Author Archives: wheelsms

Viewing the Cross Forwards & Backwards

I went to a couple of movies while on my recent vacation. I took my wife to one and went to another with two of my kids. One of the movies had 25 minutes of previews prior to the movie. Afterwards, I leaned over to my son and said, “I wondered if the previews were going to be longer than the movie!”

Oftentimes a movie studio will release two or even three different trailers for an upcoming movie. The first one will be released several months prior to the film. Two or three months later a second trailer will be released. Each successive trailer adds another glimpse into the upcoming film. By adding snippets of dialogue and glimpses into the characters, the filmmaker builds anticipation for the audience.

Jesus employs a similar technique in preparing his disciples for his upcoming death and resurrection. On three different occasions (Mark 8:31; 9:30-32; 10:32-34) Jesus tells his men that he will suffer, die, and rise again. He also adds a bit more detail with each successive preview.

Jesus gives the disciples a second preview of his death and resurrection on the southward journey from Caesarea Philippi to Jerusalem (Mark 9:30). He did not want anyone to know of his itinerary because he was focused on training his disciples (31a). Mark indicates that Jesus’ public ministry is completed and he is now focused on a private ministry of discipleship with his twelve disciples.

As Jesus explained previously (8:31), he will suffer and die. His death will not be the end of the story as he will rise from the grave on the third day. The new element in this presentation is the fact that “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men …” The phrase can be translated two ways, “delivered over” or “delivered up.” The question is, Who is doing the delivering? “Delivered over” points to Judas betraying Jesus to the religious leaders. “Delivered up” reveals that it was God’s plan for Jesus to die for our sins. Both aspects are true.

While Jesus’ disciples heard his words, they did not understand the implications (32). They were reluctant to ask questions that might help clarify the issue, possibly because they remembered Jesus’ rebuke of Peter for wanting the kingdom without the cross (8:31-33).

A movie trailer makes you look forward to the film’s release. After seeing the movie, you can look back and understand what the trailer pointed to. Jesus’ previews of his death and resurrection caused the disciples to look forward to the event. We have the benefit of hindsight and can look back on how the events played out and fulfilled Christ’s prophetic words.

Jesus Christ:

  • Was betrayed by Judas (Mark 14:10-11, 43-50)
  • Was denied by Peter (Mark 14:26-31, 54, 66-72)
    • Peter denied Jesus with his words; all the other disciples denied him with their absence (Mark 14:50)
  • Suffered (Mark 15:1-20)
  • Was crucified (Mark 15:21-39)
  • Was buried (Mark 15:42-37)
  • Rose from the dead on the third day (Mark 16:1-8)

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Baptist Church on July 5, 2015. It is part of a series in the Gospel of Mark. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

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Posted by on July 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


Happy Birthday, America!


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Posted by on July 4, 2015 in Holidays


Stages in the work of God


Why settle for the easy and the manageable when we can pray for God to do the impossible!

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Posted by on July 4, 2015 in Quotes, Tim Challies


Awana Camp 2015 – Day Three

Yesterday was day three of First Central Baptist Church‘s Awana Camp at Pinebrook Camp & Conference Center in Shutesbury, MA. With the beautiful weather, the kids were able to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities–canoeing, archery, ga-ga ball, and a bounce-house-jousting-ring. We also had worship, Bible lessons, skits, games, Minute-to-win-it, and the last night campfire. This week, Mr. Chris taught from the book of Joshua, and Mr. Doug taught about the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. It was a great week of camp. (The campers returned home this morning.)


Awana Camp 2015 – Day Two

Today was the second day of First Central Baptist Church‘s Awana Camp at Pinebrook Camp & Conference Center in Shutesbury, MA. The day was filled with songs, games, swimming, crafts, Minute-to-win-it, Bible teaching, friendship, and good food. Tomorrow will be even better.


Be a coach, not a boss

“Great leadership is coaching, not bossing. It’s mentoring, not managing. It’s serving, not being served. It’s casting vision for what people can be, not limiting people to definitions of what they were or how they’ve fallen short. Leadership must make reality known and then help people face it. Yet how that’s done is a matter of huge variation in both style and impact.

Some people can deliver truth, but do so with no love or grace or respect—with little to no sense of affirmation and encouragement for growth and progress. Many people can give kindness, grace, and affirmation, but they can’t present the truth. Great leadership—true leadership—does both. The best coaches and leaders, the best teachers and mentors, the best bosses, politicians, rabbis, priests, and pastors, the best friends, the best parents, the best spouses … they share the precious balance of truth and love, of reality and encouragement.”

Jeff Kemp, in Facing the Blitz: Three Strategies for Turning Trials into Triumphs

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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Books, Leadership, Quotes


David’s Mighty Men brought to life

Day of WarWhat would it have been like to be part of King David’s army? What kind of men were Benaiah, who killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day, and Eleazar, Shammah, and Josheb, the three greatest warriors of David’s men? Author Cliff Graham has brought these characters to life in his “Lion of War” series. I just finished reading Day of War, book one in the series, which my wife gave me as a Father’s Day gift.

When reading of their exploits in Scripture (2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11), these men seem like outlandish heroes. Graham portrays them as real people with strengths, weaknesses, doubts, failures, and temptations. The author brings a degree of reality to these men and what warfare must have been like in 998 B.C. Graham offers a unique perspective as he serves as an officer in the United States Army National Guard, currently serving in the Chaplain Corps.

Book one, Day of War, portrays the events of 1 Samuel 27-31, from David’s defection to Achish in Philistia to the defeat of the Amalekites who attacked David’s stronghold at Ziklag and to the death of Saul and Jonathan on Mount Gilboa. The story is unique because it is told from the perspective of lesser known characters. David, Saul, and Jonathan certainly make an appearance. But the main characters in this novel are Benaiah and Gareb, Jonathan’s armor bearer.

It should be noted that the novel (and I’m assuming the series as well) is not for the faint of heart. In his “Note to the Reader,” the author states,

This book is extremely violent. However, it’s no more violent than Scripture itself—just more violent than many previous novels based on Scripture. It also contains mature themes of sexual temptation and lust that demand that readers be mature enough to understand them. Please exercise caution and discretion when passing this book to more sensitive readers.

David’s war years were both the best and worst of his life. The Lion of War Series, by painting a picture of David and his men at that time, is an attempt to help us understand these men in their proper context as products of a barbaric and troubled era. In what ways, for instance, might the trauma of those war years have contributed to the destructive decisions David made later in life? In modern times, we label the problems warriors face after battle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Regardless of the name, it is clear that warriors are affected for the rest of their lives by the hellish nature of battlefields, David was no exception.

One element I appreciated in the book was how the author expressed David’s dependence on God during battle. David and his men refer to the “covering.” They ask, “Cover me in the day of war.” When one warrior asks David to explain, he says,

That night was the first time I understood the covering. The covering is the fire. It is the strength, courage, and power Yahweh equips us with. It girds a man’s loins when he needs it and lets a man know that Yahweh forgives him when he fails. It snaps our legs when we need it. It speaks Yahweh’s wise counsel, like the woman in Gath that we saw that night. It comes only from Yahweh, who alone is the shepherd that we need.

Later, the same warrior asks David,

But why the day of war: why do we only ask for it then? Why not when a man is in his field plowing? Why not when he is with his family, or when he has left them and wants them to be safe and protected? Why not every day?

Every day is the day of war.

I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Books, Scripture


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