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

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

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

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

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

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

This is Living: In Conclusion…, Philippians

The end of the Philippians letter already?  It’s hard to believe that we have been in the book of Philippians for 9 weeks!  That also is a clue that our summer is moving right along.

This Sunday, July 22nd, we will wrap up our summer series on the book of Philippians with a flourish and some relish.  Flourish – a bit of bold fanfare.  I will give you a message on the entire book, highlighting the nuggets of all 9 messages.  Relish – enjoy and make pleasant to the taste.  We will then have some open mic time to allow for you to share your reflections on our summer reading of Philippians: What struck you?  What did you learn?  How does Paul’s teaching to the Philippians impact your life?

Come ready to feast on God’s word, enjoy the fellowship of believers, and grow in the knowledge and love of God.  See you Sunday!

Sunday afternoon we are sending Laura Westrate off with an open house hosted by George and Beverly Peters at their home from 3-6pm.  Come and send her off to Western Michigan with love.

See you Sunday!! 

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Email, Uncategorized

This is Living: Who is Your Mentor?

We have all probably heard the call of Jesus to his disciples, “Come, follow me.”  In our text for this coming Sunday (Philippians 3:15-4:3), the Apostle Paul essentially says the same thing, “Come, follow me.”  He goes on to say, “Just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.”  This is a direct call for each of us to have a mentor or mentors in our life to whom we can look to and follow.

I remember as a kid playing the game of follow the leader.  It was fun to follow someone and imitate everything they did.  It was really fun to be the leader and make those who followed do all kinds of crazy things as they tried to imitate me.  Paul is encouraging the same kind of thing for us in our living of life.  

The question is: Who will we follow?  Who are we going to imitate?  This is an important question for us to discern as we think of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  There are all kinds of ‘models’ out there to follow: some good and some bad.  When it comes to faith and following Jesus, who do we keep our eyes on and who do we imitate?

Do you have a living, breathing someone who is a mentor to you in the faith?  We all should.  Let’s explore this idea together.

See you Sunday,

Pastor Mark