“Worship Despite the Challenges”

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

In our reading this week, we see John describing a scene of enormous beauty. We get a small glimpse of what heaven is like. We get to see something beautiful that is going on in the Throne-room. The four living creatures, and the twenty-four elders all fall down and worship the king of kings.

The hard times that we are facing right now, won’t be solved by worship, and yet as we worship, the Lord fills us with the strength that we need. We need His strength and His grace to face the loss of loved ones, the challenges of change and the difficulties that we face.

We are made for worship; we are made for connection. As we bow down in worship to the King of Kings, He does for us that we cannot do for ourselves. He forms our hearts and molds our character even in the midst of great heartache and difficulty. Keep worshipping, keep praying and know that we are with you!!

Sending ENORMOUS hugs,

Daniel

“True Love”

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

[1Jo 4:8 NKJV] He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Surprisingly the word “love” is used more times in this chapter than any other chapter in the bible! So many amazing truths about love in this chapter!    

Verses 7, 11, and 21 all challenge us to be “loving.” It is quite a turn-around from this “son-of-thunder” whom Jesus nicknamed in the gospels (because he wanted to call down fire on the Samaritans) to the now “apostle-of-love.” We see here in this chapter some of what helped shape and change John’s heart.

Verse 8 tells us that a lack of love in our life reflects a lack of relationship with God. To “know” in vs. 8 implies not a head knowledge but an experiential knowledge. When I have experienced God’s love, it impacts my ability to love others!

I am so grateful that John didn’t stop at the statement “God is love,” but he takes it a step further to describe what that means. John shows us that true love, “agape”, is not about what feels good but about what God did! Agape is about sacrifice; it is not about “getting” but about “giving.” John says when we have seen and experienced this love from Jesus, it enables us to “agape” others as well.

Have you let the “agape” of God fill your heart and mind recently? Take some time today to dwell on God’s love. Let it remove the fears and insecurites that undermine our relationship with Him and others! Let the cross remind you of His limitless love for you and let it inspire that same, selfless, servant-hearted, love for the world around you!

“Grace in Hard Times”

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

The Apostle Peter reminds us that we will go through difficult times. He gives us very specific instructions about how we are grow through these challenging times. 1 Peter 5:6-7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant…

Peter calls us to remain humble, and reminds us to cast our cares upon the LORD. God will lift us up in due time. Peter reminds us to be sober(clear-minded) and to stay vigilant because our REAL enemy is the devil: “…because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Your real enemies are those demons that cause division, and lead people into destruction!

Hard times are upon us, and what we do with them will determine how we grow in this season. Dig deep in God’s word, stay humble, keep focused in prayer – not elevating yourself. Stay in step with the Spirit, even when He calls you to do REALLY hard things!

Sending ENORMOUS hugs,

Daniel

“Only God can Satisfy You”

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

Jeremiah 2…What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me?

God begins by reminding Israel that he had been so good to them. He had led them through the wilderness to a land that was already fertile and lush and productive for them before they got there, and he had destroyed all their enemies. But Israel abandoned God to go after their own desires, they worshipped other gods/idols as the source of blessing, they abandoned God to put their trust and security through alliances with other nations rather than finding it in God alone. God confronted and accused them of failing to their covenant, he condemned their attitude and announced their punishment.

Abandoning God for our own desires and putting our hope on other things or people will end up in disappointment because God is the only one who can really bless and give us satisfaction. He wants us to keep in mind that He will always give us the best; otherwise, if we abandon Him to go after what we desire and think is best, we will end up disappointed and the consequences will be devastating, because He will not bless us in the process. Instead, He will use our failure to correct us and bring us back to Him. God is faithful and expects us to be faithful in our relationship with Him. God wants our loyalty, and trust that He will guide us and supply all that is necessary along the way.

“Living and Active”

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

The writer to the Hebrews shows us in chapters 3&4 that he is quite the expositional teacher. An expositional teacher is one who makes his points and lessons by explaining a text in Scripture.  Our writer takes his readers through an exposition of Psalm 95, written by the Psalmist hundreds of years earlier. Psalm 95 itself is an exposition of an even earlier text, from Exodus 17, written by Moses fourteen hundred years before the book of Hebrews.  In Hebrews 3&4, the writer brings out lessons of how we need to keep going, encourage one another, and most of all to believe God. It’s at this point that the writer lays out an important truth:

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

You see, these stories in the Old Testament (as well as the New) aren’t just dusty old texts meant for an earlier time. God’s word is alive. Stories, principles, warnings, and promises are all just as important today as they were in ancient times. I find myself constantly amazed how I can be reading something written thousands of years ago, and the text can still jump off the page and hit me in the heart.

Stay in the Book beloved. Before you read, ask God to speak to you. Read, observe, listen, and learn. God wants to guide your life today just as He has guided countless others through the centuries.

If you’d like to learn a little more about Hebrews 4:12, you can check out this video I made for our “Bible Reading” class on Thursday nights –

“Tomorrow’s Leaders”

Father holding newborn baby. Portrait of a newborn girl closeup

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

[Jer 1:6 NIV] 6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.

Joan of Arc turned a war around at 17! Alexander the great was winning battles at 16! Bobbie Fisher was a Chess Grand Master at 15! Nadia Comaneci is still the youngest person to receive a perfect ten at age 14! Mozart wrote his first symphony at 8!

We should not underestimate God’s ability to use young people to impact the world! Commentators put Jeremiah’s call when he was about 17 years old. Set in the time of King Josiah who became King at 8 years old and led one of the great reforms of Jerusalem around 20 years old!

During this dark and difficult time God was calling an unlikely hero to the courageous and challenging task of warning the nation about its impending judgment. God told Jeremiah that his calling began in the womb! [Jer 1:5] “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

As we survey the dark and difficult times we are in and prepare for the coming King let us remember how God throughout history called out young men and women to be his voice and instrument to help fulfill His plans. Josiah, Jeremiah, and later Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah and Esther! Who is God raising up in our day to sound the alarm, to call people to prepare for the coming judgment? Let us be the kind of parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, siblings, and mentors that are affirming, inspiring, and educating these next heroes. Let us also be the advocates of the future hero’s being formed in the womb! You and I have a role to play, as Nelson Mandela said, “children of today are the leaders of tomorrow…”

“Read the Scriptures, Every Day”

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

When I read 2 Timothy chapter 3 its easy to focus on the negative. There will be perilous times, difficult people, and ungodliness of every variety. This is both true and obvious in our time. We live in a VERY divisive time. And in the midst of all that divisiveness, I would encourage you to let God, His word and His Spirit change you and use you. What I want to draw your attention to is how this chapter ends. 2 Tim 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Read the Scriptures – EVERY day!! Focus your mind and emotions on understanding them and obeying them. God is still speaking, God is still equipping and sending His people. God’s word will correct us when we are wrong, fill us with all that God wants for us and get us ready to do His will -His way.

Sending ENORMOUS hugs,

Daniel

“Pray for All Men, Even Those You Disagree With”

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

Beloveds, 1 Timothy 2 encourages us to persist in prayer. It says: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” ALL men, that is fairly inclusive!! Pray for your family, pray for your friends, pray for those that set themselves up as your enemy. “Pray for the King” – that exhortation instructs us to pray for President Biden and for his administration. We need to pray for our representatives. Pray for the Governor of your state and pray for the mayor of your city. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Prayer will lead us into a quiet, peaceable, godly life.

              When I pray, it doesn’t always change my circumstances, but it ALWAYS changes my heart for the better. It softens me and makes me like Jesus and then my responses become more and more like the King of Glory!!

Standing with YOU – Sending GINORMOUS hugs,

Daniel

“Path to Peace”

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

The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. (Isaiah 32:17)

Isaiah writes of a day when a coming king will make all things “right” (Is.32:1).  He will reign in “righteousness”.  We know this to be Jesus when He returns to set up His kingdom on earth.

The Hebrew word for “righteous” (tzedaqah) can carry the idea of honesty, justice, blameless behavior, and at its root is the idea of being right with God. Righteousness begins and ends with God.  We can’t become “righteous” without the sacrifice of Jesus (2Cor. 5:21), and ultimately God is the one who declares us to be “righteous”.

When you find this “righteousness” that comes by simply believing in Jesus (Rom. 5:1), you will find yourself at “peace” with God.  There is a settling and assurance that only comes from your relationship with Jesus.

Yet God’s desire for righteousness in your life goes beyond your initial faith in Christ.  God wants to work righteousness into your life, changing you from the inside out.  God has placed a spark in your heart that longs to follow Jesus more closely, to honor God more correctly, and shine the clean light of God to those around you.

Sometimes the trouble and anxiety we experience can be from our not paying attention to the Spirit of God, who is that spark that nudges you towards holiness.  There is a measure of peace, quietness, and assurance that comes from making “right” choices.  Yield afresh to Him today.  Say “yes” to God’s promptings towards what’s right. Stay on the path.

“Low Battery”

This week’s Pastor to Person was written by Pastor Caleb Beller.
[Phl 4:13 NKJV] 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Ever since I was a chaplain, I have slept with my phone next to my bed. Like many of you, my nightly routine has me placing the phone on the charger, and then falling asleep. Every now and I again I wake up only to realize I didn’t put it on the charger correctly or somehow it didn’t charge!
We have all quoted this verse when trying to do difficult tasks, deal with difficult people, or endure difficult circumstances. Although some have tried to turn this verse into a “super-hero” prayer, Paul is talking about how we get through life when it feels like your battery is on empty!
In verse (12) Paul describes three difficult life circumstances. He talks about being spiritually (abased), physically (hungry), and emotionally (in-need) empty! However, in verse (11) Paul says that these things helped teach him the secret of contentment. That no matter how empty his “batteries” got he didn’t have to lose hope.
How could Paul in prison talk about being fully charged in all these draining circumstances. The secret was verse (13) When we are plugged in to the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done for us! When we are plugged into His love, grace, power, and promises Paul says we are running on His batteries!
Are you running on empty? How are you trying to recharge? Paul says that when we are plugged into Jesus God doesn’t promise to take us out, but He will get us through! Not only will His power get you through, but it will shine though you