Thoughts from Pastor Randy…

I Love Christmas!

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

I love Christmas! I love the season! I love the weather in the NW! I love the family time! I love the beautiful decorations! I love yummy hot chocolate! AND, I love our family tradition on Christmas Eve!

On Christmas Eve, we go to Christmas Eve communion service. Then, we race home, change into comfy clothes and get back into the car to go to get a favorite coffee/hot chocolate drink. Then, we drive around and look at Christmas lights. After we are done looking at lights, we go home, eat our special dinner and watch the Nativity movie. We love it!

Then, Christmas morning, we get up; we read the Christmas Story (Luke 2) and then open our stockings. Then, my wife makes us French Toast. After breakfast, we open our presents. Then, we will head to worship service (how fitting for Christmas!).

It’s important to have family traditions (around Christmas and other times of the year). Christ centered family traditions build the following:

  1. Relationships
    1. Being together and interacting with each other is necessary in building a relationship.
  2. Trust
    1. Being together, interacting with each other, and following through on those things you commit to builds trust in your relationships.
  3. Hope
    1. Being together, interacting with each other, and following through on those things you commit to begins to build a structure on the foundation of your relationship that will last into the future.

As much as I love our family traditions, what I love the most is the reason we celebrate Christmas. The reason we celebrate Christmas is the fact that Jesus came to save us from our sins!

How about your Christmas family traditions? What does your family do?

My encouragement for us this week: Figure out what your family Christmas traditions are and continue building that strong family structure on the foundation of Christ!

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas with Jesus!

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner
“Behold, the virgin shall be with Child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Jesus lived with us! The God of the universe! The Creator all there ever has been and forever will be! He took on sinful flesh, so that we could be reconciled to God!

Last evening, my family and I played some games, ate some snacks, and watched a movie. (By the way, if you are trying to decide between The BFG or Pete’s DragonThe BFG!, no contest!) The best part of last evening was the fact that our family was together. I was with them and they were with me!

God came to be with us! “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6b). He came to be with us so that we could be with Him! Now, His people are waiting for His return so that we can forever live with Him on the new earth!

Christmas is all about Jesus. Take away Jesus and you take away Christmas. There is no meaning to Christmas without Jesus.

Just as the most special thing about playing games or watching movies as a family is being together. The most special thing about Christmas is being with Jesus and sharing the good news about Him!

Are you with Him?

My encouragement for us this Week: Be with Jesus!

How do you start being with Jesus?

  1. Ask Him to forgive you for living to please yourself, tell Him you are going to start pleasing Him.
  2. Start reading your Bible every day to get to know Him; consider starting in the book of John.
  3. Start praying (talking) to Him every day.

Have a Merry Christmas with Jesus!

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17

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A Season of Joy: Joy of a Home in Heaven

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Lighting of the Advent Candle – Micah 5:2-5a
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah, out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be our peace when the Assyrians invade our land and march through our fortresses. We will raise against them seven shepherds, even eight commanders,

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Past Recordings

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Take Joseph

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.” Matthew 1:19

When things don’t go your way; when you don’t get what you want; When your feelings are hurt…How do you react?

Marriage can be the most wonderful thing in the world. It can also be one of the most difficult things in the world. The person you have committed yourself to is and should be the most special person to you. Likewise, you want to be the most special person to him/her. Our words, our actions, and our thoughts are all connected when it comes to loving our spouse. Everything we say, everything we do, and every thought we allow ourselves to dwell on either work towards a very successful marriage, or towards a struggling marriage.

But that sounds like lots of work! It is! Having a great relationship is work. There’s a difference between have a great marriage and just living life together.

As for me, I’ve got some serious work to do. Furthermore, I’ve got much that I need to allow God to do in my heart in regards to how I react to my wife.

Take Joseph. Things were not going his way; he wasn’t getting what he wanted; it certainly hurt his feelings. And how did he react? Was he angry? For sure! Did he show his frustration? Most likely! Did he make himself feel better by shaming Mary? No! Joseph cared more about God and more about Mary than himself. He refused to disgrace her by only thinking about himself.

As for me, I want to be a husband like Joseph. I want to be a righteous man that thinks more about what God desires and what my wife needs than tend to my feelings.

My encouragement for us this week: Be a righteous husband or wife. Give thought to how God wants you to react to your spouse and then choose to do what’s best for them. A successful marriage will be the result!

Have a great week being a righteous spouse!

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Don’t Say That!

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” John 12:48

I had the privilege of teaching 19 people about Heaven and Hell last week. For a whole week (Mon-Fri), three hours a day, we went through the Bible and learned what God has to say about the two places in which every human being will decide of where to spend eternity.

Have you ever combed through the gospels to see everything that Jesus says about judgment and the place of Hell? It’s pretty disturbing! Now, right there, you may have thought to yourself, “Why are you asking about if I have looked at what Jesus says about Hell? Why didn’t you ask whether I have gone through to see what He says about Heaven?” My question comes from this reality:

Heaven is culturally acceptable; Hell is NOT!

Does that mean we shouldn’t talk about it? Well… the same book that tells me how to know the God of the universe; the same book that tells me that Jesus died on the cross to save me; the same book that tells me how to have a relationship with my Creator…it’s the same book that says MUCH about judgment and the place of Hell. Furthermore, Jesus himself has MUCH to say about judgment and the place of Hell.

I find that I can’t just accept the things in Jesus’ sayings that I am comfortable with. But, if I am going to truly be a follower of Jesus, I must accept the things that Jesus says that I am uncomfortable with.

The scripture above has a very serious warning for me if I am not willing to accept all that Jesus said and taught. I can only accept Jesus if I accept all that He says. I hope that you will consider this warning for your own life.

My encouragement for us this week: Chew, wrestle with, and think on the one thing that Jesus says that makes you uncomfortable. Let it change your heart. Then, go out and share it with somebody with an attitude of gentleness and respect.

Have a Great Week Talking With and About Jesus!

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17

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A Season of Joy: Joy of a Spiritual Family

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Lighting of Advent Candle – Zephaniah 3:14-17

Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem!

The Lord has taken away your punishment,he has turned back your enemy.The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;never again will you fear any harm.

On that day they will say to Jerusalem,“Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

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Past Recordings

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Bearing Much Fruit

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Yesterday, I gave a message from John 15:1-11. I did something that I hadn’t done yet at my new church in Vancouver, WA. I was talking about connecting with Jesus along with how important it is to stay connected based on what that passage says about what happens to branches that don’t bear fruit. I used smartphones as an example of staying connected. Those of us with smartphones, we stay connected with people through many different avenues: facebook, twitter, email, text, phone call, etc. And this is where I did something different. I asked for the church to respond to the question, “How do you connect with Jesus?” I asked for them to text me their answers so that I could share in the service with them how the rest of the church is connecting with Jesus.

The paragraph below is the compiled answers I received by text during the message:

Pray daily, read the Bible(try daily), sing praise to my Lord, talk about Jesus to my family, going to church and church events…worship music…through nature…being grateful, prayer, loving and caring for the unlovely…helping people…by the word of Christ…daily praise, prayer, and bible study…reading the gospel, praise music, prayer, various ministries, bringing God into secular activities…daily quiet time with scripture and prayer…journaling…prayer and reading the word…prayer and worship and by clinging to my belief in him through the Bible reading…Daily Bread readings and prayer…studying the Bible and prayer…prayer…Bible, song, Christian friends, prayer…meditate on His word…prayer, reading God’s word, prayer journaling and Christian music…prayer and reading His scripture, fellowship with other believers, listening for His nudges in the still quiet moments, praise and worship songs…reading His word, praying, and obeying…prayer, reading the Bible, meditation and fellowship with other believers…prayer, and reading the Bible…Prayer…

Do you notice any themes? Bible, Prayer, praise, fellowship, and service….

Not only am I excited about these answers…as we stay connected to Jesus, He will help us bear much fruit!!

My encouragement for us this week: Increase your connection to Jesus so that you can bear much fruit!

Have a Great Week Increasing Your Connection to Jesus!

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17

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The Routines of Life

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house…” Deuteronomy 6:6-7a

TV, Video Games, Internet, Eating, Sleeping, Homework, Bible Reading, Praying… what goes on at your house?

Do you every get stuck in a routine at home? Don’t get me wrong, routines can be REALLY good! But, the wrong routines can also be REALLY bad! Last evening, my family broke out of a routine that we had been stuck in.

We really enjoy watching old shows together as a family. Watching a show together as a family can be a healthy thing to do together. Unfortunately for us, it became something we were doing on a regular basis over dinner. You know, when you are watching a show over dinner, the focus drifts from building relationship with family and God to simply being entertained. Now, we are going to get back into a routine of building relationship with each other and God over dinner.

The scripture above is not just a suggestion, but a prescription for a healthy family before God.

What routines does your family have that might need to be changed?

What routines does your family have that are helping you build relationships with each other and God?

My encouragement for us this week: Build routines into your life that will help you build relationship with each other and with God!

Have a great week!

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Are You Connected?

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“I am the true vine…Abide in Me, and I in you.” John 15: 1a, 4a

Much of our world has decided that there are many vines that lead to the same life source. Jesus has told us that He is the true vine. Every other vine, other than Jesus, is NOT the true vine.

Are you connected to the true vine?

How do you know?

If you were to ask Jesus if you were connected to Him, what would He say?

Jesus has told us how to stay connected to Him in the Bible.

My encouragement for us this week: Don’t make up your own definition of “connected to Jesus” based on your experience. Stay connected to Jesus as outlined through the Bible! AND THEN, go talk to people and encourage them to stay connected to the ‘True Vine’!

For further understanding on how to stay connected to Jesus, look up John 15.

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17

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A Season of Joy: Joy of the Promised Messiah

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Lighting of Advent Candle – Jeremiah 33:14-16

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.

“‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.

In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it[a] will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’

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Other Recent Recordings

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