Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Widow’s Mite

Message from Sydney Yapoujian: The Widow’s Mite

Message

The Widow’s Mite
Mark 12: 41-44

If you had inside information about something, let’s say, a 100% sure bet on a certain number and a certain color on a certain roulette table at a certain casino, and you knew beyond any doubt that anything you placed on that number would pay off, how much would you bet? Well, if you are like me, and I am no gambler, I would probably put everything I had on that number, because I knew I had nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.


Will you take God at His word and go all in or will you second guess Him?


Now, what if God asked you to do something, and promised you that he would be with you and that you would be blessed if you did it? How much of yourself would you invest, if at all? Would you take Him at his word and go “all in,” or would you second guess Him, only invest what you could easily lose, or just decide it wasn’t worth the risk?

This week, we will talk about the story in Mark 12:41-44, when Jesus sat down at the outer court of the temple and observed the people who came to give their offerings to the Temple Treasury, and examine the contrast between God’s economy and man’s, and what it means to go “all in” for Jesus.

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Father’s Day: Sabbath Rest and Sabbatical: Resting in and Discerning God’s Plan and Our Plan

Message: Sabbath Rest

Message

Father’s Day: Sabbath Rest and Sabbatical: Resting in and Discerning God’s Plan and Our Plan

Sunday is a big day for Crestview Church.  We celebrate communion, offer prayers of blessing for Crestview leadership, staff, volunteers, the entire Crestview community, and for Mark/Deone as we begin a summer of sabbatical, approve our next fiscal year budget, elect new elders and deacons, give thanks for those who have served in the past few years, enjoy a fellowship feast – that’s a full day in the life of our faith community! 


Choose to accept God’s invitation to sabbath rest and actually enter in.


At the same time God calls us into engagement in all of these things, we will be equally called Sunday to enter into God’s Sabbath rest.  God’s Sabbath rest reality takes shape in our lives in many different ways, both physical and spiritual, for the heart, mind, and spirit.  And what exactly is a sabbatical?  

Is it possible to live in a space of physical sabbath in our fast paced, current technology driven world?  Is it possible to live in the place of mindful rest in a socially driven world of media and overly broadcasted opinionated culture?  Is it possible to live in the reality of spiritual rest in the midst of being over scheduled, over anxious, over stimulated?

Yes.  If we choose to accept God’s invitation to sabbath rest and actually enter in.

Look forward to Sunday,
   In God’s care and in God’s time, God’s kingdom come and will be done,
       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

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

New Message Series: The Life of Joseph

Message

Mother’s Day

The Life of Joseph #1: Joseph: A ‘Chosen’ Child, a Dreamer, and Sibling Rivalry
Genesis 37

Sunday, we begin a message series on The Life of Joseph, from Genesis 37-50. The life of Joseph is embedded in the grand story of God’s redemptive history of salvation for the world and his people.  Sometimes, we have the tendency to view characters in the Bible as moral lessons about ‘how to be, how to act’, ‘what to do, what not to do’, essentially boiled down to ‘be like Joseph’ or ‘don’t be like Joseph.’  Often this misses the mark.  

God’s revelation of himself and his ways revealed in Scripture highlight God’s character and God’s saving ways above all.  God is at work in and through Joseph, his life, his flaws and his faithfulness.  The Bible is a grand story of God’s redemptive working in human history and God created time.  And all of Scripture is pointing forward to Jesus, through whom God’s plan of salvation comes to fruition.
 


All of Scripture is pointing forward to Jesus, through whom God’s plan of salvation comes to fruition.


As we walk through these chapters in Genesis, focusing on the life of Joseph, we will be telescoping out to see how the life of Joseph fits into the grand story of God’s redemptive, historical narrative.  For example, the life of Joseph can’t be separated out from the Creation account, the disobedience of Adam and Eve and resulting curse of sin, the crescendo of sin’s destructive fruit during the time of Lamech, the Flood of God’s judgment and renewal, the Tower of Babel, the calling of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… and now, for our focus of the next 6 weeks, The Life of Joseph.  Nor can the life of Joseph be set apart from the coming bondage in Egypt, the Exodus, the wilderness experiences, the promised land, the line of Prophets, Priests, and Kings… and of course, it all points to Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of God’s revelation of salvation.  So we cannot separate the life of Joseph from the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.    

Looking forward to kicking off this new series!  For God’s coming, present, and growing Kingdom within us and in his world, to God be the glory both now and forever,  see you Sunday!

Pastor Mark   

PS: Happy Mother’s Day coming to all of our Mothers in our faith family, and to each of our Mothers!  God’s blessing be upon our Mothers!

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Let’s talk about Faith… and Doubt


Message

Let’s talk about Faith… and Doubt
Hebrews 11: Select Verse

Guest Speaker: Pastor Joy Englesman

Welcome this Sunday to Pastor Joy Englesman. Joy is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church serving people and churches through coaching and consulting in the Rocky Mountain area as well as in a role with Youth for Christ International in Africa developing staff and leaders.

Joy will be bringing us a message on Faith and Doubt highlighting select passages from Hebrews chapter 11. Drawing on God’s word, Joy will explore how believers have come to define faith and doubt. And that to strengthen our faith, we need to be honest with our doubts.

We look forward to worshipping with everyone at Crestview.

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

PATRW: Paul and Sexuality

Message Series: Paul and the Roman World – Engagement of Gospel and Culture

Message
PATRW: Paul and Sexuality
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

Thanks for a fantastic Passion Week Crestview!  From Palm Sunday to Good Friday to our Easter worship and feast, GOD IS GOOD.  This Sunday we wrap our series on Paul and the Roman World: Engaging Gospel and Culture, with the theme Paul and Sexuality

When it comes to the Biblical Worldview on sexuality, it’s good to take the broad overarching view of Scripture.  Sure, there are specifics mentioned all over the Bible on the goodness, the badness, the gone wrongness, and the redemption of our sexuality.  And there are some beautifully helpful, sweeping guiding principles that speak deeply to the gift of sexuality, its boundaries for blessing, and the call to stewardship of it.  So we will touch on a few of them Sunday.  

For example, 1 Thessalonians 4 says, “Each of you should learn how to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God.”  Or 1 Corinthians 6, “Flee from sexual immorality.  Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own, you were bought at a price.  Therefore, honor God with your body.”  and Romans 12, “I urge you brothers and sisters to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, this is your spiritual act of worship.”  

In the 60’s and 70’s we went through a sexual revolution.  I’d say we are in the throes of another one.  What is God calling us to be, say and do in the midst of our current cultural space?  What is God honoring when it comes to our bodies?  How might the understanding of ‘our bodies not being our own, but belong to God’, be a good place to start?  Incredible implications for living no matter what position, single or married, or stage in life you are in.     

Yes, this is too much to cover in a Sunday message as entire books can be and have been written on human sexuality.  Good thing we have the Good Book and the gift of daily discipleship opportunities both personally and corporately.  It’s a lifelong, ongoing journey, see ya Sunday if not before.   

Pastor Mark