Saturday, February 28, 2015

St Mark / Red Cross Emergency Shelter "Our Calling"

"By faith Noah, being warned by God of things not yet seen, moved with fear, he prepared an ark for the saving of his house".
(Hebrews 11:7) 

It is time to remind our St Mark congregation about our 'calling' partnering with the American Red Cross to operate in dire emergencies as a shelter following a disaster.  It is critical to continue to build and practice our role as a shelter so 'when called' we are ready to serve those displaced citizens during disasters!

A couple of years ago, the St Mark Disaster Shelter Manager handed out a reference card titled, "St Mark Presbyterian Church Quick Family Reference Guide For Emergencies" to be completed and turned in to the shelter manager; kept on file for when and/or if  St Mark needs accountability of the congregation.  It is time to update that information and I hope each of you would be willing to do so.  Please keep on the look-out for these 'emergency contact cards' within the next couple of weeks.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mary Magdalene Easter Experience

The Youth at St. Mark Presbyterian are having the "Easter Experience".  Here is Mary Magdalene's first monologue from this video.
Click here if the video doesn't appear.
Does this show a different side of Mary Magdalene than we usually see at Easter?  How does this monologue speak to you?  

Luke 8:1-3: Afterward [Jesus] journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out...

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Then Peter came and said to him "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive?  As many as seven times?"  Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times."  
Matthew 18, verses 21, 22


How often have you disappointed someone else?  How often have you not lived up to that person's expectations?

Maybe you said something that just didn't come out right.  We've all had those numerous occasions when we wish we could take back what we said.  Maybe you showed up late, or forgot the other person's birthday.  Maybe you hurt the other person's feelings without realizing what you were doing until you had done it.  Maybe you were angry with the other person and in a calculated way, did in fact do or say something that you thought would hurt them back.  Maybe what you did was out of selfishness or ignorance.  Maybe you simply were not very bright.

Some will say, "Shake it off" and go on.   Don't you wish that the other person would simply give a little slack.  We long for their forgiveness so that we can wipe the slate clean and move on.

Do you know the slate has already been wiped clean?  Jesus did that in the atonement for your sin and mine.  Accept it!  Rejoice! And give thanks!

Whatever you've done, or done poorly, or not done that brings estrangement between you and another person, God has forgiven in the work of Christ Jesus on the cross.

Dear Lord, I thank you for the blessed gift of forgiveness.  May I accept it this day.  In Christ Jesus' name, I pray.  Amen.

Reprinted with permission of H. Gleason from St. Mark Presbyterian's 2002 Lenten Devotional.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A World Worth Saving

Lent is a time when Christians think about repentance.  It's a time of turning around and of changing.

Please join us for the next five Wednesday evenings to discuss the book A World Worth Saving at 6:15 in Fellowship Hall.  The book can be purchased at the church for $10 or you can buy them on your own.

Tonight we will discuss Chapters 1 and 2:  "Fasting from Apathy" and "Serving God by Serving Others".

In Matthew 22: 39, Jesus instructed us to love our neighbors.  Who are our neighbors?  I'm humbled and amazed by those who consider all humankind as their neighbor and are called to serve them.  Kayla Mueller was that person.  Her death at the hands of ISIS was reported in the media recently.  She was helping deliver humanitarian aid in Syria and was captured.  Her parents shared portions of a letter they received from her: "Do not fear for me, continue to pray as will I and by God's will we will be together soon."

Prayer is something we can all do.  We feel so helpless when we listen to the news thinking we can't change things.  Apathy is a result of feeling powerless.  In God, we have the power of prayer!  And at St. Mark we have many mission opportunities in which we can participate and serve.  As Christians we strive to lead our lives as Jesus taught.  My personal challenge is to replace apathy with an attitude of compassion and service.

Pleas join us as George Donigian guides us to grow in our prayer life by praying about daily news reports, discovering the needs around us, and responding with love and compassion. We will discover ways to
  • serve others
  • feed the hungry
  • seek justice and fight injustice
  • offer healing
  • extend friendship
St. Mark Presbyterian's Adult Education Committee

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ramblings on Lent

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5-7

From my youth, I vividly remember my Catholic schoolmates eating fish sticks on Fridays, chattering about what they gave up for Lent, and that they had “cheat days” on Sunday. I was raised Lutheran and my family also had a tradition of giving something up for Lent, but we were discouraged from “cheating” on Sunday, because that was “God’s day”. 

Over time, my siblings and I learned that while it was hard to give something up for 6-7 weeks, we weren’t doing it to earn God’s favor – God’s grace has already been given to us through Christ. Rather, giving something up for Lent was a prompt for us to be more aware of our faith and to nurture our faith. Through the years, I usually have given something up for Lent – most often a favorite food or beverage – it serves as a good reminder that I need to keep working at making my faith and my relationship with God as the top priority in my life.

The last few years, I’ve felt called to also do some other things during Lent. I kept a journal and wrote down how I felt God had worked in my life that day. One Lenten season, I focused on all the blessings in my life and tried to write a thank you note each day during Lent to someone who had done something nice for me – high school teachers, neighbors, parents of our children’s friends, coworkers, the coffee barista, my siblings, etc… Another year, I focused on doing a “good deed” a day for a stranger; paying for the order of the person behind me at a drive-thru, paying the toll for a car behind me, dropping some change in an expired parking meter, distracting a toddler while a parent was completing some paperwork, etc…

This year during Lent, I’ll continue my practice of giving up a favorite food or beverage.  (I’m writing this the weekend before Ash Wednesday and I need to hurry up and decide exactly what I will give up for Lent!)  I’m also going to try something new for me: I’m going to set aside some time each day to listen to what God wants me to do “that” day. *gulp* To be honest, I’m sure there will be days I will not be a very good listener or very good in execution. I’m also very sure, that I will be surprised by the diversity of the opportunities, as well as how focusing a little more on listening to God every day will improve my relationship with God.

I’m really looking forward to my faith journey this Lenten season!

J. Blackwell, Lent 2015 for St. Mark Presbyterian

Monday, February 23, 2015

Signs of Stroke

Our member Millie M. whose daughter is recovering from a stroke, wanted all of us to know and recognize these symptoms.  Deacons at St. Mark Presbyterian often encourage us to maintain our good health.  We have blood drives, CPR classes, a defibrillator in the office.  We also have a Facebook group called "Ministry in Motion" which encourages us all to keep moving.  We need to memorize these stroke indicators to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy.  Thank you Millie.

19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Worship Prayers from Feb. 15

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  O Lord God, you led your people through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land.  So guide us, that, following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. 
Leader:      The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
People:      And also with you.
Leader:      Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.
People:      Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all God’s benefits.
Leader:      Who forgives all our sins and heals all our infirmities;
All:             Who redeems your life from the grave, and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness.
Almighty God, who sent the promised power of the Holy Spirit to fill disciples with willing Faith:  We confess that we resist the power of your Spirit among us,  that we are slow to serve you and reluctant to spread the good news of your love.  God, have mercy on us.
Forgive our divisions and by your Spirit draw us together.  Inflame us with desire to do your will and be your faithful people for the sake of your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

For Pastor Gary's sermon, click here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bridge Bread available for Purchase

Give us this day our daily bread
Matthew 6:11
click here if the video doesn't appear

Bridge Bread Bakery Goods are available for sale between and after services on Sundays during Lent.  This is the same bakery that has been providing St. Mark Presbyterian with our communion breads for the last few months.  All proceeds stay in St. Louis and support the needy and homeless.  Visit their website at for more information.  Every Sunday during Lent be sure to stop by the “St. Mark/Bridge Bread Bakery” and purchase breads to enjoy with your meals at home the following week.  The Schiro family and friends have chosen to support this mission as our Lenten Service project.  Similar opportunities exist for your family during Lent.  Speak to one of the pastors to get involved in our church or community during Lent.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Easter Experience

What if what happened then changes everything now?
Click here if the film above does not appear.

Our youth this year will be studying "The Easter Experience". 
Senior Highs Sunday 11:30-1:00
Middle School Wed. 6-7 PM.

"Uncover my eyes so that I may see the miraculous things in your teachings" Psalm 119:18

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Ephesians 6: 24 Grace be with them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen

Love is a word heard frequently today.  "I love that car!" "I love you!" "God loves me!"  All different uses of the word.  At Lent, it is common to recall the love that Jesus Christ has for all persons in the world and how those who are asking forgiveness are touched with that love.  In fact, without that love, it would be difficult to ask for forgiveness---one could not be assured that forgiveness would follow.

In "Jesus Christ in Ephesians" by Ron James, the author believes that Christ's life reaches out to the human heart and to the world with love through the scripture of Ephesians.  It is a compassion which Paul catches in its essence, the writer believes.  Paul writes with tenderness and caring as he urges the infusion of Christ's beliefs into marriage, family and households of the time.

Grace comes to those who love Jesus in sincerity---God responds to that sincerity with the grace of love and forgiveness.  If we are trying to do right, and love Christ with sincerity. . .grace comes.  What an enormous love God has for the people in the world.  All one has to do is try.  What a love this is.

Prayer:  Help us to remember that no matter what our sins, it is the sincerity of our love for Christ, which will lead us eventually to your grace.  In Lent and all year, help us to be sincere in love for you.

Printed with permission of Robert Thompson from the 2002 Lenten Devotional

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

Prayer of Confession
Lord, as we prepare for this Lenten season, of remembering your suffering, death, and resurrection, we must confess that we fail miserably in our attempt to live as you want us to. We fail to admit that we are weak and need your strength. We refuse to carry each other's burdens because of the pain it might cause. We crave power, riches and pleasure, instead of righteousness. We areseeking praise from the world, rather than from you. We are quick to call for vengeance rather than showing mercy. We deny our faith in you rather than face ridicule from those around us. Because we live this way, our hearts have become covered with impurities which causes us to hide from your presence.
Forgive us Lord and purify our hearts so that we may see you and live so that in your eyes we may be truly blessed. We pray this in the name of your Son who gave His life for us. Amen.

Begin your Lenten Journey with Ash Wednesday Worship 6:30-7:30 (or come for dinner at 5:15 and stay for worship) at St. Mark Presbyterian Church

Monday, February 16, 2015

Blood Drive 2015

St. Mark's first blood drive of 2015 will be held on Sunday, February 22nd, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM in Gleason Hall.  The need is great for your donation.  The Red Cross makes it very convenient for us to donate by showing up at our doorstep.  This is a great opportunity for us to help save lives.
 Did you know . . . That about 5 million Americans receive blood transfusions each year.  Every pint counts!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Prayers for Worship February 8

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  God of wonder and mystery, today we remember how you surprise us in every age.  Into the gloom of fear and want, you bring light; into emptiness, you bring abundance; into the cold, you bring warmth.  Into the hardness of the world, you bring the greatest power we have known, in the seemingly powerless form of an infant.  Enter now, Holy One, among us and within us, and move us to joyful adoration of your mystery and wonder.  Amen

CALL TO WORSHIP (A paraphrase of Psalm 103:10-13)
Leader:        God does not treat us as our sins deserve;
People:       or repay us according to our iniquities.
Leader:        For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
People:       so great is His love for those that revere Him.
Leader:        As a father has compassion on his children,
People:       so the Lord has compassion on those who revere Him.                   
Leader:        Let us worship the God who loves us like a father.


Lord, we don’t mean to ignore You, but we do.  We get so caught up in the rush of our lives that we move You to the background, saying that we will get to You later.  When we do this, we proclaim that You are not as important as all of the stuff we have to get done.  We take You for granted and rarely give You the place You deserve.  Forgive us for ignoring You and remind us that You are waiting for us to open the door of our lives to You.  As we do, Lord, please come in and take Your rightful place.

Click here for the sermon on February 9

Friday, February 13, 2015

G Force VBS 2015

Save the Date
We are looking forward to a great and exciting time at
St. Mark Presbyterian VBS this year.
July 20 – 24, 2015
Kids experience God’s unstoppable love and discover 
how to fuel up and move in and through life with God.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pancakes on Sunday Feb. 15

Mardi Gras is just around the corner. The Fellowship Committee at St. Mark Presbyterian is having their Second Annual Shrove Tuesday on Sunday Pancake & Sausage Extravaganza on Sunday, Feb 15.

Last year we also had moon pie tossing, races with pancakes on head, and of course, the exciting pastor pancake flipping contest!!  What is in store for this year?  Join us!

This will be a free-will offering with a portion of the profits donated to our Circle Of Concern Children's Birthday supplies.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lost Luggage

Anyone who travels a lot, has their luggage lost at least once.  If it is the beginning of a trip, there is alot of anxiety on how to "get along" without those items.

Terri Rider, former St.Mark member,  recently had luggage lost for a few days, but reflected on the lesson to be learned from lost luggage:

* New things, never been used things were in the luggage. We’re given spiritual gifts. What if those were never used. It would be such a waste to reach heaven and still have new, unused things.

* Costly things – not yet worn out or used completely. Jesus gave us the most costly item – His life. We should make the most of our life because of the price He paid for us.

* Hand-made items made with love – so much thought went into making a specific, personal item. That is how God made us; each individually with love. With our life’s journey in mind, He put into us something practical and purposeful for our needs. God also gave us enjoyment of receiving His hand-made items for us.

* Gifts to give others were additional items in the lost luggage. We have such a precious gift of knowing the Son. What good is that gift if it remains in our “lost luggage.” Gifts are meant to share with others.  A gift is not a gift until it is given away.

Terri Rider iDEAS 720.283.9100 7852 S. Elati St Ste 202 Littleton CO 81037

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Worship from Feb 1, 2015

PRAYER IN PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP:  Almighty God, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world.  May your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments,
shine with the radiance of his glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen
CALL TO WORSHIP (A paraphrase of Psalm 67:1-4)
Leader:      May God be gracious to us and bless us,
People:      and make His face shine upon us,
Leader:      that God's ways may be known on earth,
People:      and God's salvation among all the nations.
Leader:      May the peoples praise you O God; may all the peoples praise you.
People:      We will be glad and sing for joy, for you rule us justly.
Leader:      Let us praise our God.    
Lord, we thank You for the gifts that You have given to us, so that we might each serve You and each other.  You have not only given us the gifts, but You have promised to guide us as we use them.  Forgive us for failing to fully use our talents for the benefit of Your Kingdom.  Help us as we listen for Your voice and use our gifts as You direct us, so that Your Kingdom might increase on earth and Your body might be built up through us.  Amen.
Click here for the sermon on Feb. 1, 2015