. Why did I give up? I suppose most people have gone through this almost/halfway/maybe/not quite obtaining the pinnacle of a dream experience. Becoming resigned to the outcome, but disappointed and still having the desire to go further. A dream half realized. I know I have and I actually thought it was God’s will for me to give up the dream in the same way I thought it was His will for me to begin.
Our first Family Fall Festival was a huge success! We are so happy with the way that everything turned out. We were blown away by the amount of people who attended. Not only was our church family able to enjoy the games, bounce houses and trunk or treating, but a surprisingly large amount of people from the surrounding community also attended. We estimate a few hundred people made their way through the Festival, That’s amazing!
Chase, Luke, Leilani and Princess made the decision to get baptized on Sunday --- an outward expression of the newness of life that they have experienced in Jesus. From death to life. Complete transformation. A New Creation.
I’m grateful God knows and understands my human condition. He created me to have feelings. His love is not dependent on my acting right, much less feeling right. He is the safest place in the world to bring my authentic self, warts and all.
An incredible season of 10 years has come to a close, but we couldn't let it end without celebrating the memories and honoring the man who has been so faithful through it all! Thank you, Javin! Our lives are better because you have been a part of them!
If you missed Sunday night, NO WORRIES! Click HERE to watch the recording of the full service.
My heart and soul knew this. My mind took a while to catch up to this reality. Shadows from my past were constantly being thrust to the forefront of my mind. I realized that if the God of the universe, in His mercy, didn't remember the old me, then I had nothing to feel ashamed about. The love and acceptance of my Father overshadowed everything else.
What a massive difference it makes when we stop hounding them about behavior, and start sharing with them about identity in Christ. When we understand who He is and who we are in Him, we can stand confidently in the truth. WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD. It changes everything. This reality shifts our perspective and allows us to boldly run to the throne of grace without any fear or hesitation.
Our students know this truth well, and their lives are the evidence. With the pure Gospel of Grace as their foundation, they are unstoppable.
"I can imagine Lazarus in the tomb, his body beginning to decay and bound with the robes and stench of death. With His word 'Lazarus, come out!' Lazarus was given resurrected life by Jesus. However, it was what Jesus said afterwards that caught me off guard. He said: 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go.' Ok, so it's not what He said that surprised me, but who it is said to."
Doctors told us they weren't sure if she would survive the pregnancy. This also put Jacob's life in jeopardy. We asked for everyone at church to pray for our family. God answered that prayer and Madison miraculously started to grow. When Madison was born, she weighed 3 pounds and Jacob weighed 5 pounds 8 ounces. Because of her weight, Madison had to stay in the NICU until the doctors felt that she was completely healthy. My wife, Andrea, and I were so relieved and thankful. Unfortunately, it was short lived.
"Listening and seeking to understand others generates the empathy that we need to overcome all the ways that we try to hurt one another. Stigma, shame, prejudice, discrimination, oppression... Our relationship with God empowers us to love. Love propels us to pursue those in need and to listen with open hearts to the stories of human experience with respect with no strings attached." Read more on how to actively love and support those in need during a time of crisis by simply listening.
"... I longed to breathe the same air as my children. I imagined what they smelled like and what their beating hearts felt like as I drew them close. I imagined the cold sterile hospital waiting rooms full of mothers and fathers and loved ones waiting to do the same. I imagined the mothers and fathers and loved ones of those who were killed and who are left desperately clinging to only memories."
"This is our mandate in the Church – Welcoming all, preaching the Kingdom of God and the life found in Jesus with all openness. Unhindered."
Alan Chambers spoke at the Washington National Cathedral this week as part of its Pride Week. He shared his heavy heart following the Pulse shooting and spoke about God's lavish grace, the LGBTQ+ community and the role of the church to pursue to love and welcome all people.
"Perhaps the primary reason why relating to God is so mysterious and amazing is that God himself is intriguing – He is never dull, never one-sided, and never unhealthy. Yet, honestly, I still find myself in limbo from time to time where my relationship with Him seems distant and impersonal. " Read More.
"My idea of family was so wrong. My focus was never in the right place even when I thought I was doing the right thing as a Christian. My membership card did nothing but sit in my wallet. It didn't make me feel accepted for who I was or loved beyond measure. It just occupied a slot. My attempts at creating the environment I craved were pointless. I wandered from relationship to relationship trying to find the person who would be able to create that with me."
My journey to the gospel of grace wasn't dramatic in the sense that I left behind a lot of wrong thinking or ingrained thought patterns. You can't recover from something you never really allowed to dominate your life. My church life as a child was spent ignoring the message. My brief time in church as an adult (after giving my life to the Lord) was spent trying to figure out how to make it all work.
"I couldn't will myself to make my veins work. I couldn't will myself to make my white blood cells high enough to get treatment. It's just me and God. I have no control over anything and I was angry about that because I felt like I was not who I used to be. And then it dawn on me. I never had control to begin with.
"I felt like all I ever did was screw up. I started to hate myself all over again. I never felt close to God, because I thought He viewed me with the same hatred that I had for myself. Knowing what I know now, I understand that the problem was that I had deeply rooted baggage that simply going to church couldn't fix. Then something happened that changed my life."