Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Cultivating Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

This is an Ode to Joy of sorts this week.  As some will be in the mountains at Golden Gate State Park this weekend on a Crestview Campout, others will be gathering at Crestview for a continuation of our message series on the Fruit of the Spirit: JOY!  

The broken record I have been playing in this series isn’t a ‘skip’ pattern – it’s an intentional focus on GOD as the source of all spiritual fruit.  Joy in the Lord, Joy from the Lord, is a deeply profound reality – both profound and deep.  When experienced and known, it can be very difficult to describe.  It is as the Scripture says,’beyond understanding.’  

The fruit of the Spirit – Joy, involves satisfaction and desire.  It involves finding satisfaction in God.  John Piper states it well, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him.”  CS Lewis says, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”  Joy “is a byproduct whose very existence presupposes that you desire not it, but something other and outer.”  Joy is a consequence of experiencing something beyond oneself.  

The fruit of the Spirit – Joy, is also hindered as well.  How?  We will explore two main ways together on Sunday.  The Joy of the Lord is hindered through the pursuit of ‘bigger and better’ of our consumeristic desires as well as more practically, our disobedience.  Obedience and joy go hand in hand. 

Here is another thought to ponder: Is joy the absence of trouble, hardship, brokenness and pain?  Or can the joy of the Lord, the Spirit’s fruit, exist in the midst of such things?  

Text for Sunday: John 15:9-17, Philippians 4:4-9, and Nehemiah 8:10.  For a juxtaposition point of view, listen to Switchfoot’s song, Gone.  Look it up and order your pleasure and joy pursuits accordingly.  

Close up photo of Pastor Mark and wife Deone in the spring waters near Jerusalem.

Joy up and peace out,
Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

This Is Living!: Imitating Christ

Philippians is rocking my world.  In the third week of reading through Philippians in its entirety in one sitting, here is what is striking me.  Paul repeats a theme throughout the book by saying the same thing in different ways: I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  (3:10)  Check out these verses too: 1:6, 1:28, 2:1, 2:13, 3:10, and 3:16.

The concept of ‘taking hold of the salvation we have received’ fascinates me.  I love this teaching by Paul because it confirms and affirms our created and called purpose in salvation to bring glory to God.

The big question for this Sunday is to answer the question: What does ‘working out your salvation’ look like?  How does ‘grabbing hold of heaven and pulling’ take on real meaning in our words and actions?

Paul reveals a powerful first way to live this out in Philippians 2:1-11.  Read it and ask yourself What is the main way I can grab hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me?  Clue: it rhymes with ‘you millipede.’  🙂

See you Sunday,
Happy Father’s Day early!

Pastor Mark


Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Gifts of the Spirit: Equipped For Service

Gearing up for a big weekend in Boulder!   Deone, Morgan and I are participating in the Bolder Boulder this year!  But first, looking forward to Sunday – that comes first!

This Sunday, we introduce our summer series This is Living! from the book of Philippians.  I want to begin with an introduction to the gifting of the Holy Spirit.  God has given to every follower of Christ gifts that are useful for the building of His kingdom and for the building up of His church.  There are many online tests that can be taken to discern and identify what gifts of the Holy Spirit have been given to you.

The beauty of the church is that it is made up of many different people, yet, it is one in Christ.  Just as each part of the body has many different parts with many different functions, yet, all come together to form one body – so too, the church is made of many different people with different gifts, yet, together we form one body, God’s church.  As an introduction to the gifting of the Holy Spirit, I will focus on Ephesians 4:1-16 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-31.  Does every Christian have the same spiritual gifts?  Are all the spiritual gifts the same in value and merit?  What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit anyway?  And how do your gifts fit in the big picture of God growing his church and kingdom through you?

Here is an online Spiritual Gift Inventory Test.  Have at it!  Discover your gifts!  When you have identified your gifts, lean into them in the way that you love people.  It’s your gift from God to the world and to his church.

Strap on your seatbelt, in June and July we dive into Philippians.  Summer Scripture Challenge: I want to challenge each member of Crestview Church to read the Book of Philippians in one sitting, once a week, through June and July (9 weeks).  Here is my hope: Philippians will be a part of your heart, soul, and mind.  I think it would take 1/2 hour, once a week to do this.  While you read, take note of what strikes you, what you notice, and what captures your attention.

Lets dive into summer together,

Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend, be safe and engage in God’s will for your life!  Thank you God for the blessings you have showered on us of life and freedom,

Pastor Mark