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Just over three years ago, February 2, 2014, to be exact, I started teaching a series at Rio West which I titled, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, According to Mark." The title for this series was taken from Mark 1.1 which reads, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."  I picked the gospel of Mark because it’s concise, and I determined that it was important to teach through the life of Jesus.  He is, after all, "the founder and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12.2).  Made sense to me!

Well, I got as far as chapter 6, vv. 30-44 , on October 11, 2015—and then the merger thing got started, we got busy, and "Mark" became another name on our phone list—make that several names.  FWIW, that last message I taught on Mark is the story of Jesus miraculously feeding the five thousand—with only five loaves and two fishes—a miracle of Biblical proportions (duh)!  Now, 21st century medical science has been able to replicate some medical miracles, albeit nowhere near as effective or efficient as how Jesus healed the sick.  But replicatimg food is something we can't do. Not yet, at any rate.  But there's good news!  In the 23rd century humanity - or humanoid-anity - will have invented the food replicator.  Don't believe me?  Then check this out: 

 See, I told you so!  Until then we'll just have to work overtime to afford an extra bag or two of groceries.

But I digress…Over the next three Sundays Pastor Dan and I will be teaching from Mark’s Gospel. The three messages are:

1.  Sunday, March 26: Jesus and the Unpardonable Sin – Mark 3.22-30,

2.  Sunday, April 2: Jesus and Demonic Possession – Mark 5.1-20, and

3.  Sunday, April 9: Jesus and His House – Mark 11.15-19.

I will be teaching the first two and Pastor Dan will teach the third one.  After that comes Easter! Pastor Dan and I will be co-teaching on Easter Sunday.

Well, I suppose I should say something about my message for this Sunday, "Jesus and the Unpardonable Sin," from Mark 3.22-30, before I sign off. Are you ready? Got a pencil and notepad ready (electronic or caveman-style)? OK, here it goes… 

If you’re concerned about having committed the "unpardonable sin" then you haven’t done it!

That’s it. That’s my message for this Sunday. Now that you’ve read it here you can relax and take this Sunday off and pig out on pancakes. But not donuts. Eating donuts is the unpardonable sin!

Seriously, I’ll have much more to say on this subject—and grace, and faith, and discipleship—this Sunday, which I pray will be a means of grace to you and edifying to your faith in Christ. 

PS:  Save the pancakes for another Sunday when Pastor Dan is teaching.  I jest, of course, as always.

Pastor Reinaldo

 

 

Membership and Max

We have a dog named Max. Not being a fussy eater, he has destroyed both my retainers and my favorite shirt. We once caught him in the laundry room, eating dryer lint. But, that isn’t as bad as what he finds in the back yard. It is wise, if you want to allow Max to exhale around you, to keep the back yard free of dog poop.

Yet, for some weird reason, we love the mutt.

He does have his positive attributes. When our kids were younger, they used his 100-lbs as a self-moving pillow. We have no need of a burglar alarm. And, when sledding, we clip the sled to Max on the bottom of the hill, and he loves to drag it to the top for us.

The church is a bit like Max. It can have bad breath, and yet it remains the one true hope of the world--bringing food, fresh water, education, and most importantly, the love of Jesus around the globe.

At AnchorPoint, we say Membership, but what we mean is Partnership. We would love for you to become part of our gospel-centered family impacting our community with the hope of Christ. Come Sunday to find out how.

Do I Have to Follow Leaders Who Are Jerks?

This week we are talking about our final Heart Attitude: I will follow my leaders within scriptural limits and make it a joy for them. That sounds easy enough, unless your leader – boss, parent, coach, pastor, Politian – is a jerk. What then?

I mean, if Kim Jong-un moves to New Mexico and becomes my representative, or an irate IRS worker with a vendetta comes after AnchorPoint, or my dad is abusive, or a president resurrects 55mph, would God still expect me to make their lives a joy? Life would be easier if Abe Lincoln was my representative, Billy Graham was correcting me, my dad behaved like Santa, and pastors were given cop cars with immunity.

Speaking of pastors – since I could be the jerk, it’s awkward for me to talk about following your church leaders, I asked Rick Mitchell to speak this week. He is a retired pastor in our congregation, so he is uniquely able to see things from both the followers and the leader’s perspective. I’m looking forward to what he has to say!

Next week, the 19 we have a big sunday planned.  We have a baptism to start the service, a chance to become a fouding member of Anchor Point, and a Q & A after the service to help explain our budget and where we are going from here.  Hope you can join us!

Trying not to be a jerk,

Dan

The Sermon and The Shack 

I grew up not liking church much. It was like brushing my teeth - it kept my parents happy, but otherwise seemed like a waste of time. 

Now I see it as the most important organization on the planet. I agree with Pastor Hybels, the local church is the hope of the world. Sunday I’ll let you know what changed my mind. Oh – I agree with my parents about brushing teeth now too. 

On another topic, The Shack movie is out this week playing at UA Cottonwood, Century Rio 24 and Premiere Rio Rancho. I read the book after it came out, almost ten years ago, but have not seen the movie. The book sold over ten million copies in its first couple years, so it struck a nerve. The author was sexually abused as a missionary kid, and wrote the book to help explain how God might be good all the time, all powerful, and yet allow evil to happen. When the book came out, some saw it as helpful, others as a step below the Satanic Bible.  

The best balanced review of the book and the movie I’ve read is by David Mathis of desiringGod.org. You can read his review here. If this topic is important to you, and/or one you struggle with, you might ask Pastor Reinaldo for his notes and recommended books, as he has been teaching through it in his Apologetics class at APU. 

If you see the movie, let me know what you thought! Just remember, The Shack wasn’t the Bible, it was a step away, one author’s ideas trying to explain Biblical truth. And, the movie is a step away from the book that was already a step away from the Bible.  

God bless, hope to see you Sunday! 

Dan

I don’t like this Heart Attitude.

It’s the word "ministry" I don’t like. It’s one of those words we almost exclusively use at church.

What does it mean to "participate in ministry?" Do I have to preach? Go to Haiti? Teach kids? Please Lord, no all-nighters with the youth group – it would be easier to give 10%.

According to my online English dictionary, the word "ministry" means "the act of serving." My Greek dictionary tells me the Biblical word translated "minister, deacon," and "serve" are often the same root word. So, ministry is serving. Let’s change this heart attitude.

I Will Serve. Much better. A simple Heart Attitude for a simple mind. You can serve here as well as in Haiti. You can serve with time as well as with money. You can serve with your actions before your sermons. You can serve in church, home, school, etc. That, in fact, is why God has you here.

You can serve here in ways you can’t serve in Heaven.

You see, Jesus didn’t die just to remove our sins and bring us to Heaven. Titus 2:14 says, "He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds." (NLT)  

Jesus died to free us from our sins and to empower us to serve Him. Noah built a boat, Paul started churches, Barnabas encouraged others, Jonah learned to swim, and Ezra built a church. What does God have for you to do?

See you Sunday

Bulletin Verse: Titus 2:14 says, "He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds." (NLT)