Posts Tagged "Minneapolis"

Running the Race – Pastor Mark

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Running the Race – Pastor Mark

There are many things I don’t get too excited about.  I don’t ride a motorcycle; I’m not big into guns; I would enjoy having a boat but it’s never happened – but I do love to run.  I found out this past Sunday that I am definitely not alone in my passion.  At 7:00 Shane Buff and I joined 8500 others in running the Twin Cities 10 Mile.  An hour later the gun sounded again and another 11,500 began the 26.2 mile journey of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

Why do people do it?  For some it’s to see if they can.  But for others there is a sheer joy that is found in running that doesn’t come anywhere else.  If you’re not a runner that makes NO SENSE AT ALL!  I understand.  I do.  I feel exactly the same way when people talking about quilting.

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Our Mountain – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Jun 25, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Our Mountain – Cassi Piper

I recently attended a memorial service for my dear friend’s father who passed away. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to hear about a man whom I hadn’t the honor of meeting but had heard so much about. There was laughter and tears and healing as we all heard stories about his life and family.

The most moving part for me was when my friend described her relationship with her father and what it meant to her. When she was young her father seemed to her a towering figure, one that evoked awe and intimidation in her heart. Though an emotionally distant man, he loved the Colorado mountains where my friend’s family spent her early years and her most favorite memories are of hiking and camping with her dad in the foothills.

As she grew older my friend began to make earnest attempts to understand her father, a man who had served in the Vietnam War and whose outlook on life had hardened as a result of what he had experienced there. She appreciated his strong work ethic, something he passed down to her and her siblings and discovered that he loved his family dearly even if at times he struggled to show it. Over time she no longer saw his strength as intimidating, but rather a source of refuge as she faced the many storms of life.

She likened her growing relationship with her father as one gets to know a mountain. At first the mountain looms over you, tall, ominous and seemingly insurmountable. Then you gather the courage to camp at its base and though you still find it mysterious and at times terrifying, you begin to appreciate the breadth of the mountain’s strength and beauty. Eventually you begin taking risks, first hiking the well worn foot trails, and then making paths of your own. With each new step you gain a greater sense of exploration and discovery that after many years finds you at the summit, surrounded by views that take your breath away. It is at that moment that the mountain becomes your mountain.

Towards the end of his life, after many years of investing in their relationship, my friend was grateful to say that her dad had become her mountain. He no longer was a distant man to her but a loving, supportive and generous friend.

It is my hope that as we invest in our relationship with God that one day we too will reach the summit of His love and claim him as our God. That we will be willing to take risks in obedience and faith and venture further into His understanding than we ever have before. That He will become our true source of refuge and strength as we face times of trial. Then one day when we meet Him face to face it will be like getting together with a cherished friend who never left our side.

And to Mandy, in your time of great loss, know that you are one of my mountains and it is an honor to call you friend. You are immensely loved by your Heavenly Father and I know that He is taking special care of your daddy until you meet again.

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Spiritual Pullover – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Feb 26, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Spiritual Pullover – Cassi Piper

On Valentine’s Day I was pulled over by the police. I was driving home with my mom and a friend when I saw those notorious flashing lights in my rear view mirror. Completely bewildered as to why I would be stopped I pulled over and waited in angst. In my head I quickly went over my driving the past few miles. Was I speeding? No. Did I signal lane changes? Yes. How many years had it been since I was last pulled over? Twelve?

Eventually a young gentleman sporting his uniform came to the passenger window and asked me if I knew why I had been pulled over. I honestly didn’t know. He proceeded to tell me that my headlights were off. He then asked me where we had come from. “Minneapolis”, I answered. Then it hit me. I was pulled over in New Brighton which meant somehow I had managed to drive over fifteen miles at night without my headlights on! I could see the same realization come over the officer. Sure enough he politely handed me a ticket.

I couldn’t blame him. Even though I wasn’t speeding or driving recklessly, I had placed other drivers at risk who might not have been able to see me. Here I had been, happily chatting away in the car, driving under the lights that dotted the freeway, completely oblivious that my vision was severely impaired.

And so it can be with us. As Christians it can be easy for us to coast spiritually, doing faith dimly, satisfied with going to church, hanging out with our church buddies and occasionally reading a verse or two. During these times we may feel comfortable and safe, but by not allowing God’s grace, truth and love to truly penetrate our being, we place the eternity of others at risk. How many people have missed out on the only Jesus they may ever see because we weren’t willing to live out our faith in our daily lives?

My prayer this week is for those of us who are in need of a spiritual pullover. It is time for us to turn our faith back on in our daily drive through life, bringing it into our conversations, our actions, our attitudes and our relationships. Only then can the light of God’s truth go beyond our Sunday schools, Bible studies and prayer groups and begin reaching out to the hurting world around us.

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Homeless at Christmas – Pastor Mark

Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Homeless at Christmas – Pastor Mark

This year we have a chance to experience one of the original elements of Christmas – Homelessness.  Mary and Joseph were basically homeless when Jesus was born.  Yes, they had a place back in Nazareth, but on that holy night… they had nothing.  And on top of that there were no hospitals with delivery rooms; and this was Mary’s first child.  Very few of us have ever experienced those feelings of helplessness, loneliness and vulnerability that are part of not having a place to sleep and no protected place to spend the night, nor do we know people who have.

But this Sunday we have an opportunity to change that.  We will be ministering to people who deal with homelessness on a regular basis.  First Covenant Church of Minneapolis daily provides shelter and a hot meal for up to 50 adults during the colder months of the year.  Through one of Janelle’s connections, Immanuel is signed up to provide the meal this Sunday, December 16th.  We will be preparing and serving the meal, engaging the homeless in conversation and members of the worship team are providing some Christmas music.  This has the potential to be a significant experience – both for us and for the ones we serve.

You are invited to join us!  If you are interested simply contact Tami, Janelle, Pastor Matt, or myself.  We will give you more details.

 

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Clarity – Pastor Mark

Posted by on Oct 29, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Clarity – Pastor Mark

Clarity is a gift.  When something comes along that provides clarity it is a rare and beautiful thing.  Yesterday’s schedule included a funeral and the presidential debates.  One provided clarity.  The other was fog and mist.  But enough about the presidential debates…

The book of Ecclesiastes speaks of the value of attending a funeral.  The act of stopping long enough to think deeply – to consider the brevity and importance of life – can be a powerful cleansing agent for the mind.  The things that constantly scream to us “I AM IMPORTANT” are forced to be silent.  The things that quietly say, “I am important” emerge as truth.

Today as we consider the things on our schedule, may we take a moment and ask, “Is this really important?  At my funeral someday is this going to be spoken of as something that defined me?  Do I want it to be?”

Jesus had such a gift for clarity.  When asked which was the greatest commandment he blew away the fog and said, “Passionately love God and selflessly love people.”

And now that I think about it, that’s what I heard about Tom and Cindy yesterday.

May you have a week of increasing clarity as you follow Jesus.

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