When you see all that God has created you’re left with the reality of His power, His creativity, His shear size!
However, we should be left with more than that. We should also realize the plan behind the plan. The purpose of all this creativity. Truth is, God had you and me in mind BEFORE He made anything. He not only had us in mind, He wanted to bring us into His family. WOW.
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT)
Start your day right
While I agree that the best time to have your quiet time is when you’re at your best…for me it’s worked out to be the FIRST THING OF THE DAY.
In the past year, while there have been fewer than 5 days total where I had to switch it to another time of day, I have loved the rhythm of starting every day with Him for years now.
Even if you can’t read first thing, begin talking to Jesus in prayer right out of the gate. Come to grips with the reality you can spend all day in His presence!!
“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” (Psalm 119:97 NIV)
Work hard because…
While, “God helps those who help themselves,” is NOT in the Bible, there is plenty in there about not being idle or lazy. In fact, the Bible often encourages us to do something productive so that we can not only take care of our family, but also to have something to share with those who are not able to care from themselves.
Additionally, there’s one more powerful reason why we are to be productive. When we carry our own weight with integrity and faithfulness, we gain the respect of those who we work with or live near.
A good work ethic is not just a good idea, it’s a part of our witness.
“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 NLT)
On Thanksgiving day, for my daily reading (Every Day With Jesus), I was in Matthew 27. It wasn’t the only chapter I read, but when I got to the crucifixion of Jesus, I thought how fitting it was.
Is there anything I’m more grateful, more thankful for? I don’t think so. With His death, he ripped that temple curtain that separated people from the presence of God. Now we have access to our God because the penalty of our sin has been paid for.
Thank you JESUS!!!
“Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” (Matthew 27:50-51a NLT)
I can’t go through this week without saying thank you to all of you who follow this blog, most of whom go to Community. What a great church we have. What an amazing group of people!!!
So thank you for being such an encouragement to Michelle and I throughout the years.
“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)
One DEBT I need!
While working our way through several Biblical principles for handling our money in our weekend services, we’ve been reminded over and over of the dangers of debt.
However, there is one debt that should continue to help us, guide us, and motivate us. It’s the debt of love we owe to each other.
This Thanksgiving week, could you take a moment and call or text a friend that has loved you and thank them for their investment in your life? I’m pretty sure you both will be happy you did!
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” (Proverbs 3:5-10 MSG)
Trust & …
The old hymn says to “trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Trust is at the heart of this passage in Proverbs 3:5-10. When you’re ready to go ALL IN, you’re ready to trust and obey!
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over.” (Proverbs 3:5-10 MSG)
Our seasonal changes in Southern California are interesting. We can have Summer, Winter and Autumn all in the same week!
However these changes come for us, they are a reminder of the importance of change. They even remind us of the beauty of change. As temperatures drop and leaves change their colors, we know that Spring is also right around the corner.
Embrace the changes that 2020 have brought your way. I know many of them have been excruciating, but these changes have showed us some unique ways that God can work through these times…even in 2020.
Without focusing on the pain causing the change, take a moment and see any good that God has brought to you through the circumstances…and thank Him for being with you.
“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” (Psalm 112:7 NIV)
If 2020 has taught us anything, it has showed us the value of living a life of integrity. When the storm hits…and this year it sure has…we are able to weather the storm with our character intact.
Why is this important? It’s not only for our own benefit, but it’s for all those who are watching. And trust me, people are watching you!
I know my conversations are not always as gracious and attractive as I’d like, but this verse reminds me to never stop working on it. There’s just too much at stake!
“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)
Wise or Stupid?
While we are in our series at Community called, “Financial Freedom,” I want to share with you some of the verses I’ve been using so you can spend a little more time with them.
This one reflects the truth in today’s culture that 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Or, as this proverb puts it, they spend it as fast as they get it.
There’s got to be a better way…AND THERE IS!
“Wise people live in wealth and luxury, but stupid people spend their money as fast as they get it.” (Proverbs 21:20 GNB)
Why aren’t we ever happy, satisfied or content?
Our true satisfaction will only come from a deep and rich relationship with God made available by Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to have nice stuff. We just can’t afford to have our nice stuff have us!
“The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, Nor the one who loves wealth with big profits. More smoke.
The more loot you get, the more looters show up. And what fun is that—to be robbed in broad daylight?
Hard and honest work earns a good night’s sleep, Whether supper is beans or steak. But a rich man’s belly gives him insomnia.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-12 MSG)
The division runs deep
Oh, I’m not even talking about our Country and the divide between parties. I’m talking about the divide in our own heart. God is either #1…or He’s not.
I talked about it this weekend at Community, but money is the number 1 competitor for God in our lives. Our attention, affection, energy and dreams that should be focused on our God too easily get caught up in our pursuit of money and stuff.
Listen to Jesus words…and then ask God to help you be ALL IN with Him.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24 NIV)
It doesn’t get any better
In my daily reading this week I again came to a familiar couple of verses in the book of Galatians. These verses give a powerful reminder that it’s impossible for us to “earn” our salvation by good deeds and keeping the law. Actually it says, if that was possible, Jesus died for nothing!
These verses also remind me of what it really means to “live for Christ.” I want my whole life, not just parts of it, to be lived in a way that honors the One who gave it all for me.
As we enter another weekend, can you simply take a moment and re-surrender ALL of your life to Him. Leave nothing out. Give Him everything. After all, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me!!!
“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)
A Country Divided
It didn’t take another election to help us see how divided our Nation is. It didn’t take reporters pointing out the obvious to be reminded how deep the divide feels. For me, however, I hope it’s all a wake up call for us to PRAY.
At the end of this passage in 1 Timothy 2, the Apostle Paul reminds us of God’s primary agenda. He wants everyone saved.
Please continue praying for our Nation, our leaders and…and neighbors. People will be led to God one at a time. Let’s all be loving and leading the next one into a relationship with Christ.
One last thing…whoever our Nation’s leader may be…we have ONE KING: JESUS!
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. ” (1 Timothy 2:1-4 NLT)
God’s Creation Speaks Volumes
This past week I got to spend one whole day, from sun-up to sun-down, in Yosemite National Park. Just seeing this magnificent area reminds me of one of my favorite passages regarding God’s creation.
Watch for the connection between Creation and Christ. Then be in awe and realize this is why we worship Him!!!
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.” (Colossians 1:15-17 NLT)
Over the years I’ve found that it’s increasingly important for me to have time alone. When you work with people all of the time, you need to be able to get your batteries charged. In reading my Bible I see Jesus getting away by Himself. Hey, if He needed it, how much more do I!?!?
That alone time needs to be constructive. It can be relaxing, but it also needs to be refueling. We’re not all the same, but I know we all need some alone time. However, I also know we are not made to do life alone. It’s unhealthy to be alone too much. We need others who can also help refuel our lives.
Who do you have that helps you get back on track? WHO??
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17 NLT)
This past weekend we had 12 people take a stand and take the plunge to surrender their lives to Jesus. YES!
We are excited for and proud of each person who was baptized this past weekend at Community.
As a reminder, we do these anytime someone is ready. If you’re thinking about it, please let us know and we’ll help you with this amazing decision!
“That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!
That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country.” (Romans 6:3-5 MSG)
There’s Power in your Words
“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” (Proverbs 18:21 MSG)
For some time now, this verse has been an encouragement for me to choose my words carefully. I’ve talked to too many people who are still damaged, decades later, from things their parents said to them when they were growing up.
Whoever you’re with, remember the power of your words. Be a life-giver with your words. Be an encourager.
Maybe more than ever, people are desperate for hope and love. You point them toward Jesus with the grace in your words.
It is mission critical for each of us to express gratitude for the grace, forgiveness and mercy we’ve received from God in the relationships and encounters we have each and every day. One of the reasons people are so down on the church has nothing to do with the message of Jesus…but it has everything to do with us, the messengers.
The next time you’re tempted to give someone a piece of your mind, give them a piece of your heart instead!
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NLT)
Are you Attractive?
Read the following verse and then ask yourself this simple question: Are you making the Good News of Jesus ATTRACTIVE to those you come in contact with?
“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)
A different take on the familiar
If you follow this blog, you know I like to see the Word of God through the lens of different versions/translations. One of the most creative is Eugene Peterson’s, The Message. He has a brilliant way of taking a familiar passage and breathing new perspective into each word.
Take a moment and read both translations. Then, no matter how tired you are spiritually, let each help you get back on your feet and get going!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG)
The cure for WORRY
Every verse in the Bible that deals with worry is saying the same thing. Don’t focus on the circumstance, focus on the ONE who is bigger than any of your problems.
During 2020, challenges and all, we’ve had ample opportunity to worry. However, we’ve also had ample opportunity to lean into Him, trust Him, seek Him first.
What’s it going to be again today? Worry or HIM?!
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:33-34 MSG)
In case you’re in the midst of some of the craziness and pain from 2020 or anything else, let these words of Jesus bring you some peace today…
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV)
What’s Love Got To Do With It?
What’s love got to do with it? EVERYTHING!
Especially when it comes to our family. I want to revisit our primary text from this past weekend’s message at Community. If you missed it, you can catch it here: HOME
Please take a moment and read slowly through these verses, not to grade everyone else in your family, but to see how YOU are doing.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. ” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NIV)
Why we give Praise
This week I’ve focused on praise with my blogs. It’s critical that we fight our battles while keeping our attention and focus on the One who can actually carry us through our circumstances.
Praise goes beyond our circumstances…and here’s one of my favorite verses about it. Bottom line, you and I can be having a horrible day, difficult season or just crazy year, but God is still to be praised. Look what He’s done for us. How can we be silent, no matter what else is going on around us?
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV)
Praise defeats Worry…every time!
I took these pictures in front of our church’s worship center a while back. They remind me of something Jesus says in Matthew 6. Let these words of Jesus concerning worry help you navigate this crazy year of ours. He’s got this!!!
“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:27-33 MSG)
Praise…even when you’re not in a worship service
It is for the praise of God that you and I were made. It’s through praising God we keep our balance and our perspective. It’s how we actually keep our life on track. It sets our attention on the ONE who loves us most and knows what’s best for us.
“Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies; Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his magnificent greatness; Praise with a blast on the trumpet, praise by strumming soft strings; Praise him with castanets and dance, praise him with banjo and flute; Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum, praise him with fiddles and mandolin. Let every living, breathing creature praise God! Hallelujah!” (Psalm 150:1-6 MSG)
Streets of Gold
Sometimes a picture reminds me of a verse, and while these are “streets of gold”, that’s what it reminded me of…
“The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.” (Revelation 21:21-24)
We’ve been continually battered by the craziness of 2020, but in the heat of it all, God is our rock, our foundation, our SAFE PLACE!
“God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains. Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.” (Psalm 46:1-3 MSG)
Now’s the time!
I came across this verse in my daily reading and I can’t seem to get it off my mind.
Daniel is in the midst of receiving information on the end times. During this revelation comes this powerful verse. I think we’d do well, not to try and figure out all the intricacies of the end times, but to see how many people we can get to go with us!
The real difference makers are the wise ones who are helping others come to Jesus…before it’s too late!
“Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.” (Daniel 12:3 NLT)
Not a care in the world
When you see a bird you typically don’t think STRESS. Right? Birds are pretty carefree, doing their thing.
2020 has presented a number of new challenges that have lasted well beyond what we thought might be a weird month or two. Our lives, hearts and minds are jam packed with cares, concerns, stresses and frustration. So now what?
Take a deep breath and remember this truth:
“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)
Happy Anniversary to us!
Michelle are celebrating our 32nd anniversary this weekend. (September 17, was the actual day.) While we reminisce a bit and relive some of our highlights, I think it’s also important for me to renew my commitment to her…my bride.
Yes, I picked a good one!!! However, it’s not about just choosing the right person, a great marriage is all about being the right person. This I want to continue to work on!
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:25-33 NIV)
Maybe the road you’re on right now is not one of beauty, but one of brokenness. Maybe the path you’ve been traveling is a difficult one. Maybe you feel alone. Maybe, even 2020 would be a piece of cake if it wasn’t for ____________________________.
Those things may be true in the present, but this is also true. Your God loves you and is right here with you. Right now! Let that truth soak in.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NIV)
Beauty for Ashes
Over 3,000,000 acres in the West have been burned through all of these crazy fires. That’s a lot of damage and I hope you’ll join me in praying for those that have been affected.
We see the smoke in the skies everyday to remind us of what’s going on. The amazing thing is, a friend in Minnesota told me this week that their sunsets are being affected (quite beautifully) because they’re getting some of the smoke and dust from all of the fire activity in the Western United States. Minnesota!
There is beauty, even in the midst of the damage. Maybe that can be a reminder for us, that even when life hurts the most, God can bring beauty out of the ashes!
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” (Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT)
The images today are not mine, but these thoughts are.
As I look back on that morning of September 11, 2001, I’m reminded of how blindsided we all felt. This was not typical warfare. This was sneaky, with terrorist hiding in the open. They took flying lessons, bought tickets, blended in…
While I remember that morning and being glued to the tv with tears running down my face, I’m reminded of our battle with temptation. At times we feel blindsided, shocked by what comes out of our mouth or what our actions got us into. Let today be fair warning: as deadly as those planes crashing into the twin towers was, so is the end game of temptation. Don’t take it lightly…ever.
“Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.” (James 1:13-15 MSG)
All Creation Praises the Creator
Take a moment and read the following passage from Psalm 148. I absolutely love the phrase, “it’s the only Name worth praising.”
We are made for worship, but instead of praising God, we often worship our family, our favorite team or our job. Use the following verses to get you back on the right track.
“Praise God from earth, you sea dragons, you fathomless ocean deeps; fire and hail, snow and ice, hurricanes obeying his orders; mountains and all hills, apple orchards and cedar forests; wild beasts and herds of cattle, snakes, and birds in flight; earth’s kings and all races, leaders and important people, robust men and women in their prime, and yes, graybeards and little children.
Let them praise the name of God—it’s the only Name worth praising. His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky; he’s built a monument—his very own people!” (Psalm 148:7-14 MSG)
Anchor in the Storm
A ship can be seriously tossed by the waves during a storm, but that doesn’t mean it’s in danger. While you can see it move up and down and back and forth, it doesn’t go anywhere because it has a solid anchor.
No doubt many have felt the storm during this strange year of ours. You’ve been up and down, and been tossed around, but you’re still here. The one thing that keeps all of us anchored in the craziness is the HOPE we have in Jesus.
This next weekend at Community, we’re starting a new series called 2020 Vision. Week one will be taking a deeper look at this idea of hope. Please join in in prayer that those who need it most will join us on Thursday night, Sunday morning or online!
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19a NIV)
Let God In
We want to put our best foot forward. For a picture, we want our best angle, best hair day (for those that care about such things) and best clothes. We work hard to make sure people see the US we want them to see.
However, to be our very best, we need to invite God in to do the kind of investigation of our heart that only He can do.
If you really want to get past the facade and let God truly change you from the inside out, it’s time to let Him in. Can you pray this prayer today? Will you??
“Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life.” (Psalm 139:23-24 MSG)
What a God!!!
Today I’ll just let the Psalmist speak to your heart. These words should melt into every corner of your heart and then bring about authentic gratitude that will actually show up on your face!
“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:8-12 NLT)
Don’t give up!
As a follow up reminder from this past weekend’s message…DON’T GIVE UP!
There’s too much on the line to quit. There’s too many people who need us to be strong. And…we have a God who will be by our side the whole time! Hang in there friends.
“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)
For such a time as this
No one is wondering If we’re living in difficult times, but you may be struggling with what you’re supposed to do in the midst of it all.
I do believe God chooses to work through us in practical and specific ways. It’s all tied to His purpose for our lives.
During the last several months, and now as I look ahead, I’m wondering what we can do to bring hope and encouragement to others.
After all, this might be the time our friends are looking for answers, hope and purpose. Maybe, just maybe, the time you’ve spent cultivating those friendships will pay off now in some practical ways as you’ll be given an opportunity to point them to Jesus.
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 NIV)
Dealing with the Heat
In order to deal with the heat I typically head to the beach or the mountains. Where’s your favorite spot?
However, the “Heat” is not just a temperature thing. It can refer to our circumstances, our frustration level, and things beyond our control.
The Word of God gives us this picture of trees near the water where they are not bothered by the heat.
For us to be like that, we need deep roots connected to the life-force that is Jesus. Then we can get through anything.
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT)
While we’re working our way through 2 Corinthians 3-5 on the weekends right now, I used the following verse from Philippians as a launching point this past weekend.
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Philippians 1:27a NIV)
We all have a lot to live up to (as we strive to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ), but where Jesus sets the standard, He also brings His help. We don’t have to live a worthy life on our own effort. Thank you Lord!
Let this verse be a guide to you throughout your week as you make decisions, interact with others and…hopefully…shine brightly for Jesus.
Seeing the good…and perfect
While seeing the good in what’s currently going on may be difficult, thank God, it is not impossible. God richly supplies us time after time, day after day with His blessings.
For perspective sake, take a few moments and look for the good in your day, your relationships, your circumstances. Look for those good and perfect gifts from our Father. Then, take a few moments to say THANK YOU!
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17 NIV)
What if I can’t see it???
In the midst of the craziness can you see God working? In the chaos can you see His plan unfolding? I wish I could always know what He was up to in the middle of it all, but I can trust Him.
There are many forces at work in this whole mess, but there is ONE who is bigger than them all and He will carry out His ultimate plan.
So, in the midst of it all, take in a sunset and know that God is still working…even if you had a bad day. Hang in there friends!!
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)
We’ve actually been back for a week, but I’m ready to dive back into my blogs three days a week. So, here we go!
Michelle and I had a great time visiting some beautiful places and enjoying our time together. Thank you to our amazing staff, we were able to be gone and not be concerned with what was happening back at the church. We really got to rest!!
I left for vacation with this verse in mind…and it still fits…
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5 NIV)
Taking a Break
It has indeed been a crazy, crazy 2020. While I’ve enjoyed discovering new ways to connect with people online through this blog and my “60 Seconds with PJ” on Facebook and Instagram, I’m ready for a break.
It’s vacation time for the Scott family so we can get away and be re-energized.
During this time I won’t be posting any blogs, but if things change again, as I suspect, we’ll still do our best to use everything we can to communicate with all of you the way our church will respond.
If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call the church office at 951-929-2135.
Thank you for your prayers. We love Community so much!!
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5 NLT)
In it to win it
There’s one clear way to proceed when all around us is going crazy…TOGETHER. The Apostle Paul’s pleas for unity happen in just about all of his letters.
It breaks my heart to see Christians going AT each other during these times. Opinions turn to facts in the blink of an eye, and then we’re off and running…and typing.
One of my favorite sayings of all time is this, “A man doesn’t have to be my twin to be my brother.” The meaning is simple and powerful. We don’t always have to agree, about masks or anything else, but that doesn’t mean we take up sides and duke it out.
If you’re going to stand for anything, stand for the value of unity in the Body of Christ.
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Philippians 2:1-4 NLT)