Sunday, September 25, 2011

Msg: On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! - Week 1

   I've loved having an Android phone for the last year. The most useful feature to me is the built in GPS application. GPS works very well as long as you know where you want to go. Like the rest of life, wandering around with no destination just doesn't get you very far. And life is about the journey, not just the destination. Make sure you are on the right journey and you get to experience the full joy of both.
   One of the Growth Groups we offering periodically at Park is called Experiencing God. The Christian life is not about a one moment decision, but experiencing Jesus on a daily basis, and living an intentional life here until we spend forever with Him in heaven.
   As we get into the story of Jesus in the last half of Mark 1 this week, we see how Jesus lived an intentional life. He teaches us principles to live by today. We see the difference between getting distracted by a good thing instead of a great thing comes down to time spent in prayer. We also see how import showing compassion to others really is. I hope you'll go on the journey with us. Now on your mark, get set, go!

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Msg: National Back to Church Sunday

   Last year at this time we began doing things differently as a church. We had an event last fall called "The Unveiling" where we explored the idea of God becoming available to everyone when the curtain (veil) in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. As a reminder, we gave everyone a piece of cloth and together tore them in two to remember what God had done for us. We've been know to give out other gifts as well, even money.
   On this Sunday, we gave everyone at Park a copy of the Gospel of Mark from the new 2010 NIV translation. Bibles make great gifts, just not for me - I have plenty! In fact, I don't use paper bibles that much anymore, I'm a digital kind of guy. If you're like me, three great resources to check out are: Bible ExplorerE-Sword, and YouVersion. I use each in a different way. You should try them out.
   The reason we gave out the Gospel of Mark is because we are about to launch into a ten week study of the life of Jesus as recorded in Mark. The title for the series is "On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!" We will also be studying the same opening 10 chapters of Mark together in Growth Groups throughout the week. Mark is great for studying because it is action packed with what Jesus did during the 3 1/2 years of his public ministry.
   Today as a preview, we are looking at the first 20 verses of Mark chapter 1. It goes something like this:

  • On Your Mark: John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, teaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
  • Get Set: Jesus is baptized by John and then is tempted by Satan in the wilderness
  • Go: Jesus begins sharing the gospel message and calling people to leave their old life and follow him.
We hope to see you along for the adventure. Now on your mark, get set, Go!

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Msg: Better Days Ahead - Week 7

   Your life can change in a moment. We all learned that 10 years ago, when the unthinkable happened to our nation. So much has changed since those moments when hijacked planes struck the world trade center, Pentagon, and crashed in a field before reaching the fourth target. In many ways, it's like the abrupt changes that happened in the life of Joseph.
   Today, we finish the story of this man who went from favored son, to slave, and then to prisoner. After being forgotten, he in a moment was exulted to the second in command of a nation. Throughout the ups and downs of his life, Joseph remained committed to honoring God and as we see again today, gives God praise even for the difficult periods in his life. As Joseph continues to show care for his brothers, he can now see the bigger picture of what God has been doing through his life. The question throughout the series hasn't been whether you can make sense of everything going on in your life at the moment, but are you looking forward to better days ahead?

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Sunday, September 04, 2011

Msg: Better Days Ahead - Week 6

   I've you have been to Park UB during this series, you've seen the grey towers on each side of the platform getting filled in with what look like random colored shapes throughout the series. They started out in the first week as simply grey, but I said there was a message there you couldn't see. Each week we have filled in more of the picture surrounding the message on each. Last week, someone came up to me and said "I can see it now." This week, just about everyone could. The messages that have been hidden there all along (left in the grey space) are "HOPE" and "LOVE" and it's no accident.
   In today's story, Joseph's game with his brothers comes to an end. He's been testing them to see if they have really changed in the last 20+ years. Judah is the one we read has changed the most. If you remember, he was the one that came up with the idea to sell Joseph in the first place. Through this story, we find that in the midst of tough situations, even the ones we can't understand, God is working through us to give us hope and experience His love. It's in these moments we are encouraged to look forward to better days ahead.

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