Choosing to Worship

Choosing to Worship

The wise men went to great lengths to worship Jesus. It was an intentional journey to give of themselves to Him: “…they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their gifts ..” Matt. 2:11 Paul and Silas chose to worship God in extremely dark times while imprisoned: “Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.” Acts 16:25 Jesus even worshiped with His disciples just before His sorrowful time in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.” Matt. 26:30

On the other hand, Pharaoh refused to allow the Israelites to worship the true God: “I commanded you, ‘Let my son go, so he can worship me.’ But… you have refused…” Ex.4:23 Satan is also like Pharaoh, trying to keep us from worshiping God and wanting us to worship him instead. Satan even tempted Jesus (unsuccessfully) to worship him in the desert: “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” Matt. 4:9

Choosing to worship God (to devote our lives to Him and serve Him) is not always easy, there are obstacles, opposition, and competition. But, He is always worthy of our worship, and since we were created to worship Him, nothing else can fill that void. As Jesus said to the woman at the well: “But the time is coming indeed it’s here now when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24

The battle for our worship is real! May we choose to worship God alone, and encourage others to do so as well: ”speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Eph. 5:19 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.“ Col 3:16

In Christ,

Pastor Dustin Linenberger

Pray for Us

Pray for Us

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior.” 1 Timothy 2:1-3

Paul is writing to the church to encourage them to pray for the leaders who were over them. At times we can forget that our pastors/ leaders are not only shepherds, but they are sheep themselves. We are desperately dependent upon the Lord and need Him more and more in our life as much as everyone else. God has given us pastors the awesome reasonability to feed His flock, to tend to His flock, to pray and minister to His flock. Many nights and days we pray for you and I can say with great certainty that the pastors at Calvary Downey love and care for each and every one of you. We want Gods best for you and desire that you grow in the grace and knowledge of our amazing God and Savior Jesus Christ.

With this responsibility comes serious warfare. The enemy is relentless. He is very good and very crafty and wants to devour and destroy your leaders/pastors. Research shows that 250+ pastors leave the ministry every month, that’s 3,000 pastors a year! 70% of pastors battle depression. I don’t want to shock any one with these stats, but what I do want to do is ask you to please keep us in your prayers. We are not perfect, but we are being renewed every day. We are weak and Christ is strong, we need prayer we need your prayers.

Three ways to pray for us:

1. For our personal walks with Jesus. That we will continue to seek Him above all else.

2. For our family life. That we will continue to love our wives as Christ loves the church and that we will raise our children according to the Word of God. That the Lord may shield our families.

3. For our ministry life. That we will continue to labor in love dividing rightfully the word of God that we will continue to give out sound doctrine.

We covet your prayers and appreciate them so much. We are saved by grace through faith and we are beggars leading others to bread. We are Pastors we are not perfect, but we continue to look up to the author and perfecter of our faith, Jesus.

Pastor Chris Lopez

Punching Through

Punching Through

“Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.” 1 Corinthians 9:26

About 8 years ago I purchased some boxing gloves for my then 9-year old son Luke. I wanted to teach him how to box. He was very happy and eager as he put the gloves on and began to punch everything in sight, including his little brother, who not so surprisingly enjoyed it. After I was able to calm my little pugilist down I placed him in front of a small heavy bag and taught him how to punch in combinations. He practiced for several minutes as I watched on. I noticed that he was only punching to make contact with the target and not really hitting it with force. I told him that he needed to punch through the target and not just at it. He began to punch the bag with strength and conviction and it was great to watch each blow thrash his target and tossing it around like a rag doll. As he finished, totally exhausted, he looked up at me with such a satisfied grin.

I began to think of how this applies to us spiritually. We sometimes see the target or goal that we desire to meet as a child of God and only set out to just merely make contact with it. We stand in front of the target and just tap it as if we are afraid to really make contact with it and see what can be done. Afraid to see what kind of power God has truly given us. We cannot run with uncer-tainty or fight as if we are fighting the air. We need to focus on that target and punch through it, punching through each fear and obstacle that is front of us with certainty and conviction. By do-ing this we will not just achieve the goals God has given us, but we leave a lasting impact that will be felt all around us. Then we can move onto bigger and better targets.

Pastor Chad Naaktgeboren

Rest In God’s Work

Rest In God’s Work

“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:1-3

The Old Testament is filled with types and shadows of Christ and one of the first ones is found right here in Genesis 2. God finished His work; the creation of everything was completed on the seventh day. And God did three things; He rested, He blessed and He sanctified the seventh day. The awesome truth is that all three of these things that God did points us to Jesus Christ.

1. God rested – God invites us into His rest by trusting in His finished work, putting our faith in what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. You can’t rest until you’ve worked, but in this case, it is God who did the work for us. Our works can’t deal with our sin. Only the work of Christ on Calvary can bring rest to our souls because it is God’s way of dealing with our sins.

2. God blessed – God blessed all the living creatures (1:22) and God blessed Adam & Eve (1:28). Then He blessed the seventh day. God blessed to reveal that He desires for us to be fruitful. Where God is blessing, there is great fruit and we know that fruit is only possible in Jesus Christ. If you want to be blessed, you want your life to bear much fruit. Fruit in your marriage, fruit in your relationship with your children, then you need Jesus Christ. You need His power. We can’t bear fruit in our own strength, once again, it’s a work of God, a work of His Holy Spirit.

3. God sanctified (made holy) – God elevated the seventh day above the other days of creation to point us to His Son. For the Hebrew people, the Sabbath was a time of celebration and worship of God as Creator and God as Redeemer, but it was all a shadow of Christ to come and now every day is a holy day in Christ. Christ is Creator and our Redeemer and we are made holy by trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

This is what the world needs to hear today… from the very beginning, God invites us to enter into His rest, to experience His blessing, and to be made holy by the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. God worked so we could rest! That is great news… tell the whole world!

Pastor Danny Gamez

The Lord’s Will Be Done

The Lord’s Will Be Done

“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through accompanying signs.” Mark 16:19-20 Amen

Have you ever asked the Lord, “what is Your will for my life?” Over the years I have asked this question many times. Then one day while reading the book, “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby, the same question arose again. The Lord spoke to me in my reading with the answer to the question - when you pray just ask the Lord, “what is Your will?” It will be done. I just needed to remove the selfish part in my question, “for my life.”

The Lord’s will to be done here in Mark’s gospel was to go and do as the Lord had commanded, and so they did. In Matthew 28 the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples (followers of the Lord) to go and make disciples of all nations. With the commands, Jesus also gives us the promise of the Holy Spirit. “We shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon us and we shall be witnesses for Him everywhere we go.” Acts 1:8

Accompanying signs will follow us all the days of our lives as we serve the Lord. Certainly, a contrast to those who look after signs and wonders. Our lives are surrounded with “divine appointments” every day. May we seek ways to get Jesus in our conversations throughout our journey.

Finally, 2 Timothy 4:5 says it all. “Be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Be blessed as His will is being done.

Jesus loves you!

Pastor Roger Stahlhut

“...that we may share His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10b

“...that we may share His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10b

In this section of Hebrews we learn two truths that are worth meditating upon. First, as children of God we should expect to receive His discipline, or in the Greek, His paideia. Paideia is the loving education and formation that children receive through correction and instruction. Paideia is difficult because it presupposes that we have made mistakes and are thus subject to the painful process of reforming bad habits or overcoming sins. The Father loves us so much that he takes us to the woodshed in order to continually kill the flesh. Yes, the discipline of the Lord is painful while in process, but this brings us to the second point worth reflecting upon. God disciplines us in order that we may share in His holiness.

God is cultivating His divine nature within you, forming you into the image of the Son of God, and radiating His glory and perfection through your life. This moral quality of goodness manifests in a kind of transcendent living where we constantly die to the old nature and walk in newness of life. This holiness is not intrinsic but is given to us from God and “without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb 12:14b)

My encouragement for you today is not to shy away from how the Lord might be cultivating His nature within you. Nothing pleases the Father more than the brilliance of the perfection and love of the Son, and the Spirit is at work within you to cultivate these same attributes. The purifying and sanctifying fire of discipline is meant to drive you close to the Fathers heart, produce His holiness within you, and is meant for good “to those who have been trained by it.” (Heb 12:11)

It’s easy to grow bitter at the chisel God uses, the pruning hooks He has chosen, or the grinding wheel He deploys. But, such discipline is evidence of the Father’s love and intimacy in your life. “Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees.” (Heb 12:12) Fully receive all that God brings to you and however God chooses to form you, since He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb 13:5b)

Pastor John Woolard

Crossing Your Jordan River

Crossing Your Jordan River

“Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan.” Joshua 3:11

In this life we are put into the position of situations that are hard to cross. Surely, for the second generation of Israel since the wilderness, this was a very difficult challenge before them. First, Israel at this juncture of their lives must learn to trust Joshua as their new leader. Second, the Jordan River was a roaring rapid, but their confidence was in the God of the Bible. Israel was fearful and intimidated; the Bible says they had never been this way before. However, this passage is a reassurance of a major promise from their past, the Ark of the covenant of the Lord is going before them. As believers in Christ we are assured of the same promise that when we cross our “rapids in life” we have God’s direction through His Word. It is “a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path.” We are the “temple of the living God,” so His presence is always with us as believers in Christ.

This great venture of faith recorded in Joshua would go on to show us that as the priests carried the ark of the covenant and all of Israel followed, their confidence was in God’s Word and His presence. Instead of being “carried away” by the rapids, God cut off the water 19 miles upstream. This was one of many steps of faith that Israel would take on their way to the promise land and it seems so long ago however, the same God who delivered Israel then will continue to deliver His people now!

Lord bless

Pastor Jack Jimenez

The Gospel Can’t Lose

The Gospel Can’t Lose

“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14

While the Apostle Paul was enduring imprisonment, distress and tribulation; the reality of the revelation of the gospel being furthered, ministered to Paul as well as all those who heard of his ordeal. Despite his dire circumstances the power of the gospel pushed through, so that even the unbelievers were touched….

Be encouraged church. This gospel that we carry in our lives cannot be stopped, no matter what trial, affliction, or tribulation we may be facing. Take note that this gospel is made even more magnificent and effective when under unsurmountable odds and opposition.

The funny thing here is that this affliction in Paul’s life is being used as a tool in God’s hand to strengthen, encourage, and minister the gospel in a more effective way. I have seen God use my own weaknesses, infirmities, afflictions, and tribulations to push the gospel further. This is a very powerful thing to see and all I can say is this must be the grace that the Lord has spoken to us about.

Pastor Isaac Moscoso

The Wall Is Gone

The Wall Is Gone

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.” Ephesians 2:14

Jesus is our peace, He bonds the body together in peace and unity. It does not matter where we come from or what we have done, if we have accepted Jesus.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

The body of Christ is such a diverse group of people. We are people who would not in any other circumstance interact, but can be as close as family. Why? Because He has torn down that wall of separation. In Jesus we have a new life and we are a new creation. Yet, so often we allow division to creep into our lives which causes strife in the body of Christ. What an effective way for Satan to immobilize the church. It is time to set aside our flesh and allow His Spirit to rule in our lives. Only then will we experience His peace in a way like never before.

Pastor Jace Amperse

House Cleaning

House Cleaning

“Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place.” 2 Chronicles 29:5

The years of moral and political decline within the nation of Judah had slowly turned the heart of the people away from God. Their apostasy was evident as you looked at the condition of the temple. What was initially set aside as holy and called the House of the LORD, was now a trash dump. The doors were closed and many of the holy articles that were created for the worship of God were scattered, being used for secular purposes. The result of all this was that the worship of God had ceased. Consequently, the favor of God was removed, and the people of God found themselves under God’s correction.

God’s people have always been susceptible to the wicked pressures, influences, and temptations of the fallen societies in which they live. If we are not careful, then slowly the garbage of the world finds a place in our lives. The things that God gave to us to worship Him will be defiled as we use them for common and profane ends. The result is that God is no longer the object of our worship, His favor is removed, and we find ourselves in a place of correction by the Lord.

If you find yourself in this condition all you have to do is recognize your spiritual state, repent and be willing to do that which will restore you back to the Lord. The garbage of the world needs to be removed from your life, the things that were created for the worship of God need to be restored and then you need to consecrate yourself back to the Lord with the precious blood of the Lamb of God. This brings revival in our hearts, revival in the church and finally, influences our society.

This is what Hezekiah did and God used him to bring revival in the house of God that lead to a nationwide revival. Is it time for a house cleaning? Will you let God use your temple to change those around you?

“Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, come near, and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 29:31

Serving Him together,

Pastor Hector Gonzales

Remember Amalek

Deuteronomy 25:17 says, “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt.”

God commands Israel not to forget what Amalek did. The children of Israel were to keep close the memory of a day the enemy attacked the aged, the weary, and the children. As the people of God were leaving Egypt, which typifies a type of the world, they were attacked by Amalek, a type of the flesh. For this, it is written for all to see, “remember Amalek.”

The strategies of Satan have not changed much throughout decades of time. God didn’t want His people to forget how the enemy attacked them after they were delivered from Egypt, after they were set free from bondage. He wants them to remember that the enemy attacks the weak, the children, the aged. That he attacks at the hindmost, in other words, from the rear or from behind. God wants them to remember Amalek, and so it is with us, He wants us to remember Amalek (the flesh, the enemy) as well.

Remember, our enemy will attack us from the hindmost; when we least expect it. He will attack us when we are weak or weary. He will attack us when we have victory or deliverance; after a Bible study, ministry, or anything that glorifies God in our lives. Note: the instructions are not to stand on guard with your sword, though there is a time for battle, God is specific in this passage: only to “Remember!”

Thank God, for He has paved the way for us to know what we need for victory in this life! “… He hath given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him…” 2 Peter 1:3 Pastor

Phil Moreno

The Lord's Will Be Done

“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through accompanying signs.” Mark 16:19-20 Amen

Have you ever asked the Lord, “what is Your will for my life?” I have asked this question many times over the years. Then one day while reading the book, “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby, the same question arose again. The Lord spoke to me in my reading with the answer to the question - when you pray just ask the Lord, “what is Your will?” It will be done. I just needed to remove the selfish part in my question, “for my life.”

In the passage above, the Lord’s will for the disciples was to go and do as the Lord had commanded, and so they did. In Matthew 28 the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples (followers of the Lord) to go and make disciples of all nations. Along with Jesus’ commands, He also gives us the promise of the Holy Spirit. “We shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon us and we shall be witnesses for Him everywhere we go.” Acts 1:8

Accompanying signs will follow us all the days of our lives as we serve the Lord. Certainly, a contrast to those who look after signs and wonders. Our lives are surrounded with “Divine appointments” every day. May we seek ways to get Jesus in our conversations throughout our journey.

Finally, 2 Timothy 4:5 says it all. “Be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Be blessed as His will is being done.

Jesus loves you!

Pastor Roger Stahlhut

Countering The Effects Of A False Gospel...

 “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Galatians 5:15

Pure Life has been studying Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia for the last year or so. Over the course of that time we have seen that the principle issue that Paul is resisting is a perversion of the gospel of grace. Sometimes grace is perverted by legalism, where people think that human performance can somehow merit the good favor of God. Other times grace is perverted by lawlessness, where people think that “grace” means God is largely unconcerned with the moral quality of our lives. Both these errors fail to appreciate the reality of the gospel. The gospel means that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is totally sufficient to bring sinful human beings into the presence of God. And a true appreciation of the work of Christ overflows a saint’s heart with divine love that expresses itself in holy living.

One thing that Paul points out that I think we would do well to remember, are the consequences for us corporately if we fail to daily internalize this gospel of grace. Paul’s warning is vivid: a church that rejects grace is a church that consumes itself. Legalism causes people to spiritually assault others by scripture whipping them and condemning them. Lawlessness feeds selfish ambition and desire as we seek to use others for our own benefit. In both cases our energy is spent not on disseminating the gospel, but on abusing the body of Christ. What then is the remedy?

“…but through love serve one another” (Gal 5:13). This means that humility in love is the way in which we resist the pride of false gospels. Meditate on who you are apart from God’s grace and it will fill you with wonder and awe at the magnitude of your salvation. Let that divine love flow out of you in genuine sacrificial love towards others. In this way we will “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2), rather than making our brothers and sisters food for the enemy.

Pastor John Woolard

HAPPY RESURRECTION SUNDAY!

The Resurrection was only the beginning. His rising on the 3rd day proclaims, “He’s alive,” and much more. He was alive on the 4th and 5th day also. For 40 days before His ascension, He was teaching and preaching. He was alive at Pentecost as He poured out the Holy Spirit on the church. Jesus was alive when He knocked Paul from his horse. He’s still alive TODAY confronting sinners, saving those who repent, humbling the proud, making holy those who seek Him, and sharing the blessings of His resurrection with all who love Him. He is alive forever; for we, the church, are his incessant witnesses!

He stepped into history from the eternal world and the Word became flesh! He rose up and ascended to His eternal home - yet to us today, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever! He is risen to invite man to be “in Christ!” What a joy and hope to a world suffocating in its sins. Also, Christ in us, the hope of glory, will come again! For we shall be like Him and appear with Him in glory!

This morning is when all of Christianity proclaims new life in Christ. If you will only believe, you will receive a transformed life! As Jesus confronted Paul, he now confronts you. You might say as Paul, “I’m not persecuting you, Lord!” But maybe it’s that you’ve been ignoring Him.

“You do know me, don’t you? I’m Jesus, God man, Bread come down from heaven, Light of the world, I am the only Truth! Come unto me and I will give you rest . . . I am the Way out of the wilderness and wasteland of sin and death. I am the Resurrection and the Life.”

Because He lives!

Pastor Jeff

The Will Of The Lord

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

The point I would like to focus on is understanding the will of the Lord, because it is a crucial element to our walk with Jesus. We know that it is beneficial to our walk, yet so often we struggle to understand the will of the Lord. I would like to share with you five practical ways that have helped me come to a better understanding of the will of the Lord.

1. Depart from evil – When we know who the Lord is and what He has done, we see the need to depart from evil.

Job 28:28 - “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.’”

2. Do His commandments – As we grow deeper in our walk, we desire to keep His commandments.

Psalms 111:10 - “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.”

3. Pursue wisdom and understanding – Understanding and wisdom are something to be searched for in the Lord.

Proverbs 2:2-5 - “So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

4. Pray for understanding – We can pray for ourselves, as well as pray for others, to receive the knowledge of His will.

Colossians 1:9 - “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”

5. Fear of the Lord – This theme is threaded throughout these verses; it is the beginning of wisdom which leads to understanding. A healthy fear of the Lord is fundamental in developing an understanding of the will of the Lord in our lives, and a proper understanding will enable us to be more effective members in the body of Christ.

Pastor Jace Amperse

Choose Life

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

Notice brothers and sisters, all these fleshly works come from self-centeredness in a person’s life. When self is made priority then concern for others becomes secondary or even void altogether. When a person fulfills these selfish, self-centered works, the consequences are severe. Emptiness, loneliness, anxiety, fear, depression, frustration, stress, confusion, outer and inner turmoil, and instability in the soul are the results. It’s pure and utter chaos when the love and gratification for self turns into an extreme hatred for self.

Now I see why God has called us to “Walk in the Spirit,” so that we may not give into the selfcentered flesh. I realize that the Lord is looking out for us as He encourages us to walk in the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22 & 23) The benefits of walking in the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, contentment, and true satisfaction in and of life. He wants us to live in the fullness of life, to be blessed, prosperous, healthy, sane, and sound. Then we not only benefiting ourselves, but others around us. True living and loving life is not in selfish living, but is unselfish living. The only way to accomplish that is to Walk in the Spirit. We must “choose this day whom we will serve.”

Pastor Isaac Moscoso

YOU CAN'T

These words can strike up all kinds of emotions and feelings and even get our defenses up! In Joshua 24, Joshua shares some final words with his fellow Israelites as he recounts how God brought them from bondage into the Promised Land. He challenges them in verse 15: “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” The people respond in verse 18: “We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God.” I believe Joshua then shocks them with his response in verse 19: “You cannot serve the LORD.” However, as you read the full passage, you get a glimpse into Joshua’s heart, which is to steer them to the LORD and away from hypocrisy. Verse 23: “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel.” He is calling them to integrity and action. This also applies for us today. It may be easy in church to echo, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Yet in our day-to-day, are we still choosing to hold onto something (an idol) we know God has spoken to us about? Jesus says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Are you trying to serve two masters, knowing that you can’t? Correction is not always the easiest thing to hear, but Proverbs has much to say about the wisdom of accepting it. (See Proverbs 9:8, 10:17, 13:1, 13:18, 15:5, 15:31-32) May we make Psalms 139:23-24 our prayer, allowing God to correct us so that we CAN serve Him in Spirit and in truth: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.“

In Christ, Pastor Dustin Linenberger

Resolution

Your Resolution

“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:20-22

Around this time of year some of us make resolutions and we all have different ones. Some want to get fit, travel, save money, spend more time with family. These are all good things, but the Lord has a challenging resolution I believe for us all. The challenge is to be more like Him. In order to be more like our Lord, we must be in His Word allowing it to refine and define us. The Word of God cleanses and causes us to grow spiritually. However, our growth and wellness does not stop there. As we get into His word and allow it to do its work in our life it brings wellness to our flesh! We all want to be healthier. My encouragement to you is to get into the Word and get healthy. This will benefit us physically for today and spiritually for an eternity.

If you don’t already have a time set aside to get a word from the Lord every day, make this your resolution. Not only for 2018, but for life. You want life in abundance? Well, it’s found in His Word. God’s Word gives life.

My last encouragement is not to let anything get in the way of your goal to be like Jesus. Don’t get sidetracked.

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.” Proverbs 4:25-27

Pastor Chris Lopez

Faith

Faith

Have you ever been confronted with “Do you have enough faith?” I am not sure if any of us really have enough faith, but the Bible says, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6) Years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. A woman in the church came to me and said, “You don’t have enough faith or God would heal you.” I put off getting surgery for quite a while to see if God would heal me. However, when healing did not come, I had surgery. I share this because sometime people can throw a guilt trip on those who have physical issues. But, God chooses various ways to heal us. It is important for us to have faith and realize that God’s ways are not our ways! They are higher! In my case, both the doctor and the nurse got to hear the Gospel.

Here are a few thoughts that may be helpful for you this day:
1. We are never ready or have enough faith to do all that the Lord directs us to do. We can always find an excuse for not being ready to exercise faith and miss the blessing.
2. The definition of faith comes from Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evident of things not seen.” Things hoped for; if we are not sure of what we hope for, it certainly becomes the opposite of faith.
3. To increase in faith is like the exercising of a muscle – Romans 8:17, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
4. Each one of us has been given a certain “measure of faith,” Romans 12:3.
5. Faith is also “the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8b.
6. Lastly, “the just shall live by faith,” Romans 1:17, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38.

So, the conclusion is this – please the Lord by walking by faith, trusting in Him and being blessed in your journey.

Jesus loves you, Pastor Roger Stahlhut

"Nevertheless, I have this against you" Revelation 2:4

These were the words of Jesus to the church at Ephesus. Verses 2-4 describe a very healthy church. They worked hard in the name of Jesus. They were patient and did not tolerate evil people or false doctrine. However, somewhere along the line they lost focus of Jesus. They were busy about things in Jesus’ name, but they were done without Jesus in mind. When they first got saved they started doing all these things out of love and gratitude, now they did them out of routine and religion. They did them because it just became who they were. We can fall into the same rut. We can come to church, read our bibles and even serve in ministry in the name of Jesus, but without Jesus in mind. The good news is, the solution is simple. Jesus, in verse 5, tells them to remember and repent. Remember how they used to forget about life, just sit with Jesus and spend time together. After they remembered they were to repent and do these things again.

At the beginning of the year, this is a good time to allow the Lord to examine us. Why do we do what we do? Is it out of routine and religion? Have I just become a “good person” or am I still close and passionate about Jesus? Spending time together every day and doing everything out of love and gratitude for the Lord

Pastor Jason Norton