“A Life of Praise”

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

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Psalms 116:5-6

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. Some of us even cried out when we did not have a relationship with Him, yet 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.

“What and How”

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

David had a good idea.  A really good idea.  He wanted to bring the Ark of the Covenant into his new capital city of Jerusalem. The Ark was meant to be a visual picture of God’s throne.  It was a symbol of God’s presence.  And as David said at the time, “for we have not inquired at it since the days of Saul” (1Chron. 13:3).  So they loaded the ark on an oxcart and started the trip up the hill to Jerusalem.  Along the way an ox stumbled, the cart tottered, a priest reached out to steady the Ark, and a catastrophe ensued. The priest died.  David wondered if his idea wasn’t so good after all.  The procession stopped and the Ark was parked at a nearby house.  A few months later, someone had the brilliant idea to see if God’s Word had anything to say about moving the Ark, and sure enough it did.  They found out that moving the Ark like a Philistine Moving Company (by oxcart) wasn’t how God wanted His throne handled.  God wanted His throne carried by people. 

And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord. (1 Chronicles 15:15)

Now I know that sometimes we overthink things, and are so concerned about details that we miss the bigger picture in life.  But beloved, there are some things where God really cares about “how” we do things.  Our “what” may be right, but our “how” might be a little off.

Sharing the gospel is one of those things.  God loves it when His gospel is carried on our shoulders.  He cares that we give a personal touch when we share.  He wants people to see Jesus in us.

I may have the “what” correct in the priorities of my life.  Just remember that God may be concerned in “how” you do things as well.

“Limitless Love”

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

[Psalm 103:12 NIV] 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

“Clear!”, “Again!” are the cries of the medic trying to shock a heart back into rhythm. Every medical show we have seen, at some point climaxes in the scene where the heart rate monitor flatlines and the “paddles” come out. 

Here the psalmist is speaking to his innermost being about the limitless love of God. Like a shock to a spirit out of rhythm these declarations of who God is and what He has done are meant to rouse the Kings inmost being.

David recounts what God has done for him, and for his people. In verse 8 he recalls God’s great pronouncement of His Name. The LORD, merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy His heart begins to soar with praise as thinks about His limitless love. The highest point in the heavens (vs.11) isn’t high enough to define His mercy! David describes His love in the most scientifically accurate and incomprehensible way possible—as far as East is to West, He has removed our transgression from us! North and South meet, but East and West is an eternal expanse of grace.

Has this last year, month, week or day brought you to a place of spiritual cardiac arrest? Read this Psalm again and let the facts of who Christ is, and what He has done to rescue us and this world, revive your heart and renew your praise!

“With Success Stay Humble”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Daniel Grant.
I love it when things go well. I am a HUGE fan of success, but there is always that temptation when things are going well, to be filled with godless Pride. We see this with one of Judah’s kings. He had just come back from a HUGE victory. He had walked in the will of the Lord and then got filled with himself and challenged Israel in the North. 2 Kings 14:8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us face one another in battle.” And the humbling that Amaziah received was EPIC!
Pride is a killer. It kills joy, it slaughters success. It robs us of the God-given ability to focus on what God has for us, and always focuses us on what ISN’T ours. Beloved, don’t get suckered by pride. Hold on to what God has for you and rejoice with others. As you lift others up, God will lift you up in the right time and right way. James 4:6 “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Grab ahold of the Grace of God that prevents Pride!!
Sending HUGE hugs,

“Trusting God For Your Provisions”

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

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”  Sometime later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 1 Kings 17.

The word of the Lord came to Elijah twice and sent him to a brook where he was going to drink water and the ravens were going to feed him. When the brook became dry the Lord sent him to the heart of the enemy’s territory, so a widow could take care of him.

It did not make sense the methods and places where Elijah was being sent. Ravens would not even provide for their offspring and widows would beg for food so they could feed their children. but he obeyed and trusted the word of the Lord.

God had a mission for Elijah and his mission was accompanied by provisions. God alone has the power to open the heavens and supply the needs of those who obey and trust in Him. If we choose to obey His word and trust Him, we will receive and experience His blessings.

“Finish the Temple”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Rich Cathers.
So that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:11)

It took him seven years, but Solomon had finally finished building the Temple in Jerusalem. During the dedication ceremony, sacrifices were made, the people praised, and God showed up. Can you even imagine being a person in the crowd seeing such an amazing thing – God manifested His presence.
A temple is where a “god” lives. Of course, God is far bigger than the Temple in Jerusalem, but you get the idea. The Bible tells us that because of the Holy Spirit in us, our bodies are also a Temple (1Cor. 6:19). It’s where He dwells. The Bible also tells us that when we as believers gather as a church, we too are a Temple (1Cor. 3:16). It’s where He dwells. Best of all, the Bible tells us that God is “enthroned” in the praises of His people (Ps. 22:3). In other words, that’s the moment that He “shows up”, when we give Him praise. It’s where He dwells.
The other day I ran into someone that I hadn’t been around for awhile. I almost didn’t recognize him. When you read your Bible or walk into church, do you recognize God and His presence? Come and join the worshippers around God’s throne as we give Him honor and praise. You just might realize that God has been here all along. And perhaps you might realize afresh the great love that He has for you. Let’s finish the Temple. Let’s give Him praise. It’s where He dwells.

“Be Still”

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

[Psa 46:10 NKJV] 10 Be still, and know that I [am] God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Growing up in Southern California I remember doing earthquake drills in school. We were cognizant in buildings and unknown places where we should go, what we should do if the earth began to shake! Get under a desk, get in a doorway, get outside, all these options were preferable to, being still!

As the Psalmist describes the situations around him. He talks about the earth being moved, the mountains being carried into the sea, the waters roaring and nations raging. All these things illicit a sense of fear or confusion. It gives us the sense of the world being out of control.

Our natural tendency is to react! We want to run to, or from the problem. We want to fix or escape the turmoil. Yet, in the midst of the chaos the Psalmist declares that, God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble.  (:1)

The Psalmist’s word to us in the chaos is to be still. To stop, to stay, relax. It seems so counterintuitive to do “nothing”, but it is a command not to be lazy, but to be faith filled. To trust that God is able, and willing to meet us in the chaos and show us how He is working all of these things together for His good.

Today you might be in a position of wanting to act or re-act out of fear, confusion, or frustration. Let this word encourage you today, Be still and know. Rest first in the promises and presence of God. Let Him lead you, guide you, protect you and provide for you regardless of the circumstance. So that He will get the glory and we get the gift of seeing His great love!

“Don’t Despise”

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

There is a danger here I want to warn you about. It is a simple slide to ‘look upon’ another believer and to despise them in your heart. It begins by being uncharitable with your thoughts. It progresses as an emotive decision to go from “I disagree with them” to “disliking them.” The slides from there and slips into “despising them!”  

Watch out for the sinister slide from dislike to despising. Michal, David’s first wife made this mistake in 2 Sam 6:16 Now, as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart.” For those of you that remember how this story plays out, she confronts him, she despises him and she ends up living the rest of her life childless and mostly alone. Don’t get suckered into the enemy’s trap of disagree, dislike and then despise!!

Sending HUGE hugs,  

“Listening to the Voice of God”

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

Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, listen the voice of the words of the Lord.  Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel…  Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. 1 Samuel 15

Samuel makes it clear for Saul. God, the one who chose you as king, is giving you these instructions, so now listen to THE VOICE OF THE LORD, go to Amalek and kill them all. But Saul left King Amalek and some animals alive. Samuel asked him “Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord?” And Saul responded, “Because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.”

Saul was obligated to listen to God’s voice, not to anybody else’s. When Saul decided to ignore God’s voice, he sinned against Him. God rejected Saul for ignoring His voice and instead listening to the voices of others. Saul will no longer hear God’s voice, because God will not speak to him again. How many times does God speak to us and we choose to ignore His voice, preferring to listen to other’s voices? Ignoring God’s voice will have consequences in our lives. If God is asking you to do something, do not fear what people might say. Instead, listen and obey His voice, and leave the results to Him.

“God Takes Care of Himself”

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

And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. (1 Samuel 5:4)  

I think that sometimes we feel like we have to defend God.  I start thinking that if I don’t respond to this idiot and his arguments against God, who will?  The Israelites had found themselves in a battle, and they wanted to make sure their “god” won.  Yet to their surprise, God allowed the Philistines to win.  The Philistines even captured the “Ark” and put what they thought was the Israelite “god” into the temple of their god, Dagon.  Let me just say it didn’t work out too well for Dagon.  Israel found out that God was big enough to defend Himself.  

Sometimes we carry just a bit too much responsibility in things.  We think that if we don’t come up with that super closing argument, then the person we are sharing the gospel with won’t accept Jesus.  When it comes to dealing with sin in our life, we feel like we have to “white knuckle” it and fight the battle by ourselves.  We get to thinking that when we fail at temptation we just need to “try harder”. 

May I gently remind you that we serve a powerful God.  He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.  He wants to be involved in our lives.  Sharing the gospel with a friend is important, but don’t forget the power isn’t in you to “convert” anyone.  God has built the power into the gospel message itself (Rom. 1:16).  God certainly wants us to find victory over sin, but He tells us it’s when we learn to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit that we learn how to win the battle (Gal. 5:16). 

Now don’t misunderstand me here.  I’m not saying that we don’t play a part in these things.  When it comes to sharing the gospel, people won’t be able to respond if we don’t tell them.  When it comes to living a life that pleases God, we have a responsibility to obey and act under the influence of the Holy Spirit. 

Just don’t forget where the real power is.  The real power is not in you.  It’s in God.  Take a step back today and make a choice to yield to Him.  Yield to His leading.  Yield to His power.  Then take a step forward to follow Him.