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.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A psalm for today

Psalm 6[a]

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith.[b] A psalm of David.

1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
    heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish.
    How long, Lord, how long?
4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
    save me because of your unfailing love.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
    Who praises you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping
    and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
    they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
    for the Lord has heard my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
    the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
    they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

As I read about and then watch the news reports about today's tragedy, I was overcome.  Days like these come and go, and we make lists of the tragedies in our world, and the number of people killed, but this one seems heavier.  

Dear Lord, why are innocent children allowed to suffer?  Why are children taken from families?  Did these kids already have gifts waiting for them under the tree?  There is no possible way to understand the grief of a parent who loses a child like this.  Our words are completely useless to define or explain what has happened today.  

Read again verse 4 above, "save me because of your unfailing love."  This is our hope.  This is our promise.  God is light, and in Him there is no darkness.  He will overcome.  He will hear our cry for mercy.  He will not let our enemies to have the final victory.  He will save us, because that is what it means to have a God whose very identity, whose unchanging character, and whose core attribute is "unfailing love."   

So we cry out with confidence verses 8 and 9.  "Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.  The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer."  Like we talked about last Sunday, God has placed us in the "peace box" and locked the top, and thrown away the key.  Nothing on Heaven or Earth will every be able to separate us from the love of God.  He is the provider and the keeper of the peace, and we can rest in his arms.  

I want to invite you to come to church tonight (7pm), and pray with us.  Come and find comfort.  Come, and find safety.  Come and find peace.  

Your pastor,


Mark Kraakevik

of 8776 West Geddes Place, Littleton, CO 80128
Mark can be reached at 720-308-4051
Mark's blog can be found at

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Settlers of America game


Settlers of America game

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Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Monday, November 19, 2012

What a pastors day off feels like.


Good morning from Littleton.  Today is my day off.  And the kids don't have school.  Its gonna be a good day.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Napster, Udacity, and the Academy

Napster, Udacity, and the Academy

By Clay Shirky

Fifteen years ago, a research group called The Fraunhofer Institute announced a new digital format for compressing movie files. This wasn’t a terribly momentous invention, but it did have one interesting side effect: Frauenhofer also had to figure out how to compress the soundtrack. The result was the Motion Picture Experts Group Format 1, Audio Layer III, a format you know and love, though only by its acronym, MP3.
The recording industry concluded this new audio format would be no threat, because quality mattered most. Who would listen to an MP3 when they could buy a better-sounding CD at the record store? Then Napster launched, and quickly became the fastest-growing piece of software in history. The industry sued Napster and won, and it collapsed even more suddenly than it had arisen.
If Napster had only been about free access, control of legal distribution of music would then have returned the record labels. That’s not what happened. Instead, Pandora happened. happened. Spotify happened. ITunes happened. Amazon began selling songs in the hated MP3 format.
How did the recording industry win the battle but lose the war? How did they achieve such a decisive victory over Napster, then fail to regain control of even legal distribution channels? They crushed Napster’s organization. They poisoned Napster’s brand. They outlawed Napster’s tools. They one thing they couldn’t kill was the story Napster told.
The story the recording industry used to tell us went something like this: “Hey kids, Alanis Morisette just recorded three kickin’ songs! You can have them, so long as you pay for the ten mediocrities she recorded at the same time.” Napster told us a different story. Napster said “You want just the three songs? Fine. Just ‘You Oughta Know’? No problem. Every cover of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ ever made? Help yourself. You’re in charge.”
The people in the music industry weren’t stupid, of course. They had access to the same internet the rest of us did. They just couldn’t imagine—and I mean this in the most ordinarily descriptive way possible—could not imagine that the old way of doing things might fail. Yet things did fail, in large part because, after Napster, the industry’s insistence that digital distribution be as expensive and inconvenient as a trip to the record store suddenly struck millions of people as a completely terrible idea.
Once you see this pattern—a new story rearranging people’s sense of the possible, with the incumbents the last to know—you see it everywhere. First, the people running the old system don’t notice the change. When they do, they assume it’s minor. Then that it’s a niche. Then a fad. And by the time they understand that the world has actually changed, they’ve squandered most of the time they had to adapt.
It’s been interesting watching this unfold in music, books, newspapers, TV, but nothing has ever been as interesting to me as watching it happen in my own backyard. Higher education is now being disrupted; our MP3 is the massive open online course (or MOOC), and our Napster is Udacity, the education startup.
We have several advantages over the recording industry, of course. We are decentralized and mostly non-profit. We employ lots of smart people. We have previous examples to learn from, and our core competence is learning from the past. And armed with these advantages, we’re probably going to screw this up as badly as the music people did.
* * *
A massive open online class is usually a series of video lectures with associated written materials and self-scoring tests, open to anyone. That’s what makes them OOCs. The M part, though, comes from the world. As we learned from Wikipedia, demand for knowledge is so enormous that good, free online materials can attract extraordinary numbers of people from all over the world.
Last year, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, an online course from Stanford taught by Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun, attracted 160,000 potential students, of whom 23,000 completed it, a scale that dwarfs anything possible on a physical campus. As Thrun put it, “Peter and I taught more students AI, than all AI professors in the world combined.” Seeing this, he quit and founded Udacity, an educational institution designed to offer MOOCs.
The size of Thrun and Norvig’s course, and the attention attracted by Udacity (and similar organizations like Coursera, P2PU, and University of the People), have many academics worrying about the effect on higher education. The loudest such worrying so far has been The Trouble With Online Education, a New York Times OpEd by Mark Edmunson of the University of Virginia. As most critics do, Edmundson focussed on the issue of quality, asking and answering his own question: “[C]an online education ever be education of the very best sort?”
Now you and I know what he means by “the very best sort”—the intimate college seminar, preferably conducted by tenured faculty. He’s telling the story of the liberal arts education in a selective residential college and asking “Why would anyone take an online class when they can buy a better education at UVA?”
But who faces that choice? Are we to imagine an 18 year old who can set aside $250K and 4 years, but who would have a hard time choosing between a residential college and a series of MOOCs? Elite high school students will not be abandoning elite colleges any time soon; the issue isn’t what education of “the very best sort” looks like, but what the whole system looks like.
Edmundson isn’t crazy enough to argue that all college experiences are good, so he hedges. He tells us “Every memorable class is a bit like a jazz composition”, without providing an analogy for the non-memorable ones. He assures us that “large lectures can also create genuine intellectual community”, which of course means they can alsonot do that. (He doesn’t say how many large lectures fail his test.) He says “real courses create intellectual joy,” a statement that can be accurate only as a tautology. (The MOOC Criticism Drinking Game: take a swig whenever someone says “real”, “true”, or “genuine” to hide the fact that they are only talking about elite schools instead of the median college experience.)
I was fortunate enough to get the kind of undergraduate education Edmundson praises: four years at Yale, in an incredible intellectual community, where even big lecture classes were taught by seriously brilliant people. Decades later, I can still remember my art history professor’s description of the Arnolfini Wedding, and the survey of modern poetry didn’t just expose me to Ezra Pound and HD, it changed how I thought about the 20th century.
But you know what? Those classes weren’t like jazz compositions. They didn’t create genuine intellectual community. They didn’t even create ersatz intellectual community. They were just great lectures: we showed up, we listened, we took notes, and we left, ready to discuss what we’d heard in smaller sections.
And did the professors also teach our sections too? No, of course not; those were taught by graduate students. Heaven knows what they were being paid to teach us, but it wasn’t a big fraction of a professor’s salary. The large lecture isn’t a tool for producing intellectual joy; it’s a tool for reducing the expense of introductory classes.
* * *
Higher education has a bad case of cost disease (sometimes called Baumol’s cost disease, after one of its theorizers.) The classic example is the string quartet; performing a 15-minute quartet took a cumulative hour of musician time in 1850, and takes that same hour today. This is not true of the production of food, or clothing, or transportation, all of which have seen massive increases in value created per hour of labor. Unfortunately, the obvious ways to make production more efficient—fewer musicians playing faster—wouldn’t work as well for the production of music as for the production of cars.
An organization with cost disease can use lower paid workers, increase the number of consumers per worker, subsidize production, or increase price. For live music, this means hiring less-talented musicians, selling more tickets per performance, writing grant applications, or, of course, raising ticket prices. For colleges, this means more graduate and adjunct instructors, increased enrollments and class size, fundraising, or, of course, raising tuition.
The great work on college and cost-disease is Robert Archibald and David Feldman’s Why Does College Cost So Much? Archibald and Feldman conclude that institution-specific explanations—spoiled students expecting a climbing wall; management self-aggrandizement at the expense of educational mission—hold up less well than the generic observation: colleges need a lot of highly skilled people, people whose wages, benefits, and support costs have risen faster than inflation for the last thirty years.
Cheap graduate students let a college lower the cost of teaching the sections while continuing to produce lectures as an artisanal product, from scratch, on site, real time. The minute you try to explain exactly why we do it this way, though, the setup starts to seem a little bizarre. What would it be like to teach at a university where a you could only assign books you yourself had written? Where you could only ask your students to read journal articles written by your fellow faculty members? Ridiculous. Unimaginable.
Every college provides access to a huge collection of potential readings, and to a tiny collection of potential lectures. We ask students to read the best works we can find, whoever produced them and where, but we only ask them to listen to the best lecture a local employee can produce that morning. Sometimes you’re at a place where the best lecture your professor can give is the best in the world. But mostly not. And the only thing that kept this system from seeming strange was that we’ve never had a good way of publishing lectures.
This is the huge difference between music and education. Starting with Edison’s wax cylinders, and continuing through to Pandora and the iPod, the biggest change in musical consumption has come not from production but playback. Hearing an excellent string quartet play live in an intimate venue has indeed become a very expensive proposition, as cost disease would suggest, but at the same time, the vast majority of music listened to on any given day is no longer recreated live.
* * *
Harvard, where I was fortunate enough to have a visiting lectureship a couple of years ago, is our agreed-upon Best Institution, and it is indeed an extraordinary place. But this very transcendence should make us suspicious. Harvard’s endowment, 31 billion dollars, is over three hundred times the median, and only one college in five has an endowment in the first place. Harvard also educates only about a tenth of a percent of the 18 million or so students enrolled in higher education in any given year. Any sentence that begins “Let’s take Harvard as an example…” should immediately be followed up with “No, let’s not do that.”
This atypical bent of our elite institutions covers more than just Harvard. The top 50 colleges on the US News and World Report list (which includes most of the ones you’ve heard of) only educate something like 3% of the current student population. The entire list, about 250 colleges, educates fewer than 25%.
The upper reaches of the US college system work like a potlatch, those festivals of ostentatious giving. The very things the US News list of top colleges prizes—low average class size, ratio of staff to students—mean that any institution that tries to create a cost-effective education will move down the list. This is why most of the early work on MOOCs is coming out of Stanford and Harvard and MIT. As Ian Bogost says,MOOCs are marketing for elite schools.
Outside the elite institutions, though, the other 75% of students—over 13 million of them—are enrolled in the four thousand institutions youhaven’t heard of: Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Bridgerland Applied Technology College. The Laboratory Institute of Merchandising. When we talk about college education in the US, these institutions are usually left out of the conversation, but Clayton State educates as many undergraduates as Harvard. Saint Leo educates twice as many. City College of San Francisco enrolls as many as the entire Ivy League combined. These are where most students are, and their experience is what college education is mostly like.
* * *
The fight over MOOCs isn’t about the value of college; a good chunk of the four thousand institutions you haven’t heard of provide an expensive but mediocre education. For-profit schools like Kaplan’s and the University of Phoenix enroll around one student in eight, butaccount for nearly half of all loan defaults, and the vast majority of their enrollees fail to get a degree even after six years. Reading the academic press, you wouldn’t think that these statistics represented a more serious defection from our mission than helping people learn something about Artificial Intelligence for free.
The fight over MOOCs isn’t even about the value of online education. Hundreds of institutions already offer online classes for credit, and half a million students are already enrolled in them. If critics of online education were consistent, they would believe that the University of Virginia’s Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies or Rutger’s MLIS degreeare abominations, or else they would have to believe that there is a credit-worthy way to do online education, one MOOCs could emulate. Neither argument is much in evidence.
That’s because the fight over MOOCs is really about the story we tell ourselves about higher education: what it is, who it’s for, how it’s delivered, who delivers it. The most widely told story about college focuses obsessively on elite schools and answers a crazy mix of questions: How will we teach complex thinking and skills? How will we turn adolescents into well-rounded members of the middle class? Who will certify that education is taking place? How will we instill reverence for Virgil? Who will subsidize the professor’s work?
MOOCs simply ignore a lot of those questions. The possibility MOOCs hold out isn’t replacement; anything that could replace the traditional college experience would have to work like one, and the institutions best at working like a college are already colleges. The possibility MOOCs hold out is that the educational parts of education can be unbundled. MOOCs expand the audience for education to people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system, in the same way phonographs expanded the audience for symphonies to people who couldn’t get to a concert hall, and PCs expanded the users of computing power to people who didn’t work in big companies.
Those earlier inventions systems started out markedly inferior to the high-cost alternative: records were scratchy, PCs were crashy. But first they got better, then they got better than that, and finally, they got so good, for so cheap, that they changed people’s sense of what was possible.
In the US, an undergraduate education used to be an option, one way to get into the middle class. Now it’s a hostage situation, required to avoid falling out of it. And if some of the hostages having trouble coming up with the ransom conclude that our current system is a completely terrible idea, then learning will come unbundled from the pursuit of a degree just as as songs came unbundled from CDs.
If this happens, Harvard will be fine. Yale will be fine, and Stanford, and Swarthmore, and Duke. But Bridgerland Applied Technology College? Maybe not fine. University of Arkansas at Little Rock? Maybe not fine. And Kaplan College, a more reliable producer of debt than education? Definitely not fine.
* * *
Udacity and its peers don’t even pretend to tell the story of an 18-year old earning a Bachelor’s degree in four years from a selective college, a story that only applies to a small minority of students in the US, much less the world. Meanwhile, they try to answer some new questions, questions that the traditional academy—me and my people—often don’t even recognize as legitimate, like “How do we spin up 10,000 competent programmers a year, all over the world, at a cost too cheap to meter?”
Udacity may or may not survive, but as with Napster, there’s no containing the story it tells: “It’s possible to educate a thousand people at a time, in a single class, all around the world, for free.” To a traditional academic, this sounds like crazy talk. Earlier this fall, a math instructor writing under the pen name Delta enrolled in Thrun’sStatistics 101 class, and, after experiencing it first-hand, concluded that the course was
…amazingly, shockingly awful. It is poorly structured; it evidences an almost complete lack of planning for the lectures; it routinely fails to properly define or use standard terms or notation; it necessitates occasional massive gaps where “magic” happens; and it results in nonstandard computations that would not be accepted in normal statistical work.
Delta posted ten specific criticisms of the the content (Normal Curve Calculations), teaching methods (Quiz Regime) and the MOOC itself (Lack of Updates). About this last one, Delta said:
So in theory, any of the problems that I’ve noted above could be revisited and fixed on future pass-throughs of the course. But will that happen at Udacity, or any other massive online academic program?
The very next day, Thrun answered that question. Conceding that Delta “points out a number of shortcomings that warrant improvements”, Thrun detailed how they were going to update the class. Delta, to his credit, then noted that Thrun had answered several of his criticisms, and went on to tell a depressing story of a fellow instructor at his own institution who had failed to define the mathematical terms he was using despite student requests.
Tellingly, when Delta was criticizing his peer, he didn’t name the professor, the course, or even his institution. He could observe every aspect of Udacity’s Statistics 101 (as can you) and discuss them in public, but when criticizing his own institution, he pulled his punches.
Open systems are open. For people used to dealing with institutions that go out of their way to hide their flaws, this makes these systems look terrible at first. But anyone who has watched a piece of open source software improve, or remembers the Britannica people throwing tantrums about Wikipedia, has seen how blistering public criticism makes open systems better. And once you imagine educating a thousand people in a single class, it becomes clear that open courses, even in their nascent state, will be able to raise quality and improve certification faster than traditional institutions can lower cost or increase enrollment.
College mottos run the gamut from Bryn Mawr’s Veritatem Dilexi (I Delight In The Truth) to the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising’sWhere Business Meets Fashion, but there’s a new one that now hangs over many of them: Non Potest Quae Non Manent. Things That Can’t Last Don’t. The cost of attending college is rising above inflation every year, while the premium for doing so shrinks. This obviously can’t last, but no one on the inside has any clear idea about how to change the way our institutions work while leaving our benefits and privileges intact.
In the academy, we lecture other people every day about learning from history. Now its our turn, and the risk is that we’ll be the last to know that the world has changed, because we can’t imagine—really cannot imagine—that story we tell ourselves about ourselves could start to fail. Even when it’s true. Especially when it’s true.

Mark Kraakevik

of 8776 West Geddes Place, Littleton, CO 80128
Mark can be reached at 720-308-4051
Mark's blog can be found at

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sabbath rest is important for your emotional health

My notes for this morning.
two spiritual disciplines are being considered today. The daily office and the sabbath.
The second one actually on of the ten commandments, and we will spend the bulk of our time here, because of it prominence in the Bible.
But the daily office is also in the bible, and I would like for us to consider it for a few moments
Jesus got up early to pray (which was his custom) Daniel prayed three times a day. David in psalms lists six times of day that he likes to pray.
We even see the disciples in the book of acts getting together daily to pray.
So it would seem that for us to develop a habit of praying at regular times during the day would not be make us "strange or unusual" Christians, but rather, would put us in good company in the pages of the Bible.
There are some questions, which are actually answered fairly easily.
1) what should I do during my daily time of prayer? - stop - ask for direction - ready/study/listen to some sort of instruction in Godliness - reflect -pray again
2) There is no specific formula. It seems that God has as many ideas about how to interact with him as he has children. Each of us is different, and Paul makes a point of saying that we should not judge each other as we choose different ways to interact with God.
3) It is mostly about the heart. Is your practice leading you to fall deeper in love with Jesus? Then you should keep it up. Is your practice leading to a dry faith, and bitterness, and frustration - then stop! To do something, when there is no joy associated with the practice, will not create within you the desired outcome.
4) Do something!
Now lets turn to the sabbath rest - because the bible has a bit more to say about this and we will need to consider it at some length to fully understand the practice.
The book suggests four phases of a true sabbath
1) stop - this requires quite a bit of faith in our go-go-go culture. Do we believe that if we stop and do nothing toward our goals on one day a week that we will be able to accomplish those goals in the other seven.
I must admit that this is not something I have done well. I have not done it in my own life, and I have not taught it to others.
monday is my "sabbath." But if there is no other day that will work, I often schedule things. I will meet with people. I will attempt to do a little extra work to get a head start on the week.
But God has instructed us to stop. And we should listen to him.
2) rest
second aspect of a proper sabbath is rest. The question here is "what recharges your batteries?" What activity allows you to unplug and disengage and relax. This again is different for each person. For some this means going for a run, or going skiing or flying a kite, or riding a bike, or reading.
The trick here is to allow the "stopping" to flow into a "restful" day. Often scheduled stopping becomes a "make up" day for all the things you did not get done. This is not "resting."
I remember being quite fascinated by the sabbath practices of the orthodox Jewish people who live Cherry Creek. Heidi and I lived there for about six months at the end of my seminary days, and we observed families walking to the synagogue on Saturday. The walked because "starting a car" would be work. They had to live within a certain distance of the synagogue because walking too far would be "work."
3) delight
The third aspect of sabbath rest that we are going to look at today is "delight."
We know we have accomplished a state of "rest" when we start to take notice of, and fully enjoy simple things. Are we able to enjoy a conversation with a friend. Are we able to taste food. We are able to see a sunrise, or a flower and truly enjoy it.
4) contemplate.
Finally, we are to spend time during our Sabbath thinking about God. This is why for most of us, sabbath is Sunday. This is the day we come together to worship God. To think deeply about his words. To open our hearts to his instruction. This is one of the big reasons we gather here as a faith community every week.

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Gary Poole leading a discussion on outreach groups


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Ralph Gustufson at Converge RM meetings


Ralph Gustufson presenting at the pastor's lunch at Converge RM.

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Paul Mitton brings the state of the Converge RM address


God is good

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Birthday meal with mom at our favorite Chinese restaurant


Good times with the family.  We made birthday cards, drank tea, and talked politics  :-)  

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Today's sermon -

Sunday October 07, 2012 written in

five things happen today

1) At the beginning of this series we stop and acknowledge that God has brought us safe
thus far, that He is worthy of praise and honor and Glory now and forever more
2) I want to introduce you to the ideas we will be spending the next 8 weeks on.  We will
be unwrapping a strategy for discipleship that actually changes lives.
3) We have 2 key terms that must be defined: emotional health and contemplative
4) We will briefly hit on the top ten signs of emotionally unhealthy spirituality
5) We need to talk a bit about the tools we will use to move us closer to a new "way of

Step one and step two - God has brought us here.  Late last spring, Brian and I looked to
the fall and began to dream about what we should do.  We had finished the Sermon on
the Mount, we were entering into the book of Nehemiah, and the question was...what
next.  As we talked and prayed over the summer, God lead us to this book:  Emotionally
Healthy Spirituality.  And so today we begin our journey into this material, prepared by a
pastor in New York, named Peter Scazzero.  Peter started a church in 1985.  Ten years
later, his wife "quit the church" and they began counseling.  Ten years after that they
wrote this book that describes the things they discovered about God, and discipleship,
and understanding their own emotions.

About the same time Peter was writing this book, Heidi and I were making the decision to
start The EDGE.  God had done some pretty profound things in our lives, and as we were
exposed to the "ugly underbelly" of the suburban church, we felt strongly called to do
something different.  To create a new church, or perhaps an old church, depending on
how you look at it.

This new/old church would not require people to "lie."  I know that sounds harsh, and I
think I may need to explain.  The "Christianity" that has developed in the American
suburbs sets the bar very high.  Lives are expected to transform from good to great.  
It is expected that the people that come through our doors, and take the classes, and learn
to read their Bibles, and fill their heads with the right answers will have "healthy lives."

The problem is... this way of doing church doesn't make sense of the whole person.  Thus
the church destroys as many lives as fixes.  Thus a church can exist in a community, and
have little or no effect on that same community.  People walk in and out of the doors
without ever experiencing life change.

As our vision for the EDGE began to take shape, we put words to what we wanted to
have happen.  

i) We wanted people to Encounter Christ!  We knew both from personal
experience, and from even a simple reading of the Gospels, that once someone truly
sees Christ, their life is never the same.  

ii) We wanted people to Experience Community.
This is where the church as we had experienced it so far in our lives had either worked
or not worked.  If true community was not created, life spun out of control.  If true
community was created, then life worked.  And this would lead naturally to our third

iii) That people Engage Culture.  By this we meant that our world would be
different.  That we would become salt and light, and that the Kingdom would be
proclaimed and expanded.

This book helps us understand why this is true, and even more importantly, gives us a
road map for the way ahead.
The reason this book helps - it starts where we need to start and it ends where we need
to go next.

Step three: two terms that must be explained:
Emotional Health -
Emotional health is concerned with such things as:'
• naming, recognizing, and managing our own feelings;
• identifying with and having active compassion for others;
• initiating and maintaining close and meaningful relationships;
• breaking free from self-destructive patterns;
• being aware of how our past impacts our present;
• developing the capacity to express our thoughts and feelings clearly,both verbally and
• respecting and loving others without having to change them;• asking for what we need, want, or prefer clearly, directly, and respectfully;
• accurately self-assessing our strengths, limits, and weaknesses and freely sharing them
with others;
• learning the capacity to resolve conflict maturely and negotiate solutions that consider
the perspectives of others;
• distinguishing and appropriately expressing our sexuality and sensuality; and
• grieving well.

Contemplative Spirituality
Contemplative spirituality, on the other hand, focuses on classic practices and concerns
such as:'
• awakening and surrendering to God's love in any and every situation;
• positioning ourselves to hear God and remember his presence in all we do;
• communing with God, allowing him to fully indwell the depth of our being; practicing
silence, solitude, and a life of unceasing prayer;
• resting attentively in the presence of God;
• understanding our earthly life as a journey of transformation toward ever-increasing
union with God;
• finding the true essence of who we are in God;
• loving others out of a life of love for God;
• developing a balanced, harmonious rhythm of life that enables us to be aware of the
sacred in all of life;
• adapting historic practices of spirituality that are applicable today;
• allowing our Christian lives to be shaped by the rhythms of the Christian calendar
rather than the culture; and
• living in committed community that passionately loves Jesus above all else.
Peter Scazzero. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash A Revolution In Your  Life in
Christ (Kindle Locations 465-476). Kindle Edition.

4) We will briefly hit on the top ten signs of emotionally unhealthy spirituality - in the
workbook - pg. 11, 12

5) We need to talk a bit about the tools we will use to move us closer to a new "way of
Everyone needs to be in a small groupEveryone needs a workbook to work through the topics
Everyone needs the book "Daily Office" which will be used twice a day to develop a
"contemplative" way of life (we will talk more about this in week six).
Peter suggests that you get the book "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality"  It is not
necessary for what we are doing, but it is an excellent book, and would be an option if
you choose to get it.

Mark Kraakevik

of 8776 West Geddes Place, Littleton, CO 80128
Mark can be reached at 720-308-4051
Mark's blog can be found at

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Friday, October 05, 2012



Sent from my Verizon Wireless Droid

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Monday, October 01, 2012

juggling 5 balls in the air

If you are looking for me, I am on the back porch reading "Leading on Empty"


Mark Kraakevik
The EDGE Colorado - live the message

We all have demons, don't face your alone***
"Faith is our relationship to and with God. And it is given life and meaning in our relationship to and with each other."

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hey friends, anyone ever read any of these?


The helper by Catherine Marshall
To be a leader by Lloyd lewan
The idea of a Christian college by Arthur Holmes
Liberation management by tom Peters
Follow me by Jan Hettinga
The road ahead by bill gates
Three power of the poor in history by Gustavo Gutierrez

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Today's sermon - John 9

John 9

9:1  As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

*******the disciples have only two categories based on an assumption.  Bad things happen to bad people.  A bad thing happened to this man.  He is a bad person (or his parents are bad - since he came out blind).

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

******This happened so that the work of God might be displayed.  Wherever Jesus goes, there is light.  He brings light.  He is light.  

******Darkness is coming????  Three days in the grave?  Hell???  When is "the night?"

6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

****** After saying this, he put mud in the guys eyes - insult to injury
****** Sent him to go wash - he is blind!!!  He did not lead him to the pool, he sent him
****** first act of obedience.  Baptism?
****** first person to respond in the man, who responds with obedience - and is healed

8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”

But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

****** second group to respond is the neighbors - who have mixed responses, some believe, some do not

10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said.

****** The once blind man continues his "progress" as a disciple.  He know tells everything he knows.  I once was blind and now I see.  As to where he is, I don't know.

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

******* This is a crazy meeting.  The Pharisees want Jesus dead, and they want his "miracles" discredited."
******* The blind man continues his growth as a disciple, by now testifying in a hostile environment.  His testimony is now shorter and to the point.  But it is still "the story"

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

****** We now get the response of the Pharisees.  And to their credit, some are at least asking the right question.  "How can a sinner perform such signs?"

17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

****** Now the new disciple is starting to draw some conclusions of his own... this man is a prophet.  Its not rocket science, but it is further down the road towards truth than the Pharisees are willing to go.

18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

***** Now we get the final group to respond to the miracle.  The parents.  The neighbor's question.  The Pharisees confront.  The parents can't take the heat.

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

***** Give glory to God by telling the truth - which is exactly what he does.  The heat keeps getting turned up, and the new disciple just keeps doing his thing.  Telling the truth that he knows, and not speculating on what he does not know.  As the motives of the Pharisees become obvious, the man starts to respond.  What is it you guys want?  I don't thing you are seeking truth."

28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

***** This is the climax of the story
***** Truth has been spoken, light has shown brightly, and darkness has been revealed.  

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

***** The disciple now comes full circle - from obedience, to witness, to worship

***** This is probably as far as we will get today.  Next week we will break down the difference between those who know they are blind, and those who claim they can see.  

***** Today the point is this:  The Glory of God shines when truth is identified and proclaimed.  Every moment of our life has the seed of God's glory in it.  Every single moment.  And to say, "someday it will be glorious, is to say, "my sin has ruined this moment."  Or "my parents sin ruined this moment."  Or "my life had potential, until I screwed it up." or "my life had potential until my parents screwed me us" is to approach our lives like the disciples approach this man...."who sinned, that this life before us is so ugly, so irreparable."  

That is a lie.  Your life today radiants God's glory.  Everything about your life today is a gift from God.  And if you question it, stop!  If you challenge it, stop!  If you are afraid to testify, stop!  Be come a disciple today.  Obey.  Then tell someone.  Then worship GOD!  

For next week:

39 Jesus said,[a] “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

Mark Kraakevik

of 8776 West Geddes Place, Littleton, CO 80128
Mark can be reached at 720-308-4051
Mark's blog can be found at

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Monday, September 03, 2012

Happy Labor day


Annika on rocks

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Droid

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Friday, August 31, 2012

Froyo Friday at Nella's


Oh Noelle

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Droid

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Morning worship looks like this


Reading Job

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Droid

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Friday, August 24, 2012

Block party on Sunday

Movie on 8-24-12 at 4.58 Watch on Posterous

I tried this several times today - finally got it to work.  


Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Monday, August 20, 2012

Try Dropbox! Its easy.

Hey friend!

I’ve been using Dropbox and thought you might like it. It’s a free way to bring all your files anywhere and share them easily.

Sign up with this link to get some bonus space:

Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I don't use this as much now that I spend most of my time online on my phone

A goal for this fall is to return to the discipline of writing. I hope to spend time daily putting my thoughts on "paper." I look forward to the times of taking life deeper.

Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Fw: Daily OneYear Global Feed

Have you read some gods news today?

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Droid

-----Original message-----

From: " Daily OneYear Global Feed" <>
Wed, Aug 1, 2012 03:03:58 GMT+00:00
Subject: Daily OneYear Global Feed" style="color: #888; font-size: 22px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-weight: normal; text-decoration: none;"> Daily OneYear Global Feed

Link to Daily OneYear Global Feed

Wed, Aug 01

Posted: 31 Jul 2012 04:55 AM PDT

Wed, Aug 01 One Year Bible Readings - 2 CHRONICLES 30:1-31:21 | ROMANS 15:1-22 | PSALM 25:1-15 | PROVERBS 20:13-15

Wed, Aug 01 mobile link

Posted: 31 Jul 2012 04:55 AM PDT

Wed, Aug 01 One Year Bible Readings - 2 CHRONICLES 30:1-31:21 | ROMANS 15:1-22 | PSALM 25:1-15 | PROVERBS 20:13-15

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fw: Wildfire - Flood Volunteers & Support Needed

Passing it alone

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Droid

-----Original message-----

From: Samaritan's Purse <>
The Edge Colorado <>
Thu, Jun 28, 2012 04:57:17 GMT+00:00
Wildfire - Flood Volunteers & Support Needed

Samaritan's Purse Responds to Devastating Wildfires and Floods

Samaritan's Purse is helping families who are victims of deadly wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico, as well as massive flooding in northern Minnesota.

"It was like looking at a military invasion," said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, after flying over the fire that exploded into neighborhoods across Colorado Springs yesterday.

More than 32,000 Colorado Springs residents were evacuated, including families and military personnel at the United States Air Force Academy. 

One person has died and over 500 homes have been destroyed by fires in Colorado and New Mexico. Powerful winds and temperatures above 100 degrees have hampered firefighting efforts.
As the flames are extinguished, Samaritan's Purse works in the Name of Jesus to minister to families whose homes have been damaged or destroyed, helping them salvage precious keepsakes, clearing debris, and comforting them in their time of loss.

While the inferno in Colorado Springs continues to rage out of control, Samaritan's Purse already has Disaster Relief Units on the ground in Fort Collins, Colorado, and Ruidoso, New Mexico. The High Park Fire near Fort Collins has burned more than 87,000 acres. It is estimated to be 65 percent contained.

Residents Flee Flooding in Minnesota

A Disaster Relief Unit is en route to Moose Lake, Minnesota, to help hundreds of residents whose homes were flooded following days of record rainfall. The team will coordinate volunteers to help remove water, mud, and debris from damaged houses.

Ways You Can Help


  • Lift up the thousands of families who have had to leave their homes behind, not knowing what they will find when they return.
  • Ask God to protect the firefighters.
  • Pray for the safety and strength of our staff and volunteers as they work in difficult conditions.
  • Your gift of any amount will help support the work of our volunteers and their ministry to families who have lost their homes.
  • Click here for more information about volunteering with Samaritan's Purse in Colorado or New Mexico.
  • Click here to learn more about volunteering in Minnesota.



Forward this email to a friend who you think would be interested in learning more about the ministry of Samaritan's Purse.

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Copyright 2012
Samaritan's Purse
PO Box 3000, Boone NC 28607


Posted via email from Mark Kraakevik