Category Archives: Pastors Corner

Inspirational faith based articles from local Pastors in the Eastvale area.

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.  

Pastor’s Corner: The Man In The Mirror (Part Two)

Mark Hopper

In my previous article I shared about how we need to take a look in the mirror and see what changes we need to make in our own life. The words of the song Man in the Mirror and the story of the pastor with the rebellious daughter really drive home the principle that change needs to begin with you.

Many years ago I attended a helpful seminar on leadership. I picked up some useful ideas on how to be a more effective leader of our staff and our church. One of the speakers was Ken Blanchard, he was well known for his best-selling book – The One Minute Manager.  He shared an illustration that he often used with business leaders that has been very helpful to me as a husband, pastor and leader.

He said that when things are not going well, a foolish manager will look out his office window and place the blame on his workers. Why are sales and production declining? The employees must not be doing their jobs. On the other hand, when things are going well, a foolish manager will look in a mirror and congratulate himself for the great job he is doing.

Blanchard went on to say that when things are going well and sales are up and production is growing, a wise manager will look out the window and recognize the success is due to the hard work of his employees. And, when sales are down and production is declining, a wise manager will look in the mirror and ask himself – What am I doing wrong? What steps do I need to take to help our business improve?

There is a passage in the Bible where King David ignored the warning of his own advisors and demanded that his staff count the number of troops under his command. This action resulted in the death of a number of innocent people. David realized his mistake and asked God to forgive him and stop the devastation and destruction. He accepted responsibility for his arrogant behavior (Second Samuel chapter 24). If things aren’t going well in your life or business, let me encourage you to take a good look in the mirror. Ask yourself – what changes do you need to make in your life? Accept responsibility and change what you are doing. And if things are going well in your life or business, I hope you will give the credit to God and to the people who have made it possible. They will be glad you did and you will too.

Pastor Hopper has published a book with 365 of his articles and stories. The title is “Let Me Encourage You”. The cost is $25 which includes shipping. Order your copy at markh@efreedb.org.

Pastor’s Corner: The Man In The Mirror

Mark Hopper

Many years ago, I heard a pastor share his story about his relationship with his teenage daughter. He was discouraged and concerned that his daughter was angry and frustrated with him. One day he took his whole family to a local park. As they sat on some tree stumps, he asked his wife and each of their children this question – “What changes do I need to make in my life that can help heal our family”? He said it hurt deeply as each of them shared some of their frustrations with him. His teenage daughter was the most vocal. She told her father that he was too busy and he never listened to her.

After each of them shared, he told them he needed some time to be alone and think about what they had said. As he got up to leave, his daughter stopped him and said she needed to ask him the same question. “What changes did she need to make in her life?” This was a turning point in their strained relationship. His heart was softened and he began to make some changes in his schedule and he spent more time with his daughter. The daughter’s heart was softened and she began to make changes in her life too.

There is a passage in the Bible where Jesus said, “Before you try to remove the speck from your brother’s eye, you need to remove the log from your own eye” (Matthew 7:1-5). If there is a problem in your family, marriage or other relationship – the place to begin is in your own life. Look in a mirror and ask yourself this question – what am I doing that is causing problems in our relationship? What changes do I need to make in my life that will help heal the wounds and restore my relationship with others?

There is a song from the 1980’s written by a famous singer with the title – Man in the Mirror. Some of the words are, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change. I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways”.

I love the phrase – Changed people change people. I believe that when you make positive changes in your life it will produce positive changes in others too.  Your words, attitudes and actions can have a positive or negative impact on others. Let me encourage you to look in the mirror and ask yourself – what changes do I need to make in my life. You can ask your spouse, children or a trusted friend too. Pray and ask God to reveal some things to you that you need to change in your life with His help. You will be glad you did and those around you will too.

Pastor Hopper has published a book with 365 of his articles and stories. The title is “Let Me Encourage You”. The cost is $25 which includes shipping. Order your copy at markh@efreedb.org.

Pastor’s Corner: Water Pressure

Mark Hopper

When was the last time you checked the water pressure in your house? Most people have never checked it. We just turn on the faucet and we are thankful to have running water in our homes. We assume the water pressure is fine until we have a problem. Recently a hose burst in our bathroom in the middle of the night. My wife heard a noise and woke me up at 3:00 AM.  The noise came from the bathroom at the other end of the house. The hose that supplied water to the toilet had burst and it looked like a fire hose was flooding the bathroom, bedroom and hallway. I quickly turned off the valve but the water damage was extensive. I wondered why the small hose had burst and flooded the rooms. The next day I checked the water pressure in our house and discovered it was 120 PSI – twice what it should be. A few weeks later I was able to replace the water pressure regulator which reduced the pressure down to a normal 60 PSI.

Just as high water pressure can damage your home and high blood pressure can damage your heart, outbursts of anger can cause serious physical and emotional damage to yourself and to others. Two different words are used to describe anger in Ephesians 4:31-32. One word is thumos which describes outbursts of anger when people lose their temper and vent their anger with words and deeds. The other word for anger is orge which is a slow, simmering temper that gradually builds up like a volcano until it finally bursts or explodes.  Both of these types of anger can be harmful and destructive just like high water pressure and high blood pressure.

In the same passage there are two different words – kindness and compassion. These are helpful and constructive. They are the antidote of anger.  Kindness and compassion seek to resolve problems and restore relationships. Words and acts of anger damage and destroy relationships. If anger is simmering beneath the surface in your heart or revealing itself in harmful words and deeds, let me encourage you to get help.  A new ministry called Domestic Kindness is equipping churches to be part of the solution to domestic abuse. Find them at domestickindness.org. Let me encourage you to ask God and ask those you have hurt to forgive you. Ask God to give you a heart of kindness and compassion that comes through faith in Christ. You will be glad you did and your family and friends will too!

Pastor Hopper has published a book with 365 of his articles and stories. The title is “Let Me Encourage You“. The cost is $25 which includes shipping. Order your copy at markh@efreedb.org.

Pastor’s Corner: A New Four Letter Word

Mark Hopper

There is a new four-letter word in our vocabulary. I know there are many appropriate four-letter words that people say like – love, hope, help, kind, sure and more. There are also some four-letter words that people use that I don’t think are necessary nor appropriate to mention.

But there is a new word that has become part of our vocabulary during the Corona Virus outbreak.  The word is Zoom.  I’m not sure if it is a noun or a verb. Maybe it can be used both ways. But I hear the word in many conversations by both older and younger people. Even our grandchildren are including Zoom in their vocabulary as they describe going to school and connecting with their teachers and classmates.  

Previously we used tools like Skype and Facetime to talk with people on the internet. But Zoom seems to have surpassed them in popularity. I teach an adult Bible class on Sunday mornings using Zoom. Many churches are using Zoom to broadcast their church services to people at home. Schools are using Zoom to teach their students. Doctors are meeting with their patients on Zoom instead of in their office.

In many ways. Zoom and similar tools are changing the way we do business, education and the way we connect with family and friends. This has been a very useful and helpful tool during the Corona crisis. We have a Zoom call with all of our children and grandchildren once-a-week. But I sense most people feel it is not the same as meeting with people face-to-face. Many teachers feel that online instruction is not the same as classroom instruction. Many students miss the benefit of connecting with their classmates in the classroom and on their school campus.

The Apostle Paul wrote to some church leaders in Corinth expressing how his written letters may give a different impression than when he met with them face to face (Second Corinthians 10:1). Phone calls, email and text messages can be useful. Cards and letters are too. But I believe that Zoom will never replace meeting face-to-face with grandkids, clients, customers and classmates. When this pandemic is over and restrictions are lifted, let me encourage you to spend more time with other people face-to-face. Theywill be glad you did and you will too!

Pastor Hopper has published a book with 365 of his articles and stories. The title is “Let Me Encourage You”. The cost is $25 which includes shipping. Order your copy at markh@efreedb.org.

Pastor’s Corner: Snow Days

Mark Hopper

It only snowed 2-3 times a year in Dallas. It was a nightmare to drive in the traffic. Most residents had little experience driving in snow and on ice covered roads. One time in early January, the Superintendent of the public schools canceled classes because of the weather. It seemed like a wise decision but the sun came out by noon, the snow melted and the Superintendent looked foolish.

A few weeks later, when snow was again forecast for the Dallas area the Superintendent did not cancel classes. Students and teachers were expected to report to school. Unfortunately this was a serious snow storm and there were many accidents on the roads. In fact, my wife and I were in an accident as a car slowly slid down a hill into the side of our car. A mother who was trying to get her children to school hit our car while I was trying to get their teacher to school!

Many people were critical of the Superintendent when he canceled classes on a snow day in January and many people criticized him when he did not cancel classes on a snow day in March.

This sounds strangely familiar as we face the current Corona Virus situation. It is easy for people to be critical of government officials for decisions and actions they have and have not taken. Some feel leaders did not act early enough. Others feel that many of the actions and restrictions are an overreaction. State and local officials are making decisions regarding school closures, canceling public events and restricting travel. It is easy to criticize them.

We are living in an uncertain time. It is easy to focus our frustrations on our government and business leaders. Many people are fearful and concerned about how long this will last and how bad it will get. I think our parents and grandparents felt the same way when our nation was attacked by the Japanese in 1941. I’m sure there was fear and concern about how long the war would last and how bad it would get.

There is a wonderful promise found many places in the Bible that says, “Fear not for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10 / Acts 18:9-10). Let me encourage you to open your Bible and read these verses for yourself. Pray for our country and our leaders. Help a neighbor or a classmate.


With God’s help and by helping one another we will get through this together.

Presence of Peace

Pastor Dennis Morales

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace” Psalm 29:11

To have peace, is the quest of most of society. “If I could only have this or that… then I will be at peace.” We have a tendency to place earthly demands on peace. Meaning, many think peace is only attained by things we can see, handle, or control. I am reminded when the disciples had followed Jesus into a boat, He had gone right to sleep after a long day of teaching. A violent storm had erupted, and the disciples were soon being tossed around the boat struggling to fight against the waves and wind (Mark 4:35-41). Mind you, some of the disciples were also toughened fishermen. Goes to show that no matter what our experience, we can feel helpless at times. Scripture says that the waves “covered” the boat (Matt 8:24), so the disciples were desperate. Marks Gospel details that other little boats had followed, so they weren’t alone in what they feared. The disciples, gripped by fear, searched and found Jesus in the stern asleep (literally “numb” in the original language). They respond, “don’t you care that we are perishing!” Jesus simply gets up, goes over, and rebukes the wind by simply saying “peace, be still!” Choice words that resonate today. Jesus then responds by saying to the disciples, “where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25). That was the problem. The disciples still lacked faith in Jesus, who had power over the very elements striking fear in their hearts. I think we have a tendency to turn to outlets for information and remain focused on the information, rather than on God’s presence. We have confirmation in God’s word that God gives strength to his people as they trust in Him. Another caveat of His presence is peace (Psalm 29:11). You will have true peace today if you trust He’s in the boat with you (Psalm 46:10). He is near to all who call upon Him(psalm145:18).

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets at Clara Barton Elementary School 7437 Corona Valley Ave, Eastvale. Services times are 8:30 & 10:30 on Sundays. 7pm on Wednesdays. Currently ALL SERVICES online: “Calvary Eastvale” YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram.

“Faith is Stronger”

Pastor Dennis Morales

“…Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

As Joshua took the baton from Moses, his first task as new leader was to take the million plus people across the Jordan and into the Promised Land. It appeared to be a daunting task, because it was harvest time and the Jordan was swollen beyond its banks. Nevertheless, God gave the instructions to cross. The priests would go first. God said the moment they touch the Jordan river water with their feet, the flowing water would part, and all the people could cross. Three days the people waited as they watched the torrent of water. Three days for the enemy to try to plant seeds of doubt and fear in everyone’s hearts. It would take great faith to cross the Jordan. Joshua encouraged the people as he was encouraged by God to have faith. The day came for the people to cross, and they did as God had commanded them. We know from the story why God wanted the priests to go first. It’s because they carried the Ark of the covenant. The Ark represented God’s presence to His people. It was always at the center of the camp and was to be at the center of God’s people. When the priests went into the Jordan, they were told to stand in the center of the riverbed until everyone crossed. The Ark stood with them in the middle of the riverbed until all the people crossed. They experienced God presence with them as they crossed to dispel any doubt or fear. It took faith as they waited and as they crossed, but God brought them through. The same is true today. God standing with you. Faith is the opposite of fear. Trust the Lord to bring you through this difficult time. Trust what God sees. You may not see Him, but He sees your situation. Faith is stronger than Fear. Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 26:3 and Philippians chapter 4. I encourage you to commit your faith in the Lord and experience His peace today. He will bring us through.

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets Sundays 8:30 and 10:30am/Wednesdays 7pm @ Clara Barton Elementary (currently suspended due to the COVID19). ALL SERVICES ARE CURRENTLY ONLINE: calvaryeastvale.org, YouTube, Vimeo, , church bulletin app, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Pastor’s Corner: Snow Days

By Mark Hopper

It only snowed 2-3 times a year in Dallas. It was a nightmare to drive in the traffic. Most residents had little experience driving in snow and on ice covered roads. One time in early January, the Superintendent of the public schools canceled classes because of the weather. It seemed like a wise decision but the sun came out by noon, the snow melted and the Superintendent looked foolish.

A few weeks later, when snow was again forecast for the Dallas area the Superintendent did not cancel classes. Students and teachers were expected to report to school. Unfortunately this was a serious snow storm and there were many accidents on the roads. In fact, my wife and I were in an accident as a car slowly slid down a hill into the side of our car. A mother who was trying to get her children to school hit our car while I was trying to get their teacher to school!

Many people were critical of the Superintendent when he canceled classes on a snow day in January and many people criticized him when he did not cancel classes on a snow day in March.

This sounds strangely familiar as we face the current Corona Virus situation. It is easy for people to be critical of government officials for decisions and actions they have and have not taken. Some feel leaders did not act early enough. Others feel that many of the actions and restrictions are an overreaction. State and local officials are making decisions regarding school closures, canceling public events and restricting travel. It is easy to criticize them.

We are living in an uncertain time. It is easy to focus our frustrations on our government and business leaders. Many people are fearful and concerned about how long this will last and how bad it will get. I think our parents and grandparents felt the same way when our nation was attacked by the Japanese in 1941. I’m sure there was fear and concern about how long the war would last and how bad it would get.

There is a wonderful promise found many places in the Bible that says, “Fear not for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10 / Acts 18:9-10). Let me encourage you to open your Bible and read these verses for yourself. Pray for our country and our leaders. Help a neighbor or a classmate.


With God’s help and by helping one another we will get through this together.

Pastor’s Corner: Easter is…

By 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 Sundays 8:30 and 10:30am / Wednesdays 7pm @ Clara Barton Elementary (calvaryeastvale.org). 

Pastor’s Corner: 10 Confessions of a Christian- Confession #1: I’m a Liar

By Chris Kirish

I confess… I’m a liar.

Perhaps you can relate? Someone approaches and asks me how I’m doing.

Conjuring every ounce of strength I have left I force a smile.

“I’m good! How are you?”

Why did I just lie? Is it because I think it’s what they want to hear? Is it because it’s what American culture has trained me to do? Is it because I don’t really want to think about it? Is it because I don’t even know? Is it because I don’t know them? Is it because I don’t want to go that deep right now? Or is it because hidden somewhere deep down inside of me I’m afraid they won’t care if I told them the truth, and that would be worse than if they never asked me in the first place.

Whatever reason we have let’s be honest – we all lie. We lie about how we’re doing. We lie about who we are. We put on a face. We play the part. We act it out. We behave the way we think people want us to behave. We bury the feelings.

Now we have a million reasons why  we do this. It could be our up bringing, our lack of trust, or it could simply be because John Wayne said it’s “What a man’s got to do.”

Why is John Wayne so awesome?

But whatever the case is, we continue to suppress what we’re going through and we hide our struggles and sins from others. But, that does not erase the ever nagging question in the back of our minds… is this is the way it was supposed to be? Is this how life is supposed to be? Am I hardwired in my DNA to deal with everything on my own? Is this the way God wanted it to be? Does God want me to carry this weight alone?

I mean sure, not everyone needs to know your deepest darkest secrets and not everyone needs to know you’re not having a good day. But maybe someone should know. Maybe suppressing the pain, hiding our struggles, and lying is not what God wanted for us.

I find it to be fascinating that Jesus had a tremendous amount of compassion and grace for every sinner He came into contact with and yet He was extremely hard on the people who acted like they had it all together. We don’t have to guess as to why He felt this way – Jesus made it clear for us:

Matthew 25:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombswhich look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appearto people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

I’m no theologian but it seems to me that Jesus really didn’t like it when people faked it. And although we like to picture Jesus as a blond haired hippy surfer, carrying a lamb on his shoulders, smiling all the time, and saying “God bless you” – it may not be too far of a stretch to say Jesus was pretty angry at these religious leaders and He may not have been smiling or carrying a lamb at this moment.

And if you think about it God has never liked it when we hide. In fact, this problem of hiding goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells us that when God came walking in the Garden after Adam and Eve sinned and ate from the tree God commanded them not to eat – they hid from God. This made God angry. And they weren’t the only ones. Jonah once tried hiding from God too. He got on a boat that was headed in the opposite direction from where God was calling him. Jonah though he could run and hide from God. I remember that not going very well for him.

Something about a big fish?

In the same way, many of us are still trying to hide from God today. We hide behind a smile. Behind a title. Behind a façade. A part we play for the people we think will judge us if they really knew us. Can I encourage you today? Drop the mask. You may be fooling people but you’ll never fool God. And God doesn’t want you to be perfect but he does demand that you’re honest. God can help a sinner but He can’t help someone who pretends like they’re not a sinner. God can do anything and He can save anyone but one thing God won’t do – He won’t save someone who won’t admit they need a Savior. Drop the mask. Tell God the truth and then go tell someone else the truth.

Pastor Chris Kirish is the Pastor of Ministries at VantagePoint Church. Contact at http://www.vantagepointchurch.org o: 909-465-9700 ex.711.

Pastor’s Corner: Sharing With Others

By Mark Hopper

Several years ago after my wife finished an extensive series of treatments for breast cancer, some friends invited us to use their house while they were away to give her an opportunity to rest and recover from this exhausting journey. Their home was on the water in Newport Beach, California. When we walked up to the house, we were amazed at how beautiful and peaceful it was. It was not on the beach with all the tourists and bicycles but on Newport Shores where it was quiet and restful.

She began to regain her strength as we went for short walks along the water. As the days went by, she felt more ambitious and determined to walk further. By the end of our stay she was walking all the way from the house to the pier and back. It felt like we were on an extended vacation even though we were only thirty miles from home.

On several occasions over the years other friends have shared their cabins in the mountains east of Los Angeles. My wife was a school teacher and after the end of a busy school year, we often went to the mountains to get out of the foggy June Gloom and enjoy the blue skies and warm sunshine. Our wedding anniversary was also in June so this provided a perfect setting to rest and celebrate together. When our children were younger, a friend loaned us his motorhome for our family vacation.

We are so thankful for the people who have shared so much with us. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share” (First Timothy 6:17-18).

You may not think of yourself as rich but I am confident that you do have things that you can share with others. You may have a mountain cabin, a beach house or a motorhome. You may have an extra car or some tools that you can lend. You may have experience, knowledge or skills that you can share with others. Let me encourage you to watch for an opportunity to share some things you have with neighbors, friends or people in need. You will be glad you did and they will too!

Pastor’s Corner: Navigation

By Mark Hopper

I grew up during the Space Race of the 1960’s as America and Russia worked furiously to be the first to land a man on the moon. It was an amazing time in our nation’s history. Apollo 8 was the first time men orbited the moon and Apollo 11 was the first landing of men on the moon in 1969. America won the Space Race.

It is hard to believe that was fifty years ago. In 2019 I enjoyed reading several books and watching TV documentaries and movies about both of those remarkable moments. One of the things that caught my attention was how essential reliable navigation was to the success of those missions. I learned that the American astronauts were required to memorize the locations of a number of stars and constellations. Even though they had computers and sophisticated navigational equipment the astronauts knew they could rely on the locations of constellations and stars to chart their course to and from the moon.

I have read that Polynesians used the stars to navigate their way across the vast Pacific Ocean. They rested in the day and paddled and sailed by night aiming toward certain stars and constellations. The European explorers like Henry the Navigator from Portugal and other nations used the location of the sun and the stars to identify their location and chart their courses, too. They knew the locations of the stars were predictable and reliable in ancient times and they still are today. Now we have GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) to chart the paths for ships, aircraft and our own automobiles. These provide a reliable source for navigation and travel.

The Bible says that God created the universe. He placed the sun, moon, earth and stars in their places. The planets follow predictable orbits and the location of the stars are consistent and trustworthy. The Bible says, “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens – who created all of these? God calls each of the stars by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).

Let me encourage you to reflect on the beauty and order of the stars in the sky. When you see a beautiful full moon rising up in the eastern horizon I hope it reminds you of the regularity of the seasons and the reliability of each day and month. Give thanks to God who created the world we enjoy. You will be glad you did and He will too!

Pastor’s Corner: Meet the President

By Mark Hopper

Recently my wife and I were traveling to Texas to meet some friends in San Antonio. Our flight on Southwest airlines took us to Dallas first and then we waited at Love Field for our short flight to San Antonio. After we found our departure gate we noticed a familiar looking person in the waiting area. I had just seen his picture in the Southwest Airline magazine on our last flight. It was Gary Kelly – the president of Southwest. He was going on the same flight we were to San Antonio.

I wasn’t sure it was him until I introduced myself and my wife and asked if he really was Gary Kelly. He greeted us warmly and assured us he was the guy in the magazine and he was glad to take a picture with us. I told him we loved Southwest Airlines and we had been flying Southwest since the time it began in Dallas when I was a graduate student in Dallas in 1971. I enjoyed our brief conversation and told him how much we appreciated the way Southwest has personally helped us on several occasions. I told him we had recently flown on one of the new Southwest flights to Hawaii a few months ago.

He was very gracious and gave the credit to the airlines’ helpful employees. As we prepared to board our flight I noticed Gary and his wife were in line with all the other passengers. He did not request or expect special or preferential treatment. I suspect most of the passengers on our flight had no idea that the president of the airline was flying with us. I have enjoyed reading many of Gary’s articles in the Southwest magazine. Many times he has stressed Southwest’s philosophy of customer service. I am confident he models being a servant leader and putting the needs of others ahead of his own. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Jesus did not come to be served but to serve others and give his life for us” (Mark 10:45). Let me encourage you to watch for opportunities to serve people around you – in your company, your community and on your school campus. They will be glad you did and you will too.

Pastor’s Corner: The “Otel”

Pastor Mark Hopper of eFree Church in Diamond Bar

By Mark Hopper

In golf they have a term called a “Mulligan” which allows a player to hit another shot. It is like a “do over” after you hit a really bad one. Can you remember a time in your life where you wish you could rewind the clock or calendar and do something over? A few years ago, my wife and I were invited to attend a wedding north of Santa Barbara. She had recently finished chemotherapy so we decided to drive half way to the wedding, spend the night at a hotel and drive the rest of the way the next day.

I looked online and found a few hotels near Ventura. One looked nice and had a view of the harbor. There was also an Embassy Suite in the area on the beach where I had attended a pastor’s conference, but it was twice the price. I reserved the harbor one.

When we arrived a few days later, we were very disappointed. The paint was pealing, the TV in the room looked like it was from the 1950’s and the view of the harbor wasn’t like the website!

After we unpacked, I suggested we drive over to show my wife the conference site at the Embassy Suite. It was gorgeous with flowing waterfalls, an impressive lobby and an ocean view. The contrast was devastating. I felt terrible. I checked to see if they still had any rooms but they were double what we saw online. Why didn’t I book the Embassy Suite when I had the chance?  Why did I trust the website and select the hotel by the harbor? I wished I could have a Mulligan. As we drove back to our hotel we noticed the sign on the building was missing the letter “H” – it read “otel”.  It was clear I had made the wrong choice.

I’m sure that all of us have done something or said something that we wish we could “do over”. Thankfully, the Bible says God is willing to forgive us for our sins and mistakes. He is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and kindness (Psalm 103:8 / Jonah 4:2).  He is the God of the second chance. He gives us “do overs” we don’t deserve! Thankfully my wife was gracious and forgiving, too. I hope I don’t make this mistake again and hope you don’t either.  When in doubt, go with the Embassy Suite and not the “otel”. You will be glad you did!

This article was written by Pastor Mark Hopper of Efree Church of Diamond Bar. Sunday Services are held at 9:00 am & 10:45 am at 3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd. You can contact the church at 909.594.7604 or visit them online at Efreedb.org

Pastor’s Corner: Stand in Faith

“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong…”

1 Corinthians 16:13
Pastor Dennis Morales
Pastor Dennis Morales

By Pastor Dennis Morales

This is the final encouragement to a church from the Apostle Paul.  Paul planted the Corinthian church, but the church had issues that needed addressing.  The final comments to them is a calling to “stand fast.”  This is actually a military term meaning to “hold your position” or “to refuse to be defeated.”  There is to be no retreat. Paul is encouraging the Corinthian church to remain strong in the faith because opposition will come.  Trials will ensue.  Are you going through a time of drought?  Are you going through a time of discouragement?   Paul says, “stand firm and be brave.”  I believe we need to share this encouragement all the more today.   I am reminded how “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore, he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”   This Scripture says God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs (Daniel 1:8-9).  Under Babylonian rule, Daniel turned his back on the luxuries of the king’s court because eating defiled food would have been a compromise of his faith.  God honored Daniel’s stand and he earned the respect of the chief of the eunuchs, because Daniel’s courage impressed him.   Daniel stood for God and was strong.  He didn’t seek man’s approval, but God’s will.   If we allow ourselves to be dissuaded from doing anything unless we have complete approval, it almost assured we will never accomplish anything of value. Instead of being discouraged by opposition, we should take comfort in (God’s faithfulness) and keep on doing what is right. Whatever you find yourself up against today, remember that “one,” with God, is the majority.   “If God is for “you” who can stand against you (Romans 8:31).  He sees what you don’t see.  Faith is trusting and believing God.  God does the impossible (Matthew 19:26).

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets Sundays 8:30 and 10:30am / Wednesdays 7pm @ Clara Barton Elementary (calvaryeastvale.org)

Worry Not

Pastor Dennis Morales,
Calvary Chapel Eastvale

By Pastor Dennis Morales

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”

Philippians 4:6-7

A recently licensed pilot was flying his private plane in a cloudy day. He was not very experienced in instrument landing. When the control tower was to bring him in, he began to get panicky. Then a stern voice came over the radio, “You just obey instructions, we’ll take care of the obstructions.”  The devil likes to keep our eyes on the obstructions.  These obstructions lead to a stress filled life. 

It’s no secret.  We are a stressed-out society today.  The American Institute of Stress (yes this is real), states that 77% of people in the US regularly express physical symptoms due to stress.  We’re constantly moving, going from one thing to another, from one worry to another. Stress has a tendency to grip or paralyze a life and steal us of joy.  We rush, we stress, we get frustrated, we feel unaccomplished, we feel depressed.  All are signs of worry.  Worry can be overcome.  Jesus encouraged us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).  The first step to defeating worry is to put God first among other options.   What’s the next step?  Communicate with God.  Prayer recently has been scientifically proven to have an effect on brain activity.  Dr. Andrew Newberg of Thomas Jefferson Hospital has been studying the effect of prayer on the human brain for more than 20 years, injecting radioactive dye into subjects and watching what changes inside their heads when they pray.  These changes, says Newberg, are signs of the power of prayer to heal. Said Newberg, “We see not only changes in the activity levels, but in different neurotransmitters, the chemicals in our brain.”  Funny how God already knew this.  Scripture says that prayer will also bring God’s peace, which is the most fulfilling peace. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets Sundays 8:30 and 10:30am/Wednesdays 7pm @ Clara Barton Elementary 7437 Corona Valley Ave. Eastvale.  (calvaryeastvale.org). 

Roaring or Running?

Pastor Tim Eaton,
Edgewater Lutheran Church

By Pastor Tim Eaton

There is an old adage about the instinct to fight or flight.  It suggests that when something challenging comes into our life we will react in one of two predetermined ways.  I believe that you are not necessarily a runner or a fighter, but different stimulus will create a different response.  Maybe your child is being bullied or not given a fair shake at school.  Would your blood boil?  Maybe you feel someone is trying to cheat you on a home or car repair.  Will the angry lion come out?

But how does Mr. Powerful Lion respond to things that overwhelm him?  Perhaps you have some debts that are looming over you.  Or is there a hard conversation you need to have with someone you care about?  What does running look like for you?  Is it retail therapy? Long hours working on anything but the elephant in front of you?

Proverbs 28:1 instructs us: “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”  So, we don’t want to run from challenges.  But roaring like a child’s tantrum isn’t much better.  What option is left?  The bold, young David said this: “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine,” (1 Samuel 17:37), With trust in Jesus, we can grow in the face of challenges and rise to meet them.

This summer, help your kids grow to meet the challenges of life.  Edgewater’s “ROAR” Vacation Bible School is a great place to start!  With free dinner every night, it might be a week without roaring or running for you!  It all happens June 10 – 14 from 5 – 7:30 p.m. at Harada Elementary School.  Save your spot now at EdgewaterEastvale.org.

Pastor Tim Eaton, Edgewater Lutheran Church, Sundays at 10am, Harada Elementary,12884 Oakdale Street, Eastvale, CA  92880, http://www.EdgewaterLutheran.org