Mark

February 16, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 5) Proclaim: Life on Mission

Jesus calls us to gospel proclamation

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Mark 6:30-44

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass.  40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

Context & Commentary

v.34 Phillip Keller, author of A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, writes: It is no accident that God has chosen to call us sheep. The behavior of sheep and human beings is similar in many ways… Our mass mind (or mob instincts), our fears and timidity, our stubbornness and stupidity, our perverse habits are [very similar].

Questions

  1. In what ways are people without God like sheep without a shepherd?
  2. In what ways have I experienced God multiplying little to feed the multitudes?
  3. What are the five loaves and two fish that I can offer to God?

Prayer

February 2, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 4) Follow: Life of Obedience

“The call of Jesus is the call to come and die” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Mark 1:16-20

16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets.  20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

Questions

  1. The call to discipleship is captured in Jesus’ invitation: “Follow me.” What does this reveal about Christian life?
  2. Compare catching fish to catching people. How does Jesus’ calling expand the vision for my life?
  3. What did the disciples need to leave behind to follow Jesus? Are there things I am challenged to leave behind?
  4. How does the fact that Jesus called ordinary people to follow Him encourage me today?

Prayer

January 20, 2021

Cultivate DT

INTRODUCTION

Part 3) Connect: Spiritual Practices

Basic spiritual disciplines have been utilized throughout history to foster our relationship with God

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Mark 4:1-20

1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.      4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that

“‘they may indeed see but not perceive,

    and may indeed hear but not understand,

lest they should turn and be forgiven.’”

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 along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

Questions

  1. How is the Word of God like a seed? What unlocks the power of the Word?
  2. What would it look like to be the path, rocky soil, thorny soil and good soil?
  3. What can I do to become more like the good soil?

Prayer

January 7, 2021

Cultivate DT | Day 5

 

INTRODUCTION

Part 1) Imitate: Be Imitators of Christ

Imitating Jesus is the beginning of Christian discipleship and a joyful, lifelong pursuit

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: Philippians 2:1-11

1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Context & Commentary

“In many ways this is the greatest and most moving passage Paul ever wrote about Jesus. It states a favourite thought of his. The essence of it is in the simple statement Paul made to the Corinthians that, although Jesus was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9). … Paul is pleading with the Philippians to live in harmony, to lay aside their discords, to shed their personal ambitions and their pride and their desire for prominence and prestige, and to have in their hearts that humble, selfless desire to serve, which was the essence of the life of Christ. His final and unanswerable appeal is to point to the example of Jesus Christ.”

Barclay, William. “Philippians 2:5-11” in The New Daily Study Bible: The Letters to Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. Westminster John Knox, 2011.

Questions

  1. Reflect on the character and humility of Jesus.
  2. What is one way I am challenged to imitate Jesus’ humility today?

Prayer

 

January 6, 2021

Cultivate DT | Day 4

 

INTRODUCTION

Part 1) Imitate: Be Imitators of Christ

Imitating Jesus is the beginning of Christian discipleship and a joyful, lifelong pursuit

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text: John 2:13-22

13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Context & Commentary

“Passover was an annual festival celebrated each spring that retold the story of Israel’s departure from Egypt … Over the centuries Passover had become a pilgrimage festival in which Jewish families were expected to travel to Jerusalem and participate in sacrifice, a symbolic meal, and reflective study of Israel’s salvation. Since pilgrims would need approved animals for sacrifice, a considerable business grew in the city at this time of year… Jesus’ frustration does not stem from supposed wholesale greed or graft, but from the fact that these transactions are happening in the temple at all: ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!’ (2:16) is a prophetic command to return the temple to its intended use: worship, prayer, instruction, and pious sacrifice… Jesus is attacking the financial machinery of the festival system. […]

“The scene is dramatic, provocative, and upsetting. Furniture was broken; animals went running; coins flew from their scales. Jesus makes a disturbance…”

Burge, Gary M. “John 2:1-25” in NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: John. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.

Questions

  1. How do Jesus’ actions in this passage contrast with popular notions of Jesus?
  2. The New Testament describes each believer as a temple of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). What are some implications of this in my life?
  3. Jesus’ zeal was ultimately displayed on the cross. What implications does this have for me?

Prayer

 

January 5, 2021

Cultivate DT | Day 3

 

INTRODUCTION

Part 1) Imitate: Be Imitators of Christ

Imitating Jesus is the beginning of Christian discipleship and a joyful, lifelong pursuit

Journal

  • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
  • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
  • Recall a significant reaction, conversation, or event.
  • List out all that you are grateful for.

 Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

Bible Text

Mark 1:40-45

40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

Context & Commentary

Leprosy is an uncommon disease today, largely eradicated in the modern world, but it still exists in some underdeveloped nations.

“In the New Testament there is no disease regarded with more terror and pity than leprosy…. No other disease reduces a human being for so many years to so hideous a wreck.

“[Leprosy] begins with an unaccountable lethargy and pains in the joints.  Then there appear on the body, symmetrical discoloured patches. On them little nodules form, at first pink, then turning brown.  The skin is thickened.  The nodules gather specially in the folds of the cheek, the nose, the lips and the forehead.  The whole appearance of the face is changed till the man loses his human appearance and looks, as the ancients said, like a lion ….The nodules grow larger and larger; they ulcerate and from them comes a foul discharge.  The eyebrows fall out; the eyes become staring; the voice becomes hoarse and the breath wheezes because of the ulceration of the vocal chords.  The hands and the feet also ulcerate. Slowly the sufferer becomes a mass of ulcerated growths.  The average course of the disease is nine years, and it ends in mental decay, coma and ultimately death. The sufferer becomes utterly repulsive both to himself and to others.”

In addition to the physical effects, there were also ravaging social and psychological effects. Because leprosy was believed to be contagious, lepers were separated from their families and lived in leper colonies as outcasts. They were also seen as spiritually defiled and accursed. The Bible characterizes all of us as afflicted with spiritual leprosy: disfigured and diseased by sin, suffering many of the same social and psychological effects.

Questions

  1. In what ways have I experienced leprosy as an apt description of my spiritual condition?
  2. How have I experienced Jesus’ compassion and cleansing from sin?
  3. The leper does not doubt Jesus’ ability, but rather His willingness. Reflect on Jesus’ response.
  4. How can I imitate Jesus’ compassion? Who are the people in my life in need of compassion and words of healing?  

Prayer

 

December 31, 2020

Psalm 66-2020-12-31

  • Bible Text: Psalm 66

    To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm.

    1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;

    2     sing the glory of his name;

        give to him glorious praise!

    3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!

        So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.

    4 All the earth worships you

        and sings praises to you;

        they sing praises to your name.” Selah

    5 Come and see what God has done:

        he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.

    6 He turned the sea into dry land;

        they passed through the river on foot.

    There did we rejoice in him,

    7     who rules by his might forever,

    whose eyes keep watch on the nations—

        let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

    8 Bless our God, O peoples;

        let the sound of his praise be heard,

    9 who has kept our soul among the living

        and has not let our feet slip.

    10 For you, O God, have tested us;

        you have tried us as silver is tried.

    11 You brought us into the net;

        you laid a crushing burden on our backs;

    12 you let men ride over our heads;

        we went through fire and through water;

        yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

    13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings;

        I will perform my vows to you,

    14 that which my lips uttered

        and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.

    15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,

        with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;

       I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah

    16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,

        and I will tell what he has done for my soul.

    17 I cried to him with my mouth,

        and high praise was on my tongue.

    18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,

        the Lord would not have listened.

    19 But truly God has listened;

        he has attended to the voice of my prayer.

    20 Blessed be God,

        because he has not rejected my prayer

        or removed his steadfast love from me!

God

  • What truths about God’s person, activity or character does the text reveal?

Lessons / Insights

Apply & Obey

  • How does today’s text apply to me? How will I obey or respond to the truths from today’s text?

Prayer

 

December 30, 2020

Psalm 63-2020-12-30

  • Bible Text: Psalm 63

    A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

    1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

        my soul thirsts for you;

        my flesh faints for you,

        as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

    2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,

        beholding your power and glory.

    3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,

        my lips will praise you.

    4 So I will bless you as long as I live;

        in your name I will lift up my hands.

    5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,

        and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,

    6 when I remember you upon my bed,

        and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

    7 for you have been my help,

        and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

    8 My soul clings to you;

        your right hand upholds me.

    9 But those who seek to destroy my life

        shall go down into the depths of the earth;

    10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;

        they shall be a portion for jackals.

    11 But the king shall rejoice in God;

        all who swear by him shall exult,

    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

God

  • What truths about God’s person, activity or character does the text reveal?

Lessons / Insights

Apply & Obey

  • How does today’s text apply to me? How will I obey or respond to the truths from today’s text?

Prayer



December 29, 2020

Mark 16- 2020-12-29

  • Journal

    Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

    • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
    • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
    • List out all that you are grateful for.
    • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

     Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

  • Bible Text:

    Mark 16:14-20

    14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

    19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]

  • Questions to help us go deeper

    Mark 16:14

    • Jesus finally appears to the eleven, and rebukes them. How might Jesus rebuke me for “unbelief and hardness of heart”? How is the reality of the resurrection evidenced in my life decisions and actions?

    Mark 16:15

    • After this rebuke, Jesus commissions them to preach the gospel to the whole world. Consider how the disciples might have felt to receive such a commission. What does this reveal about God?

    Mark 16:20

    • Notice that the “Lord worked with them” as they preached everywhere. How does this strengthen me as I seek to obey Jesus’ gospel commission?

    •  Prayer 

December 28, 2020

Mark 16- 2020-12-28

  • Journal

    Please use one of the prompts below to get your journaling started.

    • Explore your fears and what’s behind them.
    • Write about a relational conflict you are experiencing.
    • List out all that you are grateful for.
    • Recall a significant reaction, conversation or event.

     Here are some tools to help you with the devotionals:

  • Bible Text:

    Mark 16:9-13*

    9 [[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

    12 After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, they did not believe them.

    * Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9–20.

  • Questions to help us go deeper

    Mark 16:6-7

    • What do the angel’s words confirm?
    • Reflect on the significance of women being the first witnesses of Jesus’ empty tomb and first recipients of the message of his resurrection. Notice that they were also witnesses of Jesus’ crucifixion (15:40-41) and burial (15:47).

    •  Prayer 

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