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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Little faith

I have often wondered why David picked up five stones when he faced the giant Goliath.

Some scholars think that it was because Goliath had four brothers. They suggest that it was David's intention to wipe out Goliath's entire family.

In picking up five stones, David was saying, "I"m not just going to kill Goliath, but if his brothers want to pick a fight, bring them on!"

Other scholars believe that the five stones represent the letters in the name of the person who would bring deliverance from the Goliath of sin - J.E.S.U.S.

But there is another thought still. Possibly, David picked up four more stones than he needed because he was afraid he might miss.

Perhaps David didn't have as much faith as we thought he had. Perhaps he went into the battle scared and trembling and wondering what was happening (as most of us do during such difficult, impossible circumstances).

Here's the point - it doesn't take a lot of faith; it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed - just a little faith.

You don't have to have great faith, just a little faith.

Here's God's word to you today: Always remember that God will never send you into battle against a great, gigantic problem where you only have enough to defeat him. He will give you more than enough. One stone would be enough, but God will give you more than enough.

I know that you will agree with me this day - God is able.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A reminder


They are good for us from time to time.

Reminders such as "brush your teeth".

"Don't eat too much fried food".

"Wear your seat belt".

"Have a daily devotion time."

Let me give us a reminder today of how we are to act and respond as we come to gather together in worship on Sunday mornings.

I don't give this reminder to point fingers, or to prove a point (I am a pastor, not an evangelist), but to remind us of the fact that God takes us seriously as we come to worship Him on a Sunday morning, and so therefore, we are to take him seriously.

Now please don't misunderstand me, we can't always be alert and totally there each time we come. God has not wired us that way. Sometimes we come with burdens on our hearts and minds. Sometimes we come on a Sunday morning having just dealt with a relational problem. Sometimes we are tired. Sometimes we are bored.

And on top of that, sometimes we find it hard to pay attention because we can be attentively ADD. I understand that (Sometimes my mind wanders while I am speaking, and I am the pastor).

My purpose is not to throw stones, but simple give us a reminder.

Let's look at a hypothetical situation. What if you are sitting and talking to someone across the table from you. And what if the whole time you are sitting and talking to them they are sitting there with their hands in their pockets looking down, or they are whispering to someone sitting next to them, or they are dozing off, or they are reading some magazine or book? Will you continue to speak to them?

What if you were to go over and knock on the door at someones house to visit, and every time you go to visit, they just come to the door and says, "Oh, it's you again; come on in," would you continue to go?"

Of course the answer to both question is "no". Why is that? They are not paying attention to you ; they are disinterested. When you are not treated with love, respect, or even common courtesy, you don't want to speak or visit with someone.

What does this have to do with God? Everything. He is the One who created you and everything around you. He deserves respect, honor and praise.

David writes in Psalms, "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him."

Just a reminder today......

Monday, June 28, 2010

thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend

I was thrilled on Saturday as I took Debbie and my mother-in-law, June Sites through our new church campus on 183rd!

Our church sign is now up, most of the rooms are painted, the flooring in the kitchen is being put in, our transition is coming soon!

As I shared yesterday in both services, I am as excited as a dog with three tails to wag. Great stuff! It won't be long.

In both morning services (specifically in the first service) there was a wonderful sense of God's presence. I spoke on the subject of forgiveness.

The punchline? Forgiveness doesn't make the other person right, forgiveness sets us free.

And then...the church picnic ended up being a rousing success. We had a great time of relationship, along with softball, swimming and at the end (I was told) a water "fight."

All in all a great day.

And then...yesterday afternoon, Christie came over from Michigan with Georgia. They both are sweethearts. Georgia is so full of life. I love them both dearly.

All right, I must admit that I am back on the White Sox bandwagon. I was never really "off" of it, but it has been tough (up until the last three weeks) to stay interested. All of a sudden, 11 in a row. Huge, big time stuff.

Finally, a loss yesterday. But still. Back in the pennant race.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


You know, I deal with sin all the time, how about you?

I got hit with one today. Jealousy.

A few moments ago, I was reading about Rick Warren and the Saddleback Church. They needed some land to build a wedding chapel.

A wedding chapel.

They set their sites on some property owned by the Crystal Cathedral. The cost? $20 million dollars.

20 million dollars.

They prayed and left it in God's hand, no wanting to spend $20 million dollars on a piece of property for a wedding chapel.

That's cool. I agree with that.

Somehow, God worked it out to where Mark Green, one of the owner's of Hobby Lobby, found out about their need and bought the property that they were looking at (did I say that it costs $20 million dollars) and is leasing it back to Saddleback Church for $1 dollar a month.

Now I know my first response should be, "Praise God, you've answered Rick Warren's prayer one more time." I realize that I should be thinking, "Go God, way to come through for that great megachurch."

But....I must first response was jealousy, envy and a even little bit of anger.

"What in the world are you doing, Lord?" "I mean, Father, here we are struggling, working hard, serving with a group of people who are sacrificing in their giving, and you give the "wealthy church" a 20 million dollar piece of property?" Grumble, grumble, grumble. Whine, whine, whine.

And here's the punchline - "it's not fair, God." "We need $6.5 million to pay off our building, and we're doing YOUR work, God, come on."

"What are we, chump change?"

That's a lousy attitude. Oh, I could take you to scriptures that teach us that we are not to "compare ourselves with ourselves"....but the bottom line's a lousy attitude. A sinful attitude.'s my sincere prayer, "Father, forgive me for my sin of jealousy. Forgive me for being envious of what you are doing for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I am, Lord, grateful for what you are doing in my life and in the life of our church. I am grateful for the miracles that you have performed for us along the way. I pray continual blessing on Saddleback Church. May you bless them in an even greater way than you have. Amen."

"And Lord, maybe just a few million thrown our way as well?" (Sorry about that...I couldn't resist).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

mom and pops day

I have a confession to make. In reading the blog, "" (you can find it to the right of my blog), I fall into the category of preaching on Mom's Day and Dad's day, exactly as Jonathan Acuff describes:

He writes:

"On Mother’s Day, the sermon most pastors preach is like this:

“Moms are amazing. They are like human unicorns, special, beautiful, smelling of lavender and night jasmine, deserving of our gratitude and our complete affection and pedicures. Mothers, please stand up so that we can shower you with applause and have the ushers give you roses commemorating this moment when we, the body of Christ, were able to bask in your combined loveliness.”

On Father’s Day however, the sermon most pastors preach is like this:

“Dads, what are you doing? Seriously, get your act together! It’s time to be leaders of your households. It’s time to put away jobs that consume you. It’s time to put down your Blackberrys and serve your family with your heart and your soul. Cowboy up already! Your role is critical to the family and it’s time for you to get motivated and active in your family, your community and your world.”

One feels like a Lifetime movie, the other an episode of “Scared Straight,” where high school students are forced to listen to convicts yell at them about their lives.

Dads, am I wrong? Do you need to cry on my shoulder at the “Wild at Heart,” live like William Wallace style sermon you received two days ago? Moms, am I wrong? Like my own mother who told me that there’s no such holiday as “Kid’s day” because everyday is kid’s day, is one sermon not going nearly far enough in our appreciation of you? (And it’s not moms, you are in fact amazing.)"

So true.

Now then, in my defense, sometimes we guys just don't get it unless someone practically bonks us over the head. We can be stubborn. We can be black and white. I hate to admit it, but we can be well, sometimes kind of ignorant of what is really going on in life.

We need someone to speak to us directly (in love).

Besides, far be it from me to speak in a direct manner to a group of women in which I knew my wife (whom I love with all of my heart) was present. I am not a stupid man (at least most of the time).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Conversations with God

Philip Yancey has written:

"If prayer stands as the place where God and human beings meet, then I must learn about prayer. Most of my struggles in the Christian life circle around the same two themes: why God doesn't act the way we want God to, and why I don't act the way God wants me to. Prayer is the precise point where those themes converge."

I encourage you to read that quote a couple of times, if not several times.

It is true. It is correct. It is on target.

In my conversations with God, I do find that when it comes down to it, my dialogue with Him is based on:

- Why aren't you doing things in the way I think they should go?

- Why can't I act in the way you want me to act?

I am trying to make it a point in my times of sharing with God to go beyond those two questions. To talk about life.....what do you think about this, God? What do you think about that? Wasn't that great, Lord? Did you see that, Father?

To go beyond "just" presenting to the Father my frustrations or needs. To really have a conversation with Him about life, about well....everything.

It's a continual dialogue with my creator.

Just a thought for a Tuesday.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

It's was great to have my daughter, Becky with us for a couple of days. Our son, George, also came back from Paris. Great kids. I Love them a lot.

I also appreciated all of the hugs and words of appreciation from Christie, Becky and George.

I am thankful for their love.

Yesterday turned out to be a very important Sunday morning for our church, especially in the matter of our life groups.

In our vision statement, we are asking everyone to come on Sunday mornings, attend a life group and serve in a ministry.

I was thrilled as yesterday Pastor Beverly, Helen Nunez and Beatrice Pereda helped us announce:

- Seniors life group. Our seniors have been meeting for 40 years on Tuesday mornings. They are going to continue, as a life group in the home of Jose and Maria Perez, starting in August. I am excited that they have embraced the life group concept and are going to continue to meet together.

- 20 something’s life group. It has been a burden of mine that we have a life group for young people, ages 18-30. 80% of all Assemblies of God kids leave the church after they graduate from high school. Helen and Beatrice announced that God has laid it on their hearts to start a group in September! I am thrilled about this. They both just recently became members, and are in their 20’s.

Also, I had Diane Packer share. My life group went over to her house last Thursday evening and spent almost 2 ½ hours cleaning up her yard, mowing and trimming trees. We then took her out to dinner. I explained to our church family that this is true Christianity. What we do from Monday morning through Saturday evening. Sunday morning is when we come together to celebrate what God has done in our lives throughout the week. Needless to say, Diane was grateful and overwhelmed by the show of Christian love. I am encouraging all life groups to do something like this as well.

To put it in “church terms”, we are in the process of moving our church from the “meeting place” to the marketplace. Sunday morning meets are important if not vital – but ministry to people in and outside of our church family is important as well.

Did you know that:

Of Jesus' 132 public appearances in [the] New Testament, 122 were in the marketplace?

Of 52 parables Jesus told, 45 had a workplace context?

Of 40 divine interventions recorded in Acts, 39 were in the marketplace?

Jesus spent his adult life as a carpenter, until age 30 when he went into a preaching ministry in the workplace?

Jesus called 12 workplace individuals, not clergy, to build his church?

Work is worship? The Hebrew word avodah is [the] root for the word from which we get the words work and worship.

Work in its different forms is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible, more than all the words used to express worship, music, praise, and singing combined?

54 percent of Jesus' reported teaching ministry arose out of issues posed by others in the scope of daily life?

May we all catch the vision of taking our church out into the "dailyness of life."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A father's patience

Knowing myself as I do, I can tell you that I am not the most patient person in the world (and Debbie can confirm that).

Patience. Long suffering.

I'm thankful that as my Father, God has patience with me - even or should I say especially when I don't deserve it.

As my heavenly Father is patient with me, so God calls us as earthly fathers to have patience with our children.

Paul writes in Ephesians 6:4, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in all the training and instruction of the Lord." "Do not exasperate your children," have patience with them. Don't rile them up by being impatient.

As my children were growing up, I sometimes succeeded at this, and sometimes I didn't. I trust that my kids were and are patient with my impatience.

It's like that story of a young father in a supermarket one day, who was pushing a shopping cart with his little son, who was strapped in the front.

The little boy was fussing, irritable, and crying. The other shoppers gave the pair a wide berth because the child would pull cans off the shelf and throw them out of the cart.

The father seemed to be very calm; as he continued down each aisle, he murmured gently: "Easy now, Donald. Keep calm, Donald. Steady, boy. It's all right, Donald."

A mother who was passing by was greatly impressed by this young father's solicitous attitude. She said, "You certainly know how to talk to an upset child—quietly and gently."

And then bending down to the little boy, she said, "What seems to be the trouble, Donald?"

"Oh no," said the father. "He's Henry. I'm Donald."

Fathers, out there, I encourage you to have patience with your children, whether they be 6 or 16.

A determination to do so is one key.

But the most powerful keys to is rely on the Holy Spirit. Truly, a father can "do all things through Christ who strengthens him." Philippians 4:13

And...when you blow it....ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness brings about healing, forgiveness brings about love, forgiveness brings about respect.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

John Wooden and life

One of my heroes growing up was John Wooden who passed away recently, four months shy of his 100th birthday.

I grew up admiring UCLA basketball, and the 10 college championships they won under Coach Wooden's legendary tenure there.

But it was his life and the way he lived his life that has been his true legacy that he has left all of us.

By all accounts, he was a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.

While his coaching and character were well known, most probably don’t know that his wife, the love of his life, preceded him in death 25 years ago. Since her death he had written her 300 love letters—one per month.

One of the greatest gifts the older generation can give the younger is a life of marital fidelity filled with genuine affection and love.

Here’s a tribute to that legacy, filmed last fall by Rick Reilly.

What an example to all of us - what an example to me!

I encourage you to copy the website address below and then paste it on google and watch an interview with Coach Wooden (it's a little over 4 minutes long).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thinking as a Christian

I desire to live a godly Christian life.

Here's what I know. It begins in with my thought life. It begins with my mind. I am only as spiritual as my thought life.

Many followers of Christ are trying to live out their faith without paying attention to their mind. "Christians without Christian minds," as one writer wrote.

It's important that we as Christians think "christianly."

We can pray as Christians.

We can worship as Christians.

We can talk as Christians.

But we are to think as Christians as well.

Let me ask you this: How is your thought life today? Would it be pure enough to place every thought that you have thought today on a screen and show it Sunday morning in a morning worship service? Probably not.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." And then in Proverbs 23:7, "For as he thinks within himself, so he is."

As Christians, we are free to have a Christian mind.

Please pay attention to this: it is a choice. Having a Christian mind is a choice that I make.

I must choose to all negative, evil and ungodly thoughts to dwell in my mind.

In other words, I must be intentional about what I allow to enter into my mind.

I turn my mind from evil thoughts, and I turn my mind toward godly ones.

How "to do" that?

I must read the Bible.

Please pay attention to this as well: I can never have a Christian mind without reading the Scriptures regularly because I CANNOT BE PROFOUNDLY INFLUENCED BY THAT WHICH I DO NOT KNOW.

However, we can't become legalistic about reading God's word by "reading the Bible through in a year." That's all well and good but the Bible nowhere demands this.

Some simply cannot read well, or fast. As Lucy told Charlie Brown: "I just completed a course in speed reading and last night I read War and Peace in one was about Russia."

Read one verse a day. Read one minute a day. At least - read.

I must read Christian books.

"Reading" is not a dirty word!

Some examples:

"Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"The Pursuit of God" by A.W. Tozer

"My Utmost for His Highest" by J. Oswald Chamber's

Let's all program our minds and think godly thoughts. And we will never be the same.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend

Last night I watched the White Sox - Cub game, switching channels every so often to see the Celtics - Lakers. Both great games.

Being the new White Sox fan that I am, I was disappointed that they lost in the top of the ninth - bases loaded, only one out - and they still did not score.

Yesterday's service was excellent. I felt God's presence in a powerful way. As a pastor, a shepherd, it thrilled my heart and almost everyone was engaged in seeking God, hands lifted, praising God, many speaking in a spiritual language for the first time.

At one point there was no music, we were praising God with only our voices. I love those times, I really do.

It really reemphasized to all of us that as we move to our new campus on 183rd street, we are going to remain a Pentecostal Church. Christ centered, but open to the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit and His moving in our lives.

Yet we must continue to "practice the presence of God," (As Brother Lawrence writes), not just on Sunday, but everyday of our lives.

Brother Lawrence writes, "The most holy practice, the nearest to daily life, and the most essential for the spiritual life, is the practice of the presence of God, that is to find joy in his divine company and to make it a habit of life, speaking humbly and conversing lovingly with him at all times, every moment, without rule or restriction, above all at times of temptation, distress, dryness, and revulsion, and even of faithlessness and sin."

May we all walk in God's presence and use our spiritual language that he has given us.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The "Now What" effect

I am not really a hockey fan, not having followed the sport down throughout the years. From time to time I like to watch hockey, I like the speed of the game and the "physicalness" of it. The guys really go after it, especially in the Stanley Cup Finals.

As you might realize by now, the Chicago BlackHawks won the Stanley Cup last night. Great for them. Great for Chicago.

You can feel and sense the whole city being uplifted and excited. A winner! A champion!

Being the sports fan that I am - I know that there is nothing like it (in the realm of sports) - to have your team win a championship!

Yet, there is always the "now what" effect that can take place, really with anything in life.

A person graduates from college - now what?

A person gets their first job - now what?

A person gets married - now what?

A person has their first child - now what?

A person gets a promotion - now what?

A person retires - now what?

A team wins the championship - now what?

Here's what I know - actually two things:

First of all, enjoy the moment. I can remember being at a church picnic at the church we first pastored in Wofford Heights, California. The planners of the picnic were already planning next year's picnic, WHILE THE PICNIC WAS STILL GOING ON."

We plan, we work, we enjoy the moment.

And then.....we use the moment to propel us to greater things for the future. Enjoy the moment and then move on. Move on to more championships, move on to greater things at work, move on to more "wonderful" things at home.

This will be the leadership challenge that we face as we move into the new facility as a church family.

We want to enjoy the moment - and then move on!

How does that apply to your life today?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Blown calls and life

A perfect game. So rare in baseball. So rare in life.

By now you perhaps know about the bad call robbing Armando Galarraga of a perfect game: The throw beat the runner. Galarraga deserves to be recognized as the 21st player in 135 years to pitch to perfection.

His accomplishment deserves to memorialized in the Hall of Fame, as all perfect games are. But it won't be, because his perfect game was taken away with a bad call on the last out.

Bad, bad call. Upsetting, especially if you play for the Detroit Tigers and especially if you were Armando Galarraga.

However, instead of being known for pitching a perfect game, Galarraga will be remembered for something greater: his response to the injustice.

Did you see it? Umpire James Joyce called the runner safe, and Galarraga smiled.

We know how other players might have responded. We've seen entire teams collapse and championships lost in the aftermath of a bad call. (St. Louis Cardinals, 1985)

But Galarraga just smiled -- albeit a sardonic "you've got to be kidding me" smile --and then he went back to the mound and got the last out. Even after the game, he refused to lash out at the umpire's mistake.

The next day he met James Joyce at home plate with forgiveness in his heart. James Joyce cried. A man's man, crying at the forgiveness given by someone whom he had hurt with a blown call. Wow.

Here's what I know. You and I will experience bad calls in life.

Things we don't deserve. Times when we are just on the verge of "greatness" and something happens to blow it all.

Blown calls are a fact of life. They come at us in different ways: The boss who gives credit to the wrong guy, the teenager who blames everyone else for their own insolence, the church member who finds fault in everything the pastor does.

The result is that sometimes you get short-changed. You deserve credit, but credit doesn't come your way, thanks to someone else's bad judgment.

It's happened to each of us before, and it will certainly happen again.

In Galarraga, we see how to respond. You don't lash out. You don't lose your heart.

You smile and go back to work. You do your job with excellence, even when you have to deal with a little unfairness along the way.

Galarraga didn't get the perfect game he deserved. But he did show fans everywhere how a sportsman plays the game.

It reminds me of how Paul praised the believers in Thessalonica for their example in the face of suffering (I Thessalonians 1:7,8), "And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord's message rang out form you not only in Macedonia and Achaia - your faith in God has become known everywhere."

Today, you have a chance to show your corner of the world how a believer responds ... to setbacks, to struggles, to criticism, to conflict, to disappointment, to injustice.

You don't lash out. You don't lose your head. You smile and keep doing your job with excellence. Others will notice.

Just some thoughts for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

changed by the Holy Spirit

One of the frustrations I have in ministry is fact that I can't change anyone.

I wish I could.

I wish I could draw people closer to the Lord.

I wish I could make them grow up.

I wish I could help people speak creatively and without malice.

I wish I could make people make right decisions in their walk with God.

But I can't.

Only God can.

All I can do is pray, do my best to set an example, and point out principles that lead to a godly walk.

I cannot make someone fall in love with Jesus.

Frances Chan writes,

"It really came home for me, literally, with my own teenage daughter, who, 18 months ago, was not in love with Jesus. I spent nights crying, bawling, praying to the Lord. Here I am known for my ability to communicate, but there was nothing I could do for my own daughter that would make her fall in love with Jesus. Of course I could still guide and lead her, but I was powerless to convict her.

I prayed, "God, either your Spirit comes into her or your Spirit doesn't. It doesn't matter how great a dad I am. I cannot bring her to life."

One day she came into my room and said, "You were right, Dad. The Holy Spirit was not in me. But now he is."

She talked about how near she was to God and how everything had changed. My wife and I were skeptical. We wanted to see evidence of change.

But 18 months later, I can say she really is a new creation. I didn't do that. It was the Holy Spirit."

May we all rely on the Holy Spirit - and give that person(s) to God this day.

Monday, June 07, 2010

positive weekend

We had a very positive weekend.

Saturday morning begin with a collective prayer time with our deacons, elders and pastors joining together to pray for our church transition from 127th to 183rd street.

There was a wonderful sense of God's presence as the leadership of our church prayed with faith - knowing that God is going to help us!

We need God's direction! We need God's strength! We need God's help!

We can - "do all things through Christ who strengthens us!" (Philippians 4:13)

Sunday was extremely busy for Debbie and I.

Our worship Sunday was exceptional - I loved the choir's number - truly the presence of the Lord was with us!

We also received 9 new members into the fellowship of our church.

I also learned that Peter and Ann-Marie Morgan are going to be life group leaders for us in the fall, as well as Helen Nunez and Beatrice Pereda, who have said "yes," to leading a life group for young singles.

Praise God!

We also had lunch with Jon and Cheri Hollowell and Augie and Candice Insalaco. Candice and Augie have a burden and desire to have a "once a month fellowship for parents with young children." I will thrilled to hear of their desire to participate in the leadership of this.

We also went to Carrie and Kevin's wedding....pretty wedding...

And after that attended a wake for Lupe Dealba's mom.

Busy, busy, day....but good things are happening!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

fear and the move

Moving is one of the top five stressors in our lives according to studies that have been done. Moving is not fun.

The first 11 years that Debbie and I were married, we moved 8 times.

And we have continued to move, although in the last 14 years we have moved one time.

I am sensing in our church family a tremendous amount of excitement over our move to 183rd street, but also some anxiety and fear.

Let me say first of all that the feelings of anxiousness and worry are natural - none of us likes to change the "way things are" especially when we leave behind a bunch of memories (sometimes good, sometimes bad).

However, we can't let our fear overwhelm us or push us into a state of panic, criticalness and worry.

During the Gulf War of 1991, Iraq launched a series of Scud missile attacks against Israel. Many Israeli citizens died as a result of these attacks.

After the war was over, Israeli scientists analyzed the official mortality statistics and found something remarkable.

Although the death rate had jumped among Israeli citizens on the first day of the Iraqi attacks, the vast majority of them did not die from any direct physical effects of the missiles.

They died from heart failure brought on by fear and stress associated with the bombardment.

Psychological studies conducted on Israelis at the time showed that the most stressful time was the first few days leading up to the outbreak of war on January 17th and peaking on the first day of the Scud missile attacks.

There was enormous and well-founded concern about possible Iraqi use of chemical and biological weapons. The government had issued to the entire Israeli population gas masks and automatic atropine syringes in case of chemical attack, and every household had been told to prepare a sealed room.

After the first Iraqi strike turned out to be less cataclysmic than feared, levels of stress declined markedly. As in other wars, the people adapted to the situation with surprising speed. Then as the fear and anxiety subsided, the death rate also declined. There were 17 further Iraqi missile attacks over the following weeks, but Israeli mortality figures over this period were no higher than average.

It was fear and the psychological impact of the missiles, not the physical impact, that claimed the majority of victims.

Let's not let our fear and worry overwhelm us. Sometimes the fear of something can be worse than the actual event.

Here's what I know. We are walking in God's will. God has everything under control. God is going to work everything out.

Let's continue to trust in Him.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Prayer and faith

This Sunday, during our first service, we had (as I said yesterday) a wonderful time of worship and prayer.

During the course of our church family prayer time, I asked our congregation to pray for the transition and our move to 18rd street.

Afterward, a well intended older saint told me that he and his wife were praying for me (with a look of pity on his face), that "when the going gets tough the tough get going." As if everything is lost and it's come to the point where we have to pray.

Some in the Kingdom believe in prayer as a last resort, a time to come before God and ask God for his help when all else fails.

There is the story of two church deacons – not from here -- who were discussing the financial situation of their church.

One said to the other, "Well, I suppose we should pray about this."

The other replied with concern, "Oh no, has it come to that?!"

Jesus is saying it should begin with that! Our challenge is to put God first in every area of our lives. But this can be a challenge, even to people of faith. Even to a pastor.

I come from a different place when it comes to prayer. I believe that we pray with faith for God to help us. We are not praying for the faith for God to move on our behalf.

John Calvin once said, "The principal work of the Spirit is faith ... the principal exercise of faith is prayer."

There is never a wrong time to pray. Prayer does not necessarily have to be a signal that something is wrong, it is a biblical approach to anything we do in our walk with God. We need to converse with God about everything, with faith.

Our challenge is to put God first in every area of our lives. But this can be a challenge, even to people of faith.

I encourage you to continue to pray with us that the transition will go smoothly. And no, "all is not lost." We simply desire God's help.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

I thought for sure that we would be down in our attendance Sunday morning, with so many people contacting our church office that they would not be there. But there was a wonderful representation of God's people present.

But even more importantly, we had great services where we spent time in the presence of the Lord.

In the first service, I sensed the leading of the Holy Spirit to continue our worship and praise - and to pray for one another's needs.

God moved.

We prayed for the sick. We prayed for each other in groups. We worshipped on our faces. We praised God on our knees. Nothing was done according to the "agenda".

I really do believe that as a corporate body, we need those times of "spiritual refreshing." Where we wait on God and let the Holy Spirit direct our services.

Testimonies were given at the end of healing, and God directing. Healing from lupus, cancer, and having God work out a medical bill were wonderful encouragements to all of us.

God is good - all the time. They that wait on the Lord SHALL renew their strength.

We prayed for our transition to our new church campus.

Sunday afternoon, Debbie and I went to Grand Rapids to see Andrew, Christie and of course our granddaughter, Georgia. She is beautiful!

I love the way she laughs and smiles. Whenever I walk around with her at a restaurant, people are just drawn to her. She is a "friend magnet."

While there we had a great time - with some delicious food.....

An "A+" weekend!