Tag Archives: Mark Hopper

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

 

A Little Light Goes A Long Way

By Mark Hopper

During our tour in Israel, we were given the opportunity to walk through Hezekiah’s tunnel in the city of Jerusalem.  Around 700 BC, the city of Jerusalem was threatened by the powerful Assyrian army.  The Assyrians were one of the most powerful nations in the Middle East at that time.  Their empire was centered where Iran and Iraq are today.  Their capital was the city of Nineveh.

 

The Assyrians had already defeated the northern half of Israel and were poised to attack the southern area called Judah.  Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom.  A large wall protected the city.  A common military tactic in those days was to besiege a walled city until it ran out of food and water forcing the inhabitants to surrender.

 

King Hezekiah knew that a reliable source of water would be essential to withstand a long siege by the Assyrians.  He directed his engineers and workers to dig a long tunnel from a spring outside the city to provide the water that would be needed to survive behind the city walls.  It was a remarkable engineering feat to create this tunnel with just hammer and chisel.

 

The source of the water and the entrance to the tunnel outside the city walls was concealed so effectively that the enemy never found it.  In fact, the source of the water was only discovered in the 1800’s!  The tunnel had to be designed with a slight slope so that the water would run down hill and deep under the walls to bring water to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  Water still flows in this tunnel today!

 

Tourists are allowed to walk through this tunnel beneath the city of Jerusalem.  The water level is only one to two feet deep.  The tunnel is only about the width of one person and barely high enough to stand upright.  And, the tunnel is very dark.  In fact, you can’t see the person walking in front of you.  You can hear them, but you can’t see anything.

 

Thankfully, they sell small, inexpensive flashlights at the gift shop near the tunnel entrance.  I usually don’t purchase trinkets and small souvenirs when we travel, but I was glad I spent $2 to by a flashlight.  It was the best two dollars I have ever spent!

 

My friend and I were the last two people in our group to enter the water tunnel.  We were glad we wore water shoes as we started to walk down the dark tunnel.   We were delayed a bit as we put our shoes on and quickly fell behind our group.  We could hear them ahead of us, but we couldn’t see them at all.  The narrow tunnel twisted and turned in the darkness.  The bottom and sides were rough.

 

I quickly learned that my friend had not purchased a flashlight.  I had the only one.  It was pitch black, but my little two-dollar flashlight really helped us navigate our 30 minute walk through the tunnel.  It was amazing how one little light illuminated our path.  I don’t know how we would have made it if we didn’t have that one little flashlight.

 

Jesus told his followers that they are “lights in this world” and that they were to “let their light shine” so that people would see their good works and be drawn to follow Jesus, too (Matthew 5:16).  When you and I help others and serve those around us, we are like a small light in a dark world.  Radom acts of kindness and thoughtful, encouraging words can brighten someone’s day and make their lives better.

 

We don’t need to be “in the spot light” and draw attention to ourselves.  We are called to bring a little light into the lives of those around us.  A little light goes a long way.  Let me encourage you to look for ways to encourage and help people around you.  Even a $2 flashlight can make a big difference in a dark place.  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

 

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

 

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

 

Stuck on the 405

By Mark Hopper

Recently, my sister in law’s car broke down while she was driving on the 405 Freeway.  Bummer! She had spent a few days with her grandchildren in San Diego and was driving home to in Bakersfield when her Nissan began to sputter and finally died in the middle of the north bound 405 Freeway!

Thankfully no one hit her as her car slowed to a stop in the middle of afternoon traffic. A helpful stranger pushed her car to the side of the freeway and she called 911 and AAA for help.  The CHP office arrived quickly and parked his cruiser behind her car to protect her from the rush hour traffic. The tow truck arrived and asked her where she wanted to go for repairs.

While all of this is unfolding on the 405, my brother called me and asked if I could go help his wife. He knew she had broken down on the 405 Freeway but he was not sure exactly where she was. After a flurry of cell phone calls with his wife and with me, he decided to have her car towed to our house in Diamond Bar.

He asked me if I knew a good mechanic who could analyze the situation and if his wife could stay with us until her car could be repaired. Unfortunately, when I called a reliable mechanic that we often recommend, he was unable to help. He was overbooked with work and his co-worker was gone for the week.

As the tow truck slowly made its way in rush hour traffic toward Diamond Bar, I realized that it would drive past a Nissan dealer on the 60 Freeway. Maybe he should take the car there and ask them to diagnose the problem? I could meet my sister in law there and we could decide what to do.

We didn’t know how late the car dealer and service department would be open late in the afternoon, but they responded quickly and assured us that they could repair the car quickly. The diagnostics would cost about $125 plus the parts and labor. The service advisor encouraged us to go find some dinner and come back in about an hour. They would call us if there was any unexpected problems.

While we ate dinner, we prayed that the repairs would be done quickly and that it would not cost too much.  My sister in law was hoping to get back on the road and get home so she could teach school the next day.

When we returned to the car dealer, we went to the cashier’s office to pay for the repair work. But, the cashier didn’t have the paper work so she told us to go back and talk with the service advisor. He explained that the repair was actually very simple. An air intake hose had come loose and they actually found the missing part laying on the engine. They simply put the part back together with a new hose clamp!

When we asked how much this cost he said, “No charge”! At first we weren’t sure we heard him correctly – did he say “No charge”? Yes – the missing part was still there and a simple hose clamp reconnected everything and the car was running fine. “No charge”. We were stunned and very thankful for this unexpected outcome. Amazing!

My sister in law was able to get back on the freeway and continue her journey home. She arrived safe and sound later that night. My sister in law had quite an adventure. From broken down in the middle of the 405 Freeway and towed 40 miles to a very helpful car dealer and back on the road without a scratch or paying a penny – pretty amazing.

By the way, did I tell you the name of the service advisor who was so helpful? His name was “Jesus”. No kidding! I thought Jesus was a carpenter by trade, but I guess he is in the car repair business 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

 

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

 

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

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

A Famous Photo

By Mark Hopper

Three years ago, my wife and I celebrated Christmas with our whole family in Lisbon, Portugal.  Our four adult children, three son-in-laws and seven grandchildren were all together for five memorable days.

My wife’s mother was unable to travel with us to Portugal, but she sent some money to purchase gifts for all of her great-grandchildren. Instead of purchasing more gifts for these seven young children, we decided to use the money to take them to the Lisbon Zoo.

The weather in December in Portugal is very similar to what we have here in California. The day we went to the Zoo the temperatures were cool with clear skies.

After we bought our tickets and walked through the front gate we were met by a professional photographer who was waiting to take our picture. Everyone was in a good mood and even the younger kids were pretty cooperative as we posed for a picture. Members of the Zoo staff gave us several colorful birds for us to hold while they took our photo.

Our day at the Lisbon Zoo was a winner. The children and adults enjoyed seeing the beautiful animals and several shows that were scheduled during the day. They even have a very nice Dolphin show!

At the end of the day, we stopped by the store where they sold copies of the pictures taken at the front gate.  We purchased a copy for each family so they would have a photo memory of our day at the Zoo.

One of the lessons that I have learned about family pictures is to take them early in the day. Children and adults are usually in a good mood when people are arriving. Sometimes kids and adults can be less cooperative when it comes to taking pictures at the end of the day.

There have been times when some family members needed to leave early to go on to other activities.  I know there have been times at some of our family gatherings when we waited to long to get a group picture.  Don’t wait until it is too late. Take those groups pictures early not later.  At the Zoo, they take group pictures at the entrance not at the exit.

The other lesson I have learned is that no family photo is perfect.  In our famous photo at the Lisbon Zoo, several of the grandkids were distracted and were not looking at the camera. The colorful birds added a lot to our picture, but the younger children were distracted and a little uncomfortable holding these big birds with their hands or on their shoulders.

My suggestion is that you don’t expect perfection. Just be thankful that you can get a photo with your whole family. During this holiday season, take time to take a few pictures. You will be glad you did and your family 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

 

Wash Your Car

By Mark Hopper

People seem to be on edge since we have not had any rain since last March or April.  Normally, we start getting rain in Southern California in November or December. The typical rainy season extends from November to March. Now we are entering a new year with no rain in sight.

I have noticed that it usually rains after I wash my car. I don’t wash it every week. In fact, I have been a little lazy and have not washed it for many weeks. But I finally got off the couch after all the college football games were over and decided it was time to wash our two cars.

While I was busy washing both of the cars, it occurred to me that all of my effort might be in vain because it usually rains after I wash them. This is especially true during the winter months.

My suggestion is that if we all of wash our cars this month I am convinced that it will rain.  You may prefer to take your car to the Car Wash or you may prefer to do it yourself. A friend of mine recently gave me a new “waterless” car wash by McGuiers. So you can even wash your car at home without using a drop of water!

I believe that if we all band together and wash our cars that it will rain.  Can we all agree that we need some rain and the sooner the better and the more the better?

The Apostle Paul said in the book of Acts “…God did not leave Himself without a witness, but provided evidence of His goodness by giving us rain from Heaven and fruitful seasons to satisfy our hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14:17).

The changing of the seasons and rain from heaven reminds us of how dependent we are on simple things like snow, rain and running water.  Without water we cannot survive. Water is essential. Fresh water starts with rain and is stored in the snow.  Seems pretty simple but it is very essential.

Let me encourage you to wash your car this week. It will certainly increase the probability of rain. You will be glad you did and we will too! Maybe you could add a little prayer while you are at it too.  Read James 5:17-18!

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

If I Had A Hammer

By Mark Hopper

It is a privilege and an honor to be a grandfather to eight precious grandchildren. They bring delight and joy into our lives.

One of the special benefits of being a grandparent is the variety of gifts that we receive from our grandchildren.  I’m sure that their parents provide guidance and assistance as our grandkids select and send us gifts for Christmas.

In past years, there have been T-shirts, sweaters, hats, gloves and DVD’s and books and many other memorable gifts. This year was no exception. My wife and I received several different gifts including a 2018 calendar that is filled with photos of all of our grandchildren. We smile as we look over these calendars each year and we are amazed at how quickly our grandkids are growing up. The photo calendars make a nice gift that we use all year long.

This year, there was an unusual but useful gift that I did not expect. It was heavier than the other gifts and it came in a rather large box. I had no idea what it was until I opened the package and found a beautiful, 16 ounce hammer!       I already own several hammers, but this one is very special. It has an inscription carved into the wooden handle that reads, “Pop Pop (my name) – We love making memories with you”. Engraved on the other side of the handle are the names of two thoughtful grandchildren.

Do you remember a song form the 1960’s, “If I Had A Hammer”?  It was actually written in 1949 by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger, but it didn’t become a huge hit until it was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1962. The theme of their song had political and social overtones that made it controversial and unpopular with some people. I don’t remember the lyrics but I do remember the tune.

I’m not sure if I should mount this new hammer on my office wall and preserve it as a memorable gift from my grandkids or if I should put it in my tool box and use it on projects around the house. I’m leaning in the direction of using the hammer instead of just viewing the hammer.  I think my grandchildren would be happy to know that “Pop Pop” is building, repairing and making new things with the hammer that they gave to me at Christmas.

I think that part of our job as grandparents is to keep on building and fixing things for the generations that follow. I believe that we should stay active and keep busy doing things for others. We should use our skills and experience to teach and help others.

Let me encourage you to look for ways that you can continue to help others. Is there a tool box in your garage that has tools that can be used to build and make repairs around your house or in your neighborhood?  Do you have technological or mechanical skills that can benefit others? I’m sure that when I use this new hammer I will remember the grandchildren who gave it to me!

There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Each one of you should use whatever gifts and abilities you have to serve others” (First Peter 4:10).  If you have a skill, experience, training, ability or only a hammer – let me encourage you to use it to help others. 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

 

The Christmas Train

By Mark Hopper

I have shared in the past that I received a Lionel Train set for Christmas when I was a young boy. We have a photo of me and my father and my grandfather playing with my new train on Christmas morning in the 1950’s.

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

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

I was reluctant to get it down and set it up. I didn’t know if the train even worked anymore.  But, children and grandchildren can be pretty persuasive. Last year, I got the train box down and set it up around the Christmas tree.  To my surprise, the train worked! They were delighted to see Pop Pop’s train.

However, the wires that powered the transformer were brittle and the train engine was sluggish. I took the engine and transformer to a model train store in Costa Mesa. The owner was able to clean up and lubricate the engine and put a new cord in the transformer.  My childhood train was running again!

Now, it is the Christmas season again and that means it is time to get out the Lionel Train. When two of our grandchildren were at our house recently, we set up the train in front of our Christmas tree. I let them help me operate it. They enjoyed it and I did too.  My wife took a video to capture the memory of another generation playing with the train together.

I don’t know what childhood memories you have or what Christmas gifts that you may have kept over the years.  But, let me encourage you to look in the closet, the attic or the garage and see if there are some childhood memories like old dolls, toys or trains that you can share with your children or grandchildren this year. 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

Christmas Eve Services:

9:00 / 10:15 AM & 5:00 PM

Efreedb.org

First On The Block Again

Pastor Mark Hopper

By Mark Hopper

I have shared in the past that my wife likes to put up our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. We have boxes and boxes of decorations that take hours and hours to put up and display. It is a lot of work, but she really enjoys decorating for the Christmas season.

 

Part of decorating for Christmas includes putting up lights on the outside of our house. This is primarily my job. I use the same colored lights every year. I suppose they look a little dated, but they still work!

I always like to be the first on our block to have Christmas lights on our house.  Sure enough, we were first again this year.  I think that the City of Diamond Bar used to give recognition to the homes that have the best outdoor holiday decorations.  I doubt that we will ever win that prize, but I wonder if we might win a prize for being the first in the neighborhood.

 

However, I must admit, I was a little grumpy this year.  Decorating is a tedious task.  I have to get the lights out of the garage and test each string to see if all the bulbs still work.  Then I have to get out my step ladder and climb up and down numerous times to hang the lights up on the house.  I always forget which string of lights go where.  After all, I only do this once a year.

 

And, I think I was a little grumpy that I was putting the lights up by myself again this year.  The kids are grown and gone, and my wife spends many more hours than I do decorating the inside of our house.   The grandkids are too young to help.  Maybe I had a little too much Turkey at Thanksgiving this year.  I just wasn’t as motivated as I have been in the past.

 

Secretly, I was hoping that it might rain the day after Thanksgiving so I would have an excuse to not work on the outside lights.  But, unfortunately the weather was beautiful with temperatures in the 80’s.  It was inevitable – ready or not it was time to put up the outside Christmas lights.

 

Gradually my attitude and outlook began to change as I put up the lights.  I realized that I shouldn’t be grumpy that I have to put up the lights on the house, but that I should be grateful that I have a house to put lights on!   I’m sure there are a lot of people who would be thrilled to have a house to decorate for Christmas.  I should be grateful not grumpy.

 

By the time I was finished, I was glad I was able to decorate the outside of our house for the holidays.  I was thankful we have a house to decorate!  After the sun set on the day after Thanksgiving, I was pleased to see the Christmas lights on our house again.  They looked pretty good, too!

 

I hope that you enjoy the Christmas season this year.  Enjoy the season with a thankful heart.  Don’t be grumpy about the decorating, shopping or spending.   Be grateful that you have a home to decorate, and friends and family to share it with.  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

Christmas Services December 24th

At 9:00, 10:45 & 5:00 PM

Efreedb.org

Dress For Success

By Mark Hopper

In a recent article, I shared about some of my experiences as a pastor when I visit people in hospitals. Thousands of people work in hospitals, Technicians, clerks, nurses, surgeons, security officers and janitors all work in hospitals.       Different employees wear different clothes and uniforms. The security people wear warm jackets. The doctor’s will usually wear lab coats. The custodial crew wears another kind of uniform. Nurses often wear bright, attractive medical outfits. The people in food service may wear hair nets and aprons if they handle food in the commissary or cafeteria.

I always enjoy speaking to the employees and volunteers at the information desk. Their help is invaluable when looking for a patient in a hospital.  The people at the front desk have access to the hospital data base and they can usually find the room number of a patient quickly.

There is one individual at the front desk of a large hospital in the area that stands out in my mind. Not only is he helpful and knowledgeable, but he is dressed for success! Unlike most of the people I meet at the info desk, this man is dressed up with a suit and tie.  He looks like he could be the CEO of the hospital, not one of the regular employees at the front door.

I don’t know his name, but he is both helpful and professional as he assists people walking through the front door. I have observed him helping patients who are checking-in to the hospital and he seems to put people at ease as he directs them to the hallway or elevator they are looking for.

His professional appearance gives you the sense that he knows what he is talking about and that the information he provides is accurate. He is the best dressed front desk hospital employee I know.

The Bible cautions us to not judge people by the clothes they wear.  James warned us to not show favoritism to people who wear fine clothes and warns us to not ignore those who are dressed poorly (James 2:1-9). There are times when my wife advises me on what shirt or tie I should or should not wear.  My friends and co-workers will tell you that I am challenged when it comes to fashion and style.

However, we should give attention to the way we dress for work. Teachers usually maintain a professional appearance. Coaches and PE teachers often wear shorts and dress more casually. But, one college coach told me that he never wears a pair of shorts to a meeting with his Dean. He always puts on a pair of long pants and a collared shirt when going to a meeting in the administration building.

Let me encourage you to dress for success. We live in a generation where casual is becoming more common.  Maybe you should consider dressing up a little more for work or take time to add a new shirt or blouse to your wardrobe. 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

I Can Fix It (Part II)

Pastor Mark Hopper

By Mark Hopper

A few weeks ago I shared that my lawn mower was broken.  I tried to fix it myself, but was unsuccessful.  Then I called my faithful lawn mower repairman but his phone was no longer in service. What a Bummer.

In desperation, I looked on the internet to try and find another repairman in the area. Several repair shops were listed in Pomona, San Dimas and Glendora. I decided to try the repair shop in Pomona. They came and picked up my mower. I waited to get their estimate on what it would cost to get my McLane, seven-blade front throw gas mower going again.

I sat by the phone, waiting for their call. What was their diagnosis? How much would it cost? Would it be worth repairing my old lawn mower?

When the call finally came, there was both good news and bad news. The good news was that it could be fixed.  The bad news was how much it would cost.

Actually, the basic repair was under $100. The mower needed a new pulley and a new belt. I was encouraged to hear that it could be fixed for under $100.  However, they also recommended a “tune up” – changing the oil, replacing the air filter and installing a new spark plug. The cost for that was about $50.  In addition, the repairman offered to sharpen the blades.  My McLane seven-blade mower has a lot of blades! How much would this cost? It would be around $100 more.

This was the moment of truth. Do I trust the repairman? Does the mower really need all of these fixes? Is it worth spending that much money on an old lawn mower? Should I just go for the basic repair and get the mower running again or should I spend more money hoping that it will work better and last longer?

Should I go for option number one, option number two or option number three? It sounded like the old TV game show”Let’s make A Deal”! What would you do?

Most of you who know me very well would assume I would go for option number one – settle for the band aide fix and save money. But, I actually chose option number three – spend the money and do all the repairs that the repairman recommended.

When they delivered my McLane, seven-blade front throw power mower to my house, it looked like a new mower! They had cleaned off the old grass. The new spark plug sparkled and the sharpened blades glistened in the sunlight. When the repairman fired up the engine, it purred like a kitten. When he invited me to try it out, I couldn’t believe how well it cut the grass. I was impressed!

I feel like my mower has been given a second chance in life. It has been saved from the junk pile and is cutting grass better than it has in years. I don’t know how long it will keep going, but my repairman deserves “five stars” on his Yelp review!

I suppose there are a lot of life lessons we can learn from my lawn mower adventure. There are some things in our lives that we cannot fix ourselves. We need to call on God to be the “repairman” in our lives. He can fix and He can forgive the mistakes and struggles that we cannot fix ourselves. He can restore broken relationships and repair broken hearts. The Bible says that God loves to take broken people and give us new life. One verse says that when we become a follower of Jesus, our old life is set aside and all things become new (II Corinthians 5:17).

Let me encourage you to call on God today in prayer. Confess your mistakes. Admit you can’t fix everything yourself. Ask Him for His help and forgiveness. Allow our heavenly repairman to do His work in your heart and give you a new start through faith in Jesus. You will be glad you did and He 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