Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Guest Speaker: Pastor George Saylor

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.

This week we welcome Pastor George Saylor bringing us a message from Matthew 14:13-21 where Jesus feeds the 5,000 (probably more like 15,000).  Its a fascinating story and George will be here to help unpack it for us.  I’ve always found it interesting that when the disciples come to Jesus wondering how all these people are going to be fed, he says to them, “You feed them.”  Now that is a powerful calling he gives to the disciples!  Read the text in preparation for this coming Sunday and you will be ready to dive in.

George and I have recently become friends as we both pastor in the same region of churches from our Classis and we both share a passion for mountain biking.  George and I hit it off on our Men’s Retreat to Moab this past year and have hit some more trails together since then.  We also have some connections together through a ministry organization called the Coalition for Christian Outreach that places campus ministers on college/university campus’s in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.  This was a part of our shared past.

   
Glad to have George here at Crestview!  He currently is pastoring Apex church, a church plant in Littleton, CO.

Deone and I want to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving.  May the Lord bless us with an attitude of gratitude for what he has done, is doing, and will continue to do in his world and in our lives together.  See you on the other side of Thanksgiving!

See you Sunday,

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Good News: Judgment and Rest – Jesus is Lord of Sabbath Rest

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.

And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Evil.  We have a problem – the problem of evil.  Many have tried to define it, deny it, explain it, or explain it away.  Is there really any doubt that it exists?

If we are into noticing, we can see it.  Things not the way they are supposed to be.  Evil within and evil without.  The gnawing sense that something is deeply wrong.  We can see it in war, shootings in a store, or the ease to ignore – the most beautiful of all impulses, to love.

Evil seeks to destroy, to harm, to shun, to mistreat and to bully.  It seeks to ruin, to divide, to weigh down and to chide – to kill at will and never gets its fill – just for the glee of it.  It turns what is right inside wrong.  Replaces hate for ‘get along.’  Evil is of the devil (I don’t like capitalizing devil because I don’t like giving him credit).  This king of pain has a name, its shame.  If only he would acknowledge it and repent and turn from his wicked ways.  But that doesn’t seem realistic as his nature is to dig in his heels and fight.

But the Devil (there, I capitalized it) is a formidable foe.  Yes, he has been deeply wounded and his days are numbered, yet he prowls ‘like a roaring lion’ seeking whom he may devour.  And the truth of this is sickly sour.

How are we to understand it (him) and confront it (him)?  “Deliver us from evil, or ‘the evil one’, is Jesus teaching on prayer.  This is what we should be praying.  Also, ‘thy (God’s) kingdom come and thy (God’s) will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ is another good prayer.  In the face of such incredible evil we are witnessing again and again, we pray, “Lord have mercy, Lord come and save us”, as well as, “Lord come quickly!”

We are being called to look within and ask God to cast out any hate that may be hiding in our heart.  We are being called to see the hurt of sin and the brokenness it causes and respond as agents of change through the myriad ways that God’s love can be shown.  Called to seek God in all our ways and to put on love in all things.  Even in the face of evil and hate, the love of God is greater.  For such a time as this we have been given life and called to follow Jesus.  Our world is in need of good news.  And God is calling on us to bring it.

This coming Sunday, Jesus invites us through the text to come to him and receive from him a yoke (rule of life) that is light.  Jesus invites us to come to him and find rest.  He goes on to explain that he is the truth and essence of Sabbath rest.

Jesus explains this by essentially saying, “I am greater than King David, the Temple, the Scriptural law, and the Sabbath law.”  Read the text from Matthew 11:25-12:21 and see if you can find out the places that Jesus says these things.

So what does it mean to enter into the sabbath rest of Jesus?  See you Sunday,

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Good News: Judgment and Rest – “Woe to you!”

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.

When it comes to fiery words of warning about coming judgment from the prophets in the Bible, how do we understand it?  Is it purely judgment that will certainly come absent of any grace or chance for repentance?  Or, is it another way that God’s grace comes to us by way of warning?

John the Baptist is known for his fiery words of judgment (Matthew 3:7-12).  Herod Antipas, the local ruler of Galilee, whose home is the town of Tiberius, just across from Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, has had enough of John’s words of condemnation on his lifestyle.  He sends his soldiers to get John and put him in prison.  It is at this point where Jesus seems to take up John’s fiery prophetic message.

In our text for Sunday, Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus speaks powerful prophetic words of judgment and warning to the people and places he has made his home base of ministry: Chorizin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  These are hard words to hear!

What is Jesus intention?  Why these challenging words to the very people he is bringing good news?  As we look at this text as part of a two week series, Good News: Judgment and Rest, what is Jesus intention?  Is it judgment or grace?

As with any prophet of God in the Bible, their role was to bring people back to God in obedience to his will.  It is no different for the people of Jesus day when Jesus speaks these prophetic words of coming judgment.  Does this mean there is no escape?

Jesus reference to Sodom and the context of Jonah gives us a clue to the answer.  Also, the context of Jesus next words (for next week) of becoming like a child and entering his Sabbath rest also give us a clue as to his intention with these strong words of judgment.

In preparation for Sunday read Matthew 11:20-24 for this week and keep reading through 12:21, our text for next week (November 12th).

One final question for reflection: Do you see any parallels of Jesus words of judgment for Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum for our context today?  The answer to this will take some deep digging…

See you Sunday!
Pastor Mark
Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Sent Ones: Go And Neighbor!

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.

Jesus takes the disciples of a field trip to Caesarea Philippi to talk more about what it means to follow him.  Its an smaller group with Jesus with only the 12 disciples with him.  More and more he is talking about the cost of discipleship and the crowds are beginning to thin out.  When people consider the cost of what it means to follow Jesus, many fall away.

We talked about the core of discipleship this past Sunday: Worship the Lord your God only, follow wherever he leads, whatever the cost, to hear and obey, and living a life of love.

This week we will look at a different aspect of what it means to follow Jesus, living a missional life.  Our text will be from Matthew 9:35-10:42.  We will take a quick look at Matthew 28:16-20 as well.

So what does a missional life look like?  One of the best descriptions of a missional life is found in Isaiah 61.  Certainly this is a text about Jesus.  However, Jesus says that we are ‘salt and light’ and he anoints us with his Spirit to partner with him in the work of building his kingdom.  After reading Isaiah 61, what does a missional life look like?  (Lots of clues in the image!)

See you Sunday!
Pastor Mark

 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

The Cost of Discipleship

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.

Three weeks of challenging and fascinating parables of Jesus, the Sower and the soils, the mustard seed/yeast, and the hidden treasure/pearl.  As Matthew is telling the story of Jesus, he begins to emphasize the cost of following Jesus.  And Jesus begins to talk about his purpose of dying and rising again to life.

He takes the disciples on a field trip away from the crowds, 20 miles north of the Sea of Galilee to the town of Caesarea Philippi.  This place is known for its pagan worship of Baal and a god named Pan.


There is a spring that comes out of a large cave at the foot of Mount Hermon where the town is located.  The mouth opening of the cave is called ‘the Gate of Hades’ and the rock platform near the opening is called ‘Rock of the Gods.’

Imagine Jesus with his disciples being very near this cave when you read the text for Sunday from Matthew 16:13-28.  Does this help you understand Jesus words, “On this rock I will build my church”?  A couple other questions: What is Jesus saying about the cost of discipleship (following him) in these verses?  And why does he get so angry with Peter for opposing Jesus teaching on his need to die?

Its gonna be a fascinating time together this Sunday… text and context are closely tied together to unpack this one.  Take a look at this 4 minute clip as preparation for Sunday’s message, The Cost of Discipleship  Matthew 13:13-28.



See you Sunday!
Pastor Mark
Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

The Kingdom of God is Like: Treasure, A Pearl, and a Net 

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.

Parables.  Stories that Jesus told about the Kingdom of Heaven.  They open and close doors of understanding.  We will take a look at a couple more parables of Jesus  from Matthew chapter 13:44-46, a treasure hidden in a field and a pearl of great price.

The emphasis on these stories is in the finding (fulfillment) and in the selling out (commitment).  Fulfillment and commitment are two qualities of discipleship, of following Jesus.

The fascinating part of these parables for me is the phrase, “moved by joy…” he went and sold all he had to obtain the treasure in the field and the pearl like no other.  It was out of joy.  Joy in what?  Finding something of infinite value: the Kingdom of God.

This is a great message to hear in our day today where so many things are pressing in on us.  And when it comes to following Jesus we have strange and distorted ideas of what that means.  We tend to develop ‘kill joy’ requirements and rules.  We back away from engaging fully  with a ‘don’t ask to much of me’ mentality.  We say, ‘don’t rock the boat’ when it comes to our commitments.

Read the text for Sunday, two pithy parallel parables.  And read Hebrews 12:1-3.  Jesus was sold out in his fulfillment and commitment to the Kingdom of God.  And the writer of Hebrews also mentions that Jesus ‘sold out’ because of joy.  Joy in what?  Hmmmm….

After this week, we will look at Jesus teachings on discipleship more specifically as he teaches about the cost and purpose of discipleship.  Jesus greatest hits keep coming and they play well to those who have ears and can hear…

Peace out,

Pastor Mark

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Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Little Power Parables

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.

Sunday message: Little Power Parables, (Our Text of the Quarter: Matthew 13:31-34.  The Kingdom of God is like… a mustard seed?  A granule of yeast?  (Big things come in small packages!)

Good Morning friends,

Another major tragedy close to home has rocked our hearts.  I have had a hard time even speaking words about it.  Every time I try to speak about it I fall silent.  Words seem so empty and cheap.

There is deep grief as we see a gathering place full of life turned into a graveyard.  One moment there is fun and enjoyment and the next there is horror.  And the loss for so many people of a spouse, a child – unbelievable.  Its a time to weep.

I took a ride yesterday into the mountains.  Up, up, and then way up.  I left Boulder with clear vision able to see for miles.  But the further up I went, the view became more and more clouded.  I finally reached my destination for the day on top of a lone mountain.  I couldn’t see more than 30 feet in any direction because of the foggy mist and it was cold!

I knew that just beyond the mist their were snow capped mountains, rivers, lakes and beautiful blue sky.  But I couldn’t see any of it because everything was shrouded in clouds.  The beauty, grandeur, majesty of the world was all around me but I couldn’t see it.

This is how it seems sometimes with God.  He so often can seem hidden – shrouded in clouds.  Once in awhile the clouds break and a glimpse of Him can be seen – his beauty, majesty, and grandeur.  Would it be that we could see God more clearly!  “Reveal yourself to me!”

As I stood there on that lone mountain in the shrouded mist, reflecting on this reality, my thoughts were led to Jesus.  Jesus, the God-man, holy-human weave of perfection comes near to us.  Jesus is the full revelation of God.  In him, God is revealed and not so hidden.

When God seems shrouded, I look to Jesus.  I can see him.  And when the beauty and majesty of God seems hidden, I can see him.  I can seek him.  For to know Jesus is to know God.  And in Jesus, I am fully known by God.  And the promises of Jesus to be with me, to walk life with me, no matter what happens in this world, even to the end of the age, speak truth to my soul.

Now is a time to love.  Now, is a call to love.  For only in God’s love and love for one another will we be able to see God more clearly.  For in love, what is hidden is revealed.  What is lost, can be found.

1 Corinthians 13:12 helps me too, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  Til that day, I look to Jesus to see God more clearly.  I love my neighbor to know God more fully.  And I hope in the day the shroud of clouds will be lifted.

See you Sunday,

Pastor Mark



Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

A Sower, Soils, Seed and Weeds

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.

Jesus is telling stories!  Stories that reveal the reality, beauty, challenge, and wonder of the Kingdom of Heaven.    Parables speak God’s truth to us on many different levels.  Jesus is a master teacher.

This Sunday we will listen to Jesus story about a Sower, some seed, different soils, and weeds.  Who is the Sower?  What’s up with the soils?  And how does the seed grow?  And how is it that weeds and wheat grow together?  Our message will be A Sower, Soils, Seed and Weeds from Matthew 13:1-30, 36-43.  

Why does Jesus speak in parables?  Why not just say it plainly? The answer to this is multiple.  Jesus says frequently after a parable teaching, “To the one who hears, let him hear.”  Parables open up a world of understanding to those who hear, but to those who don’t hear, there isn’t understanding.  This is a mystery, why do some understand (actually ‘hear’) and others do not?

Always more to explore when it comes to God’s Word,

See you Sunday,

Pastor Mark

 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Jesus is Lord! Authority: From Teaching to the Demonic, Sickness, and Nature

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.

We are back on track with Matthews account of Jesus life and teachings this Sunday.  We will be taking a look at Chapter 8 of Matthew.  The Sermon on the Mount ends in chapter 7 with the words, “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”

This is an important point Matthew is trying to make.  Jesus has authority.  There were certain things that the Jewish community was looking for to be demonstrated by the promised Messiah.  The Messiah was one who would come with authority.  And Matthew will now give several accounts of Jesus demonstration of authority in Chapter 8.

Read Chapter 8 in preparation for Sunday’s message: What areas does Jesus demonstrate authority in this series of episodes recorded by Matthew?  On Sunday, I will reveal the three areas of authority the Jewish understanding of the Messiah was to demonstrate.  Read Chapter 8 and you can’t miss them.  Matthew is making the strong case for Jesus as Messiah and LORD.
See you Sunday! 

Pastor Mark

 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

The Power of One

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.
Been burning the candle this week it seems.  Here is the weekly Email bright and early.

We have officially kicked off the fall ministry year at Crestview Church with a pancake breakfast blowout, a Profession of Faith celebration, and an outdoor service, even had a bouncy castle for the kids.  I’ve had this feeling all week, “Well… what now?”

Its similar to the feeling I get when anticipating a vacation, having the vacation, and then waking up on Monday morning to clock into work.  It’s similar to training for a big race, actually racing, and then 2-4 days later getting on the bike and saying to myself, “What am I doing this for?”  Its similar to celebrating a birthday and thinking, “Is anything really any different?”

This Sunday is self-proclaimed mission/vision Sunday.  Every fall (September) and every New Year (January) we will have a message at Crestview that reorients us to purpose.  It helps us answer the questions, “Why do we exist and what is Crestview all about?”  “Why follow Jesus and what does it mean and look like?”

I would like to take a week to address the answer to these questions by taking a closer look at discipleship.  In our study of Matthew, Jesus is calling disciples to himself – people who will follow him.  He is calling people to live for and live in the Kingdom of God.  For us today, what does that mean?

I want to get a little bit more specific on Sunday to answer these questions in the context of Crestview Church.  How does discipleship and following Jesus take on real meaning and tangible participation at Crestview church?

The Power of One.  I’m going to invite you and challenge you in one worship, one ‘going deeper’, one service, and one engagement in ‘neighboring’.  We will be celebrating communion this Sunday as a family of faith as well.
See you Sunday! 

Pastor Mark