Tag Archives: Efree Church of Diamond Bar

Slippery Stickers

By Mark Hopper

Recently I took one of my grandchildren to one of my favorite fast food restaurants.  She loves the french fries and I love the burgers.  Yummm!

 

The nice lady at the cash register took our order and then handed a page of stickers to my granddaughter.  This small page of stickers keeps the younger customers busy while the burger and fries are being prepared.

 

However, this small page of stickers was actually slippery.  I know that sticky and slippery are opposites, but this page of stickers kept getting away from us.  It started when we stopped at the Ketchup dispenser to fill up some small cups with Ketchup to use on our French fries.

 

After we sat down at a table, I noticed that the page of stickers was missing.  Where did it go?  It seemed like it had just slipped out of her hands. I retraced our steps and discovered we had left it by the Ketchup dispenser.

 

We really did enjoy my hamburger and her french fries.  They were a tasty treat.  But, as we got up to go back to our car, I noticed that the stickers were missing again.  Where did they go this time?  I glanced back to where we were sitting and saw them on the floor under our table.  I was able to go back and rescue our slippery stickers again.

 

When we got home, my granddaughter proudly showed my wife her sticker page.  We encouraged her to take them home and show them to her parents.   When our daughter picked up our granddaughter, I made sure that the stickers got into their car.

 

However, the next day, the slippery stickers were missing again.  My granddaughter thought she had left the stickers at our house, but I was sure I put them in their car.  Later in the day, our daughter called to say that the stickers were found on the floor at their house.  They really were slippery stickers!

 

I don’t know what slips through your fingers or what you tend to misplace, but I think there are a lot of “slippery” things in each of our lives. Some people misplace their cell phones.  Other people can never find their car keys.  My wife seems to frequently misplace her glasses. All things that we use and take for granted.

 

I’m guilty of the same thing.  I often can’t find my wallet or appointment book.  I can’t remember where I put them down and I have trouble finding them, too!  They are almost as slippery as those stickers!

 

There is an account in the Bible where an axe slips out of the hands of a worker and sinks to the bottom of a stream.  The axe was borrowed and the borrower was responsible to return the item to its owner.  You would be surprised at how God restores the slippery axe to the one who borrowed it in Second Kings 6:1-7.

 

My suggestion is that you keep a close eye and a tight grip on those things that really are valuable.  Hold your loved ones tight and keep your friends close.  Don’t let them slip out of your life.  They will be glad you did and you will too.

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Strong Feather

By Mark Hopper

I have probably written about this in the past, but I was reminded of it again when my wife and I were in Arizona recently.

 

My wife and I grew up in the Phoenix area in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  We actually met during our freshman year at Scottsdale High School.  We have many fond memories of Arizona and it is nice to go back to visit family members and reconnect with old friends.

 

Early one morning, I went for a walk along some green belts that meander through the neighborhood where we were staying.  These tree lined concrete trails are perfect for bicycles and casual walkers.

 

These paths are peaceful and relaxing teeming with birds and other wildlife as they enjoy these shady areas too.  The desert Doves sing in the early morning and there are usually cotton tail rabbits enjoying the abundant grass.

 

Other people get up early to enjoy the cooler morning air and take their pets for a walk before it gets too hot.  Daytime temperatures were over 100 degrees when we were in Arizona. One day the temperature reached 109!

 

My favorite sight to see on my early morning walks was the Gamble Quail.  They are very graceful with their slim size and red top knot on their head.  One morning, I saw a mommy Quail escorting 2-3 small babies as they crossed the path in front of me. I think they were looking for breakfast.  Those little ones looked so tiny but they kept up with their siblings as their mother watched over them.

 

One of the reasons I love the desert Quail is because my father wrote a book about a family of Quail in Scottsdale.  When he jogged along the canal bank years ago, he observed the activity of a covey of Quail near a horse corral.  The Quail were always busy in the early morning and early evening, but they sought shade and shelter from the hot desert sun during mid-day.

 

His book is titled, “Strong Feather – The story of the last Covey in Indian Bend Wash”. Strong Feather is a young Quail who goes from childhood games to leading the covey to safety as urban sprawl threatens his family’s survival.  Children and adults enjoy the adventures of Strong Feather and his fellow Quail.

 

Radio personality Paul Harvey actually featured the book at the end of one of his daily broadcasts. Paul Harvey shared that when he was in the 3rd grade, his teacher read a few pages from a good book at the end of every school day.  He liked “Strong Feather” so much that he said, “Every third-grade teacher must share this book with her last class of the day”. I agree!

 

Whenever my wife and I see a Quail, we think of my dad.  He worked as a writer for several newspapers, UPI and a large bank in Phoenix.  His typing skills transferred well into being a telegraph operator in World War Two. He was a writer at heart. Maybe that is why I am still writing today. It must be in our family’s DNA!

 

Next time you see a Quail in your travels, I hope it will put a smile on your face.  If you need a good book to read to your children, you might look on line or at your local library for a copy of “Strong Feather” by Richard Hopper.  You will be glad you did and I will too!

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

Diamond Bar, CA 91765

Sunday services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Baby Birds

By Mark Hopper

I have written several articles over the years about the birds that build nests and raise new babies at our house.  My initial reaction is that they are messy and they don’t clean up after themselves!  Bird’s nests would never pass inspection by the health department.

 

In addition, they infringe on our outdoor activities.  When I want to work in the back yard or clean the patio, I have to be extra careful to not disturb our feathered guests.

 

On several occasions, we have found nests that have been abandoned with small eggs inside. I think that my lawn mower and other outdoor activities have frightened the parents away and left the eggs unattended.

 

But, I must admit that we actually do enjoy seeing new baby birds at our house.  It is fun to hear their voices early in the morning and to see the flurry of activity as their parents continuously bring food to the nest throughout the day.

 

Back and forth, back and forth the mommy and daddy birds keep bringing food all day long.  The little babies keep demanding more food.  It seems like they are never satisfied.

 

Two of our grandchildren were at our house last week.  They loved standing at the window inside the house and watching the constant activity on our patio.  It is more entertaining than watching TV.

 

It is remarkable to watch the new born babies grow. We think there are two or maybe three small birds in the nest this year.  It looks like they are running out of room as the babies get bigger every day.

 

There is a verse in the Bible that uses the image of hungry babies who have an insatiable appetite.  The Apostle Peter wrote in his first letter, “Like newborn babies, hunger for the pure milk of the Word, so that you may grow in respect to salvation since you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (I Peter 2:2-3).

 

I think Peter is saying that if we have had tasted God’s kindness in our own lives, we should have an insatiable appetite to get to know Him more and more by reading His Word.

 

Have you ever started reading a book and enjoyed it so much you “couldn’t put it down”?  I mentioned in a recent article how much I enjoyed the book, ”Wonder”.  I couldn’t put it down!  I wanted to know what would happen next.

 

I believe the Bible is that kind of book – once you start reading, you want to know what will happen next. And, don’t just read it once. Read it again and again.  The Bible provides spiritual strength and practical lessons that never get old.  I always recommend that you start reading in the book of Mark in the New Testament.  Then try Matthew or John and the book of Acts.  The Bible is a library with sixty six books. Start in Mark – that’s my name!

 

I hope you enjoy reading and learning.  I hope you will instill a love of books in your children.  Read to them when they are young and teach them to read while they are young.  Reading is something they will enjoy the rest of their lives.

 

And, let me encourage you to read the Bible, too.  Read it to your children when they are young and model it for your children as they grow up.  You will be glad you did and they will too!

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

efreedb.org

 

Hats

By Mark Hopper

I was sitting on a park bench a while ago and I noticed that I was the only person wearing a hat!  There I was enjoying a little snack in this open pedestrian area watching people go by and it dawned on me that no one was wearing a baseball cap except me.

 

This pedestrian shopping area was in a Central European country.  The spring weather was great.  There were blue skies, a cool breeze and plenty of sunshine.  It was pleasant, peaceful settings as I relaxed by myself and watched the world go by. But, the only one wearing a hat was me!

 

I started to watch more carefully.  Was this really true?  Was I really the only one among dozens of shoppers that was wearing a hat?  Finally, I noticed a man and woman walking in my direction.  The man was wearing a baseball cap.  Finally, I thought to myself, people do wear hats in this country.  But, as they got closer to me, I noticed the woman had something in her hand.  She was carrying a map.  Then I realized they were tourists just like me!

 

Slowly I began to realize that people who live in this European country don’t wear baseball type hats.  No one!  And because I had my baseball cap on, I stuck out like a sore thumb.  I suspect people were looking at me thinking – this guy is a tourist.  He is wearing a hat!

 

There is an interesting passage in the Bible in Mark chapter 14.  Jesus instructs two of his disciples to go into the city of Jerusalem and make preparations to celebrate the annual Passover meal.  When these two disciples ask him where they should go, he told them to look for a man who is carrying a pot of water on his head and follow him the to place Jesus had reserved.

 

This clandestine encounter always seemed to me like it was out of a Spy movie.  “Look for your contact at the Train Station – they will be wearing a red carnation”.  Jesus told his disciples to follow the man carrying water.  Jesus had reserved an upper room so he and his followers could enjoy the Last Supper alone and undisturbed.  He wanted to get away from the crowds and his critics.  He knew the Cross was only hours away.

 

Why the man with the water pot?  Because, in Bible times the women were usually who would go to the well to get water.  In the culture in Israel, the men did not carry the water.  When the two disciples went into the city, they would easily notice the man with the water pot on his head.  He would stick out just like an American tourist wearing a baseball cap in a European city.

 

Our country and our community are a blend of many different cultures.  This diversity of cultures and customs enriches our community and provides us with a remarkable opportunity to experience and appreciate cultures from around the world.  The world has come to us!

 

I don’t know if you wear a baseball cap or if you transport water in a particular way.  But, I hope you will take time to observe and enjoy the diversity of cultures in our community.   You will be glad you did and they will, too.

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Watch for Camels

By Mark Hopper

We saw a lot of camels on our recent trip to Israel.  We saw some camels at tourist stops where people could pay the owner five dollars to sit on a one and get their picture taken. We also saw a lot of camels on the hillsides as we rode down the highway on our tour bus.

 

I frequently noticed a sign along the highway that made me smile.  We have similar signs along our highways and interstates that have a picture of an animal.  These signs don’t need words on them – the picture says it all.

 

We have some of these signs in Diamond Bar with an image of a deer on it.  In other words, it is warning drivers to be careful and “Watch for Deer”.  I have seen other signs in the mountains with a picture of an Elk or Bear which means – “watch out for local wildlife” on the highway.

 

I must admit, I have never seen a sign along any highway with the picture of a Camel.  But I did in Israel.  These signs were everywhere, especially in the vast desert areas in the southern part of the country.  Apparently, camels do sometimes wander out onto the highway.  Roadside signs warn drivers to be careful and watch out for camels on or near the highway.

 

Just seeing the signs made me smile.  I laughed to myself as I imagined seeing a sign like that in our country.  I doubt if you will ever see one even as you drive across the desert to Phoenix or Las Vegas.  Caution – watch for camels, seems pretty unlikely in our country.

 

The Bible has some warning signs, too.  The authors of the Bible warn us to not covet neighbor’s possessions and to not lie and to not steal.  We call these commandments – like the Ten Commandments in Exodus chapter 20.

 

These commandments are warning signs on the highway of life.  They try to alert us that there are dangers and consequences ahead if we ignore the warning signs.

 

Parents try to alert their children of the hazards and dangers that may be in their future.  Teens will be tempted by drugs, drinking and reckless behavior that can be harmful to their lives and the lives of others.  Wise parents try to warn their children and teens of temptations and dangers ahead.

 

We post signs to alert children and adults of the risks of swimming in the ocean or in a hotel pool.  Warning – no life guard on duty.  Caution – rip currents.  The warning signs are there to protect us from unseen or unexpected dangers.

 

You may not encounter any camels on your next road trip, but let me encourage you to pay attention to the signs along the highway. There are real dangers ahead as you drive down a vast interstate highway or a windy mountain road.  Stay alert and heed the warning signs.  And, watch for camels, too! You will be glad you did and others will too!

 

Pastor Mark Hopper, Efree Church of Diamond Bar, 3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd, 909-594-7604, Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM, Efreedb.org

 

Indiana Jones Was Here

By Mark Hopper

Some of my favorite movies are the ones with Harrison Ford as the lead actor “Indiana Jones”.  His first adventure was the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and another one was “The Last Crusade”.

I know that Disneyland has an Indiana Jones ride which is a lot of fun.  But, recently, my wife and I got to see the actual location of the closing scene of the “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” movie.

The location is in the mountains of southern Jordan in the city of Petra.  The word “Petra” means rock in Greek.  Petra was an important city along a couple of trade routes in ancient times.  Traders going north from the Red Sea would pass through Petra.  And, caravans going east and west would pass through here, too.

Petra has a number of building facades that are carved into the red sand stone in a narrow canyon.  Petra is listed as one of the seven man-made wonders of the ancient world along with places like the Taj Majal and the Great Wall of China.

The scene in the Indiana Jones movie is in front of what is called the Treasury building.  It is not actually a building, just the face of a building.  I don’t remember the demnsions but it must be at least 75-100 feet high.  This huge facade was carved out of the face of a cliff in Petra with hammer and chisel.  I don’t know how long it took the workmen to make this, but it is remarkable.

In our country we have Mt. Rushmore with the faces of four presidents.  It took a number of years to carve this imposing memorial.  They used pneumatic jack-hammers and other power tools to create Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills of western South Dakota.  It is definitely worth seeing this man-made monument to some of our nation’s greatest leaders.

Petra is an even more remarkable man-made project created by people who did not have the power tools or modern technology that we have today. They basically used hammer and chisel to create this imposing project.  The workmanship and details are amazing.  It was a wonderful experience to see it in person.

There is a verse in the Bible that says, “We are God’s workmanship” (Ephesisians 2:10).  In the Living Bible it says, “It is God Himself who has made us what we are and He has given us new lives from Christ Jesus…and He planned that we should spend these lives helping others”.  God did not carve us out of stone, but he created us as living beings so that we would serve Him and serve others.

Places like Petra and Mt. Rushmore are remarkable to see and admire.  But, people like you and me have gifts and abilities from God to serve Him and others.  We were created to be living proof of a loving God.  I hope you will look for opportunities this week to serve God and serve others.  They will be glad you did and you will too!

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Three Cheers for the Postman

By Mark Hopper

 

I suspect that the employees at the post office are the recipients of a lot of criticism.   I know I have voiced my frustration about the long lines and slow service at the post office in the past.  Maybe you have too.

 

I am sure that they hear many comments and words of criticism that are unkind and undeserved.  Customers are always in a hurry and it seems like the lines moves slowly at the post office.  I’m sure that the postal employees have a thankless task as they try to serve the needs of impatient customers.

 

However, I want to go on record and express my appreciation for the people at the post office in Diamond Bar.  I was pleasantly surprised by the shorter lines and positive service.  They deserve some recognition for their hard work.

 

We tend to ship things overseas several times a year.  Birthdays and holidays required sending small packages with special gifts for wonderful grandchildren and family members.

 

My wife does most of the shopping.  She asks our daughters who live overseas what the grandkids need or want for their birthdays or Christmas.  They provide some helpful ideas and she sets out to find the right gift for each grandchild.

 

Sometimes, we order gifts online and have them shipped directly to their homes.  Amazon, FedEx and UPS all offer delievery overseas.  Many of the items are already in Europe, we just have to track them down and order the desired items.

 

But, some gifts need to be purchased locally and shipped overseas.  We have found that shipping them through the local post office is most coat effective.  Don’t misunderstand, the price to ship even a small box to Europe is pretty high.  But, our post offfice has a pretty good record getting our packages to their oversea destination on time.

 

We have a very diverse community in Diamond Bar.  People who live here are from all over the world.  And, these wonderful people send letters and packages to their friends and families all over the world.  I have seen postal employees patiently assist people from many different countries.  They have helped me on a number of occasions to get our packages to our families in other parts of the world.

 

I hope you will exercise more patience the next time you go to the Post Office.  And, I hope you will express your appreciation to the postal workers, too.  They will be glad you did and you will too.  Three cheeers for the people who work at the Post Office.

 

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efree DB.org

 

30 Years (Part One)

By Mark Hopper

Thirty years is a long time. It is almost a third of a century. But, that is how long we have lived in Diamond Bar, California. I began my new job as the pastor of our church on June 1, 1988 – 30 years ago. My wife and kids stayed in Arizona waiting for our house to sell while I began work at the church. I lived by myself in a condo near Pathfinder and Diamond Bar Blvd.  The condo belonged to a widow who was in poor health and she was living with her family. So I was on my own for about six weeks.

Although I missed my family during that time, I had a lot of time to get to know the community and people in the church.  I was able to visit most of the church families and several of them invited me to dinner in their homes.  In addition, I enjoyed delicious chocolate chip cookies and other snacks that came to my door during those days.

When our house finally sold in Arizona, I flew home to pack up and move to California.  With four kids and a four bedroom house, we had a lot of stuff to move.  We rented a U-Haul Truck – the biggest they made towing the biggest trailer they made!  Friends in Arizona helped us load everything in to the truck and trailer and new friends in California helped us unload it.  We could not have done it without their help.

We moved into the Daisy apartments (now the Hillside apartments) on Grand Avenue across from the Fire station.  We unloaded some things into this two bedroom apartment, but most of our things would need to be put in storage.  When I drove this giant truck and trailer down the exit driveway, it got stuck.  The trailer hitch got caught on the pavement and the back wheels of the truck were lifted off the ground.  The truck was stuck and we couldn’t move!  It was quite a sight.

I ran over to the fire station and asked for help, but they didn’t know what to do either.  Finally, I called the U-Haul hot line and they sent a tow truck from Sana Ana to help.  The tow truck driver hitched a heavy chain on to the front bumper of the truck. The firemen blocked oncoming traffic and the tow truck dragged us down the driveway and on to Grand Avenue while I was sitting in the truck using the brakes so I wouldn’t hit the tow truck in front of me.  It was a memorable start to our new life in Diamond Bar.

Our life at the Daisy apartment was fun.  It felt like we were on vacation.  It was a little crowded with four kids and two adults, but it had a pool, spa and tennis court.  I would go to work each day and my wife and kids enjoyed “vacation” at the Daisy apartments!

I usually took Monday as my day off, so we began to go to the beach on Mondays.  We usually went to Newport Beach and we usually stopped at Thrifty Drug store to get a scoop of ice cream on the way to the beach.  This became a weekly routine. Eventually the kids began to invite friends to come with us. The summer of ‘88 was a summer to remember.

In the first book in the Bible (Genesis) there is the record of Abraham leaving his home in Ur near the Persian Gulf and traveling to a land called Canaan (Israel).  The Bible says that Abraham went in faith, following the call of God on his life.  Abraham packed up his family and his possessions and traveled to a land he had never seen before.  It was a journey of faith.

We packed up our family and our possessions and traveled to a community we had never heard of called Diamond Bar.  It was a journey of faith for us too.  We are thankful that the Lord led us to this special community and to this special church.

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45

 

The Final Four

By Mark Hopper

The Final Four championship of the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament was held in San Antonio, Texas a few weeks ago in the huge Alamo Dome. I actually attended the Final Four At that same location about 20 years ago.  It was a great experience that I still remember. Unfortunately, my favorite college teams were not there then and they were not there again this year.

One of my favorite memories from my Final Four experience was the plane ride back home to California. I had traveled with a couple of college basketball coaches. We flew on my favorite airline – Southwest. Twenty years ago, some of the Southwest planes had seats that faced each other. We ended up in the back of the plane facing three other gentlemen flying back to LA.

We had a fascinating conversation with the men sitting across from us. One of them had actually played basketball for USC many years earlier. His name was David Price. After college and law school, he eventually developed a business managing golf courses. He was the owner of American Golf. His company owned or managed over 200 golf courses across the country!

He was a quiet and unassuming man. I would have never guessed that the man sitting across from me in the back of a crowed airplane owned and managed golf courses. I even asked him why he didn’t have his own plane? He said that he did at one time but it wasn’t very cost effective.

We not only talked about his business success, we also talked about his personal life and faith. He shared with us how he had become a follower of Jesus through the influence of some teenagers that he met at a local gym.

He also shared a story of how he was led to invest some of his wealth in a new Christian school that was starting in Thousand Oaks. Some friends had challenged him to contribute to this project, but he saw no reason to help build a school. His children were already grown. Why should he help?

Eventually, he did contribute to the cause. Today, Oaks Christian High School is one of the athletic powerhouses in Southern California. And, although his own children were too old to attend, eventually some of his grandchildren did!

When we finally arrive back in LA, he gave me one of his business cards and invited me to play a round of golf at one of his courses. He instructed me to call his secretary and she would arrange it.

A few days later, I wrote him a thank you note and told him how much I enjoyed our conversation.  I also told him that my father in law was a golfer and was coming to LA. I shared with Mr. Price that what I would really love to do would be to play a round of golf with him and my father in law.

He wrote back and thanked me for my note and expressed how much he enjoyed our conversation on the airplane, too. However, he didn’t think my idea would work out because although he owned and managed many golf courses across the country – he didn’t play golf! Amazing!

You may not be a golfer either, but I hope you are a follower of Jesus. Young and old, wealthy and poor – everyone is welcome to follow Him!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 Am

Efreedb.org

 

Wedding Season

By Mark Hopper

Spring has traditionally been the season for weddings. I often tell people that some of the happy parts about being a pastor are weddings and babies.  And, some of the sad parts about being a pastor are deaths and divorce.

I have two requirements for doing a wedding – come to church and come to counseling. I encourage each couple to come to church together regularly before their wedding. In many cases, these couples already attend our church.  Some actually met their fiancée at our church!

Sometimes I am asked to do a wedding for a couple in the community who do not attend our church. I actually enjoy this opportunity to get to know an engaged couples and I feel honored to lead their wedding ceremony.

When an engaged couple go to church together, they are developing and deepening their relationship with one another and with God. It is a healthy habit to develop early in their relationship and a habit that I hope they will maintain throughout their married life. I also encourage them to make time to pray together for one another and for their future.  When a couple prays together, they are revealing their inner thoughts, concerns and dreams.

I also require the engaged couple to commit to spend time with me in premarital counseling. I have used a number of different books and resources over the years to help these couples talk through various topics that will impact their marriage. Topics include communication, finances, expectations, money, intimate relations and more.

We usually meet together 4-5 times before the wedding. Each couple is expected to do a homework assignment on one of the topics listed above and then we discuss their thoughts and ideas together. I always remind them that the more time and effort they invest in this process the more they will benefit from it. Some couples work hard and “do their homework” while other couples only put in the minimum effort required. Some don’t realize the long term benefits that can come from premarital counseling.

We always spend a session planning and discussing the wedding ceremony. I enjoy hearing about what the bride and groom would like to include in their ceremony that makes it unique and special for them. Sometimes I am able to offer a suggestion, too.

I always use the Bible in premarital counseling and in the wedding ceremony itself. I believe that God created the institution of marriage and that the Bible has a lot to say about marriage.  In the very first book in the Bible, the author explains that God intended that “a man shall leave his father and mother and embrace his wife and the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:25). God’s plan is for the kids to grow up, get married and start a family of their own. It is both sacred and very special.

Weddings can be stressful for everyone involved. There are so many details to attend to and so many decisions that need to be made.  But, I always remind these hopeful couples that a wedding is a day of celebration for the lucky couple, their friends and their families. Don’t let the stress and pressure detract for the celebration. You will be glad you did and your family will be too!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Leftover Easter Eggs

By Mark Hopper

I have shared in previous articles how much my wife loves decorating our home during the various seasons of the year.  We have boxes and plastic storage tubs full of decorations for spring and fall, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I think we also have some patriotic decorations for the 4th of July.

Easter season has been a lot of fun this year.  One of the things that our young grandchildren like to do is hunt for Easter Eggs around our house.  I enjoy hiding the plastic eggs and love to watch them enjoy finding them.

We have also learned that hiding the eggs is just as much fun as finding the eggs. The four year old likes to hide the plastic eggs inside drawers and kitchen cabinets. The younger 15 month old likes to hide them in more conspicuous places like on a living room chair or on top of the coffee table.

The four year old likes to give hints about the location of the hidden eggs. She uses words like “you are getting warmer” and “you are getting colder” to help guide her younger sister and me to the hidden locations.

On the other hand, the younger one likes to actually show her older sister when she has hidden the eggs. She will walk right to the spot and pick up the egg and give it to her older sister.

It is a fun game to play inside or outside the house. It fills a lot of time and allows both girls to be creative in where they hide the plastic Easter Eggs.

However, one of the challenges of hiding and finding Easter Eggs is accounting for all of them.  After we play this game several times, we realize that some of the eggs are still missing.  I sometimes forget where I have hidden them and sometimes our granddaughters do too. Where did they go? Why haven’t we found all of them yet?

The other day, as we were going to bed, my wife and I discovered a plastic egg under our pillow. Another time, we found one behind the living room curtains. Leftover Easter Eggs keep popping up around our house days after the children had left.

Leftover Easter Eggs bring a smile to our faces and warms our hearts. When we come across a hidden egg, we are reminded of the special times we share with these two precious little girls.

I recommend that all grandparents keep a supply of plastic Easter Eggs year round. They provide a fun activity with little guests and create some memories that will last for a long time. You will be glad you did and they will too!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Planting Seeds

By Mark Hopper

I have an Aunt who lives in Des Moines Iowa. She was an elementary school teacher and principal for many years. Now she is retired and in her 90’s. We were able to visit her when my wife and I went to see the Solar Eclipse in the mid-west last summer.

We enjoyed our conversations with her and learned a lot about my family roots in a small town outside of Des Moines called Boone, Iowa.  She told us stories about my grandmother and about life in Iowa.

One thing that she shared with us was her tradition of planting tomato seeds in small containers in her house in Iowa in February. She often saved seeds from the previous years, dried them out and planted them in the late winter. It was too cold in Iowa to plant the seeds outdoors, so she started them in her house and set them in the kitchen window sill to get plenty of sunlight.

So in her honor, I decided to do the same thing here in our house in California. I saved some seeds from one of last year’s tomatoes and dried them out in our garage. In early February, I planted the seeds in a little plastic “tray” that had six small compartments, like the ones you buy at the local home improvement store.

I got some soil from my garden, planted one or two seeds in each compartment and waited to see what would happen. I was so excited to see that at least one seed in each little compartment sprouted! It was fascinating to see tiny, thin plants emerge from the moist soil. The first little spouts were as thin a hair. Then a two tiny leaves emerged over the next few days and these little plants begin to grow bigger.

It was a slow process. But each day I would check on these little plants to see how much they had grown each day. I was excited to show these little tomato plants to our grandchildren when they would come to visit our house each week. I think they were excited too.

Unfortunately, I decided to add a little fertilizer to these fragile plants. I think that was a mistake. Over the next few days, I notice some of the tiny tomatoes plants began to look unhealthy. I think I may have over done it a little.

Since my wife and I were scheduled to go out of town for a few days, we sent to small tray of tomato plants home with the grandkids. When we returned the next week, only one plant had survived. Bummer.

But, one living plant is more than we had last winter and even one tomato plant can produce a large crop. I suspect that we will go to the home improvement store or local nursery and purchase some additional plants for the coming season, but I am hopeful that my one little friend will produce a bumper crop of tasty tomatoes this year.

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Christians he says, “One plants, another waters, but God causes it to grow’ (First Corinthians 3:6-7). The miracle of life seems to be conclusive evidence of the existence of God.  One small, tiny seed can grow into a healthy plant and produce fruit that in turn contains dozens of seeds for the next season. And another crop! Amazing!

Let me encourage you to get busy and plant some seeds this spring. Watch the miracle of life emerge from the soil and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Why not plant some seeds in honor of my Aunt?  I think you will be glad you did and I’m sure she will too!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond BAr Blvd

909-594-7604

Easter Sunday Services: 8:30 / 10:00 & 11:30 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Bumper Crop

By Mark Hopper

I always say that the nicest days in California are the days after it has rained. We have enjoyed some beautiful weather the past few weeks thanks to string of winter storms that brought blue skies, white puffy clouds and crystal clean air. It reminds you why Southern California is such a nice place to live.

The rain also causes our hillsides to turn green. We get accustomed to the brown scenery most of the year. It is amazing to see the parched hillsides transformed with beautiful dark green vegetation. The snow capped peaks add a lovely contrast that makes the picture complete. Blue skies, green hillsides and fresh snow covered mountain tops complete the painting.

However, I have noticed that all the winter rain has also produced a bumper crop of dark green weeds in my garden. I think I pulled out more weeds from my garden this year than any in recent history. They were big, healthy weeds that covered most of my winter strawberry plants.

Many of these healthy weeds were six to eight inches high! Where did they come from? How did they grow so fast?  Who is responsible for this weed epidemic? I suppose I share most of the responsibility since I didn’t go out to the garden during the last few rain filled weeks. I’m sure that my absence and neglect contributed to the weed infestation.

It took me a couple of hours to pull all of the weeds out. It didn’t completely fill my “green” garbage can, but I was surprised at how much space it did fill up. Hopefully the trash company will appreciate my efforts and recycle all of this “green” material. It really was a bumper crop of weeds this year.

One problem with weeds is that they have seeds. They reproduce like rabbits and they keep coming back. Gardening is an unending struggle against the forces of nature. It is a fact of life that weeds produce seeds and those seeds keep producing more weeds!

Did you know that weeds are actually mentioned in the Bible? The early chapters of Genesis provide a remarkable account of how God created the world and the people, plants and animals that live on the earth. God provided food for all living things. But, when the man (Adam) disobeyed God, the man had to start raising his own food and so the struggle began – man verses weeds!

The Bible says, “The ground will sprout thorns and weeds, you will get your food the hard way, planting and tilling and harvesting, sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk” (Genesis 3:18-19 – from the Message Bible).

This is a helpful reminder. Our actions and decisions have consequences. When we do things that we know we should not do or when we don’t do things that we know we should do – there are consequences. When I neglect my garden, weeds gain a foothold and multiply. When I take time to tend my garden, the weeds are held at bay and we enjoy the fresh strawberries, tomatoes  and other vegetables.

This is true in our relationship with God and with other people. When we cultivate our relationships with God and others, we enjoy the benefits and blessings. When we neglect our relationship with God and others, we experience the consequences.

Let me encourage you to invest more of your time and energy in your relationship with God and with others. Don’t let the “weeds” get the upper hand. You will be glad you did and they will too!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Decorating For Easter

By Mark Hopper

One of my least favorite assignments is to “get the boxes down from the attic.”  I hear these words several times a year, when my wife wants to decorate our house for a new season.

 

The largest number of storage boxes contain Christmas decorations.  Most of these are stored on shelves in the garage.  There are fewer Fall decorations and these are stored in the attic space above the garage.

 

Each of these seasonal decorations contribute to the festive atmosphere in our house for a few weeks.   My job is to get them down and put them away again.

 

Now that Spring is coming, I heard those familiar words again recently.  My wife asked me if I would “get the Easter boxes down from the attic”.  There was a sense of urgency in her voice because two of our granddaughters were coming to our house and she wanted to let them help decorate.

 

I’m not sure who had more fun, the grandchildren or my wife.  These two young girls had a wonderful time discovering the variety of decorations in those boxes.  They couldn’t believe all the neat stuff that Grammy had collected.  They loved finding places to put the decorations all over our house.

 

I noticed the sparkle in my wife’s eye and the smile on her face as she watched the enthusiasm of her young assistants.  It was enjoyable to watch Grammy and her girls decorate our house for Easter.

 

I don’t know how the seasonal decorating goes on in your house, but I know it is important at our house.   My wife enjoyed it very much and so did her young helpers!

 

This year Easter will be on Sunday, March 27th.  Our church will be having three Easter Sunday services at 8:30, 10:00, and 11:30 a.m.  We will also have one service on Good Friday, March 25th, at 7:00 p.m.

 

Easter is the day when Christians around the world celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.  The Bible says that Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the dead to pay for our sins and to purchase a place for us in heaven.  I hope you will take time to celebrate Easter this year.  Get out those decorations.  Get up and go to church to celebrate that Jesus is alive!

 

If you don’t have a church home, we would be delighted to have you worship with us on Easter Sunday.   You will be glad you did and we will be too!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Easter Sunday Services: 8:30 / 10:00 / 11:30 AM

Efreedb.org

Impossible (Part 2)

By Mark Hopper

A few weeks ago, I shared that the foundation of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  Easter Sunday is the day that Christians around the world celebrate this important and remarkable event.

For many people it just seems impossible. Why would anyone believe that a dead person could come back to life three days after his public execution and death?

But, the Bible is very clear and specific.  Numerous biblical authors provide specific details that describe Jesus’ resurrection.

For me, the most convincing evidence is the testimony of the eyewitnesses who claim to have seen Jesus alive after his public execution. They claim to have seen and talked with him. They claim that he ate food and drank in front of their eyes. They touched him and spent time with him.

You can read many of the details in New Testament books like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the book of Acts. The Apostle Paul provides a list of specific times when people saw Jesus alive (First Corinthians 15). Both Peter and John refer to eyewitness accounts in their letters near the end of the New Testament.

These authors claim to have personally seen Jesus alive after his crucifixion and burial.  When they were warned by local authorities not to speak about Jesus’ resurrection, Peter and John said that they could not stop speaking about what they had personally seen and heard (Acts 5).  They were convinced that Jesus was alive. They wrote down what they saw and boldly told others what they had seen and heard.

Shortly after my wife and I bought our first new car, we went to dinner with some friends to a new restaurant in Claremont.

Parking was scarce, but we found an empty spot and carefully parked parallel to the curb. After dinner, we walked back to our car and started for home. My friend saw a piece of paper on the wind shield.  It looked like a parking ticket.

However, after we pulled over, my friend got out and retrieved the paper that was under the wind shield wiper. It wasn’t a ticket at all. It was a hand written note that informed us that my new car had been hit and damaged by a Foothill transit bus! A worker in a local bike shop had heard the crash and ran out of his shop to see what had happened. He wrote down the name and license plate number of the bus and left a note on my car window.

We called the police and they investigated the matter. They were able to confirm that the back bumper of the bus hit the front finder of my car. There were scratches on the bus and extensive damage to my car. We had not noticed the damage because it was so dark.

We would have never known what had happened to my new car on that dark winter night if the bicycle repairman had not seen the accident and left a written note on my wind shield. This eyewitness was the key to solving this mystery. If someone had not seen it and written down the name and license number, we would probably never know what had really happened.

I am convinced that Jesus literally rose from the dead because many eyewitnesses saw him alive after his death on the cross. Individuals saw him. Small groups of people saw him. At one time over 500 people saw Jesus alive at the same time. All of them were convinced that he really was alive.  He wasn’t just a ghostly image or a shadowy figure. He was real, physical and tangible.  They talked with him, ate with him and literally touched him after he rose from the dead.

This may seem impossible to many people, but I believe it is true. I hope you will dust off your Bible and carefully read the final chapters in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Read the testimonies and personal accounts in the book of Acts. Examine the evidence for yourself.

I hope you will attend a church near you on Easter Sunday, April 1st. Come and celebrate the most important event in history – the resurrection of Jesus. I believe you will be glad you did!  Happy Easter!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Easter Sunday Services: 8:30 / 10:00 / 11:30 AM

Efreedb.org

 

How Did I Get Here?

By Mark Hopper

I was sad when I heard the news that Billy Graham died.  He was 99 years old.  I never met the man, but he had a profound influence in my life and my family.

According to the news reports, Billy Graham spoke to over 200 million people who attended his crusades during his lifetime.  He preached in almost every country on our planet.  He preached to the Queen of England in her private Chapel and met many leaders around the world.

He personally met with every US President from Truman to Obama.  He advised and encouraged many of them during difficult times in our nation’s history.  Billy Graham spoke to the nation at the service in the National Cathedral in Washington, DC after the terrorist attacks on our nation in 2001.

When I was a young high school student, my parents and my brother and I attended a Billy Graham crusade at the Arizona State University football stadium in 1964.  I must admit that I didn’t pay attention to what he said that day, but I will always remember that at the end of the service, my mother got out of her seat and went down to the football field and put her faith in Jesus.

Don’t misunderstand; my parents were church going people.  They were good people.  But, the Bible teaches that each of us needs to personally decide for ourselves if we want to be a committed follower of Jesus.

In the Gospel of John chapter three, Jesus told a devout, religious scholar named Nicodemus that he needed to be “born again”.  Just like we all have a physical birthday, we also need to have a spiritual birthday – be “born again” (John 3:1-8). I believe that my mother’s spiritual birthday was the day she went down to the football field at Arizona State University in 1964.

My mother met a counselor on that football field that day.  The counselor encouraged my mom to start reading her Bible and to go back to church.  The counselor told my mother about a new church that had started in our town.  It was called Scottsdale Bible Church.  In 1964 the church met in a store front on Scottsdale Road.  A few years later they got a building of their own.

Through the influence of a wonderful pastor at Scottsdale Bible Church, Dr. James Borror and an energetic youth pastor named Sherrill Babb, my brother and I eventually came to faith in Christ, too.  It took our father a little longer to come to the conclusion that he needed to put his faith in Jesus but eventually he did, too.

When I heard about the death of this remarkable man, I was struck by the fact that I would probably not be where I am today if it wasn’t for Billy Graham.  My brother and I would probably not have become pastors.  Some of our children would probably not be serving on church staffs and as missionaries and Christian educators if it wasn’t for Billy Graham.   Through the words of one man who taught the Bible and preached the Gospel (Good News) our whole family was changed forever.

Most of us will probably never know how many people we influenced in our lifetime.  I doubt that Billy Graham could ever imagine how many people he influenced in his lifetime.  But, I do know his ministry and his words have impacted three generations of my family.  And, I’m thankful he did.

Let me encourage you to find the Billy Graham ministry website and learn more about this remarkable man.  I think you will be glad you did!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

Lost And Found

By Mark Hopper

You have read in my previous articles how much we enjoy getting to spend time with our grandchildren.  We usually babysit one day a week. They love to come to Grammy’s house and we love to have these special visitors.

In addition to playing with toys and baking muffins at our house, we usually take them out on an adventure.  Recently we went to the big Lowe’s home improvement store in Chino Hills.  My wife wanted our granddaughters to see the new potted plants and colorful flowers.  We then purchased some plant food to enrich some of the strawberry plants growing in our beautiful garden.

Our adventure also included a stop at Chick Fil A for some chicken nuggets and waffle fries.  Our older granddaughter already knew that she wanted a “Kid’s Meal”.  I think it had something to do with the toy that came with the meal.  Her little sister was glad to help eat the chicken nuggets and waffle fries, they each got a box of apple juice too.

When we got home after our outing, we got the kids out of their car seats, unloaded the diaper bag, grabbed their coats and got them into the house.  We took time to check the mail box – they always like to see if there is anything in the mail box!

The afternoon included some rest time.  We were hoping they would nap – we needed one!  But, a nap didn’t seem to be part of their plan.  Their mother picked them up after work and it was a nice day with our special visitors.

However, a few hours later when we decided to go out to dinner, we could not find the car key.  We had lost the original key a few months ago and paid quite a bit of money to replace it.  Now, we couldn’t find the new key…how responsible of us.

We looked everywhere for that key. We looked in the toy box,  in the car, under the sofa, under their car seats, we searched through my wife’s purse.  Where did the car key go?  I knew we had used the new key to drive the car earlier that day, so the key had to be somewhere but we couldn’t find it.

There is a passage in the Bible that includes three stories about a lost coin, a lost sheep and a lost son.  In each story in Luke chapter fifteen, Jesus explained that a “woman searched and swept her house until she found the lost coin.”  He also described how the shepherd left the ninety nine sheep to search for the one that was lost. And, he used the story of a lost son (the prodigal son) to reveal the heart of the father who watched patiently for his “lost son” to return home.

The common thread in these three parables was that they searched diligently for what was lost and they rejoiced greatly when it was found. We are like the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son.  God is like the determined woman, the searching shepherd and the loving father.  All of them celebrate when they found what was “lost”.

Our Heavenly Father never gives up on you and me.  He never left us – we strayed away from Him.  He longs for us to come back to Him.  The Bible says that Heaven rejoices when one “lost” sheep, coin or son is restored to fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

By the way, we finally found the lost key.  I sent an email to our daughter and asked her to look through the kid’s coats, snack box and the diaper bag.  She called and told us that she found the key in the diaper bag.  How did that happen?  I must have dropped the key into the diaper bag when we unloaded the car when we got home from our fun adventure.

Let me encourage you to dust off your Bible and read Luke chapter 15 for yourself.  And, let me encourage you to be more careful where you put your car keys, too!  You will be glad you did!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

Planning Ahead

By Mark Hopper

My wife and I will be celebrating our 47th anniversary soon.  That is a lot of anniversaries to celebrate and it is a lot of Valentine’s Days to remember, too.

You would think that we would have learned to plan ahead by now.  But that is not the case.  Sometimes things just come together at the last minute.  Valentine’s Day was a good example.

My wife and a girl friend began to make a plan for Valentine’s several weeks ahead.  But, as our wives looked on line at various restaurant possibilities they were surprised that most were already booked and did not have any openings available for Valentine’s Day dinner.  Bummer.

What should we do?  Where could we go to celebrate Valentine’s with our wives?  Finally, our wives found a nice restaurant with dinning available on Friday, two days after Valentine’s Day.  The husbands were willing to be flexible so we set our sights on February 16th for a late Valentine’s dinner.

However, I realized that my wife and I still needed something to do and some place to go on Valentine’s Day.  We talked about just grilling some steaks at home, but the weather was questionable.  Then I got the idea that maybe we should find a nice place for a late lunch and stay home for the evening.

When I called one of our favorite fancy restaurants to see if they had any openings for lunch on Valentine’s Day, the hostess said that she had just received a cancelation for a party of two for that night!  Would we be interested in that?  “Sure – that would be great!”  Suddenly we had a reservation for a very nice restaurant for Valentine’s Day!  How did that happen?

My wife was pleasantly surprised that we were not staying home or simply going out to lunch, but we were actually going to one of our favorite restaurants on Valentine’s Day!  Suddenly I looked like a genius instead of a goat!  The evening turned out great and we had a special Valentine’s dinner with a few dozen other lucky couples!

While we were at the restaurant, we saw some friends from our church.  We spoke to them briefly and asked them how long ago they had made their reservations for Valentine’s dinner.  Their answer was January 2nd!  Now that is good planning!  When they asked when we made our reservations, I reluctantly told them it was about eight hours ago.

There must be a lesson here.  Planning ahead isn’t always what it is cracked up to be.  Sometimes it just takes one more phone call to find the open door to a very nice restaurant on Valentine’s Day.  Hope your Valentine’s dinner was as nice as the one we enjoyed!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Impossible

By Mark Hopper

In C.S. Lewis’s famous book, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, there is a remarkable scene where the evil White Witch killed the powerful Lion named Aslan.  Aslan had willingly surrendered himself to the Witch.  She and her minions had bound, ridiculed and humiliated the Lion and she had personally killed him by plunging a dagger into his heart.

The wicked Witch had killed the mighty Aslan.  She had won, he had lost – or so it seemed.  Aslan’s friends had witnessed his execution from afar.  They had embraced his cold, dead body.  They wept as they walked away knowing their friend and leader was dead.

However, moments later the stone table where Aslan had been killed was shattered and Aslan’s body vanishes.  Those who witnessed his death are confused.  What happened?  What does this mean?  Where did Aslan go?

To their amazement, Aslan reappears alive.  He is no longer dead – he is alive again.  His followers are stunned.  But, there he is alive again.  They not only saw him with their eyes, but they could also touch him with their hands and talk with him and hear him speak.  He was really was alive again!

As C. S. Lewis continues his story, the forces of good and evil find themselves in a fierce battle.  The White Witch leads her army in battle against the followers of Aslan.  The Witch’s forces are winning and things look bleak for Aslan’s army.  But, suddenly Aslan arrives at the scene of the battle bringing reinforcements.

When the White Witch sees the powerful Lion, Aslan, she says in disbelief – “Impossible”! This can’t be the great Lion Aslan.  She had personally thrust the dagger into his heart.  She saw him die.  She knew he was dead.  How can he be alive again?  It is “Impossible”!

Many people may not realize that the reason Christians celebrate Easter is to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  All of the biblical writers provide detailed accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.   These events are the foundation of the Christian faith.  You can read them for yourself in New Testmanet books like Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21.

For some people, the idea that a dead man could come back to life seems unlikely if not impossible.  Why would intelligent, educated people believe a story like that?  How can someone believe in something that seems impossible?  There are no photographs.  There is no DNA evidence to examine.  Why do millions of Christians around the world believe in the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ?

I would like to share with you in my next article why I believe that Jesus really did rise from the dead.  There are a number of reasons that His resurrection is not only possible but probable.  I hope you will dust off your Bible and take time to read one or more of the chapters listed above.  Examine the details carefully.

I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts with you in my next article.  Easter is coming in only a few weeks.  I hope you will make plans now to attend a church near you on Easter Sunday.

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org

 

Fun With Grandkids

16By Mark Hopper

We enjoy taking care of two of our grandchildren one day a week.  They like coming to “Grammy’s” house.  I don’t know why it is not my house too, but to them it is known as “Grammy’s” house.

One of the reasons they like to come to our house is that we have a closet full of toys, dolls, and other fun stuff.  I believe it is the toys that are the real attraction.  When they walk into the house, they head right for the closet with the toys.  Maybe they don’t have enough toys at their house!

Recently we decided to go out for lunch.  It is a lot of work to put their car seats in our car and buckle them in.  One is old enough to only need a booster seat.  The younger one has to be secured in a car seat that resembles what the astronauts used in Apollo 13!  There is no moving around when they are buckled into their car seats.

Since both of them enjoy French fries we decided to go to In N Out Burger.  Of course I enjoy In N Out, too!  It was a good choice.  The french fries are great and the employees are attentive to little kids.  One person gave stickers to both of them and another offered them official hats as well.

While we were waiting for our food, we buckled the younger one into a high chair.  She quickly caught the attention of a couple of other customers who smiled and waved at her.  She smiled, laughed and waved back as they maintained this exchange of silent greetings across the next table.

The French fries were a hit.  Our older granddaughter will only eat french fries with plenty of ketchup.  The younger one caught on to the ketchup idea too.  I had a “Double-Double” and my wife went next door to El Pollo Loco and brought back a healthy looking salad.

Don’t worry; the grandkids had a healthy lunch before we went to In N Out.  The French fries were more like dessert!

After lunch, we took time to visit the Michael’s store in the same shopping center.  Grammy wanted to look for a small craft for the older grandchild and something easier for the younger one.  I suddenly realized that she had this planned before we left the house.  There is no stopping a grandmother who has shopping for grandchildren on her mind.

Our adventure was a lot of fun.  We enjoyed a nice lunch and met some nice people.  We contributed to the economy and enjoyed our two precious little grandchildren.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Let me encourage you to take time to enjoy some of the people in your life this week.  You may have an older parent who would enjoy doing something with you.  You may have some little ones who are happy to simply go out for French fries. You may have some restless teenagers who don’t want to spend time with their parents or grandparents.  Do something anyway.

Don’t wait, do something with someone you love.  You will be glad you did and they will too!

Pastor Mark Hopper

Efree Church of Diamond Bar

3255 South Diamond Bar

909-594-7604

Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM

Efreedb.org