Matthew 5.29 - Be Gone you Demon of Lust!

Matthew 5.29 - Be Gone you Demon of…Lust!!!?

I wish it were that easy! The Gospel declares the unrivaled power and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. Blindness, palsy, leprosy, even storms and death all bow before Him! But, contrary to Televangelism, Jesus never delivered from demons of moral or behavioral failures. The Bible records no demons of lust, pride, greed, gluttony, or gossip. Demons afflict people in physical (deaf, dumb) or psychological (torment, self-abuse) ways. And these dark foes are no match for King Jesus! But Jesus says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away” (Matthew 5.29). (If this were literal the world would be filled with blind men!) Jesus demands radical and zealous repentance and faith in fighting against sins and failures. Holy living comes through Spirit-empowered struggle, not demonic deliverance. That is why Jesus calls disciples to denial, cross-bearing, and following Him.

Matthew 5.37 - Less “Churchianity”

Matthew 5.37 - Less “Churchianity”?

There may be some Gospel hope in the findings of the recent Pew Research Center report, “Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next.” A great obstacle in my 42 years of trying to witness has been church going – not mine. America is not the world – I get that. But many global young adults drink the Kool-Aid served up on iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, music, and films made in the USA. Pew says fewer Millennials (ages 18 -  33) believe in God and go to church. Yet high numbers of those who DO go have solid beliefs. (Older generations have higher numbers in churches who do NOT really believe, i.e. Churchianity.) I pray this means when you share the wonderful news of God’s gracious salvation with your peers, you will hear less of the absurd response I’ve often heard, “Oh, no, I don’t need to repent and believe in Jesus, I go to church!” (http://www.pewforum.org/2010/02/17/religion-among-the-millennials/)
 

Matthew 6.21 - Matters of the Heart

Matthew 6.21 - Matters of the Heart

Most of us moderns are romantics. We’re fired by emotions and feelings - “all we need is love!” Our media depicts “hearts” that are happy or hurt or hunting for fulfillment. But in the Bible the heart is more than a fluttering romance organ. We think and act with our hearts. God describes the “heart” as the control center of mind, will, and emotions. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6.21). That’s why this pastor who is imprisoned apart from his people prays for their hearts to be captured by the love of God, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts.” Their most fundamental need is for God to fill their hearts --- and us too! When He has his rightful place in our hearts, our joy will be full, and His glory will be seen in our holy lives.

Matthew 10.5 - The “M” word and the “J” Guy

Matthew 10.5 - The “M” word and the “J” Guy

A noble word has fallen on hard times. In 1983 Dayna and I deplaned in Nairobi and stepped onto African soil proud to be “full time” M workers. Soon friends drove us around the “white highlands” where the descendants of missionaries – and others – enjoyed Kenya’s best lands. That nation’s patriarch, Jomo Kenyatta, said, “The missionaries taught us to close our eyes and pray - then stole our lands!” We then became the only American lecturers in a Ugandan theological college and our colleagues openly yearned for a “moratorium” against all missionaries. We have lived in places the last 17 years where the people who have the job description run from the word like the plague. In Matthew 10 “J” deploys “M’s” and today their holy assignment is still not complete. Not sure who people hate more, “M’s” or the “J” guy they crucified.

Matthew 10.8 - www.pastormarkblair.org

Matthew 10.8 - www.pastormarkblair.org

“Don’t blow your own trumpet, let someone else and the sound will travel twice as far!” My first pastor, Charles Svendsen, said that often. So, hesitantly, I want to share MY web site! Thanks to some talented and generous friends, I have a platform to share resources that I pray many will find helpful. Over the years I have met leaders who have come to appreciate the value of preaching/teaching through whole books of the Bible, but were not sure where to begin. I hope this site can be a helpful example. I also include teaching notes that might be helpful in Bible schools, thoughts about pastoral ministry, and discipleship tools. Some of them are especially focused on Africa, Central Asia, and International churches. A few of them are in Russian and Mandarin. I have borrowed from the best I could find! Now I can freely give away. Enjoy!

Matthew 11.1-19 - This is “The Day”

Matthew 11.1-19 - This is “The Day”

“The day of the Lord” is a slogan often declared by God’s prophets. They anticipated a cataclysmic final day when the righteous would be vindicated and the faithless destroyed. John the Baptist, the last Old Testament prophet, saw “the axe laid to the root of the trees even now” (Luke 3.9). But the coming of Jesus revealed that this long-sought “day” is really an era on God’s clock – between His first and final comings. Jesus cross-work at His first coming commenced this “day” of Gospel-opportunity for the world. From his Old Covenant vantage point, John was confused by such mercy for the undeserving (Matthew 11.1-19). The furious final “day” John preached is mercifully withheld until Jesus returns as Ultimate Judge. Now, during this era of grace, this is the day the Lord has made, “The day of the LORD is near for all nations” (Obadiah 15).

Matthew 13.51 - The Question

Matthew 13.51 - The Question

The clock is ticking… We who now sojourn at this ZGC crossroad will soon cast off to all corners of the globe. We won’t see many of our fellow students, neighbors, and colleagues again - until the Last Day. But you can ask them now the question we will be asked when you see them again. “What have you done with Jesus?” Jesus’ sermons in Matthew end with similar blunt and awkward questions. “Have you entered the narrow gate?” “Did you build on the rock?” “Do you fear Him who can destroy body and soul in hell?” Decision is demanded. Do those you know realize the question is coming? Have you helped them discover the right Answer? It would be an eternal tragedy for them to enter that Final Examination totally unprepared. You may be the only tutor they ever meet. “Have you understood all these things?” (13.51).