Thoughts from Pastor Randy…

Find a Soul and Plant a Seed

“Philip found Nathanael and said to him…” John 1:45

January is here and spring is coming! That means that I have lots of work coming my way to get my yard into shape. I don’t have a clear plan…all I know is that I want to have green grass and some nice looking bushes. I may need to plant new seed for the grass…

I’m not a gardener. I don’t have a green thumb. But, I do love to plant seeds!

The seeds I love to plant are not grass, flowers, or trees that grow from the soil of the earth. The seeds I love to plant are the seeds of God’s Word that go into and grow out of the soil of a human heart. These seeds grow and make people into beautiful creations of God!  
Last week, my wife and I had the opportunity to pray with a lady to receive Jesus! We have been praying for her for a couple months after some seeds had been planted.
Planting the seed of the gospel and then getting to see it grow is the most exciting thing in the world! 

Even though I am not a gardener, I do plan on planting some flower seeds that we have been collecting at our church. We are collecting Nasturtium seeds for every gospel conversation we have with people in the community. These Nasturtium seeds that will be planted in the soil of the earth represent the seeds of the gospel that have been planted into the soil of a person’s heart.

Let’s be like Philip above and go find another soul to tell about Jesus!

Have a Great Week!

Fill’er Up…family!

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:9-12

Fill’er up!

That’s what I used to say when I went to the gas station when I lived in Oregon. I don’t say that near as often now because I have to pump my own gas. Truth be told, I enjoy pumping my own gas because I don’t have to wait for an attendant to wait on me.

Fill’er up!

On New Year’s Day, my family asked God to do this! No, not to fill our car with gas. We asked God to fill our house with Him. Until New Year’s Day, we had not prayed and anointed each doorway in our home. We thought that the start of this New Year would be the perfect time to do that, so we did.

We took turns reading scripture (above) at each doorway, anointed the doorway with oil of gladness, and prayed over each room represented by that doorway. In doing this, we dedicated our house to the Lord telling Him that we want Him to be pleased with everything that goes on in our home along with renouncing and rebuking any evil that has been in our house previously.

I believe the Lord is pleased with any action a family takes to stand on the authority of His word and draw closer to Him!

What actions do you think the Lord would want your family to take in 2018 to stand on the authority of His word?

Let me encourage your family in 2018 to ask God to…

Fill’er up!

Happy New Year!

Shining Brighter in 2018

“And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:5

I know I’m not supposed to talk about Christmas for a New Years’ blog…but… I got an LED Work Light for Christmas. It shines brighter than any other light I have in the house. The really nice thing about having a really bright work light is when there is a dark area that I am working in, I can have my work light shine in the darkness!

We live in a dark world. We live in a world where death, disease, and destruction seem to be winning right now. We live in a world where fear, anxiety, and depression are the norm. Friends, this is not the way it is supposed to be. The reason our world is dark right now is because of the one who is ruling. Scripture says the devil is ruling as the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4). This will not be the case forever. I’ve read the end of the Book!

Those who follow Jesus are the ones God is using to bring light to the world. Jesus said this when He told His disciples they were the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

Truly shining for Jesus is sharing Jesus in the darkness!

Yesterday, I gave my church family three ways to Shine in the Darkness:

  1. Prayer

Christians must penetrate the darkness with prayer by praying for the lost!

  1. Do the Right Thing

Christians must penetrate the darkness by doing the right thing even when others are not

  1. Build Relationships with Non-Christians

Christians must penetrate the darkness by building relationships to tell others about Jesus

Happy New Year! Let’s Shine Brighter for Jesus in 2018!

Merry Christmas…Darth Vader?

“When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child” Luke 2:17

We have a tradition of getting a yummy hot drink and going to look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. This Christmas Eve (yesterday), it snowed…! I cancelled Christmas Eve communion service because I did not want to put anyone else at risk for traveling on the slippery roads. But,..that didn’t stop us from going to look at lights! For the most part, we stayed to neighborhood roads that were less traveled in order to avoid other crazy drivers.

I saw Santa…I saw Reindeer…I saw Peanut’s characters…I saw Disney Characters…I even saw Darth Vader! Who knew Darth Vader was a Christmas decoration!? Merry Christmas…,Darth Vader?
The lights were beautiful! Some simple, some elaborate, some crazy…some told a story!
One house sticks out among the rest and that one had a Nativity scene along with a cross.
Just as the shepherds started spreading the word about the Messiah once they saw Him, I got to see families spreading the word about Jesus through their Christmas decorations!

Those who have seen Him, spread the word about Him!

Have a wonderful Christmas as you spread the word about Jesus! He has come to save us from our sins!

Merry Christmas!

Cheese Pizza…Best Christmas Present Ever!

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

We drove up to the church and saw that someone was sleeping in the entry way. My youngest, Riley, asked what I was going to do… “I’m going to ask’em to leave”, I replied.

My boys and I were headed to the church to put up some Christmas lights in the fellowship hall at church. That’s when we saw this person sleeping outside the church. My first instinct was, “I’ve got to ask this person to leave.” We already have a ministry that allows registered guests to sleep in their cars in the parking lot. This alone has caused some anxiety with the neighbors falsely saying that we have started a “homeless camp”. I certainly can’t allow a homeless lady to sleep outside next to the church.

When I walked up to the lady, I greeted her and she just started crying. She started telling me that people yell at her, nobody gives her a chance, and she doesn’t think she can make it another winter. I sat down with my boys beside me and just listened. After finding out more about her and her story, finding out she has been on the street for 7 years, I asked if we could get her something to eat. She said her favorite is cheese pizza. So, me and the boys got pizza, brought it back to the church and had dinner with her. While we were eating and talking together, she said to us, “this is the best Christmas present ever”.

I wrestle within myself how to best handle these situations. I didn’t really want to take the time that evening. But then again, there are two reasons I did.

First, Jesus said that helping those in need is just like helping Him. Therefore, when I take time to help those with less than; it is as though I were doing it for Jesus.

Second, my boys were with me. I’m so thankful they were. They got to see their dad take time to care for a fellow human being. They certainly get to see me do this more than that evening. But the reality is, this time it was with a person that most would not take time for.

As the evening was coming to a close, I was walking to my office and my youngest ran up to me to ask if we had any water bottles. He asked if he could give her one.

Helping your children see how to treat a fellow human being even when many would not give them the time of day might just be the best Christmas present ever.

Merry Christmas!   

Hope, Not F Bombs

“And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30

Setup: What does (1) a man yelling an F bomb at me, (2) a woman yelling at the other driver after a car crash, and (3) an irate postal worker yelling at a customer…have in common?

Punch Line: No Hope.

Not very funny, is it. These three situations plus some others I could share with you from last Tuesday, reveal an underlying problem in people’s lives today. Many people are living their lives without Hope.

Hope is realizing that you can have favor from the God of the universe.

Those who have hope are those who have the understanding they have been made right in God’s eyes. All those who receive Jesus are those who find favor with God!

There may be some out there that curse at you for trying to tell them about Jesus…but that shouldn’t stop us from trying to share the hope that we have in Him!

Let’s be bold and share our Hope in Jesus with the people around us this Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Going Together on a Journey!

“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.” Luke 2:4-5

My wife and I love to go on journey’s together! We love to go far, we love to go near, we love to take side roads, we love to go together! Not only do we love to go on driving journey’s together, but we love this journey called “life” together. As much as we love to go on journey’s together, so far, we have not gone on a journey together like Joseph and Mary did that led to the very first Christmas.

I wonder what it was really like for Joseph and Mary to take this journey to Bethlehem. Can you imagine? It was a 70 – 80-mile trek on foot and/or donkey. Sleeping in the outdoors, cooking over an open flame…I know…I can hear you outdoors people saying, “Big deal!” Well, on top of that, Mary was pregnant.

Going on journeys can be a lot of fun, but they can also be a lot of work, can bring much pain, and make you feel like giving up. I thank the Lord for some key couples in my life that are going through some pretty tough journeys together and which give me a great example to follow in supporting my spouse. I also thank the Lord for my wife who has stuck by my side in our journey together. There is nothing quite like having someone by your side that you know will support you no matter what.

Joseph and Mary give us some instruction to follow for our journey…go together!

Merry Christmas!

Light Those Lamps!

“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight.” Luke 12:35

I love the Christmas song Days of Elijah! I know this song is not normally considered a Christmas song, but it is tied to Christmas in that Jesus came to give His life and now He is returning to give us life forevermore!

I like to be prepared. I don’t always achieve it. But, I try.

Yesterday at church, we lit the Peace candle. The Christmas Season is a reminder of the fact that Jesus came to the earth to be with us. Jesus didn’t stay a baby in the manger. He grew up into a man that sacrificed His life on the cross to save us from our sins. Jesus didn’t come to the earth for us to continue to ooh and awe over a baby but to present our lives to Him as our King and Lord. Now, we are waiting for the day that Jesus comes back to set everything right again.

Jesus tells us above how to be prepared for His return. He expects His followers to be ready to act when the time is right. He expects His followers to have their lamps lit so that they can see when He gets here.

Are you prepared for His return?

Preparation Checklist:

  1. Prayer
    1. Are you talking with Him often? Do your prayers reflect His Lordship in your life? Do your prayers involve reaching the lost with the Gospel?
  2. Bible
    1. Are you growing in your knowledge of the scriptures? Are you doing what God’s Word says?
  3. Others
    1. Are you giving yourself to others? Jesus came to give Himself to others. He expects His followers to follow His example. One of the best ways to give yourself to others is to figure out how to share the gospel with them in a way they will listen!

Peace is the result of knowing you are Prepared to meet the Coming King!

Merry Christmas!

Silence the Alarm!

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.” Revelation 22:12

The lights were flashing, and the horn was honking but nobody was around. Last Thursday morning, I was doing my prayer walk in a different city and different neighborhood. I spent a considerable amount of my time, praying for a loved one who recently received bad news from the doctor. I was walking past a shopping center when a car alarm started going. The alarm startled me and then a thought went through my head, “God gives people alarms to wake them up”. We often don’t view bad news from the doctor being an alarm. But when you think about it, it fits.

An alarm wakes you up… An alarm brings us to reality… An alarm tells us it is time to act.

Isn’t that what happens when we hear bad news from the doctor?

Bad news wakes us up…Bad News brings us to reality…Bad News tells us it is time to act.

Thankfully, there is ALWAYS GOOD NEWS…Jesus Christ died to save sinners!

God, in His graciousness and mercy, gives people alarms so that they will wake up, face reality, and realize it is time to act.

Let’s give people the GOOD NEWS to silence their alarms

…Tell them about the Lord and Savior, Jesus!

And, remember, we need to always share the truth with gentleness and love!

Have a Great Day

Can You Give me 30 Seconds?

Why Do People Go to Church? I’m guessing most people don’t sit around thinking about this question. You are probably one of those people. But…would you be willing to? Please take 30 seconds and answer the question. Why do People Go to Church? Or, Why do You Go to Church?  

Let me give you one word: Hope
With Hope comes Joy. With Hope comes Peace. With Hope comes the ability to Endure.
The Holidays can be a tough season for many! The loss of loved ones, the materialistic busyness, the over-demanding job! Many people do not have Hope.
People can find Hope at church! Putting oneself among a group of people who love God and love others results in having an uncommon Hope.

Can I ask another question… Who Can You Invite to Church This Sunday?

This Sunday starts our Advent Series: “Christmas, A Season of Hope
Let’s Share our Hope and Invite Others to Church!