Northside Christian's Blog

content that is linked from Facebook and Twitter

The Cloak

July 22, 2010

Yesterday for Danielle and me it was twenty years together in marriage. As I have taken time to look back over the past twenty, it has been an amazing journey. God has done some amazing things through us together. I can not imagine life without her and can not explain why my heart leaps when I see her, just like when we first dated. I don’t like the time when we are apart and look forward to seeing her each day. God has blessed me with her. She is my bride, my friend, my protector, my supporter, and my team. I know that when we get God and the two of us together we can move mountains. I know that at any moment she would do whatever to fulfill my needs, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. She has always been in my corner and will continue for the next twenty.

As we wrap up 2 Timothy we read in chapter 4:9-18. God has given so many different people in Paul’s life. Some of these were faithful in their commitment to their relationship with him and others not so much. Paul is very specific during his personal conversation. He is again reminding Timothy where he needs to be on guard and to not allow anger or judgment to be held over some others. It gets down to verse 13 that I really found humor and understanding on how close their relationship to each other. I can see that Timothy is willing to do whatever Paul needs; I am not exactly sure why Paul needed to have Timothy get his cloak. Some commentators suggest the jail was cold and winter was due soon. Similarly Paul was anticipating his death so much so that he was looking forward to being released from every evil attack and brought into the Heavenly Kingdom. The cloak and his papers still made me think and then I realized just how close a relationship they had. They were so close that Timothy would be willing to stop off and get a cloak, some papers, and Mark.

Similarly to my wife, I know that she will do whatever my I need her to do, she will go to great lengths for me no matter how insignificant someone feels it is. She loves me enough that she is willing to do the really simple tasks. Paul could rely on Timothy for the simple stuff the really personal things. It was at the cloak that I finally understood that Timothy was not just Paul’s apprentice but a very dear friend. God can do some amazing things with us, but how much more can He do if we do it with others. We all need that friend that is willing to do whatever it takes, no matter how insignificant it may seem. To live your life out loud for Him is better to allow God to give you a friend to help you along your journey.

Your friend,

Mark

Advertisements

July 22, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | Leave a comment

it!

A while ago, when I was in junior high school, I remember a teacher of mine that taught the process of the “big bang” and carbon dating. Though I did not really have a care at that time the difference from the “big bang” theory and a Creator. One thing that stands out in my mind now is that he told our class that they were theories. I never knew what his stance was but, he put doubt in both. This doubt was important for me to decide confidently on my Creator when I fell in love with Him.
In II Timothy 4:1-8 “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” Paul is reminding us to always lead our life and to be ready to represent the Word at all times.
Most importantly to be ready with the Word to use it patiently and carefully. As with all that we do we must use His standards to lead it, live it,learn it, and teach it. Stand firm on the Word, never leave it behind, don’t water it down, and use it confidently. We will be challenged to walk away, not speak the truth or provide only half of the truth. The truth is not always fashionable or warm and fuzzy, it can hurt, but that should allow us to grow. Grow in Him!
Re-read verse 8, lead with the Word, preach the Word, live the Word, and learn the Word. Be completely ready to let go and live your life out loud for Him!
Love ya,
Mark

July 8, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | Leave a comment

Graduate?

July 1, 2010

I can not believe it is July. Danielle and I have been in preparation for this time for 18 years now, our oldest going off to college. She is an amazing young woman of God with a passion to live her life for Him. So next month as we get all the supplies ready and take her to school at the end of August, I struggle with the thought that we have provided her with all that she needs to know. Is she ready to go? Have we effectively prepared her to be out in this world without the parents God has entrusted her with? Am I just at a point to say “well—go with God—I hope I did not mess up too much?” It is not my confidence that I am looking for but her confidence that she should rely on.

In Second Timothy 3:10-17 we read of Paul’s charge to Timothy. This is kind of a wrap up session for them, mostly a reminder of what has been taught along the way. As I desire to make sure that Allana is prepared to go, I have no doubt that before she leaves we will remind her of her commitments, beliefs, and challenge her to live her life completely for Him—in all ways, beginning with the simple understanding that all Scripture is from the breath of God Himself. The hard talk will be that she needs to discern what is being presented to her to be truly from God and not from man or man’s abuse of scripture. The hardest part of letting go will be knowing now that any of her persecutions that lie before her will be without us around.

Yes I am excited for her, I want to charge her to go and live a life for Him. But, is she ready to experience this world without us? I tearfully say that she is. She has been exposed to the Word from infancy, she is ready to use it, live it, apply it, and lead it. This is what Paul was telling Timothy—you’re ready! As I think of what I am experiencing and living and reading from what Paul is stating, are we all ready? Have we kept growth from happening—to not take on—what God is expecting from us? Learning and living for Him is simple but has to be done. Today make it a point to allow God to show you what you need to do and to get past the limits that we have put on our self and allow God to be seen through us.

Love ya,

Mark

PS. Allana, I am so very proud of you.

July 1, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | 1 Comment

Truth

June 24, 2010

If you did not know, my bride and I have three amazing children. When they were born, they were so very small that they would lie on my chest and look like they were reclining on a couch. They did not stay this way, they grew. They took in nutrients from what they ate and grew. Their growth did not happen overnight, but it sure seemed to.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-9 “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self‑control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak‑willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth–men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” We just read all of the areas that I would never encourage my children to learn or digest. Now that they are getting older I can see that I have exposed them to some of these, argh. It has been many years since their birth, and they can not even lay on my chest for a couch, argh. I so desire for them to not only learn but to acknowledge the truth.
As they’ve grown physically, emotionally, and spiritually all of their needs need to be founded in the truth. Oh to be set free from all of the godlessness that surrounds our life. We need to break free of it and not just learn, but grow in His truth. It is this truth that will allow us to completely live our life for Him. See John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Break free of living and don’t just learn to learn but learn to understand truth. Live your life out loud for Him.

Mark

June 24, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | Leave a comment

Gangrene

June 10, 2010

Gangrene is the death of tissue—okay pleasant thought for a Thursday morning—though immediately I think of being out in the cold, the skin turns color and dies. (Gangrene is actually a common ailment that has increased significantly mostly due to diabetes and other poor circulation issues.) At the point the tissue starts to die, the effected area changes its appearance, as it rots it smells, and finally all feeling is lost.

In second Timothy 2:14-26 “Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” We read the fact that we can use the Word to benefit God, or to benefit those around or our own interests. We must use the word to spread the message given to us by God, and not use it to vomit agendas or inaccurate beliefs to further someone elses or even our own thoughts.

This is an area of danger, as I am sure we all would agree to this. I am passionate about the Word and have a strong fear of using scriptures inappropriately. I strive to always use the passage before and after a verse to make sure that I am not taking it out of the context that it has been written. Corruption of the Word will lead to death and devaluing the Word. The Word is alive, living and breathing and as we use it, read it, and study it will keep it alive for others to use. If we keep it closed both literally and figuratively, is it allowed to live? To keep everyone from settling into a life without the Word will allow a lack of use and will create poor circulation, which can lead to death of His message and your relationship.

Read it, allow it, and live it out loud.

Mark

June 10, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | 2 Comments

Endure!

As you read 2 Timothy 2:11-13 a verse that is plain and simply put. You could even sing it, try the chorus of “Wonderful Grace of Jesus”, an old hymn, okay if you know me, music is not my forte. I may be completely wrong, but that song popped into my head, well the line “Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus, Deeper than the mighty rolling sea.”

“11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;

12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;

13 if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.”

As I read this verse I am reminded that I will need to endure, to be with Him forever. Looking back over my life, there are many moments that I remember missing the mark of what Christ wants from me. I so desire to live up to this standard and I often fall flat on my face. Very similar to the time I was playing outside one winter day, I put on dress shoes to slide on the ice better, but when I walked along the neighbors wall, I  slipped and landed flat on my face, with my left arm somewhere between. It was several days later that I found out I had fractured my left arm. I remember that three foot fall vividly. I feel, that fall when I let down God and do not endure. It is when I try to walk on the wall without the correct shoes, or being firm in the Gospel, see Ephesians 6:15. Throughout my Christian walk I understand know that no matter what, because we live in an imperfect world, I will suffer. With Him, I will endure.

Live it out loud.

Love,
Mark

June 3, 2010 Posted by | Mark | , , | Leave a comment

The Deposit

May 27, 2010

Many years ago I started my first checking account. How cool was that, I had a checking account, you can tell I was a very young man at the time. I placed my money in the account that the bank created for me, they sent me checks (even with my name on them). Then after the first monthly statement I received, there is was a fee for not maintaining a $50.00 balance. It was my money though!

In 2nd Timothy 1:11-18 “And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me.May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.”

Paul writes to remind Timothy that all that has been presented to him over all their times together, Paul had deposited the truth and sound teaching in him. This deposit had a minimum but no maximum. So often I feel that so many have invested into me over the years that prepared me to be able to stand even when all I have around me is my relationship with Him. It is that relationship with our Savior that keeps us along the journey that lies ahead. We need to rely on Him and understand that the Holy Spirit is there to help along the way. Today see what has been deposited into you and understand that there is a lot more that needs to be deposited. Keep living for Him!

Love ya,
Mark



May 27, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | Leave a comment

Fire

May 20, 2010

A fire (in a technical sense) needs four attributes, a fuel source, oxygen, heat, and a chemical reaction. As you read 2nd Timothy 1:6-10 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” We are challenged to fan the flame, the gift of God. So what makes up the fire in you? How does He light the fire and keep it burning? He provides all that is needed to get it going but we have to provide the rest. He is the source (fuel) and the oxygen (life). We are the chemical reaction, not that we provide it, but when we let go and let Him bless His gifts on us. We create a reaction (our choice) and together we create Heat (light).

Our timidity, our being ashamed about Him, stops the reaction. He has provided us with so much; He even gave us life by death on the cross. He expects us to live for Him, a life that is eternal which creates a light for others to see. When He is shown, others see the Savior-especially as we make a stand to live our life for Him. Ask Him today to create a fire in you that others will see and you can lead them to His presence.

Blessings,
Mark

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | Leave a comment

Who’s on your List?

May 13, 2010

2 Timothy 1:1-3 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.

I was reading through 2 Timothy and my thought went to if I was Timothy and Paul wrote this to me? This complete man of God wrote this letter to share his praises and encouragement to Timothy. So who do you think prayers for you constantly? Who do you pray for constantly? So my quick thought of the people that I pray for, oh those are easy, my bride, my children (by name). There I am done, not really. I started to go through the people that I think of often to pray for and saw that frequent prayers from me can be narrowed down to: Robin, Ernie, Zach, Ray, Ben, Sean, Ben, Bob, Pete, Terry, Bill, Ken, Marty, Mike, Chris, Stephen, Jim, Kathy, Jen, Scott, Holly, Don, Karen, Helen, Brian, and the list continues. So how many did Paul feel passionately enough about to warrant a consistent thought during his prayers.

I have no idea whose list that I have made it on. My list is longer than listed, but it is not long enough to cover everyone I know. So if Paul is writing to you think about what he would say about you, would you make an impact in his life to make the list? This is the time that we have to understand that the legacy Paul was left to live a life of service as his forefathers lead before. We need to find a way make sure that if the New Testament was being written today, you would be in it.

God Bless and Live your life out LOUD!

Mark

May 13, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | Leave a comment

Wise?

Wisdom and understanding, oh that would be so amazing. I have looked over the years to determine how to gain wisdom. I want to gain wisdom and understanding in God, parenting, leadership, firefighting, many other everyday things. I always destroyed things growing up to gain understanding on how they work. If it is trash, I take it apart. Two years ago, my oldest child’s ipod stopped working after three years. She was looking into purchasing another, the old one was about to be tossed. Cool I want to see how this works and maybe change the battery. Opened it up, changed the battery, changed the logic board and viola it worked (and still does). I love to understand how it works, I enjoy watching the show “How it Works” on Discovery Channel.
Over the years I have prayed for wisdom and understanding, until I understood that God will give it to me freely. Though He wants me to yearn for it and go to the depths of my need to understand and desire it.

Read Proverbs 2:3-6 
and if you call out for insight
      and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
      and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
      and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom,
      and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

I need to search for it, cry out for it, look for it to really find the knowledge and understanding of who He really is. So to gain it, you must open it up, dig through it and find the wisdom and understanding that He wants you to have. God has given it, you must want it and passionately dig for it.
Have an amazing weekend, love ya bunch

Mark

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | 1 Comment

Your Wisdom?

April 22, 2010

Last year I had the privilege to listen to Ben Merold, great minister that took more than one church from small to mega, speak about his personal time. It was then that he challenged each of us to read a chapter in the book of proverbs as part of our devotion time. Now daily I read a chapter a day for the month, one to thirty one. As I have been journeying through them, they are all filled with challenges regarding wisdom. Most of the book of Proverbs was written by Solomon though towards the end of the book a few extra writers joined in.

So here is my thought, what if you were asked to write, not a chapter, but a sentence in this book. What would you write? Would it be something that was passed down from generation to generation? Simple thoughts like don’t stick your tongue in a light socket? Or could it be what God has challenged you through your journey in your relationship with Him? If you could let me know some of your thoughts, your wisdom making moments from your life, and comment them down so we all can see how God is working in your life.

Have an amazing day, see you on Sunday,

Mark

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | 2 Comments

“I”

April 15, 2010

So how many electronic devices are out there that are all about me? My kids and my bride have a “I” device for their music enjoyment. The other day I saw a “pad” that is all about “I” so where do we go from here? First of all you see the connections of life no longer becoming personal, they are texted, twitted, facebooked, buzzed, and all the other it is all about me. Of course I twit, facebook, and write a blog to express the thoughts and ramblings that I have. I, you know it is all about me, have a thought and you need to hear about it. I am worth your time. So who am I and why do I deserve to be heard and at the same time why do I want to be left all to my self?

I am not knocking the wave of electronic media and devices that make it happen. I just was thinking if Jesus twitted his whole ministry and never left the comforts of Heaven, or never started it because the next “I” device was about to be released so He could approach His ministry in a whole new way. It would have failed because the apostles needed to see His examples and love. In 54 characters Jesus would be able to tweet: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” How many would actually get up and do it? I need an “I” in my life, but the “I” that I need is not found in circuits and wires and a battery. It is not lacking a full charge and is not searching for a signal—full bars all the time. What I need is found in the relationship that I have with Jesus Christ. He is the greatest I that has lived on earth. My connection to Him can not be found greater or magnified or made more personal by any device or any other way. Be near Him by being near one of His, personal relationships are a vital part of your ministry. Live your life out loud, and let others see it.

Mark

Reminder: “It is tax day!”

April 15, 2010 Posted by | Mark | | 2 Comments