Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Holy Spirit Life – Loving the Forsaken

We are in a three week series on The Good Samaritan.

The Holy Spirit Life
Loving the Forsaken while Seeking Justice and Reconciliation
Luke 10: 25-37

Ephesians 3 from The Message has been on our heart and mind this week (Mark and Deone) where Paul brings encouragement to God’s people, “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth.  I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit – not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength – that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.  And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.  Reach out and experience the breadth!  Test its length!  Plumb the depths!  Rise to the heights!  Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.”  

Yes!  In this time of growing discouragement, comes the Word of God for encouragement.  The Message goes on to say, “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!  He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” 

We are leaning into this truth. We are continually asking, seeking, and knocking on the door of God’s mercy and love as Almighty, Loving God upholds his world – that His goodness and righteousness will prevail.  We are praying for wisdom, discernment, patience and guided action as the Holy Spirit leads us to engage in God’s will, all the while keeping our eyes focused on our Shepherd, Jesus Christ.  

This text from Ephesians, in both The Message and the NIV translation, is well timed for us as we look to a summer of ‘reopening’, whatever that will look like.  It is well timed for our engagement with different Biblical themes (God-children, Broken, Growth, Seen, Foundations, Wilderness, Becoming, Loved, Impossible?!, Live?!, Fear?!, and Trust!) from Laura DeGroot’s book, LIVE WIDE AWAKE. 

The message for this week will focus on the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) with additional highlighting of another story Jesus told of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25).  “See” you online.

The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, in you, upon you,
   Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Holy Spirit Life – Caring for the Sick

We begin a three week series on The Good Samaritan.

The Holy Spirit Life – Caring for the Sick
Luke 10: 25-37

For the next three weeks, we will be looking at the story of the Good Samaritan as told by Jesus, found in Luke 10:25-37.  This particular story brings some challenge to our life together in today’s context.  As necessary barriers to the face and social distancing practices affect every area of life, even in the midst of ‘reopening’ practices, we are challenged by Jesus to have eyes for the forsaken.  

This time is having an interesting effect for each of us on our ability to reach out and interact with others, including others in need.  There is a tendency toward suspicion and self-protection.  It makes sense, we are fighting a largely unknown, unseen, untamed virus.  I get it.  Yet, on the other hand, how can we as followers of Christ be people who ‘speak peace’, ‘love the forsaken and care for the sick and isolated’ when we are encouraged in every way to ‘stay away.’  

As we engage this story of Jesus for three weeks, coming at it with various emphasis and angles – may we with open hearts and open minds ask God to give us eyes to see, and the ability to engage ‘the stripped, beaten and left for dead’ persons on the side of the paths we travel day to day in this new reality we live in.  

May God’s compassion and mercy that he has poured out on each of us flow from you to others around you whom God places on the path of our lives.  

Special NoteBeginning June 7th and continuing through August 30th, we will engage in Laura DeGroot’s newly released book, Live Wide Awake – Engaging God’s Story, Embracing Yours.  Please order this book ASAP for you and others in your family or purchase an E-version. Week to week, the topics of the 12 chapters will give foundational themes for our summer messages and the book will provide discussion points for summer gatherings of on line or in person smaller groups.  More guidance and information to come.  For NOW, get ahold of this resource so we can all stay on he same page together through the summer!

Looking forward,
   Your servant in Christ,
      Pastor Mark   

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Anger – I’m So Mad I Could…

Pastor Mark is resuming the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Seven Paths: Anger-I’m So Mad I Could…,
Versus the Fruit of Patience and Fortitude
Genesis 4

Brothers and Sisters in Jesus,

Beginning this week, I have seen more of you in person and that has been good for my soul.  I was reminded this week particularly of the beauty of human connection and the God created gift of community.  We celebrated a birthday in our neighborhood Wednesday morning, a surprise with coffee, donuts, and chalk art.  It was a gathering of joy that touched parts of my heart that have been a bit dormant during this time of isolation.  I smiled much.  

As we continue to best understand and feel our way through ‘reopening’ phases of contact one with another, may our Great God guide our heads, hearts, and hands in sharing our lives and living life together in ways that will seem more natural.  

As a faith community, we will be putting our heads together over the next couple of weeks to determine our best course for summer connections whether virtual or in limited personal gatherings, stay tuned.  

This Sunday, we wrap up a journey through ‘pathways’ with a dive into patience/fortitude/anger.  Through the rest of May, we will journey through the story of the Good Samaritan.  And beginning on June 7th-August 30th we will walk together through a 12 week series on embracing God’s story, embracing our story.  Our weekly themes will come from a recently released book by Laura DeGroot called, Live Wide Awake.  Some of you know Laura through past connections with Crestview Church.  Week to week we can journey together in messages that will develop out of the chapters of Laura’s book.  So get  online and order your book today (or get an E-version, Kindle, etc) and get ready for our summer journey together whether virtual or in smaller groups, in personal devotions or gathering in the sanctuary – wherever God leads us this summer, we will journey together. 

May God bless you and your family in worship this week, and ‘see ya when we see ya.’  In prayer for each of you, our world, and our neighbors.  

Two kernels of wisdom for you, one from Abraham Lincoln and another from an observation of the Amish culture.  Both have some connection to our topic this week related to patience/anger and the cultural context we live in today.

In Him,
Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Reflections

Reflection: Sermon on the Mount Part 3: Come Follow Me!

When Jesus saw the crowds…’ is an amazing line in the Gospel of Matthew.  Jesus sees every one of us, the hurried and worried, the distracted and the distraught, the wayward and the self-righteous, the sick and the healthy.  So what does he do?  He announces “The Kingdom of God has come.”  He gives the invitation, “Follow me!”  And then sits on a hillside as his disciples gather around him, and the crowds gather around them and he begins to teach them (us)… More than that, he shows them (us)… There are three clips of the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Come Follow Me!’ (Matthew 5-7)

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Greed – I’ll Have More of That Please!

Pastor Mark is resuming the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Seven Paths: Seven Paths: Greed – I’ll have more of that please!
Lk 12, 1 Tim 6, Eph 5

In Luke 12, Jesus is asked by two brothers, whose Father recently died, to settle a family inheritance matter.  Jesus gives a surprising answer, “Who am I to be the judge and mediator of this dispute?”  An extraordinary answer.  Isn’t Jesus the supreme Mediator and Judge?  

Instead, he confronts their squabble by addressing the issue of greed.  And he addresses the issue of greed by telling a short story that causes one to think about their mortality.  What does greed have to do with mortality anyway?  

Sunday, we will ask some good questions about this.  We will ponder our mortality.  Sound morbid?  It isn’t.  Sound depressing?  Far from it.  In contemplating our mortality, upon Jesus’ recommendation, we will find purpose in living.  At the same time, we will find the cure to greed.  (Generosity, gratitude, and contentment)      

Death is a reality that must be faced.  And Jesus has the answer to it.  How relevant a topic for today when we are reminded of our mortality and the mortality of others on the front page of the news every single day with a tally count of those who have died from COVID-19.  Can’t miss it, can’t ignore it, deny it, or push it away.    

Should we fear death?  That’s a trick question really.  It depends.  Why does Jesus have these two brothers reflect on their mortality in the midst of their squabble?  The answer isn’t spelled out, yet it’s in the story.  Rather than give you the answer right here, right now… See you Sunday.

You are invited to ‘come to worship’ Sunday with the Crestview Church diaspora, scattered about the front range, by way of Holy Spirit connection and the breath and wind of the internet… be there or be square, there is plenty to share,

In Him, Pastor Mark

Until Sunday, here are some more teachings from the Sermon on the Mount to chew on, Matthew Ch 7.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn-IMllGhBc

Shalom,
Mark

Pastor Mark's Reflections

Reflection: Sermon on the Mount Part 2: Come Follow Me!

When Jesus saw the crowds…’ is an amazing line in the Gospel of Matthew.  Jesus sees every one of us, the hurried and worried, the distracted and the distraught, the wayward and the self-righteous, the sick and the healthy.  So what does he do?  He announces “The Kingdom of God has come.”  He gives the invitation, “Follow me!”  And then sits on a hillside as his disciples gather around him, and the crowds gather around them and he begins to teach them (us)… More than that, he shows them (us)… This is the second of three clips of the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Come Follow Me!’ (Matthew 6)

Reflection Video: Sermon on the Mount Part 2: Come Follow Me!
Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Sloth – Whatever…, Who Cares?!

Pastor Mark is resuming the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Seven Paths: Sloth – Whatever…,Who Cares?!
Pr 24, Col 3, 1 Cor 10

What an interesting time to be talking about Gluttony, Sloth, Greed and Anger… actually, it’s perfect timing.  As I explored the ‘in’s and out’s of SLOTH this week I was struck by its timely message.  SLOTH ‘believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die for.’  What a fantastic definition!

God calls us to a purposeful life.  From the mandates given at creation, the call of Abraham, through the voice of the prophets and Jesus’ Great Commission, we are created and called to purposeful engagement in living.

Sloth is really about non-engagement in God’s created and called purpose for our lives.  Sloth has a motto today, it’s called, ‘whatever…’ or ‘who cares?!’  The cure to sloth is found in God given zeal.  Colossians 3:23 and 1 Corinthians 10:31 say, ‘Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God… work at it with all your heart.”  Why?  Because “…it is the Lord Jesus we work and live for.”  Now, this is something to live and die for.   

Work for what?  For increased connectivity with God.  For going deeper in understanding and love for one another.  For fuller engagement with the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.  

Where are we on these things?  The side of SLOTH or ZEAL?  Has the circumstances of COVID-19 grown or decreased your engagement in these things?  Time to look into it.   

‘See’ you online, or out on the trails,

Pastor Mark         

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Bet you can’t eat just one?! Temperance, Moderation, Self-Control vs Gluttony

Pastor Mark is resuming the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Seven Paths: Bet you can’t eat just one?!  Temperance, Moderation, Self-Control vs Gluttony

1 Corinthians 6:12, Proverbs 25:28, Philippians 3:19-20, Romans 14:17-18

Followers of Jesus, 
This week we return to our series on the 7 Paths That Lead to Light/Darkness (formally known as the 7 Deadly Sins or the 7 virtues/vices.). We have 4 more to explore: Gluttony, Sloth, Greed, and Anger.  Maybe this sounds daunting, downcast, and depressing?  

“Do not fear!  For I have overcome!” (Jesus)  Although these vices are realities for us to face, God has given us his presence, his power and his purpose!  We have everything we need for anything that comes our way because of the gift of His Spirit – and His Spirit is Holy.  

I’ve had this past Text of the Quarter (Winter 2016-2017) from Ephesians 3:16-17 on my heart and mind as a prayer for you and me at this time: Out of God’s glorious riches may he strengthen you with power through in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… that being rooted and established in love, you may have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ… to know this love and be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God!  …He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!  

As we broaden and deepen our understanding of gluttony and gaze into God’s great wisdom and Holy Spirit power to overcome, may we find our satisfaction in God!  “We do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from God.” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). Sunday’s message: Bet you can’t eat just one?!  Temperance, Moderation, Self-Control vs Gluttony (1 Corinthians 6:12, Proverbs 25:28, Philippians 3:19-20, Romans 14:17-18)

SEE you Sunday (all be it virtual :)),

Pastor Mark         

Pastor Mark's Reflections

Sermon on the Mount: Part 1: Come Follow Me!

‘When Jesus saw the crowds…’ is an amazing line in the Gospel of Matthew.  Jesus sees every one of us, the hurried and worried, the distracted and the distraught, the wayward and the self-righteous, the sick and the healthy.  So what does he do?  He announces “The Kingdom of God has come.”  He gives the invitation, “Follow me!”  And then sits on a hillside as his disciples gather around him, and the crowds gather around them and he begins to teach them (us)… More than that, he shows them (us)… This is the first of three clips of the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Come Follow Me!’ (Matthew 5)

Pastor Mark’s Reflection Video 4/16: Sermon on the Mount Part 1: Come Follow Me!