Posts by Mark Medley

Posts by Mark Medley

Matthew 15 | A Rock of Offense

What happens when God does something you did not expect him to do? What if he does not do what you were sure he would? Do you shrink back from him or press into him? Most of the players in the scenes that Matthew records for us in the 15th chapter of his gospel are offended because they did not get what they expected. But this should not be a surprise to us, for Peter quotes Isaiah, telling us of…

Matthew 9 | Bring It To Jesus

Sometimes we wait patiently on the Lord. And then, sometimes we are called to take bold action, to move forward in our faith, to have courageous confidence in Jesus’ desire to change our situation. It is easy to fall into a pit of passivity, wallowing in the weakness or oppression in which we find ourselves. Matthew chapter nine shows us five instances where people actively bring their problems to Jesus in faith. And, importantly, Jesus was impressed by that faith…

Matthew 5 | Choosing to Walk The Hard Path

What is the meaning of life? We humans seem to be hard-wired to ask questions like this. What is the best possible kind of life? What is right and wrong? What is the best moral system? For thousands of years, thinking men and women have had these kinds of nagging thoughts, and for good reason: they draw us to something beyond ourselves, and they profoundly affect the way we live our lives. In the fifth chapter of the gospel of…

James 3 | Tame That Tongue

A thick, smoky haze has hung over East Tennessee the past few weeks as wildfires have run rampant across our beautiful mountains. Thousands of acres of land have been destroyed, roads have been closed, and tens of thousands of people have experienced respiratory problems or had to alter their lives because of the smoke. The cause of these fires has been largely attributed to arson. It is hard to imagine that most, or all, of these devastating fires, were caused…

Hebrews 5 | Better

You may not realize it, but you may need an upgrade. You are reading this blog on a phone or a computer which runs on an operating system. Chances are, you have had to update the system many times over the years. The idea is that the old system has flaws and can’t run the apps and software that you want to run as smoothly as the new one, so you need the upgrade. That is roughly the idea of…

Hebrews 3 | Work Hard at Resting

You have probably heard the old adage: “work smarter, not harder”. The idea is that it isn’t really hard work that pays off but making sure we are working hard at the right things. Amazingly, God tells believers in Christ that we should put our greatest effort into resting!  How in the world do we do that? The book of Hebrews is all about how Jesus is better: he is better than the angels, he is a better mediator, and a…

Colossians 3 | You Ain’t From Around Here, Are You?

Have you ever felt awkwardly out of place? Several years ago I had a long layover in a very crowded international airport in Istanbul, Turkey. I remember being herded through security, through terminals teeming with travelers, and finally sitting in the main thoroughfare watching the diverse hordes of humanity streaming by while I waited for my flight. I could not imagine a nationality or a skin color that was not represented there. Almost none of them looked like me or dressed…

Colossians 2 | The Way We Grow

If I were to ask you what is the best way to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ, what would you say? Spending time in the Word?  Prayer?  Worship? Of course, all of these things are crucial to maturing as a Christ follower, and they should not be neglected.  But there is one element of the Christian life that often gets overlooked. In Colossians 2:19 Paul urges the church at Colossae to be careful to hold on tight to…

Galatians 1 | Gospel ADHD

On our recent trip to Europe, we realized something profound about the gospel; it is dangerously easy to get sidetracked from the good news of Jesus and fall into a performance-based, religious mindset that completely subverts the gospel. This is true for countries, for churches, and for individuals. The three countries we visited, Poland, Ukraine, and France, have each been exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ for well over a thousand years. When you look at a map showing…

Acts 24 | This Man Is A Plague

Public enemy number one… A threat to all humanity as we know it… A person who has turned the world upside down… Yet this was Paul, a humble man who was a helpless prisoner of the world’s most extensive empire. Was he really all that dangerous? In Acts 24, the political ruler refused to hear Paul because he knew he himself to be a sinful man. The religious leaders refused to hear Paul because they thought themselves to be righteous…