Seed Of Faith

Weekly Seed of Faith 4-5-19

Seed of Faith – BE DEVOTED & HONOR ONE ANOTHER  By Pastor Dave  

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”  Romans 12:9-13

Dear Saintly Seed-Sowers and Faithful Friends:

It is with great joy in my heart that I sit down to write this week’s Seed of faith.  We have begun a new series at The Seed Christian Fellowship!  We are diving deep into the love and grace of God as we look at some of the wonderful and powerful “ONE ANOTHER” statements found in the Bible! I think it’s a great Lenten series: for us to focus on the words of Christ and the words of Paul.  Learning all of the “ONE ANOTHER” statements will certainly help us grow in our faith and love.

Last week, we looked at what it means to “GREET ONE ANOTHER.”  It is my hope and prayer that you took the “so what” challenge and greeted someone this past week.  Throughout my years of ministry, I’ve found that when you ask someone, “How are you?” their response is usually pretty limited. “Fine.”  “Good.” “Great.” But if you ask, “How’s your day going today?” You can get more of a conversation going. I’ve found that this single question has led into many opportunities for ministry. I’ve had people share their heart because they’re going through some hard things. It’s a good question to remember as you start each day and go out into the world. “How’s your day going so far?”

Today we turn our attention to Romans 12:9-21.  I printed the opening lines above for you to reflect on.  I hope you grab your own Bible (if you don’t have a Bible, I will send you one — just email me) and read Romans 12:9-21.

When I was in seminary, my best friend PJ hired me to learn the construction trade.  I went to seminary Monday through Thursday and worked for PJ on the weekends and during the summer.  I learned how to build homes and learned all kinds of construction work during those three years. I remember one time, right after I started working for PJ, my co-worker John, who is PJ”s brother,  and I were rough-framing this home out in the country.  We worked all morning framing in a two-story chimney chase. You know what a chimney chase is, don’t you?  It is the framing for the chimney so when the brick layers come in, they have a frame to work with in order to finish the chimney/fireplace. John and I worked all morning framing in this chimney chase; two stories high. PJ drove up in his pickup truck and pulled up beside the chimney chase.  He got out of his truck, looked at us and walked over to the chimney chase.  He stood there looking at the chimney chase.  To be honest with you — I was pretty proud of our work.  He then told us that the chimney chase was off by half an inch.  I stood there and started joking with him and told him there was no way we were off.. He told me that we were off by at least a half an inch.  I told him I would bet him a lunch.  He got out his plumb line and climbed the ladder and dropped the plumb line. Sure enough, we were off a half an inch.  I lost the bet and owed PJ a lunch.  Then PJ said, “Tear it down and start over.”  PJ told me that you must sincere and honest with your work if your name is going to be on it. Do you know that the word “sincere” means “to be without hypocrisy”?   

I thought of Paul in this verse. Paul is telling us that our love must be sincere, without hypocrisy or play-acting. What Paul is saying is that our love must not be putting on a fake face and playacting.  Our love must be sincere.  I thought of all of the plans for building a house.  When you build a house, you need to make sure that the foundation is straight and solid; otherwise, everything that I build on top of that foundation will be out of line. “Tear it down and reframe it, Dave, you’re off by half an inch.” I certainly don’t ever want to hear those words from Christ. I want my love to be sincere. I want to build a solid foundation on the solid rock of Christ.

When I first became a Christian in 1981, I started going to church faithfully. Church was hard work for me.  I didn’t grow up being a Christian, even though my grandmother loved to take us four boys to church. (By the way, church was right next door to her house!)  Growing up I had built  a lot of walls around my life.  I don’t know if you have ever done that?  When I was 12, I made a decision that I was not going to let anyone hurt me again. I didn’t let anyone really love me and, to be honest with you, I had all of that love and hate stuff mixed up. I loved doing the wrong things and I often hated doing what was good. I buried the pain of my brother’s death with alcohol. I drank excessively and often. I had Paul’s teaching backwards.  Have you ever done that?   Growing up, if I was clinging onto anything, I was clinging to me, myself and I.  That is a real “unholy trinity.”  There was no way I could be devoted to love one another if all I did was love myself. I was married with three small children before I realized that there was a different Trinity.

The Greek word Paul uses for “HONOR” is actually spelled “time” in Greek.  Isn’t that fascinating?  The truth is that if we really want to “honor one another” we will need to make time for others.  Paul said, “Honor one another above yourself.”   For a young man who grew up loving himself, learning to reverse that cycle was difficult for me. Like I said, I was married with 3 small children. My wife is a pretty smart woman, and she signed us up for a marriage retreat. I learned through that Marriage Encounter weekend that love is spelled “TIME.” When we honor one another, it’s going to take TIME. When you honor your spouse, plan on spending some TIME. When you honor your children, or family, plan on spending TIME. From that 1981 marriage retreat, I’ve never forgotten that LOVE is spelled TIME. 

Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, that we should try and outdo one another in showing love. The basic concept being taught is that if we want to keep the fires of love burning, we should learn how to love and honor one another. Wow!  That sounds just like these words from Romans.

My lifelong friend and former boss, PJ,had some pretty funny sayings.  He used to say, “Dave, measure twice, cut once.”  I think he was trying to teach me to slow down and take the time to make sure that I was right before I cut the wood. I think this is what our good friend, Paul, is teaching us. “Honor one another.” Make the time you need to honor one another.”  That statement can hit us pretty hard because so often in our individualistic society we have a hard time putting others above ourselves.  What I’ve found is that honoring one another is going to cost me time. It’s going to cost me “ME” time. I’m going to have to give up something in order to be able to spend the time it takes to honor one another.  I have an honest confession. I love to work. I really do. I love to read my commentaries, I love to journal on what I’m reading, and I love to do ministry. And every once in a while, I can get really caught up in all of those “me” things. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife and family. It doesn’t cost me anything except TIME to say to my wife, “Let’s go for a walk” or “let’s have a cup of coffee out by the fireplace.” Like I said, learning that love is spelled time really framed a new foundation in my life. I’ve found it to be a solid foundation.

The Apostle Paul said it. “Be devoted to one another in love!  Honor one another above yourself!  Live in harmony with one another.” 

I remember one time working construction when we had dug a hole for a swimming pool in the bottom of a hotel. PJ came along and said, “Our measurements are off by a foot. We have to dig the entire floor of the swimming pool out by a foot.” I found myself saying, “Why don’t we just raise the roof a foot?” PJ turned around and looked at me and I’ll never forget what he said.  “Dave, it’s going to take us 6 months to frame and build this hotel. And then for the next 60 years, kids are going to swim in that pool you’re digging. Our measurements are off by a foot. It’s not your fault. But you are going to make it right because it’s the right thing to do.”  My co-worker, Roger and I spent the rest of the day digging another 12 inches, another foot, out of the floor of the swimming pool by hand. By now, the frame work around the swimming pool had been finished and there was no way we could get a bobcat in to dig it out. Even during seminary, God kept hammering away at me: “LOVE IS SPELLED TIME.” With every shovel full of dirt, I was learning to “honor one another.” It took us one full day but we got that swimming pool ready. Even all these years later, kids and families are swimming away at that hotel. Our work was done correctly. I can look back now and know that I got it right.

So What?
I was 26 when I rededicated my life to Christ. I had a wife and three small children. I had a whole lot of learning and loving to do in order to be able to tear down the walls that I had built around my heart. Letting down our walls does, indeed, open us to many kinds of fear but it also opens us up to many kinds of love. On that same marriage weekend, I told my wife for the first time in seven years that I needed her. I had written her a love letter and I said those three, magic words. “I NEED YOU.” I will never forget my wife’s reaction. She cried. She really cried.  She didn’t just cry, she wailed. “You need me?” Let me tell you, the walls I had built that had insured my own safety from hurt came crashing down that day. I had learned Romans 12.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”  Romans 12:9-13 

Seed you Sunday!

Love really is spelled TIME.
HONOR ONE ANOTHER.
GREET ONE ANOTHER.

These ONE ANOTHER statements from the word are challenging.

Is your love sincere? Do you hate what is evil? Do you cling to what is good? Are you devoted to one another? Do you honor others above your holy trinity of ME, MYSELF and I?

Your “So What?” challenge is for you to spend some time figuring out what this HONOR ONE ANOTHER means to you in your life. I have some hard questions for you:

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

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

Seed of Faith – GREET ONE ANOTHER By Pastor Dave  

“Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” I Peter 5:14

Dear Faithful Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers:

Today we begin a new series based on the “One Another” passages found in the New Testament.  As I have been praying for you, and for so many others who are associated with The Seed, the Lord has put it on my heart for us to look at the passages that call us to become a community of believers.  One of the questions I wrestle with is, “How do we have community when there is so much dis-unity?” I believe that with the advancement of all of our electronic devices, our busyness of life, our divisive political world, our racial struggles, economic trials and religious differences, we have lost a sense of connection with “One Another.” This series is just part of the answer to more community in the church and in the world.

The New Testament writers wrestled with some of the same things we struggle with today.  In fact, many of the letters written in the New Testament were written to churches that were struggling with some of the exact things we struggle with. Over the next seven weeks, we will dive into the deep end of the pool, and learn what the early church struggled with and how they were encouraged to:

Greet One Another — Romans 16:1-16
Honor and be Devoted to One Another — Romans 12:9-21
Serve One Another — Galatians 5:13 & Ephesians 5:13-33
Live in Harmony with One Another — I Peter 1:3-17
Submit to One Another — Galatains 5:13

Teach, Admonish and Accept One Another — Romans 15:1-7; Colossians 3:12-17
Bear with One Another – Ephesians 4:1-10
Love One Another — John 13:1-34

An early “So what?” question is, “Have you ever thought about how we greet one another, honor one another, are devoted to one another, submit and serve one another, live in harmony with one another, teach, admonish, and accept one another, bear with one another and love one another?”
How good are we at all of these ONE ANOTHERS? How good are YOU?

I encourage you to pick up your Bible and read theses inspiring passages — Romans 16:1-16; I Peter 5:14; I Corinthians 16:19-24; II Corinthians 13:12-14; I Thessalonians 5:26-28.  Here we are encouraged to GREET ONE ANOTHER!

The Greek word for “greet” is “aspazomi” and in this context it is an imperative verb which is a command.  “Aspazomi” means “welcome kindly, receive one another, embrace,  be happy about,  bid welcome,  salute or  greet.”  I wonder what our world would be like if we really greeted one other. What would happen if we welcomed one another kindly? If we received one another with love? What would happen if we showed others just how happy we are to see them? That’s what our New Testament writers are talking about: Greet each other with God’s love. Salute one another—give one another a friendly gesture of respect, homage, and recognition. In today’s culture, it doesn’t have to be a hug or a holy kiss, but a hearty smile, a friendly fist pump, or high five can simply say, “I’m happy to see you today!”

In his beautiful TED talk, John Sutherland, an officer in London’s police department, explains a principle in Forensic Science called Locard’s Exchange Principle. Developed by Dr. Edmond Locard, known as the Sherlock Holmes of France, this principle has a simple premise: every contact leaves a trace. In other words, every criminal leaves a trace behind him. One forensic expert put it this way:  Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks … the paint he scratches, the blood … he deposits or collects … This is evidence that does not forget.  Sutherland explains how this principle applies not just to forensic science but to all human relationships:  Every time two people come into contact with one another, an exchange takes place. Whether between lifelong friends or passing strangers, we encourage, we ignore, we hold out a hand, or we withdraw it. We walk towards or we walk away. We bless or we curse… And every single contact leaves a trace. The way that we treat and regard one another matters. It really matters.[i]

The other day Jac and I went out to eat out a local restaurant.  As we went to find a seat, Jac noticed an older gentleman with a Veteran’s cap. He was in a wheelchair. She stopped and said, “Thank you for your service.” Without blinking, the older veteran saluted her from his wheelchair. “My pleasure, mam. Serving was my pleasure.”

SO WHAT?
My “so what” this week is for us to step out of our comfort zone. Greet one another—and not just here but at home, at work, at the grocery store, movies, wherever you go. I’m not recommending that you go hug everyone out there but…you can greet one another with a smile.  Just smile at someone and see what happens.  Take out your headphones and greet the person next to you at the grocery store. Call your checkout person, waitress or waiter by name.   Maybe even bless someone with a wave and a “have a great day!”

I’ve been doing ordained ministry for over 20 years. It’s a full-time job. Here’s the one thing that I’ve found that opens the door to a person’s day. “How’s your day going?” I ask it everywhere I go: the post office, the grocery clerk, the server at the restaurant, our trash truck drivers.  I encourage you to ask that question, too, as you go about your way until we meet again. I don’t ask, “How are you?” because that almost always results in a one-word answer of  “Fine” but when you ask someone, “How’s your day going?” You know what? They tell you. When they tell me they are having a bad day or a hard day, I tell them, “I’ll pray for you.”

Okay, repeat after me: Greet one another. (Greet one another.) How’s your day going? (How’s your day going?)

This is your assignment for the week. Be intentional. When you go out to the grocery, smile and greet someone. When you go to work, stop and ask your co-workers, “How’s your day going?” You can also ask how their week is going. Ask your family members, “Hey, I’ve been thinking of you today, how’s your day going so far?”  A text to your busy spouse just might make you a hero or shero. Every day try to greet someone–“Aspazomi”… “welcome kindly, receive one another, embrace,  be happy about,  bid welcome,  salute or  greet.”  “Hey, I’m happy to see you!”

When Jac and I were raising our family, we tried to have dinner at 6. In between all of the sports and school events–we tried to sit down as a family as often as we could. We asked the kids to pick one of these three words:  BAD. SAD. GLAD. They could share on any one of these words. Pretty soon they were sharing on all three. (This is how we started to find out if our son was getting a grade notice report in the coming mail! He was famous for them. “Mom, Dad, I try to see how low I can get my grades and then I see how high they can go!” He never missed the B honor roll and it was kind of nice to know that his grade report was on its way. We will never forget Brian and his friends all sitting at the dining room table working on their Math, English and Science! Jac would feed them and I would try to help. Great memories.)

I may not tell you often enough, but I love being called to be your pastor. With every handshake, or abrazo — holy hug or handshake, you have greeted me (welcomed me, received me, embraced me, saluted me and have been happy to see me) with God’s great love.  May we as a church community always greet one another with God’s great love!

Seed 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 3/23/19

Seed of Faith – TRANSFIGURATION TO TRANSFORMATION   By Pastor Dave  

“About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.” Luke 9:28-29

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers:

SPRING HAS SPRUNG! Happy Spring to all! We’ve all endured a long winter; it’s great to have the HOPE that Spring brings.

Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at a few, different “P” words: PRESENCE – PROMISES- POWER –  & POSSIBILITIES. Today we will look at our final “P” word:  PURPOSE!  I pray for you all each day. I always welcome any prayer concern. One of my daily prayers is that you will learn what your purpose is on this earth. I hope this SEED OF FAITH helps with that.

It’s time for an early “so what?”   How would our lives change if we lived in The Presence, The Promises, The Power, and The Possibilities of our amazing God? This is the question that will lead us to find our PURPOSE.
1.  “What is God’s purpose for my life?”
2.  “What is my purpose here on earth?”
3.  “Does my purpose change with the seasons of my life?”   

Seriously, stop for a moment and be quiet. Do you know your purpose for your life? Is your purpose the same as it’s always been or has it changed with the seasons of your life? Our Scripture for today is Luke 9:28-36. In this passage we read about the Transfiguration of Christ.  Another question to ask: How is my life transformed by the transfiguration?  (Have you ever noticed how many questions are asked in the Bible? Have you ever noticed how many questions Jesus is asked? Have you ever noticed how many questions Jesus asks? Get your notebook out because it’s a lot!)

Today we are in the Gospel of Luke with Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Think about this for a moment. Put yourself into this story. Peter, John, James and Jesus have gone to the mountain to pray.  Suddenly there are two more people with them: Moses, who has experience with God on a mountaintop, and Elijah, who also has some mountaintop experience. The three of these men are standing together, discussing Jesus’ departure. I love to put myself into the stories of the Bible. What were these three saying?  Maybe Moses and Elijah were preparing Jesus for the imminent, upcoming reality check of the valley below.  Perhaps Moses was reminding Jesus of what happened to him during his mountaintop experiences. Maybe he was saying, “All I know is that I had stone tablets from God and I returned to my people worship and a golden cow!”  Maybe Elijah was reminding Jesus of how God came through in a powerful way for him up on Mt. Carmel. “God slayed all those false prophets, Jesus, and then Jezebel threatened to kill me.” What do you think these three holy men were discussing? I often wonder.  Maybe they were preparing Jesus for the final days in Jerusalem: a betrayal, an arrest, a trial, a crucifixion, a resurrection.

In our story, we are told that as soon as Jesus, Peter, James and John traveled down the mountain, a large crowd descended upon them.  We are presented with the story of the father and his demon-possessed son. Last week, we looked at this passage and we learned that all things are possible for those who believe.

Jesus has just experienced a powerful, mountain-top experience (have you been there?) only to come crashing back into the valley of real life.  I think our Gospel-writing friend, Dr. Luke, is trying to tell us a secret through his story:  GET READY TO GET SMASHED, CRASHED, and BASHED after your exhilarating GOD MOMENT on the MOUNTAIN TOP!

I have been on many spiritual retreats.  I have had powerful God moments of mountain highs. It seems they all have one thing in common: I usually come crashing back down into the valley of the reality. It’s plenty of fun to spend time on the mountaintop. We have members who allow my wife and I to spend time in their mountain cabin any time we want. It’s exhilarating to spend a week up in the fresh air.  It’s amazing to see the 100′ tall pine trees sway in the breeze. Each time we go, I marvel at God’s creation and I am refueled and refilled with all of the “P’s” we’ve been studying: PRESENCE – PROMISES- POWER –  & POSSIBILITIES.  I come down from our weekends, and our spiritual retreats, and I am reminded over and over: “You may have been changed this weekend, Dave, but remember:  the world has not.”  Toby Mac sent out a post this week that read,  “The God on the mountain is still the God in the valley.”  

In our reading from Luke, we hear that Jesus’ face was changed, his clothes became white like lightning. Luke says Jesus was transformed. Mark and Matthew use a different verb to describe the scene.  They both wrote that Jesus was transfigured right before Peter, James and John.  The Greek word they used for transfigured” or “changed” is “metamorphoo.”  This is the exact word from where we get the word “metamorphosis.”  What our Gospel writers are trying to convey to us is that as Jesus was praying on that mountaintop his face was changed, transfigured and transformed right in front of Peter, James and John’s very eyes. Metamorphoo. Just like when the caterpillar crawls into the crysalis and at some point–a total reconfiguration of that caterpillar is configured into a butterfly? Yes.  Exactly like that. Jesus was metamorphoo-ed. Transfigured.

So What?
In 2000 I met for lunch with a man I had spent a weekend with through Marriage Encounter. My wife and I were on team as a presenting clergy couple. The man and his wife were blessed by the marriage encounter experience. After the weekend, he invited me to lunch because he had a question he wanted to ask me. I arrived late from a memorial service.  When we settled in to our lunch, the man asked me the question he had been pondering: What is it that brings me my greatest joy in ministry?  I looked at him and, without missing a beat, I told him that my greatest joy is seeing someone’s life transformed by the love of Christ. The man smiled at me and said that he has met with many pastors and has asked them the same question. Why did they go into full-time ministry?  He told me he had pastors who just looked at him and say, “I don’t know. I haven’t ever stopped to think what give me my greatest joy.”  Some of the pastors told him that studying, reading, preaching, and teaching gave them their greatest joy.  My friend responded that I was the only pastor who had answered so quickly and so confidently about my passion and joy.  (My friend is now almost 85. He’s been asking questions about life for many years. My friend is also an orthopedic surgeon.)  I still to this day will give you the same answer: Transformation!

TRANSFORMATION! I have news for you. Jesus isn’t the only person who was changed that day on the mountain top. I’m pretty sure Peter, James and John were METAMORPHOOED, too. I’m pretty sure that their mountaintop experience with Jesus is what changed them and gave them the courage to face the battles in the valley below.  I’m also sure that our own personal encounters with God have METAMORPHOOED us, too.

Our purpose in life, no matter what season we are in, is for us to allow the love and grace of Jesus Christ to transform us.

Transformation. Like the caterpillar crawling into the chrysalis…there is that moment that no one can pinpoint to…when that caterpillar is TRANSFORMED…metamorphooed….transfigured…into a brand new creation…a butterfly.  This is our purpose: to let the grace of Christ change us into the person of God that we’ve been called to become.

The 5 P’s:
Presence —
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Promises — “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
Power — “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength ….” Ephesians 1:18-19
Possibilities — “Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered.  “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”   “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:22-24
Purpose — “As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, (transfigured -transformed) and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.” A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Luke 9:29, 35

I leave you today with a few questions that only you can answer. What is it that gives your life purpose? Is it time for you to go away to a mountaintop? (Your mountaintops can be anywhere–on a retreat, at the beach, at church.) Maybe it’s just time for you to take a day and be alone with God. Drive out to that park, or church, or lake. Bring your bible. Pray. What is it that I call my life’s purpose? What do these 5 “P’s” have to do with my life? Do I feel God’s presence within me? Do I trust in God’s promises? Do I acknowledge that God has all the power I need for my life? Am I open to all of the possibilities God has for me? Is my purpose changing? Am I entering a new season?

Living the Christian life is the most exciting thing I know.  Every day I pray for you. I pray that God, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, and with the reality of the resurrected Christ, will guide you to live the most purposeful life you dream of.

Seed you Sunday!
God loves you with an everlasting love and outrageous grace 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 3-15-19

Seed of Faith – Unlimited Possibilities   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”   Mark 9:21-24

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed Sowers:
Happy St. Patrick’s weekend to you and may your life be all rainbows and pots of gold! In all seriousness, my prayer is that you are blessed and know how deep the Father’s love is for you.

Last week, I asked if you could take a moment and read through Mark 9:1-29. This is the story of the transfiguration of Jesus and of His journey from the mountaintop back into the valley.  Mountaintops are great but it is the in valleys that many of us live and learn and grow.

As I was working on my Seed of Faith for this week, I was stopped by verses 23-24 in Mark chapter 9! Here we encounter the father of the demon-possessed boy. The father says to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Put yourself in this story. You’ve agonized and wrestled with your son’s illness for years.  That’s how this father is coming to Jesus and, somehow, he’s heard about Jesus and about his ministry.  He’s heard about Jesus healing the sick, curing the lepers, giving sight to the blind and raising the dead.  “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” What a simple prayer! “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on me and help me.”

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

And that has me wondering how Jesus really said, “If you can?”  Was it said sarcastically, defensively, disbelievingly, sadly, causally or cautiously?   Jesus’ reply is really two statements.  The first statement is a question.  I love how Jesus has a habit of answering a question with a question.  The father says, “If you can do anything…?” And Jesus answers him with a question, “If you can?” Can you see the father facing Jesus?The second statement from the boy’s dad is now a plea for Jesus to have pity on them and to help them.  I love Jesus’ reply. “It’s not a question of whether I can do it, but will you believe, for everything is possible for him who believes.”
Now comes one of the greatest responses in all of Scripture. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

So What?
When you hear the word possible what comes to mind?   The secular meaning of possible means “being within the limits of capacity or having potential.” However, the Greek word for “possible” is “dunatos” which means “strong, mighty, powerful, able.” This word is very close to the word we looked at last week;  “dunamis” meaning power, as in dynamite. This word “dunatos” is used many times in the Bible and Jesus used it often to describe faith.

When the helpless father responded to Jesus’ question, he responded with two present-active verbs.  The first verb he used was “I do believe — pisteuo.” In essence, the father was saying, “I will continually, I will not stop, I will never stop putting my trust in you, relying on you, confidently leaning on and believing in You, Jesus.”  The other verb the father used was “help — boetheo” which means “never stop coming to my aid or giving me help or assistance.” “Jesus, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

What a simple prayer!  What a simple reply!  What a simple way to live your life!  Constantly, continually, repeatedly and persistently leaning on, relying on, trusting in and believing on and in God…and then asking God to never stop coming to your aid, to never stop giving you help, to never stop giving you assistance.  A simple prayer that I’m sure Jesus love, “Help me overcome my unbelief.”

So what do you believe about God?  So what do you believe about Jesus? So what do you believe about the Holy Spirit? So what do you believe about faith, grace, love, mercy, justice, healing, miracles, or the resurrection? So what do you believe?  Do you believe Jesus is both human and divine?  Do you believe miracles still  happen today?  Do you believe there a devil?  Do you believe there is life after death?  Is everything possible to those who believe?

Here’s a word I want you to see in a new way: IMPOSSIBLE. When you come down from the mountaintop into the valley of the IMPOSSIBLE…do your own dissecting of this word. Make it two words: I’m POSSIBLE. Jesus came down from that mountain of transfiguration. He’s just had a glory moment, a “come to Jesus” experience! And down, down, down the mountain they go; back into the valley of reality and there Jesus meets a desperate father whose son has been demon-possessed since childhood. From Moses, Elijah and a voice from heaven, Jesus has now returned to the valley of reality, and a very sick child and a very sad dad. Focus on these words of Christ, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  The father replied, “I believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” Have you ever felt that way? “I do kind of, sort of believe…but there’s also a part of me that thinks there’s no way. Help me, Jesus.  Help me believe.”  I’m pretty convinced it’s one of God’s favorite prayers, “HELP ME” or just a simple, “HELP” will do.

Just yesterday, we received a text from a friend of ours. She’s a recent widow. She texted my wife and asked us to pray that she would be able to get onto a flight that she was on “stand by.” She was number 9 on the list. Pretty doubtful that she’d get on that flight, right? Well, she was going to meet her grandchildren, ages, 4 and 7, in Seattle.  She really needed to be on that flight. We prayed. Jac wrote her friend, “I believe God is going to open the doors for you.” A few hours later, her friend wrote to say that she still wasn’t on the plane and it was taking off in two hours. Jac texted back, “God told me to sit in your chair and watch Him work. You’re getting on that flight.” A few hours later, we received this text, “I just boarded the plane! God is so good!”

In 2012, Jac and I rented a house. For the next 5 years, we were being exposed to lead poisoning. Jac had 6 times the lethal limit of lead (scoring a 12) and I had 5 times (scoring a 10) the lethal limit. During the past two years, we’ve chelated two times. Jac just finished her third chelation set and I have just started  my third. “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on us. Get rid of the lead.” Slowly, and surely, the lead levels in our bodies are being reduced. Each chelation cycle we go down a few numbers. Jac is down to 8 and I’m down to 7. We have faith …here is our prayer, “We will continually, we will not stop, we will never stop putting our trust in you, we will never stop relying on you, we will confidently lean on You and because we believe in You, Jesus, we know you will never stop coming to our aid or giving us help or assistance.” During the past 20 years of ordained ministry, I’ve made this conclusion: sometimes we are healed in a heartbeat, sometimes we are healed as we walk through the valley, and sometimes we are healed in heaven.

In 2008, Jac went away to a Benedictine monastery for her certificate in Spiritual Direction. While there, the monks taught her a chant. O GOD, COME TO OUR ASSISTANCE. O LORD, MAKE HASTE TO HELP US.  

What about you? Do you believe? Do you need a little help with your unbelief? Give yourself some grace. Jesus does.

Jesus, we do believe; help our unbelief. Help us to put our full trust in you. We will never stop praying. We will never stop putting our trust in you. Come to our assistance, and make haste to help us through this valley. Amen.”

Seed you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.thessedchristianfellowship.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 3/2/2019

Seed of Faith – Incomparable Power   By Pastor Dave  

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”  Ephesians 1:18-20

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed Sowers!

What a great verse from the book of Ephesians! Paul was in prison–and yet, here he is writing GOOD NEWS to us all. The same POWER that raised Christ from the dead…lives in you and me.  As my Spiritual Director, Jim Tilley, always says, “That’s so good I’m going to have to take a Tylenol and lay down!” Far beyond our finite thinking is this very thought but don’t let that stop you from thinking long on this good news.

I hope and pray you are doing well this week!  I suggest to you, once again, that you take a moment to read Paul’s prayer from his prison cell to the Ephesian Church.

What do you know about God’s power? What do you believe about God’s power? Paul uses a specific word to describe God’s power. Paul uses what I call “A PAUL,” he throws two Greek words together and makes up a new meaning:  “huper,” which means “over,” and “ballo,” which means “to throw.”  “Huperballo” is been translated with our English words: “incomparable, exceedingly, immeasurable, to go beyond, to excel, to throw beyond, and to surpass.”  This is close to the same word that Paul uses to try to explain the peace of God that surpasses all understanding found in Philippians 4:7! The idea is that God’s power that raised Christ from the dead also lives in us and that power is something that is incomparable, exceedingly more, immeasurable, way beyond, excelling what we know, thrown way beyond our finite minds, and power that surpasses our comprehension.  Yes. Think on that.

What is this incomparable power of God? 

Maybe Paul was thinking of all the stories he had heard as a boy in Sabbath school.  Stories from the Old Testament scrolls that spoke about God’s power:

·         The power of God to save Noah and his family through building an ark before the flood and enduring the season ON the ark IN the flood…and then rebuilding afterwards!

·         The power of Joseph to interpret dreams for Pharaoh and to survive being sold by his own brothers!

·         The power of God in Moses and Aaron and the plagues to Pharaoh, the parting of the Red Sea and the power of God in the deliverance of the Israelite’s into the Promised land after 40 years of wandering the wilderness—all of them.

·         The power of God given to a little shepherd boy by the name of David when he faced a giant by the name of Goliath–with five smooth stones and a slingshot.

·         The power of God when Daniel was trapped in a lion’s den!

·         The power of God with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in a fiery furnace!

·         The power of God as God brought Jonah out of a belly of whale and sent him to Nineveh to preach the Good News of repentance!

·         The power of God when the prophet Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel!

·         The power of God when he strengthened Esther as she was called to speak to King Xerxes!

·         The power of in Ruth, a Moabite foreigner, to be named in the line of the King of Kings. (Matthew 1)

Paul used four different words for “power” when he tried to describe this incomparable power.  He used the Greek word “δύναμις [dunamis /doo·nam·is/]” from which we get the words “dynamo” or “dynamite.”  This “dunamis” power is “ἐνέργεια [energeia /en·erg·i·ah/]” the working, the effectual working, of the “κράτος [kratos /krat·os/]” might and strength of God. The last word that Paul used in this prayer is the Greek word “ἰσχύς [ischus /is·khoos/]” which means strength, ability, might and power.  Paul tried his hardest to describe the amazing power of GOD that is available to anyone who believes in Christ.

So What?
This past week I was working on different things for the leadership teams of our church,The Seed Christian Fellowship.  I came across some interesting facts about seeds. Do you know that turnip seeds, under good conditions, increase their weight 15 times a minute, and in rich soil turnip seeds increase their weight 15,000 times a day?  The statistics reported that there is no force more powerful than a growing squash. An 18-day old squash is harnessed in such a way that in its growing process it can lift 50 pounds on a lever—and 19 more days later it  can lift 5,000 pounds. Do you know that in a medium-sized mustard plant there are 85 pods?   The average number of seeds in each pod is eight. Since two crops in a given year mature, a gardener figured that it is possible in the interim between February and mid-October to produce a yield of 462,000 seeds–all from one original plant. Turnips and squash aren’t alone, either.  Within every seed lies “incomparably great power!” 

Take a look at the verse picked to be the foundational verse for The Seed Christian Fellowship: “You have been born again not of perishable seed but imperishable through the living, enduring word of God.” (I Peter:23)   Friends, this is what Paul is talking about.  The same incomparably great power that lies within every earthly seed also lies within the living, enduring WORD OF GOD. Stop! Seriously, stop and think about this! The word of God is like an imperishable seed; it is living and enduring.

“So what” is the power that you choose to live with?  What kind of power lives within each one of us?  Do we live in the power of our own wisdom?  Do we live in the power of our own strength?  Do we live in the power of our own resources? Do we live in the power of our own choices?  Do we live in the power of our own bitterness and brokenness?  Do we live in the power of our fears and frustrations?  Or…are we growing more and more each day in the incomparably great power of the living, enduring word of GOD? The Word of God is right here before you and it is a seed that is promised to produce more power within you than you can ask or imagine.

Let’s go back to our scripture and the Apostle Paul. The early church in Ephesus was facing trials and persecution.  They lived in fear! They lived in a city where the goddess Artemis was worshiped and glorified.  The temple to Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the World at the time of Paul’s writing.  Whose power would these early believers turn to? Would they turn to the power of Artemis or would they turn to the power of the Holy Spirit of God?

Whose power will you turn to? It’s the same old question all of these thousands of years later? It may not be Artemis today…but what power will we turn to?

One New Year’s Day, in the Tournament of Roses Parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas to the float’s engine. Here’s the funny thing: this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With all of its vast oil resources, this tiny little float in the Rose parade was out of gas.[i]

I believe that as Christians we have this vast reservoir that is full, overflowing, going beyond what we can ask or imagine, simply waiting for us to tap into. We have this incomparably great power at our fingertips, yet we often run out of gas.

There was a young pastor who went to pray for someone in the hospital. He prayed several scriptures over his parishioner. Guess what? The person was healed! God’s miracle-working power of healing was found in the living, enduring word of God.  Think about John D. Rockefeller who sat at home worrying about all his wealth. He made himself sick with worry—so sick that eating soda crackers and milk was all he ate. How unfortunate it is when we sit on a stockpile of power and never use it for the power of good. I have a friend whose uncle lived like a pauper. He didn’t have gas, or electricity, or running water in his shed of a home.  After he died, they found out he was a millionaire.

If your life feels like it is being flooded and you don’t know if your boat will float, do me a favor and trust that the incomparably great power that helped Noah float his boat will help float yours.  If you feel like you are in a lion’s den of angry lions, be like Daniel, and trust that the incomparably great power that saved him will also save you.  If you feel like you have been tossed overboard and have been swallowed by a whale, trust that the same incomparably great power that rescued Jonah will also rescue you.  David defeated a GIANT with 5 smooth stoned. Is your life out of control? Are you overwhelmed with heartaches, hurts, fears, worries, frustration, pain or confusion?  Get this into your head and heart: the same incomparably great power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead and seated Him in Heaven–is also given to you! This power of God lives inside of you because you believe in Jesus Christ. I am pretty sure that is just about the best news ever.

The power lies within the seed; just ask any watermelon, turnip, squash or ear of corn!

Do you own a Bible?  DUNAMIS. DYNAMITE. You know what?  Dynamite has no power at all until it’s set on fire. Open that Bible. Don’t know where to start? Start in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Read about the power that Jesus has. That same power lives in you…if you believe.

Let us pray the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesian — 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:16-23 

I have to go now and do what I call, “Tilley Time!” Seriously, promise me that you will stop and think about the awesome and amazing power of God. Seeds grow but first they must be planted.

Seed 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 2/15/19

Seed of Faith – Remembering Hope  By Pastor Dave  

Isaiah 41:10 “… do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

Dear Friends:
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY OF LOVE to YOU! I have great news for you: Our God is with us–whether you have a huge family or whether your family is small. Jesus has promised to be with us ALWAYS–to the very end of the age!

I hope and pray you are well and are walking in faith with the Lord.  Last week’s Seed of Faith reflected upon the fact that God is with us.  Those four words in the middle of the sentence stopped me in my thoughts: I am with you.”  As I was praying about those four, little words, the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart to look in the Scriptures for those four, little words: “I am with you.”  During my quick reference, I found 19 times where these words are spoken. Here are a few of these powerful passages.

Genesis 26:24 “And that very night the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham; do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you and make your offspring numerous for my servant Abraham’s sake.’”   God speaks these words to Isaac to fill him with hope and courage!

Genesis 28:15 “Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” God speaks these words to Jacob to encourage him wherever he may go!

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” Joshua hears these powerful words from Moses as Moses is passing the baton of leadership to him!

Joshua 1:9 “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua gives these words to the people of Israel as they prepare to enter into the Promised land!

Isaiah 41:10 “… do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” God uses the prophet Isaiah to deliver a message of hope to the people of Israel who have been taken into captivity!

Isaiah 43:5 “Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.” The prophet Isaiah speaks these words of promise to fill the hearts of those held in darkness and despair!

Jeremiah 1:8 “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.”  (see the following verses: 1:19; 15:20; 30:11; 42:11; 46:28) — The prophet Jeremiah heard these four, little words often; his message was not accepted. He was rejected, thrown in a well and left for dead.  He was sent into slavery in Egypt and more. Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet,” yet he was filled with hope, courage, and the strength to have the endurance needed to finish the task he was called to do! (I am sure Paul felt a strong kinship with Jeremiah.)

Haggai 1:13; 2:4 “Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, saying, I am with you,’ says the Lord.” (1:13) Haggai gives these words to the people to strengthen them and to encourage them to continue to rebuild the temple!

Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” One of the most famous readings of these four, little words comes from our Risen and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as he prepared to ascend into heaven to be with His Father!  The promise Jesus leaves with His followers?  I am with you!

As I was reading over these passages and reflecting on these four, little words, my heart was strangely warmed.  I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit speak to me and say, “Dave, why are you so afraid?  I am with you, always, even to the end of the age.”  As I studied the original Greek, I was overwhelmed. The Greek words are “ego eimi meta sou…”  and here is how that breaks down:

Ego eimi— is an EMPHATIC “I…I AM.” It’s like God is saying something twice, He’s doubling up, compounding the emphasis of the personal pronoun… “I…myself…no one else — it’s me…I…I AM…” “Do you hear me loud and clear? I…GOD..I…myself…am with you.”

Meta sou—means with you, among you, after you, accompany you, amid you, before you, behind you, on you, in you. In essence, what God is saying, and what Christ is promising us, is that He…God..is with us, in us, on us, around us, among us, after us, before us, amid us and He will accompany us—always, to the end of the age.  Wow. The promise isn’t just for the day you read it.  The promise isn’t for the few days you remember this SEED OF FAITH.  This promise is until the end of the age. Forever. And ever. Amen.

So What?
Where are you in your relationship with God?  Are you thinking God has forgotten you?  Are financial pressures overwhelming you?  Has that broken relationship made you think you are too broken?  Has someone you love passed away?  Have you lost your job?  Perhaps your health has you worried, or maybe it’s the health of someone you love.  Maybe a child has you worrying yourself sick.  The “so what” for us today is for you to put your faith right now in these four, little words:  ego eimi meta sou.  These four, little words are found 19 times throughout the Holy Scripture.  The are the same words that people like Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Haggai and the disciples heard!  Stop right now and put your name in front of these four, little words: “__________________, this is me…God…I AM…GOD MYSELF…ME…GOD…I am with you…I am in you…I am among you…I am beside you…I am before you…I am behind you…I am above you…I am under you…I am all around you and I will accompany you…ALWAYS…forever and ever….even to the end of the age.”

No matter what you’ve done, no matter where you’ve gone–we have at least 19 promises in Scripture that GOD IS WITH US…until the very end.

Say it with me, “Be sure of this, (your full name,) I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS…even to the end of the age.”

What a great promise for us to think about on Valentine’s Day. There is no other love like our God’s love. You are not alone. No matter who you are, no matter where you’ve been, no matter how far gone you think you are–God is WITH you, in you, around you, above you, beside you, among you, before you, behind you, above you, and under you. Count on it; not just for today but forever–til the very end.

Seed you Sunday!

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

P.S. I hope you know that when you receive this email, you can right click onto the very top and then click on “download picture”–I always try to include some thought-provoking pictures.  I love the top picture of the beach.I also love the ones on the bottom. Friends, you are loved–just because YOU are GOD’S very own creation.

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 2/9/19

Seed of Faith – God Is With You By Pastor Dave  

“Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:7-8

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed-Sowers:
It feels really good to be back HOME. I’m glad to back behind my computer keys. I’m excited to preach after 3 weeks off! I’m studying and praying and I’m back in the saddle. It’s great to go on vacation but it’s also great to return HOME. In a very real way, you are my family! Our trip away showed me yet again the deep and lasting bond that we carry because we are believers. Christ is the foundational building block for us and I value our community in and through Christ. We are, indeed, brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever read the story when Moses summoned Joshua to anoint him as the new leader of the Israelites? After 40 years of leading his people in and through the desert, Moses was now ready to turn over the reigns to a man who had more than proven his trustworthiness, Joshua. I encourage you to go make some time and read Deuteronomy 31:1-8.  Let’s enter into this story:  The people of Israel had wandered in the wilderness and had witnessed miracle after miracle for forty years.  It’s time to cross the Jordan River! Moses is ready to turn over his leadership to Joshua.  Today we are going to focus on verses seven and eight.

Be strong and courageous!  These are very powerful words!  The very first thing that God tells the people is for them to be strong and courageous; and then issues these very same words to Joshua personally!

It is one thing to hear these words for someone else. (People of the Seed: be strong and courageous!)  But when these words are given to you personally, doesn’t it make a difference? (Jim, be strong and courageous! Sharon, be strong and courageous! Al, be strong and courageous! Ruth, be strong and courageous! Mike be strong and courageous! Ryan, be strong and courageous! Debby, be strong and courageous! Brenda, be strong and courageous! Norm, be strong and courageous! Diego, be strong and courageous! Yvonne, be strong and courageous! Sue, be strong and courageous! Clyde, be strong and courageous! Lourdes, be strong and courageous! Please pause right now and put your name in the blank ” __________________, be strong and courageous!”) It makes a BIG difference to hear YOUR NAME being commanded to be strong and courageous!

Be strong and courageous! I have been thinking a lot about being courageous. What does that look like? Courage comes in many ways. I think of little toddlers taking their lumps while learning to walk; I think of senior citizens living alone; paraplegics in wheelchairs. I think of astronauts walking on the moon; I think of those who are living with family tragedies; I think of single parents coping with children and jobs; I think of students who are facing challenges of going to school; I think of my unemployed friends who are desperately seeking work. I think of people living in recovery. I think of all of the people who report for chemotherapy and physical therapy each day.  I think of our police, fire, and medical personnel. I think of our soldiers, our judges, and even our government officials. Courage comes in many forms. But there is one form of courage that stands alone: the form of Jesus struggling uphill to Calvary–carrying a wood cross on his beaten and bleeding back; a man who dies for my sins. That, my friends, is a courage that stands apart.

I want to break down verse eight:The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Have you ever thought about this? That God is with you; that God promises to never leave nor forsake you?  I love the first part of this verse: “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you.” What a comfort. No matter what we are facing today, the Lord has gone before you. Have you ever felt His presence? Have you ever sensed that the Lord is with you?  Hear the verse in this translation: “I–myself —no one else — it’s me—the Lord–I personally go before you!”  Think about this for a few seconds. God Himself has promised to go with you, and not only with you, but before you. The One who spoke the universe into creation, yes, that GOD–promises to go before us, to go with us, and to never, ever leave nor forsake us.  So WHAT? The answer is found in the next sentence: Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. No matter what you are facing, put God into the situation. “God, please be with me. Please go before me. Please don’t leave me.  God, please don’t forsake me. God, help be to be strong and courageous. Help me not to be afraid and help me not to be discouraged.” (Can I get an AMEN on that?)

On our way home from Florida, we stopped to attend our nephew’s wedding in Houston. I was asked to do a part of the wedding.  At the rehearsal dinner, Jac and I sat with Deacon Don and his wife. It was a Catholic wedding and Deacon Don was giving the message.  At the rehearsal dinner, I was doing some of the “get to know you questions” I carry in my mind. I asked Sherry what she did for a living. Sherry mentioned that she was a Spiritual Director. I said, “My wife is too!” As we talked back and forth, I found out that Sherry had gone to the same Benedictine monastery that my wife had attended in Pecos, New Mexico. Immediately, the four of us became best friends and had lots to talk about.  Jac and Sherry spent a few hours sharing stories of their time at the monastery, and talked about many of the people that they knew in common. When Sherry heard about our lead poisoning, she brought us into a separate room and brought along with her, her husband and the grandmother of the bride. They wanted to pray for us. Sherry then anointed us with Holy Water. The Holy Water had been given to her from Father Sam from the monastery in Pecos. Sherry and Jac found more common ground and related some of the hair-raising stories they had heard from Father Sam. Father Sam was over 85 years old when Jac went to the monastery in 2008.  You need to know that Father Sam was the head exorcist for the Southwest portion of the United States for the Catholic Church. Father Sam was a legend and an icon at this monastery! The two women shared back and forth about how Father Sam wore a cross around his neck that held a sliver of the cross of Christ inside of it. Father Sam would hold sessions where he taught the group about Spiritual Direction. He would take out that sliver from under the glass dome of his cross and tell the attendees (who were there for over a month) that spiritual direction is no walk in the park. In a future SEED OF FAITH, I will share about the Blessed Salt that Father Sam gave to Jac. But for today, let’s just say that when Sherry and Deacon Don anointed us with that holy water, we knew that Christ was present with us. We knew that God had gone before us and was with us.

Are you following this story? We traveled 5,600 miles on this trip. Around the 4,500 mile marker of the trip,  we meet a couple at a wedding in Houston. They are unknown to us but as we share our lives, GOD appeared and was with us. God had gone before us all.  At the end of the prayer time, Jac asked Sherry and Don if  God ever gives them “a word from the Holy Spirit” regarding us–don’t hold back, tell us! The next day we did the wedding and went to dinner at a really fancy ranch outside of Sugarland. Sherry and Don came over and got us up from the table with our grandson and made us dance in the Grand March. At the end of the wedding, Sherry came up to me in a hurry and sat down.  She grabbed my hand and held it in hers.  She said, “I DO have a word from the Lord for you.” She looked me in the eyes and said, “God will never leave you, Dave. He will never forsake you. Many in your life have but God wants you to know for 100% certainty that He will never leave you nor will God ever forsake you.”  She told Jac, “God’s word for you, ‘Pull up a chair and watch me work!'”

So What?
Have you been feeling like God has forgotten you?  Are the pressures of life overwhelming you?  Have you experienced a broken relationship?  Has someone you love passed away?  Have you lost your job?  Perhaps your health has you worried or maybe it’s the health of someone you love.  Maybe a child has you worrying yourself sick. Guess what? I HAVE A WORD FOR YOU! Every week I ask the Lord for your heart, I ask for the message that you need to hear. Today the word I have for you is the very same word that Spiritual Director from Sugarland, Texas, gave to us:    “God will never leave you. He will never forsake you. Many in your life have but God wants you to know for 100% certainty that GOD HIMSELF will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I’m willing to pull up a chair and watch God go before us. I’m willing to pull up a chair and help us to become strong and courageous.  ARE YOU?!!!

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

 

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 2/2/2019

Seed of Faith – One Thing   By Pastor Dave  

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

Dear Faithful Friends!

It has been a month since I last sat down to write. After Christmas, Jac and I spent three weeks driving from Rancho Cucamonga, California to The Villages, Florida. Jac cannot fly due to her heavy metals poisoning and it had been 18 months since her last trip to visit her aging parents who are 87 and 85. Jac talks with them on the phone several times a week but wanted to see for herself that her parents are doing okay.  We had a nephew getting married in Houston on January 19th–so we made plans to drive to Florida after Christmas and to make the wedding on our way back home. Jac was ending her 70 days of her third chelation; she was really sick.  Any plans I had for spending relaxing hours reading and writing simply vanished as caring for my wife took center stage. We made the trip and spent time with family; from December 20 through January 20, we visited with 40 family members! We were able to see our parents, all three of our children, their spouses, and all 12 of our grandchildren! We were so very blessed. Jac’s curiousity regarding her parents was eased–any health care professional would give them a passing grade for living on their own.  Jac’s heart was satisfied and we had a great time visiting our family. Now that we’re safely home, it’s time for me to get back to my normal routine. I hope you enjoy 2019’s first SEED OF FAITH!

Each New Year at The Seed we begin with a reflection and a challenge. What is the “ONE WORD” of intention that God is giving you to grow into, or work on, this year?  My word is “Vision”. Jac’s word is “BRAVE.” What is the one word of intention that will help to change your life for good this year? (You can even google “words of intention”–there are many sites to peruse!)

Each New Year we also offer our members to draw a new name to grow into and to allow the Holy Spirit to shape them.  The first Sunday of the year was Epiphany. Where the wise men found the infant Jesus as they followed the mysterious star. The next week in the church calendar is the “Baptism of Jesus”. This is when John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the Jordan and the voice of the Father is heard saying, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.” I love to have baskets of names up front and have the people come forward to draw a new name for them to work on during 2019. My new name is “Fearless Warrior”! (If you would like a new name drawn from our basket — please let me know.) I usually have to big vases of water up by the names, symbolizing the baptism of Jesus and also that when we are baptized, we are buried with Christ in our sin and risen from the dead with Christ. This year I came across a great video online of “The Domino Effect”. This year I had baskets of dominoes by the baskets of names.   I had our congregation watch the video on the “Domino Effect.”  Here is a link to YouTube, if you would like to view it — https://youtu.be/5JCm5FY-dEY. It’s quite impressive. One little domino can create quite a mighty change for good. The dominoes the people drew are to remind them of how their life can positively affect another’s. Make that call, visit that person in the hospital. Send that card. Make that meal. We never know how our obedience to God will affect someone’s life. Let’s put THE DOMINO EFFECT into our lives in 2019.

So What?  What will be the domino effect of your life this year?  What domino effect will you have on others?  What domino effect will you have on this world this year?    A second “so what” is: What is the “ONE WORD” that God has given you to work on this year?  What is the “ONE THING” that you are looking for this year?

Do you know that there are several passages in the Bible with the words “ONE THING?”

What is the “One Thing” that you have heard from the Lord?
King David wrote many of the Psalms.  Psalm 62 is a song of trust in God alone.  Towards the end of the Psalm, verse 11 and 12, David finally affirms that he can rest peacefully since he has heard that all the power belongs to God and that the steadfast love of the Lord lasts forever.  One thing God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.” Psalm 62:11-12

What is the “One Thing” that you are asking of the Lord?
David, the shepherd boy who wrote Psalm 23, wrote in Psalm 27 the “one thing” that he asked for was to live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 27:4-5 — One thing I asked of the Lord this is what I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”  The one thing the shepherd boy asked of the Lord was to live in the house of the Lord forever!  One thing King David was going to seek after — was to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord!

What is the “One Thing” that you need?
In the Gospel of Luke, we are told of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus comes to visit and Martha is busy, busy, busy — working, cleaning, preparing, planning, cooking and setting up for the occasion; so much so that she misses the most important one thing!  Listen to the closing of this story — Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; but there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha missed the “one thing!”  Her intentions were good but she ended up missing the forest for the trees. It is my prayer that we learn from Martha and do not miss the “one thing”!

What is the “One Thing” that you are doing?
Paul was sitting in a prison in Rome waiting for his own death by execution. He writes a letter to the church in Philippi called Philippians.  In chapter three he writes — I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;  but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved,  I do not consider that I have made it my own;  but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:10-14)

Can you picture the scene?  Paul is sitting in prison saying — I want to know Christ!  I want to know the power of His resurrection!  I want to have a death like His — so I can have a life like His!  I haven’t made it! I haven’t reached the goal — but the “one thing” — the “one thing” that I will do is forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead!   Paul was at the end of his life, and Paul understood that knowing Christ, that living in the power of the resurrection was the ONE THING that would bring him life.

What is the “One Thing” you lack?
The story of the rich man in Mark 10 — is a powerful story of the call to follow Christ.  I believe Christ is calling us to follow him and to not be so concerned with what we do — but with what God can do through us!  As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’  He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’” Luke 10:17-27

Here’s your final “So What?” What is the “One Thing” God is asking of you today?

What is the “One Word” that God is giving you this year? 

What is the “One Thing” that you will do that will change your life and the lives of those around you?  Will you be a domino that changes the world for good?

In case  you don’t know it, JESUS IS THE ONE THING! I’m praying that you will open your heart wide to Christ this year. I’m praying that you will seek to read the living words of life found in the Scriptures. Happy 2019! May this be your best year ever.

Seed You Sunday! For our good friends in Lusaka, Zambia — Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani—God loves you and so do I” Mulungu aku daliseni — God bless you    God loves you with an unfailing love and so do I, Pastor Dave www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Dear Faithful Friends!

It has been a month since I last sat down to write. After Christmas, Jac and I spent three weeks driving from Rancho Cucamonga, California to The Villages, Florida. Jac cannot fly due to her heavy metals poisoning and it had been 18 months since her last trip to visit her aging parents who are 87 and 85. Jac talks with them on the phone several times a week but wanted to see for herself that her parents are doing okay.  We had a nephew getting married in Houston on January 19th–so we made plans to drive to Florida after Christmas and to make the wedding on our way back home. Jac was ending her 70 days of her third chelation; she was really sick.  Any plans I had for spending relaxing hours reading and writing simply vanished as caring for my wife took center stage. We made the trip and spent time with family; from December 20 through January 20, we visited with 40 family members! We were able to see our parents, all three of our children, their spouses, and all 12 of our grandchildren! We were so very blessed. Jac’s curiousity regarding her parents was eased–any health care professional would give them a passing grade for living on their own.  Jac’s heart was satisfied and we had a great time visiting our family. Now that we’re safely home, it’s time for me to get back to my normal routine. I hope you enjoy 2019’s first SEED OF FAITH!

Each New Year at The Seed we begin with a reflection and a challenge. What is the “ONE WORD” of intention that God is giving you to grow into, or work on, this year?  My word is “Vision”. Jac’s word is “BRAVE.” What is the one word of intention that will help to change your life for good this year? (You can even google “words of intention”–there are many sites to peruse!)

Each New Year we also offer our members to draw a new name to grow into and to allow the Holy Spirit to shape them.  The first Sunday of the year was Epiphany. Where the wise men found the infant Jesus as they followed the mysterious star. The next week in the church calendar is the “Baptism of Jesus”. This is when John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the Jordan and the voice of the Father is heard saying, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.” I love to have baskets of names up front and have the people come forward to draw a new name for them to work on during 2019. My new name is “Fearless Warrior”! (If you would like a new name drawn from our basket — please let me know.) I usually have to big vases of water up by the names, symbolizing the baptism of Jesus and also that when we are baptized, we are buried with Christ in our sin and risen from the dead with Christ. This year I came across a great video online of “The Domino Effect”. This year I had baskets of dominoes by the baskets of names.   I had our congregation watch the video on the “Domino Effect.”  Here is a link to YouTube, if you would like to view it — https://youtu.be/5JCm5FY-dEY. It’s quite impressive. One little domino can create quite a mighty change for good. The dominoes the people drew are to remind them of how their life can positively affect another’s. Make that call, visit that person in the hospital. Send that card. Make that meal. We never know how our obedience to God will affect someone’s life. Let’s put THE DOMINO EFFECT into our lives in 2019.

So What?  What will be the domino effect of your life this year?  What domino effect will you have on others?  What domino effect will you have on this world this year?    A second “so what” is: What is the “ONE WORD” that God has given you to work on this year?  What is the “ONE THING” that you are looking for this year?

Do you know that there are several passages in the Bible with the words “ONE THING?”

What is the “One Thing” that you have heard from the Lord?
King David wrote many of the Psalms.  Psalm 62 is a song of trust in God alone.  Towards the end of the Psalm, verse 11 and 12, David finally affirms that he can rest peacefully since he has heard that all the power belongs to God and that the steadfast love of the Lord lasts forever.  One thing God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.” Psalm 62:11-12

What is the “One Thing” that you are asking of the Lord?
David, the shepherd boy who wrote Psalm 23, wrote in Psalm 27 the “one thing” that he asked for was to live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 27:4-5 — One thing I asked of the Lord this is what I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”  The one thing the shepherd boy asked of the Lord was to live in the house of the Lord forever!  One thing King David was going to seek after — was to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord!

What is the “One Thing” that you need?
In the Gospel of Luke, we are told of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus comes to visit and Martha is busy, busy, busy — working, cleaning, preparing, planning, cooking and setting up for the occasion; so much so that she misses the most important one thing!  Listen to the closing of this story — Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; but there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha missed the “one thing!”  Her intentions were good but she ended up missing the forest for the trees. It is my prayer that we learn from Martha and do not miss the “one thing”!

What is the “One Thing” that you are doing?
Paul was sitting in a prison in Rome waiting for his own death by execution. He writes a letter to the church in Philippi called Philippians.  In chapter three he writes — I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;  but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved,  I do not consider that I have made it my own;  but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:10-14)

Can you picture the scene?  Paul is sitting in prison saying — I want to know Christ!  I want to know the power of His resurrection!  I want to have a death like His — so I can have a life like His!  I haven’t made it! I haven’t reached the goal — but the “one thing” — the “one thing” that I will do is forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead!   Paul was at the end of his life, and Paul understood that knowing Christ, that living in the power of the resurrection was the ONE THING that would bring him life.

What is the “One Thing” you lack?
The story of the rich man in Mark 10 — is a powerful story of the call to follow Christ.  I believe Christ is calling us to follow him and to not be so concerned with what we do — but with what God can do through us!  As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’  He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’” Luke 10:17-27

Here’s your final “So What?” What is the “One Thing” God is asking of you today?

What is the “One Word” that God is giving you this year? 

What is the “One Thing” that you will do that will change your life and the lives of those around you?  Will you be a domino that changes the world for good?

In case  you don’t know it, JESUS IS THE ONE THING! I’m praying that you will open your heart wide to Christ this year. I’m praying that you will seek to read the living words of life found in the Scriptures. Happy 2019! May this be your best year ever.

Seed You Sunday! For our good friends in Lusaka, Zambia — Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani—God loves you and so do I” Mulungu aku daliseni — God bless you    God loves you with an unfailing love and so do I, Pastor Dave www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 12-22-18

Seed of Faith – Living Out & Watching Out   By Pastor Dave  

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” Luke 2:8

Dear Friends and Saintly Seed Sowers:
The final countdown for Christmas is here! Depending on when you read this — you will have less than 7 days to make the final preparations for your home and your heart for Christmas. Why not take a few moments in the next few days to read Luke 2:8-20? Reflect on the announcement of Jesus’ birth.  How has this announcement changed your life? Just think, if the Savior had not been born, December 25 would be a regular Tuesday this year. No holiday parties to attend, no kids’ Christmas plays or concerts, either. No extreme shopping–online or in the stores. Perhaps the big buzz would be New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I seriously want you to sit down and think about this? What if Jesus had never come to earth? What if Jesus had never been born?

Just about every spare minute I have this month, I am studying; looking over my Scripture passages for this week’s final Advent message on love. I keep getting stopped by the fact that there were shepherds … who lived out in the fields…doing what shepherds do:  keeping watch over their flocks.  It made me think,  “How do I apply that to me today?” These shepherds were just doing what shepherds do.  Kind of like you and me.  We go to work.  We come home.  We all have some sort of routine and rhythm to our days just like these shepherds. You have to bet that this day, this night was very ordinary in their very ordinary lives and, then, in one split second, everything changed completely and forever!  In the darkness of the night, an angel of the Lord appeared—all shiny and glowing!  It made me think of this question,  “Am I watching out for God to break into my daily routine?  Would I even notice if He moved into my neighborhood?” 

Let’s get busy dissecting the Greek. The Greek word for “keeping” is a present-active verb–meaning the action of “watching” is a constant, ongoing, day-in and day-out, hour in and hour out, minute by minute, second by second action.   The shepherds were constantly watching their flocks–by day and by night. It never stopped. Those shepherds were always watching over their flocks.  This then made me think of another question and as the Holy Spirit prompted me, I now prompt you:

What is it that you are keeping watch over–by day and by night? Be honest.  What is it that consumes your life? What eats up your time, your money, your thoughts?

Back to the shepherds who are out in the thick darkness of night watching sheep.  To them it was an ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And SUDDENLY,  God broke into their ordinary story.   You know this God of ours, the God Almighty who loves to hook the word “extra” onto the front of ordinary—extraordinary!? That’s where the shepherds were.   A night starting out just like every other night: watch the flock settle down for their night’s sleep; tomorrow will come soon enough. Try now to imagine being out there as a shepherd. Maybe you’re cooking stew over the make-shift fire? Maybe you are unrolling your sleeping bag and setting up under a tree? Maybe you and a few other shepherds are swapping funny, sheepish stories? It’s all quiet. It’s time for settling down. And then the greatest news in the history of the world is announced! An angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds — in the fields, in the outskirts of town,  and the shepherds are terrified.  I need to translate this part of the passage  because it’s important:  they were terrified, terrified greatly. Have you ever been greatly terrified? The night has a light of its own. It’s not twinkle, twinkle little star. It’s an angel. Lighting up the night sky.

Has God ever interrupted your nice, quiet, ordinary life?  Surely the shepherds’ ordinary night has now turned into an extraordinary night!

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Immediately, the shepherds had to think, “Isaiah!  The Prophet Isaiah foretold us of this very thing, 750 years ago.  Holy stinking smokes!” and then the entire night sky is not filled with just one angel but it is filled with a whole heavenly host of angels…all praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth…peace!”  Come on, think about being there. The entire skies are filled with angels and they are all singing. What would you do or say? What we do know is that when the angels were gone, those ordinary shepherds high-tailed it to find that baby; the baby who would be wrapped in cloths…and lying in a manger—an animal’s feeding trough.  These were lowly shepherds but they knew exactly where to find a manger. And when they found the manger,  there they found the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths!

So What?
Well, it’s here.  The last week before Christmas!  We sit on the edge of our own ordinary Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Eve, people everywhere throughout the world will gather together.  Many will gather in homes, surrounded by family.  Others will gather in churches.  All around the globe, ordinary people just like you and me, will gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the Lord.  It’s really no ordinary night and we are no longer ordinary people.

God came down to earth in the form of a baby. God wants to live in our hearts and our homes.  Immanuel—God with us!  This was the cry of those ordinary shepherds on that ordinary night in their ordinary lives. God broke into their darkness of their night.  Angels!  Terrified!  More angels!  Singing! Glory and Praise to God!  Go find the Baby in a manger! Those shepherds went and they found the baby. They were no longer ordinary.  They were now glorifying-and-praising-God-extraordinary!  This is my prayer for you as you read this SEED OF FAITH. May the Holy Spirit break into your ordinary, routine life and may you sense the presence of heavenly angels this last week of Advent. When you gather with your family, or with your church, may you, too, sing just like those angels and those shepherds.

Christmas is the PROMISE that GOD IS WITH US. May there be a song in your heart as you run to find the baby lying in the manger. You’re not ordinary if you know the King of Kings!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

See You Sunday!
Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani—God loves you and so do I”
Mulungu aku daliseni — God bless you

God loves you with an unfailing love 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 4-5-19

Seed of Faith – BE DEVOTED & HONOR ONE ANOTHER  By Pastor Dave  

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”  Romans 12:9-13

Dear Saintly Seed-Sowers and Faithful Friends:

It is with great joy in my heart that I sit down to write this week’s Seed of faith.  We have begun a new series at The Seed Christian Fellowship!  We are diving deep into the love and grace of God as we look at some of the wonderful and powerful “ONE ANOTHER” statements found in the Bible! I think it’s a great Lenten series: for us to focus on the words of Christ and the words of Paul.  Learning all of the “ONE ANOTHER” statements will certainly help us grow in our faith and love.

Last week, we looked at what it means to “GREET ONE ANOTHER.”  It is my hope and prayer that you took the “so what” challenge and greeted someone this past week.  Throughout my years of ministry, I’ve found that when you ask someone, “How are you?” their response is usually pretty limited. “Fine.”  “Good.” “Great.” But if you ask, “How’s your day going today?” You can get more of a conversation going. I’ve found that this single question has led into many opportunities for ministry. I’ve had people share their heart because they’re going through some hard things. It’s a good question to remember as you start each day and go out into the world. “How’s your day going so far?”

Today we turn our attention to Romans 12:9-21.  I printed the opening lines above for you to reflect on.  I hope you grab your own Bible (if you don’t have a Bible, I will send you one — just email me) and read Romans 12:9-21.

When I was in seminary, my best friend PJ hired me to learn the construction trade.  I went to seminary Monday through Thursday and worked for PJ on the weekends and during the summer.  I learned how to build homes and learned all kinds of construction work during those three years. I remember one time, right after I started working for PJ, my co-worker John, who is PJ”s brother,  and I were rough-framing this home out in the country.  We worked all morning framing in a two-story chimney chase. You know what a chimney chase is, don’t you?  It is the framing for the chimney so when the brick layers come in, they have a frame to work with in order to finish the chimney/fireplace. John and I worked all morning framing in this chimney chase; two stories high. PJ drove up in his pickup truck and pulled up beside the chimney chase.  He got out of his truck, looked at us and walked over to the chimney chase.  He stood there looking at the chimney chase.  To be honest with you — I was pretty proud of our work.  He then told us that the chimney chase was off by half an inch.  I stood there and started joking with him and told him there was no way we were off.. He told me that we were off by at least a half an inch.  I told him I would bet him a lunch.  He got out his plumb line and climbed the ladder and dropped the plumb line. Sure enough, we were off a half an inch.  I lost the bet and owed PJ a lunch.  Then PJ said, “Tear it down and start over.”  PJ told me that you must sincere and honest with your work if your name is going to be on it. Do you know that the word “sincere” means “to be without hypocrisy”?   

I thought of Paul in this verse. Paul is telling us that our love must be sincere, without hypocrisy or play-acting. What Paul is saying is that our love must not be putting on a fake face and playacting.  Our love must be sincere.  I thought of all of the plans for building a house.  When you build a house, you need to make sure that the foundation is straight and solid; otherwise, everything that I build on top of that foundation will be out of line. “Tear it down and reframe it, Dave, you’re off by half an inch.” I certainly don’t ever want to hear those words from Christ. I want my love to be sincere. I want to build a solid foundation on the solid rock of Christ.

When I first became a Christian in 1981, I started going to church faithfully. Church was hard work for me.  I didn’t grow up being a Christian, even though my grandmother loved to take us four boys to church. (By the way, church was right next door to her house!)  Growing up I had built  a lot of walls around my life.  I don’t know if you have ever done that?  When I was 12, I made a decision that I was not going to let anyone hurt me again. I didn’t let anyone really love me and, to be honest with you, I had all of that love and hate stuff mixed up. I loved doing the wrong things and I often hated doing what was good. I buried the pain of my brother’s death with alcohol. I drank excessively and often. I had Paul’s teaching backwards.  Have you ever done that?   Growing up, if I was clinging onto anything, I was clinging to me, myself and I.  That is a real “unholy trinity.”  There was no way I could be devoted to love one another if all I did was love myself. I was married with three small children before I realized that there was a different Trinity.

The Greek word Paul uses for “HONOR” is actually spelled “time” in Greek.  Isn’t that fascinating?  The truth is that if we really want to “honor one another” we will need to make time for others.  Paul said, “Honor one another above yourself.”   For a young man who grew up loving himself, learning to reverse that cycle was difficult for me. Like I said, I was married with 3 small children. My wife is a pretty smart woman, and she signed us up for a marriage retreat. I learned through that Marriage Encounter weekend that love is spelled “TIME.” When we honor one another, it’s going to take TIME. When you honor your spouse, plan on spending some TIME. When you honor your children, or family, plan on spending TIME. From that 1981 marriage retreat, I’ve never forgotten that LOVE is spelled TIME. 

Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, that we should try and outdo one another in showing love. The basic concept being taught is that if we want to keep the fires of love burning, we should learn how to love and honor one another. Wow!  That sounds just like these words from Romans.

My lifelong friend and former boss, PJ,had some pretty funny sayings.  He used to say, “Dave, measure twice, cut once.”  I think he was trying to teach me to slow down and take the time to make sure that I was right before I cut the wood. I think this is what our good friend, Paul, is teaching us. “Honor one another.” Make the time you need to honor one another.”  That statement can hit us pretty hard because so often in our individualistic society we have a hard time putting others above ourselves.  What I’ve found is that honoring one another is going to cost me time. It’s going to cost me “ME” time. I’m going to have to give up something in order to be able to spend the time it takes to honor one another.  I have an honest confession. I love to work. I really do. I love to read my commentaries, I love to journal on what I’m reading, and I love to do ministry. And every once in a while, I can get really caught up in all of those “me” things. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife and family. It doesn’t cost me anything except TIME to say to my wife, “Let’s go for a walk” or “let’s have a cup of coffee out by the fireplace.” Like I said, learning that love is spelled time really framed a new foundation in my life. I’ve found it to be a solid foundation.

The Apostle Paul said it. “Be devoted to one another in love!  Honor one another above yourself!  Live in harmony with one another.” 

I remember one time working construction when we had dug a hole for a swimming pool in the bottom of a hotel. PJ came along and said, “Our measurements are off by a foot. We have to dig the entire floor of the swimming pool out by a foot.” I found myself saying, “Why don’t we just raise the roof a foot?” PJ turned around and looked at me and I’ll never forget what he said.  “Dave, it’s going to take us 6 months to frame and build this hotel. And then for the next 60 years, kids are going to swim in that pool you’re digging. Our measurements are off by a foot. It’s not your fault. But you are going to make it right because it’s the right thing to do.”  My co-worker, Roger and I spent the rest of the day digging another 12 inches, another foot, out of the floor of the swimming pool by hand. By now, the frame work around the swimming pool had been finished and there was no way we could get a bobcat in to dig it out. Even during seminary, God kept hammering away at me: “LOVE IS SPELLED TIME.” With every shovel full of dirt, I was learning to “honor one another.” It took us one full day but we got that swimming pool ready. Even all these years later, kids and families are swimming away at that hotel. Our work was done correctly. I can look back now and know that I got it right.

So What?
I was 26 when I rededicated my life to Christ. I had a wife and three small children. I had a whole lot of learning and loving to do in order to be able to tear down the walls that I had built around my heart. Letting down our walls does, indeed, open us to many kinds of fear but it also opens us up to many kinds of love. On that same marriage weekend, I told my wife for the first time in seven years that I needed her. I had written her a love letter and I said those three, magic words. “I NEED YOU.” I will never forget my wife’s reaction. She cried. She really cried.  She didn’t just cry, she wailed. “You need me?” Let me tell you, the walls I had built that had insured my own safety from hurt came crashing down that day. I had learned Romans 12.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”  Romans 12:9-13 

Seed you Sunday!

Love really is spelled TIME.
HONOR ONE ANOTHER.
GREET ONE ANOTHER.

These ONE ANOTHER statements from the word are challenging.

Is your love sincere? Do you hate what is evil? Do you cling to what is good? Are you devoted to one another? Do you honor others above your holy trinity of ME, MYSELF and I?

Your “So What?” challenge is for you to spend some time figuring out what this HONOR ONE ANOTHER means to you in your life. I have some hard questions for you:

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

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

Seed of Faith – GREET ONE ANOTHER By Pastor Dave  

“Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” I Peter 5:14

Dear Faithful Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers:

Today we begin a new series based on the “One Another” passages found in the New Testament.  As I have been praying for you, and for so many others who are associated with The Seed, the Lord has put it on my heart for us to look at the passages that call us to become a community of believers.  One of the questions I wrestle with is, “How do we have community when there is so much dis-unity?” I believe that with the advancement of all of our electronic devices, our busyness of life, our divisive political world, our racial struggles, economic trials and religious differences, we have lost a sense of connection with “One Another.” This series is just part of the answer to more community in the church and in the world.

The New Testament writers wrestled with some of the same things we struggle with today.  In fact, many of the letters written in the New Testament were written to churches that were struggling with some of the exact things we struggle with. Over the next seven weeks, we will dive into the deep end of the pool, and learn what the early church struggled with and how they were encouraged to:

Greet One Another — Romans 16:1-16
Honor and be Devoted to One Another — Romans 12:9-21
Serve One Another — Galatians 5:13 & Ephesians 5:13-33
Live in Harmony with One Another — I Peter 1:3-17
Submit to One Another — Galatains 5:13

Teach, Admonish and Accept One Another — Romans 15:1-7; Colossians 3:12-17
Bear with One Another – Ephesians 4:1-10
Love One Another — John 13:1-34

An early “So what?” question is, “Have you ever thought about how we greet one another, honor one another, are devoted to one another, submit and serve one another, live in harmony with one another, teach, admonish, and accept one another, bear with one another and love one another?”
How good are we at all of these ONE ANOTHERS? How good are YOU?

I encourage you to pick up your Bible and read theses inspiring passages — Romans 16:1-16; I Peter 5:14; I Corinthians 16:19-24; II Corinthians 13:12-14; I Thessalonians 5:26-28.  Here we are encouraged to GREET ONE ANOTHER!

The Greek word for “greet” is “aspazomi” and in this context it is an imperative verb which is a command.  “Aspazomi” means “welcome kindly, receive one another, embrace,  be happy about,  bid welcome,  salute or  greet.”  I wonder what our world would be like if we really greeted one other. What would happen if we welcomed one another kindly? If we received one another with love? What would happen if we showed others just how happy we are to see them? That’s what our New Testament writers are talking about: Greet each other with God’s love. Salute one another—give one another a friendly gesture of respect, homage, and recognition. In today’s culture, it doesn’t have to be a hug or a holy kiss, but a hearty smile, a friendly fist pump, or high five can simply say, “I’m happy to see you today!”

In his beautiful TED talk, John Sutherland, an officer in London’s police department, explains a principle in Forensic Science called Locard’s Exchange Principle. Developed by Dr. Edmond Locard, known as the Sherlock Holmes of France, this principle has a simple premise: every contact leaves a trace. In other words, every criminal leaves a trace behind him. One forensic expert put it this way:  Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks … the paint he scratches, the blood … he deposits or collects … This is evidence that does not forget.  Sutherland explains how this principle applies not just to forensic science but to all human relationships:  Every time two people come into contact with one another, an exchange takes place. Whether between lifelong friends or passing strangers, we encourage, we ignore, we hold out a hand, or we withdraw it. We walk towards or we walk away. We bless or we curse… And every single contact leaves a trace. The way that we treat and regard one another matters. It really matters.[i]

The other day Jac and I went out to eat out a local restaurant.  As we went to find a seat, Jac noticed an older gentleman with a Veteran’s cap. He was in a wheelchair. She stopped and said, “Thank you for your service.” Without blinking, the older veteran saluted her from his wheelchair. “My pleasure, mam. Serving was my pleasure.”

SO WHAT?
My “so what” this week is for us to step out of our comfort zone. Greet one another—and not just here but at home, at work, at the grocery store, movies, wherever you go. I’m not recommending that you go hug everyone out there but…you can greet one another with a smile.  Just smile at someone and see what happens.  Take out your headphones and greet the person next to you at the grocery store. Call your checkout person, waitress or waiter by name.   Maybe even bless someone with a wave and a “have a great day!”

I’ve been doing ordained ministry for over 20 years. It’s a full-time job. Here’s the one thing that I’ve found that opens the door to a person’s day. “How’s your day going?” I ask it everywhere I go: the post office, the grocery clerk, the server at the restaurant, our trash truck drivers.  I encourage you to ask that question, too, as you go about your way until we meet again. I don’t ask, “How are you?” because that almost always results in a one-word answer of  “Fine” but when you ask someone, “How’s your day going?” You know what? They tell you. When they tell me they are having a bad day or a hard day, I tell them, “I’ll pray for you.”

Okay, repeat after me: Greet one another. (Greet one another.) How’s your day going? (How’s your day going?)

This is your assignment for the week. Be intentional. When you go out to the grocery, smile and greet someone. When you go to work, stop and ask your co-workers, “How’s your day going?” You can also ask how their week is going. Ask your family members, “Hey, I’ve been thinking of you today, how’s your day going so far?”  A text to your busy spouse just might make you a hero or shero. Every day try to greet someone–“Aspazomi”… “welcome kindly, receive one another, embrace,  be happy about,  bid welcome,  salute or  greet.”  “Hey, I’m happy to see you!”

When Jac and I were raising our family, we tried to have dinner at 6. In between all of the sports and school events–we tried to sit down as a family as often as we could. We asked the kids to pick one of these three words:  BAD. SAD. GLAD. They could share on any one of these words. Pretty soon they were sharing on all three. (This is how we started to find out if our son was getting a grade notice report in the coming mail! He was famous for them. “Mom, Dad, I try to see how low I can get my grades and then I see how high they can go!” He never missed the B honor roll and it was kind of nice to know that his grade report was on its way. We will never forget Brian and his friends all sitting at the dining room table working on their Math, English and Science! Jac would feed them and I would try to help. Great memories.)

I may not tell you often enough, but I love being called to be your pastor. With every handshake, or abrazo — holy hug or handshake, you have greeted me (welcomed me, received me, embraced me, saluted me and have been happy to see me) with God’s great love.  May we as a church community always greet one another with God’s great love!

Seed 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 3/23/19

Seed of Faith – TRANSFIGURATION TO TRANSFORMATION   By Pastor Dave  

“About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.” Luke 9:28-29

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers:

SPRING HAS SPRUNG! Happy Spring to all! We’ve all endured a long winter; it’s great to have the HOPE that Spring brings.

Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at a few, different “P” words: PRESENCE – PROMISES- POWER –  & POSSIBILITIES. Today we will look at our final “P” word:  PURPOSE!  I pray for you all each day. I always welcome any prayer concern. One of my daily prayers is that you will learn what your purpose is on this earth. I hope this SEED OF FAITH helps with that.

It’s time for an early “so what?”   How would our lives change if we lived in The Presence, The Promises, The Power, and The Possibilities of our amazing God? This is the question that will lead us to find our PURPOSE.
1.  “What is God’s purpose for my life?”
2.  “What is my purpose here on earth?”
3.  “Does my purpose change with the seasons of my life?”   

Seriously, stop for a moment and be quiet. Do you know your purpose for your life? Is your purpose the same as it’s always been or has it changed with the seasons of your life? Our Scripture for today is Luke 9:28-36. In this passage we read about the Transfiguration of Christ.  Another question to ask: How is my life transformed by the transfiguration?  (Have you ever noticed how many questions are asked in the Bible? Have you ever noticed how many questions Jesus is asked? Have you ever noticed how many questions Jesus asks? Get your notebook out because it’s a lot!)

Today we are in the Gospel of Luke with Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Think about this for a moment. Put yourself into this story. Peter, John, James and Jesus have gone to the mountain to pray.  Suddenly there are two more people with them: Moses, who has experience with God on a mountaintop, and Elijah, who also has some mountaintop experience. The three of these men are standing together, discussing Jesus’ departure. I love to put myself into the stories of the Bible. What were these three saying?  Maybe Moses and Elijah were preparing Jesus for the imminent, upcoming reality check of the valley below.  Perhaps Moses was reminding Jesus of what happened to him during his mountaintop experiences. Maybe he was saying, “All I know is that I had stone tablets from God and I returned to my people worship and a golden cow!”  Maybe Elijah was reminding Jesus of how God came through in a powerful way for him up on Mt. Carmel. “God slayed all those false prophets, Jesus, and then Jezebel threatened to kill me.” What do you think these three holy men were discussing? I often wonder.  Maybe they were preparing Jesus for the final days in Jerusalem: a betrayal, an arrest, a trial, a crucifixion, a resurrection.

In our story, we are told that as soon as Jesus, Peter, James and John traveled down the mountain, a large crowd descended upon them.  We are presented with the story of the father and his demon-possessed son. Last week, we looked at this passage and we learned that all things are possible for those who believe.

Jesus has just experienced a powerful, mountain-top experience (have you been there?) only to come crashing back into the valley of real life.  I think our Gospel-writing friend, Dr. Luke, is trying to tell us a secret through his story:  GET READY TO GET SMASHED, CRASHED, and BASHED after your exhilarating GOD MOMENT on the MOUNTAIN TOP!

I have been on many spiritual retreats.  I have had powerful God moments of mountain highs. It seems they all have one thing in common: I usually come crashing back down into the valley of the reality. It’s plenty of fun to spend time on the mountaintop. We have members who allow my wife and I to spend time in their mountain cabin any time we want. It’s exhilarating to spend a week up in the fresh air.  It’s amazing to see the 100′ tall pine trees sway in the breeze. Each time we go, I marvel at God’s creation and I am refueled and refilled with all of the “P’s” we’ve been studying: PRESENCE – PROMISES- POWER –  & POSSIBILITIES.  I come down from our weekends, and our spiritual retreats, and I am reminded over and over: “You may have been changed this weekend, Dave, but remember:  the world has not.”  Toby Mac sent out a post this week that read,  “The God on the mountain is still the God in the valley.”  

In our reading from Luke, we hear that Jesus’ face was changed, his clothes became white like lightning. Luke says Jesus was transformed. Mark and Matthew use a different verb to describe the scene.  They both wrote that Jesus was transfigured right before Peter, James and John.  The Greek word they used for transfigured” or “changed” is “metamorphoo.”  This is the exact word from where we get the word “metamorphosis.”  What our Gospel writers are trying to convey to us is that as Jesus was praying on that mountaintop his face was changed, transfigured and transformed right in front of Peter, James and John’s very eyes. Metamorphoo. Just like when the caterpillar crawls into the crysalis and at some point–a total reconfiguration of that caterpillar is configured into a butterfly? Yes.  Exactly like that. Jesus was metamorphoo-ed. Transfigured.

So What?
In 2000 I met for lunch with a man I had spent a weekend with through Marriage Encounter. My wife and I were on team as a presenting clergy couple. The man and his wife were blessed by the marriage encounter experience. After the weekend, he invited me to lunch because he had a question he wanted to ask me. I arrived late from a memorial service.  When we settled in to our lunch, the man asked me the question he had been pondering: What is it that brings me my greatest joy in ministry?  I looked at him and, without missing a beat, I told him that my greatest joy is seeing someone’s life transformed by the love of Christ. The man smiled at me and said that he has met with many pastors and has asked them the same question. Why did they go into full-time ministry?  He told me he had pastors who just looked at him and say, “I don’t know. I haven’t ever stopped to think what give me my greatest joy.”  Some of the pastors told him that studying, reading, preaching, and teaching gave them their greatest joy.  My friend responded that I was the only pastor who had answered so quickly and so confidently about my passion and joy.  (My friend is now almost 85. He’s been asking questions about life for many years. My friend is also an orthopedic surgeon.)  I still to this day will give you the same answer: Transformation!

TRANSFORMATION! I have news for you. Jesus isn’t the only person who was changed that day on the mountain top. I’m pretty sure Peter, James and John were METAMORPHOOED, too. I’m pretty sure that their mountaintop experience with Jesus is what changed them and gave them the courage to face the battles in the valley below.  I’m also sure that our own personal encounters with God have METAMORPHOOED us, too.

Our purpose in life, no matter what season we are in, is for us to allow the love and grace of Jesus Christ to transform us.

Transformation. Like the caterpillar crawling into the chrysalis…there is that moment that no one can pinpoint to…when that caterpillar is TRANSFORMED…metamorphooed….transfigured…into a brand new creation…a butterfly.  This is our purpose: to let the grace of Christ change us into the person of God that we’ve been called to become.

The 5 P’s:
Presence —
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Promises — “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
Power — “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength ….” Ephesians 1:18-19
Possibilities — “Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered.  “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”   “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:22-24
Purpose — “As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, (transfigured -transformed) and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.” A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Luke 9:29, 35

I leave you today with a few questions that only you can answer. What is it that gives your life purpose? Is it time for you to go away to a mountaintop? (Your mountaintops can be anywhere–on a retreat, at the beach, at church.) Maybe it’s just time for you to take a day and be alone with God. Drive out to that park, or church, or lake. Bring your bible. Pray. What is it that I call my life’s purpose? What do these 5 “P’s” have to do with my life? Do I feel God’s presence within me? Do I trust in God’s promises? Do I acknowledge that God has all the power I need for my life? Am I open to all of the possibilities God has for me? Is my purpose changing? Am I entering a new season?

Living the Christian life is the most exciting thing I know.  Every day I pray for you. I pray that God, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, and with the reality of the resurrected Christ, will guide you to live the most purposeful life you dream of.

Seed you Sunday!
God loves you with an everlasting love and outrageous grace 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 3-15-19

Seed of Faith – Unlimited Possibilities   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”   Mark 9:21-24

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed Sowers:
Happy St. Patrick’s weekend to you and may your life be all rainbows and pots of gold! In all seriousness, my prayer is that you are blessed and know how deep the Father’s love is for you.

Last week, I asked if you could take a moment and read through Mark 9:1-29. This is the story of the transfiguration of Jesus and of His journey from the mountaintop back into the valley.  Mountaintops are great but it is the in valleys that many of us live and learn and grow.

As I was working on my Seed of Faith for this week, I was stopped by verses 23-24 in Mark chapter 9! Here we encounter the father of the demon-possessed boy. The father says to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Put yourself in this story. You’ve agonized and wrestled with your son’s illness for years.  That’s how this father is coming to Jesus and, somehow, he’s heard about Jesus and about his ministry.  He’s heard about Jesus healing the sick, curing the lepers, giving sight to the blind and raising the dead.  “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” What a simple prayer! “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on me and help me.”

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

And that has me wondering how Jesus really said, “If you can?”  Was it said sarcastically, defensively, disbelievingly, sadly, causally or cautiously?   Jesus’ reply is really two statements.  The first statement is a question.  I love how Jesus has a habit of answering a question with a question.  The father says, “If you can do anything…?” And Jesus answers him with a question, “If you can?” Can you see the father facing Jesus?The second statement from the boy’s dad is now a plea for Jesus to have pity on them and to help them.  I love Jesus’ reply. “It’s not a question of whether I can do it, but will you believe, for everything is possible for him who believes.”
Now comes one of the greatest responses in all of Scripture. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

So What?
When you hear the word possible what comes to mind?   The secular meaning of possible means “being within the limits of capacity or having potential.” However, the Greek word for “possible” is “dunatos” which means “strong, mighty, powerful, able.” This word is very close to the word we looked at last week;  “dunamis” meaning power, as in dynamite. This word “dunatos” is used many times in the Bible and Jesus used it often to describe faith.

When the helpless father responded to Jesus’ question, he responded with two present-active verbs.  The first verb he used was “I do believe — pisteuo.” In essence, the father was saying, “I will continually, I will not stop, I will never stop putting my trust in you, relying on you, confidently leaning on and believing in You, Jesus.”  The other verb the father used was “help — boetheo” which means “never stop coming to my aid or giving me help or assistance.” “Jesus, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

What a simple prayer!  What a simple reply!  What a simple way to live your life!  Constantly, continually, repeatedly and persistently leaning on, relying on, trusting in and believing on and in God…and then asking God to never stop coming to your aid, to never stop giving you help, to never stop giving you assistance.  A simple prayer that I’m sure Jesus love, “Help me overcome my unbelief.”

So what do you believe about God?  So what do you believe about Jesus? So what do you believe about the Holy Spirit? So what do you believe about faith, grace, love, mercy, justice, healing, miracles, or the resurrection? So what do you believe?  Do you believe Jesus is both human and divine?  Do you believe miracles still  happen today?  Do you believe there a devil?  Do you believe there is life after death?  Is everything possible to those who believe?

Here’s a word I want you to see in a new way: IMPOSSIBLE. When you come down from the mountaintop into the valley of the IMPOSSIBLE…do your own dissecting of this word. Make it two words: I’m POSSIBLE. Jesus came down from that mountain of transfiguration. He’s just had a glory moment, a “come to Jesus” experience! And down, down, down the mountain they go; back into the valley of reality and there Jesus meets a desperate father whose son has been demon-possessed since childhood. From Moses, Elijah and a voice from heaven, Jesus has now returned to the valley of reality, and a very sick child and a very sad dad. Focus on these words of Christ, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  The father replied, “I believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” Have you ever felt that way? “I do kind of, sort of believe…but there’s also a part of me that thinks there’s no way. Help me, Jesus.  Help me believe.”  I’m pretty convinced it’s one of God’s favorite prayers, “HELP ME” or just a simple, “HELP” will do.

Just yesterday, we received a text from a friend of ours. She’s a recent widow. She texted my wife and asked us to pray that she would be able to get onto a flight that she was on “stand by.” She was number 9 on the list. Pretty doubtful that she’d get on that flight, right? Well, she was going to meet her grandchildren, ages, 4 and 7, in Seattle.  She really needed to be on that flight. We prayed. Jac wrote her friend, “I believe God is going to open the doors for you.” A few hours later, her friend wrote to say that she still wasn’t on the plane and it was taking off in two hours. Jac texted back, “God told me to sit in your chair and watch Him work. You’re getting on that flight.” A few hours later, we received this text, “I just boarded the plane! God is so good!”

In 2012, Jac and I rented a house. For the next 5 years, we were being exposed to lead poisoning. Jac had 6 times the lethal limit of lead (scoring a 12) and I had 5 times (scoring a 10) the lethal limit. During the past two years, we’ve chelated two times. Jac just finished her third chelation set and I have just started  my third. “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on us. Get rid of the lead.” Slowly, and surely, the lead levels in our bodies are being reduced. Each chelation cycle we go down a few numbers. Jac is down to 8 and I’m down to 7. We have faith …here is our prayer, “We will continually, we will not stop, we will never stop putting our trust in you, we will never stop relying on you, we will confidently lean on You and because we believe in You, Jesus, we know you will never stop coming to our aid or giving us help or assistance.” During the past 20 years of ordained ministry, I’ve made this conclusion: sometimes we are healed in a heartbeat, sometimes we are healed as we walk through the valley, and sometimes we are healed in heaven.

In 2008, Jac went away to a Benedictine monastery for her certificate in Spiritual Direction. While there, the monks taught her a chant. O GOD, COME TO OUR ASSISTANCE. O LORD, MAKE HASTE TO HELP US.  

What about you? Do you believe? Do you need a little help with your unbelief? Give yourself some grace. Jesus does.

Jesus, we do believe; help our unbelief. Help us to put our full trust in you. We will never stop praying. We will never stop putting our trust in you. Come to our assistance, and make haste to help us through this valley. Amen.”

Seed you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.thessedchristianfellowship.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 3/2/2019

Seed of Faith – Incomparable Power   By Pastor Dave  

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”  Ephesians 1:18-20

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed Sowers!

What a great verse from the book of Ephesians! Paul was in prison–and yet, here he is writing GOOD NEWS to us all. The same POWER that raised Christ from the dead…lives in you and me.  As my Spiritual Director, Jim Tilley, always says, “That’s so good I’m going to have to take a Tylenol and lay down!” Far beyond our finite thinking is this very thought but don’t let that stop you from thinking long on this good news.

I hope and pray you are doing well this week!  I suggest to you, once again, that you take a moment to read Paul’s prayer from his prison cell to the Ephesian Church.

What do you know about God’s power? What do you believe about God’s power? Paul uses a specific word to describe God’s power. Paul uses what I call “A PAUL,” he throws two Greek words together and makes up a new meaning:  “huper,” which means “over,” and “ballo,” which means “to throw.”  “Huperballo” is been translated with our English words: “incomparable, exceedingly, immeasurable, to go beyond, to excel, to throw beyond, and to surpass.”  This is close to the same word that Paul uses to try to explain the peace of God that surpasses all understanding found in Philippians 4:7! The idea is that God’s power that raised Christ from the dead also lives in us and that power is something that is incomparable, exceedingly more, immeasurable, way beyond, excelling what we know, thrown way beyond our finite minds, and power that surpasses our comprehension.  Yes. Think on that.

What is this incomparable power of God? 

Maybe Paul was thinking of all the stories he had heard as a boy in Sabbath school.  Stories from the Old Testament scrolls that spoke about God’s power:

·         The power of God to save Noah and his family through building an ark before the flood and enduring the season ON the ark IN the flood…and then rebuilding afterwards!

·         The power of Joseph to interpret dreams for Pharaoh and to survive being sold by his own brothers!

·         The power of God in Moses and Aaron and the plagues to Pharaoh, the parting of the Red Sea and the power of God in the deliverance of the Israelite’s into the Promised land after 40 years of wandering the wilderness—all of them.

·         The power of God given to a little shepherd boy by the name of David when he faced a giant by the name of Goliath–with five smooth stones and a slingshot.

·         The power of God when Daniel was trapped in a lion’s den!

·         The power of God with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in a fiery furnace!

·         The power of God as God brought Jonah out of a belly of whale and sent him to Nineveh to preach the Good News of repentance!

·         The power of God when the prophet Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel!

·         The power of God when he strengthened Esther as she was called to speak to King Xerxes!

·         The power of in Ruth, a Moabite foreigner, to be named in the line of the King of Kings. (Matthew 1)

Paul used four different words for “power” when he tried to describe this incomparable power.  He used the Greek word “δύναμις [dunamis /doo·nam·is/]” from which we get the words “dynamo” or “dynamite.”  This “dunamis” power is “ἐνέργεια [energeia /en·erg·i·ah/]” the working, the effectual working, of the “κράτος [kratos /krat·os/]” might and strength of God. The last word that Paul used in this prayer is the Greek word “ἰσχύς [ischus /is·khoos/]” which means strength, ability, might and power.  Paul tried his hardest to describe the amazing power of GOD that is available to anyone who believes in Christ.

So What?
This past week I was working on different things for the leadership teams of our church,The Seed Christian Fellowship.  I came across some interesting facts about seeds. Do you know that turnip seeds, under good conditions, increase their weight 15 times a minute, and in rich soil turnip seeds increase their weight 15,000 times a day?  The statistics reported that there is no force more powerful than a growing squash. An 18-day old squash is harnessed in such a way that in its growing process it can lift 50 pounds on a lever—and 19 more days later it  can lift 5,000 pounds. Do you know that in a medium-sized mustard plant there are 85 pods?   The average number of seeds in each pod is eight. Since two crops in a given year mature, a gardener figured that it is possible in the interim between February and mid-October to produce a yield of 462,000 seeds–all from one original plant. Turnips and squash aren’t alone, either.  Within every seed lies “incomparably great power!” 

Take a look at the verse picked to be the foundational verse for The Seed Christian Fellowship: “You have been born again not of perishable seed but imperishable through the living, enduring word of God.” (I Peter:23)   Friends, this is what Paul is talking about.  The same incomparably great power that lies within every earthly seed also lies within the living, enduring WORD OF GOD. Stop! Seriously, stop and think about this! The word of God is like an imperishable seed; it is living and enduring.

“So what” is the power that you choose to live with?  What kind of power lives within each one of us?  Do we live in the power of our own wisdom?  Do we live in the power of our own strength?  Do we live in the power of our own resources? Do we live in the power of our own choices?  Do we live in the power of our own bitterness and brokenness?  Do we live in the power of our fears and frustrations?  Or…are we growing more and more each day in the incomparably great power of the living, enduring word of GOD? The Word of God is right here before you and it is a seed that is promised to produce more power within you than you can ask or imagine.

Let’s go back to our scripture and the Apostle Paul. The early church in Ephesus was facing trials and persecution.  They lived in fear! They lived in a city where the goddess Artemis was worshiped and glorified.  The temple to Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the World at the time of Paul’s writing.  Whose power would these early believers turn to? Would they turn to the power of Artemis or would they turn to the power of the Holy Spirit of God?

Whose power will you turn to? It’s the same old question all of these thousands of years later? It may not be Artemis today…but what power will we turn to?

One New Year’s Day, in the Tournament of Roses Parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas to the float’s engine. Here’s the funny thing: this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With all of its vast oil resources, this tiny little float in the Rose parade was out of gas.[i]

I believe that as Christians we have this vast reservoir that is full, overflowing, going beyond what we can ask or imagine, simply waiting for us to tap into. We have this incomparably great power at our fingertips, yet we often run out of gas.

There was a young pastor who went to pray for someone in the hospital. He prayed several scriptures over his parishioner. Guess what? The person was healed! God’s miracle-working power of healing was found in the living, enduring word of God.  Think about John D. Rockefeller who sat at home worrying about all his wealth. He made himself sick with worry—so sick that eating soda crackers and milk was all he ate. How unfortunate it is when we sit on a stockpile of power and never use it for the power of good. I have a friend whose uncle lived like a pauper. He didn’t have gas, or electricity, or running water in his shed of a home.  After he died, they found out he was a millionaire.

If your life feels like it is being flooded and you don’t know if your boat will float, do me a favor and trust that the incomparably great power that helped Noah float his boat will help float yours.  If you feel like you are in a lion’s den of angry lions, be like Daniel, and trust that the incomparably great power that saved him will also save you.  If you feel like you have been tossed overboard and have been swallowed by a whale, trust that the same incomparably great power that rescued Jonah will also rescue you.  David defeated a GIANT with 5 smooth stoned. Is your life out of control? Are you overwhelmed with heartaches, hurts, fears, worries, frustration, pain or confusion?  Get this into your head and heart: the same incomparably great power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead and seated Him in Heaven–is also given to you! This power of God lives inside of you because you believe in Jesus Christ. I am pretty sure that is just about the best news ever.

The power lies within the seed; just ask any watermelon, turnip, squash or ear of corn!

Do you own a Bible?  DUNAMIS. DYNAMITE. You know what?  Dynamite has no power at all until it’s set on fire. Open that Bible. Don’t know where to start? Start in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Read about the power that Jesus has. That same power lives in you…if you believe.

Let us pray the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesian — 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:16-23 

I have to go now and do what I call, “Tilley Time!” Seriously, promise me that you will stop and think about the awesome and amazing power of God. Seeds grow but first they must be planted.

Seed 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 2/15/19

Seed of Faith – Remembering Hope  By Pastor Dave  

Isaiah 41:10 “… do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

Dear Friends:
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY OF LOVE to YOU! I have great news for you: Our God is with us–whether you have a huge family or whether your family is small. Jesus has promised to be with us ALWAYS–to the very end of the age!

I hope and pray you are well and are walking in faith with the Lord.  Last week’s Seed of Faith reflected upon the fact that God is with us.  Those four words in the middle of the sentence stopped me in my thoughts: I am with you.”  As I was praying about those four, little words, the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart to look in the Scriptures for those four, little words: “I am with you.”  During my quick reference, I found 19 times where these words are spoken. Here are a few of these powerful passages.

Genesis 26:24 “And that very night the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham; do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you and make your offspring numerous for my servant Abraham’s sake.’”   God speaks these words to Isaac to fill him with hope and courage!

Genesis 28:15 “Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” God speaks these words to Jacob to encourage him wherever he may go!

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” Joshua hears these powerful words from Moses as Moses is passing the baton of leadership to him!

Joshua 1:9 “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua gives these words to the people of Israel as they prepare to enter into the Promised land!

Isaiah 41:10 “… do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” God uses the prophet Isaiah to deliver a message of hope to the people of Israel who have been taken into captivity!

Isaiah 43:5 “Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.” The prophet Isaiah speaks these words of promise to fill the hearts of those held in darkness and despair!

Jeremiah 1:8 “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.”  (see the following verses: 1:19; 15:20; 30:11; 42:11; 46:28) — The prophet Jeremiah heard these four, little words often; his message was not accepted. He was rejected, thrown in a well and left for dead.  He was sent into slavery in Egypt and more. Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet,” yet he was filled with hope, courage, and the strength to have the endurance needed to finish the task he was called to do! (I am sure Paul felt a strong kinship with Jeremiah.)

Haggai 1:13; 2:4 “Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, saying, I am with you,’ says the Lord.” (1:13) Haggai gives these words to the people to strengthen them and to encourage them to continue to rebuild the temple!

Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” One of the most famous readings of these four, little words comes from our Risen and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as he prepared to ascend into heaven to be with His Father!  The promise Jesus leaves with His followers?  I am with you!

As I was reading over these passages and reflecting on these four, little words, my heart was strangely warmed.  I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit speak to me and say, “Dave, why are you so afraid?  I am with you, always, even to the end of the age.”  As I studied the original Greek, I was overwhelmed. The Greek words are “ego eimi meta sou…”  and here is how that breaks down:

Ego eimi— is an EMPHATIC “I…I AM.” It’s like God is saying something twice, He’s doubling up, compounding the emphasis of the personal pronoun… “I…myself…no one else — it’s me…I…I AM…” “Do you hear me loud and clear? I…GOD..I…myself…am with you.”

Meta sou—means with you, among you, after you, accompany you, amid you, before you, behind you, on you, in you. In essence, what God is saying, and what Christ is promising us, is that He…God..is with us, in us, on us, around us, among us, after us, before us, amid us and He will accompany us—always, to the end of the age.  Wow. The promise isn’t just for the day you read it.  The promise isn’t for the few days you remember this SEED OF FAITH.  This promise is until the end of the age. Forever. And ever. Amen.

So What?
Where are you in your relationship with God?  Are you thinking God has forgotten you?  Are financial pressures overwhelming you?  Has that broken relationship made you think you are too broken?  Has someone you love passed away?  Have you lost your job?  Perhaps your health has you worried, or maybe it’s the health of someone you love.  Maybe a child has you worrying yourself sick.  The “so what” for us today is for you to put your faith right now in these four, little words:  ego eimi meta sou.  These four, little words are found 19 times throughout the Holy Scripture.  The are the same words that people like Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Haggai and the disciples heard!  Stop right now and put your name in front of these four, little words: “__________________, this is me…God…I AM…GOD MYSELF…ME…GOD…I am with you…I am in you…I am among you…I am beside you…I am before you…I am behind you…I am above you…I am under you…I am all around you and I will accompany you…ALWAYS…forever and ever….even to the end of the age.”

No matter what you’ve done, no matter where you’ve gone–we have at least 19 promises in Scripture that GOD IS WITH US…until the very end.

Say it with me, “Be sure of this, (your full name,) I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS…even to the end of the age.”

What a great promise for us to think about on Valentine’s Day. There is no other love like our God’s love. You are not alone. No matter who you are, no matter where you’ve been, no matter how far gone you think you are–God is WITH you, in you, around you, above you, beside you, among you, before you, behind you, above you, and under you. Count on it; not just for today but forever–til the very end.

Seed you Sunday!

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

P.S. I hope you know that when you receive this email, you can right click onto the very top and then click on “download picture”–I always try to include some thought-provoking pictures.  I love the top picture of the beach.I also love the ones on the bottom. Friends, you are loved–just because YOU are GOD’S very own creation.

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 2/9/19

Seed of Faith – God Is With You By Pastor Dave  

“Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:7-8

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed-Sowers:
It feels really good to be back HOME. I’m glad to back behind my computer keys. I’m excited to preach after 3 weeks off! I’m studying and praying and I’m back in the saddle. It’s great to go on vacation but it’s also great to return HOME. In a very real way, you are my family! Our trip away showed me yet again the deep and lasting bond that we carry because we are believers. Christ is the foundational building block for us and I value our community in and through Christ. We are, indeed, brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever read the story when Moses summoned Joshua to anoint him as the new leader of the Israelites? After 40 years of leading his people in and through the desert, Moses was now ready to turn over the reigns to a man who had more than proven his trustworthiness, Joshua. I encourage you to go make some time and read Deuteronomy 31:1-8.  Let’s enter into this story:  The people of Israel had wandered in the wilderness and had witnessed miracle after miracle for forty years.  It’s time to cross the Jordan River! Moses is ready to turn over his leadership to Joshua.  Today we are going to focus on verses seven and eight.

Be strong and courageous!  These are very powerful words!  The very first thing that God tells the people is for them to be strong and courageous; and then issues these very same words to Joshua personally!

It is one thing to hear these words for someone else. (People of the Seed: be strong and courageous!)  But when these words are given to you personally, doesn’t it make a difference? (Jim, be strong and courageous! Sharon, be strong and courageous! Al, be strong and courageous! Ruth, be strong and courageous! Mike be strong and courageous! Ryan, be strong and courageous! Debby, be strong and courageous! Brenda, be strong and courageous! Norm, be strong and courageous! Diego, be strong and courageous! Yvonne, be strong and courageous! Sue, be strong and courageous! Clyde, be strong and courageous! Lourdes, be strong and courageous! Please pause right now and put your name in the blank ” __________________, be strong and courageous!”) It makes a BIG difference to hear YOUR NAME being commanded to be strong and courageous!

Be strong and courageous! I have been thinking a lot about being courageous. What does that look like? Courage comes in many ways. I think of little toddlers taking their lumps while learning to walk; I think of senior citizens living alone; paraplegics in wheelchairs. I think of astronauts walking on the moon; I think of those who are living with family tragedies; I think of single parents coping with children and jobs; I think of students who are facing challenges of going to school; I think of my unemployed friends who are desperately seeking work. I think of people living in recovery. I think of all of the people who report for chemotherapy and physical therapy each day.  I think of our police, fire, and medical personnel. I think of our soldiers, our judges, and even our government officials. Courage comes in many forms. But there is one form of courage that stands alone: the form of Jesus struggling uphill to Calvary–carrying a wood cross on his beaten and bleeding back; a man who dies for my sins. That, my friends, is a courage that stands apart.

I want to break down verse eight:The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Have you ever thought about this? That God is with you; that God promises to never leave nor forsake you?  I love the first part of this verse: “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you.” What a comfort. No matter what we are facing today, the Lord has gone before you. Have you ever felt His presence? Have you ever sensed that the Lord is with you?  Hear the verse in this translation: “I–myself —no one else — it’s me—the Lord–I personally go before you!”  Think about this for a few seconds. God Himself has promised to go with you, and not only with you, but before you. The One who spoke the universe into creation, yes, that GOD–promises to go before us, to go with us, and to never, ever leave nor forsake us.  So WHAT? The answer is found in the next sentence: Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. No matter what you are facing, put God into the situation. “God, please be with me. Please go before me. Please don’t leave me.  God, please don’t forsake me. God, help be to be strong and courageous. Help me not to be afraid and help me not to be discouraged.” (Can I get an AMEN on that?)

On our way home from Florida, we stopped to attend our nephew’s wedding in Houston. I was asked to do a part of the wedding.  At the rehearsal dinner, Jac and I sat with Deacon Don and his wife. It was a Catholic wedding and Deacon Don was giving the message.  At the rehearsal dinner, I was doing some of the “get to know you questions” I carry in my mind. I asked Sherry what she did for a living. Sherry mentioned that she was a Spiritual Director. I said, “My wife is too!” As we talked back and forth, I found out that Sherry had gone to the same Benedictine monastery that my wife had attended in Pecos, New Mexico. Immediately, the four of us became best friends and had lots to talk about.  Jac and Sherry spent a few hours sharing stories of their time at the monastery, and talked about many of the people that they knew in common. When Sherry heard about our lead poisoning, she brought us into a separate room and brought along with her, her husband and the grandmother of the bride. They wanted to pray for us. Sherry then anointed us with Holy Water. The Holy Water had been given to her from Father Sam from the monastery in Pecos. Sherry and Jac found more common ground and related some of the hair-raising stories they had heard from Father Sam. Father Sam was over 85 years old when Jac went to the monastery in 2008.  You need to know that Father Sam was the head exorcist for the Southwest portion of the United States for the Catholic Church. Father Sam was a legend and an icon at this monastery! The two women shared back and forth about how Father Sam wore a cross around his neck that held a sliver of the cross of Christ inside of it. Father Sam would hold sessions where he taught the group about Spiritual Direction. He would take out that sliver from under the glass dome of his cross and tell the attendees (who were there for over a month) that spiritual direction is no walk in the park. In a future SEED OF FAITH, I will share about the Blessed Salt that Father Sam gave to Jac. But for today, let’s just say that when Sherry and Deacon Don anointed us with that holy water, we knew that Christ was present with us. We knew that God had gone before us and was with us.

Are you following this story? We traveled 5,600 miles on this trip. Around the 4,500 mile marker of the trip,  we meet a couple at a wedding in Houston. They are unknown to us but as we share our lives, GOD appeared and was with us. God had gone before us all.  At the end of the prayer time, Jac asked Sherry and Don if  God ever gives them “a word from the Holy Spirit” regarding us–don’t hold back, tell us! The next day we did the wedding and went to dinner at a really fancy ranch outside of Sugarland. Sherry and Don came over and got us up from the table with our grandson and made us dance in the Grand March. At the end of the wedding, Sherry came up to me in a hurry and sat down.  She grabbed my hand and held it in hers.  She said, “I DO have a word from the Lord for you.” She looked me in the eyes and said, “God will never leave you, Dave. He will never forsake you. Many in your life have but God wants you to know for 100% certainty that He will never leave you nor will God ever forsake you.”  She told Jac, “God’s word for you, ‘Pull up a chair and watch me work!'”

So What?
Have you been feeling like God has forgotten you?  Are the pressures of life overwhelming you?  Have you experienced a broken relationship?  Has someone you love passed away?  Have you lost your job?  Perhaps your health has you worried or maybe it’s the health of someone you love.  Maybe a child has you worrying yourself sick. Guess what? I HAVE A WORD FOR YOU! Every week I ask the Lord for your heart, I ask for the message that you need to hear. Today the word I have for you is the very same word that Spiritual Director from Sugarland, Texas, gave to us:    “God will never leave you. He will never forsake you. Many in your life have but God wants you to know for 100% certainty that GOD HIMSELF will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I’m willing to pull up a chair and watch God go before us. I’m willing to pull up a chair and help us to become strong and courageous.  ARE YOU?!!!

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

 

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 2/2/2019

Seed of Faith – One Thing   By Pastor Dave  

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

Dear Faithful Friends!

It has been a month since I last sat down to write. After Christmas, Jac and I spent three weeks driving from Rancho Cucamonga, California to The Villages, Florida. Jac cannot fly due to her heavy metals poisoning and it had been 18 months since her last trip to visit her aging parents who are 87 and 85. Jac talks with them on the phone several times a week but wanted to see for herself that her parents are doing okay.  We had a nephew getting married in Houston on January 19th–so we made plans to drive to Florida after Christmas and to make the wedding on our way back home. Jac was ending her 70 days of her third chelation; she was really sick.  Any plans I had for spending relaxing hours reading and writing simply vanished as caring for my wife took center stage. We made the trip and spent time with family; from December 20 through January 20, we visited with 40 family members! We were able to see our parents, all three of our children, their spouses, and all 12 of our grandchildren! We were so very blessed. Jac’s curiousity regarding her parents was eased–any health care professional would give them a passing grade for living on their own.  Jac’s heart was satisfied and we had a great time visiting our family. Now that we’re safely home, it’s time for me to get back to my normal routine. I hope you enjoy 2019’s first SEED OF FAITH!

Each New Year at The Seed we begin with a reflection and a challenge. What is the “ONE WORD” of intention that God is giving you to grow into, or work on, this year?  My word is “Vision”. Jac’s word is “BRAVE.” What is the one word of intention that will help to change your life for good this year? (You can even google “words of intention”–there are many sites to peruse!)

Each New Year we also offer our members to draw a new name to grow into and to allow the Holy Spirit to shape them.  The first Sunday of the year was Epiphany. Where the wise men found the infant Jesus as they followed the mysterious star. The next week in the church calendar is the “Baptism of Jesus”. This is when John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the Jordan and the voice of the Father is heard saying, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.” I love to have baskets of names up front and have the people come forward to draw a new name for them to work on during 2019. My new name is “Fearless Warrior”! (If you would like a new name drawn from our basket — please let me know.) I usually have to big vases of water up by the names, symbolizing the baptism of Jesus and also that when we are baptized, we are buried with Christ in our sin and risen from the dead with Christ. This year I came across a great video online of “The Domino Effect”. This year I had baskets of dominoes by the baskets of names.   I had our congregation watch the video on the “Domino Effect.”  Here is a link to YouTube, if you would like to view it — https://youtu.be/5JCm5FY-dEY. It’s quite impressive. One little domino can create quite a mighty change for good. The dominoes the people drew are to remind them of how their life can positively affect another’s. Make that call, visit that person in the hospital. Send that card. Make that meal. We never know how our obedience to God will affect someone’s life. Let’s put THE DOMINO EFFECT into our lives in 2019.

So What?  What will be the domino effect of your life this year?  What domino effect will you have on others?  What domino effect will you have on this world this year?    A second “so what” is: What is the “ONE WORD” that God has given you to work on this year?  What is the “ONE THING” that you are looking for this year?

Do you know that there are several passages in the Bible with the words “ONE THING?”

What is the “One Thing” that you have heard from the Lord?
King David wrote many of the Psalms.  Psalm 62 is a song of trust in God alone.  Towards the end of the Psalm, verse 11 and 12, David finally affirms that he can rest peacefully since he has heard that all the power belongs to God and that the steadfast love of the Lord lasts forever.  One thing God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.” Psalm 62:11-12

What is the “One Thing” that you are asking of the Lord?
David, the shepherd boy who wrote Psalm 23, wrote in Psalm 27 the “one thing” that he asked for was to live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 27:4-5 — One thing I asked of the Lord this is what I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”  The one thing the shepherd boy asked of the Lord was to live in the house of the Lord forever!  One thing King David was going to seek after — was to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord!

What is the “One Thing” that you need?
In the Gospel of Luke, we are told of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus comes to visit and Martha is busy, busy, busy — working, cleaning, preparing, planning, cooking and setting up for the occasion; so much so that she misses the most important one thing!  Listen to the closing of this story — Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; but there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha missed the “one thing!”  Her intentions were good but she ended up missing the forest for the trees. It is my prayer that we learn from Martha and do not miss the “one thing”!

What is the “One Thing” that you are doing?
Paul was sitting in a prison in Rome waiting for his own death by execution. He writes a letter to the church in Philippi called Philippians.  In chapter three he writes — I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;  but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved,  I do not consider that I have made it my own;  but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:10-14)

Can you picture the scene?  Paul is sitting in prison saying — I want to know Christ!  I want to know the power of His resurrection!  I want to have a death like His — so I can have a life like His!  I haven’t made it! I haven’t reached the goal — but the “one thing” — the “one thing” that I will do is forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead!   Paul was at the end of his life, and Paul understood that knowing Christ, that living in the power of the resurrection was the ONE THING that would bring him life.

What is the “One Thing” you lack?
The story of the rich man in Mark 10 — is a powerful story of the call to follow Christ.  I believe Christ is calling us to follow him and to not be so concerned with what we do — but with what God can do through us!  As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’  He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’” Luke 10:17-27

Here’s your final “So What?” What is the “One Thing” God is asking of you today?

What is the “One Word” that God is giving you this year? 

What is the “One Thing” that you will do that will change your life and the lives of those around you?  Will you be a domino that changes the world for good?

In case  you don’t know it, JESUS IS THE ONE THING! I’m praying that you will open your heart wide to Christ this year. I’m praying that you will seek to read the living words of life found in the Scriptures. Happy 2019! May this be your best year ever.

Seed You Sunday! For our good friends in Lusaka, Zambia — Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani—God loves you and so do I” Mulungu aku daliseni — God bless you    God loves you with an unfailing love and so do I, Pastor Dave www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Dear Faithful Friends!

It has been a month since I last sat down to write. After Christmas, Jac and I spent three weeks driving from Rancho Cucamonga, California to The Villages, Florida. Jac cannot fly due to her heavy metals poisoning and it had been 18 months since her last trip to visit her aging parents who are 87 and 85. Jac talks with them on the phone several times a week but wanted to see for herself that her parents are doing okay.  We had a nephew getting married in Houston on January 19th–so we made plans to drive to Florida after Christmas and to make the wedding on our way back home. Jac was ending her 70 days of her third chelation; she was really sick.  Any plans I had for spending relaxing hours reading and writing simply vanished as caring for my wife took center stage. We made the trip and spent time with family; from December 20 through January 20, we visited with 40 family members! We were able to see our parents, all three of our children, their spouses, and all 12 of our grandchildren! We were so very blessed. Jac’s curiousity regarding her parents was eased–any health care professional would give them a passing grade for living on their own.  Jac’s heart was satisfied and we had a great time visiting our family. Now that we’re safely home, it’s time for me to get back to my normal routine. I hope you enjoy 2019’s first SEED OF FAITH!

Each New Year at The Seed we begin with a reflection and a challenge. What is the “ONE WORD” of intention that God is giving you to grow into, or work on, this year?  My word is “Vision”. Jac’s word is “BRAVE.” What is the one word of intention that will help to change your life for good this year? (You can even google “words of intention”–there are many sites to peruse!)

Each New Year we also offer our members to draw a new name to grow into and to allow the Holy Spirit to shape them.  The first Sunday of the year was Epiphany. Where the wise men found the infant Jesus as they followed the mysterious star. The next week in the church calendar is the “Baptism of Jesus”. This is when John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the Jordan and the voice of the Father is heard saying, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.” I love to have baskets of names up front and have the people come forward to draw a new name for them to work on during 2019. My new name is “Fearless Warrior”! (If you would like a new name drawn from our basket — please let me know.) I usually have to big vases of water up by the names, symbolizing the baptism of Jesus and also that when we are baptized, we are buried with Christ in our sin and risen from the dead with Christ. This year I came across a great video online of “The Domino Effect”. This year I had baskets of dominoes by the baskets of names.   I had our congregation watch the video on the “Domino Effect.”  Here is a link to YouTube, if you would like to view it — https://youtu.be/5JCm5FY-dEY. It’s quite impressive. One little domino can create quite a mighty change for good. The dominoes the people drew are to remind them of how their life can positively affect another’s. Make that call, visit that person in the hospital. Send that card. Make that meal. We never know how our obedience to God will affect someone’s life. Let’s put THE DOMINO EFFECT into our lives in 2019.

So What?  What will be the domino effect of your life this year?  What domino effect will you have on others?  What domino effect will you have on this world this year?    A second “so what” is: What is the “ONE WORD” that God has given you to work on this year?  What is the “ONE THING” that you are looking for this year?

Do you know that there are several passages in the Bible with the words “ONE THING?”

What is the “One Thing” that you have heard from the Lord?
King David wrote many of the Psalms.  Psalm 62 is a song of trust in God alone.  Towards the end of the Psalm, verse 11 and 12, David finally affirms that he can rest peacefully since he has heard that all the power belongs to God and that the steadfast love of the Lord lasts forever.  One thing God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.” Psalm 62:11-12

What is the “One Thing” that you are asking of the Lord?
David, the shepherd boy who wrote Psalm 23, wrote in Psalm 27 the “one thing” that he asked for was to live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 27:4-5 — One thing I asked of the Lord this is what I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”  The one thing the shepherd boy asked of the Lord was to live in the house of the Lord forever!  One thing King David was going to seek after — was to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord!

What is the “One Thing” that you need?
In the Gospel of Luke, we are told of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus comes to visit and Martha is busy, busy, busy — working, cleaning, preparing, planning, cooking and setting up for the occasion; so much so that she misses the most important one thing!  Listen to the closing of this story — Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; but there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha missed the “one thing!”  Her intentions were good but she ended up missing the forest for the trees. It is my prayer that we learn from Martha and do not miss the “one thing”!

What is the “One Thing” that you are doing?
Paul was sitting in a prison in Rome waiting for his own death by execution. He writes a letter to the church in Philippi called Philippians.  In chapter three he writes — I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;  but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved,  I do not consider that I have made it my own;  but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:10-14)

Can you picture the scene?  Paul is sitting in prison saying — I want to know Christ!  I want to know the power of His resurrection!  I want to have a death like His — so I can have a life like His!  I haven’t made it! I haven’t reached the goal — but the “one thing” — the “one thing” that I will do is forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead!   Paul was at the end of his life, and Paul understood that knowing Christ, that living in the power of the resurrection was the ONE THING that would bring him life.

What is the “One Thing” you lack?
The story of the rich man in Mark 10 — is a powerful story of the call to follow Christ.  I believe Christ is calling us to follow him and to not be so concerned with what we do — but with what God can do through us!  As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’  He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’” Luke 10:17-27

Here’s your final “So What?” What is the “One Thing” God is asking of you today?

What is the “One Word” that God is giving you this year? 

What is the “One Thing” that you will do that will change your life and the lives of those around you?  Will you be a domino that changes the world for good?

In case  you don’t know it, JESUS IS THE ONE THING! I’m praying that you will open your heart wide to Christ this year. I’m praying that you will seek to read the living words of life found in the Scriptures. Happy 2019! May this be your best year ever.

Seed You Sunday! For our good friends in Lusaka, Zambia — Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani—God loves you and so do I” Mulungu aku daliseni — God bless you    God loves you with an unfailing love and so do I, Pastor Dave www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 12-22-18

Seed of Faith – Living Out & Watching Out   By Pastor Dave  

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” Luke 2:8

Dear Friends and Saintly Seed Sowers:
The final countdown for Christmas is here! Depending on when you read this — you will have less than 7 days to make the final preparations for your home and your heart for Christmas. Why not take a few moments in the next few days to read Luke 2:8-20? Reflect on the announcement of Jesus’ birth.  How has this announcement changed your life? Just think, if the Savior had not been born, December 25 would be a regular Tuesday this year. No holiday parties to attend, no kids’ Christmas plays or concerts, either. No extreme shopping–online or in the stores. Perhaps the big buzz would be New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I seriously want you to sit down and think about this? What if Jesus had never come to earth? What if Jesus had never been born?

Just about every spare minute I have this month, I am studying; looking over my Scripture passages for this week’s final Advent message on love. I keep getting stopped by the fact that there were shepherds … who lived out in the fields…doing what shepherds do:  keeping watch over their flocks.  It made me think,  “How do I apply that to me today?” These shepherds were just doing what shepherds do.  Kind of like you and me.  We go to work.  We come home.  We all have some sort of routine and rhythm to our days just like these shepherds. You have to bet that this day, this night was very ordinary in their very ordinary lives and, then, in one split second, everything changed completely and forever!  In the darkness of the night, an angel of the Lord appeared—all shiny and glowing!  It made me think of this question,  “Am I watching out for God to break into my daily routine?  Would I even notice if He moved into my neighborhood?” 

Let’s get busy dissecting the Greek. The Greek word for “keeping” is a present-active verb–meaning the action of “watching” is a constant, ongoing, day-in and day-out, hour in and hour out, minute by minute, second by second action.   The shepherds were constantly watching their flocks–by day and by night. It never stopped. Those shepherds were always watching over their flocks.  This then made me think of another question and as the Holy Spirit prompted me, I now prompt you:

What is it that you are keeping watch over–by day and by night? Be honest.  What is it that consumes your life? What eats up your time, your money, your thoughts?

Back to the shepherds who are out in the thick darkness of night watching sheep.  To them it was an ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And SUDDENLY,  God broke into their ordinary story.   You know this God of ours, the God Almighty who loves to hook the word “extra” onto the front of ordinary—extraordinary!? That’s where the shepherds were.   A night starting out just like every other night: watch the flock settle down for their night’s sleep; tomorrow will come soon enough. Try now to imagine being out there as a shepherd. Maybe you’re cooking stew over the make-shift fire? Maybe you are unrolling your sleeping bag and setting up under a tree? Maybe you and a few other shepherds are swapping funny, sheepish stories? It’s all quiet. It’s time for settling down. And then the greatest news in the history of the world is announced! An angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds — in the fields, in the outskirts of town,  and the shepherds are terrified.  I need to translate this part of the passage  because it’s important:  they were terrified, terrified greatly. Have you ever been greatly terrified? The night has a light of its own. It’s not twinkle, twinkle little star. It’s an angel. Lighting up the night sky.

Has God ever interrupted your nice, quiet, ordinary life?  Surely the shepherds’ ordinary night has now turned into an extraordinary night!

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Immediately, the shepherds had to think, “Isaiah!  The Prophet Isaiah foretold us of this very thing, 750 years ago.  Holy stinking smokes!” and then the entire night sky is not filled with just one angel but it is filled with a whole heavenly host of angels…all praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth…peace!”  Come on, think about being there. The entire skies are filled with angels and they are all singing. What would you do or say? What we do know is that when the angels were gone, those ordinary shepherds high-tailed it to find that baby; the baby who would be wrapped in cloths…and lying in a manger—an animal’s feeding trough.  These were lowly shepherds but they knew exactly where to find a manger. And when they found the manger,  there they found the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths!

So What?
Well, it’s here.  The last week before Christmas!  We sit on the edge of our own ordinary Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Eve, people everywhere throughout the world will gather together.  Many will gather in homes, surrounded by family.  Others will gather in churches.  All around the globe, ordinary people just like you and me, will gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the Lord.  It’s really no ordinary night and we are no longer ordinary people.

God came down to earth in the form of a baby. God wants to live in our hearts and our homes.  Immanuel—God with us!  This was the cry of those ordinary shepherds on that ordinary night in their ordinary lives. God broke into their darkness of their night.  Angels!  Terrified!  More angels!  Singing! Glory and Praise to God!  Go find the Baby in a manger! Those shepherds went and they found the baby. They were no longer ordinary.  They were now glorifying-and-praising-God-extraordinary!  This is my prayer for you as you read this SEED OF FAITH. May the Holy Spirit break into your ordinary, routine life and may you sense the presence of heavenly angels this last week of Advent. When you gather with your family, or with your church, may you, too, sing just like those angels and those shepherds.

Christmas is the PROMISE that GOD IS WITH US. May there be a song in your heart as you run to find the baby lying in the manger. You’re not ordinary if you know the King of Kings!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

See You Sunday!
Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani—God loves you and so do I”
Mulungu aku daliseni — God bless you

God loves you with an unfailing love 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 4-5-19

Seed of Faith – BE DEVOTED & HONOR ONE ANOTHER  By Pastor Dave  

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”  Romans 12:9-13

Dear Saintly Seed-Sowers and Faithful Friends:

It is with great joy in my heart that I sit down to write this week’s Seed of faith.  We have begun a new series at The Seed Christian Fellowship!  We are diving deep into the love and grace of God as we look at some of the wonderful and powerful “ONE ANOTHER” statements found in the Bible! I think it’s a great Lenten series: for us to focus on the words of Christ and the words of Paul.  Learning all of the “ONE ANOTHER” statements will certainly help us grow in our faith and love.

Last week, we looked at what it means to “GREET ONE ANOTHER.”  It is my hope and prayer that you took the “so what” challenge and greeted someone this past week.  Throughout my years of ministry, I’ve found that when you ask someone, “How are you?” their response is usually pretty limited. “Fine.”  “Good.” “Great.” But if you ask, “How’s your day going today?” You can get more of a conversation going. I’ve found that this single question has led into many opportunities for ministry. I’ve had people share their heart because they’re going through some hard things. It’s a good question to remember as you start each day and go out into the world. “How’s your day going so far?”

Today we turn our attention to Romans 12:9-21.  I printed the opening lines above for you to reflect on.  I hope you grab your own Bible (if you don’t have a Bible, I will send you one — just email me) and read Romans 12:9-21.

When I was in seminary, my best friend PJ hired me to learn the construction trade.  I went to seminary Monday through Thursday and worked for PJ on the weekends and during the summer.  I learned how to build homes and learned all kinds of construction work during those three years. I remember one time, right after I started working for PJ, my co-worker John, who is PJ”s brother,  and I were rough-framing this home out in the country.  We worked all morning framing in a two-story chimney chase. You know what a chimney chase is, don’t you?  It is the framing for the chimney so when the brick layers come in, they have a frame to work with in order to finish the chimney/fireplace. John and I worked all morning framing in this chimney chase; two stories high. PJ drove up in his pickup truck and pulled up beside the chimney chase.  He got out of his truck, looked at us and walked over to the chimney chase.  He stood there looking at the chimney chase.  To be honest with you — I was pretty proud of our work.  He then told us that the chimney chase was off by half an inch.  I stood there and started joking with him and told him there was no way we were off.. He told me that we were off by at least a half an inch.  I told him I would bet him a lunch.  He got out his plumb line and climbed the ladder and dropped the plumb line. Sure enough, we were off a half an inch.  I lost the bet and owed PJ a lunch.  Then PJ said, “Tear it down and start over.”  PJ told me that you must sincere and honest with your work if your name is going to be on it. Do you know that the word “sincere” means “to be without hypocrisy”?   

I thought of Paul in this verse. Paul is telling us that our love must be sincere, without hypocrisy or play-acting. What Paul is saying is that our love must not be putting on a fake face and playacting.  Our love must be sincere.  I thought of all of the plans for building a house.  When you build a house, you need to make sure that the foundation is straight and solid; otherwise, everything that I build on top of that foundation will be out of line. “Tear it down and reframe it, Dave, you’re off by half an inch.” I certainly don’t ever want to hear those words from Christ. I want my love to be sincere. I want to build a solid foundation on the solid rock of Christ.

When I first became a Christian in 1981, I started going to church faithfully. Church was hard work for me.  I didn’t grow up being a Christian, even though my grandmother loved to take us four boys to church. (By the way, church was right next door to her house!)  Growing up I had built  a lot of walls around my life.  I don’t know if you have ever done that?  When I was 12, I made a decision that I was not going to let anyone hurt me again. I didn’t let anyone really love me and, to be honest with you, I had all of that love and hate stuff mixed up. I loved doing the wrong things and I often hated doing what was good. I buried the pain of my brother’s death with alcohol. I drank excessively and often. I had Paul’s teaching backwards.  Have you ever done that?   Growing up, if I was clinging onto anything, I was clinging to me, myself and I.  That is a real “unholy trinity.”  There was no way I could be devoted to love one another if all I did was love myself. I was married with three small children before I realized that there was a different Trinity.

The Greek word Paul uses for “HONOR” is actually spelled “time” in Greek.  Isn’t that fascinating?  The truth is that if we really want to “honor one another” we will need to make time for others.  Paul said, “Honor one another above yourself.”   For a young man who grew up loving himself, learning to reverse that cycle was difficult for me. Like I said, I was married with 3 small children. My wife is a pretty smart woman, and she signed us up for a marriage retreat. I learned through that Marriage Encounter weekend that love is spelled “TIME.” When we honor one another, it’s going to take TIME. When you honor your spouse, plan on spending some TIME. When you honor your children, or family, plan on spending TIME. From that 1981 marriage retreat, I’ve never forgotten that LOVE is spelled TIME. 

Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, that we should try and outdo one another in showing love. The basic concept being taught is that if we want to keep the fires of love burning, we should learn how to love and honor one another. Wow!  That sounds just like these words from Romans.

My lifelong friend and former boss, PJ,had some pretty funny sayings.  He used to say, “Dave, measure twice, cut once.”  I think he was trying to teach me to slow down and take the time to make sure that I was right before I cut the wood. I think this is what our good friend, Paul, is teaching us. “Honor one another.” Make the time you need to honor one another.”  That statement can hit us pretty hard because so often in our individualistic society we have a hard time putting others above ourselves.  What I’ve found is that honoring one another is going to cost me time. It’s going to cost me “ME” time. I’m going to have to give up something in order to be able to spend the time it takes to honor one another.  I have an honest confession. I love to work. I really do. I love to read my commentaries, I love to journal on what I’m reading, and I love to do ministry. And every once in a while, I can get really caught up in all of those “me” things. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife and family. It doesn’t cost me anything except TIME to say to my wife, “Let’s go for a walk” or “let’s have a cup of coffee out by the fireplace.” Like I said, learning that love is spelled time really framed a new foundation in my life. I’ve found it to be a solid foundation.

The Apostle Paul said it. “Be devoted to one another in love!  Honor one another above yourself!  Live in harmony with one another.” 

I remember one time working construction when we had dug a hole for a swimming pool in the bottom of a hotel. PJ came along and said, “Our measurements are off by a foot. We have to dig the entire floor of the swimming pool out by a foot.” I found myself saying, “Why don’t we just raise the roof a foot?” PJ turned around and looked at me and I’ll never forget what he said.  “Dave, it’s going to take us 6 months to frame and build this hotel. And then for the next 60 years, kids are going to swim in that pool you’re digging. Our measurements are off by a foot. It’s not your fault. But you are going to make it right because it’s the right thing to do.”  My co-worker, Roger and I spent the rest of the day digging another 12 inches, another foot, out of the floor of the swimming pool by hand. By now, the frame work around the swimming pool had been finished and there was no way we could get a bobcat in to dig it out. Even during seminary, God kept hammering away at me: “LOVE IS SPELLED TIME.” With every shovel full of dirt, I was learning to “honor one another.” It took us one full day but we got that swimming pool ready. Even all these years later, kids and families are swimming away at that hotel. Our work was done correctly. I can look back now and know that I got it right.

So What?
I was 26 when I rededicated my life to Christ. I had a wife and three small children. I had a whole lot of learning and loving to do in order to be able to tear down the walls that I had built around my heart. Letting down our walls does, indeed, open us to many kinds of fear but it also opens us up to many kinds of love. On that same marriage weekend, I told my wife for the first time in seven years that I needed her. I had written her a love letter and I said those three, magic words. “I NEED YOU.” I will never forget my wife’s reaction. She cried. She really cried.  She didn’t just cry, she wailed. “You need me?” Let me tell you, the walls I had built that had insured my own safety from hurt came crashing down that day. I had learned Romans 12.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”  Romans 12:9-13 

Seed you Sunday!

Love really is spelled TIME.
HONOR ONE ANOTHER.
GREET ONE ANOTHER.

These ONE ANOTHER statements from the word are challenging.

Is your love sincere? Do you hate what is evil? Do you cling to what is good? Are you devoted to one another? Do you honor others above your holy trinity of ME, MYSELF and I?

Your “So What?” challenge is for you to spend some time figuring out what this HONOR ONE ANOTHER means to you in your life. I have some hard questions for you:

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

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

Seed of Faith – GREET ONE ANOTHER By Pastor Dave  

“Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” I Peter 5:14

Dear Faithful Friends and Saintly Seed-Sowers:

Today we begin a new series based on the “One Another” passages found in the New Testament.  As I have been praying for you, and for so many others who are associated with The Seed, the Lord has put it on my heart for us to look at the passages that call us to become a community of believers.  One of the questions I wrestle with is, “How do we have community when there is so much dis-unity?” I believe that with the advancement of all of our electronic devices, our busyness of life, our divisive political world, our racial struggles, economic trials and religious differences, we have lost a sense of connection with “One Another.” This series is just part of the answer to more community in the church and in the world.

The New Testament writers wrestled with some of the same things we struggle with today.  In fact, many of the letters written in the New Testament were written to churches that were struggling with some of the exact things we struggle with. Over the next seven weeks, we will dive into the deep end of the pool, and learn what the early church struggled with and how they were encouraged to:

Greet One Another — Romans 16:1-16
Honor and be Devoted to One Another — Romans 12:9-21
Serve One Another — Galatians 5:13 & Ephesians 5:13-33
Live in Harmony with One Another — I Peter 1:3-17
Submit to One Another — Galatains 5:13

Teach, Admonish and Accept One Another — Romans 15:1-7; Colossians 3:12-17
Bear with One Another – Ephesians 4:1-10
Love One Another — John 13:1-34

An early “So what?” question is, “Have you ever thought about how we greet one another, honor one another, are devoted to one another, submit and serve one another, live in harmony with one another, teach, admonish, and accept one another, bear with one another and love one another?”
How good are we at all of these ONE ANOTHERS? How good are YOU?

I encourage you to pick up your Bible and read theses inspiring passages — Romans 16:1-16; I Peter 5:14; I Corinthians 16:19-24; II Corinthians 13:12-14; I Thessalonians 5:26-28.  Here we are encouraged to GREET ONE ANOTHER!

The Greek word for “greet” is “aspazomi” and in this context it is an imperative verb which is a command.  “Aspazomi” means “welcome kindly, receive one another, embrace,  be happy about,  bid welcome,  salute or  greet.”  I wonder what our world would be like if we really greeted one other. What would happen if we welcomed one another kindly? If we received one another with love? What would happen if we showed others just how happy we are to see them? That’s what our New Testament writers are talking about: Greet each other with God’s love. Salute one another—give one another a friendly gesture of respect, homage, and recognition. In today’s culture, it doesn’t have to be a hug or a holy kiss, but a hearty smile, a friendly fist pump, or high five can simply say, “I’m happy to see you today!”

In his beautiful TED talk, John Sutherland, an officer in London’s police department, explains a principle in Forensic Science called Locard’s Exchange Principle. Developed by Dr. Edmond Locard, known as the Sherlock Holmes of France, this principle has a simple premise: every contact leaves a trace. In other words, every criminal leaves a trace behind him. One forensic expert put it this way:  Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks … the paint he scratches, the blood … he deposits or collects … This is evidence that does not forget.  Sutherland explains how this principle applies not just to forensic science but to all human relationships:  Every time two people come into contact with one another, an exchange takes place. Whether between lifelong friends or passing strangers, we encourage, we ignore, we hold out a hand, or we withdraw it. We walk towards or we walk away. We bless or we curse… And every single contact leaves a trace. The way that we treat and regard one another matters. It really matters.[i]

The other day Jac and I went out to eat out a local restaurant.  As we went to find a seat, Jac noticed an older gentleman with a Veteran’s cap. He was in a wheelchair. She stopped and said, “Thank you for your service.” Without blinking, the older veteran saluted her from his wheelchair. “My pleasure, mam. Serving was my pleasure.”

SO WHAT?
My “so what” this week is for us to step out of our comfort zone. Greet one another—and not just here but at home, at work, at the grocery store, movies, wherever you go. I’m not recommending that you go hug everyone out there but…you can greet one another with a smile.  Just smile at someone and see what happens.  Take out your headphones and greet the person next to you at the grocery store. Call your checkout person, waitress or waiter by name.   Maybe even bless someone with a wave and a “have a great day!”

I’ve been doing ordained ministry for over 20 years. It’s a full-time job. Here’s the one thing that I’ve found that opens the door to a person’s day. “How’s your day going?” I ask it everywhere I go: the post office, the grocery clerk, the server at the restaurant, our trash truck drivers.  I encourage you to ask that question, too, as you go about your way until we meet again. I don’t ask, “How are you?” because that almost always results in a one-word answer of  “Fine” but when you ask someone, “How’s your day going?” You know what? They tell you. When they tell me they are having a bad day or a hard day, I tell them, “I’ll pray for you.”

Okay, repeat after me: Greet one another. (Greet one another.) How’s your day going? (How’s your day going?)

This is your assignment for the week. Be intentional. When you go out to the grocery, smile and greet someone. When you go to work, stop and ask your co-workers, “How’s your day going?” You can also ask how their week is going. Ask your family members, “Hey, I’ve been thinking of you today, how’s your day going so far?”  A text to your busy spouse just might make you a hero or shero. Every day try to greet someone–“Aspazomi”… “welcome kindly, receive one another, embrace,  be happy about,  bid welcome,  salute or  greet.”  “Hey, I’m happy to see you!”

When Jac and I were raising our family, we tried to have dinner at 6. In between all of the sports and school events–we tried to sit down as a family as often as we could. We asked the kids to pick one of these three words:  BAD. SAD. GLAD. They could share on any one of these words. Pretty soon they were sharing on all three. (This is how we started to find out if our son was getting a grade notice report in the coming mail! He was famous for them. “Mom, Dad, I try to see how low I can get my grades and then I see how high they can go!” He never missed the B honor roll and it was kind of nice to know that his grade report was on its way. We will never forget Brian and his friends all sitting at the dining room table working on their Math, English and Science! Jac would feed them and I would try to help. Great memories.)

I may not tell you often enough, but I love being called to be your pastor. With every handshake, or abrazo — holy hug or handshake, you have greeted me (welcomed me, received me, embraced me, saluted me and have been happy to see me) with God’s great love.  May we as a church community always greet one another with God’s great love!

Seed 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 3/23/19

Seed of Faith – TRANSFIGURATION TO TRANSFORMATION   By Pastor Dave  

“About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.” Luke 9:28-29

Dear Faithful Seed Sowers:

SPRING HAS SPRUNG! Happy Spring to all! We’ve all endured a long winter; it’s great to have the HOPE that Spring brings.

Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at a few, different “P” words: PRESENCE – PROMISES- POWER –  & POSSIBILITIES. Today we will look at our final “P” word:  PURPOSE!  I pray for you all each day. I always welcome any prayer concern. One of my daily prayers is that you will learn what your purpose is on this earth. I hope this SEED OF FAITH helps with that.

It’s time for an early “so what?”   How would our lives change if we lived in The Presence, The Promises, The Power, and The Possibilities of our amazing God? This is the question that will lead us to find our PURPOSE.
1.  “What is God’s purpose for my life?”
2.  “What is my purpose here on earth?”
3.  “Does my purpose change with the seasons of my life?”   

Seriously, stop for a moment and be quiet. Do you know your purpose for your life? Is your purpose the same as it’s always been or has it changed with the seasons of your life? Our Scripture for today is Luke 9:28-36. In this passage we read about the Transfiguration of Christ.  Another question to ask: How is my life transformed by the transfiguration?  (Have you ever noticed how many questions are asked in the Bible? Have you ever noticed how many questions Jesus is asked? Have you ever noticed how many questions Jesus asks? Get your notebook out because it’s a lot!)

Today we are in the Gospel of Luke with Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Think about this for a moment. Put yourself into this story. Peter, John, James and Jesus have gone to the mountain to pray.  Suddenly there are two more people with them: Moses, who has experience with God on a mountaintop, and Elijah, who also has some mountaintop experience. The three of these men are standing together, discussing Jesus’ departure. I love to put myself into the stories of the Bible. What were these three saying?  Maybe Moses and Elijah were preparing Jesus for the imminent, upcoming reality check of the valley below.  Perhaps Moses was reminding Jesus of what happened to him during his mountaintop experiences. Maybe he was saying, “All I know is that I had stone tablets from God and I returned to my people worship and a golden cow!”  Maybe Elijah was reminding Jesus of how God came through in a powerful way for him up on Mt. Carmel. “God slayed all those false prophets, Jesus, and then Jezebel threatened to kill me.” What do you think these three holy men were discussing? I often wonder.  Maybe they were preparing Jesus for the final days in Jerusalem: a betrayal, an arrest, a trial, a crucifixion, a resurrection.

In our story, we are told that as soon as Jesus, Peter, James and John traveled down the mountain, a large crowd descended upon them.  We are presented with the story of the father and his demon-possessed son. Last week, we looked at this passage and we learned that all things are possible for those who believe.

Jesus has just experienced a powerful, mountain-top experience (have you been there?) only to come crashing back into the valley of real life.  I think our Gospel-writing friend, Dr. Luke, is trying to tell us a secret through his story:  GET READY TO GET SMASHED, CRASHED, and BASHED after your exhilarating GOD MOMENT on the MOUNTAIN TOP!

I have been on many spiritual retreats.  I have had powerful God moments of mountain highs. It seems they all have one thing in common: I usually come crashing back down into the valley of the reality. It’s plenty of fun to spend time on the mountaintop. We have members who allow my wife and I to spend time in their mountain cabin any time we want. It’s exhilarating to spend a week up in the fresh air.  It’s amazing to see the 100′ tall pine trees sway in the breeze. Each time we go, I marvel at God’s creation and I am refueled and refilled with all of the “P’s” we’ve been studying: PRESENCE – PROMISES- POWER –  & POSSIBILITIES.  I come down from our weekends, and our spiritual retreats, and I am reminded over and over: “You may have been changed this weekend, Dave, but remember:  the world has not.”  Toby Mac sent out a post this week that read,  “The God on the mountain is still the God in the valley.”  

In our reading from Luke, we hear that Jesus’ face was changed, his clothes became white like lightning. Luke says Jesus was transformed. Mark and Matthew use a different verb to describe the scene.  They both wrote that Jesus was transfigured right before Peter, James and John.  The Greek word they used for transfigured” or “changed” is “metamorphoo.”  This is the exact word from where we get the word “metamorphosis.”  What our Gospel writers are trying to convey to us is that as Jesus was praying on that mountaintop his face was changed, transfigured and transformed right in front of Peter, James and John’s very eyes. Metamorphoo. Just like when the caterpillar crawls into the crysalis and at some point–a total reconfiguration of that caterpillar is configured into a butterfly? Yes.  Exactly like that. Jesus was metamorphoo-ed. Transfigured.

So What?
In 2000 I met for lunch with a man I had spent a weekend with through Marriage Encounter. My wife and I were on team as a presenting clergy couple. The man and his wife were blessed by the marriage encounter experience. After the weekend, he invited me to lunch because he had a question he wanted to ask me. I arrived late from a memorial service.  When we settled in to our lunch, the man asked me the question he had been pondering: What is it that brings me my greatest joy in ministry?  I looked at him and, without missing a beat, I told him that my greatest joy is seeing someone’s life transformed by the love of Christ. The man smiled at me and said that he has met with many pastors and has asked them the same question. Why did they go into full-time ministry?  He told me he had pastors who just looked at him and say, “I don’t know. I haven’t ever stopped to think what give me my greatest joy.”  Some of the pastors told him that studying, reading, preaching, and teaching gave them their greatest joy.  My friend responded that I was the only pastor who had answered so quickly and so confidently about my passion and joy.  (My friend is now almost 85. He’s been asking questions about life for many years. My friend is also an orthopedic surgeon.)  I still to this day will give you the same answer: Transformation!

TRANSFORMATION! I have news for you. Jesus isn’t the only person who was changed that day on the mountain top. I’m pretty sure Peter, James and John were METAMORPHOOED, too. I’m pretty sure that their mountaintop experience with Jesus is what changed them and gave them the courage to face the battles in the valley below.  I’m also sure that our own personal encounters with God have METAMORPHOOED us, too.

Our purpose in life, no matter what season we are in, is for us to allow the love and grace of Jesus Christ to transform us.

Transformation. Like the caterpillar crawling into the chrysalis…there is that moment that no one can pinpoint to…when that caterpillar is TRANSFORMED…metamorphooed….transfigured…into a brand new creation…a butterfly.  This is our purpose: to let the grace of Christ change us into the person of God that we’ve been called to become.

The 5 P’s:
Presence —
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Promises — “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
Power — “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength ….” Ephesians 1:18-19
Possibilities — “Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered.  “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”   “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:22-24
Purpose — “As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, (transfigured -transformed) and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.” A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Luke 9:29, 35

I leave you today with a few questions that only you can answer. What is it that gives your life purpose? Is it time for you to go away to a mountaintop? (Your mountaintops can be anywhere–on a retreat, at the beach, at church.) Maybe it’s just time for you to take a day and be alone with God. Drive out to that park, or church, or lake. Bring your bible. Pray. What is it that I call my life’s purpose? What do these 5 “P’s” have to do with my life? Do I feel God’s presence within me? Do I trust in God’s promises? Do I acknowledge that God has all the power I need for my life? Am I open to all of the possibilities God has for me? Is my purpose changing? Am I entering a new season?

Living the Christian life is the most exciting thing I know.  Every day I pray for you. I pray that God, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, and with the reality of the resurrected Christ, will guide you to live the most purposeful life you dream of.

Seed you Sunday!
God loves you with an everlasting love and outrageous grace 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 3-15-19

Seed of Faith – Unlimited Possibilities   By Pastor Dave  

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”   Mark 9:21-24

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed Sowers:
Happy St. Patrick’s weekend to you and may your life be all rainbows and pots of gold! In all seriousness, my prayer is that you are blessed and know how deep the Father’s love is for you.

Last week, I asked if you could take a moment and read through Mark 9:1-29. This is the story of the transfiguration of Jesus and of His journey from the mountaintop back into the valley.  Mountaintops are great but it is the in valleys that many of us live and learn and grow.

As I was working on my Seed of Faith for this week, I was stopped by verses 23-24 in Mark chapter 9! Here we encounter the father of the demon-possessed boy. The father says to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Put yourself in this story. You’ve agonized and wrestled with your son’s illness for years.  That’s how this father is coming to Jesus and, somehow, he’s heard about Jesus and about his ministry.  He’s heard about Jesus healing the sick, curing the lepers, giving sight to the blind and raising the dead.  “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” What a simple prayer! “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on me and help me.”

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

And that has me wondering how Jesus really said, “If you can?”  Was it said sarcastically, defensively, disbelievingly, sadly, causally or cautiously?   Jesus’ reply is really two statements.  The first statement is a question.  I love how Jesus has a habit of answering a question with a question.  The father says, “If you can do anything…?” And Jesus answers him with a question, “If you can?” Can you see the father facing Jesus?The second statement from the boy’s dad is now a plea for Jesus to have pity on them and to help them.  I love Jesus’ reply. “It’s not a question of whether I can do it, but will you believe, for everything is possible for him who believes.”
Now comes one of the greatest responses in all of Scripture. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

So What?
When you hear the word possible what comes to mind?   The secular meaning of possible means “being within the limits of capacity or having potential.” However, the Greek word for “possible” is “dunatos” which means “strong, mighty, powerful, able.” This word is very close to the word we looked at last week;  “dunamis” meaning power, as in dynamite. This word “dunatos” is used many times in the Bible and Jesus used it often to describe faith.

When the helpless father responded to Jesus’ question, he responded with two present-active verbs.  The first verb he used was “I do believe — pisteuo.” In essence, the father was saying, “I will continually, I will not stop, I will never stop putting my trust in you, relying on you, confidently leaning on and believing in You, Jesus.”  The other verb the father used was “help — boetheo” which means “never stop coming to my aid or giving me help or assistance.” “Jesus, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

What a simple prayer!  What a simple reply!  What a simple way to live your life!  Constantly, continually, repeatedly and persistently leaning on, relying on, trusting in and believing on and in God…and then asking God to never stop coming to your aid, to never stop giving you help, to never stop giving you assistance.  A simple prayer that I’m sure Jesus love, “Help me overcome my unbelief.”

So what do you believe about God?  So what do you believe about Jesus? So what do you believe about the Holy Spirit? So what do you believe about faith, grace, love, mercy, justice, healing, miracles, or the resurrection? So what do you believe?  Do you believe Jesus is both human and divine?  Do you believe miracles still  happen today?  Do you believe there a devil?  Do you believe there is life after death?  Is everything possible to those who believe?

Here’s a word I want you to see in a new way: IMPOSSIBLE. When you come down from the mountaintop into the valley of the IMPOSSIBLE…do your own dissecting of this word. Make it two words: I’m POSSIBLE. Jesus came down from that mountain of transfiguration. He’s just had a glory moment, a “come to Jesus” experience! And down, down, down the mountain they go; back into the valley of reality and there Jesus meets a desperate father whose son has been demon-possessed since childhood. From Moses, Elijah and a voice from heaven, Jesus has now returned to the valley of reality, and a very sick child and a very sad dad. Focus on these words of Christ, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  The father replied, “I believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” Have you ever felt that way? “I do kind of, sort of believe…but there’s also a part of me that thinks there’s no way. Help me, Jesus.  Help me believe.”  I’m pretty convinced it’s one of God’s favorite prayers, “HELP ME” or just a simple, “HELP” will do.

Just yesterday, we received a text from a friend of ours. She’s a recent widow. She texted my wife and asked us to pray that she would be able to get onto a flight that she was on “stand by.” She was number 9 on the list. Pretty doubtful that she’d get on that flight, right? Well, she was going to meet her grandchildren, ages, 4 and 7, in Seattle.  She really needed to be on that flight. We prayed. Jac wrote her friend, “I believe God is going to open the doors for you.” A few hours later, her friend wrote to say that she still wasn’t on the plane and it was taking off in two hours. Jac texted back, “God told me to sit in your chair and watch Him work. You’re getting on that flight.” A few hours later, we received this text, “I just boarded the plane! God is so good!”

In 2012, Jac and I rented a house. For the next 5 years, we were being exposed to lead poisoning. Jac had 6 times the lethal limit of lead (scoring a 12) and I had 5 times (scoring a 10) the lethal limit. During the past two years, we’ve chelated two times. Jac just finished her third chelation set and I have just started  my third. “Jesus, if you can do anything, take pity on us. Get rid of the lead.” Slowly, and surely, the lead levels in our bodies are being reduced. Each chelation cycle we go down a few numbers. Jac is down to 8 and I’m down to 7. We have faith …here is our prayer, “We will continually, we will not stop, we will never stop putting our trust in you, we will never stop relying on you, we will confidently lean on You and because we believe in You, Jesus, we know you will never stop coming to our aid or giving us help or assistance.” During the past 20 years of ordained ministry, I’ve made this conclusion: sometimes we are healed in a heartbeat, sometimes we are healed as we walk through the valley, and sometimes we are healed in heaven.

In 2008, Jac went away to a Benedictine monastery for her certificate in Spiritual Direction. While there, the monks taught her a chant. O GOD, COME TO OUR ASSISTANCE. O LORD, MAKE HASTE TO HELP US.  

What about you? Do you believe? Do you need a little help with your unbelief? Give yourself some grace. Jesus does.

Jesus, we do believe; help our unbelief. Help us to put our full trust in you. We will never stop praying. We will never stop putting our trust in you. Come to our assistance, and make haste to help us through this valley. Amen.”

Seed you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.thessedchristianfellowship.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 3/2/2019

Seed of Faith – Incomparable Power   By Pastor Dave  

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”  Ephesians 1:18-20

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed Sowers!

What a great verse from the book of Ephesians! Paul was in prison–and yet, here he is writing GOOD NEWS to us all. The same POWER that raised Christ from the dead…lives in you and me.  As my Spiritual Director, Jim Tilley, always says, “That’s so good I’m going to have to take a Tylenol and lay down!” Far beyond our finite thinking is this very thought but don’t let that stop you from thinking long on this good news.

I hope and pray you are doing well this week!  I suggest to you, once again, that you take a moment to read Paul’s prayer from his prison cell to the Ephesian Church.

What do you know about God’s power? What do you believe about God’s power? Paul uses a specific word to describe God’s power. Paul uses what I call “A PAUL,” he throws two Greek words together and makes up a new meaning:  “huper,” which means “over,” and “ballo,” which means “to throw.”  “Huperballo” is been translated with our English words: “incomparable, exceedingly, immeasurable, to go beyond, to excel, to throw beyond, and to surpass.”  This is close to the same word that Paul uses to try to explain the peace of God that surpasses all understanding found in Philippians 4:7! The idea is that God’s power that raised Christ from the dead also lives in us and that power is something that is incomparable, exceedingly more, immeasurable, way beyond, excelling what we know, thrown way beyond our finite minds, and power that surpasses our comprehension.  Yes. Think on that.

What is this incomparable power of God? 

Maybe Paul was thinking of all the stories he had heard as a boy in Sabbath school.  Stories from the Old Testament scrolls that spoke about God’s power:

·         The power of God to save Noah and his family through building an ark before the flood and enduring the season ON the ark IN the flood…and then rebuilding afterwards!

·         The power of Joseph to interpret dreams for Pharaoh and to survive being sold by his own brothers!

·         The power of God in Moses and Aaron and the plagues to Pharaoh, the parting of the Red Sea and the power of God in the deliverance of the Israelite’s into the Promised land after 40 years of wandering the wilderness—all of them.

·         The power of God given to a little shepherd boy by the name of David when he faced a giant by the name of Goliath–with five smooth stones and a slingshot.

·         The power of God when Daniel was trapped in a lion’s den!

·         The power of God with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in a fiery furnace!

·         The power of God as God brought Jonah out of a belly of whale and sent him to Nineveh to preach the Good News of repentance!

·         The power of God when the prophet Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel!

·         The power of God when he strengthened Esther as she was called to speak to King Xerxes!

·         The power of in Ruth, a Moabite foreigner, to be named in the line of the King of Kings. (Matthew 1)

Paul used four different words for “power” when he tried to describe this incomparable power.  He used the Greek word “δύναμις [dunamis /doo·nam·is/]” from which we get the words “dynamo” or “dynamite.”  This “dunamis” power is “ἐνέργεια [energeia /en·erg·i·ah/]” the working, the effectual working, of the “κράτος [kratos /krat·os/]” might and strength of God. The last word that Paul used in this prayer is the Greek word “ἰσχύς [ischus /is·khoos/]” which means strength, ability, might and power.  Paul tried his hardest to describe the amazing power of GOD that is available to anyone who believes in Christ.

So What?
This past week I was working on different things for the leadership teams of our church,The Seed Christian Fellowship.  I came across some interesting facts about seeds. Do you know that turnip seeds, under good conditions, increase their weight 15 times a minute, and in rich soil turnip seeds increase their weight 15,000 times a day?  The statistics reported that there is no force more powerful than a growing squash. An 18-day old squash is harnessed in such a way that in its growing process it can lift 50 pounds on a lever—and 19 more days later it  can lift 5,000 pounds. Do you know that in a medium-sized mustard plant there are 85 pods?   The average number of seeds in each pod is eight. Since two crops in a given year mature, a gardener figured that it is possible in the interim between February and mid-October to produce a yield of 462,000 seeds–all from one original plant. Turnips and squash aren’t alone, either.  Within every seed lies “incomparably great power!” 

Take a look at the verse picked to be the foundational verse for The Seed Christian Fellowship: “You have been born again not of perishable seed but imperishable through the living, enduring word of God.” (I Peter:23)   Friends, this is what Paul is talking about.  The same incomparably great power that lies within every earthly seed also lies within the living, enduring WORD OF GOD. Stop! Seriously, stop and think about this! The word of God is like an imperishable seed; it is living and enduring.

“So what” is the power that you choose to live with?  What kind of power lives within each one of us?  Do we live in the power of our own wisdom?  Do we live in the power of our own strength?  Do we live in the power of our own resources? Do we live in the power of our own choices?  Do we live in the power of our own bitterness and brokenness?  Do we live in the power of our fears and frustrations?  Or…are we growing more and more each day in the incomparably great power of the living, enduring word of GOD? The Word of God is right here before you and it is a seed that is promised to produce more power within you than you can ask or imagine.

Let’s go back to our scripture and the Apostle Paul. The early church in Ephesus was facing trials and persecution.  They lived in fear! They lived in a city where the goddess Artemis was worshiped and glorified.  The temple to Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the World at the time of Paul’s writing.  Whose power would these early believers turn to? Would they turn to the power of Artemis or would they turn to the power of the Holy Spirit of God?

Whose power will you turn to? It’s the same old question all of these thousands of years later? It may not be Artemis today…but what power will we turn to?

One New Year’s Day, in the Tournament of Roses Parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas to the float’s engine. Here’s the funny thing: this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With all of its vast oil resources, this tiny little float in the Rose parade was out of gas.[i]

I believe that as Christians we have this vast reservoir that is full, overflowing, going beyond what we can ask or imagine, simply waiting for us to tap into. We have this incomparably great power at our fingertips, yet we often run out of gas.

There was a young pastor who went to pray for someone in the hospital. He prayed several scriptures over his parishioner. Guess what? The person was healed! God’s miracle-working power of healing was found in the living, enduring word of God.  Think about John D. Rockefeller who sat at home worrying about all his wealth. He made himself sick with worry—so sick that eating soda crackers and milk was all he ate. How unfortunate it is when we sit on a stockpile of power and never use it for the power of good. I have a friend whose uncle lived like a pauper. He didn’t have gas, or electricity, or running water in his shed of a home.  After he died, they found out he was a millionaire.

If your life feels like it is being flooded and you don’t know if your boat will float, do me a favor and trust that the incomparably great power that helped Noah float his boat will help float yours.  If you feel like you are in a lion’s den of angry lions, be like Daniel, and trust that the incomparably great power that saved him will also save you.  If you feel like you have been tossed overboard and have been swallowed by a whale, trust that the same incomparably great power that rescued Jonah will also rescue you.  David defeated a GIANT with 5 smooth stoned. Is your life out of control? Are you overwhelmed with heartaches, hurts, fears, worries, frustration, pain or confusion?  Get this into your head and heart: the same incomparably great power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead and seated Him in Heaven–is also given to you! This power of God lives inside of you because you believe in Jesus Christ. I am pretty sure that is just about the best news ever.

The power lies within the seed; just ask any watermelon, turnip, squash or ear of corn!

Do you own a Bible?  DUNAMIS. DYNAMITE. You know what?  Dynamite has no power at all until it’s set on fire. Open that Bible. Don’t know where to start? Start in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Read about the power that Jesus has. That same power lives in you…if you believe.

Let us pray the prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesian — 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:16-23 

I have to go now and do what I call, “Tilley Time!” Seriously, promise me that you will stop and think about the awesome and amazing power of God. Seeds grow but first they must be planted.

Seed 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 2/15/19

Seed of Faith – Remembering Hope  By Pastor Dave  

Isaiah 41:10 “… do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

Dear Friends:
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY OF LOVE to YOU! I have great news for you: Our God is with us–whether you have a huge family or whether your family is small. Jesus has promised to be with us ALWAYS–to the very end of the age!

I hope and pray you are well and are walking in faith with the Lord.  Last week’s Seed of Faith reflected upon the fact that God is with us.  Those four words in the middle of the sentence stopped me in my thoughts: I am with you.”  As I was praying about those four, little words, the Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart to look in the Scriptures for those four, little words: “I am with you.”  During my quick reference, I found 19 times where these words are spoken. Here are a few of these powerful passages.

Genesis 26:24 “And that very night the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham; do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you and make your offspring numerous for my servant Abraham’s sake.’”   God speaks these words to Isaac to fill him with hope and courage!

Genesis 28:15 “Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” God speaks these words to Jacob to encourage him wherever he may go!

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” Joshua hears these powerful words from Moses as Moses is passing the baton of leadership to him!

Joshua 1:9 “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua gives these words to the people of Israel as they prepare to enter into the Promised land!

Isaiah 41:10 “… do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” God uses the prophet Isaiah to deliver a message of hope to the people of Israel who have been taken into captivity!

Isaiah 43:5 “Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.” The prophet Isaiah speaks these words of promise to fill the hearts of those held in darkness and despair!

Jeremiah 1:8 “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.”  (see the following verses: 1:19; 15:20; 30:11; 42:11; 46:28) — The prophet Jeremiah heard these four, little words often; his message was not accepted. He was rejected, thrown in a well and left for dead.  He was sent into slavery in Egypt and more. Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet,” yet he was filled with hope, courage, and the strength to have the endurance needed to finish the task he was called to do! (I am sure Paul felt a strong kinship with Jeremiah.)

Haggai 1:13; 2:4 “Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, saying, I am with you,’ says the Lord.” (1:13) Haggai gives these words to the people to strengthen them and to encourage them to continue to rebuild the temple!

Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” One of the most famous readings of these four, little words comes from our Risen and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as he prepared to ascend into heaven to be with His Father!  The promise Jesus leaves with His followers?  I am with you!

As I was reading over these passages and reflecting on these four, little words, my heart was strangely warmed.  I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit speak to me and say, “Dave, why are you so afraid?  I am with you, always, even to the end of the age.”  As I studied the original Greek, I was overwhelmed. The Greek words are “ego eimi meta sou…”  and here is how that breaks down:

Ego eimi— is an EMPHATIC “I…I AM.” It’s like God is saying something twice, He’s doubling up, compounding the emphasis of the personal pronoun… “I…myself…no one else — it’s me…I…I AM…” “Do you hear me loud and clear? I…GOD..I…myself…am with you.”

Meta sou—means with you, among you, after you, accompany you, amid you, before you, behind you, on you, in you. In essence, what God is saying, and what Christ is promising us, is that He…God..is with us, in us, on us, around us, among us, after us, before us, amid us and He will accompany us—always, to the end of the age.  Wow. The promise isn’t just for the day you read it.  The promise isn’t for the few days you remember this SEED OF FAITH.  This promise is until the end of the age. Forever. And ever. Amen.

So What?
Where are you in your relationship with God?  Are you thinking God has forgotten you?  Are financial pressures overwhelming you?  Has that broken relationship made you think you are too broken?  Has someone you love passed away?  Have you lost your job?  Perhaps your health has you worried, or maybe it’s the health of someone you love.  Maybe a child has you worrying yourself sick.  The “so what” for us today is for you to put your faith right now in these four, little words:  ego eimi meta sou.  These four, little words are found 19 times throughout the Holy Scripture.  The are the same words that people like Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Haggai and the disciples heard!  Stop right now and put your name in front of these four, little words: “__________________, this is me…God…I AM…GOD MYSELF…ME…GOD…I am with you…I am in you…I am among you…I am beside you…I am before you…I am behind you…I am above you…I am under you…I am all around you and I will accompany you…ALWAYS…forever and ever….even to the end of the age.”

No matter what you’ve done, no matter where you’ve gone–we have at least 19 promises in Scripture that GOD IS WITH US…until the very end.

Say it with me, “Be sure of this, (your full name,) I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS…even to the end of the age.”

What a great promise for us to think about on Valentine’s Day. There is no other love like our God’s love. You are not alone. No matter who you are, no matter where you’ve been, no matter how far gone you think you are–God is WITH you, in you, around you, above you, beside you, among you, before you, behind you, above you, and under you. Count on it; not just for today but forever–til the very end.

Seed you Sunday!

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

P.S. I hope you know that when you receive this email, you can right click onto the very top and then click on “download picture”–I always try to include some thought-provoking pictures.  I love the top picture of the beach.I also love the ones on the bottom. Friends, you are loved–just because YOU are GOD’S very own creation.

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 2/9/19

Seed of Faith – God Is With You By Pastor Dave  

“Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:7-8

Dear Friends and Faithful Seed-Sowers:
It feels really good to be back HOME. I’m glad to back behind my computer keys. I’m excited to preach after 3 weeks off! I’m studying and praying and I’m back in the saddle. It’s great to go on vacation but it’s also great to return HOME. In a very real way, you are my family! Our trip away showed me yet again the deep and lasting bond that we carry because we are believers. Christ is the foundational building block for us and I value our community in and through Christ. We are, indeed, brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever read the story when Moses summoned Joshua to anoint him as the new leader of the Israelites? After 40 years of leading his people in and through the desert, Moses was now ready to turn over the reigns to a man who had more than proven his trustworthiness, Joshua. I encourage you to go make some time and read Deuteronomy 31:1-8.  Let’s enter into this story:  The people of Israel had wandered in the wilderness and had witnessed miracle after miracle for forty years.  It’s time to cross the Jordan River! Moses is ready to turn over his leadership to Joshua.  Today we are going to focus on verses seven and eight.

Be strong and courageous!  These are very powerful words!  The very first thing that God tells the people is for them to be strong and courageous; and then issues these very same words to Joshua personally!

It is one thing to hear these words for someone else. (People of the Seed: be strong and courageous!)  But when these words are given to you personally, doesn’t it make a difference? (Jim, be strong and courageous! Sharon, be strong and courageous! Al, be strong and courageous! Ruth, be strong and courageous! Mike be strong and courageous! Ryan, be strong and courageous! Debby, be strong and courageous! Brenda, be strong and courageous! Norm, be strong and courageous! Diego, be strong and courageous! Yvonne, be strong and courageous! Sue, be strong and courageous! Clyde, be strong and courageous! Lourdes, be strong and courageous! Please pause right now and put your name in the blank ” __________________, be strong and courageous!”) It makes a BIG difference to hear YOUR NAME being commanded to be strong and courageous!

Be strong and courageous! I have been thinking a lot about being courageous. What does that look like? Courage comes in many ways. I think of little toddlers taking their lumps while learning to walk; I think of senior citizens living alone; paraplegics in wheelchairs. I think of astronauts walking on the moon; I think of those who are living with family tragedies; I think of single parents coping with children and jobs; I think of students who are facing challenges of going to school; I think of my unemployed friends who are desperately seeking work. I think of people living in recovery. I think of all of the people who report for chemotherapy and physical therapy each day.  I think of our police, fire, and medical personnel. I think of our soldiers, our judges, and even our government officials. Courage comes in many forms. But there is one form of courage that stands alone: the form of Jesus struggling uphill to Calvary–carrying a wood cross on his beaten and bleeding back; a man who dies for my sins. That, my friends, is a courage that stands apart.

I want to break down verse eight:The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Have you ever thought about this? That God is with you; that God promises to never leave nor forsake you?  I love the first part of this verse: “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you.” What a comfort. No matter what we are facing today, the Lord has gone before you. Have you ever felt His presence? Have you ever sensed that the Lord is with you?  Hear the verse in this translation: “I–myself —no one else — it’s me—the Lord–I personally go before you!”  Think about this for a few seconds. God Himself has promised to go with you, and not only with you, but before you. The One who spoke the universe into creation, yes, that GOD–promises to go before us, to go with us, and to never, ever leave nor forsake us.  So WHAT? The answer is found in the next sentence: Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. No matter what you are facing, put God into the situation. “God, please be with me. Please go before me. Please don’t leave me.  God, please don’t forsake me. God, help be to be strong and courageous. Help me not to be afraid and help me not to be discouraged.” (Can I get an AMEN on that?)

On our way home from Florida, we stopped to attend our nephew’s wedding in Houston. I was asked to do a part of the wedding.  At the rehearsal dinner, Jac and I sat with Deacon Don and his wife. It was a Catholic wedding and Deacon Don was giving the message.  At the rehearsal dinner, I was doing some of the “get to know you questions” I carry in my mind. I asked Sherry what she did for a living. Sherry mentioned that she was a Spiritual Director. I said, “My wife is too!” As we talked back and forth, I found out that Sherry had gone to the same Benedictine monastery that my wife had attended in Pecos, New Mexico. Immediately, the four of us became best friends and had lots to talk about.  Jac and Sherry spent a few hours sharing stories of their time at the monastery, and talked about many of the people that they knew in common. When Sherry heard about our lead poisoning, she brought us into a separate room and brought along with her, her husband and the grandmother of the bride. They wanted to pray for us. Sherry then anointed us with Holy Water. The Holy Water had been given to her from Father Sam from the monastery in Pecos. Sherry and Jac found more common ground and related some of the hair-raising stories they had heard from Father Sam. Father Sam was over 85 years old when Jac went to the monastery in 2008.  You need to know that Father Sam was the head exorcist for the Southwest portion of the United States for the Catholic Church. Father Sam was a legend and an icon at this monastery! The two women shared back and forth about how Father Sam wore a cross around his neck that held a sliver of the cross of Christ inside of it. Father Sam would hold sessions where he taught the group about Spiritual Direction. He would take out that sliver from under the glass dome of his cross and tell the attendees (who were there for over a month) that spiritual direction is no walk in the park. In a future SEED OF FAITH, I will share about the Blessed Salt that Father Sam gave to Jac. But for today, let’s just say that when Sherry and Deacon Don anointed us with that holy water, we knew that Christ was present with us. We knew that God had gone before us and was with us.

Are you following this story? We traveled 5,600 miles on this trip. Around the 4,500 mile marker of the trip,  we meet a couple at a wedding in Houston. They are unknown to us but as we share our lives, GOD appeared and was with us. God had gone before us all.  At the end of the prayer time, Jac asked Sherry and Don if  God ever gives them “a word from the Holy Spirit” regarding us–don’t hold back, tell us! The next day we did the wedding and went to dinner at a really fancy ranch outside of Sugarland. Sherry and Don came over and got us up from the table with our grandson and made us dance in the Grand March. At the end of the wedding, Sherry came up to me in a hurry and sat down.  She grabbed my hand and held it in hers.  She said, “I DO have a word from the Lord for you.” She looked me in the eyes and said, “God will never leave you, Dave. He will never forsake you. Many in your life have but God wants you to know for 100% certainty that He will never leave you nor will God ever forsake you.”  She told Jac, “God’s word for you, ‘Pull up a chair and watch me work!'”

So What?
Have you been feeling like God has forgotten you?  Are the pressures of life overwhelming you?  Have you experienced a broken relationship?  Has someone you love passed away?  Have you lost your job?  Perhaps your health has you worried or maybe it’s the health of someone you love.  Maybe a child has you worrying yourself sick. Guess what? I HAVE A WORD FOR YOU! Every week I ask the Lord for your heart, I ask for the message that you need to hear. Today the word I have for you is the very same word that Spiritual Director from Sugarland, Texas, gave to us:    “God will never leave you. He will never forsake you. Many in your life have but God wants you to know for 100% certainty that GOD HIMSELF will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I’m willing to pull up a chair and watch God go before us. I’m willing to pull up a chair and help us to become strong and courageous.  ARE YOU?!!!

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

 

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 2/2/2019

Seed of Faith – One Thing   By Pastor Dave  

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

Dear Faithful Friends!

It has been a month since I last sat down to write. After Christmas, Jac and I spent three weeks driving from Rancho Cucamonga, California to The Villages, Florida. Jac cannot fly due to her heavy metals poisoning and it had been 18 months since her last trip to visit her aging parents who are 87 and 85. Jac talks with them on the phone several times a week but wanted to see for herself that her parents are doing okay.  We had a nephew getting married in Houston on January 19th–so we made plans to drive to Florida after Christmas and to make the wedding on our way back home. Jac was ending her 70 days of her third chelation; she was really sick.  Any plans I had for spending relaxing hours reading and writing simply vanished as caring for my wife took center stage. We made the trip and spent time with family; from December 20 through January 20, we visited with 40 family members! We were able to see our parents, all three of our children, their spouses, and all 12 of our grandchildren! We were so very blessed. Jac’s curiousity regarding her parents was eased–any health care professional would give them a passing grade for living on their own.  Jac’s heart was satisfied and we had a great time visiting our family. Now that we’re safely home, it’s time for me to get back to my normal routine. I hope you enjoy 2019’s first SEED OF FAITH!

Each New Year at The Seed we begin with a reflection and a challenge. What is the “ONE WORD” of intention that God is giving you to grow into, or work on, this year?  My word is “Vision”. Jac’s word is “BRAVE.” What is the one word of intention that will help to change your life for good this year? (You can even google “words of intention”–there are many sites to peruse!)

Each New Year we also offer our members to draw a new name to grow into and to allow the Holy Spirit to shape them.  The first Sunday of the year was Epiphany. Where the wise men found the infant Jesus as they followed the mysterious star. The next week in the church calendar is the “Baptism of Jesus”. This is when John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the Jordan and the voice of the Father is heard saying, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.” I love to have baskets of names up front and have the people come forward to draw a new name for them to work on during 2019. My new name is “Fearless Warrior”! (If you would like a new name drawn from our basket — please let me know.) I usually have to big vases of water up by the names, symbolizing the baptism of Jesus and also that when we are baptized, we are buried with Christ in our sin and risen from the dead with Christ. This year I came across a great video online of “The Domino Effect”. This year I had baskets of dominoes by the baskets of names.   I had our congregation watch the video on the “Domino Effect.”  Here is a link to YouTube, if you would like to view it — https://youtu.be/5JCm5FY-dEY. It’s quite impressive. One little domino can create quite a mighty change for good. The dominoes the people drew are to remind them of how their life can positively affect another’s. Make that call, visit that person in the hospital. Send that card. Make that meal. We never know how our obedience to God will affect someone’s life. Let’s put THE DOMINO EFFECT into our lives in 2019.

So What?  What will be the domino effect of your life this year?  What domino effect will you have on others?  What domino effect will you have on this world this year?    A second “so what” is: What is the “ONE WORD” that God has given you to work on this year?  What is the “ONE THING” that you are looking for this year?

Do you know that there are several passages in the Bible with the words “ONE THING?”

What is the “One Thing” that you have heard from the Lord?
King David wrote many of the Psalms.  Psalm 62 is a song of trust in God alone.  Towards the end of the Psalm, verse 11 and 12, David finally affirms that he can rest peacefully since he has heard that all the power belongs to God and that the steadfast love of the Lord lasts forever.  One thing God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.” Psalm 62:11-12

What is the “One Thing” that you are asking of the Lord?
David, the shepherd boy who wrote Psalm 23, wrote in Psalm 27 the “one thing” that he asked for was to live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 27:4-5 — One thing I asked of the Lord this is what I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”  The one thing the shepherd boy asked of the Lord was to live in the house of the Lord forever!  One thing King David was going to seek after — was to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord!

What is the “One Thing” that you need?
In the Gospel of Luke, we are told of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus comes to visit and Martha is busy, busy, busy — working, cleaning, preparing, planning, cooking and setting up for the occasion; so much so that she misses the most important one thing!  Listen to the closing of this story — Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; but there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha missed the “one thing!”  Her intentions were good but she ended up missing the forest for the trees. It is my prayer that we learn from Martha and do not miss the “one thing”!

What is the “One Thing” that you are doing?
Paul was sitting in a prison in Rome waiting for his own death by execution. He writes a letter to the church in Philippi called Philippians.  In chapter three he writes — I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;  but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved,  I do not consider that I have made it my own;  but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:10-14)

Can you picture the scene?  Paul is sitting in prison saying — I want to know Christ!  I want to know the power of His resurrection!  I want to have a death like His — so I can have a life like His!  I haven’t made it! I haven’t reached the goal — but the “one thing” — the “one thing” that I will do is forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead!   Paul was at the end of his life, and Paul understood that knowing Christ, that living in the power of the resurrection was the ONE THING that would bring him life.

What is the “One Thing” you lack?
The story of the rich man in Mark 10 — is a powerful story of the call to follow Christ.  I believe Christ is calling us to follow him and to not be so concerned with what we do — but with what God can do through us!  As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’  He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’” Luke 10:17-27

Here’s your final “So What?” What is the “One Thing” God is asking of you today?

What is the “One Word” that God is giving you this year? 

What is the “One Thing” that you will do that will change your life and the lives of those around you?  Will you be a domino that changes the world for good?

In case  you don’t know it, JESUS IS THE ONE THING! I’m praying that you will open your heart wide to Christ this year. I’m praying that you will seek to read the living words of life found in the Scriptures. Happy 2019! May this be your best year ever.

Seed You Sunday! For our good friends in Lusaka, Zambia — Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani—God loves you and so do I” Mulungu aku daliseni — God bless you    God loves you with an unfailing love and so do I, Pastor Dave www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Dear Faithful Friends!

It has been a month since I last sat down to write. After Christmas, Jac and I spent three weeks driving from Rancho Cucamonga, California to The Villages, Florida. Jac cannot fly due to her heavy metals poisoning and it had been 18 months since her last trip to visit her aging parents who are 87 and 85. Jac talks with them on the phone several times a week but wanted to see for herself that her parents are doing okay.  We had a nephew getting married in Houston on January 19th–so we made plans to drive to Florida after Christmas and to make the wedding on our way back home. Jac was ending her 70 days of her third chelation; she was really sick.  Any plans I had for spending relaxing hours reading and writing simply vanished as caring for my wife took center stage. We made the trip and spent time with family; from December 20 through January 20, we visited with 40 family members! We were able to see our parents, all three of our children, their spouses, and all 12 of our grandchildren! We were so very blessed. Jac’s curiousity regarding her parents was eased–any health care professional would give them a passing grade for living on their own.  Jac’s heart was satisfied and we had a great time visiting our family. Now that we’re safely home, it’s time for me to get back to my normal routine. I hope you enjoy 2019’s first SEED OF FAITH!

Each New Year at The Seed we begin with a reflection and a challenge. What is the “ONE WORD” of intention that God is giving you to grow into, or work on, this year?  My word is “Vision”. Jac’s word is “BRAVE.” What is the one word of intention that will help to change your life for good this year? (You can even google “words of intention”–there are many sites to peruse!)

Each New Year we also offer our members to draw a new name to grow into and to allow the Holy Spirit to shape them.  The first Sunday of the year was Epiphany. Where the wise men found the infant Jesus as they followed the mysterious star. The next week in the church calendar is the “Baptism of Jesus”. This is when John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the Jordan and the voice of the Father is heard saying, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.” I love to have baskets of names up front and have the people come forward to draw a new name for them to work on during 2019. My new name is “Fearless Warrior”! (If you would like a new name drawn from our basket — please let me know.) I usually have to big vases of water up by the names, symbolizing the baptism of Jesus and also that when we are baptized, we are buried with Christ in our sin and risen from the dead with Christ. This year I came across a great video online of “The Domino Effect”. This year I had baskets of dominoes by the baskets of names.   I had our congregation watch the video on the “Domino Effect.”  Here is a link to YouTube, if you would like to view it — https://youtu.be/5JCm5FY-dEY. It’s quite impressive. One little domino can create quite a mighty change for good. The dominoes the people drew are to remind them of how their life can positively affect another’s. Make that call, visit that person in the hospital. Send that card. Make that meal. We never know how our obedience to God will affect someone’s life. Let’s put THE DOMINO EFFECT into our lives in 2019.

So What?  What will be the domino effect of your life this year?  What domino effect will you have on others?  What domino effect will you have on this world this year?    A second “so what” is: What is the “ONE WORD” that God has given you to work on this year?  What is the “ONE THING” that you are looking for this year?

Do you know that there are several passages in the Bible with the words “ONE THING?”

What is the “One Thing” that you have heard from the Lord?
King David wrote many of the Psalms.  Psalm 62 is a song of trust in God alone.  Towards the end of the Psalm, verse 11 and 12, David finally affirms that he can rest peacefully since he has heard that all the power belongs to God and that the steadfast love of the Lord lasts forever.  One thing God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work.” Psalm 62:11-12

What is the “One Thing” that you are asking of the Lord?
David, the shepherd boy who wrote Psalm 23, wrote in Psalm 27 the “one thing” that he asked for was to live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 27:4-5 — One thing I asked of the Lord this is what I will seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”  The one thing the shepherd boy asked of the Lord was to live in the house of the Lord forever!  One thing King David was going to seek after — was to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord!

What is the “One Thing” that you need?
In the Gospel of Luke, we are told of the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus comes to visit and Martha is busy, busy, busy — working, cleaning, preparing, planning, cooking and setting up for the occasion; so much so that she misses the most important one thing!  Listen to the closing of this story — Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; but there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha missed the “one thing!”  Her intentions were good but she ended up missing the forest for the trees. It is my prayer that we learn from Martha and do not miss the “one thing”!

What is the “One Thing” that you are doing?
Paul was sitting in a prison in Rome waiting for his own death by execution. He writes a letter to the church in Philippi called Philippians.  In chapter three he writes — I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;  but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved,  I do not consider that I have made it my own;  but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:10-14)

Can you picture the scene?  Paul is sitting in prison saying — I want to know Christ!  I want to know the power of His resurrection!  I want to have a death like His — so I can have a life like His!  I haven’t made it! I haven’t reached the goal — but the “one thing” — the “one thing” that I will do is forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead!   Paul was at the end of his life, and Paul understood that knowing Christ, that living in the power of the resurrection was the ONE THING that would bring him life.

What is the “One Thing” you lack?
The story of the rich man in Mark 10 — is a powerful story of the call to follow Christ.  I believe Christ is calling us to follow him and to not be so concerned with what we do — but with what God can do through us!  As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’  He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’” Luke 10:17-27

Here’s your final “So What?” What is the “One Thing” God is asking of you today?

What is the “One Word” that God is giving you this year? 

What is the “One Thing” that you will do that will change your life and the lives of those around you?  Will you be a domino that changes the world for good?

In case  you don’t know it, JESUS IS THE ONE THING! I’m praying that you will open your heart wide to Christ this year. I’m praying that you will seek to read the living words of life found in the Scriptures. Happy 2019! May this be your best year ever.

Seed You Sunday! For our good friends in Lusaka, Zambia — Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani—God loves you and so do I” Mulungu aku daliseni — God bless you    God loves you with an unfailing love and so do I, Pastor Dave www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 12-22-18

Seed of Faith – Living Out & Watching Out   By Pastor Dave  

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” Luke 2:8

Dear Friends and Saintly Seed Sowers:
The final countdown for Christmas is here! Depending on when you read this — you will have less than 7 days to make the final preparations for your home and your heart for Christmas. Why not take a few moments in the next few days to read Luke 2:8-20? Reflect on the announcement of Jesus’ birth.  How has this announcement changed your life? Just think, if the Savior had not been born, December 25 would be a regular Tuesday this year. No holiday parties to attend, no kids’ Christmas plays or concerts, either. No extreme shopping–online or in the stores. Perhaps the big buzz would be New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I seriously want you to sit down and think about this? What if Jesus had never come to earth? What if Jesus had never been born?

Just about every spare minute I have this month, I am studying; looking over my Scripture passages for this week’s final Advent message on love. I keep getting stopped by the fact that there were shepherds … who lived out in the fields…doing what shepherds do:  keeping watch over their flocks.  It made me think,  “How do I apply that to me today?” These shepherds were just doing what shepherds do.  Kind of like you and me.  We go to work.  We come home.  We all have some sort of routine and rhythm to our days just like these shepherds. You have to bet that this day, this night was very ordinary in their very ordinary lives and, then, in one split second, everything changed completely and forever!  In the darkness of the night, an angel of the Lord appeared—all shiny and glowing!  It made me think of this question,  “Am I watching out for God to break into my daily routine?  Would I even notice if He moved into my neighborhood?” 

Let’s get busy dissecting the Greek. The Greek word for “keeping” is a present-active verb–meaning the action of “watching” is a constant, ongoing, day-in and day-out, hour in and hour out, minute by minute, second by second action.   The shepherds were constantly watching their flocks–by day and by night. It never stopped. Those shepherds were always watching over their flocks.  This then made me think of another question and as the Holy Spirit prompted me, I now prompt you:

What is it that you are keeping watch over–by day and by night? Be honest.  What is it that consumes your life? What eats up your time, your money, your thoughts?

Back to the shepherds who are out in the thick darkness of night watching sheep.  To them it was an ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And SUDDENLY,  God broke into their ordinary story.   You know this God of ours, the God Almighty who loves to hook the word “extra” onto the front of ordinary—extraordinary!? That’s where the shepherds were.   A night starting out just like every other night: watch the flock settle down for their night’s sleep; tomorrow will come soon enough. Try now to imagine being out there as a shepherd. Maybe you’re cooking stew over the make-shift fire? Maybe you are unrolling your sleeping bag and setting up under a tree? Maybe you and a few other shepherds are swapping funny, sheepish stories? It’s all quiet. It’s time for settling down. And then the greatest news in the history of the world is announced! An angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds — in the fields, in the outskirts of town,  and the shepherds are terrified.  I need to translate this part of the passage  because it’s important:  they were terrified, terrified greatly. Have you ever been greatly terrified? The night has a light of its own. It’s not twinkle, twinkle little star. It’s an angel. Lighting up the night sky.

Has God ever interrupted your nice, quiet, ordinary life?  Surely the shepherds’ ordinary night has now turned into an extraordinary night!

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Immediately, the shepherds had to think, “Isaiah!  The Prophet Isaiah foretold us of this very thing, 750 years ago.  Holy stinking smokes!” and then the entire night sky is not filled with just one angel but it is filled with a whole heavenly host of angels…all praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth…peace!”  Come on, think about being there. The entire skies are filled with angels and they are all singing. What would you do or say? What we do know is that when the angels were gone, those ordinary shepherds high-tailed it to find that baby; the baby who would be wrapped in cloths…and lying in a manger—an animal’s feeding trough.  These were lowly shepherds but they knew exactly where to find a manger. And when they found the manger,  there they found the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths!

So What?
Well, it’s here.  The last week before Christmas!  We sit on the edge of our own ordinary Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Eve, people everywhere throughout the world will gather together.  Many will gather in homes, surrounded by family.  Others will gather in churches.  All around the globe, ordinary people just like you and me, will gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the Lord.  It’s really no ordinary night and we are no longer ordinary people.

God came down to earth in the form of a baby. God wants to live in our hearts and our homes.  Immanuel—God with us!  This was the cry of those ordinary shepherds on that ordinary night in their ordinary lives. God broke into their darkness of their night.  Angels!  Terrified!  More angels!  Singing! Glory and Praise to God!  Go find the Baby in a manger! Those shepherds went and they found the baby. They were no longer ordinary.  They were now glorifying-and-praising-God-extraordinary!  This is my prayer for you as you read this SEED OF FAITH. May the Holy Spirit break into your ordinary, routine life and may you sense the presence of heavenly angels this last week of Advent. When you gather with your family, or with your church, may you, too, sing just like those angels and those shepherds.

Christmas is the PROMISE that GOD IS WITH US. May there be a song in your heart as you run to find the baby lying in the manger. You’re not ordinary if you know the King of Kings!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

See You Sunday!
Mulungu aku kondani, naine nikukondani—God loves you and so do I”
Mulungu aku daliseni — God bless you

God loves you with an unfailing love and so do I,
Pastor Dave
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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