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In this episode of The Bonfire Jesse Bradley discusses the story of Jesus bringing hope to a man possessed by demons in Mark chapter 5. He emphasizes the transformative power of Jesus’ hope, which not only changes lives but also grows and spreads. You will be encouraged to trust in Jesus, even when life takes unexpected turns, and to share your stories of how Jesus has changed your life. Don’t miss the concept about being a “hope leader” by bringing hope to others. Are you ready to cultivate daily habits that can help you find your mission and vision from God?

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Special thanks to World Concern for sponsoring The Bonfire Podcast.


Welcome to The Bonfire. This is a place where we can be real. Tell stories, grow in our faith together. God is love. God is light. God is a consuming fire. And we’re going to look at a passage today in the Bible in Mark chapter 5, and it’s Jesus bringing hope to a man who has demons inside of him. And as we follow the story, notice the different aspects of both hope and also the progression of hope, not only in his life but in him, through him and beyond him. And I think we’re going to be able to relate to this story because all of us know what it’s like to lose some hope or misplace hope, and we want more hope. Who doesn’t want more hope? The very greatest hope in this world is the hope of Jesus and the hope of Jesus becomes amplified.

You can see it clearly in different stories as Jesus is interacting and lives are changing, you see that hope is growing. In this story, this man, he has been tormented. He lives in quiet torment, pain, desperation. Why? He has demons inside of him. He’s cutting himself. In fact, people try to restrain him with chains and they latch his feet. He breaks the chains, he breaks the shackles. No one can hold him down. The city doesn’t know what to do with him. There are going to be situations in your life where you just don’t even know how to respond or what’s a solution here? People are hopeless in the city, but this man is hopeless even more. And until Jesus comes, there’s no change. No one can do anything. Ultimately that’s a picture because all of us sin and fall short of the glory of God and none of us can save ourselves.

We can’t ultimately save each other. There needed to be a savior and this man, he needs a savior. We all need a savior. We all struggle. Jesus comes to set us free. Set us free literally from the power of sin, ultimately the penalty of sin, the presence of sin. Jesus sets captives free. And this man, he’s not free. He’s tormented in terms of spiritual battle, the darkness, the demons. He’s tormented as he’s cutting himself. He needs to be set free in both spiritual, emotional and some physical ways. And Jesus shows up. Notice that wherever Jesus goes, He brings hope. Hope comes and Jesus gives hope even before people decide to follow Him. Hope comes before salvation. People learn about Jesus. They hear about Jesus. They’re curious about Jesus as they listen to Jesus, hope starts to grow and as that hope grows, they realize the source of hope ultimately is Jesus.

Is Jesus your source of hope today or are you putting your hope in other things? Hope is like an anchor. You decide where you’re going to drop it, and if you put your hope in something that’s not that strong, your hope is ultimately going to be misplaced. You’re not going to experience the kind of hope you want. If your hope is in your feelings, your feelings are going to go up and down all day long. If your hope is in your finances, that’s not something that’s going to last eternally. Jesus, this is 24/7 hope, Jesus doesn’t run out. He has hope for this man that everyone else has given up on. When everyone else gives up on you, Jesus still is there. Jesus still has hope. When you give up on yourself, Jesus hasn’t given up on you and Jesus still shows up. Jesus is still approachable.

Hope is still available. And this man who’s been tormented for so long and probably feels hopeless, maybe this is just the condition for the rest of his life until Jesus shows up. The demons know that Jesus is bringing hope. The demons are threatened by Jesus. They know that Jesus has authority to drive them out. They know Jesus’ light is greater than the darkness. Dr. King said, “You don’t drive out darkness with darkness. Only light can do that. You don’t drive out hate with hatred. Only love can do that.” Jesus has a greater hope than what this man, everything he’s going through, the demons know it. And the demons, there’s a conversation. Jesus says, “What is your name?” The demons acknowledge there’s many demons, “Legion.” The demons said they wanted to stay in the region and Jesus permitted that. Now, I don’t have a lot of explanations beyond that.

All we know is a spiritual battle’s real. There’s regions, they wanted to stay there. Yes, we’re driven out by Jesus and then they went over to where the pigs are. And you know what happened next? The demons enter into the pigs and 2000 pigs run over the cliff. That’s what scripture says here. This word is reliable. This is God’s word, this account of what happened, so we can learn from what’s happening. What can we learn from this? Demons are real. They come to steal, kill and destroy. But the one who’s in you, the Holy Spirit is greater than the demons. If you’re in a spiritual battle and you know it, put your trust in Jesus. There’s power as you pray, there’s power, as you worship. There’s power in God’s word. Quote God’s word. The Holy Spirit is greater. You don’t have to walk in fear. If you don’t know Jesus, put your trust in the Lord.

That’s going to be a blessing today and for eternity. I put my trust in Jesus decades ago. I’ve never regretted it for a minute, not a day. There hasn’t been a year. Never will I regret it. You will never regret returning to God. You’ll never regret following Jesus. You’ll never regret being filled with the spirit and the fruit will come. The fruit today and the fruit eternally, it’s there in the Lord. Well, in this intense scene, now you’ve got 2000 pigs running over a cliff. Now the people of the town, they show up and they’re trying to process this man who’s in his right mind and healed. The demons are gone and then 2000 pigs and the Bible says they’re afraid. They’re afraid. The spiritual battle, the demons, the pigs, Jesus, they have fear. What happens when we act out of fear instead of faith, we lose hope.

Hope is linked to faith and because they act out of fear, they say, “Jesus, please leave the region.” They pleaded with him to leave the region. Sad Bible verse, sad situation. Don’t be duped. No matter what you see happen in life, don’t tell Jesus to leave. They asked Jesus to leave. Jesus is going to leave, but here’s this man in his right mind that’s been healed. Here’s this miraculous deliverance and the townspeople completely ignore it. How has God delivered you? What sins has he delivered you from? What patterns, what negative thinking, what traps has God delivered you from? What dangers, sicknesses, illnesses, people misunderstanding you, what has God delivered you from? What has he helped you through? Don’t forget those things. This man is not going to forget. He now has a hope that it doesn’t matter what the townspeople say. He has the hope of Jesus and God has delivered him.

God will deliver you and your hope will grow. Jesus delivers us from a eternity in hell. He delivers us from that. There’s no greater deliverance. We are delivered. We have a redeemer. Redeem means buy back. He purchased us and not only did He create us, but then He bought us back through His blood on the cross. We are redeemed through the Lord. We have His righteousness Because of His resurrection, we’re going to overcome death. This incredible redemption, this deliverance. God, He’s making a new heaven and a new earth. This is not our home. Our bodies, God is going to deliver us from the bodies we’re in, the bodies we’re in our blessing, but they’re temporary. God delivers us from these flawed bodies. We are going to have resurrected bodies. God delivers us. Every time in the Bible, you see deliverance from sickness. It’s a reminder that God is going to deliver us ultimately and we’ll have perfect healing for eternity.

When you see deliverance like this over demonic, we’re reminded God’s going to deliver us and He’s going to throw the devil in the lake of fire. God is greater. Jesus has the victories. Jesus delivers on so many levels at the same time. Never minimize the work of God. He does the work because who He is, because He’s so great. Jesus is going to show that greatness in how He treats people, rescues and delivers people. We see it here and hope grows, but the townspeople, they don’t want the hope and they drive Jesus out. Sometimes the darkness wants to reject the light. That’s what’s happening in this passage. But we have this man who’s delivered. How has God delivered you? And when God delivers you, you just want to honor Him and thank Him and praise Him. You want to serve with Jesus. This man has a desire to go travel with Jesus. After he is been delivered, he says, “Jesus, what’s next? You want me to travel with You?”

And as you see this story play out. What’s important to notice is that he doesn’t travel with Jesus. There’s a detour, there’s a denial. Has God ever denied you when you had a great intention, you thought you would serve God in one way? And He says, “No, it’s not over there. It’s over here. It’s not what you wanted to do. It’s what I want you to do. It’s not your perception. It’s what I’m actually calling you to do.” Has God ever given you that detour? Detour is a massive word in this story. And what did that man feel? He’s a new believer. He is a new follower. He is a new creation. He’s enjoying all these blessings and he’s thinking, now I’m going to go with Jesus. Wouldn’t you want to spend time with Jesus, if you were in his shoes? Wouldn’t you want to go to the next city, the one who just rescued and delivered you?

Wouldn’t you want to be right alongside of him every single day? And what’s the next adventure and what’s the next demon he’s going to drive out and how is he going to do it? And could I do it too? You would think it would make sense logically. This man would just start following Jesus, traveling with Jesus, and Jesus says, “No, I don’t want you to go with me.” There are times where your hope might feel threatened. And for the disciples this happened because what’s going to happen to Jesus? He dies on a cross. Jesus is going to leave. He’s not going to be with them, but He’s going to send the Holy Spirit. And He said to the disciples, “You’re not going to be left as orphans, but yes, you’re going to receive the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is going to empower you, always be with you in you.”

And God, as we follow and walk with Him is going to do the same thing we see in this passage. You’re going to think, well, I am going to go this way. I’m going to do this. My path is going to look like this and Jesus will redirect. It’ll feel like a detour. It’ll feel like a denial. It might hurt. Don’t let that undermine your hope. God has incredible things for you. Trust Him. Trust Him in the detour. You trusted Him in the deliverance, in the rescuing. Now, trust Him in the detour. This is going to be the major step and first test of faith for this man who is filled with demons. The demons are gone and he’s going to get a denial in that sense. A detour, redirect, let God redirect you. It’s not about how comfortable you are. It’s not about your original plan. Let God redirect you because Jesus knows everything.

And what does Jesus tell him to do right here in the Decapolis? That’s the 10 cities, “Stay here. Stay in this region.” If you’re a follower of Jesus, you are an ambassador. You are a priest. You don’t have to go to seminary. You don’t qualify through some tests and quizzes and write papers. You’re already a priest, an ambassador. You’re already a minister. You’re already a hope leader. A hope leader is someone who has the hope of Jesus and is going to lead other people to experience that hope. You’re going to bring hope to where you live, work, learn, or play. This demoniac is now a hope leader. You are a hope leader if you know the Lord, because God has called you to lead other people to Him. A hope leader is someone who walks humble, who’s honest and brings the hope of Jesus in an authentic way. This man wants to do that. He realizes it. He knows his new identity. He knows his new calling. He’s excited to glorify God. There’s a calling on your life. Don’t deny it. Don’t get distracted, don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up.

This man is called to be in a specific place. God’s going to call you to very specific places, specific churches, cities, jobs, roles, tasks, projects. God is a specific God, and as He guides him specifically to the Decapolis, then Jesus hones in and says, “Start with your own family.” Well, what do I do with my family? You might wonder, how do I reach my family? They’ve known you for yours. You’ve known them for yours. They know everything about your story. You know all of their bents and preferences and patterns, like how are you going to reach your own family? Sometimes the family is hardest to reach. This man is called to start with his family. And then Jesus gives them this instruction, “Tell your family about what I’ve done. Tell your family about the mercy of God. Tell your family about the healing of God. Tell your family who brought the healing.” In other words, tell your family how Jesus changed your life. That’s a great place to start with your family, sharing your story about how Jesus has changed your life.

Speaker 3:

For generations children and families in the poorest places in the world have struggled to find clean water, food, and a chance for a brighter future. But all that can change in this generation. You can be part of the solution. Go to As you participate. This is what will happen. Villages will be transformed far beyond where the road ends and children and families will receive the love of Christ. You can make a difference. Go to Let’s be part of the solution together.

Jesse Bradley:

When Jesus healed a man that was blind and the religious leaders questioned Him, interrogate Him, they don’t like Jesus. The man who was blind said, “I don’t have all the answers, but this I know I was blind and now I see, and Jesus brought me sight.” Jesus brought physical sight. Jesus brought spiritual sight. Share what Jesus has done in your life. You might have a sentence with your family. You might have a minute. You might have an hour with your family. Some families are more receptive than others. Be faithful. Trust God with the results. Have you really poured out your heart with your family, talking about your faith? It might be scary, you might feel vulnerable. Have you talked about why it means so much to you and why you’re living the way you’re living and who Jesus is and how He caught your attention and why He has your devotion? You might need to take some relationship risks and share with your family. It would’ve been easy for this man. Just run off to the next city.

And that’s not where Jesus wanted him. Jesus wanted him right there in the Decapolis where people know him, know who he is been, and then can see the difference. God might be choosing you to bring this message of hope to your family. It might be your immediate family, it might be your extended family. You can do that in so many different ways. You can share your story by creating a simple video on your phone. Jesus changed my life. You can share a Bible verse. You can send them a link or a website, a resource. You can go visit someone, text, call. There’s limitless options of how you can bring hope. Maybe you bring a gift. Maybe you help a family member with a project they’re working on in terms of their backyard or their house. You bring hope with your talents, your style, and share your story. Share your story of hope because the world right now is feeling hopeless and has lost hope, misplaced hope and what the cities can see here in the Decapolis is if Jesus can change this man’s life, He can change anyone’s life.

If Jesus has authority over the demons, this is the same region that they just said, “Jesus, please leave.” And Jesus is going to leave but He now has an ambassador. He has a representative. He has a hope leader. He hasn’t given up on the people. When someone asks Jesus to leave, don’t give up on that person. You might have a child, a friend. You might have someone who said no a hundred times to Jesus, but it’s going to be the hundred and first time. See their story’s over. God doesn’t give up on the people there, even though they put the blame on Him, even though they want to drive Him out, even though they don’t want Him around. Jesus is still not giving up on the people, but He’s sending someone who is going to be welcome in that city, who is going to spread the hope that’s available to them, a hope that’s indestructible.

Hopefully the people will receive that. We don’t have all the details of how it plays out. The Bible gives us some of the story. In heaven, it’s going to be awesome to get the rest of the story, but how many people in this man’s family turned to Jesus? How many people in Decapolis turned to Jesus? God will often start with one person and it’s often an unlikely person and God will bring them hope. And then there’s a hope that’s overflowing because He is the God of hope. And as you trust Him, joy, peace, and hope start to overflow. Romans 15:13 says that it’s been a verse the last four years that stood out to me. And as you abide with Jesus, hope grows and God will use one unlikely person to now change a community. In John chapter 4, there’s a woman, a Samaritan, and she’s there, had a lot of husbands, doesn’t have a lot of hope.

Jesus shows up. Not only does He bring physical water out of the well, but really He’s showing that there’s a deeper well of hope that never runs out. And this woman takes the living water and she starts to tell her whole city, the disciples think it’s a little bit radical, it’s a little bit too intentional. And they try to talk Jesus out of the conversation with her, they try to get Him back to just eat some food. He says, “No, my food is the do will of Him who sent me to finish his work. My food is to bring hope to people.” All of us are designed to receive hope and give hope. Do you have any hope thieves in your life? Do you have any hope blockers? Are you really receiving the hope of God today? What’s blocking you from receiving the hope of Jesus?

And now as you receive that hope, start to give that hope. Because hope multiplies when you give it. Hope is never meant to be hoarded or stored up. If you have the hope of God in your life, then roll up your sleeves and start to serve some people with that hope. Start to open up your mouth. Find your voice and share that story of hope. Hope is meant to travel. God blesses you to bless other people. God bless this man who had a legion of demons in him. He blessed him not so that he would just sit there in his right mind, but that he would step up and build relationships and get to know people and love people in his community and take some relationship risks and share his story and see more people experience the hope of Jesus. We need today people who realize that they are hope leaders and start to bring the hope of Jesus.

I believe that the church should be the most hope-filled place in the city. Is that true in your city? Are people running to the church to experience God, to experience His hope? In a lot of cities across America, people run to the bar or they run to the movie or they run to the game. They run to a lot of different places. Why? Because ultimately, we’re all looking for hope. And we’re going to go to the places where we think there’s hope. Well, could the church be the most hope-filled place? The only way that happens is if we experience God’s hope personally. And it’s not just in our hearts, but in our homes. The church is always a reflection of what’s happening in the heart and in the home. If people don’t have hope and they gather for church and they try to do this fake hope, it’s going to be a veneer.

People are going to see through it. They’re going to have a couple of things they say that sound like the right words. They’re going to do a couple of rituals that are good, but they’re just going through the motions. They’re not really abiding. There’s a form of religion, but not the power, the hope, the love. The only way you have the hope of Jesus is to abide with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And when you do, there’s a hope that overflows. You don’t even have to really announce like, “I have hope.” That wouldn’t make any sense, but everyone’s going to see it. Jesus brings a hope that is real, that’s rugged, that’s raw. It’s not like a bow’s tied around it. This hope is rugged. Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I’ve overcome the world.” When you think about our life right now, and then you think about eternity, this life is so short what we receive through this inheritance of eternity, you try to compare it and it goes beyond words.

How do you compare it? You can’t. That’s what we’re going to receive. How could we ignore such an eternity and just act like today is all there is. But even within today, God’s grace is sufficient. There’s hope. God is going to be right there. God gives us His word, His spirit. God provides. God protects every single day. There’s a lot of blessings. All of this should build up hope. Blessings, build up hope and blessings become a bridge for hope to travel. Blessings become a bridge. This man was delivered. Those are the blessings. Now that story becomes the bridge. The hope and the blessings expand because God gives you a blessing. It’s connected to other blessings. The blessings become a bridge and what’s going to happen? The hope’s going to grow. God wants to fill His people with hope. And as He does that, there’s no limits to where you’re going to bring hope and places where you’re going to bring hope.

It starts with this. Receive and then just say, “God, here I am. Send me.” When’s the last time you’ve prayed that prayer? As we look through Isaiah chapter 6, Isaiah sees that God’s holy, that he’s unclean. And then God touches his lips. And then Isaiah says, “Here am I. Send me.” When God delivers you, saves you, you know the Lord and who He is. And you know He has some work in His kingdom to do, then you offer yourself, “Here am I Lord. Send me.” Receive His hope and say, “God, where do You want me to bring Your hope?” And what would you say? What has God been communicating to you? We’ve been fasting and praying as a church, and we do this to start the year. And as we’ve been doing that the city where our church is Auburn, that’s what God impressed upon me this year.

Be intentional and bring the hope of Jesus to Auburn in new ways. Every man, woman, and child should have an opportunity to hear about the Lord, to know the Lord, to know that they are loved by God. And in our cities across America right now, we need to be intentional. Go to where people are. People are not flooding into churches. You need to go where they are. The message to this man in Mark chapter 5, “Go to the Decapolis, go to your family and start to share your story.” God’s mercy, God’s grace, God’s love. And we need to be faithful today to receive God’s hope first and then also to give that hope. And where is God calling you? Is it a family member, a specific family member? Don’t ignore that. You might have one family member right now that is struggling, that has uncertainty, that maybe feels alone.

Life is not going as well as it was three years ago for this person. And God is tapping you on the shoulder, nudging you today. Your name is on it. Go build a relationship. Go where people are. Hope will go to where people are. Hope will connect with people. And God is leading you to do that. And He hasn’t placed you where you are by accident. He hasn’t placed you in your neighborhood by accident. He hasn’t placed you at your job by accident. He hasn’t given you those gifts that you have by accident. He hasn’t opened those doors by accident. This is all part of God’s plan. What is God doing? He’s building this kingdom of hope and He has brought you His hope and maybe you’ve been walking with God for a lot of years. But now it’s time to realize that even though God has been faithful to you for decades, it’s time to realize God send me because I want to be an instrument of hope.

I know I’m a hope leader, a minister, a priest, and now I want to, God, live out the fullness of that calling. It’s time to say yes to God with a fire in your soul saying yes to God. If you don’t know Jesus and you’ve been listening, start there. Put your trust in the Lord right now. He died for your sins and He is risen. Don’t wait any longer. Make the most important decision in life right now. Say, “Jesus, I want to follow you.” And then let us know you’ve made that decision. And if you know the Lord, take time. As this podcast ends now, take a little bit of time to draw near to God. He will draw near to you. He’s the God of hope. And just receive His hope. Open up the Bible. Start to develop a daily habit with scripture and prayer.

Hope is going to increase when you cultivate that habit. Find a church that’s full of hope. They worship God. They get into the word. They love each other. They serve in the community. Find a church like that. Hope is going to increase. And as you do cultivating those habits, God’s going to fill you with hope. Ask God what’s the mission? What’s the vision? And step into that. Don’t look back. It might be local, global, both, say yes to God. It is time for the people of God to realize you’re already a hope leader. Now, don’t try to deny the truth that God already brings, the hope that God’s already brought to your life. Don’t just hoard that hope. It’s time to be generous. Take relationship risks and bring the hope of Jesus where you live, work, learn, or play. This is the hope of Jesus. It’s what fills our souls.

And this is why we have The Bonfire podcast to gather together, to grow in that hope. Embers fade alone but together there’s a bonfire. God is love. God is light. God is a consuming fire. And if this podcast episode today has encouraged you, please share it with someone else. If you can rate and review the podcast, we appreciate that. Let’s keep growing in our faith together. Let’s be people who receive hope and then step up, choose hope, and then give hope because this world desperately needs the hope of Jesus right now. And you are called to make a difference.

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