04-29-12 Sunday Morning

Freedom from/Freedom to: Freed to Love V.mp3

Stir it up!PDF

Why I don’t lovePDF

Key Texts:

  • Deut. 30:6
  • II Thess. 3:5
  • I Jn. 4

 Other Scriptures concerning God’s love:

  • Jer. 31:1-14
  • Isa. 43:1-13
  • Rom. 8:31-39

God’s all pervading love is at once comforting & unsettling!

King David, arguably the most love-struck patriarch (other than perhaps John the beloved) in all of scripture, waxes poetic about the love of God and its necessity for a fulfilled and satisfied existence. He valued hearing God speaking of His unfailing love for David to the point that he said it was better than life itself.

Knowing God’s love is a reason for:

  • Trust – Ps. 36:7; Ps. 143:8
  • Confidence – Ps. 42:8; Ps. 103:4
  • Forgiveness – Ps. 51:1
  • Praise Ps. 63:3
  • Contemplation for revelation – Ps. 107:43

One would think that someone so taken by his encounters with the God Who IS Love, would never seek to hide himself from it, but run to it – arms flung wide every moment of every day. Love within those “being redeemed” however, is never quite that straight forward! Even though we know we cannot hide from His gaze, we still try. Like the proverbial ostrich, we stick our heads in the sand as though our inability to see God, somehow blinds Him to the 95% of our awkward body protruding out of the ground. We ARE Adam…we ARE Eve with out fig leaves covering our nakeness as though God would be startled or somehow offended by what is  behind. Our brother David, becomes transparent for us in the 139th Psalm revealing this inward struggle of the heart before the eyes of a God Who sees and knows all.

Again, this week we have explored our self-imposed need to protect ourselves from the God Who IS Love. We have discovered afresh that the only way to be the people of I Jn. 4:19 is to know and believe the love He has given. I encourage you to use Ps. 139 and the handout sheet (provided above) to aid you in your wrestling match with God concerning His love for you. Remember, it is God Who is pursuing you – the only right and feminine response if to allow yourself to be caught by the Lover of your soul.

A great video from Jason Gray about why we have no reason to hide…

~ P. Mark





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 right...safety 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" 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 keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide 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!

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