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