How to do ministry, according to Jesus – 4-6-22

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Mark 4:39-40 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Mark chapter 4 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Parable of the Sower

And again He began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching:

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds [a]of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no [b]crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

And He said [c]to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Purpose of Parables

10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the [d]mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that

‘Seeing they may see and not perceive,
And hearing they may hear and not understand;
Lest they should turn,
And their sins be forgiven them.’ ”

The Parable of the Sower Explained

13 And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, [e]accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

Light Under a Basket

21 Also He said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

The Parable of the Growing Seed

26 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should [f]scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30 Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? 31 It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32 but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”

Jesus’ Use of Parables

33 And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.

Wind and Wave Obey Jesus

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace,[g] be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How[h] is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Footnotes

  1. Mark 4:4 NU, M omit of the air
  2. Mark 4:7 Lit. fruit
  3. Mark 4:9 NU, M omit to them
  4. Mark 4:11 secret or hidden truths
  5. Mark 4:20 receive
  6. Mark 4:26 sow
  7. Mark 4:39 Lit. Be quiet
  8. Mark 4:40 NU Have you still no faith?

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Isaiah 41:10 –  “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Spring is in the air. I live in the Mountains in New York… we had some snow yesterday, but it did not stick – this is spring in New York.  I have some crocuses popping up in the sunny patch out front. But inside, in the brightest window I put a table. And on the table a seedling tray. And in the tray, the best soil. And in the soil, I carefully laid a seed (3 in each section) and covered it.
Now I watch, wait, mist it with water and pray – that God does what God does to take a dark, dry, hard seed and turn it into bright green life. With it, comes growth and multiplication – each seed can produce a plant which will give me more seeds than I started with. It escalated so quickly I cannot even do the math…. But not yet, now I wait looking at the surface of the soil and not knowing what is happening below.

Starting seeds is a process that almost everyone 2000 years ago was familiar with. If you have never tried it, I recommend you do. It is inexpensive to try and you can start seeds in a cup. It seems easy, but I cannot tell you how many times I tried and failed over the years. I worry this batch won’t come up, we had too many dark and cold days after a week of warm days, and they should have sprouted by now. Or maybe the seeds were bad. I bought soil made for seed starting, so I know it isn’t the soil. 2000 year ago, they did not have “potting soil” in bags at the market that were scientifically mixed with nutrients for optimal seed starting. And so, first we have a lesson on the soil, from Jesus.

Every day I pray over the soil of your hearts – and I hope you come prayerfully expecting to hear from God, with good soil. Then if you have the good soil, I do my job of dropping scripture seeds, and somewhere, unseen by eyes, God does a work and multiplies it!  (Unlike my seeds, which may be too old to use) we know that the seed of the word of God never returns void – it always completes what it set out to accomplish!

I pray (verse 9) that you and I always have ears to hear! And if we do not understand, I pray God provides an explanation. Which he does, by the way. We see many leave without understanding, including the disciples – but if you ask God to explain it, He will, as we see when the disciples ask Jesus and he explains.

Now, let’s step back a minute – and look at the bigger picture. Jesus’s ministry has kicked off and he is becoming famous and had huge numbers and so many signs and wonders and people coming to hear his teachings and by all modern standards and methodologies of Mega-Churches – He is blessed and doing it right! But actually, the fame was not wanted and continually he told people not to tell everyone. He constantly had to balance between compassion and self-care. God did not need a huge ministry to have the same impact on the world. Look at the multiplication of a seed, grown and producing seeds. Jesus needed just one changed person (in that respect, look at Paul). The enemy and disobedience caused the masses and the potential for overwhelm and exhaustion. But Jesus empowered the 12 disciples and they all worked together. Just because God has a plan for the enemies’ attacks, doesn’t mean he couldn’t have done things slower with fewer people.
The point it – I am one person. If I obey God then the seed I sow will break open the earth and abundance shall break forth and the world will be changed. But it may be with an unknown blog and small numbers – but lives being changed, disciples being made, soul winners growing up to plant their seeds. And each of you are just one person. Do not despise small beginnings or small ministries. Where the anointing is, and God is working, is never a small thing in spirit.

Jesus ran his ministry in a very different way that we would. Besides his anti-marketing campaign – he was surrounded by a bunch of hand chosen idiots! These guys continually just don’t get it. And when you think about this….
Have you ever read a tell-all biography, like by someone political or connected to someone political? They are ways lifting up their friends and making the people they like look good – no one is honest in a book about their friend’s faults.
Well, Mark is like a son to Peter and Mark got most of the details about this from Peter – and Mark makes Peter look like an idiot. I wouldn’t hire Peter! I wonder if this WAS Mark trying to make Peter and the 12 look good – if so, then these guys are clumsy ignorant clowns!
And when I think about God using them in their foolishness, and what a fragile mess I am – God can use me! And same with you.
The other day I have a few very strange things happen, and I knew God was speaking to me. I told my pastor, I told my accountability partner, I kept say – God is speaking to me but I do not know what it all means. I am like these 12 disciples, in my own life. A messy fragile human. I can study and understand and explain it to others. But it isn’t in the book, wrapped in historical context… but it is from the book wrapped in personal and future context – then I am lost and confused. Never be so proud to think we are better than them, because we understood the parable. As God has proven with My puppy, Lilli, there are parables all around us that we sometimes do not even see, let alone understand.

OK – So How to Ministry By Jesus:
1. Anti-Marketing
2. Hire Idiots
3. Speak in riddles that are hard to understand

Yep, Jesus – from this point on stopped teaching in straight, direct, to the point sermons. Ironically Parables and stories were a common Jewish method of teaching principles. Even more ironic – they would use three (sometimes more, sometimes less) examples or stories to make the same point. It was common in the writings from the time period.  So how come these people did not understand? Ok so maybe not the ‘common folk’ but surely the Pharisees who were educated and knew of this method could extrapolate what Jesus was saying?! Bu the only thing they got out of it is conviction (as they knew it was about them) – and instead of repenting they decided to get rid of their source of conviction.

So if you ever want to start a ministry – there it is. We are to be Christ like, and He set up the example.

Back into the reading – Jesus explains the parable of the sower then talks about the light under the basket. I start singing “This little light of mine” a song about the light of Jesus in us shining out to the world and not hiding it under a basket. So sweet and a good thing to remember – but on the same hand in the same section – we learn ALL things come to light. If I secretly, bring food to the city’s homeless shelter, I will be found out. And If I secretly sin, I will be found out. The light of God shines everywhere. Always.
There are prophesies going around – first that a shaking was coming – and now that we are at the beginning of a shaking… and evil being done in the House of the Lord IS being exposed and dealt with. Be it by repentance and humility to eventual restoration or by loss of ministries – it IS happening. I do not know how prophetic it is when we see here in this verse – IT IS ALWAYS HAPPENING:
“For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.” Verse 22.
Please make sure you walk virtuously in private as well as in public. Love one another well.

Jesus connects “this little light of mine – I’m gunna let it shine” to the seed (or at least Mark does) here in verses 24-25:
“Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
How is this a seed reference? AND what does the light and exposure have to do with it?
Like a seed, the measure you use comes back and is multiplied. But if you do not plant seeds, do not expect a return on investment (you did not invest anything).  This applies to soul winning and to understanding the scriptures – the more you understand, the more you connect it to other passages. It also is a sound financial strategy – but seeds and farming trade was the first economic system and a cash system was built on top of it. And this applies to our actions (done in secret). If we do good in secret, we shall be publically rewarded. If we do bad or sin in secret, we will be publicly humiliated and something shall be taken away (if we do not first humble our self and repent). We see this principle played out all over the world and throughout history.

We then have a parable about growth, then one about enlarging and multiplying. In my mind, with the understanding of the Bible I have – I begin to connect it all:
My God shall provide all my needs (Phil. 4:19)
Exceedingly abundant (Eph. 3:20)
The multiple parables about the kingdom of heaven being multiplied…
and so many more! I know where the prosperity preachers got their message. I am in a unique position to speak on Biblical prosperity and truth, as the Bible is rightly divided in context, because I do not accept money from you. I have no motivation except first to keep the word pure and second to help you be disciples of Christ.
The truth is if you are looking for blessings you will not find them – but if you are looking for God you will find him and he will bless you.
The truth is giving your tithe is a Jewish concept – but it predated the Law, right back to Cain and Able bringing a portion to the Lord. Was it 10%? Probably not – God was just building the system and at that point he was working on the first fruits concept – bring the best. But it grew to 10 % pre law and under the Abraham Covenant – in which all people are under. Therefore, you and I can test and see that if you give 10% you will be quite secure (in most situations). It is a principle and not a promise. Also it is expected. You give less and God Is robbed. You give 10% God is unfazed – you did the minimum required of you, He is not going to have a parade.
The truth is offering are worship. They are done out of love. Many times I had to make sacrifices for my child – but not once did it feel like a sacrifice. Because it was done in love. Out sacrifice, and offering, is out of that same deep love (maybe deeper). And worship is an act of Love to God – it is not a song service at the beginning of church (unless you are seeing to God with all of your heart and love). Offering is love.
Once I had nothing for the offering plate – but as you all know I am crafty and make things. So Saturday night while others are busy watching TV or partying, I buried my face in my hand and ask God what he wanted – because I had no money. The next day I tossed an envelope in the offering dish – and in the envelope was a prayerfully make little piece of art – all I could offer was the gift he gave me.  God took it.

You see sometimes storms come in our lives and even if we tithe, and even if we plant financial seeds in the kingdom, and even if we make sacrifices above the 10% and worship and give of what we have. Storms come even if you are just trying to get away to rest. Many times they come when you are so tired, like Jesus you might sleep through it. Sometimes there is something else to learn, while the boat rocks violently and the sea rages and the storm churns around you. Like – you know Jesus is there with you in the boat? I mean – like the final passage in today’s reading… Jesus was right there. He wasn’t worried. He wasn’t scared. He stood up and took the peace and stillness. Reaching past the crippling fear and anxiety.
When the storm of your life comes speak: It is written! Peace be still In the name of Jesus! Instead of crashing thunder there will be crashing fear and doubt! Have faith and know in whom you believe.

Don’t be like the 12 who still didn’t get it. Jesus stops the storm and saves their lives and they are still afraid, but now afraid of who Jesus is with this power!

In conclusion – How to Do Ministry Like Jesus:
1. Anti-marketing
2. Hire Idiots
3. Speak in riddles that are hard to understand
4. Take life threatening adventures
And somehow Jesus’s ministry changed the world! And continues to change it!!!  

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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