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

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Baptism: A Sacrament, A Sign, A Seal

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

A Sacrament, A Sign, A Seal 
Genesis 17, Jeremiah 31, Matthew 28

This coming Sunday we will celebrate communion together.  God is continually calling a people to himself out of all the people of the world – giving them identity and purpose – bringing them from death to life.  God is at work in his world calling all things under his rule.  These statements may seem strong, but all together true.  

Over the past two weeks we have looked at the epic stories in the Bible of the Flood and the Crossing of the Red Sea.  Both stories speak powerful truth about God’s redemptive purposes for the world and for the calling of humanity to his created purposes.  Over the past two weeks we have made parallels from these stories to the sacrament of Baptism.  

This week we will explore the sacrament of Baptism from a pointed, scriptural and theological perspective.  I hope to bring a message about Baptism that reveals its beautiful, mysterious wonder.  Baptism is referred to in our liturgical practices of this sacrament as being ‘a sign and a seal.’  

What is Baptism a sign of?  Much like a road sign, what does it point to?  In what way is Baptism a seal?  These questions and more for Sunday.  Our texts for Sunday are: Genesis 17:1-11, 23-27; Jeremiah 31:31-34; and Matthew 28:16-20.  Read these before Sunday and you are ahead of the curve :).

In Jesus name,
Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Red Sea – Death to Life

Jan 5 Mark Began a New Message Series: Baptism. 

Baptism: The Red Sea – Death to Life
Ex 14:13-14

 Wow!  This past week’s worship and message was a great experience for me.  Last week we looked at the story of The Flood in Genesis 6-9 and tied it to our identity in Jesus, specifically through the sacrament of Baptism.  This week, we take a look at probably the most important event in the history of God’s people in God’s shaping and identifying of his people – the Exodus (specifically, the crossing of the Read Sea.). 

Our story this week comes from the Book of Exodus, chapters 13-14.  This is a story of Death to Life, and also has powerful thematic overtones for our understanding of the most important event in the shaping of the history of the world – Jesus death and resurrection.

In preparation for Sunday, read Exodus chapter 13-14.  And if you are really ambitious, read chapters 1-14 of Exodus.  Answer this question, “Why did God lead his people to this difficult place in front of the Red Sea?”  There are at least 8 reasons in the text for why God led his people to this place.  Awesome answers… :).      

Can’t wait til Sunday – it’s a comin’, and I welcome it.  See you at the church!

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Baptism: The Water of Judgement – The Flood

This Sunday, Jan 5 Mark Begins a New Message Series: Baptism, with the message

Baptism: The Water of Judgement – The Flood
Gen 6-9

Crestview Family,

2020 is here!  When it comes to resolutions – start with receptivity!  When we begin with receptivity to God as our starting point and consistent daily point of reference everything else we desire out of life will fall into place.  This past Sunday we looked at the key to this: Remember!  Remember God’s commands,deliverance, blessing, and testing.  And all that’s left to do is respond to God accordingly.  

Beginning Sunday we kick off 2020 will a five week series on Baptism.  We begin with the epic story of the flood.  Read Genesis chapters 6-9 for Sunday and you will be ahead of the game in remembering God’s commands, deliverance, blessing and testing :).  

Big question for Sunday: How are we to understand the flood: a sending of judgment or redemption?  How could the story of the flood be a motif for understanding Baptism?  

See you Sunday, and God bless you in the new year – Shalom!
Pastor Mark