Blog Archives

The 60 Minutes episode starring YOU

*drum roll* Ta-da! You’re the star of a 60 Minutes episode. You have 60 minutes to let the world hear your story. What will you do?

I’m talking about the 60 minutes that you’re going to receive as a gift this weekend. This is the weekend we change our clocks back, and get an extra 60 minutes on Sunday morning.

I know what you’re thinking. “The pastor is going to tell me to show up at church for 60 minutes.” Nope. I mean, that’s not a bad idea, but I’ve got a better idea. How about using some or all of those 60 minutes to live out your faith IRL (in real life, for my generation).

In particular, as we’ve been journeying thru this pesky little book of James in the New Testament, one of the phrases that jumped out is this:

Religion that God our Father accepts is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress… James 1:27

BTW, did you know that scholars now believe that in the ancient world, if you lost one parent, you were considered to be an “orphan”?

So what if you took those extra 60 minutes and used them to help out a single mom, a widow, or someone who was clearly in need. You won’t have to look far. And then if you want to come celebrate the God who has called you to this amazing revolution, by all means join us at 8:30, 10:00, or 11:30. But if the most you do this weekend is to actually live out your faith for 60 minutes in your community, that’s a win. And it’s a great way to embrace another phrase from James’ letter:

Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

I can’t think of a better way to invest those 60 minutes. And even though I said it was about 60 minutes starring YOU, it’s really about 60 minutes starring your Heavenly Father, who, as James says, “gives generously to all without finding fault.”

Oh, and if you’re willing to share your story here, that would be awesome. We’d love to “binge watch” the 60 Minutes episodes God is writing in our community.

-Pastor Mark

P.S. If you want to hear some of the stories of how God has been recently working, join us at 4:00 pm this Sunday, November 4th, for our next Baptism Celebration. Light refreshments provided afterwards.

Power that doesn’t corrupt

(One ring to rule them all…and in the darkness bind them. – J.R.R. Tolkien)

The saying is all too true: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  The headlines confirm that every day.  But what if there was a power that DIDN’T corrupt?  What if that power was already in your grasp?

I came across just such a power recently in a book I was reading.  It was written in the form of a prayer, you know, along the lines of things like, “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts…”  Here’s the quote:

“May [God] give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”

Here is power to accomplish good things.  And we’re talking about good things that are prompted by faith, or allegiance to God and his kingdom.  This saying forces us to consider, “What good things is my faith prompting me to do?”  Take a minute right now to ponder that question.  How would you answer it?  Grab a pen and paper and jot down the top three things that come to mind.

This kind of power is almost the exact opposite of power that corrupts.  It’s power that restores, power that heals, power that gives life.  What if you could wield that kind of power?  What if you could dispense that kind of power?  What impact would that have in your life?  In your relationships?  In your career?

That power is available to you in the same way it was available to the person who wrote it.  His name was Paul, and he was praying that kind of power for people he knew; for people who would need that power.  You can find our more details about Paul and the people he was writing to in the book in the New Testament called 2 Thessalonians.  It’s found in chapter one of that book.

So maybe today, or the next time you’re facing power that has corrupted, you can just pause for a moment and call on the God of all power to dispense the life-giving power that Paul mentions.  You might even want to memorize this simple prayer:

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.  (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)

Pray it for yourself.  Pray it for your family.  Pray it for your boss, or your teacher, or your co-worker.  Pray it to unleash the kind of power that doesn’t corrupt but that instead brings H.O.P.E.  I know that’s how I’m praying for you today.

-Pastor Mark

Nothing is impossible. Right?

What if you wanted to fly? (That was the most frequently mentioned super-power last Sunday.)  Didn’t Jesus say that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed then nothing will be impossible?

Yes, he did say that.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.  (Matthew 17:20)

But he was talking with his disciples.  About things that he had called and empowered them to do.  Things that were part of his agenda to bring restoration and redemption to this world.  So in that context, with even a tiny amount of faith in Jesus and his new kingdom, then nothing is impossible.

The problem we often face is we’re not aligned with Jesus’ agenda.  It’s not that we’re necessarily OPPOSED to it, we’re just not aware of it.  Or very interested in it.  Because we’ve got our own agenda.  Our own concerns.  Our own dreams.  Our own problems.  And flying would be nice.

But what if we could line up our concerns, our agenda, our dreams, and even our problems with Jesus?  If we did that, we would start to see some pretty amazing things happening.

  • Prayers answered.
  • Prodigals returned.
  • Marriages restored.
  • Financial peace.
  • Injustice abolished.
  • Communities thriving.
  • Dreams becoming reality.

Which sounds a lot like how the church actually got started.

I will pour out my Spirit on every kind of people: Your sons will prophesy, also your daughters; Your young men will see visions, your old men dream dreams.  When the time comes, I’ll pour out my Spirit on those who serve me, men and women both, and they’ll prophesy.  (Acts 2:17-18 The Message)

So how do we do this?  How do we do the impossible?  It begins with faith the size of a mustard seed.  Not “I’m convinced of these propositional truths,” but “I’m giving my allegiance to a new king, King Jesus.”  It begins with a decision, EVERY decision, to align my life with the purposes and plans of a new leader.  It’s a learning curve for sure.

That’s what we’re attempting to address each and every Sunday at Seneca Creek.  Hopefully you can join us, either on the premises or online.

And together, nothing will be impossible.

-Pastor Mark

P.S. We did it! We brought in 300 bags of groceries for Gaithersburg HELP in the month of June!  Thank you for making a difference in the lives and pantries of hundreds of families who struggle with food insecurity.