Seed Of Faith

Weekly Seed of Faith 10/16/20

Seed of Faith – Spiritually Lost   By Pastor Dave  

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’”  John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

It is my prayer that as we live and walk through this world-wide pandemic that we do not get lost!  Have you ever felt spiritually lost?  Do you feel a little spiritually lost now? My prayer is that God’s word will be our guide and that we won’t get lost.

We have been taking time to sit at the well in Samaria with Jesus and the woman at the well. I encourage you to read John 4:1-26 this week.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak life and light to your heart and mind.

Last week we looked at the fact that the woman at the well was spiritually empty  The woman at the well missed the real living water at first. Why?  She was spiritually empty and spiritually lost.

SPIRITUALLY LOST
What I find interesting in this story is that Jesus speaks seven times in the conversation and the woman speaks six.  Jesus begins with a question, “Will you give me a drink?”  Jesus, the living water, asks for a drink of water. The woman replies with a tirade of prejudices.  “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)  Jesus challenges her with the statement, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Don’t you find it interesting that this woman misses Jesus’ invitation completely?

I wonder how many times you and I have missed these encounters with Jesus.  Jesus offers us himself and we question and doubt Him just like the woman at the well. “Hey, Mr. Living Water, where’s your bucket? Where are your containers? You think I’m going to do all the work and give you a drink of my water?  What are you doing here, coming to the well in the middle of the day? There is never anyone here…but me. And you expect me to fetch you a drink? Mighty bold of you, Mr. Living Water.”

Jesus asked a question. That is all. “Will you give me a drink?”

One hundred years ago, The Student Volunteer Movement for Missions met in Des Moines, Iowa, and they voted to drop the traditional aspects of its program which had focused on Bible study, evangelism, and foreign missions. Instead they voted to choose to focus on racial injustice, imperialism, and other social issues. Within fifteen years the movement was dead.[i]

Thirsty people need more than optimism, confidence, self-will, and self-worth.  They need good news and that good news centers in the only one who can say, “The water I give [you] will become in [you] a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”’

The problem is that when a person is spiritually empty and spiritually lost—it is easy for us to miss Jesus at the wells of our lives.

SPIRITUALLY FULL — SATISFIED
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Look for a moment at what Jesus is saying to the woman in verses 13 and 14.  Jesus tells her that nothing will ever satisfy her longing and dissatisfaction…except for a continuous long drink of God’s living water. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.”

Don’t miss the word, “Never!”  (Say that verse again.)

Jesus saw the woman for who she was: God’s creation.

Jesus sees us for who we are: God’s creation.

Are you spiritually empty? Are you spiritually lost? This story is put here for us! Can we read and come to know and understand that Jesus offers us this same drink of living Water? This drink will satisfy our thirsty soul forever. Do not miss what Jesus offers the woman and what Jesus offers us: a drink of living water that will completely satisfy and permanently satisfy. Once we have tasted this living water of Jesus Christ, we will never be thirsty again. Once we have tasted the living water of Jesus, the ways of the world lose their hold on us.

SO WHAT?
So what do these ancient words mean to us today as we are shut-in, shut-out, or essential workers? What about our relationships, our families, our church and our friendships?  I am here today to tell you that God wants to speak to you of a living water that will fill you and bring you eternal life.

When we were in Zambia, Africa, with our mission team I was struck by the life-giving wells that have been dug in the compounds.  The people of the area go daily to these wells for water, 365 days a year. Do you know that the human body is made up of 60% water? Do you know you could go without food for about 3 weeks but you could only go without water for 3-4 days? Every cell in our body needs water. Water is a lubricant for our joints, regulates our body temperature, and flushes out waste. Water acts as a shock absorber for your brain and spinal cord. Water is needed by your brain to manufacture hormones and your neurotransmitters. Water helps to deliver oxygen throughout your body.

Now, can you understand why Jesus met this outcast Samaritan woman at the well, in the middle of the day? “Will you give me a drink?”

Why didn’t she just give the guy a drink? Because she was spiritually empty, and spiritually lost. She needed a spiritual refilling and Jesus knew that. I am going to be really bold here: When Jesus meets you at the center of your emptiness and lostness, it’s an invitation for you to never thirst again. It is an invitation for your hot, dry well to become a SPRING of life-giving water. A spring has an underground source. Much of the bottled water that we pay good money for today comes from SPRINGS of underground wells!

Are you hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying? Are your ears open? Are your eyes open? Is your heart open? Jesus wants to trade us: our stagnant, worldly well for His, our shallow, empty well for His, our dried up, lost well for His.

“I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me, makes the lame to walk and the blind to see, opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. SPRING UP, O WELL, and fill my soul! Spring up, O well, and make me whole! Spring up, O well, and give to me: THAT LIFE ABUNDANTLY!”

Here is a link to the song on YouTube … https://youtu.be/ytGCFLK3KtU

Here we are, Jesus is standing at your well and asks you a simple question, “Will you give me a drink?”

Here’s your answer. “Jesus, thanks for meeting me here at my empty well. Why don’t you give me a drink of your living water instead?”  I promise you: HE WILL! And you will never thirst again. Keep drinking from the life-giving well of Jesus Christ and from the words of Scripture; living words for parched souls: acronym for BIBLE–Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth!

“Jesus, meet me at the wells I visit that never seem to satisfy my soul. I want the life-giving water that springs up eternal life. Amen.”
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 10/9/20

Seed of Faith – Spiritually Empty  By Pastor Dave  

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

First of all, I truly believe that God will make us faithful and fearless seed sowers during this corona-virus epidemic. Life has changed.  Sowing seeds of faith has changed. I pray God is creating you more faith and less fear!

We are still digging deeply into the well at Sychar in Samaria. Maybe during this time of anxiety from the pandemic you might be experiencing a little bit of feeling spiritually empty. If so, come along on our journey and drink from the well that promises to spring up to eternal life. I encourage to take a few minutes this week and read John 4:1-26; as you read, put yourself into the story. Don’t just enter the story once, put yourself into all of the characters.  They all have a viewpoint and a story to tell from the well and Jesus promises us that, if we drink, we will never thirst again!

Let me set the stage.  Around 722-721 B.C. the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrian army.  The king of Assyria deported many of the Jewish people and transplanted foreigners to live in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  These foreigners intermarried with the Jewish people and the races became mixed.  This land was called “Samaria”, the people were called “Samaritans.”  When the Southern Kingdom fell to the Babylonians in 586 many of the remining Jewish people remained behind and longed for the return of God’s kingdom.  Finally, after 70 years of captivity, the Jewish people started returning under Ezra, a scribe, and Nehemiah, the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. The people banded together rebuild the walls and they also started to rebuild the temple. The returning Jewish people now viewed the “Samaritans” as political rebels, racial half-breeds and religious people who worshiped the many Gods of the foreigners along with the One True God — Yahweh!  Their prejudices were mighty and many!

This surprise encounter with Jesus at the well confronted all of the prejudices this woman held.  First, she was a Samaritan. Samaritans and Jewish people had nothing to do with each other. Second, she was a woman.  Men did not talk to women in that culture. Third, she had been with many different “husbands” and she was a sinner. Any righteous, religious person would never have anything to do with a sinner like this woman. Fourth, her place of worship was there at the well of Jacob, the Jewish people worshiped at the temple in Jerusalem. Did you hear the prejudices? Racial prejudices, social prejudices, moral prejudices, and religious prejudices are all confronted in this story found in John 4.

Maybe an early “so what?” question for us today is, “Where does Jesus surprise you with your prejudices?”

“What if Jesus met me at Jacob’s well this Sunday morning?” I’m serious, what if you were dressed just like you are right now, and what if you had gone to the grocery store: Staters, Vons, Ralphs, Sprouts or your own favorite, grocery store? On your shopping list is: WATER! Go to the well to get water and,,, Jesus meets you there? Holy cow! (This is what I call “putting yourself into the story!”)

Am I spiritually empty? Maybe that is a good “so what?” question during this season of our lives. Some of us are totally running on empty while others of us seem to be coasting along okay but we do hit a few bumps here and there. The truth is we are all like this woman at the well.  At one time or another we’ve all become empty. It’s true; we become empty with the things this world has to offer.  We become lost when we follow our own will and go our own way and we don’t leave any room for God to surprise us.

The real truth is, we all long to be spiritually filled.

What I find interesting in this story is that woman at the well had most likely heard of the prophets and their prophecies.

Listen to just four of these prophecies:

“On that day, a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” Zechariah 13:1

“On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.” Zechariah 14:8

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Isaiah 44:3

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3

I wonder if this unnamed Samaritan woman had grown up reciting, singing, and memorizing the Psalms?

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Psalm 42:1-3

But somewhere along her way, she forgot those words and she began to drink from other wells.

This Samaritan outcast came to the well in the middle of the day in order to be alone. She wanted to be away from the ridicule, scorn, mockery, shame, and guilt she felt from the other women and the rest of the people of Sychar.  She was spiritually empty.  Spiritually bankrupt. Can you go with her to the well? It’s the middle of the day. It is burning hot. And there she is dragging her empty containers with her. The woman was empty. She was not expecting God to meet her at the well.  She was not expecting a surprise from God. She was expecting that she would go, get her water, and go home. Everyone else had already gotten their water. Sneak in, sneak out in the middle of the heat of the day.

Do you ever do anything like this? Do you look in the mirror and say, “Don’t go to the store now, you might run into someone you know. Wait til just before the store closes.” And at 9:50 pm, you put on your hat and sunglasses and pull your jacket up to cover your face, you keep your head down and enter the store. Ever been there?

Okay. Now imagine Jesus meeting you at whatever aisle you are shopping in. Right.  You need tomato sauce? There’s Jesus.  You need milk? There’s Jesus.

Jesus meets this woman right where she is.  Jesus meets her in the middle of her shame, guilt, fear, doubt and even in her hiding.

Are you empty?  Are you worried and troubled by many things?  Maybe you think you cannot go one more day or walk one more mile with the burden you are carrying. The truth is that Jesus will meet you no matter where you are, no matter what you have done.

At first meeting, the woman misses Jesus, she misses the living water. Why?  She was spiritually empty and spiritually lost.

So What?
I am here to tell you today that Jesus wants to meet you right where you are and Jesus has a gift for you: the gift is to come drink from the well that springs up to eternal life.  The choice is simple, take and drink or walk away empty. My prayer is that you will drink deeply like the deer at the stream.

Open your bible. Read the story of the woman at the well.  Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. Let God surprise you!

My wife became a Christian 20 months before I did. For 600 days, she watched me go to the world’s wells. For 600 days, she went to the well of living water. I don’t know how many times she mustered up her courage. She walked into the family room where I was putting on my work boots and she handed me her bible. She said the same thing every time: “Here. Would you please read this? I highlighted it.  I don’t want you to read the whole book. I don’t want you to read the whole page.  Just read the sentence or two I’ve highlighted.” Each time she did this, for 600 days, 20 months, I smiled and took the book.  When she left the room, I closed the book and set it under the couch. There were days, I’m embarrassed to tell you, that I slid her bible across the room. What I did notice is that Jac was happy. She was full of joy. And the other thing I noticed, it wasn’t me that was making her so happy. Jac had joined bible studies and had everyone in town praying for me. One day she told me her bible study was hosting a couples bible study. She handed me a piece of paper with the name of the study (Romans) and the name of the teacher. The teacher was one of my former high school teachers and he was one of my favorite teachers. I decided to go and hear what he had to say; he was, after all, a really great teacher!

It took me until chapter 8 of Romans, verses 14 and 15, to understand that the wells of the world were not going to quench my thirst. Jesus met me at the well that night after bible study. It was January in Northern Illinois. It was freezing and the snow was blowing. The bible teacher had talked to our group about how we are children of God, how we can cry, “Abba, Father” to God. I couldn’t wait to get home that night. I got down on my knees and I prayed, “God, if you want to be my father, I’d like to give you a try!”

That well has never run dry. The year was 1981. Jesus met me at the well that cold, snowy night. SURPRISE, Dave!

Come meet the man who knows everything about me and still wants to be my Father. Come to the well that never runs dry.  No matter where you are, no matter what you’ve done–you are forgiven. And THAT is the BEST SURPRISE of all.

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 10/2/20

Seed of Faith –  Patience and Loving Kindness of Jesus  By Pastor Dave  
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is my prayer that during these days of the pandemic that we come to KNOW the LOVE of God, GROW in the GRACE of Jesus Christ, and GO in the POWER of the Holy Spirit. It’s really a perfect time to MAKE TIME to open your LIVING WORD and drink deeply from the WELL OF ETERNAL LIFE.

We are walking slowly through Samaria with Jesus.  We are walking very slowly. I encourage you to take a few moments and read John 4:1-26 again.  Put yourself into this story. Are you the woman at the well? Are you one of the disciples who go into town? Are you a town person? Maybe you’re the clerk selling the disciples food for Jesus. Seriously.  Go look at what Samaria looked like back then. Put yourself INTO the story. And then ask yourself, “What is the Holy Spirit saying to me?” “What is Jesus saying to me?” “What is God, my Father, saying to me?” As the pandemic lingers, maybe now is a good time to put yourself into another story: the story of the unnamed woman at the well.

Last week in The Seed of Faith we looked at the “Gentleness of Jesus.” This week I want like to reflect on “The Patience and Loving Kindness of Jesus.”

Here we go. The unnamed woman comes to draw water from the well in the middle of the day. I don’t know about you, but out here in SOCAL, it’s hot and it’s been hot for around 100 days. If I knew I had to go draw water every day, you can bet I’d get up early and go when it was the coolest. I know I wouldn’t go in the middle of the day when the sun was beating down the hottest.

There she is at the well. Can you see her? It’s hot. It’s the middle of the day and the sun is bright. Jesus asks her for a drink. “Hey, unnamed woman at the well, would you mind giving me, a total stranger, a drink of the water you just worked really hard to retrieve?”

I can picture the scene. I wonder if any words were exchanged. I wonder if she just shot Jesus a look before she replied, “I’m a Samaritan and you’re a Jew.  I’m a woman and you’re a man. We aren’t supposed to talk to each other.” And then Jesus speaks to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

I have been pondering this question: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks for a drink….”

This unnamed woman comes every day to this well to draw water.  This water never gives her satisfaction. She’s always back the next day, and the day after that and the day after that.  And here is Jesus, opening up a dialogue. Will she respond? Will you?

Maybe a simple so what question for today is: what do you know about being dissatisfied by the world?

The dis-ease this woman has is dissatisfaction.  What is the dis-ease you have?  What are you dissatisfied with? Who are you dissatisfied with?  This woman lacks spiritual satisfaction and has gone to drink water from a well that will never satisfy.

So What?  How many times do you and I go to that well?

There’s plenty of wells that always say, “MORE!” How about the wells of of materialism, money, power, eating, drinking, sex–just to name a few. These are wells that never cry, “Enough. I’m satisfied.”

As many of you know, I love the Psalms.  I love the prayer in Psalm 103. Psalm 103 is only seventeen verses, but it is powerful.  I love verses 8 and 9 — “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever…” Psalm 103:8-9

Do you see it?  Do you hear it? The Lord is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.  That is exactly what Jesus was demonstrating with the woman at the well. On one side of the well we have the unnamed woman doing her job, doing her duty and on the other side of the well is Jesus. 

Look at the patience and loving-kindness of Jesus in this encounter. All throughout the Old Testament we read story after story of the patience, long-suffering, and loving-kindness of God.  In this story of the woman at the well we read about Jesus’ patience, long-suffering, and loving-kindness with this woman. This patience of Jesus is based upon His knowledge and power. Jesus knows the end from the beginning. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  Jesus is the Lord: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love. And the good news for us today is that Jesus is patient with us just as He was with woman at the well. Maybe she is unnamed so that we can easily put ourselves into her place, into her story. Jesus knows our condition, that is why he came into the world. Jesus knows men and women who are trapped in a sinful lifestyle just as this woman at the well was.

So What?
“So what?” do these ancient words mean to us today?

In January of 2003 I went with a group of men to Rockford, Illinois, to help get a Credo Recovery weekend started.  Did you catch that? It was the middle of January in Illinois.  What was wrong with me?  I grew up in Illinois. It is cold, and snowy, and windy, and freezing in Illinois in January.  And, sure enough, the snow was blowing, and temp was below zero. The Credo Recovery weekend was held inside the Salvation Army men’s adult rehabilitation center (ARC). Credo Recovery is a grace-based recovery weekend for those who are struggling with addiction; addictions of all kinds.  These men at this ARC had committed to staying in the Salvation Army Rehab facility for 90 days. Our Credo group went in and led worship and shared talks on God’s grace and forgiveness.  I was one of the spiritual directors. For one of the messages, I used Psalm 103:

Psalm 103
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— 18with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul. (Psalm 103)

As I read my bible, I see my notes. My notes are like footprints of where I’ve been. As I read Psalm 103, I thought of these men and I thought of the woman at the well. Sitting across from the non-satisfying well that you pull up sits Jesus. Jesus told the unnamed woman everything she had ever done. He knew all about her and, yet, he waited for her.  He asked her for a drink.

I do not know what you are struggling with.  Maybe you go to a well every, single day and come back empty, and dissatisfied.  Maybe the fear of failure, the hurts of the past, the anxiety of the times, the physical struggles, or your emotional struggles have left you empty and wanting more.  I want you to know that it the Lord himself who is waiting at your well. It is the Lord of Psalm 103 who is waiting for you.

Jesus knows that we are dust. The Lord’s well was established in heaven and He is a well that never runs dry. Jesus is compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. He does not repay us for our sins. He removes our sins from us–as far as the east is from the west.

Do you see it? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. The unnamed woman was forgiven. The men and women of Credo have been forgiven. You and me? We are forgiven. Our sins have been removed from us.

And Jesus sits at the well of our life and waits for us.

If only you knew who it is who is asking you for a drink….

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 9/23/20

Seed of Faith – The Gentleness of Jesus   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,

It is my prayer that as we go through this pandemic of Covid-19 and are shut-down in so many ways, we will stand strong in the grace and mercy of Jesus.

We have been looking at John 4:1-26 for our entire SUMMER SERIES!  I encourage you take a few minutes over the next week and read and re-read this story.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Try to put yourself into this story. There are many characters in the story, try on several of their sandals and see the story from their side: Jesus, unnamed woman, disciples, town people, ex-husbands, current partner–and YOU.

Have you ever been surprised by God? 

I asked that question this week to several of my friends. Some of them shared how God has surprised them.  One friend who is struggling with emphysema and multiple myeloma cancer wrote to me and said, “Amazingly this humanly incurable cancer I have is sensitizing me to the Presence and Reality in ways not previously expected. Jesus is wonderful.” Another friend said that he moved to California to find love but Jesus showed up and changed his life unexpectedly .A good friend in Illinois texted me after I asked him, “Have you ever been surprised by God?”  He shared how he was lost at 21 and while driving his motorcycle he hit a car head-on.  He was driving without a license plate, insurance, and helmet.  The doctors who did surgery on him after the accident told his parents that it would be a miracle if he gained 100% use of his right hand.  The doctor said he would be hoping for 50% use of his right hand. My friend’s parents were Christian, and they prayed for their son. Today, after battling and overcoming the accident, my friend has 100% use of his right hand and is a strong believer in miracles.

Have you ever been surprised by God?

Let’s focus on Jesus and how He responds to the woman at the well.  Next week we will look at the woman and we will focus on her response to Jesus.

When we read this story, we see that Jesus is always in control. This is a good point for us to ponder.  Each one of us is going through a zillion different situations.  Many are struggling emotionally with the fear of the virus, the panic of the pandemic, and the emotional lockdown  and isolation of this physical epidemic. As we read this story, please notice that Jesus is in control of the situation. Maybe we should apply this to our own situation right now:  “God is in control.”

Another point to ponder is that we are told that Jesus had to go through Samaria.  Why?  Because Jesus had it on his agenda to meet this woman. Jesus was in control of this meeting. As a pastor, I meet hundreds (if not thousands of people) and after a few minutes, I wonder why so many of us try to control so much of our life. Why in the world do we feel that it is our job to control our friends, families, workplaces, schools, neighbors, and even our religion or faith experiences?  Some of us are trying really hard to control the virus, and the germs. I have a great point for us to think on: when Jesus sets his heart and affection upon a person, Jesus always takes charge, and does not let go.

Maybe an early “SO WHAT?” question that we need to ask is “Who is in charge of my life?”  I’m hoping that by reading this story and studying it, we are going to let go of our end of the rope of control. If we know that we are in Jesus’ hands, we can find real comfort for our souls. We can trust that Jesus is in control of our lives. We can trust that God is not surprised by our situation.

What amazes me in this story is the extreme gentleness of Jesus. The gentleness of Jesus is such a beautiful aspect of this story. Do not miss it!

Look how Jesus’ gentleness pours out with this woman.  The woman at the well was living in adultery and had been for some time. Jesus does not scorn her or ridicule her.  Jesus does not force the situation.  Jesus does not shame her or disgrace her. Jesus is full of grace and wants the fullness of grace for her. Oh, how I pray that you will know that Jesus wants the fullness of grace for you, too.

One of my favorite passages from the prophet Isaiah is found in Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice…” (Isaiah 42:3)

To me Jesus handles the bruised reed of this woman so very gently.  Her life is but a smoldering wick. Every day her life is trying to be snuffed out by the world, by the other women of Sychar, by her ex-husbands and even by herself.  This unnamed woman is lives a life of fear, anxiety, doubt, shame, disgrace, guilt, remorse, and forgiveness. She doesn’t want to see anyone, hence, she goes to the well in the middle of day, in the heat because no one else will be there.

Maybe some of us are living in fear, anxiety, doubt, shame, disgrace guilt remorse and unforgiveness.

Do you see the gentleness of Jesus in this story? He heads to Samaria and stops at the well. He is waiting for this unnamed woman.

We are told that Jesus must go to Samaria to meet this woman.  Jesus is concerned about her soul. Pay close attention; Jesus does not grab ahold of her, shame her or condemn her. Jesus gently brings this unnamed woman at the well face-to-face with the honest truth, the truth of her need for grace and love. Wow!  The gentleness of Jesus!

So What?
Why is it important for us to notice the gentleness of Jesus? Because Jesus uses this same method with us. The truth is that many times we miss this gentleness. We’re so in control of everything that we’ve even set up our own idea on how Jesus will meet us. “Jesus, I sleep in until 6 a.m. then I have my coffee.  I need a solid hour of peace and quiet. no talking but anytime between 7-9 a.m. is good.  I’ll leave that time slot open for you.”

I’m going to challenge you today. Your “SO WHAT?” is simply this:

In the middle of my ordinary day, am I open to meeting Jesus at the dry well of my life?

From what I know of Jesus, he rarely surprises us between our allotted time slots that we’ve reserved for Him to surprise us.

You never know where or when you are going to be surprised by Jesus.  You never know what words or questions Jesus is going to ask.

Let’s get one thing straight as we put ourself into this story: Jesus controls the SURPRISE factor, not you.

“If only you knew the GIFT OF GOD…and WHO IT IS THAT IS ASKING YOU FOR A DRINK….you would have asked and He would have given you living water.”

Surprise, that’s our gentle Jesus.

“Lord, do it again. Surprise me. As I study this story, surprise me. Help me to let go of the controls. I want living water. Amen.”
See you Sunday!

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

If you would like to join in our online worship on Sunday mornings at 10 A.m., Pacific here is the link

theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

Or you can go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship and watch our message or our complete worship service.

Keep THE SEED in prayer as our leadership team voted to hold outdoor worship beginning this Sunday in the parking lot of the TAIWANESE Church, 9284 Baseline Road, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, 91701,,

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 9/19/20

Seed of Faith – Surprised By God   By Pastor Dave  

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.'”John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

During the world-wide pandemic it is my prayer that the Lord would bless you and keep you in His unfailing love.  May Jesus meet you at the well of living water as you work your way through this unprecedented time of covid-19. This week I pray that we learn that God shows up during our ordinary days and when we least expect Him to.

GOD SHOWS UP ON ORDINARY DAYS
As I read the living word of God, I am always amazed at how God shows up on ordinary days. The purpose? To surprise you. Jesus met Peter and Andrew in their fishing boat getting ready to do their job–fish. Matthew (Levi) was at his tax collector’s booth doing his job: collecting taxes. I love this story of the woman at the well; she was not at a big, Jewish festival or at a concert in the local synagogue. She wasn’t away in the mountains on a private retreat.  The woman at the well was going out in the middle of the day in order to draw water from the well so that she could cook, clean, and do her ordinary tasks. She went out to get the water her many jobs at home required. We are not told how many people are in her household. We are not told how far she had to walk but we are told that she went out around the 6th hour (midday or the hottest part of the day) high noon. From the dialogue with Jesus, we know she had had 5 husbands and was living with a man who was not her husband. What we know about the Jewish culture of that day, if the woman went to well in the early morning, she would have been around all the women of town who were also getting water. The woman waited. She did not want to join the companh of the other women. My guess is she knew that they knew about her. They might look disgustingly at her and whisper about her.  The other women would shame her and ridicule her.

Instead, the unnamed woman comes out at the hottest part of the day, noon, and she is carrying two jars of water on her shoulders. Big, heavy clay jars. Her family and her household needed water. There was bathing to do, washing dishes to do, and cooking to do–just to name a few of her responsibilities. The woman arrived at the well not expecting a thing.

Don’t miss it: Today is just another ordinary day! {I think we call those days, “Monday!”}

Something amazing happens. On this very ordinary day, Jesus is waiting for her at the well of her ordinary life. How I have been hoping and praying for you to be surprised at the well of your ordinary life this series.

SOMETIMES GOD SHOWS UP WHEN WE LEAST EXPECT HIM
Expect the Unexpected is a familiar theme in the scriptures.

-Abram becoming a father at 99 years old.
-Moses coming across a burning bush.
-Joshua called to lead the people after Moses dies.
-Ruth who follows her mother-in-law., Naomi, “Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”
-Boaz, the Kinsman Redeemer, lets Ruth glean his fields.
-How about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trapped in a fiery furnace with a fourth man in the fire?
-Daniel in the lion’s den.
-Jonah swallowed and in the belly of whale for three days.
-David facing a giant of a man over nine feet tall with a slingshot and five smooth stones.

The list is long. I believe with all of my heart that God loves to show up when you least expect it. Ordinary with Jesus is extraordinary.

Can we relate? It’s 2020.

Maybe you are facing a giant today with Covid-19.  Maybe the quarantine has you defeated and depressed. Maybe your finances are being depleted.  Maybe a relationship has fallen apart.

The GOOD NEWS FOR YOU FOR TODAY:
Expect the Unexpected.

I always will ask you to put yourself into the story we study.  Today is no exception. Maybe you are one of the people who is at home. WAITING. “What’s taking her so long? I need to get to my meeting.”  Maybe you’re one of Jesus disciples; waiting for a miracle.

The story of the unnamed woman at the well is your story. It’s my story.

Every beautiful morning, we wake up. What’s your routine? I’ll tell you mine: I check my phone to see if I have any messages from the church. I use the rest room. Brush my teeth. Make coffee. Stand around and try to wake up.

Go ahead. What’s your ordinary morning routine?

Okay. STOP.

Suddenly, in the middle of your ordinary morning, there’s Jesus. What’s He saying?

“Give me a drink.”

Would you? I want you to know that if you will let yourself be interrupted on this very ordinary day, it won’t be just coffee that you share. If you listen closely, you will be sharing LIVING WATER from the wellspring of eternal life. Let me give you a really fun example.

For the past 230 days my wife and I have cared for her Dad.  We’ve been his 24/7 caregivers.  It’s a whole lot of work. Recently, we found a wonderful woman whom we’ve hired for respite care. Twice a month my wife and I are going to go sleep in a hotel and rest.  Those are two things we don’t usually get to do these days of caregiving: SLEEP. REST.

We just got home today from our three days, and two glorious nights away. We sat on the beach all day. Let me clarify. Jac sat on the beach. I threw seaweed back into the ocean. We saw dolphins play in the morning. We enjoyed a two-hour sunset each night. We shared a filet mignon meal each night. Our TV didn’t work. Jac napped. I read. It was 98 degrees back home and smoky. It was 65 degrees on the beach, foggy.

Two weeks prior to making our hotel reservations, two friends called to ask what exact days we were going away.  They had the name of a great hotel they knew about and they wanted to see if it had vacancies.

So What?
I do not know what you are facing in this time of Covid-19.  Maybe you face loneliness, illness, homesickness. Maybe you are missing school, or work.  Maybe you are missing family. Maybe you have a loved one in the hospital or assisted living home. Maybe today you are just going to take your chances; you are going to go late to the well. You have a million things to do. You’re just going to run to the well, get the water and go home. It’s an ordinary day.

You plus your ordinary day equals an ordinary day.

You plus JESUS standing at the well of your ordinary day makes for quite an extraordinary day!

Your homework for this week is to sit with this question:

AM I REALLY WILLING FOR JESUS TO MEET ME AT MY ORDINARY WELL?

On the first day that my wife sat on her towel at the ocean, four sets of dogs came running over to her. Each of the four dog owners were like, “We’re so sorry.  Our dog never does this.  Our dog is shy. I’ve never in my life seen my dog run over to a perfect stranger.” One of the dogs came and sat down right by my wife.  I missed the whole thing.  He licked her face! Sat down. Then laid down. The owner ran over and called the dog, “Chase.  Chase.” The dog didn’t move. The man apologized profusely for barging in on her morning. Jac, as only Jac can say, told the man, “Your dog was sent by God to stand at the dry well of my ordinary day.” After the man left, somewhat perplexed by her comment, Jac told me, “Dave, Jesus chased me down–just like the woman at the well.  He saw her. He waited. He gave her a drink of living water.” I was somewhat perplexed by my wife at the moment.  She turned and yelled over her shoulder, “CHASE. The dog’s name was Chase. I didn’t have to chase God. God chased me.”

Are you ready for God to chase you? Are you ready for Jesus to turn your ordinary day into something more?

Something extraordinary? That’s my prayer for you this week.

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

Join us on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. for a live online worship service.  You can worship, chat, pray, and connect with others.  The link for Sunday morning is

theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

if you miss the online service on Sunday you can always go to YouTube and watch our weekly worship or just the Sunday message.  Our YouTube channel is The Seed Christian Fellowship

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 9/4/20

Seed of Faith – EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers:

Greetings faithful and fearless ones! I hope and pray that you are well and that the Lord Jesus is shining His light and love into your lives during this time of the pandemic. Today we begin a series on John 4:1-26.  I have titled this series, “Surprised By God.”  It is my prayer that God will surprise you each and every single day with His everlasting love and grace.  I hope you read through John 4:1-26.  Stop, pause and ponder the verses.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what he wants to tell you. Put yourself into the story!

NOTHING DEPENDS ON US
Have you ever stopped to ponder verse four — Now he had to go through Samaria.” 

Why did Jesus have to go through Samaria? The Samaritans were hated by the Jewish people. Most Jewish people would walk the two extra days around Samaria just to avoid the people there. Why?

What I find so amazing is the stark contrast between two groups of people.  Think of Nicodemus. Go and read his story in chapter three and then read this story again in chapter four.  Can you see it, the difference between the important and sophisticated Nicodemus, this ruler of the Jews, and the simple Samaritan woman? Nicodemus was a Jew, she’s a Samaritan.  Nicodemus was a Pharisee, he was high class. She belonged to no religious party, she was low class. Nicodemus was a politician, she had no status whatsoever–unless you call a bad reputation a status. Nicodemus was a scholar, the woman at the well was fairly uneducated.  Nicodemus was highly moral,  the unnamed woman at the well was not all that moral (she had at least five husbands and was not married to the one she was with at the time.) Think of it this way, Nicodemus has a name in the Scriptures. She is nameless. Nicodemus was a man; she was a woman. Nicodemus went in the dark of night to meet with Jesus, to protect his reputation; the unnamed woman had no reputation, she meets with Jesus at high noon at the town well. Nicodemus came seeking something of Jesus; the woman at the well was sought by Jesus.

WOW!  Did you hear that?  The unnamed, immoral, uneducated, fearful, lonely and outcast woman was sought out by Jesus. Listen, I do not know where you are at today.  I do not know if you are lost and lonely, if you are surrounded by wealth and education, or if you sneak out at night so no one sees you. Wherever you are, I want you to know this:  God knows your name and Jesus has come to seek you.

The HOLY Jew and the LOWLY Samaritan: A great contrast, yet the point of the story is that each one of them needed the fullness of grace brought through the Gospel the Good News of Jesus and both were welcome to it.

If Nicodemus is an example of the truth that no one can rise so high as to be above salvation, then the woman is an example of the truth that no one can sink too low to be saved.

It is by no means an accident that the Apostle John has placed these two wonderful stories together at the beginning of his Gospel and that they end in 4:42 with the Samaritan woman saying,  “This man really is the Savior of the world.” (Notice–no class is mentioned here; not the Jews nor the Samaritans–He’s the savior of the WORLD!)

The first point to take home today is this: NOTHING DEPENDS ON ME — NOTHING AT ALL. 

This unnamed woman at the well is absolute proof of this. We must never say, “I am just a nobody from nowhere, I have gone too far to Jesus to find me, I just an ordinary Christian, the fullness of God’s grace is not for me. The fullness of God’s grace is for everybody, high and low, moral and immoral, sick and healthy, educated and uneducated, religious and non-religious or sinner or saint.  The fullness of God’s grace does not depend on ME.  Nothing depends on ME — nothing at all.

SO WHAT?  Jesu
Which one of these two characters do you most identify with: Nicodemus or the unnamed woman at the well?
Why?
Are you a little of each?
How?

Both Nicodemus and the unnamed woman were surprised by Jesus. If you haven’t viewed the series, “THE CHOSEN”, check it out. Both of these characters are in the story line. Maybe you will learn more about yourself as you SEE the story come alive?

I see myself in both of these people. I watch as my intelligence often wants me to think logically and not with my heart. After 22 years in ordained ministry and add 14 years in youth ministry, I’ve learned never to try to out-think God because, when I do, God surprises me. I remember when I took my exegetical exam. I was supposed to write about the still, small voice of God. I didn’t do that. Instead, I tried to spin a tale about the still, small voice of Dave! I had to rewrite that exam. “Stick to the Scriptures, Dave.” God didn’t need my spin on His word. Like Nic at night–Jesus shared His heart. “You must be born again.” Incredibly intelligent Nic asks, “How can that be? Can I reenter my mother’s womb and be born a second time?” Can’t you just see Jesus wince. “Nic, stop thinking. Do you know where the wind comes from or will go next? Let the Holy Spirit of God guide you in this.” Yes.  I can surely see myself in Nicodemus. And there is God–surprising Nic.

And then, I am also like the unnamed woman; ashamed and embarrassed of myself. Before I gave my life to Jesus, I made some poor decisions that hurt others and myself. Jesus simply showed up. “Suprise, nameless woman at the well, I am the living water for whom you thirst.” Have you ever had God read your mail? Have you ever been sitting in a church, listening to a message, and BAM! You swear the pastor somehow got into your journal?

HOLY or LOWLY? It doesn’t matter at all because our God is a God of surprises who will meet you in secret at midnight, alone, or who will meet you at high noon at the public well.

This week, pray with me: “God, surprise me. Amen.”

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 9/2/20

Seed of Faith – Faith –  Freedom – Worship   By Pastor Dave  

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.” Galatians 5:1 & 13

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “FREEDOM”? Maybe you think of political freedom, economic freedom, financial freedom? Then there’s free speech, free will, free-lance, free-fall, free for all, or free agent.

Webster defines “freedom” this way: “the state or quality of being free {not under the control or power of another}; exemption or liberation from control of some other person or some arbitrary power; liberty; independence.”[i]

Our Scripture reading for today comes from Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  Paul had visited the territory of Galatia on his first missionary journey– recorded in the book of Acts, chapters thirteen and fourteen.  Paul had planted churches in Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antioch.  He had proclaimed the gospel of grace. Paul taught about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  This gospel of grace was a declaration of independence for the people of Galatia.  They were being set free to love, to serve the Lord and one other with the fruit of the Spirit. Paul wrote this letter to confront the legalistic people who were trying to convince the Galatians that freedom was not free.  The Apostle Paul was teaching them that freedom could not come through the works of the law, freedom came through Jesus Christ.

The Greek word for “freedom” that our good friend, Paul, uses in Galatians 5:1 is “eleutheria” which is pronounced “el-yoo-ther-ee’-ah.” Paul is talking about a liberty that is found only in and through Christ.  In the New Testament the concept of freedom was freedom from the law, freedom from sin and freedom from death.  This freedom was achieved by Christ on the cross and we are taught to express this freedom by acts of love.

Atop the hill in Washington D.C. stands the Capitol building of the United States of America.  The cornerstone was laid in 1793, but the crowning touch is the statue on top of the rotunda known as the “Freedom Lady” — placed there in 1863.  The “Freedom Lady” stands nearly 20 feet tall and stands proudly atop the dome.  A crest of stars frames her face.  A shield of Stars and Stripes is in her left hand.

The “Freedom Lady” was sculpted in Rome and brought to America aboard a ship.  During the trip across the Atlantic, a fierce storm developed.  The captain ordered all cargo thrown overboard to lighten the load.  The sailors wanted to throw the heavy statue overboard, but the captain refused, shouting over the wind, “No! Never! We will flounder before we throw ‘Freedom’ away.”  “FREEDOM” was saved, and the statue stands above the dome today. One man stood for “FREEDOM.”

When I think of America, I think of freedom! I have had the opportunity to travel to many places in the world.  Many of those places do not have the freedoms like what we are blessed with here in America. We have so much to be thankful for.

The Declaration of Independence was written to break the stranglehold of tyranny.  Oppression, abuse, removal of rights, false justice and punishment were the charges that were brought to the King of England when the Declaration of Independence was written.

The Scriptural comparison is found here in the writing of Paul: For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.

Today I would like for us to think about the purpose of freedom and the person of freedom.

The purpose of our freedom is defined in Galatians five.  “It is for freedom that Christ set us free.”  We are set free from a set of rules.  By the time of Christ, the Jewish leaders had taken the Ten Commandments and added over 600 rules to live by.  Christ came to set us free from the Law—from a set of over 600 rituals. What would happen in your life if the church imposed a set of 600 rules for you to live by?
The purpose of Christ’s freedom is that we are set free from those laws. We are set free from sin and death. We are free to be who we are in Christ.  If we could only come to know, understand, and comprehend who we are in Christ, we would be set free from the law, sin and death and we would be free to live!

So what? If the purpose of freedom is for us to be who we are in Christ, do you know who you are in Christ?

“It is for freedom that Christ set us free.”  It is Christ who set us free–not the “Freedom Lady,” “Statue of Liberty,” “Declaration of Independence,” or the “Constitution.” Though all of these are good and give us freedom, true freedom comes from Christ alone.  In John 8:32 Jesus says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” and later on in John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The radical Good News of God is that the one who made the world, who came to live in the world, and who triumphed over the world, death, hell and the grave is none other than Jesus Christ. In Christ we will find our true freedom, the freedom to be who God made us to be.

I served with a team in Victorville at the Federal Prison, a maximum-security prison. Every time we went in to visit the inmates we had to pass through 4-5 sets of locked doors to access the deepest part of the prison where the men were held.  It took 20 minutes to reach the area where we could visit the inmates.  When our day was completed, you can imagine how good it felt to be retracing our steps back through those 4-5 sets of doors, back to the beautiful California sunshine.   To be honest with you, I have to tell you that the freedom of being back outside never felt so good.  Freedom is emotional, wonderful, and worth fighting for. Being involved in prison ministry is really one of  the only instances in my life where I have not been free to move as I wanted or needed. The absence of freedom, even for a few short hours, was frightening and miserable to me. What drives the people who do prison ministry is that fact that they have found freedom in Christ. This freedom is personal. This freedom is not bound by walls. This freedom must be proclaimed to those locked up in prison.
Matthew 25:36 “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

So What?
What do these ancient words have to say to us today?  What does freedom really mean?  Are we free from the law?  Are we free from sin? Are we free from death?

Do we realize that our great God has entered our lives by sending Christ to set us free?

We are free to be who we are in Christ.

It is my prayer that every person reading this SEED OF FAITH comes to know, understand, and comprehend who you are in Christ. It is my prayer that this freedom sets you free to be who you were created to be. Many people live in self-made prisons of their own; trying to achieve and accumulate in order to prove their value. At the cross, our value was proven. Christ died for you.  Christ died for me. Christ died to set us free and in Christ, we are free indeed.

When our prison team goes in to do ministry, a most marvelous thing happens. Prisoners are set free. Listen to Isaiah 61:1. This verse in Isaiah in one of those that propelled me to leave my “normal” life and to answer God’s call to ministry at the age of 40: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…” I hope you will understand me when I tell you that before Christ entered my heart I was brokenhearted. I was a captive and I was a prisoner of the darkness.

The Apostle Paul was called and redeemed by God to preach freedom to us all not just to those in Galatia. “It is for freedom Christ has set you free. Stand firm.  Do not return again to your yoke of slavery.  You are called to freedom. Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence but through love serve one another.”

In Jesus Christ, you are free. You are no longer a slave to whatever sins have held (or want to hold) you captive. Your chains are broken.  Your chains are gone.  You have been set FREE. The cross of Jesus Christ is your symbol of your freedom. In His death, you were given life. You are free from the power of sin. You are free, indeed.

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

*Join us online on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific for our weekly worship service.  You can chat, fellowship, worship and grow in grace.  Here is the link for the live online service — theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

If you miss the live online service you can always go to our YouTube channel and watch either the whole worship service or just the weekly meesage.

[i] David Guralnik, Webster’s New World Dictionary, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York,; 1972

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 8/20/20

Seed of Faith – My Father’s House –  A Place For You   By Pastor Dave  

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.In my Father’s house are many room; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3

Dear Fearless and Faithful Seed Sowers,

As many of you know, 2020 has been very hard on everyone beginning with the pandemic that has shut down schools, churches and many places of work.  The shut-downs and isolation has taken a toll on so many. The covid-19 pandemic has taken lives, taken jobs, and taken many people’s peace of mind.

During this time, my family suffered the death of my mother-in-law who died from an aggressive lung cancer that metastasized to her brain and bones. My mother-in-law died with a month of being diagnosed. Just this past week, my older brother (by two years) passed away from the same type of cancer. The most unexpected and shocking thing was that my brother died within two days of being diagnosed. In less than six months, our family has lost two loved ones; over the past six months, our family has spent a lot of time talking about cancer, pain, death and heaven. We’ve also spent a lot of time talking about hospice, love and care.

I want to take a brief pause from The Seed of Faith to thank each and every one of you for the cards. notes, texts and phone calls during this time.  You are a blessing and a ray of SONshine in our lives as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. God bless you.

Heaven! I wish we had more time to talk about heaven, maybe we can save that title for a whole sermon series.  What I want to say today is that heaven is a real place and we will have a real family reunion when Jesus comes to take us to our heavenly home.  Here are a few Scriptures that reflect this truth of our reunion in our heavenly home: Genesis.12:1; Genesis 15:18-21; Genesis 25:8, 17; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:33; Deuteronomy 34:6; Numbers 27:12-13; II Samuel 12:22-23; Romans 8:31-39; Hebrews 11:10; and I Corinthians 15. (Here’s an idea: get some paper or a journal or a notebook and start writing down each verse and what you think about when you read it. It will be a wonderful tool to keep and reflect upon as time marches on.)

When Jesus talks about heaven, He used the image of a wedding promise. In my studies, I’ve read about the Jewish wedding customs. In Jewish times when a young man wanted to marry a Jewish girl, the wedding custom was for the father of the bride and the father of the groom to negotiate a bride price. (The groom’s family paid the bride’s family!)  After the bride price was settled, the fathers shared a cup of wine together to seal the marriage covenant. It’s a beautiful ceremony with beautiful symbolism. The fathers then passed the cup to the groom and then the groom shared the cup with his bride. “I give you my life,” the groom spoke to his future bride. It was the bride’s time to decide. “I accept your life and I give you mine.” Those were the words the groom longed to hear. If those words were exchanged, then the young man went home and added on to his father’s home; he built a place for the two of them.  When the house was built, he came back for his bride. (Having two daughters, I kind of like this custom!)

This is the same image Christ gave to His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

Friends, we are the bride of Christ! The church is the body of Christ and we are the Bride! What Jesus is saying is that He has gone to prepare a place for us and He is coming back and will bring each one of us to our Heavenly home!

I worked on  these verses this week. I especially noticed the words,  “a place for you.”  Jesus uses the word “you” five times here:  
“I would have told you,” “a place for you,” “a place for you,” “I will come back and take you,” and “that you may be where I am.”

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

“A place for you,” tells us that heaven is not just a place out there or up there, somewhere, heaven is a home–you have a personal dwelling place with our Savior, where you will know and be known.  Think about it: You and I own a piece of Heavenly Real Estate!

So What!?
D.L. Moody, the great evangelist, once told a story that speaks to this place in heaven. Moody said, “There was a man who had great wealth.  He was dying.  When the doctor told him he would not live, the lawyer was sent for to make a will.  The dying man had a little girl who was four years old.  She did not understand all that death meant.  When her mother told her that her father was going away, the little child went to his bedside and looked into her father’s eyes and asked, ‘Papa, have you got a home in that land that you are going to?’  The question sunk deep into the man’s soul, for he had spent his time and energy accumulating wealth.  In this life, he enjoyed a grand home, but now he had to leave it.”[i]

I remember when my oldest brother passed away in 1968.  I was only thirteen when I went to his funeral.  It was at his funeral that I had my introduction to Christ’s message of “a place for you.”  This idea changed my life. I know now that my next older brother has gone to be with Jesus.  I grieve the loss of my two brothers, but I’m going to stand on the hope and power of the resurrection.

The “so what” question for today:
Do you have you a home in the land where you are going?
Has the Lord Jesus Christ, your Savior, gone to prepare a place for you?

If you want to be able to say “yes” to these questions, all that is necessary is for Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. He has gone to prepare a place for all who trust in Him.  If you have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, do so now.  There’s never a better time to believe in Jesus than right now. Receive Him as your Lord and Savior, and know the joy of possessing your own piece of Heavenly Real Estate–a place prepared for you by Christ’s own skilled hands.

My brother, my Mom, my Grandmas and Grandpas, my mother-in-law, now by older brother closest to me, and many other dear family members and friends, brothers and sisters in the faith are presently enjoying their Heavenly home. And mine is being prepared for me right now as well as yours is.  Hear Jesus’ words one more time. Put YOUR NAME into these verses:

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

As we patiently endure the pandemic, may we also patiently endure the fact that we own a piece of heavenly real estate. When Jesus passed the fourth cup of wine during His last earthly Passover, His statement was, “I give you my life. Will you give me yours?” When we say, “I accept your life, Jesus, and I give you mine,” that’s the start of our heavenly mansion! Every morning I put on the armor of God. (Ephesians 6). The world contains so much that’s wrong, especially right now; heaven does not.

We grieve but we do not grieve as those who do not have hope. Someday God will wipe away every tear. Someday there will be no more pain or sorrow. Someday we will trade in this earthly life for our heavenly, eternal life. Our filthy rags will be traded in for our robe of righteousness. We will know and be known.

I have been in ordained ministry for 26 years, I have sat by the bedside of hundreds of people. If you ask me, I will tell you that my job is often about death. Let me end this SEED OF FAITH by saying that when I’ve sat at the bedsides of people who love God they die in peace. I still can picture my mother-in-law’s face the moment she drew in her last breath. There was a holy pause, and the slightest smile crossed her face. It was ask if she saw something, or someone, so beautiful, so wonderful that she let go of this world and grabbed onto life eternal.

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

God loves you so very much and so do I,
Pastor Dave

Please join us on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific for our online interactive worship service. If you are able to join us on Sunday mornings, we can fellowship, chat, pray for others and be prayed for–and worship the Lord.

If you miss the Sunday morning opportunities to worship, you can always go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship. We are up and online 24/7/366! If you have any questions or want to share your heart, email me. I will reply.

Lord, bless each person who reads this SEED OF FAITH. Amen.

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 8/13/20

Seed of Faith – TRUST GOD MORE – FEAR LESS   By Pastor Dave  

“Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.”  Psalm 31:2-3

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,
As Covid marches on, I see a lot of stress wearing on us all. What can help us at a time like this? Is anyone up for a good Psalm?

Let’s reflect on Psalm 31.  As many of you know, I love the Psalms.  The Psalms give us all the emotions and feelings that we experience.  Psalm 31 is a good Psalm to read, reflect on, ponder, and pray.  This Psalm was written by King David, the shepherd boy who became King. This is a good Psalm for those who are stressed out.  David faced many trials and tribulations in his life. Let’s study the opening five verses. I love the words refuge, rock, rescue, and fortress. Are you stressed?  Join me as David challenges us to trust God and to put our lives into God’s hands.  This is one of the Psalms that Jesus quoted from the cross, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” Surely there must be some wisdom here in this Psalm for us today.

Maybe a good SO WHAT? question during this global pandemic, of our national unrest including riots and protests is:  Whose hands are you committing your spirit into?  Who are you trusting to be your rock, refuge, and rescuer?   Listen to how David cries out to God when he is under stress, filled with anxiety, overwhelmed with fear, and surrounded by trials and temptations.

“In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.” Psalm 31:1-5

In this time of crisis, chaos, calamity, fear and anxiety, listen to Jesus’ own words spoken to His disciples right before he died.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so. I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:1-6

One of the main points of John 14 is found in the first verse, the word “trust.”  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” What Jesus was telling His disciples was that they needed to “trust more and fear less.” Jesus knew this was his final night on earth. He knew this was His last supper on earth.  He knew what was ahead:  betrayal, beatings, and being condemned. “Trust God! Trust Me!”  Potent lines from a man about to die. (Always pay attention to a dying man’s final words.)

Just think of all the miracles the disciples had seen with Jesus.  They had spent three years with Him.  They had witnessed miracle after miracle, the feeding of thousands with very few resources. They saw Jesus walk on water and calm the winds and waves with just a spoken word. They watched as Jesus gave sight to the blind, cured those with leprosy, touched the deaf so they could hear, healed the lame so they could walk, run and dance.  They were eye-witnesses to Jesus raising the dead, not once–but three times: Jairus’s daughter, the widow’s son and Lazarus. These disciples had been eye witnesses to all these miracles and yet their hearts were troubled.  And there they were in Jerusalem, gathered in a small upper room. They had just celebrated the Passover Meal together when  Jesus announced that one of them was going to betray him. It that isn’t enough, His number one spokesman,  Peter, is told that he will deny even knowing Jesus—and not once but three times.

The disciples’ feet may have been clean but clearly their hearts are troubled.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”  Jesus’ words were as true for the disciples on that night as they are true for us today.

So What?
How so we have hearts that are not troubled?
How can we trust more and fear less?

Jesus tells us the answer: trust in God and trust in Christ.

The disciples did not have a New Testament like we do. They lived with the writings and teachings of the Old Testament.  They knew their Psalms and the Prophets by heart. Psalm 31 is  a Psalm of “TRUST.”  Psalm 31 is a prayer for help in times of trouble. This particular Psalm should turn the reader’s eyes off of their own person to God–the “rock of refuge,” and “a strong fortress.”

When David spoke and wrote these words, he was not having a good day.  David was asking God to save his life from his enemies. As he wrestles, he says, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.”  Jesus used these very words on the cross, and saints everywhere around our globe through all the ages have echoed them.

Martin Luther quoted verse five of Psalm 31 shortly before he died.  “Blessed are they who die not only for the Lord, as martyrs; not only in the Lord, as all believers; but likewise with the Lord, as breathing forth their lives in these words: ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’[iv]

Blessed are those who die breathing forth these words, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.” 

The reason the disciples were able to trust Christ is because they knew Him.  They had walked with him, ate meals with Him and camped under creation with Him.  They had seen miracles; they had every reason to trust Him. And now so do we. Why? Because we have the entire story, both the Old Testament and the New. We have the eye-witness accounts of those who saw first hand.  We live on the other side of the resurrection.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

I do not know where you are right now.  I do not know your fears, your doubts, your guilt, your shame and anxieties. I don’t know your struggles. I do know that God is calling to you in the middle of this pandemic, “TRUST ME MORE!”

Can you do it? Can you just say it out loud?

“God, I’m going to trust YOU more. I am going to fear less! Into YOUR hands, I commit my life, my heart, my spirit.”

Amen.

Join us on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific Time — at theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

You can chat, request prayers, connect with others, worship and grow in grace.  “TRUST GOD MORE — FEAR LESS.”

If you miss the online service service, you can always go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship and watch the whole service or just listen to the message.  We are doing a series called — “Surprised By God.”

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

 

[iv] J.J. Stewart Perowne, Commentary on the Psalms, 2 vols. In 1, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1989

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 8/7/20

Seed of Faith – Walk With God   By Pastor Dave  

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Genesis 5:21-24

Dear Faithful and Fearless Friends and Family,

As I have been reading and thinking about this message,  I thought about Enoch and his short story in Genesis 5.  We do not know a lot about Enoch but what stopped me was verse 22.  It was after Enoch became the father of Methuselah that we are told that he walked with God.  I have read this passage many times, but was never stopped by the fact that it was after Enoch became a father that he walked with God.

I think sometimes it takes children to bring a father to God. Here are a few lessons that we can learn from Enoch:

1. Be sure you are on the right path.  Before Methuselah was born, we are not told much about Enoch. But after his son was born, old Enoch finally gets on the right path. I do not know where you are in your walk with God. I do not know if you have been walking with God a long time or maybe you are like Enoch–waiting for a good reason to walk with God. Friends, it is never too late to start walking with God. Just DO it!

2. Be sure you are walking at the right pace.  I remember when our children and grandchildren were beginning to learn to walk. As a dad and paw paw, I had to really slow my pace so that their little feet could walk alongside of me.  Sometimes I set them on my feet so they could walk as Daddy or Paw Paw walked. Since moving our 88 year-old-father-in-law in with us,  I have had to relearn to walk at his pace. His eyes are dim, his feet are wobbly and his pace is slow. I do not know who you are walking with, or  with who God may be calling you to walk with, but I encourage you to walk at the right pace. Life and death hang in this delicate balance; learning this skill can bring such life if we only learn.

3. Be sure you are going to the right place.  The Bible says that Enoch walked with God and then God took Enoch up to heaven. Enoch went to heaven without dying. He went right into glory and he never died. But his son, Methuselah died. Who do you think was the first person who met Methuselah when he went through the gates of glory (after Christ, of course) ? I have a feeling it was Enoch. By walking with God, Enoch had led his son to the right place.  Remember that there are people following in your footsteps and learning from your examples.

When I was in the tire business, I would take my children to work with me on Saturdays.  I thought it would be good for them to see their father in his work environment. One Saturday, I took our son along with me.  Of course, we stopped in the morning for donuts, juice and coffee. We also made a stop at one of my customers and picked up a load of truck tires.  The truck tires were stacked high in the truck bed and they were hanging out over the edges. I could not see out of my rear-view mirror or out my side mirrors very well.  When we arrived at the tire store, one of my employees stood behind me to help me back up the truck into the shop to unload.  I opened my driver’s door and leaned out in order to see how close I was to the opening of the garage bay.  My son imitated me, he opened his door on the passenger side and was mimicking what I was doing.  The only problemwas that there was a cement pole by his door., When he opened his door, I backed up and the door was crumpled up by the cement pole. When I heard the crashing metal, I hit the brake and looked over at my son.  His eyes were wider than flying saucers.  Tears were beginning to fill them.  I pulled ahead and jumped out of the truck to make sure that he was not hurt.  I know that for sure he thought he was going to be in trouble.  I was thankful that he was not hurt.  I did not yell, I did not belittle him, I did not get mad.  I was thankful that he was not hurt.  I told him that doors can be fixed, and it was not a big deal.  I believe that morning I taught my son to walk the right path, at the right pace, so that we can get to the right place.

Enoch’s life is one of the shortest recorded in the genealogy. It is an amazing fact that Enoch never dies, he just walked with God all the way to heaven.  Yet, did you know, Enoch’s son, Methuselah, lived is the longest life recorded in Scripture — 969 years. Methuselah is the oldest person to live and we are told in the Gospel of Luke that Methuselah is in the genealogy of Jesus.  A fine example of walking on the right path, at the right pace, and ending up at the right place.

So What?
Maybe some earlier so what questions.
Are you walking on the right path?
Are you walking at the right pace?
Are you walking to the right place?

Walk in faithfulness!  Walk on the right path, at the right pace, heading yourself to the right place.  I pray that during this pandemic you do not panic.  I pray that during this time of uncertainty you find for certain the ONE and ONLY HOPE that is our anchor in all storms of life.  Our HOPE is Jesus!

It is never too late to turn over a new leaf in your life. What a great example we have here in Enoch. Enoch did not walk with God early in his life but after his son was born we are told that he walked with God.  Enoch ended up on the right path walking at the right pace heading to right place.  Enoch walked with God and never died!

Are you walking with God today? Know this: It is never too late to get on the right path and walk with God. My guess is that even when you’ve crumpled your life up, God is more concerned if you are okay than in punishing you. God is love, never forget that. Bring your walk to God and let our Father teach you: the right path, the right pace, the right place!

Join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific for some wonderful worship, fantastic fellowship through our online chats and prayer and our weekly message that will help you walk on the right path with God. We have been doing a series on John 4 called “Surprised By God.” May you be surprised by God this day, and every day!

Here is the link for the online service

www.theseedchristianfellowship.online.church 

If you miss the live online service you can always go to our YouTube channel and watch the weekly worship service or just the weekly message. Please, during this time of the pandemic, FEED YOUR SPIRIT! Feast on God’s word.

Our YouTube channel is The Seed Christian Fellowship. Go to YOU TUBE online and be encouraged by The Seed–Jesus Christ himself.

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 10/16/20

Seed of Faith – Spiritually Lost   By Pastor Dave  

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’”  John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

It is my prayer that as we live and walk through this world-wide pandemic that we do not get lost!  Have you ever felt spiritually lost?  Do you feel a little spiritually lost now? My prayer is that God’s word will be our guide and that we won’t get lost.

We have been taking time to sit at the well in Samaria with Jesus and the woman at the well. I encourage you to read John 4:1-26 this week.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak life and light to your heart and mind.

Last week we looked at the fact that the woman at the well was spiritually empty  The woman at the well missed the real living water at first. Why?  She was spiritually empty and spiritually lost.

SPIRITUALLY LOST
What I find interesting in this story is that Jesus speaks seven times in the conversation and the woman speaks six.  Jesus begins with a question, “Will you give me a drink?”  Jesus, the living water, asks for a drink of water. The woman replies with a tirade of prejudices.  “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)  Jesus challenges her with the statement, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Don’t you find it interesting that this woman misses Jesus’ invitation completely?

I wonder how many times you and I have missed these encounters with Jesus.  Jesus offers us himself and we question and doubt Him just like the woman at the well. “Hey, Mr. Living Water, where’s your bucket? Where are your containers? You think I’m going to do all the work and give you a drink of my water?  What are you doing here, coming to the well in the middle of the day? There is never anyone here…but me. And you expect me to fetch you a drink? Mighty bold of you, Mr. Living Water.”

Jesus asked a question. That is all. “Will you give me a drink?”

One hundred years ago, The Student Volunteer Movement for Missions met in Des Moines, Iowa, and they voted to drop the traditional aspects of its program which had focused on Bible study, evangelism, and foreign missions. Instead they voted to choose to focus on racial injustice, imperialism, and other social issues. Within fifteen years the movement was dead.[i]

Thirsty people need more than optimism, confidence, self-will, and self-worth.  They need good news and that good news centers in the only one who can say, “The water I give [you] will become in [you] a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”’

The problem is that when a person is spiritually empty and spiritually lost—it is easy for us to miss Jesus at the wells of our lives.

SPIRITUALLY FULL — SATISFIED
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Look for a moment at what Jesus is saying to the woman in verses 13 and 14.  Jesus tells her that nothing will ever satisfy her longing and dissatisfaction…except for a continuous long drink of God’s living water. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.”

Don’t miss the word, “Never!”  (Say that verse again.)

Jesus saw the woman for who she was: God’s creation.

Jesus sees us for who we are: God’s creation.

Are you spiritually empty? Are you spiritually lost? This story is put here for us! Can we read and come to know and understand that Jesus offers us this same drink of living Water? This drink will satisfy our thirsty soul forever. Do not miss what Jesus offers the woman and what Jesus offers us: a drink of living water that will completely satisfy and permanently satisfy. Once we have tasted this living water of Jesus Christ, we will never be thirsty again. Once we have tasted the living water of Jesus, the ways of the world lose their hold on us.

SO WHAT?
So what do these ancient words mean to us today as we are shut-in, shut-out, or essential workers? What about our relationships, our families, our church and our friendships?  I am here today to tell you that God wants to speak to you of a living water that will fill you and bring you eternal life.

When we were in Zambia, Africa, with our mission team I was struck by the life-giving wells that have been dug in the compounds.  The people of the area go daily to these wells for water, 365 days a year. Do you know that the human body is made up of 60% water? Do you know you could go without food for about 3 weeks but you could only go without water for 3-4 days? Every cell in our body needs water. Water is a lubricant for our joints, regulates our body temperature, and flushes out waste. Water acts as a shock absorber for your brain and spinal cord. Water is needed by your brain to manufacture hormones and your neurotransmitters. Water helps to deliver oxygen throughout your body.

Now, can you understand why Jesus met this outcast Samaritan woman at the well, in the middle of the day? “Will you give me a drink?”

Why didn’t she just give the guy a drink? Because she was spiritually empty, and spiritually lost. She needed a spiritual refilling and Jesus knew that. I am going to be really bold here: When Jesus meets you at the center of your emptiness and lostness, it’s an invitation for you to never thirst again. It is an invitation for your hot, dry well to become a SPRING of life-giving water. A spring has an underground source. Much of the bottled water that we pay good money for today comes from SPRINGS of underground wells!

Are you hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying? Are your ears open? Are your eyes open? Is your heart open? Jesus wants to trade us: our stagnant, worldly well for His, our shallow, empty well for His, our dried up, lost well for His.

“I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me, makes the lame to walk and the blind to see, opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. SPRING UP, O WELL, and fill my soul! Spring up, O well, and make me whole! Spring up, O well, and give to me: THAT LIFE ABUNDANTLY!”

Here is a link to the song on YouTube … https://youtu.be/ytGCFLK3KtU

Here we are, Jesus is standing at your well and asks you a simple question, “Will you give me a drink?”

Here’s your answer. “Jesus, thanks for meeting me here at my empty well. Why don’t you give me a drink of your living water instead?”  I promise you: HE WILL! And you will never thirst again. Keep drinking from the life-giving well of Jesus Christ and from the words of Scripture; living words for parched souls: acronym for BIBLE–Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth!

“Jesus, meet me at the wells I visit that never seem to satisfy my soul. I want the life-giving water that springs up eternal life. Amen.”
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 10/9/20

Seed of Faith – Spiritually Empty  By Pastor Dave  

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

First of all, I truly believe that God will make us faithful and fearless seed sowers during this corona-virus epidemic. Life has changed.  Sowing seeds of faith has changed. I pray God is creating you more faith and less fear!

We are still digging deeply into the well at Sychar in Samaria. Maybe during this time of anxiety from the pandemic you might be experiencing a little bit of feeling spiritually empty. If so, come along on our journey and drink from the well that promises to spring up to eternal life. I encourage to take a few minutes this week and read John 4:1-26; as you read, put yourself into the story. Don’t just enter the story once, put yourself into all of the characters.  They all have a viewpoint and a story to tell from the well and Jesus promises us that, if we drink, we will never thirst again!

Let me set the stage.  Around 722-721 B.C. the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrian army.  The king of Assyria deported many of the Jewish people and transplanted foreigners to live in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  These foreigners intermarried with the Jewish people and the races became mixed.  This land was called “Samaria”, the people were called “Samaritans.”  When the Southern Kingdom fell to the Babylonians in 586 many of the remining Jewish people remained behind and longed for the return of God’s kingdom.  Finally, after 70 years of captivity, the Jewish people started returning under Ezra, a scribe, and Nehemiah, the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. The people banded together rebuild the walls and they also started to rebuild the temple. The returning Jewish people now viewed the “Samaritans” as political rebels, racial half-breeds and religious people who worshiped the many Gods of the foreigners along with the One True God — Yahweh!  Their prejudices were mighty and many!

This surprise encounter with Jesus at the well confronted all of the prejudices this woman held.  First, she was a Samaritan. Samaritans and Jewish people had nothing to do with each other. Second, she was a woman.  Men did not talk to women in that culture. Third, she had been with many different “husbands” and she was a sinner. Any righteous, religious person would never have anything to do with a sinner like this woman. Fourth, her place of worship was there at the well of Jacob, the Jewish people worshiped at the temple in Jerusalem. Did you hear the prejudices? Racial prejudices, social prejudices, moral prejudices, and religious prejudices are all confronted in this story found in John 4.

Maybe an early “so what?” question for us today is, “Where does Jesus surprise you with your prejudices?”

“What if Jesus met me at Jacob’s well this Sunday morning?” I’m serious, what if you were dressed just like you are right now, and what if you had gone to the grocery store: Staters, Vons, Ralphs, Sprouts or your own favorite, grocery store? On your shopping list is: WATER! Go to the well to get water and,,, Jesus meets you there? Holy cow! (This is what I call “putting yourself into the story!”)

Am I spiritually empty? Maybe that is a good “so what?” question during this season of our lives. Some of us are totally running on empty while others of us seem to be coasting along okay but we do hit a few bumps here and there. The truth is we are all like this woman at the well.  At one time or another we’ve all become empty. It’s true; we become empty with the things this world has to offer.  We become lost when we follow our own will and go our own way and we don’t leave any room for God to surprise us.

The real truth is, we all long to be spiritually filled.

What I find interesting in this story is that woman at the well had most likely heard of the prophets and their prophecies.

Listen to just four of these prophecies:

“On that day, a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” Zechariah 13:1

“On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.” Zechariah 14:8

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Isaiah 44:3

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3

I wonder if this unnamed Samaritan woman had grown up reciting, singing, and memorizing the Psalms?

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Psalm 42:1-3

But somewhere along her way, she forgot those words and she began to drink from other wells.

This Samaritan outcast came to the well in the middle of the day in order to be alone. She wanted to be away from the ridicule, scorn, mockery, shame, and guilt she felt from the other women and the rest of the people of Sychar.  She was spiritually empty.  Spiritually bankrupt. Can you go with her to the well? It’s the middle of the day. It is burning hot. And there she is dragging her empty containers with her. The woman was empty. She was not expecting God to meet her at the well.  She was not expecting a surprise from God. She was expecting that she would go, get her water, and go home. Everyone else had already gotten their water. Sneak in, sneak out in the middle of the heat of the day.

Do you ever do anything like this? Do you look in the mirror and say, “Don’t go to the store now, you might run into someone you know. Wait til just before the store closes.” And at 9:50 pm, you put on your hat and sunglasses and pull your jacket up to cover your face, you keep your head down and enter the store. Ever been there?

Okay. Now imagine Jesus meeting you at whatever aisle you are shopping in. Right.  You need tomato sauce? There’s Jesus.  You need milk? There’s Jesus.

Jesus meets this woman right where she is.  Jesus meets her in the middle of her shame, guilt, fear, doubt and even in her hiding.

Are you empty?  Are you worried and troubled by many things?  Maybe you think you cannot go one more day or walk one more mile with the burden you are carrying. The truth is that Jesus will meet you no matter where you are, no matter what you have done.

At first meeting, the woman misses Jesus, she misses the living water. Why?  She was spiritually empty and spiritually lost.

So What?
I am here to tell you today that Jesus wants to meet you right where you are and Jesus has a gift for you: the gift is to come drink from the well that springs up to eternal life.  The choice is simple, take and drink or walk away empty. My prayer is that you will drink deeply like the deer at the stream.

Open your bible. Read the story of the woman at the well.  Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. Let God surprise you!

My wife became a Christian 20 months before I did. For 600 days, she watched me go to the world’s wells. For 600 days, she went to the well of living water. I don’t know how many times she mustered up her courage. She walked into the family room where I was putting on my work boots and she handed me her bible. She said the same thing every time: “Here. Would you please read this? I highlighted it.  I don’t want you to read the whole book. I don’t want you to read the whole page.  Just read the sentence or two I’ve highlighted.” Each time she did this, for 600 days, 20 months, I smiled and took the book.  When she left the room, I closed the book and set it under the couch. There were days, I’m embarrassed to tell you, that I slid her bible across the room. What I did notice is that Jac was happy. She was full of joy. And the other thing I noticed, it wasn’t me that was making her so happy. Jac had joined bible studies and had everyone in town praying for me. One day she told me her bible study was hosting a couples bible study. She handed me a piece of paper with the name of the study (Romans) and the name of the teacher. The teacher was one of my former high school teachers and he was one of my favorite teachers. I decided to go and hear what he had to say; he was, after all, a really great teacher!

It took me until chapter 8 of Romans, verses 14 and 15, to understand that the wells of the world were not going to quench my thirst. Jesus met me at the well that night after bible study. It was January in Northern Illinois. It was freezing and the snow was blowing. The bible teacher had talked to our group about how we are children of God, how we can cry, “Abba, Father” to God. I couldn’t wait to get home that night. I got down on my knees and I prayed, “God, if you want to be my father, I’d like to give you a try!”

That well has never run dry. The year was 1981. Jesus met me at the well that cold, snowy night. SURPRISE, Dave!

Come meet the man who knows everything about me and still wants to be my Father. Come to the well that never runs dry.  No matter where you are, no matter what you’ve done–you are forgiven. And THAT is the BEST SURPRISE of all.

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 10/2/20

Seed of Faith –  Patience and Loving Kindness of Jesus  By Pastor Dave  
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is my prayer that during these days of the pandemic that we come to KNOW the LOVE of God, GROW in the GRACE of Jesus Christ, and GO in the POWER of the Holy Spirit. It’s really a perfect time to MAKE TIME to open your LIVING WORD and drink deeply from the WELL OF ETERNAL LIFE.

We are walking slowly through Samaria with Jesus.  We are walking very slowly. I encourage you to take a few moments and read John 4:1-26 again.  Put yourself into this story. Are you the woman at the well? Are you one of the disciples who go into town? Are you a town person? Maybe you’re the clerk selling the disciples food for Jesus. Seriously.  Go look at what Samaria looked like back then. Put yourself INTO the story. And then ask yourself, “What is the Holy Spirit saying to me?” “What is Jesus saying to me?” “What is God, my Father, saying to me?” As the pandemic lingers, maybe now is a good time to put yourself into another story: the story of the unnamed woman at the well.

Last week in The Seed of Faith we looked at the “Gentleness of Jesus.” This week I want like to reflect on “The Patience and Loving Kindness of Jesus.”

Here we go. The unnamed woman comes to draw water from the well in the middle of the day. I don’t know about you, but out here in SOCAL, it’s hot and it’s been hot for around 100 days. If I knew I had to go draw water every day, you can bet I’d get up early and go when it was the coolest. I know I wouldn’t go in the middle of the day when the sun was beating down the hottest.

There she is at the well. Can you see her? It’s hot. It’s the middle of the day and the sun is bright. Jesus asks her for a drink. “Hey, unnamed woman at the well, would you mind giving me, a total stranger, a drink of the water you just worked really hard to retrieve?”

I can picture the scene. I wonder if any words were exchanged. I wonder if she just shot Jesus a look before she replied, “I’m a Samaritan and you’re a Jew.  I’m a woman and you’re a man. We aren’t supposed to talk to each other.” And then Jesus speaks to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

I have been pondering this question: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks for a drink….”

This unnamed woman comes every day to this well to draw water.  This water never gives her satisfaction. She’s always back the next day, and the day after that and the day after that.  And here is Jesus, opening up a dialogue. Will she respond? Will you?

Maybe a simple so what question for today is: what do you know about being dissatisfied by the world?

The dis-ease this woman has is dissatisfaction.  What is the dis-ease you have?  What are you dissatisfied with? Who are you dissatisfied with?  This woman lacks spiritual satisfaction and has gone to drink water from a well that will never satisfy.

So What?  How many times do you and I go to that well?

There’s plenty of wells that always say, “MORE!” How about the wells of of materialism, money, power, eating, drinking, sex–just to name a few. These are wells that never cry, “Enough. I’m satisfied.”

As many of you know, I love the Psalms.  I love the prayer in Psalm 103. Psalm 103 is only seventeen verses, but it is powerful.  I love verses 8 and 9 — “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever…” Psalm 103:8-9

Do you see it?  Do you hear it? The Lord is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.  That is exactly what Jesus was demonstrating with the woman at the well. On one side of the well we have the unnamed woman doing her job, doing her duty and on the other side of the well is Jesus. 

Look at the patience and loving-kindness of Jesus in this encounter. All throughout the Old Testament we read story after story of the patience, long-suffering, and loving-kindness of God.  In this story of the woman at the well we read about Jesus’ patience, long-suffering, and loving-kindness with this woman. This patience of Jesus is based upon His knowledge and power. Jesus knows the end from the beginning. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  Jesus is the Lord: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love. And the good news for us today is that Jesus is patient with us just as He was with woman at the well. Maybe she is unnamed so that we can easily put ourselves into her place, into her story. Jesus knows our condition, that is why he came into the world. Jesus knows men and women who are trapped in a sinful lifestyle just as this woman at the well was.

So What?
“So what?” do these ancient words mean to us today?

In January of 2003 I went with a group of men to Rockford, Illinois, to help get a Credo Recovery weekend started.  Did you catch that? It was the middle of January in Illinois.  What was wrong with me?  I grew up in Illinois. It is cold, and snowy, and windy, and freezing in Illinois in January.  And, sure enough, the snow was blowing, and temp was below zero. The Credo Recovery weekend was held inside the Salvation Army men’s adult rehabilitation center (ARC). Credo Recovery is a grace-based recovery weekend for those who are struggling with addiction; addictions of all kinds.  These men at this ARC had committed to staying in the Salvation Army Rehab facility for 90 days. Our Credo group went in and led worship and shared talks on God’s grace and forgiveness.  I was one of the spiritual directors. For one of the messages, I used Psalm 103:

Psalm 103
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— 18with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul. (Psalm 103)

As I read my bible, I see my notes. My notes are like footprints of where I’ve been. As I read Psalm 103, I thought of these men and I thought of the woman at the well. Sitting across from the non-satisfying well that you pull up sits Jesus. Jesus told the unnamed woman everything she had ever done. He knew all about her and, yet, he waited for her.  He asked her for a drink.

I do not know what you are struggling with.  Maybe you go to a well every, single day and come back empty, and dissatisfied.  Maybe the fear of failure, the hurts of the past, the anxiety of the times, the physical struggles, or your emotional struggles have left you empty and wanting more.  I want you to know that it the Lord himself who is waiting at your well. It is the Lord of Psalm 103 who is waiting for you.

Jesus knows that we are dust. The Lord’s well was established in heaven and He is a well that never runs dry. Jesus is compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. He does not repay us for our sins. He removes our sins from us–as far as the east is from the west.

Do you see it? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. The unnamed woman was forgiven. The men and women of Credo have been forgiven. You and me? We are forgiven. Our sins have been removed from us.

And Jesus sits at the well of our life and waits for us.

If only you knew who it is who is asking you for a drink….

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 9/23/20

Seed of Faith – The Gentleness of Jesus   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,

It is my prayer that as we go through this pandemic of Covid-19 and are shut-down in so many ways, we will stand strong in the grace and mercy of Jesus.

We have been looking at John 4:1-26 for our entire SUMMER SERIES!  I encourage you take a few minutes over the next week and read and re-read this story.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Try to put yourself into this story. There are many characters in the story, try on several of their sandals and see the story from their side: Jesus, unnamed woman, disciples, town people, ex-husbands, current partner–and YOU.

Have you ever been surprised by God? 

I asked that question this week to several of my friends. Some of them shared how God has surprised them.  One friend who is struggling with emphysema and multiple myeloma cancer wrote to me and said, “Amazingly this humanly incurable cancer I have is sensitizing me to the Presence and Reality in ways not previously expected. Jesus is wonderful.” Another friend said that he moved to California to find love but Jesus showed up and changed his life unexpectedly .A good friend in Illinois texted me after I asked him, “Have you ever been surprised by God?”  He shared how he was lost at 21 and while driving his motorcycle he hit a car head-on.  He was driving without a license plate, insurance, and helmet.  The doctors who did surgery on him after the accident told his parents that it would be a miracle if he gained 100% use of his right hand.  The doctor said he would be hoping for 50% use of his right hand. My friend’s parents were Christian, and they prayed for their son. Today, after battling and overcoming the accident, my friend has 100% use of his right hand and is a strong believer in miracles.

Have you ever been surprised by God?

Let’s focus on Jesus and how He responds to the woman at the well.  Next week we will look at the woman and we will focus on her response to Jesus.

When we read this story, we see that Jesus is always in control. This is a good point for us to ponder.  Each one of us is going through a zillion different situations.  Many are struggling emotionally with the fear of the virus, the panic of the pandemic, and the emotional lockdown  and isolation of this physical epidemic. As we read this story, please notice that Jesus is in control of the situation. Maybe we should apply this to our own situation right now:  “God is in control.”

Another point to ponder is that we are told that Jesus had to go through Samaria.  Why?  Because Jesus had it on his agenda to meet this woman. Jesus was in control of this meeting. As a pastor, I meet hundreds (if not thousands of people) and after a few minutes, I wonder why so many of us try to control so much of our life. Why in the world do we feel that it is our job to control our friends, families, workplaces, schools, neighbors, and even our religion or faith experiences?  Some of us are trying really hard to control the virus, and the germs. I have a great point for us to think on: when Jesus sets his heart and affection upon a person, Jesus always takes charge, and does not let go.

Maybe an early “SO WHAT?” question that we need to ask is “Who is in charge of my life?”  I’m hoping that by reading this story and studying it, we are going to let go of our end of the rope of control. If we know that we are in Jesus’ hands, we can find real comfort for our souls. We can trust that Jesus is in control of our lives. We can trust that God is not surprised by our situation.

What amazes me in this story is the extreme gentleness of Jesus. The gentleness of Jesus is such a beautiful aspect of this story. Do not miss it!

Look how Jesus’ gentleness pours out with this woman.  The woman at the well was living in adultery and had been for some time. Jesus does not scorn her or ridicule her.  Jesus does not force the situation.  Jesus does not shame her or disgrace her. Jesus is full of grace and wants the fullness of grace for her. Oh, how I pray that you will know that Jesus wants the fullness of grace for you, too.

One of my favorite passages from the prophet Isaiah is found in Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice…” (Isaiah 42:3)

To me Jesus handles the bruised reed of this woman so very gently.  Her life is but a smoldering wick. Every day her life is trying to be snuffed out by the world, by the other women of Sychar, by her ex-husbands and even by herself.  This unnamed woman is lives a life of fear, anxiety, doubt, shame, disgrace, guilt, remorse, and forgiveness. She doesn’t want to see anyone, hence, she goes to the well in the middle of day, in the heat because no one else will be there.

Maybe some of us are living in fear, anxiety, doubt, shame, disgrace guilt remorse and unforgiveness.

Do you see the gentleness of Jesus in this story? He heads to Samaria and stops at the well. He is waiting for this unnamed woman.

We are told that Jesus must go to Samaria to meet this woman.  Jesus is concerned about her soul. Pay close attention; Jesus does not grab ahold of her, shame her or condemn her. Jesus gently brings this unnamed woman at the well face-to-face with the honest truth, the truth of her need for grace and love. Wow!  The gentleness of Jesus!

So What?
Why is it important for us to notice the gentleness of Jesus? Because Jesus uses this same method with us. The truth is that many times we miss this gentleness. We’re so in control of everything that we’ve even set up our own idea on how Jesus will meet us. “Jesus, I sleep in until 6 a.m. then I have my coffee.  I need a solid hour of peace and quiet. no talking but anytime between 7-9 a.m. is good.  I’ll leave that time slot open for you.”

I’m going to challenge you today. Your “SO WHAT?” is simply this:

In the middle of my ordinary day, am I open to meeting Jesus at the dry well of my life?

From what I know of Jesus, he rarely surprises us between our allotted time slots that we’ve reserved for Him to surprise us.

You never know where or when you are going to be surprised by Jesus.  You never know what words or questions Jesus is going to ask.

Let’s get one thing straight as we put ourself into this story: Jesus controls the SURPRISE factor, not you.

“If only you knew the GIFT OF GOD…and WHO IT IS THAT IS ASKING YOU FOR A DRINK….you would have asked and He would have given you living water.”

Surprise, that’s our gentle Jesus.

“Lord, do it again. Surprise me. As I study this story, surprise me. Help me to let go of the controls. I want living water. Amen.”
See you Sunday!

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

If you would like to join in our online worship on Sunday mornings at 10 A.m., Pacific here is the link

theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

Or you can go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship and watch our message or our complete worship service.

Keep THE SEED in prayer as our leadership team voted to hold outdoor worship beginning this Sunday in the parking lot of the TAIWANESE Church, 9284 Baseline Road, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, 91701,,

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 9/19/20

Seed of Faith – Surprised By God   By Pastor Dave  

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.'”John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

During the world-wide pandemic it is my prayer that the Lord would bless you and keep you in His unfailing love.  May Jesus meet you at the well of living water as you work your way through this unprecedented time of covid-19. This week I pray that we learn that God shows up during our ordinary days and when we least expect Him to.

GOD SHOWS UP ON ORDINARY DAYS
As I read the living word of God, I am always amazed at how God shows up on ordinary days. The purpose? To surprise you. Jesus met Peter and Andrew in their fishing boat getting ready to do their job–fish. Matthew (Levi) was at his tax collector’s booth doing his job: collecting taxes. I love this story of the woman at the well; she was not at a big, Jewish festival or at a concert in the local synagogue. She wasn’t away in the mountains on a private retreat.  The woman at the well was going out in the middle of the day in order to draw water from the well so that she could cook, clean, and do her ordinary tasks. She went out to get the water her many jobs at home required. We are not told how many people are in her household. We are not told how far she had to walk but we are told that she went out around the 6th hour (midday or the hottest part of the day) high noon. From the dialogue with Jesus, we know she had had 5 husbands and was living with a man who was not her husband. What we know about the Jewish culture of that day, if the woman went to well in the early morning, she would have been around all the women of town who were also getting water. The woman waited. She did not want to join the companh of the other women. My guess is she knew that they knew about her. They might look disgustingly at her and whisper about her.  The other women would shame her and ridicule her.

Instead, the unnamed woman comes out at the hottest part of the day, noon, and she is carrying two jars of water on her shoulders. Big, heavy clay jars. Her family and her household needed water. There was bathing to do, washing dishes to do, and cooking to do–just to name a few of her responsibilities. The woman arrived at the well not expecting a thing.

Don’t miss it: Today is just another ordinary day! {I think we call those days, “Monday!”}

Something amazing happens. On this very ordinary day, Jesus is waiting for her at the well of her ordinary life. How I have been hoping and praying for you to be surprised at the well of your ordinary life this series.

SOMETIMES GOD SHOWS UP WHEN WE LEAST EXPECT HIM
Expect the Unexpected is a familiar theme in the scriptures.

-Abram becoming a father at 99 years old.
-Moses coming across a burning bush.
-Joshua called to lead the people after Moses dies.
-Ruth who follows her mother-in-law., Naomi, “Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”
-Boaz, the Kinsman Redeemer, lets Ruth glean his fields.
-How about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trapped in a fiery furnace with a fourth man in the fire?
-Daniel in the lion’s den.
-Jonah swallowed and in the belly of whale for three days.
-David facing a giant of a man over nine feet tall with a slingshot and five smooth stones.

The list is long. I believe with all of my heart that God loves to show up when you least expect it. Ordinary with Jesus is extraordinary.

Can we relate? It’s 2020.

Maybe you are facing a giant today with Covid-19.  Maybe the quarantine has you defeated and depressed. Maybe your finances are being depleted.  Maybe a relationship has fallen apart.

The GOOD NEWS FOR YOU FOR TODAY:
Expect the Unexpected.

I always will ask you to put yourself into the story we study.  Today is no exception. Maybe you are one of the people who is at home. WAITING. “What’s taking her so long? I need to get to my meeting.”  Maybe you’re one of Jesus disciples; waiting for a miracle.

The story of the unnamed woman at the well is your story. It’s my story.

Every beautiful morning, we wake up. What’s your routine? I’ll tell you mine: I check my phone to see if I have any messages from the church. I use the rest room. Brush my teeth. Make coffee. Stand around and try to wake up.

Go ahead. What’s your ordinary morning routine?

Okay. STOP.

Suddenly, in the middle of your ordinary morning, there’s Jesus. What’s He saying?

“Give me a drink.”

Would you? I want you to know that if you will let yourself be interrupted on this very ordinary day, it won’t be just coffee that you share. If you listen closely, you will be sharing LIVING WATER from the wellspring of eternal life. Let me give you a really fun example.

For the past 230 days my wife and I have cared for her Dad.  We’ve been his 24/7 caregivers.  It’s a whole lot of work. Recently, we found a wonderful woman whom we’ve hired for respite care. Twice a month my wife and I are going to go sleep in a hotel and rest.  Those are two things we don’t usually get to do these days of caregiving: SLEEP. REST.

We just got home today from our three days, and two glorious nights away. We sat on the beach all day. Let me clarify. Jac sat on the beach. I threw seaweed back into the ocean. We saw dolphins play in the morning. We enjoyed a two-hour sunset each night. We shared a filet mignon meal each night. Our TV didn’t work. Jac napped. I read. It was 98 degrees back home and smoky. It was 65 degrees on the beach, foggy.

Two weeks prior to making our hotel reservations, two friends called to ask what exact days we were going away.  They had the name of a great hotel they knew about and they wanted to see if it had vacancies.

So What?
I do not know what you are facing in this time of Covid-19.  Maybe you face loneliness, illness, homesickness. Maybe you are missing school, or work.  Maybe you are missing family. Maybe you have a loved one in the hospital or assisted living home. Maybe today you are just going to take your chances; you are going to go late to the well. You have a million things to do. You’re just going to run to the well, get the water and go home. It’s an ordinary day.

You plus your ordinary day equals an ordinary day.

You plus JESUS standing at the well of your ordinary day makes for quite an extraordinary day!

Your homework for this week is to sit with this question:

AM I REALLY WILLING FOR JESUS TO MEET ME AT MY ORDINARY WELL?

On the first day that my wife sat on her towel at the ocean, four sets of dogs came running over to her. Each of the four dog owners were like, “We’re so sorry.  Our dog never does this.  Our dog is shy. I’ve never in my life seen my dog run over to a perfect stranger.” One of the dogs came and sat down right by my wife.  I missed the whole thing.  He licked her face! Sat down. Then laid down. The owner ran over and called the dog, “Chase.  Chase.” The dog didn’t move. The man apologized profusely for barging in on her morning. Jac, as only Jac can say, told the man, “Your dog was sent by God to stand at the dry well of my ordinary day.” After the man left, somewhat perplexed by her comment, Jac told me, “Dave, Jesus chased me down–just like the woman at the well.  He saw her. He waited. He gave her a drink of living water.” I was somewhat perplexed by my wife at the moment.  She turned and yelled over her shoulder, “CHASE. The dog’s name was Chase. I didn’t have to chase God. God chased me.”

Are you ready for God to chase you? Are you ready for Jesus to turn your ordinary day into something more?

Something extraordinary? That’s my prayer for you this week.

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

Join us on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. for a live online worship service.  You can worship, chat, pray, and connect with others.  The link for Sunday morning is

theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

if you miss the online service on Sunday you can always go to YouTube and watch our weekly worship or just the Sunday message.  Our YouTube channel is The Seed Christian Fellowship

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 9/4/20

Seed of Faith – EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers:

Greetings faithful and fearless ones! I hope and pray that you are well and that the Lord Jesus is shining His light and love into your lives during this time of the pandemic. Today we begin a series on John 4:1-26.  I have titled this series, “Surprised By God.”  It is my prayer that God will surprise you each and every single day with His everlasting love and grace.  I hope you read through John 4:1-26.  Stop, pause and ponder the verses.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what he wants to tell you. Put yourself into the story!

NOTHING DEPENDS ON US
Have you ever stopped to ponder verse four — Now he had to go through Samaria.” 

Why did Jesus have to go through Samaria? The Samaritans were hated by the Jewish people. Most Jewish people would walk the two extra days around Samaria just to avoid the people there. Why?

What I find so amazing is the stark contrast between two groups of people.  Think of Nicodemus. Go and read his story in chapter three and then read this story again in chapter four.  Can you see it, the difference between the important and sophisticated Nicodemus, this ruler of the Jews, and the simple Samaritan woman? Nicodemus was a Jew, she’s a Samaritan.  Nicodemus was a Pharisee, he was high class. She belonged to no religious party, she was low class. Nicodemus was a politician, she had no status whatsoever–unless you call a bad reputation a status. Nicodemus was a scholar, the woman at the well was fairly uneducated.  Nicodemus was highly moral,  the unnamed woman at the well was not all that moral (she had at least five husbands and was not married to the one she was with at the time.) Think of it this way, Nicodemus has a name in the Scriptures. She is nameless. Nicodemus was a man; she was a woman. Nicodemus went in the dark of night to meet with Jesus, to protect his reputation; the unnamed woman had no reputation, she meets with Jesus at high noon at the town well. Nicodemus came seeking something of Jesus; the woman at the well was sought by Jesus.

WOW!  Did you hear that?  The unnamed, immoral, uneducated, fearful, lonely and outcast woman was sought out by Jesus. Listen, I do not know where you are at today.  I do not know if you are lost and lonely, if you are surrounded by wealth and education, or if you sneak out at night so no one sees you. Wherever you are, I want you to know this:  God knows your name and Jesus has come to seek you.

The HOLY Jew and the LOWLY Samaritan: A great contrast, yet the point of the story is that each one of them needed the fullness of grace brought through the Gospel the Good News of Jesus and both were welcome to it.

If Nicodemus is an example of the truth that no one can rise so high as to be above salvation, then the woman is an example of the truth that no one can sink too low to be saved.

It is by no means an accident that the Apostle John has placed these two wonderful stories together at the beginning of his Gospel and that they end in 4:42 with the Samaritan woman saying,  “This man really is the Savior of the world.” (Notice–no class is mentioned here; not the Jews nor the Samaritans–He’s the savior of the WORLD!)

The first point to take home today is this: NOTHING DEPENDS ON ME — NOTHING AT ALL. 

This unnamed woman at the well is absolute proof of this. We must never say, “I am just a nobody from nowhere, I have gone too far to Jesus to find me, I just an ordinary Christian, the fullness of God’s grace is not for me. The fullness of God’s grace is for everybody, high and low, moral and immoral, sick and healthy, educated and uneducated, religious and non-religious or sinner or saint.  The fullness of God’s grace does not depend on ME.  Nothing depends on ME — nothing at all.

SO WHAT?  Jesu
Which one of these two characters do you most identify with: Nicodemus or the unnamed woman at the well?
Why?
Are you a little of each?
How?

Both Nicodemus and the unnamed woman were surprised by Jesus. If you haven’t viewed the series, “THE CHOSEN”, check it out. Both of these characters are in the story line. Maybe you will learn more about yourself as you SEE the story come alive?

I see myself in both of these people. I watch as my intelligence often wants me to think logically and not with my heart. After 22 years in ordained ministry and add 14 years in youth ministry, I’ve learned never to try to out-think God because, when I do, God surprises me. I remember when I took my exegetical exam. I was supposed to write about the still, small voice of God. I didn’t do that. Instead, I tried to spin a tale about the still, small voice of Dave! I had to rewrite that exam. “Stick to the Scriptures, Dave.” God didn’t need my spin on His word. Like Nic at night–Jesus shared His heart. “You must be born again.” Incredibly intelligent Nic asks, “How can that be? Can I reenter my mother’s womb and be born a second time?” Can’t you just see Jesus wince. “Nic, stop thinking. Do you know where the wind comes from or will go next? Let the Holy Spirit of God guide you in this.” Yes.  I can surely see myself in Nicodemus. And there is God–surprising Nic.

And then, I am also like the unnamed woman; ashamed and embarrassed of myself. Before I gave my life to Jesus, I made some poor decisions that hurt others and myself. Jesus simply showed up. “Suprise, nameless woman at the well, I am the living water for whom you thirst.” Have you ever had God read your mail? Have you ever been sitting in a church, listening to a message, and BAM! You swear the pastor somehow got into your journal?

HOLY or LOWLY? It doesn’t matter at all because our God is a God of surprises who will meet you in secret at midnight, alone, or who will meet you at high noon at the public well.

This week, pray with me: “God, surprise me. Amen.”

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 9/2/20

Seed of Faith – Faith –  Freedom – Worship   By Pastor Dave  

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.” Galatians 5:1 & 13

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “FREEDOM”? Maybe you think of political freedom, economic freedom, financial freedom? Then there’s free speech, free will, free-lance, free-fall, free for all, or free agent.

Webster defines “freedom” this way: “the state or quality of being free {not under the control or power of another}; exemption or liberation from control of some other person or some arbitrary power; liberty; independence.”[i]

Our Scripture reading for today comes from Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  Paul had visited the territory of Galatia on his first missionary journey– recorded in the book of Acts, chapters thirteen and fourteen.  Paul had planted churches in Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antioch.  He had proclaimed the gospel of grace. Paul taught about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  This gospel of grace was a declaration of independence for the people of Galatia.  They were being set free to love, to serve the Lord and one other with the fruit of the Spirit. Paul wrote this letter to confront the legalistic people who were trying to convince the Galatians that freedom was not free.  The Apostle Paul was teaching them that freedom could not come through the works of the law, freedom came through Jesus Christ.

The Greek word for “freedom” that our good friend, Paul, uses in Galatians 5:1 is “eleutheria” which is pronounced “el-yoo-ther-ee’-ah.” Paul is talking about a liberty that is found only in and through Christ.  In the New Testament the concept of freedom was freedom from the law, freedom from sin and freedom from death.  This freedom was achieved by Christ on the cross and we are taught to express this freedom by acts of love.

Atop the hill in Washington D.C. stands the Capitol building of the United States of America.  The cornerstone was laid in 1793, but the crowning touch is the statue on top of the rotunda known as the “Freedom Lady” — placed there in 1863.  The “Freedom Lady” stands nearly 20 feet tall and stands proudly atop the dome.  A crest of stars frames her face.  A shield of Stars and Stripes is in her left hand.

The “Freedom Lady” was sculpted in Rome and brought to America aboard a ship.  During the trip across the Atlantic, a fierce storm developed.  The captain ordered all cargo thrown overboard to lighten the load.  The sailors wanted to throw the heavy statue overboard, but the captain refused, shouting over the wind, “No! Never! We will flounder before we throw ‘Freedom’ away.”  “FREEDOM” was saved, and the statue stands above the dome today. One man stood for “FREEDOM.”

When I think of America, I think of freedom! I have had the opportunity to travel to many places in the world.  Many of those places do not have the freedoms like what we are blessed with here in America. We have so much to be thankful for.

The Declaration of Independence was written to break the stranglehold of tyranny.  Oppression, abuse, removal of rights, false justice and punishment were the charges that were brought to the King of England when the Declaration of Independence was written.

The Scriptural comparison is found here in the writing of Paul: For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.

Today I would like for us to think about the purpose of freedom and the person of freedom.

The purpose of our freedom is defined in Galatians five.  “It is for freedom that Christ set us free.”  We are set free from a set of rules.  By the time of Christ, the Jewish leaders had taken the Ten Commandments and added over 600 rules to live by.  Christ came to set us free from the Law—from a set of over 600 rituals. What would happen in your life if the church imposed a set of 600 rules for you to live by?
The purpose of Christ’s freedom is that we are set free from those laws. We are set free from sin and death. We are free to be who we are in Christ.  If we could only come to know, understand, and comprehend who we are in Christ, we would be set free from the law, sin and death and we would be free to live!

So what? If the purpose of freedom is for us to be who we are in Christ, do you know who you are in Christ?

“It is for freedom that Christ set us free.”  It is Christ who set us free–not the “Freedom Lady,” “Statue of Liberty,” “Declaration of Independence,” or the “Constitution.” Though all of these are good and give us freedom, true freedom comes from Christ alone.  In John 8:32 Jesus says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” and later on in John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The radical Good News of God is that the one who made the world, who came to live in the world, and who triumphed over the world, death, hell and the grave is none other than Jesus Christ. In Christ we will find our true freedom, the freedom to be who God made us to be.

I served with a team in Victorville at the Federal Prison, a maximum-security prison. Every time we went in to visit the inmates we had to pass through 4-5 sets of locked doors to access the deepest part of the prison where the men were held.  It took 20 minutes to reach the area where we could visit the inmates.  When our day was completed, you can imagine how good it felt to be retracing our steps back through those 4-5 sets of doors, back to the beautiful California sunshine.   To be honest with you, I have to tell you that the freedom of being back outside never felt so good.  Freedom is emotional, wonderful, and worth fighting for. Being involved in prison ministry is really one of  the only instances in my life where I have not been free to move as I wanted or needed. The absence of freedom, even for a few short hours, was frightening and miserable to me. What drives the people who do prison ministry is that fact that they have found freedom in Christ. This freedom is personal. This freedom is not bound by walls. This freedom must be proclaimed to those locked up in prison.
Matthew 25:36 “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

So What?
What do these ancient words have to say to us today?  What does freedom really mean?  Are we free from the law?  Are we free from sin? Are we free from death?

Do we realize that our great God has entered our lives by sending Christ to set us free?

We are free to be who we are in Christ.

It is my prayer that every person reading this SEED OF FAITH comes to know, understand, and comprehend who you are in Christ. It is my prayer that this freedom sets you free to be who you were created to be. Many people live in self-made prisons of their own; trying to achieve and accumulate in order to prove their value. At the cross, our value was proven. Christ died for you.  Christ died for me. Christ died to set us free and in Christ, we are free indeed.

When our prison team goes in to do ministry, a most marvelous thing happens. Prisoners are set free. Listen to Isaiah 61:1. This verse in Isaiah in one of those that propelled me to leave my “normal” life and to answer God’s call to ministry at the age of 40: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…” I hope you will understand me when I tell you that before Christ entered my heart I was brokenhearted. I was a captive and I was a prisoner of the darkness.

The Apostle Paul was called and redeemed by God to preach freedom to us all not just to those in Galatia. “It is for freedom Christ has set you free. Stand firm.  Do not return again to your yoke of slavery.  You are called to freedom. Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence but through love serve one another.”

In Jesus Christ, you are free. You are no longer a slave to whatever sins have held (or want to hold) you captive. Your chains are broken.  Your chains are gone.  You have been set FREE. The cross of Jesus Christ is your symbol of your freedom. In His death, you were given life. You are free from the power of sin. You are free, indeed.

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

*Join us online on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific for our weekly worship service.  You can chat, fellowship, worship and grow in grace.  Here is the link for the live online service — theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

If you miss the live online service you can always go to our YouTube channel and watch either the whole worship service or just the weekly meesage.

[i] David Guralnik, Webster’s New World Dictionary, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York,; 1972

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 8/20/20

Seed of Faith – My Father’s House –  A Place For You   By Pastor Dave  

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.In my Father’s house are many room; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3

Dear Fearless and Faithful Seed Sowers,

As many of you know, 2020 has been very hard on everyone beginning with the pandemic that has shut down schools, churches and many places of work.  The shut-downs and isolation has taken a toll on so many. The covid-19 pandemic has taken lives, taken jobs, and taken many people’s peace of mind.

During this time, my family suffered the death of my mother-in-law who died from an aggressive lung cancer that metastasized to her brain and bones. My mother-in-law died with a month of being diagnosed. Just this past week, my older brother (by two years) passed away from the same type of cancer. The most unexpected and shocking thing was that my brother died within two days of being diagnosed. In less than six months, our family has lost two loved ones; over the past six months, our family has spent a lot of time talking about cancer, pain, death and heaven. We’ve also spent a lot of time talking about hospice, love and care.

I want to take a brief pause from The Seed of Faith to thank each and every one of you for the cards. notes, texts and phone calls during this time.  You are a blessing and a ray of SONshine in our lives as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. God bless you.

Heaven! I wish we had more time to talk about heaven, maybe we can save that title for a whole sermon series.  What I want to say today is that heaven is a real place and we will have a real family reunion when Jesus comes to take us to our heavenly home.  Here are a few Scriptures that reflect this truth of our reunion in our heavenly home: Genesis.12:1; Genesis 15:18-21; Genesis 25:8, 17; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:33; Deuteronomy 34:6; Numbers 27:12-13; II Samuel 12:22-23; Romans 8:31-39; Hebrews 11:10; and I Corinthians 15. (Here’s an idea: get some paper or a journal or a notebook and start writing down each verse and what you think about when you read it. It will be a wonderful tool to keep and reflect upon as time marches on.)

When Jesus talks about heaven, He used the image of a wedding promise. In my studies, I’ve read about the Jewish wedding customs. In Jewish times when a young man wanted to marry a Jewish girl, the wedding custom was for the father of the bride and the father of the groom to negotiate a bride price. (The groom’s family paid the bride’s family!)  After the bride price was settled, the fathers shared a cup of wine together to seal the marriage covenant. It’s a beautiful ceremony with beautiful symbolism. The fathers then passed the cup to the groom and then the groom shared the cup with his bride. “I give you my life,” the groom spoke to his future bride. It was the bride’s time to decide. “I accept your life and I give you mine.” Those were the words the groom longed to hear. If those words were exchanged, then the young man went home and added on to his father’s home; he built a place for the two of them.  When the house was built, he came back for his bride. (Having two daughters, I kind of like this custom!)

This is the same image Christ gave to His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

Friends, we are the bride of Christ! The church is the body of Christ and we are the Bride! What Jesus is saying is that He has gone to prepare a place for us and He is coming back and will bring each one of us to our Heavenly home!

I worked on  these verses this week. I especially noticed the words,  “a place for you.”  Jesus uses the word “you” five times here:  
“I would have told you,” “a place for you,” “a place for you,” “I will come back and take you,” and “that you may be where I am.”

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

“A place for you,” tells us that heaven is not just a place out there or up there, somewhere, heaven is a home–you have a personal dwelling place with our Savior, where you will know and be known.  Think about it: You and I own a piece of Heavenly Real Estate!

So What!?
D.L. Moody, the great evangelist, once told a story that speaks to this place in heaven. Moody said, “There was a man who had great wealth.  He was dying.  When the doctor told him he would not live, the lawyer was sent for to make a will.  The dying man had a little girl who was four years old.  She did not understand all that death meant.  When her mother told her that her father was going away, the little child went to his bedside and looked into her father’s eyes and asked, ‘Papa, have you got a home in that land that you are going to?’  The question sunk deep into the man’s soul, for he had spent his time and energy accumulating wealth.  In this life, he enjoyed a grand home, but now he had to leave it.”[i]

I remember when my oldest brother passed away in 1968.  I was only thirteen when I went to his funeral.  It was at his funeral that I had my introduction to Christ’s message of “a place for you.”  This idea changed my life. I know now that my next older brother has gone to be with Jesus.  I grieve the loss of my two brothers, but I’m going to stand on the hope and power of the resurrection.

The “so what” question for today:
Do you have you a home in the land where you are going?
Has the Lord Jesus Christ, your Savior, gone to prepare a place for you?

If you want to be able to say “yes” to these questions, all that is necessary is for Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. He has gone to prepare a place for all who trust in Him.  If you have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, do so now.  There’s never a better time to believe in Jesus than right now. Receive Him as your Lord and Savior, and know the joy of possessing your own piece of Heavenly Real Estate–a place prepared for you by Christ’s own skilled hands.

My brother, my Mom, my Grandmas and Grandpas, my mother-in-law, now by older brother closest to me, and many other dear family members and friends, brothers and sisters in the faith are presently enjoying their Heavenly home. And mine is being prepared for me right now as well as yours is.  Hear Jesus’ words one more time. Put YOUR NAME into these verses:

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

As we patiently endure the pandemic, may we also patiently endure the fact that we own a piece of heavenly real estate. When Jesus passed the fourth cup of wine during His last earthly Passover, His statement was, “I give you my life. Will you give me yours?” When we say, “I accept your life, Jesus, and I give you mine,” that’s the start of our heavenly mansion! Every morning I put on the armor of God. (Ephesians 6). The world contains so much that’s wrong, especially right now; heaven does not.

We grieve but we do not grieve as those who do not have hope. Someday God will wipe away every tear. Someday there will be no more pain or sorrow. Someday we will trade in this earthly life for our heavenly, eternal life. Our filthy rags will be traded in for our robe of righteousness. We will know and be known.

I have been in ordained ministry for 26 years, I have sat by the bedside of hundreds of people. If you ask me, I will tell you that my job is often about death. Let me end this SEED OF FAITH by saying that when I’ve sat at the bedsides of people who love God they die in peace. I still can picture my mother-in-law’s face the moment she drew in her last breath. There was a holy pause, and the slightest smile crossed her face. It was ask if she saw something, or someone, so beautiful, so wonderful that she let go of this world and grabbed onto life eternal.

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

God loves you so very much and so do I,
Pastor Dave

Please join us on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific for our online interactive worship service. If you are able to join us on Sunday mornings, we can fellowship, chat, pray for others and be prayed for–and worship the Lord.

If you miss the Sunday morning opportunities to worship, you can always go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship. We are up and online 24/7/366! If you have any questions or want to share your heart, email me. I will reply.

Lord, bless each person who reads this SEED OF FAITH. Amen.

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 8/13/20

Seed of Faith – TRUST GOD MORE – FEAR LESS   By Pastor Dave  

“Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.”  Psalm 31:2-3

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,
As Covid marches on, I see a lot of stress wearing on us all. What can help us at a time like this? Is anyone up for a good Psalm?

Let’s reflect on Psalm 31.  As many of you know, I love the Psalms.  The Psalms give us all the emotions and feelings that we experience.  Psalm 31 is a good Psalm to read, reflect on, ponder, and pray.  This Psalm was written by King David, the shepherd boy who became King. This is a good Psalm for those who are stressed out.  David faced many trials and tribulations in his life. Let’s study the opening five verses. I love the words refuge, rock, rescue, and fortress. Are you stressed?  Join me as David challenges us to trust God and to put our lives into God’s hands.  This is one of the Psalms that Jesus quoted from the cross, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” Surely there must be some wisdom here in this Psalm for us today.

Maybe a good SO WHAT? question during this global pandemic, of our national unrest including riots and protests is:  Whose hands are you committing your spirit into?  Who are you trusting to be your rock, refuge, and rescuer?   Listen to how David cries out to God when he is under stress, filled with anxiety, overwhelmed with fear, and surrounded by trials and temptations.

“In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.” Psalm 31:1-5

In this time of crisis, chaos, calamity, fear and anxiety, listen to Jesus’ own words spoken to His disciples right before he died.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so. I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:1-6

One of the main points of John 14 is found in the first verse, the word “trust.”  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” What Jesus was telling His disciples was that they needed to “trust more and fear less.” Jesus knew this was his final night on earth. He knew this was His last supper on earth.  He knew what was ahead:  betrayal, beatings, and being condemned. “Trust God! Trust Me!”  Potent lines from a man about to die. (Always pay attention to a dying man’s final words.)

Just think of all the miracles the disciples had seen with Jesus.  They had spent three years with Him.  They had witnessed miracle after miracle, the feeding of thousands with very few resources. They saw Jesus walk on water and calm the winds and waves with just a spoken word. They watched as Jesus gave sight to the blind, cured those with leprosy, touched the deaf so they could hear, healed the lame so they could walk, run and dance.  They were eye-witnesses to Jesus raising the dead, not once–but three times: Jairus’s daughter, the widow’s son and Lazarus. These disciples had been eye witnesses to all these miracles and yet their hearts were troubled.  And there they were in Jerusalem, gathered in a small upper room. They had just celebrated the Passover Meal together when  Jesus announced that one of them was going to betray him. It that isn’t enough, His number one spokesman,  Peter, is told that he will deny even knowing Jesus—and not once but three times.

The disciples’ feet may have been clean but clearly their hearts are troubled.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”  Jesus’ words were as true for the disciples on that night as they are true for us today.

So What?
How so we have hearts that are not troubled?
How can we trust more and fear less?

Jesus tells us the answer: trust in God and trust in Christ.

The disciples did not have a New Testament like we do. They lived with the writings and teachings of the Old Testament.  They knew their Psalms and the Prophets by heart. Psalm 31 is  a Psalm of “TRUST.”  Psalm 31 is a prayer for help in times of trouble. This particular Psalm should turn the reader’s eyes off of their own person to God–the “rock of refuge,” and “a strong fortress.”

When David spoke and wrote these words, he was not having a good day.  David was asking God to save his life from his enemies. As he wrestles, he says, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.”  Jesus used these very words on the cross, and saints everywhere around our globe through all the ages have echoed them.

Martin Luther quoted verse five of Psalm 31 shortly before he died.  “Blessed are they who die not only for the Lord, as martyrs; not only in the Lord, as all believers; but likewise with the Lord, as breathing forth their lives in these words: ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’[iv]

Blessed are those who die breathing forth these words, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.” 

The reason the disciples were able to trust Christ is because they knew Him.  They had walked with him, ate meals with Him and camped under creation with Him.  They had seen miracles; they had every reason to trust Him. And now so do we. Why? Because we have the entire story, both the Old Testament and the New. We have the eye-witness accounts of those who saw first hand.  We live on the other side of the resurrection.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

I do not know where you are right now.  I do not know your fears, your doubts, your guilt, your shame and anxieties. I don’t know your struggles. I do know that God is calling to you in the middle of this pandemic, “TRUST ME MORE!”

Can you do it? Can you just say it out loud?

“God, I’m going to trust YOU more. I am going to fear less! Into YOUR hands, I commit my life, my heart, my spirit.”

Amen.

Join us on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific Time — at theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

You can chat, request prayers, connect with others, worship and grow in grace.  “TRUST GOD MORE — FEAR LESS.”

If you miss the online service service, you can always go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship and watch the whole service or just listen to the message.  We are doing a series called — “Surprised By God.”

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

 

[iv] J.J. Stewart Perowne, Commentary on the Psalms, 2 vols. In 1, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1989

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 8/7/20

Seed of Faith – Walk With God   By Pastor Dave  

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Genesis 5:21-24

Dear Faithful and Fearless Friends and Family,

As I have been reading and thinking about this message,  I thought about Enoch and his short story in Genesis 5.  We do not know a lot about Enoch but what stopped me was verse 22.  It was after Enoch became the father of Methuselah that we are told that he walked with God.  I have read this passage many times, but was never stopped by the fact that it was after Enoch became a father that he walked with God.

I think sometimes it takes children to bring a father to God. Here are a few lessons that we can learn from Enoch:

1. Be sure you are on the right path.  Before Methuselah was born, we are not told much about Enoch. But after his son was born, old Enoch finally gets on the right path. I do not know where you are in your walk with God. I do not know if you have been walking with God a long time or maybe you are like Enoch–waiting for a good reason to walk with God. Friends, it is never too late to start walking with God. Just DO it!

2. Be sure you are walking at the right pace.  I remember when our children and grandchildren were beginning to learn to walk. As a dad and paw paw, I had to really slow my pace so that their little feet could walk alongside of me.  Sometimes I set them on my feet so they could walk as Daddy or Paw Paw walked. Since moving our 88 year-old-father-in-law in with us,  I have had to relearn to walk at his pace. His eyes are dim, his feet are wobbly and his pace is slow. I do not know who you are walking with, or  with who God may be calling you to walk with, but I encourage you to walk at the right pace. Life and death hang in this delicate balance; learning this skill can bring such life if we only learn.

3. Be sure you are going to the right place.  The Bible says that Enoch walked with God and then God took Enoch up to heaven. Enoch went to heaven without dying. He went right into glory and he never died. But his son, Methuselah died. Who do you think was the first person who met Methuselah when he went through the gates of glory (after Christ, of course) ? I have a feeling it was Enoch. By walking with God, Enoch had led his son to the right place.  Remember that there are people following in your footsteps and learning from your examples.

When I was in the tire business, I would take my children to work with me on Saturdays.  I thought it would be good for them to see their father in his work environment. One Saturday, I took our son along with me.  Of course, we stopped in the morning for donuts, juice and coffee. We also made a stop at one of my customers and picked up a load of truck tires.  The truck tires were stacked high in the truck bed and they were hanging out over the edges. I could not see out of my rear-view mirror or out my side mirrors very well.  When we arrived at the tire store, one of my employees stood behind me to help me back up the truck into the shop to unload.  I opened my driver’s door and leaned out in order to see how close I was to the opening of the garage bay.  My son imitated me, he opened his door on the passenger side and was mimicking what I was doing.  The only problemwas that there was a cement pole by his door., When he opened his door, I backed up and the door was crumpled up by the cement pole. When I heard the crashing metal, I hit the brake and looked over at my son.  His eyes were wider than flying saucers.  Tears were beginning to fill them.  I pulled ahead and jumped out of the truck to make sure that he was not hurt.  I know that for sure he thought he was going to be in trouble.  I was thankful that he was not hurt.  I did not yell, I did not belittle him, I did not get mad.  I was thankful that he was not hurt.  I told him that doors can be fixed, and it was not a big deal.  I believe that morning I taught my son to walk the right path, at the right pace, so that we can get to the right place.

Enoch’s life is one of the shortest recorded in the genealogy. It is an amazing fact that Enoch never dies, he just walked with God all the way to heaven.  Yet, did you know, Enoch’s son, Methuselah, lived is the longest life recorded in Scripture — 969 years. Methuselah is the oldest person to live and we are told in the Gospel of Luke that Methuselah is in the genealogy of Jesus.  A fine example of walking on the right path, at the right pace, and ending up at the right place.

So What?
Maybe some earlier so what questions.
Are you walking on the right path?
Are you walking at the right pace?
Are you walking to the right place?

Walk in faithfulness!  Walk on the right path, at the right pace, heading yourself to the right place.  I pray that during this pandemic you do not panic.  I pray that during this time of uncertainty you find for certain the ONE and ONLY HOPE that is our anchor in all storms of life.  Our HOPE is Jesus!

It is never too late to turn over a new leaf in your life. What a great example we have here in Enoch. Enoch did not walk with God early in his life but after his son was born we are told that he walked with God.  Enoch ended up on the right path walking at the right pace heading to right place.  Enoch walked with God and never died!

Are you walking with God today? Know this: It is never too late to get on the right path and walk with God. My guess is that even when you’ve crumpled your life up, God is more concerned if you are okay than in punishing you. God is love, never forget that. Bring your walk to God and let our Father teach you: the right path, the right pace, the right place!

Join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific for some wonderful worship, fantastic fellowship through our online chats and prayer and our weekly message that will help you walk on the right path with God. We have been doing a series on John 4 called “Surprised By God.” May you be surprised by God this day, and every day!

Here is the link for the online service

www.theseedchristianfellowship.online.church 

If you miss the live online service you can always go to our YouTube channel and watch the weekly worship service or just the weekly message. Please, during this time of the pandemic, FEED YOUR SPIRIT! Feast on God’s word.

Our YouTube channel is The Seed Christian Fellowship. Go to YOU TUBE online and be encouraged by The Seed–Jesus Christ himself.

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 10/16/20

Seed of Faith – Spiritually Lost   By Pastor Dave  

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’”  John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

It is my prayer that as we live and walk through this world-wide pandemic that we do not get lost!  Have you ever felt spiritually lost?  Do you feel a little spiritually lost now? My prayer is that God’s word will be our guide and that we won’t get lost.

We have been taking time to sit at the well in Samaria with Jesus and the woman at the well. I encourage you to read John 4:1-26 this week.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak life and light to your heart and mind.

Last week we looked at the fact that the woman at the well was spiritually empty  The woman at the well missed the real living water at first. Why?  She was spiritually empty and spiritually lost.

SPIRITUALLY LOST
What I find interesting in this story is that Jesus speaks seven times in the conversation and the woman speaks six.  Jesus begins with a question, “Will you give me a drink?”  Jesus, the living water, asks for a drink of water. The woman replies with a tirade of prejudices.  “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)  Jesus challenges her with the statement, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Don’t you find it interesting that this woman misses Jesus’ invitation completely?

I wonder how many times you and I have missed these encounters with Jesus.  Jesus offers us himself and we question and doubt Him just like the woman at the well. “Hey, Mr. Living Water, where’s your bucket? Where are your containers? You think I’m going to do all the work and give you a drink of my water?  What are you doing here, coming to the well in the middle of the day? There is never anyone here…but me. And you expect me to fetch you a drink? Mighty bold of you, Mr. Living Water.”

Jesus asked a question. That is all. “Will you give me a drink?”

One hundred years ago, The Student Volunteer Movement for Missions met in Des Moines, Iowa, and they voted to drop the traditional aspects of its program which had focused on Bible study, evangelism, and foreign missions. Instead they voted to choose to focus on racial injustice, imperialism, and other social issues. Within fifteen years the movement was dead.[i]

Thirsty people need more than optimism, confidence, self-will, and self-worth.  They need good news and that good news centers in the only one who can say, “The water I give [you] will become in [you] a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”’

The problem is that when a person is spiritually empty and spiritually lost—it is easy for us to miss Jesus at the wells of our lives.

SPIRITUALLY FULL — SATISFIED
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Look for a moment at what Jesus is saying to the woman in verses 13 and 14.  Jesus tells her that nothing will ever satisfy her longing and dissatisfaction…except for a continuous long drink of God’s living water. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.”

Don’t miss the word, “Never!”  (Say that verse again.)

Jesus saw the woman for who she was: God’s creation.

Jesus sees us for who we are: God’s creation.

Are you spiritually empty? Are you spiritually lost? This story is put here for us! Can we read and come to know and understand that Jesus offers us this same drink of living Water? This drink will satisfy our thirsty soul forever. Do not miss what Jesus offers the woman and what Jesus offers us: a drink of living water that will completely satisfy and permanently satisfy. Once we have tasted this living water of Jesus Christ, we will never be thirsty again. Once we have tasted the living water of Jesus, the ways of the world lose their hold on us.

SO WHAT?
So what do these ancient words mean to us today as we are shut-in, shut-out, or essential workers? What about our relationships, our families, our church and our friendships?  I am here today to tell you that God wants to speak to you of a living water that will fill you and bring you eternal life.

When we were in Zambia, Africa, with our mission team I was struck by the life-giving wells that have been dug in the compounds.  The people of the area go daily to these wells for water, 365 days a year. Do you know that the human body is made up of 60% water? Do you know you could go without food for about 3 weeks but you could only go without water for 3-4 days? Every cell in our body needs water. Water is a lubricant for our joints, regulates our body temperature, and flushes out waste. Water acts as a shock absorber for your brain and spinal cord. Water is needed by your brain to manufacture hormones and your neurotransmitters. Water helps to deliver oxygen throughout your body.

Now, can you understand why Jesus met this outcast Samaritan woman at the well, in the middle of the day? “Will you give me a drink?”

Why didn’t she just give the guy a drink? Because she was spiritually empty, and spiritually lost. She needed a spiritual refilling and Jesus knew that. I am going to be really bold here: When Jesus meets you at the center of your emptiness and lostness, it’s an invitation for you to never thirst again. It is an invitation for your hot, dry well to become a SPRING of life-giving water. A spring has an underground source. Much of the bottled water that we pay good money for today comes from SPRINGS of underground wells!

Are you hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying? Are your ears open? Are your eyes open? Is your heart open? Jesus wants to trade us: our stagnant, worldly well for His, our shallow, empty well for His, our dried up, lost well for His.

“I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me, makes the lame to walk and the blind to see, opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. SPRING UP, O WELL, and fill my soul! Spring up, O well, and make me whole! Spring up, O well, and give to me: THAT LIFE ABUNDANTLY!”

Here is a link to the song on YouTube … https://youtu.be/ytGCFLK3KtU

Here we are, Jesus is standing at your well and asks you a simple question, “Will you give me a drink?”

Here’s your answer. “Jesus, thanks for meeting me here at my empty well. Why don’t you give me a drink of your living water instead?”  I promise you: HE WILL! And you will never thirst again. Keep drinking from the life-giving well of Jesus Christ and from the words of Scripture; living words for parched souls: acronym for BIBLE–Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth!

“Jesus, meet me at the wells I visit that never seem to satisfy my soul. I want the life-giving water that springs up eternal life. Amen.”
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 10/9/20

Seed of Faith – Spiritually Empty  By Pastor Dave  

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

First of all, I truly believe that God will make us faithful and fearless seed sowers during this corona-virus epidemic. Life has changed.  Sowing seeds of faith has changed. I pray God is creating you more faith and less fear!

We are still digging deeply into the well at Sychar in Samaria. Maybe during this time of anxiety from the pandemic you might be experiencing a little bit of feeling spiritually empty. If so, come along on our journey and drink from the well that promises to spring up to eternal life. I encourage to take a few minutes this week and read John 4:1-26; as you read, put yourself into the story. Don’t just enter the story once, put yourself into all of the characters.  They all have a viewpoint and a story to tell from the well and Jesus promises us that, if we drink, we will never thirst again!

Let me set the stage.  Around 722-721 B.C. the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrian army.  The king of Assyria deported many of the Jewish people and transplanted foreigners to live in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  These foreigners intermarried with the Jewish people and the races became mixed.  This land was called “Samaria”, the people were called “Samaritans.”  When the Southern Kingdom fell to the Babylonians in 586 many of the remining Jewish people remained behind and longed for the return of God’s kingdom.  Finally, after 70 years of captivity, the Jewish people started returning under Ezra, a scribe, and Nehemiah, the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. The people banded together rebuild the walls and they also started to rebuild the temple. The returning Jewish people now viewed the “Samaritans” as political rebels, racial half-breeds and religious people who worshiped the many Gods of the foreigners along with the One True God — Yahweh!  Their prejudices were mighty and many!

This surprise encounter with Jesus at the well confronted all of the prejudices this woman held.  First, she was a Samaritan. Samaritans and Jewish people had nothing to do with each other. Second, she was a woman.  Men did not talk to women in that culture. Third, she had been with many different “husbands” and she was a sinner. Any righteous, religious person would never have anything to do with a sinner like this woman. Fourth, her place of worship was there at the well of Jacob, the Jewish people worshiped at the temple in Jerusalem. Did you hear the prejudices? Racial prejudices, social prejudices, moral prejudices, and religious prejudices are all confronted in this story found in John 4.

Maybe an early “so what?” question for us today is, “Where does Jesus surprise you with your prejudices?”

“What if Jesus met me at Jacob’s well this Sunday morning?” I’m serious, what if you were dressed just like you are right now, and what if you had gone to the grocery store: Staters, Vons, Ralphs, Sprouts or your own favorite, grocery store? On your shopping list is: WATER! Go to the well to get water and,,, Jesus meets you there? Holy cow! (This is what I call “putting yourself into the story!”)

Am I spiritually empty? Maybe that is a good “so what?” question during this season of our lives. Some of us are totally running on empty while others of us seem to be coasting along okay but we do hit a few bumps here and there. The truth is we are all like this woman at the well.  At one time or another we’ve all become empty. It’s true; we become empty with the things this world has to offer.  We become lost when we follow our own will and go our own way and we don’t leave any room for God to surprise us.

The real truth is, we all long to be spiritually filled.

What I find interesting in this story is that woman at the well had most likely heard of the prophets and their prophecies.

Listen to just four of these prophecies:

“On that day, a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” Zechariah 13:1

“On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter.” Zechariah 14:8

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Isaiah 44:3

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3

I wonder if this unnamed Samaritan woman had grown up reciting, singing, and memorizing the Psalms?

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Psalm 42:1-3

But somewhere along her way, she forgot those words and she began to drink from other wells.

This Samaritan outcast came to the well in the middle of the day in order to be alone. She wanted to be away from the ridicule, scorn, mockery, shame, and guilt she felt from the other women and the rest of the people of Sychar.  She was spiritually empty.  Spiritually bankrupt. Can you go with her to the well? It’s the middle of the day. It is burning hot. And there she is dragging her empty containers with her. The woman was empty. She was not expecting God to meet her at the well.  She was not expecting a surprise from God. She was expecting that she would go, get her water, and go home. Everyone else had already gotten their water. Sneak in, sneak out in the middle of the heat of the day.

Do you ever do anything like this? Do you look in the mirror and say, “Don’t go to the store now, you might run into someone you know. Wait til just before the store closes.” And at 9:50 pm, you put on your hat and sunglasses and pull your jacket up to cover your face, you keep your head down and enter the store. Ever been there?

Okay. Now imagine Jesus meeting you at whatever aisle you are shopping in. Right.  You need tomato sauce? There’s Jesus.  You need milk? There’s Jesus.

Jesus meets this woman right where she is.  Jesus meets her in the middle of her shame, guilt, fear, doubt and even in her hiding.

Are you empty?  Are you worried and troubled by many things?  Maybe you think you cannot go one more day or walk one more mile with the burden you are carrying. The truth is that Jesus will meet you no matter where you are, no matter what you have done.

At first meeting, the woman misses Jesus, she misses the living water. Why?  She was spiritually empty and spiritually lost.

So What?
I am here to tell you today that Jesus wants to meet you right where you are and Jesus has a gift for you: the gift is to come drink from the well that springs up to eternal life.  The choice is simple, take and drink or walk away empty. My prayer is that you will drink deeply like the deer at the stream.

Open your bible. Read the story of the woman at the well.  Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. Let God surprise you!

My wife became a Christian 20 months before I did. For 600 days, she watched me go to the world’s wells. For 600 days, she went to the well of living water. I don’t know how many times she mustered up her courage. She walked into the family room where I was putting on my work boots and she handed me her bible. She said the same thing every time: “Here. Would you please read this? I highlighted it.  I don’t want you to read the whole book. I don’t want you to read the whole page.  Just read the sentence or two I’ve highlighted.” Each time she did this, for 600 days, 20 months, I smiled and took the book.  When she left the room, I closed the book and set it under the couch. There were days, I’m embarrassed to tell you, that I slid her bible across the room. What I did notice is that Jac was happy. She was full of joy. And the other thing I noticed, it wasn’t me that was making her so happy. Jac had joined bible studies and had everyone in town praying for me. One day she told me her bible study was hosting a couples bible study. She handed me a piece of paper with the name of the study (Romans) and the name of the teacher. The teacher was one of my former high school teachers and he was one of my favorite teachers. I decided to go and hear what he had to say; he was, after all, a really great teacher!

It took me until chapter 8 of Romans, verses 14 and 15, to understand that the wells of the world were not going to quench my thirst. Jesus met me at the well that night after bible study. It was January in Northern Illinois. It was freezing and the snow was blowing. The bible teacher had talked to our group about how we are children of God, how we can cry, “Abba, Father” to God. I couldn’t wait to get home that night. I got down on my knees and I prayed, “God, if you want to be my father, I’d like to give you a try!”

That well has never run dry. The year was 1981. Jesus met me at the well that cold, snowy night. SURPRISE, Dave!

Come meet the man who knows everything about me and still wants to be my Father. Come to the well that never runs dry.  No matter where you are, no matter what you’ve done–you are forgiven. And THAT is the BEST SURPRISE of all.

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 10/2/20

Seed of Faith –  Patience and Loving Kindness of Jesus  By Pastor Dave  
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is my prayer that during these days of the pandemic that we come to KNOW the LOVE of God, GROW in the GRACE of Jesus Christ, and GO in the POWER of the Holy Spirit. It’s really a perfect time to MAKE TIME to open your LIVING WORD and drink deeply from the WELL OF ETERNAL LIFE.

We are walking slowly through Samaria with Jesus.  We are walking very slowly. I encourage you to take a few moments and read John 4:1-26 again.  Put yourself into this story. Are you the woman at the well? Are you one of the disciples who go into town? Are you a town person? Maybe you’re the clerk selling the disciples food for Jesus. Seriously.  Go look at what Samaria looked like back then. Put yourself INTO the story. And then ask yourself, “What is the Holy Spirit saying to me?” “What is Jesus saying to me?” “What is God, my Father, saying to me?” As the pandemic lingers, maybe now is a good time to put yourself into another story: the story of the unnamed woman at the well.

Last week in The Seed of Faith we looked at the “Gentleness of Jesus.” This week I want like to reflect on “The Patience and Loving Kindness of Jesus.”

Here we go. The unnamed woman comes to draw water from the well in the middle of the day. I don’t know about you, but out here in SOCAL, it’s hot and it’s been hot for around 100 days. If I knew I had to go draw water every day, you can bet I’d get up early and go when it was the coolest. I know I wouldn’t go in the middle of the day when the sun was beating down the hottest.

There she is at the well. Can you see her? It’s hot. It’s the middle of the day and the sun is bright. Jesus asks her for a drink. “Hey, unnamed woman at the well, would you mind giving me, a total stranger, a drink of the water you just worked really hard to retrieve?”

I can picture the scene. I wonder if any words were exchanged. I wonder if she just shot Jesus a look before she replied, “I’m a Samaritan and you’re a Jew.  I’m a woman and you’re a man. We aren’t supposed to talk to each other.” And then Jesus speaks to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

I have been pondering this question: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks for a drink….”

This unnamed woman comes every day to this well to draw water.  This water never gives her satisfaction. She’s always back the next day, and the day after that and the day after that.  And here is Jesus, opening up a dialogue. Will she respond? Will you?

Maybe a simple so what question for today is: what do you know about being dissatisfied by the world?

The dis-ease this woman has is dissatisfaction.  What is the dis-ease you have?  What are you dissatisfied with? Who are you dissatisfied with?  This woman lacks spiritual satisfaction and has gone to drink water from a well that will never satisfy.

So What?  How many times do you and I go to that well?

There’s plenty of wells that always say, “MORE!” How about the wells of of materialism, money, power, eating, drinking, sex–just to name a few. These are wells that never cry, “Enough. I’m satisfied.”

As many of you know, I love the Psalms.  I love the prayer in Psalm 103. Psalm 103 is only seventeen verses, but it is powerful.  I love verses 8 and 9 — “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever…” Psalm 103:8-9

Do you see it?  Do you hear it? The Lord is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.  That is exactly what Jesus was demonstrating with the woman at the well. On one side of the well we have the unnamed woman doing her job, doing her duty and on the other side of the well is Jesus. 

Look at the patience and loving-kindness of Jesus in this encounter. All throughout the Old Testament we read story after story of the patience, long-suffering, and loving-kindness of God.  In this story of the woman at the well we read about Jesus’ patience, long-suffering, and loving-kindness with this woman. This patience of Jesus is based upon His knowledge and power. Jesus knows the end from the beginning. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  Jesus is the Lord: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love. And the good news for us today is that Jesus is patient with us just as He was with woman at the well. Maybe she is unnamed so that we can easily put ourselves into her place, into her story. Jesus knows our condition, that is why he came into the world. Jesus knows men and women who are trapped in a sinful lifestyle just as this woman at the well was.

So What?
“So what?” do these ancient words mean to us today?

In January of 2003 I went with a group of men to Rockford, Illinois, to help get a Credo Recovery weekend started.  Did you catch that? It was the middle of January in Illinois.  What was wrong with me?  I grew up in Illinois. It is cold, and snowy, and windy, and freezing in Illinois in January.  And, sure enough, the snow was blowing, and temp was below zero. The Credo Recovery weekend was held inside the Salvation Army men’s adult rehabilitation center (ARC). Credo Recovery is a grace-based recovery weekend for those who are struggling with addiction; addictions of all kinds.  These men at this ARC had committed to staying in the Salvation Army Rehab facility for 90 days. Our Credo group went in and led worship and shared talks on God’s grace and forgiveness.  I was one of the spiritual directors. For one of the messages, I used Psalm 103:

Psalm 103
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— 18with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul. (Psalm 103)

As I read my bible, I see my notes. My notes are like footprints of where I’ve been. As I read Psalm 103, I thought of these men and I thought of the woman at the well. Sitting across from the non-satisfying well that you pull up sits Jesus. Jesus told the unnamed woman everything she had ever done. He knew all about her and, yet, he waited for her.  He asked her for a drink.

I do not know what you are struggling with.  Maybe you go to a well every, single day and come back empty, and dissatisfied.  Maybe the fear of failure, the hurts of the past, the anxiety of the times, the physical struggles, or your emotional struggles have left you empty and wanting more.  I want you to know that it the Lord himself who is waiting at your well. It is the Lord of Psalm 103 who is waiting for you.

Jesus knows that we are dust. The Lord’s well was established in heaven and He is a well that never runs dry. Jesus is compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. He does not repay us for our sins. He removes our sins from us–as far as the east is from the west.

Do you see it? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. The unnamed woman was forgiven. The men and women of Credo have been forgiven. You and me? We are forgiven. Our sins have been removed from us.

And Jesus sits at the well of our life and waits for us.

If only you knew who it is who is asking you for a drink….

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 9/23/20

Seed of Faith – The Gentleness of Jesus   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,

It is my prayer that as we go through this pandemic of Covid-19 and are shut-down in so many ways, we will stand strong in the grace and mercy of Jesus.

We have been looking at John 4:1-26 for our entire SUMMER SERIES!  I encourage you take a few minutes over the next week and read and re-read this story.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Try to put yourself into this story. There are many characters in the story, try on several of their sandals and see the story from their side: Jesus, unnamed woman, disciples, town people, ex-husbands, current partner–and YOU.

Have you ever been surprised by God? 

I asked that question this week to several of my friends. Some of them shared how God has surprised them.  One friend who is struggling with emphysema and multiple myeloma cancer wrote to me and said, “Amazingly this humanly incurable cancer I have is sensitizing me to the Presence and Reality in ways not previously expected. Jesus is wonderful.” Another friend said that he moved to California to find love but Jesus showed up and changed his life unexpectedly .A good friend in Illinois texted me after I asked him, “Have you ever been surprised by God?”  He shared how he was lost at 21 and while driving his motorcycle he hit a car head-on.  He was driving without a license plate, insurance, and helmet.  The doctors who did surgery on him after the accident told his parents that it would be a miracle if he gained 100% use of his right hand.  The doctor said he would be hoping for 50% use of his right hand. My friend’s parents were Christian, and they prayed for their son. Today, after battling and overcoming the accident, my friend has 100% use of his right hand and is a strong believer in miracles.

Have you ever been surprised by God?

Let’s focus on Jesus and how He responds to the woman at the well.  Next week we will look at the woman and we will focus on her response to Jesus.

When we read this story, we see that Jesus is always in control. This is a good point for us to ponder.  Each one of us is going through a zillion different situations.  Many are struggling emotionally with the fear of the virus, the panic of the pandemic, and the emotional lockdown  and isolation of this physical epidemic. As we read this story, please notice that Jesus is in control of the situation. Maybe we should apply this to our own situation right now:  “God is in control.”

Another point to ponder is that we are told that Jesus had to go through Samaria.  Why?  Because Jesus had it on his agenda to meet this woman. Jesus was in control of this meeting. As a pastor, I meet hundreds (if not thousands of people) and after a few minutes, I wonder why so many of us try to control so much of our life. Why in the world do we feel that it is our job to control our friends, families, workplaces, schools, neighbors, and even our religion or faith experiences?  Some of us are trying really hard to control the virus, and the germs. I have a great point for us to think on: when Jesus sets his heart and affection upon a person, Jesus always takes charge, and does not let go.

Maybe an early “SO WHAT?” question that we need to ask is “Who is in charge of my life?”  I’m hoping that by reading this story and studying it, we are going to let go of our end of the rope of control. If we know that we are in Jesus’ hands, we can find real comfort for our souls. We can trust that Jesus is in control of our lives. We can trust that God is not surprised by our situation.

What amazes me in this story is the extreme gentleness of Jesus. The gentleness of Jesus is such a beautiful aspect of this story. Do not miss it!

Look how Jesus’ gentleness pours out with this woman.  The woman at the well was living in adultery and had been for some time. Jesus does not scorn her or ridicule her.  Jesus does not force the situation.  Jesus does not shame her or disgrace her. Jesus is full of grace and wants the fullness of grace for her. Oh, how I pray that you will know that Jesus wants the fullness of grace for you, too.

One of my favorite passages from the prophet Isaiah is found in Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice…” (Isaiah 42:3)

To me Jesus handles the bruised reed of this woman so very gently.  Her life is but a smoldering wick. Every day her life is trying to be snuffed out by the world, by the other women of Sychar, by her ex-husbands and even by herself.  This unnamed woman is lives a life of fear, anxiety, doubt, shame, disgrace, guilt, remorse, and forgiveness. She doesn’t want to see anyone, hence, she goes to the well in the middle of day, in the heat because no one else will be there.

Maybe some of us are living in fear, anxiety, doubt, shame, disgrace guilt remorse and unforgiveness.

Do you see the gentleness of Jesus in this story? He heads to Samaria and stops at the well. He is waiting for this unnamed woman.

We are told that Jesus must go to Samaria to meet this woman.  Jesus is concerned about her soul. Pay close attention; Jesus does not grab ahold of her, shame her or condemn her. Jesus gently brings this unnamed woman at the well face-to-face with the honest truth, the truth of her need for grace and love. Wow!  The gentleness of Jesus!

So What?
Why is it important for us to notice the gentleness of Jesus? Because Jesus uses this same method with us. The truth is that many times we miss this gentleness. We’re so in control of everything that we’ve even set up our own idea on how Jesus will meet us. “Jesus, I sleep in until 6 a.m. then I have my coffee.  I need a solid hour of peace and quiet. no talking but anytime between 7-9 a.m. is good.  I’ll leave that time slot open for you.”

I’m going to challenge you today. Your “SO WHAT?” is simply this:

In the middle of my ordinary day, am I open to meeting Jesus at the dry well of my life?

From what I know of Jesus, he rarely surprises us between our allotted time slots that we’ve reserved for Him to surprise us.

You never know where or when you are going to be surprised by Jesus.  You never know what words or questions Jesus is going to ask.

Let’s get one thing straight as we put ourself into this story: Jesus controls the SURPRISE factor, not you.

“If only you knew the GIFT OF GOD…and WHO IT IS THAT IS ASKING YOU FOR A DRINK….you would have asked and He would have given you living water.”

Surprise, that’s our gentle Jesus.

“Lord, do it again. Surprise me. As I study this story, surprise me. Help me to let go of the controls. I want living water. Amen.”
See you Sunday!

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

If you would like to join in our online worship on Sunday mornings at 10 A.m., Pacific here is the link

theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

Or you can go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship and watch our message or our complete worship service.

Keep THE SEED in prayer as our leadership team voted to hold outdoor worship beginning this Sunday in the parking lot of the TAIWANESE Church, 9284 Baseline Road, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, 91701,,

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 9/19/20

Seed of Faith – Surprised By God   By Pastor Dave  

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.'”John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed-Sowers,

During the world-wide pandemic it is my prayer that the Lord would bless you and keep you in His unfailing love.  May Jesus meet you at the well of living water as you work your way through this unprecedented time of covid-19. This week I pray that we learn that God shows up during our ordinary days and when we least expect Him to.

GOD SHOWS UP ON ORDINARY DAYS
As I read the living word of God, I am always amazed at how God shows up on ordinary days. The purpose? To surprise you. Jesus met Peter and Andrew in their fishing boat getting ready to do their job–fish. Matthew (Levi) was at his tax collector’s booth doing his job: collecting taxes. I love this story of the woman at the well; she was not at a big, Jewish festival or at a concert in the local synagogue. She wasn’t away in the mountains on a private retreat.  The woman at the well was going out in the middle of the day in order to draw water from the well so that she could cook, clean, and do her ordinary tasks. She went out to get the water her many jobs at home required. We are not told how many people are in her household. We are not told how far she had to walk but we are told that she went out around the 6th hour (midday or the hottest part of the day) high noon. From the dialogue with Jesus, we know she had had 5 husbands and was living with a man who was not her husband. What we know about the Jewish culture of that day, if the woman went to well in the early morning, she would have been around all the women of town who were also getting water. The woman waited. She did not want to join the companh of the other women. My guess is she knew that they knew about her. They might look disgustingly at her and whisper about her.  The other women would shame her and ridicule her.

Instead, the unnamed woman comes out at the hottest part of the day, noon, and she is carrying two jars of water on her shoulders. Big, heavy clay jars. Her family and her household needed water. There was bathing to do, washing dishes to do, and cooking to do–just to name a few of her responsibilities. The woman arrived at the well not expecting a thing.

Don’t miss it: Today is just another ordinary day! {I think we call those days, “Monday!”}

Something amazing happens. On this very ordinary day, Jesus is waiting for her at the well of her ordinary life. How I have been hoping and praying for you to be surprised at the well of your ordinary life this series.

SOMETIMES GOD SHOWS UP WHEN WE LEAST EXPECT HIM
Expect the Unexpected is a familiar theme in the scriptures.

-Abram becoming a father at 99 years old.
-Moses coming across a burning bush.
-Joshua called to lead the people after Moses dies.
-Ruth who follows her mother-in-law., Naomi, “Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”
-Boaz, the Kinsman Redeemer, lets Ruth glean his fields.
-How about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego trapped in a fiery furnace with a fourth man in the fire?
-Daniel in the lion’s den.
-Jonah swallowed and in the belly of whale for three days.
-David facing a giant of a man over nine feet tall with a slingshot and five smooth stones.

The list is long. I believe with all of my heart that God loves to show up when you least expect it. Ordinary with Jesus is extraordinary.

Can we relate? It’s 2020.

Maybe you are facing a giant today with Covid-19.  Maybe the quarantine has you defeated and depressed. Maybe your finances are being depleted.  Maybe a relationship has fallen apart.

The GOOD NEWS FOR YOU FOR TODAY:
Expect the Unexpected.

I always will ask you to put yourself into the story we study.  Today is no exception. Maybe you are one of the people who is at home. WAITING. “What’s taking her so long? I need to get to my meeting.”  Maybe you’re one of Jesus disciples; waiting for a miracle.

The story of the unnamed woman at the well is your story. It’s my story.

Every beautiful morning, we wake up. What’s your routine? I’ll tell you mine: I check my phone to see if I have any messages from the church. I use the rest room. Brush my teeth. Make coffee. Stand around and try to wake up.

Go ahead. What’s your ordinary morning routine?

Okay. STOP.

Suddenly, in the middle of your ordinary morning, there’s Jesus. What’s He saying?

“Give me a drink.”

Would you? I want you to know that if you will let yourself be interrupted on this very ordinary day, it won’t be just coffee that you share. If you listen closely, you will be sharing LIVING WATER from the wellspring of eternal life. Let me give you a really fun example.

For the past 230 days my wife and I have cared for her Dad.  We’ve been his 24/7 caregivers.  It’s a whole lot of work. Recently, we found a wonderful woman whom we’ve hired for respite care. Twice a month my wife and I are going to go sleep in a hotel and rest.  Those are two things we don’t usually get to do these days of caregiving: SLEEP. REST.

We just got home today from our three days, and two glorious nights away. We sat on the beach all day. Let me clarify. Jac sat on the beach. I threw seaweed back into the ocean. We saw dolphins play in the morning. We enjoyed a two-hour sunset each night. We shared a filet mignon meal each night. Our TV didn’t work. Jac napped. I read. It was 98 degrees back home and smoky. It was 65 degrees on the beach, foggy.

Two weeks prior to making our hotel reservations, two friends called to ask what exact days we were going away.  They had the name of a great hotel they knew about and they wanted to see if it had vacancies.

So What?
I do not know what you are facing in this time of Covid-19.  Maybe you face loneliness, illness, homesickness. Maybe you are missing school, or work.  Maybe you are missing family. Maybe you have a loved one in the hospital or assisted living home. Maybe today you are just going to take your chances; you are going to go late to the well. You have a million things to do. You’re just going to run to the well, get the water and go home. It’s an ordinary day.

You plus your ordinary day equals an ordinary day.

You plus JESUS standing at the well of your ordinary day makes for quite an extraordinary day!

Your homework for this week is to sit with this question:

AM I REALLY WILLING FOR JESUS TO MEET ME AT MY ORDINARY WELL?

On the first day that my wife sat on her towel at the ocean, four sets of dogs came running over to her. Each of the four dog owners were like, “We’re so sorry.  Our dog never does this.  Our dog is shy. I’ve never in my life seen my dog run over to a perfect stranger.” One of the dogs came and sat down right by my wife.  I missed the whole thing.  He licked her face! Sat down. Then laid down. The owner ran over and called the dog, “Chase.  Chase.” The dog didn’t move. The man apologized profusely for barging in on her morning. Jac, as only Jac can say, told the man, “Your dog was sent by God to stand at the dry well of my ordinary day.” After the man left, somewhat perplexed by her comment, Jac told me, “Dave, Jesus chased me down–just like the woman at the well.  He saw her. He waited. He gave her a drink of living water.” I was somewhat perplexed by my wife at the moment.  She turned and yelled over her shoulder, “CHASE. The dog’s name was Chase. I didn’t have to chase God. God chased me.”

Are you ready for God to chase you? Are you ready for Jesus to turn your ordinary day into something more?

Something extraordinary? That’s my prayer for you this week.

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

Join us on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. for a live online worship service.  You can worship, chat, pray, and connect with others.  The link for Sunday morning is

theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

if you miss the online service on Sunday you can always go to YouTube and watch our weekly worship or just the Sunday message.  Our YouTube channel is The Seed Christian Fellowship

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 9/4/20

Seed of Faith – EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers:

Greetings faithful and fearless ones! I hope and pray that you are well and that the Lord Jesus is shining His light and love into your lives during this time of the pandemic. Today we begin a series on John 4:1-26.  I have titled this series, “Surprised By God.”  It is my prayer that God will surprise you each and every single day with His everlasting love and grace.  I hope you read through John 4:1-26.  Stop, pause and ponder the verses.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what he wants to tell you. Put yourself into the story!

NOTHING DEPENDS ON US
Have you ever stopped to ponder verse four — Now he had to go through Samaria.” 

Why did Jesus have to go through Samaria? The Samaritans were hated by the Jewish people. Most Jewish people would walk the two extra days around Samaria just to avoid the people there. Why?

What I find so amazing is the stark contrast between two groups of people.  Think of Nicodemus. Go and read his story in chapter three and then read this story again in chapter four.  Can you see it, the difference between the important and sophisticated Nicodemus, this ruler of the Jews, and the simple Samaritan woman? Nicodemus was a Jew, she’s a Samaritan.  Nicodemus was a Pharisee, he was high class. She belonged to no religious party, she was low class. Nicodemus was a politician, she had no status whatsoever–unless you call a bad reputation a status. Nicodemus was a scholar, the woman at the well was fairly uneducated.  Nicodemus was highly moral,  the unnamed woman at the well was not all that moral (she had at least five husbands and was not married to the one she was with at the time.) Think of it this way, Nicodemus has a name in the Scriptures. She is nameless. Nicodemus was a man; she was a woman. Nicodemus went in the dark of night to meet with Jesus, to protect his reputation; the unnamed woman had no reputation, she meets with Jesus at high noon at the town well. Nicodemus came seeking something of Jesus; the woman at the well was sought by Jesus.

WOW!  Did you hear that?  The unnamed, immoral, uneducated, fearful, lonely and outcast woman was sought out by Jesus. Listen, I do not know where you are at today.  I do not know if you are lost and lonely, if you are surrounded by wealth and education, or if you sneak out at night so no one sees you. Wherever you are, I want you to know this:  God knows your name and Jesus has come to seek you.

The HOLY Jew and the LOWLY Samaritan: A great contrast, yet the point of the story is that each one of them needed the fullness of grace brought through the Gospel the Good News of Jesus and both were welcome to it.

If Nicodemus is an example of the truth that no one can rise so high as to be above salvation, then the woman is an example of the truth that no one can sink too low to be saved.

It is by no means an accident that the Apostle John has placed these two wonderful stories together at the beginning of his Gospel and that they end in 4:42 with the Samaritan woman saying,  “This man really is the Savior of the world.” (Notice–no class is mentioned here; not the Jews nor the Samaritans–He’s the savior of the WORLD!)

The first point to take home today is this: NOTHING DEPENDS ON ME — NOTHING AT ALL. 

This unnamed woman at the well is absolute proof of this. We must never say, “I am just a nobody from nowhere, I have gone too far to Jesus to find me, I just an ordinary Christian, the fullness of God’s grace is not for me. The fullness of God’s grace is for everybody, high and low, moral and immoral, sick and healthy, educated and uneducated, religious and non-religious or sinner or saint.  The fullness of God’s grace does not depend on ME.  Nothing depends on ME — nothing at all.

SO WHAT?  Jesu
Which one of these two characters do you most identify with: Nicodemus or the unnamed woman at the well?
Why?
Are you a little of each?
How?

Both Nicodemus and the unnamed woman were surprised by Jesus. If you haven’t viewed the series, “THE CHOSEN”, check it out. Both of these characters are in the story line. Maybe you will learn more about yourself as you SEE the story come alive?

I see myself in both of these people. I watch as my intelligence often wants me to think logically and not with my heart. After 22 years in ordained ministry and add 14 years in youth ministry, I’ve learned never to try to out-think God because, when I do, God surprises me. I remember when I took my exegetical exam. I was supposed to write about the still, small voice of God. I didn’t do that. Instead, I tried to spin a tale about the still, small voice of Dave! I had to rewrite that exam. “Stick to the Scriptures, Dave.” God didn’t need my spin on His word. Like Nic at night–Jesus shared His heart. “You must be born again.” Incredibly intelligent Nic asks, “How can that be? Can I reenter my mother’s womb and be born a second time?” Can’t you just see Jesus wince. “Nic, stop thinking. Do you know where the wind comes from or will go next? Let the Holy Spirit of God guide you in this.” Yes.  I can surely see myself in Nicodemus. And there is God–surprising Nic.

And then, I am also like the unnamed woman; ashamed and embarrassed of myself. Before I gave my life to Jesus, I made some poor decisions that hurt others and myself. Jesus simply showed up. “Suprise, nameless woman at the well, I am the living water for whom you thirst.” Have you ever had God read your mail? Have you ever been sitting in a church, listening to a message, and BAM! You swear the pastor somehow got into your journal?

HOLY or LOWLY? It doesn’t matter at all because our God is a God of surprises who will meet you in secret at midnight, alone, or who will meet you at high noon at the public well.

This week, pray with me: “God, surprise me. Amen.”

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 9/2/20

Seed of Faith – Faith –  Freedom – Worship   By Pastor Dave  

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.” Galatians 5:1 & 13

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “FREEDOM”? Maybe you think of political freedom, economic freedom, financial freedom? Then there’s free speech, free will, free-lance, free-fall, free for all, or free agent.

Webster defines “freedom” this way: “the state or quality of being free {not under the control or power of another}; exemption or liberation from control of some other person or some arbitrary power; liberty; independence.”[i]

Our Scripture reading for today comes from Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  Paul had visited the territory of Galatia on his first missionary journey– recorded in the book of Acts, chapters thirteen and fourteen.  Paul had planted churches in Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antioch.  He had proclaimed the gospel of grace. Paul taught about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  This gospel of grace was a declaration of independence for the people of Galatia.  They were being set free to love, to serve the Lord and one other with the fruit of the Spirit. Paul wrote this letter to confront the legalistic people who were trying to convince the Galatians that freedom was not free.  The Apostle Paul was teaching them that freedom could not come through the works of the law, freedom came through Jesus Christ.

The Greek word for “freedom” that our good friend, Paul, uses in Galatians 5:1 is “eleutheria” which is pronounced “el-yoo-ther-ee’-ah.” Paul is talking about a liberty that is found only in and through Christ.  In the New Testament the concept of freedom was freedom from the law, freedom from sin and freedom from death.  This freedom was achieved by Christ on the cross and we are taught to express this freedom by acts of love.

Atop the hill in Washington D.C. stands the Capitol building of the United States of America.  The cornerstone was laid in 1793, but the crowning touch is the statue on top of the rotunda known as the “Freedom Lady” — placed there in 1863.  The “Freedom Lady” stands nearly 20 feet tall and stands proudly atop the dome.  A crest of stars frames her face.  A shield of Stars and Stripes is in her left hand.

The “Freedom Lady” was sculpted in Rome and brought to America aboard a ship.  During the trip across the Atlantic, a fierce storm developed.  The captain ordered all cargo thrown overboard to lighten the load.  The sailors wanted to throw the heavy statue overboard, but the captain refused, shouting over the wind, “No! Never! We will flounder before we throw ‘Freedom’ away.”  “FREEDOM” was saved, and the statue stands above the dome today. One man stood for “FREEDOM.”

When I think of America, I think of freedom! I have had the opportunity to travel to many places in the world.  Many of those places do not have the freedoms like what we are blessed with here in America. We have so much to be thankful for.

The Declaration of Independence was written to break the stranglehold of tyranny.  Oppression, abuse, removal of rights, false justice and punishment were the charges that were brought to the King of England when the Declaration of Independence was written.

The Scriptural comparison is found here in the writing of Paul: For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.

Today I would like for us to think about the purpose of freedom and the person of freedom.

The purpose of our freedom is defined in Galatians five.  “It is for freedom that Christ set us free.”  We are set free from a set of rules.  By the time of Christ, the Jewish leaders had taken the Ten Commandments and added over 600 rules to live by.  Christ came to set us free from the Law—from a set of over 600 rituals. What would happen in your life if the church imposed a set of 600 rules for you to live by?
The purpose of Christ’s freedom is that we are set free from those laws. We are set free from sin and death. We are free to be who we are in Christ.  If we could only come to know, understand, and comprehend who we are in Christ, we would be set free from the law, sin and death and we would be free to live!

So what? If the purpose of freedom is for us to be who we are in Christ, do you know who you are in Christ?

“It is for freedom that Christ set us free.”  It is Christ who set us free–not the “Freedom Lady,” “Statue of Liberty,” “Declaration of Independence,” or the “Constitution.” Though all of these are good and give us freedom, true freedom comes from Christ alone.  In John 8:32 Jesus says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” and later on in John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The radical Good News of God is that the one who made the world, who came to live in the world, and who triumphed over the world, death, hell and the grave is none other than Jesus Christ. In Christ we will find our true freedom, the freedom to be who God made us to be.

I served with a team in Victorville at the Federal Prison, a maximum-security prison. Every time we went in to visit the inmates we had to pass through 4-5 sets of locked doors to access the deepest part of the prison where the men were held.  It took 20 minutes to reach the area where we could visit the inmates.  When our day was completed, you can imagine how good it felt to be retracing our steps back through those 4-5 sets of doors, back to the beautiful California sunshine.   To be honest with you, I have to tell you that the freedom of being back outside never felt so good.  Freedom is emotional, wonderful, and worth fighting for. Being involved in prison ministry is really one of  the only instances in my life where I have not been free to move as I wanted or needed. The absence of freedom, even for a few short hours, was frightening and miserable to me. What drives the people who do prison ministry is that fact that they have found freedom in Christ. This freedom is personal. This freedom is not bound by walls. This freedom must be proclaimed to those locked up in prison.
Matthew 25:36 “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

So What?
What do these ancient words have to say to us today?  What does freedom really mean?  Are we free from the law?  Are we free from sin? Are we free from death?

Do we realize that our great God has entered our lives by sending Christ to set us free?

We are free to be who we are in Christ.

It is my prayer that every person reading this SEED OF FAITH comes to know, understand, and comprehend who you are in Christ. It is my prayer that this freedom sets you free to be who you were created to be. Many people live in self-made prisons of their own; trying to achieve and accumulate in order to prove their value. At the cross, our value was proven. Christ died for you.  Christ died for me. Christ died to set us free and in Christ, we are free indeed.

When our prison team goes in to do ministry, a most marvelous thing happens. Prisoners are set free. Listen to Isaiah 61:1. This verse in Isaiah in one of those that propelled me to leave my “normal” life and to answer God’s call to ministry at the age of 40: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…” I hope you will understand me when I tell you that before Christ entered my heart I was brokenhearted. I was a captive and I was a prisoner of the darkness.

The Apostle Paul was called and redeemed by God to preach freedom to us all not just to those in Galatia. “It is for freedom Christ has set you free. Stand firm.  Do not return again to your yoke of slavery.  You are called to freedom. Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence but through love serve one another.”

In Jesus Christ, you are free. You are no longer a slave to whatever sins have held (or want to hold) you captive. Your chains are broken.  Your chains are gone.  You have been set FREE. The cross of Jesus Christ is your symbol of your freedom. In His death, you were given life. You are free from the power of sin. You are free, indeed.

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

*Join us online on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific for our weekly worship service.  You can chat, fellowship, worship and grow in grace.  Here is the link for the live online service — theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

If you miss the live online service you can always go to our YouTube channel and watch either the whole worship service or just the weekly meesage.

[i] David Guralnik, Webster’s New World Dictionary, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York,; 1972

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 8/20/20

Seed of Faith – My Father’s House –  A Place For You   By Pastor Dave  

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.In my Father’s house are many room; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3

Dear Fearless and Faithful Seed Sowers,

As many of you know, 2020 has been very hard on everyone beginning with the pandemic that has shut down schools, churches and many places of work.  The shut-downs and isolation has taken a toll on so many. The covid-19 pandemic has taken lives, taken jobs, and taken many people’s peace of mind.

During this time, my family suffered the death of my mother-in-law who died from an aggressive lung cancer that metastasized to her brain and bones. My mother-in-law died with a month of being diagnosed. Just this past week, my older brother (by two years) passed away from the same type of cancer. The most unexpected and shocking thing was that my brother died within two days of being diagnosed. In less than six months, our family has lost two loved ones; over the past six months, our family has spent a lot of time talking about cancer, pain, death and heaven. We’ve also spent a lot of time talking about hospice, love and care.

I want to take a brief pause from The Seed of Faith to thank each and every one of you for the cards. notes, texts and phone calls during this time.  You are a blessing and a ray of SONshine in our lives as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. God bless you.

Heaven! I wish we had more time to talk about heaven, maybe we can save that title for a whole sermon series.  What I want to say today is that heaven is a real place and we will have a real family reunion when Jesus comes to take us to our heavenly home.  Here are a few Scriptures that reflect this truth of our reunion in our heavenly home: Genesis.12:1; Genesis 15:18-21; Genesis 25:8, 17; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:33; Deuteronomy 34:6; Numbers 27:12-13; II Samuel 12:22-23; Romans 8:31-39; Hebrews 11:10; and I Corinthians 15. (Here’s an idea: get some paper or a journal or a notebook and start writing down each verse and what you think about when you read it. It will be a wonderful tool to keep and reflect upon as time marches on.)

When Jesus talks about heaven, He used the image of a wedding promise. In my studies, I’ve read about the Jewish wedding customs. In Jewish times when a young man wanted to marry a Jewish girl, the wedding custom was for the father of the bride and the father of the groom to negotiate a bride price. (The groom’s family paid the bride’s family!)  After the bride price was settled, the fathers shared a cup of wine together to seal the marriage covenant. It’s a beautiful ceremony with beautiful symbolism. The fathers then passed the cup to the groom and then the groom shared the cup with his bride. “I give you my life,” the groom spoke to his future bride. It was the bride’s time to decide. “I accept your life and I give you mine.” Those were the words the groom longed to hear. If those words were exchanged, then the young man went home and added on to his father’s home; he built a place for the two of them.  When the house was built, he came back for his bride. (Having two daughters, I kind of like this custom!)

This is the same image Christ gave to His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

Friends, we are the bride of Christ! The church is the body of Christ and we are the Bride! What Jesus is saying is that He has gone to prepare a place for us and He is coming back and will bring each one of us to our Heavenly home!

I worked on  these verses this week. I especially noticed the words,  “a place for you.”  Jesus uses the word “you” five times here:  
“I would have told you,” “a place for you,” “a place for you,” “I will come back and take you,” and “that you may be where I am.”

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

“A place for you,” tells us that heaven is not just a place out there or up there, somewhere, heaven is a home–you have a personal dwelling place with our Savior, where you will know and be known.  Think about it: You and I own a piece of Heavenly Real Estate!

So What!?
D.L. Moody, the great evangelist, once told a story that speaks to this place in heaven. Moody said, “There was a man who had great wealth.  He was dying.  When the doctor told him he would not live, the lawyer was sent for to make a will.  The dying man had a little girl who was four years old.  She did not understand all that death meant.  When her mother told her that her father was going away, the little child went to his bedside and looked into her father’s eyes and asked, ‘Papa, have you got a home in that land that you are going to?’  The question sunk deep into the man’s soul, for he had spent his time and energy accumulating wealth.  In this life, he enjoyed a grand home, but now he had to leave it.”[i]

I remember when my oldest brother passed away in 1968.  I was only thirteen when I went to his funeral.  It was at his funeral that I had my introduction to Christ’s message of “a place for you.”  This idea changed my life. I know now that my next older brother has gone to be with Jesus.  I grieve the loss of my two brothers, but I’m going to stand on the hope and power of the resurrection.

The “so what” question for today:
Do you have you a home in the land where you are going?
Has the Lord Jesus Christ, your Savior, gone to prepare a place for you?

If you want to be able to say “yes” to these questions, all that is necessary is for Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. He has gone to prepare a place for all who trust in Him.  If you have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, do so now.  There’s never a better time to believe in Jesus than right now. Receive Him as your Lord and Savior, and know the joy of possessing your own piece of Heavenly Real Estate–a place prepared for you by Christ’s own skilled hands.

My brother, my Mom, my Grandmas and Grandpas, my mother-in-law, now by older brother closest to me, and many other dear family members and friends, brothers and sisters in the faith are presently enjoying their Heavenly home. And mine is being prepared for me right now as well as yours is.  Hear Jesus’ words one more time. Put YOUR NAME into these verses:

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

As we patiently endure the pandemic, may we also patiently endure the fact that we own a piece of heavenly real estate. When Jesus passed the fourth cup of wine during His last earthly Passover, His statement was, “I give you my life. Will you give me yours?” When we say, “I accept your life, Jesus, and I give you mine,” that’s the start of our heavenly mansion! Every morning I put on the armor of God. (Ephesians 6). The world contains so much that’s wrong, especially right now; heaven does not.

We grieve but we do not grieve as those who do not have hope. Someday God will wipe away every tear. Someday there will be no more pain or sorrow. Someday we will trade in this earthly life for our heavenly, eternal life. Our filthy rags will be traded in for our robe of righteousness. We will know and be known.

I have been in ordained ministry for 26 years, I have sat by the bedside of hundreds of people. If you ask me, I will tell you that my job is often about death. Let me end this SEED OF FAITH by saying that when I’ve sat at the bedsides of people who love God they die in peace. I still can picture my mother-in-law’s face the moment she drew in her last breath. There was a holy pause, and the slightest smile crossed her face. It was ask if she saw something, or someone, so beautiful, so wonderful that she let go of this world and grabbed onto life eternal.

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

God loves you so very much and so do I,
Pastor Dave

Please join us on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific for our online interactive worship service. If you are able to join us on Sunday mornings, we can fellowship, chat, pray for others and be prayed for–and worship the Lord.

If you miss the Sunday morning opportunities to worship, you can always go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship. We are up and online 24/7/366! If you have any questions or want to share your heart, email me. I will reply.

Lord, bless each person who reads this SEED OF FAITH. Amen.

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 8/13/20

Seed of Faith – TRUST GOD MORE – FEAR LESS   By Pastor Dave  

“Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.”  Psalm 31:2-3

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,
As Covid marches on, I see a lot of stress wearing on us all. What can help us at a time like this? Is anyone up for a good Psalm?

Let’s reflect on Psalm 31.  As many of you know, I love the Psalms.  The Psalms give us all the emotions and feelings that we experience.  Psalm 31 is a good Psalm to read, reflect on, ponder, and pray.  This Psalm was written by King David, the shepherd boy who became King. This is a good Psalm for those who are stressed out.  David faced many trials and tribulations in his life. Let’s study the opening five verses. I love the words refuge, rock, rescue, and fortress. Are you stressed?  Join me as David challenges us to trust God and to put our lives into God’s hands.  This is one of the Psalms that Jesus quoted from the cross, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” Surely there must be some wisdom here in this Psalm for us today.

Maybe a good SO WHAT? question during this global pandemic, of our national unrest including riots and protests is:  Whose hands are you committing your spirit into?  Who are you trusting to be your rock, refuge, and rescuer?   Listen to how David cries out to God when he is under stress, filled with anxiety, overwhelmed with fear, and surrounded by trials and temptations.

“In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.” Psalm 31:1-5

In this time of crisis, chaos, calamity, fear and anxiety, listen to Jesus’ own words spoken to His disciples right before he died.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so. I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:1-6

One of the main points of John 14 is found in the first verse, the word “trust.”  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” What Jesus was telling His disciples was that they needed to “trust more and fear less.” Jesus knew this was his final night on earth. He knew this was His last supper on earth.  He knew what was ahead:  betrayal, beatings, and being condemned. “Trust God! Trust Me!”  Potent lines from a man about to die. (Always pay attention to a dying man’s final words.)

Just think of all the miracles the disciples had seen with Jesus.  They had spent three years with Him.  They had witnessed miracle after miracle, the feeding of thousands with very few resources. They saw Jesus walk on water and calm the winds and waves with just a spoken word. They watched as Jesus gave sight to the blind, cured those with leprosy, touched the deaf so they could hear, healed the lame so they could walk, run and dance.  They were eye-witnesses to Jesus raising the dead, not once–but three times: Jairus’s daughter, the widow’s son and Lazarus. These disciples had been eye witnesses to all these miracles and yet their hearts were troubled.  And there they were in Jerusalem, gathered in a small upper room. They had just celebrated the Passover Meal together when  Jesus announced that one of them was going to betray him. It that isn’t enough, His number one spokesman,  Peter, is told that he will deny even knowing Jesus—and not once but three times.

The disciples’ feet may have been clean but clearly their hearts are troubled.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”  Jesus’ words were as true for the disciples on that night as they are true for us today.

So What?
How so we have hearts that are not troubled?
How can we trust more and fear less?

Jesus tells us the answer: trust in God and trust in Christ.

The disciples did not have a New Testament like we do. They lived with the writings and teachings of the Old Testament.  They knew their Psalms and the Prophets by heart. Psalm 31 is  a Psalm of “TRUST.”  Psalm 31 is a prayer for help in times of trouble. This particular Psalm should turn the reader’s eyes off of their own person to God–the “rock of refuge,” and “a strong fortress.”

When David spoke and wrote these words, he was not having a good day.  David was asking God to save his life from his enemies. As he wrestles, he says, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.”  Jesus used these very words on the cross, and saints everywhere around our globe through all the ages have echoed them.

Martin Luther quoted verse five of Psalm 31 shortly before he died.  “Blessed are they who die not only for the Lord, as martyrs; not only in the Lord, as all believers; but likewise with the Lord, as breathing forth their lives in these words: ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’[iv]

Blessed are those who die breathing forth these words, “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth.” 

The reason the disciples were able to trust Christ is because they knew Him.  They had walked with him, ate meals with Him and camped under creation with Him.  They had seen miracles; they had every reason to trust Him. And now so do we. Why? Because we have the entire story, both the Old Testament and the New. We have the eye-witness accounts of those who saw first hand.  We live on the other side of the resurrection.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

I do not know where you are right now.  I do not know your fears, your doubts, your guilt, your shame and anxieties. I don’t know your struggles. I do know that God is calling to you in the middle of this pandemic, “TRUST ME MORE!”

Can you do it? Can you just say it out loud?

“God, I’m going to trust YOU more. I am going to fear less! Into YOUR hands, I commit my life, my heart, my spirit.”

Amen.

Join us on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific Time — at theseedchristianfellowship.online.church

You can chat, request prayers, connect with others, worship and grow in grace.  “TRUST GOD MORE — FEAR LESS.”

If you miss the online service service, you can always go to our YouTube channel at The Seed Christian Fellowship and watch the whole service or just listen to the message.  We are doing a series called — “Surprised By God.”

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

 

[iv] J.J. Stewart Perowne, Commentary on the Psalms, 2 vols. In 1, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1989

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 8/7/20

Seed of Faith – Walk With God   By Pastor Dave  

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Genesis 5:21-24

Dear Faithful and Fearless Friends and Family,

As I have been reading and thinking about this message,  I thought about Enoch and his short story in Genesis 5.  We do not know a lot about Enoch but what stopped me was verse 22.  It was after Enoch became the father of Methuselah that we are told that he walked with God.  I have read this passage many times, but was never stopped by the fact that it was after Enoch became a father that he walked with God.

I think sometimes it takes children to bring a father to God. Here are a few lessons that we can learn from Enoch:

1. Be sure you are on the right path.  Before Methuselah was born, we are not told much about Enoch. But after his son was born, old Enoch finally gets on the right path. I do not know where you are in your walk with God. I do not know if you have been walking with God a long time or maybe you are like Enoch–waiting for a good reason to walk with God. Friends, it is never too late to start walking with God. Just DO it!

2. Be sure you are walking at the right pace.  I remember when our children and grandchildren were beginning to learn to walk. As a dad and paw paw, I had to really slow my pace so that their little feet could walk alongside of me.  Sometimes I set them on my feet so they could walk as Daddy or Paw Paw walked. Since moving our 88 year-old-father-in-law in with us,  I have had to relearn to walk at his pace. His eyes are dim, his feet are wobbly and his pace is slow. I do not know who you are walking with, or  with who God may be calling you to walk with, but I encourage you to walk at the right pace. Life and death hang in this delicate balance; learning this skill can bring such life if we only learn.

3. Be sure you are going to the right place.  The Bible says that Enoch walked with God and then God took Enoch up to heaven. Enoch went to heaven without dying. He went right into glory and he never died. But his son, Methuselah died. Who do you think was the first person who met Methuselah when he went through the gates of glory (after Christ, of course) ? I have a feeling it was Enoch. By walking with God, Enoch had led his son to the right place.  Remember that there are people following in your footsteps and learning from your examples.

When I was in the tire business, I would take my children to work with me on Saturdays.  I thought it would be good for them to see their father in his work environment. One Saturday, I took our son along with me.  Of course, we stopped in the morning for donuts, juice and coffee. We also made a stop at one of my customers and picked up a load of truck tires.  The truck tires were stacked high in the truck bed and they were hanging out over the edges. I could not see out of my rear-view mirror or out my side mirrors very well.  When we arrived at the tire store, one of my employees stood behind me to help me back up the truck into the shop to unload.  I opened my driver’s door and leaned out in order to see how close I was to the opening of the garage bay.  My son imitated me, he opened his door on the passenger side and was mimicking what I was doing.  The only problemwas that there was a cement pole by his door., When he opened his door, I backed up and the door was crumpled up by the cement pole. When I heard the crashing metal, I hit the brake and looked over at my son.  His eyes were wider than flying saucers.  Tears were beginning to fill them.  I pulled ahead and jumped out of the truck to make sure that he was not hurt.  I know that for sure he thought he was going to be in trouble.  I was thankful that he was not hurt.  I did not yell, I did not belittle him, I did not get mad.  I was thankful that he was not hurt.  I told him that doors can be fixed, and it was not a big deal.  I believe that morning I taught my son to walk the right path, at the right pace, so that we can get to the right place.

Enoch’s life is one of the shortest recorded in the genealogy. It is an amazing fact that Enoch never dies, he just walked with God all the way to heaven.  Yet, did you know, Enoch’s son, Methuselah, lived is the longest life recorded in Scripture — 969 years. Methuselah is the oldest person to live and we are told in the Gospel of Luke that Methuselah is in the genealogy of Jesus.  A fine example of walking on the right path, at the right pace, and ending up at the right place.

So What?
Maybe some earlier so what questions.
Are you walking on the right path?
Are you walking at the right pace?
Are you walking to the right place?

Walk in faithfulness!  Walk on the right path, at the right pace, heading yourself to the right place.  I pray that during this pandemic you do not panic.  I pray that during this time of uncertainty you find for certain the ONE and ONLY HOPE that is our anchor in all storms of life.  Our HOPE is Jesus!

It is never too late to turn over a new leaf in your life. What a great example we have here in Enoch. Enoch did not walk with God early in his life but after his son was born we are told that he walked with God.  Enoch ended up on the right path walking at the right pace heading to right place.  Enoch walked with God and never died!

Are you walking with God today? Know this: It is never too late to get on the right path and walk with God. My guess is that even when you’ve crumpled your life up, God is more concerned if you are okay than in punishing you. God is love, never forget that. Bring your walk to God and let our Father teach you: the right path, the right pace, the right place!

Join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 10 A.M. Pacific for some wonderful worship, fantastic fellowship through our online chats and prayer and our weekly message that will help you walk on the right path with God. We have been doing a series on John 4 called “Surprised By God.” May you be surprised by God this day, and every day!

Here is the link for the online service

www.theseedchristianfellowship.online.church 

If you miss the live online service you can always go to our YouTube channel and watch the weekly worship service or just the weekly message. Please, during this time of the pandemic, FEED YOUR SPIRIT! Feast on God’s word.

Our YouTube channel is The Seed Christian Fellowship. Go to YOU TUBE online and be encouraged by The Seed–Jesus Christ himself.

See you Sunday!

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

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