January 2, 2020
Another year and even decade has come to a close.
You may have spent recent days, like me, reminiscing fondly over the past ten years. Perhaps your life has been marked by more good than difficult days. I trust you’re one who is eager as the new year and decade is upon us.
That might be you, or this scenario might ring more true: the last year was hard, capping off a decade that has felt more challenging and troublesome than satisfying and fruitful. You’ve white-knuckled your way through one struggle after another and possibly feel like you’ve lost more battles than you’ve won. You’ve prayed fervently for good, new things to come and your people have done the same for you. You’ve sought God’s direction, acted in obedience and caught glimpses of what “better” and “good” could look like … but every time that good thing alluded you. In reality, you’re entering a new year and new decade feeling battered, tired and confused.
It can be easy when you’re in this second scenario to look at the success of others and feel shame for not being where you think you should be or where (you think) others expect you to be. To feel God forgot you – or that you must matter less for Him to answer so many prayers for others before answering any of yours. To feel scared you’re wasting years of your life in limbo and/or scared that somewhere you made some accidental misstep that makes where you are your fault.
Here’s what you must know and remember:
The following three truths are not designed to minimize your hardship in life. In fact, each have been proven by many (including me) to be real and offer life-giving perspective. Sometimes all we need is perspective. My prayer is that one or more will touch your heart.
1. Remember that your struggles always lead to strength.
Every difficulty in our lives, whether big or small, is something God will use to produce more strength, faith and perseverance in us if we let Him! All your pain has a purpose. All of it.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
2. Remember that God’s timing is always perfect.
God’s plans are almost always different from our plans, but His plans are always perfect. Have the patience to wait on His timing instead of forcing your own. He is rarely early but never late.
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
3. Remember that God will never leave your side.
You may feel like you’re going through this struggle all alone, but from the moment you ask Jesus to bring you into God’s family, He will be by your side to the end so never lose hope! He’s your all-knowing, all-powerful, all-consuming friend who happens to also be God.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
May Jesus walk so close to you that you can hear Him, sense Him, and feel Him.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Is. 43:19
Good morning, church.
It is such an honor to open the pages of God’s Word with you every Sunday and learn together and be inspired to follow Jesus as a unified church. I can’t wait until this Sunday!
As you may know, we are in the middle of a study through Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. Paul is touching on very specific things happening in Corinth. He planted the church and knew many of the believers personally. If the truth was known, he more than likely was directly responsible for most coming to Christ. So he has the luxury (or curse depending on your perspective) to know exactly who is walking with Jesus and who is totally messing up their lives. But at the end of chapter 6, Paul puts everything into perspective for everyone – including us. So much so that this message should probably be pulled out annually for a stark reminder of who God is, who we are, and why we do what we do.
In preparation for this Sunday’s sermon, please carve out just a little bit of time to read with me a 4-day devotional on the temple of God (or use your YourVersion Bible App). If you read 1st Corinthians 6, you’ll know why this devotional is important.
May God prepare our hearts for something special on Sunday – maybe we can all take a closer step to Jesus… together.
When Jesus spoke of His own second coming, He asked this sobering question, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
His concern was not if He would find “successful” churches with big buildings and huge budgets. He wasn’t even concerned about the number of people who are baptized and attend seminary. His concern was very simple: would He find faith on earth.
From the beginning of time, God called His people to demonstrate faith in Him. From Adam to today, God calls us to trust Him with everything we face. Whether it’s monumental challenges or simple daily hiccups – God wants us to trust Him for it all.
And the reason He wants us to trust Him with the small stuff is because in time, God will calls us to trust Him for something big. Goliath big. And the only time to prepare for that day for to start now.
This Sunday we will discuss David’s close relationship with God which started long before he faced a 9 foot giant. David was brave, courageous and bold. But his faith was bigger than all of those things put together.
So how’s your faith today? What steps has God called you to take to strengthen your faith? Maybe you would consider reading with me this devotional next week. It may be short and simple, but God can use it is a huge way. I hope you will jump in with me.
In His strength,Randy
Good morning church family,
This Sunday (April 26, 2019) is going to be a very special day for me and our family. Our long time friend John passed away in a freak plane crash nearly 2 years ago and his young widow will be sharing her story for the first time publicly with us at Arizona Hills.
They have always possessed deep faith in Jesus – but nothing could prepare Paige and their three great kids for this kind of tragedy.
This Sunday’s message is the last in this series on God’s love. This week’s title is, His Love: Makes All Things New. In the midst of so much pain and uncertainty, God has made so many things new in their lives. Together we will hear of God’s faithfulness and presence in their lives.
By the way, this would be an idea time to invite a friend to Arizona Hills. Her story is positive, inspiring and touching. Plus folks will hear clearly about the love of Jesus – which is available to us all.
The week after Easter is typically low – please make our time of gathering together a priority this Sunday. We need you and you need us.
Sincerely and kindly,
Beware – this email may change your life.
Hello my friend,
Baptism has no spiritual value to our relationship status with God. To assume that the baptism water or the event itself carries with it unique power is to bestow a lot of authority to the church and a pastor (authority I don’t desire).. However, the symbol and experience of being baptized can be SO VERY POWERFUL and even life changing. Whether it’s in a pool, on stage at church or in the River Jordan, demonstrating one’s faith publicly can actually be life-changing.
When we declare our love for Jesus in the waters of baptism, we do four things:
1 – We identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus
2 – We celebrate the forgiveness of our sins
3 – We obey the commands of Jesus to be baptized
4 – We declare to all that Jesus as our Savior
So, are you ready to take this step? We offering an opportunity on May 12th (Mother’s Day). Please reply to this email and let me know. I’m praying God will stir in the hearts of those who need to take this next step in their faith. I hope it’s you.
Sincerely and lovingly,
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