Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Sword of the Spirit

New Message Series: Suit Up! The Armor of God, Ephesians 6

Message
The Armor of God: The Sword of the Spirit
Ephesians 6:17-20


The faithfulness of God is ‘like the waves on the ocean’ as wave after wave brings God’s goodness to shore… God’s love is ‘as deep and wide as the ocean’, volume beyond measure… God’s offspring ‘as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore’… God’s creation of ‘every sea creature unique, according to its kinds’ reveals his wonder, mystery, playfulness… from dolphins frolicking in the sunlight to the deepest creature crawling in the ocean’s floor of darkness… variety of every seashell shape and size with individual living creatures… all giving praise to GOD.  The sun, moon, and stars all in their orbit… like a grand symphony of praise… the list goes on.  What about us?  Is God’s praise on our lips? 


Sunday, we wrap up a 6 week series, on The Armor of God, with focusing on the ‘Sword of the Spirit.’ The ‘sword of the Spirit’ is God’s word.  The Word of God (Scripture) is ‘alive and active.’ 


The Word of God (Scripture) is alive and active.


The Word is amazing, providing everything we need for ‘life and godliness.’  It is like daily ‘Manna’… water from the ‘Rock’… ‘Light’ for our path… ‘Wisdom’ from on High… 

Like the commercial some time back, “Got milk?”  The Spirit of God says to us, “Got Word?” Drink it, eat it, engage, meditate on it?  Psalm 1 says, the one who does is “like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in season, prospering, leaves always green…”   

And Paul, in Ephesians 6:10-20 says the Word of God is like a sword, useful as armor in the battle against spiritual forces of darkness and against the evil one.  Again, Paul isn’t telling us we must take up a sword that we generate ourselves.  We are given it, we need only engage it, take it up.    

Looking forward to Sunday, as we meditate on God’s Word together.  After all, we are a community gathered around God’s Word, living (Jesus) and written (scripture).  So let’s gather Sunday to do just that,  see ya then,

Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Helmet of Salvation

New Message Series: Suit Up! The Armor of God, Ephesians 6

Message
The Armor of God: The Helmet of Salvation
Ephesians 6:17


When you think of putting on the ‘helmet of salvation’ of God’s armor, described in Ephesians 6, what do you think it means?  And what part of the ‘armor of God’ described is the most important?  


What part of the ‘armor of God’ is the most important?


What part of the body is the most important?  The heart?  The head?  Arms and Legs?  Eyes and ears?… lots to think about.  Maybe that means the head is the most important.

For sure, every part of the body is important for a person to function well.  Yet, the head seems important.  When Paul describes the body of Christ, he refers to Christ being the head.  In the Bible, ‘head’ is often used to describe the whole of a person.  Does any of this give insight into putting on ‘the helmet of salvation?’  Perhaps.

See you Sunday!
    Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

Feet Fitted for the Gospel of Peace

New Message Series: Suit Up! The Armor of God, Ephesians 6


Message
The Armor of God: Feet Fitted for the Gospel of Peace
Ephesians 6:15


Sunday, January 23rd, we focus on the phrase, ‘stand firm then with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace’ from Ephesians 6:15.  What does this mean?  Where can this ‘piece (peace)’ of armor be found?  What does it look like to have ‘feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace’?  

The Apostle Paul and Scripture as a whole, give us many clues as to what that can mean, where it is found, and what it looks like.  Here’s a few ideas to ponder for preparation of the heart for Sunday’s message: How does engaging, making ready, fitting our feet, with the ‘gospel of peace’ address worry, anxiety, and fear?  


How does the gospel of peace address worry, anxiety, and fear?


 How does engaging, making ready, fitting our feet, with the ‘gospel of peace’ address temptation and trial?  How does engaging, making ready, fitting our feet, with the ‘gospel of peace’ address the ways we engage others?     

See you Sunday, 
Pastor Mark  

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Shield of Fatih

New Message Series: Suit Up! The Armor of God, Ephesians 6

Message
The Armor of God: Shield of Faith
Ephesians 6:16


As families continue to sort through the shock of losing your home and the deep grief and displacement that brings, our prayers continue to rise for all impacted.  There is now a page on our website for ways of engagement.  This page will be updated with other opportunities to engage as further connections are made with other churches and agencies.  Currently we are in contact with World Renew, Volunteers in Action, other churches and local organizations.   

In about 8 weeks, most of the state and national emergency response groups will be withdrawing, and the longer recovery phase will kick in and continue for an estimated 1-2 years.  May God give the endurance, perseverance, and resilience to all families, businesses, and city governments affected as these transitions unfold.  

We have been experiencing the truth of God in the armor of God.  The readings this week in the Read Through the Bible in 3 years brought out a theme of the Armor of God – FAITH.  

  • Genesis 12-18: Faith of Abraham and God covenanting to be his ‘shield.’
  • John 6: “I am the bread of life, the one who believes has eternal life.”
  • Proverbs 3 speaks of wisdom.  Yet, it sounds synonymous with faith, “Trust in the Lord… long life in her right hand… a tree of life to all who take hold of her.”
  • And the Psalm for the week: 37, “Hope in the Lord and you will inherit the land… God is our stronghold in the time of trouble for all who take refuge in him.”

This all sounds like a holy-human weave of FAITH.  


This sounds like a holy-human weave of FAITH.


 So, I am calling an audible.  The iron is hot, this week’s Spirit directed theme of the armor of God is going to be The Shield of Faith – Extinguishing the Flaming Arrows of the evil one from Ephesians 6:10-20.  

Sunday we will celebrate communion,
   Shalom!
      Pastor Mark 

Pastor Mark's Weekly Blog, Uncategorized

The Breastplate of Righteousness

New Message Series: Suit Up! The Armor of God, Ephesians 6


Message
The Armor of God: The Breastplate of Righteousness
Ephesians 6:14


Crestview family,
As a new calendar year unfolds, we begin in Ephesians 6:10-20, The Armor of God, and a renewed call to be in the WORD with regularity and faithfulness.  It’s good to be reminded that we live in a world of physicality and spirituality.  And Jesus is the LORD of both.  And Jesus brings them together in perfect wholeness.  For the follower of Christ, ‘putting on Christ’ in the ways of God’s Word, Spirit, Truth, Righteousness, Faithfulness, and Gospel readiness is to be a daily engagement – the pathway of our life.  


‘Putting on Christ’ in the ways of God’s Word is the pathway of our life.


  Been reflecting on the rich interwoven truth of God from New Testament to Old Testament, to the New again.  Captured particularly this week by the phrase from Psalm 29, the Psalm of the week, “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood… gives strength to his people; blesses his people with peace.”  In light of the recent fire, at the beginning of a new calendar year, this gives hope and strengthens trust in God.  It’s fascinating to be reading this week in the Read Through the Bible schedule (3 years), the connections between Psalm 24, John 4 (Samaritan woman at the well), and the flood narrative of Genesis 6-9.  Makes these verses from Proverbs 2:20-3:6 for this week more poignant: “You will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous.  For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.  My child, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.  Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and others.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”   

More Armor of God for Sunday… When it comes to putting on the ‘breastplate of righteousness’, what does this mean?  How does this look? Who is righteous and how is righteousness defined?  Where can it be found?  How can I get this piece of armor that protects my heart and wear it?      

Good news… see you Sunday,  Ephesians 6:10-20.  

In Jesus,
   Pastor Mark