Being Prepared for the Storm

     When you are in the middle of the storm, it is hard to see or think that everything is going to be alright. In that moment, the only thing that we can see are the nonstop gallons of water falling from the skies, and the wind blowing everything in its way. With this in mind we
ask ourselves,”am I really going to be okay” or “am I going to make it through this?”
 
     The short answer is yes! Yes, you will be okay. Your house will survive and your car won’t fly away! But the process of surviving the storm can be really difficult. Especially when you were not already prepared in advance.
 
     Everyone has been in a storm at some point in their lives. Everybody is well familiar with what to do in case of emergency, or even if a catastrophe were to happen. Although, there are some who hesitate when it comes to getting prepared. They just simply think that they will be okay with what they have, or that the storm won’t last long.
 
     Regardless of how well prepared we might be or even if we are not prepared at all, hard situations in life will make you question lots of things. Depending on how well prepared you are, that will determine how easy or how hard everything is going to be. In Matthew 24:42-43 the bible tells us “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house
had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.”
 
     What all of this means is simply that we need to commit ourselves to Jesus, and when hard times come knocking on our doors we can be ready. But more importantly that we can overcome and be victorious in any situation that might come our way. The Bible also tells us that we do not have to fight alone. That we have an all-powerful God who has already won the battle, and has sent his son to calm the storm so that we
may be able see clearly.
 
-Pastor David Rivera
 


Hope in the Dark

 
     As of Tuesday morning, Beth, the kids, and I are leaving from golf port Mississippi heading to Orlando Florida. Thursday the national convention of the Church of God will begin.  We would appreciate your prayers in our travel as we are greatly looking forward to the convention and to some good time away. 
 
     As much as we are looking forward to all that we will do, we also know that we will return to real life back in Houston very soon. The same is true in regard to the hopelessness that we feel in our lives. We may be able to run away from it for a while, but we always know that eventually we will return to real life in that issue.  That is, unless something changes. 
 
      Through the month of June we have looked at how we can find home in the dark. Each week we talked about ways to interrupt the darkness in order to put our hope in the light.   How will you interrupt the darkness? Will you share your struggles with someone else?  Will you commit to studying God‘s word by yourself and with others in a learning group?  Will you seek Christian counseling that will help you process all that God is doing? 
 
      We can have hope even in dark times. I look forward to hearing your testimonies of hope when we return to Houston. 
 
-In HIm
Pastor Tim


Thank God, Another Blessing

 
     “This is not good.” I was with another congregation for a special service, and right from the beginning things looked bad. First, they changed the program and then they added to it. This is not a good sign for getting home before midnight. The group that was added still had to set up before they could start… as we all just sat there and watched. I looked at them. I looked at the clock. I looked at the program. Then it got worse.
 
     One singer could barely walk with a cane and when he sang he leaned on the back of a chair in front of him. The other singer couldn’t see, so a woman with no shoes led him around to where he needed to stand. The third guy was bopping around, plugging things in, checking his guitar, adjusting the sound-he looked like a one man band. Then finally they started singing.
 
     So first of all, they could sang (yes, I spelled it right), but it is what they sang that got me. “Thank God, another blessing…” How in the world are a crippled guy, a blind guy, and a musician with no band going to sing about the blessings of God in their lives? It was beautiful though! Most of what made is so beautiful was the obvious limitations they had while they were proclaiming the blessings of God.
 
     This is exactly what Lamentations 3:24 is talking about, “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; there for I will wait for him.’” These three men proclaimed truth to themselves and it changed how they lived and the impact they had on others. They found hope in their waiting by speaking truth even when it was difficult to see. Let’s all follow their lead toward hope. It will be a beautiful thing!
 
In Him,
Pastor Tim
 
P.S. If you haven’t heard the song before check out this link to the video of the Williams Brothers.
     


Praying for Others

     
     We often hear the words, I will pray for you, or we might even say it ourselves on many occasions. Have you ever thought just how powerful or powerless those words can actually be?      
 
      For many believers praying for others is vital. Prayer is going to our Heavenly Father and making our personal requests known. This ranges from what we want to who we would like to see saved or healed knowing all is in His time.    
 
      Two scriptures come to mind. The first one is the second part of Matthew 12:34 where is says, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  The second scripture is John 16:24, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name, ask and you will receive and your joy will be great.”
 
     With these scriptures in mind, we should realize that the words that come out of our mouths should not be meaningless, but rather hopeful. Our actions and words together must be an image of our Creator to make us stand out so that others can see the light shining through us. This way, they will know we are sincere in our prayers and our requests and might be saved through faith. 
 
Jessica Lopez


Boast in Hope

     Romans 5:2 reads, “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
 
     Wait a minute!  We boast in what?  Why wouldn’t we boast in the glory of God?  Haven’t we seen him do awesome and amazing things?  Isn’t boasting in hope like clapping at the end of an animated movie?  “Wow! That was a really awesome story that never happened!”
 
     As it turns out, hope is not just a state of being.  Hope does things for us.  Hope changes us—changes our minds, and changes our hearts.  Our capacity to hope is also an indicator of health and well-being.  It is not just a good imagination about what might happen in our future.
 
     This means we should be excited about our ability to hope—we should boast in it.  However, it also means that if we can’t boast in the hope of the glory of God we need to realize that something is not right.  We need to address it so that hope can start working for us—doing all that God designed for it to do.
 
     Starting Sunday, I will begin a new sermon series on HOPE.  I hope you will be here to hear what God has to say about hope and what it can do in your life.  You might even see God’s glory as you learn to put your hope in him.

 

In Him,
Pastor Tim.


Changing Lives

     One… two… three… TEN!!! (AHHHHH).  One… two… three….TEN!!!(LOUD GRUNT)
 
     This is how I sound on leg day at the gym. I will try to do five sets of ten squats with a 10 or 15-pound weight. The last two sets are the hardest. By this time, my legs are trembling and they feel like noodles. I’m even counting differently, “one, two, TEN,” and that is just on leg day.
 
     Working out can really show you how much your body can handle. It truly is a lot! All it takes is us pushing it to the limit. How would it be if we were pushing the limit spirituality speaking?  Would we be doing the work the Lord sent us to do?
 
      Speaking to the lost about the one who is LOVE, has the power to save, restore and heal. Isn’t that the reason we are now believers? For the faith one person had.  I can just imagine that person doing different workouts, getting sore, fueling up on love and faith just to bring me the good news, and for this I am thankful.
 
     So, let’s go church and get sore! “This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.” Colossians 1:6 .

Jackie Melgares



Let’s Break the Cycle of Non-Discipleship in the Church

As I’ve stumbled forward, I’ve learned a few things in my journey to become a disciple and to disciple others. Here are 4 ways you can help interrupt the cycle of non-discipleship through your life:

1. Look for God in the ordinary and help others do the same

God is always present and at work. He uses the everyday situations of life to grow us more and more into the image of Jesus. And he invites us to participate with him in this work.

Discipleship is more about paying attention to what God is doing in our lives and the lives of others than about checking things off the “list of things to know about God.”

2. Find small ways to walk with others

Discipleship never happens individualistically. It’s always in the context of community. We need to be with each other for discipleship to happen. We invite others into our lives and we are present in theirs. We say, “Come walk with me. Let’s do this together.”

The old African proverb expresses this beautifully, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

3. Lead in weakness, not strength or perfection

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking, “I don’t have everything figured out. Honestly, I’m kind of a mess over here! So, how in the world can I disciple others?”

The good news is that we don’t have to be a perfect example, just a living one. Actually, leading from a place of “I have all the answers and everything figured out” is a recipe for disaster.

Jesus is the only perfect example; so we look to him and follow. His promise to us is that in our weakness, he is strong (2 Cor. 12:9). His power is made perfect in our weakness. So being weak is the only prerequisite!

4. Lean into vulnerability

Being vulnerable is essential in discipleship. And not just for the person we’re discipling, but for us as well! Our vulnerability gives permission to others to be vulnerable. It sets the stage, opens the door and helps people know the call isn’t to perfection.

Shame wants us to hide our imperfections because it says it’s the only way we’ll truly be loved, wanted, valued and accepted. Being vulnerable paves the way for others to be honest about their struggles. This is the place where God’s power meets us in mighty ways, bringing connection, healing, and freedom.

Written by Deb Sternke

https://gravityleadership.com/break-cycle-non-discipleship/



I Eat A lot

 
 
     It’s true. I do. Actually, I think it would be more accurate to say that I eat OFTEN. I heard a theory one time about boosting your metabolism. It goes something like you should eat five small meals per day. rather than three large meals. I say if five is good, than eight must be better, right!?
 
     For example, today I had oatmeal for breakfast at 6:00 am. Then I proceeded to have an additional two muffins for “second-breakfast.”  That was between 8:00 and 9:00 am. Lunch comes at 11:00 am, and then some fruit around 3:00 pm. My family eats dinner around 5:30 pm. My sweet tooth usually kicks in around 8:00 pm. Judge if you want, but all of this is because I have devoted myself to some goals. These goals help ensure I accomplish through what I eat.
 
     When we are devoted to a goal or a process, we will reorient our entire lives around that goal or process. The problem comes when we set a goal, but we don’t let that goal actually change our lives. That is, when we often feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and tempted to go back to old ways. Truth is, we never really left those old ways because our lives never really changed.
 
     What would it look like for us to be fully devoted to God by having a relationship through Jesus Christ? What if we reoriented our lives around Jesus like I do around food? What if we planned to spend time with Jesus the way smokers do with cigarettes? What if we made plans and appointments with God the same way we do the next great movie that is coming out?
 
     The goal and the process of discipleship is worth it. Devote yourself to one step today, and then tell someone how you are reorienting your life around Jesus.
 
-In Him
Pastor Tim


Superpower Capability

 

The Superpower Capability
 
     Superpowers are something that we only see on movies, TV shows or comic books. What if I told you that all of us could obtain superpowers or a special ability to help others and be the hero of the story in real life?
     
     You might ask yourself why we need super powers if we have police officers, firefighters and judges. You could argue that it is a complete waste of time and effort to go in to the street and look around to see if anyone needs help when you could just dial 911 and within minutes you could have the entire police department at your front door.      
 
     Actually, there are lots of people that need “special help” and we are not talking about financial or physical help. Jesus had superpowers and in the eyes of those around him, if you could ask them what did Jesus do, they would say he could control the weather, walk on water, heal the deaf, mute and make the blind see again or even make disabled people walk.      
 
     You might never be able to walk on water or predict if is going to rain 2 months from now, but you can definitely ask God for guidance as you grown closer to him. You have the same power that was given to Jesus. You have the authority to cast out demons in the Father’s name. You have the authority to move mountains. That would make you a superhero for God’s kingdom! It’s not about wearing a red cape or underwear on top of your pants, but committing yourself to Jesus and to help those that are in need.
 
      Your journey begins the moment you decide to be more like Jesus and less like you. The book of Mark chapter 4 tells us how powerful Jesus is “38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still! “Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” He was and still is my superhero and I want to be just like Him. I want to help others. Wouldn’t you want to be a superhero, just like Jesus?
 
-Pastor David Rivera


Stop Surviving and Start Living

 

     Did you know there is a connection between your brain and the Holy Spirit?  More specifically, there is a connection between how you respond to things and how you submit to God’s Holy Spirit. 
 
     Go to Nerd-ville with me for just a moment.  There are lots of parts to our brains, but there are two that always seem to be competing with each other.  Our prefrontal cortex handles all of our reasoning, rationality and processing.  Then, there is our limbic system which controls our fight/flight/freeze responses to stress—it is our survival mode.
 
      When we are in survival mode we are not at peace.  When we are not at peace, we struggle to hear from, and submit to Holy Spirit.  Now, listen to these words from Jesus, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35).
 
     Our survival mode is keeping us from really living in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is only when we lose our lives (i.e. stop living is survival mode) as a faith act for Jesus and his gospel that we will really live in the peace and direction of the Holy Spirit of God.   So, how do we do that?  Here are a few places to start.

 

  1. Start your day in prayer. If you start the day focused on how God is bigger than your stresses it will be much easier to live like it for the rest of the day.
  2. Interrupt the stress. Take a deep breath.  Count to ten.  Walk away.  The idea is to put some space between the stress and the response.  The space is where we will generally hear Holy Spirit.
  3. Get a mantra. Recently mine has been, “Lord, help me to love you and help me to love him/her.”  Again, the idea is to interrupt the stress and remind yourself that God’s Holy Spirit is already at work in the situation.
  4. Tell someone. Accountability always helps to reinforce goals.  Find someone that you will talk to for accountability and that will support you with prayer and encouragement.

       I want to support, celebrate and pray for as well. So, let me know how you are implementing these things in your life.  I can’t wait to hear how the Holy Spirit is working in your brain.  

In Him,
Pastor Tim

 



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