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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mark ‘s Sermon notes, Matt 5:10, Blessed are the persecuted.

Mark ‘s Sermon, Matt 5:10, Blessed are the persecuted.

Why are we persecuted?

I did not plan this sermon to land on this day, but it is exceedingly appropriate in light of the "fear factor" connected to Halloween.

Today we begin our look at the last of the Beatitudes (it gets a few more verses than the others, and thus a few more week)

These are the words of Jesus, and he says to us:

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.

And in order to get the whole passage, I would like for us to back up to the beginning of this section and read through to today's passage.

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.

And as we read this, I want us to remember two things. 1) This is the upside down Kingdom that Jesus is bringing to the world. He declares that this Kingdom is here, and that it is coming. And both are true. This list is the "new normal" for his followers. As we follow Jesus we begin to look more and more like this list. As we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we are filled (satistfied). As our heart are renewed, and made pure, we see the face of God more clearly. These are great promises, blessings, that we receive as we live out our "new lives."

2) I believe this is a discipleship process compressed into eight verses. And as such, while it is real, and it is possible to live this way, we can not make this list a mandate to change the world. It will be come clear as we look at this last beatitude, that Jesus does not expect that our world, our nation, our neighbors will embrace this new set of values. This caught me a bit off guard this week as I studied.

10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Let me quickly connect the dots.

1) This is a discipleship process, which means we know that we are nearing the end of the process when we begin to experience persecution.

2) It is NOT persecution for...

a) being stupid

b) being political

c) being in favor of a cause

d) but it is for being righteous (for becoming a Jesus follower, and walking by faith)

3) This caught me off guard, because even though I have been a Christian most my life, I continue to believe that it is possible to be a Christian, and to be popular, to be well liked, to be admired and to be "cool." If fact, much of my adult life has been spent as a youth pastor convincing teens that it is "cool to be Christian." Rarely would I ever tell a teen, if you choose to follow Jesus, you will be ridiculed, laughed at, slandered, and disregarded.

4) I do not know if you have been offended by the Bible lately? I remember being greatly perplexed by God's word. I was in Intro to Bible. We were studying Acts. Acts 24, starting in verse 24.

24Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you." 26At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

27When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.

This left me completely perplexed. I would even say mad. Why would God leave Paul in prison for two years, with nothing to show for it.

5) This leads me to the conclusion. God is working a process in us. He is making us into people who love him, who trust him, who find their identity in him, and when we do that...the world will hate us. And they will act on that hate, and we will get hurt. And God makes no bones about it. This is the road of the disciple.

6) Which leaves us in a very very very interesting place. We are left asking, where has my discipleship process led me? Have I allowed the pain of persecution to drive me deeper into Jesus, or has the constant attack of the world shaken me off of my firm foundation in Jesus.

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stressful day

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh, that is what the shirt says...

Are you wondering why all the shirts looked the same when they came out of the Chilean Mine? 
Here is the story:

From: Brian Larson
To: Mark Kraakevik
Sent: Thu, October 14, 2010 1:15:12 PM
Subject: FW: Wedding & Chilean Miners | October 14, 2010

 I found the back story Mark....

Date: Thu, 14 Oct 2010 13:54:51 -0400
Subject: Wedding & Chilean Miners | October 14, 2010
From: Barry A Warren (on staff with Campus Crusade)


I flew back into Orlando Tuesday afternoon.  I was pretty wiped out after an incredible and full trip to the Northeast.  It was a trip full of fun and God’s grace!

Thank you so much for your prayers for the wedding.  I was surprisingly calm before hand, with a quick flash of nervousness right before the ceremony.  It went very well.  It worked!  Lucas and Christy are now married and starting their new life together.  It was such an honor and privilege to be able to marry Lucas.  It was ten years ago I met him as a Freshman at New Mexico State University.  

I imagine many of you have watched some footage of the trapped, Chilean miners being rescued the other day.  What a great picture of people being rescued “from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of the Son He loves!”  (Colossians 1:13)

As I watched a little footage yesterday I saw the shirts they where wearing and thought, “That looks just like a “Jesus” film shirt!  I found out today they were!  Every rescued miner came out of the ground sporting a Campus Crusade/”Jesus” Film shirt.  A bit of that story is directly below and a longer article is below that.  



Are you following the progress in the rescue of Chilean miners? The t-shirts that they are wearing says, "Thanks Lord" and were provided by Campus Crusade for Christ. You can see The JESUS Film Project logo on the left sleeve.  The Jesus Film Project (JFP) also sent 33 audio versions of the Jesus Film (on mp3s) with Bibles to the miners.  They were able to have their families send them down to them.

  And the "Thank you, Lord" t-shirt has Psalm 95:4 on it - "In His hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His also.”

  I am told by my JFP friend that the miners voted to wear that Tshirt as they were rescued!  

Barry A. Warren
Introducing people to Jesus
with creativity & compassion

Campus Crusade for Christ

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Chile Ministry Helps Trapped Miners
By Christian Maureira, Chile National Director
Posted: 13.Oct.2010

Editor's Note: We received this update from Christian Maureira about the Chile ministry's efforts to help the trapped miners. This was translated by Doug Barron.

Hello team and friends! I want to share with you about the last 2 very intense weeks as we have worked on the project to take the Word of God and the JESUS audio version to the mine, but it has really be worth the effort as it is food for the soul. This long history of the miners that is now passing 2 months has been without doubt the longest survival experience for people trapped underground.

This all started on the August 5, when the San Jose mine collapsed because of the exploration in the mine. The news was not good as it was only 6 months after we had experience the very large earthquake and tsunami. With a population less than other countries in the world, problems like this seem much closer to you and much more like it is part of your own family.

After 2 weeks without news from the miners we could only think the worst. The government had made every effort, but it was reasonable to think that the miners were lost, above all considering the distance where they were located, some 700 meters (2,000 feet) deep with a difficult future to be rescued. But God had other plans and 2 days later (the 17th day), contact with them was made. Obviously we were all very happy and we celebrated the miracle that all were alive.

As Campus Crusade, God guided us to think about how we could help these men and this was how we took the initiative to contact some churches in the north, leaders and authorities about sending the JESUS audio into the mine. It wasn't easy in the beginning because of some apathy in the Christian leadership and a lack of a sense of urgency, together with the restrictive control of the rescue team but, God in His sovereignty provided that we were able to gain contact with the daughter and the brother of 1 of the 3 Christians that were trapped there.

During several weeks, I was in contact with them and I explored the possibility of sending them audio material. Finally, I traveled to the mine with 33 MP3's containing the JESUS audio version and an ample portion of the Bible. I was there for 2 days and we sent the MP3's through each family members that were there.

Jose Samuel, my contact in the mine (father of Hettiz and brother of Gaston) is an extraordinary man who has really surprised me. The psychologists that are giving help from the surface have recognized that he has been a tremendous emotional and spiritual support for the rest of his co-workers.

He sent me a letter that grabbed my attention for his incredible clarity of thought. For example, some parts of the letter are:

  • "I want to express my appreciation for this great blessing for me and my co-workers, it will be very good our edification" (He is talking about the MP3's)
  • "I am well because Christ lives in me"
  • "We have prayer services at 12 a.m. and 6 p.m."
  • "I ask all of you for pray not only for us here, but for all the lost people in the world"
  • At the end of the letter he signed off with Psalm 95:4, "In his hand are the depths of the earth, and mountain peaks belong to him."
This is a very motivating story, let's continue to pray for the salvation of these souls. Thanks for being part of this.

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Friday, October 08, 2010

Thursday, October 07, 2010