Pastor's Blog

Identity in Christ - Pastor Bri Hickman - April 17th, 2018

Posted by Brianna Hickman on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

               Identity in Christ

               As a senior in High School I took an English Class as an elective called “Search for Identity.” We read multiple books and short stories about characters who struggled with their identity. In each of the books, we were required to write an essay describing how it relates to ourselves and our own identity. At the end of the semester, all of those essays were culminated into a big project called “Our Identity Project”. As I prepared each page of the project, I realized that all of my essays related to my identity being in Christ. I was proud that without even realizing throughout the year, each essay somehow related to my identity being found in Christ. As I turned in my scrapbook full of “identity” essays, pictures, and life goals, I was fully rooted in knowing that my identity was found in Christ. A few weeks later we received our grades and comments back. I would have gotten a 100% on my project, but because each paper had something to do with God, I was docked 25% off of my grade. I knew this was wrong, so I went and spoke with my teacher. He explained that the content was great and that each essay related very well with the stories we read, but he thought I needed to not put God in my papers. He thought that I needed to find my identity elsewhere. Long story short, I fought this and went straight to the administration of the school. Eventually, my grade was raised to a 100%, but this was not done without a fight.

                This has me thinking… why in this secular world do people try to make us find our identities in anything other than God? When our lives are surrounded with God and rooted in the fact that we are His Children, everything else the world throws at us shouldn’t matter. God has called us His children and we are sons and daughters of the King. During staff meeting today, Pastor Bob explained the Kingdom of God and the realm of God’s effective will. God doesn’t penetrate into our own will, but instead we are to choose to be in the Will of the Kingdom of God. As Sons and Daughters, we are within the kingdom of God and we are to show other’s that they too are sons and daughters of the King.

                A few months ago as I was scrolling through Facebook, a message popped up from a friend from high school. I knew she was a fellow believer in high school, but she didn’t mention her faith to anyone. She messaged me about how much my faith in high school showed her that she needed to live out her faith no matter the cost. She mentioned our “Identity Projects” and went on and on about how she wished she would have had the courage to write about how her identity was found in Christ. I can’t help but think that this is what we are called to do. We are called to live out our lives and choose to show others that we are followers of Christ, even in difficult situations, in Public Schools, and Public places. How are you showing others your identity today? Are you showing them that your identity is in Christ as a Son or Daughter of the King?

2 Corinthians 6:18
“And, ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’”

Delight - Pastor Lisa Roberson - April 10th, 2018

Posted by Brianna Hickman on Sunday, April 15, 2018 @ 10:11 AM

Just after Ed and I were married he suggested we sit down and balance our checkbooks together.  I looked at him quizzically and asked, “Balance my check book?  Like on my head or something?”  Much to his chagrin he soon discovered not only did I not ever balance my checkbook I also never wrote down anything about the checks I was writing.  He looked at me a little dumbfounded and asked how I knew how much was in my account.  I told him I simply kept track in my head. 

            Lately the Holy Spirit has been reminding me, like our checkbooks, we should work to keep our lives balanced.  On the 7th day God rested and blessed us with the gift of Sabbath.  As a kid I envisioned Gods resting looking like the Creator of the universe sitting in an overstuffed chair, using the earth as a footstool and napping the day away.  As I have studied more and matured, the thing I have come to realize is Sabbath is not so much about sitting still as it is about finding delight.  At the completion of each of the first six days Goad said, “And it was good.”  I think on the seventh day, when God rested, he looked at His creation and took delight in it and by giving us the gift of Sabbath he is inviting us to delight as well.

            Delight looks different for each of us.  For some it is taking a day to sleep in and enjoy a well cooked meal.  For others it may be a tour through an art museum.  If you are like me, my delight is going out, seeing and experiencing new things. As long as it is legal, moral and ethical I believe there is no wrong answer to seeking that which brings you enjoyment.

Regarding our checkbooks, we are always careful to make sure there is enough going in to cover the amount going out.  I invite you to join me in taking stock of our lives. Are we allowing God to pour into us through the delight of Sabbath as much as we are pouring out into others?  When we cross paths let’s ask each other, “Were did you find delight this week?”

Blessings, peace, and ample amounts of delight,

Pastor Lisa

Do You Share The Ache? - Interim Pastor Bob Luhn - April 3rd, 2018

Posted by Brianna Hickman on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 @ 4:25 PM

I received an email from an old friend last week. She and her husband dropped out of organized religion many years ago. She is still “spiritual”, but her husband has completely rejected the idea of their being a spiritual dimension at all. They or their friends had had negative experiences at a church and so they have joined the vast and growing numbers of people who reject the church. It saddens me; these are my friends, but I listen to their hurt and complaints and hope and pray that one day they will be open to the simple message of Jesus once again.

Because of the hurts that many people have experienced, we have to work twice as hard and twice as loving as ever before in order to earn the right to share Jesus. And I do mean, earn the right. We have to overcome much negativity regarding Christ and the church. And we can only overcome such hurt by being exceptionally loving, caring, being good listeners, and serving with no hidden motive. Accepting people where they are. Not demanding they adopt our lifestyle in order to be loved by us. We have to live a Christ-like life if we ever hope to introduce anyone else to Jesus.

 

So I am always asking myself, how can I earn the right to bring Jesus into this relationship? How can I exhibit Christ-likeness in such a way that people will feel safe around me so they will open up their hearts and maybe ask a spiritual question that can lead to deeper discussions? I ache for people who don’t know Him. I want them to know the Jesus who has radically transformed my life and who is continuing His work in my life this very day. Do you share this ache? Who are you praying for today that you want to come to know Jesus? Who are you inviting to church? I invited 11 people to church on Easter. 4 came. That pleased me. And I pray I will have more opportunities in their lives to share Christ’s love and forgiveness. We talked a lot about lost sheep, lost coins and lost sons in February and March. Do you see them? Does their lostness keep you awake at night? We have good news to share. May the Lord give us opportunities to serve and listen and love our way into spiritual conversations that will lead to salvation.

In Christ,

Pastor Bob Luhn

 

Humanity of Christ - Pastor Andrew Hickman - March 27th, 2018

Posted by Brianna Hickman on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 @ 5:10 PM

Humanity of Christ

As we enter Holy Week, and approach Easter Sunday where we celebrate our RISEN Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, I cannot keep myself from reflecting on Christ’s journey to the cross. I’m drawn to Christ’s time praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the Gospel according to Luke we see the sorrow, pain, and agony that Jesus is facing in the hours leading up to His crucifixion.  We can see the humanity of Jesus in these verses of Scripture,

“39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’” Luke 22:39-46

We see here that Jesus asked for the cup to pass from Him. He knew His death was rapidly approaching and in this instance He asked God to provide another way. However, the prayer did not end there, the key to this is Jesus prays for God’s will to be done not His human will. The Son of God asking for a way out of being brutally murdered, that shows me that we can ask God for what we want in this life. However, we must remember to be willing to pray and accept God’s will in our lives as the ultimate decision.  As we approach the celebration of Easter, please take some time to reflect on the journey Christ took in the days, hours, and minutes leading to His death.

Continuing Growth - Pastor Bri Hickman - March 20th, 2018

Posted by Brianna Hickman on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 2:52 PM

As I pulled out my debit card and punched in the numbers to register and pay for a class, I realized just how negative my attitude was. I thought to myself, “I went to a Nazarene University and graduated with a Music Ministry Degree just to take more classes?” “Why would I want to put us more in debt just so I can take more classes?” I quickly realized, the attitude towards taking more classes was selfish, complacent, and just plain lazy. As I sat back to ponder why my attitude needed to change, God checked me on something… “Am I willing to continue to GROW?”

Here’s the thing that got me… God calls us to continue to grow. Each of us are in different stages of life and it can be very easy to just sit back, relax, get comfortable in our pews, and not allow Him to shape us. HOWEVER, we are called to be like the branches on the vine and allow God to prune the things that bear no fruit. Thankfully, God checked me and pruned my attitude and showed me that just a couple more classes might help me be better equipped for what God wants/has for me in the future. In my office there is a drawing of a vine and branches with the words I AM THE VINE on it. This is a beautiful reminder that I need to remain in Him and allow God to prune me so I can GROW.

As I hit submit to fully register for the class, I prayed that God would use these classes as a way to grow me. I want to have an attitude that is willing to GROW. I want to be willing to grow spiritually, physically, academically, mentally, and in ANY way that He wants to. Sometimes not knowing the big picture is hard, but we have to be willing to see that what He may be doing now, may help with what He has planned for us in the future.  I pray that you would continue to GROW and that you would allow Him to prune you so you may GROW how He wants you to grow.

John 15: 1-5 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Being Mold-able Clay in the Potter's Hands - Pastor Lisa Roberson - March 13th, 2018

Posted by Brianna Hickman on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 2:42 PM

I walked in and didn’t know where to sit.  I wasn’t late for board meeting but I was later than normal.  As I approached the tables I realized I didn’t know where to sit.  For three and half years I had sat at the right hand of the Senior Pastor.  My leadership contribution was from that place.  Tonight was different, it was the first board meeting since she retired, and I didn’t know where I belonged. A bunch of thoughts were running through my head and I think some of them must have formed a prayer.  It was more than where to sit, it was more of a “I’m not sure what role I am to fulfill anymore, I’m not sure what my place of leadership is now.”  I didn’t hear an audible voice whisper in my ear and yet I knew God was saying to me, “I need you to lead differently now.”

As I dwelt on these words the passage in Jeremiah about the Potters hand came to mind.

Jeremiah 18: 1-6
18 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Then the Lord gave me this message: “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.

The final verse in this section says, “As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.”  It is crazy how much comfort I find in that sentence.  I am, we are, in his hands.  The one thing all crafters of clay have in common is each tend to their clay with great care.  They moved their hands with purpose, the potters knows the outcome they are shooting for and guided the clay with the end in mind.

Clay doesn’t have a choice, when it is placed on the wheel, it doesn’t decided if it will to conform to the will of the potters wishes or not.  We do though, we make choices every day, do we move, change and grow at the will of our potters hand or do we stay hard, stay dry, not to absorbing the living water God is pouring out on us?  My hope, my prayer is, no matter what age or stage of life I’m in I will remain soft and yielding to the potter’s hands.  So I ask you, are you still soft and yielding to the potters hand, are you still absorbing the living water he is pouring into you?

The Prodigal God Series: What's Coming Up - Interim Pastor Bob Luhn - March 6th, 2018

Posted by Brianna Hickman on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 @ 4:48 PM

I hope you have been enjoying our Prodigal God journey. Every time I read and study Luke 15 I see things I had never seen before. So it has been enriching for me. We are now reaching the climax of the 3 stories Jesus told. The lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost younger son, so they all describe the ways the “tax collectors and sinners” crowding around Jesus ended up far from God. Some wandered away a nibble at a time; a choice here, a decision there and they ended up lost. Others were mishandled, neglected, used and abused by someone and they ended up feeling very worthless and lost. Some are rebellious sons and daughters who do not want to have a relationship with God and so they go their own independent way. But now Jesus turns His attention to His intended audience; the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. He will tell them (and us) of an elder brother who was angry, judgmental, and just as lost as his younger rebellious brother. A brother who was lost in his on self-righteousness, who never felt like he had done enough to pleased his father, who slaved for years but never felt the intimacy of a love relationship. Of all the characters of Luke 15 this is the one I most identify with. For I, by birth order and upbringing, am a perfect elder brother. And the way of grace hasn’t been the easiest thing for me to learn. So join us for the concluding weeks as we look at a lost elder brother, a beseeching father and a table spread for us all.

Why Do I Fear the Unknown? - Pastor Andrew Hickman - February 27th, 2018

Posted by Brianna Hickman on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 @ 2:16 PM

Why Do I Fear the Unknown?

A part of being a self-diagnosed control freak is the fear of the unknown a.k.a. everything
that I cannot control even if I tried my absolute hardest. The reality that I have no control over
what I do not know terrifies me. I believe in, love, and serve the Creator of the entire universe,
yet I still try to do things my own way. I keep trying to control what I have no business
controlling, and ending up with the same results expecting things to turn out differently the next
time. That is pretty darn close to the definition of insanity right…doing the same thing over and
over again expecting different results. There you have it I’m insane. However, the beauty of
God’s grace is that He’s got everything under control, and it’s up to me to rely on Him and His
strength not my own. I was reminded of that today in reading a couple of different passages of
Scripture. First, in Isaiah 40:28-31, I was reminded of God’s overwhelming strength, and that I
can find rest in Him, even when I get tired and weary from fighting to do things my way.
Secondly, in Psalm 23 I was reminded that God is always leading me, and as long as I am
following Him I have nothing to fear. God is not going to lead us into destruction. There might
be pain, sorrow, and troubles that we face, but if we are completely honest with ourselves we are
called to live a life like Christ did which includes all of the suffering He endured for the sake of
the Kingdom of God. Is it absolutely terrifying sometimes? YES, but we have a Great Shepherd
who is with us to the very end of time.

Psalm 23
“The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
Bringing honor to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,
For You are close beside me.
Your rod and Your staff
Protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
In the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,

And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

Reckless Love - Pastor Bri Hickman - February 20th, 2018

Posted by Brianna Hickman on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 4:35 PM

 “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah”
Reckless Love by Cory Asbury

      After Sunday’s message, the song Reckless Love has been stuck in my head. I have had the words above run through my head probably about a thousand times a day. As Bob spoke about Sunday, sheep lose their way a nibble at a time, and eventually they don’t know their way back home. The parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15 is the analogy of the Shepherd who has lost one of his one-hundred sheep and instead of leaving the one behind, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine found sheep to find the one lost sheep. One of my favorite parts of this story is the line in Luke 15:5-6, “and when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.” The song Reckless Love by Cory Asbury is a beautiful picture of this parable in a way that views us as the sheep who are lost. We couldn’t earn and we don’t deserve for the Shepherd to come looking for us, but yet He still does. Our Shepherd and Savior has left the ninety-nine to find the one lost one. And when He finds us, He JOYFULLY puts us on His shoulders and takes us HOME. 1 Peter 2:25 says, “For "you were like sheep going astray," but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” God calls us HOME to Him, and He will do anything to get us there. He will chase after us with His Love to find us. Later in the bridge of the song, it states, “There’s no shadow You won’t light up, Mountain You won’t climb up, You’re coming after me. There’s no wall You won’t kick down, Lie You won’t tear down, You’re coming after me.” This is such a huge promise that there is NOTHING that will hold God’s love from chasing after us. We don’t deserve the love that God has for us, but yet He still gives it to us freely and desires for us to know His love.

Praying you see and feel His love for you this week!

 

Lent Calls us to MORE - Pastor Lisa Roberson - February 13th, 2018

Posted by Brianna Hickman on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 @ 3:09 PM

Mom and Dad are relaxing on the couch
On the tippy-est of toes their child creeps up behind them 
Mom and Dad are aware of this stealth approach
The child launches like a bottle rocket over the side of the couch
Mom and Dad knew what was about to happen and yet were still startled

The season of Lent resembles the small child, we are aware it's approaching and yet are still startled by its seemly sudden appearance.  Our culture offers no clues as to when the season begins.  There are no special sections in stores dedicated to this season.  No one uses greetings like, "Merry Lent".  Few if any have a Lenten playlist, nothing is hung by the chimney with care and there are no cake and candles.  And yet...and yet Lent can be a most amazing season.  For 40 days (plus Sundays) we have the opportunity to take time, to create the necessary space, to draw closer to the Father.  It's a 40 day invitation to be intentional about knowing Jesus on a deeper level.  It is time to take stock of who we are in Christ and a time of struggling to grasp the sacrifice our Savior made on our behalf.  Lent calls us to grieve well the death of an innocent man and to unabashedly celebrate the joy of His resurrection.  Lent calls us to more.

to LOVE more
to GIVE more
to PRAY more
to CHANGE the world.

Please join us Wednesday night in the gym at 7:00pm as we quietly and reflectively enter into this amazing season.  Let's change the world

 

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