Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Thyatira: A Deep Secret… Really?

This Sunday is a fun morning at Crestview Church – Worship at 9:30am, followed by a church wide Care Group time of connection at 10:30am, followed by a church wide brunch/lunch of fellowship.  Bring a dish to pass/share – a salad, a casserole, a crock pot something, a dessert, something to add to the feast.  If you are feeling frisky, bring two items to share :).  

The message for Sunday is the over-the-hump message of our series in Revelation as we tackle church #4: Thyatira.  Thyatira was a military outpost that protected the capital city of the region, Pergamum.  It also had several flourishing trade guilds.  The difficulty for followers of Jesus in Thyatira had to do with the trade guilds.  Membership to be included in a trade guild involved engagement in pagan worship practices.  

Think of the difficulty.  Imagine you are a potter or a tanner.  All your business connections are with people who engage in parties (worship practices) where things happen there that are against God’s call on your life to be ‘set apart’ and to give glory to God in your living practices.  If your faith in God keeps you from engaging in these events and social gatherings, over time, you are excluded and your business ties dry up.  Actually, it gets much worse than this – after a while you become a target for vandalism, ridicule, and scorn.  And this kind of thing carries over to your family and your children.  This is the kind of scenario the followers of Jesus faced in Thyatira: Economic hardship and social isolation.  What would you do?  Are there similarities in what you may face at work or school or in your neighborhood when it comes to your witness for Jesus?
There was one more thing that was going on in Thyatira – an enticement to seek some ‘secret knowledge.’  This is a powerful ploy of Satan throughout history: If you engage in this or that you will gain some ‘secret knowledge.’  Sounds like the kind of thing that got Adam and Eve in trouble in the first place… 

Text for Sunday is Revelation 2:18-29.  Looking forward to Sunday: Worship, Communion, Care Group Connection, and a Fellowship Feast!  Be there or be square!

Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Pergamum: No Compromise

Two down and five to go!  The letters and messages of Jesus to the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters two and three are for the church of all ages – that includes us Crestview!  Brothers and Sisters in Jesus, who have been washed by the blood of the Lamb, set free from the penalty and power of sin, called to be ‘salt and light’ in a broken world, agents of renewal and communicators of hope, armed with the Gospel of grace and truth – stand firm in the faith you have been given.  

Our world is destined for renewal and complete redemption.  And our great God is calling us to join him in this great work of his.  That in the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s power, we are destined to overcome.  Victory over death and hell are already guaranteed and certain.  We need only follow our Lord and King Jesus faithfully, with endurance and perseverance, wholeheartedly and in humility, finding our hope and strength in Jesus.  

The message to the Ephesian believers (to us!) is this: Continue to pursue truth and ‘right-ness’ in all things and in speaking truth, always remember to accompany truth with love for one another.  

The message to the believers in Smyrna (to us!) is this: In the midst of any challenge to faith in Jesus, hold firmly to the hope of the resurrection! 

And this week, the message to the believers in Pergamum (to us!) is this: Beware of compromise!  Romans 12 reads,  ‘Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you will be able to discern God’s good, pleasing, and acceptable will for your life.’             
The culture around us seeks to shape us into its images… Jesus confronts the subtle temptation to mesh the ‘un-meshable’ ideas, philosophies, and behaviors of the popular culture with the holiness and holy life that God calls us to in ‘being’ and ‘living.’  

Over the next few weeks, the letters ramp up the challenges to be and live lives that are distinctive and set apart from the philosophies and religions of the popular culture.  Read Revelation 2:12-17 in preparation for Sunday’s message.  You may find it leads you to Numbers 22-25… 

Ready to dive in – see you Sunday,

Pastor Mark   

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Smyrna: Hope in the Resurrection

This week is a Special Sunday as we celebrate the Profession of Faith and Baptism of Ashish Huffaker and Jeff Hoots.  We begin with a festive time of Worship (Recalibrating our hearts), followed by Going Deeper (cultivating wholehearted devotion in education time), and then we head off to Baseline reservoir for Baptism followed by a lunch feast hosted at the Huffaker home!  You are invited to come and celebrate with us!

Sunday’s message will dive into the message of Jesus to the church of Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11).  Well ‘myrna Smyrna’… what’s the big deal?  Jesus’ message to Smyrna is one of resurrection power, hope, and transformation.  This church is being oppressed from all sides and Jesus message to them is ‘find hope in the resurrection.’ 

This hope is not only for the future (‘pie in the sky when we die’) but has real implications for the present.  Hope in the resurrection is pulling the full and complete future reality of resurrection into the present, the here and now.  

This gets practical real fast.  Come and check it out: Testimonies of faith, Baptisms, vigorous discussion about things that matter, a feast of food – what’s not to love?

See you soon,

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Ephesus: Do not Forsake Your 1st Love! (Love for one another)

We are entering into a very cool and challenging section of the Book of Revelation, Jesus message to the church.  The seven messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) have specific impact for the churches of that time and space.  And yes, because the Book of Revelation is God’s Word to God’s people these messages also have impact for our church today.  

Here is what lies ahead for us in the messages to each of the churches: 

  • Sept 29: EphesusDo not forsake your 1st love! (Love for one another)
  • Oct 6: SmyrnaBe Faithful – find hope in the resurrection!   
  • Oct 13: PergamumNO COMPROMISE!
  • Oct 20: ThyatiraA Deep Secret?  Oh please… 
  • Oct 27: SardisWake Up! The Comatose Congregation…  
  • Nov 3: PhiladelphiaLittle Strength?  Hold On!
  • Nov 10: Laodicea: Lukewarm?  Time to choose – either Hot or Cold.

This Sunday we dive into the church of Ephesus. There is a whole book of the Bible written to the Ephesians by the Apostle Paul.  Many years later, after Paul’s death, John may have taken on the mantle of becoming the ‘spiritual father’ of the Ephesian church.  The message of Jesus in Revelation for John to communicate to the church in Ephesus is this: Remember and return to your first love!   There is a strong message of needed repentance.  

At first reading, it would seem that the message is about their returning to their first love, meaning, love for God.  Yet, what is most likely being communicated is not love for God (as the first love), rather, love for one another.  Something has been lost in their practice of loving one another well.  

In context, it seems that their zeal for weeding out heresy has negatively affected their love for one another.  This is a very real dilemma for the church of all ages.  How do we maintain a strong commitment to Biblical truth and yet, maintain strong love for one another?  

The message from our risen Savior to the Ephesian church has powerful implications for our lives today.  Read the passage in preparation for Sunday: Revelation 2:1-7.  Can’t wait for church – see you there!

In Jesus name,
Pastor Mark

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Easy to Do Church and Have No Idea Who We are Dealing With

Well, we have kicked off our fall schedule of education and small groups and we have ‘opened the seal!’  Our first week of Revelation is ‘in the books’ and we are moving forward.  This week, John attempts to describe what he sees in his vision.  In Revelation 1:9-20, John attempts to describe what he sees.  He describes Jesus in vivid and extravagant and in some ways, other worldly ways.  Yet, this revelation of Jesus by John is filled with deep and powerful truth about who Jesus is.  It’s glorious and awesome.  So much so, that John upon seeing this vision can’t help but fall on his face, hiding his face.  

These are some of John’s descriptions – “wearing a robe and golden sash, hair white as wool, eyes blazing like fire, feet of glowing bronze, voice like mighty waters, a double edged sword coming out of his mouth, holding seven stars in his right hand, and his face shining like the sun…” What does any of his mean?  

We will be diving into the rest of God’s word in Sunday’s message to find some clues to that question.  On Sunday I said something like this, “There is nothing new revealed in Revelation.”  I also quoted Eugene Peterson saying,  “I do not read Revelation to get additional information about the life of faith in Christ.  I have read it all before in law and prophet, in gospel and the early church letters.  The Revelation adds nothing of substance to what we already know.  The truth of the gospel is already complete, revealed in Jesus Christ.”                  

As true as these statements may be, I am thankful for this written vision of John.  Why?  This vision describes the current reality of Jesus resurrected and glorious.  And the descriptions of him have significant implications for my life in the here and now.  

Check it out – Sunday is coming,
Pastor Mark

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The Beginning and the End

YES!  Its September!  You can feel the coolness of the evening as the sun sets.  You can sense the leaves beginning to curl and become crispy as the winds begin to change.  Even the rivers and streams are beginning to thin, some to a trickle, as snow melt lessens and the mountains embrace for fresh snow pack.  I love Colorado.    

Change is a part of God’s creation.  Evidenced in the seasons and life cycles of every living being.  Our next sermon series  based on Revelation chapters 1-3, The Beginning and the End, describes in a significant way, the changes that the early church was experiencing.  The early church after Jesus death, resurrection, and ascension experienced an uncomfortable reality: Jesus said he was coming back soon – people were dying of old age, the church was experiencing much persecution, and Jesus had not yet returned.  There were other changes the early church was experiencing: boredom, forgetfulness, waywardness, etc.  The early church was becoming ‘lukewarm’, forgetting its ‘first love’, synchronizing the purity of the Gospel with ‘other’ non-Gospel beliefs.  

John, the writer of Revelation, is in prison, of old age, on the island of Patmos.  It is there that God reveals the message of Revelation to him.  John tries to describe what he sees and hears.  The vision is so glorious he has difficulty describing it.  For two weeks, we will explore the glorious vision of Jesus that John experiences and attempt to attach some meaning to it.  Then we will explore God’s message to the seven churches in Asia minor.  Each message is a message from God to the worldwide church of Jesus Christ.  

Buckle up – this is going to be a fun and challenging fall ride.  Read chapter one of Revelation in prep for Sunday’s message.   What do you think of John’s vision?   

Pastor Mark   

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Fall Kickoff Sunday!

Fall Kickoff Sunday this week September 8th!  (And I’m not referring to American Professional Football.)  Come for Pancakes and Fellowship at 8:45-9:30am and enjoy a worship service on the front lawn at 9:30am.  Invite your friends and neighbors – all are welcome!

This week is a ‘tweener’ in our message series as we transition from the early Psalms (1-51) to the Book of Revelation (Chapters 1-3).  So we are going to have a ‘tweener’ message with a Psalm ‘mash-up.’  

There is a reason why the Psalm book of the Bible is a go too favorite for Bible lovers and casual readers over the centuries – they speak to the human experience.  The Psalms give expression to a dynamic relationship with God.  Sometimes God seems near and other times distant.  Our approach to God can run the full gambit of emotions from deep sorrow to unexplainable joy.  The Psalms got it all.  

I read through the first 51 Psalms yesterday and I’ve prepared a Psalmic ‘mash-up’ for the outdoors Sunday.  Getting ready for a feast on Pancakes and a Psalm sonnet.  Come, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Pastor Mark

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Psalm 46: HOPE

Here we go!  This labor Day holiday weekend kicks off each year for me a beautiful alarm bell: Wake up Mark!  Its time to shake off the summer sleepy’s and engage in what God has for the church in the fall schedule. So here it is: 

September 8thFall Kickoff: Enjoy a Pancake Breakfast at 8:45am followed by an outdoor worship service.
September 15thWorship/Education schedule begins: 9:30-10:30am Worship followed by Fellowship 10:30-1045am, followed by Education 10:45-11:30am.  

This Sunday, September 1st, we finish our Summer Psalm Series with a message on Psalm 46: Trust, Strength, and Hope.  Psalm 46 is a foundational text for Martin Luther in the writing of his hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”  In the midst of his struggle in reforming the church of his time, Psalm 46 gave him strength.  The church of today and its followers find themselves in similar challenging circumstances.  Every follower of Christ encounters challenges to faith and to faithfulness.  No different today than it was then.  Actually, the challenge to faith and faithfulness are embodied in David’s song (Psalm 46)  – many years before the Reformation.  This Psalm is a fine place for us to transition from Summer Psalms to our fall series on Revelation chapters 1-3, The Spirit Speaks to the Churches (beginning on September 15th).

Be encouraged – Psalm 46 is on tap for Sunday.  Does this mean I have to wait ’til Sunday to meet with God in worship with you?  I’ll try and hold it in… gonna be hard to wait.  See you soon,

Pastor Mark      

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Psalm 32: Confession

Mark and Devin during the 2019 Leadville 100 bike race

Back in the saddle – and galloping at high speed!  Time away from the everyday is always good.  And its also good to get back to the daily rhythm.  It was a wonderful 1st week of time alone and with Deone, family, and friends in the mountains.  A good week of refreshment and relaxation – hiking, biking, with the attempt to complete the yearly race goal of the Leadville 100 race.  My buddy Devin and I, with support of family crew, completed the race in record time on a tandem (record time for us!).  A perfect day for racing feeling strong throughout.  Thank you God for ability, strength, generosity of friends (borrowed a sweet tandem bike), and just about everything went as well as expected from weather, to body/mind/soul peeking at the right time, no mechanical failures – etc.  Every year I am overwhelmed with emotion when nearing the finish line.  Lots of stories around this years race event but I won’t take up space here.

The 2nd week was a quick turn around and flight to Boston, MA with a couple days of hiking, biking and leisure with Deone in Acadia NP.  Awesome – totally awesome. Then a road trip through New Hampshire to Danville, VT and connection with Danny Painter and Jessica Jenks and their family and friends for a weekend of wedding rehearsal, prep, and Saturday wedding.  A great celebration with them as Daniel and Jessica are returning to us after some vow making as husband and wife.  A delightful experience.  Just as the couple was pronounced husband and wife (outside venue for wedding and reception), the clouds burst open and we all ran for the tent for the reception.  Through periodic torrential downpours and quick trips to the taco truck all evening, we were safely under the tent celebrating.  

Now its back to the job I love with the people and place I love, Crestview Church in Boulder CO.  We continue our summer series in the first 51 Psalms with two more messages: Psalm 32: CONFESSION and Psalm 46: HOPE.  Then after a holiday weekend we have our fall kickoff on September 8th with a Pancake breakfast and outdoor service.  Then our fall schedule kicks into full swing!  Loving you all in the name of Jesus.  Remember, the best way for others to know God and what a relationship with God can look like is through you.  So ‘shine and be salty’ for the glory of his name.  The Crestview faith community is the best kept secret in Boulder CO.  Why keep it a secret?   Let’s share!

In the name of Jesus 

Pastor Mark

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Psalm 27: Strength

The Psalms are a treasure trove of experiential knowledge.  They are dynamic human interactions with our Living Creator Redeemer God.  The Psalms fluctuate from expressions of agony to unwavering trust, from despair to the heights of praise, from complaining to thanksgiving.  That sounds much like the reality of ‘life and living.’    

As this summer Psalm series has unfolded, I have noticed a few things.  Psalm 1 begins the Psalter with describing the path of wisdom.  Then Psalm 2 enthrones God as King of the heavens and the earth.  And then there are two groups of laments, crying out to God (2-7, 9-14) with another enthronement Psalm in the middle, Psalm 8.  Then a mixture of Psalms focused on a revolving pattern of lament, confession of trust, thanksgiving, and praise.  Sometimes they are expressed communally and other times individually.   

This revolving pattern of dynamic human expression and experience in relationship with a loving and mysterious Living God, seems an accurate reflection of our day to day life.  We are never all praise all the time, we are never all trust all the time, we are never all ‘in sorrow’ all the time… like Ecclesiastes says, “There is time for everything under the sun.”  

What’s my point?  Not sure… yet, here is something… There is comfort in knowing that others, especially the community of God’s people, can and do express their heart of worship in authentic and real ways.  The ebb and flow of life with its ups and downs, even for people of strong faith, is not only ‘OK’, it is to be expected.  It’s normal.  

When it comes to worship of God in our lives, seems to me that God desires authenticity when we express our worship, preferring ways that reflect honestly and openly where we are with God.  God invites the different postures in which we can approach him.  And when we approach Him, make sure we are engaging him with reality – no ‘fake-ness’ allowed.    

Sunday we take a look at Psalm 27: Strength.  It is a difficult Psalm to categorize because it embodies different genres of the Psalms.  Lets explore it together on Sunday – – See you soon!

Pastor Mark