Sounds Like You Had a GREAT Sunday!
Bro. Pete texted and said that it was HOT here while I was gone, but other than that, it sounded like you had a great week! My family was on vacation in Indiana last week, but I was so thankful to be able to leave the church and not worry about a thing. It’s a mark of the strength of a church to know that the members care for one another and don’t rely too heavily on one man. Although the role of pastor is crucial to your Christian life, it’s not the only role for your spiritual development. God has certainly ordained pastors to help you walk with God, but if you’re only good when a pastor is around… that’s putting a little too much on the role and not enough on God.
Don’t get me wrong… I want to feel needed and everything, but I’m certainly not threatened by others filling in for me. I believe our church is mature enough to recognize the benefits of multiple voices filling a pulpit while submitting to one overseer (bishop) in a biblical way. I promise you that I’m earnestly seeking God to be exactly what He wants me to be in this role, to not lord it over God’s church, and to call people to believe that God knows what He is doing in the structure of His church.
All that to say… I’m so thankful that God works with me AND without me. I heard good reports from last Wednesday (Bro. Stan Schmidt filling in) and last Sunday (Bro. Christian Saldana filling in.) I could not watch the services live, but caught up on them later and found them encouraging. I went to two different churches on Sunday while on vacation, and really appreciated the different churches that God has spread around this nation.
I also really appreciated home! As good as it was to be away, it’s even better to be home. There’s nothing like family, and YOU are what makes coming home so good.
Thank you for being that.
Also, thank you to those who texted or emailed while we were gone, letting us know you were praying for us and missed us. I appreciated that so much.
We had a great trip out to northern Indiana to visit Jamie’s family (her parents and sister’s family—13 total!), and rented a beautiful AirBnB house on a lake with our own beach, a paddleboard, paddleboat, rowboat, canoe, and kayak. The best part about the house was a sunroom with closing doors… guess where all the kids ate their meals? Mm-hmm. Peace and quiet.
We spent the week swimming, hiking, making fires, playing basketball, and napping! It was such a relaxing time, and we had not been out there for a couple of years. I’m thankful to God for this time to spend with my family. We have had quite a busy summer and not much time together, it seems, so this was a valuable time for us.
Open House. Did you do your map this week? I believe Bro. Christian’s point on Sunday morning was great… we don’t proclaim the Gospel sometimes because we DOUBT it will work. Well, it worked for Lilli, who’s getting baptized on Sunday after being immersed in Satanism! It worked for Kevin, who was saved as young man, but baptized last week as he took steps to live a more Gospel-driven life! It worked for you and me… and by God’s grace, there’s a whole valley full of people given to wine, gambling, Motocross, and everything else the Temecula Valley has to offer apart from Christ. We have NO idea how God can change lives, but we know it will never happen unless we do something to reach them.
The Open House outreach is simply to connect you to strangers. Live a Gospel-centered life, obviously, but also make efforts to interact with strangers. Our map system is designed to be a tool to do just that.
- Get a map (or a stack of tracks). Pick a map close to you, or grab a stack and pass it out in your own neighborhood. Each stack and map represents about 50 homes.
- Color a section on the stained-glass picture. Each section represents your commitment to do a map. The picture has about 100 sections, which represents about 5,000 homes, which represents probably about 10,000 – 15,000 people!
- Pass out the flyers. Each flyer is self-contained, and you don’t need to hand anything out with it. It includes all the church information and a gospel presentation. Use them everywhere!
Bro. Christian is building a “House of Prayer” where you’ll be able to write the first name of someone you’re praying for. We want to do our part, but entrust the results to God. We do that through prayer.
We’re praying for missionaries in the Philippines and for the Rock of Ages Prison Ministry this week. Please email the church for more information.