Chaff or Wheat

This week’s P2P was written by Pastor Rich Cathers.

“The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:28)

We live in a world that is filled with voices.  We hear voices from TV, Facebook, paperbacks, politicians, and pastors.  It seems that just about everyone has an opinion on something and it will be the end of the world if we don’t pay attention to them.

The prophet Jeremiah lived in a day like that.  In fact, he lived in a day when his nation was going to be coming to an end.  There did not seem to be a shortage of self-styled “prophets” who had something to say.  Some claimed their authority from their dreams.

Do you know what “chaff” is?  It is that thin husk or skin that surrounds a seed.  It is that red skin around the peanut when you crack open the shell at the ballpark.  The process of winnowing removes the chaff from the wheat kernel.  The chaff is worthless.  It just sticks in the back of your throat.  It’s the kernel that has value.

My dear friends, could I encourage you to renew your commitment to reading and studying God’s Word?  God’s Word has the nutrition your soul needs.  It has the answers to the questions you are looking for.  It will always point you to God, and not the silly idols of this world.  Go for the good stuff.

“24”

This P2P was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.
[Heb 3:13 NKJV] 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Years ago, one of my favorite shows to watch was “24.” It featured a government agent who sought to thwart a world-ending plot over the span of 24 hours. Each episode of the season was set in one of the “hours” of the day. It always amazed me how many twists and turns you could fit into 24 hours.
Here the writer of Hebrews is telling us the importance of how we use our 24 hours. While it is true that we all need to be on guard for the deceitfulness of sin, what I find interesting is that the bible implores us to come alongside each other.
The idea that sin is deceitful reminds me that I might not be able to recognize it. Like Eve, there is a combination of internal and external pressure that can make us lose sight of truth. “Did God really say?”, “Is He keeping something from me?”, “Would my life really be better if I had _?” We all know the power sin has to distract and destroy, but how do we guard against it?
We are encouraged to do two things. One to “exhort” – which means to come alongside. The other is to do it “today”, literally right now. We have all been given 24 hours today. We are all capable of being deceived. We guard against it by coming alongside each other. We need each other! We need the support, encouragement, and truth that comes from our Christian brothers and sisters, especially during this time of isolation and frustration. I help guard my heart and your heart when I choose daily to reach out to my brothers and sisters in Christ! Who is the Spirit putting on your heart to reach out to today? Who is reaching out to you?

“Persistent, Powerful, Proclamation”

This P2P was written by Pastor Daniel Grant.

Are you feeling blue? Having a hard month, week or WHOLE YEAR? You are not alone!! Paul was writing to encourage young Timothy to stay focused in season and out of season. Paul had been abandoned(v10), forgotten, and even betrayed(v14). Paul was experiencing a lot of the very same emotions that we are right now and he penned this amazing encouragement: 2 Timothy 4:2 “proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.”(NRSV)

Proclaim the message. Let your emotions, your words and especially your actions reinforce the Gospel. Be ready (not get ready), persist in a state of readiness for action. Put love into action. Love your neighbor, love your family, love your enemy!

Convince, rebuke, and encourage and do it all with the patience and longsuffering of the Lord Jesus! Encourage one another, stand strong together and know that you are NOT standing alone! We stand on the bedrock of God’s Holy Word, and its faithful teaching. We stand by the strength and provision of the Holy Spirit!

“Imperfect People; Perfect Plan”

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

[Isa 48:15 NLT] 15 “I have said it: I am calling Cyrus! I will send him on this errand and will help him succeed.

Many have argued that these prophecies regarding Cyrus in the book of Isaiah are some of the greatest in the bible. Isaiah wrote roughly 150 years before Cyrus was even born. These verses calling him out by name, identifying what he would do and how he would do it, set a gold standard for the trustworthiness of scripture.

In the midst of our current political crisis and the fear on both sides regarding the outcome, it is encouraging to me that God already knows who wins. It is also encouraging to me that regardless of who wins God is able to use him as a tool in His prophetic plans.

Cyrus was not a perfect man. He was not a Jew; he was not educated in the God of the Bible or His promises. However, God saw how Cyrus fit into His prophetic plan. God would raise up Cyrus to defeat Babylon and release the Jews back to Jerusalem. God is able to use imperfect people to fulfill His perfect plans! We as Christians must remember that regardless of who is sitting in the White House, God is sitting on the throne!

So, what are we to do while we wait for God’s plan to unfold? [Isa 48:17b NIV] …”I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. While we wait for God’s plan to unfold, our job is to walk in the revealed Word of God. There is peace in our obedience. (:18) As Christians the world needs to see our faith not in who gets elected, but in the One who will work all these things together for His good! May we serve as ambassadors of peace in the Kingdom of God, as we walk by faith in His Word. 

“Look Up”

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

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

When I’m out walking in the morning, I’ve noticed that some of the people I pass never look up. As I pass them, I wait to see if they will look up so I can say “hi”, but some never do. They only look at their feet.

Now I confess that I can spend too much time looking at my feet. I find that when I’m always looking down, I lose my sense of where I’m at and where I’m going.

We have a reason to look up friends.  Jesus is coming back and soon we’ll be with Him.  Remembering that helps me realize that I have purpose and direction in this “walk” called life.  When I’m looking up at Jesus, even though times are tough, I can endure.  Even when people are difficult, I can be patient.  Even if the temptations around me are growing, I can flee to Jesus.

I can do this because I have hope.  I’ve got my eyes on Jesus.

Look up beloved. Look up and realize that Jesus is coming soon. Let this hope give you guidance and keep you moving forward.

I wonder if I got my eyes off my feet more, I might even look up to see someone I should say “hi” to.

“The Final Score”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.
[Isa 19:20 NIV] 20 It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them.

Those that know me well KNOW that I am not a casual Laker fan. Fan is short for “fanatic.” My family and friends know my routine on game days. The radio turned off, TV channel set to a different station, no mention of the game or team until I after I have seen it!
Like “Schrödinger’s” cat somehow the game is not truly over until “I” have seen it. The worst feeling would be knowing they are going to lose while watching what seemed like a good game! The inverse is challenging but not as frustrating. What if you were watching the game and you knew they were going to win? No matter how far down the score was, somehow, they would come back to win.
Isaiah has caught a glimpse of the final score! God has revealed to him that not only does He win, but that somehow these enemies will be turned into allies. How impossible this must have seemed in Isaiah’s time. Yet God is never wrong when it comes to prophecy! When He says something will happen, it happens.
How does this change our lives, knowing the final score? The Bible says we are more than conquerors in Christ; He has already won the victory on the cross. We are still watching the “game” play out, but the results have already been determined. Are we living in the light of this truth? Notice that the victory wasn’t the destruction of the enemies but their change of heart. Enemies into allies because of His rescue and deliverance. May we remember God’s heart for people. We know the final score, (God Wins!) but the real victory is in the redemption and rescue of souls! Let’s live and love like we are on the winning team!

“Truth in Love = Growth”

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

We live ina word dominated by misinformation and political spin. Outright lies have been used in our culture to create fear, division and heartache!! So how does Christ want us to respond in this politically- charged, lightning-storm of a year?? Eph4:15 “but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—” Christ is the head of the church, He is the head of the family and in order to grow in Him we need to speak the truth and do it in love!! Honest truth-telling and genuine love are the best answer, and sometimes that means confessing that we don’t have every answer to every complex problem (but I know someone who does- Jesus:)

With all of the political ugliness and accusations, what else can we as the family of God do? Eph 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” So much can be solved if we would just be kind to one another! Go out of your way to be kind today! Forgive one another in the same way that we were forgiven!! Take heart beloved, the Holy Spirit is with us!!!

“Unity or Uniformity”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

There is something profoundly beautiful about listening to an orchestra. Watching my kids in the Budapest Philharmonic, my wife and I were in awe of the voices and instruments young and old coming together in a heavenly unity.
Symphonies have captured people’s hearts and minds for generations. The uniqueness of the orchestra for me comes in the blending of the many instruments and musicians. One author said this, “One note does not make a symphony; one artist does not make an orchestra.”
There is so much emphasis in our nation right now regarding race & politics that seem to divide the family of God. Is Paul here saying we all need to be uniform in how we think and act? Is there room for diversity in the family of God?
Paul is not saying we need all be the same instrument, but that we need to be playing the same song. The gospel uniquely brings us to a fundamental equality that we are all sinners, saved by grace through faith in Jesus. What makes the orchestra so amazing is how all the various instruments and musicians coalesce into one beautiful sound.
The book of Revelation (7:9) gives this same image when it describes a heavenly multitude or orchestra from every tribe, tongue, people and nation, singing the song of the lamb. We can have unity without uniformity. Our diversity only enhances the message of the gospel when we are playing the same song. We must, as the family of God, celebrate and embrace our differences. In it we become the orchestra of God playing the beautiful symphony of the Gospel.
May we all this week follow the great maestro the Holy Spirit and use our instrument in tune with His Spirit to celebrate the Gospel and invite others into this heavenly chorus.

“Why Me?”

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

“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” (Job 40:2)

The man named Job is the epitome of a person going through a difficult time.  He lost his wealth, health, and his family.  Nothing seemed to make sense.  Job’s friends concluded that Job must have some secret sin that God was punishing. Throughout the book we read of Job wondering why his life was so difficult.  Job found himself even questioning God, at least until the day that God showed up.

Now I’m not going to answer Job’s “why me” questions for you.  That’s a lesson for another day.  I would rather think for a minute with you about this idea of questioning God.  Do you wonder why things have happened in your life?  Do you wonder why your life is difficult?  Can you trust a God who seems so “mean”?

Let me reassure you that God is not “mean”.  He is the One who loved me so much He gave His only Son for me (Rom. 5:8; 1Jn 3:16), even while I was a sinner.  My bigger problem is wondering whether I can trust Him even when I don’t understand why.  Job assumed he knew more than he did.  God took Job aside and gave Job a taste of just how vast God’s mind was. Job realized the Creator of the universe knows what He’s doing.  With a mind like that, and a heart like His, I can trust Him – even when I don’t understand.

“Hope for the Hopeless”

This week’s P2P was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.

[2Co 1:8 NKJV] 8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.

Louis Zamperini the WWII veteran who survived 47 days at Sea and nearly 2 years as a POW in Japanese prison camp knows something about not giving up. He said, “However dark the night, however dim our hopes, the light will always follow darkness.

Paul here shares a very vulnerable truth, he felt like giving up! He is saying things were so difficult, so overwhelming, he thought they might not make it.

First, I want to acknowledge that it is possible to love Jesus and at the same time feel totally overwhelmed. I am grateful Paul shares his experience, as so many Christians are not sure it is okay to share when they feel like giving up. Paul shares with these believers his despair, but he also shares in verses 9-11 what got him through, 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. Paul’s hope was rooted in the gospel! That no matter how dark & difficult it got; Jesus’ resurrection proved we can trust God no matter what!

Paul shares in verse 11, how their prayers helped him get through the darkness. We need to remember that in this time of great pressure and challenge that we are not alone! That people are praying for you! Jesus is praying for you! That it is okay to feel helpless at the end of our strength. The question is what do we do next? Like Paul, we must place our hope and trust in the one who was raised from dead and who has delivered us from eternal death.