imagine that so many in ministry started out with a similar why, but some have allowed their popularity to become their why instead of the great commission. Listen, I’m constantly telling y’all that the most important thing about these messages isn’t Pastor B’s popularity, but what God is speaking through them. If God isn’t speaking through these messages then all of the numbers that show the growth of Christlike Ministries NWA really don’t mean a whole lot because it’s never been about making me more popular.
I know y’all probably think I don’t really mean it, but when I say that I would continue to do this even if my only audience was Jesus Himself. Why? Because it’s about Him and making Him known. Come on, friends, I’m nothing special in and of myself. I don’t have any special skill to play a musical instrument or sing or act or play professional sports. I was reminded the other day of how I still try to fit into a world that I’m not meant to fit in with. I’ve never been popular, and maybe that’s why it’s so easy for me to not really seek my self-worth from the amount of people who actively engage with this ministry. It’s not about me. The phrase “I am second” doesn’t really apply to me because the reality is that I’m not even second in my life.
Don’t get me wrong. I am thrilled that the messages I’ve written are read all over the world, but that’s not my why. My why is that I want to do my part to reach the unreached, and fulfill the great commission. My why is that I want God to be blessed and get the glory for all He’s done, all He’s doing, and all that He has yet to do in…with…and through my life. The words I write are meaningless if God isn’t speaking through them to us. Otherwise they’re just words on a blog or computer screen or smart phone. I don’t want to write just words on a screen I want people to hear God in the words that I write. I want them to encounter God. I want the Holy Ghost to poke the hearts of my readers to have people say “that’s me right there”.
You see…my what becomes meaningless without my why. My what is directionless without my why. My what is dependent upon my why. There’s a reason employers ask you questions about your dreams and goals and aspirations. What is your vision, what is your mission, what are your motives…why do you do what you do. Those questions are all tied into knowing your why…and once you know your why your what will become more effective!
One of the things we know about Jesus (and I’m getting ready to close this message) is that He often withdrew from the crowds because you have to remember that He was tempted and touched with everything we are which means that part of the reason Jesus withdrew is probably because in our flesh we naturally enjoy when we grow in popularity. Think of some of the well-known mega-church preachers today. I’ll bet you that some where along the way they fell in love with their popularity, and as Jesus said in Revelations they lost their first love. They may have fantastic ministries that do fantastic things to help the poor, reach the lost, and disciple the found…but some where along the way they got too busy for the secret place with God. They began to allow their popularity to produce in them a different why, and now their what is completely different from it was when they started out.
The thing I’m pointing out here is that if Jesus had to withdraw from the crowds to allow the Father to keep Him focused and humble…how much more will we need to do the same thing? There’s a reason that Jesus said that Mary found the needful thing at His feet because it’s at His feet that we are able to do exactly what Jesus did when He withdrew from the crowds. Y’all know that I have written many times that had Martha started out at Jesus’ feet with Mary they both would’ve gotten up from that experience being able to do their “what’s” better because they had better “why’s”!
There’s a reason that God has been dealing with us non-stop since November of 2015 about the one needful thing. It’s not the actual physical sitting at the feet of Jesus that is important…again that is the what. It’s the being in His presence, it’s the loving on Him and allowing Him to love on you, and it’s the understanding that He enjoys being in our presence as much as He sees to it that we enjoy being in His. We don’t have to kneel at the altar in order to sit at His feet, but we do have to sit at His feet in order to find the why to our what.
And with that I’m going to close this message with a simple statement or question that only you can answer…
Know your why.
As you’re taking the time to sit at the Lord’s feet I hope you’ll take some time to reflect for the answers to these questions. As always the answers for these questions aren’t for the general public, but they’re necessary for you to have a better, deeper, more intimate relationship with God.
- What is the main purpose of my involvement with the people around me?
- How can I ensure time for withdrawal from my involvement with people?
- How can I keep a clear focus in my own daily walk with God?
Father, help me in my involvement with people. Make me an agent of healing and reconciliation among the people who crowd my daily life. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the privilege of having quality time alone with you. Holy Spirit, keep me from drifting and from being carried along by the crowds. Help me to keep my focus on Jesus, day by day. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Final Word From Pastor B:
I can’t officially close this message without including the words from the devotional from which this series is inspired by. I mean the devotional also provides the questions that we are getting as bible study homework. So, let me share some words from the writer of this devotional, and then I’ll come back to close, proofread, and post this message so that we’re back on track and on time.
In these verses, we have a reminder of the daily pressures on the Lord Jesus as the sick thronged around him for healing and his disciples brought their own agenda based on power and popularity. Jesus, however, withdrew to a solitary place for communion with his Father in prayer. Here he refocused on the priority of his mission, preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. ‘That is why I have come.’ We need to develop a similar rhythm for our daily lives – involvement, withdrawal and refocusing. Without this time for withdrawal and refocusing, we get carried along by all the hectic activities and demands that threaten to sweep us away with the crowds. With a healthy rhythm of involvement and withdrawal, we can keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
Life tends to be busy doesn’t it!?! Work, school, meetings, ball games, church, bible studies, study groups, household chores, yard work, and so many other things are always clamoring for our attention. Jesus simply labeled these things as the cares of the world that if we’re not careful will choke the Word of God right out of us. Jesus knows all about this as He was getting busier and busier and grew in popularity. I mean, this is the guy that didn’t just turn water into wine…He turned water into the best wine the people at that wedding ever had. It was so good that some were offended that they waited until the end to bring out the good wine. Then He became preaching and He preached in a way and with an authority that no one had ever preached before. He began casting out unclean spirits and healing people…and there were other towns that He needed to get to…then there were His own disciples that He had to teach and train.
So, He understands how life can get busy and spiral out of control which is why He routinely withdrew from everything to be alone in His secret place with the Father. If He had to do that how much more do we need to follow His example!?! I am in a place where I’m starting to recognize when I need to do like Jesus and withdraw from everyone and everything and get alone with Jesus because life can really drain you, can’t it!?! Jesus rightly said that the cares of the world tend to choke us because there are times when it seems like we’re so busy we hardly have time to breathe, and that’s why discovering that one needful thing at the feet of Jesus is of such vital importance.
Let me ask you…how long has it been since you took time to withdraw from all the cares of your world to just sit at His feet? Let me encourage you that if it’s been a while why not take a few moments right now to shut everything off, withdraw to a place where you can get alone, and spend some time in the presence of the One that can take all those cares off your shoulders in exchange for His rest.
With that I’m going to close this message and do just what I suggested…hang out in the presence of Jesus…and get refocused on my why. Thank y’all for joining me. I hope y’all will join me again tomorrow. Until then enjoy your Saturday!
Blessings & Grace ~ Pastor B