Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

The Beginning and the End

YES!  Its September!  You can feel the coolness of the evening as the sun sets.  You can sense the leaves beginning to curl and become crispy as the winds begin to change.  Even the rivers and streams are beginning to thin, some to a trickle, as snow melt lessens and the mountains embrace for fresh snow pack.  I love Colorado.    

Change is a part of God’s creation.  Evidenced in the seasons and life cycles of every living being.  Our next sermon series  based on Revelation chapters 1-3, The Beginning and the End, describes in a significant way, the changes that the early church was experiencing.  The early church after Jesus death, resurrection, and ascension experienced an uncomfortable reality: Jesus said he was coming back soon – people were dying of old age, the church was experiencing much persecution, and Jesus had not yet returned.  There were other changes the early church was experiencing: boredom, forgetfulness, waywardness, etc.  The early church was becoming ‘lukewarm’, forgetting its ‘first love’, synchronizing the purity of the Gospel with ‘other’ non-Gospel beliefs.  

John, the writer of Revelation, is in prison, of old age, on the island of Patmos.  It is there that God reveals the message of Revelation to him.  John tries to describe what he sees and hears.  The vision is so glorious he has difficulty describing it.  For two weeks, we will explore the glorious vision of Jesus that John experiences and attempt to attach some meaning to it.  Then we will explore God’s message to the seven churches in Asia minor.  Each message is a message from God to the worldwide church of Jesus Christ.  

Buckle up – this is going to be a fun and challenging fall ride.  Read chapter one of Revelation in prep for Sunday’s message.   What do you think of John’s vision?   

Pastor Mark   


Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Fall Kickoff Sunday!

Fall Kickoff Sunday this week September 8th!  (And I’m not referring to American Professional Football.)  Come for Pancakes and Fellowship at 8:45-9:30am and enjoy a worship service on the front lawn at 9:30am.  Invite your friends and neighbors – all are welcome!

This week is a ‘tweener’ in our message series as we transition from the early Psalms (1-51) to the Book of Revelation (Chapters 1-3).  So we are going to have a ‘tweener’ message with a Psalm ‘mash-up.’  

There is a reason why the Psalm book of the Bible is a go too favorite for Bible lovers and casual readers over the centuries – they speak to the human experience.  The Psalms give expression to a dynamic relationship with God.  Sometimes God seems near and other times distant.  Our approach to God can run the full gambit of emotions from deep sorrow to unexplainable joy.  The Psalms got it all.  

I read through the first 51 Psalms yesterday and I’ve prepared a Psalmic ‘mash-up’ for the outdoors Sunday.  Getting ready for a feast on Pancakes and a Psalm sonnet.  Come, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Pastor Mark

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Psalm 46: HOPE


Here we go!  This labor Day holiday weekend kicks off each year for me a beautiful alarm bell: Wake up Mark!  Its time to shake off the summer sleepy’s and engage in what God has for the church in the fall schedule. So here it is: 

September 8thFall Kickoff: Enjoy a Pancake Breakfast at 8:45am followed by an outdoor worship service.
September 15thWorship/Education schedule begins: 9:30-10:30am Worship followed by Fellowship 10:30-1045am, followed by Education 10:45-11:30am.  

This Sunday, September 1st, we finish our Summer Psalm Series with a message on Psalm 46: Trust, Strength, and Hope.  Psalm 46 is a foundational text for Martin Luther in the writing of his hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”  In the midst of his struggle in reforming the church of his time, Psalm 46 gave him strength.  The church of today and its followers find themselves in similar challenging circumstances.  Every follower of Christ encounters challenges to faith and to faithfulness.  No different today than it was then.  Actually, the challenge to faith and faithfulness are embodied in David’s song (Psalm 46)  – many years before the Reformation.  This Psalm is a fine place for us to transition from Summer Psalms to our fall series on Revelation chapters 1-3, The Spirit Speaks to the Churches (beginning on September 15th).

Be encouraged – Psalm 46 is on tap for Sunday.  Does this mean I have to wait ’til Sunday to meet with God in worship with you?  I’ll try and hold it in… gonna be hard to wait.  See you soon,

Pastor Mark      

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Psalm 32: Confession

Mark and Devin during the 2019 Leadville 100 bike race

Back in the saddle – and galloping at high speed!  Time away from the everyday is always good.  And its also good to get back to the daily rhythm.  It was a wonderful 1st week of time alone and with Deone, family, and friends in the mountains.  A good week of refreshment and relaxation – hiking, biking, with the attempt to complete the yearly race goal of the Leadville 100 race.  My buddy Devin and I, with support of family crew, completed the race in record time on a tandem (record time for us!).  A perfect day for racing feeling strong throughout.  Thank you God for ability, strength, generosity of friends (borrowed a sweet tandem bike), and just about everything went as well as expected from weather, to body/mind/soul peeking at the right time, no mechanical failures – etc.  Every year I am overwhelmed with emotion when nearing the finish line.  Lots of stories around this years race event but I won’t take up space here.

The 2nd week was a quick turn around and flight to Boston, MA with a couple days of hiking, biking and leisure with Deone in Acadia NP.  Awesome – totally awesome. Then a road trip through New Hampshire to Danville, VT and connection with Danny Painter and Jessica Jenks and their family and friends for a weekend of wedding rehearsal, prep, and Saturday wedding.  A great celebration with them as Daniel and Jessica are returning to us after some vow making as husband and wife.  A delightful experience.  Just as the couple was pronounced husband and wife (outside venue for wedding and reception), the clouds burst open and we all ran for the tent for the reception.  Through periodic torrential downpours and quick trips to the taco truck all evening, we were safely under the tent celebrating.  

Now its back to the job I love with the people and place I love, Crestview Church in Boulder CO.  We continue our summer series in the first 51 Psalms with two more messages: Psalm 32: CONFESSION and Psalm 46: HOPE.  Then after a holiday weekend we have our fall kickoff on September 8th with a Pancake breakfast and outdoor service.  Then our fall schedule kicks into full swing!  Loving you all in the name of Jesus.  Remember, the best way for others to know God and what a relationship with God can look like is through you.  So ‘shine and be salty’ for the glory of his name.  The Crestview faith community is the best kept secret in Boulder CO.  Why keep it a secret?   Let’s share!

In the name of Jesus 

Pastor Mark

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Psalm 27: Strength

The Psalms are a treasure trove of experiential knowledge.  They are dynamic human interactions with our Living Creator Redeemer God.  The Psalms fluctuate from expressions of agony to unwavering trust, from despair to the heights of praise, from complaining to thanksgiving.  That sounds much like the reality of ‘life and living.’    

As this summer Psalm series has unfolded, I have noticed a few things.  Psalm 1 begins the Psalter with describing the path of wisdom.  Then Psalm 2 enthrones God as King of the heavens and the earth.  And then there are two groups of laments, crying out to God (2-7, 9-14) with another enthronement Psalm in the middle, Psalm 8.  Then a mixture of Psalms focused on a revolving pattern of lament, confession of trust, thanksgiving, and praise.  Sometimes they are expressed communally and other times individually.   

This revolving pattern of dynamic human expression and experience in relationship with a loving and mysterious Living God, seems an accurate reflection of our day to day life.  We are never all praise all the time, we are never all trust all the time, we are never all ‘in sorrow’ all the time… like Ecclesiastes says, “There is time for everything under the sun.”  

What’s my point?  Not sure… yet, here is something… There is comfort in knowing that others, especially the community of God’s people, can and do express their heart of worship in authentic and real ways.  The ebb and flow of life with its ups and downs, even for people of strong faith, is not only ‘OK’, it is to be expected.  It’s normal.  

When it comes to worship of God in our lives, seems to me that God desires authenticity when we express our worship, preferring ways that reflect honestly and openly where we are with God.  God invites the different postures in which we can approach him.  And when we approach Him, make sure we are engaging him with reality – no ‘fake-ness’ allowed.    

Sunday we take a look at Psalm 27: Strength.  It is a difficult Psalm to categorize because it embodies different genres of the Psalms.  Lets explore it together on Sunday – – See you soon!

Pastor Mark    

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Psalm 23: Comfort

I have been spiritually blown away this week in preparation for Sunday’s message on Psalm 23.  I think this is for a few reasons: 1) God is amazing and the way he speaks through his timeless Word is amazing. 2) spending intensive time in the Psalms fuels me as the inter-related ‘ness’ of the Psalms is powerfully insightful.  They seem to fit together like a puzzle, completing the picture of human existence and experience with the Living God.

Psalm 23 has been a favorite of God’s people for centuries.  It speaks powerful truth about who God is and how he cares for his people.  Yet, I think that many people miss the central point of the Psalm by taking the Psalm out of its context (the life of a shepherd and sheep).  Most people read Psalm 23 through the lens of envisioning a kind of utopia.  However, after some contextualization of David’s time and a trip to Israel and walking the land, my view of Psalm 23 have been flipped upside down.  

Rather than tip my hand as to the direction of the message for Sunday, I’ll see you on Sunday or you can tune in to the podcast after Sunday to see and understand where this weeks message if going.  Looking forward to Sunday – Installation of elders/deacons, worship through Psalm 42 and 23, and celebration of Communion.  

Looking forward, God is ‘preparing a table before us,’

Mark 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Psalm 13: Lament

What are we to do when it seems like our Covenant Partner (God) seems or feels distant or abandoned us?  This seems to be a common human experience.  Each one of us has had our pits of doubt, anger, frustration, sadness, in the midst of some troubling human experience.  What are we to do with that?  How should we lament?  Is there a right or wrong way?  What’s allowed?  What’s not?  Hmmm….   
It doesn’t take far into the Psalms to find a song of deep and gut wrenching lament.  Some of us may have been raised with such a high reverence for God that we aren’t even to question God or question our suffering.  Others may be a bit too casual and have no problem slandering God if we feel justified in our anger and heartache.  What is the right response?  Somewhere in between?  Is it all OK?  

Psalm 13 gives us a window into the Hebrew worldview of suffering that seeks to hold faith, doubt, and a dynamic/real relationship with God together.  It is very instructive and spiritually shaping.  

In reading Psalm 13, you may notice a structure/pattern to it.  The Psalmist begins in a pointed way in verses 1-2.  What is it?  Then transitions in verse 3-4 to another tactic.  What is it?  And finally, comes around to finish with another approach to God in verse 5-6.  What is it?  

What does this Psalm give us permission to do (vs.1-4)?  And what also does it call us to do (vs.5-6)?  Not only can we engage in lament with God individually, we can also lament with God on behalf of others.  What is it that you lament over for yourself?  On behalf of others? 

See you Sunday,
Pastor Mark              


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Summer Psalms: Wisdom

Summer Psalms is putting in the river this coming Sunday.  We will explore some Psalms together over the rest of the summer.  The Book of Psalms is a wonderful tapestry of the human experience.  Pointedly, they describe with passion the relationship between the human experience and God.  We begin Sunday July 14th with Psalm 1: WISDOM.  

Psalm 1 is a masterpiece of Hebrew poetry with several unique Hebrew literature qualities.  Can’t wait to dive into this one with you on Sunday.  Psalm 1 is a beginning to the Psalter.  Why is it a good beginning?  What effect is the writer seeking to have on its reader?  What do you think the writer has learned about God and the human experience that he desires to communicate to us? 

See you Sunday,

Pastor Mark     

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Happy 4th of July!

June already passed us by?  Time to dive into July!  Looking forward to exploring the Psalms together the rest of this summer and also reading through the book, Love Does by Bob Goff as the summer unfolds.  I read the first chapter this week and looking forward to more.  ‘Love doesn’t just think about good things, or agree with them, or talk about them… Love does.’  We will be exploring Psalms 1, 13, 23, 27, 32, 46, and 51 through the rest of the summer.  May you all have a God blessed July 4th holiday weekend celebration filled with gratitude and goodness.   

Welcome this week to Jeff’s official 1st Sunday leading our Crestview family as Worship Arts Director.  Also, welcome to Pastor Emily Crider, our connection to University of Colorado through Graduate Christian Fellowship.  Emily will bring a message from 1 Peter 5:1-7.  With a quick glance at the passage for Sunday, I was struck by the connection between suffering and glory, humility and exaltation, God’s promise of care and our tendency for anxiety.  Read 1 Peter 5:1-7 before Sunday, reflect and mediate on it, and readiness will be in place for hearing God’s voice this Sunday.  

Enjoying time and space with our kids and extended family!In the name of

Jesus,Pastor Mark     

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Cultivating Love in the Midst of Market Style Exchanges.

Its happening again!  A message series is coming to a culmination!  I’m always surprised by this.  I think to myself, “10 Commandments for 10 weeks” and then poof, the 10 weeks are complete.  “9 weeks on Fruit o the Spirit” and then poof, the 9 weeks are complete… Sure enough, our message series on the Fruit of the Spirit culminates this week with the fruit of Love.  

This fruit is the glue that holds all of the fruit together.  It’s true that God is Love.  We begin Sunday with looking to out God, who is love and love is what he does.  Love is God’s centrality and his character.  Then we will quickly move on to exploring the impact and call of God’s love on our lives together.  

1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “Faith, hope and love are lasting – but the greatest of these is love.”  Galatians 5:6 says, “The only thing that counts is faith made effective through love.”  Colossians 3:14 says, “Above all… put on love that binds everything together in a bond of perfection.”  

Love isn’t simply a virtue – it is the center from which all virtues spring.  

Looking forward to Sunday – Jeff will join the worship team this Sunday – looking forward to that too!  Title of message for Sunday, Cultivating Love in the Midst of Market Style Exchanges.  See you soon,

Pastor Mark