Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Draw Near – Surrender – Stories, Ours and Others

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Draw Near – Surrender – Stories, Ours and Others
Philippians 2:12-13, Psalm 139, Matthew 5:1-12

Big things come in little packages – Bethlehem, a little town, with a major happening!  As we look toward Bethlehem and the happenings there from long ago, in anticipation of our Savior’s birth, what are you hopeful for?   


In Jesus, God has drawn near to us.  What has Jesus coming accomplished for you and how are you responding?  How are you drawing near to God this holiday season?  


I’ve been thinking of the lyrics to a couple of well-known Advent hymns.  O Come, O Come Emmanuel sings, “O come O Wisdom from on high, to us the path of knowledge show and teach us in its ways to go…  O come Bright and Morning Star, bring comfort from afar, dispel the shadows of the night and turn our darkness into light.”  Come Thou Long Expected Jesus sings, “Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.”  

In Jesus, God has drawn near to us.  What has Jesus coming accomplished for you and how are you responding?  How are you drawing near to God this holiday season?  

As God comes to make his home in our hearts and lives, where and what is the fruit of ‘his kingdom come and will be done’ in us?  Big things come in little packages… the gift of Advent has come.

See you Sunday as we anticipate Jesus coming to us together,

Pastor Mark 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Holy/Human Weave: Stories – Others/Ours

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Holy/Human Weave: Stories – Others/Ours
John 15:1-17, Psalm 139

Crestview Faith Family,

Thank You to Larry Kelderman for stepping in on such short notice this past Sunday and bringing us a message from God’s Word.  Over the past 7 years, Larry and I have had many significant conversations about faith and family over auto repair engagements.  Shared in prayer about family challenges, desires of the heart, and the discerning of God’s will in our lives.  Over that time, I’ve learned about Larry’s heart for God, love for Jesus and God’s Word.  When I called Larry on Friday, in a last minute pinch, knowing I needed another couple days for flu recovery, Larry was eager to step in and serve.  I’m thankful for Larry! 

This week is Thanksgiving.  A time set aside for special and pointed thanksgiving.  Today, I have a much sung melody of my past going through my head and heart, give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ, his Son.  And now, let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich, because of what the Lord has done for us, give thanks

I’m thankful for many things today.  Close to the surface of my thanks is feeling better after several days of not feeling well.  Even though our Thanksgiving plans have changed unexpectedly this year, Deone and I are turning our hearts toward God – giving thanks for the abundant gift of God and his love for us. I would love to hear what it is you are thankful for – let’s encourage one another this Thanksgiving with a heart of gratitude one to another.  Allow God to bring people to your mind who you can encourage and then send out a text of encouragement.  You never know God’s timing when it comes to an encouragement of gratitude.  It can be contagious.  Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I give thanks to God for you!


This holiday season, the invitation of God is to draw near to our Savior.  To receive Him and embody Him. 


Sunday begins our Advent Season.  We will begin our Advent journey by entering into John 15:1-17, Jesus teaching about the Vine and the Branches.  Of course, it’s much more than a teaching.  What Jesus speaks about is an invitation into an incarnational relationship with the Living God.  This holiday season, the invitation of God is to draw near to our Savior.  To receive Him and embody Him. 

As we have focused in on the integration of God’s will and our will, I’ve been interested in moving us toward our own stories.  Moving us from theology and Biblical truth toward an integration and engagement of God’s will in everyday life.  Larry has helped us turn the corner here in sharing his story of relationship and stating clearly, “God is at work in our lives and our story is important.  And God wants to partner with us, working in us to bring about his will in our life.”  

See you Sunday, as we come together with the purpose to draw near to God together, giving thanks to our great God,
  Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Holy/Human Weave: Concurrence

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Holy/Human Weave: Concurrence
John 15:1-17, Psalm 139

Last week, we were given some homework for the week, to read Proverbs 1-4 and make note and take notes of what characterizes true wisdom.  Where is it found?  What does it look like?  How is it described?  And what place should the pursuit and gaining of true wisdom have in our lives?    

Sunday, we will begin our message time with some quick responses all together on what you have discovered.  We will celebrate communion, have a potluck feast and gather in our care groups once again.  


“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth (and in me!), as it is in heaven.”


For the message, we will probe the ‘doctrine of concurrence.’  Concurrence is defined in the dictionary as ‘two or more effects or circumstances happening or existing at the same time,’ ‘a point at which two or three lines intersect,’ ‘agreement or consistency.’  In seminary, ‘concurrence’ was described more in terms of ‘free will’ and ‘predestination’, and the theological understandings of the intersection of the two.  I wasn’t aware of a ‘doctrine of concurrence’ until this summer sabbatical, stumbling on it while diving into the holy human weave of the integration of God’s will and our will.  In studying it further, I was surprised by the lack of exposure I have had to this little known doctrinal understanding.  It will be worth our time together exploring this with a message on Sunday as it helps frame an essential truth about life in Christ: that God’s will become our will.  It is the seeking of the Lord’s Prayer fulfillment, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth (and in me!), as it is in heaven.”

A great passage to get our reflection thoughts going on ‘concurrence’ is John 15:1-17, The Vine and the Branches.  Concurrence is everywhere.  The way I have come to understand ‘concurrence’ is this, ‘to act together, as agents of cooperation, in harmony.’ God’s will is to become my will in all things…  Spirit of God, make it so in me.    

See you Sunday!
   Pastor Mark   

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Wisdom (of God)

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Wisdom (of God)
Pr 9:10, 2:1-6, Romans 11:33-12:2

Wisdom.  What is it?  Where can it be found?  Why would one want to have it?  The search for wisdom is a continual human effort.  Sometimes we actively seek it, other times we stumble upon it.  Wisdom.  

The past two messages focused on a text from Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  And we discovered in Scripture that the ‘fear of the Lord’ is intimately woven together with love and trust in the Lord.  So it would follow, that wisdom is gained in relationship to God.  Wisdom about anything.  


Wisdom is found in God.  And God’s wisdom best directs one’s life.  Where do YOU search for wisdom?  Where will YOU find it? 


When it comes to knowing God’s will, it would seem important to know God’s wisdom, and then it follows, the essential ingredient of gaining wisdom – knowing God.  In Scripture, wisdom is a relationship word.  Wisdom is, and is gained in, a ‘knowing’ relationship with God, a ‘knowing’ relationship of God.  

Sure, wisdom can be gained in many ways from many things – the study of things, from experiences of good and bad choices, from reading and reflecting – yet, without being connected to the source and being of wisdom, God – any knowledge, information, understanding is lacking or misses its mark.  

Wisdom is found in God.  And God’s wisdom best directs one’s life.  Where do you search for wisdom?  Where will you find it?  The plan, Lord willing of course, will be to make the Biblical case for wisdom being found in a relationship with the Living God.  For wisdom, is a relationship word.  

Our Text’s for Sunday: Proverbs 9:10, 2:1-6, 13-18 and Romans 11:33-12:2.  The question we will share with one another today, in what way (identify one or two) can we gain wisdom?  We will also be having Download discussion time following the service,

May the way of wisdom, found in God, guide your steps,
   Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Fear (of the Lord) – Sinful vs Right Fear

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Fear (of the Lord) – Sinful vs Right Fear
1 John 4:16-18, Pr 9:10, 22:4, Psalm 147:11, Romans 11:33-12:2

‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… and humility is the fear of the Lord, its rewards are riches, honor, and life… the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him.” (Pr 9:10, 22:4, and Ps 147:11). What characterizes this fear of the Lord?  What is it we fear of the Lord?  These are good questions.  And then another question comes, what about other fears, how do they fit in with the fear of the Lord?  

Sunday, we will briefly share together a fear that we have, it can be anything.  And then make ‘a call’ about that fear, does that fear fit into God’s desire for you to be fearful about?  The answer can be simple – either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe, unsure.’  No further explanation is necessary on Sunday.  Simply identify a fear, can be anything, and make ‘a call’ on it.  Is it God’s desire for you to fear such and such?  


Is it God’s desire for you to fear such and such?  


Another text of focus for Sunday is from 1 John  4:16-18, “God is love.  Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in them.  This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world, we are like Jesus.  There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.  For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been made perfect in love.”  How might this address our fears and our understanding of the fear of the Lord?

Remember ‘show and tell’ in elementary school?  When you had a special time to share before the class something you enjoyed or had, like a hermit crab, or a dog for example.  You’d spend time ‘telling’ about it, and then, you would ‘show it.’  What was the most impactful experience?  Telling about it, or showing it?  I wrote a sermon on Monday that had much ‘tell’ to it (information, tidbits of knowledge, interesting facts, etc).  And then Tuesday night, it seemed that God was working it all out in my thoughts and spirit.  I awoke Tuesday early am, and wrote more ‘show’ into the message for this week.  So Sunday will be both ‘ tell, and show’, about the fear of the Lord.

May God’s will be so intertwined with your will, that it is Christ who lives in you, 
Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Fear (of the Lord) – Sinful vs Right Fear

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Fear (of the Lord) – Sinful vs Right Fear
Pr 9:10, 22:4, Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 33:8-9, Romans 11:33-12:2

As we continue in this message series of seeking the intersection of God’s will and our will, we will explore for the next two weeks, The Fear of the Lord.  Today, it’s vitally important for us to seek and understand God’s narrative (meaning God’s story.) For in God’s narrative is the key to living life well, as he created and redeemed life to be.  In God’s narrative, we find. In the face of so many other competing narratives about our world, about human beings, it’s good to gather together and find our place, our peace, our purpose in God’s narrative. 


How can we recognize good vs sinful fear?


Seeking and understanding the good and right Fear of the Lord is key to finding God’s perfect will for our world and for our own lives.  Scripture speaks of the Fear of the Lord often and everywhere.  And Scripture also creates a juxtaposition for us about fear by saying, “Fear the Lord”, while at the same time, “Do not fear.”  So which is it?  ‘To fear or not to fear’, that is the question.  We will explore a ‘good/right’ fear vs a ‘sinful/wrong’ fear and also tease out the meaning of ‘fearing the Lord’, what are the outcomes?  How can we recognize good vs sinful fear?  

Download begins again Sunday.  We need more time to unpack all of this together in discussion.  See you Sunday!

Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Glory (of God) – Redemption

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Glory (of God) – Redemption
Psalm 145:1-7, Colossians 1:15-20, 1 Peter 1:13, 2:4-5, 9-10 and Romans 11:33-12:2

God’s glory is on display in creation on a scale that is unfathomable, from the universe to the human being to the individual cell, revealing God.  All that the sciences are uncovering, discovering, exploring and illuminating cries out ‘HOLY!’  It’s all very stupefying, mystifying, wonderful and beautiful – from the microscope to the Hubble telescope – GOD!  But there’s more, much more, besides and in addition to creation’s immense and continual revelation of God, there is another revelation of God even more mystifying (if it’s possible and behold it is!) – God’s self-revelation in Jesus. 


Do you have purpose in living?  Do you have peace?  Do you understand God’s created design and will for your life?  Do you understand that God loves you, created and redeemed you for his glory?


As if creation doesn’t give us all we need for the worship of God, God’s self-revelation in Jesus brings us to our knees.  For in Jesus, God’s will and our will come together in love, grace, and amazing salvation in ways that blow the mind, capture the heart, and overcome the will.  Scripture speaks powerful truth about Jesus and Jesus speaks powerful truth about himself.  After all, he is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ all wrapped up in one.   And in and through Jesus, God’s will and our will come to perfect unity.  In Jesus, all the promises of God are ‘YES and AMEN!’

When it comes to salvation in Jesus, it’s more than being saved from something, it’s being saved for something.  In Creation (by God, for God’s Glory) and in Redemption (of God, by God, for God’s glory), we see God’s glory on display.  And in and through God’s revelation we find meaning, purpose, and peace in life.  Can you see it?  

Questions to ponder in prep for this week: Do you have purpose in living?  Do you have peace?  Do you understand God’s created design and will for your life?  Do you understand that God loves you, created and redeemed you for his glory?  Begin with Colossians 1:15-20 and 1 Peter 1:13, 2:4-5, 9-10.  Imagine your life hidden in Christ and found in him.  Your Creator, Redeemer  – an abundant and eternal life.  It’s yours for the receiving… It’s yours for the living.  Taste and see, the Lord our God is GOOD.

See you Sunday
Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Glory (of God) – Creation

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Glory (of God) – Creation
Psalm 8 and 19, Romans 11:33-12:2

GLORY.  The GLORY of GOD.  The beginning, the center and purpose, the end of all things. In understanding and experiencing the intersection of God’s will/our will, we begin here.  For two weeks, we will focus on GLORY – GOD’S GLORY, by looking at two towering truths of GOD revealed in CREATION and REDEMPTION.  Once we see, understand, and experience GOD’S GLORY, we respond with GLORY to GOD, GLORY to GOD, GLORY to GOD in the highest!  

Questions for Sunday: Where have you been amazed at God’s glory seen in creation?  Is there something seen, understood, experienced or known, by witnessing something God has made, that makes you marvel at it?  And a totally different kind of question: What is the ‘crowd opinion’ of God today?  If a poll were taken of all residents of Boulder, CO, ‘does God, the Creator of heaven and earth exist?  Did God author all things into existence?’  What would be the percentage between affirmative vs non-affirming?

See you Sunday – potluck day, communion day, worship day, another GLORY of GOD, all Glory to God day,
   Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Anxious vs Non-Anxious Presence: Cutting off the Head of the Monster of our Day

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Anxious vs Non-Anxious Presence: Cutting off the head of the Monster of our Day
Philippians 4:4-9, Romans 11:33-12:2

Boulder Faithful at Crestview Church, 

I’ve been reflecting on Philippians 4:4-9 this week.  It came to mind early in this week’s message prep and has stuck with me throughout.  “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”  I’ve noticed the roads are becoming an ‘impatient’ place to drive these days.  “The Lord is near.”  I’ve noticed in conversations that any reference to ‘The Lord’ is scarce. “Do not be anxious about anything.”  Now there’s a whopper of a statement.  Really?  Paul has no clue what I deal with every day.  “Rather, in everything, in a spirit of thanksgiving, bring your requests before God in prayer.”  OK, that sounds inviting – I’ll give it a try, test God in this, and see what happens.  After all, gratitude focuses the attitude in good and pleasing ways.

I’ve always been a realist.  What you see is what you get and what you see is how it is.  It comes from my upbringing as the son of an immigrant raised mother.  I believe I was also born with that disposition, it’s how God made me.  So one of my gifts (or curses) to the world and the people around me is I can see the real and achievable possibilities of everyday life.  I can deal with what is, make a decision, and move forward.  What’s practical and ‘can be done’ is quickly picked out of a list of ‘to do’s’, or picked out of a myriad of possibilities or ideas, and what is achievable and can be accomplished is acted upon.  Combine this with another truth that I move forward at faster speeds than the average bear… and you’ve got a recipe, a high probability for conflicting and competing interests with God’s word and God’s will outlined in Philippians 4…

What happens when what’s needed and most important to be done seems unachievable?  Would I choose the easy and achievable to the lack of what’s most important and most needed? And what if I don’t feel like being grateful? 


Everyday we are faced with situations, scenarios and circumstances that we often cannot control.  However, we do have something important that is within our control or within our grasp of control. 
Our response.


Enough about me, what about you?  Everyday we are faced with situations, scenarios and circumstances that we often cannot control.  However, we do have something important that is within our control or within our grasp of control.  Our response.  And this brings me back to some central questions.  Who is it that controls my heart and mind?  What animates my daily decisions, directions, and responses to life’s hurdles and waves, trials and trails?  

When it comes to anxieties and fears, what is to be our response?  What direction should we take with them?  How can we discern God’s will?  How might our will be getting in the way?  Can you identify something our culture is anxious and fearful about?  Something you are personally anxious and fearful about?        

This Sunday, we address this need once again.  We will identify some of our anxieties and fears and take a look at a way forward, a way through, a better way.  In preparation, review once again these two texts of Romans 12:33-12:2 and Philippians 4:4-9.  Pick out a phrase and meditate on it coming into Sunday worship.  

See you Sunday,
   Pastor Mark   

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

God’s Will/My Will: Anxious vs Non-Anxious Presence: What, Why, How

Message
God’s Will/My Will: Anxious vs Non-Anxious Presence: What, Why, How
Romans 11:33-12:2

Crestview Family,

So glad to be ‘back in the saddle’!  This week, we begin a series on exploring together the holy/human weave of God’s will and our will.  How do these two truths come together?  We know we have been created by God and made in his image.  We also know that Jesus is the Lord of our lives.  We also know that God created us with a free will to act and be and choose as we exercise our will.  So how do these things come together? Not only in understanding, but in the everyday rhythms of daily living?  

On one hand, the answer is easy and simple to embrace, embody, and engage.  On the other hand, it’s extremely complex and far reaching.  Where do we begin to understand the convergence and concurrence of these two powerful truths – God’s will and our will?  And why does it matter anyway?


Where do we begin to understand the convergence and concurrence of these two powerful truths – God’s will and our will?  And why does it matter anyway?


Eugene Peterson says this is the ‘essential’ question of our lives to understand.  Not a religious question, it’s the ‘essential’ question of life as we know it.  I’d like to begin with focusing for two weeks on the need rather than the ‘theology’ of it all.  

Why is it so important for us to gain knowledge and understanding of who God is and who we are? It has something to do with Glory (of God), Fear (of the Lord), and Wisdom (of God).  We begin this week with need.  And then peel back the layers in going deeper.

Our text for the next 7 weeks will be from Romans 11:33-12:2 (a familiar text of the quarter from a few years ago).  Let’s solidify this text into our memory over the next 7 weeks.  So much to devour and take in with these few verses.  As you read it, memorize it, let it seep into your heart and mind, do you see any clues as to how God’s will and our will comes together in a beautiful ‘holy/human weave?’

See you Sunday,
  Mark