Welcome to my blog


I’m Mark.  I hope you enjoy my blog.  I hope to have fun with it and hope it is something that can be a benefit.

Jackie Robinson’s epitaph reads “A life is not important, except in the impact it has on other lives.” I hope that this can have an impact.

Thanks ahead of time for anytime that you check out my blog.

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My Daily Reminder

Reminder to myself about God in my life – Construction In Progress. He’s still working on me.

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Three Thoughts

Three thoughts for us to ponder.

Do we believe God or believe in God?

We don’t see sin as God sees sin.

God makes the impossible possible.

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An Overview of Jeremiah

Jeremiah is one of the major prophets in the Bible. I am beginning to take a look at various books and will provide a summation or overview of what is being written.

Jeremiah was a man divinely called in his youth from the priest city of Anathoth.

Jeremiah was a heart-broken prophet, sometimes referred to as the “weeping prophet, who had a heart-breaking message.

Jeremiah labored for more 40 years proclaiming a message of doom to Judah – a very stiff-necked people. He was despised by his countrymen and taught his prophecies with tears of compassion.

His broken heart caused him to write a broken book and through his sermons and signs he faithfully declared that surrender to God’s will is the only way to escape calamity.

Thus the message remains the same for us today, our surrender to God is the only way escape to calamity.

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Where’s Your Strike Zone?

Where’s Your Strike Zone?
Text: Philippians 3:15-16 “All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule,[a] let us be of the same mind.”

Intro: With the major league baseball season in full force and the little leagues and American Legion teams finishing up, we hear alot this time of year about strike zones. Let me first say, I do not know what possesses a man to be an umpire to sign up for that type of abuse, let me also say that this is not a job I would sign up for – I am a much better umpire in the stands or watching on TV than I would be if I were actually umpiring – but with that being said, a guy who was a little league umpire was asked by a parent, who was also a coach “where’s your strike zone?” The man pulled the rule book out of his back pocket and told the coach, you read what it says about the strike zone in that book and you’ll know where my strike zone is. That’s a great response. I can understand where the coach was coming from, not everybody strike zone is necessarily the same, it’s supposed to be, but that is not always the case. The bottom line is – there is a standard when it comes to a strike zone.

Spritually, we have a rule book – and there are “strike zones” if you will – there is a standard in which we must follow the strike zone.

There are many questions today about Christianity, about how we live our lives – you’ve run against it – and will continue to in the future. What do you think about this? How do you feel about that? They’re asking you, where’s your strike zone? I hope we have enough love for God’s Word, for for the authority of the Scriptures, for the truth, to respond with the oracles of God’s Word. Here’s what God’s Word says about that.

Really, the argument is not with you, with us, it’s with God.

We need to be aware of the fact that there is a place for Scriptural authority. Jesus said in John 12:48 “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.” Folks, you have work hard to misunderstand that – I don’t know if Jesus could be any clearer on that point? The Words that Jesus has spoken is the standard – it’s the strike zone.

Philippians 3:16 “Only let us live up to what we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind..”

Paul was talking about being united and living by the same standard.

II Timothy 2:4-5 “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

God expects to be faithful – and there are “rules”, or standards – something that resembles what faithfulness should look like. What are some of those questions taht others are asking us?

I. Where’s your strike zone? In regards to worship? Someone who visits may think its odd or peculiar that we do not have a piano or an organ up
here in the corner or they may ask where’s the choir? “Why do you partake of the Lord’s Supper every week?” I’m not trying to belittle or minimize anyone’s questions, if they don’t know – asking a question is a good way to learn. But these seem like silly questions to us. The best thing we can do is open up the Bible and we can look – and we can find out that God wants all to worship him. John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

God gets to determine how He wants to be worshiped – not us! Jesus made it clear in Matthew 15:9 “And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’’

With regards to worship – lets look at the standard – the guideline – the blueprint – the strike zone. We learn from this that our assembly is important, it is essential – Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

God has called us individually to be worshipful creatures, but he has called us collectively to worship him.

With regards to preaching and teaching – again looking at the blueprint – Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Worship involves preaching and teaching, it involves the Lord’s Supper – I Corinthians 11:23-26. Paul is teaching them and us to be mindful of the Lord’s body, not just being the body that hung up on the cross, but Corinth was a divisive church – and Paul reminded that they were very divided – but he goes to tell them – in verse 23 – (let’s read). As often as you do this – doesn’t mean every week – someone might ask – we have examples – Acts 20:7 “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” How often does the first day of the week roll around – every week has a first day, right?

From a common sense – remembering what the Lord’s Supper is all about – why wouldn’t you want to be reminded that or “celebrate” that every week – I mean it’s only a part of the greatest event and certainly the greatest display of love and self-sacrifice in the history of the world? Isn’t Jesus worth us remembering what he did for us every first day of the week? Absolutely – to ask the question is to answer it.

The contribution is also a part of worship I Corinthians 16:1-2 “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.”

There is a pattern forming here.

II Corinthians 9:6-7 “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Worship also consists of singing – Ephesians 5:19 “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

This is basic for most of you, but many times we need to go back to the basics. I suspect we wouldn’t have some of the issues we have in the church today if we had spent more time on the basics. It’s not a bad thing to go back and be reminded of why we do what we do. The basics make us who we are and what we are.

The word psallo appears in the Greek when talking about these verses and that means “to pluck or twang” – which many rise to an instrument there – what is mentioned in the standard – in the strike zone – as to be plucked and twanged – it’s the heart.

Someone may ask here – in regards to singing that Paul is talking about a manner of life and not necesarily talking about worship. Question for the person who would ask that question. Did Paul send out individual letters to congregations or did a letter to the congregation to collectively get together and the letter was read? They didn’t have copiers and faxes and email like we do today. They were together. They understood when Paul writing to them to teach and admonish one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs – and to let the word of Christ dwell richly within them – that it was worship -singing.

Worship also consists of prayer – Acts 2:42.

II. Where’s your strike zone in regards to the last days?

That question seems more and more relevant every day. Matthew 24 is one place we can go in regards to a question such as this. Let’s begin reading in verse 2-3. There are two questions and two answers in this passage – the first question deals with the destruction of Jerusalem and Jesus provides the answer – Luke 21:20 and Mark 13 also mention this topic. The destruction of Jerusalem happened in that generation – the other question is regarding the second coming of Christ at the end of time. v.36 deals with that question – the bottom line answer is God is the only one that knows. There have been many who have professed that they can predict when the end of time is going to be – some have done so already and have obviously failed.

The best answer we can give – is to always be ready – live everyday as if it is the last – the world ends for somebody every day – we read obituaries every day as a part of the Noon News Hour – and we have at least one every day. Technically we’re always living in the last days.

III. Where’s your strike zone in regards to salvation?

There are some who believe that belief only or faith only is enough. That’s a pretty common belief. There are some who believe that baptism is necessary, but disagree on when, who and how it is to be administered. Some believe that all good people to heaven. I’m not sure how you measure good. Do I measure good holding up Osama Bin Laden or Adolf Hitler or some serial killer or rapist? Do I measure good by holding up God. The first way, I may have a good chance, the second one I’ve got no chance by myself. Some even believe that there is no hell. That may be Satan’s best work – getting people to think that he and hell are not real. How can you believe in heaven and not also believe in hell?

I know that God has a place prepared for those who obey the gospel and give their lives to Jesus and are faithful to him and will have a crown of righteousness. I know that there also a place prepared for the devil and his angels and those who rebel against God and do not obey and worship him – flaming fire awaits them.

With regards to salvation – and whenever we talk about how one is to be saved – do we operate from a manual that states “well if I feel it in in my heart, so it must be so?” Do we operate from a rule book that says, “well I think this is right, so therefore it is.” Some will say that we’ve always believed this way because of our roots – and we’ll just remain this way, it’s good enough for me. Or do you use God’s Word as your guide? Does His Word govern your life?

When we talk about salvation, some may run to passages like Romans 10:8-10. Taken by itself – cafteria style – all we have to do is confess, but what do I do about the verses that talk about repentance? What do with the verses that talk about baptism? Keep reading in Romans 10 v. 11 – notice v. 16. not all believed the gospel – what is the gospel – the good news about Jesus – look at Romans 10:1-4.

When you go back to Romans 6 with reference to the gospel – “Not all obeyed the gospel” Paul addressed this – concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ – v. 1-4 – because of this you have been freed from sin. Look at Romans 6:17.

When you take the truth in total – we can see and we can understand what God is wanting from our lives.

Do you allow the Scriptures to speak louder than anyone or anything else? Where’s your strike zone?

My hope and my prayer is that we have enough love in our hearts, enough loyalty to God – and reach in that back pocket and pull out “The Book” and go read it and when you’re reading it – you tell me where the strike zone is.

We take our cue from God and His Word.

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The Parable Of the Non-Sower

The Parable of the Non-Sower

You’ve heard of the Parable of the Sower that Jesus gave in Matthew 13 and Luke 8 where the farmer spread his seed over different types of soils – and a description was given as to how each soil accepted the seed. Jesus was teaching – about the seed representing his Word and the soils representing the various hearts of people.

What I am writing about is the Parable of the Non-Sower, which for the most part, is what we have today. We have a group of “soils” who represent the good ground – they accepted the Words of Christ, believed them, obeyed them and became followers of His, and children of His Father, God. God blessed this group of people beyond measure – and they got comfortable. Too comfortable! The comfort zone became so great – they decided to hold on the precious seed – and not share it, but keep it to themselves. Oh, they let their family in on it, attended church services – Sunday school, Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night – were told they were good Christians, strong Christians for being at every service – but we didn’t share it with our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, after all that’s company time, or social time, or they might not like me anymore, or it may cause friction in our relationship – whatever the reason, these “strong Christians” kept silent. Besides, knocking on doors and sending out correspondence courses and personal work classes don’t work anymore. So they did little to nothing!

As a result, those “strong Christians” decided that giving those 4-5 hours (at church services) to the Lord every week was enough.

God told them to be “Fishers of Men”, but they decided fishing inside the church building was better (and easier) than fishing outside of it. These “strong Christians” seem to almost come up with ways to keep those outside – out – as opposed to telling them they could come in and partake in the great blessings that had been imparted to them by the “Wonderful Sower.”

While all of this was taking place, the world around these “strong Christians” was changing. Because the seed was not being spread, the world was not hearing about this great gospel – and the other “soils” were taking seed from other sources – and a lack of need for God, for Christ was developing. People began to elevate self – to treat things that God created or instituted as not important – such as a respect for life, for marriage, for the family, etc, etc. Murder, abortion (same thing), divorce, single parent homes, drugs, alcohol, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, gender identity issues all became prevalent.

This influence began to even permeate the “strong Christians” and some of them were going right along with it – voting for politicians who promoted some of those things which stand in opposition to God. They voted pocket book over principles and actually helped in making a bigger mess. We just simply didn’t see sin as God sees it!

A light bulb then went off and these “strong Christians” realized what a terrible mistake they had made – and decided that maybe we can use gimmicks to get people to come in – and some did, but when the gimmicks stopped – those people left. The gimmicks didn’t work!

Well, they decided let’s try to use social media – and they post religious things, Bible versus, Christian sayings, etc, etc. – and they were called “haters”, “bigots”, “un-loving”. They were told that they were judging – and even though it was okay for the ones being “judged” to judge – the “strong Christians” were not permitted to do so – soooooo! – These “strong Christians” went back to their comfort zone – keeping the gospel to themselves…..

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

God made a promise to the serpent in Genesis 3:15 that One would come from woman and although the serpent would strike his heel, that One would crush the serpent’s head – and He did. Jesus went to the cross for us to cover our sins, whether we think they are big or little, He covered them all – and all He asks is that we obey Him, follow Him, and do His will.

We can’t do it alone – in the verses leading up to Acts 4:12 Jesus is spoken about – and verse says “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

It’s not too late – but we must change course.

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For Me It’s a Double Standard With the Reds Manager

{Let me preface this by saying that I know Dusty’s last few teams were better than this current group – although a certain core of that team remains with Price.}

I think I finally figured out why Bryan Price gets a pass. It’s all the injuries. Dusty’s teams never had injuries – oh wait – that’s not true – Joey Votto missed over 50 games in 2012 and they still won the division. Johnny Cueto went down in Game One of the Division Series in 2012. Do you think if he pitches Game 4 in Cincinnati, the Reds win that series? I do. In 2013 – Dusty had it all lined up for Mat Latos to pitch the wild card game – and HE GOT HURT – and couldn’t pitch. Latos dominated the Pirates that year, good chance they win that game if Latos had been able to pitch. I think back on that – and keep in mind I listen to a lot of radio and read a lot of material – and I heard almost no excuses made for Baker. Price has had excuses made for him from almost day one.

Why is it – player performance – or lack thereof – gives Bryan Price a pass when at the end of the 2013 season when the Reds faltered down the stretch – it was all the manager’s fault? The pitchers failed as a badly as the position players did during that stretch that cost Baker his job – and who was the pitching coach – none other than the golden boy himself – Bryan Price!

Some will argue that Dusty lost control of the team based on a video of Brandon Phillips cursing out a reporter -(something that we should not have seen by the way). Price never did anything like that – oh wait – he dropped 77 f-bombs in a tirade with the media last year – in guess what – audio that we should have never heard – and guess what else – involving the same reporter.

Some will argue that Dusty didn’t properly motivate the team down the stretch in 2013 – frankly, if I’m a major league baseball player and I need a motivational speech to play in a playoff game – I’m sorry, the problem is with me – not my manager or coach. Let’s say for sake the argument that I concede that point. Does this Reds team look like it’s playing for it’s manager?

Some will argue Dusty left pitchers in too long, Price would never do that – oh wait – he left Alfredo Simon out there to give up 14 hits and 10 runs against Cleveland earlier this week.

Some will argue that Dusty mismanaged the bullpen – Price would never do that – oh wait – he kept putting JJ Hoover in in close ball games (now I will concede that Price’s options are limited this year).

The talent level is different I get it – but the excuses are what they are – excuses. To me it’s another typical double-standard. We’ll apply all these things to Price because we like him – but we will hold Dusty accountable – because we don’t like him.
I said many times during that 3 out of 4 year playoff run that many Reds fans would be happier with a 4th or 5th place team with a manager they like than a championship caliber team with a manager they don’t like.

It would appear I’m closer to that premise than I care to admit.

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Stand Up For Jesus

Senseless killings, widespread violence, Presidential candidates babbling that unborn children have no rights, having to discuss whether it is okay for a person with male genitalia to use a female bathroom???? I used to think when I read the Great Commission in Matthew 28 and Mark 16 that taking the gospel into all the world meant a foreign country, somewhere where they didn’t know Jesus and didn’t care, but needed to do both. And we still need to go those places, but I am convinced – there is not a bigger mission field on the planet than the United States of America.

Satan is having a field day and he’s having right in our back yard – and I ashamed to admit we aren’t doing much to stop it – and in many ways are contributing to it. Ezekiel 22:30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” This country needs Jesus more than it ever has. Our arrogance is going to be our ruination. I echo the words of Matthew 9:37-38 “Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”


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