08-12-12 Sunday Main



Addressing Small Group Topics.mp3



Stir it up! – PDF


Key Texts:

  • I Cor. 12
  • Rom. 12
  • I Peter 4:10
  • Matt. 25:15-28


This week instead of pressing forward into the topic of Freedom to Love, I felt impressed of the Lord to touch on a few topics which came up in small groups on the first of the month.

Predominate in the topics I wanted to address was stewardship of your grace gift. It was mentioned ever so briefly in Rob & Michelle’s group on Sunday last. Nothing was said which was in any way wrong so to speak and so my teaching should NOT be seen as a correction. Never the less, it did reveal a few warning signs where perhaps I may have dropped the ball in my teaching. When we covered Gifts, Ministries and Callings last year between June and somewhere around August, I pressed the fact that one does not need to specifically know the biblical name of their grace gift, but to be a faithful steward of the grace gift God has given them. This is done by seeking His face – NOT the name or designation of the gift. I Cor. 14 tells us to pursue LOVE and desire spiritual gifts. Though ther eare many reasons why Paul was inspired to tell the Corinthian church this – one reason it was recorded for the church in our day is for us to realize that God does not want you to pursue your gifting! If you will simply fall in love with the Lord of our salvation you will find yourself fulfilling the call of God in your life and being a faithful steward of the grace that He entrusted to you – and you will know not how! Your grace gift is a “part of” or a “tool” used in the construction of the house of God – His people in whom He dwells. The body grows by the effective working of the grace which every member supplies (Eph 4). As that happens you see the kingdom of God grown within the hearts of your brethren> Jesus said that this kingdom which God our Father is growing within the hearts of men works very much like a seed.

“And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed upon the earth; and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he knoweth not how. The earth beareth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the fruit is ripe, straightway he putteth forth the sickle, because the harvest is come.” ~ Mark 4:26-29

God plants the grace (His direct influence) within your heart as a grace gift to your brethren and as you are faithful to minister it to each one, you are then planting that grace within their hearts. All the while you go to bed and rise up, go to bed and rise up and look out over that field which represents your heart and the hearts of your brethren and it all grows to maturity and you know not how! God is faithful to you and will cause your grace gifting to produce a harvest so long as you pursue love and not the gifting itself.


….and this

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!