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April 2008

Posts from March 2008

Who Needs Dr. Ruth?

Westheimer This past Sunday I taught from Genesis and had a blast. There is so much rich truth in God's Word, and we really need to get back into the Word to find the answers to life's questions. Who needs Dr. Ruth when you can get answers from the God who created us and ordained marriage?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."  and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her,So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?"  Genesis 3:1-9

Think about it. God made man, placed him in the most beautiful place the earth has ever known, brought him a perfect wife, and commanded him to be fruitful and multiply. The man and the woman were naked and were not ashamed. There were no 'issues' that they had to work through. Life was good for Adam and Eve. Every area of life.

What happened? How did Adam and Eve go from being "naked and not ashamed' to being embarrassed and covering themselves? What had effected their relationship and therefore their sexual relationship? The simple answer is sin.

There are some key things that really stand out to me in the text though.

First, Adam refused to be the spiritual leader in the first home, following Eve into sin rather than leading her away from the serpent. Years of pastoring and counseling couples in my ministry has proven to me that most issues in the home could be avoided or resolved if a husband would simply determine to be the spiritual leader in his home. Women don't get real excited about being with wimpy men. Most wives long for their husbands to be leaders in the home, if he is a Godly leader. Don't allow the world to define the roles of husband and wife in your marriage. God ordained marriage and therefore God defines marriage and the roles of it's participants.

Second, Adam continued to be a wimp by refusing to accept responsibility for his family. God comes in the cool of the day searching for Adam. Adam hides until God calls him out and asks what had changed. Adam quickly blames Eve and even God for his fall. The blame game never accomplishes anything and it sure doesn't do anything to spice things up in the romance department. Husbands who refuse to accept the responsibility of leading their homes and then sit back and criticize their wife or children, and blame them for everything that is wrong in the home are heading nowhere very fast.

Third, before God blessed Adam with a wife, He gave him a job naming the animals. Advice to young men...don't even think about dating or marriage until you have a job! Advice to young women...stay away from slackers! Couples can never obey God's command in Genesis 2:24-25 if the husband doesn't want to work. Couple's should never get married until they can obey the "leave, cleave, become one flesh" command.

In naming the animals, Adam was able to come to the conclusion that he needed someone. All the animals had mates, but Adam didn't. We need to get over our male pride and realize that we need our wives. They complete us. Getting rid of pride and giving honor to our wives could do wonders for our relationships.

I'm sorry. I'm slipping into pastor/teacher mode this morning...

The point is...get things right with God and you might be amazed at the impact it has on your marriage, every part of your marriage.

Two A Week

Nikon105test We will be starting a Sunday Night Worship Service in Vacaville on April 6th 2008. I'll be speaking Sunday mornings here in American Canyon, grab a bite to eat with the family, and then truckin' over to Vacaville to speak Sunday nights. Several weeks ago I spoke at another church and mentioned circuit preachers. The Lord began to deal with my heart about making myself available to plant another church and here we are.

Don't get me wrong. I'm ecstatic about the opportunity to do it again. I've had the desire for a while but hadn't figured out how go about doing something like this without leaving Harvest. God seems to have worked out everything for us. We had restructured our service schedule a while back to start small groups on Sunday evenings. We have some really good leaders who are able to facilitate these small groups and free up my Sunday nights.

I'm praying that Harvest will share two families each week with this new church plant. We have secured a wonderful meeting space and now it's time to start reaching out. God is already blessing our efforts in Vacaville and He is also doing some pretty awesome things here at Harvest which I believe are the result of His pleasure with our decision to plant a new church. Keep us in your prayers!


Backyardblooms I have been thinking lately about the seasons. We are moving from winter to spring and before too long summer will be upon us. Personally, I endure summer and winter just to get to fall and spring. I just prefer these seasons over the extremes of the others. Regardless of what I prefer, they all must come and go. God designed it that way.

I'm finding that there are also seasons in the ministry. I suppose, even in ministry, I would prefer the colorful, slow pace of the fall and the bright hope of the spring over the harsh heat and chilling cold of summer and winter. My guess is that ministry, like nature, requires all four seasons though. I'll just have to trust that God knows what He's doing.

Right now, I think it's spring in my ministry. It just seems like everything is blossoming. I have so much to be thankful for. God has blessed me with a wonderful church and now He appears to be opening some wonderful opportunities to me. I told a friend the other day that my life was just great right now. I really don't have any complaints.

I think that I need to learn to appreciate each season a little more, with the understanding that what is today, will be different tomorrow. Seasons change, they always do. God has a purpose though for every season of our lives and ministries.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh;a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew;a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

A Light In The Darkness

A Light In The Darkness, originally uploaded by CalPastor.

There is something so mesmerizing about a cross that is illuminated properly. I saw this church in Pleasant Hill last week while Kathy and I were out on a date night. I didn't have my gear with me but determined to return for the shot. Tonight was the night. Kathy is speaking at our Ladies Retreat this weekend and needed some quiet time to study and pray, so she sent me out. Three 30 second exposures later, I'm editing and posting at Starbucks. (Matsu Sushi is just 100 feet away....hmmmm).

New Sign Up For Easter

DSC_0001a.jpg, originally uploaded by Magic Pic.

I pulled into the parking lot Easter morning to find that our old faded peeling sign had been stolen and replaced with this...RIGHT ON STEVE and ROSS TEMPLE! "You da man!"

And He Painted The Hills With Gold

The Skies Have Been Dark With Ominous Clouds,
Memories Of Brighter Days Were Almost Lost,
Heavy Rains Have Beat Relentlessly Upon Us,
Threatening To Wash Everything We Know Away,
Driving Winds Have Blown In Fierce Opposition,
Leaving Us Feeling Abandoned And Cold.

He's Still The Master Of Heaven And Earth,
The Darkest Clouds Brought The Greatest Blessings,
Steady Rains Have Brought Cleansing And Renewal,
Winds Have Merely Changed The Landscape Of Our Lives,
He Has Been Faithful, The Sky Again Is Blue,
The Air Is Warm, And He Painted The Hills With Gold.

Don't Forget To Celebrate Your Victories!

A Quick Stop To Celebrate, originally uploaded by CalPastor.

We're pretty good at beating ourselves up when we mess up, aren't we? It's very important to counter that by celebrating our victories, no matter how small they may seem. Today, I rewarded myself with a huge latte at Panera Bread in Vacaville.

I'm so jazzed about our Healthy Harvest group here at Harvest! We meet at 11:15 on Sunday mornings for fellowship, education, accountability, and support. Everyone attending the group is seeing great success in their healthy lifestyle goals!

Easter Sunday is going to be AWESOME at Harvest! I can't wait!

High Tech or High Touch?

Easter2 EasterOK, I know it may seem a little goofy coloring an invitation card for Easter Sunday but I did it. I sat down with 15 wonder kids in our Christian School and we all made cards. Today, they go in the post office. I was thinking 'High Touch' instead of 'High Tech' might be a pleasant change. Goofy maybe?

What have you done to invite someone to church this Easter Sunday? Have you thought about who you could bring? There are lot's of people just waiting to be invited to Church next weekend. Don't let them down. Maybe go outside the box a little and think of a different way to show someone that you care about them and that you want them to know the Christ of Easter.

(Give me a little slack on the art, I'm a photographer not a painter :) )

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday

Mike Smith, our Recovery Pastor, will be speaking this Sunday morning at Harvest. Mike is an excellent speaker and always brings an outstanding message. Don't miss it! Bring a friend!

It's hard to believe that it's Easter already. We've got a lot planned for Sunday! Our services will start at 10:00 a.m. as always. Our Children's Church will join us at the close of the service and present the Easter Story in an exciting way. We'll have an egg hunt after the services. Tons of eggs filled with candy! I may have to bring a basket for myself.

Sunday night we are having a joint service with our Spanish Church at 5:00 p.m. Each church will share special music and our pastors will all share a short devotional thought for the Easter Season. The service will be followed by a potluck dinner in the fellowship hall! WooHoo!

See You There!