Blog Archives

Does God take vacation?

Have you ever had a crazy-busy season of life after which you just wanted to take a vacation and get some rest? That’s kinda what it can be like around a church office the week after Easter.

We just finished the biggest event of the year, with four gatherings and almost 1500 people. We wrapped up a week-long Spring Break camp that turned our normally quiet building into a hotbed of activities, games, fun, learning, and very loud groups of kids. And we pulled out all the stops for a powerful, multi-sensory Good Friday experience. It’s enough to make our staff want to take some much-deserved vacation.

Which got me thinking. Does God take vacation? Jesus made this statement during his ministry on earth.

My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working. John 5:17

Apparently God is NOT taking vacation just yet.

Ever wonder what God does when he works? Is he fixing things? (sorta) Is he building things (sorta) Is he solving problems? (sorta) The short answer is, he’s working on you. And me. Yep, we’re his project. And he wakes up in the morning thinking about you, thinking about how to get you closer to his original design.

That journey, from who we are, to who God longs for us to be, that’s the journey of transformation. And that’s the journey we’re committed to walking with you. Our mission at Seneca Creek is “To develop fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.” IOW, to help you experience God’s transformational work in your life.

One of the ways we try to help is through our Rooted Experience and Converge Groups. (I know, shameless plug here.) So as you think about where your life is, and where you long for it to be, just remember that God longs to work in you and on you. And since one of the best ways to participate in that work is in community, why not consider signing up for Rooted, or (if you’ve already gone thru Rooted) for one of our Converge Groups for this Spring. It just might be one of the best choices you make in 2018.

A recent Rooted celebration event

God is always at work. He’s not on vacation. Are you giving him room to work in your life?

-Pastor Mark

P.S. Speaking of work, I worked on a list of resources to share last Sunday, then forgot to mention it. So if you have questions about the Resurrection, or if you know someone who does and you’re trying to help them, check out this list of resources.

A modern day substitutionary death

One of the stories to emerge in the news recently is of a French policeman who volunteered to take the place of a hostage during negotiations. The negotiations didn’t go well, and several people lost their lives, including the policeman.

That policeman is now being honored as a true hero, as well he should. To voluntarily take someone else’s place in a dangerous situation requires courage, character, and self-sacrifice.

The woman whose place he took, a wife and mother of a 2 year old, will never be the same. She will never forget. She will live every day of her life with the knowledge that she’s alive because someone else laid down their life for her. She will know that she was freed from captivity by the actions of someone whom she didn’t’ even know. Her child will grow up hearing the story, and living in gratitude to that heroic officer.

Can you imagine what that mother is experiencing? Well, as it turns out, we probably CAN imagine that, at least to some degree. Today is Good Friday, the day we remember how someone else took our place so we could experience freedom. On Good Friday we remember that someone we didn’t know stepped into a dangerous situation and sacrificed his life for us. On Good Friday we remember that Jesus didn’t have to go to the cross, but he CHOSE to do that so we wouldn’t have to live in captivity. It took courage, character and self-sacrifice.

Today we’re inviting everyone to join us in remembering this substitutionary death. Between 3 and 9 pm you can participate in a self-paced Good Friday experience of the stations of the cross. It’s a multi-sensory, reflective, and powerful experience that will help you remember the heroic actions that Jesus took on your behalf. And it will prepare your heart for the glorious good news of Resurrection Sunday.

So please join us anytime today at 13 Firstfield Road in Gaithersburg, beginning at 3 pm. Plan to spend 30 to 60 minutes walking thru the stations. And be sure to arrive no later than 8:30 pm so you have time to complete the experience.

I hope to see you then.

-Pastor Mark

When Valentine’s Day and Lent collide

I’m writing this blog on February 14th the traditional observance of Valentine’s Day.  It’s also Ash Wednesday, the traditional beginning of Lent.  Here’s why this collision of holidays is a good thing.

On Valentine’s Day we’re inundated with candy, roses, and hearts.  Hearts, hearts, and more hearts.  You remember those “conversation hearts” candies, right?  Little cute sayings like, “Be Mine, Sweetheart, Love You,” and so on.  Heart-shaped cards, heart-shaped food, heart-shaped dishes, and heart-shaped everything.

But Lent is also about the heart.  Not that pretend one with cupid’s arrow in it, but the heart that is the center of you.  Some might say that Lent is just about remembering Jesus’ suffering.  But dig deeper.  WHY did he suffer?  Why did he go to the cross?  It was so you could have a new heart.  He even said that our hearts are the fountain of evil that consumes us.  (Matthew 15:19)  Only with a new heart can we love well.  That includes loving God, loving others, and even loving our selves appropriately.

So as we embark on the journey of Lent I would encourage you to think about your heart.  Where is it bent out of shape?  Where does it need to be renewed?  Then consider abstaining from something, or adopting a habit or practice for the next six weeks until Easter.  If you’d like some suggestions, I’ve written about this here, here, and here.

Feel free to share your Lent decisions in the comment section below.  Or not.  But know that the condition of your heart matters deeply to your heavenly father.  On Valentine’s Day, and every day.

-Pastor Mark

P.S. One of my Lent practices this year is to select one person each day and have focused prayer for them throughout that day. That includes listening to what God has to say about that person.  I’m open to suggestions.

P.P.S. If you’d like to engage in a Lent-focused Bible reading plan, this one is really good.