September 7th, 2018
Hello my friend,
May I ask you a sincere question? Okay. Thanks. Now, please be honest. I mean super duper honest. Have you ever described the New Testament as all-about “grace” and the Old Testament as all-about the “law”? Have you ever wondered how the Old Testament could be so different than the New Testament? We contemplate scenes of Jesus healing and loving people in the NT but we can’t get out of our minds scenes from the Old Testament of God judging and killing.
If you’re like me, it’s too easy to see two very different divine approaches to mankind. But here’s the deal: the OT and NT share more things in common than most of us believe. WAY more!
This Sunday, we will be beginning a three week sermon series on the OT book of Nahum. That’s right… NAHUM! (You mean your life verse doesn’t come from Nahum?) The story about Nahum has to do with a very familiar city, Nineveh. (The Jonah and the “great fish” city). Yes. It’s back but the ending is MUCH different this time.
On display in Nahum is God’s great wrath but more than that, God’s great love and patience. And as you hear about the wickedness of Nineveh, you’re not only going to view the God of the OT as loving and patient, you actually may wonder why He didn’t destroy that city sooner.
My hope and prayer is that each of us will leave this Sunday with a more accurate view of God and a deeper trust in what He does and how He does it. Because, if we’re honest (and you said you would be), we often view God’s ways as TOO LATE. TOO EARLY. TOO HARD. And maybe even TOO SOFT.
Whether you can attend this Sunday or not, please take a minute and read the entire book of Nahum (a whopping three chapters). And for you overachievers, try tackling Jonah too – it will only help your perspective on who God really is.
See you Sunday @ Boulder Creek HS from 10-11.
September 14th, 2018
Hello my friend,
Confession time for me: I hate mean people. Okay – maybe that’s too harsh. I may not hate them but at times I wish they would contract the flu, for a year. Now before you start throwing rocks at me, I would guess that you have been there too. People do bad things, it often appears that they are getting away with murder and meanwhile we ask if God even has a clue.
This Sunday I will deliver a sermon that I have been wrestling with for five days. Actually, I’m still battling some of the sub-points right now, HOWEVER this much I know: the overall message can easily be applied to everyone us. Maybe now, maybe soon, for sure someday. Here is the thrust:
- Where is God and where is His justice when evil people commit evil acts?
- Is He even aware?
- When will He act?
- What’s His plan? Does He even HAVE a plan?
- Why does He allow innocent people to suffer?
This sermon will be practical, straight from the Bible and full of hope. So I ask you, who can you bring with you? Who in your life needs to hear this message?
I hope to see you and your friend on Sunday and as always, please take time to introduce me and Judi to him/her. Because your friend is our friend too.
Praying that God does something special on Sunday,
Hey there my friend,
This Sunday is a HUGE day for Arizona Hills – first of its kind.
I am planning to speak frankly and candidly about who we are. Where we are going. What we do well. And what we do not do well. And what I want us to do well in the future. I will also inform everyone of future staff changes that are coming down the pike. Changes that will affect everyone in some form or fashion.
Who should be there on Sunday? Good question! These ten groups of people definitely need to make this Sunday’s attendance a priority. Why? Well, 10 percent to encourage me. 90 percent to hear where this church is preparing to sail. Think of it this way: Give me 100 churches and I will give 100 different church directions and philosophy of ministries. Each are good but each are also very different.
So please be present on Sunday with bells on. (Not sure what bells have to do with it. But my amazing late grandmother used to say it so it’s probably an important thing to wear).
The ten different groups of people who need to make this Sunday a priority:
- Teens – they make up a HUGE part of who we are. We LOVE them.
- Parents of our teens – We love them too.
- Volunteers – you are our backbone!
- Small group leaders – You shepheard folks daily. We are so thankful for you.
- Casual attenders – We want to inspire you to make Arizona Hills a more important part of your life.
- Prayer warriors – need I say anything here?
- Those trying to decide if this is going to be their home church – If you want to know who we really are, I can’t think of a better way to find out.
- Those who already call Arizona Hills their church home – Let’s be honest… it’s YOUR church.
- Every regular attender -You make us an amazing and unique place.
- Judi – Because she doesn’t really have a choice.
See you Sunday @ 10? I hope so!
PS Members are asked to stop in the lobby before walking into the auditorium to pick up your ballots for the budget and new board members.
PPS Also in the lobby is a hard copy of the next year’s budget. If you have any questions regarding the new budget, you will be able to ask our treasure and/or our chairman right on the spot.
As I sit in this local coffee house, it’s obvious that most in here don’t even like coffee. In fact, some hate it. Sure, they like sugar, and cream, and foam, but coffee? Not so much. If you told me that coffee houses would become as huge in this country as they have, I would have laughed at you. The bottom line: coffee houses attract coffee lovers (as God has ordained), but also milkshake lovers and bread lovers. (and maybe free WiFi lovers too)
Well, the church has has actually done the same. Stay with me.
The early church attracted Christ-followers. And ONLY Christ-followers. It was far from a nice place to go and take the kids. It was actually dangerous to do so. Once the community learned of a believer’s faith in Jesus, it was often times a death sentence. If not literally, for sure financially and relationally.
I am in no way advocating the return of those days (although that may be where we’re headed). Indeed, the church has to be welcoming to all guests of all faiths, including no faith. We have to be gracious, loving and welcoming. Few church leaders would disagree with that notion. But what I am suggesting is that sometimes we (or I) assume that everyone who calls Arizona Hills their church has also taken the step of personal faith of receiving Christ’s free gift of eternal life. Jesus called it a new birth and Paul called it becoming a new creation.
This Sunday I will attempt to make the Gospel and its compelling power the center of our time together. Whether one is a stranger to His love or has embraced it for decades, I want Jesus to be proclaimed loud and even more CLEAR! And everyone will have the opportunity to take that step.
Please bring someone who needs to hear the Gospel because this Sunday will be as clear as it ever gets.
Now, back to my doppio espresso. Don’t knock it until you try it!
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