Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Minor Prophet? Micah: God’s Justice and Righteousness

Message Series: Minor Prophets

Message
Minor Prophet? Micah: God’s Justice and Righteousness

The Book of Micah

Service on Sundays will be held Indoors until further notice

The Book of Micah is known for its focus on Micah 6:8, “Live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God” to address anything and everything to do with justice.  Micah is made up of 20 judgment and salvation prophecies.  The judgments consist of two essential motifs: accusation and judicial sentence/verdict.  The salvations are based on God’s promise to bring salvation.  What is the point of Micah’s judgment and salvation prophecies?  To lead people to repentance.

Repentance is a misunderstood word.  Most of the time it is narrowly understood.  The Biblical understanding of repentance involves recognition and acknowledgment of wrongdoing or guilt, a confession, and a turning away and heading in a new direction.  It involves thought, feeling, and behavior.  Most of the time, we exercise one aspect of repentance, if any at all, and call it good.  In quoting Micah 6:8, many like to emphasize one of the three calls of God on how to live to the neglect of the other two.  God sees all three working together: do justice, exercise love, and walk in humility.      

When it comes to repentance, best to keep it simple – admit, submit, commit – embracing both the wrong and the good.  When it comes to living justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, best to keep it simple as well.  I like Eugene Peterson’s take on this verse: “Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously.”

See you Sunday,
    Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Johan: God’s Concern for All People

Message Series: Minor Prophets

Message
Jonah: God’s Concern for All People

The Book of Jonah

Service This Sunday will be held Outdoors

After 1/3 of our way through the minor prophets, we dive into the next 1/3 with Jonah, Micah, Nahum, and Habakkuk.  In preparation for Sunday, I encourage you to read the Book of Jonah in one sitting (4 short chapters).  And ask yourself, who is the main character?  Is it Jonah? The sailors?  The great fish?  The King of Nineveh?  The fig tree?  

And what is the central message of Jonah anyway?  In a book of the Bible filled with irony, a serious message is lurking.  In a book that some have dismissed as a children’s fairytale lies a profound message for lovers of God.  When tempted to laugh at Jonah as a bumbling, selfish prophet of God, we see ourselves.  When the message seems to be about the judgment of God, we find a more powerful reality – the relenting/unrelenting love of God.  

I’m looking forward to Sunday as we gather together for the purpose of worshipping God, revealed in Jonah as YHWH, the relational God, who is ‘Lord over heaven and earth’ and gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love.’ 

As Marci and Santi are grieving over the loss of her sister/his Aunt, we grieve with them.  As many are traveling this summer and away from Crestview (perhaps more than any year in recent history as people are feeling free to move about), God’s traveling mercies go with us.  As our world seeks answers to the biggest questions of our lives together, the purpose of our very existence, may all come to know our gracious and loving God, from whom all blessings flow.  Praying that God gives us love and courage to live, speak, and embody His truth and love in all of our relationships.       

Jonah: The Relenting/Unrelenting Love of God!  See you Sunday,

In Jesus name,  
    Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Just A Stone’s Throw Away

Welcome Our Guest Speaker for this Sunday, Andy De Jong

Retired Pastor Andy De Jong with his wife, Jinny

Just A Stone’s Throw Away

John 8:1-11

Service This Sunday will be held Indoors!

Besides serving in various capacities in ministry, including campus ministry, church planting and senior pastorates, Andy has had experience serving in places like Honduras, Uganda and Kenya.  He enjoys hiking, having done a goodly number of Colorados 14ers, and a few years back summited Mount Kilimanjaro.  He and Jinny have two adult children who both live in Fort Collins – Joel, a teacher at an alternative High School in Loveland and Joy, as a Dr. of Neuro-Psychology.  They have one grandson, Mason, who they can’t spend enough time with.

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Obadiah: God’s Humbling of the Proud and Lifting Up of the Humble

Series: Minor Prophets

Minor Prophet? Obadiah 
God’s Humbling of the Proud and Lifting Up of the Humble


The Book of ObadiahObadiah, the shortest book of the minor prophets, only 21 verses in it’s one and only chapter.  Big things come in small packages.  Obadiah brings a message from God to Edom specifically, and to God’s people of all time, generally.  Edom is the nation of descendents from Esau, the twin brother of Jacob.  And Jacob’s descendents became known as the nation of Israel, of both Judah and Israel as time went on.  Jacob and Esau wrestled with one another their entire lives.  It was a sibling rivalry like none other.  These two nations of people, descended from Jacob and Esau were near neighbors and never got along. 

They would gloat when the other experienced hardship.  In many ways they were indifferent to each other’s failings, successes, or troubles.  So when the Jacob’s descendents in both the northern kingdom (Assyria 721 BC) and the southern kingdom (Babylon 586 BC) were taken into captivity/exile, Edom (Esau’s descendents) stood by and watched and did nothing to aid their brothers and sisters descended from the same father and mother.  They displayed everything from gloating to indifference.  Obadiah’s message is a strong message to Edom.  

Sure, Israel’s judgment was deserved.  And Obadiah’s message to Edom is about a coming judgment of them, again, deserved.  Yet, there is a way out, a better way forward, by way of repentance.  

In today’s world, where division seems to spring from the ground at every relationship turn, we would do well to hear God’s word through Obadiah, and respond accordingly.  Humanity, born of the same father and mother, is waging war against one another in a myriad ways today with intention to separate.  

Robert Mulholland quotes a wise person from his life in his book The Deeper Journey – The Spirituality of Discovering Your True Self, “Repentance is not being sorry for the things you have done, but being sorry you are the kind of person who does such things.”  It would seem that the biggest barrier to overcoming our divisions is our pride.  We think we are better than.  We see another’s misfortune as deserved.  We do not think we ourselves are capable of hate, violence, evil, wrongdoing.  This sets us up for a humbling by God.  For God does humble the proud and he lifts up the humble.  This is who God is and this is what God does.

Yet still, God’s last word is found in Jesus.  The door to blessing is through Him and through repentance.  Not just being sorry for the things we have done, but being sorry that we are the kind of people who can do such things.  

Sunday, Obadi-ya.  Hope to see ya, hate to miss ya, God’s blessing on ya, 

Pastor Mark 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Minor Prophet?: Joel: God’s Judgement and Hope

Series: Minor Prophets

Minor Prophet? Amos: God’s Judgement and Hope


The Book of AmosSunday we plan to take it outdoors – bringing our worship to the lawn, and by unintended consequence, to our neighbors as well.  We celebrate twin sacraments this Sunday with the Lord’s Supper during our worship time followed by the baptism of Alexandria Alais Hamilton, daughter of Sybil and Randolph.  We will witness as a community Sybil’s affirmation of faith and God’s promises to us and to Alexandria.  

The message for Sunday continues our series through the Minor Prophets with Amos.  Amos is known for a message of championing the poor.  Speaking of unintended consequences, sometimes our ‘best intended good’ can result in ‘not so good’ results.  And then there are the intended ‘not so good’ intentions that have intended consequences.  What does that have to do with Amos and a championing of the poor?  Well… let’s sit at Jesus’ feet as we hear the Word of the Lord through God’s prophet Amos… see where the Spirit takes us.

See you Sunday, for a feast prepared for us (communion, baptism, and Word),

Pastor Mark    

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Joel: God’s Compassion and Faithful Love

Series: Minor Prophets

Minor Prophet? Joel: 
God’s Compassion and Faithful Love
The Book of Joel

This weekend has some fun and community engaging events planned.  Please take advantage of a couple of gatherings planned for Saturday (A hike and picnic with Jackie – 10:30am meet at Chautauqua parking lot off of 12th street and bring a food for an outdoor picnic to follow) and Sunday (a celebration of graduates with a post worship potluck – bring a main or side dish to share or both!).  See our announcements below for more details.    

We have begun our series on the minor prophets! Last week Hosea, next week Amos, this week Joel.  The book of Joel has a couple of more well-known passages that followers of God have held close to their heart.  The first is when the book of Joel turns from calamity (a swarm of locusts just devoured everything in the land) to response.  Joel 2:12, “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”  Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.  Who knows?  He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing.”

Other verses people have gravitated toward in love is 2:25, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.”  And 2:28, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people!”  Peter speaks these words from Joel on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled those gathered together that day.  

The Book of Joel will come to us once again in about 7 minutes, after some introduction and context, and will be followed with a pointed application that speaks to our time today.  God’s word is timeless and never useless.  Rather, it is relevant for God’s people and for God’s world for all time.  Looking forward to Sunday.  In prep, read the Book of Joel, only three chapters :0. The Call of God for us is in order to move ahead, we lament and repent!  

Pastor Mark               

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Minor Prophet? Hosea: A Living Parable of God’s Love

Series: Minor Prophets
Minor Prophet? Hosea: A Living Parable of God’s Love

The Book of Hosea

Here we go, a message series on the ‘minor’ prophets.  The categorization of ‘minor’ is deceiving.  The name simply comes from the length of the books.  There are four ‘major’ prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel (longer, more words).  And there are twelve ‘minor’ prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi (shorter, less words).  But to call some ‘major’ and others ‘minor’ and attach greater or lesser value to them would be misleading.  Each book has a powerful message.  This series will spend one message on each minor prophet.  

Some words from Eugene Peterson, The Message, from the introduction to the prophets.  “Prophets insist that God is the sovereign center.  The prophets insist we deal with God as God reveals himself.  The prophets yell, weep, rebuke, soothe, challenge, comfort with words of power and imagination, whether blunt or subtle.  They call us to stay alert and knowledgeable in cultivating faithful and obedient lives before God.  The prophets purge our imaginations of this world’s assumptions on how life is lived and counts in life.  Over and over again, God uses the prophets to separate his people from the cultures in which they live, putting them back on the path of simple faith and obedience and worship in defiance of all that the world admires and rewards.  Prophets train us in discerning the difference between the ways of the world and the ways of the gospel, keeping us in tune with the presence of God.

The prophets were not popular people.  They aren’t particularly sensitive to our feelings.  They are not diplomatic.  They have modest ‘relationship skills.’  If we tend to see God as ‘fitting into’ our lives, or we like to ‘make room for God’ in our lives, the prophets will challenge us.  The prophets will break through the cocoon we spin around ourselves protecting us from reality.  The prophets deal head on with the consequences of sin, help us face the reality of judgment, and lead us to embrace truth.”  

Yet, it would be a mis-characterization to label the prophets as focusing only on judgment and sin.  They lead us out of it to hope and an abundant life.  The prophets’ purpose is to set the world and us right again.  In my seminary education on the prophets, I was taught ‘6 hermeneutical principles for interpreting prophecy’ which I will exercise throughout this series: 

  • Stick with ordinary rules of exegesis.
  • Need to understand the author’s original intention and purpose.
  • Keep in mind the progression of God’s revelation in history.
  • Progressive revelation demands an ever new hearing of the prophetic word.  Ancient words – ever new hearing.  
  • Understand that the history of God’s revelation has moved beyond the revelation of God in and through Jesus Christ.  A new era in Jesus has begun.    
  • Any proclamation of the prophets today must be in the light of the New Testament’s witness to Christ.  

What this means is I will attempt to understand the original intent of the author for his time and context.  Then see that message through the lens of the revelation of Jesus Christ.  And then seek to move the meaning in light of these two things to our present day and culture.  All of that to say, God’s word is timeless.  It spoke powerfully then and continues to speak powerfully today. 

We begin with Hosea and will progress with the order of minor prophets given in the scriptural canon.  This one begins our series with a bang.  It’s raw and seems ‘messed up.’ Yet, at the center of it’s message is God’s love for us.  The life of Hosea the prophet is a parable of God’s love for his people.  He is a living parable.  Hosea is commanded by God to marry a common whore and have children with her.  To know the core message of Hosea, is to know the core truth of God.  And so we begin our series on the ‘minor’ prophets.    

Progressing with fear and trembling, while at the same time, moving forward in the hope, confidence, strength, and love of Jesus Christ,

Pastor Mark                

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Welcome Guest Speaker Bret Lamsma

The Good Samaritan
Luke Ch 10:25-37

Sunday Service will be Outside this Sunday!

The Good Samaritan

Welcome this Sunday to Pastor Bret Lamsma.  Bret is the Director of Faith Formation at 1st Christian Reformed Church in Denver.  Bret will be bringing a message on the Parable of the Good Samaritan on the theme of ‘Neighboring’ from Luke 10:25-37.  A perfect theme for Crestview Church as a core of our calling is neighboring well! 

Bret is married to Julie and they have two children, a son in 11th grade and a daughter in 8th grade.  He has been in ministry in California and Michigan with focus on youth and family.  Thank you Bret for making the trip up to Boulder and bringing us God’s word.   

Currently the weather looks good for another outdoor worship service – we will know more by Saturday.  If it’s dry outside and the temp in somewhere near 60 degrees, the plan is to take it outside!  

May the Lord bless you and keep you, fill you with his love and guide you in his ways,

Pastor Mark   

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Regarding Encouragement

The  Centrality of Christ
A study in the book of Hebrews

Regarding Encouragement
Mountain of Fear/Joy
Hebrews 12:14 – Ch 13

Sunday Service will be Outside this Sunday!

Can discipline be encouraging?  Can suffering be encouraging?  These are squirrely questions that can make us squirm a bit.  But they don’t cause the writer of Hebrews to squirm!  Nor does the writer shy away from answering with an emphatic “YES!”  

After chapter 11 comes 12 and 13.  No duh.  My point is this: After the crescendo of the parade on faith (chapter 11), the writer brings us down with a ‘reality check’ of encouragement – encouragement from places we wouldn’t normally go looking for it.  Preparing for the last message of this series on Hebrews has been rewarding.  Calming.  Enlightening.

It’s like the feeling of calm when in the eye of a hurricane.  Surreal.  A calm assurance that even though you know you are in the middle of a storm, and that the winds are going to blow hard again very soon, you take a deep breath and your eyes focus on what lies ahead.  There is resolve.  You say to yourself, “We’ve made it this far, God won’t let us down.”  It’s the feeling of peace in the midst of challenge – knowing there is a finish line.  Even though limping, all is well.  Especially as you look around you and see that others are limping too.  

This may seem cryptic – not making much sense.  Just come on Sunday.  To make it more cryptic, take a look at these two short video links… notice the imagery of sunflower seeds breaking ground, casting off their seed shells and dancing against gravity to grow toward the sun (time lapse of a sunflower seeds growing) – notice what God designed to grow out of the devastation of a forest fire… (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ0zqo1opv8&t=10s) I’ll try and make more sense of this Sunday. 

 “See” you then,

Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Faith

The  Centrality of Christ
A study in the book of Hebrews

Faith
Hebrews 11-12:3

Crestview Family,

After 10 chapters in the Book of Hebrews, the writer weaves together an amazing tapestry of God fearers and persons of faith.  An understanding of the essence of faith is embodied in every name mentioned in this magnificent list.  The essence of faith is embedded in the ‘story.’  In God’s story woven together with the faith of God’s people throughout history reveals the hope followers of Jesus carry with them every day.  

The writer says things like this, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for (promises fulfilled/resurrection!) and assurance about what we do not see (God and the fully fulfilled promises of God yet to come).”   And like this, “We look forward to the city with foundations whose architect and builder is God.”  And this, “They persevered because they saw him who is invisible.”  And this, “People of faith who conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of flames, escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.  Women received back their dead, raised to life again.  Others were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment, put to death by stoning; sawed in two; killed by the sword.  They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted, and mistreated – the world was not worthy of them.  These were commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”       

Gonna be fun telling this story, God’s story, on Sunday.  See you then,

Pastor Mark