“The One With Authority”

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

“What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” Mark 1:28
Today we live in a world where some people are self-proclaimed experts, they express their ideas and bits of advice through social media, and some are self-proclaimed experts in health, politics, sports, and moral issues. Interestingly these people have thousands of followers. 
People in Jesus’ time also listened to people who considered themselves experts in different areas, among them were the teachers of the Jewish law. They were considered experts and authorized to be listened to, people attended the synagogues every Sabbath to listen and be instructed by them, but all this was interrupted when Jesus came.
Jesus taught with authority quite unlike the teachers of the law. Jesus manifested His power through His word, He commanded a demon to silence and to leave a possessed person and the demons obeyed Him. The people were astonished when they heard and saw His authority and power because they had never seen anything like it.
For many years we have been listening to people who are self-proclaimed experts and authoritative in different areas. Some of us have followed their advice regarding our health, diet, and politics, but when it comes to making important decisions regarding our spiritual life, our direction should come from Jesus whose word is true, we must listen to Jesus, the one with power and authority, the one who can give us the best advice through His word.
-Pastor Franklin

“The Watchman”

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

[Eze 3:17 NKJV] 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore, hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me.”

Paul Revere’s famous ride was immortalized in the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem “A Midnight Ride”. “One if by land, two if by sea,” Revere’s role was like the idea of a “watchman.” His late-night ride became famous because of its importance. Critical information at a critical time!

Here God is commissioning Ezekiel with this important task. Ezekiel is responsible for relaying critical information to the people! God takes this so seriously that He warns Ezekiel that if he fails to deliver the warning God will hold him personally responsible!

Ezekiel’s job seems two-fold. First, he is to deliver the message that God has given. In this season of God’s judgment Ezekiel is called to deliver the difficult news. God will hold his people accountable for their sins. Judgment is coming, but they can still get right with God.

Second, Ezekiel’s life will also be a sign to the people. God will use some very specific actions and activities to get his people’s attention.

Ezekiel serves as a model for the Church in our time. God has commissioned us with the bad news & the good news. He has called us to be His Watchmen. We have a responsibility to warn & witness to the world around us. Judgment is coming! Ezekiel was a faithful witness to them and to us! The time is short, the moment is at hand. Are we ready to ride out? Does our life reflect the urgency of our message? Let us remember Jesus’s command to us — [Mat 24:42 NIV] “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

-Pastor Caleb

“Praise the Lord”

This week’s Pastor to Person is written by Pastor 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, and 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.

-Pastor Franklin


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

[Jas 4:6 NKJV] 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
September 2, 1945 General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender from General Yoshijiro Umezu aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. President Truman declared September 2 as the official VJ day. In newspapers across the world that day hundreds of soldiers and civilians were rejoicing together.
The word for “resist” literally means “opposite-of”, or “against.” Many see pride as a barrier with our relationship with people, but James tells us that what it really does is put us at war with God!
There are multiple commands in this chapter, resist, draw, cleanse, purify, lament, weep, but winning the war of pride is not about trying harder or self-control. James 4:7 says, therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. The key to our victory with pride is surrender!
It is our surrender to Jesus and the work of the gospel that is the catalyst for the grace and peace that follows. It is not until we accept the defeat of our own effort, strength, and righteousness that we can resist the devil. Our pride is really a war of independence from God’s love. When we surrender to the cross all of these other things (resisting, cleansing, humbling) become possible.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. God promises that our surrender brings real victory. Do you need grace? Do you need power to resist the devil? Surrender to the truth of the gospel! Let us turn to the cross, and away from self-righteousness. Rejoice in His victory and know that you are loved, forgiven, & new!

-Pastor Caleb

“Time is Near”

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

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Isaiah 11:1

God promised that he was going to restore Israel’s kingdom for His people but not so before He dealt with their sin. The nation of Israel was going to be punished for their sin, and the Lord was going to use a pagan nation to accomplish this purpose. After the punishment for their sins the nation was going to look hopeless, the land was going to look like a like a tree that was chopped down, a tree that was burned down, like a stump, desolate with no hope. 
But in the midst of this hopeless situation the Lord was going to move forward with His plans, His promises for His people would come to pass in the middle of a hopeless situation, the promised Ruler and Savior, the Messiah is going to arise through the descendant of David. He is going to arise like a branch from the stump, a branch that will bear fruit.
We get discouraged when we observe what’s going on in the world, we think and wonder what is going to happen if this continues to get out of control? Right now, everything might seem hopeless, but we must remember that God will fulfill his plans and the Ruler and Savior, Jesus is coming. We must long for his coming, we must not lose hope and live in godliness knowing that the time is near. 

-Pastor Franklin

“Too Young”

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

[Jer 1:6 NIV] 6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

Joan of Arc turned a war around at 17! Alexander the great was winning battles at 16! Bobbie Fisher was a Chess Grand Master at 15! Nadia Comaneci is still the youngest person to receive a perfect ten at age 14! Mozart wrote his first symphony at 8!

We should not underestimate God’s ability to use young people to impact the world! Commentators estimate Jeremiah’s call when he was about 17 years old. Set in the time of King Josiah who became King at 8 years old and led one of the great reforms of Jerusalem around 20 years old!

During this dark and difficult time God was calling this unlikely hero to the courageous and challenging task of warning the nation about its impending judgment. God told Jeremiah that his calling began in the womb! [Jer 1:5] “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” 

As we survey the dark and difficult times we are in and prepare for the coming King let us remember how God throughout history called out young men and women to be his voice and instrument to help fulfill His plans. Josiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah and Esther! Who is God raising up in our day to sound the alarm, to call people to return to Him? 

May we be the kind of parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, siblings, and mentors that are affirming, inspiring, and educating & equipping these next heroes. 

-Pastor Caleb

“When Our Comfort Zone Gets the Squeeze”

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

(1Th 2:17-3:5)

Paul faced great distress and adversity in his life, being separated from his brothers in the faith when he wanted to be with them because they were facing persecution. Paul feared that they would depart from their faith because of the adversities they were facing. He tried repeatedly to go back with them, but Satan prevented him.

As believers we face adversity in our walk with God, things are not always easy. Sometimes things will not go our way; we may encounter sickness, natural disasters, adversity, rejection, or opposition. These things are all part of our fallen world, and the reality is that we also have an adversary who will try to use these adversities to discourage our relationship with God. 

Adversity is essential in our lives because God uses it to push us out of our comfort zone. Sometimes we become so comfortable in our lives that we do not seek God anymore. He uses adversities and trials to shape our characters, and through these trials we are transformed in the image of Christ. We learn to respond as he did in his trials. Adversities and trials teach and force us to lean on God and not on ourselves. We can find peace and healing in the arms of God; He alone can win our battles. Adversities and trials are gifts that nobody is happy to receive, but we should accept them as gifts from God, because they are essential to our lives. 

-Pastor Franklin

“I’ll Be Back”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.
[2Th 2:1 NKJV] 1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, …
The phrase, “I’ll be back” has become a part of popular culture since the 1984 movie Terminator with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Many of us have tried to recreate the accent and demeanor while walking out the door for work or some random tasks. Paul, throughout his letters to the Thessalonians, uses the term “Parousia” to describe Jesus’ return. In Greek and Roman cultures this suggests the arrival of a ruler at a palace. Or the triumphal entry of a general returning from battle.
Chapter two not only reinforces this truth of the return of Jesus, but it gives us a glimpse of the events that will precede His arrival. Paul tells us he is writing to comfort those who thought they missed Jesus’ return! Next Paul lays out some significant signs that can’t be missed before Jesus comes back!
First is an “apostasy” a falling away, a moving away from truth. Next Paul says this will culminate in the rise of the anti-Christ. This false Jesus will be given power by Satan to do signs and wonders. Those who want to reject the truth will be drawn to this false Christ. They will be given over to a delusion. Paul implies that there will be a removing of the “restraining force” that is currently holding back these powers. This season will reveal the true motives of people’s allegiance, those who love Truth and hold to the gospel, and those who take pleasure in wickedness.
While many may want to guess who this anti-Christ will be, Paul says that he will be consumed and destroyed by Jesus’ breath and the glory of His arrival. Paul’s focus is not on who the antichrist is but on Jesus Christ! Let’s remember today, that His return is closer than it has ever been. The world is getting darker, and people’s hearts are getting harder. People are drifting away from truth. So, what should we do? (15) Stand fast, hold onto truth, and preach the gospel! Are you ready? Is your family ready? He will be back!

“Don’t Let Criticism Stop You”

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

Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus…but he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Mark 3:1-6 

This is the teaching of Jesus to his disciples and us; difficulties or opposition should not stop us from doing what is right, so we must keep doing what is right in spite of opposition. Criticism is one of the most challenging and uncomfortable situations that we face in our lives. Criticism makes us feel bad, make us feel guilty, and we stop wanting to do something for fear of being criticized. Many times, we had the desire to do things a little differently in our lives, but for fear that people might criticize us, we are left only with the intentions. Many times we have been compromised our relationship with God because we feared that we might be criticized, we have become silent when we saw something that we knew it was wrong, we remained silent and didn’t do anything for fear to be criticized, rejected or for fear that people will turn their back on us. Jesus teaches us that we must do what is right and stay firms, even if this costs us to become targets of criticism and opposition The lesson for us is this: don’t let criticism stop us from doing the right thing.

-Pastor Franklin

“Pride & the Fall”

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

[Isa 14:14 NKJV] 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’

Most of us when we hear the phrase “the fall” think of Genesis and the “fall of man.” While this is a critical part of the gospel story, Isaiah gives us a brief look into another fall, the fall of Lucifer. Jesus is Luke 10:18 says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” While not much is explicitly described about Satan and his kingdom, his effects can be seen from the beginning of Genesis to his ultimate end in Revelation.

Proverbs 16:18 tells us that “pride goes before destruction,” Paul tells Timothy to guard against pride (1 Tim 3:6) as it will lead to the “same condemnation as the devil.” The five “I will’s” of Satan described in vs. 13-14 record the cancerous growth of pride that precipitated his fall from an anointed cherub (Ez 28:12) to the defeated & destined prisoner of Hell (vs15).

 We live in a world that celebrates “pride” in so many ways. The constant pressure of this age is the magnification of “self.” “I,” becomes the standard for truth, “my feelings,” “my truth,” “my will,” etc. etc.  Like a malignant tumor pride turns my will against, “Thy Will.” Pride is the cancer of the soul. Satan wanted the attention of heaven, to be exalted over others, and ultimately lay claim to the worship that alone belongs to God. How many have the lie of pride caused to exchange the glory of heaven for the torment of hell?
A few closing thoughts, we must guard against pride. It is a battle of the heart and mind. It is a battle for the closest of saint’s and the farthest of sinners. Pride seeks to rob you of your eternal destiny. It promises heaven but delivers hell. The Gospel is the greatest cure for pride. It is a re-orienting of our hearts from “my will” to “thy will.” It is the path not just of emptying of self, but the indwelling of the Spirit of God. It is less of me and more of Him! If “pride” is the Cancer, then the gospel is the cure. 

Take some time to audit your life today? Are there any ways that pride is trying to distract you or destroy you? Humble yourself and get off the path that leads to destruction.  

-Pastor Caleb