Sunday Main 11-25-12



Freed to Love XVI.mp3

Stir it up! – PDF

 Key Texts: Phil. 1:29,30; Phil. 2:1-11; Jn. 8:29; II Cor. 5:9



This week we spent some time exploring “letting this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” ~ Phil. 2:5

The key points we traversed were:

  • Christ considered it a privilege to suffer for the Father – It is expected therefore of the Christian, to have the same mind. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit tells us that such has been “granted” to us.

“For you have had the privilege granted you on behalf of Christ–not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer on His behalf.” ~ Phil. 1:29

The word granted is the Greek word χαρίζομαι (charízomai) and it means to show someone a favor, to be kind to. To give or bestow a thing willingly.

  • Christ did not become less in the incarnation He became more – Jesus did not lay aside His reality as God, for that would have been impossible for God to become – not God or less God. No, while still being 100% God He took ON humanity and being found a human He did what humans MUST do in proper relation to God, and humbled Himself and lived the life of a servant. ~ Phil. 2:8
  • Christ lived to please the Father“And He who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone: for I do always what is pleasing to Him.” ~ Jn. 8:29. So it is in the heart of the Christian as a seed, and must be cultivated and grown into fruition a heart which longs to be found well pleasing to Him. ~ 2Cor. 5:9.


The rest of this message was about how we view ourselves. I had no intention in spending so much time re-discovering the truths we covered throughout the rest of this morning, but I felt led of the Holy Spirit to do so. This tells me something which I mentioned in the message.

“You will never be free to be a servant until you have been convinced of your acceptance as a child.”

Perhaps I will be free to pursue this message another day, but on this day, I sensed the Lord lead me to invest more of your God birthed, re-created identity into you that you might know and that you might believe.

“In most solemn truth I tell you that he who listens to my teaching and believes Him who sent me, has the Life of the Ages, and does not come under judgement, but has passed over out of death into Life.” ~ John 5:24

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 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!