More / Book of the Month / Pray, Preach, Provide / Mark 1; Isaiah 40 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Pray, Preach, Provide / Mark 1; Isaiah 40 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday, February 7th, 2021




Pray, Preach, Provide / Mark 1; Isaiah 40 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday, February 7th, 2021

 

Text: Mark 1.29-39
Theme: Pray, Preach, Provide
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Intr – The Gospel for today records three important actions of Jesus. I’d like to converse with you about them utilizing three “Ps”.

1 – Pray
       Mark tells us that Jesus took some time to pray in private. That was not a one of a kind thing in Jesus’ ministry as we know He practiced prayer regularly.

      Now, I wish we could know the content of those prayers. How wonderful would those words be? We don’t know the content of those, but Jesus has hinted some of it to us. He gave us the Lord’s Prayer, where we have the model of how a prayer can be. Praise, Power, Petitions we bring before the Father who always listens to the prayers of His children.

2 – Preach
        Jesus heals people; feeds them, walks with them; laughs and cries with and for them. But ultimately what the core of His Mission was? He came to preach, to proclaim the Kingdom of God - a message that people of then, and people of now, need to hear - and need it deeply.

People needed that preaching:
_Because it was from the Son of God, promised long ago and now incarnate – God in front of them.
_Because they needed freedom from the wrong preaching of the religious leaders – which sounds really familiar to us even today.
_Because they needed the New Testament, the New Covenant of God in Christ.

3 – Provide
     In the Gospel, we see it in that Jesus heals many people, providing for their physical needs – as He provided for their spiritual needs through His preaching.

     I will spend a little more time on this third “P”. One of the reasons is that, paradoxically, we think we’ve got this one covered. "God is bigger than our problems, there is no amount of demands that could exhaust God’s resources, when you walk somewhere God is already there waiting for you." This is all true; the problem happens when they become just slogans, clichés or ready to use recipes, without deep consistence in our heart in faith. Reality checks can demonstrate it very well – how sometimes our confidence in heaven is tampered with by happenings on earth.

     In this connection, here’s a quote from Pastor Brum’s sermon on the Old testament reading for today:[1]
“In Isaiah 40 we learn from the context, the problem with the people of Judah was that they thought God had abandoned them or was too weak or far too removed to be bothered with their problems. And so Isaiah gives the people a reality check.
We might lose our jobs, our financial security, our friendships, our loved ones our sense of well-being because of health problems, or our feeling of peace and calm because of outside pressures and threats beyond our control (a pandemic, for example). At times like these, it’s easy to panic. It’s easy to take our eyes off of God’s faithfulness and begin to look around for other forms of power and security.
But throughout Scripture God’s message has always been to his people: “Rely on me.” “Put your faith in my promises.” “Trust me.”
Judah was a very small kingdom surrounded by larger and more powerful nations. One of them was the powerful kingdom of Babylon. It had a fearsome army and a reputation of destroying any nation in their path… and Judah was smack dab in Babylon’s way as it extended its borders. The people of Judah felt vulnerable, weak and threatened. It was difficult to ignore the dangers that surrounded them.
They saw that they needed every advantage against such a formidable enemy and so they sought to strengthen themselves by praying to the gods of neighbouring nations and making alliances with these pagan nations.
Why would they do this? They lived in a very real world filled with very real dangers. They were afraid. They needed help from wherever they could get it. They were fully aware of how ruthless and destructive the Babylonians could be. I don’t think it is any different for us. There are times when our happiness and inner peace are threatened.
Perhaps you are feeling unsettled because specific things in your life. Perhaps because no one shares your vision of what the church should be doing. It could be that you may feel as if there is nothing left in your marriage. Or perhaps there is no joy left in your work. Maybe you feel downhearted about the path your children and grandchildren are taking. It’s easy to become depressed about the havoc that sin causes in our lives.
Whatever it is that is unsettling you, it’s good to remember that God has had plenty of experience with people who are fearful, discouraged and upset.”[2]

     Think about just this one fact: God has created the universe; He was able not only to make the stars but also knows how many there are and gives them their names even though there are millions upon millions of them. We are talking just about the stars. Add to the mix everything else around you: animals, types of plants, number of cells in just one human body. Since God’s power is that great and He loves and cares for his creation, how would you define his providence for his children along their life?  What would we say about his concern for you in the middle of whatever it is you are going through now? Look to the cross to see how much he cares. Look to the empty tomb and realize how much He loves your.  Take hold of the infinite forgiveness he offers dauly for your. Shout for joy when you look back and see His actions in every step of your road. You will see the Provider, the one that will never ever forget just one of his little lambs, his little children, His people.[3]

     Listen again to some verses of Psalm 147: “3The Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 4  He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. 5  Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. 6  The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground. 11  the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. 13  For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you. 20  He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules.  Praise the Lord!

 4 - How can we follow the lead?

_Pray – “pray and let God worry”.[4] Place all your requests, needs, sorrows and joys in the hands of the Provider. There is always an answer to each prayer, which is the perfect answer each time, since it comes from the Perfect Father.

_Preach – to witness God’s love. We are royal priests! We can share his preaching with those around us, even as we know He Provides us even with the words we need to say.[5]

_Provide – Faith in action always looks for opportunities to provide for peoples earthly needs. We will take every opportunity at hand in which we can help our neighbor in their earthly needs and we will do that, out of that love that comes from faith.

     What we can’t forget though is what people’s greatest need is: The Saviour. The life after this life. Because if we help people for this life but not for the life to come, are we really providing them with what they need the most?

Cc – Pray, Preach, Provide. Three Ps that remind us of our faith in action toward God and our neighbour as well, but mainly of Jesus’ actions for us. Permanently pouring Pardon, Power and personal Providence in the permanent Path in which we place our pace and points to the Perennial Peace in that Perfect Place.

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[1] Rev. Paulo  Brum. Tell me a story - Sermon on Isaiah 40 for the 5th Sunday after Epiphany. February 7th, 2021
[2] Tell me a story. Rev Paulo Brum, Page 5
[3] Tell me a story. Rev Paulo Brum, pages 4 and 5
[4] Attributed to Martin Luther.
[5] Matthew 10:19


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