Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Only Comfort and Three Things I Must Know

New Message Series: Feasting on the Heidelberger!


Message
Only Comfort and Three Things I Must Know

Lord’s Day (LD) 1

Today, in our society, there seems to be much free floating anxiety.  In general, people seem to be more angry and frustrated with life and with one another.  Combine this with the fact that people are more disconnected from one another than at any time in recent history and many people lack a grounding worldview in their lives that can ‘make sense’ of their reality and you have a recipe for all kinds of negative outcomes. 

As human beings, we each have a deep need for a grounding worldview for living life well.  A grounding worldview gives us purpose – reducing our anxiety, guiding our behavior, and connecting us with others. 


Do you have a worldview that makes sense of the reality in which you live and guides how you live on a daily basis?


If you do, what are the guiding principles and beliefs that determine it?  If you do not, you need one.  

The Heidelberg Catechism functions like a guiding worldview that makes sense of the reality of God’s world and helps us find our purpose and place in it.  It takes the truth of God’s Word and organizes the guiding principles of the Christian faith, painting a worldview that makes sense of our reality.  

The Heidelberg Catechism was formed during a tumultuous time in history, the 16th century.  The passions of the early Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli were in full swing.  Certain practices and teachings of the prominent Roman Catholic Church were being protested at a ‘fever pitch.’  This caused much anxiety, frustration, anger, etc.  But that’s not all, the fledgling Protestant faith was already splintered into several different factions.  And often, out of specific events or struggles in the church and society, confessions of faith emerge.  The Heidelberg Catechism was formed in such a context.  Confessions, creeds and catechisms attempt to identify and solidify what really matters in living life well.  They become a source of strength and encouragement, and provide a sense of purpose, calling, and belonging.

As we dive into this faith shaping Biblical worldview document, it is my prayer that it brings about a unity of purpose, reduces life’s anxieties, brings about connection in community, and provides answers to life’s biggest and most important questions: What holds life together?  How do we know God?  What is expected of a life well lived?  And what will relieve us of our anxieties? 

We begin Sunday with the opening of the catechism with Q&A#1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?  I’d like to know the answer to that!  See you Sunday!  

Pastoring by the grace of God,
Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Radical Hospitality

New Message Series: Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing

Message
Radical Hospitality

The Bible!

Four weeks: Keeping the Main Thing the Main ThingChrist Centered, Biblically Grounded, and Engaged in Authentic Community and Radical Hospitality.  This Sunday, September 19th, 2021, we complete this four week series with the theme of Radical Hospitality.  

Hospitality is found in the heart of God.  Who created all things, animate and inanimate, out of his goodness and heart of hospitality.  As the Biblical story unfolds, the ongoing revelation of God’s heart for hospitality grows even more radical, poignantly displayed in Jesus Christ.  

When stepping back from the narrow picture of everyday life to seeing the bigger picture of history, the radical nature and character of God’s hospitality can be better seen and understood – a constant and ever present faithfulness.  Yet, it doesn’t seem right to limit God’s hospitality to the bigger picture and neglect to see God’s hospitality everyday, as God’s good gifts, astounding mercy, and superior love flow to us every moment of every day. 

God’s Radical Hospitality brings us back to Christ Centeredness and Biblical Groundedness, and forms the foundation for Authentic Community… and provides great inspiration for extending God’s love and hospitality to others – God’s love is RADICAL.  

Our Mission/Vision at Crestview Church is to Glorify God, Become Like Christ, and join God in the Building of his Kingdom.  Thus, we are a Christ Centered, Biblically Grounded, engaged in Authentic Community and Radical Hospitality kind of place.  

Sunday, we worship outdoors again – weather permitting, Lord willing.  Weather looks good today for Sunday, if any change in plans to move indoors, we will alert everyone Saturday.  We will also celebrate the Lord’s Supper, communion, together!  Special offering this month: The Niebur’s.  

See you Sunday,
   Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Authentic Community

New Message Series: Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing


Message
Authentic Community

The Bible!

Hey everybody, we are heading outdoors for worship this week.  The Fall-like weather is perfect to squeeze in a few outdoor services before we are ushered back indoors with colder weather.  Good excuse (or no excuse not) to enjoy some worship together on the church lawn.  See you all on Sunday!

We’ve been looking at some core characteristics at the center of what it means to be God’s people.  What is the church?  What does a group of God worshippers, Jesus followers, and Holy Spirit filled persons look like? 

We’ve been looking at 4 particular things: Christ Centered, Biblically Grounded, Engaged in Authentic Community and Radical Hospitality.  Sunday, we take a look at Authentic Community.  From what you know about Jesus and what the Bible says about this, what would you say an authentic Christian community looks like?

Sunday is a comin’.  In fact, it comes around with amazing regularity, and that’s a good thing,
    Pastor Mark      

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Biblically Grounded

New Message Series: Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing

Message
Biblically Grounded

The Bible!

Christ Centered and Biblically Grounded, Engaged in Authentic Community and Radical Hospitality – good ways to be the church!  This Sunday we look at another foundational characteristic of the church – Biblically Grounded!  

People have all sorts of ideas about what the Bible is and is not.  Everything ranging from “It’s a nice book” to “It’s the authoritative Word of God for faith and life.”  

The Bible is clear in it’s main message about Jesus.  Yet, that doesn’t mean the Bible is easy to understand.  

Understanding the Bible’s message, it’s purpose, relevance and meaning, is a lifelong journey of reading, study, exploration, meditation, and reflecting.  And what exactly is its place in the everyday life of followers of Jesus?  What authority does it have over our living?  And how does it’s truth and teaching lead to faith, spiritual growth, obedience to God’s will for our lives, and transformation in becoming more and more like Jesus?

It has everything to do with everything.  If you want to see what Scripture says about Scripture, take a look at these passages in reflection for Sunday: Psalm 19, Psalm 119, Hebrews 4:12-14, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.  

See ya Sunday in the Crestview ‘hood, 

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

What Matters? Christ Centered!

New Message Series: Keeping the Main Thing, the Main Thing


Message
Christ Centered

The Bible!

Students have moved onto their campuses.  Classes for all ages are now, or soon to be in session. Professors and teachers are cueing up their lesson plans.  Every year, the school education schedule is like a gate – once we enter through it, we find ourselves in a new space.    I find this gate to be true for church life as well.  Labor Day is like gateway opening to a new schedule. Summer is waning and Fall is waxing.  As temperatures cool month by month, the pace of life may actually ‘heat up.’  
It’s a perfect time to discern, what should my commitments be?  How can I manage my time to engage the things that matter and lead to growth and to good balance?  Where do priorities match up with activities?  

I would like to encourage everyone to consider, where does faith and spiritual maturity and growth fit into your current priorities?  For you, your family, your significant relationships.  Where does Jesus fit?  How about spiritual growth disciplines such as prayer and scripture leading to spiritual vitality work into your schedule?  How about the church community?  The practice of hospitality and the many ways of service?  

Every September, I engage in a 2-4 week kickoff series on a mission/vision theme.  This year, I’ve reflected on the essential nature of God’s church and what are its most important characteristics.  For 20 years of ministry life in the pastoral role, I have wondered what it would be like to plant a new church.  What would be the main thing to gather a faith community around?  What is most important?  And how would this faith community function?  What would it look like?  This four week series defines an answer to these questions: Christ Centered and Biblically Grounded, Engaged in Authentic Community and Radical Hospitality.  (4 weeks: Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing – August 29th – September 19th) 

Sunday, we begin with Christ Centered.  In past ‘Texts of the Quarter’, this characteristic of the church and the community of God’s people rings true.  Simply review some of them: Philippians 3:7-11, Ephesians 3:16-21, Philippians 4:4-9, Hebrews 12:2, Revelation 1:5, 8, 17-18, 3:20… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  

Looking forward to Sunday: What is one of the main things that makes the church the church?  CHRIST CENTERED!  And living into it is everything.    

In Him,
   Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Major Message of the Minor Prophets – It’s a Wrap!

Current Message Series: Minor Prophets

Message
The Major Message of the Minor Prophets – That’s a Wrap!

Books of the Minor Prophets

From Mother’s Day in May to today, we have been on a journey through the minor prophets – 12!  Week to week we have focused on a specific minor prophet.  How was God’s message communicated?  Why was it communicated? And what was its impact for God’s people then, and now, for us today?   

Sunday, we will finish our minor prophet series with a big picture view.  What is the main message of the minor prophets when viewed together?  We have the advantage of being able to look back over history and revelation to see what was spoken then, see what God has done in Jesus Christ, and see history from then all the way to the present day.  

I have not had an experience in some time where I sat down to read, study, and reflect on a message – and then when sitting down to write, it flowed in one uninterrupted, free flowing message.  It happened this week.  As I sat down to write and reflect on the major message of the minor prophets, THE WORDS JUST FLOWED.  It was a wonderful experience.  

So this Sunday, we will let it flow, and may God be glorified, God’s Son exalted, and God the Holy Spirit move freely among us.

In Jesus name,
    Pastor Mark    

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Following Adventure

Welcome Guest Speaker Shawn Sikkema

Message

The Following Adventure

Mark 1:14-20

This week, Shawn Sikkema, the former pastor of Eastern Hills Church in Aurora, now founder and current Director of Jesus on Colfax in Denver, CO will be with us August 15th.  Shawn has been a colleague and friend for many years.  In 2002, 19 years ago, Deone and I came out to CO to look at planting a church in the newly formed communities of Frederick., Firestone, Dacano area East of I-25.  Shawn and Rick Ebbers from The Journey were our main contacts for that visit.  I have been to East Colfax and Shawn’s ministry a few times over the past couple years.  Jesus on Colfax is one of the ministries supported through our Classis ministry shares.  Shawn has a Kingdom heart, loves Jesus and has invested deeply in the relationships on East Colfax.       

Welcome Shawn!  Thanks for making the trip up to worship with us and share the Word and your ministry.  In Jesus name,

    Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Malachi: Do Not Neglect God’s Ways, Instead, Prepare for His Coming

Message
Minor Prophet? Malachi: Do not Neglect God’s Ways, 
Instead, Prepare for His Coming

Book of Malachi

What do you know?  We have arrived at the end our 12 week series of the 12 minor prophets: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and finally, for Sunday, Malachi.  

Did you know that after Malachi, there is silence in our Scripture for 430 plus years until the New Testament Gospels?  430 years?!  What important message does God leave us through the prophet Malachi?  The importance of worship!  Not only sanctuary, corporate worship, the kind of thing that happens in the temple or in a church building… but full orbed, well rounded, all of life worship.  

It’s another ‘1st things 1st’ message, building further on Haggai and Zechariah.   God says to his people, “You have shown contempt for my name, robbed me, wearied me with your words, spoken arrogantly against me.”  And the people respond, “How?”  And God tells them.  And God invites his people to “Return.”   

Malachi’s message will challenge us again to put 1st things 1st. Malachi is a prophecy of judgment and salvation like all the others.  The promise of a Savior and the faithfulness of God to his covenant promises shine in Malachi.  Looking forward to this time together.  We have the privilege of hearing from DeWayne and JoAnn Niebur on Sunday.  See you soon, 

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Minor Prophet? Zechariah: God’s Encouragement and Restoration

Message
Minor Prophet? Zechariah: God’s Encouragement and Restoration

Book of Zechariah

Crestview Family, this Sunday and next, August 1st and 8th, we have an opportunity to interact with two of our supported missions: James and Cheryl Cloyd will be with us this Sunday and Dewayne and JoAnn Niebur the next.  Looking forward to some interview interaction with each during our morning worship service.  This Sunday, we will have a brunch following our worship service with the Cloyd’s.  Bring a dish to pass and join in the fellowship!

We are nearing the completion of our series on the Minor Prophets with Zechariah For Sunday.  Zechariah is a contemporary of Haggai, whose message focuses on the restoration of Jerusalem, return of exiles from Babylon, rebuilding of the temple, and the coming of the kingdom of God and a future Messianic King.  His message comes with visions of a measuring line, golden lampstands, olive trees, a flying scroll, a woman in a basket, chariots, one being pierced, a shepherd and sheep… Without getting lost in the weeds, we will focus on Zechariah’s message of faithfulness, first things first, 



“faithfulness is small things in the face of unfulfilled expectations and disappointments. “

What do we do when the barriers of self-preoccupation, opposition from outside enemies, infighting among God’s people, and low morale hamper, interfere, and frustrate God’s Kingdom coming in all its fullness? Zechariah gives some needed encouragement.  Some thoughts for Sunday on this: What do we do, what can we do?  Zechariah reminds us of the Sovereign Rule of God, the Messiah has come and is coming again, there is hope in God’s promises, and keep 1st things first, remaining steadfast in the small things.  

See you Sunday, a worship service, time with the Cloyd’s and a fellowship brunch,


    In the name of Jesus,
       Pastor Mark 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Minor Prophet? Haggai: God’s Honor and Sovereignty in All Things

Message
Minor Prophet? Haggai: God’s Honor and Sovereignty in All Things

Book of Haggai

Nine down, three to go – minor prophets that is.  Sunday is the Book of Haggai.  Every week thus far there has been much messaging about judgment and salvation in God’s desire to call his people back to obedience and flourishing.  How is flourishing defined?  “vigorous, active, successful and healthy growth”  How is it defined Biblically?  SHALOM – things are as they are supposed to be, as they are created by God to be.  

The Book of Haggai gives us something new to ponder.  God is calling Haggai to bring a prophecy calling God’s people to restore the Temple, the central place and space of worship for the people of Israel.  Today, this message brings us mixed feelings.  What’s the big deal about a building?  The worship of God can happen anywhere at any time, what’s so important about a building?  Isn’t it true that where 2 or 3 are gathered in God’s name, he is present?  Stephen preaches this, “The Most High God doesn’t dwell in houses made with human hands.”  It’s about people right?  Not a building.  

Yet, the Book of Haggai encourages us to not throw out the baby with the bath water.  There is a purpose to places of worship.  After all, people have been gathering for worship forever, whether in a tent, a tabernacle, a temple, a synagogue, an outdoor amphitheatre… 

It seems that with the temple in ruins at the time of Haggai, the centrality of God in everyday life was also in ruins.  The two seem to go together, influencing one another toward flourishing or toward famine.  Haggai is only two chapters, yet packed with wonderful truth to ponder.  Reading between the lines it seems that God asks a question in Haggai, 

“Which will it be?  The centrality of God in living or something else?  Will it be flourishing or famine?”  Seems like we have a choice.   

I’ve been wondering as churches, cathedrals, places of worship are currently being burned to the ground in Canada, targets of arson and hate, and there doesn’t seem to be much of an outcry.  Is this an indication of the lack of the centrality of God in our everyday life and culture as well?  Must be some correlation, maybe significant correlation.  

Let’s see where the Holy Spirit goes as the Spirit’s wind blows new life into our societal woes.  We will celebrate communion Sunday!   See you soon at our corporate communal house of worship at 3665 Madison Avenue, Boulder, CO 80303!

Pastor Mark