Category Archives: Pastors Corner

A Hope and a Future (Part Two)

By Mark Hopper
There are several examples of suicide in the Bible. None of them are good. Judas was the disciple who betrayed Jesus. When he realized the terrible thing he had done, Judas took his own life (Matthew 27:5). A wise man named Ahithophel killed himself after David’s rebellious son Absalom rejected his advice (Second Samuel 17:23). The Apostle Paul prevented a Roman soldier from killing himself. Paul reassured the guard that he and all of the prisoners had remained in the jail after a powerful earthquake opened the doors. Paul’s quick action and words stopped the soldier from killing himself (Acts 16:28).
I continue to read and hear about the declining mental health among teens and adults during the Covid19 pandemic. Reports of attempted suicides and self-inflicted harm is increasing among students at an alarming rate. What can parents and peers do to help those who are struggling and at risk of taking their own lives?
First, pray for the hearts and minds of students and adults around you. Ask God to give them hope and help to face these uncertain times.
Second, be alert to conversations and conduct that might signal a person is considering suicide. My son is now an Assistant Principal at a local high school. He launched a program with the staff and administrators to do a mental health update every Monday of students on their campus who might be at risk of harming themselves.
Third, provide hope and encouragement through your own words and actions. Offer to spend time with those who are struggling. Offer to connect them with a local pastor, counselor or mental health professional. Ask the person to make a commitment to you that they will call you before they take any steps to harm or injure themselves.
Fourth, don’t let them dwell on the negative but focus on the positive things in their life (Philippians 4:6-9). When a person takes their own life they leave a trail of pain and heartache in the lives of others. If you or someone you know are in a dark place, let me encourage you to get help right now. Make a call or get to someone’s office or home right now. Don’t wait until it is too late. You will be glad you did and your friends and loved ones will too. (continued)
Read 365 more stories and articles (one for every day of the year) in the book Let me Encourage You by Mark Hopper. You can purchase two copies for only $30 plus postage ($5). Buy one for yourself and one to give a friend. Order your copies at mark@efreedb.org.

Continue in Humility

By Nathan S. Kang
1 Peter 5:5-7
Peter was writing to Christians across the world who were persecuted for their faith. In 1 Peter 5, he encourages the elders to lead the church and the younger to submit to the elders. To the rest, he says to be clothed in humility. Peter knew a thing or two about being humbled by the Lord. The phrase “be clothed” is a Greek word which describes a serving slave tying a knot on a garment or an apron. He was identified by it. Likewise, Christians ought to be clothed with humility. The mark of a Christian life is humility. Why? Peter gives the reason which is that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. It’s the same phrase found in Proverbs 3:34 and in James 4:4-6.

In Proverbs 6:16-17, the first abomination to God is a proud look. In verse 6 he calls upon the believers to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God. The Greek word “humble” indicates one to bring themselves lower. How do we humble ourselves? We bring ourselves lower and under the mighty hand of God. Remember God’s mighty hand. He is a sovereign God and in control of everything. It is when we humble ourselves that God would exalt us according His time. Then Peter concludes this portion of his letter by stating in verse 7 to cast all of our care to God for God cares about us. What are we casting? Our anxiety and worries. Remember he was writing to persecuted believers. He encourages them to cast their anxieties and sufferings to God because God cares about them.

God cares about you. The Psalmist in Psalm 55:22 says we can cast all of our burdens unto Him. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, we can come unto Him to find rest. In Hebrews 4:16, believers can come to Him and find mercy. It all begins with humility. If we are prideful, we won’t cast our cares upon God because we think we have it all figured out. We don’t, we must be humble. That is why in verse 8-11, we see that through humility, we can resist the Devil, remain steadfast in faith, and be strengthened by Jesus through the gospel. We were humbled when we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, likewise let us continue in humility!

Hillcrest Baptist Church Pastor Nathan S. Kang Website: visithillcrest.org . Meets at Vandermolen Elementary School on Sundays at 10:30am 6744 Carenlian St. Mira Loma, CA 91752

“Life Is…”

By Pastor Dennis Morales
“I am the resurrection and the life…” John 11:25
When I think of Easter, I have cool memories of visiting family, going to church in brand new clothes, having conversations over big meals, eating chocolate like there’s no tomorrow, getting chocolate on those brand new clothes, and don’t forget the peeps! Easter carries with it so many family traditions. Easter for some can be bittersweet as we have fond memories of loved ones missed. But we must not forget what Easter actually is. It is about death and resurrection of life.
Death is something that grips the world with fear. Jesus often confronted death in His earthly ministry. This was an occasion where one of Jesus’ good friends had passed away. It was at the grave of Lazarus that Jesus wept. He wept because He knew that death wasn’t part of God’s original plan. God’s intention wasn’t for mankind to experience suffering and death. Jesus wept because of the effect of sin over the world and because He saw the pain it caused in His friends Mary and Martha. Martha told Jesus that if He had been there earlier, they wouldn’t be mourning. Jesus’ response still resonates throughout time. He said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). It’s interesting that in scripture we find that Jesus broke up every funeral He ever attended. Death could not exist where He was. When the dead heard His voice they sprang to life. This Easter remember what Easter really is. Jesus met death Himself, but the grave could not hold Him. He rose. If you put your faith in Jesus, the Bible says that you will live forever in the presence of God. Jesus defeated death once for all (Hebrews 10:10). Jesus is our living hope (1Peter 1:3). Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets at Eastvale Elementary located at 13031 Orange St, Eastvale. Sundays 8:30/10:30am. Livestream, YouTube Live, and Facebook Live is also available. http://www.calvaryeastvale.org.

He Will Show You

By Pastor Dennis Morales
“…Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you.” – Genesis 12:1
It can be tough after 2 years of pandemic to really gather up any hope for a better year this year, but we make the best of it and hope for a better outcome. Sometimes in God’s economy, He will lead us to take a step of faith not revealing where He’s taking us. Hebrews 11 is known as the hall of faith. We see many people in the Bible leading with steps of faith. They’re ordinary men and women taking great steps of faith. God told Abraham to leave his homeland, and trust where He would lead him and his family. Hebrews 11 gives us insight to Genesis 12. It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8). God cares about your future (Jeremiah 29:11). So many people walk fearfully through the days and months because they don’t know who to trust. But rest assured, God “will show you.” God may not map out all the details for you. It would be nice sometimes to know everything now, like who we’ll marry, where you’ll be in 10 years, or what will be our profession. But God “will show you.” He will take you one step at a time. When He takes you through a door, He will direct you to the next one. Abraham was called by God to leave his homeland and go to an unknown place that “God would show him.” God chose Abraham from a place of idols and took him to a place of faith in Him. Put your trust in God (Proverbs 3:5-6), walk by faith, and “He will show you” (Hebrews 11:1). Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets at Eastvale Elementary located at 13031 Orange St, Eastvale. Sundays 8:30/10:30am. Livestream, YouTube Live, and Facebook Live is also available. http://www.calvaryeastvale.org.

Fear of Heights

Pastor Mark Hopper

By Mark Hopper
There are a lot of things you probably didn’t know about your spouse before you got married. But when you begin married life together you may discover some things you weren’t aware of. One of the things that I didn’t realize was that my wife was afraid of heights. I learned this on our honeymoon when we met the church youth group on the back-packing trip into Havasu Canyon. I rode in a helicopter from the rim to the campground in five minutes while my new wife hiked into the canyon with most of the students for five hours.
One of the activities during our four days in Havasu Canyon was climbing down to the bottom of the Mooney Falls. This was a steep climb through a couple of small caves and down the face of the canyon wall using steel pegs and chains. My wife didn’t want to participate in the climb to the bottom of Mooney Falls but I insisted everyone had to come. She wasn’t very happy but she did make it down with the others. However, the climb back up was very frightening. She froze about half way up and couldn’t move. It took a lot of pleading and encouraging to get her back to the top. I had no idea how afraid she was of heights.
A few years later we led a group of teenagers on a ski trip from Dallas to Colorado. We chartered a bus that left on Christmas night and returned on New Year’s Eve. We stayed at a church camp outside of Denver and enjoyed four days of skiing in the Rocky Mountains.
My wife and I had no experience skiing. But we were willing to try. The students were quick learners but we struggled to figure it out. After a day of basic lessons we ventured up the slopes on the chair lift. My wife didn’t like being so far off the ground and was worried about getting off the ski lift at the top of the mountain.
Things went okay while we followed a level trail to the ski slope. When we turned the corner and looked at the slope it was breathtaking. It looked like we were going straight downhill. Did I mention that my wife was afraid of heights? It was a long fright-filled struggle down the slope. After that my wife decided she preferred to stay in the ski lodge and drink hot chocolate and leave the skiing to the younger students.
All of us are afraid of something – spiders, the dark, flying and heights. There are many verses in the Bible that say, “Fear not for I am with you” (Joshua 1:8 / Isaiah 41:10). Let me encourage you to face your fears and trust God to help you when you are in a fearful situation. You will be glad you did and He will too.

You Can Only Play So Much Golf

By Mark Hopper
In the 1990’s, I led a small team of adults from our church in California to Guatemala. We were going there to help with the construction of a school near Guatemala City. My wife and I had led a younger team of high school and college students to Guatemala in the 1970’s. This time we went with a seasoned group of older adults.


Guatemala is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Several dormant volcanoes tower over the countryside. The vegetation is lush and green. Guatemala is known for its popular coffee beans and wonderful Avocadoes.


While we were working on the construction site we met a man who was doing electrical work. He was a retired engineer who had come by himself at his own expense to pull wires and install electrical outlets in the classrooms. He was planning to be there for a month


I don’t remember his name but I do remember something he said. When I asked him why he had come to Guatemala to work on this project he replied, “You can only play so much golf”. He went on to explain that when he retired from his career as an electrical engineer he spent a lot of time playing golf with some of his buddies. But after a year of retirement he felt he needed to do something more with his time. When he heard about the project in Guatemala, he decided to put his golf clubs in the closet and spend some time helping other people.


Please don’t misunderstand. I like golf. In fact, my wife says I don’t play enough golf. But I think we all know that there are other things that are more important. We may get a sense of enjoyment from a good round of golf. But we can get an even greater sense of fulfillment when we use our time and talents to serve others.


There is a passage in the Bible that says, “Put yourself aside and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with your own interests. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 2:4 – The Message Bible). You won’t find lasting fulfillment just doing things that you like. Real fulfillment is found when we volunteer our time and use our abilities to help others. You won’t find happiness looking for it. You stumble across it when you serve others. Let me encourage you to volunteer some of your time to serve at your church or in your community. Don’t sit home and watch TV. Get off the couch and get into the community and help people. And allow yourself a little time for a round of golf with your buddies too! You will be glad you did!

Read 365 more stories and articles (one for every day of the year) in the book Let me Encourage You by Mark Hopper. You can purchase two copies for only $30 plus postage ($5). Buy one for yourself and one to give a friend. Order your copies at mark@efreedb.org.

Praise Him

By Pastor Dennis Morales
“Through Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of [our] lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15
Words are powerful, especially words of praise or thanks. God is honored with our words of praise and thanksgiving. It is easy to praise God when the sun is shining, or when our kids are getting good grades in school, or maybe if we have received a promotion at work. Scripture says that praise is also a sacrifice at times. That’s when things are not too good. When we praise God in the difficulty, it is the praise of sacrifice. When we praise Him, we proclaim our faith in Him.

The Psalmist writes “As for me, I will always have hope. I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14). A sacrifice of praise is something that we offer to God — in times of well-being and in times of sorrow. Never allow praise to become a habit of only a celebratory activity. When times are tough, praise has the ability to lighten our hearts and fill us with a sense of possibility, love, and security that can only come from Heaven’s throne. When you are able to praise God in the difficulty, you are trusting what God sees and His provision.

In the late 1800’s George Mueller operated an orphanage that at one time had 1,000 orphans. One morning there was no food to eat, but he called all the children and staff together and prayed thanking God for the provision of food, even though no food was on the table. A few moments later a baker knocked on the door. He told Mr. Muller that God had led him to bake bread the night before and give it to the orphanage. Before the bread was given to the children, a milkman knocked on the door. He said that his milk truck had broken down and he wanted to give the milk to the orphanage. George Muller gave thanks, even when it took faith to do so.

Praise is another word for admiration, and it’s often linked to thanksgiving. Take some time and praise Him today for all He has done. Praise Him because He is able. “Praise Him because He is worthy” (Psalm 145:3).

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets at Eastvale Elementary located at 13031 Orange St, Eastvale. Sundays 8:30/10:30am. Livestream, YouTube Live, and Facebook Live is also available. http://www.calvaryeastvale.org.

A New School Year

By Melody Kraemer

A new school year! Who is ready? I have enjoyed these past summer months with my kids at home, and it seemed we were off to some adventure almost every day. 

It could be that we subconsciously are making up for the summer before when we were in “lockdown.” The summer, let alone this year, has flown by in a blink of an eye. Now the kids will be starting school, and though that much-needed break between us is probably needed. I will miss the lazy days of sleeping in, the swimming, the extended sunshine days, no schedules, and all the downtime. Now isn’t that what summer is all about?  

In a few short days, we will buckle back down and get back on our daily schedule. It won’t be easy, and granted, I should have stayed on a schedule during the summer, but my kids needed this break and had only a few short weeks of summer. With my boys having ASD, autism spectrum disorder,  they attended ESY (extended school year). So these few weeks of summer were precious to us, we enjoyed them and made as many memories as we could.  

My youngest will even be going back to school with a brand new look. He decided to find his daddy’s beard trimmer and start shaving his head. There’s never a dull moment in our world, now onto the next season of life. Reach out and let me know if you are ready for school. 


Ecclesiastes 3:1
1. For everything there is a season, and a time for every a purpose under heaven


 Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of  AutismMomAdventures.com

Follow her on Instagram @So_Cal_Autism_Mom_Adventures and Facebook.com/autismmomadventures 

For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Deliberate Confidence

By Pastor Dennis Morales

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…” 2 Timothy 4:17

What gives you confidence?  Watching the “2020” Olympics, I can’t help but to be impressed by the confidence of the athletes who are on one of the biggest stages of their lives.    Families and whole countries are cheering them on and hoping they bring home the gold.   It would seem a lifetime of training, a strong support system, a focused mind, and for some faith, has given these athletes such strong confidence.   Paul the Apostle used athletic metaphors often.  One of his last metaphors he employed was of both a fighter and runner.   As Paul was penned his swan song letter to Timothy, he says “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). What is most impressive is that he wrote these words from prison, with few friends left.  In prison for his faith in Christ.  Having few friends willing to stand with him for fear of their own lives, or because of societal shame.  What then gave Paul confidence?  Paul experienced God standing with him in past circumstances and difficulties.  He also knew countless others were spurred to faith in Christ through his chains as his faith was on display (Philippians 1:12).  Many saw the reality of Christ power in his willingness to suffer for Christ.  Oswald Chambers once said, “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”   Paul found himself at times in chains, being beaten, shipwrecked, and even abandoned, but those were times when he knew the Lord was closest and stood with him (2 Timothy 4:17).  Paul said, “none of these things move me” so to finish his race with joy (Acts 20:24).  Joy in the fact that he would finish his race on this side of Heaven with unwavering faith.  Deliberate confidence is (Faith) that God is always in control.  The Lord stood with Paul as Paul stood with the Lord.  I pray you that you live deliberately confident in the fact that God hears you and is standing with you. 

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets at Eastvale Elementary located at 13031 Orange St, Eastvale.  Sundays 8:30/10:30am.  Livestream, YouTube Live, and Facebook Live is also available.  http://www.calvaryeastvale.org. 

India

By Mark Hopper

One of the most memorable places my wife and I have visited is India. Several years ago we flew from Los Angeles to Taiwan then on to Singapore and arrived in Mumbai on the west coast of India. It was a long journey. We spent several days in Mumbai seeing some of the sights and visiting some ministries working among the poorest people in the city. Then we flew to Hyderabad where our host met us at the airport and drove 3-4 hours outside the city to a boarding school and orphanage.

We were surprised by the heavy traffic. Driving in India is not for the faint hearted. Hundreds of cars, trucks and scooters crammed together honking their horns as they waited for the traffic lights to change. When we left the city behind us we found the two-lane highway heart stopping too. Cars and trucks struggled to pass each other on the busy highway.

The countryside provided a different perspective of life in India. We saw people working the fields and were impressed by the variety of agriculture that stretched to the horizon.

We spent a week at the boarding school and orphanage working alongside the staff and leading a children’s program with over 300 students participating. We shared Bible lessons, led recreation and engaged the students in making crafts and art projects.

We were impressed with the hard working staff and the enthusiastic students. Students were respectful and energetic. The school provided meals, housing and a rigorous education for the children. It was a week we will always remember.

Our host drove us back to the airport in Hyderabad where we caught a flight to Delhi in northern India. We couldn’t leave this beautiful country without seeing the Taj Mahal. This magnificent structure is located about two hours outside of Delhi. It is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Several of our neighbors in Diamond Bar are from Indian descent. They are delightful people who are proud of their heritage. I love to tell them about our trip to India. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Let me encourage you to set your sights on visiting other parts of the world. Get outside the tourist centers and catch a glimpse of daily life in the country. And get to know your own neighbors who have come from other parts of the world. You will be glad you did and they will too!   

Read 365 more stories and articles (one for every day of the year) in the book Let me Encourage You by Mark Hopper. You can purchase two copies for only $30 plus postage ($5). Buy one for yourself and one to give a friend. Order your copies at mark@efreedb.org.

Healing Faith

By Pastor Dennis Morales

“Be of good cheer, daughter, your faith has made you well.” Matthew 9:22

As Jesus would pass through the region, people would crowd him to see Him, hear Him, or seek to be healed by Him.  His reputation preceded Him as a prophet and healer, but little did they know at the time that He was the Christ, who was prophesized about going back to Genesis 3:15.   As Jesus made his way through this particular city, and as crowds were pressing into Him, He says “who touched me?” (Luke 8:45).  One of His disciples says with exuberant confidence “Master everyone is touching you.”  Yes, obviously, many seemed to be touching Him, but Jesus said this was different.  He says, “I perceive power has gone out from Me.” (Luke 8:46).   Something was different about this person’s touch.  When Jesus asked the question “who touched Me,” the crowd dissipated a bit and all who was left was a woman on her knees trembling.   This woman reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed instantly.   She “reached out” as a last resort after 12 years of seeking physicians and exhausting her every dime.   She was a woman most likely ostracized for her condition as she was considered “unclean.”  Ostracized from family, friends, and being able to worship at the temple.  Jesus then reaches out to her and speaks to her.  He calls her “daughter.”  Something that she needed and possibly longed to hear.  A term of endearment.  Having a stigma follow her for years, she had little contact with people.  He fulfilled her emotional need, but most importantly, He says to her, “your faith has made you well.”   Her greatest need was for a Savior.  Faith was necessary for her healing.  She, in the midst of years of disappointment, believed God could heal her.  Religion or a church cannot heal you, but if you reach out to Jesus and ask Him into your heart, He can touch you spiritually.  Believe He can transform you today.   

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets at Eastvale Elementary located at 13031 Orange St, Eastvale.  Sundays 8:30/10:30am.  Livestream, YouTube Live, and Facebook Live is also available.  http://www.calvaryeastvale.org. 

Wash Your Car & Meet Your Neighbors

By Mark Hopper

I love the long summer evenings in Southern California. I love to get more things done after dinner with the extra daylight we enjoy in June and July. I was surprised the clock read 8:30 PM when I came into the house after washing my car.

An added bonus to the long summer evenings has been meeting more of my neighbors. There are a lot of men, women, and young adults walking past our house every evening. Many of them are doing laps around our block and come by several times. And many of them are walking with a spouse, children or exercise partner.

I like to pause what I am doing and say hello as people pass by. Some share encouraging comments on how nice my car looks. I like to return the compliment and tell them what a good job they are doing as they walk through our neighborhood.

Some people pause when I ask them their name or where they live. It has been challenging to learn new names and remember them the next time I see them. But I enjoy our brief conversations and I like getting to know my neighbors better.

There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). It is hard to love your neighbors if you don’t know your neighbors. One of the biggest obstacles to getting to know your neighbors is the garage door. People drive down the street, press the garage door opener, pull into their garage and close the door. It is pretty hard to get to know them when you can’t even speak to them.

Other obstacles include the back yard patio and the indoor air conditioning. It is interesting that older homes were built with a front porch. People would get out of their warm house on a summer evening and sit outside to enjoy a cool evening breeze. The front porch provided a natural setting to greet people walking by. It enabled neighbors to meet other neighbors.

Let me encourage you to get to know the neighbors who live around you. Why not wash your car during these long summer evenings and say hello to the people who walk by. Why not set up a lawn chair in your front yard instead of sitting in your air conditioned house or the back yard patio. You will be glad you did and your neighbors will too!

You can read 365 more stories (one for every day of the year)  in the book Let Me Encourage You. by Mark Hopper for only $25  (includes postage). Order your copy this week at markh@efreedb.org. Visit Mark’s website to read his latest stories at Letmarkencourageyou.com

Strength

By Pastor Dennis Morales

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:12

We read of Daniel being a fearless follower of God (Daniel 2).  The Babylonians were trying to assimilate the young Jewish males in order to control them.  They knew the young men had strong religious ties, so the Babylonians sought to change the names of the young men, change their worship, and change their diet.  Daniel resisted the king’s delicacies, purposing in his heart not to defile himself and honor God.  Another occasion finds Daniel resisting mandated worship of the king and continued to pray to his God.  Scripture says that “when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God” (Daniel 6:10).  As a result, Daniel eventually finds himself in the lion’s den, where God delivers him.  You can’t help but to notice a truth in this Biblical account of Daniel.   God delivers Daniel while in the lion’s den.  As we walk with the Lord, we can experience God delivering us from our troubles on occasion.   Many times, our prayers are requests for God to take us out of any given difficulty.  One of the things that may be hard to process is that sometimes God wants to deliver us while in the time of difficulty.  No doubt, the Lord was with Daniel in the lion’s den and God delivers him.   What gave Daniel the strength to stand against the enemy?  In Daniel 6:10, it says that Daniel “always prayed.”  He was accustomed to praying.  Daniel heard God often, and it would appear that Daniel drew strength from his prayers.  Do you need strength today?  You will find great strength in kneeling before the Lord (Philippians4:7).  Due to school closures, Calvary Chapel Eastvale is temporarily meeting in a “Drive In format” at American Heroes Park in Eastvale.  Livestream, YouTube Live, and Facebook Live are also available at 8:30am and 10:30am Sundays.  Starting Sunday JULY 11, Calvary Eastvale will be moving to a new location at Eastvale Elementary School. 

Change Your Expectations

By Mark Hopper

In my previous article I shared how unfulfilled expectations can result in frustration. That is true when you are playing a round of golf. If you expect to play well and get a good score, you may find yourself discouraged and disappointed by the end of the day. Your score may be a lot worse than you expected!

I believe there are many married couples who are disillusioned after years of marriage. They started married life filled with hopes and dreams. But as the years passed they found themselves frustrated and disappointed. Their married life has not turned out the way they expected it would.

There is a powerful song in the musical Les Miserables where a woman expressed her heartache about the way her life has turned out. It is titled – “I Dreamed a Dream”. Some of the lyrics are:

“I dreamed a dream in days gone by, when hope was high and life worth living – I dreamed that love would never die, I dreamed that God would be forgiving. Then it all went wrong”

Those words may express how you feel about your marriage. But I want to urge you to not give up hope and don’t give up trying. God loves to repair relationships and restore marriages.

One of the things that can undermine a marriage is unfulfilled expectations. Spouses can become bitter and resentful when their hopes and dreams are not met. One of the best things you can do is change your expectations. Don’t wait for the other person to change – look for ways you can change your expectations with God’s help.

Years ago we met a wonderful couple during my summer internship in El Centro, California. The husband was a cattle rancher. He rarely got home on time for dinner. His wife was frustrated. Dinner was ready and the kids were hungry. But she decided to change her attitude and not expect him to be home for dinner. She realized that cattle, fences and water pumps may need immediate attention. She decided to just feed the kids when dinner was ready and warm up dinner for her husband when he got home. She changed her expectations and it reduced the level of stress on their relationship. Let me encourage you to change your attitude and your actions. Change your expectations. Ask God to change your heart. Be willing to forgive others that you feel have hurt you (Ephesians 4:32). You will be glad you did and they will too.   

Read 365 more stories and articles (one for every day of the year) in the book  Let me Encourage You by Mark Hopper. You can purchase two copies for only $30 plus postage ($5). Buy one for yourself and one to give a friend. Order your copies at mark@efreedb.org.

Christmas Isn’t Cancelled

By Pastor Dennis Morales

“Let nothing you dismay, Remember Christ our Savior Was born on Christmas Day, To save us all from Satan’s power, When we were gone astray, Oh tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy…”

These are the amazing words from the Christmas Carol “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”  I love these words.  Such a reminder of the Heart of Christmas.  During this Covid-19 Climate, people have unwittingly said “we have to cancel Christmas.”  I understand the reason for the phrase, I understand the fear and the hurt that this year has brought.  I also understand not meeting with family because of uncertainty.  But the message of Christmas is so much more than a gathering or gifts. 

I pray that this Christmas, we don’t miss the heart of the celebration of Christmas.  We see some in the Gospels who missed the heart of Christmas.  We see the innkeeper who missed out on Jesus because he was too busy (Luke 2).  We need to make time for the Lord.  We see that King Herod was too fearful to let Christ rule his life (Mat 2).  Turn to Christ today.  Don’t let the pandemic replace Christmas in your heart.  May we not allow anything take the place of worshipping Jesus Christ, who is the true meaning.  Christmas is the ushering in of hope to this world.  The hope of eternal life.  This hope was wrapped and placed in the manger. 

We remember Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger (Luke 2:12).  In time, your Christmas gifts will mostly be forgotten.  But God has given us the ultimate gift—the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.   This year lets mindfully peel back the exterior and look at the Heart.  Jesus is our gift.  May we remember it’s God’s eternal Gift that cancels out the power of sin and death over us who trust in Him (John 3:16).

Due to school closures, Calvary Chapel Eastvale is temporarily meeting in a “Drive In format” at American Heroes Park at 8:30am and 10:30am.  All midweek services can be viewed on Facebook Live at 7pm.  All of our services can be viewed on our Facebook Channel (Calvary Eastvale).  Download our online bulletin to stay current at calvaryeastvale.org.

The Christmas Train

By Mark Hopper

One of my favorite Christmas toys was my train. I received a Lionel Train set for Christmas when I was a young boy. We have a photo of me and my father and my grandfather playing with my new train on Christmas morning in the early 1960’s. We still have the brochure that came with the train. The date on the brochure says 1962. 

The train set was lost for many years in a closet in my parent’s home.  I thought they had given it away after I got married. When we helped my parents move out of their house, my brother discovered the train set. But he didn’t tell anyone. He surprised me on Christmas Day with this mystery box.

Now we have a photo of me, and my children and my father playing with that old train at Christmas in the 1980’s. After we moved to Diamond Bar, the Christmas train ended up on a shelf in our garage for many years. Finally, some of our adult children asked me to get the train down and set it up for their children to see.

I was reluctant to do it. I didn’t know if the train even worked anymore. But, children and grandchildren can be pretty persuasive.  I finally got the box down and set up the train around the Christmas tree. To my surprise it worked! However, the wires that powered the transformer were brittle and the train engine was sluggish. I took the engine and transformer to a model train store in Costa Mesa. The owner was able to clean it up and lubricate the engine and put a new cord in the transformer. My childhood train was running again.

Every Christmas season we set up the train Lionel Train again.  When the grandchildren come to our house, I let them help me set up the train around the Christmas tree. I let them help me operate it too. They enjoy it and I do too. Even the youngest ones have become confident in driving the train. It is fun watching them start and stop the train. They like to load things on the different train cars and deliver their freight to different destinations. There are some train wrecks from time to time but they make the necessary repairs and get the train running again.  My wife took a video a few years ago to capture the memory of another generation playing with the train.

I hope that my children and grandchildren will continue the tradition of playing with the Lionel Train with their own families for many years to come. It is one of my most memorable Christmas gifts.

You can find more stories and articles by Mark Hopper at his web site – letmarkencourageyou.com. His book with 365 stories and articles (one for each day of the year) is available for $25 which includes postage – contact him at markh@efreedb.org.

Pastor’s Corner: Joe & Charlotte

Joe and Charlotte began to attend our church when I was the new pastor at Chapel in the Hills in Tucson many years ago. Although I had served on the staff of larger churches, this was the first time I was on my own after graduating from seminary.

I was pretty young to be leading a church. The church was small. A secretary came in one morning a week to print the Sunday bulletin. The church treasurer was a volunteer. Our attendance was small and our resources were limited.

Joe and Charlotte lived in the neighborhood and they actually attended a larger church across town. But they started coming to our Sunday evening services and to our mid-week Bible study. They were school teachers and loved kids. They had served with a ministry providing children’s Bible programs in rural areas of Arizona. And they rode a tandem-bike along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to New Orleans during two summers.

They offered to lead our first summer Vacation Bible School to reach children in the community. I was so thankful to have the help of this remarkable couple. They came with ideas and experience that were invaluable. VBS was a success and we met a number of new families in our area.

There is a similar couple in the Bible. Their names were Priscilla and Aquila and they worked with the Apostle Paul on a number of occasions. Paul said that they had actually risked their lives to help him. Later they started a church in their own home (Romans 16:3-5) and they provided solid Bible teaching to a budding evangelist named Apollos (Acts 18:26).

I believe God loves to bring older, seasoned people into our lives to help us in our career or ministry. Let me encourage you to watch for an Aquila or Priscilla who is willing to help you grow and learn. And be willing to use your knowledge and experience to be an Aquila or Pricilla to help others. You will be glad you did and they will too. 

You can find more stories and articles by Mark Hopper at his web site – letmarkencourageyou.com. His book with 365 stories and articles (one for each day of the year) is available for $25 which includes postage – contact him at markh@efreedb.org.

Pastor’s Corner: To Tell or Not To Tell

Mark Hopper

Many years ago we took our children on a trip to California. We spent two days at Disneyland and then drove north to visit my brother and his family in Grass Valley. Our kids enjoyed time with their cousins and we enjoyed catching up with my brother and his wife.


One day we went to a pumpkin patch and each of our kids and the cousins selected their own pumpkin. They looked forward to carving and decorating their own pumpkins for Halloween when we got home. On our way back to Arizona we realized we would need to stop at the border for an agricultural inspection. We knew we would be asked by the border agent if we had any agricultural products that we were bringing into Arizona from California.

My wife and I had a lively discussion about what we should say to the agriculture inspector. If we said that we did not have any agricultural items – our children would get to keep their precious pumpkins. But, our children would also know we did not tell the truth. On the other hand, if we did tell the border agent that we did have some agricultural items – their personal pumpkins might be confiscated at the border and they would have nothing to carve for Halloween.


What would you say if you were faced with a similar situation? Do you tell or not tell? Do you disclose or conceal. Do you tell the truth and risk the loss of the precious pumpkins? Or to you tell a lie and hope you don’t get caught?


A man named Abraham faced a similar test. His wife was beautiful. He told her to lie and tell people she was his sister. He told the same lie when he was asked about her. Abraham was afraid someone might kill him and take his wife (Genesis 20). Years later his own son Isaac did the same thing following of his father’s example (Genesis 26)!


I know people are more important than pumpkins. I believe it is better to tell the truth and face the consequences than to tell a lie. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Put aside falsehood and speak truthfully” (Ephesians 4:25). Your reputation is on the line and your children may follow your example. When we got to the border we decided to tell the inspector about our precious pumpkins. We held our breath – then he said no problem. Pumpkins are permitted! Let me encourage you to tell the truth. We were glad we did and you will be too.

You can find more stories and articles by Mark Hopper at his web site – letmarkencourageyou.com. His book with 365 stories and articles (one for each day of the year) is available for $25 which includes postage – contact him at markh@efreedb.org.

Pastor’s Corner: Strong

Pastor Dennis Morales

“In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3

Daniel faced a powerful king and he faced Lions with great strength. When we read of Daniel facing Lions in the Lion’s den, you have to wonder how Daniel was able to do it. Yes, he trusted God, but something brought him to the place of trust. We are told in Daniel 6 that a law had been passed prohibiting prayer to any god or any human other than the king. In fact, the punishment for breaking this law was being thrown to the Lions. It appears that what Daniel does next is what gives him strength. “When Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God” (Daniel 6:10 NLT).


Scripture tells us that Daniel had always done this. Daniel was wired to pray when things got difficult. If obeying God meant certain death, he trusted God. It causes me to think about the things I do when things get difficult. I believe Daniel knew one of the keys to standing was actually kneeling. We are encouraged to resist worrying about anything; instead, pray about everything (Philippians 4:6 NLT). Daniel did just that. Daniel prayed and God gave him the strength to stand in the Lions Den.


As we read, Daniel trusted God, and God shut the mouths of the Lions. What are you facing today? Does it feel like a mountain? Do what Jesus did and go to the mountain and pray. God is able to shut the mouth of the enemy. God is also able to move mountains (Matthew 17:20). God is able to make you strong (Philippians 4:13). Pray and walk in His strength today.


Due to school closures, Calvary Chapel Eastvale is temporarily meeting in a “Drive In format” at American Heroes Park at 8:30am and 10:30am. All midweek services can be viewed on Facebook Live at 7pm. Download our online bulletin to stay current at calvaryeastvale.org.


Join Calvary Chapel Eastvale for Bright Night. Bright Night is a fun and safe alternative to Harvest festivities for families on October 31st at 5PM through 8PM at the American Heroes Park, 6608 Hellman Ave. This is a free drive-thru event for all ages to enjoy the free candy, treats, and music. You can even join in the festivities by decorating your vehicle! For more information, visit www.

Wrestling?

Pastor Dennis Morales

“O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear?” Habakkuk 1:1

Pandemic, panic, division, and the question, “How much longer, Lord?”    At some point, some of us have wondered, “Where is God?” We may even have thought that it seems like evil is winning and God is silent. Habakkuk shows us that we have a choice as to how we respond to the difficulties in our life.  It’s obvious by the language of Habakkuk at the onset, that he begins to wrestle with God in prayer (Habakkuk’s name actually means wrestle).  Have you ever felt like your prayers are like wrestling prayers?  Habakkuk was troubled by the moral and spiritual decline of the world around him and he wanted answers.  God answers Habakkuk, but it’s probably not the answer he is looking for.   God says, “I’m working, but if I told you how, you wouldn’t believe it” (Hab1:5).  God said He would use the wicked Chaldeans to judge Judah. God’s response troubled him even more because it meant things would get worse. Habakkuk didn’t understand God’s response, but he says later “the just shall live by faith” (Hab 2:4).  Habakkuk would learn that understanding how God works is not his job, trusting Him is.  If God told you everything He is doing and how He would do it, would you be able to understand it?  Would you accept it?  Scripture says God doesn’t think like us (Isaiah 55:8).  It’s easy to get anxious, but God says, “He is working.”  Habakkuk brought his prayer to God and allow His peace to flood his heart (read Philippians 4:7).  Habakkuk’s worship and prayer of encouragement is a beautiful demonstration of his faith in God .  He trusted the steadfast love and faithfulness of his Savior even when he didn’t understand God’s plan.  The prophet Habakkuk lived in a day of uncertainty, much like we do. In light of all his questions about the future, his response remained simple, “yet I will rejoice in the Lord” (Habakkuk 3:18). We too can rejoice, no matter the circumstances.  Will you trust Him today? We are complete in Jesus alone and in His steadfast love and faithfulness (read John 16:33).  Habakkuk’s wrestling became worship. 

Due to school closures, Calvary Chapel Eastvale is temporarily meeting in a “Drive In format” at American Heroes Park at 8:30am and 10:30am.  All midweek services can be viewed on Facebook Live at 7pm.  Download our online bulletin to stay current at calvaryeastvale.org.