Did you know… there are a lot of things we think of as normal that shouldn’t be? Last Sunday I preached the first part of a series in the book of Mark. The series title is Challenge The Norm, a.k.a. #ChallengeTheNorm. HERE is the audio. I hope it’s a blessing!
SEVEN Reasons You Should Challenge The Norm
1. There are a lot of toxic things people believe are normal! Here’s a list of 8 toxic things people believe are normal:
- The present is indicative of the future
- It’s too late to make changes
- Being vulnerable is dangerous
- Being alone [single] is a problem
- Fitting in is a good thing
- There’s a perfect (house, job, friend, lover) for me
- What everyone does to you is personal
- You should never be sad
Which of those do you struggle with most?
The three I sometimes struggle with are (3) being vulnerable, (5) fitting in, and (7) taking things personally.
The next SIX REASONS come straight outa Mark 1:1-13, the foundation of Mark’s gospel …
2. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God…
The beginning of the good news [gospel] about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1)
Jesus is the Christ, the anointed One, the One prophesied about throughout the OT. THIS Jesus, He is a King… THE King of Kings!!! That’s a bold statement that Challenged the Norm!
Jesus is “the Son of God!” Mic drop! Massive challenge of the norm! The Messiah was not thought of to be equal to God. Yet here Mark clearly equates Jesus, not only as Messiah and King, but GOD! The norm has been challenged!
3. The Pronouncement of Jesus Wasn’t The Norm: HUMILITY
Mark wrote this about John the Baptist…
…a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. (Mark 1:3)
What King announces victory from a voice calling in the wilderness? God challenged the norm by choosing a humble messenger (who dressed and ate a little off the norm!)
4. Forgiveness vs. Judging
Another reason to challenge the norm is the Christian life centers around forgiveness. Most people, including myself, are pretty good at judging others. Thankfully God majors on forgiveness. John paved the way for Jesus by calling people to confess their sins to be forgiven, rather than being a message of judgment.
Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (Mark 1:5)
5. Holy Spirit Indwells People NOT Buildings
The norm was massively challenged when John announced that while he was baptizing with water, Jesus was coming to baptize them in the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). No longer does the Spirit need to be sought in places. He lives IN people who put their trust in Jesus.
6. Love Freely Given Rather Than Earned
Jesus was baptized before anything He did was recorded. Yet, when He came out of the water His Father said…
You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. (Mark 1:11)
Jesus hadn’t performed a miracle or done any ministry. He was loved because he was the son of a loving Father! And so are you! Challenge the norm because you are so loved!
7. Jesus Was Tempted in Every Way, Yet Sinless
This is the beginning of the Good News! God, through His Son Jesus, did for us what we could never do for ourselves
NOTE Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
1. LISTEN to God’s Word, read it for yourself; join us by reading Mark as we preach through it. Next week’s message is from 2:13-17, “A Sinner’s Party!” Read a little at a time this week, take notes, and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. LISTEN!
2. ASK the Holy Spirit to speak and to give your courage to act on what He says!
3. SHARE what you’re hearing with a small group and/or spiritual friend.
Get ready as God calls you to #ChallengeTheNorm!