I’ll be Listening

I have no agenda, strategy, or outline for these posts … just talking with my friends in Lake County.  So, I get asked the question out here, “What are you going to do when you get to Ohio?”  Let me share one of my (most important) answers.  I’ll Be Listening.  No really, I want to hear, learn, really listen to you.  Let me be more specific:

What I don’t want to Listen to –

1.  I don’t want to listen to people complaing about what they don’t like about the church.

2.  I don’t want to listen to complaints or criticism about leaders, past or present.

3.  I don’t want to listen to selfish agendas for church programs that don’t really help us move forward in reaching a lost world.

4.  I don’t want to listen to ANY bad-mouthing the Anaheim Angels.

5.  I don’t want to listen to you making apologies for the weather 🙂  I know what I’m getting into … and am excited about it!

What I really want to Listen to –

1.  Your Story.  How God has been at work in your life to rescue you, transform you, and make you into the person you are.  I want to hear the stories of God doing what He does best – graciously changing lives. 

2. Your Dreams.  I want to hear what you’re burdened for in the world.  I want to hear how you think the gifts and resources of Leroy can be used to accomplish great things for the Kingdom.

3. Your Struggles.  I don’t expect perfect people, nor run from the humanity of personal pain.  I want to hear how your own sin is driving you to love Christ more, need Him more, desperate for His grace, so that together we can delight in His promises to grow us!

4. Your View.  I have ideas, opinions, and experiences that have shaped who I am and how I view the world, I want to hear how you view the world, how you think about justice and compassion.  We won’t agree on all those things, but we will only grow in love for one another as we understand each others perspectives.

So, get ready to speak … I’m listening

Pastor Mark

8 thoughts on “I’ll be Listening

  1. Mark:

    We have just started to visit Leroy Community Chapel and were there on the night that you answered questions from the congregation. We were thinking of asking you a question that night but thought we should let the members have time for questions first. We were curious about who you would say are your role models in the greater Christian world (i.e. writers, well-known pastors, etc.) In other words, whose ministries/books have inspired and shaped you?

    Will & Jennifer Smith


  2. Will & Jennifer –

    First of all, thanks for coming to the Q & A time as you seek where God would have you settle in to a church family. My disciplers that are dead (old pastor and writers that I never actually met in person and lived in a time other than ours 🙂 ) are Jonathan Edwards and primarily his book Religious Affections. He speaks of a faith that really stirs the soul (affections) not just “warm feelings” about God. John Owen who really got how deceptive sin is. He has worked me over many a time about how wicked my sin is and how vigilant I need to be in battling it. Spurgeon, Calvin, and Richard Baxter are other pastors that I have loved to interact and learn from. I have many missionary heros (I love to read missionary bios) – Hudson Taylor, William Carey, John Patton, Amy Carmichael, to name a few. Living guys – going through The Masters College and Seminary, Dr. John MacArthur (see Grace to You ministry link) gave me a deep deep love and trust in the Scriptures, a love for preaching, and a love for the Church. John Piper (see Desiring God ministry link) has been mighty in my life to wed a love for the Word with a love for the Gospel. He has deepened my commitment to mission in every step of life. Of course who doesn’t love to listen to Alistair Begg preach 🙂 And closest to home, my grandfather D. E. Hiebert, who taught Greek and New Testament in the Mennonite Brethren denomination and wrote commentaries galore is my spiritual hero. He was completely deaf, and his delight in Christ and the Scriptures ever pushes me to make my life count for the Kingdom. I love to learn, love to read, love to gain insight from those who have gone before and those who walk with me. Thanks for asking!



  3. Pastor Mark, the chef’s wife here ;o)

    I lol’ed at #4. I promise I won’t mention the Angels at all, especially considering I’ve never heard of them :o) (Mike would like to know if you’ve ever heard of a Geoffrey Zahn, who he thinks played somewhere in CA in the major league…)

    One thing that I’ve loved about hearing you speak is that you spur us on to evaluate our spiritual walk rightly and you don’t tiptoe around the Truth. I love being challenged in that manner.

    And I also loved the part you said at the Q&A session about “quit crying and just do the dishes”. It has been very helpful and I think of it often as I struggle daily with my flesh. Tell Michelle ‘thanks’ for the encouragement she gave me that evening… I did get the book she recommended and now just need to choose to take the time to work through it (flesh issues again…).

    Praying for you all!

    In Him,


  4. On point #5 do yourself a favor. In October (early), go buy a snow shovel. If you wait till the first snow, which can be around Halloween, you may get stuck buying the overpriced-can’t-move-slush-snow-thrower which you will have to sell in a garage sale to someone who can take it to a warmer climate.

    Best wishes on your move, but leave your rally monkey in the San Diego Zoo! Go Tribe! God Bless and Welcome!


  5. But one of the most important tasks you will have as a new Ohioan is to learn to love the Scarlet and Gray and that ‘nut’ called a Buckeye. We bleed scarlet and gray in Ohio. To experience the ‘Shoe’ on a Saturday in the Fall in Columbus with 100,000+ screaming fans dressed in red is – well, I can’t describe it.
    Seriously, though, we really look forward to your arrival. My husband, Mike, is the guy with the sister in Corona – actually, I mapquested your address to hers and you live about a mile apart. In fact, when I stood on her patio and overlooked the area below, I bet I was looking at your roof.
    Have a great day, and Go Bucks!


  6. Hi Mark,
    I was so excited to hear that you were going to be our next pastor. I have been praying for your family. I hope you have a safe trip to Ohio and look forward to chatting with you when you get here.


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