“Faithful to the End”

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

Jeremiah 2

Now, God is seeking to win His people back. He is pleading with his people, reminding them how their relationship was at the beginning in their honeymoon stage. The Lord accused the nation of abandoning Him and being unfaithful. They abandoned God to go after idols and put their trust in other nations. God confronts and accuses them for failing their covenant. They abandoned God to worship other gods with the purpose to fulfill their own desires. They not only abandoned God to go after other sources of blessing, but they also placed their trust in other nations to feel secure. God will condemn their attitude and announce the punishment they will receive for having failed in their covenant with Him.
God is like a faithful husband and expects us to be faithful in our relationship with Him. Abandoning God to go after our own desires is like abandoning a faithful spouse and the consequences will be devastating. Abandoning God to go after what we want and long for is like abandoning our spouse, the person with whom you promised eternal love, that person with whom you swear that you will be together with in wealth and poverty, in good and bad times. We too promised loyalty and commitment to God, so abandoning Him will bring us suffering and pain. He will use our failure to correct us and bring us back to Him. God wants our loyalty, and trust that He will guide us and supply all that is necessary along the way.

-Pastor Franklin

“Look Up”

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

[Num 21:8 NIV] 8 The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.”
Interestingly, when you look at an ambulance or hospital you will see an Aesculapius (single snake) or usually a Caduceus (double snake) symbol. Many have wondered if the beginning of those stories goes back to this section of scripture.
Jesus uses this story in His conversation with Nicodemus as a preview of the gospel — [Jhn 3:14 NIV] Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up.
Two things stand out to me as we near Easter. First the command to “look.” So many things God could have instructed them to do. Here the LORD connects healing with the simplicity of lifting your eyes and looking. So many people were in pain because of their sin. If they would have had to touch the pole, or climb the pole, healing would have seemed so out of reach. Instead, no matter how much pain they were in, all they had to do was to look up.
Second, looking at the snake on the pole confronted them with their own sin. They couldn’t hide from what they did. Like a seasoned counselor seeking to bring healing via self-confrontation the LORD connects the healing with the acknowledgement of sin and the desire for help.
1 John 1:9 tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Confession is all about agreeing with God about what He already knows. It is looking at Him and acknowledging that we were wrong, and we need / want help. The Bible says that forgiveness and restoration will come when we do this! Have you been bit by your sin? Is the bitter sting of sin calling you to look up and call out to Jesus? Jesus says just look at me, ask me and I will heal you? Thank you, Jesus, for how simple you have made the road to healing.

-Pastor Caleb

“This Little Light of Mine”

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

[Num 8:2 NKJV] 2 “Speak to Aaron, and say to him, ‘When you arrange the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.”
Many who grew up in the church may remember the jingle, “this little light of mine” immediately as you sing the song in your head you finish the next line, “I am going to let it shine!” Many can find reading some of these OT books like reading an instruction manual; these chapters can seem dry or disconnected from our personal life. What I find interesting though is the intricate details that God makes sure to describe for Moses. Here in chapter 8 God is detailing the use of the lampstand.
Later in the book of Hebrews and Revelation we see how these items in the tabernacle served as pictures of the things to come. In the book of Revelation, the lampstand is used as a picture of the church. I see two things that can help us as the church fulfill our role like the “lampstand”
First, the lampstand does not produce the light. The lampstand is the place you come to see the light and hold the light. The lampstand without any oil is of no use. The church without the oil of the Spirit is just a building. Our role like the lampstand is to be that place that makes the light more visible. That place you come to see more clearly.
Second, I find it interesting that these lamps were to be in front of the lampstand; this would have cast a large shadow. The book of Hebrews tells us that these things were shadows of heaven (Heb 8:5). How can our church help remind people that the best of earth is just a shadow of Heaven.

-Pastor Caleb

“Lord Teach Us”

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

[Luke 11:1 ESV] 1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
There is an old preachers’ story that goes something like this, A hermit was meditating by a river when a young man interrupted him. “Master, I wish to become your disciple,” said the man. “Why?” replied the hermit. The young man thought for a moment. “Because I want to find God.” The master jumped up, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, dragged him into the river, and plunged his head under water. After holding him there for a minute, with him kicking and struggling to free himself, the master finally pulled him up out of the river. The young man coughed up water and gasped to get his breath. When he eventually quieted down, the master spoke. “Tell me, what did you want most of all when you were under water.” “Air!” answered the man. “Very well,” said the master. “Go home and come back to me when you want God as much as you just wanted air.”
This story makes me laugh when I hear it. I think at times we feel like this is what will happen when we ask God to teach us something. A crude or cruel lesson, maybe even a condescending look or response to our request. Two things I love about the disciple’s question. First, they asked because they wanted to be more like Jesus. They had seen Jesus pray and knew something was different. They were drawn to want to be more like Jesus. Second, Jesus’ loving and gracious answer becomes some of the most repeated words of the NT. What is so special was not some magic words, but a beautiful picture of a powerful relationship that changes not just how we pray but what we pray for.
I am so grateful that they asked that question, and even more grateful that He answered. His answer changed the whole prayer paradigm since. Is there anything you see about Jesus where you want to be more like Him? Have you asked Him? Take some time this week to think, pray, ask the Lord to teach you! I can’t wait to hear the things He wants to teach you!

-Pastor Caleb

“Gracious to Save”

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

The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Judges 13:3

The people of Israel were comfortable in the way that they were living, under oppression, sinful and far away from God, but God who is gracious will not leave His people that way. God will bring salvation to His people, even when they don’t call upon him. God manifested His grace for His people even when they didn’t deserve it. Barrenness was a sign of divine reproach and displeasure. On the other hand, children were a sign of the blessing of God. The nation was suffering oppression, the nation was under curse, the nation was not bearing fruit. We don’t see here a request for a child from the husband or the woman. Instead, God decides to graciously save His people with the birth of a savior.
God decided to save His people, even when they didn’t ask Him for help. God who is gracious to save, prepared the salvation of Israel through the miracle birth of a deliverer whom He blessed and gave His Spirit so He could accomplish God’s purposes.
God who is merciful also intervened in our lives at our lowest point and gave us a new life through His Son and His Spirit. The Lord who is gracious to save, saved us with everything necessary to succeed and fulfill His purpose for our lives.

-Pastor Franklin

“Missile Inbound”

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

[Mar 13:10 NKJV] 10 “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.

January 13, 2018 at 8:07 am in the morning phones all over the mainland of Hawaii rung out with this message,

You can imagine the chaos as people prepared for what they thought might be there last few minutes before chaos. Some sought shelter, some called loved ones, some went door to door with gospel! By God’s grace that situation turned out to be a false alarm. People were fired and apologies made. However, people got a glimpse into the type of chaos Jesus is referring to in this passage

In this section Jesus is giving his disciples an answer to the question about His return. Jesus speaks about wars, earthquakes, persecution (4-7). Jesus also describes a time of increasing difficulty and darkness. In vs 20 He says that unless those days had been cut short no flesh would survive.

As we look at the signs and warnings today, it should be clear to us that the time is short. We could run, we could hide, but Jesus makes it clear what His disciples are to do, PREACH! In the midst of the coming chaos, Jesus says this gospel, “must” be preached to all people. Our response to the immanent return of Jesus should ring out like a warning system. We are God’s warning system for a world that desperately needs to hear the gospel! Are you ready? Is your family ready? Are you neighbors and coworkers ready? It is time to sound the alarm of the gospel! 

“Watching & Waiting”

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

Jesus and the disciples went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” …
Then He returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” He said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”Mark 14:32-38

The garden of Gethsemane was in the Mount of Olives and means “oil press or place where olive is pressed”. This was the place where Jesus and Peter were going to be tested.

The suffering and death on the cross were near. Jesus prayed again and again to remain faithful to the will of God. Peter on the other hand, had not been able to stay awake for even an hour. He relied on his own strength. He was not able to pass the test. He fled to safety and set aside his loyalty to God. On the other hand, Jesus stood firm and faithful to God’s plan.

The trials of this life are inevitable, and we are going to feel the pressure when they come. If we want to remain faithful to God’s will and sovereignty for our lives, we need to remain alert in prayer so that we don’t rely on our own strength but instead in the Spirit. By doing this we will be able follow Jesus’ example of obedience and faithfulness to God.

“What’s In Your Hand?”

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

[Exo 4:2 NIV] 2 Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied.

What an amazing interchange that is about to happen! Moses throws down his staff and it turns into a “snake!” God tells him to pick it back up and it turns into a stick!

Moses’s staff was a regular part of his life. As a shepherd it was an everyday tool. It would not have seemed supernatural or special under any usual circumstances.

In Chapter 3 we see God calling Moses to lead his people out of Egypt (the burning bush) this calling seems so overwhelming, Moses feels inadequate, unqualified, unprepared.

This is where God asks Moses the simple question, “what is in your hand?” In Moses’ hand a stick is just a stick. With God’s power it becomes something so much more. In the coming chapters we see God use the stick to perform all kinds of miracles, a snake, the sea to blood, even parting the ocean!

Is God calling you to take a step of faith? Do you feel overwhelmed or insecure? What I love about this story is how God takes ordinary things and uses them in extraordinary ways. When God calls us, he equips us, and He uses the simplest of tools in the most amazing ways. How does God want to use your job, your skill, your resources, your life to lead others out of bondage and into the freedom of His grace?  What is in your hand?

“Lessons in Temptation”

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

[Gen 39:9 NIV] 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
This story is filled many great lessons about dealing with temptation. Let’s look at a few lessons that we can apply to our own temptation battle.
Pain is not an excuse for sin (9). Joseph finds himself in an already frustrating situation. Betrayed by his brothers & enslaved in a pagan land Joseph never let his circumstances determine his ethics. Honoring God was the same in the dark as it was in the light.
Joseph kept saying no (10). The temptations continued even after Joseph said no. Joseph continued to say no daily. The war of temptation is fought in daily battles. Put on the armor of God daily.
Sometimes you have to run (13). On this day “no” wasn’t enough. Joseph had to physically run away from the temptation. 1 Cor 6:18 Paul tells the Corinthians to, “flee sexual immorality.” Sometimes your best defense is to get out of there!
When victory looks like defeat (20). Josephs “reward” for doing the right thing looked like his circumstances got worse. Sometimes honoring God comes at a cost. Jesus said, “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
The real reward (21-23). Throughout the story we see “The LORD was with” Joseph. Sin’s number one goal is to separate you from God. The lie of sin is always life will be better if…. Josephs example helps teach us that saying no to sin begins with saying yes to God.
May we like Joseph find victory in our daily sin struggle as we walk in the presence and promises of God (Ps 119:11).

-Pastor Caleb

“For Such a Time as This”

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

[Mat 13:16 ESV] 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
I don’t know if you have ever had this conversation, “if you could live in any other era when would it be?” I am sure we can all have fun thinking about life in times past. It is easy to romanticize and think about what it would be like. Maybe you have been watching the “Chosen” and you think about life in Jesus’ days? Here Jesus in this passage is making a point about how special it was for them to be seeing and hearing what they were hearing. In the next verse, Jesus says many prophets and righteous people longed to live in those days.
The challenge it seems is appreciating those days when we are in them. It is easy to look back or forward and miss the significance of where we are.
As we contemplate Jesus’ words to the crowds, we can’t help considering them for ourselves. Do we truly appreciate the significance of the time we are in? If these are the last days what a privilege, we have. What a promise we have. Jesus spends much time in the rest of the chapter encouraging & exhorting them to make the most of the time.
As we turn the page on this new year, have we considered the significance that our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed? That many would have loved to be a part of this season. However, God has chosen us! He has called us, He has equipped us to be the Sowers, seed planters, net casters, and field buyers of today! God placed us in this time and this place for His purpose! Let us pray and recommit ourselves afresh to all that is in His heart as we pray “Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done”

-Pastor Caleb