Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
February 18: Leviticus 23-24; Mark 1:1-22


16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him (Mark 1:16-20, New Revised Standard Version).

We finished Matthew yesterday. We have also completed Genesis and Exodus. We will finish Leviticus on Tuesday. Four out of sixty-six, there is progress but still a long way to go. In February the task seems monumental but anything worth doing is going to be challenging. Stick with it and by the time we enter 2019, you will be able to say you have journeyed through Scripture. If you haven’t been part, there is no time like the present to start. You can spend some time doing extra reading now or by February 17, 2019 you can say the same.

As we begin reading Mark, I thought we would begin by talking about a recurring theme. Mark loves the word “immediately.” It starts in chapter 1 and if you were to continue reading from the New Revised Standard, you would read the word again and again. We won’t continue reading from New Revised Standard here. Other Biblical versions like the Christian Standard Bible, English Standard Version, New American Standard among others, all use the word immediately. Other translations use words like “at once,” “right away,” and “at once.” The Common English Bible, the translation I used most often, the translation you most often will see here says, “right away.” I think it all means about the same thing.  We will go back to the Common English Bible tomorrow.

Mark skips over things like the story of Jesus’ birth. Like the other Gospels, there isn’t much about Jesus’ childhood. He begins his version of the story with John the Baptist, the Baptism of Jesus, temptation in the wilderness, a short explanation of Jesus’ ministry, (that contains the phrase, “Now is the time”) and then the calling of the disciples. There was  even more in our reading for tomorrow, Journey Through Scripture reading for tomorrow will come to an end. Chapter 1 is packed full.

Mark does pack chapter 1 full. He seems in a big hurry to tell this important story. It is the story Mark feels is so important, he is immediately going to get to it. It is so important he is going to ignore what he doesn’t think is important so he can get on with the story.

Why does Mark seem to be in such a hurry to tell his story? I believe Mark wants to make sure everyone hears the story as soon as possible. To make sure that people know the hope that rests in Jesus Christ, Mark wants to move and move quickly. Mark wants to share with everyone he possibly can, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

While I don’t believe that it warrants ignoring the stories of Matthew and Luke 1 and 2 as well as John 1, Mark does show us the importance of sharing the Good News with the people in the world around us. It was important to Mark. It should be to us as well.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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