Author Archives: Pastor Mark

B90X- A couple of thoughts on Ruth

Ruth gleaningThere are some denominations or folks who do church, where at some point in the worship service, the leader says, “Peace be with you” and those in attendance together say, “And also with you.”  When one is not of a denomination that does this weekly, such as myself, it is a really cool blessing to speak over folks.  However, I have heard from some who grew up with this greeting and it had lost it meaning and punch.

Church history and tradition is a fascinating thing.  Personally, the knowledge of where something started and why, is intriguing to me.  Where did this “Peace” greeting originate?  The answer may be from Ruth.

In Ruth chapter two the landowner Boaz arrived at one of his fields in Bethlehem (or Beit-Lechem in the CJB). Bo ‘az  says to his reapers, “Adonai be with you”; and they answered him, “Adonai bless you.”

It may go way back to Numbers 6:24-27 (CJB):

May Adonai bless you and keep you.
May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor.
May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace.
“In this way they are to put my name on the people of Isra ‘el, so that I will bless them.”

Let’s use our words to bless folks.  It may have been Jesus who encouraged something like that. ;)

Repost- Ten things church members want in a pastor

Many of my articles come from the perspective of pastors. That will not change in the future. I am an advocate of pastors and I desire God’s best for them. I have no plans to change my advocacy role.

As a change of pace, however, I recently asked a few hundred laypersons to write down what they desired of a pastor. Their responses were open-ended, and there was no limitation on the number of items they could list. Though my approach was not scientific, these laypersons did represent over sixty churches.

Here are their top ten responses in order of frequency. Since many of them gave one or more sentences as a response, I can provide a representative comment by each of the responses.

The list of ten items is found here.

I’d love to hear if this resonates or if there are other thoughts.

Prayer for our Kids day 20 – Compassion

compassion“Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion” (Colossians 3:12).

There are some words that evoke strong emotions within us and for some reason the word compassion brings forth feelings of comfort and warmth within me.

The dictionary describes compassion as, “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” Compassion is a strong word; you can not feel compassion lightly for someone. The definition really drives that idea home by explaining that the feelings of sympathy are accompanied by a desire to “alleviate the suffering.” Personally, the whole definition is filled with powerful words: deep sympathy, misfortune, alleviate, and suffering.

Compassion is shown in the parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15). The father in the story was filled with “love and compassion” for his son upon his return home. The son’s actions did not matter anymore; he had forgiven him and was just happy he had returned. Just as the father in this story was filled with love and compassion towards his son, our heavenly father has both love and compassion for us.

There are two verses from Micah that speak of Father’s amazing display of compassion towards his people:

“Where is another God like you,
who pardons the guilt of the remnant,
overlooking the sins of his special people?
You will not stay angry with your people forever,
because you delight in showing unfailing love.
 Once again you will have compassion on us.
You will trample our sins under your feet
and throw them into the depths of the ocean!” (Micah 7:18-19)

Guest Post- Rachel Theobald

B90X- Final thoughts on Joshua 2013.01.20

Deeply embedded in almost every part of the Bible is a tension between the holiness of God and his graciousness.

As a holy God he demands compliance with his law, set before human beings choices of obedience or disobedience on which are conditioned blessing or judgment.

As a merciful, gracious, and compassionate God, he makes unconditional promises reflecting the grace and favor he has set on his people.

Joshua 1:1-8 expresses no less than ten “will”s, of which the Lord is personally speaking to a stalwart of a man, of which every one of them were fulfilled.

What was true for Joshua is certainly true for each of us- “Do not let this Book of the Law (probably Deuteronomy) depart from your mouth; meditate (hagah) on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Josh1:8).

Then to close the book, Joshua sums up everything ever learned from Moses and challenges the people, “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.  Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.  But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the Gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.  But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Josh 24:14-15).

Each of us is going to worship and serve something.  What or who is it going to be for you?

Prayer for our Kids day 19 – Humility

“God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility toward all” (Titus 3:2).

“Show true humility toward all.” Think about that for a minute. What does that look like, true humility to everyone? We live in a very proud nation. We’re proud to be Americans, proud to live in such a beautiful state as Colorado, proud of our families, our pets, jobs, kids, sports teams just to name a few. But, are we living how we were called?

humilityHere are a few more things to think about from the Bible on humility:

“Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor” (Proverbs 29:23).

“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:12-14).

Pride leads to humiliation and disgrace. Humility brings honor, wisdom and good works.

I’ve always said that it’s important to take pride in your hard work for example, but I can’t find that anywhere in the Bible. Instead we are told to “work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Colossians 3:23). I think I’m going to have to re-evaluate my entire life view after writing this.

What does it really look like to live in humility?

Guest Post- Rachel Theobald