Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rend Your Heart

One of my Favorite Jimmy Needham songs is called “Rend”.  Look it up on YouTube or follow this link after you read the article.  It’s a great song that goes along with this scripture.
Joel 2: Rend Your Heart
 12 “Even now,” declares the LORD,
   “return to me with all your heart,
   with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
 13 Rend your heart
   and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
   for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
   and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and relent
   and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
   for the LORD your God.

Joel was a prophet who heard the word of the Lord and declared to a prideful people that the plague that they were under did not have to last forever.  The Chaldians were facing one on the largest plagues that anyone could imagine.  Locusts swarmed their field and had left their land barren.  Joel came on the scene and let them know that God had not left them, and that they were missing out on the love of God.  It didn’t have to be this way. 

If my life, there have been times where I felt like my life, my pride, my possessions got in the way of the love of God – in the way of what God had for me.  All the things I tried to put in front of God left me feeling empty and alone – like a barren wasteland covered in bugs…. gross.

But here’s the thing, God did not leave me to be eaten away by bugs.  He said come back to me dear one and I have got some great things in store for you. 
The LORD’s Answer
 18 Then the LORD was jealous for his land
   and took pity on his people.
 19 The LORD replied[a] to them:
   “I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
   enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
   an object of scorn to the nations.

If you finish the chapter, there are more promises.  These were the promises for those people at that time, but take time today to search your heart and find out what they mean for you. 

What does it mean when God asks you to rend your heart?  What are you in need of surrendering?

Join us this Sunday.  THE FIRST SUNDAY OF 2012! as we explore more.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

$300,000! …Are we there yet?

It seems like we have heard it a million times. The often repeated question… “Are we there yet?” You know, the one that comes from the back seat as your family makes the trek to Grandma’s house, a vacation destination, or to wherever it takes over the “reasonable” 30 minutes or so of travel. Then, when you are truly “almost there”, the entire car builds with excitement for what is in store at your anticipated destination. Maybe it is the excitement of opening presents or eating Grandma’s homemade goodies or the relaxing visit with those you have not seen in awhile.

Well, our Orange Friends Church family has been asking “Are we there yet?” with our building debt for several years now. We can finally turn to one another and say, “Yes, we are almost there!” We can feel the excitement building as we anticipate what God is going to do among us as we arrive at this long awaited destination. We have been on the road of paying off our mortgage for a very long time and it feels good to pull in the driveway of being a debt free church.

At the beginning of December we began a debt elimination campaign with a little under $25,000 remaining on our mortgage. As of today we have about $10,000 left to go! The over $15,000 that has come in so far has been given by only 15 families! Just imagine what we could do if every family at Orange Friends Church gave!  

Maybe you are newer to OFC and you were not able to be part of the building of the Family Life Center in 2001. God gave a vision (or destination) to our church at that time to reach out to the community by building a space for sports outreach, teen ministry and a clean and safe nursery for our preschool aged children. We now worship every Sunday in that same space. Whether you were here when our church family stepped out in faith to build, or whether you are newer and are enjoying the fruit of that vision, will you consider a generous gift to completely eliminate our debt on this building?

Once we arrive at this destination of being debt free as a church family, imagine what God wants to do with our ministries and work. I believe that this will mean that we are freed up financially to…
  • Impact the lives of children and their families through the "Next Generation" vision. This plan includes converting the Chapel (previous sanctuary) into effective children’s ministry space and hiring a Director of Children’s ministries in order to reach out to more families in our community.
  • Help hundreds of individuals and families to overcome addiction (CRACK House ministries), receive provision in the midst of homelessness and hunger (Faith Mission), and provide escape from human trafficking for young girls (Gracehaven ministry).
  • Provide food, shelter, clean water, education and other practical needs for those around the world who are in need.
  • Provide the necessary building and property improvements/maintenance so that our church property can continue to be a beacon of light for Jesus Christ in the surrounding community.  
Please consider participating in the debt elimination at Orange Friends Church. You can make a difference no matter what you are able to give. Be sure to send your gift marked for “debt elimination” to the church office (or place it in the offering plate) before December 31 to get the tax benefits for 2011 and to ensure that we are financially free for the 2012 ministry year.

As we arrive at our destination let’s celebrate and rejoice for God has been generous and has provided everything we need.
Pastor David

Friday, December 2, 2011

December Stress

December is one of the most stressful times of the year. OR does it have to be? About five years ago I asked a mentor of mine, who happened to be a worship director, how she made it through the Christmas season. I knew that she had three programs to plan, family to entertain and gifts to buy. She shared something with me that I will never forget – You can choose to be stressed out or to not. We are to live out everything we do as an act of worship bringing Glory to the Lord. How are we doing this if we are so stressed out during a time of Celebration in Him that we end up hating the season?

1 Peter 5:7 says
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.”

Matthew 11:28 says
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”

I don’t think that a God of peace and comfort desires us to be upset and stressed out during a time of celebration. Now that I am in the shoes of my mentor and doing a million things at a time during this season, I need to hear this more than ever.

Join me in casting our cares on the Lord this season so we can focus on the celebration of Christ’s birth.