Friday, December 26, 2008

Resolutions or Recommitments or ...?

Christmas is barely in the rearview mirror. And that means New Year is just ahead. One word we use at this time of year is "resolution". Probably overuse. We all know our tendency to make resolutions for the New Year only to come up short, then feel guilty, then quit, then ...

I am not against resolutions. If they can help you make positive change in your life, go for it. New Year is a good time to do some self-evaluation and make any needed adjustments. Rather than use resolution, I want to use a new word. Semantics only? Maybe. But I want to use a word that better fits my case. The word is recommitment. There are some things I want to which I want to recommit as I look ahead to 2009.

1) I want to recommit my life to Christ. I want my life to reflect the fact that I am His servant more than anything else. If called on to describe who I am, I want it to be true that the statement that best describes Mark Marshall is a "slave to Christ".

2) I want to recommit to my marriage. I want to continue to grow closer to the love of my life, Leigh Ann. I want love her as Christ loved the church. Am I daily laying down my agenda in order to meet her needs above my own? Easier said than done, but she deserves it.

3) I want to recommit to be a godly dad. My girls are getting older now (both in college). I've never been a father of girls this age before. I don't know all the how to's in being a father to girls this age. But, I do know (from God's Word) what it looks like to be a godly dad at any age. I want my girls to remember most about me: "He was a godly dad."

4) I want to recommit to be the best pastor I can be. A shepherd leader. A teacher of The Word. Obsessed with seeing the people God has blessed me to lead to walk closer to Christ, love Him with intensity, worship passionately, and live out their faith in the marketplace. I want to be wise and courageous in this assignment.

Now, I am accountable. Resolutions, recommitments, whatever you might call it ... tell others and suddenly you become accountable. Take stock of your life. What adjustments need to be made?

Friday, December 19, 2008

All I can say is "just watch"

I first saw this on

You wonder how a neighbor might respond if you shared Christ with them?? Well, listen to the viewpoint of this atheist.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Some things I learned tonight (or was reminded of)

John Duval and I met tonight with about a half dozen members of Clearview that have lost their jobs as a result of the current economic situation. We wanted to assure them of our support as a church during this time of "transition" (a word I learned from one attending the meeting). We will be reaching out in the weeks and months ahead to support not only these but others that are going through a season of unemployment.

More on that as plans continue to develop.

But I want to share a few observations from our time tonight.

1. I was so encouraged by the faith of those around the table tonight. I cannot imagine all they are going through. I've never been there. But I heard faith in their words and saw it in their actions.

2. I was reminded again, our faith journey is not a solo sport. We were made for each other. The "one another" passages (love one another, pray for one another, bear one another's burdens, encourage one another, etc.) must be put in practice every day ... in a recession or not.

3. Prayer is critical. You may not know what to say to that person or persons you know that have lost their jobs during this time, but you can (and should) pray for them.

4. Everyone is hurting somewhere. I listened as some of the group said something like, "I don't want to burden others around me when they are going through difficult times in the families or health." (paraphrased) It is true that everyone is hurting somewhere.

5. This is a great time to be especially sensitive and thoughtful toward others. This of course should always be the case. But it seems the only messages we are getting these days are negative ones. Even persons with jobs are in fear of losing theirs at any time.

Let's look each other in the eye. Smile ... a lot. Do something nice for someone (that doesn't cost any $$). Say something nice. Refuse to participate in the constant negative talk. Talk only about those things that benefit one another. I guess, the best way to put it is to love one another and show it!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Moving toward preoccupation?

I read this quote of A.W. Tozer on Michael Smith's blog several days ago and I can't seem to get it out of my mind. The quote is: "We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God."

I started by looking up a definition of preoccupation. Here is some of what I found. Absolutely absorbed in thought. Engrossed. Mentally caught up in something. Lost in thought. I especially like that one ... lost in thought.

Of course, the direction this is taking is that I had to ask myself if I am absorbed or lost in thought about God and the things of God. I know what it's like to get lost in thought about me and my world. I know that it is to get lost in thought as I daydream about the beach or some of the amazing places God has allowed me to travel. I know what it is to be mentally caught up in every day problems and challenges. I just can't get them out of my mind.

But lost in thought about God? I have to admit I have much room for improvement on that one. It is easy to get preoccupied with the finite and the temporal. Why wouldn't I get lost in thought about the infinite and the eternal? I'm working on it. Join me? I'm having to start small. First try 10 minutes of thinking of nothing else but God ... who He is. Start with His holiness, which is the core of who God is. He is other. He is like no other. His power. His love. His wrath. His presence. His justice. His desire to know you personally. His forgiveness available that makes that possible. His gift of creation. His eternality. His mercy. His grace. Then move to longer periods to time. Be intentional about it.

You make a list. Then become preoccupied. When you daydream, daydream about Him. How would that change my attitudes? My behaviors? My responses? My relationships?