Friday, December 27, 2013

2014 Intentional Christ Follower



One of the things Jesus commissioned His followers to do is to not just make converts, but make disciples. However, the church has seemed to take the word “discipleship” and made it out to be one of the most confusing, boring and irrelevant things we talk about. 

If you brought someone to Pasco Christian Church in 2013,  for one of our services and they received Christ, here are some simple steps a person can take (no matter where you are in your spiritual growth process) to “disciple” them. 

Give them a phone call within the next few hours and let them know how happy you are about the decision they made to follow Christ.   
Three things people often deal with after receiving Christ are fear, doubt and loneliness.  A call or visit from a friend was more encouraging than the other person could imagine. 

Ask them how you can be specifically praying for them. When they tell you, call or text them a couple days later to follow up and see how they are doing. 



Give them a Bible and encourage them to try to spend time each day reading God’s Word. 
If they do not have a Bible they can download a free one for their phone from “You Version.” 

Make sure the friends get back to worship services on the weekend right away.  
God wants us to get together and worship Him.
He knew we could not do life alone, so He built the church (Matthew 16:18), loves the church (Ephesians 5:25), wants the Gospel to be made know through the church (Ephesians 4:10) and wants us to have a place to encourage us and challenge us to be more devoted followers of Him 
(Hebrews 10:24,25) 

This Sunday at Pasco Christian we jump back into our “Cover to Cover” series. As we end 2013 and look forward to 2014 we will look at King Solomon’s life and walk through how to guard our life from spiritual erosion.
 
So excited for the New Year, Pasco Christian,  and especially excited for the new lives in Christ yet to be known!  
 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

God is enough

I watched a person pull another person out of a burning car on the news.  SCARY!  I ask myself all the time, "How would I react in a dangerous or a difficult situation"?  And especially if I was the one rescued?  The person in that car, (I don't know for sure) probably hugged and thanked the rescuer a bunch.

It made me think of the part of our"Cover to Cover" series we are in and Chapter 8 of "The Story."
Israel seems to be in this pattern of following God, then not following God.  It's a cycle of sin that patterns their life for the next 300 years.  Israel conquers Canaan, then God appoints Deborah as a judge and strong leader to deliver her people.  Later the Midianites were oppressing Israel and God called Gideon to deliver His people.  Then the Philistines dominate Israel and God prepares Samson as a judge.

God never tolerates sin and, at the same time, never breaks His covenant with His people.  It does not appear that Israel ever fully understands God's discipline but over and over God brings Israel to their knees in order to bring them to Himself.

This part of scripture helps me understand a couple things.  God uses surprising people to accomplish His will.  Like the person with the burned car situation, they were not planning on pulling someone out of the fire today....but they did. Perhaps you are someone's unlikely hero today....they need to know Jesus....and you are the person to share with them...you are it.

Another thing I noticed is the dangerous cycle we could all find ourselves in  from time to time when we rely on false gods......sin...God's judgment...crying out for help...God providing deliverance.  Just be aware of those dangerous cycles in your life.

Perhaps the biggest thing I get from this week's study is the thought....when will we ever get to place in life where we realize God is enough?

Remembering God's faithfulness today,
Chuck

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wandering < God Strategy

How many people love math?!
Wandering is less than God's Strategy so....
Therefore   GS + 0 = HF (Having Faith)        
AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH.....not good at math!

This new generation of Israelites, led by Joshua and Caleb, are the first to step foot into the land promised by God.  And God's math, or perhaps best to say His strategy is to take over the land He promised, in not so conventional ways.  Read the fist part of Joshua to see the marching band version of how to capture a city.

Actually it is this phrase, "be strong and courageous" that we can lean in to this week. Christians, today, live in a  world that flows so strongly against the desires of the heart of God that Christ followers get identified by simply how they live.  How is that going this week?  Take a stand in your home, your school, your neighborhood, your work for Jesus this week.

Often, like the people of Israel, we are fearful of challenges and do not want to deal with them.  think of a challenge you have "back burnered" and then face it and deal with it.  Remember God is closer than you think.  Find ways to be accountable in this process this week.

It's exciting to grow, not only in knowledge of God's Word, but also in actions and attitude.  My prayer for us all this week is a renewed and deeper love for God's Word and a commitment to continue reading and applying God's truth every day.  I am also praying for you to be bold and courageous for the cause of Christ!

See you this weekend at PCC.

Loving God and you

Chuck

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Being Different - Set Apart - for God's purposes

 I was watching a mom discipline her child at a store a couple days ago.  a bunch of memories flashed through my mind about how my parents chose to discipline me (and I am sure they were times of discipline for the right reason).  Our parents rules are usually met with not the greatest optimism, but I now know they have/had my best interest at heart (and I was fortunate for that).

As the journey continues for Israel in our "Cover to Cover" series, we see a Holy God requires a holy people, so they are about to set themselves apart (consecrate) so that they can now meet with God.  They were invited to a direct relationship with the LORD, but opted for Moses to act as an intermediary on their behalf.

We get to see how the nation responds to those 10 commandments, and how they not only relate to God but to each other.  We also start to see that God is not just a God out there, He is now going to be a God with the people, amongst them.

God's grace compels a devotion to Him alone.  He is a jealous God for our benefit; all other gods lead to sin and death.  His people are free, not to act anyway they want, but free to become who He created them to be.  Holy, different, designed to point the world to Him.  God's redemption of Israel was not jsut from slavery, but for holiness as well.  Their freedom had a purpose.

It made me think of the disciplined child at the store.....did they then think before they walked into the store....everything that my mom says I will now do....?....Did they only think that knowing punishment was being dealt out?

I pray God gives you a clear vision of who He is this week.  Your story matters.  Welcome God into your heart, home, school, work.  It's OK to be different and set apart for God's purpose.  Be set apart this week.

Hope to see you this weekend at PCC.

Chuck

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Ultimate Deliverer

Watching some Major League Baseball playoffs (on the DVR because it only takes 2 minutes) and seeing how happy people are when someone on the team deliverers in the clutch part of the game.  Its a big hit to win or an incredible pitch that the hitter misses.  We judge performance on how you deliver.  Even at your favorite eating establishment.  Can they deliver the goods you just ordered?!  The pressure is on!

Moses meets up with God at a bush that is burning, yet not burning.  God commissions Moses to be Israel's deliverer. Even when Pharaoh would not let the Israelite slaves go, God (our ultimate deliverer) gives us a glimpse, a shadow of what is to come with the Passover experience.  Blood from the innocent lamb rubbed on the doorposts so that the death angel would pass over the homes marked.

God delivering His people to the promised land is also a clue to the deliverance that Christ Jesus would later bring.  All this got me to thinking....
*  How did Moses' life experiences prepare him for God's call?  And what life experiences in your life does God use to minister to others?

*  How did Moses see his abilities and how did god see them?

*  When Pharaoh's heart was hardened we think, "how can that be?"  yet many times do we harden our heart?  and what should we do about it?

*  We need to commit to allowing God to use us as a conduit of His grace and truth to those around us that are enslaved or imprisoned.

 *  Moses face was radiant because he had spoken to the Lord.  What evidence of your relationship with the Lord would others say they see in you?

Just some thoughts....   See you this weekend!
Chuck

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Joseph & His no good very bad days...

Ever have days where it would seem the cards are really stacked against you?  How do you deal with those days?  How do you walk this journey of faith when so many disappointments hit you square in the face.

Have you taken the time to read Joseph's story from the book of Genesis.  Wow!  End of the book of Gensis,  Joseph is again reassuring his brothers that harm will not come to them for all the the things they did to Joseph.  Do you want a redemption sound byte from scripture.  Genesis 50:20 "You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

Our Messiah, Jesus, would not come for centuries, yet you can see how God is telling His incredible upper Story.  Joseph's life is a precursor, reminding that though man plans for evil, God redeems for good.  Beuty for ashes.  Life from death.  Man fails, but God prevails.........EVERY TIME!

Perhaps we need to embrace even the New Testament scripture from Romans 8, verse 28 that states, "In all things God works for the good of those who live him, who have been called according to His purpose."  Can you think of a situation in your own life where you need to embrace and indeed, experience this truth?

This week, I am working on having the mind that Joseph had.  Instead of becoming bitter, even when betrayed, I will trust God.  And I will work on the forgiveness factor in my life too.  Are there people in your life difficult to forgive?  How do you go about doing this?

Take time this week   to see where God is shaping you...even in hard times.  Ask god for eyes to see even the tough situations....then pray for courage.  I have been meditating on Romans 5:8 this week.  Try it.
"But God demonstrated his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Understanding God's grace helps my forgiveness factor.

See you this weekend. God has great things in store!

Chuck

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cover to Cover #2 "Faith"

We all know what it is like for someone to keep a promise and we probably have all have had someone  not keep a promise.

God promises Abraham to make his descendants into a great nation, to also give him the land he was in to live and to bless all other nations through the nation Israel. As the story unfolds we see how God uses broken people to fulfill His unbreakable promise.

  What sin changes, faith overcomes.  I am noticing as I read God's Word this week, and I was also reading chapter 2 of "The Story," that in spite of their failures, God's people respond in faith.

As you read your bible this week, notice a couple things....
*  Genesis 12:1-5  Notice God's part of the promise and Abram's part....what are they?
*  Seeing the sacrifice of faith for Abram and Sarai, is there something in your own life that requires that kind  of obedience to His instructions?
*  we also see how Abraham and Sarah try to move God along faster than God was moving, it is common for us to try and jump ahead of God and His timing.  Why is it so hard to be patient?
*  What are the lessons a person could learn about God and His interaction with Hagar?

This week our prayer is for strength to make the next step of faith that God is calling you to take.  Ask God to grow your patience as you wait on His will in every aspect of your life. Lastly, thank God for the people He has placed in your life as model's of faith.

A lot of great things going on this week.  Pray for the Bible Club at Emerson starting today, Tuesday!  Over 40 kids signed up to walk through God's Word this school year.  Very excited for this.  If you want to join us and help on Tuesdays 3-4:15pm ( our team can always use  more smiling faces)

See you this weekend! 10am at PCC
Chuck

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cover to Cover #1

I hope you take this journey with us this year.  For the next few months, each week, I will try to provide some extra devo's for the week, or at least some thoughts to chew on.  With Chapter 1 of the story we definitely see that sin changes everything.  But I often wondered what would it would be like to have a perfect walk in the garden with God. Knowing that my walk is far from perfect I do know that my normal every day has to have a conversation with God.  This week...spend time everyday with God.  Tell him what is on your heart.
Now I know, Satan will not like that you or I will be desiring to spend everyday with God...be aware of the cycle of sin that Satan throws our way.  And be prepared to take some steps to restore/reconcile relationship(s) with others.
Doing some reading in Genesis chapters 1-35; Romans 4; Hebrews 11 to get ready for this weekend together.
Also, the response to connect in Lifegroup has been incredible. Over 12 have started into the story or are starting this weekend.  For info on groups near you or for starting one near you call the office or bump into us at the welcome center this weekend!  Ronda and I are starting a new one at our home Sunday evenings, starting this next Sunday, Sept. 22nd, 6:30pm (shameless blog plug)

See you this weekend,  8:45am for classes & 10am for worship

Chuck

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Fun and New Beginnings

So I spent two weeks in this month of July on the Oregon coast with our teens.  My first week was with our Junior High group.  There were about 235 at camp Winema just north of Lincoln City.   I did some math, and it had been approximately 25 years since my last Junior high camp.  It was a great experience.  Honestly, I thought it would be like herding squirrels but the youth pastors that led the camp did amazing and our kids not only connected well with each other but made some great new friends from all over the states of Washington and Oregon.  We have a super talented group of Junior High students.  I spent my 50th birthday riding home with those kiddo's and am blessed because of it!

High school camp was incredible as well.  I should say, that I came home July 13th, felt like a NASCAR driver because our pit crew led by Jim & Vicki Clum, handled me a different van, I went home, washed some clothes, said hello to Ronda and my dog Jase, then 7am the next morning went back to Winema with the Sr. Hi group.  Lives are being changed.  Decisions made to be in relationship with Jesus.  Week two had about 280 people there.  You are never too old for camp!

Our youth also got to meet with and get to know the newest addition to the Pasco Christian Church staff.  Ryan Willliams starts August 1 with us as youth pastor.  Ryan and his wife, Sharon, come to us from Vancouver, Washington.  Good people come from Vancouver....you know.....Ronda (my wife).  The church family will formally be introduced to Ryan August 4, next weekend, the start of our VBS week.  Sharon will be a high school counselor at Hermiston High.

We had 70 plus people at a great student/parent meet and greet this past week  at a family backyard pool right next to Chiawana High School....Incredible momentum going into the last of the Summer....God is so incredible. 

Exciting news to come in two weeks about what God is directing for us at PCC for our Fall.  so stay tuned!

Chuck

Friday, June 14, 2013

Haiti

Praying this day for our team from Pasco Christian headed to work with Steven Prophete in Haiti. It has been a great couple of weeks watching people rise up and Go!  Betty Grace working for two months in Papua New Guinea, and now a team of 10 heading to Haiti for a couple weeks.  Amazing to see what God is doing!

Chuck

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Plans



Summer comes and we make plans to get certain things accomplished.  This Summer I’d like to….and our list starts from there.  My reading has taken me a lot to John 15 this month and reminds me constantly to remain attached to Jesus.  An area to gain Jesus’ strength, is the area of integrity.
Integrity is essential for credibility.  And for many people the starting point of losing integrity is when they stop being honest with themselves.  

When you lead an organization, team , church or family all eyes are on you. The success and progress of your family/organization is strangely intertwined with your significance and self-esteem. This is what makes it difficult for us to be honest with ourselves. There are times when things are not going as well as we like. The family/organization is in decline, resources are drying up or people are jumping ship. And instead of looking at the cold hard facts we try to convince ourselves that everything is okay. We find excuses for why things are not going well and worse we even put a spin to make it look like these things are positive.

Talking with the church planter friend in Kennewick, he shared with me about all the people leaving his church. He put a positive spin on it by saying, “You know we are just blessed to be sending people out.” But from everything I could discern people were leaving because he was not a leader others wanted to follow. When a leader is not honest with themselves he/she will continue down the road of mediocrity which ultimately leads to failure.

When we’re not honest with ourselves…
  • we fail to grow in essential areas that help us improve as leaders
  • we lose credibility and influence with our followers
  • we’re unable to move into a place of fruitfulness and fulfillment
  • we hinder the work God wants to do in our own development
Remember Paul’s words in Romans 12:3 “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”  Take some time and ask yourself a few questions I, too have been challenged with:
  • How are things going, really?
  • Are there excuses I’ve been making for poor performance or unacceptable results?
  • Am I fruitful and fulfilled in what I am doing?  If no, then why not?
  • Am I using my God-given gifts?  What’s the evidence of that?
  • Am I excited about the future?  If no, why not?
  • Am I actively listening for the promptings of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do I feel challenged by the work that I do or have I grown stale?

Do not know the author of the quote but it goes something like..."The person who is honest with themselves about themselves will walk in humility and gain greater respect among others."

Summer starts are fun...looking forward to at great one at PCC

Chuck


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Life Groups in the Summer

School is starting to wind down, vacation plans are being made, but what about our Lifegroup? Summer time is tricky for a lot of people, because if you do your normal Lifegroup schedule, you will likely have less people in your group during the summer weeks.
Some of our groups at Pasco Christian take the summer off from meeting every week, but that does not mean that they stop as a group. If your groups will plan ahead, summer can be a positive, growing experience.
Here is how we advise our groups to handle the summer schedule – bring a calendar to a meeting in May and lay out the next 3 months:
  • In June, plan 1 social event and 1 serving opportunity. Some ideas (school's out party, help organize our church food bank for the summer)
  • In July, plan an outdoor Lifegroup party (July 4th is perfect) and another serving opportunity.
  • Put in the calendar what your first “official” meeting back in the end of August will be.  this Fall we, as a church will be going through the book, "The Story", so  getting back into the habit of meeting before Labor Day would be smart.
Summer time is an incredible time to grow in community at PCC.  Looking forward to it together.

Chuck

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dangerous Church

Is the church in danger?  Or is the church dangerous?  Over the next few weeks we will see what it looks like to Read....Pray....Have Courage.....and Do Life Together....all of theses are part of the formula that made the first century church so DANGEROUS....So we will spend a few weeks handling the explosive ingredients of a Dangerous Church......Join us!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jesus - Justice



(This was passed on to me and needs to be read by you)…

 “There’s a real tension among Christian folk—feeling like if I get excited about justice,
I’m almost competing with the Gospel, I’m almost competing with grace,
I’m almost robbing Jesus of the attention that should be due Jesus.”
—Ken Wytsma
Can you relate? I know I can. There is this pride in me, this feeling of superiority because I’ve awakened to the call of justice. And those who haven’t—those who are still so busy “evangelizing” the world and becoming “holy”—need to get their act together. I mean, seriously, saving people from brothels is so much more important than saving people from hell. 
Well, right there is the problem. Why do we treat justice and evangelism like two separate things? Why do we separate the pursuit of justice from the pursuit of holiness? Why do we say we’re taking Jesus over justice, or justice over Jesus? What are we missing here?
Ken Wytsma in a new book he just came out with called “Pursuing Justice”  says a couple things…
1. You can’t pursue justice apart from the message of the Gospel.
This generation is called the “justice generation,” a movement of millennials actively pursuing justice. But oftentimes we have the tendency to look down on evangelism work, as if it’s something completely different than what we have been called to do with justice. But there’s something we’re forgetting that Ken highlights:
The whole idea of the Gospel is that unjust people can stand next to a just God as if they were just—and that happens through a process of justification, by which we are justified. This is what God promised in Isaiah, something He would do to reconcile us to Himself. That His own right arm would work justice through the Messiah, and that this was good news.
So how can you understand that whole story without the idea of justice? It’s so interlaced. But we hear justified and just and justification, and then somebody talks about doing justice or pursuing justice… And we don’t even realize it’s the same concept. They’re tied to the same idea! It’s all justice... 
When we say, “Jesus is more important than justice,” it’s a real misunderstanding of what justice is. You cannot separate justice from Jesus. He came to explain what justice is, He came dripping with justice, desiring justice, working for justice as the one who is going to justify the world. His whole internal framework involves justice as a necessary component of who He is. 
So you can’t set the two things up as separate categories and say, “Well, I’m going to take Jesus over justice.” If you take Jesus apart from justice, you’re not really taking Jesus.

2. You can’t pursue justice apart from personal holiness.
How often do we shake our heads in disgust when we hear about pimps and johns exploiting girls for money and sexual pleasure? We get riled up about setting the oppressed free and bringing justice to perpetrators, but are we aware that our own lusts and pornography addictions are a huge part of what fuels the sex demand? 
Do we recognize the role our own corrupt hearts, the destructive habits we form, and the bad examples we set play in the corruption of governments, the number of criminals on the streets, and even the tainted reputation of the bride of Christ? The neglect of our own personal holiness is detrimental to any work of justice we try to pursue, which is something Ken also speaks on:
The danger with the younger evangelicals swinging away from their upbringing is to see morality as a bad thing. You can have someone in church so excited about ending sex trafficking but then think nothing of the implications of their own sex life and their own decisions. 
So the younger generation is missing the fact that you can’t separate the two. If justice is a boat, morality is the part of the boat in the water. You’re not going to be able to help many people if your boat keeps sinking, if you don’t guard your own morality.
Redeeming our view of Jesus and justice
These two points could be concluded in this quote from Ken when he gave a talk at the beginning of The Justice Conference 2013:
“We aren’t supposed to just do justice; we’re supposed to become just.”
Becoming just is a huge part of following Jesus. Not only are we justified in our right standing with God, but we are also learning to be just in our thoughts and actions toward others. And as we become just in word and deed, we pursue holiness, growing in the likeness of Christ. And as we seek after the God of Justice, it only makes sense that we would seek justice in His world.
Prayer Idea: Isaiah 61 is a great illustration of God’s heart for justice, even Jesus claims this passage for Himself in Luke 4:14-30. Spend some time meditating on these two passages. In what areas of your life could you be actively seeking justice? Confess any pride or disobedience in your heart, and ask that God would open your eyes to all aspects of His just character.