History is full of men and women who have been either irritated, interested, intrigued and even impressed by Jesus of Nazareth. But the destination of all the entire Bible and early Christian witness is that the identity of Jesus is the intended destination. Mark recalled the specific accounts in his record to make the point that Jesus is the Christ, the saviour, the anointed one, the answer to the God we are looking for. This breathtaking view of the otherwise, the chasm and the bridge to reach it – Jesus, who is the Christ! Texts: Mark 7:31-36, 8:22-26 and 8:27-30
The message of Jesus Christ and the work of his life and death broke down barriers of status, systems, societies and flipped the idea that to please God it was more about avoiding people “not like us”, whereas in fact to please God and to reflect Him it was about the acceptance of people not like us. This idea does not deny the importance and necessity of faith in Christ Jesus, the bread of life, for a relationship with God, but it has life-long impact on how we treat others especially those not like us. Text: 7:24-30
Every story has a pivotal moment when everything changes. The story of history, the Bible and even Mark’s gospel features many such moments – but often is a selected few that really stand out and make a critical impression which changes everything. Jesus breaks into a world of religion, performance and pretence. He challenges the reasons and motives behind the status quo. Things that we used to help us so often end up hindering or hiding the original purpose. Church history, and our own personal histories, are dominated by the damaging impact of a religious mindset. Jesus came and stayed to change everything. Text: Mark 7:1-23
The difference between a created being and the Creator is significant. Whilst we are like God, we are not Him. However, the real wonder about the Christian faith is that God became like us. In this account of a creation miracle we are left asking have we understood the significance of these stories in Mark and what is our understanding of Jesus Christ. Text Mark 6:45-52.
The Bible makes clear that God is our Creator. He is also a God that defies the laws of Science as much as he is one that defines them. In two passages of Mark’s gospel, chapter 6:30-43 and 8:1-21 we read of the feeding of two large crowds using miraculous means. What does this mean for us and for them? What does it tell us about Jesus?
Before the promise of Jesus, God said a type of Elijah character would come. This was John the Baptist. John was bold, courageous and knew what he was about – when people thought of John they thought of Jesus! As a consequence he was both of interest to those who listened and a thorn in the side. In this message we hear about a character call Herod who felt this way about John and all he had to say, but also had other contenders in his life that he wanted to listen to. Text: John 6:12-30.
Jesus calls his twelve followers together and sends them out to speak and be Christ in the world. It is now as it was then. It’s not for others only. It’s not a game. It’s not complicated. Text: Mark 6:7-13, 30.
Note: The Catalyst Festival is referred to as Catalyst in this talk. Click here for more information.
Why did Peter recount the story of Jairus, his dying daughter and the suffering woman? Was it simply to encourage us to believe God for healing? Mark’s intention is to encourage this, but also to reveal the character and nature of God in Jesus Christ. Text: Mark 5:21-6:6
This is our Easter Sunday message in 2018. We live in a culture that says the Bible is an ancient text not really drawn up for today – It was useful once, but is no longer useful. However, Christianity and the message of the Bible stands on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That changes everything. One of the first witnesses to the resurrection recounts his memories of Jesus, and in Mark Chapter 5 tells a story of a “dead-man” walking who finds life, hope and peace in Christ. There is hope for everyone. The Hill Church will never ever give up, looking for the living amongst the dead.
Jesus has been calling people to go with him to the other side. To the uncomfortable, costly, messy and risky place where the people who need him are. We need this willingness and experience to grow, to see Jesus for who he is and to sacrifice our ‘pigs’ for the sake of people made in the image of God – no matter how broken, beaten, battered or bruised. Text: Mark 4:35-5:20.