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Sent by Christ

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Ezekiel 2:1-5 & Mark 6:1-13
5th Sunday after Trinity

The Olympic torch travelled through Cambridge yesterday – did anyone go to see it? A light being passed on from one place to another all around our country. Similar to Jesus sending His disciples out in today’s gospel reading. Sending them out to pass the light of Christ on and out into the world.

How does He prepare them for this task?
Firstly He leads by example. Before he tells the disciples to go out there and do the work of the ministry, He was out there doing it first. He’s a very hands-on, practical Saviour.

Secondly He teaches them: He starts by telling them how to do it. He sent them out two by two. God never intended us to do the work of the ministry by ourselves. We need help and we need encouragement.


The Stilling of the Storm

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Mark 4:35-41
SMAS 9am and 10.30am

Last week we witnessed Jesus teaching His disciples about the Kingdom of God through parables. Previously they’d seen him exercise authority over sickness, demons and death. Impressive and exciting to say the least. But they are still at the beginning of their learning curve. Jesus is just about to give them a practical lesson that will shake up their ideas about who the King of the Kingdom is.

Sometimes, today’s disciples treat this miracle, something that actually happened, more like a parable – a story with a meaning. Not without good reason: it’s quite legitimate to think of it as story where the storm represents the problems of life and that, with Jesus in our boat, we will be safe and rescued from danger. There’s also the idea that the Nave, the body of the church where we sit has the same root as the word Navy. It’s the ‘boat’ of the church and many churches have beams in their roof resembling an upturned boat.


The Kingdom of God

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Mark 4:26-34

Jack brought some seeds home from market that didn't look much. His mother says they can never live off of them and in anger throws them out of the window. She sends Jack to bed. In the morning he awakes to discover the seeds have sprouted into a beanstalk that goes way up to the heavens.

A fairy story which might well have been designed to teach a point or two but I doubt it would have transformed anyone’s life. Jesus’ parables were designed to teach AND to transform hearer’s lives. Ironically these parables are like seeds themselves, sown into our lives, they may sprout and grow or they may not. Whether they do or not is determined by the type of soil they land on.


Barnabas the Encourager

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6pm Team Service at SMAS

Barnabas wasn’t his real name that was Joseph. Barnabas was a nickname meaning Son of Encouragement. He was a Levite – the Jewish Tribe who served in the temple. His family moved to Cyprus so he obviously didn’t serve in the temple.

I wonder if you had a nickname like Barnabas, what would it be? What would you like it to be?

There were many leaders in the early church, but few were as humble and influential as Barnabas. Acts 11:24 uses a whole verse to describe his character and the effects of his ministry: “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.”


Crowds, family, demons and the Holy Spirit

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Genesis 3:8-15 & Mark 3:20-35
SMAS 10.30am

It feels rather like I’ve drawn the short straw two week’s running. Last week having to speak on the Trinity and this week’s Bible passage which is well known to be notoriously difficult. After setting it in context I’m going to take us through it a bit at a time. The set readings for the next seven Sundays are all from Mark’s Gospel. They will show us Mark’s picture of Jesus and also what it means to become a follower of Jesus.

Mark’s is the earliest and shortest Gospel, written in a fast moving style. The word ‘immediately’ is used to hurry us along from one scene to another. There are more miracles than parables and Jesus’ authority is shown in His power over demons, disease, death and natural forces. He doesn’t use His divine authority to "lord it over" people but to serve them. He allows free expression of faith to inviting Him to come into our lives. People are ‘amazed’ by what they see. Jesus attracts large crowds, which clearly show those who are ‘insiders’ and those who are ‘outsiders’.


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