Like a Deep Breath

I enjoy a good deep breath, you know one where the lungs fill up nice and full and then the exhale that leaves you relaxed and wanting to take another?  I couldn’t always do that in California, sometimes I’d start coughing, but in NE Ohio, it feels really nice, even better with my eyes full of God’s fall canvas all around me.  Reading the Bible has become for me a good deep breath.  I find myself reading phrases of God’s promises, wonder, and grace, and taking (literally) a deep breath.  I want to soak it in, fill up, find enjoyment in His love for me.  Guess what? Sometimes I don’t even finish my whole Bible reading section because the breath feels so good (shh … don’t tell anyone!)  I need the Word of God in my soul like I need oxygen.  I need it’s refreshing breeze wooing me away from worldly lusts.  I need it oxygenating my blood so I bleed Bibline.  I need its sweetness more than any other ink and pages can offer me … because I need God and the power of His Gospel coursing through my bones!  Sorry, I think I was trying to be a songwriter or poet there.

Bottom line — I want the Word of God to dwell in me richly.  I’m sad for those who have dismissed the Bible as irrelevant, too hard to understand, or have just gotten side-tracked wrangling over words.  And while they miss the one and only message from heaven to a fallen planet, they also are suffocating and missing out on good deep breaths of the air of heaven.  So, slow down, put your Bible reading plan to the side for a minute and take a good deep breath from the breath of God

Breathing in to breath out,

Pastor Mark

Intoxicated by Heaven

I’m trying hard to breathe the air of heaven, it sure feels good.  That picture from Sunday has really stuck with me.  I remember hearing as a kid the phrase, “he’s so heavenly minded that he’s of no earthly good”, but that just doesn’t seem to make much sense to me.  If I’m intoxicated by the glory-of-God air of heaven, I will bring such focused worship with my life here on earth.  It seems to me that someone who is of no earthly good, hasn’t tasted heaven and doesn’t get his purpose for worship here on earth.  I know I only scratched the surface of this issue on Sunday, and so many other passages could have been included … many of which you all passed on to me (thanks!)  

Passages like Romans 8:18 – “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.”  There it is again that “comparison” word.  Oh how we need God to give us the grace to quit trying to compare God and His glory to anything earth has to offer!

Passages like Philippians 3:14 – “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  HE’S the goal, HE’S the prize … we get God.  The streets of gold and the mansions of heaven mean little when we worship the God of the universe in plain sight!  WOW!

Passages like Colossians 3:1-4 – “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”  It’s all there … seeking heaven while living in the reality of earth.  The anticipation of viewing the weight of His glory, during this wait of glory, for your weight of glory beyond compare!

Breathe in the air of heaven, and breathe it out here on earth for all to see!

Intoxicated by Heaven,

Pastor Mark 

I Love Sundays

Man do I love Sundays!  It’s not that one day is more holy than another … the Gospel has made every day a day of worship (Colossians 2:16).  It’s not that the Word has more power to pierce our soul Sunday than the other six days, it’s always ready to undo us (Hebrews 4:12).  And it’s not somehow that we get more grace, favor, or blessing by coming to church, He is always ready to lavish His grace upon us whenever we ask (Hebrews 4:16).  It’s just that on Sunday we call our hearts and minds away from lesser things to set our hearts on the greater thing (Colossians 3:2), we rehearse here for that great and glorious Day to come(Revelation 5:11-14), and as we set the LORD before us we are reminded that in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:8-11).  My Sundays start early – coffee, quiet, prayer, anticipation, reflection, dependence, more prayer, the smell of the church building, the empty space soon to be filled with precious believers, the desire to see many embrace the Gospel for the first time, the joy of corporate worship, kids running around, the sweetness of the preached Word, the weary built up, the burdens of the week lifted, the weight of sin repented of, the hope of heaven sought, God exalted in the midst of broken pots … WOW, it’s a foretaste of glory divine!

Can’t wait to enjoy Sundays with you all,

Pastor Mark