Staff Corner

Staff Corner

Beginnings and Endings

  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”
-Revelation 1:8

Beginnings and endings have a profound impact on the way we live out our lives, the choices we make, and the quality of our relationships with family, with our neighbors, and with our God.

Most of our lives are filled with a series of beginnings and endings; school, work, retirement, and many more in between. As followers of Christ, we prepare for most of these. We save and invest for our future so we can be secure when our formal career comes to an end. We celebrate these events with the ones we love and care about. Graduation gifts and advice are common when a student finishes College, High School and even Kindergarten. The final ending is when we die and our life here on earth ends. This is a sad and traumatic time for our friends and loved ones because they know they won’t ever see or talk to us again.

But when we are saved, this is not truly an ending, but a beginning; the beginning of our eternal life. A life free of pain, problems and suffering, free of all stress and uncertainty. A prefect life with no beginning or ending.

 

-John Bullock
Church Sexton

Staff Corner

Summertime – Vacation Time!

This upcoming weekend marks the unofficial beginning of the summer vacation season. For years the media has oftentimes referred to this season as the three-month period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Many families will be going on trips of varying lengths, anywhere from a few weekend jaunts perhaps to the beach or the mountains to more elaborate trips across America or even abroad.

I have always enjoyed traveling and still do although I don’t take as much time off for vacations as I used to. I have been in all the states except for Hawaii and Alaska and also have been in the western part of Canada and in the area of Mexico south of San Diego. Beginning in high school and continuing to the present day, I have served in the music area of probably a dozen or more churches. But in the summer when vacation time rolled around, I would always find some places to travel and to visit.

When on vacation, come Saturday night, I would oftentimes look around and find a church where I could attend the next morning. This certainly was a great experience for me as over the years I visited a number of churches of varying denominations and was much interested in the different styles and types of worship. And although I was not perfect in attendance and did miss a few Sundays from time to time, I did not want to forget God, because He has never forgotten me as I walked along the road of life. So I hope that as you plan on trips and vacations this summer that you will always seek out a church come Sunday morning where you can worship, and I know that you will receive a blessing from having done this.

May all of you have a happy and healthy summer, drive carefully, and BE SAFE!

Love to all and may God bless.
-Richard Miller
Worship Accompanist

Staff Corner

Sharing the Love

“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

-Acts 2:2-12 (NIV)


Today’s scripture from Acts describes the amazing phenomenon in which Jesus’ first disciples were struck by the Holy Spirit and began to speak in known languages that were not their own. All of those around, who were native speakers of these languages, were amazed to hear the wonders of God in their own tongues and many began then to follow Christ. There is a single, universal language that we can all use to reach others who may not speak the same as we do: love.

The incredible gift of love that God has shown us through the sacrificing of Jesus, his only son, is not ours to keep, but is meant to be shared, and there are so many ways we can do that every day. Some outside of the church may argue that you don’t need to be a Christian to “be a good person” or to “do the right thing;” or they may ask “how can I show love to someone who seems unlovable?”

Well, they’re right, you don’t necessarily have to be a Christian to be nice, and it can be difficult at times to show love towards “difficult” people; but as Christians, we have been called by Christ specifically to graciously share his love, unconditionally, without restraint, with everyone, as Christ first showed to us. In fact, we sing about this very thing in “Sharing The Love,” the response to the benediction at the end of our worship services:

“Sharing the love and the grace of our Lord is what we are
called now to do. Go forth, make disciples, our Savior commands
to love others as God has loved you.”

Father God, we thank you for your amazing love, which we have done nothing to deserve but you so freely offer anyway. Help us to always be outpouring vessels of your love towards everyone we encounter. Amen.

 

 

-Beth Tyrer
Interim Music Director

 

Staff Corner

Youthful Exuberance

Nearly every successful revival in history has begun with youth. The Great Awakenings were led by youthful pastors, the shift to contemporary worship was caused by teenagers coming to Christ, even the disciples themselves were no more than 30 when Jesus called them. Some scholars believe that John was as young as 13!

This is due to a youthful exuberance and an eccentric streak that we as adults often lose as we age and become more comfortable with our place in the world. While we adults can tend to become “the frozen chosen” and stop worrying about evangelism, to a teen, every part of following Christ is a new revelation about who God is and what he calls us to do.

1 Timothy 4:12 reminds teenagers to “Let no one despise [them] for their youth” but to work hard in spreading the gospel.”

As the older members of the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to support the youth and help them spread the gospel message any way we can. So hang out with a teenager. Teach them what you know.

And who knows, maybe they can teach you something, too.

-Matt Howard
Youth Director

 

Staff Corner

Two Wolves

My daughter is currently obsessed with wolves; she has even said that she would like to train wolves when she is an adult.

When I was trying to discuss behavior with her one day, I decided to use the old Native American parable about the battle between the good wolf and the bad wolf. I told her that there are two wolves living inside of her engaged in an epic battle – one wolf is good and one is bad. So I asked her which wolf she thought would win the battle. She thought about it for a moment and then I told her that it is the one you feed.

If you do good things, you are feeding the good wolf and if you do bad things, you are feeding the bad wolf. She seemed visibly bothered by this statement and was quiet for a bit.

Then, she said “If I feed the good wolf, then it can teach the bad wolf how to be good as well and then I will have two good wolves.”

We can learn such important lessons from children. She’s right – she shouldn’t just feed the good wolf so that it can kill the bad wolf. We need to take care of both of them. Jesus

loves all people (and all creatures), regardless of whether they are good or bad. It is up to us to share that love and the teachings of Jesus with everyone, especially bad wolves.

“God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first,
to bless you by turning everyone of you from your wickedness.”
-Acts 3:26

 

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone,
able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.
God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses
and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
-2 Timothy 24-26

Love,
Cindy Calek Pickren
Children’s Director

Staff Corner

Explaining Easter

“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

-Luke 24:2-3

 

Easter is vital to Christians, and we should strive to make the Easter season as important and filled with expectation as Christmas is for families. Let’s face it – Christmas is always triggered by Thanksgiving and the month of December. Easter moves around so much that it is not always as easy to remember the date. We live such busy lives. No wonder we may not remember it’s Easter season until we see it’s time for the Palm Sunday service at church and time to get out the bright pastels, frilly new dresses, and snazzy bow ties worn for this special day.

Your children quickly get a sense that there’s something different about Easter. Commemorating Jesus’ resurrection is understandably the highest cause for celebration. It also prompts some of the most challenging questions among children under the age of 12 who are, for perhaps the first time, hearing the story of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be your child’s go-to source for questions about Easter. For example, use a children’s Bible, a book about Easter or Resurrection Eggs to tell the Easter story to young children. It will help you talk through the details of the resurrection using language that makes sense to your child and provide building blocks to their young faith.

 

 

Happy Easter!!!

-Cindy Garcia
Preschool Director

Staff Corner

Watch Out for the Waves!

 

Life Lessons from Jolly Beach

It was just a wave. I even saw it coming. My feet were firmly planted in the sand, so I turned side- ways to avoid a direct hit, but it knocked me down anyway. My ankle was broken, and I’m now on crutches until it heals. Not fun, but it could be worse. During this time of hobbling around, I have noticed being in a wheelchair somehow makes you invisible. Strangers tend not to look at you, or speak to you, as if your condition just might be contagious. I have also experienced how humbling it is to be dependent. This is not altogether bad, since I now have a greater appreciation for all my moving parts, for loved ones who push me and drive me around and for friends who have cared.

I truly hope these lessons will not soon be forgotten. I want to be more aware of others who may feel invisible (for whatever reason) and remember not to take my health or my loved ones and friends for granted.

In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says:

 

“but the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.

For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’”

Watch out for the waves!

 

To God be the Glory!
-Linda Walters
Financial Secretary

Staff Corner

Give it to God

“Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.” – Oswald Chambers


Sometimes I feel as though some things are written just for me…this is one of those times. This past year, I saw a therapist for a period of time, and she was extremely nice and helpful. One day, I was telling her about something painful that happened in the past, and she said “What can you do to change that now?” To which I replied, “Oh, um, nothing.”

She is right, obsessing over things that happened in the past is not going to change anything. She suggested that every time I have these obsessive thoughts that I write them down and leave them there on the page. It has been hard to do, but slowly, it has made a difference. I have to leave the past behind and give it to God. The future is bright when we have Faith and believe that God’s plan for our lives is greater than we can imagine. He has a purpose for each of us and to know that we are part of His amazing Master Plan is so humbling. Leave the past where it belongs, cherish it, learn from it, and look ahead to the endless possibilities of your future.

Love,

Cindy Calek Pickren
Children’s Director

Staff Corner

LIGHTS ON

“For You cause my lamp to be lighted and to shine; the Lord my God illumines my darkness….As for God, His way is perfect!”   – Psalm 18:28, 30 AMPC


Often, as shadows fall and the night rolls in, some people fail to turn on their headlights while driving. Whether it’s dusk or dawn. rain or fog, some drivers are forgetful or distracted or refuse to use their lights, a powerful personal safety feature that takes little effort to switch on and provides much safer conditions for everyone in their path.

Abiding in Christ keeps your spiritual lights on — no matter how much the enemy wants to distract you and make you forget that God is on your side. No matter what the “road” conditions, as you maintain a constant connection with Christ, your heart light remains bright.

God’s presence is a constant, guiding light that brightens your path and assures your footing alone the road He has set you on. No matter how dark it seems, whether fog or storms roll in, you can see where to go and the direction to take as he leads you.


Lord, You are always with me. As I abide in You, You illuminate the darkness and light the path You have set before me. I will follow You today, knowing that in the light of Your presence, I’ll find my way perfectly.

While I selected this week’s staff corner from one of my favorite devotional series, Daily Wisdom for Women (2018), the message is one I think we can all relate to. Wishing you all a wonderful week!

-Gail Korpal
Administrative Assistant

Staff Corner

It’s A New Year

It’s a new year.  For most people, the idea carries with it the weight of past failures and assurances that they will do better, but those resolutions fall in record numbers.  Why do so many people make promises that they don’t bother to keep?  I think its typically because they are relying on the wrong person to be successful.  Society tells us that everything we do is dependent on us.  If you want to make more money, you have to work harder.  If you want to be healthy, you have to act healthy.  If you want your life to be more spirit-filled, then you have to actively seek the Spirit of God.  Personal effort is important, and these are all good things to do, but they are all missing a critical component of success.  Instead of leaning on the God that was powerful enough to create the universe, knows every hair on your head, and can call all the stars by name, people try to rely on themselves, the fallible creation.

Proverbs 3 tells us that we are to trust in the Lord with all our heart, not in ourselves.  We aren’t called to lean on our own talents and insights to get through the day, but to let the Lord guide us to His will.  John 15 reminds us that we can do nothing at all apart from God.  Rather than let that get you down, rejoice in the fact that there is a loving God that wants to support you through your trials so that he can use you to bring glory to himself.  As we go into this new year, remember that your past failures do not define you, but you are identified in Christ by your faith alone, and to Him that is sufficient.

 Soli Deo Gloria,

Matt Howard
Youth Director