Jesus Not On Vacation

Over the last month we have discussed how we can take Jesus on vacation with us. It can be hard to navigate the vacation schedules but if we are intentional we can still grow closer to Jesus and be used by Him for the work of the kingdom.
Truth is though, we don’t just deal with this on vacation. Our lives are constantly being interrupted by new obstacles, hardships and opportunities. We are constantly redefining “normal” because we aren’t sure what normal is anymore. However, even in these times we can still grow closer to God.
It won’t happen accidentally though. We have to be intentional. We have to invite Jesus to ruin our plans. We have to get practical and prepare for God’s Spirit to work in our lives. Invite Jesus to go with you… not just on vacation but in every area of life.


It’s Good to Be Home

“It’s good to be home”
This might be a phrase you have used after a long trip away from home or a long day at work. Your home is a place of safety, love and joy unless you can’t find your way home then it becomes a lonely place. April 19 was the last time I saw my dog Lilly. She was the light of the house; the one who caught my attention and who kept me company. Lilly decided to run away from home and wasn’t able to find her way back. As I was looking for her all I could think about was who was going to care for her like I did. Make sure she had something to eat, or that she wasn’t dirty. I was her home. 
Jesus is our home. He is our safety, He is love, He is joy and we easily run away to find a place of loneliness full of fears where nothing satisfies. We lose sight of what we had before we lost our way home. We forget that we are the ones who have caught His attention and His heart. Then we start to live a life of regret and sorrow. So find your way home In Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” 
So seek Jesus, love Jesus, trust Jesus and you are home. 
 
Blessings,
 
Jacki


Got Plans?

Beth and I are on the verge of planning the greatest vacation ever.  We are going to send our children to Ohio for two weeks and we are going to stay here.  We are planning how we are going to get them there, when it is going to happen, which grandparents will assume responsibility for which days—everything.  We are even thinking about what we are going to do (and not do) in that time.  We are getting it all planned out.
Plans are good.   As stewards of the resources that God has given us we should plan well.  However, we have to remember that God has some plans for us too.  In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “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.”  If our plans do not match and submit to God’s plans they cease to be good.
In fact, if we aren’t careful we may find ourselves competing against God’s plans.  James 4:13-14 says, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’14 
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  We don’t have time to compete against the plans of God.  We have to seek him out everywhere we go.
So as you are planning your summer vacations and trip make sure that you take Jesus on vacation.  Make plans to grow closer to him while you are away from home.  Anticipate the move of God’s Holy Spirit in your life.  Challenge yourself to talk to someone about Jesus each day.  Plan the rest that you need to refocus yourself on him.  These plans are good plans.
 
 In Him,
Pastor Tim


Am I Enough?

Dear Church,
A couple of weeks ago as we were getting ready for our prayer time during staff meeting Marcus and I each shared how we felt like our youth really needed prayer. There are a couple of them who specifically came to mind, but just in general I shared how heavy they were all weighing on my heart. Our students are bombarded on a daily basis with temptations from the enemy and sometimes it is hard for them to resist. 
Before we got started that evening for youth group, Marcus shared with me how he was really feeling led to change the course of discussion for the night…and I felt the same way. He wanted us to have an open discussion about what they felt like they are faced with and are struggling with. After just a little bit of sharing, I asked them some simple questions….Do you feel loved? Do you feel accepted? Do you feel like you’re compared to others? Do you ever feel like you’re not enough? These questions opened up a time of some real discussion and we were able to encourage them and reassure them that they are loved and accepted.
Fast-forward to the following Saturday at our Annual Women’s Banquet. Our speaker shared with us how life isn’t always the fairytale…the “Happily Ever After”. What a great reminder she gave us how God doesn’t promise life will be easy and it definitely doesn’t always go according to OUR plan, but if we surrender to Him he will take care of all our needs. 
I was reading a devotional recently that reminded me of these truths:

When you feel inadequate, remember God says: You are CHOSEN.
When you feel afraid, remember God says: You are REDEEMED.
When you feel unloved, God says: You are LOVED.
When you feel forgotten, God says: You are REMEMBERED.
When you feel insecure, God says: You are SECURE.
When you feel unable or unstable, God says: You are ABLE.
When you feel worthless, God says: You are CALLED.
And when you feel like you’re not enough or you don’t measure up just remember….YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Blessings,
Sherry


Just Another Conference

Next Saturday, June 3rd we are hosting a conference called, “Caring for the Aging.”  Can I tell you a secret?  It isn’t about what you think it’s about.  It’s really about getting people saved.
Make no mistake.  The conference is going to be a tremendous resource for those looking to learn more about how to care for older loved ones more effectively.  You will get a chance to share your story with others.  You will even learn and practice activities that will help in your daily life as a caregiver.  And while all these things are great, if this is all we do it will be a tremendous failure.
See, this conference isn’t just another conference.  It is about leading people to Jesus.  We are hosting this conference because there are pre-saved people all around us who are dealing with these issues.  They have similar questions that we have but they don’t have the hope we have.  We want to show people that God can meet them in the hardest times of their lives.  We want to show them that the promises of God will be our foundation of solid rock even in the storms.  We have good news and I want to share it with those who need it.
The entire conference has been planned, not just with the information in mind, but with the INVITATION in mind.  You can be part of making this conference a success.  You can invite your neighbors and coworkers.  You can connect with those who are not already connected with the church.  God can transform the difficulty of being a care-giver into the freedom that comes through a relationship with the greatest care-giver of all.
Use the insert from your bulletin as an invitation.  Like and share the event from the church Facebook page.  Knock on your neighbor’s door and let them know about it.  Mention it in your next staff meeting at work.  Let’s make the “Caring for the Aging” conference about caring for the lost.
 
In Him,
Pastor Tim
 


Let’s Worship Him!

“Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies; Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his magnificent greatness; Praise with a blast on the trumpet, praise by strumming soft strings; Praise him with castanets and dance; praise him with banjo and flute; Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum, praise him with fiddles and mandolin, Let every living, breathing creature praise God! Hallelujah!”
Psalm 150 (MSG)
 
We have so much to praise God for. I’m excited for this week! This Wednesday, May 17th at 7pm, We will be hosting our first Night of Worship! We’ve been praying for this night for some time now. We’ve wanted to present an opportunity for the Church to have a time to freely worship God with no limits. I personally have been praying for those who will be in attendance, and that their hearts may be prepared for worship. As I’ve been preparing with prayer, I can’t help but be reminded, this is what we will be doing for eternity with our creator. Let that sink in a little. Think of who is on the receiving end of our worship. We are worshiping the King of Kings! And This King hears our worship! If that doesn’t get you excited about worship, I don’t know what will. I hope that you’re as excited as I am about this Night Of Worship. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for us. I hope to see ya’ll there!!!
 
All for Him,
Rico


I Got That Feeling

Do you remember that feeling from Sunday?  When I had you change seats at the end of the service what did you first notice?  Were you comparing your new spot to your first spot?  Was it just weird being somewhere else?  Was your mind running trying to process everything that was new?  I hope so. 

When Jesus sent out his disciples they knew that feeling too.  They knew what it felt like to be in a strange place and yet still be in the presence of God.  They knew what it felt like to do the right things in different places.  They knew that feeling and in the midst of that feeling they shared the good news about Jesus.  Even with that feeling people were getting saved and the kingdom of God was growing. 

I do hope you remember that feeling because it is a good feeling.  It isn’t a feeling we should try to avoid.  Rather, it is a feeling we should try to replicate.  Hopefully we go places that make us feel that feeling regularly.  We should get to the point where that feeling reminds us that we are right where we need to be.  I want that feeling to drive us and motivate us and push us into the kingdom work that Jesus has sent his disciples to do.  Let’s embrace that feeling and see what Lord might do! 

In Him,
Pastor Tim


You Are Loved

Romans 8:38&39 (NLT) says, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Do you feel loved by your family?  Why or why not?  Do you feel loved by God?  Why or why not?

 You might have gone through many hardships in your life.  Your parents might have neglected you, maybe you were abused or treated badly by a loved one, family member or friend.  When you give your life to Christ you become a part of the family of God, and God becomes your father.  His love for you is eternal, and nothing will be able to separate you from his love; the devil himself cannot separate you from God the Father’s love, so we no longer have to fear any circumstance.

 As children of God we also no longer have to fear the judgement that the world will face because of their sins.  Why?  Because YOU are loved!  Just like in the lyrics to the popular song (that comes on KSBJ) called ‘You Are Loved’; God wants you to know that you are loved by Him. 

 If your heart’s in a thousand pieces
If you’re lost and you’re far from reason
Just look up; know you are loved
Just look up; and know you are loved
When it feels like something’s missing
If it hurts but you can’t find healing
Just look up, know you are loved
Just look up, know you are loved

Nothing shall separate us from the Love of Christ!

 Love,

Pastor Marcus


Go Further

Sunday at 5:00 p.m. I left for Florida with some other pastors. We stopped in Beaumont and then left for Florida. We stopped in Baton Rouge and then left for Florida. We stopped somewhere in Alabama and then we left for Florida. It was pretty and boring and fun and monotonous, but we got to Florida. 
 
Two Sundays ago we had an incredible service to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, but the Father didn’t bring Jesus back from the grave to just celebrate. Jesus is risen from the dead so that we might Go Further with him and his Holy Spirit. It will be pretty and boring and fun and monotonous, but if we keep going we will get to where Jesus is leading us. 
 
As we continue this sermon series ask God where you should Go Further. Maybe you have stopped somewhere–stopped growing, stopped learning, stopped worshiping, or stopped telling others about Jesus. You don’t have to stay stopped. You can Go Further right now and you can help others Go Further too. Call someone and invite them to or back to worship, join a Learn Group, start reading your Bible, or get baptized. 
 
Praise God! Jesus is Risen! Now let’s follow him and Go Further. 
 
In Him,
Pastor Tim


Unexpected

Dear Church,

 I have always loved Easter. I love springtime and flowers. I love spending time with family discussing the Easter story. I love hearing my Dad pray over our family, our community, and our country. Easter is a very special time for so many reasons. But this year will stand out to me for years to come.

First, the AC went out. And it was HOT. Mom had been preparing food off and on for a few days, and the oven had been heating the house. The deviled eggs were ‘melting’ and the cheesecake was a little bit soft. But then God blessed us with cooler weather and we were able to enjoy Easter with the breeze blowing through the open windows. It was a strong reminder of the things we are blessed with, the things we take for granted. What could have ‘ruined’ Easter ended up enhancing our experience. Instead of being miserable at a ‘ruined’ Easter lunch, we were blessed with abundant joy!

Second, I was able to spend time with a good friend and really dig into what Easter is all about; what the cross means to us, what the purpose of the resurrection is. As I prayed and asked God for wisdom and guidance in how to best lead this friend into deeper knowledge of the Easter story, it was revealed to me in a new, fresh light, one that brought the peace we both needed in our lives. It was a very humbling experience and I am so grateful that God allowed me to be a part of it. I am very blessed to have friends in my life who push me to grow and dig deeper into my faith, while helping them to do the same. This Easter the redemptive love of Christ was refreshed in my spirit.

I could choose to remember this Easter as  ‘The year the AC went out’, but instead I am choosing remember this Easter as ‘The year I remembered I am forgiven”.
 
Blessings, 
Pastor Sarah