Take 5 (April 14-18, 2014)

take5Troy Thornton • Pastor of Small Groups & Outreach

Monday: Save Us Now!

Mark 11:9-10

When someone is in peril, maybe even concerned for his or her very life, there is often a cry for immediate help. There is an overwhelming sense of urgency. The word “Hosanna” carries this same sense of urgency ­— it means “save us now.” It was an exclamation of praise used by the Jews in the Old Testament. It was the same declaration used when Jesus entered Jerusalem on what we now call “Palm Sunday” (Mark 11:9-10). They had no idea how true their words were toward the God-man. He is the only one that can save and there is an absolute urgency to it. We are utterly lost without Him! This should remind us of our daily need of Him.

For Today: Hosanna to the King!

Tuesday: Are You Useful?

Mark 11:12-14

All of us like to be considered useful. Whether it is at work, on a sports field, or even (hopefully) at home. It is good to feel like we are a useful asset. Jesus found a fig tree that was of no use – it had no fruit. He cursed the tree as an illustration to the disciples that His followers must bear fruit (Mark 11:12-14). Fruitfulness as a follower of Jesus equals usefulness ­— usefulness for the kingdom. Our lives must reflect the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This fruit shows the life and work of the Holy Spirit and allows us to be sharp and useful tools for His use.

For Today: What fruit can you show?

Wednesday: Prayer is Critical

Mark 11:15-17

I have a vivid memory of Wednesday evening prayer meetings at the church where I grew up in Indiana. My brother and I would go with my dad and a few other men to pray. As a boy I found it kind of boring. However, later in life I recalled how much time and effort that little group of folks put into praying for one another, and I realized how critically important it was. Jesus cleared the Temple of the money-changers because they turned “a house of prayer” into “a den of thieves” (Mark 11:16-17). They missed how absolutely crucial prayer is. Prayer is critical to God’s plans for us and shows that was must rely on Him and nothing else.

For Today: Are you practicing critical prayer?

Thursday: Powerful Words!

Mark 11:20-21

The tree was dead! The fig tree Jesus cursed was dead the next day (Mark 11:20-21). The tree without fruit had been cursed as a lesson to the disciples not only to show that they must bear fruit, but that His words had power! There is something powerful about the truth spoken by God Himself. It sheds light on difficult paths of life, it shows us how to relate to our spouse, it shows how to parent, it guides us as we handle our finances, it has everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Jesus showed the disciples that His word had power and that it worked.

For Today: Trust His word – it really works!

Friday: Faith Moves Things!

Mark 11:22-25

Automobiles are our main means of transportation in the US. Many of us enjoy the look of a nice car and appreciate its craftsmanship. However, what really matters in an automobile is the engine. That is what makes it move. Jesus taught His disciples that faith is what makes God’s hand move (Mark 11:22-23). Faith in God, expecting Him to work, somehow unleashes God’s active hand. What a miraculous thing for Jesus’ followers – to be able to in faith ask and see it happen. Jesus said that faithful prayer, faith that expects it to happen, could move even a mountain. Faith is the engine of our life.

For Today: What are you expecting God to move?