Jonah 1: Running from God

What can we learn from the story of the prophet Jonah who at first rejected God’s commission for him?  In this message, Joshua Smith unpacks this short, Old Testament book so we can see how merciful and patient God is (with Jonah; with the city of Ninevah).  God is a God of second chances, coming to Jonah after he fled from him, and restoring him to his mission, only to have to deal with Jonah’s sin and selfishness again at the end of the story.

Mark 7: Jesus Wants Your Heart

Jesus wants us to be real with him and with others.  He confronts the religious leaders of his day for being hypocrites–pretending to be one thing (true worshippers) while being another thing (fake worshippers).  In this chapter Mark shows us how Jesus does battle with the religious leaders’ views on ceremonial cleanness, then recounts how Jesus healed two “unclean” (Gentile) people in his mercy.

Mark 5: Jesus Shows Mercy

Mark chapter five highlights three hopeless people: a demon possessed man, a desperate woman and a dead girl.  The situation of the demon possessed man when Jesus meets him is may be the most heart-wrenching in all the Bible.

And then Jesus steps into his life.

This chapter shows the immense compassion and mercy of Jesus in his healing ministry.  It also gives us a glimpse of the future glories of his kingdom.

Mark 4: Jesus Reveals the Kingdom

In Mark 4 Jesus begins to teach the crowds in parables (stories, illustrations), partly to teach what the kingdom of God is like, and partly to conceal it.

Why??

Because some people will listen carefully to his words, and others won’t.  The parables are intended to show people what God is like, but the result will be that some people reject Christ.

This is why Jesus repeatedly exhorts the crowds to “listen” and “hear” what he has to say.  This challenge still reverberates today.  We need to listen to Jesus’ words and respond in faith.

Mark 3: Jesus Redefines Family

In Mark 3 the opposition continues to threaten Jesus’ ministry–and life.  The conservative Pharisees think he is demon-possessed.  Even his family starts to think he is crazy.  When they come to extract him from his followers and newfound fame, he rebuffs them, raising the rhetorical question: Who is my family?  How does he answer?  What impact should this have on us today?