07-11-12 Wednesday Night


Freedom from/Freedom to:  Up until now – Faith, Hope & Love (a Review) Pt.2.mp3

Stir it up! – PDF

Key Texts:

  • Rom. 15:13
  • I Peter 1:8,9
  • Heb. 11:1
  • Eph. 2:3
  • Heb. 6:17-20
  • Rom. 5:2


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.

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.

When discussing faith we touched on the following:

  • All faith in God, comes FROM God (Jesus as Author and developer) and is offered to us a a stewardship.
    • “Our” faith actually does not belong to us, even though we often read phrases in the Bible which would indicate ownership of our faith – i.e.- “Your faith has healed you”. We understand it is not actually the trust that created the healing power or even that caused it to be offered. Trust was simply the connecting force. It is our reliance upon the Rhema God has already deposited within our hearts that “completes the circuit” allowing the healing to flow to you. Again – I know these are mechanical constructs to describe the process – but do not allow the “method” to replace the living relational nature of our trusting reliance upon Him.
    • God’s word to you (Rhema) is NOT always what you think it is – be careful NOT to get ahead of God. (Consider Rob’s excellent example here!)
  • Faith does NOT call those things which are as though they are not, it calls those things which are not as though they are. (Poor English, but…)
    • This understanding keeps us from falling into the “That’s a bad confession” trap.
    • Sometimes “Faith” spoken, does not sound like faith, because you cannot speak in faith something God has NOT said to you. Faith “statements” are statements which NEVER go beyond God’s personal word to you.
      • Consider Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. They said,

“If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” – Dan 3:17-18

These three Hebrew men knew God could deliver them from the fire, but did not know IF HE WOULD. However, they DID know that one way or the other God was going to deliver them out of the hand of this earthly King.

  • Faith is the “support” or “foundation” upon which our hope is built and sustained.

Concerning Hope we discussed the following:

  • It is a favorable expectation and is therefore the opposite of fear (an expectation of evil).
  • Hope is an anchor for our soul – it causes soul stability.
  • Hope enters the Presence – Heb. 6:19
  • Our hope is grateful – never presumptuous.
  • Hope is NEVER about fulfilling our fleshly desires – Eph. 2:3; James 4:3.


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!