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The next teaching we received from our Pastor Mike

The next teaching we received from our Pastor Mike; is how we can see the increase of God’s glory by our willingness to show our fruit.
He’s not speaking about fruit such as apples, oranges or banana’s; he is speaking about the fruit of the Holy Spirit that lives within us if we are believers.
In Galatians 5:22 [But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.]
Then Pastor shared how a master gardener takes great care to tend to his ‘branches’ so it can bear better fruit. If the plant looks like it’s not well, it gets pruned so new growth can happen. No branch can bear fruit on it’s own it must be tenderly treated by the gardener.
This is so much like our relationship with the Lord.
As we grow and learn of him we become more in tune to His nature.
We watch and remain in awe as His glory is breaking into a very dark and dim world.
Remember darkness cannot live in light. we also know light produces life.
It is God’s glory breaking into and through our dark places, the places that keep us stuck.
The places in our hearts that need healing.
Jesus said: John 15:8 [“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings much glory to my Father.”]
The book of Luke says: [A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.
What you say flows from what is in your heart.]
He said it’s like the concept of raising up or lifting up, the word means Airo.
The branch gets lifted off the ground and lifted up so it can grow well.
That concept is for us too.
1. Increase through lifting
2. Increase through pruning
Pruning is not punishment it is to cultivate deeper and more meaningful growth.
The concept of pruning is very necessary, anyone who has ever done a garden realizes that it grows better when you cut back what is not needed.
Then Pastor said, “what you feed the most will grow the strongest.”
John 15:9 says: [“I have loved you as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.”]
So we are to remain, walking in His love, in the truth of who we are and who He is as we abide with Him in relationship.
Trusting in the process of pruning and releasing our fear of what is happening to us.
Our intimacy with God and His love for us is a heart issue. Our heart.
As we encounter and become more aware of His love for us, we allow a new awareness of the fruits of the Spirit and allow them to breakthrough our mind.
Matthew 7:20 [“Yes, just as you can identify a tree by it’s fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”]
Let us be sure our actions match what we share and proclaim.
Remember the saying, “your actions speak louder than your words?”
Yes it’s definitely something for us to think about as we think about this process.

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More teaching notes from our Pastor

More teaching notes from our Pastor Mike on the series, “The Increase.”
I am two weeks behind so I am catching up as fast as I can.
This teaching is called, the increase through God’s glory.
He began with the thought that we live in a celebrity culture.
We get excited when we see them, and tend to point them out in an effort to ‘show’ them off.
In our church we have many of the Portland Trailblazers who attend off and on.
That would be a ‘celebrity’ we would observe and notice and of course they are tall and you really can’t miss them.
Our Pastor is their chaplain and a few coaches have attended with their families.
It is a type of celebrity status although they probably don’t appreciate that ‘kind’ of attention.
Especially off the court and in real life doing family things.
Pastor was saying, the word celebrity comes from the root ‘celebrate’ as in your birthday.
A day of celebration for your unique wonderful person who you are; where you are esteemed and honored.
He spoke of the idea that we can learn to come to church with an expectancy, a breaking forth of what God can manifest through himself to us.
He speaks of how we leave a legacy through who we are; just like God leaves a legacy to us through who HE IS in the brilliant display of His glory.
Then he shared the ‘visual’ of a dark room, and if you were holding a match that brilliance of the flame would enlighten the room. Darkness cannot stay in brilliance. It must leave.

When we see celebrities we often wonder if they have every opportunity to say, it’s not about me, it’s about the gifts given to me; would they do it? That is humility in it’s fullness.
Then he taught that God’s glory must be greater than ours.
1. His increase is MY increase through trusting in His power.
2. His glory is in His love for us.
3. His glory is in His legacy left for us.
Then in turn we can reveal all those for others who are watching us.
He taught us that the enemy (we all have one) will do everything he can to remove God’s glory from us.
He wants to convince us that WE are important and God is not so important to us.
Then Pastor said something I really listened to and clung onto.
“What you behold the most… You become.”
That is a very intense comment and something definitely to think about.
What we behold, what we esteem, what we place value on, WE become.
Makes perfect sense and certainly gives me something to challenge myself about in the next week.
I choose to be thankful that God created me to be a unique and special person.
I do not ever fail to say thank-you to the one who made me and continues to give me breath.
How about you? Are you beholding something that is unhealthy for you?
Is there something that needs to change?
It’s your choice what you want to become like. I pray we all make a good one.

A time for listening and learning

A time for listening and learning.
In the professional writing group I have joined there is a guest speaker every Tuesday
bringing to us new topics and new ideas.
What I am learning about as I listen; the whole point of writing is to become authentic, real and open.
Not spending a lot of time on meaningless words but to focus on words that have value.
Sharing the voice inside and the meaning so that there is no guess work as to what you are trying to share to the reader.
Learning to have white space and less words, listening to the content as you write.
They share the point that if you are a writer there is no down time.
When you have nothing to share and you feel dry and drained, all one has to do is look around, observe the world and discover stories to share.
I see that often if I go to the store, or mall or even church.
Stories of people that I can see, or share or discover.
I am sort of a people person, I love to ask questions and receive ‘personal answers.’
I am also a very private person, but when visiting I like to get into the real ‘words’ with them not the shallow parts of conversation.
The process of writing takes time, maturity and practice.
To take the risk and share and then be perhaps even vulnerable and real at the same time.
The most important part of writing is to remain faithful to the goal, intention and journey.
Everyone’s process is different. Everyone has stories to share and words to write.
It takes discipline and drive to get the words down and the paragraphs written.
Rejection or fear cannot hold you back. If you write with the intention of pleasing others you won’t write it or spend the time learning how to write it well.
This group is teaching me to be true to my message, vision and aspiration as a writer.
It has been money well spent.

Indepence day… a day that means freedom

Independence day is a day that reminds us of our freedom we have in this ‘United States of America.’
Typically it is a day for hotdogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, rodeo’s and parades.
We must also remember it is a day for celebration of our freedom.
God Bless America, we say with our lips but we must also believe it to be true.
God HAS blessed us and kept us safe.
We can be very thankful for that and for the testimony of our patriotic father’s before us.
Freedom always costs something. Someone has to pay the price.
Remember the veteran who is recovering from serving or is currently serving.
Remember the call to serve their country no matter what that eventually will mean.
Some come home physically and some come home in a box.
Each one of them paid a price so we can remain free.
Our country right now is in a political mess and I just want to say to everyone, be quiet.
Today we celebrate the independence day fourth of July.
Whether you have a family BBQ or a potluck dinner with friends.
Today we all can be thankful for the blessing we received.

 

The next teaching from our Pastor

The next teaching from our Pastor is a continuation of the topic ‘The Increase.’
This time it was our Pastor Scotty with his Scottish accent.
He begins with the statement, “When the season of your life is busy the best thing you can do is stop.
“Stop and breathe.” Read the verse in Psalm 46:10 {Be still and know that I am God.}
We will find increase when we stop.
Stopping our work to rest in God: Sabbath
Stopping our pursuit of people to be alone with God: Solitude
Stopping our words to listen to God: Silence
Stopping our actions to wait before God: Stillness
There is increase through taking a break and stopping as we lean into the lessons learned.
Scotty said, “stopping rejuvenates us, even God stopped and rested on the 7th day.”
Stopping raises us. It reminds us to remember the sabbath and keep it holy.
Stopping reminds us that we need rest. It creates a discipline within us to stop and be refreshed and to be renewed to restore our strength.
Silence reminds us of our identity and it reminds us of the work God has done within us.
Sabbath is God’s way of saying, stop, notice your limits and be sure to not burn out.
Stopping releases us into the freedom that God has given to us.
Stopping reorients us. Even Jesus went alone to pray often withdrawing to a lonely place to pray. {In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.} Mark 1:35
We are encouraged to make every effort to rest.
{ So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.} Hebrews 4:9,10,11
When we say, “be still and know” it is a heart and mind relational experience. Like when you say, I know her or him. Relationship status. The word still can also mean cease striving, stop your fighting, calm down, desist and learn in your quiet.
Stopping reveals God to us if we listen and pay attention.
(For example my husband and I go the beach weekly.
When I stop and listen; I feel and hear the majesty of our creator. I can’t help it, it is clear to me all around as I see the beauty.)
Finally stopping increases our transformation. Transformation meaning: a seemingly miraculous change in the appearance;change in form, appearance, nature, or character.
When we truly begin to take time for stopping we become increasingly more aware of our need for quiet, restful and peaceful moments.
Let us be still and know, that He is God.

{Unsure where image came from. Credit unknown.}

Although I am in the middle of sharing

Although I am in the middle of sharing our ‘Pastor’s teachings’ the Friday word prompt that was presented this week, got me thinking.
The word is Ocean.
We just got home from the short time we spent at the beach. Our favorite place to go and relax.
The ocean is mesmerizing. It is peaceful and always it is just what our spirits need.
Sand and fresh air along with the sound of the oceans waves…rushing forward and back.
My husband found a tiny shell that was perfect. A tiny sand dollar smaller than a dime.
How wonderful is that? It was perfect in form without a crack.
We took our trailer this time, and we take our computers for me to write with and books to read.
Most times my husband works at the camp but this time we took Friday to play.
We drove up north and acted like a tourist visiting little towns we haven’t seen in a while.
Finding a good lunch at a new restaurant, snacks at a candy shop (I had very little other than a chocolate peanut cluster) and then dinner at our favorite fish brew pub.
It is good to get away sometimes. Life is too serious and too demanding.
We are retired but it still gets busy and sometimes you just have to say, “we are out of here.”
The ocean is our favorite place. The bonus part of this trip we even got to enjoy some sun.
The ocean and sun is too great combinations in our area. Most days are overcast and cool.
What a blessing to walk with a cool breeze and sun on our faces.
Just had to share our ‘last few days’ with you.

In the last post I shared what our Pastor has been teaching

In the last post I shared what our pastor has been teaching and today’s post is part two of ‘the increase’ series.
On Sunday he continued with the concept that God has given us everything.
His provision is always with us and the way we access it; is by fully trusting in Him.
Trust is a foundation for many relationships including the one we have with God.
Pastor said we often see an increase of faith after a season of loss.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
Trust is so crucial to our growth and our basic belief.
Then he moved into a story that was interesting, I have read it before but this was a new ‘twist to it’.
Daniel was a prophet of the Old Testament and the story is about a conversation he had with an angel.
10:12 {Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.”} Daniel prayed but it took 21 days for the angel to arrive to speak to him because of interference from the forces of the enemy. Basically he said, your prayers were heard but it took time to reach you.
Pastor said often times there is more going on behind the scenes then we are aware of, we are just waiting… thinking that nothing is happening.
We feel that our requests went no where and that is often not true.
Then he shared about the story when Lazarus Jesus friend got sick and passed away.
Jesus told the disciples that the delay for him to go to Lazarus was for their sake, for their faith to increase while waiting. Even though they grieved and couldn’t realize why Jesus was not coming to him.
HE knew a greater story would be told after they experienced the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus knew the importance of time when grieving someone who was loved.
Pastor said, lamenting is an important part of grief. It cannot be short circuited.
He said sometimes the best one who can walk alongside you in your time of grief; is the one who can be quiet.
Then he shared the story of Job and how his family, his home, his job and everything including his health was destroyed so that in the end; his faith could be stronger.
He also shared that this can be very misunderstood.
God doesn’t take away so we can benefit from that loss, but He does enable us to grow within the experience of loss. The concept and question; will we become bitter or better?
He also taught the way NOT to be with someone who is suffering.
In the story his wife said to him, ‘curse God and die.’ That is not encouraging or helpful.
Job had no one who would encourage him as he grieved. It is hard to understand the story of Job. Why he had to go through so much and in the end he was blessed more abundantly than before, I don’t pretend to know the why … I just know Job stayed strong.
Pastor said, sometimes our outcome is way different than the beginning.
Loss of health could equal peace, loss of relationship could equal honor, loss of job could equal presence, loss of dreams could equal purpose, loss of a marriage could equal hope. Nothing is without a reason.
There is always an eternal perspective on our lives whether we realize it or not.
Sometimes loss is preparing us for a greater good. We just don’t see it till the process is over.
Romans 8:28 {And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.}

Our Pastor has begun a new series

Our Pastor has begun a new series finishing the one called ‘the time is now’ and moving into a new one called ‘the increase.’
We are growing as a church and each week I see the ‘fruit’ of a good leadership surrounding us.
Our Pastor is a man of integrity as well as his ‘circle’ who pray over and protect him.
It’s not easy being a Pastor and also keep a family and lead a growing group of people.
He began with identifying what is the increase.
It is a season to unpack, and discover how we experience it together.
In the new testament book of 2nd Peter 1:3 {His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.}
God has given us everything we need for a godly life.
In relationship with God we can have every access to His gifts and benefits. It is a blessing to walk with him, because of His love we have choice and certainty.
We access our increase by trusting in the promise of his provision for us.
Trust is always a foundation of all relationships.
Proverbs 3:5-6
{5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path}
Pastor said this kind of a trust is similar to leaning in. Resting on… allowing His direction.
Trust with all of your heart. Heart is everything about you anchored into Who He IS.
And lean not on your own understanding which can block your trust. Your understanding of Who He Is will always minimize God, for you are not that smart.
In the new testament book of Philippians it says:
{4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.}
Sometimes we will receive a deep and abiding peace which doesn’t match what we are going through.
That is what it means, when it says ‘surpasses all understanding.’
We don’t see the how, or why but we trust in the outcome of what we experience.
It transcends our ability to know.
In the book of Romans there is a verse that is often misquoted.
{8:28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.} The good in this verse means no hassle for us, it is the presence of God.
The all things is the fullness of God. His power, His voice and His goodness.
Therefore, ALL things work for good as we lean in and trust. Then trust increases our peace.
It is a quiet tranquility and freedom from the disturbances around us.
The solution to our ‘lack of increase or deficit’ is peace.
Isaiah 32:18 {My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.}
What an amazing and wonderful promise for us to hold onto.

For the last four weeks our Pastor has been

For the last four weeks our Pastor has been teaching on the topic ‘the time is now.’
It has been good, and challenging and eye opening and exciting all in one journey as a church.
We have made plans to purchase a piece of real estate for our new building and in order to do that each family had to come to a place of giving, from their hearts.
The goal was to raise a million for a down payment for the first half of the ‘purchase’.
We waited and prayed and listened and the grand total was announced last week.
We raised over a million, over the goal and over the plan that our Pastor laid out.
It was exciting. It was the generosity of the people. Sharing out of their ‘abundance and finding clever ways to resource the ‘goal’ whether that be selling a boat, selling a car, cashing in on funds of some sort. Creative giving for we know a generous heart is richly blessed.
Pastor shared one family gave their entire life savings and within days of giving it was returned to them in another way. Faith can move mountains. Faith can also show the power of the Almighty God.
Pastor said, let your conversation be gracious and attractive watching how you live.
Choosing to have a generosity of heart, everyone contributes to the sharing of the word so others who are searching can hear it and be saved by that experience.
The new facility will be not only for us as a church but it will be also a community place.
When serving others within that space it is not our job to convince others they are lost it is the Holy Spirit’s job to show them. We just do the ‘serving’ the rest will happen in the right timeframe.
Jesus reached out to others and rescued them. He also asked them, “do you want to be well?”
Part of that expectation was action on their part, supernatural healing with the expectation to pick up your mat and get walking.
Pastor said, let your conversation be gracious. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 The Message (MSG)
{3-4 If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way.
No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness.
They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.} I believe this new facility will be one of blessing for us as a church and also a blessing for the community who is watching us. The time is now for us to show Jesus to others.

 

Today is a birthday to celebrate for our grandson

Today is a birthday to celebrate for our grand son Samuel.
Our son’s first son. He joined our family weighing in at 5 pounds and with dark hair.
He is our fourth grand child and the first boy to carry on the family name.
Today he turns 14. He is a teen now and growing tall, with braces and so much potential ahead of him.
His love of reading will help him go far in the world, as he learns more and experiences more.
Samuel, a gift from God. I remember they didn’t know what he was going to be at birth, surprises are nice.
I also remember my son coming out of the delivery room telling us he had a son.
It was so exciting and so special to be a part of the celebration.
1st Samuel 1:26 {I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.}
In the bible Samuel was a mighty man of God and warrior and judge, he was a strong and special character.
I believe our grand son will be the same strong character through his life decisions and in his faith.
Our son is raising him to be respectful and honest, it will be such a blessing to see what the next four years will bring for him as he grows more and more into a young adult.
I can’t even imagine him driving, I know he will be but oh my vision still has him younger.
Time is moving quickly and the grand children are growing before our eyes.
I pray that we can be an influence to all of them.
I pray that they all know we love them, support them and will always be there for them.
To be grand parents is a role we do not take lightly. It is a calling and a privilege.
Samuel Wesley named after your very special grandpa, I pray you continue to love our God.
That you follow after him with all your heart, soul and mind.
That you listen to your parents for they know many things and they want the very best for you.
That you remember you are who your brothers look up to and are watching.
They are little shadows following, be a good example for them.
I pray for you and know in my heart you will go far. Keep striving and keep learning.
For life is one big huge long lesson and always walk alongside your father.