The Undivided Heart

Undivided Heart

Sunday 08/09/20

Series: Do we REALLY believe?

MESSAGE: The Undivided Heart

(Part 7 of Thinking through Suffering …a Dialogue)


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Thoughts & Questions:

Last week we finished with our final “group” question, which was “Describe the difference between a weight and a sin“.

We came to the conclusion that weights are hindrances. Things which occupy too many of our thoughts, emotions and focus so as to distract us from the only real thing that matters.

Now for a quick review of the last several weeks before we example the 1st of several scriptures we are going to study which illustrate the truths we have recently learned.


Explain your understanding of the nature and purpose of suffering. 

The purpose of suffering is to become whole again. To STOP being a divided being. When mankind was created we were  complete we were whole and part of that wholeness was our unbroken connection with our Creator. When satan tempted Eve he was dividing her not only from God, but dividing her whole person. Her soul from her spirit by means of her body and mind. He used something external to her… the forbidden fruit and an alien thought which questioned God’s character and good heart and it split her from God and tore her apart within.  all those born after the fall we’re born into this divided state of being and it is all we have ever known. Suffering therefore is to deny what we were born into as a norm and surrender to a new Norm. We have desires that war against our new nature in Christ and that speaks to divide us not only Within but from agreement and oneness with God. When we deny our outward cravings it serves to strengthen the union we have within as well as the fellowship we have with God. Furthermore it makes us a little more complete so that we become like Him in the process. Christ is being formed in US. 

  • Scriptural synonyms for suffering…
    • Trials
    • afflictions
    • temptations
    • persecutions
    • reviling
    • threats
    • oppression
    • tests
  • Why is agreement with God so important? Because it is life! Peace (the inner and outer end of hostilities) begins with a respect for God as our Creator. It goes back to the garden and says NO to the Temptation that questions God’s character  goodness and intentions for us. Thus, agreement with God is everything! 
  • What is Life and why does God want that WITH you? It is to know Him. 
  • What is the difference between tests, trials and temptations? Only their methods – their outcomes for the devoted child of God are the same.
  • What is the PURPOSE of tests? Testing takes place to “prove” you. 
  • What is the PURPOSE of trials? To pressure you into siding with your flesh. 
  • What is the PURPOSE of temptations? It is to pull you away from allegiance to God and to further tighten the grip your flesh has on your faith and your soul.
  • What is a pure heart? One that has only ONE allegiance. It is single in purpose, single in devotion and single in love.
  • What does that have to do with Loving God with all of your heart? Technically it means with all your life. To love God with all of your thoughts – means complete devotion to God and all He loves and approves.
  • What is holiness? Complete devotion to God.
  • Write down a list of synonyms for holiness.
    • Devotion
    • Consecration
    • Purity
    • Loyalty

We are now going to look at a few verses which illustrate what we have learned. Pay close attention to what is said and you will see a pattern in the New Testament which focuses on our inward Union in agreement with our new nature and our union and agreement with God. 

1 Peter 5:6-11, 

“(6) Humble yourselves therefore beneath the mighty hand of God, so that at the right time He may set you on high.  

(7)  Throw the whole of your anxiety upon Him, because He Himself cares for you.  

(8)  Curb every passion, and be on the alert. Your great accuser, the Devil, is going about like a roaring lion to see whom he can devour.  

(9)  Withstand him, firm in your faith; knowing that your brethren in other parts of the world are passing through just the same sufferings.  

(10)  And God, the giver of all grace, Who has called you to share His eternal glory, through Christ, after you have suffered for a short time, will Himself make you perfect, firm, and strong.  

(11)  To Him be all power unto the Ages of the Ages! Amen.”

God Bless!

I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.


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 Pastoring 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 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!