A New Era Emerges

Gospel of Mark, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Salvation

(Note: A few months ago I began an in-depth study of the Gospel of Mark. For the next several blog posts, I plan to share some of my ongoing reflections on a chapter-by-chapter basis. Nothing fancy. But I hope you can gain something in each entry. For space reasons, I will only include a small portion of my actual notes & reflections. Unless otherwise noted, I will be using the New Revised Standard Version. For theo-nerds like me, my primary commentary sources are Ben Witherington and N.T. Wright).

President of Presidents

Jesus, Kingdom of God

Almost all churches and believers observe at least a tiny section of the Christian calendar (Christmas & Easter). While observing these “holy days” (i.e. holidays) is obviously not any kind of requirement, the purpose of observing certain sacred holidays is to latch on to a form of yearly rhythm, as well as to unite oneself to the larger body of Christ. Much like the Jewish feasts and holidays that Jesus himself embraced, much of the global body of Christ across a spectrum of denominations and churches have learned the value of embracing a rhythm of common calendar observance.

Today is Ascension Day. Forty days after Easter Sunday.

Toxic In, Toxic Out

Beatitudes, Jesus, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Growth

I was sitting on the porch swing of a cabin at a campground near Eunice, Louisiana. It was my first 24-hour retreat since being in full-time vocational ministry. And it was long overdue.

I was a couple years into my current role as a Lead Pastor and feeling somewhat overwhelmed. I was beginning to feel a desperate need for something different in my spiritual practices.

So I spent some time at this campground for the singular purpose of meeting with God. On that sunny afternoon, I sat on that swing praying with my Bible, a small notebook, and a bag of Doritos (Not the fun-size, mind you. The family-size).

As I sat there chomping on those Doritos, I thought to myself, “It’s 2 o’clock. If I keep eating these Doritos, I’m not going to have any room for dinner.”

And just as clear as can be, a stream of thoughts began to flow through my mind. I began to realize that in order for my spiritual health to change, I had to first change my “spiritual diet.” Just as one’s food intake is limited by stomach space, my spiritual appetite is also finite. If all I do is consume the spiritual junk food of the environment around me, there is not enough space in my soul to crave (let alone receive) the true nourishment of God’s living presence.