Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

Feasting on the Heidelberger: In One Big Bite!

Sunday, September 23rd, we conclude our Creeds and Confessions series with a tour through the Heidelberg Catechism: Feasting on the Heidelberger in One Big Bite!  

This catechism of the Reformation period is one of the most widely loved and engaged on a larger ecumenical circle of faith.  I think the main reason for it broad appeal is its personal and heart felt language.

It’s organization is basically three parts of Sin, Salvation, and Service.  Or another catchy way to remember it is Guilt, Grace, Gratitude.  It is divided into 52 Lord’s Days to parallel the 52 Sunday’s of the calendar year.  It’s format is a question and answer structure.  Embedded in the catechism are the Apostles Creed, The Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments.  It makes for a great Profession of Faith document.

So, here it goes.  I will give you the entire Heidelberg Catechism, all 52 Lord’s Days, and 129 Q&A’s in about 20 minutes.  That’s right – about 20 minutes.  Since the HC has so much personal character, it will be a personal presentation.

See you Sunday!
(here is a snapshot of someone’s notes from last week on the Canon’s of Dort.)

Pastor Mark

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Canons of Dordt: Why It Matters?

Here we go… We wrap up our Creeds and Confessions series over the next two more weeks by looking intently at the Canons of Dordt and the Heidelberg Catechism.  Both of these documents were born out of the rough and tumble period of 16th Century church history known as the Reformation.

This week we dive into the Canons of Dordt (not to be confused with cannons that fire shot put size, musket like metal through the air at ones opponent in war.)  However, these were serious matters to people of the Reformation and theological sparing and theological barbs were fired at one another throughout this time period.

The Canons of Dordt is the response of the reformers to the teachings of Jacob Arminius, later known as Arminianism.  The followers of Arminius’ teachings wrote up five points of doctrine known as the Remonstrance of 1610.  It focused on key disagreements on issues of Depravity, Atonement, Election, Grace and the Permanence of Grace.  The Canons of Dordt are the reformers rebuttal to Arminianism.

We are diving in deep this coming Sunday, make sure to bring your brain as well as your heart to worship.  We are going to worship through the 5 main doctrines of the Canons of Dordt this Sunday.  And either this week or next, conclude our worship service with Communion.  Why? Because these final two confessions center around our understanding of Grace.  Grace is grace because Salvation belongs to God alone!  Stay tuned!

See you Sunday as we walk through the Cannons of Dordt, almost like a tennis match.  Arminius serves it up and the reformers volley – five serves and five volley’s.

The picture associated with this post is from Castle Valley outside Moab, Utah.  This picture reminds me of the holy ground we will tread on when discussing matters of Salvation in God Alone.  May God bless us as we seek understanding of our faith in Jesus Christ.

In Christ alone,
Pastor Mark

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My Experience with the Wind and the Waves

A text for Sunday, September 9th, 2018: Romans 5:6-8, “At just the right time, when we were powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

“The day was August 3, 2011.  All through the night and continuing into Wednesday, the wind had been blowing at gale force.  The waves had been building for hours now.  It was one of those days where my sailing buddy is looking out his family practice window, and I’m looking out my church office window at the steady bend of the trees in the wind – and our minds begin to day dream about how high the waves must be on Lake Michigan.  Our hearts begin to flutter as we can feel the pull of the rudder and the wind in the sails, the splash of water as we cut through the waves, feel the speed of the our 16’ Cat (catamaran) as we fly over the water… we can sense these things even as we sit inside our offices looking out the window… When John and I connected about noon, we both had the same thing on our minds- how can we get down to the beach and out on the water…

It was a warm day with a powerful and steady southeast wind.  As we crested the dune on the walkway leading down to the beach we stared in awe at the size and power of the waves.  And the waves were cresting and rolling over as far as we could see – consistently 10-12 feet from depth to peak and there was no end to the whitecaps…

The thrill of giving it a try was too much for us so we rigged the sails and pulled the 16 foot, nimble and fast Cat down into the water…

When the wind and waves are this violent and prolonged water volume builds up along the beach-line and forms riptides as the water finds a way of escape back out the lake.  On this day, the riptides were strong…

A coast guard officer caught our eye and frantically waved us over, wanting us to come closer.  This is where the adrenaline really kicked in – I would describe the waves as madness.  As we neared, we could see what the people were so frantically pointing at… a teenage girl was quickly being swept past them in the riptide.  She was difficult to track, as she would disappear under the waves as they passed over her.  She didn’t look good, barely able to keep her above water when she would surface again.  After a couple times of her appearing and disappearing, she was already swept past the group on the pier trying to reach her…

And this is where I didn’t really think – I just jumped…”

Here is another text for this Sunday: 2 Corinthians 5:15, 17, “He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised to life again.  If anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation.  The old is gone and the new is here!”

This Sunday is our outdoor fall kickoff service.  Pancake breakfast begins at 8:45am!  Followed by a 9:30am worship service.  For an outdoor service we will have an outdoor message.  The message will tell of a true life story of a blustery day on Lake Michigan with my buddy playing in the monstrous wind and waves.  God placed us in the right place at the right time to risk a rescue of a drowning girl.  Little did I know that it would be me who almost drowned before it was over.  God has given me an experience I will never forget. And through it, has imparted some truth about his love for his world that I now understand more fully.  This coming Sunday, the rest of the story.

From death to life, in Jesus Christ,

Pastor Mark

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The King and Kingdom

Labor Day Weekend is here!  Every year this marks the end of summer rhythms and the beginning of the school year and the onset of fall.  I know – many of you are already engaged in school, classes, sports, etc, yet this holiday weekend always highlights a new season for me.

For the next two weeks, I am stepping back from our series on the Creeds and Confessions to focus on King and Kingdom: The Kingdom of God Level 400! (Sept 2nd) and My Experience with God and the Wind and the Waves (Sept 9th) for our pancake breakfast, fall kickoff, outdoor worship service.  We will finish out our Creeds and Confessions series with the Canons of Dordt and the Heidelberg Catechism on September 16th and 23rd.

So what is the Kingdom of God?  And who is the King?  Is the Kingdom of God literal or figurative?  Is it something that is real now or will it be realized sometime in the future?  And why does this even matter?  Does King and Kingdom actually affect my life today?

Good questions for a Sunday morning coming soon.  Give thanks for the gift of the summer season and all its blessings – it will be back again next year.  Here are some pictures of some local summer beauty – The Flatirons (by Woody Green), Royal Arch in Chataqua, Nymph Lake and Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Royal Arch - nice.jpg   

See you Sunday,

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Reflections, Uncategorized

A Valiant Effort

Hi all – I gave it a valiant effort. What started as a crazy ‘thing to do’ in December, is now complete. I had been looking at trying the Leadman Leadville Race Series Competition for 10 years now since my first 100 mile MTB race in 2007. It begins with a weeder race, the Marathon in June. I trained and survived it. Then the 50 mile MTB Silver Rush in July. Check. Then last weekend, the Leadville Trail 100 MTB on Saturday, followed by the 10K the next day, Sunday. Check, check. Then comes the monster: The Leadville Trail 100 Run this past weekend. It was an experience I will never forget. The gun went off at 4:00am Saturday morning and it was glorious, as a stream of 1000 runners took off to try and complete an epic adventure. The first 13.5 miles were amazing as we ran together in a stream of headlamps lighting the trail out of town and around Turquoise Lake. Being greeted by the crew team at May Queen aid station I was feeling ‘high’ and running strong – felt like I was floating. Next challenge, up and over Sugarloaf Pass. Felt good and continued to run off and on up the pass. At mile mark 22ish, coming down off of the pass, a section called ‘powerline’, I tweaked something in my left knee on a long steep downhill. After the descent, I continued to run through the pain on the level areas. Any section of climbing was relatively pain free. After the Outward-Bound aid station, this pattern of pain continued. Level areas and uphill sections I could power through with strength. However, every time I had a descent on the way to mile 40, the pain would ramp up significantly. When I began the more severe descent into Twin Lakes aid station the pain ramped up to the point where I couldn’t tolerate any weight going forward downhill. I found that descending backwards the pain would subside. I wasn’t sure what was happening, but I knew it wasn’t good – it didn’t feel like cramps, spasms, or anything like that. I’ve powered through pain and fatigue many times in different race situations – this felt different to me and I began to wonder what this would mean for the rest of the race. At Twin Lakes, my crew team encouraged me greatly and sent me off through the marsh and through the river section and up the big climb. I powered up the 4 miles, 3,400 ft. climb to Hope Pass, steady and strong, felt good (unbelievable course!). I was still on a 25-hour course finish, better than anticipated, as I topped out at Hope Pass. Crossing over the pass, the view was stunning – on top of the world. Didn’t stay long and began the 2,900 ft. descent to the halfway point. Here is where the pain in my left knee became unbearable -immediately, on every downward step. I could not go downhill forward, not even at a slow walk. Every time my foot hit the ground the pain was crazy. I tried for a couple switchbacks to try different foot strike, sideways, turn my feet, hold my knee in different positions as I bore some weight – etc. No go…

So, I began descending going backwards on the switchback single-track (21% grade for 2.25 miles down before it begins to level off again.) The section from Hope Pass to the halfway point – Winfield aid station (5 miles) should take 30-40 minutes at the most. After a frustrating mile of backwards descent and frequent stopping due to pain, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to Winfield. These ‘short 5 miles’ took me 2 hours. As I descended backwards managing the pain, I knew my race was over and I would have to pull out. I would oscillate between anger and sadness. I had trained so hard all summer for this and this was the final event of the Leadville Leadman series – I just had to make it to the finish line. If I could just walk, I could speed walk the 50 miles back to the finish line and make it. When I finally made it into Winfield (still two hours+ ahead of cutoff time) I had decided to pull out.

At the 50-mile mark, every runner is allowed to have a pacer to carry water, food, clothes, whatever is needed for the return trip. My first pacer was Dewayne Niebur, a family practice Doctor and experienced in emergency medicine. Isn’t that a God thing? We decided to reassess and see what can be done to try and get me back on the course. I told Dewayne my difficulty and he spoke peace to me. He examined me – stretched me – massaged me – we made some trial runs downhill – no go. We borrowed some Kinesiology tape and gave it a run – no go. A PT helped out and dry needled me on the spot (ouch!) – no go. I made one emotionally charged attempt to run harder into the pain – no go. At that point, I knew, it was over. Back on the descent off Hope Pass to Winfield I had many thoughts go through my mind. Besides the anger, frustration, and sadness God would give me flashes of gratitude and perspective thoughts. For one, I didn’t want to continue to run through the pain and cause lasting damage. I still don’t know the extent of any lasting damage at this point. I didn’t want to ruin my knee for all the other things I love to do (hiking, biking, etc) just to finish this race and Leadman goal. If I had kept going, with several difficult descents still ahead, I could have wrecked my knee for good – and still possibly not finished. Two, an overwhelming ebb and flow thought would fill me as I tried to get down the pass: There are so many things (blessings) God has given to me and so many things I enjoy, all of that is on full display for me to engage and enjoy regardless of not finishing a race.

So it will be OK. I was so thankful for that thought as I fought to get into Winfield Aid Station. Third, and this is kind of funny… I started turning my thoughts to my crew team who had come up for the weekend to pace me and to support and encourage me – Deone my wife, Morgan my daughter, Dewayne Niebur (pace me from Winfield to Twin Lakes up and over Hope Pass again), Ryan DeGroot (who was born for this kind of event -pace me the next 17 miles from Twin Lakes to Outward Bound), Erik Newhouse (pace me through the night up and over Sugarloaf Pass) and Joanne Niebur and Morgan Quist (pace me over the last section to the finish line…) and Peter Ruh, a constant encourager. This was my thought: I want to have a pizza party at High Mountain Pies in Leadville with my support crew. (We did end up there about 3 hours or more later…)

So… I’m still working through my disappointment of not finishing this goal for the year. A one and done, always was from the beginning. I turned 50 this year and this was my mid-life crisis. Not such a bad thing – now my mid-life crisis is over. I can continue to do what I love – biking. I can continue to compete in MTB events and jump into tours with friends, Deone and my family. Over time, the thoughts of gratitude will overwhelm the disappointment. During my training runs this past year, I found out why I hadn’t run a single mile over the past 30 years since college – I hate it. I don’t enjoy running at all. Isn’t that funny? So here are some neat things that happened for me and around me in the aftermath of saying at the 50-mile mark, “I’m done.” I was the recipient of many a runner passing me on the descent from Hope Pass wanting to help me, encourage me, and get me down safely. People at the aid station were helpful to me. Dewayne was amazing and just the right person God had in mind for me to meet at the 50-mile mark. Dewayne and I hitched a ride out of Winfield back to our crew team in Twin Lakes and met a wonderful woman, recent nursing grad from University of Michigan, and our conversation with her was delightful. When I saw Deone, Morgan, and the crew at Twin Lakes and they knew I was done… they surrounded me with love and affirmation. That makes me smile and made me cry. I am especially thankful for my wife Deone who supported me already in early December 2017 in the decision to give this Leadman thing a try.

I am so thankful to Deone who has supported me and spent 5 summer weekends of her year this year crewing for me at every race. She is amazing and now its time to make up for some lost time and invest more intentionally with her in the things she loves and enjoys. Ryan, my pacer who was to partner me over the next 16 miles and who was born to run, found someone else who needed a pacer through the night and paced them for 24 miles from Twin Lakes to May Queen aid stations – instead of me, he helped another person finish the race… And Erik was able to support Ryan. Wonderful. Deone and Morgan – thank you! Dewayne and Joanne, thank you for your support from early Friday to the end. Peter, thanks for being a support from the gun start to the end and getting our pizza party kicked off. And Ryan and Erik – for coming up and giving your weekend to help and support me. I’m thankful!!!

Thanks for allowing me the space to write some of my thoughts and feelings. This morning early already I have placed all my papers, time split goals, race notes and bibs, etc in a folder and they are filed in a file cabinet. I’m reminded of John Ortberg’s title of one of his books, When the Game is Over it All Goes Back in the Box. I like that. Builds perspective. It was a fun goal for this year – a once in a lifetime attempt.

Peter said to me after returning to Twin Lakes, “Nice work Mark – you ran the entire course.” In a way, he is right. It’s an out and back and I ran the course. Deone, Morgan, and all of my support crew said, “I am proud of you.” And many others as well – thank you for that encouragement, you all make me cry – God has blessed me! Thankful for such wonderful love! And my Crestview Family has prayed me through from the beginning!

So here it is… God’s love is constant and steady. His unfolding plan for my life certainly goes on and it isn’t hampered in the least by races finished or unfinished. The blessings of my God, my family and friends are a constant source of my joy – To God be the Glory both now and forever!

People have already said after I have said, “I’m not signing up for this thing again” (Leadman or the Leadville Trail 100 Run) – “Never say never.” Well, I’m quite confident when I say, “Never.” Why run when you can bike?

See you on the trail!

Image may contain: mountain, cloud, sky, outdoor and nature Image may contain: one or more people and people standing
Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, shoes and outdoor Image may contain: one or more people, crowd, night and outdoor Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, mountain and outdoor
View more photos of the race on Mark’s FB page here.
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The Belhar Confession: Why Does It Matter?

As I am getting back in the saddle this week ramping up from a trot to a gallop, I revisited last week’s weekly post, where it reads, “CS Lewis writes about the unexpectedness and unpredictability in life.  He says, ‘For good as for ill one never knows what is coming next.’  Although this can be disconcerting to those of us who like to plan everything out and for everything to go according to our plan.  And when it doesn’t we become irritated or upset.  He goes on to say, ‘There is a brighter side to the same principle.  When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.'”  WOW!

I didn’t expect these words to make such profound impact in less than a week.  I was fully expecting a hard and difficult 100 mile trail run in Leadville, CO this past week.  What I got was a DNF.  Its hard to look at a DNF, especially as driven and competitive as I can be.  And after so much investment and work towards completing this goal, it sure is disappointing.

But as CS Lewis says, “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.”  That is God’s grace!  While I carry a bit of sadness and disappointment from a goal not reached this past weekend, my heart is filled to overflowing today.  God’s blessings are being poured over me with power and regularity, like the waves that pound the ocean shore.  And when I think I’ve had my fill, God pours out some more.  You need me to tell you the ways?  Just ask me.

So here we go, back in the saddle ready to ride… I have a new motto now, Why would you run when you can bike?  Ha!  Sounds like a motto for life 🙂  Just keep pedaling I say.

Over the past couple of Sunday’s together we have covered the Creeds and Confessions: Why do they matter?  The first week we covered the early Christian Creeds emphasizing the importance and centrality of God in Trinity and the two natures of Christ – the Apostels, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds.  The second week we covered one of our three Confessions, the Belgic Confession, which affirms the central Christian beliefs, birthed out of the Reformation of the 16th Century.  This week we jump forward again to look at one of our Contemporary Testimonies, the Belhar Confession, recently adopted last year by Synod, our governing body.

The Belhar Confession is birthed out of the segregation and discrimination policy and practices of Apartheid in South Africa.  It is a powerful statement of belief by the Reformed churches in South Africa addressing God’s design of unity in diversity especially when it comes to race and socioeconomic differences in the church of Jesus Christ.  This confession packs power and passion as it is born out of much pain and suffering under the atrocities of Apartheid.  The Belhar Confession speaks contemporary gospel truth into our world context today: themes of unity, reconciliation, and justice.

This Sunday, August 26th, we celebrate our recent years with Sydney Yapoujian as our Worship ArtsPastor.  This Sunday will be Sydney’s official final Sunday in her staff role here at Crestview.  However, Sydney and Artine aren’t going anywhere, just shifting priorities of time and commitments at this time in their life together and Sydney/Artine will continue be a regular face in our continued worship expressions and fellowship/leadership at Crestview. We are so thankful for you Sydney!  And as you step away from your official role here at Crestview, we pray for God to bless you and Artine in this decision and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we search and find the next person to step into this role for us at Crestview.

May the name of the Lord be praised,
Pastor Mark

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Unexpected Encounters with God

Welcome to Jacci Busch!  Jacci, Andrew, Deone and I have connections that go back to seminary days and Madison Square Church in Grand Rapids, MI.  So glad that she is coming to bring the message to our Crestview Community.  Jacci shares a passion for God’s word and the desire to follow Jesus faithfully and authentically.  Thank you Jacci for bringing us God’s word this Sunday.

This vacation time has had a steady diet of devotions from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that drop into my inbox from Bible Gateway… O my, an amazing interruption… as I sit here and right this to you, a young male moose has just stepped out of the woods right in front of me.  Wow!  Praise God for this wonderful sighting.

Where was I?  Bonhoeffer… well, just as I was unexpectedly surprised by this young male moose sighting, I am going to unexpectedly change my reflection to C S Lewis.  In a letter to a friend, C S Lewis writes about the unexpectedness and unpredictability in life.  He says, “For good as for ill one never knows what is coming next.”  Although this can be disconcerting to those of us who like to plan everything out and for everything to go according to our plan.  And when it doesn’t we become irritated or upset.  He goes on to say, “There is a brighter side to the same principle.  When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.”

This seems to be a good way to embrace daily life.  In the midst of life’s up and down’s there is unexpected joy of an encounter with God in unexpected places.  It also seems that these unexpected encounters with God through nature, through others, through events, can only bring joy if they are recognized.  Lord, give us eyes to see you in the unexpected encounters you bring on a daily basis.  Turn our hearts and our inclinations toward you – bring us joy.

Some people have asked me this week how things went last weekend with the races.  Well… looking back on it, I’d say it went very well.  The 100-mile Mountain Bike Race was challenging this year.  Race day this year was warmer than normal and that may have contributed to the management of significant on and off cramping of my calf and quad muscles over the last 50 miles.  This was painful for me to work through, but the end result was just fine.  I finished with a respectable time.  The next day, the 10K foot race felt good on the leg muscles.

What this means is I have one final event to go to complete this crazy Leadville Series goal – the 100 Mile Trail Run.  I have never done anything like this before in my life and after this weekend, never will again.  A one and done for sure!  This Saturday at 4am I line up with 600 others to attempt a 100 mile out and back Trail Run within a 30-hour cutoff time limit.  The first 50 miles I have to complete solo.  At the 50-mile turnaround I am allowed to have a pacer with me for the remainder of the race.  A pacer will act as a ‘pack mule’ for lack of a better term; carrying water, food, clothing, lights, etc. and coaxing me along to the finish.

I again ask for your prayers and I ask that you would pray for my pacers as we attempt this goal.  My pacers are Dewayne and Joanne Niebur, Ryan DeGroot, Erik Newhouse, and Morgan Quist.  I ask for prayers for endurance, perseverance, and safety for me and the pacers as we run over rugged trails, mountain passes, ford a couple rivers, and ultimately end up at grandmothers house – Downtown Leadville.

See you soon, be back in the saddle on Tuesday August 21st.

Pastor Mark

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:  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