Aggressive Grace

Every Thursday morning I will post a summary of a Bible Study lesson based on the current study I am in. Join me in this 7 week study on the “Gospel of Mark: The Jesus We’re Aching For” by one of the best Bible teachers and communicators today, Lisa Harper. I will tell you right now, week 1 study is powerful, real, and relevant to all of our lives. The study itself is in-depth, so I encourage you to dive deeper into the book on your own. However, these posts will highlight three components I pull from the lesson: scriptures, main points, and reflection questions. So with that being said, let’s jump in and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

The goal is not the study. It’s finding Jesus in it! – Chris Hodges

The Gospel of Mark Book

Week 1 Aggressive Grace

Scripture References:

  • Mark 2:1-12 NCV

Summary Point 1:

  • Mark 2 tells how one man’s greatest concern pales next to Jesus’ far greater compassion. The Messiah went beyond the paralytic’s immediate comprehension of need. The King lavished the paralytic with infinitely more treasure than he had the foresight to ask…He didn’t just heal the man’s legs; He saved the man’s life.
  • Reflection Questions: Would you describe the prayers you’ve been praying lately as audacious or anemic? What’s the most audacious “mountain tossed into the sea” prayer request on your heart this season? Do you feel like you’re whispering it toward heaven with hesitation and trepidation or bellowing it to the Heavenly Father who delights in meeting your needs?

Summary Point 2:

  • Jesus forgave the paralytic and the man didn’t even ask for repentance! Jesus was so incredibly eager to restore the paralytic into a right relationship with His heavenly Father that He preempted the guy’s repentance with mercy. Jesus pursues with aggressive grace and His kindness leads us toward repentance.
  • Reflection Questions: When have you experienced the grace of God totally apart from your own seeking it? How has God’s mercy steered you toward repentance lately? 

 

Religion teaches, “I obey, therefore I’m accepted.” The Gospel teaches, “I’m completely accepted, therefore, I obey.” – Dr. Tim Keller

“Are your dreams CRAZY enough?”

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I remember as a 7th grade girl I went to my dad and told him I was going to run for the class officer secretary position. I was so elated and nervous to step out in faith for this class position that I could not wait to tell this dream to my dad. As I was explaining with excitement and energy about this role that I wanted to take on, I noticed his demeanor was not moved by my 7th grade buzz. So to pull a response out of him, I asked my dad what he thought about this next endeavor I wanted to pursue. With love in his voice and a warm embrace around my waist, I will never forget the words that came out of his mouth next. He said, “If you’re going to run for an office, why not run for president?” Stunned, I looked at him blankly. I had no answer. In fact, the response shocked me and completely shifted my thought process. Why didn’t I think of that before? If I was going to dream, why not dream big!

I look back at the scenario in my early childhood to remind me to dream crazy dreams. Moreover, our Heavenly Father is saying the same thing to us. “God is offended by anything less than your biggest dreams and your boldest prayers.” As Mark Batterson put it, “If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God…because they don’t require divine intervention.” God is waiting to move miraculously on your behalf and most importantly for His glory!

Before I got a chance to run for office, my father passed away suddenly from a fight with Leukemia. That next year I ran for class president and titled my speech, “Why not me?” I won the election and will never forget the lesson my father left me that day when I spoke to him. Our heavenly Father is welcoming the same invitation in our lives. Why not you?

So, answer this question with honesty and truth…”Are your dreams crazy enough?” If the answer is no, “then you haven’t really come to life yet.” As I was finishing up the book I was reading called “The Circle Maker,” I came across the new Nike commercial released a few days ago as well. They both echo a message that we all need to desperately grasp. Are you dreaming bold, daring, crazy dreams? Are you living your life to its fullest potential? Are you relying on and inviting God to intervene and show His faithfulness in your life? Today is the day to begin if you have not started. I encourage you to pick up the book and dive deep into the pages. Then read it a second time, and again, and again. Batterson outlines 10 practical steps to goal setting and writing down your life goal lists. Below are a few highlights I got from the book. So dream crazy big dreams. Dream daring bold dreams.

If you want, comment below on some of the dreams you are believing for in your life. Be Blessed. Be revealed!

The Circle Maker

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

  • Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers.
  • Do the best you can with what you have where you are.
  • When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter in prayer?
  • After you pray through, you need to praise through.
  • Dreaming is a form of praying and praying is a form of dreaming, The more you pray the bigger your dreams will become. And the bigger your dreams become the more you will have to pray.
  • May imagination overtake memory.
  • Circle makers are risk takers.
  • If you give beyond your ability, God will bless you beyond your ability.
  • Today could be the day. When you live in prayer mode, you live with holy anticipation.
  • I’ve never met a person who didn’t experience some big disappointments on the way to his or her big dream.
  • How desperate are you for the miracle?
  • We do know that 100 percent of the prayers we don’t pray won’t get answered.
  • Pray through the Bible.
  • Pray like it depends on God; you also have to work like it depends on you.
  • It’s the hard times that teach us how to pray.
  • What seems like an unanswered prayer means that God has a better answer.
  • Dream Big. Pray Hard. Think Long. Prayer is the inheritance we receive and the legacy we leave.
  • The only way you can fail is if you quit trying. If you’re still trying, even if you’re failing, you’re succeeding. God is honored when you don’t give up.
  • Your greatest legacy is the prayers you leave behind. It’s also your longest legacy.
  • God will still be answering your prayers long after you are long gone. And the ripple effect will only be REVEALED in eternity!

 

Wake Up and Enjoy the Moment!

Ah…. the smell of roasted coffee or bacon in the morning can awaken my senses! I used to not be a coffee drinker until I started graduate school and then I was hooked! As I was thinking about what to write about this morning, my thoughts centered on these words…”WAKE UP.” Ephesians 5:14-15 MSG Bible says this:

Wake up from your sleep. Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light. So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

I believe many of us are sleep walking through our lives and not able to enjoy the moments and the season that God has placed us in. Just as coffee can awaken our senses, I believe that God places miracles and blessings in our lives to awaken us to His goodness and  purpose for us. However, if we are asleep, and not recognizing the urgency in the time which we are living, then we can very well miss our moment.

It’s hard to enjoy the moment when you are always looking for the next one. When you are always trying to get to the next level or the next season in your life, you could very well sleep through the season you are in now and miss all that God has for you NOW. You are where you are for a reason. The truth is….how you exit one season will greatly determine how you enter the next season. If you can’t wait to get to the next season, you will do the same in that season and miss what God is trying to teach and show you even then.

So how do we wake up from our sleep? How do we climb out of the coffins and SEE what God is trying to do in this season of our life? The answer is given in the verse above.

CHRIST WILL SHOW YOU THE LIGHT!

We need to allow God to do CPR to our hearts so that we can become alive in the NOW and see all that He has for us in the moment. I don’t want to miss the lessons in this season. I don’t want to look back on life and say, I missed it or I wish I would have slowed down some more and got that life lesson or that event. Or I wish I would have enjoyed my singleness more or even appreciated my relationships more. Our hearts are our spiritual eyes and when we give God our hearts, He gives us sight to see (Proverbs 23:26). I hope this encourages you this morning. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!