It’s been a tough few days around Maul-Hall. Rebekah has been sick most of the month (not that it stopped her working even a little bit!), then by the middle of the week I was full-on coughing and sneezing too. Plus my parents have both been pushing the needle toward the significantly frail end of the gauge.
Add to that getting everything ship-shape ahead of Rebekah’s upcoming study leave and we approached this past weekend running somewhat ragged.
The schedule hasn’t eased up – in fact, a few additional factors have created some extra work – but the overwhelming response in our spirits remains one of peace, and of confidence, and of assurance that our lives are still held in the secure knowledge of God’s unfailing love and providence.
By Sunday we realized we had to cancel the Florida leg of Rebekah’s leave… but we’re grateful God can use us here to be a blessing to others. I wish my mother hadn’t been so ill this weekend… but I’m thankful for the excellent care she received at the clinic. Being sick myself these past few days has been miserable… but I’m glad I was still able to attend worship and lead my Sunday morning class.
More About Jesus:
In that Bible class, eighteen of us sat around a couple of tables to talk about the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel. What an amazing group of disciples! We’re doing a study in “Christology,” using Mark as our primary source.
Christology is a fancy word that means “Christ thought,” or, “thinking about Jesus,” or, “the study of Jesus.” or, as I like to describe it, “Finding out more about who Jesus is to us so that we can understand who we are going to be for him.”
Finding out more about who Jesus is to us so that we can understand who we are going to be for him.
A lot of what we think we know about Jesus isn’t necessarily biblically based. We listen to contemporary Christian music, we read Christmas cards, we sing traditional hymns, we read books, we listen to sermons, we watch movies. And – occasionally – we read the Bible.
The most reliable source:
Our approach, then, is going to be to anchor everything else in what we can learn from the oldest, unvarnished, most stripped-down account of Christ’s short ministry in and around Galilee two thousand years ago.
This past week I asked my class to read the first chapter of Mark as if this was the first information they had ever heard about Jesus. It was an interesting exercise and made for an illuminating discussion.
I love what one insightful woman said. “Mark writes with urgency. It’s like he doesn’t want to waste time. He wants the reader to meet Jesus, to recognize the impact Jesus makes, and to understand the heart of the message.”
And here it is. I’ve used it before and I’ll use it again. This verse has dominated Rebekah’s preaching this month and I don’t see where that’s going to change anytime soon!
Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news, saying, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!” – Mark 1:15
- Now is the time!
- Here comes God’s kingdom!
- Change your hearts and lives!
- Trust this good news!
In my class, we talked a lot about what it means to “trust the good news.” Children know how to trust, it’s part of their essential equipment, but we become increasingly cynical the older we get. Jesus was always reminding his followers to become more like children.
For us today, this particular Monday morning, in a nation dominated by cynicism and intransigence, it’s more important than ever that we change our hearts and lives, and that we trust this good news. Now is the time!!
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.