The BEST TEACHERS are the ones who know how to use a good question to help others see what they need to learn.  A good question can teach more than a thousand lessons.  As a matter of fact, the Bible has many such evocative questions.  I’ve experienced moments of immense clarity in my faith journey by responding thoughtfully to Bible questions.  Here are a few such questions lifted right out of the Bible.
  • Adam, where are you? (God)
  • Is anything too hard for me? (God)
  • How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? (David)
  • Do you want to get well? (Jesus)
  • Why have you forsaken me? (Jesus)
  • What would you have me do, Lord? (Paul)
One of the famous stories of the miracle working ministry of Jesus appears in Mark Chapter 10.  On His way to Jerusalem, where He would suffer and die, the Bible records numerous significant events, one of which is the healing of the blind beggar named Bartimaeus.  Mark records that when he heard that Jesus was passing by “he cried out” saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  In referring to Jesus as the “Son of David” Bartimaeus was in effect calling on King Jesus.  The King was passing his way, and he was not going to sit idly by doing nothing.  He did the one thing that he could do, “he cried out.”  That’s the solution to our greatest problems.  Call out to God, that is, PRAY from your heart.  In desperation, call out to the one who alone can make the difference in your life.
Mark tells us that the crowd around Bartimaeus rebuked him and demanded him to be silent.  But Bartimaeus “cried out all the more.”  I love it!! Bartimaeus refused to back down or shut up.  He was not going to allow the crowd to block him from the one person he needed to give him his miracle.  How do you respond when the cold and dispassionate crowd stares at you for enthusiastically seeking Jesus?  Are you willing to be the one voice crying out in the wilderness? 
The rest of the story is epic too.  Jesus stops and calls Bartimaeus simply asking him, “what do you want me to do for you?”  Without missing a beat, Bartimaeus answers, “let me recover my sight.”  So, Jesus gave Bartimaeus his sight telling him, “your faith has made you well.”  The prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. (James 5:15).”  Jesus cares about the immediate and debilitating need in your life.  Nothing is trivial to Him.  But neither is He locked into our temporary suffering.  He sees much more of the spiritual need in your life. Be careful not to disconnect your life in the flesh with your life in the Spirit.  Jesus doesn’t.
I love the way that story concludes, “and immediately he recovered his sight and followed Him on the way.”   That’s the point of the whole story.  The recovery of sight is meant to give us the ability to follow Jesus “on the way.”  The opening of our blinded eyes is so that we can follow Jesus as the light of the world. 
Please don’t leave this page without answering Jesus’ question, “what do you want me to do for you?”  It might just be that He is passing by waiting for you to ask Him.  He’s able to do it! 
Shalom church family,
Pastor Deric

Serving In A Selfie World!

CHRISTIANS are called to be different than the world because of who we follow.  We follow the Servant-King, Jesus.  We DO NOT follow the RULING model of leadership as described by Jesus in Mark Chapter 10.  He diagnosed the common leadership strategy of the first century to be a power grab by which “the great ones” “lord” it over others.  With this assessment in mind, He told the disciples that “it shall not be so among you.”  Jesus was in fact coaching some of the greatest leaders in the history of the world, the Apostles.  Just think about what they accomplished.  Their influence is growing in the world to this day.  It has shaped all human history.  And they learned their leadership model from Jesus, “you must be a servant of all” (Mark 10).
But their journey to learn this servant-leadership model was a rocky one. While Jesus was hardly finished elaborating on His upcoming agony and death, the disciples were vying for the place of greatest prominence. They asked Jesus for a crown. They wanted more than a seat at the table, they wanted thrones right next to King Jesus. R. Kent Hughes summarizes the awkward moment well:
Their request was outrageous, “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we want You to do for us whatever we ask.’ ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ He asked. They replied, ‘Let one of us sit at Your right and the other at Your left in Your glory’” (10:35–37). They dimly saw that the end was near and that it involved the possibility of thrones for the disciples. As part of the inner circle (Peter, James, and John), these two hoped to get the best thrones. Perhaps they wanted to “ace Peter out,” because he no doubt would try for the top. So, they approached Jesus privately. Matthew tells us they even had their mother do the talking (Matthew 20:20, 21) (R. Kent Hughes, Mark: Jesus, Servant, vol. 1, Preaching the Word (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1989), 16.  
Ever patient with His own, Jesus seizes the opportunity to correct their “selfie” request.  He introduced the only model that has His approval.  Let me interrupt the story to say that it’s not leadership that is the problem. We are starving for good leadership both in the world and in the church.  Paul told the Roman Church that the one who “leads” should do so with “zeal.”  And he told Timothy that when a person desires the “office of a bishop” he desires a “good work.”  Leadership isn’t the problem.  It’s a God-ordained solution to the chaos of the world.  The problem comes when human beings use leadership to build their own kingdoms. Clearly pastors and ministers are not exempt from the lust to lord it over others.
No one could argue that Jesus Christ was anything but a colossal success as a leader.  He’s called our “Leader and Saviour” in Acts 5:31.  What is so unusual about Jesus is the way He leads.  He humbled Himself and became a servant.  The one who holds all authority in His hands, used His power “to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  

The disciples craved a crown but were promised a cup.  A servant’s cup in fact.  And the cup is filled with sorrow, suffering and rejection.  And it will only be fully drained at the cross. And in drinking from His cup, we become the servant-followers we are meant to be. Keep serving and giving church family. 

Your servant for Jesus’ sake,
Pastor Deric