Blogs for Christian Living
Read some devotional thoughts from prior church planters & lifelong pastors. Mark & Dallas share what they learn daily in their journey walking with God.
Be inspired to live in the fullness of purity that God has set as the standard for His children. Be encouraged to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and the implications of living in relationship with God.
There’s been a trail that has taunted me for the past two summers. It is almost always in the top listings for trails near Westcliffe on Alltrails.com when I’m looking for places to hike. I’ve considered it many times but have hesitated because of the length (about 12 miles). It’s the Venable-Comanche Trail. I’ve hiked portions of it before but not the entire loop. On the Venable side, I’ve been to Venable Falls a couple of times. I’ve also been partway up the Comanche side. Today was the day to go all the way to Comanche Lake. Really not a difficult hike (comparatively speaking), and Ginger, my 12 year-old dog,…Continue Reading
Coming into our valley from the east, there are two places on the highway that give you incredible, awe-inspiring views. The first shows off the tops of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The second gives a panorama of the entire mountain range with the valley in full view. As one of my daughters would say: “Aaaawwwww!!!!!!”. Over the past couple of months, we have had a number of people visit us in beautiful Westcliffe, CO. We enjoy showing off the Lord’s creation from our front door and especially from Prayer Rock at Legacy Heights. A few times we’ve felt like we needed to apologize that it wasn’t as pretty as…Continue Reading
You know those days when you feel like one more crashing wave may cause your proverbial boat to shatter into a thousand pieces? The days when you’ve been riding the waves so long, you’ve become seasick? I’ve had more than a few of those in the course of life and ministry. In those instances, whether short-lived days or extended seasons of rough seas and crushing waves, there are spiritual reminders that the circumstances are not beyond God’s control. There are Scriptures, illustrations, and life experiences which people share as encouragement. You Are Covered One of these encouraging words came during an intense time of sifting and training. “You will hear…Continue Reading
You may think that my hiking boots are worn out. Maybe you are right, but I think of them as well-conditioned. I’ve walked a lot of miles in these boots in the past three years (yes, they are only 3 years old). They have been some of the most comfortable boots I’ve owned. As I was hiking one day, I was thinking about the miles and process of getting to the point where I could hike to the high mountain lakes and not dread each and every next step and how that relates to our faith journey. My first hike wasn’t to the peaks of a twelve or thirteen thousand…Continue Reading
How we see things can be very different than how others see them. Our perspective is influenced by many factors including where we are in life, our past experiences, and our beliefs. We live in the Wet Mountain Valley which, while about 8,000 feet in elevation, is relatively flat and low compared to the mountains around us, many of which are above 12,000 feet. What we see from the valley is vastly different from what we see when on the mountain. Two views Take a look at the two pictures. One is taken from our front deck at about 7,900 feet. The other is taken from about 10,700 feet up…Continue Reading
We talk to a lot of church leaders about rest and creating healthy boundaries. I read an article recently that said when the hours church members expected their pastors to be spending in various job-related activities were summed, the expectations added up to over 100 hours a week. Church leaders and support staff are not the only ones susceptible to packed schedules. As a culture, our schedules have grown so busy that we dream about vacations and retirement because of the promise of rest. There are even studies showing that vacations can have a positive impact on work efficacy and production. However, God modeled more frequent rest periods than once…Continue Reading
Feelings, feelings, feelings. We all have them. Some have got that loving feeling. Others have feelings of dread. We know when things don’t feel right and wonder how long the good feeling will last. Feelings are all around us. How much influence should our feelings have on what we do? How do our feelings affect our faith? If it feels good In America we are told, “If it feels good, do it.” Unfortunately, that can lead us down some very dangerous paths. Doing something that feels good in the moment often has negative feelings and results in the afterglow. Taking a look at a beautiful woman who is not our…Continue Reading
In March 2016, I was working in my makeshift office (what used to be our oldest daughter’s bedroom) when the Lord spoke. There wasn’t an audible voice – but it was so clear it might as well have been. “Mark, I am the provider.” “Yes, Lord, I know you are a good provider and you have taken care of us over the years.” “Mark, I am the provider.” “Yes, Lord. You are our provider.” All too similar to Jesus asking Peter if he loved him, God said a third time, “Mark, I am THE provider.” Then it hit me. He was telling me that He wasn’t just a good provider.…Continue Reading
Have you ever hidden money in a secret place? Maybe you have a stash to help save for an extravagant gift or vacation. Perhaps it’s more practical like an emergency fund. Clay Pots Last year, I had the privilege of traveling to Israel. At one of our stops we viewed the Qumran cave where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. The scrolls were not being searched out when they were discovered. They remained hidden and preserved in clay pots until shepherds looking to determine how deep a hole was where a sheep had fallen. When they dropped a rock to help determine the depth, the rock hit a clay pot…Continue Reading
Back in January we had a clear night to view the full lunar eclipse dubbed the “Super Blood Moon”. It was a marvelous, though very cold, experience. Where we live, there are very few lights at night, in fact, our county is designated a “dark sky community”, so when we have full moons, it can be almost the equivalent of a cloudy daytime light. As the moon was full and bright, we were able to watch as the shadow of the earth spread across the moon. In less than an hour, we went from full brightness to seeing a red glow outlining the earth’s shadow. This event caused me…Continue Reading