Posts Tagged "Pastor Mark"

A Long Season – Pastor Mark

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

A Long Season – Pastor Mark

Being the long-time Twins fan that I am, I have been excited about their surprising showing.  “Go Twins!”  But when they go into a slump, which they did the first part of June, I found myself thinking, “OK, here they go…back to reality.”  So I was interested when one of the veteran players was asked, “How does this team handle losses?”  His response wasn’t what I expected, but it was good.  He said, “Baseball is a game where you can lose 62 games in the season and still make the playoffs.  It’s a 162 game season.  Losing 62 games means you won 100!  So we don’t let it get us down and we’ll go out there tomorrow and play our best and have fun.”

That attitude is a good one to take into your life as a Christian.  You are going to lose some “games” – a lot of them, in fact.  But if you let your losses take away your joy, if you take every defeat personally, you won’t be able to go out “the next day” and live for Christ.  For example, there’s a challenge in 1 Peter 3:15 that says, “Always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

There are days when I walk away from a conversation and think to myself, “I could have said it so much better.”  It can really feel like I struck out.  But I can’t quit.  I replay the conversation in my mind.  I think about what I could have done differently.  I try to listen to my “Coach” and determine to do better the next time.

So as we live this life as Christ-followers let’s remember that it’s a long season.  God isn’t expecting perfection.  He’s looking for a teachable heart and a willingness to keep “swinging the bat.”

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Opportunity – Pastor Mark

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Opportunity – Pastor Mark

The Christmas décor is back in the Rubbermaid containers.  The Christmas CD’s are put away for another year.  The poinsettias are dropping their leaves.  We are already two weeks into the New Year.  Before this special parenthesis of time becomes another faded memory, maybe there are decisions you and I need to make.  If we don’t, our deepest dreams may be put on “hold” again for another year.  Plans that need to be put into effect may be in danger of just being “packed away” like they were last year and the year before.

At this “sacred” time of year take some time for yourself.  Sit quietly with your own thoughts.  Read through one of your favorite passages of Scripture.  Let God bring new ideas to your mind – or bring back your dreams.

Paul challenges us to “make the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:16).  There are many applications for this challenge but I believe one of those “opportunities” is this unique time of year.

Make the most of this opportunity before it slip slides away.


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Resolved to Resolutions – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

One thing that New Year’s Day teaches me is that I’m not very good at making resolutions.  Actually, I’m good at making resolutions, just poor at keeping them for any period of time.  The usual fair for my resolutions include anything from lowering my weight and TV consumption to more Bible/prayer time.  All these things would be good for me to be sure.

As I have set up and ultimately failed the majority of my resolutions, I have noticed that I’m an all or nothing guy.  If I can’t fulfill my resolutions perfectly I quickly give up on them; thus, Februarys of my past are filled with tombstones of long dead, but well intended resolutions.

Resolutions are attractive for a very good reason.  They give you power.  There is a part of your life that you have lost the ability to control.  Otherwise you would not make the resolution at all.  A resolution is a bid for you to take back what you may have lost or never have had.

2.0In the book of Matthew we see Jesus talking to John’s disciples about fasting.  He tells them that his own disciples do not fast because “people [do not] pour new wine into old wineskins.”  The new wine is Jesus and the old wineskins are his disciples.   Jesus is simply saying that doing new things doesn’t make you new.  You must first be made new by Jesus.  And anything after that brings you new life.

See the follower of Jesus knows that true/real newness comes only from the work of Jesus Christ.  That is our foundation and our source of life.  We are not made new from our work/resolutions (which are temporal) but by the righteousness of Jesus Christ (which is eternal).

Resolutions aren’t bad, but we must know that any true newnessonly comes from the one who has the power to make us new: Jesus Christ.

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Any Given Sermon – Pastor Matt

Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Any Given Sermon – Pastor Matt

This past Sunday, Pastor Mark gave a great illustration of Immanuel Church.  He said, “It’s the exact opposite of the NFL.”  Mark’s reasoning is simple: the NFL is mostly preparation.  Teams and coaches spend the majority of their time and energy training for a game that only takes place in a period of hours every week.  Immanuel Church, on the other hand, takes a few hours to prepare for the entire week.

Granted, Sunday church isn’t the only way we prepare ourselves for ministry outside our church walls.  I can’t help think that we have much less preparation time than we actually need.  This is especially true when we think of how important our various ministries and responsibilities are outside the church walls.

What I find to be incredible is how Jesus prepared his disciples.  In Mark 3, Jesus appoints his disciples to be with him so “that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”  Notice that this is the beginning of Mark and not the end.  So Jesus has his disciples doing active ministry before they had extensive and comprehensive training.  Had I been Jesus, I would have given the disciples authority when I knew they could handle the authority and not mess things up.   But one thing I’m absolutely sure of is that I’m not Jesus, and his ways are infinitely better than mine.  He gives his disciples authority not because they were ready but because that’s how they grow.

I believe that God does the same for us.  There is not a graduation day were we get our official Christian diploma.  We are already Christians who do work.  We still have a long way to go, but we are doing his work all-along-the-way.  Doing ministry is preparing, and preparing is doing ministry.

What has God put on your heart for ministry?

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Praise – Pastor Mark

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Praise – Pastor Mark

C. S. Lewis writes this in his work, Reflections on the Psalms:

“I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise.  The world rings with praise – lovers praising the ones they love, readers praising their favorite author, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game.  I had never noticed either that just as we spontaneously praise what we value, so we spontaneously urge others to join us: “Isn’t she lovely?” “Wasn’t it glorious?” “Don’t you think that is just magnificent?”  I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment.  The delight is incomplete till it is expressed.  When we act out our love and acknowledgment of Him in this way, we fulfill our purpose; and when we are rightly fulfilling our purpose, we have the best possible joy – God is pleased, our relationship with Him is enhanced, and He has rightly received what He deserves.”

We all can benefit from letting these significant truths soak into our souls:

–       Praise is a natural response to God’s blessings

–       Praise expresses, but also completes, the enjoyment

–       Praise is not just suggested but commanded in Scripture

–       Praise is part of the fulfillment of our purpose

Have a great week of praise!

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