Thursday, February 12, 2009


Here is round 2 on my prayer journey through Psalms:

6. Father, when will you let up? The trials I've been facing have gone on for so long. Give me a breakthrough.

7. Sometimes, Lord, I feel I'm running to you for dear life because of the negative forces that push hard against me.

8. Who am I, Lord, that you would even bother to allow me the privilege to preach Your Word? I am grateful.

9. Thank you, kind God, for providing a safe house when my soul is battered.

10. Father, our nation continues on its moral downward spiral. Do something. Put us on the right track.

11. When times are tough, remind me, O God, that you are in charge.

12. Lord, protect me and my family from those who spread rumors and half-lies and full-blown lies.

13. Father, no matter how difficult my life's challenges are, I want my head to be held high. I want my life to be one answered prayer after another.

14. As I long for a great turnaround at Chapin Baptist, I recognize that you alone are the One who can make that happen.

15. Holy God, shape my character into your likeness so that I can be invited to sit for dinner with you.

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On Sunday, Feb. 15, I will begin a lengthy series of preaching through the Gospel of Mark. One of the comments I often hear is a hunger to go deeper in the study of God's Word. Well, in Mark we're going to do just that. We won't sacrifice the practical relevance of applying the Bible to our daily lives. But we will spend more time understanding biblical backgrounds and theological teaching.

As an extra, if you're interested in going a little deeper than the message goes, I will post a blog here and there that will help you grasp the Word a little better.

When you study a book of the Bible, it is always helpful to know as much background surrounding the book as possible. A 35-minute sermon can't cover it all, so here are some tidbits about Mark.

  • It was written for Gentile readers, primarily the Romans.
  • It is the earliest written gospel, probably around AD 50.
  • Scholars believe that Mark and Peter were very tight friends and that Mark got much of his material from Peter.
  • Matthew and Luke got lots of their material from Mark.
  • Mark presents Jesus as the ultimate servant.
  • He emphasizes what Jesus did more that what He said. The word immediately is used 40+ times, showing Christ to be a servant of action.
  • Over half of Jesus' recorded miracles (18 of 35) are recorded in Mark.
  • Mark is the shortest gospel.
  • Mark devotes almost as many chapters to the last week of Jesus' life (six) as he does to the prior three years of ministry (eight).
  • Mark was Jewish, born in Jerusalem, most likely from a well-to-do family. His mother was Mary (no, not the Virgin Mary). She had a house that served as a meeting place for believers.
  • Mark and Barnabas were cousins. He went on the first missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas. Some kind of riff caused him to abandon the journey. He and Paul later reconciled.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."