About Mark Knetsch

I am a disciple of Jesus currently called to plant a church in North Carolina. I am a husband to Heather, and father to Mark (4) and Deacon (6 months). As a Christian Reformed Church planter in the South, I feel a little like a fish out of water. But God is good, and He's faithful, and I am learning to grow in trusting Him and picking up my cross daily.

Maranatha

The following post was written two weeks ago:

I am writing this blog in an airport in Baltimore.  In an hour I will be boarding a plane to Buffalo. I’m heading to Canada to make some connections with folks in Hamilton, Ontario as well as preach in my home town of Drayton.  I have been anticipating this trip as it is always exciting visiting my hometown with friends and family here in Ontario.  However, as I make this trip and continue to develop ministry partners, I arrive during a very difficult time for the Christian Reformed community.  We have received word that the search for a fellow Christian Reformed member named Tim Bosma is over.  He was last seen alive driving away with two men whom he assumed were interested in purchasing his 3500 Dodge Ram truck.   A week after he went into that truck for a test drive, this loving husband, father and disciple of Christ has been confirmed dead.  He was a brother in Christ and a contributing member of the Ancaster Christian Reformed Church.  For those of you who know anything about the CRC, that means that Tim is connected to a tight church community/family.  Although I have never met him, he feels very much like a brother.  As I read Facebook messages and read the endless articles online, it is amazing how many people who did know him personally feel this instant connection and intimacy to this tragedy.  I am the same age as Tim, a husband, a father, and a life before me.  This anxious knot in my stomach is there not only because he is a fellow CRC brother, but also because what happened to Tim could have happened to anyone.  The injustice, evil, cruelty, and pain the family and so many others feel right now isn’t fair.  God, it isn’t fair!

So as I travel and enter into a grieving community, I do so with a heavy heart.  I do pray, ‘ Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, come!’ We continue to pray for the Bosma family.  May the Lord give them a transcendent peace at this time that cannot be humanly explained. May the witness of your people be seen by the world and in so doing, may this world come to know a God who came to live in our context of suffering.  May our world see Jesus who experienced the same unjust death as Tim.  Jesus is the one who we turn to because His act on the Cross is the only thing that can make any sense during these dark times.  We do not put our trust in a distant deity, we believe He experienced death Himself in Jesus Christ so that death will not be the final word.  Until then, we point to Jesus and Him crucified.

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Saying Doing

A couple of months ago my three year old son Mark (Jr)  had to give an important ‘thank you’ to his babysitter.  My wife Heather had to drop Mark off at a friend’s home for about 20 minutes everyday because of a job she took on as a nurse at the local Christian school.  When summer hit, and school was out, my wife bought some flowers for Mark to hand deliver to his babysitter to thank her for taking care of him everyday for the past several months.  Heather impressed upon Mark the importance of this particular ‘thank you.’  Mark wraps on the front door, the babysitter comes to the door with a smile.  Mark reveals the flower on cue, and says from the gut, “Thank you so much… for dying on the cross for all my sins!”  No other heretical statement has made me more proud!

The other day, Mark said another profound statement.  It wasn’t heretical, but it did remind me of ways in which we function as disciples of Jesus.  It’s not a good type of function. Mark is currently my shadow.  He follows me wherever I go around the house.  If I’m going downstairs, he’s right there with me.  However, he doesn’t want to really follow me.  He wants to lead the way.  He wants to be with me, but in lead.  So one day I’m making my way downstairs, and like clockwork, he’s right there trying to squeeze his way around me.  He grabs for my legs and tries to push and shimmy his way in front of me.  It’s actually a bit dangerous, but he’s persistent.  I bend down to make sure he won’t fall down the stairs.  But what he says as he’s trying to pass me is the clincher.  As he’s trying to bi-pass me and lead the way, he’s crying out, “I want to follow you!  I want to follow you!”

I immediately thought of the way in which many of us function as disciples of Jesus.

We proclaim with pomp and pizazz, “I want to follow you!  I want to follow you!”  But our actions often times do something very different.  I think of Sunday’s “I want to follow you!” as we sing songs of humility and service.  Then I think of Monday’s “I’m going to lead the way!”

It’s funny to watch my three-year-old pass me down a stairwell saying he wants to follow me.

It’s a tragic thing for our Father in Heaven watching his sons and daughters do this as we walk with Him into the depths of life.

As a follower of Christ, I am called to follow Jesus through word and deed.  Keeping word and deed integrated in our faith journey as we follow Jesus is a long, daily, and difficult journey.  But Christ is always there with his grace, ready to forgive us when we falter.  His presence is in fact closer to us along this journey than I was to my son down that stairway.  His grace and presence is still present when word/deed integration is absent, forgotten, or misdirected.  That is a huge comfort as a Christ follower.  As a pastor, there is a sense in which I am called to model that in ways that will inspire a flock.  I feel the weight of that responsibility and calling.  That’s why I am also comforted with the fact that a Jesus follower like the Apostle Peter was able to receive amazing grace after denying Jesus three times.   Jesus still loved him, disintegration and all.  As someone seeking to follow Jesus with all my heart everyday, that gives me great hope for this daily call to pick up my cross and follow my Saviour.  To those who are reading this, strength along your journey of integrated faith.