There is freedom waiting for you on the other side of tough times. I’m praying that you begin to identify the blessings in your life and focus on them until you breakthrough into a new, anointed light. PLEASE do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need someone to walk through the process with you.
Make sure to get connected at Five Stones Church – we have an incredible community and small groups.
Blessings and Honor,
OUR SHOP IS OPEN
STOP BY OUR SHOP – Every penny goes to ministry!
Transcript – Meet the Trailblazer: John the Baptist and the Gospel of Mark
at the time Max was about three years old and and it was my first year we’d moved to the city where where I was the chief of police and it was also the last year of my PhD program and that’s intense those those things should be done if you’re going to do them not at the same time the intensity level was a it was in nuts and I’ll be honest with you at the time I didn’t have time for church um I’m like we’ll go when I graduate or we’ll go when things settle down and now Max is three he’s non-verbal Down syndrome non-verbal mostly sign language a lot of grunting and pointing and and so one day he goes and he picks up this object from a from a box and it’s dusty and and he goes Church and I’m like what Church now this is a child that’s non-verbal what he had handed me was this book this this it’s not covered in dust anymore it was Sunday morning at 11 o’clock there was no natural way for Max to know that this was the Bible there was no natural way to know for Max to know what a Sunday was and what 11 o’clock was he had never spoken the word church before because honestly he had not heard it often at the time what I want to tell you is that God supernaturally used that non-verbal child to prepare the way of the Lord for Jesus to come into my life in a brand new way now I’ve been a Believer I’ve been saved so the next Sunday came and and kind of out of conviction a little out of guilt we went to church never been to that church that church is still considered our home Church in Louisiana that very day I was baptized with the power of the Holy Spirit and started speaking in tongues like a wild man see what I want to tell you is that God uses people supernaturally to prepare other people for the coming of the Lord the one thing that I want to share with you today as we go into the gospel of Mark is that John the Baptist was sent was prophesied from the Old Testament John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah but you see what I want you to know John isn’t a one and done oh yeah he did his job now he can retire no no John continues in all of us he had the spirit of Elijah that was upon him John had that Elijah had the spirit John had the spirit Max on that day had the spirit you have the responsibility of that same spirit of John the Baptist to prepare people for the coming of the Lord even people that have been long in the faith prepare a way for a new experience with Jesus the Messiah that’s the one thing that the Lord put on my heart is I want you to know as we go through today we’re going to start walking through the gospel of Mark why because God said walk through the gospel of Mark like he said walk through Ephesians walk through First Corinthians but I want you to know as we talk about John the Baptist John wasn’t a one and done John lived his ministry the spirit of John the Baptist is for all of us today to continue to prepare people’s hearts for the coming of the Messiah and to their lives so we’re going to spend as much time as it takes to walk through the book of Mark the gospel of Mark and it’s important to know who the author is you don’t just pick up something and read it because they said read it and if you do you do but you get so much more context Clarity perspective if you know who wrote it why they wrote it when they wrote it so as the book suggested you didn’t have to be a cop your whole life to get that clue The Book of Mark was written by mark so who is Mark who’s Mark I submit to you that a lot of times we just take stuff for granted oh yeah mark and there was another guy Matthew and somebody else named Luke and later on John but let’s plant with Mark let’s sit down and discover and get to know Mark because we’re going to spend a lot of time in this book you know he was the youngest of the Gospel authors he probably wasn’t much more than a teen when Jesus’s Earthly Ministry now I wasn’t one of the disciples or an apostle but he did follow Jesus’s Ministry actually after Jesus was was resurrected and ascended and the book of Acts it says that Peter and the apostles they would go to Mark’s mom’s house to pray so we know that his mom was a Believer and he was a believer so much so that Mark was committed to the ministry of Jesus Christ is that Apollo he followed Paul for a while and then then he followed Peter actually he went with with Peter to Rome when Peter was in prison you see Peter was a fisherman and he wasn’t fluid in Greek so Mark stayed with Peter to translate for him in writing and and in speech so when we’re reading the book of Mark what Mark is doing is recording Peter’s ministry as he delivers the word you know the beauty of Mark is that of the 37 documented miracles of Jesus he records 27 of them in the gospel of Mark so that brings us to the next question of what’s the gospel and and I never want to be too familiar with religious terms as to not understand the value and the importance of them so we talk about a gospel the gospel of Mark share the gospel the gospel good news what is the gospel well it’s an Old English word it’s two-part word and it means good and news the good news so what is the good news when we talk about the gospel it’s the birth the death the resurrection of Jesus Christ that’s the gospel story so when we talk about the gospel in Matthew and Mark and Luke and John these These are designated as gospels because they’re telling the good news of Jesus Christ now you may have heard a term synoptic gospel and it’s like all right well what’s that well all that is is synoptic means that that they run parallel that they’re similar so there’s three synoptic gospels out of the four and it’s Matthew and it’s Mark and it’s Luke and all that means is if you took three the three gospels and you laid the book side by side you turn the pages that they run parallel that they run parallel there’s a lot of similarities in the stories now John John is a gospel but John’s gospel is written it’s more theological than about the life of Jesus still a gospel so when people talk about when people talk about the synoptic gospels they’re like oh there’s just some conflict you know this one says this but that one says that I don’t know there’s just too much controversy let me tell you 26 years in law enforcement if I interviewed three people and they all had the exact same story they’re lying because it’s precon it’s been pre-contrived if somebody ran through this church ran up here and ah and they ran out and then we said okay quick everybody described what you saw nobody’s description is going to be the same saw a guy he yelled something he was wearing a green shirt a blue shirt you see this validates these synoptic gospels the fact that different people at different times from different perspectives different backgrounds different understandings they all saw the same thing and although to their scriptures may vary a little bit that lends itself to the veracity and the truth of the word so don’t let the World trip you up when they’re like really well they don’t even match because they said this and they said that I can assure you the word of the Lord was not contrived it was conceived in truth but it was not contrived so when did Mark write the Gospel this is important too culture matters culture matters the culture that your grandparents were born in the culture that your parents grew up in the culture that we’re living in the culture we’re preparing our kids to rise above coming in culture matters culture counts so Mark wrote this gospel in in what they call the second temple period around the destruction of the second temple which was in 70 a deep and I want to give you a little temple temple history a little background so we understand because we’re going to talk a lot about the gospel the temple and then we’re going to talk about the synagogues and it’s really important to not just read those words and be like oh yeah yeah cool but you really want you to understand so this is obviously an artist’s rendition there was no there was no photography uh in the day of the first temple this 957 BC but the first temple which is also known as Solomon’s Temple it was completed in Jerusalem and 957 BC and you know it was built on Mount Moriah and if you’re familiar with what Mount Moriah this is where Abraham brought who Isaac to do what to sacrifice his son you see nothing in the Bible is coincidental nothing’s random everything is Purpose By Design now this beautiful um Temple of Solomon that was built and it lasted for for 371 years until the king of Babylon came Nebuchadnezzar and he conquered Jerusalem and when you came the scorched Earth mentality so he he tore the city down he destroyed Solomon’s Temple you see the temples the first and the second temple what they’re they were actually the the national identity of Israel they were the center of worship they were in Israel’s identity that would be if say for example someone knocking down the Statue of Liberty that is a symbol of our country a symbol of Freedom it’s something that when you see that you don’t have to ask where is that you know that’s America so Nebuchadnezzar destroys the temple not only did it destroy it but he exiled the Jews into Babylon a pagan King came came and destroyed the temple and ran everybody out now in the natural you’d be like it’s terrible that’s so bad but you know what when you know the word of the Lord when you know what God’s word says you’re not caught off guard by anything you see they realized this had been prophesied this had been discussed they took this as encouragement that the word of the Lord is in action I always think about Romans 8 28. that God works all things for good it doesn’t mean all things are good but God will use all things far good for his good his good is your good I want to encourage you we’ve got to plant ourselves in the word of the Lord we’ve got to know that when something happens that it can’t throw us off center we’ve got to be like that train on the rails on the tracks that’s moving this way see faith is never in Retreat faith is always moving forward the kingdom is never about division it’s always multiplication so when the things in life that we see in the natural and we’re like huh like I don’t like those worship songs that say about God you never fail me yet he ain’t ever going to fail you never has he never will but take in the posture of sitting back and waiting so we can what uh-huh that ain’t God so even when they’re when they’re national symbol when their Temple was destroyed they were encouraged by this now I tell you we advance a little further and then Cyrus who is a pagan King of Persia comes and he conquers Babylon and then he takes the Jews captive and we’re like oh that’s that’s bad let me tell you what a pagan King did he released the Jews and said go back to Jerusalem not only go back but rebuild the Temple I want to tell you that if you’re working for a boss or you’re in an environment or an atmosphere where they’re they’re not Believers or even if they’re Believers and they’re not living like believe God will use anybody that he chooses to accomplish Kingdom growth here’s a pagan King who destroyed another Pagan Nation Babylonia and then sends the people back to rebuild the Temple now it took him 46 years to rebuild that Temple the second temple and that Temple was where was when Jesus and his ministry and then 66 years after Jesus’s death the Jews decided we’ve had enough of Roman oppression we’re going to start a revolution that was in 66 A.D by 70 A.D the Romans had crushed the revolution not only did they crush the Jewish Revolution but they destroyed the city of Jerusalem you know what else they destroyed the second temple they destroyed it All That Remains is What’s called the Western Wall and I think there’s a picture you guys are familiar with that it’s known as The Wailing Wall it’s in the old city of Jerusalem it’s still there today All That Remains so I share this with you to put some cultural context who’s Mark and in what period did Mark did Mark write this because I want you to I want you to appreciate that the times do influence your perspective I want to ask you or with this cancer culture and everything today’s culture are you more or less bold about sharing the gospel do you compromise to fit in or are you willing to step out into the Wilderness to proclaim the good news of Jesus how does your family’s history weave itself and to the sharing of the Gospel I want to share this morning I was I was praying over II Timothy and and and and and Paul is telling this young boy this young Pastor like Nero had just taken over as the emperor and and they’re persecuting the Believers and they’re killing them and he like Timothy is the pastor of the the biggest church Christian Church on the planet and he’s a Target so he’s Paul’s telling him son think back let your faith be stirred up remember your grandma remember your mom’s faith let their faith stir your faith now if you come from a multi-generational faith family and times are tough right now think back to what your grandma went through what your mom and your dad have been through let that stir your faith so you know you too can go through if you’re a first generation faith family then you be the one that stirs the faith for your kids and the generations to come so I’ll ask that if we we stand as the body of Christ to read the word of the Lord that gives us the faith to stir the faith and this is our anchor scripture this is what we’re going to walk through today and it comes from Mark and we’ll read together as the body and we begin John the Baptist prepares the way this is the good news about Jesus the Messiah the Son of God it began just as the prophet Isaiah had written look I am sending my messenger ahead of you and he will prepare your weight he is the voice shouting in the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord’s coming clear the road for him the messenger was John the Baptist he was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven all of Judea including all the people of Jerusalem went out to see and hear John and when they confess their sins he baptized them in the Jordan River his clothes were woven from coarse camel hair and he wore a leather belt around his waist for food he ate locusts and wild honey he announced someone is coming soon who is greater than I am so much greater than I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals I baptize you with water but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit y’all that is the good news that is the good news you know Mark unlike the others Mark doesn’t start with the birth of Jesus and 12 years old in the temple like Mark jumps right in Mark jumps right into the to the baptism the beginning of the ministry what I want to share with you is that prior to this prior to this this time God had not spoken to his people in 400 years when was the last time what book records the last words God spoke to his people it’s Malachi in the Old Testament God had been silent for 400 years because although he is a maker of Covenant and a keeper of Covenant his people failed time and time and time again to be faithful to the Covenants so God just closed it up for 400 years what I want to tell you is God keeps his Covenant even when we don’t if God made a promise for you gave you a word and you’ve gone this way instead of God’s Direction going that way this that way don’t break because you didn’t go God will turn you around and Lead You Back into Covenant agreement so God basically for 400 years not a peep actually the last things he told his people it comes from Malachi 4 it said behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and great dead great the great and Dreadful day of the Lord and He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers lest I come and strike the Earth with a curse now these were the last recorded words and then 400 years of Silence and it was almost if God had just taken a breath like oh and then he starts back where he left off and Luke 1 he’s talking about John the Baptist he will also be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God he will also go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the Disobedience of the wisdom of the just to make ready a people prepared for the Lord do you see the seamlessness in that 400 years earlier he’s telling his people this is what’s going to happen 400 years later he picks up right where he left off God’s a keeper of his Covenant he is sending John in the spirit and power of Elijah so we say well who’s Elijah Elijah was a mighty Old Testament prophet Elijah was serving ministering during the time that that that King Ahab he had married uh Jezebel we’re all familiar with and sometimes we say it to flip well she got Jezebel spirit God Jezebel spirit but I want to tell you that it was legitimate then it’s legitimate now she led that husband into into worshiping Baal and that entire nation turned their back on God and Elijah was sent into that wicked wicked environment to proclaim the coming of the Lord I want to I want to share just a second a note on what I call Spirits old Spirits new people I want to share with you that when God talks about sending Elijah he’s not sending the physical person of Elijah he’s sending God’s anointing that was placed on Elijah that becomes the anointing the spirit of Elijah so when God says I’m sending Elijah who comes as John the Baptist he’s sending the anointing of Elijah on to John the Baptist to do the work when he’s when he takes that old spirit and he puts it on a three-year-old boy Max to turn his dad’s heart back to the father them old spirits still apply to new people you see those are the good spirits they’re also the evil spirits we talk about Ahab and Jezebel Jezebel is no longer a person Jesus refers to her in Revelation but he’s not talking about the Jezebel of old you go to Second Kings and what happened to Jezebel she got tossed out a window she got run over by horses and finally she was devoured by a pack of wild dogs like that sister in the physical doesn’t still exist but when Jesus is talking to the church and thy retire and he tells them that I hold this against you this woman Jezebel he’s not talking about Old Testament Second Kings Jezebel he’s talking about the spirit of Jezebel had embedded itself in this woman and she was acting in a corrupt evil way I want you to be aware that old spirits still inhabit new people you have a choice if you walk in righteousness and you walk in the spirit the Lord will anoint you with the spirits of Elijah with Moses spirits of righteousness if you’re if you’re living in sin and reprobate Spirits like Ahab passive passive Spirits the men that are led by the nose by Jezebel overbearing women those spirits still are alive today without the Holy Spirit you’re just an empty apartment waiting to be vacated or ready to be resided in by one of these spirits you’ve got to be filled with the spirit what I want to share is that John the Baptist was not some hype man for Jesus he wouldn’t some caller out on the street trying to get you to come into the club John the Baptist came with power to make way for the most powerful King Jesus so we’re talking about John the Baptist so who is John the Baptist I think we had a picture here John of course there was no cameras back then no selfies but you know John was Jesus’s cousin Jesus Mom Mary and and John’s mom Elizabeth they were actually related and what did Jesus think about his his older cousin he was about six months older well I will tell you in Matthew 11 Jesus says were you looking for a prophet yes and he is more than a prophet John is the man to whom the scriptures refer when they say remember we started this we referred to this look I am sending my messenger ahead of you and he will prepare your way before you now this is red letter Jesus talking I tell you the truth of all who have ever lived like this is Jesus talking if you open up your your Bible and you got the red letter Edition I tell you the truth of all who have ever lived none is greater than John the Baptist like this is Jesus none is greater than John the Baptist yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he I would be like what what like you just complimented this brother and now you’re saying even the least is greater than he like Jesus this is red letter Jesus help me make some sense of this well what I want to share with you is that of all the prophets who who testified on the coming of the Lord he’s the only Prophet that actually witnessed the arrival and when he says when Jesus says even the least is greater than these this is for you so Jesus is saying John the best that’s my ride or die right there but everybody who comes into the kingdom is so blessed as a co-heir with King Jesus even greater than the greatest of John and you know who he’s talking about he’s talking about you he’s talking about you God loves you so much that when you become a co-heir of King Jesus even greater than the greatest John the Baptist I want to share with John John lived the life he was a symbol of repentance you see it’s easy to skip over what we might see as Minor Details you know we’re like oh God give me the answers to this or that or you know why is my air condition broken down or why can’t I find an unwrinkled shirt after we’ve moved houses and but but sometimes we miss those those details that are important you know why because every detail is important every detail is important you don’t want to share I want to ask you when you’re reading God’s word look at it like an investigator look at it to find the truth look at the words at the context at the content you don’t want to share with you there’s a couple it’s the Wilderness it’s the clothes and it’s the food how many times have we read a description about John the Baptist and we’re like oh that’s a crazy dude man he’s out in the wilderness like he’s out in the wilderness and he dressed crazy I mean can you imagine wearing camel hair in this heat like come on John there’s got to be something more comfortable in town and then he’s going to eat Locust and honey like seriously has he never heard of hummus hummus is delicious but if you’re not looking for the truth in everything that the word says in the wilderness what is the significance about John preaching in the wilderness because John physically went to where the people were spiritually what I want to tell you is in their sin they were separated from the presence of God when you’re separated you’re isolated you find yourself in a Wilderness season and this is where the people who had not repented yet had found themselves in a will during the season what does repentance do it restores that relationship I want to ask you at this season in your life do you feel disconnected do you feel disconnected from God do you feel like your prayers are just banging off the ceiling do you feel disconnected from other believers I just want to encourage you to search is there unrepentant sin are there ways that are keeping you away from God have we allowed a new job and a quest for academic accolades to let the Bible go Dusty do you need a three-year-old to walk to you and say Church and be convicted what I want to share with you is is in John’s clothes his clothes were woven from coarse camel hair and he wore leather belt around his waist if we’re thinking in the natural we’re like bro there’s like these nice comfortable tunics you get one in nice colors I mean come on John what I want to tell you is John is so committed to the ministry of of repentance because that coarse camel hair is sackcloth if you remember in the Old Testament particularly they wore sackcloth in times of mourning or in public to show repentance of sin John is walking the walk and he’s talking The Talk you see what I want to tell you is John was his ministry through and through from his words to his clothes to his food John’s Ministry was who he was it wasn’t what he did it wasn’t what he got paid to do it’s who he was I want to ask you do you wear your sackcloth of your faith profession are you walking and talking the ministry that God’s called you to because I want to share that if you’re not if it’s just something you do then all you’re wearing is a costume you know John’s belt said he wore a leather belt we just went through 17 weeks in the book of Ephesians the armor of God what was the belt the belt of Truth the word of the Lord so we know John didn’t have a wardrobe we know we didn’t have a good Buffet but what he did have was the word of the Lord and he shared the word of the Lord and called people into repentance you see that we think about the armor of God the full armor of God that belt of Truth had always been worn by God’s people when you’ve got nothing but camel hair and Locust and honey you always got the word of the Lord so the food for food he ate locusts and wild honey we’re like is that all he had well no wonder he’s in the wilderness like if he go into town he could get him some good stuff no because he’s living his ministry do you know that that those are prophetic symbols for judgment and blessing the locusts are cursed go to Deuteronomy 28 it says locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land take a little bit of time and read Deuteronomy 28 blessings and curses the Wild Honey was symbolic of blessings numbers 13 tells us this was their report to Moses we enter the land you sent us to explore and it is indeed a bountiful country a land flowing with milk and honey and I want to share when it says Wild Honey it’s wild honey we’ve talked about this before in the Kingdom there’s wild lions in the Kingdom who proclaim the word of the Lord don’t care what anybody says and then there’s tame Lions satiated in a cage to please religious people I ask you if you’re going to Feast on honey Let It Be Wild Honey Let It Be unfiltered unadulterated unpackaged uninstitutionalized goodness of God so I challenge you as we’re going through this book to look at everything from the coarse caramel hair to the reason he’s in the wilderness even to what he ate you see he didn’t eat it because he didn’t have any other choices he only had really only had one choice and that was the Lord he had one choice is to walk and minister of repentance but to minister repentance he had to live that lifestyle would he have been as effective sitting at a buffet being fat and happy with his padnas and a comfortable suit said y’all need to repent y’all need to get right with God no he was his ministry I want us to be our ministry you know then his ministry calling Mark 1 7 tells us John announced someone is coming soon who is greater than I am so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and then tie the straps of his sandals I baptize you with water but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit y’all this is the good news like if like if they didn’t get excited if they couldn’t get excited like the king is coming the Messiah is coming like like think about this and if Ellie wanted to come up like John the Baptist is like the first mega church pastor he’s the first like like go back it says all of Judea including all the people of Jerusalem went out to see and hear John it didn’t say some it said all all and I was trying to find some census numbers back then of course it was a little difficult to find but they estimated between those two was probably around 70 000 people can you imagine 70 000 people coming to hear and see you he was the first mega pastor and here he is saying hey y’all I’m not [Music] I’m nothing the one who’s coming is the king the one who’s coming is the king you see John made public declarations and I’m asking you in your life if you find yourself in a Wilderness season if you find yourself with nothing more than sackcloth and a choice between Locus and honey I’m asking you to Choose Wisely I’m asking you to stay the course I’m asking you to make public declarations John the Baptist didn’t make any secret who he was and what he was there to do he knew that he had to be bold the only reason he was bold is because he was filled with the Holy Spirit you got to be baptized the power of the Holy Spirit [Music] Jesus tells us in Acts 4 Acts 1. and being assembled together with him he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father which he said you have heard from me for John truly baptized with water but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now when we when we pray out then we move into the time of altar call if you’ve not been baptized water baptized then we invite you to come up if you’ve been water baptized and you’ve not been baptized by the power of the Holy Spirit I’ll invite you to come up you see this is what what John was filled with the Holy Spirit even in his mother’s womb this is what gave John the boldness to stand in the wilderness and proclaim the coming of the king this is what Drew all of Judea all of Jerusalem out into the Wilderness to see this brother it was the power of the Holy Spirit it was the promise of the coming of the Messiah I want you to have the boldness I want you to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit like we said you’re saved you’ve got the Holy Spirit it’s like having a Lamborghini in your driveway she got no gas unless you’ve been baptized by the power of the Holy Spirit what’s the one thing that I that I really want to communicate to you today was that John the Baptist was not a one and done the ministry of John the Baptist has got to continue in us to prepare hearts and Minds for the coming of the Messiah people that don’t know Jesus it’s our job to prepare them to get to know him people that know Jesus it’s our job to get them to know Jesus in a different way a deeper way a more intimate real way that’s our job I want you to examine your faith walk this week and really really pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you if there’s anything in your life that you need to repent of if there’s if there’s anything in your life that’s keeping you from the intimacy in relationship with King Jesus like Lee and I were praying this morning we woke up and and I’m like oh just just like just so crazy in love with Jesus and I want everybody to know Jesus the way I know Jesus but I wasn’t always so bold telling people about my love for Jesus when my three-year-old with the power of Elijah held that old dusty book up and said Church that might have been one of the first words he’d ever articulated clearly outside of sign language like that lit my fire that next week I was baptized with this with the power of the Holy Spirit my life changed and I will submit that one of the reasons that we’re all sitting here together as friends and family is because that little boy was indwelled with the power of Elijah and had the courage to look at his daddy who had been too busy to do anything but police work and book work and hold that old dusty Bible up when he couldn’t even speak a word and say Church that little boy is part and parcel responsible for today God’s good if we could have our Ultra Ministry team come up