Tag Archives: Pastor Mark Lee

Who Needs Luck?

By Pastor Mark Lee

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point in Eastvale

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point in Eastvale

For a single day this month, nearly everyone I know will be Irish.  While St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious holiday honoring the life of the man credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, it has since become a cultural phenomenon celebrating the people, culture, and folklore of this beautiful European country.  And, from four-leaf clovers to wearing green, many of the holiday’s traditions revolve around the pursuit of good luck.

Whether or not you believe in their effectiveness, the appeal of lucky charms is understandable.  After all, who doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of good fortune?  The problem with luck, however, is that it is a philosophy based purely on chance.  Webster’s dictionary defines it as a “purposeless, unpredictable and uncontrollable force.”  In theory, when you place your faith in this ambiguous power, the outcome is never certain.  It can either be positive, or it can be negative.

Divine providence, on the other hand, is always benevolent.  Defined as “the sovereignty of God over the events in life,” divine providence is the belief that God governs creation as a loving father.   For human beings, this sovereignty may seem just as unpredictable and uncontrollable as luck.  The truth, however, is that God allows us to choose our own direction in life.  If we decide to place our faith in Him, He assures us that our needs will be met.   Even when tribulations arise that are hard to understand, solace can be found in this promise.

Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  With this kind of guarantee, who needs luck?

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. & 11 a.m.

Let It Go

By Pastor Mark Lee

 

pastor-mark-leeUnless you have been living under a rock for the past 12 months, chances are you are aware of the pop culture phenomenon known as Frozen. Disney’s 53rd animated feature has broken box office records, raked in more than $1 billion, and captured the hearts of nearly every little girl in the country. Much of the movie’s appeal can be credited to its catchy soundtrack. And, one particular song has emerged as a fan favorite: “Let It Go.”

As we settle into the New Year, this catchy number offers some good advice. Many of us are carrying the baggage of 2014 with us into 2015. Whether we have a long list of regrets or a catalog of mistakes, the disappointments of the past can prevent us from embracing the future. In fact, even our successes and accomplishments have the ability to hold us back.

In order to move forward, we have to stop focusing on what has happened and instead focus on what happens next. After all, it is impossible to successfully drive down the freeway if we are constantly looking in the rearview mirror. Obsessing about the past is a fruitless endeavor because we can’t control or change what has already happened. It is simply a waste of time.

Isaiah 43:18-19 tells us to “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” The amazing truth about God is that he is far more interested in our future than he is in our past.

So, in the words of the popular Disney song, we need to “let it go” and take advantage of the many opportunities for growth, change, and progress that the New Year brings!

 

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8:30, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

 

Curing Your Holiday Heart Condition

BY PASTOR MARK LEE

Whether it is the tale of a boy and a BB gun, the account of an old man haunted by ghosts, or the story of an overgrown elf searching for his parents, Christmas movies are one of the most anticipated aspects of the holidays. And, of the hundreds of films created to celebrate the season, one always tops the list of favorites: How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The saga of a green guy with a heart “two sizes too small” strikes a chord with audiences – and for good reason.

While some refer to December as the “most wonderful time of the year,” there are many people who would disagree. From relationship problems and financial woes to work responsibilities and time constraints, everyday life is difficult enough. Add in the demands of the holiday season, and you have a recipe for disaster. In fact, studies reveal that depression, anxiety, and stress all peak at Christmastime. Therefore, it is no surprise that many can relate to the Grinch’s heart condition.

One of the reasons our hearts aren’t quite what they should be during the holidays is because of unresolved issues. Owning up to your problems is the first step toward healing. Asking for, or granting, forgiveness is also important. The process of curing what ails you may be painful, terrifying, and unpleasant, but the results are extraordinary.

Proverbs 27:19 says, “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person.” The way you view Christmas has nothing to do with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and everything to do with the state of your heart. By taking the proper steps, you can ensure that the reason for the season will shine through!

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8:30, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

 

 

 

Hungering For More Than Pumpkin Pie

BY PASTOR MARK LEE

Pastor Mark Lee Vantage Point Church

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point Church in Eastvale

Approximately 675 million pounds of turkey, 50 million pumpkin pies, and 40 million green bean casseroles will be consumed this month. In total, the average American is expected to consume at least 3,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day. And yet, when each person wakes up the next morning, they will most likely eat breakfast. Why? Because hunger is not a one-time need. It is something that needs to be satisfied daily.

Everyone has experienced the craving for food. However, our physical appetites are not the only desires we seek to fulfill. Throughout society, we see examples of people who hunger for everything from power and fame to money, beauty, and success. Even in our own households we experience a thirst for more; more possessions, more status, or simply more time. But what if the things of this world still don’t seem to satisfy your hunger? What if it is actually the nonphysical world that you seek?

The quest for spiritual fulfillment manifests itself in a variety of ways. Some people attempt to achieve moral perfection through service. Others believe that knowledge or justice is the answer. While all of these things are definitely positive, real righteousness comes from the dependence on a higher power. Much like you can’t tempt a starving man with anything but food, the hunger for righteousness can only be satisfied by God.

Spiritual fulfillment is a lifetime pursuit that involves discipline and sacrifice. It means daily dying to self. But, the encouraging news is that God doesn’t just sanctify the righteousness, he sanctifies the hunger. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” You see, it isn’t only about the destination. The journey is just as important.

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8:30, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

 

 

 

 

Keeping It Real

BY PASTOR MARK LEE

 

Pastor Mark Lee Vantage Point Church

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point Church in Eastvale

A recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation found that nearly 50 percent of adults in the United States were planning on wearing a Halloween costume this year. In fact, the costume industry is expected to bring in more than $2.5 billion during the Halloween season. Judging by these numbers, many people find the prospect of being someone else appealing – even if only for a day.

While Halloween provides us the perfect opportunity to pretend to be someone we are not, the reality is that many people feel the need to always wear a mask. Presenting a superficial face to the world is something we have all done at some point, whether as a defense mechanism or a method of survival. However, problems arise when our attempts to hide our struggles and flaws make us forget who we really are.

Being real or genuine is great, but it is not always easy. When you open yourself up to others, you become vulnerable. However, being transparent in your troubles can provide you with the opportunity to help others. For example, imagine how encouraging it would be for a person struggling with alcohol abuse to hear about the successful recovery of an alcoholic friend. Or, think of how inspiring it could be for a new mom to discuss the trials and tribulations of motherhood with a seasoned parent.

Ephesians 4:25 says, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”

A closed up life is the safest way to live, but it is also boring. Putting away our masks may actually strengthen our relationships and bring our community closer together.

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8:30, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

Summer is Over, Let the Stress Begin

BY PASTOR MARK LEE

Pastor Mark Lee Vantage Point Church

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point Church in Eastvale

As the temperatures decrease, the days become shorter, and the kids return to school, one thing becomes increasingly clear: summer is over.

For a brief period of time, many of us are excited to get back to our regular routines. We look forward to everything getting “back to normal” until the reality of “normal” kicks in. Suddenly, we find ourselves just as stressed as we were before summer began.

Did you know that the average office worker currently has approximately 36 hours of work piled on his or her desk? Or, that the average person now sleeps two hours less per night than they did 100 years ago? In fact, people are so busy these days that frozen juice sales have plummeted simply because nobody has the time to wait for it to defrost.

While stress is a part of life and many of us work best under pressure, problems arise when we allow it to get too intense or go on for too long. Being busy and under pressure negatively affects our health and damages relationships. However, reducing stress and improving your life is much more complicated than getting rid of a few obligations. The real key is identifying what it is that makes you push yourself so hard. Often, our desire to become someone better or be something more is what drives us to over commit.

1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time.” We need to shift our focus from what we wish we were to what God wants us to become. By handing over the control and allowing God to advance us in His time, we can achieve true happiness.

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8:30, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

 

The Summer Of Love

BY PASTOR MARK LEE

Pastor Mark Lee Vantage Point Church

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point Church in Eastvale

During the warm months of 1967, thousands of people from across the United States converged upon the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco as part of a hippie counterculture movement that became known as, “The Summer of Love.”

47 years later, VantagePoint Church created its own version of the Summer of Love. The goal of the campaign was simple: To be living proof of a loving God. From giving away water, coffee, and Redbox rentals to hosting a football and cheerleading camp, church members were committed to serving the residents of Eastvale.

One of the many benefits of this special campaign was that it helped promote the importance of community. Researchers have repeatedly found that people with strong social connections have happier lives, less stress-related health problems, lower risk of mental illness, and faster recovery from trauma or illness.

So, how do you foster a greater sense of connectedness? The answer is twofold. First, you need to be real. While we often feel the need to present a perfect image to the outside world, the truth is that you can only be loved to the extent you are known. In joining our lives with others, we also need to be accepting. Realness doesn’t happen without acceptance. After all, who wants to open themselves up if they know they will get hurt?

Psalms 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” There is power in community. Whether you get to know your neighbor, become involved in your city, or simply open your heart to another person, you will be blessed.

 

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8:30, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

The Business of Busyness

BY PASTOR MARK LEE

Pastor Mark Lee Vantage Point Church

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point Church in Eastvale

In 1963, Nat King Cole famously sang about the “Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer.” However, idleness was associated with the warmest months of the year long before this catchy tune was released. And while some people look forward to their daily pace slowing down when the weather heats up, others see it as an opportunity to pack even more activities into an already-busy routine.

From Fourth of July picnics to Labor Day barbecues, our calendars quickly fill up with activities and obligations. In fact, we often find ourselves wanting these long days to be even longer. If your summer schedule leaves you feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it may be time to take action.

As the parents of four children, my wife and I are often approached with the question, “How do you manage to do everything?” The answer is simple: We don’t. The first step in ending the business of busyness is to realize that some things won’t happen. We were not designed to do it all.

The next step is to recognize that some responsibilities were meant to be shared. It may be hard to give, but sometimes it is even harder to receive. Admitting you need a helping hand can actually open the door to great blessings such as new friendships, fulfilling fellowship, and vital support.

 

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8:30, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

 

Proverbs 16:3 reminds us, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Everyone knows what if feels like to want a little extra time in their day. But, instead of needing more hours, we actually need a greater appreciation for those hours we already have. Hand your summer over to God and see what amazing things are in store!

 

Eastvale: After Graduation

BY PASTOR MARK LEE

Pastor Mark Lee Vantage Point Church

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point Church in Eastvale

This month, thousands of students across the nation will experience an intellectual rite of passage known as graduation. Signifying the conclusion of an educational journey, a graduation ceremony is definitely reason for celebration. But when academic pursuits end and real life begins, many graduates find themselves asking, “What am I supposed to do with myself?”

This question regarding life’s purpose has plagued mankind throughout history. The need for fulfillment and the desire to make a difference in the world are things that nearly everyone – from teenagers to retirees – can appreciate. The feeling that you were created to contribute something special to society is understandable. After all, we are all wonderfully and uniquely made. Each individual has his or her own specific role that they were meant to play.

So, how do you discover your purpose? The answer is simple: by examining your life and experimenting with your interests. First, ask yourself, “What do I enjoy doing? What gifts have people seen in me? Where have I seen results?” Then, utilize your talents in a variety of different settings. If at first you don’t succeed, try something else. Eventually, you will discover something that brings you joy and provides your life with meaning.

The true key to finding fulfillment, however, can be found in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

When even the most menial of tasks are completed with a thankful heart, you will soon find that life becomes more pleasant. And, when you entrust your future to the One who created the Heavens and Earth, how could you ever go wrong?

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8:30, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

 

 

Eastvale: I Will Say It Again: Rejoice!

BY PASTOR MARK LEE

Pastor Mark Lee Vantage Point Church

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point Church in Eastvale

When most people think of the month of May, two special occasions come to mind: Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. But, did you know that more than 70 obscure holidays are observed this month? From Mother Goose Day on May 1 to National Macaroon Day on May 31, there is a reason to celebrate every single day this month. And yet, some of us will find it hard to be happy on even one day. Have you ever had a bad morning? Has that bad morning ever evolved into a bad day or bad week? So often, we fixate on the negative. We see the grumpy boss and not the paycheck. We hear the temper tantrums, but tune out the laughter. We complain about dirty dishes, but forget to be thankful for dinner. And, when you focus on the negative, it multiplies. Soon, all you see are the negative aspects about your job, your marriage, etc.

Life can be overwhelming. Whether you are struggling with broken relationships, financial difficulties, or simply trying to get the kids to school on time, it is easy to get discouraged. It is a lot harder to be positive, especially in the midst of tribulation. But, in Philippians 4:4, Paul tells us to, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

It takes discipline to be happy. Every day, we need to make a conscious effort to focus on the positive and rejoice in the little stuff. This is what the month of May – and its 70 plus holidays – reminds us. Whether it is National Star Wars Day on May 4 or Dance like a Chicken Day on May 14, we need to find a reason to celebrate!

 

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays, at 8:30, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

 

 

 

EASTVALE – Helping Others Can Help Ourselves

Pastor Mark Lee Vantage Point Church

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point Church in Eastvale

By Pastor Mark Lee

According to a report issued by the Corporation for National and Community Service, there are approximately 64 million people in the United States who donate more than 8 billion hours of time to their communities annually. In terms of the national economy, these contributions are valued at nearly $175 billion dollars. However, the rewards for the volunteers themselves are priceless.

While the United States celebrates April as National Volunteer Month, much will be said about the ways volunteerism benefits communities. But, we should also remember that there is much to be gained through community service. As the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

Studies show that volunteer work has the ability to increase self-confidence, combat depression, and diminish the symptoms of chronic pain. And these are just the health benefits! Serving others can also improve professional skills, build relationships, and provide career experience. However, the greatest benefit of unselfish, humble service is the fact that it gives us the opportunity to mature and grow as individuals.

In Acts 20:23, the apostle Luke wrote, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remember the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Sure, there are a million reasons why you can’t volunteer – you don’t have the time, you don’t have the money, and you may not even have the desire. And true, the world will continue to revolve if you do not serve. Your community will continue to thrive and your neighbors will be okay. But will you?

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8:30, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

 

Eastvale: March Madness

Pastor Mark Lee Vantage Point Church

Pastor Mark Lee of Vantage Point Church in Easvale

BY PASTOR MARK LEE

For sports fans, March is a month known for madness. During the exciting final weeks of the college basketball season, teams across the country battle for the national championship. This rapid succession of single elimination games is commonly referred to as “March Madness.” However, anyone who has ever driven a Southern California freeway can tell you that madness is not exclusively reserved for the month of March.

According to the 2008 Mental Health Organization report entitled “Boiling Point,” 32 percent of people say they have a close friend of family member who has trouble controlling their anger. At the same time, more than one out of every four people admits to occasionally worrying about their own anger.

The unfortunate truth is that we live in the age of rage. This becomes exceedingly evident during a trip to any sporting event, shopping mall, or elementary school parking lot. People are angry. But, this doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Anger, if channeled properly, can be a source of motivation.

Anger can encourage you to work harder, persevere longer, and move faster. It can also result in significant change. After all, it was anger that led to the American Revolution and the Civil Rights Movement. It is anger that drives us to find cures, enact social reform, and make a difference in the world.

Ephesians 4:26-27 says “In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” The Bible does not condemn anger. Instead, it advises us to control our behavior when we are angry. It is okay to get mad, but it is not okay to act bad.

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11:30 a.m.