Sunday Main 10-21-12

 

 

Freed to Love XIII.mp3

 Stir it up! – PDF

 Key Texts: Deut. 30:6; II Thess. 3:5; Jer. 30:12-17; Job (various segments from the book of)

Review:

For weeks we have been discussing offenses towards our brother, the world and against (or towards) us. This week we dealt with offenses towards God!

This is often a difficult topic, and many Christians tend to avoid facing it head on. I believe this is not due to fear of God, but rather to a false type of respect for Him or concern for loosing their faith in the confusion of their unrealized expectations of Him.

Rather than attempting to give an overview I encourage you to just give this a listen. Allow God to speak to you and realize that if you are His child, you belong to a Kingdom and are an integral part of a larger story than you ever realized.

 

An overplayed and often exploited real life conceptualization of this is in the work place. You are often asked to be a “team player”. Which carries with it the often negative overtones of “take a bullet for the team”.

Usually no one is asked to be a “team player” when the immediate (or even far reaching) outcome of such participation is favorable. The call is  a call to “selflessness” to give up your immediate glory and rights for the greater good of the team. These are noble concepts and would be readily embraced by the majority if there were ever any external proofs of being part of a team other than when being asked to make such a sacrifice!

In the Kingdom of God, we are part of an existing and growing kingdom for which early North American colonialists provide an excellent example. The shores were open to everyone who was willing to leave what they had behind and become part of something larger, better and at heart more noble. Though this required large amounts of sacrifice for anyone willing to come here, the benefits were well worth the “scars”.

So it is with the Kingdom of God. There are times when you will be called upon to sacrifice for others – both in and outside of the kingdom…

Paul summarizes this idea in his letter to the Corinthians,

“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel. For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” ~ 1Cor. 9:16-22

The obvious overtones here are that of sacrifice for the benefit of others.

Would God call upon His beloved children to make sacrifices which in the end may even end in martyrdom for the sake of other Christians, the furtherance of the Gospel, the integrity of the Kingdom or even for the lost?

Let’s explore His word for the answers to these and other surrounding questions.

 

 

 

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!