Focusing on the Right Thing

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If you missed Lead Pastor Ben Snyder’s video in yesterday’s study, take a moment and listen to it as he shares vision for this year’s LivingItOut Bible Study, and invites you to journey along with us through the New Testament.
Vision for the 2019 LivingItOut: Video

Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 3

Today’s LivingItOut:
Over the last few days, we have read how Jesus performed many miracles. On Tuesday, we learned how Jesus had compassion on a man with leprosy and healed him from his disease. Yesterday, we read how he healed a paralyzed man. This man was lowered down to Jesus from a hole in the roof by a few amazing friends. Jesus forgave his sins, healed him, and then commanded him to stand up and walk. These are just a couple of examples of the many miracles Jesus performed in his lifetime.

News of Jesus and his miracles began spreading wide and fast. Crowds were forming and following Jesus. People were curious, hopeful, and desperate for what he could offer them. In today’s reading, we see that the crowds following him were getting so large that Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him when he was teaching by the side of a lake.

It is at this point, with all the crowds around him, that Jesus went to a mountain and chose the 12 disciples he would focus on throughout the remainder of his ministry.

Mark 3:13-15
13 Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him. 14 Then he appointed twelve of them and called them his apostles. They were to accompany him, and he would send them out to preach, 15 giving them authority to cast out demons.

Author and preacher Francis Chan, in his study entitled the Gospel of Mark, makes a fascinating point about this passage. He says, “As you read the book of Mark you see that these 12 are Jesus’ focus. It wasn’t convincing the crowds. In fact, he didn’t even try to convince them (Mark 3:11-12). He had compassion on them and everything else, but it was these 12 that Jesus would walk through life with and teach…. His plan was to build into their lives because when he was done, they were going to be the ones to carry it on.”

Through these verses, we see that Jesus was focused on the right things. He had clarity on God’s vision and knew that the church was part of God’s plan to reach those separated from him. It was their job after he was gone to share the news of who he was and what he did through his death and resurrection. Because Jesus was clear on God’s vision and he was able to focus on what mattered, he had clarity to the best next step for his ministry—a step in equipping and empowering those around him to carry out God’s plan for their lives.

Place yourself in one of the crowds following Jesus, what thoughts and feelings do you have as you imagine yourself in that setting? Why did Jesus place his focus on the 12 more than the large crowds? In today’s reading what stood out to you?

Next Steps:
Ask God to help you see the vision he has for you and begin to focus on it. As you focus, you will gain clarity on the best next steps that you need to take. Write a list of your next steps and share them with someone.

21 Days of Prayer -Day 4

Prayer Focus: Placing My Trust in God (Psalm 62:8)

Father, in Your Word You invite me to pour out my heart to You. You are my refuge, and I know that anything I think, feel, or do is ok to bring to You. Knowing that You are a safe place for me, I come to You and give You everything on my heart (talk to God about the specific things that are on your heart today). From what is worrying me to what is delighting me, what I hope for to what I’m afraid of, I bring it all to You because I know I can trust You. Help me and guide me in every area, in Jesus’ Name.

This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.

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10 replies
  1. Jeffery Ovens
    Jeffery Ovens says:

    Good Morning God’s Kingdom……………Ben, what an uplifting yet calming prayer to start everyday with………..

  2. Julie
    Julie says:

    I have a question regarding the fast. The Bible speaks about our fast being personal. Between us and God. Is it okay to talk about it? For example I am going out to dinner this evening. I would normally have a glass of wine (or two!). I know people will ask why I’m not. If I share about the fast there is a good chance it opens the door to further spiritual conversations, sharing about Cedar Creek and possibly an evangelism opportunity.

  3. Christy E
    Christy E says:

    Good morning, all! I second, what a great prayer. And I’m loving the new LIO format. Great job and thank you for all you do, Next Steps team!

  4. Mandy Phillips
    Mandy Phillips says:

    Great job Ben B.! Great things to discuss and talk about and focus on! I definitely enjoy reading Living it out!
    Thank you for your hard work!

  5. Josh Whitlow
    Josh Whitlow says:

    This is so good and helpful to start my day off. Thanks to all who serve on the living it out team!

  6. Ben Snyder
    Ben Snyder says:

    Hi Everyone!

    Julie- great question. I love that you are stepping into this. Some people prefer to keep it quiet and would respond with a simple “I decided not to have any _____ today.” I’d pressed, it’s just a way of exercising self control. On the other hand, to respond with a “I have decided to fast for a few weeks at church/with God and this is one thing I am choosing to give up.

    The problem is when we make the fast about us – more than God.

    Be honest. Be gracious. And see where God the Spirit takes you!

  7. Rafael Verde
    Rafael Verde says:

    Great job Ben B. Good way to start the day. Great advice Ben S. Fasting is more about God. This is a good reminder for me. Raf

  8. Butch
    Butch says:

    I just want to take a moment to thank you and encourage you all in your daily writing that in turn encourages me as I begin each day with my mind focused on my faith and my walk with Jesus! I typically continue on into scripture and then into prayer…..Psalm 5:3.

  9. Amy Corr
    Amy Corr says:

    praise God the word today was good to my soul. And the Prayer was water to my dry bones! Thank you Jesus.

  10. Ed Pohlman
    Ed Pohlman says:

    Thank you kindly for this touching ministry that goes beyond the four walls of Cedar Creek Church. While spiritual nourishment is wonderful every weekend, it’s the time between that counts every bit as much. LIO Bible Study is the
    perfect complement.

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