2019! We are kicking off the year together with a series on Communion: The Lord’s Supper. We will be looking at the Lord’s Supper from several different angles:
- Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life!” (John 6:25-51)
- Discerning the Body – Potential Abuses of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:17-34)
- Bread or Wine or Body and Blood? (John 6:53-70)
- The Cross: Power or Weakness? (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
The Lord’s Supper has been a central sacrament of the church of Jesus Christ for centuries. What do we believe about this sacrament and how does it affect our life together? These are important questions with beautiful outcomes for our living together. Getting ready for the journey into this beautiful sacrament that God has given us.
Beginning in February, we will begin a series through the 10 commandments. One a week for 10 weeks! This too, I look forward too with anticipation. We tend to look at the commandments with singularity and with negative instruction. “You shall not kill” for example is seen as a singular negative command: “Do not take another person’s life.” Yet, the commandments are better understood in the ‘scope of life’ that the command covers.
I think of each command as a bullseye on a target. Its the center of the command. And the rings that echo out from the bullseye are like ripples on pond after a rock (the central command) is thrown into the water. For example, ‘You shall not kill’ also intends the positive, ‘Do all you can for your neighbors good’ and ‘do not say anything insulting about your neighbor.’ These are ripples on the pond, rings around the bullseye, that fit within the scope of the command.
This should be ‘fun’ exploring the ramifications of these 10 commands. We have some catchy titles each week for this series, such as, ‘Honoring Authority in an Age of Disrespect’ (You shall honor your Father and your Mother) and ‘Fearing God in a Permissive World’ (You shall not commit adultery). How does each of these commands of God increase our flourishing? Looking forward –
In the name of Jesus and for God’s glory,
Its already the 4th week of Advent this Sunday 9:30am worship and then we follow that up with a Christmas Eve service on Monday at 5:30pm! Invite your friends and neighbors. Gather your family together and make worship a priority for your family Christmas celebration this season. Is Jesus not the reason for the season? All other things seem to pale in comparison.
I began this Advent season with a reflection on the need to make space for the coming of Jesus to the human heart. How has that been going for you over the past three weeks? Now is the time. On Sunday, we will reflect on this phrase in Luke 2, “Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Mary intentionally made space for the Savior of the world in more ways than one. She carried the Savior, gave birth to the Savior, held the Savior, nursed the Savior, sang the Savior to sleep, began raising the Savior… (you get the picture!) She made room for the Savior and in those early days can imagine all that she pondered, reflected on, and prayed into. What a wonder this baby Jesus would have been.
Mary and Joseph are wonderful examples of God’s people listening, responding in faith and surrender, and stepping forward in obedience. Here is something to ponder and reflect on: How do both Mary and Joseph demonstrate listening, faith, surrender and obedience? Take a look at the early chapters in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John before Jesus was born. How does Mary respond to the news that she will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Savior of the World? How does Joseph respond to the news of Mary’s pregnancy? What is the initial reactions? What are the steps of faith demonstrated after they encounter the angels?
See you Sunday! In the Advent spirit – waiting… can’t wait!
A Universe of Promise: From Creation to its full Consummation at the end of all things! Our Advent series has been a wonderful adventure of looking deeper into the narrative of Luke 2. Who were these characters (Caesar, Angels, Shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus) and why do they matter?
We looked at Caesar and the political world of Jesus birth, a tale of two kingdoms. We looked at the angels bursting on the scene in brilliance and then ‘poof’ they return to heaven. Why such limited glimpses of God’s glory throughout the unfolding of God’s story and why so much waiting for God’s people throughout history for his Kingdom to come in all of its fullness? And this week we look at the shepherds. Who were they at Jesus birth? High society class or low? Older men or children/teenagers? Boys or girls? Why could that matter?
Come Sunday ready to worship our Savior Jesus! “For to the shepherds (us) this Savior has been born” – to ordinary, common, everyday, ‘least of these persons’… just like us – like me, like you! And that is good news!
This Sunday, we will plan to squeeze in a Christmas program, Advent Candle reading, Jesse Tree teaching, Communion, and a briefer than ‘normal’ message. Sounds like a very full time of joy! Come and worship.
A Universe of Promise? That’s right. We live in a universe of promise. If that is the case, where is the fulfilment of promise? This world is filled with broken promises. Promises are made but often not kept. Many promises seem never to be fulfilled.
How ought we to understand God’s promise given at Jesus birth: “To you a Savior has been born.” The people of God for hundreds of years were waiting for the fulfilment of the promises given to Isaiah. They still hoped but didn’t know if they would ever see its fulfilment.
For us today the promise of God that a Savior was to be born has been fulfilled in Jesus. Yet, everything is not well. We do not see the kingdom of God established in all of its fullness. There is a phrase in Biblical Theology ‘already, but not yet.’ It describes the tension we live in today between our Savior Jesus being born, finishing the work of redemption, and ushering in God’s Kingdom, yet, this ‘Kingdom come’ seems incomplete.
How are we to understand this in the midst of the brokenness of everyday 21st century life on earth? Hmmm… Maybe the Angels can help us understand. Maybe Jesus name of Immanuel can help us understand. Maybe the hope, joy, and peace that has been an essential expression of the Christian Church throughout history while in the midst of deep longing can help us understand. See you Sunday.
We will read further into Luke Chapter 2:8-14 for Sunday’s message. It seems like glimpses of God’s glory are brief and fleeting. Kinda like the angel appearances in Scripture. Here one moment in a flash of brilliance and good news – and then poof, silence. Crickets. Lots more about that on Sunday… God’s Peace and Good Will be with you today.
Its here – Advent 2018! As we begin our Advent journey be aware of the use of your time and the strength of your commitments. Be intentional with the spirit of the season by avoiding the rush of activities, the hustle and bustle of our commercial culture, and the over scheduling of events. Carve out intentional time with God in regular Sunday worship, daily reflection in Word and prayer, meaningful connection with those closest to you, and seek opportunities to bless some others. Or what will almost certainly happen is your life will be swallowed up with other things and the holidays pass by with more regret than joy, more fatigue than rest, more anxiety than peace. When it comes to the Christmas season – less is more.
With that mini sermon (word of wisdom) in mind, our focus for Advent will be on Luke 2. We will walk through this epic Christmas story with eyes on different characters. Each of our five Advent worship experiences will weekly focus on Caesar (Political Economy and Justice), Angels (Beauty and the Arts), Shepherds (Family and Relationships), Mary and Joseph (Listening and Faith) and Jesus (The Reason for it All).
For this Sunday, Advent 1 – December 2nd, we will take a look at the rulers of zero AD: Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, and Herod the Great. Why does Luke even mention these people? Could it be that Luke is setting up a ‘Tale of Two Kingdoms’? Luke is a very detailed writer and includes names and places for a definite reason. It probably has something to do with the main themes of his Gospel: The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (and save what was lost..). and Today, a Savior is born to you, he is Christ the Lord!
See you Sunday!
Hike to the Star this coming Saturday, December 1st, meet at church at 5:30pm!
How do you get over a tryptophan ‘hangover’? GIVE THANKS! Its a bit ironic that we will be having a Thanksgiving celebration the Sunday after thanksgiving, yet, that is exactly what we are going to do.
When it comes to ‘Thanks – – giving’, what is your story? Out text for Sunday will come from Psalm 107 and Psalm 136. Over the past two years we have heard the word hesed spoken in different contexts of worship. Hesed is a Hebrew word to describe God’s love. Its very hard to translate into one word in English. Combine love, mercy, kindness, and grace and you have the definition of hesed.
Psalm 107 and 136 recount God’s love for his people. There is special mention of those who ‘have wandered the wastelands hungry and thirsty’, who ‘are in prison of darkness and suffering’, who ‘are suffering because of their sin’, who ‘are blown and tossed about by the wind and waves,’ who ‘experience plenty and abundance and then the bottom drops out in famine, drought, and sickness.’ In each circumstance God calls on his people to give thanks. “Give thanks to the God of heaven.”
Sunday, November 25th, we are going to give thanks together as a community for the stories that God has given us. As you read Psalm 107 and 136, reflect on how God’s hesedintersects with your story. Maybe you will be led to share something about this in worship Sunday as a witness of and testimony to the great love of God at work in your life.
See you Sunday and before then, have a blessed Thanksgiving!
What happened to Eden? It seems like our relationships and our world is being vandalized. What’s going on? Why are things the way they are?
The Biblical Worldview from Genesis 1-3 has so far been a beautiful picture of ‘SHALOM,’ the way things are supposed to be. God bringing order out of chaos. The goodness of gracious boundaries that all support the flourishing of life. The beauty of right relationships with God and human interactions of male and female, family life and community. So why the wrecking ball that seems to be tearing our world and our families apart?
The Biblical Worldview from Scripture helps us understand this. The disobedience of our first parents brought into the world a curse that extends to everything and to everyone. The ramifications of human sin has infected everything. And today, as with everyday since the fall of humanity, we reap the fruits.
What do we do about this? What’s the cure?
Actually, there isn’t anything we can do. When it comes to salvation – the redeeming and claiming of what is now broken and affected by sin begins with God. He initiates and then invites us into his reclaiming of all things. That’s right – invited to join him in all the ways that God’s love transforms our lives and the lives of those around us.
Genesis three explains the reality we live in perfectly. A broken world in need of redemption and reclaiming. The questions that God asks in Genesis three are the same questions God is asking of us today, “Where are you and who told you that you were naked?” Jesus asks similar questions throughout his ministry, “Who do you say that I am? What is it you want to do for me? Do you love me?” The Biblical Worldview goes a long ways in helping us answer these questions.
Sunday we will celebrate communion. Read the text of Genesis three for Sunday preparation. See you then,
Check out Pastor Mark’s weekly email on the Crestview website blog,
Week three of our worldview series: “In the beginning... Let there be community!” Over the past two weeks we have looked at some key Worldview realities that come from Genesis 1-3. Week one we saw that out of chaos, God established laws boundaries for our good and flourishing through the separating and filling of creation, “In the beginning… Let there be boundaries!” Week two we saw God’s God’s marvelous design in crowning humanity as stewards and caretakers of the creation, “In the beginning… Let there be earth keepers, gardeners, builders, and developers!”
This week we take another look at the crown (humanity) of God’s creation with a focus on relationships; community and family. There are some very important and informative phrases in the Hebrew language of the creation story. We will look at God’s design for community and family through phrases of, ‘It was not good for Adam to be alone’, ‘God created a ‘helper’ suitable for him’, ‘the two shall become one flesh’, and ‘they were naked and unashamed.’
There is much research out there about the affects of isolation/alienation on our overall health. God’s design for humanity is wrapped up in community and family. Yet, these concepts today are fraught with pain and brokenness. What did God design in the beginning? What changed? And how does Jesus Christ and God’s redemption bring this design into goodness once again?
It has much to do with the reversing of shame and isolation. Today, we see evidence everywhere of a ‘Battle of the sexes’. Its not a new story but an old one. What ought the nature of our female/male relationships be?
Lets look into the garden (Eden) and see what we find,
We are entering Worldview Week 2. Last week we saw God’s amazing design creating ex nihilo (out of nothing), calling order out of tohu wabohu (chaos), separating matter with boundaries/governing laws and filling the creation with living things, and finally, it was GOOD.
This week we are focusing in on the mandate God gave to Adam and Eve (humanity) in Genesis 1:26-28. What does it mean to be a ‘steward’ of God’s creation? When we observe our world we notice that the created order is made up of cycles upon cycles, cycles within cycles, cycles of cycles… all designed for our good and for the flourishing of life.
On Sunday, we will name seven cycles of God’s design that support life on earth, followed by seven ways in which these cycles are degraded, and finally, what are some principles that can help us to navigate the stewarding of creation well. (Earthwise by Calvin B. DeWitt is a foundation for this message.)
Strap on your seatbelt for this one – much ground to cover. In download, we will dive into another concept of Creation Care: How do we balance the care of creation with environmental, social, human, and economic needs? Sounds like a good discussion for download :).
See you Sunday if not before. Pray for the world, pray for our city, and pray for your neighbor.