This is the story of a collection of people who follow Jesus. We live in Littleton. We encounter people in the name of Jesus, we allow Jesus to turn us into disciples, we gather often, and we equip people to love and serve other people better.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mark's Top Five Clifton StrengthsFinder Themes: Woo, Learner, Arranger, Positivity, Belief

The Clifton StrengthsFinder

As you may know, the Clifton StrengthsFinder measures the presence of talent in 34 categories called "themes." These themes were determined by Gallup as those that most consistently predict outstanding performance. The greater the presence of a theme of talent within a person, the more likely that person is to spontaneously exhibit those talents in day-to-day behaviors.Focusing on naturally powerful talents helps people use them as the foundation of strengths and enjoy personal, academic, and career success through consistent, near-perfect performance.

Below are my top five themes of talent, ranked in the order revealed by my responses to the Clifton StrengthsFinder.

How well do you think these themes describe me?


People who are especially talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.


People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.


People who are especially talented in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.


People who are especially talented in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.


People who are especially talented in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their life.

To learn more about the Clifton StrengthsFinder and how you can discover your top five themes, visit

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's time to fight back against death threats by Islamic extremists A federal law is needed to cover threats against free-speech rights. Across media and geographies, Islamic extremists are increasingly using intimidation to stifle free expression. - Los

Earlier this year, after Comedy Central altered an episode of "South Park" that had prompted threats because of the way it depicted Islam's prophet Muhammad, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris proposed an "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day." The idea was, as she put it, to stand up for the 1st Amendment and "water down the pool of targets" for extremists.

The proposal got Norris targeted for assassination by radical Yemeni American cleric Anwar Awlaki, who has been linked to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight and also to several of the 9/11 hijackers. This month, after warnings from the FBI, Norris went into hiding. The Seattle Weekly said that Norris was "moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity."

It's time for free-speech advocates to take a page from the abortion rights movement's playbook. In the 1990s, abortion providers faced the same sort of intimidation tactics and did not succumb. Instead, they lobbied for a federal law making it a crime to threaten people exercising reproductive rights and permitting victims to sue for damages. The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or FACE, passed in 1994 by solid bipartisan margins. A similar act is needed to cover threats against free-speech rights.

A federal law would do two things. First, it would deter violent tactics, by focusing national attention on the problem and invoking the formidable enforcement apparatus of the federal government. Second, its civil damages provision would empower victims of intimidation to act as private attorneys general to defend their rights.

Such an act is overdue. Across media and geographies, Islamic extremists are increasingly using intimidation to stifle free expression.

In 2004, Theo van Gogh was butchered on an Amsterdam street in broad daylight for his film criticizing Islam's treatment of women. By 2006, it was reported that "dozens of people" across Europe were "in hiding or under police protection because of threats from Muslim extremists."

Some targets, including the coauthor of this Op-Ed, fled to the United States, where it seemed safer -- and so it is, for now. However, the stark truth is the United States was never immune and the situation is deteriorating.

In 1989, two American bookstores carrying Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" were firebombed. Spooked major chains took it off display. And there have been many more threats that received less publicity. Few have heard, for example, about Oklahoma atheist Sabri Husibi, who received death threats after writing a 2009 article critical of his former faith. His aged mother in Syria was warned she would never see him again. "Clearly shaken," he requested the paper that published his article clarify that he is critical of all faiths.

These kinds of threats have had a formidable chilling effect. Mindful of the retaliation others faced, Yale University Press, the Met, the director of the disaster epic "2012" and countless others have decided to preemptively censor themselves.

The kind of legislation we propose is essential if we are to win the war of ideas against extremists, who use threats to drive the moderate message out of public discourse.

Existing state laws prohibiting intimidation are inadequate. On the criminal side, the heightened standard of proof deters prosecutors from investing scarce resources. Explicit grounds for a civil action do not always exist, and damages can be difficult to quantify. By contrast, the FACE Act, which provides the model for the proposed legislation, lets victims opt for preset damages.

The "South Park" incident neatly illustrates the benefits. On April 15, following the first of a two-part episode mocking Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad, announced that "[w]e have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh." The "warning" included the names, photos and work address of "South Park's" creators, a graphic image of Van Gogh's mutilated body and pictures of other targets of Muslim extremists. Overlaying this was audio of Awlaki preaching about assassinating anyone who defamed the prophet. Panicked, Comedy Central heavily censored the episode.

This rather obvious threat could not be prosecuted. New York Police Department officials explained it did not rise to a crime. Were the FACE Act applicable here, a civil suit would have been available, and precedent suggests it would have been successful.

In 2002, on very similar facts, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a civil award to abortion doctors who sued using the FACE Act. A fringe antiabortion group, ACLA, had in various public venues displayed "Wanted"-style posters bearing the names, photos and addresses of doctors who performed abortions. Their names were also posted on the Internet alongside a list of wounded and murdered doctors whose names were struck through. The 9th Circuit held that ACLA's activities constituted true threats unprotected by the 1st Amendment.

If we leave our artists, activists and thinkers alone to weather the assault, they will succumb and we will all suffer the consequences.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former member of the Dutch parliament, is a resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "Nomad: From Islam to America." Daniel Huff is director of the Middle East Forum's Legal Project.

Not sure we need another law so much as we just need people not afraid to stand up and say that Mohamed is not a prophet, and is followers are going to hell.

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Self-Control Quotes, Sayings about Temptation, Self-Discipline, Will Power

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Quotations about Self-Control

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Self-respect is the root of discipline:  The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.  ~Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Insecurity of Freedom: Essays on Human Existence, 1967

Not being able to govern events, I govern myself, and apply myself to them, if they will not apply themselves to me.  ~Michel de Montaigne, Essays, 1588

How like herrings and onions our vices are in the morning after we have committed them.  ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.  No apologies or excuses.  No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.  The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.  This is the day your life really begins.  ~Bob Moawad

I have been my own disciple and my own master.  And I have been a good disciple but a bad master.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

All men are tempted.  There is no man that lives that can't be broken down, provided it is the right temptation, put in the right spot.  ~Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, 1887

The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center.  So does a person.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Those who flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address.  ~Lane Olinghouse

It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.  ~Buddha

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.  ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

You must admit you have self-control before you can use it.  ~Carrie Latet

What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people is they don't want to discourage it completely.  ~Franklin P. Jones 

Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation?  I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to.  ~Oscar Wilde

It's all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back.  ~Mick Jagger

I bid you conquer in your warfare against your four great enemies, the world, the devil, the flesh, and above all, that obstinate and perverse self-will, unaided by which the other three would be comparatively powerless.  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

I am,
a king,
because I know how
to rule myself.
~Pietro Aretino, 10 May 1537

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage - pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically - to say 'no' to other things.  And the way to do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside.  The enemy of the 'best' is often the 'good.'  ~Stephen Covey

If we resist our passions, it is more because of their weakness than because of our strength.  ~François, duc de La Rochefoucauld

For every man there exists a bait which he cannot resist swallowing.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

The first attribute that characterizes the greater man from the moron is his thicker layer of inhibition.  ~Martin H. Fischer

Heaven is on the other side of that feeling you get when you're sitting on the couch and you get up and make a triple-decker sandwich.  It's on the other side of that, when you don't make the sandwich.  It's about sacrifice.... It's about giving up the things that basically keep you from feeling.  That's what I believe, anyway.  I'm always asking, "What am I going to give up next?"  Because I want to feel.  ~Jim Carrey, from a Michael Fleming interview in the March 2004 issue of Playboy magazine

An element of abstention, of restraint, must enter into all finer joys.  ~Vida D. Scudder

Conscience whispers, but interest screams aloud.  ~J. Petit-Senn

Not using faults does not mean that one does not have them.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come your way again.  ~Korman's Law

Who is fit to govern others?
He who governs himself.
You might as well have said: nobody.
~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

There is no allurement or enticement, actual or imaginary, which a well-disciplined mind may not surmount.  The wish to resist more than half accomplishes the object.  ~Charlotte Dacre, The Passions, 1811

Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch.  ~Robert Orben

Nothing makes it easier to resist temptation than a proper bringing-up, a sound set of values - and witnesses.  ~Franklin P. Jones

About the only time losing is more fun than winning is when you're fighting temptation.  ~Tom Wilson

There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.  ~Mark Twain

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.  ~Thomas Jefferson

We like slipping, but not falling; our real anxiety is to be tempted enough.  ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.  ~Benjamin Franklin

Being out of control is one of the worst feelings in the world, sometimes even worse than pain.  It is its own kind of pain.  ~Terri Guillemets

A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means.  This is an obvious lie.  Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is....  A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.  That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness.  They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.  ~C.S. Lewis

Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell.  ~Author Unknown

You are a puppet, but in the hands of the infinite, which may be your own.  ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Abstainer, n.  A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.  ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911

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The C.S. Lewis quote about 3/4 of the way down is one of my favorites about temptation.

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

D'Evelyn junior-senior high #Syatp

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International prayer day - See you at the pole - 2010 #syatp

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Good Morning, Littleton

May God fill your hearts with joy as you discover how much He loves you today. (John 3:16)
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Monday, September 20, 2010

The hospitality table

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Good times

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rush hour at summerset

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Blessed are the poor in Spirit" - sermon thoughts for tomorrow

Matt 5

The Beatitudes
 1Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them saying:
 3"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 4Blessed are those who mourn,
      for they will be comforted.
 5Blessed are the meek,
      for they will inherit the earth.
 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
      for they will be filled.
 7Blessed are the merciful,
      for they will be shown mercy.
 8Blessed are the pure in heart,
      for they will see God.
 9Blessed are the peacemakers,
      for they will be called sons of God.
 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
      for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

(The following is based on James Boice's book on the Sermon on the Mount)

What is the sermon on the mount?

- Moral laws to be brought to bear on any society (social gospel)
- Legalistic laws to be strictly applied to the life of a Christian, (ignores the gospel)
- Impossible laws, meant only to drive us to Jesus, with no actual application (ignores the law)
- Dispensationalism view - this applies only to the future age, when Christ will rule during the Millennium.  
    - no Biblical clues in the text
    - the worldview of the text matches our world, not a future utopian one
    - all scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching

Why study the Sermon on the Mount

1) It shows us our complete dependency of the gospel
2) It points to Jesus.  Jesus is the only person to have ever completely "lived" the sermon.  He IS the sermon.
3) It shows us better way to live, one that leads to true happiness
4) It brings us closer to God, as we live in a way that pleases him.  Not our will, but yours be done.

What does "Blessed" mean?

Happy, Bliss

Jesus was the happiest person that ever lived.  His life was blessed.

If by happiness we mean serenity, confidence, contentment, peace, joy and soul satisfaction, then Jesus was the happiest person who ever lived." Billy Graham

Now on to the first beatitude.

Blessed are the poor in spirit

1) Could mean poor (no money)
2) Could mean poor spirited (down hearted)
3) Does mean spiritually poor before God - completely dependent on him

This is the gospel.  Not that we can save ourselves, but that God saves us.  It is a complete dependence on God.  

The word "poor" is appropriate, because when we are poor, we are without a plan b.  If you don't work, you don't buy food, and you don't eat.  It is a very basic existence.  

When we are rich, the game gets much more complicated.  The bills pile up.  The choices become greater.  The belief that we can weather any storm that might come our way begins to grow.  And then in a day it is all taken away, and we are once again left "poor."

Have you heard the stories from Boulder.  One woman was at work when she got the call.  She tried to get back to her house, but was not allowed into the canyon.  Her house burned to the ground and she lost everything, except what she had with her at work that day.  

When we surrender our lives to God, we become poor in spirit.  We live each day completely dependent on God to provide meaning and purpose.  We gain contentment and joy as we surrender our will and lean into God.  

When we chose not to surrender, our lives become much more complex.  We start to live with liabilities.  We have egos to protect, and reputations to guard, and we want others to know how important we are.  

ok - time for the last 75 words. 

how does this hit me.  I am currently finding it hard to surrender to God.  I think its because I want to succeed so badly, that I am unwilling to fully leave it in God's hands.  I feel the need to push harder than I should push, and I find myself getting pretty aggravated and short with those around me.  

I wish I trusted God more.

Twitter quote from:
khoingo Humility is fully embracing who God made you to be and do. Nothing more and nothing less. And who He made you to be will bring Him glory.

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Britta's first day at westernaires - she is riding Strawberry

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Posted tons of sermons to

Thank you Kyle Padgett for working for nearly 10 hours straight today to get the last three months of sermons online.

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Monday, September 06, 2010

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Peter's status update: The little interactions that happen on facebook that bring inspiration to my day.

Peter Hoskins "How much we sacrifice now will determine the future. The secret is to stay together. The highest miracle we can perform is to keep together; we must stay together as one. Unity is strength. Live for each other." johncargile

10 hours ago · · LikeUnlike

    • Mark Kraakevik Oh this will preach, brother, yes indeed, this will PREACH! Can I get an amen.
      10 minutes ago · LikeUnlike ·


I know that the experts say that we are losing our ability to think deeply about things, because our world has become a series of unrelated short blasts of information and stacked on top of each other, but every now and then it seems that truth shines through in a short quote. 

I really liked this one.  It seems to say that no matter how hard things become now, if we will make the right decisions now, the future will be bright for our kids.  I firmly believe this.  Today our church service is focused around the need to stick together, to follow Jesus together.  I hope we all recognize that we are not capable of living the life we were created to live alone.  We must do this together.  We must live for each other.

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Thoughts about tomorrows sermon. Matt 4:18-22

It is the time of year when you run as fast as you possibly can, as long as you can.  

There are moments in life that become defining moments.  We often do not recognize them at the time.  Some of them we do.  Do you remember the day you left for college.  We load our stuff into our car and good bye to the town that has been home for so many years.  The emotions of a day like that are hard to describe.  Excitement.  Fear.  Sadness.  Anxiety.  Hope.  

I have recently been reliving these emotions.  Not because I am going back to school, but because as we head into fall this year, it feels like we are leaving the familiar, and entering into a defining moment for the EDGE.  I want to invite you to share this moment with me.  

God has laid before us an outstanding opportunity.  I am sure you, like me, want to make the most of it.  


The Calling of the First Disciples
 18As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 20At once they left their nets and followed him.

 21Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.


They were busy

Jesus had a different plan, and called them

Come and follow me - What did this mean to them?

Left the business

Left their homes

Became a walking, talking, full time Jesus followers.

Now - the hard part is to discern, what does it mean when Jesus calls us.  

Should we leave businesses?

Should we leave our homes?

How do we become walking, talking, full time followers of Jesus?

I would like to suggest in our setting that it means a few specific actions. 3 * 2 * B

1) It means coming to church

people all over the world are persecuted and attacked for going to church, and yet they continue to go.  

2) It means getting in a small group

Relationships: A small group gives you the opportunity to get to know people at a more intimate level.  Sunday mornings are an awesome time to worship with the whole family of God, hear a sermon, engage in corporate vision, but a small group gives you a chance to build deeper friendships.

Learning the Word of God: Sunday’s sermon is a great time to get a broad teaching of the Word of God. However, small groups provide time for one on one discussion. Your group can provide a time to clarify answers to questions from Sunday’s sermon.

Opportunity to Serve Others: One of the greatest joys of being in a small group is the chance to bear others burdens, serve their needs, and step out beyond your own issues.

Place to invite friends: A small group is a natural place to invite friends and family. Sometimes people are more comfortable going to a small group then attending a Sunday morning service.

Place to Pray and Share your needs: A gathering of a few people is a natural environment for prayer. A big part of prayer is conservation with God and small groups provide the perfect environment for communing with God.

Engage in worship: Gathering in a small group allows you to experience worship at a very intimate level.

Follow the New Testament pattern: Acts 2:42-47 gives us a blueprint of what the early church was passionately committed to. The early Christ Followers gathered in homes, shared meals, read the Word, prayed, and worshipped. When you participate in a small group you are following the New Testament pattern. 

3) It means serving in some way - at church, in your neighborhood

This church is only as strong as its volunteers.  Every week we have 15-20 people who make this happen.  If you served in some capacity of the last month, would you please stand.  These are the people who are making The EDGE Colorado happen.

Top five ways to serve:

Nursery/Childrens workers
Jr High Leaders
Small Group leaders/hosts

Short term commitments

Summerset festival

Finally today, I want to give you a picture of where we are going

1) We will become that "excellent restaurant" that everyone loves, but no one can find.
2) We will become a beacon of light to southwest Denver, showing the way as we continue to speak the truth in love.
3) Home - for some a home away from home, for others, the home they never had.

Mark Kraakevik
The EDGE Colorado - Live The Message
To live is Christ, to die is gain.

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Friday, September 03, 2010