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Monday, January 5, 2009

A Savior, Discipleship, and a Cross

Now that we have just come out of the Christmas season our focus can return to the things of every day, normal life again. No more hustle and bustle. No more over commercialization. Everything is just back to normal. We no longer have to think about Christmas. After all Christmas doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the year... or does it?

In the church we know that the real meaning of Christmas, the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, does not just have implications for December 25th. We are not simply celebrating Jesus birthday. Rather, Jesus' birthday is only the beginning of our focus on Christ. And this focus is to encompass our whole lives. Christ's coming at Christmas is only the beginning of the story of what God has done to save us, and the rest of the story is our focus as we leave Christmas and move towards Good Friday and then Easter.

In our church we follow what is called the Church Calendar where we celebrate various holidays to keep our eyes fixed on Christ's life. This year we are going to try and tie these celebrations in together. As we have finished a short study on Isaiah to prepare us for Christ's coming during Advent and celebrated His arrival at Christmas, we will now follow him from the manger to the cross to the empty tomb. For the next couple of months, we are going to be caught up into the life of Jesus according to the Gospel of St. Mark. From January through April we will be hearing from Mark's Gospel about who Jesus was and what He came to do for the salvation of the world.

In our Wednesday Bible class we have been studying Mark rather closely for the last few months. We have found that Mark can be broken up into three parts: Mark 1:1-8:21 where we learn who Christ is (a Savior), Mark 8:22-10:52 where we learn what it means to follow Christ (Discipleship), and Mark 11:1-16:8 (or 20) where we learn why Christ came (a Cross). Mark, by telling this story, is set on convincing His readers that Jesus Christ is the crucified and risen Son of God.

Join us as we are caught up into the gospel story of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Follow Him from His baptism through the roads of Capernaum and the Decapolis as he heals this sick and raises the dead. Watch in amazement as He performs miracles for the poor and confounds the proud. Learn with the disciples what it means to take up your cross and follow Him. Weep as He is taken to the cross and mourn as He is crucified. And wonder at the mystery of the empty tomb. And through it all, learn what it means to confess that truly, this Jesus is the Son of God! This is why we celebrate Christ's birth at Christmas, because we know it leads to an empty tomb on Easter!

Pastor Bob

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email