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Types of Baptism from Mark 1


Last night, Wednesday August 27th, the YouthRoom was very intense.  The youth are settling down now that school has started back.  There are some serious things going on in the lives of our youth. And therefore hearing from God’s Word is exactly what we all were needing last night.

We looked at Mark 1:4-15.  I spent a little bit of time explaining that true saving faith is a two-sided coin. John the Baptist, Jesus, and all preachers in the Bible preach that one is saved by believing and repenting.  Just like a penny has Abraham Lincoln on one side and the Lincoln monument on the other,  true faith has faith & repentance.  If a penny only has one of those sides, something is wrong & its not a real penny.  If someone has only faith, or only repentance, without the other, something is wrong & its not a real faith.

Verses 9 & 10 say that Jesus was baptized and that “he came up out of the water”.  I took just a few minutes to explain baptism.  Baptism is a transliteration.  It wasnt translated into english. The reason being is that it means immersion.  Essential to being baptized is going completely under the water.  The water must cover all of you.

Well, John said he baptized with water, and that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit.  We spent a lot of time discussing this and trying to sort out the different types of baptism.

I reminded the Youth of John 16:7 where Jesus tells the disciples that it is to their advantage that He go away.  After dying for our sins and coming back to life, he left earth and ascended to heaven.  After that, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to come and live inside His people.  This happens at the moment someone gets saved.  Whenever someone truly embraces the 2-sided coin of faith and repentance, God makes them new and fills them with His spirit (that is salvation and that is Spirit baptism).  After someone has been saved, they are then to be baptized in water as an outward sign of what has happened in their lives.  Just as Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, so they have died to self and sin, been buried, and risen again to newness of life in Jesus empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit didn’t come to live in people until Pentecost in Acts 2.  So there were some people who actually got water baptized before they had the Spirit.  They believed, John the Baptist baptized them, but they need the Spirit.  Once Christ left, He sent it to them.

I asked the youth frankly, did they have either of those baptisms.

One youth raised his hand and told us he wanted to repent and be saved and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Three more raised their hands and told us they want to be baptized.

Praise the Lord!



“You are a mist…”


“yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”  -James 4:14

These past few weeks have been very heavy and intense.  The Gospel seems very real to me these days.  Two weeks ago Carla Carnes (our pastor’s wife’s sister) passed away totally unexpectedly when she had appeared to be in great health. The doctors had no explanation.  A few days ago, a fifteen year old local high school football player died from heat exhaustion after a practice. There is no explanation.  And earlier this week, a 79 year old gentleman I know was only remaining alive due to life support so the family decided to take him off all support. Once they did, to the dismay of the doctors, he did not pass. He has since improved steadily and has been sent home. The doctors are amazed and have no explanation.

Life is short, hell is sure, and redemption through Jesus is sufficient.

Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Hebrews 3:15 “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”



Perseverance


“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”  -Charles Spurgeon

“Never too high, never too low.” -Coach

“Don’t be discouraged.  It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.”  ~Author Unknown

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” -Galatians 6:9-10



Skittles & the Gospel of Mark


Even at 28 years old, I think it is so much fun to try and throw and catch food in your mouth.  We did this last night for the first 10 minutes in the YouthRoom.  It was awesome.  Its interesting how some people can be so good at it and others be so bad.  I had a big bag of skittles and I was just tossing them to all the youth.  Perhaps the most hilarious moment in all of it was Val trying to catch a skittle. I think I cracked her tooth!  It was a pretty good toss and she made a good attempt, but it was maybe an inch off and hit her tooth. Everyone could hear the clanging cracking sound.  We all busted out laughing.

We began a new series last night in Youth.  We are continuing with the K2G theme.  As has been our approach for years, we are teaching through the Bible.  We have been waiting for summer to end and school to begin back so that we could begin this new series.  In support of the K2G, I have found that the Youth most benefit from us teaching through the Bible expositionally. Each and every week from now until we are finished, I will be walking us through the gospel of Mark.

So last night, I did a little intro. to the book.  Mark is the first and shortest gospel written of the four.  Mark’s goal clearly was not to give the most thorough account but to simply produce an account of Jesus.  It is brief, to the point, and often fast paced.  And while it is shorter than the other gospels, it gives the most attention to Jesus’ last days and the cross.

Last night, Wednesday, August 20th, we looked at Mark 1:1-8 concerning John the Baptist.  John the Baptist was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy concerning one who would come and prepare the way for Jesus.  John came preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins.  But we focused on another challenging statement from John the Baptist.

In verse 7, he says “after me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”  What a perspective!  Nowadays, we wouldn’t dare be so foolish or weak to tie someone else’s shoes.  Yet, John says he’s not worthy to.  That is the proper attitude, approach, perspective that we should have toward Jesus.

I asked the youth ‘what position do you have toward Christ?’  I challenged them to have the same attitude and approach to Christ as we see in John the Baptist.  As he says elsewhere “He must increase, but I must decrease.” -John 3:30



Wednesday Night, August 13th


Please forgive me for not posting our Bible study from last week. 

Needless to say, it was a tough week.  Pastor Josh’s wife Alison’s sister, Carla died unexpectedly.  I was in the middle of teaching the youth last wednesday night when I recieved the saddening text message from Pastor. 

I continued teaching. I didn’t tell the youth until after church.  Carla was very young and this comes as an absolute shock to everyone.  James 4:14 obviously comes to mind “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”  And then also Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

Our deepest concerns go out to Pastor and Alison and their family.  We will continue to pray for them.

I don’t want to say much else. But I did teach last wednesday.  I taught a very serious eye-opening message from Luke 16:19-31 which is the rich man and Lazarus.  I taught on the fact that Hell is real and it is not just a place for bad people.  It is awful.  This passage luminates for us the reality of death and hell and the urgent need to be right with God.

Along with the sudden death of a young mother, I hope and pray that this passage will cause all of us to run to Christ and escape Hell.



C.S. Lewis


“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.”

-C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain



Back to School


“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain

 

“When a teacher calls a boy by his entire name, it means trouble.” – Mark Twain

 

“Nothing grieves a child more than to study the wrong lesson and learn something he wasn’t suppose to.” – E.C. McKenzie

 

“Schoolteachers are not fully appreciated by parents until it rains all day Saturday.” – E. C. McKenzie



Olympics & Jesus!


If you’re like me, then you have spent the recent days falling asleep and waking up to the Olympics.  I love the Olympics!  I feel like I can’t get enough of ‘em.  And there are many reasons why I feel this way which I will not discuss now. But one thought that I cannot get out of my head since the Olympics began is “what is Jesus thinking about these Olympic Games?”

I mean seriously, what is Jesus thinking about this?

I tend to think that Christ has an interest in them…and here is why.

Where else in all the world can you find countless different peoples and languages and cultures mixed all together in one single area interacting together?  Where else are there 200+ countries and territories gathered in one place with the rest of the world watching them?   Nowhere.

Think about this.  For these quick two weeks, you and me and everyone else who is keeping up is being exposed more than any other time in four years to so many unique and interesting flags and people and traditions and looks.  It is fascinating.  I have not thought about Angola in years, and we’re about to play them in basketball.  I never knew Chinese men were so huge and ripped and muscular, and they are winning gold medal after gold medal in gymnastics.  And I have never even heard of Azerbaijan, Andorra, or Brunei.  This is incredible.  If it were not for the Olympics I would not even know of these places.

And now that I do…here is what I’m thinking (and this is why I’m writing)…Christ’ blood has purchased people from every last one of those places!  Jesus must have an interest in the Olympics!

You see,  most of us who aren’t as up to date on geography really struggle or fail to comprehend the fullness of God and His redemptive work!  Of course we know that Heaven is going to be full of all types, but that usually means blacks and whites and others, and english-speakers, spanish-speakers and others.  We fail to realize or remember that that means people from Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, & Azerbaijan (just to name the ’A’s).  And the Olympics reminds me of that.  In fact, the Olympics not only remind me of that.  They give me a picture of that. On TV this week I have seen so many different looking people who speak so many different languages who come from so many different places and cultures.

And Christ is so in tuned with all of that!  Jesus is no more American than He is Azerbaijan…and I have never even heard of that place.  How awesome is that!  Its too awesome!  Jesus is so complex, yet so simple.  He loves me, little ol’ me, Josh Greene. He knows slang english from southern USA.  I pray to Him daily in that language, and I read His Word daily in that language.  But He also knows Arabic, Mandarin, French, and whatever they speak and read in Azerbaijan.  And people daily pray to Him in those languages too and read His word daily in those languages too. And its not a problem at all for Christ. He planned it that way.  Jesus is amazing! Jesus is wonderful! The Olympics teach me that!

Jesus may very well take interest in the Olympics. And thats neat to think about,  But let us not forget He doesn’t take delight in them.  He loves the diversity of all the peoples in the world being together in one place.  But He isn’t glorified by them simply being there. No, He’s not.

He’s delighted when people humbly bow and worship Him because they know that He has taken their place in death and punishment.  He’s glorified when people believe in His death as a redeeming sacrifice for them. He’s worshipped when people joyfully accept His gracious love and forgiveness.

And there’s going to be a time when similar to the Olympics all peoples will be gathered together again.

The Olympics remind me of that time when all the peoples of the world will be assembled together, literally all the peoples. And they won’t just be there together, no they will be worshipping together.  And it may not be on a fourth year.  Its the future scene that John sees in between the openings of the 6th and 7th seals by the slain Lamb in the book of Revelation.  Its the scene where John looks and sees “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all the tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!””

That’s right!  Salvation belongs to Jesus, and one day every single type of human being EVER will humbly, joyfully, and mightily cry it out!

To speak an understatement, That will be awesome! The Olympics may be the closest thing to what that consummate moment will look like, (not be like for there is not and never will be anything like that) but it may be the closest thing to what it will look like.  All the different peoples gathered together in one place.  The Olympics have taught me and reminded me of that.  I thank God for the Olympics!

And as that large multitude says at another time “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!”

I can’t wait to be there!



Summer Camp Pics!


Some of the pics from Summer Camp!



Shane & Shane


“It was unfair deal on the part of Christ…He got my sin, I got eternal life.” 

-Shane & Shane’s “Breath of God”.

 

“Oh the devil’s singing over me, An age old song
That I am cursed and gone astray, Singing the first verse so conveniently
He’s forgotten the refrain… Jesus saves!”    -Shane & Shane’s “Embracing Accusation”

 

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