Sick of Religion? Week 6: Devotional Day 2
DAY 2 – Tuesday
Mark 3:7-8; Mark 7:24-30
Look on a Bible map at all the place names mentioned in this story, to get a picture of just how far word about Jesus had spread by this point in Jesus’ ministry.
I’m a communicator, so I love positive publicity, but competing messages make it harder than ever to get peoples’ attention. That’s why businesses and organizations often require a marketing machine to raise awareness and elicit a response. However, if the messenger and message are authentic and good, people often respond favorably. Jesus did not need a marketing machine; as his fame grew, more and more people were following Jesus.
Not only are the crowds following Jesus growing, but according to the places named in Mark 3:7-8, it’s clear they are coming from a larger radius. Christianity, at its core, is a religion that wants to grow. In Alan Hirsch’s book The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating Apostolic Movements, he tells a story about the underground church in China. When Mao Tse-tung took power and purged religion from society, the church there was estimated to be about two million strong. Missionaries were banished, buildings were closed, and church leaders were killed or imprisoned. In the early 1980s after Mao’s reign ended and foreign missionaries were allowed back in the country, they expected a decimated religion. Instead they found there were about 60 million Christians! We follow a God who does more than we ask or imagine, a God of the seemingly impossible!
As you dwell on the character of God, and the nature of the powerful gospel message that continues to spread around the world, pray about someone you want to invite to church this weekend and go ahead and issue the invitation! Be sure to talk about what Jesus means to you personally, because while it’s great to invite people to church because of the great music, coffee, and preaching, the most important thing is for people to encounter the magnificence of Jesus Christ and his desire to seek and save.
 Alan Hirsch, The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating Apostolic Movements, 2nd edition (Brazos Press, 2016)