04-25-12 Wednesday Night

Beautiful Outlaw Epilogue: One Last Thought.mp3

Excerpt from Participant’s Guide:

Surely you have noticed that we have entered a time of great suffering on the earth. And Jesus warned us about this. Before his death, his teaching turned very sober—nothing that would make a best seller in this world of “tell me how to make life work now.”

How badly would you love a guide from God on “how to make life work”? Is there such a guide?
Be very, very careful and pay attention to how you interpret your suffering. Don’t jump to conclusions. Interpretation is critical. Be aware of the agreements that you make. This is where the enemy can  destroy you. Agreements such as God has abandoned me; it’s my fault; I’ve done something wrong, and  a host of others. If you’ve been making these agreements, you will want to break them. They allow a chasm to form between you and your Jesus.

How might you have misinterpreted events or circumstances in your life?

What agreements or conclusions did you draw? How have those misinterpretations led to a chasm between you and Jesus?

When his suffering overfl ows into our lives, God’s promise is that his comfort will overfl ow to us as well. We can cry out for the comfort of God. Whatever your circumstances may be, he will heal your wounded heart; he will comfort. Cling to him. He is with you now. For his name is Faithful and True.
What are you looking forward to with Jesus?

It will do your heart good to let your hopes run in his direction. Meanwhile, make a practice of loving Jesus. Let him be himself with you.

Let His life fill yours.

One of the ways we love him is to introduce others to him. There are a lot of folks out there who desperately need to know this Beautiful Outlaw.

 

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been shepherding in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about 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 following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. 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.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While 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.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

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

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!