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#ILoveMyChurch

I Love My Church BoiseCentral holds a lot of memories for us all. Some great, some sentimental, some sad, and some humorous but we all have them. What we want to do over these last few months in our current location, as we prepare for our new location, is to remember all the wonderful things that have happened in our lives here at 12000 Fairview Ave. WE don’t want to forget what God has done in our lives but at the same time we don’t want to forget that we are still on a journey in which God is leading us to new ground, new territory, new miracles, and new life stories that we will be able to look back on 10, 20, 40 years from now with just as much fondness as we look now to the 10, 20 and 40 years previous.

So we want to have you post your pictures and your memories of the LIFE that has taken place here at Central Assembly over the last 40 years on Facebook, Instagram and twitter. We want you to let the world know that you love your church and we want you to share with them some of the significant moments in your own life that have been connected to this wonderful place we call church. We want you to let the world laugh, smile, and reminisce with you as you point them to the life that has been lived to the full with your family; your church family.

BUT when you do post your pictures, videos, thoughts and memories, we want you to make sure you tag us in those pictures and posts so that we will be sure to see them and it will allow us to share them with others as well. You can do this by posting directly to our page (search boisecentral) on facebook or just tagging tagging us in your photos and posts using “boisecentral” on your facebook page. You can also do so by using "@Boisecentral” on twitter and Instagram. We would also ask you to use the hash tag #ilovemychurch and #boisecentral when you are posting as this will give us another way of seeing your memories and allow us to share in them with you.

Each week we will have a theme that will be the focus of our posting. Whether that is “Weddings” or “Youth Ministry Mayhem” or Maranatha Memories what we want you to do is post your thoughts and pictures specific to that category. Each week we will put a new category forward. So each week we will have new material to remember, share, laugh, smile, and maybe even cry about a little bit, but each week it will be connected to the same general topic.

We love our church, and I know that you do to. We can’t wait to see your pictures and hear about your favorite memories. We hope that you will share and share often about the great things that God has done in your life at this location but we also encourage you to use these testimonies as fuel to stoke the fires of excitement and anticipation for the memories to come.

Feel free to share thoughts from previous weeks themes if you were unable to during the weeks they were scheduled. But Lets let our city know that we LOVE OUR CHURCH

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZWK-Tv0tXM[/embed]

List of weekly themes / Memory Ideas

Feb 22 – Week 1

  •  First real memory (photos or thoughts)

Mar 1 – Week 2

  • Craziest / Funniest memory (photos or thoughts)

Mar 8 – Week 3

  • Youth Group / Camp Memory (photos or thoughts)

Mar 15 – Week 4

  • Children’s Ministry Memories (photos or thoughts)

Mar 22 – Week 5

  • Baby Dedication memories (photos or thoughts)

Mar 29 – Week 6

  • Weddings (photos or thoughts)

Apr 5 – Week 7

  • Power of God Memory (photos or thoughts)

Apr 12 – Week 8

  • Maranatha / school related Memory (photos or thoughts)

Apr 19 – Week 9

  • Favorite school/church production memory (photos or thoughts)

Apr 26 – Week 10

  • Funeral Memories (photos or thoughts)

May 3 – Week 11

  • Funniest Moments (photos or thoughts)

May 10 – Week 12

  • Your choice / Miscellaneous (photos or thoughts)

May 17 – Week 13

  • Love Center Memory (photos or thoughts)

May 24 – Week 14

  • Absolute favorite memory (photos or thoughts)

May 31 – Week 15

  • Favorite Memory from the 70’s and 80’s (photos or thoughts)

June 7 – Week 16

  • Favorite Memory from the 90”s and 00’s (photos or thoughts)

June 14 – Week 17

- Memories I’m looking forward to making at our New Campus. (Thoughts)

It Is A New Day At Central Assembly!

We’ve started! On Father’s Day we started our one year countdown. You see we have been considering relocating our ministry campus for some time now. Last week we signed the papers and sold our present campus. The closing date has been set for June 15, 2015 and are we ever excited. Some might ask, “What does that mean, what’s going to happen?” That fact is that we have not sold the church (spell that people). We have not sold Operation Love Center, a wonderful place to get help with food, clothing and prayer. We have not sold Maranatha School and Preschool. Nor have we sold any of the dynamic ministries of Central. What we have done is sell all of our present ministry campus with the exception of Operation Love Center which will continue in ministry, only now it will be debt free. After the closing next year, we will not be operating any of our ministries on the present campus.

We will however be operating all of the ministries that cause us to love this church but in a new place. Where is that new place? We do not have that locked down at this point. But with the present campus now having been sold, we have the freedom to explore all of the options out there that are appealing to us. So that is where our congregation comes in. We need to have you on the lookout either for an office building or warehouse that would be a wonderful prospect for us to renovate and customize for ministry, or a plot of land that would provide us with a new base of operation.

Wait till you hear the best part. The way we will be operating from this day forward will be as a debt free ministry. You see, the sale of the old campus will pay off any debt that we have and at the same time provide us seed money for our new beginning as a free and clear ministry. The words borrow, debt, mortgage, and bridge loan will never apply to us again.

We will be updating this letter periodically, so be sure to check back. Exciting times of debt free ministry are about to become a reality for our wonderful church family.

Lord, thank you for the wonderful campus that we have been seeking to operate as you led us by your Holy Spirit. We can’t wait for the Promised Land that you have prepared for us where any vestige of debt will be vanquished.

DON'T SLEEP WITH THE FROGS!

In our study for the 21st we continue to learn about the plagues God is bringing on the Egyptians because God kept making Pharaoh's heart hard so he would not let the people go to worship as the Lord had spoken by Moses to pharoah. Alan and I especially were interested in reading about the frogs.  Alan has always loved frogs, and he captured them when he was a child and tried to save them, much to his mother's dismay.  There was an odor!  People have given him all kinds of frogs during his life.  He drew a beautiful frog years ago. I wish I could show it here, it's so great.  But imagine sleeping with the frogs like the Egyptians had to do! Yuk!

The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart and the hearts of his servants so that He could show these signs of His before the leaders and the people.  He wanted Moses and Aaron and the Israelites to be able to tell their children and grandchildren the mighty things that God did for them in leading them out of slavery to the promise land.

In my commentary it talked about the fact that God's judging Pharaoh does not mean He is unmerciful.  He could have destroyed Pharoah and his people in a moment, but over and over He gave warnings.  The exclusion of the land of Goshen where all the Jews lived was part of the great miracle.

To this day, we can choose to "Sleep with the Frogs", or we can heed the warnings that Father God gives to help us follow His direction for our lives.  Through the story of these terrible plagues, we can see the mercy of God woven through everyone.  Over and over He gave the Egyptians opportunity to "take shelter", get under the covering, get their children and their livestock to safety when the storms came.  And everyone who heeded the warning was saved.

I love the fact that when Pharaoh finally gave in and told Moses, "I have sinned, the Lord is righteous, and my people and I are wicked", a lot of damage had been done, but the Lord accepted  Moses's prayer for  Pharaoh's forgiveness.

That's just what He does for us.  In the midst of  the storms and wreckage of our lives, all we have to do is cry out to our merciful God, and He immediately hears our cry and runs toward us with all His marvelous love and grace.

I hope this is an encouragement to all of us to just call on our Papa God.  He will hear and answer.

There's still time to come and join us on Tuesday morning for "Fresh Fire From The Father's Heart!"

 

RESURRECTION POWER! HE'S ALIVE!

Daily Bible CoverWe have all said "Goodbye," to loved ones and friends during our lifetime.  It's always a shock and as I read through the chapters for November 19, my heart was wrenched over and over.  Reading it this time had a special impact on me. I think possibly it's because this month is so full of memories of my grandpa and my father going to heaven on the same day.  We called the funeral service, "Coronation Day", as we had my grandfather, my mother's father in the morning.  And then that afternoon, we had my father's service.  The choir sang, "Jesus, The Resurrection".  My Uncle Walt said, "We haven't lost my brother, your pastor, husband and father, we know right where he is!"

The deciples didn't know where He was.  Mary should have had a clue when the angels  in white asked her, "Why are you crying!"  She answered, "They have taken my Lord away and I don't know where they put Him."

I remember in the months following my father's death when my heart had no peace.  Over and over in the middle of talking or playing or singing, my heart would start to pound and I flashed back to running into my dad's office and seeing him lying there like a fallen oak tree.  My heart would start beating hard and the horrible feeling of grief would literally block the light from my heart.  I lost my sparkle, my joy and my zest for living.  When this flashback would come out of the clear blue sky it would take my breath away.

I lost my joy and my song.  One night I went to a service with Terry Law who had been dear friend of Central Assembly and my father.  His group, "Living Sound" ministered here often when they were on tours in America.  In that service he shared that he felt God speak to his heart not to preach, but for us to fall on our knees and worship our great and wonderful God.  He said, "Just imagine that you are in the throne room and worshipping Him before His throne!"

I fell to my knees, and I cried and asked God, "Why is my father there with you and not here?"  I went home and the same thing happened again.  My heart pounding and the flashback again.  The next morning, before I could even call out to God for help, a warmth suddenly spread through my body from the top of my head to the soles of my feet.  I thought about the flashback that had held me in such bondage, and Jesus had taken the sting out of the memory.

I jumped out of bed and looked out the window and the birds were singing, the sky was so blue.  The burden of grief was gone.  I felt like I had been born again.  When I walked in the office everyone knew something had happened to me.  Ted was waiting for me with the phone in his hand.  It was Terry Law.  He said, "Sharon, I looked for you last night and you were gone, but the Lord gave me a message for you and He wouldn't let me leave until I gave it to you  He said to tell you, I have seen the grief that you have carried in your heart for your father, and I am going to fill that void with My presence!"

I yelled, "Terry, He already has."  I told him what had happened that morning.  I told him I was glad he hadn't found me the night before because I knew what happened to me was from God.  I experienced His resurrection power in my life as He took the sting out of the memories.

I thought how tenderly our precious Jesus just said "Mary" and she knew who He was.  And then he told her to go tell the deciples AND PETER THAT HE IS ALIVE!

Jesus in His tenderness and mercy took the sting out of the memory Peter had because he denied the Lord.  He took the sting out of the memories Paul had because of the way he persecuted the christians before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He took the sting out of the memories that Mary Magdalene had of her life before Jesus delivered her.

When we meet Jesus, we are RESURRECTED TO NEW Life!  Our old sinful life is buried in the sea of HIS FORGETFULNESS NEVER TO BE REMEMBERED AGAIN.

His glorious, life-changing power exploded through eternity the day Jesus rose from the grave.  Two thousand years later it has not lost one atom of power.  Over and over again God unlooses that tremendous force to touch individuals and reverse the negative in their lives.

The power is there for you just for the asking.  It's there in your grief, your your joy; in any nervous, mental agony, and in your emotionally-drained state of mind.  God wants you to know He's waiting to liberate, restore, revitalize and redirect.  This power is at your fingertips.  It can be released in your life by simply expressing your need to Father God.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointeed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives and release the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

I echo Pastor Ted's message.  Thank God for the cross because without the cross there would be no resurrection power.  Then He asks us to let every one else know that they can have it too!

HE'S ALIVE

OH BROTHER!

Daily Bible CoverI have been fascinated reading about the brothers and sisters of Jesus. In reading the background of their living situation it was probably a mud and brick house with a flat roof.  Jesus brothers were James, Simon, Juda and Joses.  The Bible talks about sisters, although they aren't named.  There could have been 7 children in that small house. Just imagine Jesus and his younger half brother sharing a room and playing together.  Just imagine Mary saying to James, when he got into mischief, "Why can't you be more like your brother, Jesus?"  Poor James,  how would it be to be compared to the "perfect"son of God?

Fast forward 30 years.  The siblings are all grown up and we see Jesus brothers taunting Him while they were together one day.  The Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near and they said " Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so your diciples there may see the works that you do.  No one who wants to be a public figure acts in secret.  Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." 

It says in the word that His own brothers and sisters didn't believe him.  In fact they even told people, that their brother Jesus was crazy...out of his mind.  How do you suppose that made Jesus feel?  I know that He had to put his feelings aside,  because He was on a mission for His father!

I love the fact that after Jesus was crucified, his brothers and I'm sure his sisters became true believers, with James writing his own book to be included in the Bible.  Just imagine the dramatic change in James when he really accepted that the brother he grew up with and played with as a child, was really his half brother because Jesus is the Son of God!

Now today, we all need to have a revelation of our  Jesus, who says in His word that He is "closer than a brother!"  What a wonderful eternal truth to each and everyone us, that His love for us is so real.

When I think how very much I love my own brother, Pastor Ted it's amazing to think that Jesus loves me even more.  I used to have a game that I played with my grandson when he was little.  I would say, I love you to the moon, and he would say, I love you more, Grandma.  Then I would say I love you to the Sun, and of course, his reply, "I love you more!"

Jesus says, "I loved you to the cross and to Eternity.  My reply although inadequate is "I love you more!"  But of course it's impossible to love Jesus more than He loves me, because His love is divine!

But I do love all of you that I know, with as much love as is humanly possible!  And that's the truth!  Let's all love the Lord and each other with that overwhelming divine love that only comes from Papa God!

 

 

Light Up The Sky

Daily Bible CoverIn today's reading a Pharisee is asking Jesus when the kingdom of God will come. After answering the Pharisee's question Jesus begins to tell his disciples that a time is coming when they will long to see the son of man but will not. Jesus is sharing with his disciples that he will soon be leaving the earth but after that he will come again. Jesus then begins to describe what his second coming will be like. At Jesus' first coming, he comes into the world virtually unnoticed. Born in a manger, only a few witness his arrival into the earth.

What will the second coming of Jesus be like?

Luke 17(from our reading today) is very similar to Matthew 24. Why does Jesus tell the disciples, if anyone claims to discover the Messiah's return, to not listen or go look?

Jesus tells them at his second coming, he will make a grand entrance. Jesus is going to light up the sky. This is why they are not to go look if anyone claims he has returned. Jesus is telling his disciples that no one is going to miss his entrance at his second coming. The Lord wants them to know, if you haven't witnessed my return with your own eyes then it hasn't happened yet. No one will hear about the coming of the Lord through word of mouth. Every eye will witness his return.

Luke 17:23-24"Men will tell you,'There he is!' or 'Here he is!' Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other."(see also Mt.24:26-27)

In the Matthew passage Jesus goes on to say,"Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather." Mt.24:28

What does this comment about the vultures mean? Just as the vultures never miss the opportunity to feast on a dead carcass, no one is going to miss the grand entrance of his second coming. In Matthew, Jesus describes how the nations will mourn as they witness his appearing in the sky.

Mt.24:30"At that time the sign of the son of man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

Jesus is going to light up the sky when he returns.

Mt.24:27"For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."

In Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians he says, the appearing of Jesus when he returns will be so bright, it will destroy the lawless one. 2 THES.2:8

Jesus wants his followers to know that he is going to light up the sky, no one will miss his entrance when he returns.

But what about the scriptures that speak of Jesus coming as a thief in the night?

Based on this phrase "thief in the night" many have come to believe that Jesus' second coming will be done secretly. And that the Lord's followers, will be removed from the earth secretly.

A thief only steals those things that do not already belong to him. A thief doesn't need to steal what he already owns. Likewise, why would Jesus need to steal what is already his? Why would Jesus need to secretly steal anything?

There is actually no where in scripture that says,"Jesus is coming like a thief in the night." The scriptures tell us that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. See 1 THES.5:2 and 2 Peter 3:10 While the day of the Lord is referred to as a day of Jesus' return it is also continually described in scripture as a day of sudden destruction.

1 THES.5:2-3"for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying,"Peace and Safety," destruction will come on them suddenly,"

In 2 Peter, Peter refers to the day of the Lord coming like a thief, and he describes complete destruction of the heavens and the earth on this day. See 2 Peter 3:10-13 The term "a thief in the night" is used to illustrate destruction coming unexpectantly, sudden destruction coming in a moment when many are least prepared for it. The people destroyed in the days of Noah are a perfect example of unexpected destruction. Although they witnessed the arrival of the flood from it's first initial rain drops, they were unprepared for the magnitude of the destruction that was upon them. Destruction came upon them like a thief.

Joel chapter 2 gives a detailed account of what the day of the Lord will be like. Joel describes the day of the Lord as a day of darkness and gloom. A large and mighty army moving through the land destroying it city by city. The Lord is at the head, leading this army into battle. Nations are in anguish as they see this army approaching from the distance.

Joel 2:9"They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves, they enter through the windows."

The Lord's army is breaking into homes through the windows like thieves in the night. This is a depiction of a home invasion and of sudden destruction. Notice that nothing happens secretly here. The people under attack see this army as they approach.

Joel 2:6"at the sight of them, nations are in anguish; every face turns pale."

Just as the nations will mourn as they see the Son of Man coming in the sky. On the day of the Lord many will be gripped with utter terror and fear as they discover the end has come.

Joel closes this passage with this remark about the day of the Lord,

"The day of the Lord is great;it is dreadful. Who can endure it?" Joel 2:11b

There is nothing secretive with the day of the Lord. However, destruction will come upon many suddenly.

Jesus wanted his followers to know that he would leave, but that he would come again. And that when he returned that everyone would see him at his appearing in the sky. Today's reading excites me. Jesus will come again, and when he does he is going to Light Up The Sky.

A Tale of Three Kings…and One People - By Cherry Shervik

Daily Bible CoverIn today’s reading we are given a three generation genealogy of three very different kings of Israel. Three men who all lived vastly different lives, responding to the God of their people in three very different ways. The grandfather in this family lineup is King Manasseh, a man we read about just two days ago whose life was completely transformed. Known as one of the most wicked kings of Judah, his list of sins was heinous as he led the people of God back into idolatry and wickedness. After spending his life running as far away from God as he possibly could and after finding himself in a place of ruin, he turns to the one and only true God and he is heard. Our God, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, delivers and restores him (for more on that, check out Pastor Ted's blog from yesterday).

This takes us to his son, Amon. Amon chose to follow in his father’s early footsteps and embraced the ways of sin and idolatry. However, Scripture tells us that instead of eventually humbling himself before the Lord the way his father did, he only “increased his guilt” and instead of restoration, we see his story end with assassination and separation from God.

And now we are brought to Josiah, one in whom “neither before or after…was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength” (2 Kings 22:25). In contrast to the wicked exploits of his father and grandfather, King Josiah’s reign was marked by a passionate abandonment of anything not of God.

This grandfather, son and grandson provide quite the study in contrasts, but in the midst of it all, there were two constants:

1. The faithfulness of Jehovah God – a God who is the same yesterday, today and

forever (Hebrews 13:8)

2. The unfaithfulness of his people

These two constants are seen not only in this string of three kings, but also throughout the entire narrative of Scripture. We see a God who has chosen and called out for himself a people, and in turn we see these set apart people again and again and again and again and again (this could go on for pages!) be unfaithful. In fact, we see later in Scripture that God commands his prophet Hosea to marry Gomer, who is a prostitute, for the sole purpose of using that marriage as an illustration of God’s relationship with his beloved people.

It can be so easy as Christians to look at the Israelites in the Bible with a smug sense of superiority. We can be so quick to shake our heads at their foolishness and wonder how they could reject a God who had provided for them in such tangible ways. But we aren’t any different. We may not be erecting Ashera poles and bowing down before golden idols, but we suffer from chronic unfaithfulness just the same, our idolatry just isn’t as obvious. We may be worshiping the god of wealth and power, we may suffer with crippling addictions, or most insidious, we may have placed ourselves on the throne, devoting our lives to whatever it is that WE want, ignoring what it is that God wants.

The good news here is that God hasn’t changed. His ultimate desire to be in communion with his people hasn’t changed. He has made the ultimate sacrifice in order to be one with us, all for His glory.

Regardless of which of the three kings your life story most closely resembles, God’s love for you is the same. His love is unending, his mercies are new every morning and he wants ALL of you ALL of the time. I pray that we as his bride will strive for nothing short of complete and unabashed devotion to our Savior, knowing that in our weakness he is strong.

Overwhelming Victory

As we have entered into Summer, Safe Haven has had the privilege of hosting young ladies on Tuesday nights. We have been meeting up in the evenings, (7pm at the house) and have been studying the Undaunted series by Christine Caine. (If you have not read her book I encourage you to do so!) It has been an awesome time as I get to hear the heart of these beautiful ladies.  That is one of my favorite things and I cherish the stories these girls carry within them. I believe it was during our first session that Christine read from Romans 8 and since then verses 37 - 39 have been running around in my mind. I love words and am so intrigued with linguistics (the study of language), maybe because I am a person of many words! Haha! If there was some sort of competition for talking a lot and really fast, I might be in the top ten! I just get excited! Maybe someday I can learn another language, but besides all of that I want to zoom in on a couple of truths and words from this passage:

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:37-39 NLT]

Despite = No matter what you’re going through, no matter the circumstance, nothing can stand in the way of your receiving. Overwhelming = (An Ephesians 3:20 word) A great amount, abundance, overpower. Convinced = To be certain, to have a solid belief, to have an unshakable confidence.

What Romans 8:37-39 is saying is that despite what you’re going through, despite the circumstance you find yourself in, nothing can stand in your way of receiving the overwhelming, great amount, abundant overpowering, victory that you find in Christ! You can be convinced, certain, and stand unshakable in the fact that absolutely nothing can separate you from the love of God! Not even death!

I used to think of death as being what one could call the “final goodbye.”  There is a terminal feeling to it, it cannot be undone.  Once something is dead there is no life, (Of course, with Jesus that can change! He is in the business of making alive what was once dead! Amen! But for this illustration continue to follow me…). Death is final; it is an end.  Yet, not even that can separate you! That is a tremendous, hope giving, truth and we have a claim to it!

In short, I found such encouragement in knowing that no matter what curve ball comes my way, no matter what tries to distract me, or what hurdle presents itself: overwhelming victory is mine and I can be confident that I am secure in the love of Jesus! My prayer for you, my dear friends and family in Christ, is that today you would find exceedingly, abundant victory in the love of Christ! He is the support you need to keep going, His word is the only truth that never fails.

He has been faithful to this point and He is not going to stop being faithful now!

More Than A Moment - An Open Letter To Our Church Family From The Desk of Pastor Ted

>mblack-08Dear Church, I feel so privileged to be a part of the Central Assembly church family.  I so enjoy being able to experience the things that God has planned for us.  I am grateful for the moments that we have been able to share together, the special times of our lives, the milestones we have celebrated.  I realized that I have worshiped with the people of Central Assembly in three different facilities over the years.  Now I see the next phase of what God wants to do through this wonderful group of people as we relocate our campus for the fourth time.  What I realize is that this church family that I love is together because of the one we worship.  And as I think of all the wonderful moments that we have experienced I also understand that what God is doing in the middle of us is more than a moment.  It is all part of the continuum of His love and plan for us.

I spoke with our real estate agent the other day and we are experiencing interest in our present campus.  At the same time we are exploring some exciting options for our new campus.  In all of this one of the things that gets me so excited is establishing a church culture of being debt free.  Almost fifteen years ago I felt a strong word from the Lord that we should become debt free as a church.  God knew ahead of time that we would be heading into an unprecedented level of fluidity in the church world.  By fluidity I am speaking of the large amounts of Christians who find themselves flowing from church to church.  He knew that part of having our financial house in order would include operating without debt.  Unfortunately I listened to lots of voices who didn’t feel the sense of urgency in doing things this way and I allowed myself to get in the flow of living with debt.  I take responsibility for that.

In months past God’s word to me was that what He had impressed upon my heart over a decade ago was still valid today.  So I am excited to be able to provide leadership under His guidance for this amazing church family as we start and bring to completion our journey out of debt and into a place of owing no one anything other than a debt of love.

We have no intention of telling other church families how they should go about what God wants to accomplish through them, however as for us and our house we are within striking distance of the church following His leadership and doing it free of the bondage of debt.

I want to finish this note with a couple of things that I gleaned from the branch of Dave Ramsey’s ministry which is geared toward churches.  It is called Momentum.  In one of their brochures there were two questions which I felt were very insightful to say the least.

1)    Is church debt really all that bad?

  1. Yes.  The stability and strength of a church is undermined by a foundation of debt.  A church with debt is just one major crisis away from being forced to close.

2)    Isn’t it God’s will to “grow” the church of Jesus Christ?

  1. Absolutely.  But it is not God’s will for this generation to pass our debt to the next generation.  We can’t ignore the impact of financial slavery on their future.

The ministry that God intends to accomplish through the church family of Central Assembly is More Than a Moment.  I couldn’t be more excited to continue the work of the Gospel free from the bondage of debt.

Wouldn’t it be great if this became a trend?

Sincerely,

Pastor Ted

Sabbatical Week

Daily Bible CoverWe want to thank all of you who have been keeping up to date with our daily blog. We hope that you have been enjoying them as much as we have in writing them. As a staff we are going to be taking another sabbatical (1 week off) from writing the blog. You may see a couple of posts this week on some thoughts but the #Biblein365 blog will begin again next Monday. If you have a minute maybe take some time this week to go back and read some of the blogs that you missed or maybe just re-read the ones that have impacted you the most. More than anything we want to encourage you to stay engaged with God's word and continue to seek His will in your life.

Have a wonderful week and keep studying God's Word.

Just A Man (1 Kings 13:1-32)

Daily Bible CoverRehoboam. Shechem. Jeroboam. Adoniram. Seriously, I was never great with phonics to begin with, but I find myself going a bit cross-eyed (and brained) with all these names I can barely pronounce. So finally we get a story with something I can focus on. "Man of God." Perfect. I got this. Man of God represents the anonymity of us all. We are all men, and women, of God, each chosen to be powerful representations of the Kingdom. We might not all be nomads,  speaking prophetic words against idolatry and sinful nature, but we all have purpose in Christ. Because, you see, one does not need to have fame and notoriety (or an unpronounceable name) to be used in significant ways for God.

And so we read about a "man of God." A man that spoke truth without concern of consequence. An individual that refused to be tempted (although was still easily fooled) to go against God's instructions. A person so full of grace that without hesitation, would reach out and heal those who were wishing him immediate harm. A man so used by God that his prophecy would prove true and usher in the true power of God before him.

A powerful man of God. Yet..still just a man.

And all it took for him to turn his back on God's instruction was a word from someone whom he identified with and quickly put his trust in. An elder, a fellow prophet (so he was told), a spiritual experience and word from the Lord. Despite his clear direction from God, he allowed whom he thought was a fellow believer to turn him around and push him towards his untimely demise.

In all my years of study, one of the most circled, highlighted and underlined phrases has to be those of ultimate inclusion. "All," "everyone," "no one" and "every." Words that leave no room for addition or subtraction. These come from verses that unify us all. "No one will enter the Kingdom of God..." "For all have sinned..." "Everyone who hates his brother..." It puts us all (that means you, no matter how you want to slice and dice it), on equal footing, with equal responsibility, equal reward and equal consequences.

And we see that in full bloom here in 1 Kings 13 as "man of God" rejects his God given instruction, for a contradicting message from God (which never happens, for those of you keeping score at home) and faces the ultimate end that every single one of us will face for Godly disobedience. Maybe not immediate death in this life (at the hand of a lion on the side of the road, no less) but death eternal.

So the next time I'm feeling all high and mighty at how God is using me in the moment, I hope I'll quickly return to this passage as a reminder that, after all, I'm just a man.

How Sharp Are You? - Guest Blog Today by Cherry Shervik

Daily Bible CoverProverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” Today’s reading took me back to the good ol’ days when Ryan and I were youth leaders. It’s hard to believe that chapter of our lives closed 10 years ago...Those years were filled with countless wacky games (many of which involved eating the most disgusting “food” imaginable), camps and retreats,  much prayer and the blessing of investing in and watching young people grow in their faith and maturity in Christ.

Way back when, our youth group was known as “Iron Workers Union No. 2717”, echoing the words of Proverbs 27:17. God had laid this verse on Ryan’s heart and it embodied what we wanted the identity of our community to be – a place where we came together in order to make each other better, growing closer to each other and to our Savior, all to His glory. We were striving to keep each other sharp – “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”.

Have you every tried to use a dull knife? Or maybe some sort of blade, axe or a pair of scissors that have lost their edge? They may eventually get the job done, but not without frustration, extra effort, and it’ll probably make a much bigger mess of things. In my line of work (I’m a dental hygienist), if my instruments aren’t sharp, my job becomes much harder for me and it can also make it more uncomfortable for my patients.

Or how about when your car needs new brake pads? (Speaking from a recent personal experience). Instead of a gentle push of the pedal to slow down and stop your car, you find yourself having to really lay into it, hear the grinding and squealing and pray that you’ve given yourself enough stopping distance so you don’t get to know the driver of the car in front of you much better.

When something loses its edge or gets too rough and isn’t maintained properly, it loses its effectiveness. A dull knife is still a knife and a worn out brake pad is still a brake pad – what they are doesn’t change – but they’re no longer well equipped to do what they were created to do. And this same thing is happening today in the body of Christ.

It’s soooo easy to allow ourselves to get dull. Dulled by busyness. Dulled by stress and life’s demands. Dulled by a relentless pursuit of all of the oh-so-important things in life that, when all is said in done, really don’t mean a thing. We can be dulled by complacency, thinking that we’re good enough and saved enough. Dulled by simply going through the motions. We’re still beloved children of God and saved by grace, but we’re not fully living out God’s purposes for our lives.

One of my favorite things about the gospel and the church is that we get to partner with our Creator, and one of those ways we get to participate is in keeping each other sharp. You can search all day long (and then the next day and the next and the next, ad nauseum), but you will never find a place in Scripture where it says that we as Christians are to go at it alone. “Do not forsake…gathering together” (Hebrews 10:25), “For just as the body is one and has many members…all the members of the body…are one body” (1 Cor 12:12), “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (I Cor 12:13). These three verses are just a tiny sample of what God has to say to us through his Word about the body and bride of Christ – his church.

Proverbs 27:17 echoes this same sentiment – “one person sharpens another”. We are called to be both the sharpeners and be the sharpenees (don’t think you’ll find that one in Webster’s, but I think you get what I’m saying), because we can’t do it on our own. And if we can really embrace this and fully connect, we’ll see the beauty of God’s grace, love and mercy in action and the church will be begin to multiply and will be unstoppable.

So my questions for you today are: how sharp are you? Are you actively pursuing investing in others and in turn allowing others to invest in you? Are you willing to do what it takes to fully utilize the gifts and abilities God has so generously and graciously given to you? And are you ready to be used in ways far beyond what you’ve imagined? Let is be never be said of us that we’re not the sharpest tool in the church  J

She is Clothed with Strength and Dignity

Happy Thursday Central Family! I pray that today finds you full of joy and strength in the Lord! Be encouraged this day knowing that you do not face anything alone today! : ) God is with you! Amen! I want to take this opportunity to share with you about a very special woman who shaped my life in an extraordinary way. Being that this Sunday we are celebrating mother’s, I thought I would share with you about the woman who I called Mom. : )

MeMamaMy mom, Martha, was a remarkable woman who truly embodied the Proverbs 31 woman.  She was born and raised in Mexico and during her teens transitioned to the United States in search of a brighter future. I did not discover a lot about my mom’s childhood experiences until after she passed away.

Unfortunately, when I was just twelve years of age, my mom unexpectedly went to be with the Lord. Life changed dramatically for me the day she died.  I grew up quickly and faced responsibilities that most twelve year olds do not have. I have a brother who is three years younger than I, and although I was never directly asked to take on responsibility for him, I naturally placed it upon myself.

As a result of the life my mom exemplified, I knew that the only place that I could run to for comfort and refuge was into the arms of Jesus.

My mom was raised Catholic and even before she entered into a personal relationship with the Lord, I believe He was already looking out for her needs.  When she moved to the US and settled in Burley, Idaho, (a small community about 2 ½ hours South of Boise), she found a home with an elderly couple who allowed her to live with them in exchange for helping them take care of their home. My mom found favor with this couple and they became like her own family.

 She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. [Proverbs 31:17]

I inherited my mom’s journals and I would read stories that she had written of her childhood.  Had it not been for her writings, I would have never known the trials my mom endured growing up.  She was second oldest, but had to carry the responsibility of the older child because her older sister was disabled.  My mom worked long hours, rising in the early hours of the morning and being one of the last ones to go to bed. I saw these traits carried over into my mom’s adult life.

She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family… [Proverbs 31:15] My childhood is filled with fond memories of time spent with my parents.  My parents and I were always close and I loved waking up in the morning to see my dad off to work.  I would get up and run into the kitchen because I did not want to miss seeing my dad.  In the kitchen I would find my mom making fresh homemade tortillas (Praise the Lord!) She would diligently make my dad lunch on the days he worked. My dad’s co-workers knew my mom’s cooking was superb and he would be asked on a daily basis what he had for lunch! : )

 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.  Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. [Proverbs 31:20-23]

There is an abundance of stories I could share from the times my mom would go to doctor appointments with ladies in our church to interpret for them, to the times she would make homemade meals for the elderly, to the times she would provide a ride for a family member who was unable to drive, and even making meals, single-handedly, for a missions team of 100 or so members.

To me, my most cherished moments are those when my mom taught me about the Lord and instilled godly principles in my life.  Every night, without fail, she would come into my bedroom, tuck me in bed, help me memorize a bible verse, and then pray over me.  The first time I experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit was with her.  My mom had responded to an altar call and I went along with her.  I sat on her lap and I looked up at her face, her eyes were closed and tears were streaming down her cheeks.  Although she did not tell me, I knew that the tears were not of sadness, but because of the precious presence of the Spirit.  I then closed my eyes and became aware of His presence too.  My mom taught me how to become aware of His Spirit.

 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” [Proverbs 31:25-29]

This upcoming June will mark eleven years that my mom went home to be with the Lord.  Although that number looks like a long time, in my heart it does not feel like eleven years.  I realize that sometimes it can be easy to almost glorify someone to perfection after they have passed from this life; my mom was not a perfect woman, but I saw grace and humility radiate from her life.  In fact, I was not aware about how her life truly lined up with the passages found in Proverbs 31 until I studied those lines and compared it with her life.

This mother’s day, as I reflect upon my mom and the life she lived, my heart is filled with joy because someday I will be reunited with her.  In truth, Mother’s Day is not the easiest day for me. Yet, I cling to Christ, and the beautiful thing is that I have hope. I can have hope in Jesus that I will get to see her again and we will worship Him together! : )

My heart and prayers are with those who are not able to be with their mother as we celebrate Mother’s Day.  I have seen the goodness of the Lord in my life and cling to His promise in Isaiah 66:13 that says God will comfort us like a mother comforts her child.  I also rejoice with those who have the opportunity to celebrate their mom and encourage you to esteem the woman that she is! God has placed amazing women in my life to fill that void in my heart throughout the past years! I am so thankful for these women God has given me at just the right time!

If you get a moment, I encourage you to read Proverbs 31 verses 10-31.  My prayer, for my life and the girls and women of my generation, is that God would give us the grace to develop these qualities in our lives. My heart’s desire is to live a life that honors the Lord, like my mom taught me, and that God would arise these kind of women in our generation today!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. [Proverbs 31:30,31]

Gay Rights in Springfield MO

The following is from an email that was sent out but the national office of the Assemblies of God movement this last week. It has the links that were referred to in yesterdays sermon as well as a brief synopsis of what is happening in Springfield at this time.  

We would like to make you aware of an issue currently being discussed in the AG national office's hometown of Springfield, Mo., which could impact you.

The Springfield City Council recently appointed a 15-member citizen task force to research a proposal that would add protections for gay and transgender residents to the city's nondiscrimination ordinance.

On April 22, fellow AG Pastor John Lindell, of James River Assembly, was invited to address this group, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Task Force, to offer "a theologically conservative viewpoint on the issue of the sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance."

Pastor Lindell's words were Biblical but loving, recognizing homosexuality as a sin no greater than any other with which we all struggle. A transcript of Pastor Lindell's speech can be seen in full on his website at johnlindell.net.

In response, 23 local pastors from a variety of denominations drafted a letter, which was published in the Springfield News-Leader, claiming Pastor Lindell's comments were hateful and outside of Scriptural context. The full letter is available here, sgfnow.co/ZYoudq.

While the issue of sin is never easy to address, Pastor Lindell involved himself because of its effect on the First Amendment right of Christians, including AG members and leaders, to operate their businesses without fear of legal action for refusing to hire or provide services based on sexual orientation. This includes examples such as a catering company declining to serve a homosexual wedding or celebration because of religious convictions.

The AG national office commends Pastor Lindell for his bold, Biblical stance and AG General Superintendent Dr. George O. Wood has released a letter in his support. This was sent yesterday to the Springfield News-Leader for publication, but we were informed it was too long for their opinion section. Not wanting to minimize its importance by cutting it down, Dr. Wood provided the letter for Pastor Lindell to publish on his blog, johnlindell.net/?p=246.

 

 

We have also included a link to the Assembly of God's official position on Homosexuality (as well as other important topics) if you are interested. You can find it here: OFFICIAL POSITIONS