Summary: Mark is encouraging a minority group of people to live on mission just like our Master did, no matter how difficult it becomes.
The Message of Mark
Rev. Brian Bill
September 12-13, 2015
Recently I shared a very interesting article that led to some great discussion during our staff team time called, “Is Your Church a Cruise Ship or Aircraft Carrier?” You can find the post on the sermon extras tab on our website. Here are a few excerpts.
People who attend “cruise ship churches,” much like cruise ship passengers, often come to be entertained and catered to by the staff. Very little is expected of these church attendees. In fact, they tend to rate the quality of their experience – the music, the sermon and the way it made them feel – much like cruise ship passengers rate their satisfaction with various aspects of their trip.
Cruise ship churches tend to be internally focused on the needs of their regularly attending members. The main goal in these churches, as on a cruise ship, is to keep the “customer” happy and the complaints to a minimum. Leaders in a cruise ship church focus on the existing members rather than pursuing those far from God or encouraging others to do so. Very little of a church’s calendar, training or communication is spent on activities to reach the lost or help those in need outside the church.
There are, however, churches that are more like aircraft carriers. These churches are designed to empower all members to find their God-given purpose in life, to equip them and to send them on missions into the world to reach and serve those who don’t know Jesus, much like the crew of an aircraft carrier is all about launching military planes and equipping them well to carry out successful missions.
Did you know an aircraft carrier is the same size as many cruise ships, housing thousands of people? But what distinguishes an aircraft carrier ship isn’t its size; it’s the efficiency on the flight deck. The crew of an aircraft carrier can launch a plane every 25 seconds—all in a fraction of the space of a typical landing strip. The mission pervades every aspect of the ship. From the pilot to the person who restocks the ship’s vending machines, everyone on a carrier knows his or her particular role and how it supports the mission—to equip, prepare, launch and receive aircraft back from their crucial assignments.
An “aircraft carrier church” has a clear mission that stems from the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Everyone in the church knows why their church exists and plays a role in the mission.
I am so glad that Edgewood is an “aircraft carrier church”! Instead of meandering, you are living on mission! Instead of just living for pleasure you are focused on your God-given purpose. Instead of just cruising through life, you are committed to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
I believe Edgewood is the most generous church in the world. You tell your friends about Jesus and invite them to gather with us. You care about what the Bible says and strive to live by it, even when it is countercultural. Many of you are planning to participate in the Walk for Life this Saturday and others of you have already supported it financially. I’m hoping that we have a great turnout from Edgewood.
Just this past week, the Celebrate Recovery band played in the Labor Day parade, AWANA kicked off with a carnival on Wednesday and Second Winders and Entrusted with a Child’s Heart started again on Thursday.
It’s a privilege to serve on the flight deck with the people of the U.S.S. Edgewood as we live on mission by gathering, growing, giving and going with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the glory of God!
BTW, let me be clear that I’m not saying that going on a cruise is a bad thing. I’ve heard that they’re a blast…I just don’t want our church to become one.
We’re beginning a brand new series this weekend called, “The Gospel of Mark: Servant and Savior.” While I’ve preached many sermons from the gospels, I’ve never preached verse-by-verse through one of them. It’s going to take us some time but we’ll also be taking some breaks as well. Lord willing, we’ll finish chapter two at the end of November. In December we’ll camp in a series that will get us ready for Christmas and then we’ll pick back up with Mark 3 in January.
Let’s kick it off with the very first verse and then we’ll look at some of the unique elements of Mark. Grab your Bibles and turn to Mark 1:1: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
It’s interesting that Mark starts with the launch of Jesus’ formal ministry, unlike Matthew and Luke who begin with the birth narratives. The word “beginning” can refer to the cause, or head of something. Jesus is before all things as John 1:1 says: “In the beginning was the word…” Beginning can also refer to the start of something, like a road. At a deeper level, Mark is telling us that He is about to begin something brand new, much like Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning…”