Remodeling & Transforming=Patience

It’s exciting time here at Deer Valley Lutheran Church!  The Sanctuary is getting a face lift.  We’re painting the interior, putting in new tile floors and new seating.  We are transforming the look of God’s house to a 21st century look.  The challenge is being patient waiting for the finished product.  The painters were in and out in a week getting their work done.  The tile guys are on week two with some delay in prepping the floor for tile.  (Have you ever used a grinder to get carpet glue off of concrete?  Me either but it didn’t look fun)  tile

It’s being laid and is starting to come together.  The transformation continues!

A remodel is good way to look at ourselves.  God uses the power of his word and the promise of what Christ has done for us to transform or remodel us.  Christ’s death on the cross ripped the stain of sin out us and gave us his perfectness.  We remain in God’s word to grow in the knowledge of the truth and hear the saving message of salvation God provides.

We can try to transform ourselves but trying to live better lives and be nice to people but by birth we are sinful.  The truth of God’s word transforms us.  Jesus does/did the heavy lifting in our salvation.  God’s free gift is available for all.  Do you know anyone who needs a remodeling job?  Invite them to worship or one of our Bible classes this week.  Let the power of God’s word work!

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What is Sacrifice?

What is sacrifice to you?

Sometimes we think that when we give up chocolate, sugar or carbs when we start a diet that we are sacrificing.  We are giving up those items so we can diet and lose weight to better our body.  Those items are things that we crave and desire but for the most part they aren’t good for us.

Dictionary.com has these definitions for sacrifice:

  1. the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation orhomage.
  2. the person, animal, or thing so offered.
  3. the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

When you think of what Christ Jesus has done for us you really understand sacrifice.  Jesus willingly sacrificed his life to pay for our sins.  “The surrender or destruction of something prized” definitely falls under the description of sacrifice.  It was a selfless act for the benefit of all mankind.

Our loving heavenly Father chose to have his son be our Savior, our sacrifice, our payment for our sins.  Next time you think about “sacrificing” something to benefit for your life, reflect back on Christ’s sacrifice for you and me!

Secret Shopper Mystique

One of the fun things I get to do is be a secret shopper for a company out of Minnesota.  They have different shopping experiences that we can sign up for and then evaluate the company.  The secret shopper company gives me a list of what I am to  look for and then file a report after the shop is completed.  One of the shops that I like is the “Blaze Pizza” company shop.

Blaze offers a quick dining experience with fresh ingredients for a pizza and salads.  It’s similar to Subway where you go down the line and tell the employee what you’d like on your pizza.  They have four different sauces, six different cheeses, a plethora of meats and veggies to choose from before they put it into the 500+ degree oven that cooks it in 4 minutes.  Part of the fun is you get to pick and chose what you want to add-on to your pizza.  The part I like is you are incognito evaluating the store.  The best part of it is that you get to experience new shops, stores and restaurants and they pay you for it.  Your benefit is the experience of the food or goods and remuneration for your time.

Sometimes we like to be part of the church and are similar to the mystery shopper at Blaze.  We come to worship and pick and chose what we want from God’s word.  The attendee doesn’t want anyone to know why he’s there.   Sometimes we like to be incognito in the church and try to stay in the background.   We have our checklist prepared and tend to critique everything about the church and forget why we are there in the first place-to hear God’s word and the good news of Jesus.  The benefit is our home in heaven provided to us by Jesus not a monetary reward or reimbursement.   The work has been done by Jesus for you, for me-our debt paid in full.  We aren’t waiting to be reimbursed because it’s completed-nothing owed us.

Let’s not be mystery shoppers in God’s house.  Let’s let everyone about our Savior, Jesus Christ!

 

Hanging out with friends

There is nothing like getting together with friends you don’t see very often.  Usually you gather for some family celebration of birthdays, a wedding and a graduation.   It’s great meeting for the occasion but much better getting to talk with and catch up with your old friends.

I’m sure you have those special friends that touch your heart and make you feel special.  You know the ones that you go years without seeing but when you do see them it’s like you’ve been gone five minutes.  God definitely blesses us with people in our lives that make us feel pretty awesome.

The big question is do those friends you value so much know Jesus?  While its great spending time hanging out with our friends here on our earth the true joy comes when we’re together in heaven.  My encouragement to you is take the time God is giving you with your friends now to share Jesus with them.  It they already know Jesus maybe the two of you can reach out to some friends together and share your love of Jesus to them.

Thank you Lord for the blessing of friendship and the opportunity to share our love of Jesus!

We have an AWESOME God!

I’ve just returned from vacationing in northwest portion of our country.  Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Northern California and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. WOW!  Words cannot describe the beauty I encountered along the trip.

Wyoming and Montana are absolutely stunningly beautiful!  The mountains and pines of Wyoming were breathtaking along with the lakes we encountered.  Montana with its mountains and lush pine forests were amazing to see.  Driving through Idaho, up by Coure De Laine-again, amazing.  Then we were driving on the Snoqualmie Pass through Washington and it takes your breath away-not from fear but from beauty.

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It was a great time to get away and enjoy God’s creation.  Hiking in Wyoming; Lavendar fields in Washington; Bushart Gardens in Victoria; the Washington & Oregon coast; Northern California and it’s beauty–how can you deny God’s creation.

Last night we saw more awesomeness of God with the spectacular monsoon storm.  High winds, dust blowing, tree limbs breaking, trees uprooted and yet water a plenty came down as well.  God protects and he provides.  His plan of salvation is perfect through Jesus.  What an awesome God we have!

Storms of Life

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Ever feel like you are overwhelmed and there is no stopping the onslaught of the storms of life?  Whether it’s a financial, health, relationship or mental struggles we’ve all endured them.

In the desert we long for the Monsoon storms to bring us some needed moisture to the parched valley.  But with that comes some destruction: High winds causing damage; Hail that breaks windows, damages roofs and our personal property; water that comes so quickly that we have flooded roads, houses and properties.  It seems we’ll take the destruction for the much needed water but when it comes to our personal lives we whine.

When things don’t go our way we complain.  When God tries to draw us closer through some adversity we turn the other way and go away from God.  The challenges that should draw us closer to HIM push us away because we think we know better and have an easy fix for what is ailing us.  Vicar Bence really hit it home yesterday when he said, “let God be God”.  We aren’t all knowing and all powerful like God is but yet we want to tell God how we want things to be.  Just like God asked Job where he was when God created the world we too can be asked the same question.  He is God and we are not.

Dive into the book of Job and see how God provides!  Read these words from Proverbs:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Survive the storms of life trusting in God’s promises.  Find that comfort he provides in all times of life.
Take a deep breath.  Go to God in prayer.  Trust he will hear you.

Encouraged

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I spent the last week with 2000 WELS teens and chaperones at the WELS National Youth Rally at Bowling Green State University.  The theme of the rally was “Never Alone” and the teens were reminded that they are never alone throughout their life because God is there.  The keynote speakers, devotion leaders, breakout groups all contained and emphasized God’s word.  The most encouraging part of the rally for me is the evening discussions we had with our group.and

Let me set the stage for you.  The schedule is such that the kids wake up at 7:00 get breakfast and be at worship by 9 in the morning.  The morning is filled with God’s word through devotion, keynote speakers and then we break for lunch.  We are off to our individual breakout groups which again have God’s word at the center of the discussion.  Some free time then supper, then the evenings activities and finally at 10:45 pm we gather in our group.  It’s our closing devotion for the evening with just our group.

Our first two nights we just had the boys with me and the girls with the female chaperone and the discussions were awesome in both.  The final night we gathered together as our whole group.  We read some passages and discussed how they impact their lives as a teenager in 2018 and beyond.  I was so encouraged and impressed with the discussion with the teens!   Their comments cemented why I feel it’s important for teens-especially teens outside the Midwest from Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas to attend the rally.  The teens commented that it was amazing to worship with 2000 people, especially teens, that believe what they believe! Not just that Jesus is their Savior, but the other teens have been taught what our teens were taught.  They aren’t the only ones that believe that way.  Sure there are adults who believe and attend church with the teens but now it’s a great recognition that there are others who are “weird” like them, that actually believe Jesus lived a perfect life, died an innocent death and rose from the dead.  How cool is that?!

Well, my teenage friends it is so cool!  Thanks for the opportunity to once again take more away from the rally than I was expecting!  Blessings on the opportunity for growth in those teens!