When the SAME is a good thing
This past weekend at Community we all repeated the phrase, “He is the same yesterday, today and forever.” I mentioned it’s an interesting twist how He doesn’t change, but He’s all about help us change.
Today, in my daily reading, I came across this phrase and then flipped over to The Message to see it with fresh eyes. Check it out:
“There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.
Don’t be lured away from him by the latest speculations about him. The grace of Christ is the only good ground for life. Products named after Christ don’t seem to do much for those who buy them.” (Hebrews 13:8-9 MSG)
The Devil’s Beatitudes
Not sure where I found this, but just came across it in one of my computer files. It’s worth the 3 minutes it will take to read it…and more valuable if you really pay attention!
If the Devil were to write his Beatitudes, they would probably go something like this:
“Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians in church – they are my best workers.”
“Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked – I can use them.”
“Blessed are the touchy, with a bit of luck they may stop going to church – they are my missionaries.”
“Blessed are those who are very religious but get on everyone’s nerves – they are mine forever.”
“Blessed are the troublemakers – they shall be called my children.”
“Blessed are those who have no time to pray – they are easy prey for me.”
“Blessed are the complainers – I’m all ears for them.”
“Blessed are you when you read this and think it is about other people and not yourself – I’ve got you.”
The summer always seems to promise different opportunities, but if we’re not intentional, those opportunities will just slip away before you know it.
With that in mind, let me encourage you to be intentional about having conversations…not on social media…but in person. Make some plans to hang out with people who need to see Jesus in you. Then, hang out and see where it all goes!
“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6 NLT)
This never gets old
As a sunset chaser, the following verse has become one of my very favorites. It puts serious perspective on every tone and color that make a sunset special.
He is ALWAYS up to good!
“That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset, Melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith.” (Psalm 19:6 MSG)
HE is that GOOD!
I love the Psalms. I love the prayers they contain, sometimes teaching me how to pray when I don’t know what to say. They also give words to my praise and thanksgiving for my God.
He really is that good…and more!
“He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence. God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet.” (Psalm 103:3-6 MSG)
This is for Everyone…EVERYONE!
I’ve been loving our study through the book of Acts this summer at Community. Even if you aren’t from Community, I hope you’ll take a moment and let the powerful words of Peter sink deeply into your soul.
There will be a day when every tribe, every people, every nation will be worshipping God around His throne…why not now?!? After all, that’s what He wants.
“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” (Acts 10:34-35 NIV)
Freedom to soak it up!
We just celebrated our Freedom here in the gold ole’ USA on the Fourth of July. Thinking a lot about freedom, I wound up soaking up this passage in Psalm 119.
Yes, we do live in a free Country…fortunately, we’re free to spend as much time as we want with the Word of God.
“Let your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as you promised; Then I’ll be able to stand up to mockery because I trusted your Word. Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever—your commandments are what I depend on. Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me, guard it now, guard it ever; And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom; Then I’ll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed. I cherish your commandments—oh, how I love them!— relishing every fragment of your counsel.” (Psalm 119:41-48 MSG)
At least two things happen every time I travel to speak at a church away from home. First, I am encouraged when I try to encourage others. This was especially true this weekend. At Northgate Christian Fellowship in Benicia, CA, Michelle and I were both impressed and encouraged by what God is doing in that place. Serious props to the pastor, Larry Davis and his team. Great, great stuff!
Secondly, I MISS HOME! I’m so glad at Community you all got to hear Jeremy, our new Family Pastor. I’ll be watching his message myself, but have already heard from others what a great job he did! Can’t wait to see you this coming weekend!
Whether you’re at home or traveling…let’s join a church family and seek to encourage others. You will be encouraged when you do…guaranteed!
Also, if you would take a moment and pray for your home church…as well as any church you visit this summer while traveling. Here’s a good place to start with that prayer:
“Every time we think of you, we thank God for you. Day and night you’re in our prayers as we call to mind your work of faith, your labor of love, and your patience of hope in following our Master, Jesus Christ, before God our Father. It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions.” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-5 MSG)
WE are in this thing called “life” together. WE is a great word. WE is how God designed us to live. WE is the way to effectiveness and success. WE. Think about it for a minute. After reading the passage in Philippians 2, think about what YOU can do to help WE.
“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.” (Philippians 2:1-4 MSG)
There’s something sincerely peaceful about the beach for me. We can’t always get to the beach, or wherever your peace place might be. So, what do we do or where can we turn when life gets a little…or a lot crazy.
Good news! At any time, in any place, we can turn to the One who brings peace to the most difficult of situations.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and raises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7 MSG)
I love this little Marine memorial park in San Clemente. When there by myself, sometimes I’ll just sit up there, take in the scenery and thank God for my Marine (and other military) friends.
I love these kinds of memorials and monuments because they give us an opportunity to honor those who deserve our honor.
It doesn’t have to be a military thing, but who do you need to honor this week? Who could you send a note or make a phone call and let them know just how much you appreciate them.
Go ahead…give honor!
“Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:7 NIV)
These flowers didn’t last
With an abundance of rain this year, we had an abundance of flowers…the “California Super Bloom.”
The thing is, these flowers, as amazing as they are, don’t last long around here. It reminds me of this powerful truth:
“You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say,
‘People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.’” (1 Peter 1:22-25 NLT)
Below the Surface
With all the rain this Spring, our huge pine trees started growing like crazy. This growth began to cause problems for our foundation and our neighbor’s driveway. So…it was time for a change.
We will miss the extra shade, but we aren’t opposed to change from time to time. So, out went the trees. I laughed as I thought of these verses:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NIV)
The whole process reminded me of things we can let grow below the surface. They’re really not noticeable to others…for a while, but eventually, they will make their way to the surface. Then, with no laughter, I thought of these verses:
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:13-15 NIV)
Seek what’s Above
At the beginning of a new week, let’s set our sights clearly where they should be:
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)
Choosing to be joyful when hiking some beautiful scenery or riding on some amazing trails is easy. Choosing joy when life is not so beautiful at the time, well, that’s much more difficult.
Difficult, yes! But, it is doable. The Apostle Paul wrote these words in Philippians 4:4 while sitting in prison. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I know it is possible to find your joy in Jesus, no matter the present circumstance.
If you’re truly in the middle of a painful or difficult situation right now…you’re going to want to read more from Philippians 4:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7 NIV)
Who’s the Fool?
When surrounded by God’s beautiful creation I am reassured of His power, His majesty, His creativity and His rule over everything. However, some see the same scene and claim there is no God…it’s all part of some cosmic accident.
I’m not wanting to start an argument, just wanted to pass on a thought that was so important, the Bible repeats it. Check it out:
“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” (Psalm 14:1 NIV)
“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.” (Psalm 53:1 NIV)
Sedona, Arizona is famous for its strong contrasts of colors. Red, blue, green and more. Those contrasts make it interesting, beautiful.
The book of Proverbs is filled with contrast between the wise and the foolish, those who listen to God and those who ignore Him.
“The Fear-of-God expands your life; a wicked life is a puny life.
The aspirations of good people end in celebration; the ambitions of bad people crash.
God is solid backing to a well-lived life, but he calls into question a shabby performance.
Good people last—they can’t be moved; the wicked are here today, gone tomorrow.
A good person’s mouth is a clear fountain of wisdom; a foul mouth is a stagnant swamp.
The speech of a good person clears the air; the words of the wicked pollute it.” (Proverbs 10:27-32MSG)
I love a good reflective lake. Just past Idyllwild and Pine Cove is a little beauty called Lake Fulmor. I’ve lived here 32 years, and just discovered it this past winter. I’ve been back a few times, soaking up its tranquil beauty.
The reflection from this lake reminds me of a great little reminder in the book of Proverbs. We all REFLECT something. Sadness, joy, happiness, confusion…all seem to be written across our face for all to see.
I also know, as a follower of Jesus, I want to reflect Him in my life. I want Him to so take over my heart, my face just can’t help but show others His love and grace.
“Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.” (Proverbs 27:19 MSG)
Renters vs Owners
From a financial position, I would normally talk about ownership being better than renting in many cases …but in this situation, it’s not about what’s better.
No, in this case I want you to think of you, your life and all you have being OWNED by God. We are simply the renters. It all belongs to Him. I just get to use it.
If you own a home, you know there are extra responsibilities. Hey, if something breaks, the owner is responsible.
But in life, God is ultimately the one in charge. The stuff we get to use isn’t ours. Let’s take care of it, and use it in a way that honors the Owner.
It’s just a great perspective check to remember who really owns…EVERYTHING! So relax. He’s got this!
“God claims Earth and everything in it, God claims World and all who live on it. He built it on Ocean foundations, laid it out on River girders.
Who can climb Mount God? Who can scale the holy north-face? Only the clean-handed, only the pure-hearted; Men who won’t cheat, women who won’t seduce.
God is at their side; with God’s help they make it. This, Jacob, is what happens to God-seekers, God-questers.” (Psalm 24:1-6 MSG)
Thank you JoAnne!
After 18 years of faithful service at Community, JoAnne Wood retired this weekend. Over those years she’s worked with our children, those who work with children and just about everyone else. She has made such a great impact on this family of believers.
As a leader of people she has served faithfully, with integrity and with the joy of the Lord shining through that big smile all the way.
This prayer from the Apostle Paul seems fitting for you JoAnne:
“That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks.” (Ephesians 1:15-16 MSG)
When was the last time you asked this?
The Hebrew writer says we can approach the throne of grace “boldly” or with “confidence”. Check it out in Hebrews 4:16. That got me thinking about this bold request of Moses:
“Moses said, ‘Please. Let me see your Glory.’” (Exodus 33:18 MSG)
So I got to thinking, when was the last time I asked to see God’s glory? When was that last time I was bold enough to ask God to SHOW UP in the midst of a situation? When was the last time I asked Him to do what ONLY He could do? If you think about that…and realize it’s been awhile, I say we all get back to asking God for the big stuff.
If you were at Community for this past weekend’s message, we learned God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21), so go ahead…ASK BIG!
Summer is Coming
Although we haven’t been able to tell by the recent weather in Southern California, Summer is on it’s way! School is about out, vacations are getting planned, and the sun is starting to shine.
Here’s a few things we shouldn’t forget this Summer:
1-Don’t forget to schedule time with friends. If you don’t schedule it, the summer will be over before you know it…opportunity lost.
2-Don’t forget to find a book you’ve been wanting to read and dive in.
3-Don’t forget to keep praying for your “one” who needs the Lord. You may or may not see them as often during the summer months, so set an alarm and keep praying for them every day.
4-Don’t forget your church. You may not be there every weekend, but keep praying, giving, and serving because you ARE the Church!
5-Don’t forget to REMEMBER all that God has done and continues to do in, for and through you!
“Once again I’ll go over what God has done, lay out on the table the ancient wonders; I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished, and give a long, loving look at your acts.” (Psalm 77:11-12 MSG)
Today we are reminded of the supreme level of sacrifice. This Memorial Day, for those of us in America, is a day to remember Freedom Isn’t Free!
As we think of our freedoms, and those that gave the ultimate gift, I’m reminded of these words by Jesus:
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NIV)
Up against it?
If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve had those seasons when it feels like you’re up against it. Up against someone out to get you…up against circumstances that seem to have your number…up against what seems to be insurmountable odds.
When these moments arrive, remember this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
“I call to God; God will help me. At dusk, dawn, and noon I sigh deep sighs—he hears, he rescues. My life is well and whole, secure in the middle of danger even while thousands are lined up against me. God hears it all, and from his judge’s bench puts them in their place. But, set in their ways, they won’t change; they pay him no mind.” (Psalm 55:16-19 MSG)
I do feel refreshed and relaxed when I get to spend some time at the beach. Maybe you have your go-to place for recalibrating and getting renewed as well.
When it comes to the truly big picture, there is only one place to go for true refreshment. Only one place to go for true forgiveness, true blessing, true peace…and HE is not a “place”, HE is the answer to all of this.
“Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus.” (Acts 3:19-20 MSG)
Where are your roots?
I’ll let the Word of God do all the talking today:
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.” (Psalm 1 MSG)
Life is filled with different seasons. I do love how God is with us through each and everyone one of those seasons. Good or bad, easy or difficult, He is there!
His presence is not just something we get to experience for a while here while we make our way through this life. Rather, He made us for more than this life!
Ecclesiastes has a very famous passage beginning in verse 1. Most people read through verse 8 and stop. However, if you keep going you come across this amazing thought: He made us for eternity!
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. … Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11 NLT)
There are times in all of our lives when we need some clarity. Maybe life, the choices we face or a dozen different situations colliding on our life all at once create a serious need for direction. Life can look foggy or hazy at times.
Sure, we may pray and ask God for help in making some key decisions. And, by the way, that’s a great place to start. However, we can’t just stop there. We need to seek out His Word for answers. The Bible has all kinds of answers for life biggest struggles.
We could do a whole series on where to look in God’s Word for each kind of a situation. What’s maybe more helpful is that you commit to being in His Word every day. Stay faithful. Listen. Watch for direction each and every day.
I think you’ll be amazed just how often God can speak directly to your situation if you’re spending that time with Him every day.
If you’re brand new to reading your Bible, start by reading a chapter a day in the New Testament. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are all about Jesus. Can’t go wrong there!
“By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back from living by your righteous order. Everything’s falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word.” (Psalm 119:105-107 MSG)
If you follow this blog, you’ll notice I use different translations of the Bible. As I study God’s Word I look at different translations to give a new insight or perspective on a verse or passage.
I came across this one the other day, and thought I’d pass it on to you. Let the power of our Creator Jesus soak into your day. Who knows what other perspectives will change when we see Him as we should!
“The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
in readiness for God from day one.
Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.” (John 1:1-5 MSG)
Time to bless our Mothers!
Mommies like flowers, right?
Well, whatever they like, this week is the time to honor, thank and bless our moms.
This will be my first Mother’s Day without my mom here. I’m sure it will be a little weird, but the truth is, her legacy continues to impact my life and so many others.
Whatever your situation, find a mommy doing a great job and let her know you’ve noticed. Thank her for what she’s doing for her children. Bless her for being an ongoing demonstration of God’s love and grace!!
“Don’t curse your father or fail to bless your mother.” (Proverbs 30:11 MSG)
What’s a picture worth?
A picture is worth a thousand words.
A picture is also worth the new perspective it brings; the hope that it reminds us of; an awareness of the power and creativity of the One who made it all; the truth of God’s ability to reach out to YOU.
“That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset, Melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith.” (Psalm 19:6 MSG)
Welcome the Thompsens!
This weekend at Community we got to announce our new Family Pastor is going to be Jeremy Thompsen! Jeremy, Jen, Brayden and Logan are all very excited too.
Jeremy will still be wrapping up things at Cornerstone through the end of May and then be with us full-time as of June 1st. Jeremy brings great experience in ministry, but also a heart for our Valley.
We are so excited about this and the future ahead of us all who call Community our home.
As all of this came together, I kept thinking of this famous promise in Jeremiah 29:
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG)
Calm before (and after) the storm
I’ve always loved the story of Peter asking Jesus to come out and walk on the water. We tend to give Peter a little grief for his lack of faith half way through his miracle water-walking experience. But hey, he’s the only one that gave it a try. Mad props to Peter!!
For all of us, as we read the story, watch for the wind, the waves and the fear that strikes these guys. Then watch the calming affect Jesus has on them…and the wind.
In our lives, there will be storms, but never forget Jesus is there with you…before, during and after those storms.
Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.
But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”
The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!” (Matthew 14:24-33 MSG)
Recently I was under the San Clemente pier getting some shots, and getting as close to the water as I could. However, waves would come up much further than the previous ones and I had to grab my tripod and camera and jump back to safety. While the images didn’t come out the way I had planned (pre-wave), I’m glad I didn’t delete them.
They are a reminder God is always at work, even in the most difficult of our days to bring about His plan, His good purpose. It may not look like what I plan…but it’s always good! In fact, He can even make something special out of my mistakes!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ” (Romans 8:28 NIV)
“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:28 MSG)
No matter what
Following Jesus does not make our life easier. It does, however, give us a special kind of confidence in the face of all kinds of situations we may face. Whatever happens, we can know that our God is right there with us.
So what do we do when our world crumbles around us? What do we do when our loved one is sick or passes? What can we do when life hits us hard?
We can turn to the One who truly has us in His hands. He is our refuge and our strength!
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” (Psalm 46:1-3 NLT)
Who’s taking the plunge?
As a follow up to all the decisions to follow Jesus this past weekend at the Ramona Bowl, we’ll be having a special time for baptisms. Of course, at Community, we do baptisms any weekend, but this weekend is special.
We’ll have shorts, t-shirts and towels ready! If you want to follow Jesus, this is what He told us to do. So…let’s jump in!
At the end of the message we’ll be asking if anyone is ready to take the plunge, like the Ethiopian eunuch in the following verses. Read these verses and then ask yourself, “Why not me too?”
“The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” The eunuch answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” (Acts 8:34-37 NIV)
Grand Opening Party
Monday through Thursday this week we’re doing a Grand Opening celebration of our new Children’s Center. All are welcome between 6-8pm.
This is so exciting!! It’s amazing to watch the children’s faces as they enter and see all the things that were planned, designed and created for them.
If you haven’t been yet, be sure and stop by on one of our last two nights of the Grand Opening.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. … Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” (Psalm 127:1&3 NIV)
Easter at the Bowl
Easter at the Ramona Bowl was an amazing experience! The venue is beautiful, the weather was perfect and God brought the people who needed to be there!
It never ceases to choke me up when I see streams of people coming forward to run to the One who’s arms are wide open.
Thank you Father for loving us so much, so completely, so faithfully…so when we’re ready to come home, you’re right there with open arms!
I’ll have stats and more information later. Today, I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all of you who served, invited, prayed, loved and showed Jesus to our Valley this Easter!!
So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” (John 15:3-7 NLT)
*Thanks Mike Moreland for the shot of everyone, with arms raised, singing about this story in Luke 15.
This Sunday at the Ramona Bowl, at 9am, we will be having a party to celebrate the true change Jesus makes in our life. A change possible because of our resurrected KING.
If you call Community your home, here are a few things to remember as we prepare for this amazing event:
- Volunteer training and our group prayer time is taking place Saturday morning at the Ramona Bowl at 8:30am.
- Please be in prayer throughout our time up to and through our event.
- All volunteers are to check in at 7:30am, Sunday morning.
- Bring a jacket, hat, sunscreen and a blanket or two to sit on.
- The excuses to not come really start to build on Saturday. Connect with your friends you’ve invited and remind them how excited you are they will be meeting you at the Bowl.
- Keep praying! So much is on the line!!
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” (1 Peter 3:3-5 NLT)
What’s more beautiful than a sunset?
So, what’s more beautiful than a spectacular sunset? That’s easy…A life being saved and transformed by the grace and love of Jesus.
This weekend at the Ramona Bowl, we’ll be witnesses to the most amazing kind of beauty. We’ll all get to be a part of God doing His very best kind of work.
Keep praying! Keep inviting! Keep loving!
“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10 NIV)
For all of you from Community, we’re just days away from our Easter celebration event up at the Ramona Bowl. The time is NOW!
Who are you inviting? Who are you praying for? Who is your ONE??
My prayer is that we’ll invite all we can and then, when Sunday comes, we’ll welcome all we can. So many, in this beautiful valley of ours, need to know Jesus. So, let’s show them His love, His grace, His open arms!
We have the privilege to share the greatest news of all time. I’m expecting God to work through each of us in some pretty amazing ways. Let’s pray up…so we can serve and love our Valley this coming Sunday at the Ramona Bowl!!!
“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6 NLT)
Bonus Blog of Great News!!
If you know, I post this blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However, today (Saturday) is special because…….
WE GOT OUR OCCUPANCY PERMIT!
We are in the new Children’s Center! It’s official. We’re in. WE’RE IN!
Just thought you’d like to know.
“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.” (Proverbs 15:30 NLT)
It’s finally happening. We’ll be our new Children’s Center any day now!
Please continue to pray for the children, the parents and all who will be ministered to through this exciting new facility.
Around here, at Community, the “LITTLES” are a BIG DEAL! We want them to have the same desire as King David…
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” (Psalm 122:1 NLT)
I’m so EGGcited for Easter!
This is the last weekend to bring your eggs, stuffed with candy for our special gifts to all the children who come to the Easter Event at the Ramona Bowl on April 21st!
We’ll be having games and tons of fun for all the children up at the Ramona Bowl as well. This is SO GOOD!
We need those eggs, so please, if you go to Community, bring those eggs this weekend to one of the worship services. It’s one of the very practical ways you can make a kids day this Easter.
Thank you, and remember, no chocolate (stuff that melts) or gum.
“He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! ” (Luke 24:6 NLT)
Are you OPEN to the idea?
One little boy made history when he handed all he had to Jesus. He then got to watch in amazement as Jesus turned that little lunch into a feast for thousands of people.
We are given a similar opportunity each and every day. Are we open to the idea of God using us and the little bit of time, little bit of talent, little bit of money, little bit of _______________ ???
Easter is just two weeks away. I know you’re praying for others, praying for those you’re inviting. However, today, please take a moment and pray for yourself. Ask God to use you! You may not feel up to the task, not good enough for some reason, not knowledgeable enough…but just pray to give Him what you have. He’ll take it from there!
Keys: Be open to the idea of God using YOU. Be willing to share. Trust Jesus for the results. You can be a part of a miracle!!!
“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (John 6:9 NLT)
In my daily reading this year, I’m using the ESV (English Standard Version). It’s a great, literal translation of the Bible. However, there are certain verses I love with the extra word pictures given in the MSG (The Message) Bible. So, when I came across these verses yesterday, I switched over to the MSG to soak them up.
When it comes to difficult times in this life, there are few verses that add the perspective we need like this one in 2 Corinthians. Keep in mind, Paul’s readers were being imprisoned and thrown to the lions…so it’s not a subtle kind of suffering and difficulty they were facing.
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG)
Ready to move forward
I’m super excited about our two-week series that will take us to Easter. However, I’m still thinking about The Main Thing.
Before we move on to our new series this coming weekend, I wanted to go back to two of my favorite verses in the book of Galatians. Maybe like me, you can just sit with these words a bit before you move forward with your day.
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” (Galatians 2:20-21 NLT)
Three weeks away!
PRAY! Prayer is such a key to the success of our Easter event in 21 days. Keep your list of friends handy and keep praying. Pray and watch for opportunities to personally invite them.
The Ramona Bowl will be filled with people who need Jesus!
So, pray for opportunities. Pray for clarity. Pray that we will all be used by God to make an eternal difference in the lives of others!
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4:2-6 NLT)
They came out of nowhere!
The Super Bloom is the talk of Southern California. These flowers are all over our hills. The area between Lake Elsinore and Corona has actually stopped traffic on the 15 freeway. These pictures were taken at our own Diamond Valley Lake.
They mysteriously appear every few years if we’ve had an abundance of rain, and that is definitely the case this year.
So how do we grow? How does our church grow?
While we get to plant some seeds and cultivate the soil and water the ground metaphorically, it’s God that makes it all happen.
The closer we get to Easter, the more excited I get. Let’s plant, cultivate and water the people God has placed in our lives. Let’s pray like never before and then watch God do His thing on April 21st!!!
“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:7 NLT)