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Mark Altrogge

  • Someday It Will be Worth It

    Life is really hard isn’t it? If you don’t think so, give it a little time.

    Paul and Barnabas encouraged the saints to continue in the faith,“saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (AC 14:22). In 1 Peter 1:6 Peter says believers are “grieved by various trials.” And James tells us: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (1:2). And Peter tells us not to be surprised when we suffer:

    Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (1 PE 4:12).

    I recently said to someone, “Well, the good news is, when this trial is over there will be another one.”

    No, I’m not a pessimist. I’m not an Eeyore. It’s just that I have found God’s word to be true—God takes us through flames and floods, disappointments and disasters. We live in a fallen world. Our lives are filled with blessings and peppered with pain. Sometimes heavily peppered. Unbelievably peppered. And God works a ton of good in us through our suffering—he produces humility, perseverance, compassion, and Christlike character in us. He makes us depend on him, weans us from the love of this world and makes us long for heaven.

    But the best thing God does in our afflictions now lies ahead—they prepare “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” in heaven (2 CO 4.17). This is how Jesus gives me hope and gets me through. It’s knowing that someday in heaven I’ll be blown away comparing the weight of glory to the “peewee” afflictions I went through. We go through big time pain here. Some serious sadness, sickness, persecution, and hurt. But when we get to heaven we’ll have mountainous rewards. We’ll say, “What in the world is this mountain of glory for?” And the Lord will say, “That’s for the years you were sick.” And we’ll say, “What??? But that was NOTHING compared to THIS! This… this… this mountain of glory makes my suffering look like a grain of sand.”

    Someday it will be worth it. Peter tells us:

    For it stands in Scripture:
    “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
    and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 1 PE 2.6

    If we believe in Jesus, and continue to trust him, we won’t be “put to shame.” No one in heaven will say, “Well, this is rather disappointing. Is this all I get for what I went through?” The sight of Jesus’ face alone will compensate more than a million times for every pain and heartbreak we go through now.

    You won’t be disappointed. Keep believing in Jesus. Keep hoping in him. Keep clinging to him and abiding in him. Don’t give up, no matter how bad the pain gets. You won’t be put to shame. Keep rejoicing and giving thanks in all things. You can’t imagine your reward and the joys that await you.


    Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.

  • The Hidden Work and Power of God’s Word

    Winter is coming. And I hate shoveling snow. But I’ve found a way to make it more bearable.

    When I’m shoveling and I’m tempted to grumble I tell myself, “I’ll be glad for this snow next August when I’m eating sweet bread and butter corn on the cob.” The effects of snow aren’t immediately observable. But over the months as it lies on the ground and soaks into the earth, it has a hidden work and power. God compares the hidden work and power of his word to that of rain and snow in Isaiah 55:10–11:

    “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
    making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
    so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
    but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 

    When I’m preaching on Sundays I can’t see what’s happening in peoples’ hearts. I can’t see if any are born again, or encouraged or sustained or convicted. Some people may be smiling or nodding, but many have unreadable expressions. If I were to judge by some peoples’ faces I’d guess nothing was happening in their hearts. When we’d have family devotions when the kids were young, most days they were sleepy, distracted, and squirmy. I couldn’t tell if God’s word was having any effect on my kids. Often when I share the gospel with someone I’m met with a blank stare or, “Oh, yeah, I believe in Jesus. I go to church.” They don’t cry out, “Brother, what should I do?” like on the day of Pentecost. And even when I read God’s word myself, I don’t experience fireworks or goosebumps. At times I’m convicted or challenged or encouraged by a Scripture, but many mornings my devotions feel rather routine and unremarkable.

    But our lack of seeing immediate fruit in our children when we read the Bible to them or in fellow believers when we encourage them with Scripture or unbelievers when we share the good news of Jesus or even in ourselves when we read God’s word, doesn’t mean that something isn’t happening. God’s word is at work.

    In Isaiah 55 God compares his word to the rain and snow that fall from the sky. When they soak into the earth, we don’t see anything happening. We can’t see the hidden work and power of water on the seeds buried in the earth. Yet the rain and snow make the earth “bring forth and sprout” and produce a harvest months later. That’s how it is with God’s word. He sends it forth with a purpose and it never fails to accomplish that purpose. But we don’t see it right away. Snow in January produces corn in August. God’s word “SHALL succeed.”

    Snow in January produces corn in August

    So, pastor, keep on preaching God’s word, even if it seems like nothing’s happening in your church. Mom, Dad, keep on teaching children about Jesus, even if they’re fidgety and punching each other while you do. Believer, keep sharing the good news of Jesus with people, even if no one gets saved when you do. Keep reading God’s word and meditating on it, even when you feel dry and lifeless.

    God’s word won’t return to him void. You might not see the results, but God will. And God will be successful. His word never fails.


    Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.

  • 12 Promises Every Parent Should Ask God to Fulfill

    God doesn’t guarantee he will automatically save our children, but gives us many promises to inspire us to pray and believe him to answer.

    I review these promises from God occasionally and use them as springboards for prayer for my descendants. For example:

    Isaiah 54:13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.

    I might pray, “Lord Jesus, you have promised your people that all our children shall be taught by the Lord. Please do this! Please reveal yourself to all my children and grandchildren and descendants and bring each one into peace with you through your blood.” Consider using these promises as you pray for your children:

    Isaiah 59:21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.”

    Psalms 102:28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.

    Psalms 112:1-2 Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments! 2 His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed

    Isaiah 44:3-5 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. 4 They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. 5 This one will say, ‘I am the LORD’s,’ another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and name himself by the name of Israel.

    Isaiah 61:8-9 …I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed.

    Isaiah 65:23 They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD, and their descendants with them.

    Proverbs 20:7 The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him.

    Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.

    Jeremiah 32:39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them.

    Deuteronomy 4:40 Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for all time.

    Acts 16:31-33 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.

    Don’t quit praying for your children until the day you go home to be with the Lord. Even if you don’t see them saved in your lifetime, God can still save them. Although he doesn’t guarantee they will be saved, he promises to hear our prayers, that the prayer of the upright is powerful and effective, and he gives us good reasons to believe he desires to save whole families.

  • 5 Benefits of Having a Challenging Teen

    What? Are you serious? What good can it possibly be to have a difficult child? Or a teen who struggles with sin? Or a child who rebels against you?

    God causes all things—even a teenager’s sin—to work together for our good. Here are 5 ways:

    Having a challenging teen causes us to grow in dependence on God

    Challenges with our children are as much (or more) about us than about them. Sometimes we discover that we are depending more upon ourselves than the Lord. So often we think that if we just do all the right things—have family devotions, discipline our children, love them, keep them from bad influences, educate them in a certain way—then they will automatically be saved and follow the Lord.

    But doing all the right things doesn’t change the heart. The Lord is the only one who saves and changes people, not all our practices and effort, as good as they may be. Having a difficult teen causes us to grow in dependence on God—to cry out to the Lord in prayer, to seek him for mercy and grace and wisdom. It drives us to his Word, to seek out his promises. It causes us to grow in faith and trust in the Lord to work in our child.

    Having a challenging teen causes us to grow in humility

    When we have a child or two who do well, we can start to think that we are responsible for how well they are doing. Yes, we think, it is my parenting that did this. My hard work paid off. A difficult teen ends all that. We become aware of doing many things that failed. We become aware of making many mistakes and that the reason any of our other children are doing well is God’s grace. A difficult child makes us feel weak. It’s humbling to ask others for prayer and counsel. It’s humbling for others to find out we don’t have the ideal Leave It to Beaver family.

    Having a challenging teen causes us to grow in mercy and sympathy toward others

    Years ago in my arrogance, when others had challenges with their children, I would think they must be doing something wrong. It was somehow their fault. In my arrogance I had little mercy or compassion for others. Having a difficult teen changes all that. When you have been through challenges, struggles, and disappointments with one or more of your children, you become very merciful and sympathetic to others in their struggles. You know how much you appreciate the sympathy of others, so you extend it to others. You know how much you need mercy so you become merciful to others.

    Having a challenging teen causes us to grow in patience and perseverance

    Unfortunately, the only way to gain patience is to be put into a situation that requires it. Jesus usually works in our children little by little, often imperceptibly, over years, as he does in us. Sometimes we must keep praying for our children for years and years—even as they are adults. All we can do is plant the seed of the gospel, then we must water it with our prayers and trust God to cause the seed to grow in his own timing. This takes patience.

    Think of how patient and long-suffering God has been with you. You aren’t always quick to change are you?

    Having a challenging teen helps us to grow in love

    Jesus told us to love our enemies expecting nothing in return. Of course, our kids aren’t our enemies. But we must love them, bless them, speak kindly to them, bear with them, and do good to them, even when they don’t respond. God loved us before we loved him, and he calls us to do the same. We rejected Jesus again and again, yet he loved us and came for us and died on the cross for us. Even now, millions and millions reject Jesus every moment of every day, yet he continues to love them. Whatever disrespect we receive from our children in return for our love is but an infinitesimal taste of what Jesus experiences every day from mankind.

    So we must grow in love. We must seek the grace of Jesus to love as he loved, unselfishly, expecting nothing in return.

    Our children’s struggles are as much about us as they are about them. So praise God and thank him, that as difficult as things are, he is at work both in you and your teen. Don’t give up, even if you see little change or fruit. God isn’t done working yet. The story isn’t over yet. God is not only working in your child, he’s working in you.


    Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter. Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.

  • About Mark Altrogge

    Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter.

    Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.