Pastor Mark’s June Newsletter Blog

Pastor Mark’s June Newsletter Blog “Free Stuff” This past weekend, I had a clear goal in mind. Clean out the clutter in the garage so that I could park my truck inside. This was one major goal. After remodeling downstairs, cleaning out the closets, storing the kids extra belongings and accumulating all of my needless treasures, I didn’t know how long this cleaning effort would take. But systematically, bit by bit, I began to see some daylight. I didn’t want to waste time with a garage sale, so I simply put my unwanted junk, I mean treasures, out by the street with a sign that said, “Free”. I even put a broken lawnmower out there as well as retro, antique, old and just plain old cheap trinkets.   It was amazing to watch the items disappear one by one. Usually it happened when I left the house. Each time I would return home, another item would be gone. I’m not sure if they would have disappeared if I would have had a price tag on them. But with their being “free”, people were willing to take them home with them.

It’s interesting to read the final words in the Bible. . . . .

Revelation 22:17 states,

“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!”

And let them who hear say, “Come!”

Whoever is thirsty, let them come, and whoever wishes,

let them take the free gift of the water of life.”

So why is it that so many people are willing to take my free junk out along the road, but when it comes to the free gift of salvation, so many hesitate to take it home with them?   Is it because they think that there is a price associated with it? Certainly, people need to know that there was a steep price associated with this free gift of eternal life – but that price was paid by Jesus Christ, suffering on the cross, bearing the sins of the world. And yes, there is a price to be paid on our part, that we would surrender our selfish ways and live in step with God. But doesn’t that supposed price become a privilege as we experience a spirit filled life providing us with greater purpose, meaning, love and the reality of eternity?    Or does the basic truth smack us in the face that most people don’t really care and really are not that interested in spiritual things? Barna Research tells us that the opposite is true. That your average Joe, driving down our streets are indeed interested in spiritual things. So what gives?   Perhaps people just do not know about this free gift of God described in the Bible and delivered through Jesus Christ. So, if someone stopped in front of your house and was picking up an old, used water hose with a mashed end that says “free”, and happened to ask you, out of curiosity, about the free gift of Jesus Christ – would you have something to offer him/her?   A few weeks ago, one of our members was with a co-worker, and they had a conversation about Jesus. He texted me after the conversation that night and was so excited as he shared, “He didn’t know anything about Christianity, and I knew what to say.”   This is why we are continuing Connexion into June – so that we can continue to learn simple ways to respond to honest questions when people ask. Perhaps it will not be a stranger by the road, but your son or daughter at the kitchen table or your grandchild at bedtime. The gift that Jesus has freely given us, let us freely give. And may it be our privilege to pass on the truth that indeed, the price has already been paid!   Connexion, Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

And if interested, I still have some free stuff out by the road! Feel free to stop on by!

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you

to give the reason for the hope that you have.”     1 Peter 3:15

 In Christ, Pastor Mark

 
 


Pastor Mark’s March Newsletter Blog

 
 

Pastor Mark’s March Newsletter Blog The Lenten Journey – “Our Path in the Wilderness” A few weeks ago, Travis Kauffman was running in the wilderness. He was running alone in the foothills of the Horsetooth Mountain Park in northern Colorado. He reported that he heard something behind him on the trail. As he turned to investigate, an 80 lb. mountain lion lunged at him. Travis said that he was bitten on the face and wrist, but he was able to fight back. He was able to fight off the mountain lion and eventually suffocate and kill him. Exactly how Travis did so was not immediately clear, but the cat is dead, and the man is recovering in a local hospital. 

1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring (mountain?) lion looking for someone to devour.

Resist him (fight him off), standing firm in the faith…”

News traveled around the globe, retelling Travis’ courageous effort to fight off an attacking lion. St. Peter warns us of another lion that prowls around looking to destroy our hopes and crush our dreams. Jesus faced that lion, the devil, in the wilderness for 40 days before he began his public ministry. He had to stand up to this enemy before he marched to the cross and achieve his ultimate victory over death. As we begin the Lenten Season, March 6 (Ash Wednesday), this 40-day march to Easter is a recognition of the real fight Jesus faced for the faith.

Jesus journeyed through the wilderness,

enduring Satan’s temptations,
and returned to Galilee IN THE POWER of the SPIRIT!
 
Jesus models a journey of faith we all must take into the wilderness as his followers. At some point, we will find ourselves, as Jesus did, in a wilderness, in unfamiliar territory, to face a formidable enemy. The wilderness is not meant to destroy us but rather that we might learn to reject Satan’s lies, resist his temptations, remain in the Truth, and return home – walking in greater power and life in the Holy Spirit. 
 
Daniel, in the Old Testament, faced his own wilderness journey. Staying faithful to God, on his knees in prayer, it led to betrayal, arrest and a sentencing by King Darius. Daniel would be thrown into the den of lions. Daniel faced a formidable enemy in both animal and accusation, yet he rejected the lies, resisted the temptations, remained in the truth and returned home – walking in greater power than he had ever known.
 
If we are to walk through our own wilderness successfully and stand firm in the faith, Jesus and Daniel model for us a standard that will always carry us through. In order for us to reject the lies, resist temptation and remain in the Truth – Jesus relied upon the Word of God.
 
“Jesus said, ‘It is written: Man does not live on bread alone.’‘
It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’

‘It says: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’   (Luke 4:4,8,12)

Jesus stood his ground and wrestled the animal to the ground and took him out in the strength of God’s living Word. And Daniel, in his deepest time of torment, trusted in the power of his God.

“Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him,because he had trusted in his God.”  (Daniel 6:23)
 

God heard Daniel’s prayers. God sent an angel to shut the lion’s mouths and preserve his life. On what trail are you running? We are about to run into the Lenten Season – a time and a path that perhaps will lead us into temptation. Be self-controlled and on alert. We have One who will deliver us from evil. The God of our salvation will watch over us as the Good Shepherd watches over his sheep. Take up the tools, seize the weapons that have been given to us – the Word of God: his living, written and spoken Word, the prayer of praise and petition, and child-like trust that will never forsake us. Whatever trail, whether Horsetooth Mountain or into the valley of the shadow of death – fear no evil, the Lion of Judah, runs by our side. He is our protector, He is our provider, He is our salvation! Can you hear Him roar? Thanks be to God!! Pastor Mark