Seed Of Faith

Weekly Seed of Faith 1/4/2022

Seed of Faith – Epiphany – Wait, Watch, Witness, Worship   By Pastor Dave  

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2

Dear Saintly Seed-Sowers,

EPIPHANY is Thursday, January 6th! Do you know that Epiphany is always 12 days after Christmas—January 6? Yes, the 12 days of Christmas!
Epiphany means “manifestation” and is the day that was set by the early church as the day God manifested Christ, the Savior, to the Gentiles–with the appearance of the wise-men in Bethlehem. There are 330 different prophecies of the coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament.  Matthew gives us four of them in chapter two of the book of Matthew alone.  Think of it for a minute; if you are a mathematician, what are the odds of four of the 330 prophecies being fulfilled by one person?  What are the odds of one person fulfilling all 330?  THIS is exactly what happens when Christ is born!

The story of the wise men visiting the Christ child is an intriguing one. I love the pic above! I added the 4 W’s and it helps me to remember what I have in common with these wise guys.

These wisemen waited, and when they saw the promise of the star fulfilled they went, they witnessed and worshiped. Can you comprehend this story?  This traveling caravan of wise-men and servants began a long trip to Israel simply because a particular star was in the sky, alerting them to the birth of the King of the Jews.  They traveled for several months before they finally met the Christ-child. I believe this is more than just a story to entertain us, it is a story to teach us about our own personal response to Christ, “the child born the king of the Jews.” First in the line-up of the W’s is WAIT.  Are you waiting? It’s okay.

What is so fascinating is the Greek wording in verse two, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”  The verb that is used to describe to action of the wisemen is a present active verb, which means that they never stopped asking the question. Can you imagine a caravan of travelers coming into your town and walking all around asking anyone and everyone they see —  “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?”  What a powerful witness!

I would ask you to take a few minutes today or this week to read the story found in Matthew 2:1-12.

Look at the action words —
they went — verse 9
they saw the star — verse 10
they were overjoyed — verse 10
they saw the child — verse 11
they bowed down and worship HIM — verse 11
they opened their treasure and presented him gifts — verse 11
they returned to their country by a different route — verse 12

Look at the characters in this story.  You have the wisemen or magi, King Herod, the chief priest and teachers of the law, all the people of Jerusalem who were asked one question — “Where is the ONE born KING of the Jews?” Of course, then you have Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  Have you ever thought about the responses of all these people?

So What?
Where are you in this story? Where are you in your journey to the King? Where are you as you follow the Star? Have you allowed the clouds of the past years overshadow the joy of Christ the King and Messiah being born a NEW for YOU!

The wise men WAITED, they WATCHED, they WENT, the WITNESSED and they WORSHIPED!  

How about you!?  I love when the OLD, OLD story become HIStory…which becomes our story, too. We can WAIT…and while we wait…we will WATCH…and when it’s time…we will GO…and we will WITNESS and. most importantly,, we will WORSHIP!

Have you given up on church during COVID? I beg you to straighten your crown (magi) and return to church…you may have gone a different way…it’s okay…we can WAIT together…we can GO together…we can WITNESS together and we WILL WORSHIP TOGETHER! And as we do, we can be GOD’S CHURCH together.

If you don’t have a church home, join us. If you do–return and practice these 4 W’s. God loves you, He really does. Let’s WORSHIP this newborn baby who has come to SAVE us.

Happy New Year!

Happy Epiphany! May Christ be manifested anew in you today and every day!

God loves you and do 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 12/10/2021

Seed of Faith – Room For Love by Pastor Dave  

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, God with us.”  Matthew 1:21-23

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers,
We are in week two of Advent!  This week we lit the candle of LOVE! My wife came across a great acrostic for love this week:

L— Listen
O — Overlook
V — Value 
E — Encourage

I encourage you to put LOVE into practice this week and listen to those you love, overlook the little things and even some of the big things and forgive, then value your family and friendships, and then encourage others with the LOVE of God in your heart and home!

Home for Jesus was Bethlehem. Bethlehem! What do we know about Bethlehem? Why did God choose Bethlehem?

Bethlehem was a small town six miles southwest of Jerusalem. It is first mentioned in the Bible in relation to Jacob and Rachel. (Abraham, Isaac, then Jacob and Esau) Jacob had twelve sons; this is where we get the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob had several wives but Rachel was the love of his life. Rachel was the mother of Joseph (coat of many colors) and Benjamin. Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin. “So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.” (Genesis 35:19-20) 

Jacob buried Rachel near Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. This all takes place 2,000 years before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The next time Bethlehem is mentioned in the Bible is in the Book of Ruth. We are told about the famine in the land and how Naomi and her husband left Bethlehem and traveled to Moab. Listen to how it is written in Ruth 1:1-2 — In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.”

Because of a famine, Naomi and her husband left Bethlehem and headed across the Jordan River to live in a foreign land. Their sons take wives from Moab. Elimelech dies as do his two sons. Naomi is a widow and decides to head back home to Bethlehem. Ruth, a Moabite woman, was married to one of Naomi’s sons and insists on going back the Bethlehem with Naomi. Remember these powerful words in Ruth 1:16-17, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Ruth is a very short book you can read in one sitting. In Ruth you will also find the story of Ruth and Boaz. Boaz is a relative of Naomi and the kinsman-redeemer who ends up marrying Ruth and providing for Naomi. They have a son and name him Obed. Obed has a son and names him Jesse, and Jesse has a son and names him David—as in the second king of Israel. This makes Ruth, the foreigner and a Moabite woman without Jewish blood, the great-grandmother of King David. This is powerful when you consider that prophecy declares the Messiah will come from the line of David and will be born in Bethlehem! Boaz was not just Ruth’s kinsmen redeemer…his blood made Jesus from the line of David, house of Judah! That is why Bethlehem is called the city of David. All of these people (except Ruth) were born in this little, farming town six miles south of Jerusalem, the town called Bethlehem.

 God is sovereign over time and place!

·         700 B.C. Micah prophesies the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. All this time God has been working.

·         God was preparing a place for the coming of the Messiah. Around 2000 B.C., Rachel is buried near Bethlehem with a pillar set up to make her place.

·         Seven to nine hundred years later (1375-1050 B.C.), God calls a foreigner by the name of Ruth into the story. Ruth, a foreigner, an outcast, and outsider makes her home with Naomi in Bethlehem. Boaz marries Ruth. Obed, Jesse, and King David are born.

·         Three to four hundred years (742-687 B.C) go by and here we are:  God sends the prophet Micah to tell the people that out of Bethlehem–will come the Messiah.

·         It is worth noting that the name Benjamin means “son of my right hand,” and the name David means “beloved.” Both of these names apply to our Lord, for He is the Beloved Son (Luke 3:22) at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1)

In the Hebrew language Bethlehem means “House of Bread.”  Bethlehem was located in a fertile area in Judah and produced great crops of figs and wheat. Don’t you find it fascinating that here in Bethlehem, the “house of bread,” the Bread of Life was delivered from heaven to earth?

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

The Scriptures record the journey of the Jewish nation–God working out the ultimate purpose of having the Messiah born in Bethlehem, the house of bread, before the beginning of time or place. God is SOVEREIGN over time and place!

So What?
It is my prayer that as we journey through these Advent Sundays, we will come to realize that we are home. It is not a dream! You are home in God’s hope and love. Ever since the beginning of time, we have been planned and placed exactly right here into God’s story. We are home! We are not lost — Immanuel is here, “God is with us.”  God has been with us from the beginning of time to today. God has been working out His plan to bring us home for Christmas since Jacob and Rachael, Ruth and Boaz, David and Bathsheba, Mary, and Joseph—and Jesus! If we are with God this Christmas Season—we are not lost at all.

The “So what?” for us today is that God is sovereign over time and place. God is the Authority with supreme rank and power over all of time. God is working even when we do not see or understand. God is sovereign over where we are right this very second! And the same God who spoke to Micah, who spoke to Ruth and Boaz, who spoke to King David and to Joseph and Mary—this marvelous God has called us here–to this place and time–so we will find our hearts’ home in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus!

Here is what I heard as I prayed, studied, and sweated over “this message” for this Christmas season: “Dave, tell my people I have a plan. I have had a plan all along—since the beginning of time. Tell them about Micah, Ruth, Boaz, David, Zechariah, Isaiah, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Mary. Tell them the story again—about shepherds and angels and wise men. I want my people home for Christmas—home at the manger…home in Bethlehem…home where my ONE and ONLY Son was born. Home where LOVE is! We do not need all the bells and whistles. Keep it simple. I want my children to be home for Christmas.”

“Home” means a shelter, a house, a residence, or birthplace. This Christmas I believe with all of my heart that God wants our lives, our hearts, and our homes to be the shelter and residence for the Christ Child—and THAT is the real “so what?” for us this Sunday of Advent! As long as God is the ONE who is writing HIS STORY, we are not lost! We are HOME in His LOVE!

No matter where we travel to for the holidays, let’s be HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!
Count on God’s HOPE and LOVE to abide with us this Advent Season. We’re halfway through Advent! JOY is on deck…then PEACE!

REVIEW OF THOSE PASTOR DAVE acronyms for Advent:
HOPE:  Holy One Prepares Everyone….Heaven’s One Promise: Emmanuel
LOVE: Listen…Overlook…Value…Encourage!

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

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 12/3/2021

Seed of Faith – Advent Hope  By Pastor Dave  

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,

It’s here: the first week of Advent. It is time to get all our Christmas tree, our Christmas decorations and set up our home.  Guess what pastors love about the 4-week Advent season? It is time for us to prepare our hearts for Christ!

Wait!
 
Waiting!

What comes to your mind when you hear these two words?

Who or what is it that you are waiting on?

I remember when I had a mysterious, intriguing, and strange rash of oozing blisters on my legs and shoulders and chest. The year was 2013! I waited for 33 months as I saw fourteen different doctors. Each doctor told me they had no idea what was wrong with me. The Infectious Disease Doctor called in two other disease specialists into my room. Their diagnosis: no clue but you are intriguing. Listen, I didn’t want to be intriguing.  I was waiting to get rid of my 33-month-old rash!

How about you? What are you waiting for?

We have all been struggling with a world-wide pandemic that has caused many to quarantine, lock-down and even shutdown. It has been almost 2 years — 20 months of waiting, watching, worrying, and wondering — How Long, Lord?! How long do we have to wait?

“Wait” is a verb! Did you know that? I will say it again, “WAIT” is a verb. Waiting is an action that we do. Isn’t that kind of funny? Waiting is an action that we do…we wait. How exactly do we wait? One of my Bible Dictionaries defined “wait” this way: “to remain in readiness or expectation.” [i] In Scripture, the word “wait” normally suggests the anxious, yet confident, expectation by God’s people that the Lord will intervene on their behalf. Waiting, therefore, is the working out of hope. Did you hear that? When we wait—we are to remain in readiness and expectation. Think about what it is (or who it is) that you are waiting for. Now—remain confident that God will intervene. What we are doing when we wait? We are working out HOPE.

I love that thought, “Waiting is the working out of hope.”  “The expectation that the Lord will intervene on my behalf.”

We have been waiting for 20 months to hear some good news concerning Covid. As we wait, we hear that there is a new variant.(I find it interesting that they are using the Greek alphabet to name the variants.)

As I have work on this message, I have been reflecting on some of the people who had to wait in the Bible:

Abraham was given a promise that he would be the father of many nations yet it was not until he was 100 years old that his wife Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Can you imagine waiting until you are almost one hundred to see the birth of your son!? WAIT ... Remain in readiness. Remain in Expectation!

Then there is Jacob. Jacob worked for 7 years to marry Rachel only to find out that his father-in-law switched daughters on him, and he ended up marrying Leah. When Jacob found out what Laban had done, he then promised to work another 7 years for him in order to marry Rachel. Can you imagine waiting and working for 14 years for the right to marry the one you love? WAIT: Remain in readiness. Remain in expectation.

How about Moses? Moses is orphaned as a 3-month-old baby and grows up in Pharaoh’s palace for the next 40 years, then the following 40 years he lives in the wilderness taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep. After that, Moses spends 40 years wandering in the wilderness caring for the people of Israel. That is a lifetime of waiting. Can you imagine waiting 40 years to enter the Promised Land? Can you imagine seeing it from across the river but not ever being able to enter it? WAIT: Remain in readiness. Remain in expectation.

What about David? David grows up taking care of his father’s sheep. He writes psalms (songs) and plays the harp. David is anointed king by Samuel, and slays a giant named Goliath. Did you know it took 15 years after he was anointed king to actually become the king of Judah? Can you imagine waiting 15 years for the promise of a promotion or a raise? WAIT: Remain in readiness. Remain in expectation.

When you turn to the New Testament, we read about an old priest by the name of Zechariah.

Zechariah, an old high priest, waited to have the opportunity to bring the incense into the Holy of Holy’s. It was finally his turn and in he went into the Holy of Holies—by himself, with a rope tied to his foot—in case of emergency—they could drag him out.

Hope. Zechariah had prayed and prayed for years and years for his wife Elizabeth to have a child. Now he was an old man and his wife was beyond childbearing age. Scholars believe that Zechariah and Elizabeth had been married for about 50 years. We do not know how old Zechariah is but that we do know that he had been waiting for a long time to hear from God. The Jewish people had been waiting four hundred years to hear from God. They were waiting for a Messiah. My guess is that Zechariah had been waiting and hoping for a child for 80 years. Zechariah was going through the motions, putting in his time, punching his high priest’s “to do” list: “Fill the candles, clean the pulpit, mop the entry, dust the altar…” And then, lightning struck: Zechariah’s name was drawn from the hat! More like his straw was picked, his lot was chosen; and Zechariah was chosen to enter the holy of holies and offer the yearly sacrifice! Zechariah’s been at this for an exceptionally long time. Five times every year Zechariah made the five-mile hike to Jerusalem to go serve in the temple for the feasts. Now from the lot of the 18,000 priests, Zechariah’s name is chosen. Look at those odds … 1 in 18,0000. Is now the time for God to speak? WAIT WITH CONFIDENCE, and EXPECTATION…work out HOPE as you wait.

Zechariah means — “The Lord Remembers.”

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

SO WHAT?
How many times do you and I want to give up, give in and not believe?

What are the odds that some of us reading this today are ready to give up, give in and throw in the towel?
Don’t do it. Be like Abraham. Be like Jacob. Be like Moses. Be like David. Be like Zechariah. WAIT IN HOPE!

In our Scripture reading from Isaiah 7, we hear the Prophet Isaiah challenge King Ahaz to ask God for a sign. Ahaz says that he will not put God to the test of a sign because he has secretly made an alliance with the Assyrians to protect him. In essence, King Ahaz was not waiting on God to help him. King Ahaz had taken matters into his own human hands. Instead of waiting on God, he forced a deal with the enemy.

How often do we act like King Ahaz?

How often do we take matters into our own hands?

How hard is it to WAIT on God?

I can tell you that it is pretty darn hard to wait.

Even though King Ahaz would not ask for a sign, God gave him, and the people of Israel, a sign. That sign is proclaimed in Isaiah 7:14 — Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Do you remember what “Immanuel” means? “Immanuel” means “God is with us.” Here in Isaiah, the promise of the sign given by God is that of IMMANUEL–God is with us. God is with us! God is working on our behalf even when we cannot see or feel Him working! God is working in our lives while we wait.

Write that down on the table of your heart: God is working while you wait!

Dr. Arthur Pierson once told of being alone in the study of the great man of faith and achievement, George Mueller. Thinking it would be a good time to look at the great man’s Bible, he opened it and was thumbing through its pages when he came to a verse in Psalms where it reads, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Ps. 37:23).

Opposite it, on the margin, Mueller had made this notation: “And the stops, too.”

THE STEPS AND THE STOPS OF A GOOD MAN OR WOMAN ARE ORDERED BY THE LORD.

Has God put some stops in your life?

Then WAIT.

What if we turned WAIT into an acronym?

WALKING
ALWAYS
INTO
TRUST

WAIT!

Remember:

  1.  While we are waiting, God is working.
  2.  We can wait with hope. We can remain in readiness. Remain in expectation. We can wait and trust that God will intervene.

I still have two times the lethal limit of lead in my body, I am down from 5 times! I have been waiting to detox this lead since September of 2017, 4 years. The pandemic has but a halt on my chelation, so I’m waiting. But NOW I wait with confidence that God is with me.

IMMANUEL. I wait knowing that the day is coming when I will be lead free. Like Abraham, Moses, Zechariah—and all of us who wait…it is my prayer that we will learn to wait in hope … “remain in readiness or expectation…having the anxious, yet confident, expectation that the Lord will intervene on our behalf.”

As you may know, my wife is very creative. The other day she walked into my study area and announced she’s changing my acronym for the Advent season. My trustworthy and true acronym for HOPE is HOPE…. Heaven’s One Promise: Emmanuel. God with us.
Jac wanted something new for this Advent season. She loved that Advent means PREPARATION! We really are to prepare our hearts for the Christ Child this Advent. Here is her acronym: HOPE…Holy One Prepares EVERYONE! “Get it,” she said. “This way while I wait, I can trust that God is busy preparing everyone for Christmas!”

Let’s wait with readiness and expectation that GOD IS WITH US. God is with us as we get our decorations out. God is with us as we prepare our homes. God is with us as we make our lists but most importantly, GOD IS WITH US AS WE WAIT.

What are you waiting for? Who are you waiting for? Your homework is to go ahead and start preparing your home for Christmas. But…when you get a momentary setback of time, just remember–God is with you while you wait so wait in readiness for God to intervene. I’m waiting to be free of lead poisoning; 33 months is nothing for God. I’m praying for you, too, as you wait in hope and prepare your heart for the reason for the season.

Let’s prepare our hearts for Christmas.

See You SUNDAY!

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

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/15/21

Seed of Faith – RESURRECTION VICTORY By Pastor Dave  

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:10-11

“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” I Corinthians 15:53

Dear Faithful Friends, Family and Fruitful Seed-Sowers,

As I sit down to write a Seed of Faith, I realize it has been a long time since I’ve sat at my computer. My last Seed of Faith was written on October 2nd, 35 days ago. My last Seed of Faith was entitled, “Resurrection Revelations”.  I had been writing a series on I Corinthians 15. I think this SEED OF FAITH will be a witness and a testimony to the love and grace of Jesus.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and read Paul’s writings in chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians.

By now, I am sure that you heard that our family came down with Covid-19 in the month of October. All seven of us in the house had Covid-19. The three grandchildren, our daughter and and son-of love and my wife and myself. We fell like dominoes–all 7 of us in 7 days. What is fascinating to me is that we all had different symptoms.  My daughter and myself had it the worst. But, the truth be told, Covid hit the adults all pretty hard, we were in bed for a week! And the 3 teenagers recovered in days.

I want to thank all of you who loved us through this time. We received text messages, emails, cards, phone calls, food, food and more food. I also want to thank our doctors who got us the right treatments and medications. My wife and I both qualified for the monoclonal infusion; that certainly helped. Without your love, support, prayers and encouragement I do not know how we would have made it through.  Thank you!

I have several devotionals that I read each morning along with my regular Bible reading.  When I got knocked down with Covid-19, I did not do much but sleep and lay in bed for days. Jac tells everyone I slept 22 of the 24 hours a day for the first week.

Today I picked up my devotional, “Voices From The Past — Puritan Devotional Readings” edited by Richard Rushing and I noticed my book marker. I opened to the last day I had read: October 10th. The opening Scripture was the Psalm above, Psalm 84:10-11.

Today’s reading begins with Paul’s words found in 1 Corinthians 15:53.

On top of struggling through Covid-19–the entire house moaning and groaning–we received the sad news that “Dad” had contracted Covid in the memory care home. They have been battling Covid on and off for the past year. Dad had been isolated for the last half of September. Then we got Covid. Then Dad got Covid. With all of Dad’s medical conditions, he passed away on October 27th. The golden thread in all of this is that because we had had Covid, the nurse and the director allowed us to stay and visit dad once we hit our day 11. We were able to spend the last week of Dad’s life with him. That was a blessing–for him and for us. Hospice had isolated Dad and he was alone in his room for the first two days. I was then able to go and care for him, and a few days later Jac was able to join me. Dad was doing really well until the morning of Day 9. He really only suffered for a few minutes until Hospice gave him a dose of morphine–he was gone two hours later. Great peace filled his room those last two hours.

About 650 days ago, Jac’s mom fell and we found out she had stage IV lung cancer with metastases to her brain. We brought her home on hospice. Within 5 weeks, Mom passed to heaven. By now, we were noticing that Dad was not able to care for himself alone.  Covid had hit America very strongly in early 2020, so we stayed 3 months and tried to figure out a plan. In mid-May we implemented our plan: rented a motorhome. packed up all Dad’s belongings that we could and moved dad from Florida to California. What a kind, gentle and loving man dad was. My wife said through her tears, the other day as we were cleaning up up his room, “Dad sure is miss-able.” 

Boy, I thought about that statement!  When I die, I want to be miss-able!

We know that Paul wanted to pass along to the church what was the most important thing he had — the resurrection. Listen again to the opening words of 1 Corinthians 15.  “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, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.”  I Corinthians 15:3-5

A good so what thought, or question is, “What is the most important thing you have?  What is the most important thing you want to pass on to your children and your children’s children? What do you want your friends and family to remember about you?”

We all have questions about heaven and the resurrection.  As I mentioned, my wife and I have been caring for Dad since her mom died in February of 2020.  Dad lived with us for a year, and then his dementia got worse. We moved him into a memory care home.  He loved it. He loved having his own room, little kitchenette, and private shower/bath. Every day he’d say, “I really love this place. It’s all I need.” Every day I would go and visit him—I used the excuse of bringing him the newspaper but it was really to check on him and to see how he was doing and if he needed anything.  We’d go 2-3 times a day. The morning was to refresh his room, and the late afternoons were to play cards, and watch golf and baseball. During all of these visits, he has really become my dad; I call him dad. I’ve known him for 49 years now.

Almost every day as we would sit and talk, Dad would say, “I just cannot believe that Jo Ann (his wife of seventy years)  is gone. I never thought this is how life would turn out. I always thought I’d go first.”

Every day I would talk with dad about the resurrection and heaven. I got to tell him heaven is a joyous place and that he will be given a new body.  His old body that was dying and not working very well would be replaced with a new body that will never perish or get weak again. He said he liked that idea, “I hope you are right, David.” I would tell him about these passage in 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 21 that teaches about a new heaven and a new earth–where there will be no more tears, pain, or suffering. I would tell him that we are all going to die, but we will have life eternal given to us through Jesus Christ.

Friends, this is exactly what Paul is teaching the church in Corinth.

When dad passed away my wife, Jac and I were sitting by his bedside reading and praying with him. Right before he passed, Jac asked me to read the passage that we read to her mom when she passed. I got my Bible out and turned to 1 Corinthians 15 and starting reading at verse 53

“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:53-57

When I started to read verse 57, dad took a deep breath and puffed up his chest and breathed out slowly and walked into the arms of Jesus. Dad was not afraid of death and he bravely faced it with his chest out as he embraced eternal life.

What is so fascinating to me is that when mom died almost two years ago dad sat with us as I read the same passages.  He looked at Jac and I and said, “I have never seen anyone die before.”  Over the past two years, dad has come to know the power, the hope and the resurrection victory.

So What?
Do you want the people who love you to say of you after you are gone, “Boy, are they ever miss-able” ?

When Jac walked into Dad’s room, Dad got the biggest smile on his face. He’d wave and say, “Hi, Jac! That’s my daughter!” Wherever he was, he’d tell everyone, “This is my daughter! She’s terrific!”

I’ve watched this relationship for 49 years now. I can’t recall a time when Dad wasn’t happy to see us. He’d stop whatever he was doing and see how we were. He’d offer a sodie, and food. Like Jac often says, “It was like we were movie stars or something!” Jac’s dad had a million dollar smile and a laugh to match.

Here’s your “SO WHAT?” homework: Do you believe it’s too late to change? It’s not. Do you want to be deeply missed when you move on to heaven? What do you need to change about yourself in order for that to happen? Jac’s dad would always say, “I don’t want to be any trouble. I want to be nice. I want to be kind.”
Dad, you are really miss-able around here.

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

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 10/8/2021

Seed of Faith – RESURRECTION REVELATIONS   By Pastor Dave  

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep,: I Corinthians 15:20

Dear Faithful, Fearless & Fruitful Seed Sowers,

Greetings in the love and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a different world we find ourselves living in today–so very different from years past. I find great hope and peace in knowing this ONE THING: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The world may be changing, your life and your family and your friends may be changing, our country may be changing, your schools and places of work may be changing but this one thing remains the same: JESUS CHRIST REMAINS THE SAME…yesterday…today…forever.  From the Old Testament, how about holding onto Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (NIV) I am praying for you to find solid footing in the solid ROCK foundation of Jesus Christ.

Now, more than ever, is the time to MAKE TIME to read the living word of God! Why not start right now? All you need is a way to find the Scriptures–phone, bible, computer, etc. You don’t need a PhD, or a Masters of Divinity–all you need is the Word. Today, I am encouraging you to sit down, and read 1 Corinthians 15. As long as I have breath, I want to point you to the resurrection; we have a power within us that has defeated all other powers.

Recently, I worked a men’s retreat weekend back home in Illinois. The leader of the retreat blessed me with a book and on the inside he wrote, “Paul says, ‘I give to you the 3 most important things I know: 1. Christ died for your sins (crucifixion). 2. Christ was buried (in a borrowed tomb). 3. Christ rose from the dead (resurrection).’ THE GOSPEL IS THAT EASY!” If you don’t remember anything I say, remember those 3 things for upon these three things God has hung the stars and sun and planets, upon these 3 things God has formed the foundations of the world, upon these 3 things God has made a way for you and I to enjoy eternity.

Let’s look at this one chapter, 1 Corinthians 15.

What is Paul doing in this chapter? Paul is establishing a “So what?” argument. Remember Paul, the chief sinner saved by grace, is writing to the church in Corinth. The church in Corinth was teaching that there was no resurrection from the dead! Hey! Wait! Can you imagine Paul hearing this news? He sits down and pens this letter. “For I passed on to you first of all what I also received, that CHRIST died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (Isaiah 53:5-12), that Jesus was buried, that JESUS AROSE on the third day as the Scriptures foretold (Psalm 16:9, 10).” 

Here’s what Paul is trying to tell us: If the resurrection does not exist in any way, shape or form, then the consequences to our Christian faith are devastating, empty, pointless, useless and in vain. Paul is stating: The resurrection is the hinge point of our faith—and the resurrection has to affect and change the ways we think and act.

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-17

Resurrection Revelation
So What? What do these verses teach us today?  Just a quick look around and it’s pretty easy to see that the world we live in has a sin  problem–and here is where Paul is aiming.

Our sin-problem remains unsolved if Jesus did not rise from the dead.

The unanimous testimony of the Scriptures is that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:24).

The reality is is that death will mark the end-result of our separation from God.

Here is the point that Paul is driving home: If Jesus stayed dead, there are only two possible conclusions– 
First,  Jesus was not the sinless person everyone thought Him to be and His death marked His final separation from God.
Second, Jesus might have been without personal sin but His attempts to atone for the sin of the world by His death did not meet with divine approval of God.

If Jesus stayed dead–then we are dead in our sin.  

Paul was never a man of few words, chapter 15 illustrates this for us! I love verse 32, “If the dead are not raised at all, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will be dead. DO NOT BE DECEIVED!” Paul continues by ending this chapter with the HOPE (heaven’s one promise…eternity) we all need hope planted firmly in our hearts: “We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable (free from decay) and we shall be changed!” (verses 52,53) Paul, the Old Testament scholar, now quotes Isaiah 25:8, ” Death is swallowed up in victory” and from Hosea 13:14, “O death, where is your victory? O death,, where is your sting?” 

Paul’s preaching is on fire in this chapter. He writes because he wants us to remember the most important things he knows. Paul, who has written prolifically–at least 13 letters in the Bible–boils it all down to what he knows as the HINGE PIN of life:

1. Jesus died.
2. Jesus was buried.
3. Jesus rose.

If Paul were on THE VOICE, he’d drop the mic.

Your homework this week: Do you believe Jesus died? Do you believe Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb? Do you believe Jesus rose from the dead? If you  believe these three things then this world has no scare in it for you. Like I wrote to open this SEED OF FAITH, the world is changing but one thing will never change.

JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME…YESTERDAY…TODAY…FOREVER.

Make that a breath prayer for when you are afraid: JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU.  JESUS, YOU ARE THE SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY, FOREVER.

I love my job. As crazy as it sounds, I love to tell people whose loved ones have died–the moment they drew their last breath on earth, they were safely home in heaven held in the loving arms of Jesus. Bring on that trumpet call, I’m going home in the twinkling of an eye.

See you Sunday!

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

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

Weekly Seed Of Faith 9/23/2021

Seed of Faith – Resurrection Rescue   By Pastor Dave  

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

Dear Faithful and Fruitful Seed-Sowers,

It is my prayer that each and every one of us are walking with Jesus and that we are surrounded by His powerful presence, perfect peace and rescued by His precious grace.

Our “SO WHAT?” questions from last week were:

What is the most important thing you have or own? (Pause. List a few.)
What is the most important thing you know?
What is the one thing you want to pass on to your family and friends?

Before we go to God’s living words of life, let us come to our Living Lord in a moment of prayer.  “Lord, God of all hope and healing, we come today to be touched and renewed, restored and resurrected by Your Living Word.  Come, Holy Spirit, speak to us. Cleanse us of our wrong thinking and guide us in Your ways. Amen.”

Take a moment and read I Corinthians 15:1-11.

The Apostle Paul lays claim to the power and hope of the resurrection right here. But, first, we need to take a moment to reflect upon who Paul is and how he came to this knowledge.

POINT 1: Paul the Persecutor
Paul was a Jew who grew up and sat at the feet of Gamaliel, the greatest Pharisee and teacher of the law.  Paul learned the law and lived the law.  Paul became an aggressive persecutor of the newly formed Christian Church. In chapter seven of the Book of Acts, we find Paul holding the cloaks of those stoning Stephen, the first martyr for Christ and of the church.   By chapter nine of Acts, Paul goes to the High Priest to receive papers to go to Damascus to find the followers of the Way, the followers of Christ.  Paul had been imprisoning them and had these Christians beaten and put to death. The Bible tells us that Paul was “breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” (Acts 9:1)

Take in this picture of Paul. A man highly educated, passionate about God and filled with fire for keeping the law of God. Are you in this story today?

Have you ever been lost? 
Have you ever felt as if you had gone too far to return to God?
Have you ever looked down on someone and judged them beyond hope?
Maybe you think you are beyond hope?

If so, then this story of Paul’s conversion and encounter with grace is for you!

In the eighteenth century, there were two young men in England whose names were Lord Lyttleton and Gilbert West. They were unbelievers. In fact, they were strong in their unbelief. They were also both lawyers, with keen minds, and they thought they had good reasons for rejecting Christianity. One day in a conversation one of them said, “Christianity stands upon a very unstable foundation. There are only two things that actually support it: the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ and the alleged conversion of Saul of Tarsus. If we can disprove those stories, which should be rather easy to do, Christianity will collapse like a house of cards.” Gilbert West said, “All right, then. I’ll write a book on the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ and disprove it.” Lord Lyttleton said, “If you write a book on the resurrection, I’ll write on the alleged appearance of Jesus to the apostle Paul. You show why Jesus could not possibly have been raised from the dead, and I’ll show that the apostle Paul could not have been converted as the Bible says he was—by a voice from heaven on the road to Damascus.” Each went off to write their book. Sometime later they met again, and one of them said to the other, “I’m afraid I have a confession to make. I have been looking into the evidence for this story, and I have begun to think that maybe there is something to it after all.” The other said, “The same thing has happened to me. But let us keep on investigating these stories and see where we come out.”

In the end, after they had done their investigations and had written their books, each had come out on exactly the opposite side he had been on when he began his investigation. Gilbert West had written The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, arguing that it is a fact of history. And Lord Lyttleton had written The Conversion of St. Paul.[i]

By treating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the conversion of the apostle Paul as the two great pillars of Christianity, these men were saying that if the apostle Paul was not converted as the ninth chapter of Acts says he was, and as he himself declares in his own recorded testimonies both before the Jews and the Gentiles, then Christianity loses one of its two most important bulwarks. Moreover, it loses its most able theologians.

Point 2: Paul the Proclaimer of GRACE
Listen to Herschel H. Hobbs’ (author and theologian) thoughts on law and grace:

I read an illustration about a man who is standing at a fork in the road trying to decide which way to go. One road has a sign which says “law.” The other has a sign reading “grace.” If he chooses to travel the law road, he falls away from the grace road. It is not a matter of being in grace and falling out of it. It is a matter of never having been in grace. One cannot travel both roads. For law and grace negate each other. If it is by works, it cannot be by grace, grace is a gift. If it is by grace, then it cannot be by law. Christ is in the grace road. So, if you travel the law road, you are cut off from Him and His saving power. To depend upon legalism in any form or degree for salvation is to turn your back upon Christ.[ii]

Paul stood on the fork in that road. He had to choose between law and grace.  I believe that we all come to this fork in the road many times in our lives. Maybe you are at one today.

I love how Paul puts it in this letter to Corinthians … Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. 1 Corinthians 15:8-11

“But by the grace of God I am what I am.”  What a powerful statement.

Paul was transformed from a powerful persecutor of the church into a passionate preacher proclaiming Christ and Him crucified, dead, buried and risen! Paul was presented Grace Road and he left the fork in the road that day.

Paul told the church in Colossae these words … “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” Colossians 1:2-5

I know many people who quote only part of this famous saying.  Many say, “I am what I am.” But we need to include the last part of this verse: by the grace of God.

Paul’s life was forever changed and transformed by God’s grace.  Pick up your Bible and you will read how Paul begins most of his letters to the churches with “grace” and he ends most of his writings with words of “grace.” Paul had been trained for years in the law. He stood at the fork in the road for an exceptionally long time. Friends, it is only the grace of God that can change us from being a sinner to saint, from a persecutor to a proclaimer. GRACE: God RICHES At Christ’s Expense—a free gift for all. We cannot buy this precious, priceless commodity. Grace is God’s free gift.

During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.” After some discussion, the conferees had to agree. The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eightfold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish covenant, and the Muslim code of law—each offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.[iii]

The Gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection de-centers unbelievers from the center of their own life.  That is what it did for Paul.  Paul stood at the intersection of Law and Grace and recognized his unworthiness. Paul recognized a truth I want us all to remember “I AM WHAT I AM BY THE GRACE OF GOD.”

Where would you be today without God’s grace?

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

So What?
Brennan Manning has been one of my favorite authors.  I was able to go and hear him speak in person on many occasions.  I have read and reread his books.  They have ministered to me in many ways throughout my years of ministry and my years of being rescued from myself. I stood at the intersection of law and grace often. Manning has written: “The Ragamuffin Gospel, Ruthless Trust, Abba’s Child, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus.”  Get ready for the title of his last book: “All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir.” Manning was a recovering alcoholic.  Brennan died of wet brain syndrome, Weirnecke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS).  Brennan struggled with alcoholism. Listen to some of his last words:

“Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity—that he loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain—that he loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, your whole being rejects it. Do you believe that God loves YOU without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be?”[iv]

Many of you know that the past few years have been difficult for my wife and I. We have lived through the sorrow and grief of the deaths of four family members and a very close friend who was like family.  I went back to Illinois this past month to help clean out some of the personal items in my dad’s home where he and my mom lived for many years. My mom died in this home. I was with her. This is the same home where my dad and stepmom lived for another 20 years. In mid-May Jodi, Juliet, Brian, and I traveled to the house (from Texas and California) in order to pick up boxes that my stepmom had set aside for the Peters family. We moved the boxes to a storage building in Rochelle. Jac and I planned a cross-country trip for July in order for me to go through those boxes. A few weeks later, I bought a few additional items from the estate sale and had a good set of friends deliver those items to the storage shed.

As Jac and I stood in that old storage building in Rochelle the last week of June, it hit me. I was standing at the intersection of law and grace like my brother, Paul. I actually heard a soft, still voice within my heart, soul, spirit, mind say, “Dave, I want to tell you why this has intruded into your life. I know how busy you are, but you have a platform to proclaim my grace to many. Here is what I want you to know: Unlike you, I go to an awful lot of estate sales every single day. You went to your first estate sale and brought a few family heirlooms back home. Dave, I go to every estate sale I know of and I go every single day. You know what I do? I buy my people back. It’s okay. You are at the same intersection Persecutor Paul found himself at so very long ago: Law or Grace? Paul was blinded. He was guided to town and laid in a bed for days. Paul had plenty of time to pray and to think. So have you. I will imprint on your heart what I imprinted on Paul’s: Forget what lies behind. Focus on what lies ahead. CHOOSE GRACE EVERY TIME.”

Grace.  We cannot earn it. We  cannot buy it.
Grace is a free, priceless gift of God offered to us through the life, death, and resurrection of His one and only Son—Jesus Christ.

A long time ago our blue van housed a bumper sticker on the back end:  HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN? TURN RIGHT. GO STRAIGHT. We drove that van for 350,000 miles. It went to the ballpark several nights a week. One day my wife was working at the concession. A little boy ran up to her and said, “Hey! I turned right and I’m going straight to heaven!” It was good advice for him. It’s good advice for you and me.

Paul had a history. He turned RIGHT and went STRAIGHT. Thank God.

You and me? Same choice. I don’t know about you but I’m turning right and going straight….by the GRACE OF GOD…I AM WHAT I AM.

See you Sunday!

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

Join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 9am Pacific at 9284 Baseline Road Rancho Cucamonga, California.  If you are not able to join us in person you are invited to watch out live-stream and connect with us through your chats, prayers and worship.  You can always go to our YouTube channel and wrtch the weekly worship service, children’s messages and sermons.  The YouTube channel is The Seed Christian Fellowship.

 

[i] My version, an old one, has West’s and Lyttleton’s books bound together: Lord Lyttleton on the Conversion of St. Paul and Gilbert West on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (New York: The American Tract Society, 1929). In some editions the flyleaf contains the words: “Blame not until thou hast examined the truth.” The story of these two men is told in R. A. Torrey, The Bible, and Its Christ (New York: Revell, 1904–1906), 98–100.

[ii] Hobbs, H. H. (1990). My favorite illustrations (p. 132). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[iii] Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing about Grace?, Zondervan, 1997

[iv] Brennan Manning, All is Grace, 2011, David C Cook

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 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
www,theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 8/29/2021

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.”

WHATEVER
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.

And mama says, “DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU TO DO.”

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.

HE TELLS
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?

SO WHAT?
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
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 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]

SO WHAT?
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
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 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
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 1/4/2022

Seed of Faith – Epiphany – Wait, Watch, Witness, Worship   By Pastor Dave  

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2

Dear Saintly Seed-Sowers,

EPIPHANY is Thursday, January 6th! Do you know that Epiphany is always 12 days after Christmas—January 6? Yes, the 12 days of Christmas!
Epiphany means “manifestation” and is the day that was set by the early church as the day God manifested Christ, the Savior, to the Gentiles–with the appearance of the wise-men in Bethlehem. There are 330 different prophecies of the coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament.  Matthew gives us four of them in chapter two of the book of Matthew alone.  Think of it for a minute; if you are a mathematician, what are the odds of four of the 330 prophecies being fulfilled by one person?  What are the odds of one person fulfilling all 330?  THIS is exactly what happens when Christ is born!

The story of the wise men visiting the Christ child is an intriguing one. I love the pic above! I added the 4 W’s and it helps me to remember what I have in common with these wise guys.

These wisemen waited, and when they saw the promise of the star fulfilled they went, they witnessed and worshiped. Can you comprehend this story?  This traveling caravan of wise-men and servants began a long trip to Israel simply because a particular star was in the sky, alerting them to the birth of the King of the Jews.  They traveled for several months before they finally met the Christ-child. I believe this is more than just a story to entertain us, it is a story to teach us about our own personal response to Christ, “the child born the king of the Jews.” First in the line-up of the W’s is WAIT.  Are you waiting? It’s okay.

What is so fascinating is the Greek wording in verse two, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”  The verb that is used to describe to action of the wisemen is a present active verb, which means that they never stopped asking the question. Can you imagine a caravan of travelers coming into your town and walking all around asking anyone and everyone they see —  “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?”  What a powerful witness!

I would ask you to take a few minutes today or this week to read the story found in Matthew 2:1-12.

Look at the action words —
they went — verse 9
they saw the star — verse 10
they were overjoyed — verse 10
they saw the child — verse 11
they bowed down and worship HIM — verse 11
they opened their treasure and presented him gifts — verse 11
they returned to their country by a different route — verse 12

Look at the characters in this story.  You have the wisemen or magi, King Herod, the chief priest and teachers of the law, all the people of Jerusalem who were asked one question — “Where is the ONE born KING of the Jews?” Of course, then you have Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  Have you ever thought about the responses of all these people?

So What?
Where are you in this story? Where are you in your journey to the King? Where are you as you follow the Star? Have you allowed the clouds of the past years overshadow the joy of Christ the King and Messiah being born a NEW for YOU!

The wise men WAITED, they WATCHED, they WENT, the WITNESSED and they WORSHIPED!  

How about you!?  I love when the OLD, OLD story become HIStory…which becomes our story, too. We can WAIT…and while we wait…we will WATCH…and when it’s time…we will GO…and we will WITNESS and. most importantly,, we will WORSHIP!

Have you given up on church during COVID? I beg you to straighten your crown (magi) and return to church…you may have gone a different way…it’s okay…we can WAIT together…we can GO together…we can WITNESS together and we WILL WORSHIP TOGETHER! And as we do, we can be GOD’S CHURCH together.

If you don’t have a church home, join us. If you do–return and practice these 4 W’s. God loves you, He really does. Let’s WORSHIP this newborn baby who has come to SAVE us.

Happy New Year!

Happy Epiphany! May Christ be manifested anew in you today and every day!

God loves you and do 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 12/10/2021

Seed of Faith – Room For Love by Pastor Dave  

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, God with us.”  Matthew 1:21-23

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers,
We are in week two of Advent!  This week we lit the candle of LOVE! My wife came across a great acrostic for love this week:

L— Listen
O — Overlook
V — Value 
E — Encourage

I encourage you to put LOVE into practice this week and listen to those you love, overlook the little things and even some of the big things and forgive, then value your family and friendships, and then encourage others with the LOVE of God in your heart and home!

Home for Jesus was Bethlehem. Bethlehem! What do we know about Bethlehem? Why did God choose Bethlehem?

Bethlehem was a small town six miles southwest of Jerusalem. It is first mentioned in the Bible in relation to Jacob and Rachel. (Abraham, Isaac, then Jacob and Esau) Jacob had twelve sons; this is where we get the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob had several wives but Rachel was the love of his life. Rachel was the mother of Joseph (coat of many colors) and Benjamin. Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin. “So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.” (Genesis 35:19-20) 

Jacob buried Rachel near Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. This all takes place 2,000 years before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The next time Bethlehem is mentioned in the Bible is in the Book of Ruth. We are told about the famine in the land and how Naomi and her husband left Bethlehem and traveled to Moab. Listen to how it is written in Ruth 1:1-2 — In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.”

Because of a famine, Naomi and her husband left Bethlehem and headed across the Jordan River to live in a foreign land. Their sons take wives from Moab. Elimelech dies as do his two sons. Naomi is a widow and decides to head back home to Bethlehem. Ruth, a Moabite woman, was married to one of Naomi’s sons and insists on going back the Bethlehem with Naomi. Remember these powerful words in Ruth 1:16-17, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Ruth is a very short book you can read in one sitting. In Ruth you will also find the story of Ruth and Boaz. Boaz is a relative of Naomi and the kinsman-redeemer who ends up marrying Ruth and providing for Naomi. They have a son and name him Obed. Obed has a son and names him Jesse, and Jesse has a son and names him David—as in the second king of Israel. This makes Ruth, the foreigner and a Moabite woman without Jewish blood, the great-grandmother of King David. This is powerful when you consider that prophecy declares the Messiah will come from the line of David and will be born in Bethlehem! Boaz was not just Ruth’s kinsmen redeemer…his blood made Jesus from the line of David, house of Judah! That is why Bethlehem is called the city of David. All of these people (except Ruth) were born in this little, farming town six miles south of Jerusalem, the town called Bethlehem.

 God is sovereign over time and place!

·         700 B.C. Micah prophesies the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. All this time God has been working.

·         God was preparing a place for the coming of the Messiah. Around 2000 B.C., Rachel is buried near Bethlehem with a pillar set up to make her place.

·         Seven to nine hundred years later (1375-1050 B.C.), God calls a foreigner by the name of Ruth into the story. Ruth, a foreigner, an outcast, and outsider makes her home with Naomi in Bethlehem. Boaz marries Ruth. Obed, Jesse, and King David are born.

·         Three to four hundred years (742-687 B.C) go by and here we are:  God sends the prophet Micah to tell the people that out of Bethlehem–will come the Messiah.

·         It is worth noting that the name Benjamin means “son of my right hand,” and the name David means “beloved.” Both of these names apply to our Lord, for He is the Beloved Son (Luke 3:22) at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1)

In the Hebrew language Bethlehem means “House of Bread.”  Bethlehem was located in a fertile area in Judah and produced great crops of figs and wheat. Don’t you find it fascinating that here in Bethlehem, the “house of bread,” the Bread of Life was delivered from heaven to earth?

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

The Scriptures record the journey of the Jewish nation–God working out the ultimate purpose of having the Messiah born in Bethlehem, the house of bread, before the beginning of time or place. God is SOVEREIGN over time and place!

So What?
It is my prayer that as we journey through these Advent Sundays, we will come to realize that we are home. It is not a dream! You are home in God’s hope and love. Ever since the beginning of time, we have been planned and placed exactly right here into God’s story. We are home! We are not lost — Immanuel is here, “God is with us.”  God has been with us from the beginning of time to today. God has been working out His plan to bring us home for Christmas since Jacob and Rachael, Ruth and Boaz, David and Bathsheba, Mary, and Joseph—and Jesus! If we are with God this Christmas Season—we are not lost at all.

The “So what?” for us today is that God is sovereign over time and place. God is the Authority with supreme rank and power over all of time. God is working even when we do not see or understand. God is sovereign over where we are right this very second! And the same God who spoke to Micah, who spoke to Ruth and Boaz, who spoke to King David and to Joseph and Mary—this marvelous God has called us here–to this place and time–so we will find our hearts’ home in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus!

Here is what I heard as I prayed, studied, and sweated over “this message” for this Christmas season: “Dave, tell my people I have a plan. I have had a plan all along—since the beginning of time. Tell them about Micah, Ruth, Boaz, David, Zechariah, Isaiah, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Mary. Tell them the story again—about shepherds and angels and wise men. I want my people home for Christmas—home at the manger…home in Bethlehem…home where my ONE and ONLY Son was born. Home where LOVE is! We do not need all the bells and whistles. Keep it simple. I want my children to be home for Christmas.”

“Home” means a shelter, a house, a residence, or birthplace. This Christmas I believe with all of my heart that God wants our lives, our hearts, and our homes to be the shelter and residence for the Christ Child—and THAT is the real “so what?” for us this Sunday of Advent! As long as God is the ONE who is writing HIS STORY, we are not lost! We are HOME in His LOVE!

No matter where we travel to for the holidays, let’s be HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!
Count on God’s HOPE and LOVE to abide with us this Advent Season. We’re halfway through Advent! JOY is on deck…then PEACE!

REVIEW OF THOSE PASTOR DAVE acronyms for Advent:
HOPE:  Holy One Prepares Everyone….Heaven’s One Promise: Emmanuel
LOVE: Listen…Overlook…Value…Encourage!

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

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 12/3/2021

Seed of Faith – Advent Hope  By Pastor Dave  

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,

It’s here: the first week of Advent. It is time to get all our Christmas tree, our Christmas decorations and set up our home.  Guess what pastors love about the 4-week Advent season? It is time for us to prepare our hearts for Christ!

Wait!
 
Waiting!

What comes to your mind when you hear these two words?

Who or what is it that you are waiting on?

I remember when I had a mysterious, intriguing, and strange rash of oozing blisters on my legs and shoulders and chest. The year was 2013! I waited for 33 months as I saw fourteen different doctors. Each doctor told me they had no idea what was wrong with me. The Infectious Disease Doctor called in two other disease specialists into my room. Their diagnosis: no clue but you are intriguing. Listen, I didn’t want to be intriguing.  I was waiting to get rid of my 33-month-old rash!

How about you? What are you waiting for?

We have all been struggling with a world-wide pandemic that has caused many to quarantine, lock-down and even shutdown. It has been almost 2 years — 20 months of waiting, watching, worrying, and wondering — How Long, Lord?! How long do we have to wait?

“Wait” is a verb! Did you know that? I will say it again, “WAIT” is a verb. Waiting is an action that we do. Isn’t that kind of funny? Waiting is an action that we do…we wait. How exactly do we wait? One of my Bible Dictionaries defined “wait” this way: “to remain in readiness or expectation.” [i] In Scripture, the word “wait” normally suggests the anxious, yet confident, expectation by God’s people that the Lord will intervene on their behalf. Waiting, therefore, is the working out of hope. Did you hear that? When we wait—we are to remain in readiness and expectation. Think about what it is (or who it is) that you are waiting for. Now—remain confident that God will intervene. What we are doing when we wait? We are working out HOPE.

I love that thought, “Waiting is the working out of hope.”  “The expectation that the Lord will intervene on my behalf.”

We have been waiting for 20 months to hear some good news concerning Covid. As we wait, we hear that there is a new variant.(I find it interesting that they are using the Greek alphabet to name the variants.)

As I have work on this message, I have been reflecting on some of the people who had to wait in the Bible:

Abraham was given a promise that he would be the father of many nations yet it was not until he was 100 years old that his wife Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Can you imagine waiting until you are almost one hundred to see the birth of your son!? WAIT ... Remain in readiness. Remain in Expectation!

Then there is Jacob. Jacob worked for 7 years to marry Rachel only to find out that his father-in-law switched daughters on him, and he ended up marrying Leah. When Jacob found out what Laban had done, he then promised to work another 7 years for him in order to marry Rachel. Can you imagine waiting and working for 14 years for the right to marry the one you love? WAIT: Remain in readiness. Remain in expectation.

How about Moses? Moses is orphaned as a 3-month-old baby and grows up in Pharaoh’s palace for the next 40 years, then the following 40 years he lives in the wilderness taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep. After that, Moses spends 40 years wandering in the wilderness caring for the people of Israel. That is a lifetime of waiting. Can you imagine waiting 40 years to enter the Promised Land? Can you imagine seeing it from across the river but not ever being able to enter it? WAIT: Remain in readiness. Remain in expectation.

What about David? David grows up taking care of his father’s sheep. He writes psalms (songs) and plays the harp. David is anointed king by Samuel, and slays a giant named Goliath. Did you know it took 15 years after he was anointed king to actually become the king of Judah? Can you imagine waiting 15 years for the promise of a promotion or a raise? WAIT: Remain in readiness. Remain in expectation.

When you turn to the New Testament, we read about an old priest by the name of Zechariah.

Zechariah, an old high priest, waited to have the opportunity to bring the incense into the Holy of Holy’s. It was finally his turn and in he went into the Holy of Holies—by himself, with a rope tied to his foot—in case of emergency—they could drag him out.

Hope. Zechariah had prayed and prayed for years and years for his wife Elizabeth to have a child. Now he was an old man and his wife was beyond childbearing age. Scholars believe that Zechariah and Elizabeth had been married for about 50 years. We do not know how old Zechariah is but that we do know that he had been waiting for a long time to hear from God. The Jewish people had been waiting four hundred years to hear from God. They were waiting for a Messiah. My guess is that Zechariah had been waiting and hoping for a child for 80 years. Zechariah was going through the motions, putting in his time, punching his high priest’s “to do” list: “Fill the candles, clean the pulpit, mop the entry, dust the altar…” And then, lightning struck: Zechariah’s name was drawn from the hat! More like his straw was picked, his lot was chosen; and Zechariah was chosen to enter the holy of holies and offer the yearly sacrifice! Zechariah’s been at this for an exceptionally long time. Five times every year Zechariah made the five-mile hike to Jerusalem to go serve in the temple for the feasts. Now from the lot of the 18,000 priests, Zechariah’s name is chosen. Look at those odds … 1 in 18,0000. Is now the time for God to speak? WAIT WITH CONFIDENCE, and EXPECTATION…work out HOPE as you wait.

Zechariah means — “The Lord Remembers.”

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

SO WHAT?
How many times do you and I want to give up, give in and not believe?

What are the odds that some of us reading this today are ready to give up, give in and throw in the towel?
Don’t do it. Be like Abraham. Be like Jacob. Be like Moses. Be like David. Be like Zechariah. WAIT IN HOPE!

In our Scripture reading from Isaiah 7, we hear the Prophet Isaiah challenge King Ahaz to ask God for a sign. Ahaz says that he will not put God to the test of a sign because he has secretly made an alliance with the Assyrians to protect him. In essence, King Ahaz was not waiting on God to help him. King Ahaz had taken matters into his own human hands. Instead of waiting on God, he forced a deal with the enemy.

How often do we act like King Ahaz?

How often do we take matters into our own hands?

How hard is it to WAIT on God?

I can tell you that it is pretty darn hard to wait.

Even though King Ahaz would not ask for a sign, God gave him, and the people of Israel, a sign. That sign is proclaimed in Isaiah 7:14 — Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Do you remember what “Immanuel” means? “Immanuel” means “God is with us.” Here in Isaiah, the promise of the sign given by God is that of IMMANUEL–God is with us. God is with us! God is working on our behalf even when we cannot see or feel Him working! God is working in our lives while we wait.

Write that down on the table of your heart: God is working while you wait!

Dr. Arthur Pierson once told of being alone in the study of the great man of faith and achievement, George Mueller. Thinking it would be a good time to look at the great man’s Bible, he opened it and was thumbing through its pages when he came to a verse in Psalms where it reads, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Ps. 37:23).

Opposite it, on the margin, Mueller had made this notation: “And the stops, too.”

THE STEPS AND THE STOPS OF A GOOD MAN OR WOMAN ARE ORDERED BY THE LORD.

Has God put some stops in your life?

Then WAIT.

What if we turned WAIT into an acronym?

WALKING
ALWAYS
INTO
TRUST

WAIT!

Remember:

  1.  While we are waiting, God is working.
  2.  We can wait with hope. We can remain in readiness. Remain in expectation. We can wait and trust that God will intervene.

I still have two times the lethal limit of lead in my body, I am down from 5 times! I have been waiting to detox this lead since September of 2017, 4 years. The pandemic has but a halt on my chelation, so I’m waiting. But NOW I wait with confidence that God is with me.

IMMANUEL. I wait knowing that the day is coming when I will be lead free. Like Abraham, Moses, Zechariah—and all of us who wait…it is my prayer that we will learn to wait in hope … “remain in readiness or expectation…having the anxious, yet confident, expectation that the Lord will intervene on our behalf.”

As you may know, my wife is very creative. The other day she walked into my study area and announced she’s changing my acronym for the Advent season. My trustworthy and true acronym for HOPE is HOPE…. Heaven’s One Promise: Emmanuel. God with us.
Jac wanted something new for this Advent season. She loved that Advent means PREPARATION! We really are to prepare our hearts for the Christ Child this Advent. Here is her acronym: HOPE…Holy One Prepares EVERYONE! “Get it,” she said. “This way while I wait, I can trust that God is busy preparing everyone for Christmas!”

Let’s wait with readiness and expectation that GOD IS WITH US. God is with us as we get our decorations out. God is with us as we prepare our homes. God is with us as we make our lists but most importantly, GOD IS WITH US AS WE WAIT.

What are you waiting for? Who are you waiting for? Your homework is to go ahead and start preparing your home for Christmas. But…when you get a momentary setback of time, just remember–God is with you while you wait so wait in readiness for God to intervene. I’m waiting to be free of lead poisoning; 33 months is nothing for God. I’m praying for you, too, as you wait in hope and prepare your heart for the reason for the season.

Let’s prepare our hearts for Christmas.

See You SUNDAY!

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

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/15/21

Seed of Faith – RESURRECTION VICTORY By Pastor Dave  

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:10-11

“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” I Corinthians 15:53

Dear Faithful Friends, Family and Fruitful Seed-Sowers,

As I sit down to write a Seed of Faith, I realize it has been a long time since I’ve sat at my computer. My last Seed of Faith was written on October 2nd, 35 days ago. My last Seed of Faith was entitled, “Resurrection Revelations”.  I had been writing a series on I Corinthians 15. I think this SEED OF FAITH will be a witness and a testimony to the love and grace of Jesus.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and read Paul’s writings in chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians.

By now, I am sure that you heard that our family came down with Covid-19 in the month of October. All seven of us in the house had Covid-19. The three grandchildren, our daughter and and son-of love and my wife and myself. We fell like dominoes–all 7 of us in 7 days. What is fascinating to me is that we all had different symptoms.  My daughter and myself had it the worst. But, the truth be told, Covid hit the adults all pretty hard, we were in bed for a week! And the 3 teenagers recovered in days.

I want to thank all of you who loved us through this time. We received text messages, emails, cards, phone calls, food, food and more food. I also want to thank our doctors who got us the right treatments and medications. My wife and I both qualified for the monoclonal infusion; that certainly helped. Without your love, support, prayers and encouragement I do not know how we would have made it through.  Thank you!

I have several devotionals that I read each morning along with my regular Bible reading.  When I got knocked down with Covid-19, I did not do much but sleep and lay in bed for days. Jac tells everyone I slept 22 of the 24 hours a day for the first week.

Today I picked up my devotional, “Voices From The Past — Puritan Devotional Readings” edited by Richard Rushing and I noticed my book marker. I opened to the last day I had read: October 10th. The opening Scripture was the Psalm above, Psalm 84:10-11.

Today’s reading begins with Paul’s words found in 1 Corinthians 15:53.

On top of struggling through Covid-19–the entire house moaning and groaning–we received the sad news that “Dad” had contracted Covid in the memory care home. They have been battling Covid on and off for the past year. Dad had been isolated for the last half of September. Then we got Covid. Then Dad got Covid. With all of Dad’s medical conditions, he passed away on October 27th. The golden thread in all of this is that because we had had Covid, the nurse and the director allowed us to stay and visit dad once we hit our day 11. We were able to spend the last week of Dad’s life with him. That was a blessing–for him and for us. Hospice had isolated Dad and he was alone in his room for the first two days. I was then able to go and care for him, and a few days later Jac was able to join me. Dad was doing really well until the morning of Day 9. He really only suffered for a few minutes until Hospice gave him a dose of morphine–he was gone two hours later. Great peace filled his room those last two hours.

About 650 days ago, Jac’s mom fell and we found out she had stage IV lung cancer with metastases to her brain. We brought her home on hospice. Within 5 weeks, Mom passed to heaven. By now, we were noticing that Dad was not able to care for himself alone.  Covid had hit America very strongly in early 2020, so we stayed 3 months and tried to figure out a plan. In mid-May we implemented our plan: rented a motorhome. packed up all Dad’s belongings that we could and moved dad from Florida to California. What a kind, gentle and loving man dad was. My wife said through her tears, the other day as we were cleaning up up his room, “Dad sure is miss-able.” 

Boy, I thought about that statement!  When I die, I want to be miss-able!

We know that Paul wanted to pass along to the church what was the most important thing he had — the resurrection. Listen again to the opening words of 1 Corinthians 15.  “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, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.”  I Corinthians 15:3-5

A good so what thought, or question is, “What is the most important thing you have?  What is the most important thing you want to pass on to your children and your children’s children? What do you want your friends and family to remember about you?”

We all have questions about heaven and the resurrection.  As I mentioned, my wife and I have been caring for Dad since her mom died in February of 2020.  Dad lived with us for a year, and then his dementia got worse. We moved him into a memory care home.  He loved it. He loved having his own room, little kitchenette, and private shower/bath. Every day he’d say, “I really love this place. It’s all I need.” Every day I would go and visit him—I used the excuse of bringing him the newspaper but it was really to check on him and to see how he was doing and if he needed anything.  We’d go 2-3 times a day. The morning was to refresh his room, and the late afternoons were to play cards, and watch golf and baseball. During all of these visits, he has really become my dad; I call him dad. I’ve known him for 49 years now.

Almost every day as we would sit and talk, Dad would say, “I just cannot believe that Jo Ann (his wife of seventy years)  is gone. I never thought this is how life would turn out. I always thought I’d go first.”

Every day I would talk with dad about the resurrection and heaven. I got to tell him heaven is a joyous place and that he will be given a new body.  His old body that was dying and not working very well would be replaced with a new body that will never perish or get weak again. He said he liked that idea, “I hope you are right, David.” I would tell him about these passage in 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 21 that teaches about a new heaven and a new earth–where there will be no more tears, pain, or suffering. I would tell him that we are all going to die, but we will have life eternal given to us through Jesus Christ.

Friends, this is exactly what Paul is teaching the church in Corinth.

When dad passed away my wife, Jac and I were sitting by his bedside reading and praying with him. Right before he passed, Jac asked me to read the passage that we read to her mom when she passed. I got my Bible out and turned to 1 Corinthians 15 and starting reading at verse 53

“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:53-57

When I started to read verse 57, dad took a deep breath and puffed up his chest and breathed out slowly and walked into the arms of Jesus. Dad was not afraid of death and he bravely faced it with his chest out as he embraced eternal life.

What is so fascinating to me is that when mom died almost two years ago dad sat with us as I read the same passages.  He looked at Jac and I and said, “I have never seen anyone die before.”  Over the past two years, dad has come to know the power, the hope and the resurrection victory.

So What?
Do you want the people who love you to say of you after you are gone, “Boy, are they ever miss-able” ?

When Jac walked into Dad’s room, Dad got the biggest smile on his face. He’d wave and say, “Hi, Jac! That’s my daughter!” Wherever he was, he’d tell everyone, “This is my daughter! She’s terrific!”

I’ve watched this relationship for 49 years now. I can’t recall a time when Dad wasn’t happy to see us. He’d stop whatever he was doing and see how we were. He’d offer a sodie, and food. Like Jac often says, “It was like we were movie stars or something!” Jac’s dad had a million dollar smile and a laugh to match.

Here’s your “SO WHAT?” homework: Do you believe it’s too late to change? It’s not. Do you want to be deeply missed when you move on to heaven? What do you need to change about yourself in order for that to happen? Jac’s dad would always say, “I don’t want to be any trouble. I want to be nice. I want to be kind.”
Dad, you are really miss-able around here.

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

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 10/8/2021

Seed of Faith – RESURRECTION REVELATIONS   By Pastor Dave  

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep,: I Corinthians 15:20

Dear Faithful, Fearless & Fruitful Seed Sowers,

Greetings in the love and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a different world we find ourselves living in today–so very different from years past. I find great hope and peace in knowing this ONE THING: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The world may be changing, your life and your family and your friends may be changing, our country may be changing, your schools and places of work may be changing but this one thing remains the same: JESUS CHRIST REMAINS THE SAME…yesterday…today…forever.  From the Old Testament, how about holding onto Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (NIV) I am praying for you to find solid footing in the solid ROCK foundation of Jesus Christ.

Now, more than ever, is the time to MAKE TIME to read the living word of God! Why not start right now? All you need is a way to find the Scriptures–phone, bible, computer, etc. You don’t need a PhD, or a Masters of Divinity–all you need is the Word. Today, I am encouraging you to sit down, and read 1 Corinthians 15. As long as I have breath, I want to point you to the resurrection; we have a power within us that has defeated all other powers.

Recently, I worked a men’s retreat weekend back home in Illinois. The leader of the retreat blessed me with a book and on the inside he wrote, “Paul says, ‘I give to you the 3 most important things I know: 1. Christ died for your sins (crucifixion). 2. Christ was buried (in a borrowed tomb). 3. Christ rose from the dead (resurrection).’ THE GOSPEL IS THAT EASY!” If you don’t remember anything I say, remember those 3 things for upon these three things God has hung the stars and sun and planets, upon these 3 things God has formed the foundations of the world, upon these 3 things God has made a way for you and I to enjoy eternity.

Let’s look at this one chapter, 1 Corinthians 15.

What is Paul doing in this chapter? Paul is establishing a “So what?” argument. Remember Paul, the chief sinner saved by grace, is writing to the church in Corinth. The church in Corinth was teaching that there was no resurrection from the dead! Hey! Wait! Can you imagine Paul hearing this news? He sits down and pens this letter. “For I passed on to you first of all what I also received, that CHRIST died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (Isaiah 53:5-12), that Jesus was buried, that JESUS AROSE on the third day as the Scriptures foretold (Psalm 16:9, 10).” 

Here’s what Paul is trying to tell us: If the resurrection does not exist in any way, shape or form, then the consequences to our Christian faith are devastating, empty, pointless, useless and in vain. Paul is stating: The resurrection is the hinge point of our faith—and the resurrection has to affect and change the ways we think and act.

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-17

Resurrection Revelation
So What? What do these verses teach us today?  Just a quick look around and it’s pretty easy to see that the world we live in has a sin  problem–and here is where Paul is aiming.

Our sin-problem remains unsolved if Jesus did not rise from the dead.

The unanimous testimony of the Scriptures is that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:24).

The reality is is that death will mark the end-result of our separation from God.

Here is the point that Paul is driving home: If Jesus stayed dead, there are only two possible conclusions– 
First,  Jesus was not the sinless person everyone thought Him to be and His death marked His final separation from God.
Second, Jesus might have been without personal sin but His attempts to atone for the sin of the world by His death did not meet with divine approval of God.

If Jesus stayed dead–then we are dead in our sin.  

Paul was never a man of few words, chapter 15 illustrates this for us! I love verse 32, “If the dead are not raised at all, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will be dead. DO NOT BE DECEIVED!” Paul continues by ending this chapter with the HOPE (heaven’s one promise…eternity) we all need hope planted firmly in our hearts: “We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable (free from decay) and we shall be changed!” (verses 52,53) Paul, the Old Testament scholar, now quotes Isaiah 25:8, ” Death is swallowed up in victory” and from Hosea 13:14, “O death, where is your victory? O death,, where is your sting?” 

Paul’s preaching is on fire in this chapter. He writes because he wants us to remember the most important things he knows. Paul, who has written prolifically–at least 13 letters in the Bible–boils it all down to what he knows as the HINGE PIN of life:

1. Jesus died.
2. Jesus was buried.
3. Jesus rose.

If Paul were on THE VOICE, he’d drop the mic.

Your homework this week: Do you believe Jesus died? Do you believe Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb? Do you believe Jesus rose from the dead? If you  believe these three things then this world has no scare in it for you. Like I wrote to open this SEED OF FAITH, the world is changing but one thing will never change.

JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME…YESTERDAY…TODAY…FOREVER.

Make that a breath prayer for when you are afraid: JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU.  JESUS, YOU ARE THE SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY, FOREVER.

I love my job. As crazy as it sounds, I love to tell people whose loved ones have died–the moment they drew their last breath on earth, they were safely home in heaven held in the loving arms of Jesus. Bring on that trumpet call, I’m going home in the twinkling of an eye.

See you Sunday!

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

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

Weekly Seed Of Faith 9/23/2021

Seed of Faith – Resurrection Rescue   By Pastor Dave  

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

Dear Faithful and Fruitful Seed-Sowers,

It is my prayer that each and every one of us are walking with Jesus and that we are surrounded by His powerful presence, perfect peace and rescued by His precious grace.

Our “SO WHAT?” questions from last week were:

What is the most important thing you have or own? (Pause. List a few.)
What is the most important thing you know?
What is the one thing you want to pass on to your family and friends?

Before we go to God’s living words of life, let us come to our Living Lord in a moment of prayer.  “Lord, God of all hope and healing, we come today to be touched and renewed, restored and resurrected by Your Living Word.  Come, Holy Spirit, speak to us. Cleanse us of our wrong thinking and guide us in Your ways. Amen.”

Take a moment and read I Corinthians 15:1-11.

The Apostle Paul lays claim to the power and hope of the resurrection right here. But, first, we need to take a moment to reflect upon who Paul is and how he came to this knowledge.

POINT 1: Paul the Persecutor
Paul was a Jew who grew up and sat at the feet of Gamaliel, the greatest Pharisee and teacher of the law.  Paul learned the law and lived the law.  Paul became an aggressive persecutor of the newly formed Christian Church. In chapter seven of the Book of Acts, we find Paul holding the cloaks of those stoning Stephen, the first martyr for Christ and of the church.   By chapter nine of Acts, Paul goes to the High Priest to receive papers to go to Damascus to find the followers of the Way, the followers of Christ.  Paul had been imprisoning them and had these Christians beaten and put to death. The Bible tells us that Paul was “breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” (Acts 9:1)

Take in this picture of Paul. A man highly educated, passionate about God and filled with fire for keeping the law of God. Are you in this story today?

Have you ever been lost? 
Have you ever felt as if you had gone too far to return to God?
Have you ever looked down on someone and judged them beyond hope?
Maybe you think you are beyond hope?

If so, then this story of Paul’s conversion and encounter with grace is for you!

In the eighteenth century, there were two young men in England whose names were Lord Lyttleton and Gilbert West. They were unbelievers. In fact, they were strong in their unbelief. They were also both lawyers, with keen minds, and they thought they had good reasons for rejecting Christianity. One day in a conversation one of them said, “Christianity stands upon a very unstable foundation. There are only two things that actually support it: the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ and the alleged conversion of Saul of Tarsus. If we can disprove those stories, which should be rather easy to do, Christianity will collapse like a house of cards.” Gilbert West said, “All right, then. I’ll write a book on the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ and disprove it.” Lord Lyttleton said, “If you write a book on the resurrection, I’ll write on the alleged appearance of Jesus to the apostle Paul. You show why Jesus could not possibly have been raised from the dead, and I’ll show that the apostle Paul could not have been converted as the Bible says he was—by a voice from heaven on the road to Damascus.” Each went off to write their book. Sometime later they met again, and one of them said to the other, “I’m afraid I have a confession to make. I have been looking into the evidence for this story, and I have begun to think that maybe there is something to it after all.” The other said, “The same thing has happened to me. But let us keep on investigating these stories and see where we come out.”

In the end, after they had done their investigations and had written their books, each had come out on exactly the opposite side he had been on when he began his investigation. Gilbert West had written The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, arguing that it is a fact of history. And Lord Lyttleton had written The Conversion of St. Paul.[i]

By treating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the conversion of the apostle Paul as the two great pillars of Christianity, these men were saying that if the apostle Paul was not converted as the ninth chapter of Acts says he was, and as he himself declares in his own recorded testimonies both before the Jews and the Gentiles, then Christianity loses one of its two most important bulwarks. Moreover, it loses its most able theologians.

Point 2: Paul the Proclaimer of GRACE
Listen to Herschel H. Hobbs’ (author and theologian) thoughts on law and grace:

I read an illustration about a man who is standing at a fork in the road trying to decide which way to go. One road has a sign which says “law.” The other has a sign reading “grace.” If he chooses to travel the law road, he falls away from the grace road. It is not a matter of being in grace and falling out of it. It is a matter of never having been in grace. One cannot travel both roads. For law and grace negate each other. If it is by works, it cannot be by grace, grace is a gift. If it is by grace, then it cannot be by law. Christ is in the grace road. So, if you travel the law road, you are cut off from Him and His saving power. To depend upon legalism in any form or degree for salvation is to turn your back upon Christ.[ii]

Paul stood on the fork in that road. He had to choose between law and grace.  I believe that we all come to this fork in the road many times in our lives. Maybe you are at one today.

I love how Paul puts it in this letter to Corinthians … Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. 1 Corinthians 15:8-11

“But by the grace of God I am what I am.”  What a powerful statement.

Paul was transformed from a powerful persecutor of the church into a passionate preacher proclaiming Christ and Him crucified, dead, buried and risen! Paul was presented Grace Road and he left the fork in the road that day.

Paul told the church in Colossae these words … “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” Colossians 1:2-5

I know many people who quote only part of this famous saying.  Many say, “I am what I am.” But we need to include the last part of this verse: by the grace of God.

Paul’s life was forever changed and transformed by God’s grace.  Pick up your Bible and you will read how Paul begins most of his letters to the churches with “grace” and he ends most of his writings with words of “grace.” Paul had been trained for years in the law. He stood at the fork in the road for an exceptionally long time. Friends, it is only the grace of God that can change us from being a sinner to saint, from a persecutor to a proclaimer. GRACE: God RICHES At Christ’s Expense—a free gift for all. We cannot buy this precious, priceless commodity. Grace is God’s free gift.

During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.” After some discussion, the conferees had to agree. The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eightfold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish covenant, and the Muslim code of law—each offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.[iii]

The Gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection de-centers unbelievers from the center of their own life.  That is what it did for Paul.  Paul stood at the intersection of Law and Grace and recognized his unworthiness. Paul recognized a truth I want us all to remember “I AM WHAT I AM BY THE GRACE OF GOD.”

Where would you be today without God’s grace?

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

So What?
Brennan Manning has been one of my favorite authors.  I was able to go and hear him speak in person on many occasions.  I have read and reread his books.  They have ministered to me in many ways throughout my years of ministry and my years of being rescued from myself. I stood at the intersection of law and grace often. Manning has written: “The Ragamuffin Gospel, Ruthless Trust, Abba’s Child, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus.”  Get ready for the title of his last book: “All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir.” Manning was a recovering alcoholic.  Brennan died of wet brain syndrome, Weirnecke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS).  Brennan struggled with alcoholism. Listen to some of his last words:

“Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity—that he loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain—that he loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, your whole being rejects it. Do you believe that God loves YOU without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be?”[iv]

Many of you know that the past few years have been difficult for my wife and I. We have lived through the sorrow and grief of the deaths of four family members and a very close friend who was like family.  I went back to Illinois this past month to help clean out some of the personal items in my dad’s home where he and my mom lived for many years. My mom died in this home. I was with her. This is the same home where my dad and stepmom lived for another 20 years. In mid-May Jodi, Juliet, Brian, and I traveled to the house (from Texas and California) in order to pick up boxes that my stepmom had set aside for the Peters family. We moved the boxes to a storage building in Rochelle. Jac and I planned a cross-country trip for July in order for me to go through those boxes. A few weeks later, I bought a few additional items from the estate sale and had a good set of friends deliver those items to the storage shed.

As Jac and I stood in that old storage building in Rochelle the last week of June, it hit me. I was standing at the intersection of law and grace like my brother, Paul. I actually heard a soft, still voice within my heart, soul, spirit, mind say, “Dave, I want to tell you why this has intruded into your life. I know how busy you are, but you have a platform to proclaim my grace to many. Here is what I want you to know: Unlike you, I go to an awful lot of estate sales every single day. You went to your first estate sale and brought a few family heirlooms back home. Dave, I go to every estate sale I know of and I go every single day. You know what I do? I buy my people back. It’s okay. You are at the same intersection Persecutor Paul found himself at so very long ago: Law or Grace? Paul was blinded. He was guided to town and laid in a bed for days. Paul had plenty of time to pray and to think. So have you. I will imprint on your heart what I imprinted on Paul’s: Forget what lies behind. Focus on what lies ahead. CHOOSE GRACE EVERY TIME.”

Grace.  We cannot earn it. We  cannot buy it.
Grace is a free, priceless gift of God offered to us through the life, death, and resurrection of His one and only Son—Jesus Christ.

A long time ago our blue van housed a bumper sticker on the back end:  HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN? TURN RIGHT. GO STRAIGHT. We drove that van for 350,000 miles. It went to the ballpark several nights a week. One day my wife was working at the concession. A little boy ran up to her and said, “Hey! I turned right and I’m going straight to heaven!” It was good advice for him. It’s good advice for you and me.

Paul had a history. He turned RIGHT and went STRAIGHT. Thank God.

You and me? Same choice. I don’t know about you but I’m turning right and going straight….by the GRACE OF GOD…I AM WHAT I AM.

See you Sunday!

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

Join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 9am Pacific at 9284 Baseline Road Rancho Cucamonga, California.  If you are not able to join us in person you are invited to watch out live-stream and connect with us through your chats, prayers and worship.  You can always go to our YouTube channel and wrtch the weekly worship service, children’s messages and sermons.  The YouTube channel is The Seed Christian Fellowship.

 

[i] My version, an old one, has West’s and Lyttleton’s books bound together: Lord Lyttleton on the Conversion of St. Paul and Gilbert West on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (New York: The American Tract Society, 1929). In some editions the flyleaf contains the words: “Blame not until thou hast examined the truth.” The story of these two men is told in R. A. Torrey, The Bible, and Its Christ (New York: Revell, 1904–1906), 98–100.

[ii] Hobbs, H. H. (1990). My favorite illustrations (p. 132). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[iii] Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing about Grace?, Zondervan, 1997

[iv] Brennan Manning, All is Grace, 2011, David C Cook

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 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
www,theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 8/29/2021

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.”

WHATEVER
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.

And mama says, “DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU TO DO.”

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.

HE TELLS
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?

SO WHAT?
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
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 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]

SO WHAT?
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
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 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
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 1/4/2022

Seed of Faith – Epiphany – Wait, Watch, Witness, Worship   By Pastor Dave  

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2

Dear Saintly Seed-Sowers,

EPIPHANY is Thursday, January 6th! Do you know that Epiphany is always 12 days after Christmas—January 6? Yes, the 12 days of Christmas!
Epiphany means “manifestation” and is the day that was set by the early church as the day God manifested Christ, the Savior, to the Gentiles–with the appearance of the wise-men in Bethlehem. There are 330 different prophecies of the coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament.  Matthew gives us four of them in chapter two of the book of Matthew alone.  Think of it for a minute; if you are a mathematician, what are the odds of four of the 330 prophecies being fulfilled by one person?  What are the odds of one person fulfilling all 330?  THIS is exactly what happens when Christ is born!

The story of the wise men visiting the Christ child is an intriguing one. I love the pic above! I added the 4 W’s and it helps me to remember what I have in common with these wise guys.

These wisemen waited, and when they saw the promise of the star fulfilled they went, they witnessed and worshiped. Can you comprehend this story?  This traveling caravan of wise-men and servants began a long trip to Israel simply because a particular star was in the sky, alerting them to the birth of the King of the Jews.  They traveled for several months before they finally met the Christ-child. I believe this is more than just a story to entertain us, it is a story to teach us about our own personal response to Christ, “the child born the king of the Jews.” First in the line-up of the W’s is WAIT.  Are you waiting? It’s okay.

What is so fascinating is the Greek wording in verse two, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”  The verb that is used to describe to action of the wisemen is a present active verb, which means that they never stopped asking the question. Can you imagine a caravan of travelers coming into your town and walking all around asking anyone and everyone they see —  “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?”  What a powerful witness!

I would ask you to take a few minutes today or this week to read the story found in Matthew 2:1-12.

Look at the action words —
they went — verse 9
they saw the star — verse 10
they were overjoyed — verse 10
they saw the child — verse 11
they bowed down and worship HIM — verse 11
they opened their treasure and presented him gifts — verse 11
they returned to their country by a different route — verse 12

Look at the characters in this story.  You have the wisemen or magi, King Herod, the chief priest and teachers of the law, all the people of Jerusalem who were asked one question — “Where is the ONE born KING of the Jews?” Of course, then you have Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  Have you ever thought about the responses of all these people?

So What?
Where are you in this story? Where are you in your journey to the King? Where are you as you follow the Star? Have you allowed the clouds of the past years overshadow the joy of Christ the King and Messiah being born a NEW for YOU!

The wise men WAITED, they WATCHED, they WENT, the WITNESSED and they WORSHIPED!  

How about you!?  I love when the OLD, OLD story become HIStory…which becomes our story, too. We can WAIT…and while we wait…we will WATCH…and when it’s time…we will GO…and we will WITNESS and. most importantly,, we will WORSHIP!

Have you given up on church during COVID? I beg you to straighten your crown (magi) and return to church…you may have gone a different way…it’s okay…we can WAIT together…we can GO together…we can WITNESS together and we WILL WORSHIP TOGETHER! And as we do, we can be GOD’S CHURCH together.

If you don’t have a church home, join us. If you do–return and practice these 4 W’s. God loves you, He really does. Let’s WORSHIP this newborn baby who has come to SAVE us.

Happy New Year!

Happy Epiphany! May Christ be manifested anew in you today and every day!

God loves you and do 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 12/10/2021

Seed of Faith – Room For Love by Pastor Dave  

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, God with us.”  Matthew 1:21-23

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7

Dear Faithful Seed-Sowers,
We are in week two of Advent!  This week we lit the candle of LOVE! My wife came across a great acrostic for love this week:

L— Listen
O — Overlook
V — Value 
E — Encourage

I encourage you to put LOVE into practice this week and listen to those you love, overlook the little things and even some of the big things and forgive, then value your family and friendships, and then encourage others with the LOVE of God in your heart and home!

Home for Jesus was Bethlehem. Bethlehem! What do we know about Bethlehem? Why did God choose Bethlehem?

Bethlehem was a small town six miles southwest of Jerusalem. It is first mentioned in the Bible in relation to Jacob and Rachel. (Abraham, Isaac, then Jacob and Esau) Jacob had twelve sons; this is where we get the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob had several wives but Rachel was the love of his life. Rachel was the mother of Joseph (coat of many colors) and Benjamin. Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin. “So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.” (Genesis 35:19-20) 

Jacob buried Rachel near Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. This all takes place 2,000 years before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The next time Bethlehem is mentioned in the Bible is in the Book of Ruth. We are told about the famine in the land and how Naomi and her husband left Bethlehem and traveled to Moab. Listen to how it is written in Ruth 1:1-2 — In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.”

Because of a famine, Naomi and her husband left Bethlehem and headed across the Jordan River to live in a foreign land. Their sons take wives from Moab. Elimelech dies as do his two sons. Naomi is a widow and decides to head back home to Bethlehem. Ruth, a Moabite woman, was married to one of Naomi’s sons and insists on going back the Bethlehem with Naomi. Remember these powerful words in Ruth 1:16-17, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Ruth is a very short book you can read in one sitting. In Ruth you will also find the story of Ruth and Boaz. Boaz is a relative of Naomi and the kinsman-redeemer who ends up marrying Ruth and providing for Naomi. They have a son and name him Obed. Obed has a son and names him Jesse, and Jesse has a son and names him David—as in the second king of Israel. This makes Ruth, the foreigner and a Moabite woman without Jewish blood, the great-grandmother of King David. This is powerful when you consider that prophecy declares the Messiah will come from the line of David and will be born in Bethlehem! Boaz was not just Ruth’s kinsmen redeemer…his blood made Jesus from the line of David, house of Judah! That is why Bethlehem is called the city of David. All of these people (except Ruth) were born in this little, farming town six miles south of Jerusalem, the town called Bethlehem.

 God is sovereign over time and place!

·         700 B.C. Micah prophesies the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. All this time God has been working.

·         God was preparing a place for the coming of the Messiah. Around 2000 B.C., Rachel is buried near Bethlehem with a pillar set up to make her place.

·         Seven to nine hundred years later (1375-1050 B.C.), God calls a foreigner by the name of Ruth into the story. Ruth, a foreigner, an outcast, and outsider makes her home with Naomi in Bethlehem. Boaz marries Ruth. Obed, Jesse, and King David are born.

·         Three to four hundred years (742-687 B.C) go by and here we are:  God sends the prophet Micah to tell the people that out of Bethlehem–will come the Messiah.

·         It is worth noting that the name Benjamin means “son of my right hand,” and the name David means “beloved.” Both of these names apply to our Lord, for He is the Beloved Son (Luke 3:22) at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1)

In the Hebrew language Bethlehem means “House of Bread.”  Bethlehem was located in a fertile area in Judah and produced great crops of figs and wheat. Don’t you find it fascinating that here in Bethlehem, the “house of bread,” the Bread of Life was delivered from heaven to earth?

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

The Scriptures record the journey of the Jewish nation–God working out the ultimate purpose of having the Messiah born in Bethlehem, the house of bread, before the beginning of time or place. God is SOVEREIGN over time and place!

So What?
It is my prayer that as we journey through these Advent Sundays, we will come to realize that we are home. It is not a dream! You are home in God’s hope and love. Ever since the beginning of time, we have been planned and placed exactly right here into God’s story. We are home! We are not lost — Immanuel is here, “God is with us.”  God has been with us from the beginning of time to today. God has been working out His plan to bring us home for Christmas since Jacob and Rachael, Ruth and Boaz, David and Bathsheba, Mary, and Joseph—and Jesus! If we are with God this Christmas Season—we are not lost at all.

The “So what?” for us today is that God is sovereign over time and place. God is the Authority with supreme rank and power over all of time. God is working even when we do not see or understand. God is sovereign over where we are right this very second! And the same God who spoke to Micah, who spoke to Ruth and Boaz, who spoke to King David and to Joseph and Mary—this marvelous God has called us here–to this place and time–so we will find our hearts’ home in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus!

Here is what I heard as I prayed, studied, and sweated over “this message” for this Christmas season: “Dave, tell my people I have a plan. I have had a plan all along—since the beginning of time. Tell them about Micah, Ruth, Boaz, David, Zechariah, Isaiah, Elizabeth, Joseph, and Mary. Tell them the story again—about shepherds and angels and wise men. I want my people home for Christmas—home at the manger…home in Bethlehem…home where my ONE and ONLY Son was born. Home where LOVE is! We do not need all the bells and whistles. Keep it simple. I want my children to be home for Christmas.”

“Home” means a shelter, a house, a residence, or birthplace. This Christmas I believe with all of my heart that God wants our lives, our hearts, and our homes to be the shelter and residence for the Christ Child—and THAT is the real “so what?” for us this Sunday of Advent! As long as God is the ONE who is writing HIS STORY, we are not lost! We are HOME in His LOVE!

No matter where we travel to for the holidays, let’s be HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!
Count on God’s HOPE and LOVE to abide with us this Advent Season. We’re halfway through Advent! JOY is on deck…then PEACE!

REVIEW OF THOSE PASTOR DAVE acronyms for Advent:
HOPE:  Holy One Prepares Everyone….Heaven’s One Promise: Emmanuel
LOVE: Listen…Overlook…Value…Encourage!

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

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 12/3/2021

Seed of Faith – Advent Hope  By Pastor Dave  

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

Dear Faithful and Fearless Seed Sowers,

It’s here: the first week of Advent. It is time to get all our Christmas tree, our Christmas decorations and set up our home.  Guess what pastors love about the 4-week Advent season? It is time for us to prepare our hearts for Christ!

Wait!
 
Waiting!

What comes to your mind when you hear these two words?

Who or what is it that you are waiting on?

I remember when I had a mysterious, intriguing, and strange rash of oozing blisters on my legs and shoulders and chest. The year was 2013! I waited for 33 months as I saw fourteen different doctors. Each doctor told me they had no idea what was wrong with me. The Infectious Disease Doctor called in two other disease specialists into my room. Their diagnosis: no clue but you are intriguing. Listen, I didn’t want to be intriguing.  I was waiting to get rid of my 33-month-old rash!

How about you? What are you waiting for?

We have all been struggling with a world-wide pandemic that has caused many to quarantine, lock-down and even shutdown. It has been almost 2 years — 20 months of waiting, watching, worrying, and wondering — How Long, Lord?! How long do we have to wait?

“Wait” is a verb! Did you know that? I will say it again, “WAIT” is a verb. Waiting is an action that we do. Isn’t that kind of funny? Waiting is an action that we do…we wait. How exactly do we wait? One of my Bible Dictionaries defined “wait” this way: “to remain in readiness or expectation.” [i] In Scripture, the word “wait” normally suggests the anxious, yet confident, expectation by God’s people that the Lord will intervene on their behalf. Waiting, therefore, is the working out of hope. Did you hear that? When we wait—we are to remain in readiness and expectation. Think about what it is (or who it is) that you are waiting for. Now—remain confident that God will intervene. What we are doing when we wait? We are working out HOPE.

I love that thought, “Waiting is the working out of hope.”  “The expectation that the Lord will intervene on my behalf.”

We have been waiting for 20 months to hear some good news concerning Covid. As we wait, we hear that there is a new variant.(I find it interesting that they are using the Greek alphabet to name the variants.)

As I have work on this message, I have been reflecting on some of the people who had to wait in the Bible:

Abraham was given a promise that he would be the father of many nations yet it was not until he was 100 years old that his wife Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Can you imagine waiting until you are almost one hundred to see the birth of your son!? WAIT ... Remain in readiness. Remain in Expectation!

Then there is Jacob. Jacob worked for 7 years to marry Rachel only to find out that his father-in-law switched daughters on him, and he ended up marrying Leah. When Jacob found out what Laban had done, he then promised to work another 7 years for him in order to marry Rachel. Can you imagine waiting and working for 14 years for the right to marry the one you love? WAIT: Remain in readiness. Remain in expectation.

How about Moses? Moses is orphaned as a 3-month-old baby and grows up in Pharaoh’s palace for the next 40 years, then the following 40 years he lives in the wilderness taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep. After that, Moses spends 40 years wandering in the wilderness caring for the people of Israel. That is a lifetime of waiting. Can you imagine waiting 40 years to enter the Promised Land? Can you imagine seeing it from across the river but not ever being able to enter it? WAIT: Remain in readiness. Remain in expectation.

What about David? David grows up taking care of his father’s sheep. He writes psalms (songs) and plays the harp. David is anointed king by Samuel, and slays a giant named Goliath. Did you know it took 15 years after he was anointed king to actually become the king of Judah? Can you imagine waiting 15 years for the promise of a promotion or a raise? WAIT: Remain in readiness. Remain in expectation.

When you turn to the New Testament, we read about an old priest by the name of Zechariah.

Zechariah, an old high priest, waited to have the opportunity to bring the incense into the Holy of Holy’s. It was finally his turn and in he went into the Holy of Holies—by himself, with a rope tied to his foot—in case of emergency—they could drag him out.

Hope. Zechariah had prayed and prayed for years and years for his wife Elizabeth to have a child. Now he was an old man and his wife was beyond childbearing age. Scholars believe that Zechariah and Elizabeth had been married for about 50 years. We do not know how old Zechariah is but that we do know that he had been waiting for a long time to hear from God. The Jewish people had been waiting four hundred years to hear from God. They were waiting for a Messiah. My guess is that Zechariah had been waiting and hoping for a child for 80 years. Zechariah was going through the motions, putting in his time, punching his high priest’s “to do” list: “Fill the candles, clean the pulpit, mop the entry, dust the altar…” And then, lightning struck: Zechariah’s name was drawn from the hat! More like his straw was picked, his lot was chosen; and Zechariah was chosen to enter the holy of holies and offer the yearly sacrifice! Zechariah’s been at this for an exceptionally long time. Five times every year Zechariah made the five-mile hike to Jerusalem to go serve in the temple for the feasts. Now from the lot of the 18,000 priests, Zechariah’s name is chosen. Look at those odds … 1 in 18,0000. Is now the time for God to speak? WAIT WITH CONFIDENCE, and EXPECTATION…work out HOPE as you wait.

Zechariah means — “The Lord Remembers.”

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

SO WHAT?
How many times do you and I want to give up, give in and not believe?

What are the odds that some of us reading this today are ready to give up, give in and throw in the towel?
Don’t do it. Be like Abraham. Be like Jacob. Be like Moses. Be like David. Be like Zechariah. WAIT IN HOPE!

In our Scripture reading from Isaiah 7, we hear the Prophet Isaiah challenge King Ahaz to ask God for a sign. Ahaz says that he will not put God to the test of a sign because he has secretly made an alliance with the Assyrians to protect him. In essence, King Ahaz was not waiting on God to help him. King Ahaz had taken matters into his own human hands. Instead of waiting on God, he forced a deal with the enemy.

How often do we act like King Ahaz?

How often do we take matters into our own hands?

How hard is it to WAIT on God?

I can tell you that it is pretty darn hard to wait.

Even though King Ahaz would not ask for a sign, God gave him, and the people of Israel, a sign. That sign is proclaimed in Isaiah 7:14 — Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Do you remember what “Immanuel” means? “Immanuel” means “God is with us.” Here in Isaiah, the promise of the sign given by God is that of IMMANUEL–God is with us. God is with us! God is working on our behalf even when we cannot see or feel Him working! God is working in our lives while we wait.

Write that down on the table of your heart: God is working while you wait!

Dr. Arthur Pierson once told of being alone in the study of the great man of faith and achievement, George Mueller. Thinking it would be a good time to look at the great man’s Bible, he opened it and was thumbing through its pages when he came to a verse in Psalms where it reads, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Ps. 37:23).

Opposite it, on the margin, Mueller had made this notation: “And the stops, too.”

THE STEPS AND THE STOPS OF A GOOD MAN OR WOMAN ARE ORDERED BY THE LORD.

Has God put some stops in your life?

Then WAIT.

What if we turned WAIT into an acronym?

WALKING
ALWAYS
INTO
TRUST

WAIT!

Remember:

  1.  While we are waiting, God is working.
  2.  We can wait with hope. We can remain in readiness. Remain in expectation. We can wait and trust that God will intervene.

I still have two times the lethal limit of lead in my body, I am down from 5 times! I have been waiting to detox this lead since September of 2017, 4 years. The pandemic has but a halt on my chelation, so I’m waiting. But NOW I wait with confidence that God is with me.

IMMANUEL. I wait knowing that the day is coming when I will be lead free. Like Abraham, Moses, Zechariah—and all of us who wait…it is my prayer that we will learn to wait in hope … “remain in readiness or expectation…having the anxious, yet confident, expectation that the Lord will intervene on our behalf.”

As you may know, my wife is very creative. The other day she walked into my study area and announced she’s changing my acronym for the Advent season. My trustworthy and true acronym for HOPE is HOPE…. Heaven’s One Promise: Emmanuel. God with us.
Jac wanted something new for this Advent season. She loved that Advent means PREPARATION! We really are to prepare our hearts for the Christ Child this Advent. Here is her acronym: HOPE…Holy One Prepares EVERYONE! “Get it,” she said. “This way while I wait, I can trust that God is busy preparing everyone for Christmas!”

Let’s wait with readiness and expectation that GOD IS WITH US. God is with us as we get our decorations out. God is with us as we prepare our homes. God is with us as we make our lists but most importantly, GOD IS WITH US AS WE WAIT.

What are you waiting for? Who are you waiting for? Your homework is to go ahead and start preparing your home for Christmas. But…when you get a momentary setback of time, just remember–God is with you while you wait so wait in readiness for God to intervene. I’m waiting to be free of lead poisoning; 33 months is nothing for God. I’m praying for you, too, as you wait in hope and prepare your heart for the reason for the season.

Let’s prepare our hearts for Christmas.

See You SUNDAY!

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

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 11/15/21

Seed of Faith – RESURRECTION VICTORY By Pastor Dave  

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:10-11

“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” I Corinthians 15:53

Dear Faithful Friends, Family and Fruitful Seed-Sowers,

As I sit down to write a Seed of Faith, I realize it has been a long time since I’ve sat at my computer. My last Seed of Faith was written on October 2nd, 35 days ago. My last Seed of Faith was entitled, “Resurrection Revelations”.  I had been writing a series on I Corinthians 15. I think this SEED OF FAITH will be a witness and a testimony to the love and grace of Jesus.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and read Paul’s writings in chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians.

By now, I am sure that you heard that our family came down with Covid-19 in the month of October. All seven of us in the house had Covid-19. The three grandchildren, our daughter and and son-of love and my wife and myself. We fell like dominoes–all 7 of us in 7 days. What is fascinating to me is that we all had different symptoms.  My daughter and myself had it the worst. But, the truth be told, Covid hit the adults all pretty hard, we were in bed for a week! And the 3 teenagers recovered in days.

I want to thank all of you who loved us through this time. We received text messages, emails, cards, phone calls, food, food and more food. I also want to thank our doctors who got us the right treatments and medications. My wife and I both qualified for the monoclonal infusion; that certainly helped. Without your love, support, prayers and encouragement I do not know how we would have made it through.  Thank you!

I have several devotionals that I read each morning along with my regular Bible reading.  When I got knocked down with Covid-19, I did not do much but sleep and lay in bed for days. Jac tells everyone I slept 22 of the 24 hours a day for the first week.

Today I picked up my devotional, “Voices From The Past — Puritan Devotional Readings” edited by Richard Rushing and I noticed my book marker. I opened to the last day I had read: October 10th. The opening Scripture was the Psalm above, Psalm 84:10-11.

Today’s reading begins with Paul’s words found in 1 Corinthians 15:53.

On top of struggling through Covid-19–the entire house moaning and groaning–we received the sad news that “Dad” had contracted Covid in the memory care home. They have been battling Covid on and off for the past year. Dad had been isolated for the last half of September. Then we got Covid. Then Dad got Covid. With all of Dad’s medical conditions, he passed away on October 27th. The golden thread in all of this is that because we had had Covid, the nurse and the director allowed us to stay and visit dad once we hit our day 11. We were able to spend the last week of Dad’s life with him. That was a blessing–for him and for us. Hospice had isolated Dad and he was alone in his room for the first two days. I was then able to go and care for him, and a few days later Jac was able to join me. Dad was doing really well until the morning of Day 9. He really only suffered for a few minutes until Hospice gave him a dose of morphine–he was gone two hours later. Great peace filled his room those last two hours.

About 650 days ago, Jac’s mom fell and we found out she had stage IV lung cancer with metastases to her brain. We brought her home on hospice. Within 5 weeks, Mom passed to heaven. By now, we were noticing that Dad was not able to care for himself alone.  Covid had hit America very strongly in early 2020, so we stayed 3 months and tried to figure out a plan. In mid-May we implemented our plan: rented a motorhome. packed up all Dad’s belongings that we could and moved dad from Florida to California. What a kind, gentle and loving man dad was. My wife said through her tears, the other day as we were cleaning up up his room, “Dad sure is miss-able.” 

Boy, I thought about that statement!  When I die, I want to be miss-able!

We know that Paul wanted to pass along to the church what was the most important thing he had — the resurrection. Listen again to the opening words of 1 Corinthians 15.  “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, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.”  I Corinthians 15:3-5

A good so what thought, or question is, “What is the most important thing you have?  What is the most important thing you want to pass on to your children and your children’s children? What do you want your friends and family to remember about you?”

We all have questions about heaven and the resurrection.  As I mentioned, my wife and I have been caring for Dad since her mom died in February of 2020.  Dad lived with us for a year, and then his dementia got worse. We moved him into a memory care home.  He loved it. He loved having his own room, little kitchenette, and private shower/bath. Every day he’d say, “I really love this place. It’s all I need.” Every day I would go and visit him—I used the excuse of bringing him the newspaper but it was really to check on him and to see how he was doing and if he needed anything.  We’d go 2-3 times a day. The morning was to refresh his room, and the late afternoons were to play cards, and watch golf and baseball. During all of these visits, he has really become my dad; I call him dad. I’ve known him for 49 years now.

Almost every day as we would sit and talk, Dad would say, “I just cannot believe that Jo Ann (his wife of seventy years)  is gone. I never thought this is how life would turn out. I always thought I’d go first.”

Every day I would talk with dad about the resurrection and heaven. I got to tell him heaven is a joyous place and that he will be given a new body.  His old body that was dying and not working very well would be replaced with a new body that will never perish or get weak again. He said he liked that idea, “I hope you are right, David.” I would tell him about these passage in 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 21 that teaches about a new heaven and a new earth–where there will be no more tears, pain, or suffering. I would tell him that we are all going to die, but we will have life eternal given to us through Jesus Christ.

Friends, this is exactly what Paul is teaching the church in Corinth.

When dad passed away my wife, Jac and I were sitting by his bedside reading and praying with him. Right before he passed, Jac asked me to read the passage that we read to her mom when she passed. I got my Bible out and turned to 1 Corinthians 15 and starting reading at verse 53

“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Corinthians 15:53-57

When I started to read verse 57, dad took a deep breath and puffed up his chest and breathed out slowly and walked into the arms of Jesus. Dad was not afraid of death and he bravely faced it with his chest out as he embraced eternal life.

What is so fascinating to me is that when mom died almost two years ago dad sat with us as I read the same passages.  He looked at Jac and I and said, “I have never seen anyone die before.”  Over the past two years, dad has come to know the power, the hope and the resurrection victory.

So What?
Do you want the people who love you to say of you after you are gone, “Boy, are they ever miss-able” ?

When Jac walked into Dad’s room, Dad got the biggest smile on his face. He’d wave and say, “Hi, Jac! That’s my daughter!” Wherever he was, he’d tell everyone, “This is my daughter! She’s terrific!”

I’ve watched this relationship for 49 years now. I can’t recall a time when Dad wasn’t happy to see us. He’d stop whatever he was doing and see how we were. He’d offer a sodie, and food. Like Jac often says, “It was like we were movie stars or something!” Jac’s dad had a million dollar smile and a laugh to match.

Here’s your “SO WHAT?” homework: Do you believe it’s too late to change? It’s not. Do you want to be deeply missed when you move on to heaven? What do you need to change about yourself in order for that to happen? Jac’s dad would always say, “I don’t want to be any trouble. I want to be nice. I want to be kind.”
Dad, you are really miss-able around here.

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

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 10/8/2021

Seed of Faith – RESURRECTION REVELATIONS   By Pastor Dave  

“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep,: I Corinthians 15:20

Dear Faithful, Fearless & Fruitful Seed Sowers,

Greetings in the love and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a different world we find ourselves living in today–so very different from years past. I find great hope and peace in knowing this ONE THING: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The world may be changing, your life and your family and your friends may be changing, our country may be changing, your schools and places of work may be changing but this one thing remains the same: JESUS CHRIST REMAINS THE SAME…yesterday…today…forever.  From the Old Testament, how about holding onto Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (NIV) I am praying for you to find solid footing in the solid ROCK foundation of Jesus Christ.

Now, more than ever, is the time to MAKE TIME to read the living word of God! Why not start right now? All you need is a way to find the Scriptures–phone, bible, computer, etc. You don’t need a PhD, or a Masters of Divinity–all you need is the Word. Today, I am encouraging you to sit down, and read 1 Corinthians 15. As long as I have breath, I want to point you to the resurrection; we have a power within us that has defeated all other powers.

Recently, I worked a men’s retreat weekend back home in Illinois. The leader of the retreat blessed me with a book and on the inside he wrote, “Paul says, ‘I give to you the 3 most important things I know: 1. Christ died for your sins (crucifixion). 2. Christ was buried (in a borrowed tomb). 3. Christ rose from the dead (resurrection).’ THE GOSPEL IS THAT EASY!” If you don’t remember anything I say, remember those 3 things for upon these three things God has hung the stars and sun and planets, upon these 3 things God has formed the foundations of the world, upon these 3 things God has made a way for you and I to enjoy eternity.

Let’s look at this one chapter, 1 Corinthians 15.

What is Paul doing in this chapter? Paul is establishing a “So what?” argument. Remember Paul, the chief sinner saved by grace, is writing to the church in Corinth. The church in Corinth was teaching that there was no resurrection from the dead! Hey! Wait! Can you imagine Paul hearing this news? He sits down and pens this letter. “For I passed on to you first of all what I also received, that CHRIST died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (Isaiah 53:5-12), that Jesus was buried, that JESUS AROSE on the third day as the Scriptures foretold (Psalm 16:9, 10).” 

Here’s what Paul is trying to tell us: If the resurrection does not exist in any way, shape or form, then the consequences to our Christian faith are devastating, empty, pointless, useless and in vain. Paul is stating: The resurrection is the hinge point of our faith—and the resurrection has to affect and change the ways we think and act.

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-17

Resurrection Revelation
So What? What do these verses teach us today?  Just a quick look around and it’s pretty easy to see that the world we live in has a sin  problem–and here is where Paul is aiming.

Our sin-problem remains unsolved if Jesus did not rise from the dead.

The unanimous testimony of the Scriptures is that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:24).

The reality is is that death will mark the end-result of our separation from God.

Here is the point that Paul is driving home: If Jesus stayed dead, there are only two possible conclusions– 
First,  Jesus was not the sinless person everyone thought Him to be and His death marked His final separation from God.
Second, Jesus might have been without personal sin but His attempts to atone for the sin of the world by His death did not meet with divine approval of God.

If Jesus stayed dead–then we are dead in our sin.  

Paul was never a man of few words, chapter 15 illustrates this for us! I love verse 32, “If the dead are not raised at all, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will be dead. DO NOT BE DECEIVED!” Paul continues by ending this chapter with the HOPE (heaven’s one promise…eternity) we all need hope planted firmly in our hearts: “We shall not all fall asleep in death, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable (free from decay) and we shall be changed!” (verses 52,53) Paul, the Old Testament scholar, now quotes Isaiah 25:8, ” Death is swallowed up in victory” and from Hosea 13:14, “O death, where is your victory? O death,, where is your sting?” 

Paul’s preaching is on fire in this chapter. He writes because he wants us to remember the most important things he knows. Paul, who has written prolifically–at least 13 letters in the Bible–boils it all down to what he knows as the HINGE PIN of life:

1. Jesus died.
2. Jesus was buried.
3. Jesus rose.

If Paul were on THE VOICE, he’d drop the mic.

Your homework this week: Do you believe Jesus died? Do you believe Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb? Do you believe Jesus rose from the dead? If you  believe these three things then this world has no scare in it for you. Like I wrote to open this SEED OF FAITH, the world is changing but one thing will never change.

JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAME…YESTERDAY…TODAY…FOREVER.

Make that a breath prayer for when you are afraid: JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU.  JESUS, YOU ARE THE SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY, FOREVER.

I love my job. As crazy as it sounds, I love to tell people whose loved ones have died–the moment they drew their last breath on earth, they were safely home in heaven held in the loving arms of Jesus. Bring on that trumpet call, I’m going home in the twinkling of an eye.

See you Sunday!

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

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

Weekly Seed Of Faith 9/23/2021

Seed of Faith – Resurrection Rescue   By Pastor Dave  

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

Dear Faithful and Fruitful Seed-Sowers,

It is my prayer that each and every one of us are walking with Jesus and that we are surrounded by His powerful presence, perfect peace and rescued by His precious grace.

Our “SO WHAT?” questions from last week were:

What is the most important thing you have or own? (Pause. List a few.)
What is the most important thing you know?
What is the one thing you want to pass on to your family and friends?

Before we go to God’s living words of life, let us come to our Living Lord in a moment of prayer.  “Lord, God of all hope and healing, we come today to be touched and renewed, restored and resurrected by Your Living Word.  Come, Holy Spirit, speak to us. Cleanse us of our wrong thinking and guide us in Your ways. Amen.”

Take a moment and read I Corinthians 15:1-11.

The Apostle Paul lays claim to the power and hope of the resurrection right here. But, first, we need to take a moment to reflect upon who Paul is and how he came to this knowledge.

POINT 1: Paul the Persecutor
Paul was a Jew who grew up and sat at the feet of Gamaliel, the greatest Pharisee and teacher of the law.  Paul learned the law and lived the law.  Paul became an aggressive persecutor of the newly formed Christian Church. In chapter seven of the Book of Acts, we find Paul holding the cloaks of those stoning Stephen, the first martyr for Christ and of the church.   By chapter nine of Acts, Paul goes to the High Priest to receive papers to go to Damascus to find the followers of the Way, the followers of Christ.  Paul had been imprisoning them and had these Christians beaten and put to death. The Bible tells us that Paul was “breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” (Acts 9:1)

Take in this picture of Paul. A man highly educated, passionate about God and filled with fire for keeping the law of God. Are you in this story today?

Have you ever been lost? 
Have you ever felt as if you had gone too far to return to God?
Have you ever looked down on someone and judged them beyond hope?
Maybe you think you are beyond hope?

If so, then this story of Paul’s conversion and encounter with grace is for you!

In the eighteenth century, there were two young men in England whose names were Lord Lyttleton and Gilbert West. They were unbelievers. In fact, they were strong in their unbelief. They were also both lawyers, with keen minds, and they thought they had good reasons for rejecting Christianity. One day in a conversation one of them said, “Christianity stands upon a very unstable foundation. There are only two things that actually support it: the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ and the alleged conversion of Saul of Tarsus. If we can disprove those stories, which should be rather easy to do, Christianity will collapse like a house of cards.” Gilbert West said, “All right, then. I’ll write a book on the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ and disprove it.” Lord Lyttleton said, “If you write a book on the resurrection, I’ll write on the alleged appearance of Jesus to the apostle Paul. You show why Jesus could not possibly have been raised from the dead, and I’ll show that the apostle Paul could not have been converted as the Bible says he was—by a voice from heaven on the road to Damascus.” Each went off to write their book. Sometime later they met again, and one of them said to the other, “I’m afraid I have a confession to make. I have been looking into the evidence for this story, and I have begun to think that maybe there is something to it after all.” The other said, “The same thing has happened to me. But let us keep on investigating these stories and see where we come out.”

In the end, after they had done their investigations and had written their books, each had come out on exactly the opposite side he had been on when he began his investigation. Gilbert West had written The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, arguing that it is a fact of history. And Lord Lyttleton had written The Conversion of St. Paul.[i]

By treating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the conversion of the apostle Paul as the two great pillars of Christianity, these men were saying that if the apostle Paul was not converted as the ninth chapter of Acts says he was, and as he himself declares in his own recorded testimonies both before the Jews and the Gentiles, then Christianity loses one of its two most important bulwarks. Moreover, it loses its most able theologians.

Point 2: Paul the Proclaimer of GRACE
Listen to Herschel H. Hobbs’ (author and theologian) thoughts on law and grace:

I read an illustration about a man who is standing at a fork in the road trying to decide which way to go. One road has a sign which says “law.” The other has a sign reading “grace.” If he chooses to travel the law road, he falls away from the grace road. It is not a matter of being in grace and falling out of it. It is a matter of never having been in grace. One cannot travel both roads. For law and grace negate each other. If it is by works, it cannot be by grace, grace is a gift. If it is by grace, then it cannot be by law. Christ is in the grace road. So, if you travel the law road, you are cut off from Him and His saving power. To depend upon legalism in any form or degree for salvation is to turn your back upon Christ.[ii]

Paul stood on the fork in that road. He had to choose between law and grace.  I believe that we all come to this fork in the road many times in our lives. Maybe you are at one today.

I love how Paul puts it in this letter to Corinthians … Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed. 1 Corinthians 15:8-11

“But by the grace of God I am what I am.”  What a powerful statement.

Paul was transformed from a powerful persecutor of the church into a passionate preacher proclaiming Christ and Him crucified, dead, buried and risen! Paul was presented Grace Road and he left the fork in the road that day.

Paul told the church in Colossae these words … “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” Colossians 1:2-5

I know many people who quote only part of this famous saying.  Many say, “I am what I am.” But we need to include the last part of this verse: by the grace of God.

Paul’s life was forever changed and transformed by God’s grace.  Pick up your Bible and you will read how Paul begins most of his letters to the churches with “grace” and he ends most of his writings with words of “grace.” Paul had been trained for years in the law. He stood at the fork in the road for an exceptionally long time. Friends, it is only the grace of God that can change us from being a sinner to saint, from a persecutor to a proclaimer. GRACE: God RICHES At Christ’s Expense—a free gift for all. We cannot buy this precious, priceless commodity. Grace is God’s free gift.

During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.” After some discussion, the conferees had to agree. The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eightfold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish covenant, and the Muslim code of law—each offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.[iii]

The Gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection de-centers unbelievers from the center of their own life.  That is what it did for Paul.  Paul stood at the intersection of Law and Grace and recognized his unworthiness. Paul recognized a truth I want us all to remember “I AM WHAT I AM BY THE GRACE OF GOD.”

Where would you be today without God’s grace?

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

So What?
Brennan Manning has been one of my favorite authors.  I was able to go and hear him speak in person on many occasions.  I have read and reread his books.  They have ministered to me in many ways throughout my years of ministry and my years of being rescued from myself. I stood at the intersection of law and grace often. Manning has written: “The Ragamuffin Gospel, Ruthless Trust, Abba’s Child, The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus.”  Get ready for the title of his last book: “All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir.” Manning was a recovering alcoholic.  Brennan died of wet brain syndrome, Weirnecke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS).  Brennan struggled with alcoholism. Listen to some of his last words:

“Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity—that he loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain—that he loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, your whole being rejects it. Do you believe that God loves YOU without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be?”[iv]

Many of you know that the past few years have been difficult for my wife and I. We have lived through the sorrow and grief of the deaths of four family members and a very close friend who was like family.  I went back to Illinois this past month to help clean out some of the personal items in my dad’s home where he and my mom lived for many years. My mom died in this home. I was with her. This is the same home where my dad and stepmom lived for another 20 years. In mid-May Jodi, Juliet, Brian, and I traveled to the house (from Texas and California) in order to pick up boxes that my stepmom had set aside for the Peters family. We moved the boxes to a storage building in Rochelle. Jac and I planned a cross-country trip for July in order for me to go through those boxes. A few weeks later, I bought a few additional items from the estate sale and had a good set of friends deliver those items to the storage shed.

As Jac and I stood in that old storage building in Rochelle the last week of June, it hit me. I was standing at the intersection of law and grace like my brother, Paul. I actually heard a soft, still voice within my heart, soul, spirit, mind say, “Dave, I want to tell you why this has intruded into your life. I know how busy you are, but you have a platform to proclaim my grace to many. Here is what I want you to know: Unlike you, I go to an awful lot of estate sales every single day. You went to your first estate sale and brought a few family heirlooms back home. Dave, I go to every estate sale I know of and I go every single day. You know what I do? I buy my people back. It’s okay. You are at the same intersection Persecutor Paul found himself at so very long ago: Law or Grace? Paul was blinded. He was guided to town and laid in a bed for days. Paul had plenty of time to pray and to think. So have you. I will imprint on your heart what I imprinted on Paul’s: Forget what lies behind. Focus on what lies ahead. CHOOSE GRACE EVERY TIME.”

Grace.  We cannot earn it. We  cannot buy it.
Grace is a free, priceless gift of God offered to us through the life, death, and resurrection of His one and only Son—Jesus Christ.

A long time ago our blue van housed a bumper sticker on the back end:  HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN? TURN RIGHT. GO STRAIGHT. We drove that van for 350,000 miles. It went to the ballpark several nights a week. One day my wife was working at the concession. A little boy ran up to her and said, “Hey! I turned right and I’m going straight to heaven!” It was good advice for him. It’s good advice for you and me.

Paul had a history. He turned RIGHT and went STRAIGHT. Thank God.

You and me? Same choice. I don’t know about you but I’m turning right and going straight….by the GRACE OF GOD…I AM WHAT I AM.

See you Sunday!

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

Join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 9am Pacific at 9284 Baseline Road Rancho Cucamonga, California.  If you are not able to join us in person you are invited to watch out live-stream and connect with us through your chats, prayers and worship.  You can always go to our YouTube channel and wrtch the weekly worship service, children’s messages and sermons.  The YouTube channel is The Seed Christian Fellowship.

 

[i] My version, an old one, has West’s and Lyttleton’s books bound together: Lord Lyttleton on the Conversion of St. Paul and Gilbert West on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (New York: The American Tract Society, 1929). In some editions the flyleaf contains the words: “Blame not until thou hast examined the truth.” The story of these two men is told in R. A. Torrey, The Bible, and Its Christ (New York: Revell, 1904–1906), 98–100.

[ii] Hobbs, H. H. (1990). My favorite illustrations (p. 132). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[iii] Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing about Grace?, Zondervan, 1997

[iv] Brennan Manning, All is Grace, 2011, David C Cook

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 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
www,theseedchristianfellowship.com

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

Weekly Seed of Faith 8/29/2021

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.”

WHATEVER
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.

And mama says, “DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU TO DO.”

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.

HE TELLS
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?

SO WHAT?
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
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 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]

SO WHAT?
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
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 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
www.theseedchristianfellowship.com

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