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Frankie Mazzapica - Three Reasons Why John Mark Quit

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    Frankie Mazzapica - Three Reasons Why John Mark Quit

My name is Frankie Mazzapica, we're so glad that you've joined us. The title of my message is "Three Reasons Why John Mark Quit". Three reasons why John Mark quit. If you read Acts chapter 13:1-5, you will see that the apostle Paul and a guy named Barnabas was sent out by other believers to Cyrus to share the gospel. They were sent out as missionaries, if you will. And what's fascinating is the apostle Paul and Barnabas, they look at a young man named John Mark, they look at him, and they say, "We would love for you to travel with us as our assistant". This is a highly coveted invitation. If you and I were there in those days, we would want the apostle Paul to say, "I want you to travel with me". So, this is a huge invitation.

Now, something fascinating takes place, it causes great perplexity, and I wanna spend some time on this particular verse. It's in Acts chapter 13, verse 13 and it reads like this. And the apostle Paul and his companions, they left Paphos in a ship and they went to Pamphylia and they arrived at the port of Perga. And when they arrived, here it comes, John Mark left to stay in Jerusalem. John Mark was from Jerusalem. Now, as you read the scriptures, you will find out that the apostle Paul and Barnabas were furious at the decision that John Mark made. He basically quit. I've experienced this, I've been around this, I've been doing this church thing full time, been doing this, tell people about Jesus, full-time, I've been worshiping daily.

There was something about it that just made him say, "Hey, you know what, I'm out. I'm out". And I wanna talk about three reasons why he quit. The first one is freedom, he wanted the freedom. The second thing was confidence, and then the third thing was this impulsive decision. I wanna talk about those three things and, once again, it's freedom, confidence, just being impulsive. So, the freedom that I'm talking about is, I believe that there were moments where John Mark backed up and he said, "I want the opportunity to be able to be worldly when I want to". There's a battle that all believers have to fight and the battle is, am I doing this full time or am I doing this part time? Am I going to fight one decision at a time?

I wanna say this, but I'm gonna fight to keep my mouth shut. I was driving down the road yesterday last night and this guy clearly didn't like the way I was driving. He didn't put his hand on the horn, it was too loud for that. He held, this is the only thing I could imagine, he held the steering wheel and put his, he put his foot on the horn. Now, massive decision. I know what's right. My foot comes off the gas and it's hovering over the break. It's just sitting there, hovering. I'm looking in the review mirror, I'm looking in the side mirror, and all of a sudden, you ever notice there's a, like, a devil on this shoulder, angel on this shoulder? The devil yells, "Get out of the truck"! But the angel seems to whisper, "Don't get out of the truck, don't", it's very hard to hear that whisper. "Don't get out of the truck, don't do it. You're probably gonna get beat up anyway".

And in that moment, honestly, and we take moment by moment, right? The battle to say, "I'm doing this full-time," it's moment by moment. You can't fight to be holy for your entire life in a moment, you got too many years. You can't fight for the whole thing. A boxer can't fight 12 rounds in the first round. You take one swing at a time, one decision at a time. In that moment, many people say, "I'm not going to fight to do what I know the Lord wants me to do. I'm not going to fight to make sure that my relationship with the Lord isn't interrupted. I'm not going to fight for that. I want my freedom to be able to take a break from pursuing to be able to do what I want to do".

I wanna tell you this. If it is your intention to serve the Lord with your entire heart, just know this, it is a fight, it is a battle, and it will last for the rest of your life. The battle will never stop, but you can win. You can win. It's one decision at a time. It's not saying that one thing. "I'm not gonna say it. I'm not gonna do it," and you just win one decision at a time. And when you look back over your life, you will say, "Hey, sometimes I won, sometimes I didn't, but I never stopped fighting". Come on, never stopped. There's a scripture in 1 Peter chapter 4, verse 12 where Peter says this, "I don't want you to think that it's strange when the fiery arrows are coming towards you, as if something strange is happening".

These fiery arrows look different for everybody. Sometimes it's just this overwhelming stress, this overwhelming worry. My entire life, I have fought with depression. I win when I repeat over and over simple prayers. "I need you. I love you. I need you". I win when I do that. Meaning, it doesn't last very long. But when I allow the depression to overtake me and I don't whisper those prayers, I back up and I go, "What is happening to me? What is going on? I've had stress all the time. Stress never leaves any of our life to some degree. Why is this happening? This is too much". And Peter would say this, "Frankie," and he'd say this to you, "when you're in the middle of fighting, I don't want you to think that something strange is happening. I don't want you to think that it's because you haven't been praying enough. I don't want you to think that it's because you haven't been holy enough. I don't want you to think that".

See, what we can't do is to give God all the glory for things that are good, but then take all the responsibility every time we get into a fight. Sometimes the Lord allows a test to find out if we are going to choose freedom, "I'm going to do what I want to do. I know I'm gonna get to heaven anyway," if he's gonna choose that or if you're gonna say, "Look, it's one decision at a time. I don't know if I'm going to win the day, I don't know if I'm going to be victorious at the end of this day, but in this moment right now I will win". Come on, put your hands together.

I wanna talk about this confidence issue. You see, the apostle Paul, he saw Jesus, he went to the seventh heaven, he saw things that no man has ever seen. In 1 Corinthians, let me think. It's 1 Corinthians 12:7, it might be 2 Corinthians, but I'm almost sure it's 1 Corinthians, where it says, "Because of the great revelation I have received, the Lord has allowed someone to buffet me," to punch me in the ears is what buffet means, and if you read scripture, you will see that buffet is not a physical thing, it's someone constantly saying things to just cause him to be full of fear and worry and anxiety. He says, "The Lord has allowed that person to come to me so that I would not become arrogant because of the great revelation I have received".

Can you imagine what he has seen that the Lord says, "Look, I'm gonna have to keep you humble". This is the guy that invited John Mark, but he's only an assistant. There's moments where he backs up and he says, "I'm not you, I could never be you. All I'm doing is handing you some water and picking up your Bible". His confidence had to have dropped at some point, which was why he quit. He wanted his freedom to be able to say, "God, I'm about to do something and I need you to look away for a minute". His confidence was shaken. You see, when we do not enter these tests or these battles and say, "I'm not quitting, I'm gonna go ahead and just fight and win this moment, this one moment. I'm gonna win this moment," confidence begins to rise where you're able to look back and you can say, "In that season, I almost died. I almost didn't make it. It almost killed me," but almost means that it did not happen.

You fought your way through it. Has anybody fought their way through it? Fought your way. There's a thing called, I believe it's called, audit. You can audit a class. A student can audit a class, you and I can go to a university and audit a class. What does that mean? We can show up to a class, I'll use myself. I can show up to a class, sit in the class, listen to the professor, but I don't have to take any tests, I don't have to do any homework, I don't have to write any papers. I can just enjoy being in the room. I can go to the student center, hang out with the students, which is kind of funny because, when I hang out with... Luke brings some friends over the house sometimes, he's 16 years old, in my head I'm still their age. I don't, in my head. And a dad came over one time and he was my age and I was like, "Look, go hang out with the old people," in my head.

So, I can go to college and hang out with the students, but I audit the class, which means, even though I'm there, I'm not getting any credit for it because I'm not willing to take any tests. Are you with me? When test time comes, Frankie disappears. Have you ever met somebody that they love God, they are all in, but the minute it's time to buckle down and win a moment, they disappear. Where'd they go? They used to worship right there. That was their seat. Does anyone here have a seat in this room? Like, that's your seat, right? Like, "Don't sit in my seat. I won't be able to worship because I'll be staring at you the whole time saying, 'You're in my seat.'" Are you with me?

If someone's clapping and you're sitting next to the person who's clapping, you're probably in their seat. But these tests is what brings the confidence, it's what makes you strong. It's these tests, these moments. I'm gonna tell you where this sermon came from. This sermon was not my first option, it was actually my third option. And 100% of the time I write my own messages. Well, I got halfway through the first sermon earlier in the week and I thought, this is rubbish. So, I go to the next sermon, I get halfway through, this is rubbish. Then, I get to this sermon, I hope it's not rubbish, but I get about halfway through. I kind of build the outline, and then I just wanna quit again. And then I realized that it's not the content that I'm putting together that is shaken, it's me.

What am I trying to say? Sometimes I'm weak and sometimes I'm strong and this week I have been weak. What does that look like for me? For me, it's massive discouragement where I get this imposter syndrome where I feel like I'm not supposed to be doing this, I should be doing something else, that I'm not called for this. Now, some of you are gonna wait for me in the lobby to try to encourage me, you're gonna send me an email to try to encourage me. Please don't do that, it'll make me not wanna be transparent anymore. Have you ever been there? You go up to someone, "Oh man, I'm having a horrible time," and then they counsel you and it's like, okay, note the self, don't talk to you anymore. But I'm just telling you, for me it's discouragement and depression and I just was having trouble getting out of it.

So, finally, I looked at Sarah, she's our chief of staff, and I said, "Look, my notes are about halfway done. I just can't finish them". Now, 100% of the time I write the entire sermon. This week, I couldn't do it. Too discouraged, too depressed. I give it to Sarah and say, "See if you can work with that somehow". On Friday, she sends it back. I look at it and I'm like, "Thank God I gave it to you". I was just too weak, just too weak. I believe that John Mark, if he could do it all over again, and at the conclusion of my message, you'll see that that's exactly what he did, but not to get there too fast.

I think that if he would have went to the apostle Paul, he would have went to Barnabas, and he would have said, "Look, there's... I still have an appetite for the things that are not godly. And you know what, I don't wanna fight that one moment at a time I feel in trouble. And another thing, I didn't know it was gonna be this hard. I thought it was gonna be a lot easier. I thought that when I gave my life to the Lord, it was just gonna be easy after that. I didn't know I was gonna have to fight". Paul would have said what he said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:7. He says, "I have fought the good fight". It's like, "Whoever told you that there wasn't gonna be a fight every single day, pray for them because they're a liar". Every day, one moment at a time, one moment at a time.

Let me talk about just being impulsive. He wanted the freedom, his confidence was down, and then all of a sudden, bang, just like that, he quits. Let me ask everyone here a question. If you decide to stop fighting, to say, "I'm just gonna keep on pursuing God. If I'm depressed, I'm gonna pursue. If I'm down, I'm gonna pursue him". What does pursuing mean? You just keep that worship music playing in your car, in your house, and just one sentence prayers over and over again. You get you one or two scriptures and you just quote it over and over and over. Isaiah 54:17, "No weapon formed against me," I know they're coming, "but it will not prosper". No weapon formed against me, it will not prosper. You just absolutely... come on. You just keep saying to yourself, "This isn't the first fight I've ever been in. This isn't the first time I've ever been in it".

I'm just saying, keep on fighting. I feel this appetite for freedom, my confidence is low, but what would happen if we made that impulse decision of saying, "I'm out," I'm not saying it out loud, but you'll be able to watch me and you'll clearly see I'm out, what would the consequences be? If you decide to do that, what would the consequences be? What would the consequences be if, without you knowing, I start looking for something else to do? Like, I can't do this anymore. Remember this. On this stage, I have muscles on my, and lightning in my veins, but when I step off this stage, I'm just like everyone else. I can preach it, but I gotta fight it just like everybody else. What would be the consequences if I quit?

Well, you say, "Well, we don't know what would happen to the church". Well, you'd replace me, probably with somebody that looks like Brad Pitt or Denzel Washington and then the church would grow. But in all seriousness, what would happen is I would immediately be a walking zombie for the rest of my life. Something in here would be forever unfulfilled. Have you ever been there? Do you know what I'm talking about? Do you know what I'm talking about, where you make a conscious decision to just disconnect and you don't feel alive anymore? You just don't. And then secondly, every single person in my life, including you and anyone else I live life with, I would have no influence in their life to push them, to encourage them to be close to the Lord.

If you quit, if you make this impulse decision, I want my freedom, I will look good on Sunday, but I don't want you looking at me Monday through Friday. I want my freedom, I wanna be able to take breaks. Sometimes I'll fight, sometimes I won't. This is just how I'm gonna be. What will happen is you will feel this discontent with life. Discontent. People will irritate you, but the truth of the matter is, because everybody is irritating you, the reality is something's happening in you. That's the first thing. The second thing, for every single person that is in your life right now, there are reason why your friends and your family are in your life and not in my life, because the ones that are in your life are the ones that you are assigned to. They are watching you, they are listening to you, come on, they're drawing strength from you.

Do you know that the end of the story for John Mark, he comes back to the apostle Paul and says, "Bad decision, but just so you know, I'm fighting the good fight. From here on out, every decision, I'm gonna fight to do the right thing, the godly thing". And do you know that Paul said this? He goes, "I've been in prison but I want you to know," he wrote this letter while he was in prison, he goes, "John Mark has been a great strength to me". And if you read the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, guess who wrote the book of Mark? It was the guy who came back and said, "As of today," as of today. Does that encourage anybody? Come on. Put your hands together for that.
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