Pastor Emlen Bailey | Good, Good News
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Pastor Emlen Bailey

Serve, Not Be Served | Mark 10: 35-45

Serve, Not Be Served | Mark 10: 35-45
Pastor Emlen Bailey

Mark 10: 35-45
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink your will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the tem heard of it, then began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

For many years, I was a server at multiple restaurants. I made my living by bringing sweet teas, plates of pasta, and extra sides of dressing. For the most part, I enjoyed my job, but there were days that it was a struggle to put on a smiling face and serve people. I wanted to change careers to something that I earning my income by serving people. And then I met Jesus. Jesus taught me something about the position that I was in.
It is amazing that James and John had been with Jesus all this time and did not realize that Jesus was not on Earth seeking an Earthly Crown. Jesus went to the sick, the unclean, the unworthy and did all He could to help those. He elevated them and served them! However, James and John only had their eyes on earthly Glory, not the true purpose of Jesus coming.

Jesus came to lay his life down in death for all of us who would accept Him. He did not come to win awards, or make a lot of money, or to beat back the unrighteous. His heart is for everyone to have an encounter and be ushered in to a relationship with God. Moreover, this is what he expected out of His disciples, that same selflessness.
He asks them if they are going to be up to challenge of what He was about to face. Of course, they are going to say yes, they don’t want to disappoint Jesus. But, they had no clue what they were saying yes to. They said yes to going to difficult places in order to see the Gospel spread. They said yes to laying down their OWN lives because of opposition to the message. They were saying yes to serving the least of people. I believe that Jesus replied with a chuckle, “You sure will, but you have no idea.”

So what did Jesus teach me as I was waiting tables and getting frustrated at the requests of some of my customers? He taught me that beyond my occupation, it is my calling as a Son of God to serve people. I am called to lay my life down for the least of these. Sometimes that looks like helping someone move on my one day off. Sometimes that looks like having a conversation with someone I don’t know. Sometimes that looks like giving money. I am called to do whatever I can do to serve. Because just like Jesus, we are here not to be served, but to serve!

I am called to lay my life down for the least of these.

Gratitude and Generosity | Mark 6:30-44 

Gratitude and Generosity 
By: Pastor Emlen Bailey


Mark 6:30-44  The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. 

What is the biggest party that you have ever hosted? For some of you, it would be a weekend cookout with 10 people. For some of you, it would be a wedding or some other event with 100 plus people. I can’t imagine any reason that someone would need to host more than that many people at one time. But no matter how big your gathering is, there is something that needs to be thought out before people start arriving... What are we going to feed all these folks? 

Well, Jesus and the Disciples obviously did not think that particular thing through prior to leading all these people out in the wilderness. This story takes happens in a desolate place that Jesus and His Disciples were heading to so they could rest. But there was something about Jesus that just drew people in to Him. So, although they weren’t planning on throwing a party, the party came to them. 

Isn’t it amazing that Jesus doesn’t want to turn anyone away? Even when the Disciples were begging Him to release the people so that they could go find something to eat, Jesus wanted to keep everyone close. He ordered His disciples to feed these people. I get nervous when two or three extra people show up. I bet they were sweating trying to figure out how to do what Jesus had asked of them. 

But this wasn’t just a test of the faith of the Disciples, it was an opportunity to teach us all of God’s provision. We have all quoted Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” And that statement is absolutely true, but as with so many things in the Kingdom, we have some responsibility. Those two responsibilities I am referring to are GRATTITUDE and GENEROSITY. 

In the story, the Disciples bring what little they have to Jesus, 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Who are they going to feed with that small amount? But that meager portion did not discourage Jesus. He was grateful for what they had. He looked up to Heaven, and thanked God for the meal. No matter how little or how much you have in your life, be grateful for what the Lord has given you. 

Next, we see Jesus distribute this meager meal among all the crowds who had gathered around Him. Instead of hording what He had because it wasn’t going to last too long, He gave. Jesus lived His life generously, and God always came through. If you are generous with what the Lord has given you, there will always be something to give. 

If you are generous with what the Lord has given you, there will always be something to give. 

The two keys to seeing God’s provision in your life are GRATTITUDE and GENEROSITY. I have never seen someone who was grateful go without, and I have never seen someone who was generous be without something to give. I truly believe that Jesus was teaching us these two principals in this story. When we live our lives like this, we can expect the same kind of miracles to happen. Not only did God supply all their needs according to His riches and His glory, but He gave increase. They had more when they ended than when they started! 

Jesus Is With You | Mark 4:35-41

Jesus Is With You
By Pastor Emlen Bailey


Mark 4: 35 
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” 

The Gospel of Mark is filled with great moments of action. This scene in chapter 4 feels like it could be from a movie. The description used by the author helps me to feel like I was there in the boat soaking wet with the rest of the disciples. It is almost that Mark described it so viscerally in order to justify the fear that he and the other disciples were experiencing in a small boat in the middle of a raging storm. 

While I, and probably most of you who are reading, are not sailors, we do have times where we are facing really big storms. And what do we do in those situations? Of course, we get afraid! Now our storms can be financial storms, physical storms, or even emotional storms. But no matter what we are facing, Jesus is there in the boat with us. He is encouraging us to have faith! 

I have read this passage many times. When reading it, my big takeaway used to be, “I need to have the faith to tell a storm to call down.” In turn I have tried speaking to my issues and commanding them to go away. Well, I don’t know if you have ever tried commanding a bill to be paid when you don’t have money, but it doesn’t work as well as I would like it to. But I think what Jesus was teaching the disciples in this moment is to have faith that HE WAS WITH THEM IN THE STORM. 

Jesus is with you in that storm.

The disciples definitely needed to understand this because they had some pretty enormous storms to face in their future. The people in this boat were the ones who were martyred for their faith many years later. And I haven't heard a story of a disciple telling a jailer, or an executioner that they needed to be calm. No, we hear stories of them rejoicing that they were so close with Jesus. He was with them in their storm. 

I sincerely hope that none of us are going to have to face anything as dire as martyrdom in our lives on Earth. But we will have to face some pretty big storms. There will be moments of dire financial straits. Let me encourage you, Jesus is with you in that storm. There will be times where we are facing a difficult diagnosis. Let me encourage you, Jesus is with you in that storm. There will also be times of extreme depression and loneliness. So, let me leave you with one last encouragement. Jesus is with you in whatever storm you are facing. Learn to find Him!

Jesus Doesn't Heal(Sermon) Mark 6

Mark 6 Jesus Doesn’t Heal

Mark 6:1-6 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.

If we want to see healings, we must seek to do three things:
1. Honor People
“Honor Up, Honor Down, Honor All around”

A. Honor Up
A. Honor our Parents
Deuteronomy 5:16 Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD
your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the lord your God is giving you.
Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD
your God is giving you.

B. Honor our Pastors
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
Honor our Governmental Leaders

Romans 13:1-2 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed,and those who resist will incur judgement.

B. Honor Down
John 4:6,7 Jacob's well was there; so, Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, wassitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”

C. Honor all around!
“We don’t necessarily honor people because they are worthy of honor, we honor people because we are honorable.”

2. Honor the Lord
A. Recognize what the Lord has done
B. Spend time with the Lord
C. Don’t do things that will separate you from Him
1 Corinthians 10:23
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,”
but not all things build up.
Mark 6:53-56 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

3. We try to reproduce His works
John 14:12 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.