Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Palm Sunday: Triumphal Entry

Pastor Mark has currently postponed the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Palm Sunday: Triumphal EntryMatthew 21:1, Mark 11:1, Luke 19:28, John 12:12

Crestview family,
This Sunday, Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week 2020.  As we enter into this special worship week there are many things on each of our hearts and minds.  The stress and anxiety, coupled with the continual adaptation to ‘abnormal’ is tough.  There are rhythms of coping and engaging in positive constructive activities one day, only to be defeated in some way the next.  It’s been very disorienting.  

As prayers continue to be offered for one another and our world, as we each strive to love our families and neighbors well during this time, including reaching out and walking alongside others both near and far, we must have a firm foundation.    

Our faith muscles are getting a workout.  Our hope engine is looking for the right kind of fuel.  Our love expressions are tested in the home and in the neighborhood.  Our trust is being challenged.  Now is a time of juxtaposition: defined as ‘when two things are seen or placed close together with contrasting effects; the nearness of contrasting realities; the comparison of two seemingly unrelated, almost opposite ideas, placed in proximity to one another creating an intriguing effect.’

Some of us feel fine but others are sick and dying.  We know that God is Sovereign over all and yet things seem a bit out of control.  As we enter into Holy Week with Palm Sunday, we will see and experience a huge juxtaposition: Jesus enters into Jerusalem with great fanfare and ‘worship’ and ends the week being betrayed, denied, and rejected – crucified!  This juxtaposition is intentional on God’s part.  In the contrast of these two realities, the profound truth of salvation in Jesus Christ can be found.  Maybe in the juxtaposition, we too can find our part.    

May the grace and mercy, truth and joy of Jesus Christ be upon you,
Engaged in life together with you,

Pastor Mark  

Here is this week’s video reflection/meditation:    

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smyOyByK_T4

View Lenten Devotional Booklet Here

Pastor Mark's Reflections

Mark’s Reflection Video for the Week of April 1

The Gift of Neighbors and the Blessing of Neighborhood. As the challenge of COVID-19 grows around the world and here at home, the connection of neighbors has been a gift – those who are close – those who are nearby. There is a song being sung, a poem being written – behind, underneath, and above the sorrow and chaos of this outbreak. If we listen, we will be able to hear it. If we pay attention, we will be able to participate in it. Do you have 11 minutes?

Pastor Mark's Reflections

Reflection: Seeing The Long View

From Pastor Mark 3/25/2020

In this time of myopic focus on the COVID-19 virus (necessary), it’s good to peek our heads above the clouds and see the long view. There is much to learn and understand from our present situation (and it will be a while before it’s known.).  While God has narrowed our focus on the day to day happenings of our life and world, I think in the midst of it, he encourages us to look up and see the long view. Wisdom literature in the Bible does that for me. It gives me the long view in times of trouble. The Lord of all History probably has the best vantage point, ya think? So here is a reflection from Ecclesiastes 3:1-14. It comes in 3 points: There is a time for everything (guess that includes COVID-19), He makes everything beautiful in His time, and there is nothing better for a person to do than be content and do good. Sounds like good medicine perspective in the midst of our shared COVID-19 experiences.

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of Our Faith

Pastor Mark has currently postponed the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Fixing our Eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith

Hebrews 12:1-3

“May the peace (and love) of God rule in your (our) hearts…  may the message of Christ dwell among you (us) richly…”   (Colossians 3:15-16).  God is calling us to find our home in Him.  As we ‘shelter’ at home, keep this in mind, as followers of Jesus, we find our shelter and home in Jesus, an inexhaustible well of goodness and grace.  

This Sunday, the message is titled, Fixing our Eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our Faith.  This phrase comes from Hebrews 12:1-3, a context of people in the midst of struggle and challenge – much like our present situation for many of us and many around the world. 

I would like to dive into the reality of suffering and explore how we are to understand it and respond to it as followers of Jesus.  In seminary, 20 years ago now, we were given a book to read for a Soteriology class (the study of the doctrine of salvation).  In this book, Douglass John Hall opened up the understanding for me of the Theology of the Cross.  

Suffering, as it turns out, is a part of becoming.  The suffering of becoming is how God designed us to grow, develop, and mature.  It was present in the good creation from the beginning and continues now, even in a broken and fallen world.  Certainly there is good suffering and bad suffering.  There is suffering as becoming and suffering as burden.

We will briefly consider 4 sufferings of becoming (loneliness, experience of limits, temptation and anxiety) and then ‘fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author and perfector of our faith.’ What can we learn from our Lord Jesus when it comes to our own suffering and the suffering of others?  

The answer to this question, revealed to me through Douglass John Hall 20 years ago, and then discovered in Scripture and in the life of Jesus blew me away – it was deeply profound.  It lies in answering this question: How did God answer our suffering?  

Sunday, I will try and put words to what God’s answer to this is… 

Humbly yours,
Pastor Mark

Here is this week’s video reflection/meditation:    

View Lenten Devotional Booklet Here

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Word Always Arrives Right On Time

Reflection From Pastor Mark 3/19

We are currently in the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-14, Psalm 91

My Crestview family and friends, on behalf of the leadership and staff of Crestview Church, God’s grace and peace be on you, in the name of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit.  God has been preparing us for this worldwide event of COVID-19 for some time now.  I took a look at the past four years of messages we have experienced together and find God’s leading throughout.  I also find an amazing link between our current Text of the Quarter from Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 and our current worldwide experience with COVID-19.  I will unpack that connection in this Sunday’s March 22nd message, to be posted on Sunday.  I will also speak to what I believe is a good way to help others at this time.  Many of you have asked me this question, “What can I do, what are we doing as a church?”  My friends, the answer to this question is simple and I’ll unpack it more in Sunday’s message: The best thing you can do is ‘Be content and do good.’ (Eccl 3:12).  The good you can do right now is 1) nurture and care for your family, 2) Connect with your immediate neighbors and partner in meeting each other’s needs (God put you physically in your neighborhood for this reason!) 3) Partner with organizations that already exist and are equipped, streamlined, and prepared to meet the needs of our more vulnerable in our society (EFAA and Bridge House for example) 4) Pray for our leaders and everyone on the supply chain of meeting needs for our nation and people as they are doing the heavy lifting for all of us.  

Here is the first video reflection/meditation posted yesterday:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia07AyZh4vo   

In addition, linked below is our Lenten devotional we began togeher on Ash Wednesday.  You can jump in anytime!  With all this time at home for many, let’s do this together.  Takes about 10-15 minutes each day to complete.  See attached PDF. 

Now that the decision has been made to discontinue gathering together for our worship services, we will enter a new phase of communication together.  Our elders, deacons, and staff are here for you.  If they haven’t already contacted you, they soon will.  I am available for conversation, prayer, and connection anytime – give me a call.  Let’s facetime – its been awesome to connect while hearing each others voices and seeing each other’s faces.  Keep it up!  

Sunday will also reflect on the nature of suffering and its role for the follower of Jesus.  The profound truth is this: God’s response to suffering isn’t simply to ignore it or wipe it away.  Rather, he enters into it.  That is the pathway that Jesus calls us to as Jesus followers, to enter into the suffering of others. Bringing presence, hope, faith, and love.  To walk alongside.    

Resting in God (Psalm 91) – our refuge and strength, 

Pastor Mark

View Lenten Devotional Booklet Here

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Gluttony – Bet You Can’t Eat Just One!

We are currently in the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Seven Paths: Glutton – Bet You Can’t Eat Just One!

1 Corinthians 6, Proverbs 25, Philippians 3, Romans 14

This week we continue in our series of exploring 7 paths that lead to darkness (vices) and the 7 paths that lead to light (virtues).  We are at the center of the series with a message on Gluttony.  Traditionally, gluttony is paired with the virtue of temperance.  Temperance is defined as moderation in action, thought, or feeling.  It also describes moderation of appetites and passions.  This is a good definition, however, how does Scripture approach gluttony?  What would be Scripture’s corresponding virtue?  

This week I’ve been thinking about how these 7 vices correspond with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  When looking at Pride, we saw virtues of humility and gentleness.  When we looked at Lust, we saw virtues of chastity, self-control, and self-respecting/other respecting expressions of love.  When we looked at Envy, we saw virtues of kindness, gratitude, contentment, and generosity.  

When it comes to gluttony, we will revisit the virtue of self-control and press into the fruit of finding joy and satisfaction in the proper enjoyment of God’s good gifts.  

After last weeks message on Envy, someone suggested I spend more balanced time in the message on both the vice and virtue.  Apparently, I have been spending 90% of the message on the vice and neglecting the beauty of virtue.  I have investigated this and find this comment to be true!  So, this Sunday, plan to hear equal time of both vice and virtue.  Praise the Lord!

Some questions to ponder in preparation for Sunday: Is gluttony mainly concerned with food and drink?  In what other ways might we be gluttonous?  There are many!  Be smart.  

Be wise as a snake and gentle as a dove in confronting the coronavirus pandemic and loving those around you.  And pray for our leaders on all levels making decisions that matter,

In Him,
Pastor Mark

View Lent Devotional Booklet Here

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Envy – Why Can’t I Have That? Sure Wish I Had That!

We are currently in the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to life. 

Seven Paths: Envy – Why Can’t I Have That? Sure Wish I Had That!

1 Samuel 18:5-16

I thoroughly enjoyed Sunday’s service with guest potter, Emilie Parker.  It was wonderful to experience scripture through the eyes of a potter.  We are special creations – each one of us unique.  God has created us with intention and marvelous design.  And as pots, pitchers, cups and bowls, he calls us to special purpose and service.  

It was humbling to hear words of God wondering about our questioning of what God has made.  Who are we to say to the POTTER, ‘What is this you have made?’  We are to live into our calling, our created design.  That while broken, he restores.  That while leaking, he fills the gaps and cracks.  More than these, God is ‘hands on’ with us in caring for us.  He is continually holding and molding us, shaping and filling us.  

This Sunday, March 8th, we return to our message series with number three of seven pathways that lead to darkness and light, by zeroing in on ENVY.  “Why can’t I have that? Sure wish I had that!”  Our hearts are prone to desire the things of others… whether its houses, cars, jobs, spouses… you name it!  If its a person or thing, it can be envied. 

Envy is important to recognize.  If left unchecked or undealt with, it quickly leads down a slippery slope to darkness.  Envy can lead to discontentment, unhappiness, and even lead to action with sorrowful consequences.  

God has a much better plan for us.  God calls us to the pathway of contentment and gratitude.  This is where the Spirit of God dwells.  This is the path that Jesus walks and calls us to follow.  It is the path that God blesses.  

We will look at the story of King Saul and David as a springboard into the topic of Envy. (1 Samuel 18:5-16). Looking forward to worship together and a deep dive into God’s Word.  

See you Sunday if not before,
Pastor Mark    

View Lent Devotional Booklet Here

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Hands of the Potter

Sun, Mar 1: A special service with ceramic specialist, Emilie Parker.

The Hands of the Potter

Jeremiah 18, Genesis 1-2, Isaiah 29, 45, 64, Zechariah 14, 2 Corinthians 4

We have officially entered into the Lent season with our Ash Wednesday Service on Wednesday.  We are also on a devotional journey together through Lent with a devotional booklet, a board, a hammer and some nails.  (See attached below). Please join us on this daily devotional journey!  There were supplies for this journey (board and nails) available this at church this past Sunday, past Wednesday at Ash Wednesday service, and will again be available this coming Sunday March 1st.  If you don’t have the supplies and would like to jump in now, find a board and some nails and download the attached document to get started!  It’s early in Lent so easy to catch up!

Sunday March 1st we have a potter, Emilie Parker, in the service with us to assist with the message, The Hands of the Potter.  Our children will remain in worship the entire time to experience this event.  Families, please sit towards the front of the sanctuary with your children so you can all enjoy this message. 

The following texts of Scripture will be mentioned during the message: Genesis 1-2; Isaiah 29, 45, and 64; Jeremiah 18; Zechariah 14; and 2 Corinthians 4.  Looking forward to this message God has for us.  See you Sunday!

May the Lord bless us as we journey with him through Lent,
Pastor Mark

View Lent Devotional Booklet Here

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths/Choices: Lust – Oh Yeah! Oh No!

Sun, Feb 16: New Message Series: Seven Paths/Choices: Seven Paths/Choices Leading to Darkness, Seven Paths/Choices Leading to Light. This week’s message is: 

Seven Paths/Choices: Lust – Oh Yeah! Oh No!1 Cor 6, Matt 5, Gal 5, Rom 6, 1 Thess 4

We’ve turned the first page in our series of 7 Pathways that Lead to Darkness and Light by looking deeper into the classic 7 Deadly Sins.  One author that I have been reading as a resource for this series calls these things: Glittering Vices.  That’s a good description of these pathways that promise a better life – Pride, Lust, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth, Anger, and Greed.  

The good news is that God points out the path toward a better life, a happy and fulfilling life in His Word.  And Jesus teaches the path toward joy and gratitude, an abundant life –  not only teaches it, demonstrates it, lives it. For example, humility is given as a better path than pride.  In the same way, hastity and faithfulness are better paths than lust.  

Lust in relationships leads us away from relationship connection.  Lust produces casualties and makes our society more crass and less beautiful.  Lust masquerades as promise, yet ends in sorrow.  Lust distorts what is good, exchanging love for a lie.  

When it comes to love, God’s gaze on us is one of love.  God desires what is best for us and teaches us and shows us a better path.  When it comes to lust, we need greater accountability and community.  

Let’s dive into this one Sunday.  Will be referencing various texts 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Matthew 5:27-28, Galatians 5:16-25, Romans 6:11-14, Romans 12:1-2, and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.  

See you Sunday!  Ash Wednesday service will be at 6:00pm, Wednesday February 26th.

Pastor Mark