07-22-12 Sunday Main



Up until now – Faith, Hope & Love (a Review) Pt. 4.mp3

Stir it up! – PDF

Key Texts:

  • Gal. 5:13
  • Deut. 30:6
  • II Thess. 3:5
  • I Jn. 4:16, 19


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.

We began this week remembering why we started this series of Freedom from / Freedom to, by visiting Gal. 5:13. We recalled that because the Lord has been romancing our hearts in this church back to Himself and reuniting us with the freedoms we have been given –  we must be diligent to not allow our freedoms to be an excuse for loose or lazy living. Our freedoms have been afforded us – in order to free us to LOVE. That is, that we might Love the Lord or God with ALL of our hearts and to love our siblings in Christ with equal fervency.

Then we began reviewing our final section of teachings on this series which is Love…



We began here with our two key texts for this section which are…

  • Deut. 30:6
  • II Thess. 3:5

We began to look at I Jn. 4:19 which reveals that we love God BECAUSE He first has loved us. As we have discovered, the FACT that God HAS loved EVERYONE who has EVER come into the world – does not make the grade all by itself. In order for this to have effect in our personal world, we must ‘know and believe’ the love God has for us.

We began to cover how our own personal beliefs about ourselves, our personal worth and value tend to flow naturally from events in our lives – things we’ve done or things which have happened to us. This of course is the must unnatural approach to living for the child of God. It IS natural for the world. Furthermore it is sadly the most common experience of the Christian, but our lives should not be patterned after the ways of the world. What is natural for the world IS and SHOULD APPEAR the most UNNATURAL thing in the world for a Christian. Their thinking and ways should be completely foreign to our common beliefs and experiences. We are IN the world – but not OF the world. It’s ways are not our ways and it’s thoughts are not our thoughts for we are born of God and have overcome the world. Our minds are united with God and we have His thoughts, purposes and pursuits within us! We have His mind!




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!