Beauty out of Pain
For followers of Jesus there is one incredible promise I cling to when things are difficult, painful and even brutal. Whether the pain is physical, emotion, relational or spiritual we can all count on this hope found in the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV)
Praying for a Nation
Earlier this week we said “thank you” to our Veterans. I hope you and I say thank you more than once a year! More than remembering the sacrifice of many, we should be regularly in prayer for our Country.
Praying for our Country is not about merely praying political winds blow the way I want, it’s really, ultimately, about people’s salvation.
After reading these words from the Apostle Paul, please take some time to pray.
“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.
He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-7)
Changed People Change People
What if the hundreds who call Community their church home took seriously the call to BE the church throughout the week, all over this Valley of ours.
In the book of Acts, there were several cases of changed lives turning into changed cities. One of those is in Acts chapter 8. Wouldn’t you love verse 8 to describe our Valley? Well, let’s get to work!
“So there was great joy in that city.” (Acts 8:8 NIV)
Whatever you’re going through, consider this:
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2 MSG)
Thank you Lauren!
This past weekend, for part of the lesson, I was able to interview Mrs. International, Lauren Weeks…from right here at Community!
Using her platform, Lauren is taking advantage of the opportunity to help foster children. If you were here, or even if you weren’t, and you’d like to know more about the organization she was talking about. You can check it out here:
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matthew 19:14 NIV)
Ponder this some more
As a reminder of this past weekend’s message, here are some things to think more about:
- We evaluate our worth by the money we have.
- We evaluate our security by the money we have.
- We evaluate our success by the money we have.
- We evaluate our power by the money we have.
- We evaluate our status by the money we have.
- We evaluate the worth of others by the money they have!
- We evaluate our worth by what HE thinks of us.
- We evaluate our security by what HE is capable of.
- We evaluate our success by simply following Him anywhere.
- We evaluate our power by what His Spirit inside of us can do.
- We evaluate our status by our relationship to the KING.
- We evaluate the worth of others the way Jesus sees them.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21 NIV)
I needed this
If you ever have a day when you’re NOT in control, here is a great reminder!
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:1-7 NIV)
You in on this??
Starting this weekend at Community, we’ll doing something so simple and practical to help the children of our Valley. The Hemet Unified School District has a “District Closet.” When I asked them how we could help and what they needed most, they shocked me with their answer.
I thought it would be coats, especially as we head into winter. Instead, they need “new underwear and socks” for the children. Wow.
The cool thing is, it’s a need we can all help meet. It’s a need that shows how impoverished many of the families in our valley really are. So, here we go! Go buy some new kids underwear and socks (any sizes) and bring them this weekend. We’ll be collecting these items throughout November.
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV)
At the 10:45am service this weekend, six of our middle schoolers and one mom of a middle schooler got baptized. So, at Middle School Youth Sunday night, we threw a party.
Pizza, donuts, cookies, and more!
So excited for these young people as they start their adventure with Jesus! Celebrating is just one of the great things the church is supposed to do TOGETHER.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17 NLT)
Be still in His presence
Just a simple, powerful reminder today.
“Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord,and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 37:1-7a NLT)
Jesus says He is the “Light of the World,” but then He also says we are also the “Light of the World.” I always figured we are more like the moon. We can shine brightly at times, but it’s not actually our light…we are just reflecting the light of the Son.
Whatever you do today, make sure your actions and words are reflecting the Light. Maybe even ask yourself this question: Who needs some LIGHT today?
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 MSG)
“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)
Each day brings a unique set of opportunities. Keep your eyes and ears open. You never know when God is going to bring someone into your path. You are the one that can show them the way. You’re the one person they may meet today who can show them Jesus. Be ready…it could happen today!
“For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’ Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT)
Writing your own obituary
This is not intended to be a morbid blog, but a truly reflective one.The end of a day can bring an amazing sunset. The end of our life can also be amazing. In fact, while ALL of us will someday make this transition, we can ALL be writing our own obituaries now.
The way we choose to live our lives now will be what people talk about when they talk about us at our memorial service. You actually can have some control over the narrative, although you may not have total control of the pictures they choose to use. Ha.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV)
The Waiting Game
While we wait for Michelle’s sister to recover from her liver transplant surgery, we have been doing a lot of praying. There have been complications and she is still in critical condition.
We know we are not the only ones praying through a difficult situation right now. Many of you have been really “going through it” recently. So,whatever the hurt, pain, concern…here is the promise I go back to over and over again.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (7) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
If you missed this weekend at Community, I want to encourage you to check out this week’s beginning to our series: ON THE MOVE. You can find it on Vimeo, or right here on our website.
This next week, we have a very special guest going to join us. He is one of the top motocross riders in the world. His name is Shane McElrath. You’ll want to invite everyone you know…and some you don’t!
Here’s where we started with week one. The Bible makes clear and repeated claims Jesus is God in the flesh. It also claims He is the ONLY way to salvation. While to some it may sound “exclusive”, it is absolutely not. Jesus gave His life on the cross for EVERYONE. His invitation is to EVERYONE.
The Good News is simple: there IS a way to salvation. His name is Jesus!!
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NIV)
This is for the birds!
Do birds worry? Do birds stress about their day? Apparently, they don’t. At least Jesus, who knows a thing or two about His creation, says they don’t worry much at all.
On top of that, Jesus suggestions we should see them as a healthy reminder that our worry isn’t helping us at all. We’re in God’s hands. He cares for us, and in fact, we are more important to Him than the birds He takes care of on a daily basis.
“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.” (Matthew 6:25-26 MSG)
Attention to Details
“Heaven and Earth were finished, down to the last detail.” (Genesis 2:1 MSG)
It’s quite interesting when you take the time to investigate the detail in nature. God’s design and attention to detail is simply amazing.
Don’t think for a moment the details of your current season have missed His attention. He’s on it!
Prepping for Something Special
This past week we shot our LifeGroup videos at a sweet little cabin in Pine Cove. I’m really excited about this new series, “ON THE MOVE!”
It’s a critical and exciting time for Community with our new Children’s Center about completed. So please, let me challenge you to do these three things:
1-PRAY. Pray for the children and their families who will be impacted as our new building is opened in the next few weeks.
2-PARTICIPATE. Be a part of what’s going on every weekend at Community for this 3 week series. And, if you haven’t already, join a LifeGroup and be a part of something truly encouraging.
3-PASS IT ON! Invite someone this week to join you for one of our three weekend services. There’s nothing better than seeing someone you care about begin to take significant steps of faith. Go for it. Get out there. Invite someone!
“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” (Philippians 1:3-6 MSG)
If you know the story, you know that our church was planted in order to reach young people. The founders, mostly retired folks, wanted a church who would make a difference in the lives of children.
So here we are, just a few weeks away from the completion of our brand new Children’s Center! It’s so exciting.
Upon its completion, we’ll be moving our Middle School ministry to Sunday mornings at 10:45 in the Student Center. Until then, Brent and our great team of leaders will be meeting will our 6-8th graders every Sunday night at 5:45.
“Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.’
‘And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.’” (Matthew 18:2-6 NLT)
Needing some strength?
The difficulties and storms of come in all sorts of packages. Some we see brewing on the horizon before they hit, but others just hit. When the world around us is shaking everything loose, where do we go? Where can we go?
There is something spectacular and majestic about mountains soaring above the tree lines. Their impressive rock seems unshakeable.
However, when you need strength… When you need help…
“I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.” (Psalm 121:1-2 MSG)
There is no shortage of inspiration, in God’s Word, for the importance of His Church. I fear that many take the “gathering” way too lightly. It’s way more than worship, teaching, communion, offering and prayer. It’s a time to connect.
We NEED each other. Let the words of Hebrews 10 ignite in you a fresh commitment to being with us at Community each and every weekend. We are in this together!
“So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:22-25 MSG)
We’re in this together
As Michelle’s sister has gotten worse, and yet closer to a new liver, my wife has been amazing. She drives out every week to take care of Tracy. In between those trips we’ve had some time to go and “adventure” together. These moments have become even more important than normal.
There are a lot of ways we “partner” together in this life. This is a unique season, but one where I must do everything I can to help her. She needs hope, encouragement and strength. All of these I want to give her.
Does someone in your family right now need some extra help? Do you have a good friend who’s really “going through it” right now? How can you honor them and give honor to your Lord as you help them?
“In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7 NLT)
He is not far!
While explaining God to those who’d never heard of Him, Paul makes sure they know that He is more than just our Creator. Our God wants a relationship with us. He is not distant or uninterested. He is NEAR!
“The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near.” (Acts 17:24-28 MSG)
Take Your Job Up A Notch!
Whatever your boss is like, whoever is on your team, and no matter the circumstances, you have ONE BOSS to always keep in mind.
Is your work ethic reflecting your bigger view of what’s at stake? This isn’t about the specifics of your job, but it is about how you do what you do.
As we start another week, let’s be reminded of our higher calling. No matter the pressure or threats or pain you may experience, the Message of Christ needs to shine through you!
“Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter.” (Philippians 1:27-30 MSG)
Are you ready???
Another weekend is here at Community! Time for another worship experience!!
Are you ready to Worship? Pray? Encourage? Laugh? Support? Serve? Love?
“Praise the Lord! 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! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:1-6 NLT)
Do you even laugh bro?
I like to laugh, and I love being around people who like to laugh. There’s something very healing about laughter. In fact, there are times when a little laughter is the only way to get through some of those painful moments in life.
There are things to take seriously, but there are times to not be so serious. Loosen up a bit. It might just be the best thing you do all day. Then, when it comes time for some serious work, you’re ready to go.
Homework: Grab a friend or two and go have some fun.
By the way, does this sound unspiritual? I think it is very spiritual. I’m sure Jesus has some great moments with His posse!
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)
Today we celebrate 30 years of marriage. Wow. 30 years!!
I want to thank Mac and Carolyn McElroy for introducing us. I also want to thank both sets of our parents who have been great examples to us of how to make a marriage work over the long haul.
Michelle, you are still the bomb!! Thank you for your love, support and partnership in the journey we’ve been able to share.
“The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22 NLT)
One last post as we prepare for my mom’s memorial service.
Going through pictures has shown me aspects of my own mother’s life with which I was not familiar. I’d heard stories, but some of these pictures were definitely new to me.
Maybe I get my love for mountain biking from my mom after all!!!
My prayer for her service on Saturday is for the experience to honor her. In doing that, I’m sure we all will be encouraged, comforted and even challenged.
Giving honor is something the Bible talks a lot about. I guess, when we honor those God has placed in our lives, those who love freely and inspire many, we also honor the One who made them. Thank you God for my mom!
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” (Ephesians 6:1-3 NIV)
How short is our life?
The Bible reminds us several times this life is short. We are a mist that appears for just a little while (James 4:14). Short can be 15 years or 80. All of it, compared to eternity is very short.
My mom made the most of her 80 years. Many of you were personally impacted by her intentional encouragement. She was intentional and deliberate about many things that really make a difference in others.
Can’t wait to celebrate her life with our church family and friends this Saturday at 11am at Community.
“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.” (Proverbs 11:28)
In Lieu of Flowers
I’ll take a break from my own pictures this week to share a few from my mom and our family as we prepare for her memorial service this coming Saturday, September 15 at 11am).
She was an amazing Nana to our girls! In fact, children, anyone’s children, were always important to her. It was not unusual for her to go up to complete strangers in a restaurant and encourage the parents who had little ones.
Because of her heart for children and her excitement for our new Children’s Building, my dad has asked that instead of flowers, we’d love for you to honor her by making a gift to our Operation Blessing Fund, which is for our new building.
And, a huge thank you to those who’ve already given in my mom’s memory!!
“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” (Psalm 127:3 NLT)
Wherever you go to gain perspective…when you’re there, focus on the One who made you, loves you, and is never going to give up on you!
I give thanks to God with everything I’ve got—
Wherever good people gather, and in the congregation.
God’s works are so great, worth
A lifetime of study—endless enjoyment!
Splendor and beauty mark his craft;
His generosity never gives out.
His miracles are his memorial—
This God of Grace, this God of Love.
He gave food to those who fear him,
He remembered to keep his ancient promise.
He proved to his people that he could do what he said:
Hand them the nations on a platter—a gift!
He manufactures truth and justice;
All his products are guaranteed to last—
Never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof.
All that he makes and does is honest and true:
He paid the ransom for his people,
He ordered his Covenant kept forever.
He’s so personal and holy, worthy of our respect.
The good life begins in the fear of God—
Do that and you’ll know the blessing of God.
His Hallelujah lasts forever!” (Psalm 111:1-10 MSG)
Blessed to be an Operation Blessing!
Generous people leave a legacy for their children and, in this case, for a lot of other children!
Thank you to so many who prayed, planned and sacrificed for Operation Blessing. We’ve had $32,000 come in so far to help furnish our new Kids Building!!!
If you were unable to be with us this weekend and still want to give, it’s not too late. You can Pushpay your gift, mail it in or bring it this weekend.
“Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.” (Psalm 112:1-4 NLT)
So much love!
After posting on social media our news of the passing of my mom this past Friday night, we have been overwhelmed with the amount of love and support given by hundreds and hundreds of you. Today I want to say thank you!
On Instagram and Facebook, through emails and text messages, we have received so much from your comments and messages. Wow!
We grieve WITH HOPE, knowing my mom is now with her Lord. We are truly happy for her and so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people whom God has placed in our lives.
Together we will celebrate my mom’s life on September 15 at 11am. We’ll gather at Community and remember this promise:
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT)
My dad has asked that in lieu of flowers, any gifts be made out to Community Christian Church for our Operation Blessing offering for the new children’s building.
Follow the Guide
Sometimes I jump in the jeep and head for the hills. I enjoy exploring new trails. Actually, in the jeep, on a bike or on foot…one thing I like is having someone with me that knows where they’re going. It’s fun to not know and just see what’s around the next corner, but it can be a little stressful.
You can choose the right path with a map or with the help of a good guide. I’ve found the guide is always more helpful. They can urge you on when you’re not sure you can make it. They can lift you up after a fall. A map is helpful, but a guide is so much better.
With God as our trail guide, no matter what life throws our way, we know we’re in good hands!
“God is fair and just; He corrects the misdirected, Sends them in the right direction. He gives the rejects his hand, and leads them step-by-step. From now on every road you travel will take you to God. Follow the Covenant signs; read the charted directions.” (Psalm 25:8-10 MSG)
I hardly play golf anymore. I guess I’d rather be on my mountain bike, but there are some things I miss about it. For example, there is a lot of interaction with your friends as you play. I used to enjoy golf with the same guys every week. We developed our own inside jokes. We turned anything into a song. We laughed WITH and AT each other.
We’ve probably all experienced this God-given need for human connection. In the church, and especially through our LifeGroups, we have so many great opportunities for this powerful connection to be fostered.
Sign-ups for our LifeGroups at Community are going on now. So, grab a friend, find a LifeGroup and get started!
At the end of the day, I want each of you to have people in your life who know you well enough to say stuff like this:
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” (Colossians 3:6 NIV)
Countdown to Operation Blessing
This coming weekend we have a very significant opportunity to be eternity-changers for hundreds and thousands of people! This weekend, as we wrap up our AT THE MOVIES series, we’ll also be bringing our Operation Blessing offering to help furnish the new Children’s Building.
Know this: when you’re generous, you’re not only blessed, but so are many other people who will be connected to Jesus as a result of your gifts. As we work together to furnish this new building, be praying about the children and their families who will be affected, encouraged and blessed.
“As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” (2 Corinthians 9:13-15 NLT)
The destruction caused by our California wildfires has got me thinking.
First, just a huge thank you to all you firefighters and support personnel! WOW.
The destruction of the fires got me reflecting on these words in James 3. After reading them, check your own words. I’m checking mine.
“It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” (James 3:5-6 MSG)
Countdown to Operation Blessing
Have you been praying about your gift for the furnishing of our new Kids building? I’ve been hearing about some very interesting and creative ways people are collecting money for their gift. We only have a week and a half to go!!
Let me ask you a few questions as you consider your generous gift:
- Are you being stretched in order to meet your goal?
- Is God honored by your sacrifice?
- What could you do to take it up another notch?
The cool thing about your gift is that it’s not only for a great cause, a great opportunity to reach families, but it has a great benefit for you. God’s Word has no shortage of promises attached to our generosity.
So, keep praying, planning and then…join us for the party on September 1 & 2 at all of our weekend services!
“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:24-25 NLT)
Exploring and Adventure
I love exploring. I love a good adventure. When I came across these verses I had to admit I don’t always get as excited about opening God’s Word as I do about heading up a new trail.
I’ve learned over the years, however, the more I dig into God’s Word, the more His wisdom becomes clear. The more I discover His heart, His purpose, His love.
Keep searching, keep digging, keep exploring!
“Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life. Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding. That’s right—if you make Insight your priority, and won’t take no for an answer, searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours; you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1-5 MSG)
Goat Hair…and I don’t Care!
When we first mentioned at Community our “Operation Blessing” offering for the new kids building I read the following verses from Exodus 25. God told the people to be generous and help furnish the new tabernacle. (Watch for the words, “goat hair”.)
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give. These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.’” (Exodus 25:1-7 NIV)
About two weeks after I read these verses to our church, one family told me they were definitely going to give GOAT HAIR for their Operation Blessing offering! GOAT HAIR!!
The Mikolaycik family have three great children and three very pricey baby goats. Their plan is to sell these “kids” (not their children, but the goats) and give the money from these show goats for our new Kids Building (children, not goats).
Did that make any sense? Anyway, I love it. People are getting seriously excited and quite creative in figuring out how they can bring something special on our Operation Blessing weekend, which is September 1 & 2 in all of our weekend services.
What are you bringing???
God in a Box?
There are times I find myself amused by those who think they’ve got God all figured out. Some attempt to describe and define Him in terms we can fully comprehend. That thought alone is humorous.
God does NOT fit nicely into our little box of descriptive terms. That is actually GREAT NEWS. God is bigger, stronger, mightier, more brilliant, more intelligent, more…more…more.
So when life hits you full force, remember the One you can’t completely comprehend is fully in love with you and has more than enough power to come to your rescue…whether He does it as you expected or not.
“His lightning flashes out across the world. The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.” (Psalm 97:4-5 NLT)
What a Weekend!
For those of you at Community, we added The Bucket List to our series: AT THE MOVIES. I already have gotten great feedback from the weekend.
This same weekend, Michelle and I were able to be in Fresno at Cross City Christian Church (mycrosscity.com). Dave Rutherford and I went to college together over 30 years ago. For the past 23 years as Pastor, Dave and his wife have faithfully been doing an amazing job in Fresno County. The church is a great place that runs nearly 4,000 on the weekends. Michelle and I were both impressed and encouraged by what we saw and experienced.
Being able to preach there was a great honor and I continue to pray they were as blessed as much as I was.
As good as it was, as we started the drive home after the last service, I was already looking forward to see our Community family this coming weekend! See you soon!!
“For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life.’” (Romans 1:16-17 NLT)
Gotta Show Up in order to Build Up
At some point this weekend, many people will look at their options and make a decision on whether or not to make it to a worship service. We might make this decision based on, “what’s in it for me?” Seriously, our options might include the beach or mountains, extra time with family or friends, or simply to get caught up on sleep or yard work…and then church. Hmmmmm. What to do, what to do?
Let me give you one more thing for your options assessment. What if YOU are the one that can encourage someone else. They show up because they know the need it right now. They need God. They need help. They need encouragement.
God has it all set up. They’ll show up and YOU are the one who is able to bring some light and hope into their difficult situation.
Now, it’s on you. What if we truly thought of “others” when we evaluated our options this weekend?
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25 NIV)
When Worry Consumes
Whether you’re concerned about paying your bills or making it through the next series of health tests, worry can be overwhelming. Even while praying for our “daily bread”, it’s possible to spend more time after our prayer consumed with just HOW God is going to come through.
I have my moments of worry. I know what God is capable of, but still find myself struggling to sleep through the whole night at times because of a myriad of things consuming my mind and heart. If I told you “don’t worry,” it may not make a difference in your next night’s sleep.
However, what if the One who is in control of everything told you not to worry? While near this peaceful setting at the Sea of Galilee, Jesus uttered these words of reassurance to all who find ourselves biting our nails. We do have something to do, instead of worry…Seek HIM! He’s got the rest!!
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:31-33 NLT)
Operation Blessing – 4
We are counting down to our special offering to furnish the new Children’s Building. With only a month to go, here are some things to pray about as you consider you and your family’s part in Operation Blessing.
While the book of Proverbs is a profound comparison between wise and foolish living. Chapter 11 gives us a powerful contrast of the generous vs. the stingy.
Maybe, like verse 26 says, it’s time to sell something so you have something to share. Is it time for a garage sale or possibly unloading some stuff on Facebook marketplace?
Remember, (1) Pray… (2) Plan… and then, (3) the Party on Labor Day weekend! Let’s make sure it’s a party that will continue to bless for some time!
“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. People curse those who hoard their grain, but they bless the one who sells in time of need.” (Proverbs 11:24-26 NLT)
Who’s your squad? Who do you hang with, do life with, laugh with and cry with?
How many times do we see the word “together” in the Bible? We are designed to do life with others.
So, who you got?
“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)
I Was Wrong
It’s important to take ownership and responsibility, even of our own mistakes. So, I’m here to admit I blew it.
I said this past weekend that our first movie for our “At The Movies” series was going to be “LION.” However, I was wrong. We will be doing that one later, but that’s not our first movie.
You’ll have to show up and see what the first movie is, but trust me, it will be worth it! Can’t wait to get our series started this coming weekend at Community.
“When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy.” (Psalm 122:1 MSG)
Operation Blessing – 5
We have FIVE weeks until our Operation Blessing party happens at Community. The “party” will happen in all of our weekend services as we wrap up our “At The Movies” series with a family weekend, using “The Incredibles” for our lesson.
Since it’s family weekend and everyone (children and adults) will be in the worship center together, we thought is was the perfect weekend for all of us to bring our special Operation Blessing offering to help furnish the new children’s building.
While the blessing is focused on the children and families we will see come to the Lord in the years to come as a result of this new facility, there is a blessing for each of us who participate as well. Check this out!
“This generous God who supplies abundant seed for the farmer, which becomes bread for our meals, is even more extravagant toward you. First he supplies every need, plus more. Then he multiplies the seed as you sow it, so that the harvest of your generosity will grow. You will be abundantly enriched in every way as you give generously on every occasion, for when we take your gifts to those in need, it causes many to give thanks to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:10-11 TPT)
Remember, we are blessed to be a blessing. Now spend some time Praying and Planning so that when the time comes, you can be a part of the Party!
Believing IS Seeing
Walk by FAITH and not SIGHT. I do understand the concept here, but I also know that our FAITH is not completely BLIND.
God calls us to faith, to trust Him. We may not always see where it’s going or what He has in mind, but we follow anyway. That’s faith. That’s trust.
However, God gives us plenty of ways to see Him along the way. Our faith is built on experience and our trust is strengthened by the things we can see.
Anytime I gaze at a sunset, I’m reminded that my God is big, powerful, creative and He is surely “large and in charge.” So, when I’m going through something, what I can see of God’s powerful handiwork gives me the confidence to follow Him when I can’t see exactly where I’m going.
So, let me ask you this: What has God asked you to do that you’ve been reluctant to obey? Maybe, just maybe, you’re not looking around enough to see how absolutely capable He is. You can trust the One who is all-powerful and all-loving.
On top of all that, when you believe…you will see!
“For we live by believing and not by seeing.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT)
Feeling weak in this heat!
This image got me thinking…this is the kind of place an eagle would hang out and soar. Then I thought of Isaiah’s famous words in chapter 40.
Don’t know if you’re simply overheating today and feeling weak with a temperature pushing over 110 degrees here in Hemet, or if you just need a reminder of this truth. Either way, here it is:
“He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” (Isaiah 40:29-31 MSG)