Why couldn’t we drive it out?

My wife and I are big fans of the TV show Lost. We have watched it since the first episode back in 2004. The show relies on an easy formula for success: Every episode leaves you with more questions than answers. After each episode, my wife and I try to figure out what is really going on, connect the dots, and answer the questions. We call friends because it is good to get another perspective, opinion, or theory. This word is too strong, but the show is addicting ☺

As I read Mark 9 this morning, I was left with a similar feeling. It is full of fascinating stories about the Transfiguration of Jesus, miracles, driving out demons/or failing to drive out demons. After reading this chapter, I have more questions than answers!

So here is a confusing story:
Vs. 14-29 Jesus’ disciples are not able to heal the boy who is possessed by an evil spirit. It is interesting because in Mk 6:7 Jesus gives his disciples authority over evil spirits, and in 6:13 they drive out many demons. So why can’t they do it in this story?
Jesus replies, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
What do you think this means? What is the importance of our prayer life?
Then in 8:38 the disciples saw someone driving out demons in the name of Jesus, but he was not one of them.... What?

Vs. 32 really jumped out at me, “The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant and were afraid to ask him about it.”

What questions or answers do you have for these stories in Mark 9? I pray that you will not be afraid to ask, and I pray that you would become addicted to the wonderful stories of scripture, and understand that sometimes, we need to call friends to get another perspective, opinion, or theory ☺

Have a great day!


2 Questions

There are two questions that Jesus asks in Mark, chapter 8 that I believe are vital for us. Obviously, everything Jesus says is important, but these two questions jump out at me as something that Jesus might ask us today.

1. "Who do you say that I am?" There are a lot of people who have a lot of things to say about Jesus. But what do you say? Who do you think He is?

2. "What do you benefit if you gain the world, but lose your soul in the process?" To be honest, this is where I believe so many of us lose our way. I believe so many in our world are caught up in the pursuit of the world - not the world as in the overtly anti-Jesus world, but the world as in things that simply grab our attention. I believe so many of us get caught up running after the things we are engaged in. It is even possible to pursue ministry and mission and lose sight of Jesus. In your life, what clamors for your attention and pursuit?


Pretzels and Goldfish crackers

I have told the story of the feeding of the 5,000 many, many times in my life.  Since I was usually with a group of preschoolers, I did my best to make the story come to life.  So, I would walk through the "crowd" and hand out pretzels and goldfish crackers, the closest to loaves and fish a preschooler is gonna get!  I always loved not just telling stories, but re-enacting them; being as creative as possible to try to make the stories real.  And yet, as I read that story in our chapter for today, I realized that it's really hard to get my brain around 5,000 people being fed with 5 loves of bread and 2 fish.  That's just mind-boggling to me.  

In contrast, I look at the end of this chapter and read how the disciples were still not getting it all-they were forgetting miracles and not grasping a complete understanding of who Christ really was. And I think "how could you watch Jesus feed 5,000 people, drive out demons and constantly heal the sick and not get Him?"  You were there in the middle of it all!  

Hmmmm...how many times has God worked miracles in my life and yet the next time there's a struggle, a challenge, an obstacle, worry and doubt rush in and wipe my memory of those moments when Jesus' power was so evident?  Am I not then so different from the disciples?  My cabinets have been sparse, yet with a prayer and a little creativity I've made some of my finest meals.  What was coming into the checking account didn't match what needed to go out and yet, bills were paid and the family was cared for.  At our first ultrasound with Ethan (at only 7 weeks) we were told that the baby had stopped developing for some reason and as tears welled up and I prayed, the doctor moved the u.s. wand to show us something else and he & Darin noticed a "spot" which turned out to be our Ethan.  Jesus power is ever present in my life and in yours too. I am thankful today of those reminders.  

There is sooo much more we could look at in this chapter today, but I'd rather stop here and give you a chance to share--when was the power of Jesus remarkably evident and present in your life?