Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths/Choices: Lust – Oh Yeah! Oh No!

Sun, Feb 16: New Message Series: Seven Paths/Choices: Seven Paths/Choices Leading to Darkness, Seven Paths/Choices Leading to Light. This week’s message is: 

Seven Paths/Choices: Lust – Oh Yeah! Oh No!1 Cor 6, Matt 5, Gal 5, Rom 6, 1 Thess 4

We’ve turned the first page in our series of 7 Pathways that Lead to Darkness and Light by looking deeper into the classic 7 Deadly Sins.  One author that I have been reading as a resource for this series calls these things: Glittering Vices.  That’s a good description of these pathways that promise a better life – Pride, Lust, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth, Anger, and Greed.  

The good news is that God points out the path toward a better life, a happy and fulfilling life in His Word.  And Jesus teaches the path toward joy and gratitude, an abundant life –  not only teaches it, demonstrates it, lives it. For example, humility is given as a better path than pride.  In the same way, hastity and faithfulness are better paths than lust.  

Lust in relationships leads us away from relationship connection.  Lust produces casualties and makes our society more crass and less beautiful.  Lust masquerades as promise, yet ends in sorrow.  Lust distorts what is good, exchanging love for a lie.  

When it comes to love, God’s gaze on us is one of love.  God desires what is best for us and teaches us and shows us a better path.  When it comes to lust, we need greater accountability and community.  

Let’s dive into this one Sunday.  Will be referencing various texts 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Matthew 5:27-28, Galatians 5:16-25, Romans 6:11-14, Romans 12:1-2, and 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8.  

See you Sunday!  Ash Wednesday service will be at 6:00pm, Wednesday February 26th.

Pastor Mark 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths/Choices: Pride – The Bigger it is the Harder We Fall

Sun, Feb 16: New Message Series: Seven Paths/Choices: Seven Paths/Choices Leading to Darkness, Seven Paths/Choices Leading to Light. This week’s message is: 

Seven Paths/Choices: Pride – The Bigger it is the Harder We Fall
Daniel 4:10-17, 29-37


The journey through the paths/choices that lead to darkness/light begins with the king/queen of all vices: PRIDE.  Pride has much to do with what the Bible calls ‘vain glory.’  Pride develops out of our excessive focus on self with everything from appearance, attention, and approval.  As with all of these deadly paths/choices, God provides a way out and forward.  The path of light that corresponds with the path of pride is HUMILITY.  

I like the analogy of a ladder to describe how pride works.  With each step upward when climbing a ladder the vantage point changes.  The higher we go, the smaller things at the base appear.  The higher we go the steeper the angle we look down on those things on the ground.  Remember the old adage, ‘the bigger they are the harder they fall.’  Here is how it applies to pride, ‘the bigger it is, the harder we fall.’  The ladder is again, a good analogy for pride, ‘the higher we climb (pride), the harder we fall.’     

Pride makes work of comparisons, leading us to speak and think of others as ‘less than’ while at the same time elevating ourselves to ‘more than.’  Pride erodes the foundation of friendship and community.  What is the path to keep our pride in check?  Humility.  I invite you to explore definitions of humility this week.  How would you define its essence?    

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus begins his ministry by inviting us to follow him.  From the beginning Jesus laid out the path/choices toward light.  Our text for Sunday is a story from Daniel 4:10-17, 29-37 about a King called Nebuchadnezzar.  Quite a story.  

Read up and get ready, we are on a journey of conviction and delight.  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Pursuit of Pleasure

Feb 8: Mark Begins a New Message Series: Seven Paths to Darkness. This week’s message is: 
The Pursuit of PleasureEcclesiastes 2:1-11
Time for a change – five weeks of Baptism related messages has been good and satisfying – now, on to Seven Paths/Choices that Lead to Darkness.  That sounds ominous, even scary!  

Before you decide to skip out on church for the next 8 weeks, consider how much of the Bible references just this series of topics.  Traditionally, these ‘paths’ have been described by the following realities: Pride, Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth, and Anger (The Seven Deadly Sins). Wisdom literature in the Old Testament writings, Jesus teachings in the Gospels, and every one of the Letters written to the early church is packed with guidance, teaching, and references to these seven paths/choices.  

Do not fear!  We will be juxtaposing these seven paths/choices that lead to darkness with seven overcoming paths/choices that lead to light.  We will begin this 8 week series with a message from the heart of wisdom literature in Scripture, Ecclesiastes 2:1-11.  The Pursuit of Pleasure in on the schedule for Sunday.  In reading the passage for Sunday ask yourself what paths/choices the writer makes in his pursuit of pleasure.  What does he say about them?  How does he approach engagement in these paths/choices?  Where do these paths/choices lead him?  

Good stuff!  Can’t go wrong with the Bible – great material to work with!  Think its because its Holy Spirit inspired or something like that, :). 

Chili dinner at church on Saturday at 5:00pm. Community movie to follow: Disneys Penguins!

Pastor Mark          

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Baptism: A Community Gathered Around Christ

Jan 5 Mark Began a New Message Series: Baptism. This week’s message is: 

Baptism: A Community Gathered Around Christ
Ephesians 4:1-16

It’s time to transition! From what to what?  Maybe a better way to say it is we are continuing to journey towards maturity.  That’s right, it’s time to grow up!  Our text from Sunday comes from Ephesians chapter 4 and 5.  The great teacher and follower of Christ, Paul, encourages us to grow from infancy to maturity.  An infant in faith is one who is ‘blown and tossed about by the waves of cunning and crafty teachings and deceitful scheming.” (Eph 4:14). Instead, Paul encourages us to grow up in God’s ways of love. (Eph 5:1-2).  
To grow up in God’s ways of love is to engage in a lifestyle of love.  When the rubber hits the road in relationships with situations of conflict or hurt, and bitterness and unforgiveness begin to take root, and the temptation is there to walk away from relationship – that is when Paul especially calls us to grow up.  “Be imitators of God.”  (Eph 5:1)  How?  “…just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God, walk in the way of love as dearly loved children of God.”  

The message Sunday will focus on what it means to be a part of a Christian community.  As we wrap up this 5 week series on Baptism, another truth about Baptism shines: We belong to community of faith gathered around Christ, called to grow from infancy to maturity in our faith – especially when things become difficult.  Especially then.  

The Peace of God be with you,
Pastor Mark   

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

In Him, For Him, It's All About Him

Jan 5 Mark Began a New Message Series: Baptism. This week’s message is: 

Baptism: In Him, For Him, It’s All About Him
Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 42:6, Jeremiah 31:31

The Bible is an unbelievable gift.  I’ve returned recently to a devotional practice that has resonated with me in the past.  It involves opening with a prayer, followed by a reading from Scripture and some engagement with someone else’s reflection on a particular passage or theme, ending with a journal entry.  This past week the focus was on Psalm 128 – A Psalm of wisdom and blessing.  “Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him… blessing and prosperity will be yours… your wife (spouse) will be like a fruitful vine, your children like olive shoots… may you live to see your children’s children.”  

This passage is giving me so much joy.  It certainly eludes to marriage and children yet the theme is much broader than that.  The theme speaks about the Shalom that God brings when we fear the Lord and walk in obedience to his ways.  This is a universal truth of God about his character and actions with his world and his people.     

We have been on a message journey on Baptism since the New Year began.  Last week I spoke a phrase like this, ‘The Sacrament of Baptism is best understood (can only be understood) in the context of God’s story.’  After prepping this week for Sunday’s message, confirmation of this phrase could not be more true.  

For Sunday, we will make a sweeping look at the Covenantal Love of God through the Old Testament covenants and find their fulfilment in Jesus.  Again, the ‘Sacrament of Baptism is best understood (can only be understood) in the context of God’s story.’  

In preparation for Sunday read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  (Pause)… Well… I don’t think you or I will be able to do that… but I’ll show up if you will show up and we will worship God together.  Sunday’s message will touch on the core purpose and truth of God’s Covenantal Love through the covenant God made with the world at creation and with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and ultimately, through Jesus.  See you at ‘the view’, Crestview that is, where we gather to hear from God!

Shalom,

Pastor Mark