Day 115: April 25, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Matthew 16:5-12 Read Online
Mark 8:13-26 Read Online


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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Do you have eyes, and not see, and do you have ears, and not hear? And do you not remember?

—Mark 8:18

Crash Course
by Mike Harland, Member of Brentwood Baptist Campus

Have you ever taken a crash course in anything? You know, like one of those classes where you try to learn in a very short amount of time everything you can on a particular subject.

For three years, the disciples who walked with Jesus took a crash course on the purpose of life from the Eternal One who made and sustains everything. And most of the time, because of their own misperceptions about what Jesus was doing, they had no idea what He was talking about.

Ever feel that way?

As we navigate through the circumstances of our lives, it seems we, like the disciples, sometimes miss the point. In this passage, they thought Jesus was talking about bread, when He was really talking about faith—the faith that produces what we need for life and the hypocrisy (yeast) that threatens it.

One time, my dad took a class in small engine repair at the local technical school. Before long, he started a lawn mower repair business behind his house.

Once, when he was visiting me, he went to work on my lawnmower that had stopped running a few days before. For two days, he took the engine apart several times, cleaned every part of it, and adjusted each piece, then put it back together, only to fail at cranking it each time.

After several attempts, he decided to check one last thing—the fuel shut-off valve. Sure enough, it was in the closed position.

Embarrassingly, he moved it to the open position and the mower cranked right away—accompanied by our roars of laughter. The problem all along had the easiest solution available.

This is same problem the disciples had that day—and the same problem we face when we’re more concerned with bread than faith. Because their faith was in the off position, Jesus gave them no signal of the coming of His kingdom.

When we fail to place our faith and trust in the One who’s the Bread of Life, we’ll always struggle finding bread. Faith in Jesus—without hypocrisy (yeast)—is the only way our lives can run. And the sooner we learn that, the sooner we can move on to the next chapter in our life lessons with our Master Teacher.

Reflection Questions

  1. Think of a time in your life when you’ve learned something about faith the hard way.
  2. Consider this statement from the old preacher: “You never fail God’s tests. He just keeps giving them to you till you pass them.” What does that mean to you? Can you think of an example of a test God gave you over and over?
  3. What are some of the ways “yeast” can creep into our faith?
  4. How can we exercise our faith so we can hear what God’s saying to us through our life experiences?

About the Author

Mike Harland

Originally from Corinth, Mississippi, Mike grew up playing sports and his guitar, and writing and singing songs. After he graduated from Delta State University, where he majored in music and played baseball, Mike earned his Master of Church Music degree at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

For 25 years, Mike served in churches as a worship pastor across Mississippi and Texas. Along the way, songwriting became an important part of his life’s work. His songs have been recorded by Christian artists and arranged for church choirs. He has more than 200 published works that include a number of musicals and collections.

In 2005, LifeWay Christian Resources asked Mike to lead the development of music and worship materials for churches as Director of LifeWay Worship. In this role, he writes songs and articles, and he speaks about worship across the U.S. and around the world.

In 2008, Mike was the Editor of a new hymnal for Baptists. He also co-authored the book and Bible study Seven Words of Worship with Christian Music industry veteran Stan Moser. Later, in 2011, New Orleans Seminary awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Mike is married to Teresa and they live in Franklin, Tennessee with their youngest son John. They’ve been members of Brentwood Baptist since 2005.