Summary: Are we really open to God, cna we hear his voice.

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Last week we looked at the Jeremiah scripture where Jeremiah was instructed to go watch a potter at work and he would receive a word from God for the people of Israel there. The scripture describes the potter as being in control. His has the power and more importantly a vision for what is good is expected from the clay. However if the clay failed because of imperfections of any type the potter reformed the clay into a ball and started over again. The potter never gave up on the clay….

I mentioned to you that I was working through an acronym to lead out thoughts. The Word is VOICE. Because the majority of prophets reported hearing God in some fashion. God also provided them with visual illustrations. To the Word VOICE is s simplistic reflection on How God gave direction and vision to Israel. So the V in voice stands for vision….I related the need to find a focus point as our lives spin around and God shapes us in our everyday motion.

Today the focus is connected to the letter O….the word for today is openness. The prophets were obviously open to God and were empowered and shaped and prepared for their mission on his behalf.

Today we are looking at the Gospel of Mark for our connection to openness. However; I find that anyplace God and Christ were working openness was required.

This morning we will be looking at snapshots of scripture form the Gospel of Mark. I am going to remind you about the slide show of locations that events that the Gospel marks out and we will look most closely at parts of chapter 7. Today’s material could easily seed 20 or more sermons, but our focus is more of a wide angle view…

I refer to this book as a slide show because Mark offers the shortest account of the life of Jesus in the simplest of language.

This book is thought to be written specifically for gentile audiences because of the language and the description of common Jewish practices.

It is also thought to be the first gospel written because Matthew and Luke seem to quote almost all of the book, often word for word in their versions.

So, Mark is a bit like a reader’s digest condensed book. John the baptism Jesus ministry starts, apostles called, people healed. Slide here is a shot of John the Baptist, now we have the baptism of Jesus.. Slide - slide -slide…Here is a healing, look at the crowds in this shot…all the people that came out for themselves and their loved ones.

There was this story about the sewer..and lamp stands…and mustard seeds.

Then we had some more miracles…storms calmed….more healings…casting out of demons and even a girl raised from the dead.

Then we get a glimpse of what it was like for Jesus to Go back home….Not a very heartwarming event. Then we hear about John the Baptist becoming a kind of sick party favor.

All those slides and we are only half way through chapter 6. But, I am going to slow down here to start getting to our main point for today.

Another slide in this chapter is related to Jesus sending his disciples out to preach and to cast out Demons. They have special instructions to go without any cash or extra clothes and to stay at the first place they are invited.

They respond and Verse 12 and 13 say this, “They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”

-- Mark is the Joe Friday of the gospel writers, just the facts.

Up to this point Mark has pointed out that there were crowds that were listening to Jesus teaching. The sought him out in search of healing and perhaps even hope.

When the disciples return from this teaching mission, they are sitting around telling stories about the amazing response of the people and how God healed people.

But here was a problem. People kept coming to where they were and interrupting them. Jesus tells them, let’s go on a retreat, for a little rest and relaxation in the wilderness away from the crowds.

32So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Ok even though they hopped into a boat and headed off across the Lake, someone saw them and figured out where they were headed. They told the people milling around what they figured out and ran around the lake and beat them to their destination…

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