“Render to God the Things That are God’s”

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

It never ceases to amaze me that the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus. This was the man who walked on water, fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes. The man whose command the demons shuddered and obeyed. The man who reversed death at a rebuke, who could command the wind and the waves. They decided to try and trick Jesus and catch him between God’s law and the law of Rome… “Jesus, should we pay the {evil overlord, emperor} Caesar – a tax or not? Matt 22:21b-22 “…And He said to them, “Rendertherefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.” Jesus tells them to pay their taxes, but to render to God what belongs to Him. And what has the stamped image of God on it? You do, I do, we do!!!

Should we pay our taxes? Yes, we should. Should we obey the laws of the country, yes as far as they do not command us to disobey God’s law. Should we offer to God our whole body, whole-self and all that we are as an act of worship to the one true God! YES, and amen, that beloveds will bring you and I the peace that we need!! Sending Digital hugs,

Daniel

“Facing Our Wrongdoings”

This weeks Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Franklin Garcia.

Genesis 29:25-28 “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?” Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.” And Jacob did so…”

Often, we want to hide and forget about wrongdoings to others. This is the case with Jacob who escaped to a distant land after he usurped the oldest brother’s inheritance by deceiving his father.

Things started to go well for Jacob, so much so that the deception to his father was a thing of the past. Jacob fell in love and worked seven years to marry Rachel, but great was his surprise when he realized that he was deceived. Laban’s words; “We don’t do something for the youngest one before the oldest one” reminded Jacob of what he did to his father.

There was an area of sin in Jacob’s life that needed to be dealt with, before he experienced God’s blessings. God used this difficult episode in Jacob’s life to confront him with his sin against his father.

Like Jacob, God will use difficult situations to confront us with hidden sins. The recognition of our sins should lead us to repent, so the broken areas of our lives can be fixed. Facing our wrongdoings will lead us to God’s blessings.

“Surviving the Storm”

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

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. (Matthew 7:24–25)

Some folks think that following Jesus is all about avoiding trouble in life.  They think that if they are right with God that they will no longer have any difficulties.  And then things go downhill.

My friends, nobody escapes the storms of life.  In Jesus’ story, there were two builders who both faced storms. Only one survived. The real question we need to be asking is not how we avoid the storms, but how we survive them.

Maybe a relationship is falling apart.  Maybe you’ve lost your job or are facing financial difficulty. Maybe it’s illness or the threat of illness.  Maybe the political process hasn’t worked to your liking or you are simply afraid of the future for our nation.  These are just some of the “storms” we are facing.

So how do you survive?  You pay attention to God’s Word and you do it.  If you’re not sure what that looks like, try reading what Jesus spoke in Matthew 5-7.  Get serious about reading your Bible every day.  And learn how to do what it says.  Look to Jesus.

“His Divine Plan”

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

[Mat 1:22 NKJV] 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:

Joseph’s life seemed to be falling apart. His soon to be wife is pregnant and he is not the father. A Roman census is soon going to require him and his expectant fiancé to cross treacherous terrain to an unfamiliar city. A wicked and crazy king will ultimately seek to kill his newborn son. Joseph seems like an unlikely hero during this dysfunctional time.

A few things give me comfort as I look at this chapter. First- God is in control. Amidst the dictates of an imperial regime, God was using this inconvenience to get Joseph and Mary right where He wanted them. How much less stress would we all have if we could see things from God’s perspective.

Second, God specifically intervenes in the most difficult moment to encourage Joseph. As Joseph struggled to process the news from Mary, an angel is sent to confirm God’s hand in the whole process. When faced with a crossroads with eternal consequences, just like Joseph, we are not alone.

Lastly what was it that uniquely qualified Joseph to play such an important role in this History-altering story? Verse 19 tells us he was a “just” man or “faithful” man. He was a man that loved and obeyed God. This characteristic equipped him to fulfill His part in God’s perfect plan.

As we begin 2021 Let’s remember that God is working out His divine plan. That He has given us His Word to guide our steps. That He is looking for faithful men and women who love Him, and will be faithful with what He entrusts to us.

Christmas Gifts

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

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)

I remember as a kid going to my friend’s house after Christmas, and the question we would ask each other was, “What did you get for Christmas?”  We’d compare our hauls of loot and decide whether or not it was a “good Christmas”.  If we got that cool “walkie-talkie”, or even a BIKE, then it was a “good” Christmas.

The older I get, I’m learning that Christmas was never about “getting”, it’s about “giving”.  The holiday we celebrate was intended to focus on the fact that God so loved the world that He GAVE His Son.  Paul wrote, For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). In writing to the wealthy Corinthians, Paul reminds them about how the poor Macedonian church gave out of their great trial of affliction, and that their giving was tied to their abundance of joy (2 Corinthians 8:2).

The concept of giving is way bigger than money, or the size of the gift.  The recipient of your gift may be more impacted by the time you spend with them than on the dollars you’ve spent.

So, as you look around your world at Christmas time, the question isn’t “What did I get for Christmas?”, the question is, “What did I give?”  When I focus on giving, I discover that abundance of joy.

“What Should I Do?”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.
[Mic 6:8 NKJV] 8 He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Micah was prophesying in a time of great political and spiritual turmoil. Apostasy, judgment, false prophets, it was a confusing time for God’s people. Yet in the midst of these dark days, there was hope in the coming Messiah.
In the middle of all the chaos, the godly were wondering where to start. Micah reminds them to start with what they already know.
Micah reminds us of three things God has called us to do. First, we are to do justly. God cares about justice. We represent his heart in our passion and pursuit of justice. His justice however is not defined by courts and governments but by the Word of God.
Second, we are to be lovers of mercy. We are not God’s police simply enforcing the law, but we are also paramedics; responding with His grace, seeking to heal, and restore the broken and hurting.
Lastly, Micah reminds us that all of this is rooted in our relationship with God. We should seek justice and administer mercy because we humbly walk with Jesus as a result of the Gospel.
As we get pulled in so many different directions this season, let us remember what is good; and what God has called us to do. To walk with Jesus. To allow the gospel to humble us, and to motivate us to be His hands and feet in this hurting and broken world.

“Counsel”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Rich Cathers.
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14)

It is good to receive counsel. A counselor is one who will give you advice, teach you, and help you to make wise decisions. The person who thinks they can go through life without counsel is probably going to make more than their fair share of mistakes. Receiving counsel requires humility and an openness to be taught. If you are unwilling to listen and learn things, then counsel will be of no use to you.
Who do we get “counsel” from? Hopefully we are receiving from the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. If we are wise we will also allow others to speak into our lives as well. It may be a pastor or a trained counsellor. It may be a friend. Some of us are unaware of just how much counsel we get from our various sources of “news”, whether it is FaceBook or some news channel.
Solomon said there was safety in a “multitude” of counselors. As he watched his father rule Israel, Solomon observed that David had more than one “counselor” or “friend”. A wise person will be open to listening to differing opinions before making their choices in life. We are facing unprecedented days beloved. We’ve never passed this way before. May we find “safety” in the choices we make.

“The Perfect Gift”

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

[Pro 4:7 NIV] 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
It is officially Christmas season! Our decorations are up, and my kids have their Christmas-lists out! For me shopping for the “perfect-gift” can seem as elusive as Ahab’s white whale.
Here Solomon tells us that of all the things we can get, of all the things we could want, at the top of the list, should be wisdom! In chapter 3 Solomon says that wisdom is more valuable than silver, gold, and rubies; that it is even connected to long life!
If wisdom is so valuable how do we give it or get it? Solomon gives us a clue in [Pro 9:10 NIV] 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Yes, we can glean wisdom in a book, or see it in a work of art, but the secret to wisdom is not found in some inanimate object or impersonal force. Wisdom begins with our relationship with God! The more I know Him, His heart, His Love, His promises and how they are woven into this amazing narrative of the Gospel, the more we discover the treasure of wisdom!
What are you longing for this season? The most satisfying gift you can receive or give will be this gift of wisdom. First ask the Lord to reveal more of Himself to you this year. Second, ask Him how you can share this gift with those you love! It truly is the perfect gift!

“Strong Conviction, Humble Heart”

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

I’m sure you’re familiar with the story of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) They stood up to the absolute ruler of Babylon. I imagine it was a difficult stand to take especially because EVERYONE else was kneeling…What I love most about this story is how humble and how resolute they were in their conviction to NOT worship anything that is not God!! Their speech to the King was respectful, they knew that this could cost them their lives, and yet they stood. They submitted to authority until the point at which their earthly authority violated what they knew God had told them…

Beloveds be like these young men, who were humble, respectful and were also facing the fiery furnace. Where we need to be careful is not to be belligerent, not be divisive, but be singularly focused on worshipping the Lord God in these difficult times. Go the extra mile to be respectful of your neighbor, obey all governing authorities and continue to worship God. Do not let anything stop you from worshipping God, but we also need to be creative about how we do that in the near future. Sending digital hugs, Daniel

“Modern Day Miracle”

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

[Eze 37:12 NKJV]…’Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

On May 14, 1948, in Tel Aviv, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years! Only one other time in history had a people and nation been so defeated and dispersed and yet return. The Jewish exile & return from Babylon happened just as God said it would. Although that 70 years must have seemed like a lifetime, this prophecy from Ezekiel would span roughly 2,500 years of Jewish History!

The rebirth of Israel is arguably the greatest modern-day miracle of our generation However more than a miracle it was to be a sign

Jesus in His teaching to His disciples about His return said this. Mat 24:33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.

The establishing of Israel back in the land is a fulfillment of Ezekiel 37! It reminds us that God says what He means and means what He says! It is also a reminder that we are to be preparing for Jesus return! As we look at these signs let us remember like Noah, we can’t stop the rain, but we can build the boat! Let us live in the light of prophecy, remembering Jesus words Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.