Date: 2/24/2003
Time: 10:29:40 AM

Comment

Can anyone tell me why on "Baptism of our Lord" Sunday on January 19th, none of the lections dealt with baptism? and now, the first Sunday of Lent they do? Does the first Sunday of Lent always retrace it's way back to the baptism of Christ? As I've been preaching the lectionary pretty consistently this year, it seems a serious interruption of the ministry and momentum ??? help? RevAmy (oh, i'm posting early becausee we are celebrating Scout Sunday -- anticipating almost doubling our 120-130 average attendance this morning)


Date: 2/26/2003
Time: 7:12:51 PM

Comment

Question: why was it necessary for Jesus to be tempted? What was the purpose for this struggle with Satan? Was he tempted for our sake, or for his sake? Why would God need to be tempted? Just some early wonderings ... thanks for any thoughts. BTW, I'm new here ... HS in ONT


Date: 3/1/2003
Time: 8:13:00 PM

Comment

I'm heading out... it's late for this year perhaps (It's Saturday March 1, 2003)... I'm going to Wal-Mart and buy them out of "Tea Lights"... here is a last minute idea for churches during Lent... I'll hand one to each person as they leave church tomorrow... and Ash Wednesday...

My plan is a simple one... during the next 6 weeks of lent, each and Every Wednesday...I'm going to have a time of prayer here in our Sanctuary... and beginning today EACH SUNDAY... I'm going to light our Christ candle and name it our candle of PEACE. Then, Each Wednesday during the noon hour... I invite you to join me as you are able... you are free to stay the whole hour... in prayer... or only long enough to light your candle of peace and then leave. You will be invited to come forward and light a prayer candle along this communion rail... and today you'll take one home as well... That way, at supper time, or first thing in the morning I invite you to join me in prayer at your home. If you don't get a candle here today, that's fine, any candle will do... I want you to light a candle of peace in your home and in your heart and together we can pray for peace and safety for all of God's children, whether their in the armed forces or children on the streets of Baghdad. Each time you walk by your candle... lit or not... say a breath prayer for peace. Something like..."Lord we pray for peace!" -Amen- Join me then, either in person here or in spirit here as you pray in the warmth of your own home...it's up to you. However you decide to... I invite you to join me in prayer...as we pray for our church, our community, our nation and our world. Seeing ourselves reflected in the image of God transformed in each of us... we'll pray together.

pulpitt in ND


Date: 3/2/2003
Time: 4:20:04 PM

Comment

Rev Amy, The baptism is included here because it leads into the temptation of Jesus and Lent is a reminder of that forty day trial of Jesus, along with our own 40 days of repentance and acceptance of our humanity. Mark doesn't say much about the temptation though, so the baptism makes for a longer text as well.

RB in Canada


Date: 3/2/2003
Time: 5:49:45 PM

Comment

It is necessary for Jesus to be tempted so that we know we have a Lord who is tempted as we are and yet able to overcome that temptation. In other words, hope! PH in OH


Date: 3/2/2003
Time: 6:36:39 PM

Comment

tempting and testing are the same word both in Greek and Hebrew. I believe the only way to decide which to use in translation is by context. Therefore, when Jesus was tempted by Satan, we could see that also as a testing by Satan. In the same way, when we are tempted, we can see that also as a test.

Conversely, we might have a problem trying to say that God tempted Abraham... To say that God tested Abraham is much more palatable.

Michelle


Date: 3/2/2003
Time: 8:32:30 PM

Comment

Remember that Jesus was being tempted by Satan, not by God. In order for a temptation to be real and not just a fake "going through the motions" the object of temptation must be both desirable and attainable. (I have never been tempted to turn stones into bread: there is no temptation to do the impossible.) Also the temptation is for the desirable. I am not tempted by a new car sitting at the curb with the keys in the ignition. I don't need another car. On the other hand, a kid lusting for wheels might find that car an overwhelming temptation. Desire plus availability is real temptation. It seeems to me that the temptation Jesus was facing was the very real desire and ability to be the kind of messiah his people were expecting and looking for--an economic messiah who would put bread on their tables, a political messiah who would drive out the Romans and resore the kingdom of David, and a religious messiah who would work wonders. It's a powerful temptation for all of us to be the kind of pastor, parent, teacher... that people expect us to be. Maybe Lent is about spending time in the wilderness figuring out how to be God's person instead of trying to be all things to all people, settling for the good instead of for the best. ALinOR


Date: 3/2/2003
Time: 8:35:31 PM

Comment

PH in OH: You say, "It is necessary for Jesus to be tempted so that we know we have a Lord who is tempted as we are and yet able to overcome that temptation. In other words, hope!" I agree! Yet, it has been suggested that because Jesus was (is) God, there was no real temptation or test, because there was no way God would fail, unlike us. It brings back an old argument about whether this was the time in which Jesus discerned his divinity. I'm not wanting to digress too far from the temptation/testing, but I also want to honour the seeker who says, "Yeah, but he's God, and I'm not." HS in ON


Date: 3/2/2003
Time: 9:11:22 PM

Comment

AL in OR

so, how nice of a new car are we talking about with the keys in it. I might not really need another car, but if it's alot nice r than what I'm driving now...

revgilmer in texarkana


Date: 3/3/2003
Time: 4:55:52 AM

Comment

Where I live, almost everyone leaves their doors unlocked and the keys in the ingnition. On the other hand, everyone knows which car is whose, so it really would be no temptation at all. The only problems are when the lady with the red car gets into somebody else's red car and drives it home. But then, the other person gets into hers and goes to make the switch! (My red car has manual transmission, so she couldn't drive that, but I never leave the keys in or the doors unlocked. Too easy to goof up when I get to the "big city!")

Michelle


Date: 3/3/2003
Time: 5:13:49 AM

Comment

This story in Mark does not give any details of the temptation in the wilderness. It does, however, let us know that "the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness." The word for drove, is like the Spirit threw him out there (Same word, by the way, as when Jesus sent away the cleansed leper). We might read into the text "in order to be tempted (tested)."

Was Jesus tempted (tested) because God wanted him to be honed for his minstry?

A few years back (more than a few, now) was the hoopla about the movie "The Last Temptation of Christ." I watched it. Like all movies, it contained some good and some bad, some unnecessary, and some that seemed just plain wrong. However, the basic premise, the last temptation, was right on. The last temptation for Jesus was to come down from the cross, to live a normal life.

I believe Jesus could have changed the plan of salvation, if he had wanted to do so, after all, he was God. Therefore, I believe he was vulnerable to temptation, even though he was God, maybe even moreso, because he had the power to do things the easy way. But then, he would always have known that he had done what had been suggested by Satan, that he had grasped up again that of which he had emptied himself... Ouch!

Michelle


Date: 3/3/2003
Time: 7:37:32 AM

Comment

pulpitt in ND

What an inspiring idea. I'm going to share it with the lay leaders who will be leading our Lenten services.

Mary in Homestead


Date: 3/3/2003
Time: 10:09:51 AM

Comment

What were the wild beasts doing with Jesus out in the wilderness? The text just says they were there. I think we traditionally read them as being a threat to his wellfare. Is that why they are mentioned? Do the angels minister to him by chasing away the wild beasts? Are the wild beasts symbolic of danger? PKH in NC


Date: 3/3/2003
Time: 4:05:23 PM

Comment

Mary in Homestead

I didn't realize how "inexpensive" tea lights are... our local Wal-Mart had them for something like $1.97 for 50...

...a lot of smiles on Sunday as they received this .04 Cent gift.

A blessed Lent... and prayers for Peace, united in our prayers,

Rick


Date: 3/3/2003
Time: 4:35:37 PM

Comment

i like the fact that mark gives no details about the temptations that Jesus faced. in some ways that seems to me to be the gospel of this text... Jesus was tempted, he was with the wild beasts,a dn the angels waited on him. isn't this what we all encounter? we are tempted, surrounded by wild beasts, but always God has angels at our beck-n-call.

christine in nj


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 6:39:08 AM

Comment

During the temptations we can see Jesus dealing with ministry. 1. Turn stone into bread. Would He use his power for self gratification? 2. Jump of the tower. Would He make his ministry one of showing off. 3. Bow dowm and worship me and I will give you all the world. Would he take a short cut and bypass the cross?


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 7:02:12 AM

Comment

With regard to the wild animals, I noted that the text merely states that Jesus was "with the wild beasts." It doesn't say he was confronted by them, endangered by them, assisted by them, or whatever, only that they were together in the wilderness. So, my thought was that perhaps there is a subtle reference to Eden here.... and this is what the commentary in the New Interpreter's Bible says:

"From early Christian times onward, interpreters have ... seen the picture of Christ in the wilderness with the animals as an antitype of Adam in the garden. Although the wild animals suggest the dangers posed by the desert regions, the juxtaposition of this notice with the concluding reference to angels who ministered to Jesus makes the alternate reading possible. The enmity between humans and wild animals, which was a consequence of Adam's fall, does not apply to Jesus."

Jesus in the desert with the wild animals is also, perhaps, an allusion to Isaiah's "peaceable kingdom".

Blessings, Eric in KS (in "job search" mode -- say a prayer for a new call soon)


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 8:55:50 AM

Comment

"The Spirit drove him into the wilderness"... is what the NRSV says... I would see that it might indeed be the Same Spirit that Baptized Jesus by John in the Jordan that now drove him into the wilderness. First he has the assurance that he IS IT... now comes the torturing doubt that WE ALL experience... that "perhaps he is NOT!"...

We've all been there... had those peak days that we feel as if we are on top of the world... baptism, confirmation, graduation from HS, Marriage, Parenting..

but even Sunday's give way to Monday's and Blue Tuesdays... days when we wallow in the "would have could have" of what once was. There will of course be days of happiness and hope... followed by days of doubt for all of us... days if allowed to fester... cause us to doubt our own BEST selves.

No, I think Satan was added by those who didn't want God to test God's son.

And it is during those dark times of our souls that "Angels come and minister" to us too. Through the love of family and friends we're lifted up... dusted off and set on the path of life once again.

Am I way off?

Still working on this "out loud" for me!

Blessings,

pulpitt in ND


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 9:01:53 AM

Comment

"Didn't want God to 'test' God's Son"...

After having said that... I think it is more that Jesus was shown and showing his humanness like the rest of us... we're all tested each day... we make choices between good and bad...

Will we go to war? If so, at what cost? Do we kill others to show that killing is wrong?

We make choices, I think that's comforting... that way maybe even I can "make it" in the world.

More blessings,

pulpitt in ND


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 9:15:17 AM

Comment

Mark uses 7 verses to tell of the baptism of Jesus, his temptation in the wilderness, and the beginning of his preaching ministry. Not many details are given about any of these events. Mark just hits the high spots and moves on

However, there are some very interesting details: 1. Mark has no problem with Jesus being baptized by John. The other gospels give some explanation, but not Mark.

2. Jesus' spiritual experience at his baptism is personal. He sees the Spirit descending upon him like a dove, and by extension he hears the voice of God speak directly to him, "You are my Son, the beloved. With you I am well pleased." This must have been a powerful affirmation for Jesus.

3. The same Spirit that affirms and assures Jesus also drives him into the wilderness. There he is tempted by Satan; he is with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. He is tempted alone...He is in the presence of scary things...but he is also waited upon by angels. So he is not alone even though it seems as if he is. God did not leave him alone, but provided angels to wait upon him. I haven't done an exhaustive survey, but I think that every believer must spend significant time in the wilderness. We come out better on the other side of the wilderness experience.

4. The basic content of Jesus' preaching is revealed: "The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe the good news." This basic call is the particular call of Lent. Know the nearness of God, change our ways accordingly, and trust the good news of Jesus.

These ideas are divergent, but maybe we can weave them together in a way that speaks to the people while being faithful to the word.

Creature Wayne


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 9:25:01 AM

Comment

pulpitt in ND:

I think you are right on! I think that while the Spirit may drive us into the wilderness, it is Satan who tempts us with the desire to destroy us. However, God is with us even during these times and God uses the fire to refine, temper us, and make us stronger and better. Satan may seek to destroy, but God works through the process to make us better. Tempered steel is stronger than iron and gold is refined and purified by fire. God takes what Satan intends for destruction and uses it to refine and strengthen his people. Thanks be to God! Creature Wayne


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 10:42:46 AM

Comment

For AL in OR--reading your comment ("Maybe Lent is about spending time in the wilderness figuring out how to be God's person instead of trying to be all things to all people...") reminded me of a quote from Frederich Buechner: "...Jesus went off alone into the wilderness where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves." (His whole reflection on Lent is great, found in Whistling in the Dark.)

To simplify things, "testing" is a general experience, while "tempting" is a specific sort of test. Thus, we can say that God allows "testing" and that the enemy does the "tempting" as part of that (as was the case with Job--and someone will point out that this still leaves God party to it all, but we can say that God is big enough to handle that, as we also learn from Job's story).

Three "necessary things" are on display in Mark's account: the necessity for Jesus to be baptized, the necessity of his testing in the wilderness, and the necessity of his message. But why were they "necessary"?

It seems that more is at work here than just Jesus "staging a show" for our benefit. Christian scholars over the centuries have talked about the reality of Jesus' struggles here and at the end of his life. Jesus' suffering and death were real, and so too is his testing here--neither of them "faked." From Jesus' perspective, there is the potential for failure, to act in self-serving ways and not trust in God's provisions for the struggle. Likewise, on the cross, there is the potential that Jesus will act to deliver himself from the suffering. To conjecture on what would have happened is to run up against divine mystery. We can rejoice that Jesus did stay true, to the very end.

But we read all of this through "resurrection eyes," knowing that God vindicated Jesus at Easter. So that makes Jesus not only a worthy EXAMPLE of humility in suffering (to tie in with the Psalm and Epistle readings) but also one through whom a VICTORY over death and sin is gained.

We can look to Jesus example, but also hope in God's victory.

Now, how to preach all that...

TK in OK


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 1:25:09 PM

Comment

I am taking a different tack with this scripture and looking at the wilderness experience as a whole. How do we cope when we are in the wilderness experiences as HS in ON considered - we are not God! Even though this pericope does not refer to this as a time in which Christ was fasting and in prayer it is understood. How do we mere mortals survive in our everyday world when we are in the trenches - hopefully prayer and fasting? Any simple tips for prayer/fasting in everyday living would be appreciated.

I think to open the door to preach about temptation and whether or not God allows or does not allow or tests or does not test can disturb many minds. We had this discussion during Bible study a few weeks ago and there was a lot of angst around the table regarding our understandings and sacred beliefs. Although it is tempting I say leave it to further study when it can be dealt with one on one. PH in MI


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 1:53:42 PM

Comment

We used to joke that the college we attended was five miles from the nearest known sin. Now if the Spirit had flown him to Las Vegas. . . But maybe the Spirit knew that the greatest temptations are not from without but from within. jrbnrnc


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 2:10:53 PM

Comment

Anybody notice that the temptation has bookends of proclamation? the heavenly proclamation of Jesus as God's Son before and Jesus' proclamation of the presence of the Kingdom of God following? Jesus' temptation is a first illustration of Jesus' self-denial which he continued all the way to the cross. Laura. I am just a theology student who has to preach the text on Sunday.


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 2:27:28 PM

Comment

Hello all, Here's $.02 from a long-time lurker, first time poster: I am caught up with the timing of the whole event of Baptism - temptation (testing). Isn't it something that Mark has Jesus "immediately" thrown into the thick of "real life" so quickly after the powerful affirmation from on high? While I am still wrestling with this one, I seem to be catching ahold of an idea that has something to do with being one who is "well pleasing to God" has something to do with ending up right smack in the middle of all of life's temptaions, testings, and sufferings. Or perhaps to put it another way, "being faithful has nothing to do with being isolated from living, one will be caught up in the midst of testing from the moment God makes a claim upon your life." Now it is not insignificant then that Jesus was ministered to in the midst of the suffering / temptation / testing - in fact I see this a a true word of grace that God chooses not to leave those who have been claimed alone in the midst of the testing. For preaching I am at least working with these questions to help unpack this one: 1) Which of us hasn't wondered why being Christian is at times so difficult? - perhaps it is simply inherent in the calling...Jesus was not spared this at all. 2) What does it mean to be called into service / faith? - it seems to mean something about being thrown into life's challenges, temptaions and tests headlong (immediately) 3) What resources do we have available to us out here on the "plank"? - it would seem that we have the very ministering of God coming to us daily throughout our times of testing

These are my initial thoughts...anyone like to chime in here - critique, expand, question - any would be welcome. Peace, PrEric in Lodi


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 2:31:06 PM

Comment

Newby Question - Off topic:

PS - I would greatly appreciate any help on how folks get line breaks into their posts...I just looked at how my submission came out and it is the great "nebulous blob o text." Do i need to use the html tag "<br>" or something? Thanks in advance for your help. RevEric in Lodi


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 3:19:05 PM

Comment

Pr. Eric in Lodi -

Sorry, no answers for your techno-query. However, your posting, I feel was right on. I don't think we can avoid, as one poster suggested, that part of our calling - part of the package, of being a disciple, is suffering. In fact, perhaps God sees it as a "necessary evil," so to speak, for engendering people true to his calling.

I really don't think we can overlook the fact that "the SPIRIT...DROVE him out into the wilderness," where there would be danger, temptation, and separation.

Such experiences make real for us our dependence on God for everything that really matters; they strengthen our faith - for even there, God is with us ("angels"). Also, suffering, by being without things (e.g., food while fasting) heightens our ability to take the focus off ourselves and relate to others who are without, not by choice, but because they have no choice. Shutting ourselves off becomes more difficult.

Obviously, Jesus' role is Messianic and geo-salvific and uniquely different from we disciples. And this makes it convenient to say that we can let Jesus do all the suffering so we don't have to - "he did all that for us." But that is not the Gospel. Jesus says that disciples "deny themselves" and "take up their cross" (8:34). (It would sure preach better if he said "take up your couch...")

Clearly, God does not wish suffering for suffering's sake. Nor do I believe God is the author of human suffering. Yet self denial and suffering - for the sake of our relationships to God and to our fellow humans - sure seems central to the Christian experience, at least according to this Gospel writer. Maybe it's because that's the way it is in the real world. Pain and suffering exist for people (and thus for God). We can either insulate ourselves from them and their hurt, or we can join God in walking through it with them, and in seeking to transform the experience.

I got a little sidetracked, but I think I'm going to talk about suffering this week - perhaps the necessity of it. I think God is big enough for such questions, but I understand the aingst.

Still very early.

RevKinOK


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 3:23:47 PM

Comment

Pr Lodi -

Just hit the "enter" (return) key for line breaks. That's probably the limit of my tech expertise.

Good Luck,

RevKinOK


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 4:04:35 PM

Comment

Eric in Lodi ... welcome! It's about time there was another Eric around here!

blessings, Eric in KS


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 6:22:48 PM

Comment

Here's another idea based on the wilderness... the theory that Jesus' life is a recapitulation of the Exodus suggests that Jesus was in the wilderness 40 days/years doing what the Israelites couldn't -- getting through without caving to temptation. Accompanied by the Spirit, the angels, and a clear sense of purpose, Jesus not only resisted sin, but found fuel for the "new exodus" (Luke's version of the Transfiguration!) by which all would be saved.

Significance: we, too, are called to the wilderness, where those wise by worldly standards would surely not enter. Dirty downtown shelters, bedside to the cancer-stricken, on your knees to wash feet, they're all wildernesses of sorts, but that's where the victories are won, for Jesus' sake. The world says "Don't go there!" Jesus says, "I did. And I want you to, as well."

And there, in the posture of the servant, in Jesus and in us, "the kingdom of God has come near." That's good news, indeed! DW in St. Cloud


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 6:47:00 PM

Comment

RevEric in Lodi

Yep...

push your return key

twice gives you a new paragraph...

With grins,

pulpitt in ND


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 9:28:15 PM

Comment

How did Mark know about any of this?

Was Jesus alone, or were there others with him, that related the story?

My temptations are a very private event? Unless I reveal them, no one would often ever know that I had been tempted.

I have found that temptation is based purely upon my physical or carnal aspirations. In this event, I believe Jesus is required to determine what kind of ministry his would be. He is struggling with his capabilities versus his concern. ie; "If I make it too easy, then people will not appreciate the satisfaction that is available to them in the spiritual journey." Nothing gained cheaply is ever valued highly!

My other intrigue with gospel, is that after every moment or time of pinnacle in life, comes the test. The test of pride. What is that old saying, "Pride comes before the fall."

Jesus has just been baptised. He is at the pinnacle of his relationship with God. Then comes the worthiness component, that strikes every time we think we are deserving of what has occurred.

I found that during the week following my ordination, I was filled with worthiness doubts and temptations to give up, that which I had just gained. I have since discovered that this principle applies in every major event, where I am called to risk, and apply faith in a very tangible way.

Presenting a difficult sermon. Confronting an angry church mob. Making a radical change in church direction. Examples like these, are the occasions, when I am tempted to look for an easier way.

The fact that Matthew names the temptations with selections of scripture associates them for me to those members of the early church, struggling with their own choices, after having entered this secret, and persecuted society called the church, and discovering the risk and weight involved in making such a commitment.

I have found that the two major phsychological dangers in any step of committment, are contentment/relaxing and entrapment/feelings of imprisonment.

What ever it was that Jesus endured in those forty days following his baptism, the bottom line is that Jesus did not succumb to their power, to detour him from the task. Proclaiming the good news of God.

How easily I am diverted by all the temptations, (I justify them as necessary), that take me away from that core purpose. I know from this gospel, that I have so much more to learn.

Regards to all. Thanks for the space to reveal my thoughts.

KGB in Aussie.


Date: 3/4/2003
Time: 9:31:15 PM

Comment

Oops!

I meant to say,

I have found that temptation is NOT based purely upon my physical or carnal aspirations.

Changes that thought rather drastically.

Regards,

KGB.


Date: 3/5/2003
Time: 4:56:28 AM

Comment

A suggestion ... I've noticed in the discussion that some have made reference to the specific "temptations" listed in Luke and Matthew. These are not found here in Mark. The author of Mark is not interested in the specifics -- he has a different message to relay. In preaching Mark's Gospel, I would suggest not mentioning Luke's and Matthew's three specifics: instead, focus on what you believe Mark is trying to put across. Otherwise, you're not preaching from Mark!

Just a suggestion.

Blessings, Eric in KS http://consuting.thefunstons.com/


Date: 3/5/2003
Time: 7:28:37 AM

Comment

As I was reading the comments on this Sunday's Gospel, I remembered that the next 4 Sunday's have to do with Jesus teaching his disciples that he must die and raise. It began to make sense to me that this first Sunday's Gospel is the prelude for the next four Gospels selected in the pericopes. After Jesus Baptism and pronouncement of God's favor, he is driven out into the wilderness to be tempted. Three major temptations take place. Each temptation symbolizes a direction to go for is Messiahship. Would he be a political power, a worker of miracles and healing, or a religious power? Satan plays the part of the tempter. In each temptation, the focus is on Jesus self fulfillment. Rather, Jesus comes back with good news that through him, meaning the cross, grave, and resurrection (sacrifice) comes the Kingdom of God. There is a change taking place and it's time for a new way. His "repent and believe" is an invitation to the new covenant. Lynn in Omaha


Date: 3/5/2003
Time: 12:24:34 PM

Comment

Thanks Eric,

Our "text study group" made that observation too regarding the absence of the actual temptations.

This way we don't have the wiggle room... for we are all tempted. It's easier to dodge them if they were named.

I appreciate that... it makes it even more "real" because each of us are tempted to betray our own best selves when we are tempted with what isn't ours.

Still working on it...

pulpitt in ND


Date: 3/5/2003
Time: 12:45:22 PM

Comment

RevkinOK I was not suggesting that we avoid the text concerning the temptation rather that temptation - who causes or does not cause might be addressed in a different forum. This is much to heady for Sunday's sermon. Wf we only preach to the temptation in this pericope we are missing the richness of the text in Mark as Eric in KS so aptly put. Still working on how we mere mortals survive the wilderness experience since Mark's version does not discuss that other than the angels ministered to Him. How did they minister to him? Where does prayer and fasting come into this part of the narrative as understood? Thanks PH in MI


Date: 3/5/2003
Time: 12:51:37 PM

Comment

Eric in KS,

I don't understand how mentioning the temptation accounts from Mt. and Lk. would take away from preaching from Mark. If I were preaching about when Jesus mentioned Moses lifting up the serpent, I would feel comfortable citing and explaing the Numbers 21 passage simply for the purpose of expanding and illustrating the story.

Personally I don't intend to mention the Mt. and Lk. texts because I am aproaching this text from a different perspective. I plan to discuss the steps Jesus went through at the beginning of his ministry.

First he started with baptism - an act of obedience that let to affirmation from his father.

Then he faced temptation, learning to deal with it and experiencing God's providence through the ministry of angels.

After that he began his ministry of preaching the kingdom of God.

I plan to apply that to our own need to discern the purpose for which God created each of us.

We begin the process by being obedient in the little things. We learn to overcome the temptations to quit, to get sidetracked, to take shortcuts. As we do these things, our calling becomes clearer and clearer. Then we must choose to do what we know to do.

Anybody got any good ideas on illustrative material for these ideas?

GC in IL


Date: 3/5/2003
Time: 5:45:44 PM

Comment

this is off topic! If anyone has ever blessed a store can you share what you did with me. I do not read spanish but would like to do part of the blessing in spanish. revncarmichael@yahoo.com Thanks!


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 4:37:40 AM

Comment

I agree with Eric in KS, let Mark be about Mark. It seems to me the questions that perhaps arose in the community as his gospel was passed about raised questions, such as "why did he need to be baptized?" "what was he tempted by?", etc. Matthew and Luke seemed to have addressed those early questions. (I guess, certain people would view that comment a bit heretical, but I think its plausible). However, let's trust Mark to tell his story his way and save the three temptations for the other lectionary years.

I am intrigued of this triad of baptism, temptation, and proclamation. The immediacy of the wilderness experience after the "high-spiritual experience" of baptism seems to mirror experience. When I think back on my high faith moments when I thought I had my faith act together, it seemed an immediate period of testing was not far behind, which I usually failed miserably. Perhaps it is because when we feel "faithful" we are a bit too naive and vulnerable. Satan just loves picking us off. Perhaps the good news is that Jesus is stronger than us. Tim in NY


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 4:59:17 AM

Comment

GC in NY: I think Tim has answered adequately, so just let me say this ... reference to Matthew's and Luke's three temptations would be fine in Bible study sessions, but in sermons, where we are to exegete the scripture read during worship, reading into Mark the temptations listed in the other Gospels would not do that.

Mark is not concerned with these specific temptations (either because they were not known to his community or because he considered them irrelevant) -- he is concerned with the more global (and more relevant to each of us, frankly) issue of "temptation in general". Few of us will be tempted with global domination; few of us will be tempted with throwing ourselves off the steeple (although most clergy may think of doing that at one time or another) in hopes that angels will catch us; few of us will be tempted to change stones to bread (would that we could!). But we will all face temptations peculiar to our circumstances and station in life. This, it seems to me, is part of Mark's concern ... to show that Jesus (without regard to his particular temptations) went through the same "in general" kind of testing that we face. (I also think Mark is setting up a picture of Jesus as "the new Adam" what with the wild beasts, temptation by Satan, etc.)

So that is why I would not mention the specifics of Matthew/Luke in a sermon on Mark.

Blessings, Eric in KS (another day of mailing out application letters and resumes ... what fun!)


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 6:30:53 AM

Comment

GC in IL,

One the most potent things I can find in terms of illustrating the baptism, trial, and ministry triad is the way recovery works for people suffering from addictions, depression, and other mental health challenges. Baptism is hitting bottom and getting help: just as we are baptized in the death of Christ, we are also raised (out of the water, or sprinkled) to new life. The action of baptism is "We are baptized". We are helpless,we are not in control, and we cannot help ourselves - we are in passive mode; we do not baptize ourselves, we submit ourselves to the waters of death and renewal.

Just as a side note, I think that our views on baptism have had their focus more on the renewal side than on the death side - nothing rises that hasn't died first. That raises the issue of the things in our lives we have to put to death in order for recovery to happen.

Continuing on the trial aspect: baptism itself is not renewal. It is the sign that we are worth saving, that we are the beloved. Good news, yes, but we've got to live in a world which by intention or neglect, works against our recovery. That is where the trial comes in. It is particularly hard for addicts, mental health patients and their families to get used to the idea that recovery is possible, and because the old patterns of living, denial, silence, accommodation are so strong it is very easy for us to forget the lessons we have learned while in the "baptism" of an addictions recovery institution. There are indeed wild beasts of our past haunting us with sins and consequences, there is indeed the Adversary telling us that we are no good, that we'll never make it, that you are completely alone, that we are the Despised, not the Beloved. You were right, GC, to note that the obedience comes in the small things. We call them baby steps. We call it "take one day at a time". We call it being accountable. And we find the ministering angels in caring spouses, or if that is not there, in our support groups, in the nurses, doctors and therapists who work with us through our desert.

It is perhaps toward the end of this process, when we see the end of the wilderness, and with the encouragement of friends and family, we feel strong enough to tell others what we have experienced, and in doing so, help them discover what it means to follow Jesus in baptism, trial and service.

Hope this helps

Blessings

RevEd in Ontario


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 6:34:21 AM

Comment

GC in IL,

One the most potent things I can find in terms of illustrating the baptism, trial, and ministry triad is the way recovery works for people suffering from addictions, depression, and other mental health challenges. Baptism is hitting bottom and getting help: just as we are baptized in the death of Christ, we are also raised (out of the water, or sprinkled) to new life. The action of baptism is "We are baptized". We are helpless,we are not in control, and we cannot help ourselves - we are in passive mode; we do not baptize ourselves, we submit ourselves to the waters of death and renewal.

Just as a side note, I think that our views on baptism have had their focus more on the renewal side than on the death side - nothing rises that hasn't died first. That raises the issue of the things in our lives we have to put to death in order for recovery to happen.

Continuing on the trial aspect: baptism itself is not renewal. It is the sign that we are worth saving, that we are the beloved. Good news, yes, but we've got to live in a world which by intention or neglect, works against our recovery. That is where the trial comes in. It is particularly hard for addicts, mental health patients and their families to get used to the idea that recovery is possible, and because the old patterns of living, denial, silence, accommodation are so strong it is very easy for us to forget the lessons we have learned while in the "baptism" of an addictions recovery institution. There are indeed wild beasts of our past haunting us with sins and consequences, there is indeed the Adversary telling us that we are no good, that we'll never make it, that you are completely alone, that we are the Despised, not the Beloved. You were right, GC, to note that the obedience comes in the small things. We call them baby steps. We call it "take one day at a time". We call it being accountable. And we find the ministering angels in caring spouses, or if that is not there, in our support groups, in the nurses, doctors and therapists who work with us through our desert.

It is perhaps toward the end of this process, when we see the end of the wilderness, and with the encouragement of friends and family, we feel strong enough to tell others what we have experienced, and in doing so, help them discover what it means to follow Jesus in baptism, trial and service.

Hope this helps

Blessings

RevEd in Ontario


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 6:57:16 AM

Comment

To RevAmy: If you did Baptism of our Lord on Jan. 19, you missed it. That should always be on the Sunday after the Epiphany. (Jan. 12 this Year.) Unfortuantely, many of us want to give full emphasis to the Epiphany (Jan 6) on a Sunday, and so some did that on Jan 12. It had to be done on Jan 5 in order to keep up with the rest of the season.

The Epiphany Season moves on from the Baptism of Jesus to the particulars that reveal (make Manifest) who Jesus is, (Calling disciples, casting out demons, healing, forgiving) but leaves the temptation of Jesus until the First Sunday in Lent because the Temptation marks the move toward the cross, and, especially in Mark, that is the ongoing temptation.

The Temptation comes immediately after the baptism, like the testing of a new product, to see if it will do as it is supposed to. We need to read those events together to get the proper context.

I like the fact that Mark does not give the specific temptations that Matthew and Luke refer to, because the whole life and ministry of Jesus was a temptation to misuse his power or avoid his purpose. Matthew and Luke each say that the devil left Jesus after the temptations. Mark does not say that, because his whole book has Jesus struggling with evil and the source of evil.

As we journey with Jesus to Jerusalem and to the cross during the Lenten Season, we, too, need to see which things would distract and divert us from our true purpose in taking up our cross and following Jesus.

JRW in OH


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 7:53:56 AM

Comment

Two important distinctions need to be made when discussing temptation and sin. First, the Greek terms peirasmos/peirazo can be translated either temptation/tempt or test. It is an old but valid distinction that God tests us but Satan tempts us. The difference is not necessarily in the substance of what happens to the person undergoing trial, but in the intent behind the trial. God puts us to the test to strengthen our moral character, like a workman tempering steel so it will be strong and not alloyed with impure substances. The devil, on the other hand, puts us to the test in order to destroy our good character. Yet there is a further paradox, which the Markan account especially brings to the fore. It is God's Spirit who casts Jesus out into the wilderness to be tempted. God certainly allows human beings to be tempted, and indeed, may even place them in a locale where they will necessarily be tempted. This phenomenon may explain the petition in the Lord's Prayer which says to God, "lead us not into temptation," or as another translation has it, "do not put us to the test/time of trial."

The distinction between temptation and sin is also crucial. Put simply, to be tempted is not the same as to sin. A person who is tempted but successfully resists the temptation has not sinned. Nevertheless, temptation indicates our human vulnerability. If a person had no inclination to ever sin, he would be immune to temptations. The concept implies that a person is capable of being enticed to do what he know he ought not do. This tells us something significant about Mark's portrait of Jesus as a human being. Jesus was truly human and so not immune to real temptations. The Markan portrayal of things with temptations framing Jesus' ministry suggests that Jesus' temptations especially had to do with God's call on his life and what God wanted him to do. This is also often the case with those called into various forms of ministry today. One is often tempted to take the easy or comfortable road rather than the wilderness road which is the high calling of God on a person's life. As D. Bonhoeffer once said, when Christ calls a person, he call him to come and die—die to self and selfish desires and to a self-directed course of living. A life lived out of a call from God is the antithesis of a life lived on the basis of self-centered career planning.

The portrayal of Jesus' time of trial involves both danger and assistance. There are wild beasts in the wilderness, but there are also angels. We are not told elsewhere in Mark's Gospel that angels assisted Jesus, but we are told that here in the first chapter. It reminds us that in the hour of need, God provides extra help, extra sustenance, extra strength so that we may persevere through the trial. Here no doubt there is an echo of a similar scene involving Elijah in 1 Kings 19:4-6. God may put us to the test, but he gives us the resources to persevere through that test. It is probable that no person can judge in advance what sorts of trials or temptations he could endure, precisely because one cannot gauge how much grace or what resources God will make available at the time of the trial in order to overcome it.


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 8:04:20 AM

Comment

To JRW in OH:

To solve all the problems with dates, do like we did, celebrate the Epiphany of Our Lord on January 6. We worshiped on Monday evening this year. Then you don't end up making up a day called Epiphany Sunday which doesn't exist on our church calendar. We don't move Christmas to the Sunday before or after and call it Christmas Sunday do we?

Shalom: Tom in Ontario


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 8:08:04 AM

Comment

Re KGB in Aussie; I think your insight is important. Jesus must have told someone. I can see it now, " My name is Jesus and I've been in the wilderness." The assembled group said, " Hi, Jesus. We've been in the wilderness too." Or Hi, Jesus. Were in the wilderness, now."

Perhaps a story being told on the way to Jerusalem for the donkey ride into town? Or on the way from the last supper into the garden of Gethsemene?

Ironically, Mark ( the secret keeper) tells us of it. Short and sweet. Wild beasts, angels, tempted, tested, Spitit Driven.

In the last 8 months I have seen my wife move out of the parsonage, buried my mother, become a single parent of a teenager, gone from " darling" to " defendant", had surgery, been finiancilly slammed, and the parsonage is being totally renovated while my son and I live in it. "And besides I have this rash" :-DD. ( from City Slickers, the movie)

What I can tell you is that in the wilderness, God is real. Angels are more abundant than wild beasts. I take comfort in the reality of 40 days. ( metaphorically) One day it will be what has happened and not what is happening.

Until then, I'll feel the brush of angel wings and see glory on each face. Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.

Perhaps on the road to somewhere, I'll be able to say to another, this too shall pass.

Thanks for letting me say, "Hi, I'm in the wilderness." Hope it helps all of us. RR IN NC


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 9:10:55 AM

Comment

Not to laugh at your trouble but you seem to have a bit of a sense of humor so, my DPS friend, "Don't Scratch the Rash"! Nancy-Wi


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 10:00:11 AM

Comment

Another way of thinking about this is that Jesus' baptism didn't end in the water. He had been baptized by water. IN the desert, he would face baptism by fire. We as disciples are quite eager for the benefits of baptism, but the challenge - the fire - is much less appealing. I think we need to realize thaat it is a package deal.

The water doesn't ensure that you won't face fire - in fact, it ensures that you will. But it also ensures that the fire will not consume you and that you will pass through to the other side, with God's help.

RR IN NC - You will pass through, my friend.

Grace and Peace and Protection,

RevKinOK


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 10:41:23 AM

Comment

"We are more often tempted to do good than we are to do evil. And it is a temptation that we don't often enough give in to." Fulton Sheen Sermon fodder/sermon nuggets/lent 1


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 11:35:34 AM

Comment

I still think it would be as OK to talk about the specific temptations as it would be to mention Paul's concept of the new Adam. Of course, I'm comfortable preaching Jesus from the book of Isaiah too. It's that canon thing.

RR in NC

I can't imagine what kind of temptations you must be facing in such a time as this. Said a prayer for your strength and sanity.

RevEd in Ontario

Thanks so much for the insight. I can't imagine how many of us have struggled with some type of addiction that kept us from find our place in God's plan.

GC in IL


Date: 3/6/2003
Time: 4:50:18 PM

Comment

To RR in NC

As one who has been in such a wilderness, I want to say to you that this too shall pass. Others who had been through it said the same to me, and it was difficult to believe in the midst of the pain. I am now much healed, and although still not whole, the pain has receeded and life has continued. There have even been times of joy and celebration. If you want to share any of the struggle, feel free to email me (just identify yourself as RR in NC) at sjamison@evenlink.com

RevSophia


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 4:54:09 AM

Comment

A "must read" for ministers/pastors on the subject of temptations is Nouwen's insightful little book, "In the Name of Jesus". He describes the parallels of the temptations of Jesus with those of ministry. I read it at least once each year as a self-reminder.

With this text I am trying to link it to the restoration of creation in the rainbow story of Gen. 9. Each of these stories tell us about God - the character or quality of God's love and mercy and relationship to Jesus and to humanity. I'm not sure where to take it as of yet. Because Mark gives no details of the actual temptations, I do not see them as the main point. In Mark 1 each little scene or incident describes something about Jesus - is meant to tell us who he is, as opposed to teach a lesson about issues like sin, wilderness, or temptations. With our entry into Lent I am thinking of outlining a reflection on "how we stand before God" and how God responds to us as humans. How do we rightly accept and live within our frailty and God's graciousness? We talk about shopping days til Christmas - Can we talk about reflecting days til Easter? Jim in CT.


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 5:29:32 AM

Comment

To RR in NC: Hearing how you have been in the wilderness, and especially how you have experienced God in those times has encouraged me for my wilderness experience. I pray for God's sustaining grace for you and your loved ones in this time. I love the way you apply the words of "Surely the Presence" in your situation. I'm glad to see that you have kept your sense of humor as well. May God continue to bless you.

Creature Wayne


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 5:40:49 AM

Comment

A quick note this Friday morning to all my DPS friends.

I agree with Eric, et. al. Mark doesn't focus on the specifics of the temptations. Discussions of the other synoptics' views are best kept to study groups or mentioned only in passing. One of my preaching professors noted that too often we are too quick to read into the texts before us. Also, we are too slow to let the text speak for itself. Let Mark be Mark. We need to see Mark's view. Personally, I think he's trying to tell the story simply while pointing to some deeper truths. One of those truths is that Christ is not only Redeemer, he is the example of how God wishes for us to live. His baptism exemplifies humanities need for repentance and cleansing. He wilderness trek is the example of humanities need for meditation. More examples can be drawn, as one desires to see them.

Now for a burning question. Why are we consistently avoiding the Psalms and the OT texts? Many weeks few of us post or discuss these vital texts for preaching. As Seinfeld would say, "What's up with that?"

Steve in NC


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 5:43:51 AM

Comment

This week's discussion has helped me to a theme and basic structure for Sunday's sermon: Jesus was shaped by his baptism. He was tempered and strengthened in the wilderness. Then he was deployed for service. The Spirit played a key role in all three phases of Jesus' experience.

The application is that we are also shaped by our experience of the Spirit in baptism. Because of this we know who we are and whose we are. This is the first step.

The second step is being made strong in order to be useful. Steel is tempered to be made strong. The wilderness experience does that fur us.

The third step is being deployed for service. I will probably use a scene from the movie "Glory" as an illustration of being deployed for service. When the Colonel was getting his troops ready to go into battle he gave one of them the honor of being the standard bearer. Then he pointed to that soldier and said, "If this man falls, who will pick up the flag and carry on?" The soldier who was mentally slower, but a better shot than the others said, "I will," and the men erupted in a loud cheer. Because he had been shaped by baptism and tempered in the wilderness Jesus was ready and he picked up the standard and carried on when John was arrested.

I hope the reference to war is not offensive in these times.

Creature Wayne


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 5:51:28 AM

Comment

Oops. Even though I am from Georgia I want y'all to know that I do know the difference between "fur" and "for."

Creature Wayne


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 6:36:45 AM

Comment

Two things keep intriguing me:

1. the 40 days like Noah, Moses, Elijah and 40 years for the Israelites. It seems to suggest that God does send us all into a time of wilderness to become more fully God's people. and

2. the going away - back across the Jordan - from the promised land before going to the people. I'm not sure what all that means yet. But I would think that a time of preparation was necessary. I remember when I began seminary (after a 12 year time to be certain) and at the same time local minsiters began a lay ministry class. And the people in those classes were getting preaching classes and being asked to preach while I was back in Intro to New Testament! I wanted to jump right in too, but that wasn't the best thing.

some comments from other remarks:

1. on my computer you have to skip a line to make a paragraph. ( I still can't get in with my password to other resources.)

2.I had planned to give out tea lights too but never did get to buy them. Maybe it's not too late.

3. It has been suggested that angels waiting on Jesus in Mark meant they fed him - like a waiter/ress. Note they don't show up at the end but are there the entire time of the testing. If so, this isn't about hunger, but about depending on God.

4. I loved the illustration of testing out a new product. Thanks.

grace and peace to you all.

rachel


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 6:48:43 AM

Comment

Desperate preachers

The question of why the temptations were necessary does come up often as we look at scripture. Let's face it, who likes the image of a God who tests and puts people through trial. Yes Jesus's testing did make him experience what all humanity faces, so he truly was fully human. But perhaps it was also a way for him to test God the Father. By putting himself in God's hands there in the wilderness, he saw God's faithfulness lived out. God was a God who could and would provide for him. This faithfulness would strengthen him for his final temptation in Gethsemane. As God cared for him in the wilderness, God would care for him leading to, once on, and once taken down from the cross.

In tying into the temptation / testing issue, knowing it is simplistic, but isnt that our calling?, maybe Jesus was tempted, in his faith and obedience, and God was Tested, in faitfulness to deliver his promise of resurrection.

Apollo guy TX


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 6:56:34 AM

Comment

Another late thought,

I was thinking, the time Jesus was in the wilderness is about the same time those on survivor are left in the wilderness. HMMM interesiing to see how a little harship makes them fall to pieces and they arent really on their own.

That thought got me thinking about the "Reality" rage in TV these days. Of course we know that is not really reality.

While all of Jesus's life was reality theology, study and relationship with God, his time in the wilderness gave him uninterrupted time with God, outside the temptations. Lent provides us an opportunity to experience reality theology. If we observe Lent, we are confronted with reality, the reality of our mortality, sin, separation, and complete reliance on God. hmmm talk about a soul survivor.

Apollo Guy tx


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 7:25:31 AM

Comment

hello all,

i mentioned days ago that i took real comfort in the fact that mark doesn't mention the temptations that afflicted Jesus. i think this opens up the story in a way that the other gospel writers don't open it for us.

i'm taking in new members on sunday and (in the lutheran church) we do that by an affirmation of baptism. the affirmation begins with the question: "do you renounce all the forces of evil, the devil, and all his empty promises?"

how could anyone answer "I do" with any conviction if Jesus hadn't gone out into the wilderness and defeated the tempter? how could anyone make that affirmation unless they were assured that Jesus had won over the cross and death?

baptism is the beginning of our life with God, but there are no assurances that life will be easy.. in fact we are told that it will be the exact opposite. being a christian is not easy and we often want to succumb to the temptations of evil and the devil, but in the midst of temptaion there are angels present to care for us. (sometimes we are even called to be those angels for others struggling in their faith.)

and perhaps the greatest temptation is to forget the ministry that we have been entrusted after baptism: to spread the news: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent and believe."

the journey of lent is the journey of our faith starting at baptism.

AS A SIDE NOTE: to the person doing the tea lights. great idea why not do them this sunday and remind people of that wonderful baptismal verse: let your light so shine before others...

God's peace to you all

christine in nj


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 8:14:20 AM

Comment

rachel- email Frank, he responds very quickly about getting in. I find that if I log in on the login button it works. the best. Nancy-Wi


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 9:10:15 AM

Comment

Does anyone have a short monolog or dialog said by Judas Iscariot? A reflection on the silver recieved? nancy-Wi revncarmichael@ yahoo.com

I am thinking of making a Christian Kit up as an illustration for this sunday's service. I will right more if it develops into being workable. I know one item will be a cross. What does it mean to wear it, in light of this passage is sort of where i am going with it. thinking...


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 11:08:55 AM

Comment

This perhaps ought to be in the Genesis section, but it really speaks to all the readings.

It is interesting that the terrify waters which destroyed the world were also the waters that upheld the ark.

What this suggests to me is how we perceive our life and what is going on in it at any moment.

Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit .... boy that takes some interpreting, doesn't it!

Being washed in the waters of baptism, immersing ourselves in the terrifying waters of the flood, saves us!

All the above demands that we see differently than what the world sees - to experience consolation in the midst of desolation, to allow the angels to wait upon us in the arid places of our lives.

Not to see is to "be led into temptation" to not recognize the life giving grace that sustains us as we move toward Easter Day.

tom in ga


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 2:21:11 PM

Comment

tom in ga

Marvelous insight. That which terrifies us - that which we believe will destroy us - is, in reality, what saves us PROVIDED we stand in the position of faith. Those waters did destroy all except those in the ark. The waters of baptism do terrify unless one is responding in faith (being Baptist myself, this is even more poignent). We often wonder if a person is getting baptized or is just getting wet. Big difference.

For myself, I'm taking the spin that this was the introduction to Jesus' ministry.

1) Baptism, which He did in obedience to His Father. The first step in ministry is always obedience.

2) Empowering by the Spirit. Don't get into ministry without the Spirit's power and leading.

3) Testing by Satan. We will be tested and tempted at all turns once we begin ministry, but these tests and temptations, if battled in the power the Spirit gave earlier, using the example of Christ, will result in the strength to overcome obstacles ahead.

JG in WI


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 2:46:21 PM

Comment

Baptism is hard. With Baptism comes respons - ability. The Spirit oftens sends me to a place where there is nothing else to do but consider my response and hone my ability. Do I always count it all joy? Obviously not. Sometimes I pray "Your will is important, but if you could take this one from me, I would be grateful. MrBill in Mich.


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 4:01:13 PM

Comment

The world is our wilderness and it is full of wild beasts and angels.

Pr.del in IA


Date: 3/7/2003
Time: 7:33:43 PM

Comment

Yes, all is God's creation. We need not fear but trust God.

Agape PhilN MO


Date: 3/8/2003
Time: 9:07:43 AM

Comment

Late entry in a week filled with sleeping on the couch, wanting to stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head. Took the burnout test. Read the new Pastoral Care Topic 'Juggling Too Many Hats.' I failed to resist temptation. In a small church I allowed myself to become secretary and janitor. I allowed myself to think church growth was up to me. I have become a human doing and not a human being. I have not kept healthy self-care boundaries. I have tried to function without keeping God in my sights, without asking God for help. I am not God, I am not the savior, I am only a human. Three years into ministry and I have allowed myself to burnout. I have asked for a week-off for some renewal time -- not one of my vacation weeks. Setting specified days off. In my foggy mind there are connections to Jesus time in the wilderness and my situation. Under the Genesis forum, the comment "This theme of restoration after destruction is a positive message." from Craig in NY also seems to fit my situation. I feel I need to lift up my situation before the congregation -- as an example and form of confession. Any late comments that may help make this clearer? Thanks from a humbled servant. Linda in NJ


Date: 3/8/2003
Time: 10:18:04 AM

Comment

Here I am responding to early posts without reading later ones - Amy, I thought the Baptism of the Lord was January 12, and it did have baptism texts (and we had three baptisms to celebrate!).

Someone later talks about stones into bread, etc., and maybe someone after that suggests that we might accept the challenge of preaching the Mark passage - no stones, bread, pinnacles, etc. Verse 13 is so essential - Satan, beasts and angels, all right there!

kbc in sc


Date: 3/8/2003
Time: 10:33:49 AM

Comment

Eric -

I'm pleased that you are hanging in there with us on dps. I liked your peaceable kingdom suggestion.

I'm forever fighting off the tendency to slip from analogy into allegory and thorough isogesis, particularly as it pertains to war and peace. The wild beasts = our own tendency to violence; the fact that he was there with them = our ability to live with our violent natures without resorting to violence. Angels = the recognition that God enters our space precisely when the stakes are highest and the battle most fierce.

kbc in sc


Date: 3/8/2003
Time: 10:36:00 AM

Comment

Yo, Eric, I sent you mail to your e-mail address and it was un-deliverable! Please send me an address correction.

kbc in sc aka kculp@awod.com


Date: 3/8/2003
Time: 12:08:41 PM

Comment

Linda,

Speaking as another small church pastor, I sure hear where you're coming from. Thanks for your honesty. It's a real temptation to want to take sole responsibility for the well-being and growth of our congregations. I have to remind myself routinely that I'm only a servant, I'm not the One in charge. And even then I'm sometimes an inch away from burnout. May God give you rest.

JKS


Date: 3/8/2003
Time: 12:50:37 PM

Comment

Linda in NJ - You may find a lot of affirmation in Eugene Peterson's book "Under the Unpredictable Plant". He has been where you are and found a way to deal with it. kbc in sc


Date: 3/8/2003
Time: 3:20:48 PM

Comment

JG in WI Nice points to Tom ga comments. very helpful. You have both blessed my day! Nancy-Wi


Date: 3/8/2003
Time: 7:14:13 PM

Comment

Linda in NJ - thanks for the post! Being pastor, wife and mother sometimes adds to that pot. I have often been heard saying "I need a wife." It can definitely be a wilderness experience and very tempting to fall into the trap.

Currently, my husband is worried I am going there again. SO I am trying to keep safe boundaries - and attempting to set expectations with my new congregations. However, they are bucking the system. Many small churches truly do not understand how absorbing ministry can be and how easy we can get burned out if we do not do self-care religiously. Keeping a scheduled time with God, just for me helped, especially a time of journaling.

I will keep you in prayer. Again thanks for the reminder. PH in MI


Date: 3/8/2003
Time: 11:02:19 PM

Comment

Linda in NJ,

You are in my prayers. Congregations, too, are often all too eager not only to let but to encourage the pastor to do it all herself (or himself!) If you do feel led to make the public confession, be very intentional in how you speak it, so that it doesn't come off like an accusation to the congregation. They may certainly carry some fault, but will need to come to that realization in their own time, while you persist in making good boundary decisions, (such as when some secretarial thing does not get done?)

God's Holy Spirit comfort you, guide you, and heal you in Jesus' name.

Michelle


Date: 3/9/2003
Time: 4:38:42 AM

Comment

Though I'm not using the idea, centering on temptation and wasting of talents, the animals and wild beasts, in the story, might have helped to remind the original listeners that though their friends and neighbors were facing death in arenas, Christ is in control and more powerful than death. This tought comes from reminding ourselves of the first verse of the wintess, Mark 1:1, which says the beginning. The story for the hearers then, as of now, is a never ending story filled with temptations and Spiritual danger. JDL in Ohio