Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Anxiety and God’s Peace


Good Morning,

As I begin this vacation time I am well aware of something, my anxiety.  I have some ideas as to where this is coming from: changing staff conditions at Crestview, lots of company in the past few weeks and a couple of fast approaching races…

What to do?  One thing that comes to mind is REMEMBER.  Anxiety is a reality of life.  Its acknowledged over and over in Scripture – by God, by the Scripture writers, over and over.  How to enter God’s rest? Remember.  God’s infinite love and amazing goodness.  A fitting goal as I enter some vacation time.

Resting in God’s abounding love for me sounds like a good place to start.  Knowing that my every breath, my every coming and going is known and cared for by God (Psalm 139).  And then out of God’s love, my love may abound.  The key: To know the depth of God’s love.  The ultimate place to rest.  (Philippians 1:9-11).  To know the humility, compassion, tenderness, and love of God through Jesus (Philippians 2:1-5).  To know Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection (Philippians 3).  To know his joy.  And for my life to flow out of his life, in all goodness (Philippians 4:4-9).  Sounds like a good place to start – to take all of my anxieties and give them over to God, he will take good care of me.  And for that matter, he will take care of all of us.

Welcome to Bob Westenbroek, former Pastor of Crestview Church (Sunday August 12th) and Pastor Jacci Busch, (Sunday August 19th) in bringing the message for our worship services.  Thank you!

One final note, I ask for your prayers as I attempt to accomplish a goal I set for myself in December of 2017.  I have wanted for some time to attempt completing the Leadville Race Series.  It consists of 5 events in Leadville, CO: Marathon, 50 mile Mountain Bike (MTB), 100 mile MTB, 10K Run, and finally, a 100 mile Trail Run.  I believe this is my mid-life crisis in turning 50 years old this past December.  I have completed the Marathon (June), 50 mile MTB (July), and this weekend I am seeking to finish the series with the last 3 events within a week: 100 MTB Saturday August 11, 10K Run Sunday August 12.  If I finish these two races this weekend within the cutoff times, it all wraps up with a 100 mile Trail Run beginning Saturday August 18.

I know this sounds like a crazy way to spend vacation and a kind of extreme mid-life crisis.  So be it.  I ask for your prayers for endurance, perseverance, patience, and peace – whatever the outcome.

In God’s hands, forever and always,

Pastor Mark

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Belgic Confession:Why it Matters?


The creeds and confessions of the Christian church stand under Scripture, yet, they stand over our lives.  In confessing basic Christian truths our lives are informed as we learn more and more what it means to live in relationship with the Living God and with his world.

This week we take a look at another level of expression of our Christian Faith: The Belgic Confession.  Each article of the Belgic Confession is like a drop of truth in the ocean of God’s truth.  It is the oldest of the confessions of the Christian Reformed Church that comes from the 16th-17th century reformation period.  Its origin is from the Netherlands, written by a preacher named Guido DeBres.  It was a tumultuous time with terrible persecution of the Christian church by the Roman Catholic government at the time.

In 1562, this confession was sent to King Phillip II with these words, “We will obey the government in all lawful things, but we will ‘offer our backs to stripes, our tongues to knives, our mouths to gags, and our whole bodies to the fire’ rather than deny the truths expressed in this confession.”  Pastor DeBres died a martyr in 1567 along with many others confessing their Christian faith in the articles of the Belgic Confession.

Sunday, we will take a deep dive into these articles with a single stroke overview.  You can find a copy of the Belgic Confession here: https://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/confessions/belgic-confession  There are 37 articles of faith in this confession.  Why do these matter?  Its a great read! (Take into consideration who is claiming this as a great read 🙂  Do these articles still speak truth and power into our context today?  I believe they do.  It spoke truth into its context of the 16th century and still speaks to our context today.

Take a look at Article 36 about the Civil Government.  What do you think of that?  Can anything out of this article serve as a guide to us today?  See you Sunday!

Pastor Mark

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The Creeds, Why They Matter (Apostles, Nicene and Athenasian)


Good Morning!  Every time I finish a series like the one we just completed on the book of Philippians I have to ‘pick myself up again’ and find the motivation and drive to jump into a new one.  In a way, its spiritually and emotionally challenging to do that as I would like to just ‘stay put’ and meditate on Philippians a bit longer.

Good news, I can!  And so can you.  Philippians is now a part of us as a faith community.  We had three Texts of the Quarter over the past two years: 1:9-11, 3:7-11, and 4:4-9.  So now its on to something new.

We are gonna engage the foundational Creeds and Confessions of the Christian Church and explore, why do they matter?  For five weeks we will explore The Apostles/Nicene/Athanasian Creeds, Belgic and Belhar Confessions, the Canons of Dordt, and the Heidelberg Catechism.  I’m really looking forward to the Heidelberg Catechism entitled: Feasting on the Heidelberger in One Big Bite!   You won’t have to sit through 52 weeks of Catechism class, you can get the whole thing in 20-25 minutes.  You’ll need to pay attention to keep up!

So what can you do to prepare for these messages?  Google these creeds and confessions, take a look at their structure and main points.  For this week, read in this order: The Apostles Creed, The Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.  Do you notice any progression?  Each Creed expands and further explains what the Christian Church believes about the Trinity and the person of Jesus.  See you Sunday!

Oh, and one more thing.  Creed comes from the Latin word, ‘credo.’  It means ‘I believe…’  Lets dive in to the ‘credo’ with ‘gusto’.  Today, its becoming increasingly important to know what we believe as Christ followers.  Especially in a world that increasingly says these things don’t matter. Or to say it more pointedly, God and beliefs about Jesus don’t matter.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

For the weeks of August 12th and 19th, I will be on vacation with my family.  We are spending time mostly local in the mountains of Colorado reading, hiking, soaking, and doing a little biking/running along the way.  Former pastor of Crestview, Bob Westenbroek (August 12th) and Jacci Busch (August 19th) will be bringing the messages on those days.

I believe in Jesus, 
Pastor Mark

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This is Living: In Conclusion…, Philippians

The end of the Philippians letter already?  It’s hard to believe that we have been in the book of Philippians for 9 weeks!  That also is a clue that our summer is moving right along.

This Sunday, July 22nd, we will wrap up our summer series on the book of Philippians with a flourish and some relish.  Flourish – a bit of bold fanfare.  I will give you a message on the entire book, highlighting the nuggets of all 9 messages.  Relish – enjoy and make pleasant to the taste.  We will then have some open mic time to allow for you to share your reflections on our summer reading of Philippians: What struck you?  What did you learn?  How does Paul’s teaching to the Philippians impact your life?

Come ready to feast on God’s word, enjoy the fellowship of believers, and grow in the knowledge and love of God.  See you Sunday!

Sunday afternoon we are sending Laura Westrate off with an open house hosted by George and Beverly Peters at their home from 3-6pm.  Come and send her off to Western Michigan with love.

See you Sunday!! 

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

This is Living: Who is Your Mentor?

We have all probably heard the call of Jesus to his disciples, “Come, follow me.”  In our text for this coming Sunday (Philippians 3:15-4:3), the Apostle Paul essentially says the same thing, “Come, follow me.”  He goes on to say, “Just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.”  This is a direct call for each of us to have a mentor or mentors in our life to whom we can look to and follow.

I remember as a kid playing the game of follow the leader.  It was fun to follow someone and imitate everything they did.  It was really fun to be the leader and make those who followed do all kinds of crazy things as they tried to imitate me.  Paul is encouraging the same kind of thing for us in our living of life.  

The question is: Who will we follow?  Who are we going to imitate?  This is an important question for us to discern as we think of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  There are all kinds of ‘models’ out there to follow: some good and some bad.  When it comes to faith and following Jesus, who do we keep our eyes on and who do we imitate?

Do you have a living, breathing someone who is a mentor to you in the faith?  We all should.  Let’s explore this idea together.

See you Sunday,

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

This is Living: Take Hold of it! Put no Confidence in the Flesh – Press On!


This is the day, like every day, that the Lord has made!  Let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24)  Sounds like Philippians to me!  As you give thanks for our independence and freedoms, make sure to direct your thanks to our great God for all of his benefits.  And in your comings and goings of the holiday week, bless others along the way.

Don’t forget to pray for our country and our leaders as it grapples and they grapple with complicated issues and major decisions.  May they have wisdom that comes from God.  May they look to the interests of others as they serve in their elected roles of governing.  May they govern well.

This coming Sunday we dive into Philippians 3:1-14 together.  As you read the text in preparation for Sunday, notice that Paul gives us a ‘resume of sorts.’  No one is more qualified in ‘right’-eousness when it comes to having ‘confidence in the flesh.’  Yet, he says that he considers it ‘garbage/dung’ compared to knowing, gaining, and being found in Christ.  What does he mean?  Sunday we continue in our series: This is Living!  Take Hold of It!  Put no Confidence in the Flesh!  Press on!  Nothing compares… 

Be safe in your celebrations and be grateful (no complaining! Ph 2:14)!  Take time to read through the Book of Philippians in one sitting and pray for your country and its leaders,

The Lord bless you,

Pastor Mark

 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Shining Like Stars in the Universe: No Grumbling!

What a fantastic day!  Nothing better than writing a sermon message and also having a nagging internet receptivity problem solved for the family household.  Happy family means happy Mark!

This Sunday worship service, heading into July 4th Holiday week, promises to be worth the price of admission – and that’s something since you can come anytime for free.  It will only cost you some God given time and a willful desire to grow.

Philippians 2:12-18 is a truckload of treasure for living.  “Do everything without grumbling” Paul says.  That’s a tall order when grumbling has become a national pastime.  Grumble in the morning, grumble in the evening, grumble the whole day through…  sounds like a song I used to know.

In light of Paul’s message and our 4th of July holiday, I’ve penned some new lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner.  Come Sunday and here it performed.  Come Sunday ready to grow in the call of God to humility, hospitality, and honesty. Read the text in preparation for Sunday and ask (and answer): How am I doing with this issue of grumbling?

Don’t miss the train on our journey this summer through Philippians.  One time a week, Philippians reading in its entirety, in one sitting.  And commit to head and heart memory Philippians 1:9-11, “This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.”

Pastor Mark

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A Good Investment?

Hello Crestview Family,

This weekend is Crestview Camping Weekend!  For those in the mountains at Golden Gate State Park we are looking for a good time together with good weather, good company, and good outdoor fun!

At Crestview this year we will be having our regular worship service on Sunday at 9:30am with guest speaker Joy Engelsman.  Joy will continue our series in Philippians with a message on 2:19-30.  Here is what Joy has for you to think on in preparation for this week:

“Some verses in the Bible are so obviously inspired and inspirational…like the opening verses of Philippians 2 which Pastor Mark preached on last week.  Have the same mind as Christ!  But then there are some verses that seem to be little more than a letter home from camp–like our text for this week.  If you are one of those people who highlight in your Bible, open to the text for this week:  Philippians 2:19-30 and see what you’ve written. I’m betting that these verses don’t have any highlights because in short, they seem to say…

Dear friends in Philippi, 
I’m still in jail, but wanted to let you know the travel plans of Timothy and Epaphrodites who, by the way, was really sick when he was here.  Not sure when their flight gets in–but look for them to be coming back to you.  
Love,
Paul

But there’s way more going on in these verses than what it seems at first glance.  Let’s get together on Sunday morning and explore what these words have to teach us.  See you there!”

Wish I were here with you to explore this with you and Joy!  I will be at The Journey church in Longmont Sunday preaching for Pastor Rick Ebbers who has just begun his summer sabbatical.  See you on Wednesday the 27th for our Bike to Work, Freedom Ride hosting, Boulder neighboring cookout!  Don’t miss this one,

For the Kingdom and the Glory of God,

Pastor Mark

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This Is Living!: Imitating Christ

Philippians is rocking my world.  In the third week of reading through Philippians in its entirety in one sitting, here is what is striking me.  Paul repeats a theme throughout the book by saying the same thing in different ways: I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  (3:10)  Check out these verses too: 1:6, 1:28, 2:1, 2:13, 3:10, and 3:16.

The concept of ‘taking hold of the salvation we have received’ fascinates me.  I love this teaching by Paul because it confirms and affirms our created and called purpose in salvation to bring glory to God.

The big question for this Sunday is to answer the question: What does ‘working out your salvation’ look like?  How does ‘grabbing hold of heaven and pulling’ take on real meaning in our words and actions?

Paul reveals a powerful first way to live this out in Philippians 2:1-11.  Read it and ask yourself What is the main way I can grab hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me?  Clue: it rhymes with ‘you millipede.’  🙂

See you Sunday,
Happy Father’s Day early!

Pastor Mark

 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

This Is Living!: A Worthy Life

For a couple weeks now we have talked about created purpose and calling.  In Paul’s letter to the Philippian church he repeatedly calls them to a life ‘worthy of the gospel’.   The salvation we receive from God is a gift of grace.  And we respond to God’s salvation in gratitude by living a life ‘worthy of the gospel.’  Paul says in our text for Sunday, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.” (1:27)

This life ‘worthy of the gospel’ is for anytime and in anyplace under any circumstance.  It’s never too late to embrace and engage God’s salvation in Jesus Christ and live the life of the Spirit.  You could say God makes us worthy to live a worthy life.

There is a song by an artist I like with great lyrics: Wandering the road of desperate life.
Aimlessly beneath a barren sky…  So afraid that you will not be found.  It won’t be long before your sun goes down…  A troubled mind and a doubter’s heart.  You wonder how you ever got this far… Vultures of darkness ate the crumbs you left.  You got no way to retrace your steps…  Just leave it to me – I’ll lead you home… Hear me calling
This life ‘worthy of the gospel’ is for anytime (the time is now) and in anyplace (this is the place) under any circumstance (matters not where you find yourself.) God is calling us to his created purpose.
What does a life worthy of the gospel look like?  Let’s take a look at it together as we study the book of Philippians this summer.  See you Sunday!  We will be participating in communion together. Summer BBQ’s kickoff this next Wed!

Pastor Mark