Weekly Seed of Faith 2-18-20

Seed of Faith – Worried & Upset – One Thing   By Pastor Dave  

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Psalm 27:4-8

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed-Sowers:

We have been reflecting on the word “vision” here at The Seed.  What is your vision?  What is the one thing that you really want to see happen this year?  What is the one thing that you want to accomplish this year?  What is the one thing that is holding you back from pursuing your vision? One Thing?

I love Psalm 27 it is one of my favorite Psalms.  So many verse in this Psalm speak to my heart and my life.  I have memorized verses four through eight above.  It really is the “one thing” that I seek after.

As I have been thinking of the “one thing” for this year i went to to my Bible and looked at some of the “one thing” verses.

Here we go …

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.” Psalm 62:11-12

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, Philippians 3:13

One Thing! One Thing!  One Thing!

That is all I remember growing up. One Thing! One Thing!  One Thing!

First it was my mom and dad calling out to me — David James

I knew when they would use my full name or use my first name two times in a row that they wanted to tell me something important.  They would say — David, David, one thing is important, one thing is important, one thing is important!  My dad would say — David, the one thing you will always have is your name. The Bible teaches us in Proverbs that a good name is to be chosen.

So what is the one thing you seek after?

Oh how I love Jesus — Jesus was a close family friend or Mary, Martha and Lazarus  and when he would come to Jerusalem He would stay at their house.

In Luke we are told that Jesus came to visit Martha, Mary and Lazarus. However, Martha was so obsessed with Jesus coming by to visit that she cleaned for days and days and days.  I am sure that all she talked about was that Jesus is coming, “Jesus is coming we have to get everything in order. Jesus is coming we have to plan the right meal.  What do you think he would like?”

I can just imagine how Martha would get on Lazarus and Mary.  Martha wanted them to help her clean the house get the food ready and do all the work!  Come on now, the house wasn’t that big.  You could clean it in no time.  But, Martha wanted to be one of those white glove cleaners.  If you know what I mean?  Everything had a place and everything in its place.

Growing up we had people who we called “Alphas” and others we called “Betas.”  You see — “Alpha and Beta” are the first two letters in Greek alphabet.   I believe that Martha would have been an — “Alpha.”

Alphas are those ones who always want everything perfect and in order.  You could say that Martha was somewhat rigidly organized when it came to cooking and cleaning.   Alphas are sometimes “workaholics” multitasking and pushing themselves with deadlines and agendas.  Alphas were also, very sensitive, impatient, anxious and always worrying about this or that thing.  They would worry and be anxious about things even when they hadn’t happened yet. Alphas were so busy that they missed the joy of the journey.  Do you know any “alphas” in your life?

When Jesus arrived at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus they were sitting around listening to Jesus tell them about some of his miracles and teachings.  I am sure that Jesus told them about how he gave sight to the blind, the healing of the sick and the feeding of the five thousand with a few fish and some bread. Just think of all those disciples and Mary and Lazarus just sitting around and being blessed so much.  It would have been so cool to be in the same room with Peter, James, John, Andrew, Bartholomew and all the rest of the disciples.  What I found so amazing is that Jesus let Mary sit right at His feet.  You have to understand that in those days, a good Rabbi would never allow a woman to sit at his feet, and here was Jesus teaching and talking and Mary was sitting right at his feet.

The disciple were all reclining at the table, basking in the beauty of the moment when everything came crashing down.  Martha came into the room and confronted Jesus she said, Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  You could hear a pin drop in the room! What would happen next?  Martha had the boldness to come to Jesus and demand that Jesus tell Mary to get up from sitting at his feet and go to work.  What was she thinking?  Was she thinking? I am sure that all the disciples all looked around at each other.  Most likely some of the disciples started looking down and playing with their robes, trying not to make eye contact with anyone.

Then Jesus looked at Martha with those eyes of love and compassion and He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” 

When Jesus repeated Martha’s name twice that is when sirens started going off in my head.  I remember that what is going to be said next was really important. Jesus said that Martha was “worried and upset about many things.”  The word that Jesus used for worry is the same word that He used that day when he gave a message on the side of the mountain.  Today they call that message the Sermon on the Mount.  The Sermon on the Mount was one of the first times that Jesus taught and he taught as one with authority.  His message in chapter six is about worry — it is one of his longest teachings!   Listen to what Jesus said — Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?   “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)

Jesus says: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.”

That is when it hit me!  One Thing! One Thing! One Thing! 

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” Psalm 27:4

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.” Psalm 62:11-12

I remember the words that Jesus spoke to the rich young ruler when he came seeking to find how he could have eternal life and Jesus said — “One thing you lack … Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”  Mark 10:21

One Thing! One Thing!  One Thing!

Paul told the church in Philippi to forget the former things.  to forget the things in the past — “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” Philippians 3:13

So What?
I will forever remember what Paul wrote to his good friend Philemon – “And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers”

So what have I learned in all these years that I have been alive? So what is the one thing that I have learned from Jesus?  Well I have learned to worry less and pray more!  I have learned to not get upset and troubled about many things by trusting in the one thing needed.  I have learned to sit at Jesus’ feet more and wait for that day when my guestroom is prepared and I am restored to Jesus.

I encourage you to look forward into the New Year and find the one thing that s needed!  Jesus!

See you Sunday

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 1/18/20

Seed of Faith – BURIED WITH CHRIST — RAISED TO A NEW LIFE   By Pastor Dave  

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

Dear Faithful Friends and Spirit-Filled Seed Sowers:

I hope and pray that your week is going well and that this New Year is unfolding with God’s grace upon grace as you walk in Christ.

I encourage you to pick up your Bible and read Colossians 2:6-15.  Have you ever thought what it means to walk with Christ? Have you ever thought that you have been buried with Christ in His baptism and then raised into a new life with Him?

When Paul writes this letter to the Colossians, he is sitting in a prison cell in Rome.  Paul wants the Colossians to remember that Jesus Christ is God, that Jesus Christ is the head of the church and that we can have union with Jesus Christ by walking with Christ and remembering His and our own baptism.

I love the opening verses — “Just as you have received Christ as Lord.”  When you were baptized, you received Christ as your Lord and Savior.  To “receive” means “to take your inheritance, to bring alongside, to hold, to draw oneself to and learn from someone.”  Do you notice what Paul says?  He writes us to say, “Receive, take your inheritance, take a hold of, learn from and bring alongside Jesus Christ as your LORD!  Lord means master, ruler, one who has power and authority over you.  This was a radical teaching then and is still a radical teaching today. Receive the LORD JESUS as the one who has power and authority over you. I received Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1981. I’ve never once regretted Christ being the master and ruler of my life.

If you have never been baptized, I encourage you to go and talk with your pastor or come and talk with me. Let me know and we can baptize you when you are ready to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Even if you want to rededicate yourself to Christ, I’d be happy to remember your baptism–in your pool, hot tub, river or ocean! I remember in the summer of 2010, Jac asked me to dunk her in the ocean at Carona Del Mar. She wanted to rededicate her life once again to Christ. She had been through some hard seasons with the church and she wanted to profess: “My life isn’t about a religion, Jesus, my life is about a relationship with you. You are my Lord and my Savior. Period. Nothing less. Nothing more.” Big Ed and Dave dunked her as she intentionally washed away religion and rededicated her life to a relationship with Jesus Christ. She came up out of the ocean laughing and praising God. Yes.  If you ever want to rededicate your life, or DEDICATE your life to Christ, I am a text, an email, a phone call away.

Look at verse six again … “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him…”  Since you have received Christ, Paul then tells us to continue … “peripateo”—continue to live in Christ.  I love the verb “peripateo” It means to “walk with, walk along, walk up and down, traverse, behave and conduct oneself and live with.”  Wow!  That is a mouthful!

Paul is laying down a hard teaching: Take and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord, ruler and authority of your life, and continue to live in Christ day in and day out, hour after hour.  Walk up the hill and down the hill, walk alongside of Christ. Conduct yourself with Christ. This verb is a command, not a suggestion, and we are called to continually follow and walk along with Jesus Christ as Lord.

When I read verse twelve, I am reminded of our baptism.  We were buried in the waters of baptism with Christ and then immediately we were raised into new life through the power of God.  This power of God is the awesome Holy Spirit, who washes away our sins and sets us free to walk alongside Jesus. This is what Paul means when he writes that we were dead in our sins and, through the power of God, we are forgiven by Jesus’ death on the cross. As we remember our baptism, we remember that we, too, were dead in our sin but as we go under the waters of baptism–our sins are washed away. How can that be? By the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. All sin–PAID. Our debt–PAID IN FULL.  How can we not accept and follow this Savior?

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! You have been buried with Christ and raised into a new life.

Who wouldn’t want to be set free from the sin that clings so closely to us?  Who wouldn’t like to be set free from their past failures and faults?  Imagine picking up a black stone or two and casting it into the depths of the sea.  I love how the Old Testament prophet, Micah, states this idea of a God who forgives: “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19

Or think of Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

At the SEED, we do a “REMEMBER YOUR BAPTISM SUNDAY” after Epiphany Sunday. We set up a table with a tall, clear vase filled with water and we set a ton of black stones around the vase. As you come forward to remember your baptism, you are given the chance to bury into the sea your sins. Casting a black stone or two or three into the waters represents your past sins, failures, disappointments, defeats, setbacks, sadness, shame, disgrace, guilt, doubt, fears–anything negative that holds you back from walking into this New Year baptized in Christ, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s a great experience. For those of you who live near water, take a hike! Take a hike and pick up some stones and toss them into the water. “Here, Jesus, here’s my ___________. I have been buried with you in my baptism. I have been cleansed. Help me to walk in the freedom you died for.”

At church last Sunday, we had the first vase filled with water and the stones to toss and then we had a table with a vases filled with water and white stones. In order to get a white stone, you had to dip your hand into the waters. As you we dipped your hand into the water,  you remembered your baptism: I have been buried with Christ and I am raised into a new life with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. I am forgiven and I am free! I will walk continually rooted and built up in my faith with overflowing with thankfulness.”

Revelation 2:17 says — “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”

After you picked up your white stone, we had another opportunity to pick up a paper with a new name written on it for this year. If you would like a new name for the year, email me or text me and I will light a candle and pray for you and draw a new name for you for the year. 

As your pastor, I want you to know that God loves you.  God loves you just as you are.  We are bought back…redeemed.  We are forgiven.  Our slate is clean.  God promises to be with us as we grow and change this year…through the hard times, through the blessed times, through the easy times, through the difficult times…yes…God wants to bless the land we dwell in…both the mountain tops and the valleys.

Alone, we are not enough, but Christ is.  Christ’s body was broken, and his blood was shed…and that is enough.  With Christ in our hearts, we are enough.  We are forgiven.  We are cleansed.  We are free. Vision 2020–this is the perfect start to a new year and a new decade. This is the year when we decide that we will walk up the hills and down the hills with Christ in our heart.

My new name is Confident One. Jac’s is Full of Happiness. What’s yours? Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside! Have a great week.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www,theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 1/11/2020

Seed of Faith – From The Beginning Of The Year To The End  By Pastor Dave  

“But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” Deuteronomy 11:11-12

Dear Faithful Friends:

We sit on the brink of a New Year.  I hope and pray that you are all well and healthy!
Last Sunday, the church worldwide celebrated Epiphany! I pray you have had some time to answer the questions in the SEED OF FAITH and that you’ve had some revelation from God’s word, too.

This week we are on to: The Baptism of the Lord! This is the week at our church when we draw new names for the coming year. Both Jac and I are ready to trade in our names from last year. She drew GENTLE FRIEND, I drew FEARLESS WARRIOR. We both had a hard year of chelation fall out. I think we are hoping to draw a new name like: EZPZ street, LOVE, JOY UNENDING. Something soft and fuzzy would be nice. Wait you say! What’s wrong with our old names? Well, Jac is not all that gentle (her words) and I’m not into being a warrior!We thought about trading names last year! But I must say, we both grew into our names–along with a lot of practice and opportunities from God!  If you want to join us in this spiritual exercise. reply to this email and let me know.  We will draw you a new name for 2020 and email it to you. We will also be putting our “WORD OF INTENTION” that the Holy Spirit is giving you this year onto our 2020 clean canvas. An intention is a goal, an aim, or a plan.  Jac has heard the word WAIT and has translated that into “Why Am I Talking?” She’s been journaling on her word already. I’m still WAITING for my word! Just today I had a friend tell me that the Holy Spirit gave him his word for the year.  His word is “obey.”  What a powerful word to walk with and work with this year. So What?  What is the word that God the Father, Jesus the Son and Holy Spirit the comforter giving to you?

This week, I encourage you to read chapter 11 of Deuteronomy.  Ask and allow the Holy Spirit speak to you about a 2020 goal, aim or plan. When we come to Deuteronomy 11, you need to know that the Israelite people have wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Does that sound familiar to you? Maybe you have been wandering in the wilderness for the past year or so?

The Israelite people are finally sitting on the edge of the Promised Land; they’ve been waiting and wandering for 40 years for this very season.  They are given their last words of instruction from their faithful leader, Moses.

Earlier this week, I was reading Deuteronomy during my devotional time. The Holy Spirit had me stop and journal on the verses above.  I stopped on the words — “The Lord your God cares for you. The eyes of the Lord your God are upon you. The Lord your God is with you from the beginning of the year to the end.”   CARES — SEES — WITH– ME!  I wrote in my journal.    I was impressed with the thought that God wants to be with me! That God wants to be with His people. That God wants to be with you!

God tells the people that that the land they are about to cross over and take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys.

I recently flew to Pittsburgh to be at the retirement service for one of my spiritual mentors and longtime friend. As I was sitting on a plane flying over some of the largest mountains and valleys in the USA, I thought about the land and mountains and valleys that we all face. It was as though these words were sinking deep into my heart.

The land that God wants to give us is a land full of mountains and valleys. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “This next year will be filled with mountaintop experiences that will bring you great joy and happiness.  Also, this next year will be filled with some valleys.  Some of these valleys will be dark, yet God has promised you that he will be in those valleys as well as in the mountaintops. Dave, hear the promise of Psalm 23, “Yay, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will not fear for the Lord your God, the Good and Great Shepherd of the sheep will be with you to comfort you.”

Each one of us is facing a new year. No one knows what it holds for us.

Do you find it comforting to hear Moses’ words? As we wait on God, we will face a year filled with mountains and valleys? Verse twelve is a wonderful promise — “It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” 

That is really, really, really, really good news.  From January first through December 31, God’s eyes are continually on us.

God wants you to hear this!  This New Year will be filled with mountains and valleys.  But God wants you to know that no matter what — He is with you!  God cares about the New Year and the land that you have just crossed over into. God’s eyes are on your land continually! Stop and think about this for a minute!  The eyes of the Lord are on you!  The eyes of the Lord are on your mountains and valleys.  The eyes of the Lord are continually on you from the beginning of this year all the way to the end!  Wow!  What a powerful promise.

Lord, God of creation.  You created us in Your image and Your promise is that you will sustain us with the promise of Your presence.  We ask that Your eyes would be upon us; and that You will continually watch over us as we face our mountains and our valleys. We stand in the promise that You will be with us from the beginning of this year to the end of this year. Help us, Oh Lord, to be sensitive to Your Words of life.  Amen

This past Wednesday our GALG (Get A Life Group) reunited for bible study after the holidays. We studied Mark 9. Jesus asks a great question, “How long has he been this way?” Jesus was asking this question of the father of the demon-possessed boy. Someone in the group said, “You know, I think that’s what happens with each one of us. Jesus walks alongside of us and asks, ‘Dave, how long have you been like this?'” The father says, “If you can help us, help us.” Jesus asks the father, “IF? IF? Do you BELIEVE that I can help you?” The father says, “I believe….but…help my unbelief.” You know what? I love the stories of the Bible.  Isn’t that just like us? Don’t we tell Jesus, “I think you can help me.” Jesus replies, “You THINK I can help you? Do you BELIEVE that I can help you?” Hmm.  Do I really believe that Jesus can help me climb the mountain of 2020 that lies before me? Do I really believe that I will survive the valleys? “Yes, Jesus, I believe you—but it’s not 100%. Could you help my unbelieving parts?”

And Jesus laughs, pats me on the back, thanks me for my honesty and says, “Let’s go! I will never you nor forsake you. Keep on believing!”  Jesus died on the cross for me, and for you. All of our unbelieving parts are covered in His blood. Go on. Ask the hard questions of Jesus and believe. He’s got your unbelief already covered.

See you Sunday.

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfeloowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 1/2/20

Seed of Faith – Many in 20 Come To The Lord   By Pastor Dave  

“See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Isaiah 42:9

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5

Dear Faithful Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers:

Above are a few passages of Scriptures that I turn to during each New Year.  I think of all the wonderful blessings that God has done for me and my family and for so many of you! I rejoice for the daily miracles I am invited to witness each day. During the NEW YEAR,  I also love to reflect on the “new things” that God will be doing in my life, in your life and the lives of so many in 2020!

I am struck by the “new things” that God promises us in Scripture. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, we are promised that God’s business is making things new. I don’t know about you, but I can use a NEW year!

“Write them down for these words are trustworthy and true.”  What powerful words to reflect upon! Long ago, I had a GMC two-toned blue van. It was beautiful. We name our vehicles.  Don’t ask my why. We always have: Betty Ford, El Tanko, Woody, and the 1990 blue van–faithful and true, Trupi 5! (Yes, that was her name; that van took us from 3 kids in high school, to 3 kids in college, to my seminary years, and to our first two churches! As I sat down to write about how the Scriptures are trustworthy and true, I thought about how trustworthy and true Trupi 5 was. When we sold Trupi 5, she had over 350,000 miles on her! Faithful and true–the scriptures are just that!

I have been listening to King and Country’s latest album,  “Burn the Ship.”  Here’s the YouTube link … https://youtu.be/pOVrOuKVBuY Listen to the chorus: “Burn the ships, cut the ties, send a flare into the night, say a prayer, turn the tide, dry your tears and wave goodbye.” (I’ll get back to this.)

Today I sit at my computer and look through my sermon files. I am overwhelmed and humbled.  I keep all of my sermons in folders labeled for the year they are preached. I have folders dating back to 2001 when I first started keeping an electronic file.  My manuscripts from 1998 to 2001 are in a box somewhere in my shed. Listen to C. H. Spurgeon, “All pastors should keep their sermons so that they can go back over them, read them and weep.”  Today I have been weeping over some of the messages I have written! It’s been a quiet week of holiday. Jac has been sick, and then I caught the flu from her. We’ve been laying low. At this time of the year, I like plan out my preaching calendar, to pick my brain of ideas of what the Holy Spirit wants me to talk about during 2020. I always sit down and write a review of the messages of the previous year and I look over some of the messages. Some messages have brought back fond memories of people and places that are dear to my heart, some have brought laughter at the silliness of my writing, and some have brought tears of sadness for friends lost and ministry moments gone by. It’s a great way to pray myself into 2020 and what’s ahead in the preaching arena for us all.

As we turn the page on 2019, we open a new chapter for 2020. The honest reality is that we aren’t just closing out a year–we are closing out a DECADE! A decade of ministry, memories, moments of joy and sadness, only to open a blank page for a new year and a whole new decade.

This got me to thinking: what is God calling you to do and become in the next year and in the next ten years? Last month, I had a very good friend pass away. Herman, Doc, always encouraged me to have a one-year plan, a five-year plan and ten-year plan.  As I get ready to ask, seek and knock on the Lord’s door for what to preach on, I couldn’t help but miss my friend. What is my one year plan? What is my five year plan? What is my 10 year plan? I’m 65. Seriously, in 10 years I will be 75! WHAT IS MY TEN YEAR PLAN?!!! In a way, I’m kidding. But I do want to encourage you to think about your life and to pray and plan for what you want to accomplish this year, and in the future. We have a whole new decade upon us!

Have you noticed that the year we enter is 2020?  Makes me think of having 20/20 vision; 20/20 vision is normal vision and the vision that a fighter pilot needs to fly his or her plane; 20/20 vision is needed to read a phone book, but who reads a phone book these days.  20/40 vision is required by most states to get a driver’s license. With 20/80 vision you can read an alarm clock from 10 feet away.  Do you know that 20/200 is considered legally blind?

The “so what?” comes early: What is your vision for 2020?

As you may recall, each year I try to come up with a “little ditty” to rhyme the year with.  My good friend, Will, texted me the other day and said that his little ditty was “plenty in twenty.” I like it. I didn’t have much to go on, not much rhymes with twenty–so my little ditty for this year is “MAY MANY in 2020 COME TO THE LORD.” I suppose that’s my one-year plan! I suppose if I plan the right preaching schedule, many will come to the lord!

It is my prayer that you will take this new, clean slate and make the LORD a passion and priority.  The Scriptures teach us that if we seek the Lord, He promises to be found. May the Lord be your vision in 2020.  May the Lord be your passion for this coming year.

I end with the lyrics to the song, “Burn the Ships”:
Step into a new day,
We can rise up from the dust and walk away,
We can dance upon our heartache,
so light a match, leave the past, burn the ships,
and don’t you look back.
So long to shame, walk through the sorrow, out of the
fire into tomorrow.
So flush the pills, face the fear,
feel the wave disappear!
We’re coming clear, we’re born again,
Oh, we can breathe again.

Whatever you faced in the past decade–it’s officially over. There is a brand, new year with a brand, new decade ahead. The Scriptures are faithful and true; they have way over 350,000 miles on them. God is doing a new thing! The former things have taken place but don’t miss the announcement: I (God) am making everything NEW!

Tonight I want to ask you to do something for me. I want to ask you to sit and pray and to answer a few questions for me:
1.  Am I faithful and true? Why or why not?
2.  What am I hoping for in 2020?
3.  Is my vision 20/20? Why or why not?
4. Do I really believe that God can take my heart ache and work with me?
5. How old will I be in ten years when the roaring 20’s are ended?
6. What is my ten year plan?
7. Where do I need God’s vision in my life? Physically? Emotionally? Mentally? Sexually? Spiritually?
8. Where do I need God to make things new for me?
9. Do I need to burn the ships? Do I need to walk away from something, someone?
10. Am I willing to light the match that will burn the ship? Am I willing to walk away? Am I willing to follow God with 2020 vision?

In closing, I have a great story to share with you next week but, for now, I want you to plan and forecast. Do you need God to make a way for you through the desert? Do you need a stream in your wasteland? God’s word is faithful and true and an honest prescription for 2020 vision. In Psalm 65 God promises to crown your year with HIS GOODNESS, for my paths to drip with HIS ABUNDANCE.  I’m all in. Are you? It’s not just a year. It’s a decade. Burn the ships.

I’m praying for you.

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 12/20/19

Seed of Faith – Advent Joy  By Pastor Dave  

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea.” Luke 1:39

 

“As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” Luke 1:44-45

Dear Faithful and Fruitful Seed Sowers!

Merry Christmas! We are days away from celebrating the hope, love, joy and peace of the Advent Season in its fullest. I pray that your heart and home are prepared as we have journeyed.  May the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, be with you as you celebrate the Christ-Child’s humble birth.  May Christ be born in us anew and may we never be the same again. Jesus Christ is born!

I know you are busy. We all are. But this is a great week to MAKE time to read the Christmas stories found in Matthew 1 and Luke 1 & 2.  In this message I have been reflecting on Luke 1:39-45–a short seven verse narrative of the joy of Christmas,

Listen to verse 39, “At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, …” Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she would become pregnant and that her very old cousin, Elizabeth, was already pregnant.  Both young and old…pregnant–full of expectation, full of anticipation, full of life.

 I wonder what it would be like for us to be pregnant with the hope, love, joy, and peace of the Advent Season.  I wonder what it would be like for us to live each and every day having Christ born anew in our hearts. 

Back to the story. Would we respond like Mary did?  Would we take our own three-day journey, traveling 90-100 miles on foot, to go visit our cousin? The angel had, indeed, just delivered the most shocking news.

My job as a pastor is to care for the sheep. Much of my job is spent traveling to visit people where they are: homes, hospitals, recovery centers, and even jail. Sometimes I travel a great distance to care for the sheep. In our hurry, hurrry, do-more-now lifestyles, don’t we have a hard time going out of our way to visit someone nearby let alone 100 miles away?  Think about this, Mary got ready and “hurried” (the Greek word means that she went with eagerness, excitement, with haste and quickly.) She didn’t stop at a store to shop on the way or dally around to see other friends who lived on the way. Mary walked as rapidly and quickly as she could and with great haste to see her cousin—who was pregnant at 80?!  This made me think of our last trip to Texas to visit our son and his family. We usually drive and we usually plan to stop and visit those we love on our way to and from. This trip was different. We traveled with eagerness and excitement to see our grandson play football in Kerrville. We had a date that we had to be there and we drove straight there. Can you relate? Mary had Elizabeth on her mind and away she went (on foot) to visit her cousin.

“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea.” Luke 1:39
I have read and reread this verse. She got ready and then hurried to walk 100 miles to visit her cousin. I don’t know about you but sometimes I have the tendency to dally and linger and complain about going out of the house. Sometimes I just want to stay home, sit by the fire and read a good book.  Do you have the same problem? Especially at this time of year. I don’t want to get out there in all of that hub-bub.  I think we are all far too busy. Some of you are even are even too busy to sit down and read this SEED OF FAITH and the ten minutes it takes.

But the Spirit presses in on us and impresses us to follow. How many of us are like Mary? Running out of the house with eagerness to follow the Holy Spirit. I have to admit that sometimes I hear the Holy Spirit say, “Dave, call this person.  Go visit that person” and in all honesty, there are day when I hesitate. “God, why me — why don’t you ask so and so to  go do that? I’m busy. I’m tired. They aren’t doing anything. Ask them.”  Do you have my problem? I call it wrestling with God. As a former wrestler, this is not a very good idea. Ask Jacob.

This past week, I talked with a man who is struggling with God.  His exact words to me were “Why me, God?”

I think we all get stuck with the would’ve, could’ve, should’ve situations in our lives. We allow speculation to cause us to stop and stagnate. We allow fear to freeze us frozen in our tracks.  We allow doubt to drive us down depression avenue.

What amazes me about Mary is that she didn’t stop on depression avenue, she wasn’t frozen about the news the angel brought to her, she didn’t stop and speculate. Mary taught us a great life lesson; she got up and hurried with haste to see if what God had said was true.  She did not let the 90 to 100 miles stop her, she went with eagerness.

As I studied for this message, I learned something from Mary. I have learned how to say, “Here I am Lord, I am your servant, do with me according to your Word. And, God, help me to do it with eagerness. Help me to follow you with JOY.”

It’s definition time. JOY.  What exactly does it mean? Joy is a feeling of great happiness. Listen to Rick Warren’s definition, “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the JOY is the determined choice I make to praise God in every situation.”  Did you read that correctly? Joy is the determined choice that you and I make to praise God in every situation.

The second lesson I learned this week pertains to the word, “joy.”  Joy to the World!  I’ve got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart! Joy!  What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Joy?’  Only three little letters … but oh so powerful to transform and change our lives. Just this week, my wife and I went to visit a member of our church who was in the hospital. Jac was wearing what she calls her “Christmas uniform”—a black sweater with the word JOY splashed acrossed it and a black skirt. I am not kidding you, as we walked to the parking garage to get our car, a lady passing by started singing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, down in my heart.”  Jac stopped and they both started singing. Then another lady joined in and so did I. The four of us in a parking garage singing JOY about JESUS! And here’s the second lesson:

J — Jesus
O — Others
Y — You

I want you to know that Mary was joyful in her journey. Here’s a “so what?” for you: AM I JOYFUL IN MY JOURNEY? 

I now want you to know the second truth of this message:
when Jesus shows up, He brings with Him the joy of the heaven.

That is my prayer for you this busy week.  We have five short days until we reach the manger. We have five short days before we stand face to face with the giver of all JOY! Are you grumbling? Stop.  Are you anxious? Stop. Is your “to do” list longer than your sleepless nights? Stop. The God who created you also created Jesus. The God of all JOY doesn’t want you to miss the manger. Don’t wrestle with God today. Do as you are asked to do. Run everything by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. “I’m thinking I need to get out there in all of that hub-bub and fight for that last gift. Are you sure you want me to go?” Maybe, just maybe, this might be the one time when you hear, “Call your Mom.” “Call your sister.” “Call your friend in the hospital.” “Drop off flowers to your neighbor.” Maybe that’s the plan. And when you get the plan, go with excitement. Go with JOY!

I want you to awaken on Christmas day totally filled with the joy of Jesus!

Our story today ends with a powerful statement of faith. Enter into the story one more time. Hear Luke say, “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (Luke 1:45)

So What? 
Do you believe?  Do you believe all that the Holy Spirit is saying to you is true? Do you believe that God will accomplish all those things that have been spoken to you in your heart?

I have some homework for you this week.  I know you’re busy but it’s pretty simple: practice JOY. Jesus. Others. You. Practice listening and obeying the Lord with great JOY, with great eagerness, with great haste, and with great excitement the JOY that only Jesus can bring.  Don’t you see it? THIS IS WHY WE TAKE FOUR WEEKS TO PREPARE OUR HEARTS AND HOMES FOR CHRIST’S BIRTHDAY!!!

I want us to be like Mary: Travel with joy, believe all that God has said to you to be true.

I end with a story about a friend of mine. He has Parkinsons. He’s quite young and has suffered a long time with his disease. The dystonia Parkinsons presents totally ruined his shoulder. He’s been in 10/10 pain (and he says, “That’s on a good day”) for over a year. His doctor had to check all of the boxes before he could order surgery. It took a year. On the day of the surgery, a UTI was discovered and my friend was sent home for another week. My friend never complained. He told me, “God’s time, Dave.” Well, the week went by and he’s home now! I can profess that my friend has traveled this painful road with the joy of Jesus in his heart. That’s my prayer for you. No matter what you are going through, my prayer is that you find JOY in knowing Christ.

My final prayer for you this week is that you will, once again, find the joy in believing that all of what God has spoken to you is believable.

And Mary said, “Angels? Gabriel? A baby? I’m not married. Elizabeth? She’s old.” And off Mary went with JOY! And when the two cousins met, their unborn babies leapt for JOY!

We can all learn something from this story because WE ARE IN IT. December 25 is almost here. Before you fly out of the house on swift feet eager to complete your list, bend your knees and pray. Bend your knees and read the story again. The Father of all time has all the time in the world…and so do you.

See You Sunday!

God Loves You and So Do I … (Mulungu akudaliseni — for our Zambian Brothers and Sisters).
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Weekly Seed of Faith 12/13/19

Seed of Faith – Advent Hope   By Pastor Dave  

“Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple.” Luke 1:21

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers,

Faithful.  I’ve been stuck on this word for a while now. Being faithful means you are loyal, constant and steadfast. The older I grow in my ministry, the more I’ve pondered this word. I’ve been ordained for 22 years now. I see evidence of people being faithful–in life and in death.
Death. Dying. A few years ago, I helped one of my best friends walk the long journey home to Christ.
The ministry is largely connected to death and dying. Yes, there are births, baptisms, confirmations, dedications and rededications. There are weddings and all kinds of celebrations but, there in the background, is a faithful constant friend called death and dying. You can’t be in the ministry without attending the school of grief and loss, the ministry of death and dying.

The month of November I went on vacation. Do you know that the ministry is 24/7/365? Ministry doesn’t have a start time or a stop time. It never has. It never will. When I go on “vacation,” my wife and I pray every day that there’s no crises. We pray that the church remains safe and in God’s watchful care and that our family does, too.

During the month of November, I went away for two weeks to visit our son in Waco. We had a blessed time. While driving, my wife and I listened to Alistair Begg’s teachings on flashdrive! We heard 56 hours of pastoral teaching while driving the highways and by-ways of our 3,000 mile trip. Upon returning, two people I know and love became terminally and imminently ill; days before Thanksgiving. Being there and sharing the “ministry of presence” is a top pastoral gift. It doesn’t really matter what one says, what matters is the presence of someone who cares.

All of this to say, please keep in prayer all those who have lost loved ones. The holidays hit the hearts and homes deeply of those who grieve. Let us commit to be faithful in prayer for them.

We turn to the Christmas story found in Luke 1:1-25.

I wonder how long the early believers gathered in their homes and synagogues in order to open the Law, Prophets and Psalms that prophesied and promised the coming of their Messiah?  Sabbath after Sabbath they gathered to hear the words read from the ancient scrolls. I wonder if they ever gave up hope. I wonder how long they had waited to hear from God. History shows that the last words from God were given to Malachi, the prophet, 400 years prior to Christ’s birth. Can you imagine waiting 400 years to hear from God?  We can hardly wait 400 seconds (6.6 minutes), let alone 400 years.   Many of us can hardly wait for the red light to change to green, or for the text on our smartphone to be completed before we start responding.  We who live in the 21st century have an extremely hard time waiting.

I love to read the Psalms. The Psalms speak the language of the heart.  Every emotion, every feeling, every situation we face are found in reading the Psalms.  In Psalm 46 we hear the opening lines speak to us when our life feels chaotic, out of control, troublesome and/or fearful. Psalm 46:1-3 — God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” These words speak of God’s comfort in our storm.  In Mark 4, the disciples are in the midst of a storm on the Sea of Galilee. They are terrified and afraid that the boat will sink and they will drown.  Where is Jesus? Asleep in the stern of the boat–the back of the boat. The disciples are afraid. They wake up Jesus. Jesus speaks to the storm. “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”  Did you hear it?  “Quiet! Be Still!”  Let’s go back and look at Psalm 46 again. God is our refuge and strength, a help in times of trouble. At the end of Psalm 46, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

Jesus speaks, “Quiet! Be still!”
The Psalmist writes, “Be still…and know…that I am God.”

So What?  Why is it so hard for us to be still?  Why it is so hard for us to wait on the Lord?  Why is it so hard for us to hope for what we cannot see?

Hope! — Heaven’s One Promise Eternity

In our Advent story for today, Zechariah had prayed and prayed for years for his wife, Elizabeth, to have a child. He was an old man and his wife was beyond childbearing age. Scholars believe that Zechariah and Elizabeth had been married for 50 years. We don’t know how old Zechariah is but we do know that he has been waiting for a long time to hear from God. The Jewish people had been waiting 400 years to hear from God. Zechariah was going through the motions, putting in his time, punching his high priest’s “to do” time-card. “Fill the candles, clean the pulpit, mop the entry, dust the altar…” And then, Zechariah’s name was drawn from the hat! Zechariah was chosen to enter the holy of holies and offer the yearly sacrifice! Zechariah had been at this for a very long time.  Five times every year, he made the five-mile hike to Jerusalem to serve in the temple.  Now from the lot of the 18,000 priests, Zechariah’s name was chosen. Look at those odds … 1 in 18,0000. Would now be the time for God to speak?

Zechariah means — “The Lord Remembers.”

I wonder if there were times when Zechariah believed the Lord did not remember him. I wonder if there were times when Zechariah wanted to give up, give in and stop believing. “I’m too old. Elizabeth is too old. I’ve been praying that same prayer for way too long. Maybe God does not remember me.  Maybe God has forgotten me.”

What are the odds that some of us here today are ready to give up, give in and throw in the towel?

Elizabeth means “My God Is Absolutely Faithful.”

On the other hand, Elizabeth is almost certain that God will give her a child. “My God is absolutely faithful.”

I don’t know what each of you face.  I don’t know the struggles, the storms, or the sins that cling so closely to you. The truth of the matter is that when we think God is silent or asleep, we need to be still and know…that God remembers, and that God is faithful: loyal, constant, steadfast.

Here’s your “SO WHAT? HOMEWORK” for the week ahead: Find 400 seconds…6.6 minutes…set a timer on your phone…and practice Psalm 46:10.

BE—just BE…wherever you are…home, work…school…driving…BE…
STILL….Quiet your mind, quiet your body, take some deep breaths and …BE STILL…
AND KNOW…be determined to slow down and become aware of where & who you are…
BE STILL…AND KNOW
THAT I AM GOD…stop, look around, find IMMANUEL…GOD WITH US where you are right now. I can always find God in the beauty of nature.

I just buried another one of my best friends last week. Like my other dear brother and friend, he was FAITHFUL. He was loyal, constant, and steadfast. We met monthly for a zillion years (okay, 20 years). We shared this profoundly amazing thing together: LIFE.

Are you faithful? Are you loyal? Are you constant? Are you steadfast?

I see evidence of God being faithful to me. I pray I am faithful to God. I see evidence of my friends and family being faithful, too. I pray you do, too!

Whatever you are facing, I want you to know that our GOD is a GOD of HOPE. Have you been waiting and waiting? Have you been facing death and dying? Are you grieving? Our God is acquainted with grief.  Jesus was a man of sorrows. Our HOPE is found in Christ and through the power and comfort of the Holy Spirit. God, our Father, contains a love uncontainable for you. A love that only God knows and understands. Even when we are not faithful, GOD IS FAITHFUL.

Before I close, go look up youtube: GOD ONLY KNOWS by 4 King & Country and Dolly Parton. The love we need is a love that GOD ONLY KNOWS.

See You Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

Copyright © 2018 THE SEED CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, All rights reserved. May you be blessed by God’s grace and love. You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly devotionals.   Our mailing address is: 6450 Emerald Street Alta Loma, California 91701   Want to change how you receive these emails? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.