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)
Tired of doing the right thing?
It’s very possible to get tired of doing the right thing. Usually the right thing is the more difficult route. Cutting corners is quicker. Ignoring others needs or feelings is just easier. However, doing the right thing has its rewards.
I want you to hang in there, do the right thing, make a difference, shine your light brightly…if for no other reason than letting this promise sink in:
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10 NLT)
What does CARE look like?
What does it mean to you to be a part of a community? I’m not talking about the name of our church, but rather the people who make up this Valley of ours. The community.
When you watch students play a game or stand in line at a grocery store, you’re interacting with the people God has placed around you…and me.
So, the real question is: DO WE CARE?
I’m guessing that most of you do, so let’s just move on to what care looks like. I’ll let you fill in the specific ways you can show you care throughout a given week, but maybe we could all start this way: Let’s care enough to PRAY!
Would you join me now, as we’re just 4 weeks out, to be praying DAILY for our Easter event up at the Ramona Bowl on April 21st?
Throughout these next four weeks, I’ll be giving you different things you can be praying about, but let’s start with the ones we’ve been thinking about inviting. Create a TOP TEN list of people you know and start praying for them by name every day. Watch God create opportunities for conversations and a special moment to extend that invitation.
“Loners who care only for themselves spit on the common good.” (Proverbs 18:1 MSG)
The Bare Essentials
Take away the extreme color of a sunset because of the fog rolling in and you still have something worth looking at. Although we may prefer the color, the flash, the amazing, there is still an important place for the simple.
When Paul takes the Gospel (The Main Thing) down to it’s essentials, it is explained in on word.
Do you see it?
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:6b,14 NIV)
Even a simple tree…
So much of nature reminds me of God. His creativity and power are on display with every sunset. But there is so much more.
Even a simple tree can remind me what Jesus did for all of us.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— (Galatians 2:12 ESV)
Thank you my Lord!
The weekend is over, but…
The weekend is over, but that does not mean we are done worshipping! Worship allows us the opportunity to praise our Creator each and every day.
Find a moment today and take some time to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords.
“Hallelujah! Praise God from heaven, praise him from the mountaintops;
Praise him, all you his angels, praise him, all you his warriors,
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, you morning stars;
Praise him, high heaven, praise him, heavenly rain clouds;
Praise, oh let them praise the name of God—he spoke the word, and there they were!
He set them in place from all time to eternity; He gave his orders, and that’s it!” (Psalm 148:1-6 MSG)
The snow is just one more reminder
This year we’ve seen lots of snow up in the mountains that tower over our valley. We’ve needed the rain and snow so badly, and now we’ve had so much the “drought” is over!
The snow is not just some cosmic, crazy freezing accident. It is part of the careful creation and provision of our God.
He is powerful. He is creative. He is faithful. And…He loves you!
“He launches his promises earthward—how swift and sure they come! He spreads snow like a white fleece, He scatters frost like ashes, He broadcasts hail like birdseed—who can survive His winter? Then He gives the command and it all melts; He breathes on winter—suddenly it’s spring!” (Psalm 147:15-18 MSG)
To capture a great sunset you need to be in the right place at the right time. There are apps that actually help you know when the perfect time is going to be in a given location. That’s quite helpful to this guy!
Timing plays a key role in much of our lives. Perhaps the most important timing ever was that moment when God sent Jesus to put on human flesh and save us.
This coming weekend at Community we’re going to look more closely at these verses, but this will get you started.
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” (Galatians 4:4-5 NIV)
I absolutely love our time together on the weekends at Community.
While we get to catch up, encourage, support, love, learn and help one another, the BIG reason we all come together is to Praise our amazing Father and lift up the name of Jesus!
Without Him, there is no salvation…no hope…no love!
“Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven!
Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness!
Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp!
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes!
Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!” (Psalm 150:1-6 NLT)
Who’s loving Galatians?
ONLY through the Gospel is there FREEDOM!
This weekend, at Community, we’ll be in Galatians chapter 3. Read the whole chapter to get the big pictures, but here are a few verses we’ll be focusing on.
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29 NIV)
For those of you from Community, we are so close to getting in our new Children’s Building!
Please be praying for the final details to get wrapped up and our final approval to be signed by the County.
Ultimately, WE are God’s house, His temple, His building…but this new Children’s building is going to be one great tool to help people come to know Jesus!!!
“Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house.” (1 Corinthians 3:9a MSG)
Meditate on This
At Community, we’re working our way through the book of Galatians. This past weekend we were in chapter 2. Before we head on to chapter 3, would you spend a couple minutes reading through these three verses a few times?
Ask this: What is God saying to me? What will it look like for me to “live for God”?
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:19-21 NIV)
What’s there to see in a reflection?
It’s not a secret that I love sunsets. One way to make sunsets even better is with the reflection you get from water.
This all reminded me of one powerful truth I discovered in Proverbs 27. As you read it, think about what you’re reflecting to those around you at work or school, in your neighborhood or even in your own home.
“As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” (Proverbs 27:19 NLT)
YES! They’re back!!
I love these wildflowers. We didn’t have enough rain last year, but this year we sure have.
Whenever I see their beauty, I think of these words of Jesus. Words that speak to our anxiousness and worry about life.
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30 NLT)
Sometimes we like the waves
If you are a surfer or a skim boarder, you like the waves.
However, if “waves” represent the tumultuous circumstances that rise and fall in our week causing pain and despair, that’s another story.
It would be nice if someone, anyone, could bring some calm and peace to these troubled times. Well…here you go!
“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” (Psalm 107:28-31 NIV)
The very One who made all of this still retains ownership. The Bible talks about how everything belongs to God (read Psalm 24:1).
His ownership actually is a good thing for us. He takes on the responsibility as owner. We are just managers of His stuff. Our day is actually His day. Our family…His. Our car, our free time, our dreams/plans…His. You get the idea, right?
One glance at our snow-capped mountains and we’re reminded who is actually “large and in charge.” So, lean into Him. Trust Him. He’s big enough, strong enough, wise enough. Whatever you’re struggling with…go to Jesus!
“The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.” (Psalm 74:16 NIV)
Happy Birthday to Me
Every birthday forces you to reflect and look back, as well as, look forward into the future. My birthday is today, so I’ve been doing a little of both this week.
Looking back, I know I’ve been blessed. Life has not been without its challenges, but I know that I have experienced life in a very good way most of my years. I grew up in a great family, have an amazing wife, two fantastic children, a remarkable son-in-law and of course ONE AMAZING GRANDDAUGHTER! I get to serve in a very special church and have friends who seriously have my back. Thank you God!!
Looking forward, I have one prayer I keep coming back too. It’s actually a prayer of Moses recorded for us in Psalm 90. You can read the whole thing, but today I’ve been staring at verse 12.
I don’t know how much time I have left. There are no guarantees, but I do want to make the most of the time I have and honor my Lord with every moment He gives me.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12 NIV)
Surround yourself with wisdom
Every year Michelle and I go to a retreat with Pastors and wives from all over the country. This year the retreat was held at Huntington beach.
Many of these people are very, very good friends. We both get a lot out of our experience every time. This year was no exception! Great people, great stuff…and…
LOTS OF WISDOM!
Make sure you make the time to be around people who you can learn from, who can stretch your vision and who can inspire you to shoot for new heights!
“Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” (Proverbs 13:20 MSG)
What’s your burning bush?
Sunsets get me to slow down. Sunsets get me reflecting on the Creator of those sunsets. Sunsets might just be my burning bush.
Where do you feel you have those special moments with God? Wherever it is, LISTEN!
“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” ” (Exodus 3:1-5 NIV)
He delights in YOU
With the recent snow in the mountains, I started looking up “SNOW” in the bible. Found this passage, and had to share it with you!
In verse 10-11 we’re reminded that God’s greatest pleasure is found in us who follow Him. Then, later we’re reminded again how big this personal, loving God really is:
“His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.” (Psalm 146:10-11, 15-18 NIV)
Read it again…and again
I’ve been experimenting more with “long exposure” on my camera. That simply means the lens is open longer. The appeal is things that are not moving, like a pier, are clear and crisp. However, something like the ocean or clouds that are moving appear to be more milky and interesting.
When I gaze longer at a passage of Scripture, I have an opportunity to really absorb it. Meditating, or thinking through all of the ways a specific truth applies to me, helps me become more clear on what I need to focus on, how I need to be obedient.
Today, read this verse 5 times. First, ask God to speak to you. Then, read it out loud. Follow along with your finger. Let each word jump off the page. Write out any action you feel God wants you to take.
“Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22b NLT)
What a God we serve!!
With a fresh look at His creation, I’m diving back into familiar passages with fresh eyes. I came across this one this week, and can’t get enough of this powerful truth.
Take a moment to reflect on these words, then simply say “thank you” again and again.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:8-12 NIV)
Thursday is Special
This Thursday, February 7th, my dad is turning 80! Yes, you read that right…EIGHTY! He doesn’t look it, but then again, these pictures tell the story of this handsome dude.
How blessed I am to be the son of this “Great Scott”!
Thank you dad for years and years of being a faithful, loving example of what it means to be a father, grandfather, husband and friend!!
“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:7-8 NIV)
A Weekend to Remember
If you missed the worship experience at Community this past weekend, you MISSED IT! What a great weekend and a fun way to wrap up our series: Intentional Parenting.
To drive home a point, we actually stopped in the middle of the lesson to take a fun family pic. Goofy faces and all, it really was a memory making moment.
Let me encourage you, parent or not…don’t stop having some fun in life.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” (Proverbs 17:22 NLT)
Is this really a thing??
This weekend at Community, we wrap up our Intentional Parenting series with a party. You don’t want to miss it, and you do NOT want to be late!
So here’s the thing: I never even had this day on my radar, but here it is on my calendar: “Grandchild Day.” Seriously, February 1st is National Grandchild Day. Now that I’m a grandpa, it kind of jumped off the screen!!
I promise I won’t flood my blog with pictures of Viera, but it is National Grandchild day! I do, however, promise we are praying for her daily. How do you pray for your spouse, your children or your grandchildren? Here’s a great example of a powerful prayer. Why not pray this for those you love the most?
“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.” (Ephesians 1:16-23 NLT)
Who’s Ready for a Party!?!?
This weekend, as we wrap up our series: Intentional Parenting, we’re going to have a party!
I’ll be talking about how families need to have fun and make memories. So, as a church “family”, we’re going to do exactly that…have fun and make memories.
If you come to Community, please get here early, especially if you need to check in your kids. Get here 15 minutes early!
The whole service is going to be unique and we’re moving stuff around…so get here, and bring a car or van load!!!
“Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord! Praise him, you who serve the Lord, you who serve in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; celebrate his lovely name with music.” (Psalm 135:1-3 NLT)
If you haven’t heard yet, I’m now a grandpa!!! We are all excited about this little one. Samantha and Craig will be great parents for sure!
Here’s the details: Viera Michelle Willison was born Saturday afternoon, January 26th, at 4:44pm. She weighs 7 lbs 3 oz and is 19 1/2” tall.
And, by the way…SHE IS TOTALLY ADORABLE! (In my completely unbiased opinion.)
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:13-14 NLT)