Pastor's Blog
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January 22, 2017, 1:17 PM

From the Pastor - January 22, 2017


Dear Friends,

I acknowledge right here at the beginning that some of you may be sick of hearing about "new" and "change"!  I'm not apologizing, just letting you know that like former President Clinton, "I feel your pain."

Imagine for a moment how I feel.  I pray daily for guidance on how to lead this church. Sometimes it's hourly. When it's really tough going, it's minute by minute. Martin Luther once said he prayed an hour a day, except when he was very busy, then he prayed for three hours a day.  I am there with him in spirit.

As I pray, and as I listen, I routinely hear that God is desiring a new thing from Lake Union and from me.  It is true that your time as a church (110 years) is a bit longer than my time as a pastor (14 years).  However, we have both developed habits, found things we like doing and ways we like doing them.  We have settled into patterns and we have decided how certain things should be done.  The problem comes when a pastor or a congregation does any of the following things:

  • Assumes that their way of doing things must be the only way of doing things.
  • Does what comes "naturally" instead of ask God to show the correct course
  • Loses the memory that at one time "their" way was a new way.
  • Stops believing that God is alive, active and in the midst of all that we do.

My promise to you, as your pastor, is that while God is stretching me and asking new things of me, I will be faithful.  When God is reminding me exactly what great things from the past should be carried into the future, I shall be faithful.  In addition to my faithfulness to God, I promise my faithfulness to you as well.  I will not "spring" any changes, surprising you in what should be a holy moment.  I will not attempt in any way to do "my will," but instead lead all of us into the changes that you want and God is asking from us.  I will always be pastor to all of you regardless of whether you support any specific idea or even whether you support me.  I will serve, lead and care for all of you because that is my divine calling as your pastor.

In God's Grip,
Pastor Mark

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January 15, 2017, 8:39 PM

From the Pastor - January 15, 2017


Good Morning Friends!

It's time to acknowledge the elephant in the room.  Some people have been changing the way we worship, and it has got to stop. Since Jesus rose from the dead, Christians have been worshipping in one way and one way only.  With a blue hymnal, and a grand piano.  And that is all.  Except...

* Until 312 A.D. It was illegal to be a Christian.  So there were no public meetings, let alone buildings dedicated to the public worship of God as these new Christians now understood Him.

* The first organized singing, in about 380, was led by Monks and Priests using music written by Gregory the Great.  This is what we now call Gregorian Chant.  It is in Latin.  There are no instruments.  And there is no participation by the people.

* By 1200, hymns began to be sung by church members.  Many of them were parodies of popular secular songs.  Basically it was like Weird Al Yankovich, but in reverse. For Jesus. 

* In the 1500's, Martin Luther attempted to reform a corrupt Roman Catholic Church.  While some have said that "A Mighty Fortress" was based on a beer drinking song, that is not true.  Luther knew that associating too closely with the "world" could lead to conflicted hearts.  What he also knew was how to craft a 'catchy' tune.  There is a reason it is still sung today.  A good tune + good theology = lasting worship!

* Over the next centuries, the language of the songs came to reflect the land in which they were being sung.  Musical styles did not really keep up though.   Even as Christian missionaries were bringing the Word of God and the "music of God" to far off lands in the languages of the peoples, they were forcing them to sing it in a European classical/baroque style.  Weird, right?

*If that wasn't weird enough, until the 1970's Christians in America were singing really old, hard to sing hymns, with language straight out of the King James Bible.  There is nothing wrong with that, IF it is meaningful for you.  The wrong part is when anyone insists that it is the ONLY way for everyone to worship.

So, as language changes, and music changes, and styles change, and volumes change; we can hold tight to a God who NEVER changes!  Who knows, in 50 years a great worship team may be Monks chanting in Latin once again!

In God's Grip,
Pastor Mark

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January 8, 2017, 12:42 PM

From the Pastor - January 8, 2017


Good Morning Friends!

This morning you are going to hear some potentially new information about a great piece of our Christmas story.  Think about it; the Bible you hold in your hands or have in the seat next to you is an amazing book.  It is thousands of years old and contains intricate information about many cultures, some of which no longer even exist.  It was written in a language different than our own.  There were cultural assumptions that were NEVER written down because they were considered such "common knowledge."  (Think about it, when was the last time you wrote down instructions on how to order a Big Mac? Or have a discussion about what to do when you come to red light?)

When the Bible tells us something like "God is Love" in 1 John 4:8, there is a simple straight-forward reading.  God is love.  The more we act in a loving way, the more we are being Godly.  There is a deeper reading that points out a connection between our loving and whether or not we even know God.  An application of that deeper reading forces us to ask a much bigger question.  Who do we love? How do we love?  How do we show love to thugs who kidnap and torture a mentally challenged young man?  Ok, that's a tough one. How do we show love to people who hold completely opposite political view points? How do we show love to a family member that hurt us?  How do we show love to a family member that we have hurt?

There is always another level to our reading, and there is always more that we can learn through this amazing book that God has given us.  I love being a pastor, and I love working with all of you here at Lake Union.  We have some exciting times of discovery ahead of us!

In God's Grip,
Pastor Mark

 

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January 1, 2017, 11:24 AM

From the Pastor - January 1, 2017


Dear Friends,

A new year is upon us!  How long is it a new year?  A minute? An hour? A day? A week? You get the idea.

How long is your car new car?  For some it’s new until the first payment is made. For others, it’s the first time their kid spills the fast food all over the backs seat.  For still others it’s the first ding or scratch.

How about a new place to live?  After you’ve seen your new property through a full year of seasons and maintenance, it can stop feeling new.

What about your spiritual life?  Were you new the day you got saved? Yes you were.  In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul tells us that if anyone is in Christ there is a new creation.  The best news is that that new creation that God placed inside of you at the moment of your redemption NEVER GETS OLD!!!!!

That’s right.  Just like God’s compassion from Lamentations chapter 3 (they are new every morning) you too are new all the time.  Don’t stay stuck in the past. Don’t be defined by what did or didn’t work for you in the past.  Be new!  Seek out the new life that God si giving you each and envy moment.  Live it. Embrace it. enjoy it!

Have a happy new year for 365 days!

In God’s Grip,
Pastor Mark

 

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December 23, 2016, 8:14 PM

Merry Christmas from Pastor Mark!


Merry Christmas!

We have such an exciting weekend coming up.  There will be an amazing Christmas eve service at 4 pm and our regular Sunday morning worship service at 9 am on Christmas morning.  I am excited to see as many of you as possible!

One thing we all focus on during Christmas is gifts.  What are we getting for who? Who s getting what from us? What am I getting from them? As Christians, we acknowledge that the gift that started this whole ball rolling came wrapped in swaddling clothes in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.  There are other amazing gifts though, right?

I want to tell you about one of those gifts.  It’s not something you can put under the tree, but it is most definitely a gift, and it is a gift to Lake Union Covenant Church!

Two of my best friends, Jon and Jessica Tweten live in Becker MN.  We have been friends since attending bible college together in Seattle, and they are really amazing people.  They have been attending the Free church in their town, and have been a very active part of the worship team.  When I began the call process here at Lake Union Church, we began to have some conversations, jokingly at first, about them coming to help us with worship.  With many hours of prayer, the conversations continued and they have felt led to come and help us.

Beginning January 1, they are going to spend five months with us at church assisting us in developing the contemporary side of our worship program. Think of them as musical missionaries.

They have three amazing kids with gifts all their own (some musical, some just amazing!) who will also be with us.  Emma (15), Elijah (12) and Sophia (10) will be a part of our church, and I know you will enjoy getting to know the entire family.

You may have questions, and I encourage you to ask me about anything.  I want to share some answers to questions that have already been asked…

Q: Are they a group? A team?
A: Nope. They are a regular family, with great musical talent.

Q: Will they be “performing”?
A: Absolutely not.  They will be worshipping.  They will be playing, singing and leading WITH us, not TO us.  As ever, all worship is directed at God, and they will help us continue to do that, with new musical styles.

Q: Are they “taking over”?
A: No.  They will be helping us.  They want to help us build a team of our own gifted singers and musicians, so that at the end of their time with us, we can worship in a style that is our own, with people that call Lake Union home.

Q: Are the current worship team members ok with this?
A: Yes.  We discussed things in advance and I would describe the general tone as excited about the new direction.

Q: Are we paying them?
A: No.  They are giving us a great gift.  Merry Christmas to us!

Q: Is there a place for me in this new adventure?
A: Yes! If you have any instruments you play or if you love to sing, they can help you build that talent and use it in congregational worship.  Please please plesase consider helping.

Q: Does this mean we are only going to be doing contemporary songs?
A: No.  For years now there has been a rising tide of requests that we incorporate contemporary music into our worship times.  What we will be developing, as a church WITH the help of Jon & Jess, is what is called a blended worship style.  Each week there will be an equal mix of hymns and new songs.

Q: Is it true that they are secretly space aliens who are here to plant a colony among us so that when the mother ship comes, there will be an easier takeover by the lizard people?
A: Yes.  That one is true.

I am sure there will be questions, please ask me. I would love to talk.

In God’s Grip,
Pastor Mark



Comments

12-23-2016 at 9:20 PM
Jen
This is exciting! 💗💗
12-23-2016 at 7:52 PM
Susie
Absolutely love!!!
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Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   Entries 31-35 of 44