Endearing Rememberance

My time as interim pastor at Calvary Church will soon come to a close.  Naturally I have cause to be reflective of the two plus years serving in this capacity.  As I reflect upon my relationship with many of  you, I am drawn to Paul’s words to the Philippians, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of  you.” (Philippians 1:3)

Paul was in prison for the gospel as he wrote these words.  This gave him time out to reflect upon his relationship with the saints at Philippi and he remembered things which endeared him to them.   Though I’m not in prison, and I’m still hanging around, my time as interim leaves me with special memories of endearment.  After all, it is in times like this that our focus is drawn to the greater realities of life, those being, our relationships.

I soundly agree with whoever said relationship is everything.  Relationship is everything because in it’s context there is an impartation, a feeding out and conversely a taking in of the dynamics of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, encouragement, and instruction by example to name a few.  I’ve seen these dynamics in real life, in my relationship with many of you.  We have been loving, kind, forgiving, encouraging, and helpful, etc. one toward the other.  My heart is happy as I call to mind your peculiar sense of humor.  Thanks for the medicine of laughter!  We had fun as usual as you supported me in the encouragement of us being made strong in the Lord, like Popeye, my cartoon hero, was strong through spinach.  I also  heard someone call our church “the hugging church”.  My experience tells me that is very appropriate.  It is hard to frown and easy to smile when you genuinely hug somebody!  People need acceptance and affection in a callous world.

Thanks for you participation and support in presenting the gospel during church services, prayer, Children’s Church, tithes for local benevolence/missioner support; Bible study; Here I Am Lord or Calvary Connecxion articles; monthly Bible Life events; outreaches – caroling, Cubit 4K, Prayer Chain, Women of Faith, Lebanon Link, Noon Meals, VBS Kid’s Camp, Practical Compassion; visitation support to widows, orphans and ill among  us; Stay for Lunch; Facebook; and the web page.  Many of you have served well, faithfully, and even sacrificially through this interim.  Good Job!

At this stage, I am unsettled in the direction in Ministry going forward.  It is a time of walking by faith, exploring options, and believing the Lord will place us where Harriet and I can joyfully and optimally serve the Lord, his church, and reach his people.

In remembrance of  you, my beloved church, I am confident of your prayer and encouragement.  We pray that the newly-formed body of Christ in this location will be all the Lord expects it to be and fulfill the vision His heart has for it.  May many be saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, healed, and restored as they find Him through each one in the body.  May Christ be Lord, the exalted head over all things in the leadership, ministry, vision, and body life of this church.

In the name above every name, Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords.  Amen.

Rev. Mark Kutz, Interim Pastor

mkutz

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We Can Do This, If…

I’m a projects man.  Some parts of a project have a component called roughed in.  That part doesn’t demand a great deal of precision.  But other aspects of a project demand extreme precision so the final product looks attractive and functions well.

Calvary Church is in a project of uniting with Water’s Edge Community Church which calls for careful precision.  This process demands grace, love, truth, Spirit lead guidance, and wisdom from the Lord and the law to become a body reflective of His glory and manifest His fruitfulness.

The road ahead is fraught with potential for fleshly flaws and adversarial attacks.  The Adversary will seek to use sin (slander, gossip), confusion, deception and other clever devices to thwart or even destroy a fruitful body from emerging.

When I do a project that I want to turn out flawless, attractive, and functional, I begin by dealing with my mind set.  Lest ‘the devil be in the details’ I devote myself wholeheartedly to the details.  I’ve learned this from times I’ve taken short cuts but ended up spending more time and money on do overs.  We’ve all had disappointments from projects done half hearted.  I’ve resolved that every detail must have my full devotion.  Church, we can do this if we fully devote ourselves to applying the grace and truth of the Lord to every detail in the process.  Many of us can draw from years of learning in the kingdom for this unique building project of uniting two bodies.

We can do this if we seek wisdom and skill in handling problem issues.  Ignoring them won’t make them go away.  Some of the most inspiring, stimulating, and exciting moments for me have been those times when I received input from an experienced person when dealing with a perplexity.  A humble spirit makes us teachable.  Avoid the arrogance that says, ‘I’ve got my mind made up, don’t confuse me with the facts’.

We can do this if we pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on us.  Prove, examine all things and hold fast to that which is good.  Continue in brotherly love, loving new folks because they have the same Father and Christ who loved them and died for them.  Let us not merely look out for our own needs but the needs of others.  Let us forgive others as Christ has forgiven us and as much as it depends on us, live in harmony with one another.  If there be contention, we can do this if, instead of grumbling or backbiting, we work out our salvation, preserving relationship.  We can do this if we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of Christ.  Walk in the Spirit, deny the way of the flesh.

We can do this if we are lead by our counselor, the Holy Spirit, who brings to mind things we haven’t conceived.  The Lord desires to delight us when he  speaks solutions and we have a ‘wow’ moment.  May the Lord bless us with heaven’s resources with which to labor diligently and do so for His glory and fruitfulness.

May He bless us and make us a blessing.  In Him, we can do this.

mkutz

Mark

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WALK ON IT

Matthew 14:25-29

So many life lessons can be learned from Jesus and the disciples’ experience on the Sea of Galilee.

The region of the Sea of Galilee was notorious for sudden, violent windstorms.  Even seasoned boatmen like the fisherman disciples were at times strayed by the “contrary” winds of these storms.  In these ancient times people of the middle east viewed the seas as a fearsome mix of tumult and dark, foreboding, scary depths, with sea monsters.  Also, they believed the ghosts of people who perished at sea could appear especially in the night storm and fog.  Therefore, the disciples had much fear when they saw Jesus walking on the water.  They were thinking it was a ghost.  Jesus therefore comforted them with the words, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  At these words the impetuous and impulsive Peter answers, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to You on the water.”  I am aware of interpreters who said this request was foolish and childish of Peter.  If it was childish and foolish, I think Jesus would have dealt with that.  But, Jesus said, “Come!”

There’s a reason Jesus chose this impetuous and impulsive personality to, of all things, be the leader of the apostles.  Jesus knew that when it comes to stepping out in risky places for the Lord, the majority of us, like the rest of the disciples, want to stay in the boat.

Once, when I was encountering turbulence (contrary winds) in my journey, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Mark, I walk on this stuff.”  I was greatly encouraged to walk with Him, putting “this stuff” under our feet.  Interestingly, during our recent Wednesday night study on Romans, we discovered what dominion means when Paul said, “…sin shall not have dominion over you.” (Romans 6:14) Dominion in Greek means, “to rule, (lord), master over” and related term in the Hebrew means “to tread down” as under the feet.

Now think of the human foot.  Without at least a plank, or in our day a surfboard, the foot cannot bear our weight and keep us afloat at the same time.  Of course, that’s why Jesus and Peter walked on water miraculously.  Jesus supplied the power for Peter.  Likewise, Jesus supplies power for all our weak feet to walk on the tumult.  We will not be swallowed up nor perished by it.

Are we experiencing turbulence, storm, and tumult?  With our eyes fixed on Jesus, we can walk on this stuff.

mkutz

 

 

Mark

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