03-28-12 Wednesday Night

Beautiful Outlaw Chapter 15:  Clearing away the Religious Fog

Excerpt from Participant’s Guide:

The way a person gets angry and what they get angry about is a real clue to who they really are.

So—what about Jesus? What really fries this gracious, humble, immensely patient man?
If you will simply read the Gospels without bias, you cannot come to any other conclusion but that religion is the enemy—or in the hands of the enemy. Every hostile encounter Jesus has is with very “churchy” people. This spirit is the great enemy of our life with God, and it is this spirit that Jesus warned his boys about when they were whispering in the boat about the bread: “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” and then he says it again, to make sure they are paying attention: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matt. 16:6, 11).

If you would know Jesus, love him, experience him, you must pay very careful attention to this warning.

Maybe it is more revealing to ask: Do you share Jesus’ anger at this religious stuff?

This is what infuriates Jesus, so it ought to be what infuriates us. What was the last piece of religious nonsense you were angry with?
There is Christianity, and then there is Christian culture. They are not the same. Loving the culture of church is not anywhere close to the same thing as loving Jesus.

How would you distinguish the two? Have you experienced them both?

Which do you prefer? Why?

The Pharisees loved their religious culture—the long prayers, the solemn garments, the honor bestowed upon them for being members of the clergy.

But they hated Jesus.

Hi I am Pastor Mark...

I have been a pastor for nearly 30 years now (2018), though never quite like I am today. (more on that in a moment)

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As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my best friend, greatest personal support and most valued aid.
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As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught. I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled). Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then,

"If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling."

~ Fredrick Buechner

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By 2009 I’d been Pastoring for nearly 20 years. Earlier in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our church was not in keeping with the New Testament. This was a shock to me and it is was a revelation that did not come all at once but over the course of a few weeks.

We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until about 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We believe the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly and though we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me. I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!