Throughout the season of Lent, I’m preaching a sermon series called CrossWords: Discover the Power of the Cross. Here’s a blessing we’ll be using at the end of worship on Sunday. You might find it to be a helpful Lenten Blessing for your personal journey through Lent as well.

God bless you all, now and forever,
Mark

Lenten Blessing-2

Be Here Now FC

ARE YOU LIVING IN THE NOW? Here are 3 powerful and life changing blessings that most Americans, even Christians, are missing out on right now. Don’t be one of them! Read the rest of this entry »

Anchor

The 23rd Psalm for those who live on or near the water, and even those who don’t.

While setting up my new office in the U.S. coastal city of Savannah, Georgia, I came across this unique version of the 23rd Psalm by Reverend Ramon F. Reno, Chaplain of the Liberty Ship S.S. John W. Brown. I’m living close to the Atlantic Ocean and the Savannah River again, and the church I serve, Montgomery Presbyterian, is surrounded by small islands and rivers, and is located in a historic fishing community. This version of King David’s famous Psalm seems more appropriate than ever. If you live on or near water, and even if you don’t, I pray that it is as meaningful for you as it is for me.

The Lord is my Captain, I shall not want.
He makes me sail to pleasant bays,
He anchors me in quiet waters.
He restores my soul.
He guides me in the right sea lanes, for his name’s sake.
Even though I sail through the seas of death
I fear no evil,
For You are with me.
Your chart and Your compass
They comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
In the waters of adversity.
You anoint my head with blessings,
My cup overflows.
Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life,
And I shall anchor in the harbor of the Lord forever.

– written by the Reverend Ramon F. Reno

 

My last Sunday at the Old Stone Church (the First Presbyterian Church in Cleveland) was incredibly emotional, to say the least. I served, and loved the good folks of Old Stone and the city of Cleveland for over eleven years. They gave Beth and me a wonderfully gracious sendoff with an Italian feast, cake, and speeches. I left them with this final word, my last sermon at the Old Stone Church: Today, We Sailed On. It was a rollicking affair with lots of Amens, shouts and, at various times, clapping and applause. God bless you all!

We ended the service with I Feel the Winds of God Today.

If ever I forget your love
and how that love was shown,
lift high the blood-red flag above;
it bears your name alone.
Great pilot of my onward way,
you wilt not let me drift;
I feel the winds of God today;
today my sail I lift.

Don’t Fumble the Humble!

Posted: November 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ALWAYS WITH ME WHEN I PREACH, WHETHER I SENSE ITS PRESENCE OR NOT, but when preaching this particular message on humbleness, I felt the Spirit’s presence upon me in an unusually powerful way. Thank you, Lord!

Read the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14) directed at those who trust only in themselves and then check out Don’t Fumble the Humble.

Are we just using religion as a mask to hide sin, sadness, or loneliness?

DO WE REALLY NEED MORE FAITH? THE CHURCH ALREADY HAS FAITH THE SIZE OF A MUSTARD SEED, NO? Jesus said that with faith like that, we would do amazing things. So what’s keep us grounded? And how do we truly take flight?

Read Luke 17:5-7 and then check out As the 9 Pound Crow Flies!

EVERYBODY LOVES A GOOD “PEARLY GATE” LAUGH. Even Jesus had some pearly gate stories, like the one about the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus who trade places in the afterlife. But be forewarned, sometimes Jesus’s humor can pack a punch like an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove. He pokes us with the truth with a rubber sword; it may not draw blood, but it sure cuts to the core.  Jesus’s story about the afterlife has huge implications for how we are living right now! Do we dare to listen? Check it out now.