Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bongbong and RiverChurch

Meet Glenda Bongbong of the Philippines.
She needed a loan. Wants to use her motorcycle to transport people. And then, she can pay for her 7 kids schooling and care for them properly. She and her husband Jose, live in Panglao, where the average annual income is only 1,175.00.

Last Sunday at PFM RiverChurch, we pulled the pocket change out of our pockets and dropped it on the floor. We scooped it up, and it was the perfect amount ($55.03) to complete the loan to the Bongbongs so they can provide for their family.

God is good.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Well, it's time to put your work boots on! While we hate to see calamity, it's also a call to action. Jon Hisey is working on a plan, so expect to see more... but for now, here are some details regarding the next relief project.

From Greg Nitchman, in Fayetteville, GA...
Hands of Hope is at the very beginning stages of considering support for Atlanta, GA flood victims. 2800 homes were involved, with 850 totally destroyed and 850 badly damaged. The remainder needs only minor repairs. The majority of these folks do not have flood insurance, therefore they have no way to fund repairs.

The survey question is: "Are you or your teams interested in coming to Atlanta in the next 3-6 months to help rebuild"? Cost would be close to the same as in Mississippi, $20-$30 per person per day*** plus travel.

Again, this is all tentative; we are just exploring the idea, but your feedback on this question will help us decide. One major hurdle is funding for building materials, but we already have several options we are exploring.

Bless you! I Look forward to hearing from you!

***The average Nat'l food consumption is $6.33 per person per day and the average Nat'l energy consumption is $9.00 per day; we would also need to provide paper products, cable tv/internet, cleaning services, Hands of Hope operating costs, etc.).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reprinted from the PFM Church Blog...

Yay! Kids' Creek begins this weekend!
This is the big Kickoff - with one combined service at 10am. We'll have the kids lead us in worship, and then after the message (which I am pumped about: Children Matter!) where everyone will get a piece of a puzzle to remember that EVERY child counts - one missing is one too many! And so we will do all we can to help the children in our towns and neighborhoods to come to Jesus! Oh, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
After the message, we'll have an awesome time of prayer, commissioning this new ministry and 'blessing' the children!
Then, an open house in the New Kids' Creek wing - all decorated and beautiful! The kids will meet their teachers, get registered and the full deal happens the next week!
Yay for the awesome volunteers at the awesome Portage Free Methodist Church, where we are learning to act like a River. Wherever the River flows, everything will live!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I love this!

Great beginning. Although I find Conan's monologue a bit rough - I hope he'll grow into it!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ref at the Wedding

Okay, I've done a wedding on horseback, at the beach, several outdoor weddings, one at the 18th green at a frou-frou golf course, one at Cabela's (next to the Polar Bear eating the prong horn) - and now, add to the list: as a referee!
Mike and Bre are both incredible athletes, and make their living in the sports/fitness field. They wanted an athletic themed wedding and asked me to officiate as a... Referee.
So I did.
During the wedding (held at CrossRoads Community Church in Ottawa Lake, MI) I explained that as a Referee, I am not there to tell them who is right and who is wrong, or to take sides. Instead, I am there to make sure that both play the game with the same rules and to the best of their abilities.
I went on to explain that the point behind marriage, is for a watching world to see the love relationship between Christ and His Church lived out in the way a man and woman love and submit to one another.
The wedding was fun, the crowd big and boisterous, and I especially liked my benediction.
Coming out from behind the couple, I said (with the correct referee hand signals) "My prayer is that you'd be flagged often for 'holding' each other close as you travel through life. That you'd be guilty of 'encroachment', filling up the space of each other's aloneness. That you'd find 'safety' in each others presence. That forgiveness would follow every 'personal foul'. And one more. That you'd 'score' often."
The place went wild!
Then, when I introduced the couple, I asked the congregation to respond with 'the wave'. Which they did - and well! The sound man (great job, Andrew!) then played 'The Victors' while the new 'family' marched out!
What a fun day!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bad Run

Wow, what a terrible run. My morning 5 miler was awful. It started out kind of slow, and then got worse. By the end, I was barely moving. What a doofus! Some runs are better than others. This one wasn't.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Good Hire

I hired Jen Starr-Reivett as our Vision Implementation Pastor (VIP!) She is helping me to get this New Vision off of the ground. Specifically, she is now working on our new Bible.You - an exciting Midweek night of University style classes designed to get the Bible into each of us - knowing AND doing it! Great meeting yesterday and awesome projections for the future!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


So, I was on a nice run this morning. And I came to a slight downhill. I was kind of tired so I thought I'd coast. Remembering as a child, how I could coast downhill on my bicycle...
But with Jogging it doesn't work so well.
Coasting is more like, well, stopping.
Coasting doesn't work.
And it kind of looks foolish too. Just standing there. Staring. As cars go by.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What Would YOU Do?

What would YOU do? My weedwacker wouldn't start. I fixed the broken hose. I changed the sparkplug. I gassed it up and it ran for 2 seconds. Then I pulled that cord 100 or 200 times. I was sweating. I was mad. I threw the weedwacker up in the tree.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Worth 5 Minutes

Thanks to Jeremy W Pastor - what a great video - enjoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Yay - Vision Weekend!

Vision Weekend is here! I can't wait.
This Sunday, I'll get to share our new Vision. RiverChurch, from Ezekiel 47.1-12.
I'll get to baptize a few people, hear our new song, and worship my head off! Yay!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mary on the Run!

Yay Mary - survivor of cancer - and now not just a runner, but a racer!
This morning we ran the Susan Komen Race for the Cure in Kalamazoo. What fun!

Spring in Schoolcraft

Wow - what they call "crabapple" certainly doesn't warrant that name. Instead, they are beautiful!
On warm nights, I would go out and sit under these trees, and just enjoy the smell.
I'm sure the neighbors thought "the new guy is wierd".

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kingdom of Heaven is Among Us

Why do I see this as a little taste of Heaven? It matters not to me what inspires or drives this kind of thing. But that it can happen, and that it puts joy in my heart and touches me emotionally... hmmm. It makes me feel the touch of God, the joy of Heaven. For some reason, this makes me think of God!

New Mailbox

Well, Mary is painting our old mailbox, but it's taken a bit longer than we thought to get it done.
So in the mean time, here's our "new" mailbox.
It works.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Easter at PFM

I just got the link from our Easter Service - this is PFMC on Easter - Great job gang!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter at PFM

Wow - what a day!

During the message - our band came out and played and sang "Jesus Paid it all" while an 11 person artist team painted pictures. In 5 or 6 minutes, the art was done and the emotions ran high! Wow - what a beautiful thing our savior did for us - and what a great job our volunteers did on pulling this off. Wow!

We ended the day with people walking over the "bridge", illustrating their decision to follow Jesus as the bridge from us to God. Many walked over the bridge, to cement that relationship.

What a great day! Yay God!

EasterFest at PFM

Saturday was cool at Portage Free Methodist. Our annual EasterFest - a big Easter party for the community. Cool drama and songs, then all sorts of games and fantastic crafts, some tasty treats and finally the egghunt - eggs filled with candy!

Our volunteers were amazing! Way to go PFM!

Then, a whole other group of volunteers came in to get ready for Easter! Wow - what a weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


So this morning I'm reading from Exodus, end of chapter 5 and into 6.
Basically, Moses says to God: "Ever since I spoke your name there has been trouble and you have not rescued your people at all."
God's answer is this: "I am and I will."
"I am the Lord."
"I will...bring you out, free you, redeem you, take you as my own, be your God."
And I thought - how my time table is not the same as God's. I want things done now. I'm in "hurry mode" and if something should be done, well, yesterday is when it should have been done...And that impacts my relationship with God.
"How long?" It's like I know what God wants to do, or can do, and yet - why not yet?
And today I'm reminded that God's promise stands strong.
God is. And he knows. He cares. He can. And He will.
For you too.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Am Shaq

So, I finish today's run, and I'm walking up to the house with my sunglasses, headband - I'm not the coolest cube in the tray...
And these little kids - 3 boys all about 11 years old, are playing basketball in their driveway (across the street from me).
I say something about them playing a game, and they say they don't have enough players. I say "Oh, okay - I'll play for just a few minutes."
We make introductions - and I am very careful to say "My name is Mark"...
They're dinky little guys, the rim is 8 1/2 feet high - and these little boys never call me "Mark". Instead, the talkative littlest one (he's now my opponent) just keeps referring to me as "Shaq". He never actually talks to me. Just about me. Like I'm not there. I miss a dunk and he hollers "Shaq misses the wide open dunk!"
Mocked by a 6th grader.
By the way - my team won.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Call Me Jacob

Whenever I've preached about Jacob (the Bible dude), I've portrayed him as a "deceiver" (that's what his name means) - who pulls a lot of shady deals to get what he wants. I always thought he was kind of the booger of the two brothers.
But recently, I've started seeing a different side of him.
I find my heart has begun to connect with him, in a way.
I like his "wrestling" scene with God: he wrestles God for a blessing. He wants God's blessing so bad that we won't let go. God finally gives him his blessing.
Lately - I've found myself praying for a blessing from God. God has given me so much: an incredible home - a super city/community - a wonderful church to serve.
We're very comfortable and happy. All of those things that one wants: we have.
But I've been praying that God will bless us with new believers at our church.
Lot's of them.
I've been to every section in the hospital, and my favorite is the maternity ward. That always makes me smile.
And so, the DF prayer focus I'm on right now - is the Jacobizing of Mark.
I've been praying hard for focus for our church. And I won't let go. Until He answers...and then - I still won't let go.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Daniel Fast

Well, here we are in the Daniel Fast.
Yesterday, McKenna asked me why we fast? Great question. Without thinking about it, one could fall quickly into some kind of "works righteousness" deal. You know, hoping that God will love you more because you're sacrificing. Or, a "this for that" kind of thing - "Maybe God will give me what I want if he sees how much pain I'm in..."
I like this explanation though: To gain control over my own appetites - so that nothing drives me except for God. Philippians 3:19 talks about how our god can be our appetite - and I've found that's pretty true. Lot's of things can become my god - even food! Mary makes fun of me for always having a pocket full of snacks, wherever I go. It's true. My car has candy. My pockets have candy. Every jacket of mine has something to munch on. Hmm - deep problems!
So - the Daniel Fast is reminding me that I can trust God, no matter what.
I'm still not sure what to do about the caffeine headache - but I'll manage.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Help Received

Well, I'm used to thinking, and writing about opportunities to help people in need.
I'm usually swinging the hammer, or using the duct tape - at least I'm holding someone's tool bag for them...
But this time, I'm on the receiving end.
The other day, I called Master Plumber Don Luke from Canton, MI - a great friend from the olden days... because I needed some advice on fixing a leaky faucet.
Don replied: "You can wait, and I'll come help you. Or, you could try to fix it, break it, and then call me and I'll come help you."
Since those were my choices I decided to wait. So this morning, Don and Annette were in town and they dropped by.
We talked, had some coffee, ran to the store, and in just a bit, had the sink and shower all perfect.
I say "we" loosely. Don did the work. I talked, drank coffee and held the duct tape just in case.
Just a reminder: Jesus said "Whatever you've done for the least of these, you've done for me." Sometimes it's okay to be the "least of these."
Thanks Don!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Cadbury Eyebrows from Nils-Petter Lovgren on Vimeo.

Fun at CTCA

Yesterday, was fun at the hospital. Mary's annual cancer checkup.
It was a great day...
Last minute, we called my folks and asked if they'd like to take a road trip with us - they did!
We got up early and left - nice relaxing trip to Zion, IL.
Mary checked in and then we all went to lunch (the hospital has an incredible restaurant, serving "good for you" meals - lot's of fish, etc. and the serve us FREE.)
Then, we sat and read for awhile. Mary had her first test.
Then we had a couple of hours until her next meeting. So, we went up to the third floor, where they have a beautiful, state of the art workout room, lot's of windows, weight machines, treadmills, etc. All of us worked out for an hour, then showered up...
The most fun part was each of us hitting the "suspended punching bag". It nearly knocked my glasses off when it hit me in the face!
Mary had her last meeting where the doctor said "All is perfectly well, you're the most healthy person I've seen today!"
Then, we went back to the dining area and had dinner (another amazing meal!)
Then, headed home - got back about 10:30 last night.
Fun day, even though it was spent at a hospital!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

DF is Coming Soon

I can't wait!

Jen is leading our church in the Daniel Fast - beginning on Ash Wednesday with an all church DF dinner and prayer time. This will be fun!

Come...or Go?

Sorry, I've been gone for awhile. It'll probably take me months of regular writing to gain back my regular audience of 3 readers.

I have no explanation for my absence - but I haven't been reading blogs much either - just running hard at the church. That's not really good. I get less accomplished and feel more frustrated.

For a few months, I've been praying "Come, Holy Spirit." I'm praying that for me, personally. I'm praying that for my church, too. That God's Holy Spirit would surround me, surround our church.

But just a couple of days ago, I've started changing that prayer. I'm wondering if maybe I'm still too involved in the process. Kind of like saying "God, come over here and bless me with your presence." So, I've changed the prayer a bit to "I'll come to your presence."

I crave that so bad in my life, and for our church. I don't want to "go through the motions" in any way. So, "God, I'm seeking your presence!"

Pray along with me, would you?