Mark J Martin

Mark J Martin

I Will Bless the Lord at All Times…

…because of the cross.

Image courtesy of Eprom |

Have you ever wondered what the disciples were thinking the day after Christ was crucified?

They had just “failed” by not following the Lord.  Peter had defected from his promise to follow Christ to the death. They had all “scattered.”

The One whom they had hoped would deliver them from Roman rule had just been executed as a blasphemer.  Their Leader was in the grave.

Ever had times like that?  It seems like the hopes and dreams that you thought were from God are in the trash.  You think, “This isn’t how it was supposed to turn out.” You wonder where God went.

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It was a Real Day

On a real day, Jesus was called a blasphemer, though He sinlessly honored God.

On a real day, men pulled out his beard by their fists.

On a real day, Jesus felt the piercing of the scourge.

On a real day, Jesus’ head was punctured by thorns.

On a real day, He fell under the weight of the cross.

On a real day, Jesus’ hands and feet were nailed to a cross.

But most of all…

On a real day, Jesus took the penalty for your sins and mine, as the Father poured out His wrath toward sin on His only Son.

A Case for Truth-focused Ministry

image courtesy of Hans Slegers |

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. Ephesians 4:15

In my short time in church work, I’ve observed some of my tendencies.  It’s easy to focus my attention on secondary things instead of  the central focus that God wants me to have – serving others by teaching the truth of God.

I am learning that in serving others, the focus should be truth, (i.e., the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ, Jesus Himself, all of which are truth).  Biblical truth should be the central drive of church ministry, while other aspects of ministry point toward truth and facilitate growth in truth.

I’ve found it’s easy to get off focus and fall into these modes:

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Think About the Cross

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:3

Meditate this week on the road that Jesus walked.  Think about what he went through during the last week of His life on earth.

How has the cross of Jesus changed your life?

Competition in Church is for the (Angry) Birds

Have you seen the game?  Angry Birds is a popular game downloadable for phones, touch screen devices, and now available in pc and mac versions.  Birds are hurled through the air by slingshot.  The goal is to use the perfect trajectory so that the birds hit barrels, wooden structures and more, causing them to fall on the “evil green pigs.”  It’s pretty comical!

Unfortunately, there are some churches whose music programs resemble Angry Birds.  Pianists, vocalists, and other instrumentalists vie for position as the prominent artist.

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Another Way to Play Music

Candy’s mom sent me the link to this video yesterday.  I wanted to share it with you.

Think of the planning and ingenuity it took to do this!  I love the creativity.

What if we put a small portion of this kind of creativity into our work?

Small Groups Impacted Me

I am rejoicing in what God did Monday night in our small group Bible Study.

We recently started a Bible study in our home for our college and career members.  Tonight we had three visitors, making a total of six young singles. This meeting has great potential.  This type of Bible study made a huge impact on me when I was a teen.

I look forward to having lunch today with the man who led the Bible study that I was a part of as a teen, Rev. Guy Roberts.  I plan to write about what I learn through our conversation.

Small group Bible studies offer something that some other platforms don’t:

  1. Personal interaction around God’s Word.
  2. A sense of togetherness.
  3. A vulnerability that is a catalyst for Word-based change.

Have you been impacted by a small group Bible study?  How did it impact you?  What are some other advantages of small group Bible studies?

Getting to the Priorities

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Priorities matter.  Some things in life are more important than others.  These areas have to be planned for and intentionally guarded lest they be totally neglected.

In a recent conversation with my friend and fellow staff member Brian Norris, I brought up to him the idea of prioritizing all of life with reference to relationships versus with reference to tasks.  I was asking for feedback.  I had found  myself prioritizing the first three areas of my life by relationship, but being task oriented after that.

Here’s what I was essentially doing on my priorities list:

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Who is Being Promoted?

He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

How contrary to self-promotion this truth is.

I like to increase, but Jesus is calling me to decrease. He is calling me to be humble and serve.

Jesus is not asking me to do something He didn’t do.  He decreased when He left heaven.  He decreased when He became a carpenter’s Son.  He decreased when He healed people.  He decreased when He washed the disciples feet.

My self-promotion must be crucified on the cross.  In reality, it was crucified when Jesus was crucified (Romans 6; Gal 5:24), but I must accept it to be true and live in its effects.

Lord, help me to decrease, so you can increase.

Why You Should or Should Not Start a Blog

Blogs are great tools.  I’m about one month into posting on this site.  I’ve enjoyed the ride!

image courtesy of

I’ve also been reading some blogs for a while now.  I’ve found that (and I know this is obvious) you can read good and bad stuff online.

That being said, I want to say to you that you should start a blog.

Why?  You should start a blog because of the following:

  1. You have a story. God is doing something in your life that is unique.  Other people need to be encouraged by it.  I think this falls under “provoke unto love and to good works.” (Hebrews 10:24)
  2. You have a perspective. God’s truth is doing something in you, and that perspective can be helpful to others… if shared with them. It can breath courage into someone else. They’ll see God is working in you and can do the same in them.

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