Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Anger – I’m So Mad I Could…

Pastor Mark is resuming the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Seven Paths: Anger-I’m So Mad I Could…,
Versus the Fruit of Patience and Fortitude
Genesis 4

Brothers and Sisters in Jesus,

Beginning this week, I have seen more of you in person and that has been good for my soul.  I was reminded this week particularly of the beauty of human connection and the God created gift of community.  We celebrated a birthday in our neighborhood Wednesday morning, a surprise with coffee, donuts, and chalk art.  It was a gathering of joy that touched parts of my heart that have been a bit dormant during this time of isolation.  I smiled much.  

As we continue to best understand and feel our way through ‘reopening’ phases of contact one with another, may our Great God guide our heads, hearts, and hands in sharing our lives and living life together in ways that will seem more natural.  

As a faith community, we will be putting our heads together over the next couple of weeks to determine our best course for summer connections whether virtual or in limited personal gatherings, stay tuned.  

This Sunday, we wrap up a journey through ‘pathways’ with a dive into patience/fortitude/anger.  Through the rest of May, we will journey through the story of the Good Samaritan.  And beginning on June 7th-August 30th we will walk together through a 12 week series on embracing God’s story, embracing our story.  Our weekly themes will come from a recently released book by Laura DeGroot called, Live Wide Awake.  Some of you know Laura through past connections with Crestview Church.  Week to week we can journey together in messages that will develop out of the chapters of Laura’s book.  So get  online and order your book today (or get an E-version, Kindle, etc) and get ready for our summer journey together whether virtual or in smaller groups, in personal devotions or gathering in the sanctuary – wherever God leads us this summer, we will journey together. 

May God bless you and your family in worship this week, and ‘see ya when we see ya.’  In prayer for each of you, our world, and our neighbors.  

Two kernels of wisdom for you, one from Abraham Lincoln and another from an observation of the Amish culture.  Both have some connection to our topic this week related to patience/anger and the cultural context we live in today.

In Him,
Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Greed – I’ll Have More of That Please!

Pastor Mark is resuming the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Seven Paths: Seven Paths: Greed – I’ll have more of that please!
Lk 12, 1 Tim 6, Eph 5

In Luke 12, Jesus is asked by two brothers, whose Father recently died, to settle a family inheritance matter.  Jesus gives a surprising answer, “Who am I to be the judge and mediator of this dispute?”  An extraordinary answer.  Isn’t Jesus the supreme Mediator and Judge?  

Instead, he confronts their squabble by addressing the issue of greed.  And he addresses the issue of greed by telling a short story that causes one to think about their mortality.  What does greed have to do with mortality anyway?  

Sunday, we will ask some good questions about this.  We will ponder our mortality.  Sound morbid?  It isn’t.  Sound depressing?  Far from it.  In contemplating our mortality, upon Jesus’ recommendation, we will find purpose in living.  At the same time, we will find the cure to greed.  (Generosity, gratitude, and contentment)      

Death is a reality that must be faced.  And Jesus has the answer to it.  How relevant a topic for today when we are reminded of our mortality and the mortality of others on the front page of the news every single day with a tally count of those who have died from COVID-19.  Can’t miss it, can’t ignore it, deny it, or push it away.    

Should we fear death?  That’s a trick question really.  It depends.  Why does Jesus have these two brothers reflect on their mortality in the midst of their squabble?  The answer isn’t spelled out, yet it’s in the story.  Rather than give you the answer right here, right now… See you Sunday.

You are invited to ‘come to worship’ Sunday with the Crestview Church diaspora, scattered about the front range, by way of Holy Spirit connection and the breath and wind of the internet… be there or be square, there is plenty to share,

In Him, Pastor Mark

Until Sunday, here are some more teachings from the Sermon on the Mount to chew on, Matthew Ch 7.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn-IMllGhBc

Shalom,
Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Sloth – Whatever…, Who Cares?!

Pastor Mark is resuming the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Seven Paths: Sloth – Whatever…,Who Cares?!
Pr 24, Col 3, 1 Cor 10

What an interesting time to be talking about Gluttony, Sloth, Greed and Anger… actually, it’s perfect timing.  As I explored the ‘in’s and out’s of SLOTH this week I was struck by its timely message.  SLOTH ‘believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die for.’  What a fantastic definition!

God calls us to a purposeful life.  From the mandates given at creation, the call of Abraham, through the voice of the prophets and Jesus’ Great Commission, we are created and called to purposeful engagement in living.

Sloth is really about non-engagement in God’s created and called purpose for our lives.  Sloth has a motto today, it’s called, ‘whatever…’ or ‘who cares?!’  The cure to sloth is found in God given zeal.  Colossians 3:23 and 1 Corinthians 10:31 say, ‘Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God… work at it with all your heart.”  Why?  Because “…it is the Lord Jesus we work and live for.”  Now, this is something to live and die for.   

Work for what?  For increased connectivity with God.  For going deeper in understanding and love for one another.  For fuller engagement with the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.  

Where are we on these things?  The side of SLOTH or ZEAL?  Has the circumstances of COVID-19 grown or decreased your engagement in these things?  Time to look into it.   

‘See’ you online, or out on the trails,

Pastor Mark         

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Bet you can’t eat just one?! Temperance, Moderation, Self-Control vs Gluttony

Pastor Mark is resuming the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Seven Paths: Bet you can’t eat just one?!  Temperance, Moderation, Self-Control vs Gluttony

1 Corinthians 6:12, Proverbs 25:28, Philippians 3:19-20, Romans 14:17-18

Followers of Jesus, 
This week we return to our series on the 7 Paths That Lead to Light/Darkness (formally known as the 7 Deadly Sins or the 7 virtues/vices.). We have 4 more to explore: Gluttony, Sloth, Greed, and Anger.  Maybe this sounds daunting, downcast, and depressing?  

“Do not fear!  For I have overcome!” (Jesus)  Although these vices are realities for us to face, God has given us his presence, his power and his purpose!  We have everything we need for anything that comes our way because of the gift of His Spirit – and His Spirit is Holy.  

I’ve had this past Text of the Quarter (Winter 2016-2017) from Ephesians 3:16-17 on my heart and mind as a prayer for you and me at this time: Out of God’s glorious riches may he strengthen you with power through in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… that being rooted and established in love, you may have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ… to know this love and be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God!  …He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!  

As we broaden and deepen our understanding of gluttony and gaze into God’s great wisdom and Holy Spirit power to overcome, may we find our satisfaction in God!  “We do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from God.” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). Sunday’s message: Bet you can’t eat just one?!  Temperance, Moderation, Self-Control vs Gluttony (1 Corinthians 6:12, Proverbs 25:28, Philippians 3:19-20, Romans 14:17-18)

SEE you Sunday (all be it virtual :)),

Pastor Mark         

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Gluttony – Bet You Can’t Eat Just One!

We are currently in the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to light. 

Seven Paths: Glutton – Bet You Can’t Eat Just One!

1 Corinthians 6, Proverbs 25, Philippians 3, Romans 14

This week we continue in our series of exploring 7 paths that lead to darkness (vices) and the 7 paths that lead to light (virtues).  We are at the center of the series with a message on Gluttony.  Traditionally, gluttony is paired with the virtue of temperance.  Temperance is defined as moderation in action, thought, or feeling.  It also describes moderation of appetites and passions.  This is a good definition, however, how does Scripture approach gluttony?  What would be Scripture’s corresponding virtue?  

This week I’ve been thinking about how these 7 vices correspond with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  When looking at Pride, we saw virtues of humility and gentleness.  When we looked at Lust, we saw virtues of chastity, self-control, and self-respecting/other respecting expressions of love.  When we looked at Envy, we saw virtues of kindness, gratitude, contentment, and generosity.  

When it comes to gluttony, we will revisit the virtue of self-control and press into the fruit of finding joy and satisfaction in the proper enjoyment of God’s good gifts.  

After last weeks message on Envy, someone suggested I spend more balanced time in the message on both the vice and virtue.  Apparently, I have been spending 90% of the message on the vice and neglecting the beauty of virtue.  I have investigated this and find this comment to be true!  So, this Sunday, plan to hear equal time of both vice and virtue.  Praise the Lord!

Some questions to ponder in preparation for Sunday: Is gluttony mainly concerned with food and drink?  In what other ways might we be gluttonous?  There are many!  Be smart.  

Be wise as a snake and gentle as a dove in confronting the coronavirus pandemic and loving those around you.  And pray for our leaders on all levels making decisions that matter,

In Him,
Pastor Mark

View Lent Devotional Booklet Here

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths: Envy – Why Can’t I Have That? Sure Wish I Had That!

We are currently in the message series: Seven Paths leading to darkness, Seven Paths leading to life. 

Seven Paths: Envy – Why Can’t I Have That? Sure Wish I Had That!

1 Samuel 18:5-16

I thoroughly enjoyed Sunday’s service with guest potter, Emilie Parker.  It was wonderful to experience scripture through the eyes of a potter.  We are special creations – each one of us unique.  God has created us with intention and marvelous design.  And as pots, pitchers, cups and bowls, he calls us to special purpose and service.  

It was humbling to hear words of God wondering about our questioning of what God has made.  Who are we to say to the POTTER, ‘What is this you have made?’  We are to live into our calling, our created design.  That while broken, he restores.  That while leaking, he fills the gaps and cracks.  More than these, God is ‘hands on’ with us in caring for us.  He is continually holding and molding us, shaping and filling us.  

This Sunday, March 8th, we return to our message series with number three of seven pathways that lead to darkness and light, by zeroing in on ENVY.  “Why can’t I have that? Sure wish I had that!”  Our hearts are prone to desire the things of others… whether its houses, cars, jobs, spouses… you name it!  If its a person or thing, it can be envied. 

Envy is important to recognize.  If left unchecked or undealt with, it quickly leads down a slippery slope to darkness.  Envy can lead to discontentment, unhappiness, and even lead to action with sorrowful consequences.  

God has a much better plan for us.  God calls us to the pathway of contentment and gratitude.  This is where the Spirit of God dwells.  This is the path that Jesus walks and calls us to follow.  It is the path that God blesses.  

We will look at the story of King Saul and David as a springboard into the topic of Envy. (1 Samuel 18:5-16). Looking forward to worship together and a deep dive into God’s Word.  

See you Sunday if not before,
Pastor Mark    

View Lent Devotional Booklet Here

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Seven Paths/Choices: Pride – The Bigger it is the Harder We Fall

Sun, Feb 16: New Message Series: Seven Paths/Choices: Seven Paths/Choices Leading to Darkness, Seven Paths/Choices Leading to Light. This week’s message is: 

Seven Paths/Choices: Pride – The Bigger it is the Harder We Fall
Daniel 4:10-17, 29-37


The journey through the paths/choices that lead to darkness/light begins with the king/queen of all vices: PRIDE.  Pride has much to do with what the Bible calls ‘vain glory.’  Pride develops out of our excessive focus on self with everything from appearance, attention, and approval.  As with all of these deadly paths/choices, God provides a way out and forward.  The path of light that corresponds with the path of pride is HUMILITY.  

I like the analogy of a ladder to describe how pride works.  With each step upward when climbing a ladder the vantage point changes.  The higher we go, the smaller things at the base appear.  The higher we go the steeper the angle we look down on those things on the ground.  Remember the old adage, ‘the bigger they are the harder they fall.’  Here is how it applies to pride, ‘the bigger it is, the harder we fall.’  The ladder is again, a good analogy for pride, ‘the higher we climb (pride), the harder we fall.’     

Pride makes work of comparisons, leading us to speak and think of others as ‘less than’ while at the same time elevating ourselves to ‘more than.’  Pride erodes the foundation of friendship and community.  What is the path to keep our pride in check?  Humility.  I invite you to explore definitions of humility this week.  How would you define its essence?    

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus begins his ministry by inviting us to follow him.  From the beginning Jesus laid out the path/choices toward light.  Our text for Sunday is a story from Daniel 4:10-17, 29-37 about a King called Nebuchadnezzar.  Quite a story.  

Read up and get ready, we are on a journey of conviction and delight.  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Pursuit of Pleasure

Feb 8: Mark Begins a New Message Series: Seven Paths to Darkness. This week’s message is: 
The Pursuit of PleasureEcclesiastes 2:1-11
Time for a change – five weeks of Baptism related messages has been good and satisfying – now, on to Seven Paths/Choices that Lead to Darkness.  That sounds ominous, even scary!  

Before you decide to skip out on church for the next 8 weeks, consider how much of the Bible references just this series of topics.  Traditionally, these ‘paths’ have been described by the following realities: Pride, Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth, and Anger (The Seven Deadly Sins). Wisdom literature in the Old Testament writings, Jesus teachings in the Gospels, and every one of the Letters written to the early church is packed with guidance, teaching, and references to these seven paths/choices.  

Do not fear!  We will be juxtaposing these seven paths/choices that lead to darkness with seven overcoming paths/choices that lead to light.  We will begin this 8 week series with a message from the heart of wisdom literature in Scripture, Ecclesiastes 2:1-11.  The Pursuit of Pleasure in on the schedule for Sunday.  In reading the passage for Sunday ask yourself what paths/choices the writer makes in his pursuit of pleasure.  What does he say about them?  How does he approach engagement in these paths/choices?  Where do these paths/choices lead him?  

Good stuff!  Can’t go wrong with the Bible – great material to work with!  Think its because its Holy Spirit inspired or something like that, :). 

Chili dinner at church on Saturday at 5:00pm. Community movie to follow: Disneys Penguins!

Pastor Mark