“Not Wasting Your Season of Waiting”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Daniel Grant.

I was struck by one very simple sentence in Genesis 41. The run down is: God calls Joseph to do wonderful things! His brothers get jealous and sell him into slavery. He works hard and gets promoted only to be accused of a crime he wouldn’t commit and lands in jail. I don’t know about you but I might die from all that.

In jail Joseph serves, and faithfully interprets dreams and then… Gen 41:1:1 Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river.” Joseph was stuck waiting, for TWO YEARS in jail. 730.5 days of waiting…

He had a two-year GAP where we don’t know what he did or didn’t do. He was stuck, literally. He was in the worst of circumstances. He had lost his family, his serving job, his dignity. Even though we know nothing about that two-year gap, we know that when Joseph comes out of prison, he speaks to Pharoah, interprets the dreams and gives the Egyptians a way to survive and even succeed.

Don’t waste away in the season of waiting. Serve diligently, and wait for what God will do. Don’t despair, don’t give up and certainly don’t turn bitter in the challenges. God is at work, right now!! Don’t let the time go to waste, even in the little things faithfully do what God has called you to do! We stand with you, and love you tremendously!!

Sending REALLY BIG hugs{digitally},

Daniel

“Putting Our All Into the Master’s Hands”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Daniel Grant.

Jesus was growing his disciples’ faith. There was a challenge ahead – a BIG one. There was a crowd of 5000 hungry men, women, and children, who had no food. But Jesus said to them, they do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” Jesus already knew what he was going to do, but he wanted his disciples to learn about faith and trust. The disciples put the five loaves and two fish in the hands of their master and He fed EVERYONE! “So, they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.”

In the very same way, I would encourage you to put your loaves and fish in the hands of the Master. When we put our lives and our resources in God’s hands – He does something amazing and miraculous. When we feel unqualified, under-resourced, and pushed to our limit – turn to the one who has no limit. Honor and trust him, and you will be amazed how things turn out BETTER than you could have expected or dreamed.

Sending ENORMOUS hugs,

Daniel

“The Dangers of Judging”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Rich Cathers.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. (Matthew 7:1–2)

Some folks like to quote that first part and tell you how bad it is to “judge” others. Yet Jesus’ message was not to stop people from judging. He was warning us to learn to judge in a healthy way. He said we need to remove the plank from our own eye first.
Our world right now is sinking in a sea of opinions. People have conflicting opinions about race, the economy, vaccines, and on and on. I’m not going to pontificate about the “proper” opinions to have, but I do want to warn us about what we do with our opinions.
How do you view others who have an opinion different than your own? Are they just stupid to hold their particular slant on things? Or is it possible they are just misinformed? Wait … what if I’m the one that’s misinformed? What if I’ve been making judgments about those other folks when I’m the one that’s wrong?
I know that I wish others were more merciful and gracious to me, but that might not happen if I’m the one being so judgmental. Perhaps I need to keep my mouth shut and listen more. I need to be more gracious than I am. Jesus said that if I “judge” this way, perhaps I’ll find others being more merciful towards me.

“The List”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.

[Mal 3:16 NIV] 16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

Malachi was the last prophet to speak for the birth of Jesus some 400 years later. The people have returned from exile and again they have fallen back into their old ways. Amid the messages about God’s future judgment, God speaks to the faithful remanent who are struggling to hold fast in a decaying culture.

Three things that I see in the verse that can encourage us as we struggle with the world we live in today and seek to hold fast in this final chapter of God’s plan.

First, the people found strength in numbers. Those who feared the LORD talked with each other. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us of the importance of gathering together & encouraging each other as we near the return of the Lord.

Second, the Lord is paying attention to our gatherings. It says He listened and heard. He knew their struggles and heard their cries. Let us never believe the lie that God is unaware of uncaring of our circumstances. Our lives matter to Him and when we gather and share our hearts He listens.

Lastly, God says He knows individually those that are His. Those who have a relationship with Him and honor His name. Having your name on this list gives us assurance that our future is one of rejoicing (Mal 4:2) for those whose names are not on the list there is a sense of fear and judgment.  

Proving your genealogy was critical for those who returned from exile. Whether receiving your inheritance or serving in the temple. Not being able to prove you belong meant no access. Just as the closing book of Revelation 21:27 says that access to into heaven is for those, “whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life,” if you have been “born-again” then your name is written in heaven.

Regardless of how unfair or confusing this world may seem, our hope and confidence is not in this life. Let us live with the assurance and focus of our heavenly home. Let us live like citizens of heaven. Have you put your trust in Jesus? Set your focus for 2022 on your heavenly home? Are you on the list? Is your family on the list? What is God calling you today to do about it! Looking forward to all the Lord wants to do in 2022 with you!

“Sweetness from God”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Daniel Grant.

The Proverbs give us general principles of life, and God has hidden many ‘gems’ for us to find and apply. As I read Proverbs 24, I came across this gem: Pro 24:13-14 “My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste;
14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul if you have found it, there is a prospect, and your hope will not be cut off.”

God created sweetness. He didn’t have to, but He intentionally did. He created it to bring us joy and pleasure. Solomon was writing to his son and encouraged him to eat honey, and enjoy the sweetness of Life. But Solomon didn’t stop there, he encouraged his son to see the sweetness of WISDOM. Honey is GOOD, but wisdom is better. Wisdom is honey for the soul. Wisdom is sweet and sustaining. Brimming with life and abundance. This Christmas season, have a little honey. Enjoy the sweetness that God has provided, and take in a double portion of God’s given wisdom!!

Sending HUGE Christmas hugs,

Daniel

“God Can Fulfill His Promise”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Franklin Garcia.

They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.  And yet they had no child, because Elizabeth was infertile, and they were both advanced in years. Luke 1

Luke begins by telling us a story of a couple who couldn’t have children, named Zachariah and Elizabeth. They both were righteous and blameless before God. They both were expecting the reign and promises of God, but there was one problem. Despite their blamelessness, they were barren, but even when this couple couldn’t have children, they continued to live faithfully for God. Luke emphasizes their righteousness to demonstrate that their barrenness was not a result of judgment or sin in their lives.

Imagine how hard it must have been for Elizabeth and Zachariah not to be able to have children! The dream of every couple is to have children. However, God at the right time would give them a beautiful surprise. They would become parents of a special child, John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for the Lord. The advanced age of this couple would not be an obstacle to keep God from fulfilling His purpose.

Maybe you still have dreams that haven’t been realized in your life. Don’t be discouraged, but trust that God has a plan, even when things move in another direction. Meanwhile keep living faithfully for God because you don’t know when He might surprise you. Remember He has the power to carry out His purpose.

“Many Words”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Rich Cathers.
In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)
Have you ever said something and then later wished you had never said it? I certainly have. Sometimes it was something I said in anger, and even though what I said might have been true, I certainly added fuel to a fire that only got worse. Sometimes it was something that I heard and felt I needed to pass along to others, with the excuse that I wanted to keep folks informed. Then I learned that it wasn’t true. Oops.
Yes I know that relationships are built on good communication. It is important that we open up and share ourselves with others. Yet I wonder if sometimes it wouldn’t be more prudent to be a little more careful about the times that we share and how we share it.
President Lincoln had a practice of writing letters, even angry letters, but waiting before he sent them. More than once he had second thoughts and didn’t send that angry letter. He was glad he had waited.
Words are something that really can’t be taken back. Sometimes the wounds our words create are too deep to be quickly forgotten.
Be careful about your words beloved. Words indeed can wound, but words can also heal. Let’s try to practice those healing words.

“Gift of Forgiveness”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.

[Hos 3:1 NIV] The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

No other story encapsulates the reckless love of God more than the story of Hosea. Here God calls Hosea to not only forgive but to rescue his adulteress wife at his own expense. God says that this is to be, a reflection, of how He Himself is dealing with His bride, Israel.

As overwhelming as this story is there are a few take-aways about forgiveness we can all seek to apply to our own life as we process the wounds we may be dealing with.  

First, forgiveness is not dependent on the other person. God says nothing about Hosea’s wife asking, repenting, or doing anything to deserve his forgiveness. God called Hosea to act despite the current situation Hosea’s wife was in. Corrie Ten Boom said “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” Forgiveness does not require two people; it is a choice we can make regardless of the other person.

Second, forgiveness was to be a reflection of God’s love, not, our love. Hosea was to make this an act of obedience to God, not a response to an individual. Multiple times in the NT (Eph 4:32; Col 3:13; Matt 6:15) we are commanded to forgive in obedience to God; nothing else. Our forgiveness is a choice we make to honor God and guard our hearts against the destructive power of bitterness. Because of what Jesus has done for each of us, we are instructed and enabled to forgive. The greatest gift God has given to you and has called you to give others is the gift of forgiveness! It is at the core of the gospel. Take a moment today to unwrap His forgiveness and ask the Lord who He may be calling to share this gift with as well!

“God Deliver’s the Impossible”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Daniel Grant.
Daniel was struck in an impossible situation. In Daniel chapter 2, he was asked to reveal a dream AND interpret it. Daniel’s life was literally on the line as were the lives of his friends and secular colleagues.
I believe that Daniel did exactly what his parents taught him to do in times of great difficulty. He prayed to God, asking for the impossible. Dan 2:27-28a “27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.” Daniel gave credit to God and said that this was impossible for men but possible with God. We serve a God who regularly does what we think to be impossible.
Do just as Daniel did – reach out in prayer, not fear!! God has got you in the palm of His hand, and He will lift you up in due time! Until then – keep praising and worshipping, trust God and walk confidently ahead with what God has revealed to you?
Sending HUGE hugs,
Daniel

“God’s Watchmen”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Franklin Garcia.

Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them a warning from Me. Ezekiel 33:7

The illustration is drawn from what was a common practice in time of war. The person assigned by his city to act as its watchman and to give warning of the approach of an enemy force had a heavy responsibility. He was to sound the alarm, so that the people of the city could retreat within the walls and prepare for battle. If any person ignored the warning, he was practically signing his death sentence, but the watchman would not be blamed for it. If, however, the watchman failed in his duty to sound the alarm, he would be held responsible for the deaths of any who were caught unaware.

The prophet Ezekiel was appointed a watchman over Israel. Like the watchman who guarded the city, he was responsible for warning the people when God gave him a message of judgment and encourage them to repent; otherwise, he would be held responsible for their fate.

We are God’s watchmen over our families, our co-workers, our friends, and acquaintances.                It is our responsibility to speak the truth and warn them about the future judgment. We must share the gospel with the people in our lives. Whether they respond to the message of salvation or not, we are God’s watchmen over their lives.