Pastor Ken’s first message in this new teaching series comes off of the Easter message where Jesus invites Mary and the disciple into participation in spreading the news of the resurrection (Matthew 28:7-8). Ministry 101 is a series on how we can participate in what God has called us to do.
Because of the resurrection, just what does Jesus call us to? We must have the same spirit as Isaiah, “here am I, send me.” For Mary Magdalene, her bereavement was turned into blessing, she moved from being a spectator to a participant.
Here are the three question we must ask in order to discover the ministry God has for us.
1. Where am I with God? In this story, Jesus pushes back by retreating to a quiet place in order to pray. Is our ministry defined by our public life or by our personal life? We nurture our relationship with God. Jesus valued it, so should we. Even in the midst of great needs and popularity, Jesus needed time with the Father. There is a tension between entering our prayer closet (Matthew 6:6, treasure room) and the public gather expected of believers (Hebrew 10:25). Jesus made prayer a discipline, exercising practical intention.
2. Where am I with the mission of Christ? After Peter finds Jesus in his solitary place, Jesus mentions the need to go to surrounding towns and villages, because the gospel was the reason that he came. This is missional. He came to seek the lost, serve rather than be served, and be the answer to our sin problem. He came for a purpose, and he came for people. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, and we participate in this mission (2 Corinthians 5:19). The love of Christ controls us, not the needs around us (2 Corinthians 5:14). Needs can be physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual.
3. Where am I with the needs of people? Jesus meets with the man with leprosy, Mark 1:40-45. Jesus was asked about his willingness, and the text tells us that he was moved with compassion. His compassion moved him toward a willingness. Then Jesus invites the man into a ceremony that would welcome him back into the community of faith; the man was redeemed and then restored. In this story we see that Jesus cares for the soul.
In application ask: where or when am I moved with compassion? How does the ministry of reconciliation manifest itself in me? How am I living out the meaning of the great commission?
- In light of this passage, how do you think Jesus knew his life purpose so clearly?
- Why do you think Jesus had to spend so much time in prayer if he was the Son of God?
- How should we follow Christ’s example of praying?
- What is the benefit of getting up before dawn to spend time with the Lord in prayer?
- What area of need does Jesus’ example of prayer reveal to you?
- What should be your response to other believers who are committed to prayer?
- How do you think you would have responded if you had been the one to find Jesus praying?
- What can you learn about your own responsibility to serve from Jesus’ attitude toward the people who demanded His time?
- How can you order the parts of your life to reflect the priorities Jesus had?
- What one area of your spiritual life do you think the Lord wants you to develop or concentrate on the most right now?
- What role do you think solitude should have in the Christian life?
- Following Jesus’ example, what can you do this week to spend more quality time with the Lord in prayer?
- When and where can you pray on a regular basis this week?
- What can you do to increase your consistency in prayer over the next month?
- Who are the outcasts or untouchables in our world today?
- In what ways can Christians serve or help people who have great need?
- When has the Lord ever healed you either physically or emotionally?
- How have you responded to the Lord’s healing in your life?
- How would you react if you saw another person miraculously healed by the Lord?
- Looking at the leper’s example, what attitude do you think is crucial to receive healing from the
- Why do you think God sometimes heals people miraculously yet at other times chooses not to?
- What does this passage tell you about Christ and his attitude toward our pain and suffering?
- When have you ever done the opposite of what you knew Jesus would have wanted you to do?
- How can disobedience cost us?
- What is one area of your life in which you need physical, emotional, or spiritual healing from
- To what person in our church or community could you reach out this week? How?
- What concrete action can you take this week to trust Jesus with your areas of need?