VBS 2018 Kick-Off!

Hilary Millikan, director of VBS (Vacation Bible School)  shares her heart for this year’s VBS called, “Saddle Up”.  For the kids that already know God, for the kids that have yet to know God, and the adults who volunteer to make this all possible, God has something amazing for all of us. When you find yourself in a “desert place”, and God tells you that He has a way, do you tell him, “Yes”, “No” or “Yo”? ( a combination of yes and no) .

 She invited us to bring whatever we have to the Lord and watch not only what He does with it, but how He returns back to us more than we had to give. If you have an hour or all week to participate in VBS ( June 18-22), God can do something with whatever you bring to Him! Saddle Up!

What's Getting in the Way of Giving it Away

Josh Engelhardt taught that serving can be perceived as frightening and time consuming. We often struggle with fear factors that might tempt us to draw away from serving. Fear of giving up family time; lengthy job demands; the pull of worldly pursuits or the fear of adding the responsibility of service to already full schedules. However, Christ taught that by setting our hearts in a place where we trust that the more we give ourselves to Him, the more He will give

Conflict of Kings, Part 22: The Conflict of Man

When the last king of Judah had been taken to Babylon, the remnant left in Jerusalem went to ask the prophet Jeremiah for a word from the Lord. His word was very clear: stay in Jerusalem and I will protect you; run to Egypt and the calamities you are running from will overtake you. In fear, the people fled to Egypt. The conflict of kings—whether to follow God’s ways and live as we were meant to live, or run from God and suffer the consequences—is still our conflict today. But we can invoke the power of Jesus’ victory over hopelessness and fear.

Conflict of Kings, Part 20: Hezekiah's Prayer Life

Pastor Evan Brown teaches that by aligning ourselves with God, like King Hezekiah in 2 Kings:19,  lives that have gone astray can be set straight again.   When our spiritual enemy comes against us, this can trigger a falling away from the things of God.  We can easily be discouraged not trusting that God is still paying attention.  When life is going smoothly, things can happen to derail us, causing confusion and doubt.  When Hezekiah experienced this, he cried out to God pleading for God’s rescue.  God’s reply was, “Because you have prayed, I have heard you.” (2 Kings:20).  Prayer as our go-to pattern, when we’re tempted to try to work things out on our own, should produce an ease of faith for times when difficulties arise again. We can look back on how God demonstrated His presence in ways we couldn’t have imagined at the time. The importance and power of our own prayers as well as those of others to whom we entrust our vulnerabilities, is incalculable.

Conflict of Kings, Part 19: Hezekiah's Spiritual Warfare

Through the life of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18 and 2 Chronicles 32), Pastor Evan Brown teaches how to recognize the tactics of our spiritual enemy, Satan who is the accuser of our soul. Our enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy the life that God wants to give us. God has the power to rescue and restore us in whatever trouble may come our way. Yet even when we get off-track, God calls us back to Him.  If we return to God and take root in His ways, He has the power to heal, bless, and restore us to a life that bears great fruit no matter what our circumstances.

Conflict of Kings, Part 18: Hezekiah's Messy Return

The story of King Hezekiah of Judah is the story of the Father heart of God, who wants to see His kids again. When Hezekiah became king, he had the priests and Levites remove all the objects of idol worship from the Temple, so they could resume sacrificing to the Lord in the ways Moses commanded.

Conflict of Kings, Part 17: Hoshea's Last Act: Israel in Review

Hoshea (in 2 Kings 19) was the last king of Israel, doing evil in the sight of the Lord by making alliances with the Assyrians and the Egyptians.  Pastor Evan Brown draws out application for us from this rich story, on how we can be tempted to run back to the very things we have been freed from, hoping this time will be different, instead of running to the Lord.  Gods plan for Israel was that they would influence the surrounding nations and point the way to the one true God. Instead, Israel adopted the surrounding nations' gods. In this message, Evan asks ‘Are you influencing others or are they influencing you?’, and offers a litmus test for us to help answer that question.  

Conflict of Kings, Part 16: Ahaz's Foolish Redesign

Pastor Evan demonstrated how we can learn much from the multi-generational ups and downs of the old testament kings.  Just as many of the same temptations and choices of king-fathers re-appeared in their king-sons, so too can we look to our family history to recognize generational bondages we may be facing.  Although the kings chose not to seek God’s wisdom, missing out on much of God’s blessing and setting a low bar for the following kings to pursue, we, not by our own steam but with active engagement with God, can break the chains of our inherited bondages.  

We are each responsible for our walk with God and will influence those around us…pay it forward… by living within or without God’s guidelines.  By avoiding ungodly patterns, we also avoid refusing the wealth He has given us, ending up empty and poor.

Our creator designed us.  It breaks His heart to witness His beautifully wrought design rejected by those of us who think we can do a better job at shaping our own lives.  Where is God’s altar within my heart? 

Conflict of Kings, Part 15: Amaziah and Uzziah's Pride

Pastor Evan Brown offers a seasonal word of instruction for our church as he continues in the series, “Conflict of the Kings,” through a look at Colossians 1:9-11, I Tim. 4:16, and 2 Chronicles 25. God seeks to use us to do His work as we become long distance runners through small steps of obedience. There may be a cost for our obedience, and sometimes we are called to abandon our own plans. Our pride will keep us from hearing from God, submitting to counsel, and attaining long-term endurance and obedience. However, our long-term endurance will ultimately lead to great joy.

God is Our Story

On this last day of 2017, Pastor Steve Shober shared the stories of Abram, Moses, Gideon and Peter, and how God intervened in their lives in miraculous, encouraging and merciful ways.  When we are honest, we can recognize ourselves in each of the lives of these four men: disqualified, helpless, discouraged and hopeless.  Yet that didn't stop the Lord from blessing, empowering, encouraging and restoring these men and that will not stop Him from showing up in our lives to be in our stories!

Christmas Eve: Jesus' Authority

The book of Isaiah, written seven hundred years before Christ, has several prophetic passages that speak to the coming Messiah, including chapter 9, verses 2 through 7. Isaiah says the Messiah will bring light, gladness, and freedom from oppression; that the government—kingdom rulership—will rest on him. In this Christmas Eve message, Pastor Evan Brown adds that Jesus also came to do good, to bring healing, and to meet our deepest needs: the need for forgiveness.

Conflict of Kings, Part 14: Jehoash's Different Counselors

Pastor Evan Brown continues the Conflict of Kings series, helping us through the unfamiliar names and relationships in a “made-for-TV-plot” of murder and intrigue from 2 Chronicles 22-24. Evan explains how yet another king, Jehoash started out following the Lord, yet later in life Jehoash fell away, after his Godly mentor Jehoiada, had passed away.   Evan emphasized that while mentors are important in our life, we need to be personally anchored to, and actively following the Lord. We can’t truly prosper (be satisfied) in our life, when not following the words of the Lord, as the story of King Jehoash illustrates.  

The good news in this Christmas season is that God loves you, wants to be with you, and wants  you to prosper, which is why He sent His Son Jesus.

Conflict of Kings, Part 13: Jehu's Zeal

Human nature hasn’t changed since old testament times.  As is true of us today, it was often two steps forward with God, three steps back for the OT kings we’re currently studying.  Temptation was and is a stealthy, cunning enemy, at times requiring God to bring forth an extreme event into our lives to jolt us back to His center.  Like Jehu, and as spirit filled children of God, we must be passionate and constantly diligent about allowing His direction to completely sever us from voices of influence that draw us temptingly close to self-destruction.  
This might require changing the way we are used to living.  

Psalm 4:23  
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Conflict of Kings, Part 12: Ahab's Surprising Choice

Pastor Evan Brown continues in the series, “Conflict of the Kings,” through a look at the life of King Ahab in I Kings 16:29-34 and I Kings 20-22.  Ahab was more evil than any other king that had reigned before him.  Yet for a short season, Ahab listened to the Lord and followed His instruction.  As a result, God miraculously helped Israel win the battle over its enemies.  In the end though, Ahab turned away from God sinking into self-pity and anger.  From Ahab’s life, we learn that as believers, we are to be people who leverage for good our position of influence in the world to bring glory to God.  If we call upon the name of the Lord, He will answer us. God is not limited in our limited situations. When we follow the Lord, we can experience the excitement of bringing the extraordinary into our ordinary circumstances and bring God glory.

Conflict of Kings, Part 11: Jehoshaphat's Alliances

What can change your mind? What we learn this week from the life of Judah’s king Jehoshaphat is that even someone who seeks God can get side-tracked. Things were going well for Jehoshaphat, until he entered an alliance with Israel’s king Ahab, listened to some bad advice, and almost got himself killed. Later, when confronted by an overwhelming alliance of three armies, Jehoshaphat called a prophet for advice, sent the worship team to the front lines, and watched the armies fall on each other. Getting back—and staying—on track requires that you seek people who will speak the word of the Lord in ways that can radically change your mind.

The Prophets: Mercy Triumphs Judgement

This week we take a pause from Evan’s teaching series on the kings of Israel and Judah (1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles), as Don Miller shared about 4 of the prophets that served many of those kings. God never spoke to Israel through the kings: He always used the prophets, HIs special messengers. Don shares snippets of Elijah's, Elisha's, Isaiah's and Jeremiah’s prophetic ministries. He explains the parallels of how God would speak though the Old Testament  prophets to draw Israel into a right relationship with Him, and how the stories of these Old Testament prophets can paint a picture of God’s Kingdom in our lives today. 

Conflict of Kings, Part 10: Asa's Peace and Wars

Referencing 2 Chronicles 14-16, Evan created a baseline from the choices various old testament kings made in their day, then wove their stories into each of our lives today.  For much of his reign King Asa of Judah, rather than follow the pattern of his father, King Abijah, sought God’s wisdom in all things, thereby opening the door for God to bless him and his people beyond expectation.   God will know when we’ve chosen to break from inherited patterns and our hearts are truly seeking Him. We will then begin to fully experience the blessings of being in relationship with Him throughout the process as He draws us near to Him. 

Conflict of Kings, Part 9: Jeroboam's Stubborness; Abijah's Moment

Pastor Evan Brown continues in the series, “Conflict of the Kings.”  In 1 King’s 13, King Jeroboam’s fear turns into stubbornness and pride.  Although God was faithful and confirmed His word through a miraculous sign, Jeroboam went back to his manipulative ways.  In 2 Chronicles 13, Jeroboam's large army was defeated by King Abijah's small army through God's intervention. Yet after the battle, Abijah failed to dismantle the golden calf, and he continued to usher God’s people into sin.   From these passages, we learn that there is vulnerability in trusting in the Lord. And yet, we should not be fooled by the momentary success of a path that is not of God.  How is God trying to get our attention?   Are we creating a cloud of confusion around us, or a path of clarity? Are we manipulating people, or are we leading them in God’s way? Our influence, whether it is good or bad, has a significant affect on others.

Spiritual Words

Do you want to make more of a difference in other people’s lives? Speaking what is spiritual has the power to fundamentally alter things in your soul. But how do we know what is truly spiritual? Teaching from 1 Corinthians 14, our founding pastor, Daniel Brown, offers three simple tests: True prophecy is love-filled, encouraging and up-building; it gets under people and lifts them up. God’s word is not always sensational; it may seem like no big deal until you use it—and then it can have a big impact. And finally, any prophetic word will be revelational, and will be confirmed by Scripture.