Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Submit Yourself to God Pt 1

Submit Yourselves to God Part 1
James 4:1-6

Within the Book of James are various crescendos.  He builds up a teaching to a climax and then sums it up with a powerful conclusion.  In chapter 1, he crescendos to say, “Pure and faultless religion is this: to care for the orphan and the widow.”  In chapter 2, he crescendos to say, “Faith without works is dead.”  In chapter 3, he crescendos to say, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  This should not be.”  As we enter into chapter 4 this week, James will crescendo to say, in all these things, “Submit yourselves to God.”  

This week, James will outline two kinds of wisdom – one is earthly and comes from the ‘desires that battle within us’, the other is heavenly and comes from God.   One is unspiritual and demonic and characterized by envy, jealousy, and selfishness.  The other is pure and characterized by humility, submission, mercy, peace-loving, and impartial.  James compares ‘followers of Jesus’ who engage in earthly wisdom as ‘adulterous’ and an ‘enemy of God.’  What is James counsel?  He reminds us that God is gracious.  That God is jealous for us and implores us to ‘Submit ourselves to God.’ 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God loves us jealously.  He is wooing us to be completely devoted to his rule in our life.  He is asking us to submit to the working of the Holy Spirit in everything we say and do.  

The context of James’ words are to a people prone to quarreling and fighting.  He says this is so because of the desires that battle within us.  Apparently what we say to one another and how we say it to one another matters deeply to God.  Our interactions with one another give evidence to the Spirit that rules our hearts and minds.  

Someone said to me this week,  “I’m having a difficult time with James.  Hits too close to home.”  I resemble that remark.  I get it. This week again, James will give us relief.  He says, “But he (God) gives more grace.”  And next James will open the door to freedom; “Resist the Devil.  Come near to God.  Wash your hands and purify your hearts.  Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.”

PS: My pastor from Beaver Falls, PA during the first seven years of our marriage will be with us in worship, Lord willing, this coming Sunday.  Our time at the Evangelical Free Church of Chippewa, PA was instrumental in pursuing being a pastor.  I hope to shorten my message by a bit to give Pastor Lee time to comment on the passage of the day.  Looking forward to this.

In Jesus name,  
Pastor Mark 

Morgan’s notes from last Sunday’s message…

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Kingdom Principles: Grace

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.
Kingdom Principles!  That’s what we are about in the next few weeks.  We kicked off the year with Humility.  Sunday past we focused on Forgiveness.  And this Sunday future we take a good look at Grace. We will also focus on Desire, Suffering, and Mercy in the coming weeks.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like…”  Jesus is a master story teller revealing the things of God.  This Sunday we welcome Pastor John Terpstra to Crestview, recently retired pastor from Immanuel Church in Fort Collins, CO, and former Pastor of Crestview Church.  He is bringing a message on Grace from the Parable of the Vineyard and the Workers in Matthew 20:1-16.  There will be some time for reflection on the message in the Gathering Room following the worship service in Download.  God’s grace and forgiveness is the ‘great reversal’ of the Gospel.

The better we understand God’s grace the better we will understand God’s will for our lives.  The more we experience God’s grace the freer we will be.  The more we live in and live out God’s grace the happier we will be.

In Him (that is Christ),

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Advent Series: The Gift of Invitation and God’s Grace

Blog banner with the image of a highway and the word: "Journey" for the study of the Book of Matthew.

We have been in an Advent anticipation and expectation state of mind for several weeks.  We begin turning the corner Sunday in our worship to celebrating Jesus birth, the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus, God’s Son, our Savior and Lord.We have explored the gifts of Christmas by looking at the gift of Faith (various texts in Matthew), the gift of Transparency (Matthew 17 Jesus transfigured), and the gift of Childlikeness (various passages in Matthew).  This Sunday, we will explore the gift of Invitation and Grace (Matthew 22:1-14 The Parable of the Wedding Banquet).

Jesus tells a parable of sobering truth, ‘Many are invited but few are chosen.’  What does Jesus mean by this?  We will explore this in more depth on Sunday morning.  As you read the text for Sunday, Matthew 22:1-14, wonder about these questions: Who is the King in the parable?  Who is it that receives the invitation to come?  Who are or is the servant(s) sent to give out the invitation?  What do the garments of those at the wedding party represent?  Gonna dive deep into the text on Sunday!

Sunday we will worship with full choir and instruments!  You may even hear the sound of a harp?!  Don’t miss out on the invitation to the party, come Sunday ready to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Unto us a Savior is Born, more than that, He lives!

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Give Us This Day



This week we kick off our June activities – plenty of opportunity to make connections with your neighbors and with your friends, and church brothers and sisters.  Three opportunities for fun, food, and fellowship.

Wednesday June 14th6:00pm Kickoff BBQ with some creek cleanup in partnership with Wellman Condo Community just across Wellman Ditch.  Come for a potluck meal to kick off the evening and some community creek cleanup.

Friday June 16th, join us at the Brewing Market in Lafayette at Espresso Vino, near Arapahoe and 95th as the Pearl Street Prophets roll out some more music.  Last time they worked the the first time kinks and jitters, now they are ready to roll!  The music starts at 6:30pm and will go ’til 9:00pm.  Food and drinks will be available in abundance.  Bring your family, friends and neighbors for a fun evening out on the town.  Be there to kick it off in style at 6:30pm and stay as long as you like.

Sunday June 18ththe Freedom Tour pedals through town.  This ride has become a tradition of raising awareness and funds for an important cause in our state and community.  This year the Freedom Tour is highlighting the tragedy of Human Trafficking and ways to combat this horrible practice in our community.  Join the team of 15 riders who are biking from North to South border of Colorado for this cause.  We will share a meal together at 5:30pm followed by a presentation.

Further details for all these events are below.

This Sunday in corporate worship, we continue our journey through the teaching of Jesus on how to pray.  Our focus will be Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Every word in this phrase gives insight into the power of this prayer.  Read it several times and put an emphasis on a different word.  For example, Give us this day our daily bread.  And again, Give us this day our daily bread.  Reflect on the understanding that comes from the varied emphasis on different words in the phrase.  What insights do you experience?

Can’t wait to unpack this one with you on Sunday – May God fill you will everything and anything that need for this day.  No need to worry about tomorrow either, God is already there too.

This Saturday, there is a cleanup scheduled at Maya Rogers home, see details below.

This Sunday we will be having a congregational meeting immediately after the worship service for electing our new deacons, report on our ministry goals for this coming summer and year, and a review/approval of the recommended budget for the new fiscal year.

See you Sunday!! 

Pastor Mark     

Check out this entry in Mark’s weekly blog on the
Crestview website, here!

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog

New Year’s Resolution and Grace

grace-peterWhat’s your new year’s resolution?  After a few days into the new year, how’s it going?

I think resolutions are a set up for failure.  Let me explain.  Resolutions are dangerous.  If following through on a resolution is up to me, I’m in trouble.  I’m not sure I have ever been able to follow through on a new year’s resolution – and I’m 49 years into trying.

It brings up another question: how do we deal with failure?  If we are honest, failure is universal.  The next three weeks, our worship and message will focus on Kingdom of God community (Grace, Truth, and Love).  Grace us up first.

How does God see our failures?  God’s grace, truth, and love is critical in navigating our failure.  For Sunday, read John 1:14-18, Ephesians 2:4-10 and 3:16-21.  How many times is grace mentioned in these passages?  How do you understand grace?

Grace is difficult to understand.  It is better experienced.  Maybe it helps to see how Jesus responds to Peter’s failures (fleeing from Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, denying knowing Jesus three times, etc).  Read John 21.  How does Jesus respond to Peter’s failures and how does he restore Peter?

Henry and Richard Blackaby in their Experiencing God devotional put it this way, “Jesus does not need your resolutions, your recommitments, or your promises to try harder.  If your resolve to obey God last year did not help you to be faithful, it will not make you successful this year.  Jesus simply asks for your love.”

Can’t wait til Sunday to see you and share in God’s grace together.

We will kick off the new year sharing a meal together, communion!  See you soon,

Pastor Mark ouzel-falls

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog

Advent: Waiting!


We’ve been in waiting mode… Advent. A time of waiting. Look at these onlookers (sled dogs) just waiting to pull somebody on a sled. They are waiting for you at the YMCA of the Rockies, near Fraser/Winter Park. They need the exercise.

Our Advent 2016 Message Series: The Genealogy of Matthew: A Bloodline of Grace is filled with grace. Story after story highlighting God’s grace in spite of human sin. Grace is not easy to understand, define, or come to know. It is best experienced.

The root of ‘grace’ is charis in Greek, “I rejoice, I am glad.” Grace is over and above. Grace is undeserved receiving, forgiveness, lavish love. Grace is my daughters and my wife Deone. Grace is my cousin giving us a car after we totaled the family vehicle. Grace is food on the table, a roof over my head, clothes on my body. It’s ripe peaches on top of vanilla ice cream. Its a sunbeam piercing through an overcast sky. A brilliant autumn aspen tree standing against dark pines. Its a lightning bolt that emblazons the stormy night sky. Its the smell in the air after a fresh spring rain. Grace is almost impossible to describe. It is the power behind life, the sustainer of everyday life, and the continual giver of new life. Grace is an infinite gift.

Grace is God’s love in and through Jesus Christ, who lavished grace on us who had in no way earned it and who barely have the ability to receive it. What makes God’s grace so amazing? “That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

“For to us a child is born, unto us a Savior is given.” May you receive the wonderful gift of Jesus.

See you Sunday – AMAZING GRACE!

Pastor Mark ouzel-falls