07-08-12 Sunday Main

Freedom from/Freedom to: Up until now – Faith, Hope & Love (a Review).mp3

Stir it up! – PDF

Key Texts:

  • Gal. 5:13
  • I Cor. 13:13
  • Rom. 15:13
  • I Peter 1:8,9
  • Matt. 6:10
  • Heb. 11:1
  • Eph. 2:3
  • Heb. 6:17-20
  • Rom. 5:2
  • James 1:18


The shepherds thought it was a good idea to do a review of everything covered since January of this year. Six months is a relatively short passage of time, yet in that time we have covered MUCH ground.

So we thought it good to “stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance” (2Pet. 3:1) corporately in addition to our small groups. I have heard many good reports of our small group meeting and how they are helping everyone begin to process the teachings we give in our corporate times together. This helps you make it your own, rather than simply being able to “repeat on command” as if you were simply parrots – repeating our words or monkeys – mimicking our actions.

A .pdf file of the etire overview of this year is supplied at the top of the page under the message .mp3 file. It can be viewed in your browser or downloaded for printing or offline use.


We pretty much stuck with the outline supplied, but we branched off into some specific areas which I thought it wise to mention here.

Having a background predominantly influenced by the theology of the ‘Word of Faith’ movement, it is not surprising that many of the comments, questions and revelations were surrounding the topic of faith. When discussing faith we particularly parked on the following issues:

  • Faith as a noun (G4102) vs. faith as a verb (G4100)
  • Faith as a means to an end – rather than relational trust in our Father.
  • Faith in prayer being used to “coerce God” into accomplishing OUR will – rather than trusting Him to adapt our hearts to His will and then fulfill it in His time and by His power. Consider the following verses and their true meaning…
    • Matthew 6:10 – It is His will which is to be done on earth as in heaven. NOT  “please make earth like heaven”. This part of Jesus’ prayer was not focused on what God’s will would look like if expressed on earth, but that our hearts should be stewards of  His will as diligently on earth and hearts respond to His will in heaven. Obedience to His WILL was the focus!
    •  John 15:7 – The conditions of this verse are a key to understanding its meaning and promise. I like the way ‘The Message’ words this verse,

“But if you make yourselves at home with Me and My words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.” John 15:7

The reason for this promise of assurance is identical with our reason for assurance in prayer in I John 5:14, 15,

“Now this is the confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He listens. And if we know that He listens, we know that what we have asked Him for will be acted upon and accomplished.” 1Jn. 5:14-15

For Jesus’ words to be “at home” in you, implies agreement and submission. You have settled into your role as follower of Christ not dictator to God in prayer. God is under no compulsion to fulfill your will for the scriptures say, “…the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will,” – Eph. 1:11. However, if your will is surrendered to and caught up in His will – well then, He can and will accomplish that in His own time and power within the scope of His good pleasure.

  • This all agrees with the old covenant, because God and His will NEVER changes…

Delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will bring it to pass.”                  – Psa. 37:4-5

Here the word “delight” is the Hebrew word עַנג (‛ānag) and means to be soft, pliable and effeminate. In other words, if you will truly live the role of the “bride” of Christ and submit to His desires and acclimate yourself to Him – rather than being harsh, hard, austere and promoting your own desires – then He will mold your heart to desire what He wants. Then if we will commit its accomplishment into the Lord’s hands, He will bring it to pass.

It is not commonly known, taught or even believed in modern Christian circles that part of the design & purpose of the woman is to acclimate and adapt herself to her own husband – not pushing, manipulating or attempting to establish her own will, but that of her husbands. However, that the Bible teaches such as the design of God is quite inescapable for the one who believes all scripture is inspired by God…

“For man was not [created] from woman, but woman from man; [Gen. 2:21-23.] Neither was man created on account of or for the benefit of woman, but woman on account of and for the benefit of man. [Gen. 2:18.] Therefore she should [be subject to his authority and should] have a covering on her head [as a token, a symbol, of her submission to authority, that she may show reverence as do] the angels [and not displease them].” – 1Cor. 11:8-10


“Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.” – Eph. 5:22

We, as the bride of Christ are to submit to Him and acclimate ourselves to His will in the same fashion. As we do so, we will find that we obtain not a passing satisfaction of getting out own way, but the lasting soul-fulfillment of losing ourselves in Him. It is arguably the most unattractive and un-natural thing in the world for the female to assert herself as though she were male. One of the proofs of this in scripture is the “beauty” ascribed to the bride of Christ is her “praise of Him.” – Ps. 33:1 When we make our focus all about Him, we become beautiful and bring glory on Him, just like the woman is the glory of man. – Ps. 50:23; I Cor. 11:7.

  •  Genuine relational “faith” is always accompanied by joy and peace – Rom. 15:13 & 1Peter 1:8,9
  • The salvation of our souls (restoration with God resulting in a closer likeness to His character) is ALWAYS the end-game of faith – 1Peter 1:9
  • Temptations come to pull you away from trusting in and relying upon the revelation of Christ you have received.
    • This means if you are being tempted – trust MUST be possible. Satan cannot pull you away from something you do not have!
    • This means that IF I am being tempted, I must  know God in the area of my temptation – which is my source of joy throughout the temptation and the strength I need to get through it successfully.
    • Temptations are NOT there to strengthen your faith NOR to prove that you have faith. It has two purposes:
      • Satan brings it to temp you away from trust so that he might dishonor God through you.
      • As Christians we “COUNTS IT” joy because it is there that we are able to reveal the genuineness of the faith we HAVE. (I know these sentences are poor English, but it places the emphasis where I wanted.


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!