Weekly Seed of Faith by Pastor Dave 9/11/2021

Seed of Faith – Resurrection Reminder   By Pastor Dave  

“Now, brethren, I want to remind you of the Gospel i preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…” I Corinthians 15:1-4

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers,

Today is the day before 9-11; the 20th anniversary. It is my prayer that you all are well and healthy today and are walking with the Lord. Let us continue in prayer for our nation, our world, and for one another.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the church over the past year.  Not just The Seed Christian Fellowship, I have been thinking about the church universal. I do not want to bore you with statistic and numbers but my first degree from college was in Business and Accounting. I love to work with numbers.  The funny thing is that God called me out of counting financial reports and called me to counting sheep. A glorious by-product of this new style of counting is that I no longer count sins, forgiving and forgetting sins instead of logging all the hurts and betrayals of sins on my ledger sheet. I don’t know if God has called you to this new style of counting but, for sure, it is my new way of living.

The other day I was reading and article on numbers about the church and church membership in America. A recent Gallup poll shows that church membership in America has dropped to below 50% for the first time in eight decades — that is 80 years if you are counting. Today church membership in local congregations stands at 47% when in 1999 (22 years ago) church membership was around 70%.  Gallup’s reports says that “The decline in church membership is primarily a function of the increasing number of Americans who express no religious preferences.”  You know those forms at hospitals and other places where you fill them out and you can put your religious preference on them? The box for religious preference is now being marked  “NONE.”  The NONEs have it! (or do they?)

George Barna is a Christian researcher.  His organization did some research on the meaning of Easter.  Here are some of the things that they found. Within the religious definitions offered by Americans, there is a certain degree of confusion: 2% of Americans said that Easter is about the “birth of Christ”; another 2% indicated it was about the “rebirth of Jesus”; and 1% said it is a celebration of “the second coming of Jesus.” Not included in the theistic category was another 3% who described Easter as a celebration of spring or a pagan holiday.  On the non-religious side, 13% of respondents said they were not sure how to describe Easter. Another 8% of Americans said the holiday means nothing to them or that they do not celebrate the occasion. Other non-religious descriptions of Easter included: getting friends and family together (4%), spring break (3%), a symbol of new beginnings, rebirth, and renewal (2%), a time to dye and hide eggs (2%), an event for children to have fun (2%), the Easter bunny (1%), an occasion that is too commercialized (1%), and an opportunity to enjoy food and candy (1%).

What I find most interesting is how unchurched people view Easter. In terms of the audience that most Christian churches attempt to attract every Easter weekend – non-churchgoing adults – the research shows that only 25% of the people connect the EASTER holiday to Jesus’ resurrection! Church, we need to do a better job of proclaiming EASTER! Like the verse above says, I tell you what is most important: Jesus died. Jesus was buried. Jesus rose from the dead.

It can’t be said much easier. The GOSPEL is this: Jesus died for our sins. Jesus was buried. Jesus rose from the dead.

Resurrection Reminder
“Now, brethren, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.” I Corinthians 15:1

Paul wants to encourage the church (we are the church now) to remember!

Remember the Gospel!

The Greek word for Gospel is “εὐαγγέλιον euaggelion” which means “Good News” and it is the word from which we get the word “evangelism.”

So What is the “Good News” to you? What is it that you will take a stand on?

What do you believe and what is it that you are willing to hold onto no matter what?

When Billy Graham was preaching in Germany one day, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer invited him to his office: Coffee was served, but before Billy’s first sip, Chancellor Konard started in: “Young man, do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?” “I most certainly do,” Billy replied. “So do I, Chancellor Konard said. If Jesus Christ is not risen from the dead, there is not one glimmer of hope for the human race. When I leave office, I am going to spend the rest of my life studying and writing about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s the most important event in human history.” [i]

In the words of Jaroslav Pelikan, an American scholar, “If Christ is risen—then nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen—then nothing else matters.”[ii]

Timothy Keller, a pastor, wrote, “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said?[iii]

Paul wanted the early church to take a stand and remember the Good News! In Paul’s day being a Christian was more than intellectual assent to a group of doctrines. The social price that followers of Christ paid forced them to take a stand in a hostile world. I think we can learn a little from Paul as we go through this worldwide pandemic called COVID-19. With all the news we are bombarded with 24 hours a day: what is the Good News?  What can you and I stand on?

Listen to Paul: We stand on the hope and power of the resurrection.

My favorite comes from Paul’s letter to Romans — …if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:8-13)

With all that the world is going through, we are living in a time when we need to stop and remember what our north star is, what is our center point of our faith.

Here’s your homework: What (or who) is my north star?  What (or who) is the center point of my faith?

So What?
John Stott, a wonderful pastor and teacher, wrote these words about the resurrection of Christ: “The Resurrection somehow resonates with our human condition. It speaks to our needs as I reckon no other event of antiquity does, or even could.”

In other words, it is not up to us to make the resurrection relevant; it already is relevant without us. We just need to proclaim it and apply it with joy and confidence. Christ’s resurrection from the dead is not just an idea, a concept, or a doctrine—although it is truly a breathtaking and revolutionary doctrine! The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the power that will usher broken fragile humanity into Christ’s “newness of life”.

I love that Matthew ends his gospel with Christ ascending from the mountain, saying, “I’ll be with you til the very end of the age.”

Where are you in this story? Paul is writing a letter to his friends and family in the church in Corinth. Evil abounds everywhere they go. The world is calling out to them every day. Can you relate? I can.

Imagine receiving an email or a text from Paul right now: I Corinthians 15:1-11 — Put your name in the Bible. Put your name in all the blank lines below.  Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 and put your name in the story.

Now,  YOUR NAME _________, I want to remind you _____ of the gospel I preached to you _______ , which you ______  received and on which you ______ have taken your _____ stand. By this gospel you ______ are saved, if you ______ hold firmly to the word I preached to you ________.  Otherwise, you _______ have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you _________  as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 

Every day I get to go spend time with my father-in-law whom I call dad.  He is 89 and slowly fading away.  Every day he says to my wife and I, “I haven’t seen my wife in a long time. She must be dead. I just can’t believe that she’s gone.”  His wife of 71 years is gone but every time we talk about Mom’s death, I get the blessed opportunity to talk to dad about heaven, about the hope and power of the resurrection and the forgiveness of our sins that comes with faith in Jesus.  He has learned to love to hear about forgiveness. He has the hope of the resurrection within his heart and mind and he is not afraid of dying like he was.  The resurrection has put the living face and name of Jesus Christ into his heart. Dad knows that some day he will die and that he will be able to live forever without any more pain, suffering or tears.

Here is you final “so what?” You are on a deserted island…the world is on one side…calling your name…offering you trinkets of fame, gold, fortune…on the other side stands the risen Jesus Christ…calling your name…offering you His legacy of grace, forgiveness, mercy, joy and love. Do you know what side you are standing on?

My wife and I talk every morning. We read our devotionals and discuss the high points. This morning I asked how she was doing. “I’m sad. They lost my Covid test and I can’t go see Dad until I redo another test, which means 3 more days and it’s already been 2.” Fortunately, they didn’t lose my test and I am able to go visit Dad. (The care home is now requiring two tests a week from non-vaccinated people. We cannot get the vaccine at this time due to health issues and we are happy to test–despite the great inconvenience. The end goal is our ability to see Dad.) Jac told me about an article she had read about a red cord and she said, “It reminded me of how Rahab hung a scarlet cord in her window after hiding the spies in enemy territory. They promised that if she hung the red cord in her window, they would find her and rescue her. That’s how I’m feeling. This is really hard–what I’m doing with Dad and with covid but I hear, ‘I see you. I see your red cord in the window. I will rescue you. Wait.'” I’ve thought about how her thoughts apply to us all. There’s no magic-8 ball with all of the answers–at least there’s no human, magic-8 ball. We have the Bible (basic instructions before leaving earth) and we have the hope of the risen Jesus Christ. He sees your red cord in the window of your heart. Wait. He’s coming back.

Long ago, I counted financial reports and profits and loss and numbers. It took a whole new call for this former accountant to learn how to count on Christ–who is actually counting on me. Together, Jesus and I are an overwhelming majority. This coming week, I will fly home to be a Spiritual Director on a men’s grace weekend. I leave you with one, last thought and prayer:  the world or Jesus…what side are you standing on?

Paul says, “I give to you the 3 most important things I know: Christ died for your sins. Christ was buried. Christ rose from the dead.”

Sometimes the GOSPEL is that easy. You only have to know how to count to three.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 8/29/2021

Seed of Faith – Do Whatever Jesus Tells You To Do   By Pastor Dave  
“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you..” John 2:1-5

Dear Faithful, Fearless and Fantastic Seed-Sowers,

Grace and peace to you all.  I pray that the Lord watches over you and keeps you from all harm.  We have so much to be praying for in our families, schools, churches,nation, and world.  Praying for all those who are struggling with Covid-19.  Praying for those who have lost loved-ones.  Praying for firefighters, police-officers, all medical teams, and all of our military personnel who stand in the gap and defend our lives and our freedom.

Open your bible to John 2:1-11.  This is one of those famous stories of Jesus’ life and His miracles. This is the first miracle that Jesus performs. We could spend a lot of time looking at the miracle and what it means in light of Jesus.  Have you ever stopped to think about those servants at the wedding?  They get advice from Jesus’ mom.  Do you notice that they didn’t ask for it but they got it anyway? And I am so glad they did. Because it really is the best advice any mother ever gave.

In the NASB translation it is seven little words, “WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU DO IT!”  In our reading today from the NIV, it is five words, “DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU.”  In the original Greek it is six words and when translated literally, it is “WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU.”

I would like to take a few moments and take a look at these words, the best advice any mother could give:
“Do whatever he (Jesus) tells you.”

Think of the word “whatever.” I know many have used that as a slang when asked to do something … whatever and shrug their shoulders and walk away.  Mary tells the servants “WHATEVER” Jesus tells you to do — do it!
Have you ever thought of the scope, the scale, the possibilities, the potentials, the prospect, the options, and opportunities of “WHATEVER”?

In the Greek,  “whatever” is actually three words translated into one word.  It is a relative pronoun that means, “anyone, anything, who, what, whoever, whichever, and whatever.”  This is an all-inclusive word that says — “whatever, whenever, whoever, anyone or anything.”

This is the same word used when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in the middle of the night in John 3. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16  Same word Jesus spoke to the woman at the well in John 4 — “but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:14

Maybe a good “so what?” for us right now is “WHATEVER” –whatever is Jesus asking you to do? I mean it, stop and ask yourself this important question.

Did you notice that the servants did exactly what Mary told them to do?  They did not hesitate, or make excuses, or look for someone else to do the work.  They did not ask why me? They did not say you sound like a crazy mom.

We need to remember that there have been no miracles done by Jesus yet.  The blind have not been given their sight back. The lame and paralyzed have not been healed. The lepers have not been made clean. There has been no multiplication of fish and bread to feed thousands. No walking on water and no storms stilled.  No demon possession and deliverance. These people have not seen any resurrections from the dead.

But here we are at a family wedding celebration.


These humble servants were asked to simply obey. But what a strange request. There is no wine but go and fill these 6 stone water jars that hold twenty to thirty gallons up to the brim with water.  Do you know that one gallon of water is 8.34 pounds?  Let us do a little math: 20 gallons of water would weigh 166.8 lbs. — roughly 167 pounds.  If they were 30 gallons, they would have weighed 250lbs. that means they were asked to carry up to 1500 lbs. of water?  Can you imagine what these servants were being asked to do? Enter the story.  Jesus has just asked YOU to go carry 1,500 pounds of not wine but water!

This is not the first time God had given unusual instructions.

Go back to Moses who tells the people to put the blood of a Lamb over your doorway. Naaman, was told by Elisha to go dip 7 times in the Jordan. Joshua told the Priests to take up the ark of the covenant and step into the Jordan at flood stage. Joshua was instructed to march around the walls of Jericho for six days without shouting or making a sound. Then on the seventh day walk around the city seven times and on the last time around– shout and blow the trumpets. Rahab was asked to hang a scarlet rope out of her window so that she and her household would be saved.

To be honest with you, none of those things would have made sense to anyone. Truly it is the same way today. We are called to obey whatever Jesus tells us, no matter how unusual it seems.

DO WHATEVER “He tells” is one of the verbs in this sentence. Of course, it is a present active verb, meaning that that action is continuous and never ending.

Jesus has not stopped speaking. Have we stopped listening?

Notice that HE is Jesus!  Jesus is the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Jesus is our Savior and we called to trust Him for forgiveness and eternal life.

Why do we not trust and obey our Savior?

Sometimes men and women who never stand in a pulpit preach the greatest sermons simply through living out the living Word in their daily lives. 

Jesus’ mother said, ‘’Whatever He says to you, do it!” What a power sermon of seven words!

Drop the mic. Turn off the TV. Stop the train. Let go of your electronics.

“Whatever He says to you, do it.”

‘WHATEVER!” This means YOU….do and keep doing…whatever Jesus asks you to do.

Remember the sheriff in Groom, Texas. He was sitting at the cafe wondering what he would say to 3 little children whose mama had just died. Jac and I were leaving the big, white cross display when I felt a total nudge to go eat lunch in Groom, Texas. I ignored it. I got on the highway. “Turn around and go eat lunch in Groom.” I turned around. We went in. We stuck out like sore thumbs in our flip flops and tee shirts. We enjoyed a fantastic lunch. The sheriff paid and went outside. Jac went outside and made mention of the Sheriffs tee shirt. He asked what I did for a living. And then he waited for me to pay. For the next 60 minutes the sheriff and I talked about Jesus and heaven. He needed help in knowing how to tell 3 little children sad, sad news. We talked, we prayed and he left–encouraged. For 100% sure whatever HE tells you to do…do it.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave

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 6/1/2021

Seed of Faith – WORDS TO THE SKEPTICAL & SCARED   By Pastor Dave  

“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Luke 24:36-39

Dear Faithful, Fearless, and Fruitful Seed-Sowers,
May the God of all grace and mercy surround you with His grace, mercy and love.  May you know that God is with you and His promise is that He will never leave you or forsake you. COUNT ON THIS AS YOU FACE THE FUTURE.

Last week, we heard a word to the troubled in heart as Jesus walked down the Emmaus Road with His disciples.  Today we turn to Luke 24 where we will hear a word to the skeptical and scared.

With his news-assignment request approved, the CNN News cameraman quickly used his cell phone to call the local airport to charter a flight. He was told a twin-engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.  Arriving at the airfield, he spotted a plane warming up outside a hanger. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted, “Let’s go!” The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind and took off. Once in the air, the cameraman instructed the pilot, “Fly over the valley and make low passes so I can get shots of the fires on the hillsides. “Why?” asked the pilot. “Because I’m a cameraman for CNN,” he responded, “and I need to get some close-up shots. “The pilot was strangely silent for a moment. Finally, he stammered, “So, what you are telling me, is…you’re not my flight instructor?[i]

What a case of mistaken identity!

Have you ever mistaken the identity of someone or something?

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead caused even His followers to mistake His identity.  At the tomb, Mary Magdalene thought Jesus was the gardener.  The disciples on the road to Emmaus thought Jesus was the only one in Jerusalem who did not know what terrible things had just happened in Jerusalem.

In the Gospel of Luke, we have three different records of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It would be just like our detailed, Dr.  Luke to paint a tapestry of three different panels. One panel is the story found in Luke 24:1-12 that we read on Easter Sunday.  Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women go to tomb early in the morning and find that the stone is rolled away; they see two men glowing like lightening.  These two angels say to the women, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, He has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee.  The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” (Luke 24:5-7) Dr. Luke tells us that the women ran back to tell the disciples the good news.  The disciples think the women are talking nonsense. However, we learn that Peter ran to the tomb–only to find it was empty.  Peter walked away wondering what in the world had happened.  This is the first panel Dr. Luke has painted for us.

The second panel is the story found in Luke 24:13-34. We studied this story last week.  This panel is painted with Cleopas and another (Mary his wife, Mary) walking home to Emmaus from Jerusalem. Out of the blue, Jesus started walking alongside them.  As they walked and talked, Jesus opened all of the Scriptures to them–beginning with Moses and the prophets and explained to them all that must happen to the Messiah.  Even after all of this, they still had a case of mistaken identity of their mystery man who had joined them on their walk.  It was not until Jesus broke bread with them that their eyes were opened.  “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

What does it take for our hearts to burn within us?  What would it take for us to know the real Christ and not to have a case of mistaken identity regarding Him?  What would it take for us to pick up and run back the seven miles we just walked in order to tell others that we have seen the risen, living Christ?  Why is that we have such a hard time seeing Jesus come alongside us in our lives?   Why is that that we mistake His identity time and time again?

Today we turn to the third panel of Luke’s magnificent tapestry of the resurrection story.  Today, may our eyes be opened once again to see the risen Christ.  May our hearts be strangely warmed as we open up God’s Word and read Luke 24:36-53.

As always, place yourself into our story. Be a part of the living word of God. We are in the Upper Room, gathered together and huddled in fear. Now, let us introduce Dr. Luke’s three panels of resurrection stories and three cases of mistaken identity:  Mary Magdalene thought Jesus was the gardener.  Cleopas and his companion on the way to Emmaus had no clue who their traveling companion was. Was this mysterious traveler the only one who did not know the things that had happened in Jerusalem? They all had a case of mistaken identity.  After Jesus opened up the Scriptures to Cleopas and the other disciple, after Jesus broke bread with them–they immediately ran 7 miles back to Jerusalem to tell all those gathered in the Upper Room that they had just been with the risen Christ.

Can you imagine?  It is still Resurrection Day.  Jesus’ disciples have run the gamut of emotions for one day!  Are you there with me? What a day! Do you think after Cleopas shares his news that they are all talking at the same time?  Imagine you are in the midst of a crowd. What is going on after all of these people tell us that Jesus is not dead—his tomb is empty and he is alive—and not just in Jerusalem, He is even alive in Emmaus.

I imagine the group is asking questions, making statements, wondering out loud.  Joy, excitement, bewilderment, confusion, fear and skepticism are running rampant in the room.  The doors are locked because of their fears and then…suddenly… Jesus walks into the room and says, “Peace be with you.”

Imagine the scene.  Huddle together.  The doors are locked!  We are all afraid and we are hiding. We are hearing the Good News of Jesus being raised from the dead!  Jesus is alive?  All of our hopes that were dashed are now being rekindled.  Dreams that were shattered are being restored! Now imgaine, Jesus walks into the room and says to us, “Peace be with you.”  “Eirene hymin” in Greek and “Shalom alakem,” are the common terms of greeting.   What a day this has been for anyone inside that Upper Room!

Here is a lesson we can glean from this third panel of the Resurrection Day Tapestry: Jesus wants to bring HIS peace into our fear!  Jesus wants to bring HIS peace into our bewilderment! Jesus wants to bring HIS peace into our doubts!  Jesus wants to bring HIS peace into our confusion! Jesus wants to bring His peace to all who are skeptical.  Jesus wants to bring peace.

Listen!  The Good News!

No matter what kind of day we are having, Jesus wants to bring peace into our lives!

What happens next is another profound example of mistaken identity.  The disciples are gathered together in the Upper Room.  They have heard from Mary Magdalene, Cleopas, and the other disciple that they have seen the risen Christ.  Mary thought He was the gardener at first.  Cleopas and his companion thought Jesus was this short of being an idiot.  They are all wondering what in the world is going on and now Jesus Himself is standing right in front of them.  What is their response?  They think they are seeing a ghost.

On January 28, 1945, as World War II was groaning to a close, 121 elite Army Rangers liberated over 500 POWs, mostly Americans, from a Japanese prisoner of war camp near Cabanatuan in the Philippines. The prisoners, many of whom were survivors of the infamous Bataan death march, were in awful condition, physically and emotionally. Before the Rangers arrived, the primary Japanese guard unit had left the camp because of Japan’s massive retreat from the Philippines. The new situation was precarious. Japanese troops were still around and, in the camp, but they kept their distance from the prisoners. The men of Cabanatuan did not quite know what to make of their new freedom—if freedom was in fact what it was. And then, without warning, the American Rangers swept upon the camp in furious force. But one of the most interesting facets of the story was the reaction of many of the prisoners. They were so defeated, diseased, and familiar with deceit that many needed to be convinced they were actually free.

They were skeptical and scared.

Was it a trick? A trap? Was this real? One prisoner, Captain Bert Bank, struggling with blindness caused by a vitamin deficiency, could not clearly make out his would-be rescuers. He refused to budge. Finally, a soldier walked up to him, tugged his arm, and said, “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you want to be free?” Bank, from Alabama, recognized the familiar southern accent of his questioner. A smile formed on his lips, and he willingly and thankfully began his journey to freedom. Finally, far away from what had been, for years, the site of an ongoing, horrific assault on their humanity, the newly freed prisoners began their march home.

In the description of one prisoner, contrasting it with the Bataan nightmare years earlier, “It was a long, slow, steady march …but this was a life march, a march of freedom.”[i]

I believe that we are a lot like those prisoners.  We have been set free from our captivity and, yet, we stand frozen in our tracks.  We have heard of the resurrection of Christ from the tomb, but do we really believe it? Did Jesus really rise from the dead?  Is Jesus really the promised Messiah?  Would Jesus walk into my confusion, bewilderment, doubts, fears, frustrations, hurts, addictions, pain, worries, skepticism, scared heart and messed-up life?

Timothy J. Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism said; “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”[ii]

So, what? What do you believe?  Are you a prisoner of skepticism?  Are you frozen in fear? Are you scared like the early disciples? Hear these words:
“Peace be with you.” May these words soak and saturate deeply into your heart.

See you Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave

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 5/22/21

Seed of Faith – A Word For The Confused  By Pastor Dave  

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

Greetings Faithful Friends and Fearless Seed-Sowers,
I am sorry it has taken me so long to write a Seed of Faith.  I have been busy and maybe I have been confused and troubled.  I just returned home from Illinois after cleaning out some of my dad’s personal items from his home.  My step-mom is moving and I needed to go through some of my dad’s items that were in his home for the past fifty some years (photo albums mainly.)

Today we are going to take a walk with Jesus. We are on the road to Emmaus.  Emmaus is a town.  The Emmaus Road story is one of the most famous and familiar stories that Dr. Luke tells.  Today we meet two disciples who are also making their way home from the Passover festival.  This is the same day that Jesus rose from the tomb.  These two disciples happen to be followers of Jesus, just like us. They are heart-sick, heart-broken, depressed and confused about Jesus’ crucifixion and now they are walking home—7 miles back home. Think about where 7 miles from your home is–and imagine walking there right now. As you are walking, let me ask you a few questions.

Have you ever been heart-sick before?
Have you ever-been heart-broken before?
Have you ever been down or depressed before?
Have you ever been confused before?

Our good friend, Dr. Luke, now introduces us to two disciples, one named Cleopas and one that is not named.  Scholars have debated about who these two disciples are. Some scholars say that Cleopas is a follower of Jesus and the other, unnamed person is none other than Dr. Luke. Some have said that Cleopas is the Cleopas mentioned by the Gospel of John in John 19:25 when we are told that Mary’s sister was the wife of Cleopas and her name was Mary, also.  If this is the case, then these two disciples were Jesus’ aunt and uncle–headed home to Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem.   Whoever they were, these two had been in Jerusalem for the Passover festival with a million other Jews.  They were followers of Jesus.  They were there when Jesus entered the town riding on a donkey.  They were there with all of the people shouting, “Hosanna, Hosanna — Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”  They heard the crowd shouting, Crucify him, crucify him!”  We are also told in the Scriptures that “Mary, the wife of Cleopas” was at the cross with Jesus’ mother.  Mary, the wife of Cleopas, was with her sister, Mary, the mother of Jesus, at Jesus’ crucifixion. Are you in this story yet?
These two disciples loved Jesus with all of their hearts.  They were in Jerusalem for a Passover festival, a celebration.  They were not expecting what happened.  The person they loved, Jesus, had been arrested, tried, and whipped. Jesus was crucified and these two are heart-sick!  They are heart-broken!  They are depressed! They are confused!  And they are beginning their long, 7-mile walk back home.
Can you identify with being heat-broken, depressed, confused, disappointed, and downcast?  Just say — Covid-19 or quarantine, lockdown, stay-at-home, no school, no sports, no going out, no family …. No, no, no, no! I think we can all identify with being heart-broken this past year.

Dr/ Luke tells us that as they were walking along, they were discussing the events of the past week.  The Greek word for “discussing” is “syzeteo” which is a present tense verb.  This means that they were discussing and discussing and discussing over and over again all of the things that had happened.  They were on a roller coaster of grief and confusion, going up and down and all around and around; discussing the life and death of Jesus.

As they were walking and talking, the RESURRECTED Jesus walked up behind them and asked them what they were talking about.  They did not recognize Jesus.  The original Greek tells us that “they were kept from recognizing Him.”  Why?  We really do not know.  Commentaries suggest it was because they were looking into the sun and the shadows prevented them from recognizing Jesus.   Perhaps they were so overcome with grief, their hearts so broken that in the midst of their grief and confusion they could not see who it was that was standing in front of them.  They simply did not recognize Jesus. If you are taking notes — write this one down.  It is really important!

Jesus finds us in our confusion!  Jesus finds us when our hearts are broken, and we are overwhelmed with grief.  Jesus wants to enter into our story—right where we are, no matter where we are.
I am praying that our eyes will be opened and that our hearts will be strangely warmed as we recognize Jesus whenever, wherever, He walks into our lives.

So What?
In 2015 an EF4 tornado with winds of 200 mph hit my hometown of Rochelle, Illinois. I remember that night, I was heartsick, and heartbroken to hear of the devastation the tornado caused.  My heart was heavy and burdened with grief. The day after the tornado, our good friends called.  We had raised our children with them, went on vacation with them—their family was our family and vice versa.  We knew on the night of the tornado that their niece’s home had been destroyed by the tornado.  The next morning our friend called to tell us this story:

Her niece and her husband have three, small children—5,3, and 5 months.  When the sirens went off, they hurried down to the southwest corner of their basement.  Looking out the basement window, they saw their wooden swing set blow away like toothpicks and disappear.  Her niece held all three of the children while her husband formed a human shield of protection over them; spread eagle like a cross.  In less than a minute, their house and everything they owned was gone.  The first floor had collapsed into the basement, missing them by inches.  Her niece had cried out, “We’re going to die.”  Across the street, another young family had sought shelter from the tornado in their own basement. After the tornado had safely passed, the young father grabbed a flashlight and ran over to help the family across the street whose home had been blown away. In the darkness, he found the five of them in the southwest corner of the basement—the only corner that sustained no damage—and he helped pull them all to safety.  The next day, our friend, brought in heavy equipment that lifted the collapsed first floor from the basement so that our friends could sort through what was left of their home.  Here is all they found:  the five-year old’s Mickey Mouse that he sleeps with, the 3-year-old’s blankie that she sleeps with, a pillow that said HOME, a sign that said THANKFUL and her very beat up and, almost unrecognizable, laptop.  Someone took the laptop to a techy who carefully removed from it the stored photos and documents.  Everything else was gone.

Here is the “so what?” for this week that I want you to remember forever:

Jesus meets us in our confusion, in our heart-sickness, in our depression, in our fears and doubts.
Jesus WILL bring clarity into our lives.
Jesus WILL bring comfort into our lives…All through the living, abiding, Word of God.
YOUR HEART WILL BE STRANGELY WARMED–and that, my friends, is just God at work.

Just as the father I told you about covered his family in order to protect them, Jesus does the same for you and me.  In the midst of our confusion, our grief, our depression, our sorrow, our heartsickness, our heartbrokenness, our doubts, our fears, our shame, our guilt—Jesus covers us. Friends, this is the hope and the power of the RESURRECTION. Today as we travel along our own EMMAUS ROAD, may our eyes be opened,  may our hearts be strangely warmed as we break bread together.  May we recognize the crucified, risen Christ in our midst!

Back to being in Rochelle to go through some of my Dad’s personal things, I decided that since my wife would be with her father here in California that it might be nice to have my son or daughters fly with me to Rochelle. Our eldest has 7 children and couldn’t get away but she prayed for us. Our son drove his truck up from Waco, Texas; there were two toolboxes that he could have. Our youngest daughter brought her daughter and we flew together. Jesus was with us all the way. We had a ton of turbulence on the first flight then our plane was delayed due to weather in Dallas. We sat in the Dallas airport for six, long hours–wearing a mask. We were there all night. I know the man who designed the train system in Dallas and so I got the girls to ride the rails with me.  Strangely, we felt God was with us as we waited for our flight to Chicago. We arrived in Chicago at 5 am–walked through the terminal and got a hotel room because we were exhausted. Later, we rented a Jeep and headed to Dad’s. Our eldest daughter was brought home to this house in 1974. Our son and daughter who were with me had experienced birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays in this home–like their entire lives have had memories there. As we sorted in the basement, I felt my heart strangely warmed. My brother, Joe, came over and helped. We were able to move Dad’s tools from a shed the next day. We loaded up Brian’s truck with two toolboxes. Through the week, I was able to see close friends and family. Heck, we even drove to Milwaukee to see the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Brewers! Through it all, through all of the sorrow and sadness, the risen Christ was with us, warming our hearts with the love of family.

I’m praying for you. You are loved.

See You Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave

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 04/01/2021

Seed of Faith – Praising, Protesting, Passive   By Pastor Dave  

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:38-40

Dear Faithful – Fearless and Fruitful Seed Sowers,

This is Holy Week, the last week of Jesus’ earthly life.  I encourage you take some time and read the accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life. Read and compare the four Gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) or pick one to read one this week.  Here are the Gospel accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life, Holy Week  — Matthew 21-28, Mark 11-16, Luke 19:28-24 and John 12-21.

Today we are going to look at Luke 19:28-44 and at the Old Testament prophecy found in Zechariah 9:9-12.

Think about this for a moment.  I mean, stop, and really think about where you are in this story of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem? Where are you in your faith walk with Jesus? There were crowds of people in this story.  Scholars believe that there were over 2 million people in Jerusalem during the time of the Passover.  They estimate the crowd at the “Palm Parade” was around 200,000 people.  Jesus was riding into town on a donkey and the crowds went wild. Yet, there are at least three types of people in this story. As you read, figure out where you are. Which of these three crowds do you belong in?

1. The people who knew their Scriptures and were waiting for God to send a KING to overthrow the Roman government—this crowd went wild with praise! PRAISERS.

2. The crowd of the Pharisees did not go wild with praise.  They went wild with protest. PROTESTORS. 

3. The third kind of crowd was absolutely passive—to them, this parade was no big deal either way. PASSERS.

Praising, protesting or passive! Faithful one or faithless one! What crowd will you find yourself in today?

Will we praise Jesus?
Will we protest Jesus?
Will we be passive about Jesus?

Imagine for a moment 100,000 to 200,000 people moving, waving palms, and shouting!  The Rose Bowl holds around 92,000 people, double that crowd, imagine the noise and hysteria of the crowd on that first Palm Sunday. Can you feel the energy?

Can you enter into the picture?  A few million people are milling around Jerusalem.  There are people everywhere! Today would be Sunday, the Sunday before they celebrated Passover, and this is the very reason why all of these people were there.  Today is known as “Lamb Selection Sunday” and thousands of lambs are being led into town for Thursday’s annual Passover sacrifice event. Everyone is selecting their family’s sacrificial lamb.  Think of the tension in the air as the Roman centurions walk around — angry that the crowd is so large.   Their swords and shields are ready at a moment’s notice to keep the peace.  Jesus makes his way through the nearby town of Bethany, down the Mount of Olives and enters the city of Jerusalem.  Jesus has been in ministry for three years.  The people have seen Him in action or they have heard about Him.  The crowd is energized, and the excitement keeps building and building!  Jesus is riding into town on a donkey and the crowd goes wild.  They have been waiting for this day! These people know their scriptures. They don’t have the new testament—only the old! They can easily equate Zechariah 9…with what they are seeing!  All of sudden, this is the biggest parade you have ever seen, everyone is breaking off palm branches from the palm trees and waving them. They are taking off their outer coats to throw them on the dirt road that Jesus is riding into town on!  Are you with me?  Can you hear the excitement as the crowd begins to shout, HOSANNA — HOSANNA — HOSANNA!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the king of Israel.”  (Makes me think of when we shout USA in the Olympic games.)

The Hebrew word “hosanna” literally means “save us, we pray, save us now, save us–we beseech you.”  The crowd is shouting at the top of their lungs, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!”

What about you?  Are you in this crowd? 

There is another crowd we need to pay attention to.  I love that Luke puts these two verses into his detailed storyline, “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’”  This is the last mention of the Pharisees in Luke’s account.  The Pharisees went out to meet Jesus because they understood why He was coming to town.  This Jesus was about to turn their entire lives completely upside down.  The Pharisees were comfortable and in control, or so they thought.  Luke records that some of the Pharisees were shouting out to Jesus.  Imagine how loud they must have been shouting to have their voices heard over the crowd.  This crowd of Pharisees wanted to silence the crowd and Jesus.  Imagine how they felt when Jesus responded that even if the crowd was silent, the very stones on the ground would cry out. (I’d like to be around for that!)

The voices of two contrasting crowds:  One crowd is wild with excitement, shouting, “Hosanna, Hosanna” —“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” The other crowd is shouting “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Two crowds: One crowd praises Jesus while the other crowd protests Him.

We come to the final group:  the crowd who simply pass.  They do not care enough one way or the other.  Jesus?  Who?  Did what?  Yeah, I am really busy doing my own thing.  I am going to pass on that.   I’m taking a pass today. Maybe next time.

This the “So what?” for YOU today:  what crowd are YOU in?

·         Are you in the “THINK-I-WILL-PRAISE-Jesus-TODAY” crowd?

·         Are you in the “THINK-I-WILL-PROTEST-Jesus-TODAY” crowd?

·         Are you in the “THINK-I-WILL-PASS-on-Jesus-TODAY” crowd?

So What?

One day Mark Twain took his little daughter on his knee and told her all about the rulers and other prominent men whom he had met in his travels. She listened attentively. When he had finished, she said, “Daddy, you know everybody but God, don’t you?” Mark Twain was certainly an intelligent person. Yet he rejected God.1

Praise.  Protest.  Pass.  Our choice.  Today’s “So What?” comes down to a choice…made by me…made by you…to either PRAISE…PROTEST. …or PASS this JESUS OF NAZARETH.


When we were raising our kids, my wife and I lived on the parade route. If there was a parade, it was going to go right past our house! Anyone who knew us knew that they could find a spot on our lawn and sit and enjoy the parade.  They also knew they could use the restroom, and could count on brownies with powdered sugar on top and water or pop (yes, in Northern Illinois–soda is POP!) Guess what? Today I know of a house (point to your heart) that is on the PALM SUNDAY parade route! It’s your heart. It’s YOU! Jesus is riding down the road in front of YOUR heart today! ARE YOU PRAISING? I surely hope you are!

We ended our worship on Palm Sunday with Chris Tomlin’s “IS HE WORTHY?” I double dog dare you to listen to it and PRAISE JESUS.

Friday is here…but…SUNDAY’S COMING!

See you Easter Sunday — SPOILER ALERT:  the tomb is empty!!!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave

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 3/8/21

Seed of Faith – Faith To Face Your Lions   By Pastor Dave  

“For [God] has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’  So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.  What can anyone do to me?'” Hebrews 13:5–6 NRSV 

Dear Faithful – Fearless & Fruitful Seed Sowers,
Last week we began a SEED OF FAITH on Daniel in the Lion’s Den.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to read Daniel 6.  Daniel had faith to stand against those who accused him. Daniel had faith to transform his environment. Do you? Do I?

The GOD of the entire universe ….says to you and me,  “I will never leave you or forsake you. So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’”  This is the faith that Daniel had!

Do you have this kind of faith?
Do you believe that God is your helper?
Do you believe that no matter what comes your way, GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU or FORSAKE YOU?

In 1940 Vincent and Margaret Crossett were missionaries in Mainland China. They struggled against poverty and paganism in a remote village in order to tell others about Jesus. The work was very slow and difficult, but after much sacrifice a small church was established. The church was no larger than a small Bible study group. Right on the threshold of this small triumph for the kingdom of God, Satan began his work. The Communist takeover of China during the Cultural Revolution forced all missionaries to leave China. The Crossetts hated to leave. Their fledgling flock of believers hardly seemed ready to withstand the coming onslaught. An atheistic, dictatorial government dedicated to wiping out all Christian influence was beginning its rule with ruthless power. How could this little church survive? From the world’s perspective there was nothing anyone could do. The church seemed destined to die. But Vincent and Margaret did not see through the world’s eyes. They saw through the eyes of faith that their God was faithful to those who honor him. The Crossetts were like faithful family sedans. They continued to do their duty. Though the missionaries were chased out, their prayers were not. For nearly forty years the Crosetts daily kept their prayer window opened toward China. They dutifully prayed in faith that God would one day triumph over Communism. The Crosetts heard nothing of their Chinese friends for forty years, but still they faithfully prayed for God to be victorious in the church they left behind. Finally, the walls of China came down. As the political climate changed, the nation was opened to western visitors. The Crossetts returned to the village where they had left the tiny, struggling group of believers. There was no small church in the village anymore! Instead, from that Bible study had grown a church of four thousand people! This body of believers had planted dozens of other churches as well, each with a membership of at least a thousand. All the Crossetts did was pray with their prayer window open to the focus of their prayer—China. The God of Daniel is alive and well.[i]

The Crossetts knew their God and they prayed in faith for the little church they left behind in China.

When Daniel was threatened with his life to conform to the new edict, he got down on his knees and prayed.  He asked God to help him like God had helped him all his life. Daniel had faith that his God could do immeasurably more than he could ask or imagine. Daniel knew that God was with him. Immanuel: GOD With ME.

In 2013 I came down with an infection of some kind in my body. It started in my left leg and spread to my right leg.  This infection manifested itself in painful blisters and oozing sores. It wasn’t just one or two of these sores but patches of skin, 8 inches long by 4 inches wide. Pretty soon the infection spread to  my chest and back.  I was sent to 14 different doctors. This infection stayed with me for 4 years. It went to the inside of my body and the outside of my body. None of the doctors knew what was wrong with me. My wife had gone to see a doctor in 2001. She had dropped a heavy piece of furniture on her toe and Dr. Zimmerman had helped her. We were grasping at straws at this point, and I was in horrible pain, sleeping in the recliner.  Jac (my wife) kept asking me to go see Dr.  Zimmerman. Out of desperation, I agreed. Dr. Z started treating me.  His words, “This infection is trying to kill you.  I will not send you to the hospital because I fear you would die of MRSA or staph in there.” He was afraid with all of the open, oozing sores, I’d get something worse than what I already had. Dr. Z gave me topical relief but the rash continued to progress. My wife began to have involuntary muscle twitches. She had suffered from mercury poisoning in 2005 and when she went to her doctor, her doctor retested her heavy metals levels. The doctor thought her mercury levels were back up. The test revealed severe lead poisoning. We have a seriously smart doctor, and she called me in and tested me for my heavy metal levels. Both Jac and I were living in a home that was putting out 6 times the limit of lead particles. I had ten times the lethal limit of lead in my body, Jac had 12! No wonder we were so sick. During all of these years of battling the infection, I had learned to be a man of prayer.  Good thing, because chelation is hard on a body! From September of 2017 to the summer of 2019, I did 3 chelations.  I am down to two times the lethal limit. Chelation is no fun. The doctor says I have one chelation left before I read the lethal  limit.

Here’s why I’m telling you this story. Between the past 7 years of oozing sores and chelations, I have learned to become a man of constant prayer.  I have learned to pray, “GOD WITH ME.” My faith in God has grown stronger day by day. God has shut the mouths of the lions I’ve been facing. God will do the same for you.

Daniel did not conform to the pressures of his world. He did not conform to the pressures of the King or of his “friends” and co-workers. Instead of conforming, Daniel transformed. He transformed his corner of the world.  When Daniel came out of the lions’ den after spending a night with the lions. he was untouched.  The King was elated and passed an edit that all people should worship the God of Daniel.  I love the wording of King Darrius law … Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land: “May you prosper greatly! “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian

If you are taking notes, here you go. Here are 5 points from King Darius worth remembering:






KEEP YOUR FAITH IN GOD: There’s a fourth man in the fire with you.

In the face of this year long epidemic, keep your faith. Our God is with us. Your God is with you. Say it with me and make it personal: GOD WITH ME.

When times are hard this week, say it out loud, “GOD WITH ME.” Think about Daniel.  Think about being thrown into the lions’ den for no good reason at all—except that your coworkers are jealous and envious of you. I always tell you to put yourself into the story.  Well.  DO!

Here you are—they’ve thrown you into the pit. They’ve sealed the pit so you can’t escape.  YOU ARE THERE, IN THE PIT, ALONE.  I’m guessing it’s dark–because lions like to hunt at night! I’m also guessing Daniel prayed. An angel came and shut the lions’ mouths. And after that long, long night—Daniel was rescued by the KING…and, don’t miss this, the scripture says,  So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian..”

Did you hear that? So Daniel prospered.

Tell yourself this story this week…over and over again…until you believe it. And, by the way, you are NOT ALONE in that lions’ den…not at all. That fourth man in the fire? He’s WITH YOU.


There isn’t a dream team on earth who can team up against you to defy God’s will and plan for your life. DO YOU BELIEVE IT?

Despite this pandemic and whatever else you are facing, I want you to stand on this promise: So Daniel prospered. That’s my prayer for you! Jac’s “Daddy-oh” has been with us for 400 days now. He has Alzheimer’s and emphysema and a severe case of sundowners. Dad is up all night making many trips around the house and the bathroom. The doctors have said, “It is time. He needs 24/7 supervision.” Because of covid, we can’t hire night-time help. We will be placing Dad into a nearby memory care home this coming week. It is time for Jac and me to have a living faith for Dad; a faith that says, “God’s will for Dad is for him to prosper in this next move.” Immanuel. God with us. God with me. I’m praying for you.  Will you pray for us?

See You Sunday!

God loves you and so do I,
Pastor Dave

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.