“Something to Give”

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

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6)  

The man had been crippled since birth.  Everyday someone would carry him to the temple where he would sit and beg.  “Alms for the poor cripple” he’d mutter as people would walk past him on their way into the temple to worship God.  He was a “fixture” at the temple.  People were aware of him and had grown used to his “call”, but they didn’t “see” him. 

And so, it was at the hour of prayer, that Peter and John made their way into the temple, and this time they “saw” the man. Peter hadn’t come to the temple to give his “tithe”, so he didn’t have any coins on him.  He, like John, had come to pray.  Some of us might have walked right past the man, careful not to make eye contact.  I might have told myself, “Well I don’t have anything to give to this man”.  But Peter knew he had more to give than just money. 

Peter had seen the risen Christ.  Peter had experienced forgiveness, true forgiveness.  Peter had been filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Peter had something to give the man.  He gave him something that would change his life.  He gave him Jesus.  

“Jesus is Praying for You”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.
[John 17:20 NIV] 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,

Jesus’ prayer here in John 17, is one of the great treasures of scripture. Jesus would soon be betrayed, falsely accused, beaten and ultimately crucified. Yet with the weight of all this pending who does He pray for?
Nearly 60% of this prayer Jesus prays for His disciples, and almost 25% of His prayer is for you and me! How amazing is it that 2,000 years ago, as Jesus was preparing for the cross, we were on His heart! Jesus emphasizes two things for us who, believe in Jesus, through the disciples’ message.
The first in unity. Four times Jesus is going to refer to “oneness” or “unity.” The idea is that we are no longer a fractured piece of broken humanity, but that we are now whole in Christ. The image-of-God fully restored through the work of Jesus and the Spirit in us! Jesus says that this unity will reflect His love to the world.
Secondly Jesus expresses His desire for us to one day be with Him. To see Jesus as He truly is and to experience the glory of Heaven.
Let His prayer fill your heart and mind today! May the unity of Christ in you and you in Him reveal the fullness of who you were created to be. May the hope of heaven fill us with excitement and motivation to share His love with the world around us!

“A Tender Savior”

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

John Eight rocks my world every time. I love how John juxtaposes the story of the woman caught in adultery with the self-righteous Pharisees. Jesus was gracious with the woman -when no one else would dare. Jesus was the only one qualified to condemn her, but He did not. He told her to “Go and sin no more.” Then when dealing with the powerful, well connected leaders – the Pharisees, Jesus wallops them because of their pride and their hidden ungodliness. “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

I am not sure where you see yourself in the story, but I need a Savior who is both kind and tender with me, a grave sinner. But I also need a savior that is willing to pull my covers, and show me that PRIDE is a soul-rotting wretchedness. Let Him, the great I AM, meet you right where you are today. Let him confront you with the truth and take His hand – it’s not stretched out in judgment but in grace and in love.  Sending HUGE hugs,

“I’m a Living Testimony”

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

Jesus told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations... You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:46-48 

Jesus appeared to his disciples in his resurrected body. They were frightened, and so Jesus asked them, “Why are your hearts filled with doubt”? The disciples did not expect that Jesus would rise from the dead. He explained to the disciples that everything that had happened was announced by him. He reminds them that he spoke to them all those things that were written of Him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. Jesus told them that the Scriptures should be fulfilled: The Messiah should suffer, die, and rise on the third day and they should proclaim in the name of Jesus the repentance for the forgiveness of sins. God’s plan was coming to pass. He announced these events long time ago through his prophets.  

Now that the Scriptures had been fulfilled with Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection, the message of repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to others by his followers. 

A witness is one who personally witnesses something; he has a first-hand encounter and then testifies of what he has seen. We might not be able to preach but we can bear a living testimony of the incarnated, crucified, resurrected, and ascended Christ.  

“Three-Hour Tour”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Rich Cathers.
We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; (Numbers 11:5)

The Israelites were just a little over a year out from having been delivered from Egypt. During that time, they had seen God miraculously bring judgment on their Egyptian masters. They had seen the Red Sea part. They had seen water gushing out of a Rock in the desert. They had heard God’s voice speak from Mount Sinai. They had eaten manna in the wilderness.
Yet a year of wandering in a desert was getting old for some people. Some of the people were recalling fond memories of those days back in Egypt. They didn’t recall the difficulties of slavery, but oh how they remembered those onions and garlic. And so, they complained. Over and over again we see the Israelites grumbling, griping, and complaining. Their grumbling will result in stretching out their desert wanderings from a few weeks into forty years. It reminds me of Gilligan’s Island and that famous “three-hour tour”.
I know that some of us do not have the fondest of memories from this last year. Yet beloved, let us not forget who God is and the plans He has for us. His plans include a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11). The shortest route through this desert isn’t on the path of complaining or reminiscing. The quickest route is on the road of trusting God. Let Him know how much you appreciate His work in your life. Let’s move forward through this wilderness.

False Assumptions

This Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.

[Luk 13:2 NIV] 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?

Here Jesus is confronted with one of the great presuppositions of fallen man. Jesus is dealing with this mindset that, “bad things, only happen to bad people.”

While we don’t know much about these two tragedies’ the first seems to involve the murder of a group of Galileans which was made worse by Pilate mocking their deaths mingling their blood with pagan sacrifices. The other event seemed to be a construction accident where a tower collapsed and caused the death of eighteen men (:4).

It seems the people were rejecting Jesus’ warnings about the need for repentance as they assumed wrongfully that because they were free from tragedy, they must be right with God.

Jesus uses the illustration of the construction collapse (:4) to remind them that tomorrow is promised to no one. The implication that the men who died in the ambush were no worse sinners than those who died in the accident. The lesson Jesus wanted them to focus on was not “why” it happened but “how” we respond to it.

While we don’t have control over all the dangerous in our lives our biggest issue is not our mortality but our immortality. Jesus told the crowd in Matt 5:45 – “the rain falls on the just and unjust.” Our job is not to judge our lives based on the false assumption that we are better or worse than others but on the Word of God.

 May the tragedies and struggles of the world around us teach us to treasure the moments, number our days, and guard our hearts and mouths from becoming like Job’s friends.

Prescription for Enemies

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

Jesus never ceases to amaze me. As I am reading Luke 6, I see Jesus heal the lowest and the least and offend those who thought they were righteous. I see Jesus give this simple beautiful teaching that is so important for us to follow. Luke 6: 27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Jesus has a prescription for those that are making themselves your enemy, that is to love them and do good to them. Go out of your way to practically show God’s love for them. I was not universally liked in High School. I had some close friends and some people who hated my guts!! I was having particular difficulty with two guys who despised the very ground I walked on. My dad said “Dan, love them. Heap God’s love on them. Speak kindness to them, it will deflate the hate in their sails. That’s what Jesus would do.” Dad was right and by finding a way to love them as they were excruciatingly mean to me, I won them as some of my closest friends… Follow the way of Jesus, love those that are different, bless those that are mean, find ways to do good to them and for them. Standing with you and Sending HUGE hugs,

Daniel

“Overcoming Life’s Pressures”

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 to follow Jesus’ example of obedience and faithfulness to God.

“Misunderstanding”

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

… Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? (Mark 8:17)

In Mark 8, we have a common theme running through the chapter:  Misunderstanding.  It seems that the disciples were often misunderstanding what Jesus was saying or doing.  When He warned them about the teaching of the Pharisees (v.15), they thought He was saying something about bread.  Later, Jesus’ healing of a blind man would be an illustration of how the disciples didn’t quite get things right the first time.  The first time Jesus touched the blind man, he didn’t “see” things clearly.  It took a “second touch” before he could see right (v.25). When Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was, Peter did get the correct answer, “You are the Christ” (v.29).  Yet soon afterwards Peter is rebuking Jesus for saying that He was going to be crucified (v.32).  Wrong! Jesus corrected Peter’s theology and said that everyone who follows Jesus needs to learn to take up their cross.

It’s not a bad idea to check with others when you are wondering what God is trying to do or say.  It’s not necessarily the end of the world if we misunderstand Jesus the first time.  We are after all just human like the disciples.  Yet it is foolish to think that we don’t need others to challenge our incorrect thinking from time to time.  Stay connected with others.  Share your ideas.  Be open to correction.

“I Promise”

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

[Exo 6:9 NIV] 9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.

Chapter six begins with this amazing list of promises. God is responding to Moses’ concern over Pharaoh increasing the burden on the Israelites. “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh”, “I appeared,” “I established,” “I have heard,” “I have remembered,” “I will bring you out,” “I will free you,” “I will redeem you,” “I will take you as my own,” “I will be your God,” “I will bring you to the land,” “I will give it to you as a possession.”

This is one of the great lists of the lengths that God will go for His people. Over and over, we see what God has done, and what He promises He will do. One cannot imagine hearing this list and not being encouraged!

However, verse nine says that the people would not listen because they were discouraged. The current challenges they were facing drowned out the promises of God.

Can you relate to this? Is the overwhelming frustration of COVID, elections, finances, and family keeping you from hearing Him?

First take a moment to look back at what God has already done for you. Now look at what God is telling you He has done for you right now. Last look at what God is promising He will do!

What is amazing is that in spite of their unbelief God still delivered on His promises! Our faith won’t keep us from difficulty, but it will help get us through it! Hold fast to God’s Word! He will deliver on His promises!