We serve

I like this song because it speaks to the grand nature of the God that we serve. He sits high and looks low, yet he is still with us; in control. We serve a mighty God! This song is by JJ Hairston featuring Travis Greene. Listen out for it this month!

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Why Church?

Why Church

Is it possible to steer clear of church and still be a good Christian? Many people would say yes to that question, and perhaps you would agree. You believe in God; you pray once in a while; you consider yourself a Christian; but you feel you can get along just fine without church. The important thing is how you relate to God, not how you relate to church. Right?

Wrong.

Is it possible to steer clear of church and still be a good Christian? Not if God knows what He’s talking about. God’s Word, the Bible, shows again and again that when people belong to Christ, they also belong to his church and are deeply involved in the life of the church. So if you think you can be a good Christian without the church, you’re saying that you know better than God. And that’s not a very bright thing to do.

Why Stay Away?

Here are some reasons people used:

1. Some of you feel you have no other choice. You feel you have to work Sundays. If you don’t, you fear that you could lose your job. Going to church and praising God may be fine, but going to work and pleasing your boss is what pays the bills. God will understand, won’t he?

2. Still others of you stay away from church because a member of the church or one of its leaders did something that really turned you off. You figure, "If that’s what the church is like, who needs it?" You want nothing to do with your old church, and you’re not eager to find another one, either. Why hang around with a bunch of hypocrites, when you can follow God on your own?

God Says So

If you think faith is purely private, a "me and Jesus" thing, you’re fooling yourself. You might ask, "Who says you need church to be a good Christian? Who says so?" Well, God says so. Just look at some of the ways that God describes the church in the Bible.

The Bible calls the church God’s household (Eph. 2:19), God’s family (Eph. 3:14-15). It is home for all who belong to God. So if you stay away from the church, you’re either running away from home or you’re not part of God’s family at all.

Fellowship

Now let’s consider the vital aspect of the church: the fellowship. Church is the special community where we share in the fellowship of believers.

I know that the church has its faults, that the fellowship is often far from perfect. After all, the church is a fellowship of sinners who still have plenty of changing to do. The people don’t always get along very

well. But I also know that when the going gets tough, the people pull together to support the one that is hurting.

The church’s fellowship does more than just get us through times of crisis. Christians devote themselves to fellowship because in the church the whole is greater than the parts. Like a body, the church has many parts, each with its own unique function.

You need the church, and the church needs you. Every part needs the others. If one part suffers, they all suffer. If one part flourishes, the others benefit. That’s how God designed our physical bodies, and that’s how he designed the body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12). It’s not just "me and Jesus." It’s "we and Jesus." When Christians devote themselves to the fellowship, they all benefit from each other God-given abilities, and they accomplish many things as a group that they couldn’t do as individuals.

The church is a setting for loving fellowship, where we can stop thinking only about ourselves and start loving others as Christ has loved us. Jesus says, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35).

Prayer

The final activity mentioned in Acts 2:42 is prayer. The Christians in the New Testament church got together to pray. You might wonder, "Why go to church to pray? I can pray by myself just fine." Well, it’s true that personal prayer is important and that you can pray anytime, anywhere. But praying together with others is also important. When God’s people come together, whether as a large congregation or in a small prayer meeting, their prayers take on added power. Jesus said, "I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. The bible states when two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Matt. 18:19-20). Why church? Because there God’s people pray together with one heart and praise God together with one voice.

Every church has its problems, of course, even those where God is very much at work. But look at it another way: if the people of the church were all perfect, they might not want sinners like you and me to join it and spoil it. Be glad the church isn’t too good for you, and don’t act like you’re too good to join the saved sinners who are in the church. AMEN!

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Grief

Do you feel overwhelmed by grief and sorrow? Perhaps a loved one has died ... or your spouse has left you ... or you are dealing with the trauma of an abortion ... or you have lost something very precious, such as your job, your health, your home, or a relationship. No matter how deep your pain, God can help you find comfort and hope.

The Facts on Grief

Understanding the nature of grief can help us better cope with loss. Grief is a natural, healthy process that enables us to recover from terrible emotional wounds. William Cowper, the English hymn writer, said, “Grief is itself medicine.” People may say, “Don’t cry; your loved one is in heaven.” That may be true, but it’s important to deal with the very real pain of loss. We should not feel guilty for grieving because it is a necessary part of God’s pathway to healing.

The grief process is like sailing across a stormy sea. When we first experience a great loss, we are launched into a tempest of emotions. We feel surrounded by darkness and heavy waves of anguish. Comforting words are drowned out by howling winds of sorrow. We feel lonely and out of control as we are swept toward a new destination in life.

This journey through grief has four phases:

1. Shock – In the days and weeks immediately following a devastating loss, common feelings include numbness and unreality, like being trapped in a bad dream.

2. Reality – As the fact of the loss takes hold, deep sorrow sets in, accompanied by weeping and other forms of emotional release. Loneliness and depression may also occur.

3. Reaction – Anger, brought on by feelings of abandonment and helplessness, may be directed toward family, friends, doctors, the one who died or deserted us, or even God. Other typical feelings include listlessness, apathy, and guilt over perceived failures or unresolved personal issues.

4. Recovery – Finally, there is a gradual, almost imperceptible return to normalcy. This is a time of adjustment to the new circumstances in life.

Healing a broken heart is similar to healing a broken leg. Rushing the process can actually hinder our long-term recovery, like removing a cast before the bone is strong enough to bear weight. Grief that is left unresolved may trigger depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other serious problems

Psalm 34:18(ESV)

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

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Levels of friendship

Levels of Friendship

Friendships can be among the most rewarding and the most frustrating relationships in our lives We are told that friends love at all times (Proverbs 17:17), only wound us in ways that are trustworthy (i.e., tough love; Proverbs 27:6), are more loyal than family at times (Proverbs 18:24), provide mutual edification (Proverbs 27:17), can impart wisdom (Proverbs 13:20), and they may even sacrifice themselves for us (John 15:13).

Level 1. Associate

This one has some gray area. Most of the time, you see your associates more than your own family. You all spend enough time with one another. You get to know them better, understand their likes and dislikes, and have a grasp on their personality. This might cause you to consider these people friends, but answer this: Can you bring your associates around your current non-work/church/ friends and not feel uncomfortable? If you can’t then they are strictly associates nothing more. If you feel the need to separate your associates from your life outside the home, then they are far from friends!

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Church Building

 

Years ago, when we first moved to California to start the Lighthouse, my husband and I were diligent in our efforts to grow the church. Carrying three under the age of 5, we would spend our weekends walking through dozens of neighborhoods- inviting people to church. The sun would beat down on us; our feet would be sore; and our kids were extremely fussy. Still, we were faithful in the work of God.  Several times a week, we would spend countless hours walking and inviting. It seemed like the more we worked, the harder it was to take that no one was accepting our invitation.

One warm summer evening, as my husband was in prayer, he decided to ask God a question: why we weren’t being successful in our efforts? After all, we’d been working so hard. We were doing everything that we knew to do. As though audibly, God spoke to my husband saying, “I will build My church”. God promised that he would build his church. The burden of building his church wasn’t on us. We were required to work in it, but the building would be left to God. He would do it so well, that the very gates of Hell could do nothing stop its growth. That message was not just to our church, here in the small town of San Jacinto, CA. This was a message to God’s international church.

In the past few years, I’ve been seeing article headlines boasting of the decline in Christianity and the Christian church. Honestly, I didn’t pay too much attention to them-besides the sensory glance. Still, I can’t say that I wasn’t bothered by the charge. “God would build his church”, I reminded myself. Yet, months would go by and I would see a similar article, as though it was single-handedly challenging my God. Then one day, I came across an article.  A study was conducted and its findings were interesting to say the least. Although not exhaustive, a five-year study, following thousands of congregants, showed the churches in decline, were churches that took a liberal stance on the Bible; believing its concepts, but not taking it literally.  This study showed that conservative churches are continuing to grow and remain strong and stable in the communities in which they thrive. This study is just a little reminder of what the Bible says; and what God put on my husband’s heart so many years ago. God said that He would build his church and there is nothing that can be done to prevent God from prevailing in the end.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/04/liberal-churches-are-dying-but-conservative-churches-are-thriving/?utm_term=.d99e455d243d

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Family

This passed weekend was the first time the church put together a “family fun night”. Before the actual date, there was a considerable amount of buzz that had circulated around the church preceding the event. Anytime we announced it, the children's (and congregants') eyes would light up; overwrought with excitement.

 

I know all of us can relate to the time in life when the one thing we were excited for ended up being disappointing. Those were the times when our anticipation got the better of us. Fortunately, this was not the case for our church family night. As I looked around that night, I could only see the joy that I know God intended for us to enjoy in his New Testament church.

 

From the very beginning, God saw that it was not good for man to be alone. Adam walked with God in the cool of the day. He enjoyed fellowship with God, but man was made in the image of God; God whose nature is fellowship. God the Father is in constant communion with God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, our creator recognized loneliness. It wasn't good. So, He decided to create fellowship for Adam.

 

Throughout the Bible, we see how God used a team to accomplish His will. In the New Testament, we see that Jesus told his disciples to go out into the world in twos. I think that is significant. As believers, once we asked the Holy Spirit to come inside our hearts, we changed. There is something that is now in our genetic makeup that needs that connection with other believers.

 

I just want to encourage anyone reading, to continue to (or get into) fellowship with other believers. Forgive past hurts; open yourself up for what God intended. He said, it is not good for man to be alone.

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Tomorrow

A friend of mine sent me a video, a while ago, through social media. It took me a while to get around to watching it. When I finally did, a rush of regret flooded my heart. The theme of the video was to admonish mothers to “live in the moment” with their children; take each ordinary day as one that God gave you as a gift.

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