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Posts from February 2009

Don't Lose Heart!

MensRetreat2009-26 God is so amazing! He really does speak to us when we take the time to listen. This morning I read 2 Corinthians 4:1 during my quiet time. Simple verse, simple truth! Invaluable.


"Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart" (ESV)

"Since God has so generously let us in on what He is doing, we're not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times." (The Message)

"And so, since God in His mercy has given us this wonderful ministry, we never give up" (NLT)

"This is the ministry which God in His mercy has given us and nothing can daunt us" (Phillips)

Do not lose heart. Don't walk off the job. Never give up. Remain undaunted. It's His church, His ministry, His class, His mission, His purpose. No matter how tough things get we must remember that we have been blessed to even have a part in His work. Don't quit!






All The Difference


2009 Men's Retreat at Cazadero, originally uploaded by CalPastor.

One of my favorite poems has always been "The Road Less Traveled" by Robert Frost.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

This weekend I was thinking that while we might all travel different roads, there really is only one road that leads to the Father. Choosing the right path will surely make a difference in our lives but even when we have chosen the wrong path... The Old Rugged Cross makes all the difference.


Awesome Men's Retreat

I had an awesome time with our guys this weekend. We headed over to Cazadero Baptist Camp for a weekend of prayer, preaching, and fellowship. Pastor Cliff Donoho was our guest speaker for the weekend and he did a tremendous job challenging us from the Word. 

I came back early from retreat to speak at Harvest this morning. We had a great crowd with two new families visiting the church. I spoke predominately to the ladies on how to encourage your man to be a man of God. Fun topic!

Here's a few pics from the retreat...


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.


Stones From The River

I spoke from Joshua chapter four this past Sunday. As the children of Israel cross over the Jordan River into the promised land God instructs them to take twelve stones from the river bed and then set them up as a memorial. The stones were still in place at the time Joshua sat down to record the events.


Joshua 4:19-24 The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they encamped at Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, "When your children ask their fathers in times to come, 'What do these stones mean?' then you shall let your children know, 'Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.' For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever."


The stones would serve at least three purposes. One, they would simply be a reminder to the people of what God had done for them that day. The truth is we are a very forgetful people. We stand amazed when God saves us from our sins and sets our feet on solid ground but before long we forget what a wondrous thing He did for us. Sinful pride slips into our lives and we begin to think that we either weren't that bad or that we somehow drug ourselves out of the mess we were in.


A second and very important reason for the stone memorial was to provide fathers a teaching opportunity with their children. This is so important! Too often we depend on others, Sunday school teachers, junior church workers, youth leaders, and pastors to teach our children about God. Here in Joshua, God places the responsibility squarely on fathers, "When your children ask their fathers in times to come".

Finally, this stone memorial would serve to remind the nations, all peoples, that the hand of God is mighty to save. Word of God's miraculous drying up of the Jordan so that His people could cross into the promised land would quickly spread throughout the region. The fear of a God so powerful would demoralize those forces that might stand against the people of God. This stone memorial would remain a reminder to the nations.

Our lives should be that memorial today. We should live in such a way that our lifestyles are reminders of what God has done for us. Our children should see things in our lives and ask what these things mean. Why do we do certain things? What do these things mean? Why do we not do certain things? What do these things mean? The world around us should see our lives as memorials that God is a great God. They should fear God and be drawn to Him based on our lives. Our lives must become living memorials.

 

Fresh Face Chapel

There is so much happening at Harvest these days! One of the things happening is the chapel is getting a fresh look, thanks to Designer Debbie Franklin and the tremendous work of our people. It's exciting to see God's people work. In the process we have seen two prospective families get involved.

Tonight is our Valentine Dinner! Gonna be lots of fun!Fresh Face Chapel


God's Timing

Ruler_V

I'm having a blast preaching through the book of Joshua  these days. Here's a related passage that rocked my world this past week.

I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land. Exodus 23:29-30


God tells His people that He will give them victory and expand their territory as they are prepared to inhabit it. If He was to give them the entire land at once they would not be able to manage it properly. The land would be given to them 'little by little'. 


I think we sometimes get impatient, waiting on God to give us more when the truth is that God is waiting for us to be able to handle more. We want it, and we want it now. We get impatient waiting for God do greater things in our churches. God may indeed do some awesome things in our churches but it may be 'little by little' as we are ready. We lose patience with our brothers and sisters, expecting them to grow, change, and become all that we think they should be. God may be growing them 'little by little'. 


We often say "God will not give you more than you can handle" in regards to trials and temptations, but maybe the same can be said about the good things. 




Understanding

I have a confession to make. I live with four women. I'm married to one of them and the other three are my daughters. Here's the real confession, I don't completely understand them. There have been times I really thought I had something figured out only to realize that each of them is actually very different. It is mind boggling at times but I keep trying. I get things right sometimes, sometimes I mess things up pretty good, but I seem to do alright as long as they all know that I'm seriously trying to understand them.


This week I have been thanking God for placing me in such a wonderful church to serve. As pastors we can be almost as hard to figure out as women but there are always some wonderful people around that seriously try to understand us. It's nice when your members encourage you to do things you probably wouldn't do unless encouraged to do so. Attend a conference, take a vacation, take a day off, spend some time on your hobby. I'm so thankful to be surrounded with people like that!

I don't know if any of this makes any sense... but it was rattling around in my head tonight.

Can You Hear Me Now?


Yountville, Ca., originally uploaded by CalPastor.

Today, as I was about my business, this vineyard captured my attention. The colors were so bright that I'm not sure I could even do it justice with my camera. The beauty that surrounds us is all too often overlooked. I stopped and snapped my photograph and stood still long enough for God to speak to me.

Matthew 6:30-34 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.


Why do we stress and worry about anything? God has promised to take care of us and then He sets out to remind us of this promise as often as possible. I wonder if God sometimes repeats the phrase, 'Can you hear me now?' to us throughout the day. Loud and clear.