Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Draw Near – Surrender – Stories, Ours and Others

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Draw Near – Surrender – Stories, Ours and Others
Philippians 2:12-13, Psalm 139, Matthew 5:1-12

Big things come in little packages – Bethlehem, a little town, with a major happening!  As we look toward Bethlehem and the happenings there from long ago, in anticipation of our Savior’s birth, what are you hopeful for?   


In Jesus, God has drawn near to us.  What has Jesus coming accomplished for you and how are you responding?  How are you drawing near to God this holiday season?  


I’ve been thinking of the lyrics to a couple of well-known Advent hymns.  O Come, O Come Emmanuel sings, “O come O Wisdom from on high, to us the path of knowledge show and teach us in its ways to go…  O come Bright and Morning Star, bring comfort from afar, dispel the shadows of the night and turn our darkness into light.”  Come Thou Long Expected Jesus sings, “Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.”  

In Jesus, God has drawn near to us.  What has Jesus coming accomplished for you and how are you responding?  How are you drawing near to God this holiday season?  

As God comes to make his home in our hearts and lives, where and what is the fruit of ‘his kingdom come and will be done’ in us?  Big things come in little packages… the gift of Advent has come.

See you Sunday as we anticipate Jesus coming to us together,

Pastor Mark 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Holy/Human Weave: Stories – Others/Ours

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Holy/Human Weave: Stories – Others/Ours
John 15:1-17, Psalm 139

Crestview Faith Family,

Thank You to Larry Kelderman for stepping in on such short notice this past Sunday and bringing us a message from God’s Word.  Over the past 7 years, Larry and I have had many significant conversations about faith and family over auto repair engagements.  Shared in prayer about family challenges, desires of the heart, and the discerning of God’s will in our lives.  Over that time, I’ve learned about Larry’s heart for God, love for Jesus and God’s Word.  When I called Larry on Friday, in a last minute pinch, knowing I needed another couple days for flu recovery, Larry was eager to step in and serve.  I’m thankful for Larry! 

This week is Thanksgiving.  A time set aside for special and pointed thanksgiving.  Today, I have a much sung melody of my past going through my head and heart, give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ, his Son.  And now, let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich, because of what the Lord has done for us, give thanks

I’m thankful for many things today.  Close to the surface of my thanks is feeling better after several days of not feeling well.  Even though our Thanksgiving plans have changed unexpectedly this year, Deone and I are turning our hearts toward God – giving thanks for the abundant gift of God and his love for us. I would love to hear what it is you are thankful for – let’s encourage one another this Thanksgiving with a heart of gratitude one to another.  Allow God to bring people to your mind who you can encourage and then send out a text of encouragement.  You never know God’s timing when it comes to an encouragement of gratitude.  It can be contagious.  Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I give thanks to God for you!


This holiday season, the invitation of God is to draw near to our Savior.  To receive Him and embody Him. 


Sunday begins our Advent Season.  We will begin our Advent journey by entering into John 15:1-17, Jesus teaching about the Vine and the Branches.  Of course, it’s much more than a teaching.  What Jesus speaks about is an invitation into an incarnational relationship with the Living God.  This holiday season, the invitation of God is to draw near to our Savior.  To receive Him and embody Him. 

As we have focused in on the integration of God’s will and our will, I’ve been interested in moving us toward our own stories.  Moving us from theology and Biblical truth toward an integration and engagement of God’s will in everyday life.  Larry has helped us turn the corner here in sharing his story of relationship and stating clearly, “God is at work in our lives and our story is important.  And God wants to partner with us, working in us to bring about his will in our life.”  

See you Sunday, as we come together with the purpose to draw near to God together, giving thanks to our great God,
  Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Life of Joseph #6: Why Joseph? Why Famine? What’s next? Sovereignty, Providence, Hardship, Blessing – The Call to Faithfulness – are there others?

Message Series: The Life of Joseph

Message

Life of Joseph #6: Why Joseph? Why Famine? What’s next? Sovereignty, Providence, Hardship, Blessing – The Call to Faithfulness – are there others?
Genesis 47-50

Good Day Crestview!  We have entered the summer season of the rhythm of 2022 and many families are on their way somewhere for summer breaks, vacations, travel, et.  Each year, as we enter the summer months, I am aware of the need for intentionality in maintaining connection in community, especially when it comes to spiritual growth and vital Christian community.  What are regular patterns for nurturing this that each of us can engage throughout the summer months?


Building God’s Kingdom, Becoming Like Jesus, and Glorifying God


As a faith community, gathered around Christ and Scripture, we can stay connected through our weekly worship services offered every Sunday, whether in person or online.  We can participate in our 3 year Read Through the Bible plan with a faithfulness of taking in God’s Word with regularity in tandem with others doing the same adventure.  There is an opportunity to connect in fellowship the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month this summer at 6:00pm for a BBQ on our church patio.  Small groups can continue to meet in alternative venues during the summer months.  The opportunities for volunteering with beautifying church grounds, local parachurch ministries that serve our community and neighbors, or with needs in the church from worship to youth/childrens/nursery are continually present for the seekers of engagement.  Summer is a great chance to invite others to your home, whether neighbors or people in the church and connect socially and spiritually.  Take advantage of some of these opportunities to partner in Building God’s Kingdom, Becoming Like Jesus, and Glorifying God.

Over the next two weeks of Sunday gathering, we will wrap up our Joseph series with a wrap up message: The Life of Joseph – Why Joseph? Why Famine? Why? God’s Sovereignty and Providence in Hardship and Blessing – The Call to Faithfulness(June 12th) and Sabbatical, Sabbath, Rest, Renewal: God’s Design(June 19th) with the celebration of communion, fellowship feast, and congregational meeting. Woohoo!

See you at church,
Pastor Mark 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Life of Joseph #5: Joseph and His Brothers Round 2: A Shot at Redemption
or What Comes Around Goes Around

New Message Series: The Life of Joseph

Message

Life of Joseph #5: Joseph and His Brothers Round 2: A Shot at Redemption
or What Comes Around Goes Around
Genesis 42-47

Yes! We are rounding a corner in the Joseph story and heading for the home stretch.  It’s a tossup of what is going to happen next as Joseph’s brothers are sent by Jacob to get grain from Egypt because of severe famine in the land.  And they end up coming face to face with Joseph.  Joseph recognizes them, they do not recognize him.  A series of events unfold in rapid succession.  What will Joseph do?  What comes around goes around, “Eye for eye and tooth for tooth…” a time for revenge?  Or is it a time for redemption? 
 
The events of Genesis 42-45:15 are stunning and have echoes forward and backward throughout the entirety of Scripture from beginning to end.  Read Genesis 42-45:15 before Sunday and ponder.  What would you have done if the brothers who betrayed you showed up years later as you hold the power of their lives in your hands?  This section of Scripture looks back at the Garden of Eden and points forward to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Gonna be a super Sunday, looking forward to it already!
   Pastor Mark 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Life of Joseph #4: Joseph and Pharaoh: Faithfulness Rewarded?

New Message Series: The Life of Joseph

Message

Life of Joseph #4: Joseph and Pharaoh: Faithfulness Rewarded? 
Genesis 40-41

In our world, as its peoples jostle for power and position… as heinous acts of violence create rivers of sorrow… as markets plunge and inflation rises… as various worldviews exert their influence for supremacy over our thoughts and actions…our questions compound.   

Does God have a plan?  That is, if there is a God?  

As we look for hope, search for meaning, pursue joy and satisfaction, while wading through the troubling wadi’s of life, where will we turn, what are we to conclude?  It begins for me with the simple yet clear declaration that ‘Our World Belongs to God.’  And the search for hope, meaning, joy and true satisfaction begins anew.  Prayer, Word, willful seeking. Revelations of true reality about God, ourselves, the world, and all that is, is found in the seeking.  The seeking of God, his will, his ways, his revelations.
 


As we look for hope, search for meaning, pursue joy and satisfaction, while wading through the troubling wadi’s of life, where will we turn, what are we to conclude? 


In Joseph’s life thus far, we’ve seen some twists and turns. Joseph experiences ‘favorite child’ status to complete rejection by his brothers, dreams of grandeur to a cistern and slavery, elevated honor as the master of Potiphar’s household to false accusation and prison.  You have to wonder, is Joseph ready to give up on God?

In the continuing story of Joseph’s life, we see clues of how Joseph may have answered these similar musings.  How does Joseph respond to adversity?  Is God acknowledged by Joseph?  What happens next?  

Sunday, we look at chapters 40-41 of Genesis.  The story centers around the person of Joseph, yet there is another story within and overarching the story, and it’s a grand one.  

Is there anything in Joseph’s story that you identify with in your story?   And how does Joseph’s story fit into God’s grand story?  What about your story – how does it fit into God’s grand story?  

There is no question, no doubt, that your life is a part of God’s grand story.  Whether you see it or recognize it is.

See ya Sunday,
   Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Life of Joseph #3: Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife: Standing on Principle 

New Message Series: The Life of Joseph

Message

Life of Joseph #3: Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife: Standing on Principle

Genesis 39

“Lord, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  (The Lord’s Prayer). “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can endure it… flee sexual immorality.” (Corinthians) “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who live him.”  (James).
 


Enter into the history of God’s salvation as we listen to the beauty of God’s plan unfolding and put ourselves under the authority of Scripture. 


We pick up the story of Joseph this week in Egypt, a servant of his master Potiphar.  The Lord blesses Joseph in everything he does.  And Potiphar places Joseph in charge of everything in his household.  And in the course of Joseph’s management of all things Potiphar, he amazingly resists the temptations of seduction from Potiphar’s wife.  And in fleeing from her grasp, his robe is stripped off of him.  He is then falsely accused and thrown in prison – stripped of his dignity and employment.  

Yet Joseph again is blessed by the Lord and is given more and more responsibility until he basically holds the keys to the prison in his hands, once again given charge of everything in the prison.    

Again, this story is filled with echoes.  Echoes of Adam and Eve to the fulfillment in Jesus.  Looking forward to entering into the history of God’s salvation as we listen to the beauty of God’s plan unfolding and put ourselves under the authority of Scripture.  

“Word of God speak, would you pour down like rain, washing my eyes to see, your majesty.  To be still and know that you’re in this place, helping me to rest in your holiness…  Word of God speak.”  Yes, the Word of God speaks.    

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Life of Joseph #2: Judah and Tamar: Is this God’s Plan?

New Message Series: The Life of Joseph

Message

Life of Joseph #2: Judah and Tamar: Is this God’s plan?

Genesis 38

This Sunday, we come together to worship God, celebrate communion, and enjoy our monthly fellowship feast.  Bring yourself and some food to worship this Sunday, take a neighbor or two, as we enjoy fellowship in the Lord’s presence. 

We are off and running in our new message series on The Life of Joseph.  Last week we opened with Genesis 37 where a ‘favored’ child runs into some trouble with intense sibling rivalry, leading us to ask the question, “Is this God’s plan?”  In spite of all the human trouble in the story, God does have a plan.

Discerning God’s plan in our lives, much less in the movements of history and culture is a challenging exercise. How difficult is it to understand God’s plan in the everyday happenings of our own lives? 
 


In spite of all the human trouble in the story, God does have a plan.


When it comes to Scripture, seeing God’s unfolding plan is best found in the overarching whole.  The Bible is a history of God’s salvation.  God is in the details and in the grand narrative. We will see again this week that God works in mysterious ways, as we enter into Genesis 38 and 39, the stories of Judah and Tamar and Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife. 

Whether it’s human standing on principle that leads to evasive and proactive action, or human temptation seeking to derail obedience, or injustice done one to another, God has a plan.   

Often, we cannot see God’s plan in the midst of daily life with its oscillating ups and downs. If we are blessed, we can look back in time, to the history and events of our own lives, and see and experience how God has been working all along.  If we are extra blessed, we realize and experience God’s working in our lives in the present.  And sometimes, we hold on to the unknown questions of God’s working in our lives, never fully seeing or experiencing God’s working in our lives in the midst of struggle, until we see him face to face in glory.  All of these things can be true.    

In light of Genesis 37 and 39, we have to wonder how Joseph is doing with his own seeing and experiencing of God’s blessing.  I imagine it would have been tough.  

See you Sunday,
Pastor Mark