“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

“Asking With Confidence”

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

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. ” Matthew 7:7-8
God has committed Himself to answer our prayers and Jesus encourages us to continually ask, seek and look for Him in prayer. Now, is this a blanket promise to everyone? It means that anybody can ask for anything and be assured that they will receive answers from God. We must look at this passage within it’s larger context, this passage is within a passage part of called the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus shows how the citizens of His kingdom must live. So, this promise is for those who want to live a life that pleases God.
Now, what is this a promise of? Does it mean that if we ask God for something He will give it to us? This promise is about God giving us in His perfect wisdom what is best, God will only give what is best to those who live a life that pleases Him and lay their requests before him.
So, what should we do with this promise? We should come to Him as our Father in heaven and let’s trust Him with our requests this 2023 year, because He will not give us something that will hurt us. Instead, if what we ask is good, be assured that He will give it to us.

-Pastor Franklin

“The Return of the King”

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

[Zec 14:9 NKJV] 9 And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be–“The LORD [is] one,” And His name one.
Here Zechariah’s prophecy moves from the first coming in the manger to His return on the Mount of Olives. This is the same place where Jesus ascended (Acts 1:11-13) and it was promised that He would return!
A few things that we learn from this chapter about His return. It will be a time of great distress for Jerusalem (14:2) just when it seems victory is out of grasp Jesus will return to fight (:3) for Israel! His return will change the geography as the Mount of Olives will split in two (:4) to make a way of escape for His people (:5). His return will be a signal to the whole earth (:9) that He is the “I AM” that He and His Father are one! Upon the establishment of His Kingdom everyone will come to recognize and honor Jesus as the true King (:16)
As we consider the words of Zechariah may our hearts stir at the realization that He who was faithful to complete His promise the first time will be faithful to complete the rest of His promises. Are we ready for the return of the King? Let us remember and recommit ourselves to these words from Jesus just before He ascended on the Mount of Olives.
[Act 1:7-8 NIV] 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

-Pastor Caleb

“It’s Time”

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

[Hag 1:4 ESV] 4 “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?
It’s Christmas season and we have all been in that moment where the timer on the oven goes off and you spring into action. The loud sound of the alarm and the aroma let us know that it is time to make a move!
For the Jews that had returned it had been nearly 15 years of waiting in the rubble. They had started with great enthusiasm at the rebuilding of the temple. First came the opposition and then the distraction and soon the passion for rebuilding had gone out like an unattended fire.
Ezra chapter 5 says that God sent Haggai and Zechariah with a message. Like a timer going off they were to signal to the people that it was time to get back to rebuilding and restoring the temple. There was so much God wanted to do for His people, but they had become distracted by work, and finances, life (Hag 1:4-6).
[Hag 2:15 ESV] 15 Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the LORD, God tells them to mark the calendar. To consider from this day forward the impact that their obedience brings! God reminds them of His promises and His presence! He has so much He wants to do through them and for them.
As we prepare this weekend for Christmas and the new year, take some time to ask the Lord is there any area in my life that you are wanting to do greater work? I believe the timer of prophecy is once again going off and God is saying it is time to build His house. Let us hear the word of encouragement for ourselves, and be like Haggai and Zechariah who encouraged the people of God to respond to the promises of God!

-Pastor Caleb

“Scandalous Grace”

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

[Jon 4:11 ESV] 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
Jonah struggled to wrap his mind around this scandalous grace.
A little digging into Nineveh’s history and you might better understand Jonah’s frustration. The birth of the city goes back to Nimrod and Babel. The empire was famous for bloodlust and cruelty. Isis, Nazis, North Korea, Khmer Rouge, the Assyrian empire ranks with the worst of the worst of today.
The most radical lesson we can learn from this book is that YHWH’s invitation of grace through repentance is the most powerful truth in the world. Despite Jonah’s one-sentence warning of the coming destruction; the people of Nineveh responded, and repented and God relented.
This story reveals this important insight into the heart and character of God, God values souls. He speaks of the city the citizens even the cattle! If Jonah could get so emotional over a plant how much more does God care about the souls even in a dark and wicked place like Nineveh?
As we wrestle today with the forces of evil, darkness and wickedness let us be reminded that like Jonah we are called to warn even the worst sinners & cities about the coming judgment. May we do it with the heart of Jesus and the hope Jesus, knowing that even gates of hell cannot prevail against the power of the gospel!

-Pastor Caleb

“The Attitude & Discipline of Repentance”

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

Repentance is not a once off moment in our lives but a constant attitude that we are to assume. In the Book of Joel we are told about the judgement of God and how important it is that the people of God turn to God and return to God and his ways… Joel 2:13 “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”
I adore that Joel reminds us that God is slow to anger. We should ask Holy Spirit to make us gracious, compassionate and slow to anger just like our LORD. We are to be contrite in heart, recognizing our desperate need of God and His grace. In that way we can point people to HIM, the author of life and the source of all goodness! Keep your eyes focused on HIM!!

Sending BIG hugs,

Daniel Grant

“Rewards For The Overcomer”

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

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. Revelation 21:3

The holy city, the new Jerusalem, will come to earth, God will pitch his tent and dwell among his people. His people will have access to him and there will be no more pain, no more tears, and no more death. God will make everything new. He will be with us. His new creation will be free from pain and sorrow. The first state (world) was corrupted by sin, so the eternal state will be without sin. God will make all things new and His presence will fill the earth with peace, joy. There will be no more worry or concern for our health and life, a perfect state, because the former world would have passed away.

Now, this is an assurance from God Himself. He is allowing us to see what’s coming ahead. God is putting His signature on this vision. These things already took place in His eyes, but these promises, and blessings are guaranteed to those who overcome the challenges of this world. This is why we should continue to overcome the challenges of this world, because God guarantees us a paradise, a new world without trouble and pain, a paradise where His presence will be among us. He guarantees all these blessings to the overcomers.

-Pastor Franklin