“Weaker Brother or Sister”

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

1 Cor 8:9 says this to us “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” I see such a critical kingdom principle here, bear with the weaker brother or sister. We are to love those that have weaker consciences than us, and the way we are to love them is by laying down our rights. Here the example Paul uses is eating meat sacrificed to idols, but the principle stands. Those who are strong in faith are to love and lay down their ‘rights’ for those who have trouble with their conscience.
Paul finishes the thought with a firm statement: 12 “When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” Paul would electively be a vegetarian, if that would help keep his brother or sister from stumbling. Where are these places in your life where you need to let go of your rights, or freedoms? By doing so you and I choose to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and thereby LOVE Christ!!

Sending HUGE hugs,
Daniel Grant

“Renewing Our Commitment”

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

“Then Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly…the Levites explained the Law to the people while the people remained in their place. They read from the book, from the Law of God, translating to give the sense so that they understood the reading… The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in the booths…And there was very great rejoicing…” Nehemiah 8
The Israelites renewed their commitment to God and a spiritual revival arose in the people of Israel. The Word of God was the center of this spiritual revival. Ezra read the Scripture to the people while the Levites interpreted the Scripture to the listeners. Reading and interpreting the scriptures produced knowledge, repentance, and worship in the people that manifested in obedience. They began to worship God and put into practice what they had heard. They celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles and pledged to obey God. The people of Israel aligned themselves with God’s will through the explanation and understanding of the Law.
We hear the reading and interpretation of God’s Word, week after week. The pastor explains the Scripture so that we can acquire knowledge and understand what God expects His children to do. The response of each of us to the explanation of God’s Word should lead us to renew our commitment to do His will through repentance and obedience to His word. By acting this way we reaffirm that we belong to Him.

“The Hand of God”

This week’s Pastor to Person is written by Pastor Rich Cathers.

I counted six times in the book of Ezra where we are told that God’s “hand” was on Ezra. Could you imagine having such a relationship with God that you and others are aware that God’s hand is on your life? That was Ezra, and he told us how it happened…
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. (Ezra 7:10)
It all starts with the heart. It starts with heart preparation. I think that too often I just rush into things instead of taking the time to get my heart right from the beginning. Maybe that means that every day I start with a prayer, “God help me seek You today.”
Ezra’s heart was ready and prepared to seek God’s Law, to be immersed in God’s Word, to know God’s Word. Jesus said that the Spirit would teach us and remind us of the things He said, but sometimes the Spirit doesn’t have any material to work with because we haven’t been spending time in God’s Word. Read. Memorize. Learn.
Ezra knew that just knowing God’s Word wasn’t enough. Ezra had a commitment to do what God’s Word said. Jesus said that the man whose house survived the storm not only heard His word, but also did it. Are you doing what you know God wants you to do?
Lastly, Ezra’s heart was aimed at helping and influencing others. Jesus said to go into all the world and make disciples. There are going to be people in your life that God would like to work with, and He’d like to do it through you. Are you open to what God wants to do through you?
God’s hand on my life. In a way it’s all about the effect God will have on others through my life, but it starts with my heart and involves God’s Word.

“Steps of Revival”

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

[2Ch 29:36 NIV] 36 Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly.
Change can be a difficult thing for many different reasons. Sometimes it is the uncomfortably or uncertainty it brings. Other times we know we need to make changes, but we can be so overwhelmed at where to start that we never start.
Hezekiah’s dad Ahaz ruled in Jerusalem for 16 years. His reign left Jerusalem and the temple in shambles. The doors had been closed, temple ransacked, and idols erected. Hezekiah was 25 when he become King of this apostate and idolatrous nation. It would have been easy for him to follow in his father’s footsteps. He could have mourned over the impossibility of restoring Jerusalem’s temple and people and priests. Instead, Hezekiah made a series of decisions that in 16 days (:17) changed the Spiritual trajectory of God’s people.
Step one was to re-open & repair the temple (:3) Our path of renewal and revival always begins with a restored relationship with God. Secondly, he brought back in the priests and Levites (:4) The priests and Levites were entrusted with spiritual responsibility of worship, sacrifices, and the teaching of God’s people. Verses 5-11 gives an example of a “moral-inventory” a list of what had gone wrong, and the steps needed to move forward differently. In vs 12-19 we see the response of the priests dedicating themselves to God, remove the idols and things that didn’t belong in the temple and replacing them with the true objects of worship and sacrifice. Verses 20-35 We see the Spiritual impact now moving from the priests to the city officials, to the people and it results in prayer, worship and sacrifice back to the Lord!
Are you overwhelmed by the spiritual condition of things in your life or the world around you? Let the story of Hezekiah inspire and encourage you that change can start today! Start with the first step of opening the doors of your heart. Invite Him in to begin the work of renovation and restoration. Then let His Word and the Holy Spirit lead you in the daily steps of removing the things that don’t belong with the blessing of things that do!

“Finishing Well”

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

2 Chronicles 15 and 16 tell us of the rise and fall of King Asa. He started off so well – “…he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the portico of the Lord’s temple.”
Asa started off so well, and was very successful in all that he trusted to the LORD, and yet when he faced off against Baasha king of Israel, he faltered. Instead of turning to God he turns to Ben-Hadad of Aram, and pays the pagan with the treasuries of the LORD’s temple.
Is there an area of your life that is so difficult right now, that you need to KEEP trusting God and NOT lean on your own understanding? Are there health challenges, financial worries, political drama, family stress? Don’t just start by trusting God in these things – finish strong by continuing to trust in HIM!! He has got it in the palm of His hand, and know that we stand with you too:-)
Sending HUGE hugs,

Daniel Grant

“A Life of Gratitude”

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

I love the LORD, because He hears My voice and my pleas. Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. Psalms 116:1-2

The psalmist recalls how it was that God delivered him from an impending death and enabled him to have a life of service. He was on the verge of death. His situation was exceedingly difficult, so he cried out to God in a difficult time and the Lord heard him. This psalm shows us a theological truth about God. He is merciful, compassionate, just, and one who manifests His grace. Therefore, the author undertook to recognize the Lord in the temple. This psalm is a personal song of thanksgiving.
Some of us cried out to God at a difficult time in our lives, cried out when we were sick, cried out when we were in prison, cried out when we were hopeless. Some of us even cried out when we did not have a relationship with Him, yet God listened to us and rescued us.
Like the psalmist we ask, what can we give to God for all His goodness? There is nothing that we could give to God. The only way to show our gratitude is through a consecrated life and commitment so others could see that there is a living and powerful God, who hears and helps those who call upon His name. A life of praise is not too much to ask if we have been touched by His goodness and mercy.

“Oxcarts”

This week’s Pastor to Person is written by Pastor Rich Cathers.

And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord. (1 Chronicles 15:15)
David meant well, but good intentions aren’t always enough. David wanted to bring the Ark of the Covenant into his newly conquered capitol, Jerusalem. The big day came and there was quite a parade. The people lined the road leading to Jerusalem as the band played and the Ark slowly moved forward, carried on an oxcart. The oxen hit a rough patch, the cart began to wobble, and a man named Uzzah reached out to keep the Ark from falling. And that’s when David and the nation realized something was wrong. God struck Uzzah there for touching the Ark, and he died.
Initially David was angry and confused. It’s not until several months later that David decided to do some research and he found written in God’s Word that the Ark was only to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites. No oxcarts allowed. Putting the Ark on a cart had been a Philistine idea (1Sam. 6), not God’s idea. When David corrected the way things were done, the Ark was safely transported on Levitical shoulders to Jerusalem.
Sometimes God cares about how we do things, not just that we do them. The Ark was designed to be a model of God’s throne in heaven. God cares about how we represent Him before the world. God wants the world to see that He sits on the throne of our heart. When we interact with people, do we display God’s character, or the character of the world? The Bible tells me that God is gracious and compassionate (Ex. 34:6). It tells me that as His servant, I should be too (2Tim. 2:24-25).
May we toss the attitudes of world’s “oxcarts” and grow to represent our Great King, enthroned in our hearts.

“Wedding Vows”

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

A Psalm of David. I will sing of mercy and justice; To You, O LORD, I will sing praises. (Ps 101:1)
I am often asked at a wedding, when are the participants married? Is it the kiss? Is it the pronouncement? I would argue that the part of the ceremony that holds the most significance, is the “vows.” At that moment two people, before God and witnesses are making a commitment to treat this relationship differently than all others.
David in this Psalm seems to be sharing something similar. The King makes multiple declarations of what he will & won’t do. Two observations as you pray through David’s declaration of love.
First vows are relational. They are said to “someone” not “something.” David is expressing his love to God as a response to God’s love for him. The Bible says. (1Jo 4:19) We love Him because He first loved us. Have you ever stopped to consider what Jesus has pledged to you? What He has done to show His love, and how He continues to love you?
Second David’s vows are filled with practical ways he can live out his love. Some are things he will do, “sing and honor” others he chooses not to do, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” Just like David, we also should take time to consider expressing our love in a practical and personal way. Ps 101 express a commitment to worship, a commitment to holiness, a commitment to healthy relationships, and a commitment to forsaking things that seek to poison or undermine your relationship.
Let us all take some time today to consider what we have vowed or should vow in response to Jesus’ love for us.

“Seeing Past the Darkness…”

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

It’s easy to despair when we read some of the Biblical stories. In 2 Kings 11, the King dies and his mom Athaliah goes on a rampage and kills ALL the heirs. All except one. It was a dark time. Athaliah ruled with malice and evil cruelty.
It was dark, but one man took a stand in the day of slaughter, and saved Joash. Joash would grow up in hiding in the one place the Queen would NOT look, the Temple of the LORD. The day would come when God would restore the kingdom to rightful rule. Think what it must have been like to live in those times, lawlessness, murder darkness and death were the tones of the day. Whatever dark and difficult time you are facing, know that you are not alone. You are seen by the Almighty, and loved by us!! The light is coming, and righteous judgment will always win out. A wise old man once said, “We do not get to choose the times we live in, but all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
Sending HUGE hugs,

Daniel Grant

“The Lord is in Control”

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

The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it, for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Psalms 24


David describes the power of the Lord by showing that everything belongs to Him because the Lord is the one who created everything that exists, sustains it, and keeps it in order.
Here the psalmist is emphatic. The earth belongs to Yahweh, and He alone created the earth and sustains it. The Lord God did not only create the earth, but He also maintains it. He makes it possible for the world to exist. The Lord God created the world and holds it together, and this truth created peace and not fear in the midst of chaos in the psalmist’s life.
Remembering that God is the creator, the sustainer of everything that exists, and that everything belongs to Him will bring us peace during difficult times. When we are facing difficulties, let’s meditate on this psalm, and believe me, it will overshadow the fear caused by the chaos or difficulties around our lives. Think about this for a second. The world is held together by our great God, and nothing is out of order, or out of His control. Nothing takes Him by surprise, not even our current situation. Remember, we have a relationship with the creator of the universe that allows us to approach Him, so when fear approaches, do as David did. Praise Him because He is in control!