Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Live Wide Awake: Trust!


We are in a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake


Trust! 
Luke 11, Matthew 6

It has been good to see people at our outdoor worship venue on the grounds of Crestview Church the past two weeks.  Live streaming also went well from the feedback we have received.  Let us know if you have any other feedback for us on how we can further enhance the experience for those of you who are attending from home.  

This week we wrap up our summer series that highlighted Scriptures based on the main themes from Laura DeGroot’s book, Live Wide Awake.  Thanks to Laura for her engagement with us over the summer through her book, bringing a message in the series, several conversations with me, and her engagement with the Women’s Bible Study.  

As we conclude our summer series this Sunday, I will give a brief sweeping review of the themes we encountered and then dive into a passionate presentation of what causes me to Live Wide Awake. This will include Scripture that provides kindling to the fire that fuels my life on a regular basis and various quotes by other LIve Wide Awake kind of people that stimulate my faith.  

I couldn’t keep up in the writing of this week’s message with the speed of my mind and heart in preparation.  When God’s truth and salvation, life and light, come together in the human heart, there is an explosion of sorts… That is what happened for me this week.  To God be the glory.

Looking forward to Sunday already, with the intentional window of time set aside to be in God’s Word and presence with you.  In this time where there is confusion, wondering, struggle, and challenges, it’s important to ‘cling to what is necessary’ (Gregory of Nyssa, 4th Century).   

As we step into the Book of James beginning Labor Day weekend, James 1:2-3 speaks of trials.  The ‘testing of our faith produces perseverance so we might be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  What does that look like?  A preview of what is to come.

In Him,
Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Live Wide Awake: Fear?!


We are in a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake

Fear?!
Matthew 14

Thank you God for Colorado weather where it seems like the sun is always shining and the breezes are always blowing!  As council and staff, we praise God for the good start to our outdoor worship and live streaming this past Sunday.  Special thanks to Vince Huffaker for researching and pulling off our livestream seamlessly and with quality!  We are looking to improve the experience by making some fine adjustments to it week to week.  

We are in the home stretch with our summer series thematically structured on Live Wide Awake, a book by author and former Crestview member, Laura DeGroot.  This Sunday we will focus on Laura’s chapter, Fear Knots.  So for the follower of Jesus, which is it, “Fear Knot” or “Fear Not!”  Be good to explore together some things about the nature of fear and its place in our lives.

How much space and time does fear occupy in your day to day life?  What are the things that bring you fear?  What are your fear ‘factors’?  How does the reality of God, God’s promises, his constant presence with you by way of the Holy Spirit inform your fear?  

Fear is a fact of life.  Fear is real.  Yet, Scripture has some things to say about fear and the place and space it should have in our lives.  See you Sunday, August 16th, 9:30am either in person or via livestream.  Probably gonna be 75 degrees and sunny – bring a sunhat, an umbrella, or a beach towel and catch some rays… God’s word should shed light on whatever else is needed. 

Been reading Amos 5 and Micah 6… ‘Seek the Lord… act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God…”  The good Word for everyday, including today,

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Live Wide Awake: Live!


We are in a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake

Live! 
Romans 8

Ready, get set, slow!  This Sunday August 9th, 9:30am we are heading outdoors for worship at Crestview.  Plan on a socially distanced time together of 45-55 minutes on the front lawn.  Bring your own lawn chair and beverage.  Hand sanitizer and masks will be available as needed.    

Please make a wise decision for you and your family regarding attendance in person considering factors such as age, medical condition, and overall health.  If you are not feeling well or have been exposed to anyone who has recently tested positive for the coronavirus, we ask that you stay home.

We will have two options available for those who will not be attending the service in person: live streaming of the service in actual time (details will arrive in your email inbox later this week with instructions to access) or audio link (posted to our church website following the service.) 

It is in our Creator Redeemer God that we live, move, breathe, and have our being.  As we look toward fall ministry and engagement at Crestview Church and in our communities, continue in prayer for one another and for our neighbors.  God desires to make his name known, his presence felt, and his love understood and experienced.  And for some reason known only to Him, his preferred way to make himself known is through his people.  Now is the time to shine.  Now is a time for faith.  

Keep your eyes and ears open for the whispers and promptings of the Holy Spirit.  And step in and step forward to be used by God as a person of light.  With negativity flying around like supercharged neutrinos, I’ve been focused on a couple of Scripture texts:

  • Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy – think about such things.”
  • James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt…”

Here is a question in preparation for Sunday’s message, do you believe that God is good?  Your answer to this question will inform much about your faith.  Your answer may also reveal much about your life experiences and how they have affected you – positively or negatively.  Your answer informs deeply how you respond to the challenges of your day and affect everything from your love of spouse and neighbor, your parenting, the ways you engage work and play, the amount of anxiety and worry you carry around…  your answer to this question informs every area of life.  

God’s Shalom and Goodness rest on you,
Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Live Wide Awake: Impossible? Mission Possible!


We are in a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake

Impossible!?  Mission Possible! 
Galatians 5

Crestview Family,

Grace, Love, and Peace to you in the name of Jesus.  

Seems that everyone is thinking about the fall schedule as college students are returning to campuses and schools at all age levels are figuring out what the education schedule/structure will look like.  This deeply affects educators and students alike.  Families seem particularly challenged as they try to balance home, work, school patterns in this new atmosphere.  Shifts and changes continue to affect people’s employment situations on many levels.  Small businesses particularly find this season difficult.  Churches across our city and country are facing challenges in reopening.  The dance is difficult.   Starting up what has been halted is difficult, just like I remember from an assembly line at Steelcase during my summer employment.  (Isn’t there a physical law about inertia that explains this?)  After a chaotic spring and disjointed summer of isolation and cancellations, where do we go from here?  

Why mention these things?  Because they are real.  The ‘list’ of challenges we are presented with each day could be much longer and described in much more discouraging detail of course, but that would be… unfruitful.   

This Sunday, August 2nd, we will begin our final 4 messages thematically shaped from Laura DeGroot’s book, Live Wide Awake.  We will be focusing on Galatians chapter 5, with the theme of Impossible!?  Mission Possible!  In preparation for Sunday’s message, read chapter 5 of Galatians.  It will be the focus of the practices from Laura’s book for next week.  Paul basically breaks down the calling for followers of Jesus to walk in the Spirit.  He describes it plainly.  As you read the chapter, make a list of the ways that walking in the Spirit looks like.  Paul also describes the ‘acts of the flesh.’  He likens ‘acts of the flesh’ as being yoked to slavery and walking in the Spirit as being freedom. How do you understand this?             

We have decided to move forward with an outdoor worship service on August 9th, 9:30am and scheduled through Labor Day weekend.  Looking forward to seeing some of you in the outdoors on site at Crestview. For those of you joining us online, live streaming is in the works. Details will be presented next week for the logistics of the August 9th service.  Join the leadership in prayer over this change of venue as we continue to plan for the September through December worship format that would be best. 

In other news, we have had two zoom meetings around the topic of youth and children’s ministries for the Sept-December semester with families.  Plans are being formulated and prayed over.  Also, I plan to gather our faith community around the book of James this fall.  And then beginning a series on the Gospel of Luke for Advent and into 2021.  Praying into that direction as well.  

Our new TQ from now through September 2020: James 1:2-8, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”    

May God give you faith, perseverance, and wisdom.  He is a generous giver to those who seek and believe.  
In Jesus name,

Mark      

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Live Wide Awake: Loved


We are in a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake

Loved
Romans 5:8, John 3:16-21

How are you?  Really… how are you?  It seems to be a question at present that if asked of someone could unleash a myriad of emotional reactions.   In the hearts and minds of most people, the toll of COVID lifestyle, disruptions, and alterations in school, work, homelife, etc is having a cumulative effect.  As our families anticipate the open questions yet unanswered about returning to school and what changes that will bring, as churches are figuring out what does church look like in September going into winter, as businesses continue to determine how to adapt to new patterns of functioning and seek to survive, as parents continue to juggle the demands of work, home and family, in the same space all day long, as people are affected adversely physically, emotionally, socially, mentally, financially, and as another announcement goes out, ‘Anyone up for another zoom meeting?’…

It is into the now of our time in the world and in our lives and the lives of others that God speaks, through his Word and his Spirit.  Now is the time, and the time is always now, for us to seek Him.  Now is the time, and time is always now, to look outside ourselves to loving others well.  Now is the time, and the time is always now, to look to our spiritual heart’s health and attend to it.  Nurture it.  Feed it.  

This week, in Laura’s chapter, Oh You Love Me Like That, we will be attending to the knowledge, understanding, and experience of God’s love.  God demonstrates his love for us in ‘that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  The love of God through JesusChrist empowers us through his Spirit to have the knowledge, understanding, and experience of the depth, breadth, width, and height of it.  And this leads us to a life of love toward God and others.  It leads us to ‘will the good’ of another.  Leads us to ‘seek the best for another.’  

This coming week, the Spirit will lead us through stories in John 3, 8, 13, 15 in the daily practices of engaging God.  Each story reveals a dimension of God’s character, his great love.  God’s love is for you and for me.  

We do not know the future in detail, but we do know this about the future – God holds it.  We may not feel the love of God for us every moment of every day, but we do know that ‘God loves me like that.’  So much that he gave his one and only Son.  

We have all we need in God to move together into the future.  You have all you need in God to face the continued challenges ahead.  As we experiment with an outdoor worship service beginning August 9th and discern the shape of our fall/winter ministries we will lean into God’s love for us and let it empower us forward. 

The message is entitled, Loved.  Our text for Sunday will be Romans 5:8 and John 3:16-21.  The message will be illustrated with stories from John 3, 8, 13 and 15. 

In Him we live and move and have our being (The Book of Acts),

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Live Wide Awake: Becoming


We are in a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake

Mamma and Me by Manami Lingerfelt

Becoming
Guest Speaker: Author Laura Degroot of Live Wide Awake
Ps 46, 103, 121, 2 Cor 4,5

Crestview family, dearly loved by God, we are making our way to the final segment of Laura’s book as this week we cross the halfway point of summer and our summer series.  This week, Laura DeGroot, the author of Live Wide Awake, is bringing the message based on chapter 7, Becoming a Mother.  Thank you Laura and welcome!  This coming week’s practices will take us to Psalm 46, 103, 121 and 2 Corinthians 4 and 5.  As Laura shares her story of becoming a mother, it is a story filled with deep grief and deep joy.  Her journey of becoming a mother is intertwined with the ‘becoming’ of her faith and the person she is today.  

All of us are shaped by processes of ‘becoming’.  We know from last week’s message, Wilderness, that God can and does use the circumstances and happenings of our life, the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult, the hurt and the joy, the situations resulting from our actions and choices, as well as those things that come to us of no doing of our own, in our own  ‘becoming.’  

These experiences bring up questions about faith and life.  Where do we go to find what we are looking for and needing in the processes of becoming?  How can we experience God in the midst of it all?  How can we ‘be’ and ‘live well’ with God and others as we seek out grace and live it out?  I’m sure you will be able to think of other thought provoking questions as you listen to Laura and dive into the practices.    

On another note, we met as council this past week and made some decisions about future  church worship gatherings in August as well as fall ministry at Crestview when the school year begins.  Details will be coming very soon.

In Jesus name,
Pastor Mark 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Live Wide Awake: Wilderness


We are in a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake


Wilderness of Judea Wilderness
Ps 42, 63; Is 40; Matt 4

We are nearing the halfway point of our summer and our summer series from Live Wide Awake!  Once again, I am excited to bring a message from this series this Sunday entitled, Wilderness.  It comes from Chapter 6, God Can Do Anything You Know.  

Scripture is filled with references to Wilderness/Desert (over 300 times).  This weekend we will learn the Hebrew and Greek words for this reality which is spoken of literally and metaphorically often in the Bible.  It is the stuff of Hebrew poetry and songs.  It is the space and place where God shapes the identity of his people.  This was true for the Israelites and for Jesus, and many others mentioned in the Bible.  

Have you had a ‘wilderness’ experience in your life?  Are you perhaps currently in one?  How has God met you in the midst of those experiences?  How has God shaped your identity in Jesus through them?  

This is the ‘stuff’ of Sunday’s message.  Looking forward to ‘meeting you’ in some time in God’s word.  In preparation for Sunday, take a look at Psalm 42, Psalm 63, Isaiah 40, and the temptation story of Jesus in the wilderness. 

Grace and Peace to you in the name of Jesus,
Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Live Wide Awake: Foundations

We are in a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake

photo courtesy of Pastor Mark, taken 6/24 on Flagstaff Mountain

Foundations
Acts 18, Genesis 1 and 2

July 4th holiday week.  A day of celebration of our Independence as a nation.  It has been on my heart in anticipation of this coming holiday week, the blessings we enjoy in our country.  A nation of immigrants, a tapestry of nationalities, races, and ethnicities, which over hundreds of years has been a ‘melting pot’ where peoples and states have lived under the title of ‘United States of America’, governed by a constitution and a system of government that distributes power among three branches… maybe four in reality… Executive, Judicial, and Legislative… with the fourth branch perhaps being ‘the people’ who make up our country’s population and exercise ‘power’ through voting.  

In the midst of our world’s tendency to use power to ‘lord it over others’, Jesus calls us to a third way.  Everything in today’s political world seeks to divide us into a binary choice of party affiliation, stance of issues (on almost everything), leading us to significant judgment of one another.  As Christ followers, this puts us in the position of thinking we need to choose sides.  

I’ve always believed that as followers of Christ we are called to be aligned with the Kingdom of God, we are citizens of heaven, children of God.  This gives us the unique position of being ‘in the world, but not needing to be of it.’  It allows us space to follow Christ while engaging our world with the light and love of Christ.  This reality presents a third way for us to engage our world and the powers that be.  Our choice is seldom the binary choice that our current culture would like to present to us.  Our choice is more of a third way – the way of Christ and his Kingdom.

This 3rd way is one marked by respecting the dignity, worth, and protection of every human life in the name of Jesus.  This way is marked by an absence of manipulation, domination, or any form of abuse of another.  This way is guided by the foundational revelation of God in Scripture and by ongoing revelation of the Holy Spirit.  It is the way of truth telling, by speaking truth in love.  It is grounded in a spirit of service and often suffering.  It is grounded in seeking the well being of all people, because all people are created in the image of God.  As we seek the well-being of our neighborhoods, our cities, our nation and our world, we must keep this 3rd way in mind.     

May the Lord bless you and keep you as you enjoy the freedoms that the Lord our God has given us in Jesus, as well as the blessing of living in the United States of America.  We have been given some amazing gifts – may God give us the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to steward them well.  God is good and the Lord bless you!

The message for this week, July 5th, in our online worship, will be on chapter 5 of Live Wide Awake, entitled Foundations.  Our scripture point of reference will be Acts 18 and Genesis 1/2.  Our tentative date of discussion with leadership for our first gathering of public worship is July 26th.  Stay tuned for more information after our July 14th council meeting!  We had a good gathering together for prayer outdoors this past Monday night, a taste of things to come.

In Jesus name,
   for the Glory of God,
     and the building of His kingdom,

      Pastor Mark      

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Live Wide Awake: Seen


We are in a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake

photo courtesy of Pastor Mark, taken 6/24 on Flagstaff Mountain

 Seen
the Book of John, chapter 10:14-15
Guest Speaker: Pastor Adie Johnson

This Sunday, Adie Johnson will bring the message for our worship service from chapter 4, in Live Wide Awake by Laura DeGroot.  Welcome Adie!  The title of her message will be Seen, with a focus on the Book of John, chapter 10:14-15.

Congratulations to Morgan Quist and Trevor Sooy on their Wedding this Saturday!  May the Lord bless you and keep you as you enjoy the freedoms that the Lord our God has given us in Jesus, as well as the blessing of living in the United States of America.  God is good and the Lord bless you!

I will ‘see’ you again on July 5th, online worship, with a message on chapter 5 of Live Wide Awake, entitled Foundations.  Our scripture point of reference for that morning will be Acts 18 and Genesis 1/2.  Our tentative date of discussion with leadership for our first gathering of public worship is July 26th.  Stay tuned!  We had a good gathering together for prayer this past Monday night, a taste of things to come.

In Jesus name,
   For the Glory of God,
     and the building of His kingdom,

      Pastor Mark    

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Live Wide Awake: Growth


We are in a new Summer Series from Laura Degroot’s book: Live Wide Awake

Growth
The Book of Philippians 

This week has reminded me of the absolute importance of spiritual disciplines.  Remembering, recalling, reciting scripture memory.  Engaging in the devotional practices in the chapters of Live Wide Awake.  Regular call to prayer and a posture of surrender to God’s will in our own lives and our prayers for our community, country, and world. 

The chapter for this week’s message entitled Know Who You’re Not made me smile and made my heart sing.  Challenging and convicting.  I think she nails it!  And the practices for this week will continue to bring about the growth Jesus is leading us into.

The Book of Philippians will be our meditation for this coming week after the message on Sunday June 21st.  Once again, I started reading Philippians and read straight through the book.  Here is one of several messages that came out in that reading (from The Message, Ph 4:1), “My dear, dear friends!  I love you so much!  You make me feel so much joy, fill me with such pride!  Stay on track – stead in God!”  

A word of encouragement in the midst of trying times.  More encouraging and challenging words to come this Sunday.  As you engage Ephesians 1 this week in the practices (Chapter 2), the Book of Philippians is on tap.  

See you (virtually) this weekend,
Pastor Mark

PS.  Adie Johnson will be bringing the message from chapter 4 of Live Wide AwakeTell Me About Yourself entitled, SEEN on June 28th.  Deone and I have a wedding to attend that weekend, congratulations to Morgan and Trevor in advance!   

Peace,

Pastor Mark