Lessons from Mark

As I go through Mark some things are made clear to me. For example three lessons from the chapters: teach to people’s levels, the four different types of people, non-believers/trendy/uncertain/faithful, then come to Jesus in Faith and anything is possible.

Then Mark 6 in The Message had a lot of practical information leaping out at me.

1: Some can’t let go of your past no matter how drastic the change (verse 4)
2: Do what you can for those who come to you (verse 5)
3: Be content where you’re placed (verse 10) sounds stoic to me
4: If still not welcomed then quietly leave (verse 11)
5: Herod shows not to over promise, measure your words carefully. (verse 22)
6: Even when tired and hungry, care for those who come to you in need.

That’s a great chapter.

Four Questions

I have been ever so slowly coming out of my shell as of late. We went to Silent Sunday this year and actually mingled without Casey telling me I should. It was relaxing without the heavy cloud hanging overhead. This carried over into where I have been getting more comfortable at Sunday Night’s church service. While I may be getting more comfortable I am still happy the Sparkle and Shine Ministry gives me a reason to leave without awkward goodbyes instead of feeling like a bump on a log.

To help push me along I started looking at Jesus’s example. When I was baptized, First Assembly gave every one a copy of the Message translation. It is easy to read for an overview, more like a novel. So I have so far been going through Mark a chapter at a time looking for four things.

  • How is Jesus behaving interpersonally?
  • What is he teaching?
  • Key verses that stand out?
  • How can I make this applicable?

One of the standouts was how self-righteous people angered Jesus, usually the Pharisees. I asked for the same servant’s heart that Jesus has. No matter what he was doing, he would help anyone that came to him in need. I do okay when it is planned, but when it is off the cuff ‘hey, they may need help’, not so much. :/

3 Strikes or 3 Chances?

Once heard an observation about people, “hurting people hurt other people” during a sermon. It is true, bad day happens and we lash out without thinking, hurting those close to you. The reason why we do it, venting internal pressures, however it does not excuse it. Especially when it gets to be a pattern, the unwillingness to control oneself at the expense of others is wrong. It damages trust and relationships, the weapons used coming in many forms: maliciousness, jealousy, manipulation through guilt, etc.

When someone has a relationship with us, we do not kick him or her to the curb at the first offense. You offer them a way back. I have found a three-step method in dealing with those who have hurt us.

  1. Go to them and show them what they did wrong, just between the two of you. Both of you are on neutral territory and facing each other equally. If it stops the hurtful behavior, then it has finished and life continues.
  2. If they persist, bring others who can confirm the bad behavior, kind of like an intervention.
  3. If even in the face of a preponderance of evidence they do not change, bring it to a counselor, or your moral authorities like a church, synagogue, temple, etc.

If the three attempts at repairing the relationship do not work, then end it until they see the light and change their behavior. Do it without maliciousness, forgive so you do not carry that baggage anymore, however do not let them hurt you anymore.

I came across this in Matthew 18: 15-18 when I was looking for a way to deal with an issue close to home. I did not want to burn any bridges as tempting as it is when angry. In addition, I hate the burden of holding grudges, which I am sadly good at doing.

Practical Lessons From Immediate Obedience

Two full weeks into the 90 Day Challenge from Immediate Obedience, where I have been following God as wholeheartedly as I can. There have been some bumps along the way while I have learned some things along the way.

  • Pray often for God’s guidance, usually answered in the form of verses that come to mind in relevant situations.
  • I did not become a puppet, it is an act of will to choose to obey or not. I will make mistakes.
  • Occasionally while helping others it becomes a teaching moment for me as well. For example:

Wow…was driving to church and saw a SUV on the side of the road, hazards on. I perked my spiritual ears, nothing I’m used to came in. Passed by thinking “I don’t have time, I have to clean the church.” I lead the Sparkle and Shine cleaning team.

That instant I was struck by the Good Samaritan parable and the Legalistic Pharisee that passed by the man in need. Loud and clear, God. Turned around and went back, just as it started to rain really hard. I couldn’t jump them off, the battery was bad or really weak.

I took the younger man home, to get his battery from his truck. I shot a quick email to Pam asking if the Ushers could get the Sanctuary, I won’t make it before it filled up.

His battery wouldn’t work, wrong type so I dropped him at a friend’s at his request. He was on his way to Sunday School and said “the Enemy was working today”, I saw it as a teaching moment for me.

I got quite a few teaching moments since then; sometimes it is just a day of instruction during my Bible studies. If you want to follow my day-to-day adventures (?) of immediate obedience then check out http://firstsamuel1224.wordpress.com/

I update it daily.

Simple Strength and Bad Diet; Six Week Assessment

Limited measurements this time, had a time crunch so I just measured lean body mass and body fat. The program I used, Simple Strength, has kept my strength in place. But no progression in press strength, which I think was from cycling floor presses and military presses in two week blocks. My swings progressed, so I’ll focus on just military presses for another six weeks.

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.12                 14.2              0.8

Shoulders             43.25                   N/A

Chest                      37.5            N/A

Waist                             32                  33         +1.0

Biceps                    12.37                N/A

Forearms                   11            N/A

Thighs                         21.25                 N/A

Calves                          13.75                   N/A

Weight                  153.4lbs          153.4          0lbs

Body Fat %                14.8%                16.7%         +1.9%

Lean Body Mass    130.7lbs            127.8          -2.9lbs

Those bodyfat levels are unacceptable, the cause was I stopped logging my food. My weight being the same I’m not worried about a caloric deficit but dropping my carb levels.