Tag Archives: Pastors Corner

Pastor’s Corner: A New Four Letter Word

Mark Hopper

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor’s Corner: Snow Days

By Mark Hopper

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Pastor’s Corner: Easter is…

By Dennis Morales

I am the resurrection and the life…”  John 11:25

          When I think of Easter, I have cool memories of visiting family, going to church in brand new clothes, having conversations over big meals, eating chocolate like there’s no tomorrow, getting chocolate on those brand new clothes, and don’t forget the peeps!   Easter carries with it so many family traditions.  Easter for some can be bittersweet as we have fond memories of loved ones missed.  But we must not forget what Easter actually is.  It is about death and resurrection of life. 

Death is something that grips the world with fear.  Jesus often confronted death in His earthly ministry.  This was an occasion where one of Jesus’ good friends had passed away.  It was at the grave of Lazarus that Jesus wept.  He wept because He knew that death wasn’t part of God’s original plan.  God’s intention wasn’t for mankind to experience suffering and death.  Jesus wept because of the effect of sin over the world and because He saw the pain it caused in His friends Mary and Martha.  Martha told Jesus that if He had been there earlier, they wouldn’t be mourning.  Jesus’ response still resonates throughout time.  He said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).  It’s interesting that in scripture we find that Jesus broke up every funeral He ever attended. Death could not exist where He was. When the dead heard His voice they sprang to life.   This Easter remember what Easter really is.  Jesus met death Himself, but the grave could not hold Him.  He rose.  If you put your faith in Jesus, the Bible says that you will live forever in the presence of God.  Jesus defeated death once for all (Hebrews 10:10).  Jesus is our living hope (1Peter 1:3).   

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

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

By Chris Kirish

I confess… I’m a liar.

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

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

“I’m good! How are you?”

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

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

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

Why is John Wayne so awesome?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something about a big fish?

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

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

Pastor’s Corner: Sharing With Others

By Mark Hopper

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor’s Corner: Navigation

By Mark Hopper

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor’s Corner: Meet the President

By Mark Hopper

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

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

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

Pastor’s Corner: The “Otel”

Pastor Mark Hopper of eFree Church in Diamond Bar

By Mark Hopper

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor’s Corner: Stand in Faith

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

1 Corinthians 16:13
Pastor Dennis Morales
Pastor Dennis Morales

By Pastor Dennis Morales

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

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

Pastor Rob Norris

Pastor’s Corner: I’m Praying for You

By Pastor Rob Norris

First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them.                                                                                                                 1 Timothy 2:1

In November 1970, at the height of tensions in Vietnam, a pair of college students launched a campaign to bring awareness to the plight of American POWs and MIAs. Their plan was to create inexpensive metal bracelets, each bearing a soldier’s name and the date of his capture, and distribute them across the country as reminders for the average citizen.

Sharon Denney, now a 40-something college admissions counselor, remembers sending off her$2.50 for one of those bracelets in the early ’70s. Hers was etched with the name of First Lieutenant Ralph Galati, whose Air Force jet had been shot down in North Vietnam. Galati suffered through a year-long ordeal of torture and deprivation, including more than two months of solitary confinement.

But back in her hometown of Morrow, Georgia, young Sharon Denney was praying for Galati–for his safety and for his release or rescue.

Many years passed before Sharon came across her POW bracelet again while going through somethings in her parents’ home. A few Internet searches and phone calls later, shehad not only learned of Galati’s release in March 1973 but had also found his home phone number. And when she was finally able to make contact with him, the former POW told her that she was one of more than a hundred he had heard from over the years–men and women, boys and girls, who had worn his bracelet, had remembered his suffering and had prayed, prayed, prayed for their prisoner soldier.

Prayer knows no boundaries of time or space, no limits of age or distance. Prayer is simply our link to the heart of God and to people’s lives all over the world. Never underestimate what prayer can do in the short run or the long haul. Don’t give up. Keep praying.

Live it:
Why don’t we pray more as individuals and as a couple? Who haveyou been forgetting to pray for?

Pray:
Take turns bringing some requests before God today for people who seem to be facing impossible situations.

The Crossings Church meets Sunday mornings at 10:00 am at River Heights Intermediate School, 7227 Scholar Way, Eastvale, CA. Trusting and believe with you!

Real Church

By Jeremy Mercer, Lead Pastor of Connection Church, Corona

CHURCH. What comes to mind when you hear that word? My guess is a few things. For some, hopefully, they are good thoughts. For others, I know it might be bad. I grew up in church, and now, at 41 years old, I pastor a local church and have done so for the past 5 years. I’ve seen a lot of things in the church and I’ve heard even more stories of what has happened in the church. Some of them are not so good but, having been part of the church for the whole of my life; I have seen and experienced so many more wonderful things.

Church attendance in America is on the decline, and has been for decades now. Why are Americans rejecting church more and more? Is it because church is such a terrible place? Is it because it became boring and monotonous? Perhaps it’s because of the hypocrisy some have seen, the famous scandals of the 1980’s come to mind. Is it the fulfillment of scripture in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 that says, “in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God…They will consider nothing sacred….and love pleasure rather than God.” I think the decline is a mixture of all the above and I lean heavily to the latter hypothesis.

The fact that Americans are attending church less and less grieves me, and no, not because I am a pastor and this is my job. I’ve read the scriptures and when it talks about the church and I see what church is supposed to be it is such a beautiful picture! In the church that I pastor, Connection Church in Corona if you’re wondering, I tell our people all the time that we’re striving to be the church that God intended for us to be…for every church to be; a place of love, healing, hope, joy, and encouragement. A place where people can be refreshed and know that they’re not alone, a place of community where we can help others and receive help when we need it…and we all need it at times.

Hebrews 10:25 says, “let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (emphasis added). With so much turmoil in the world, people are asking questions and they should. Jesus Christ is returning, I believe soon, and you and I must make sure we’re ready. If you don’t believe me, I’d be happy to show you prophecy after prophecy after prophecy, written thousands of years ago, that prove the Bible is true. I heard about these prophecies growing up in the church. To be totally honest, at the time (the 80’s), I thought some of them sounded a little crazy, definitely far-fetched, and possibly even like science fiction. However, as technology has rapidly advanced in my lifetime, it has been shocking to me to see things that I heard about growing up in church and that are prophesied about in scripture that at the time they were written would have been literally impossible. These scriptures have not only become possible but you can see how modern technology can make these scriptures not only possible but probable in the future. I don’t have time in this article to lay some of those out, but if you would like to know more about them, email me or visit me at my church, and I’d be happy to share them with you. I’m not a conspiracy theorist and don’t even like sci-fi. In fact, by nature, I’m a bit of a skeptic. However, saying it would be foolish to ignore the facts that are right in front of us would be a massive understatement. There are just too many scriptures describing modern events to be ignored.

I encourage you to find a good church and become part of it. This means more than just attending a service. Church is so much more than a service. The church is an extension of Jesus Himself. Colossians 1:18 tells us that Jesus is the head of the church, and the church is His body. Some people don’t attend church because someone hurt them; a pastor, a leader, a friend or just a regular person attending. But we don’t follow people, we follow Christ! There is no perfect church but there are so many good churches out there! Trust me, this is my business, this is the “industry” I’m in. I know a lot of churches and work with a lot of pastors. There are some great ones in this area!

Think about this; all of us have been to a bad restaurant before or have received bad food or bad service. We may choose not to return to that establishment again but I bet none of us have given up on restaurants. We just find a good one! And once we find a good one, we go there again and again and tell others about it. Why do we treat church any differently? Okay, so you may have had a bad experience, but don’t give up. Pray, and ask God to lead you to a good one for you. Trust me, He will. I’d be happy to help you find one as well.

Now, more than ever, we need to come together. We need to find the love, healing, mercy, grace and strength that can only come through Jesus Christ. The church is the vehicle God chose to help us achieve these things. So let’s be the church, the real church, the church that God intended for us to be. None of us are perfect, we can’t be. But, we can let God work in our lives and be better and be more like Christ. As we do, people will be healed, broken lives will be restored, we’ll live with peace that surpasses understanding, have strength for the the “day-to-day,” and begin bridging the divide in our nation and communities. That’s who the real church is.

 

A New Legacy

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

Pastor Rob Norris, The Crossings

By Rob Norris

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Joshua 1:8

As a people, we are healthier but not happier. We are drenched in knowledge but parched for wisdom. Materially we are wealthy, but we suffer a profound poverty of the soul. The longer I live, the more I see that our nation needs a spiritual reformation in its inner spirit.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the state of the family. The biblical values that built our great nation – once passed on from each generation to the next as a national treasure – are being questioned and dismissed. As a result, never before have we seen such deterioration in our homes:

Never before have so many children grown up in broken homes. Never before has the definition of marriage been altered to allow for two people of the same sex. Never before has the marriage covenant been viewed with such contempt by a generation of young people. Never before have parents been ridiculed for seeking to raise children with biblical values. Never before have so many Christians laughed, shrugged their shoulders or did nothing about adultery, divorce and sin. Never before has materialism been so flagrantly embraced over relationships. Never before has the family been in such need of a new legacy.

The pivotal national issue today is not crime; neither is it welfare, health care, education, politics, the economy, the media or the environment. The pivotal issue today is the spiritual and moral condition of individual men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and families.

Nations are never changed until people are changed. The true hope for genuine change in the heart lies only in the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. Through Him, lives can be rebuilt. Through Him, families can be reformed.

Live It:
How has the deterioration of our homes affected your family?

Pray: That change in our country will begin with change in your lives and home.

Meeting @ 10:00 at River Heights Intermediate School 7227 Scholar Way, Eastvale CA.  Join us for family month in October.

Trusting and believing with you,

Pastor Rob

His Voice

Dennis Morales X-ORIGBy Pastor Dennis Morales

John 10:3  “The gatekeeper opens the gate for Him, and the sheep recognize His voice and come to Him. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.…”
We lost one of our sons at a crowded amusement park once.  Absolutely, not a good feeling.  Our family began shouting his name.  This went on it seemed for about 1 or 2 minutes.  Then I jumped in at the top of my voice and shouted my son’s name.  A few seconds later, I was relieved to see a security attendant coming over holding my son’s hand.   She explained that my son went to her and said he was looking for his papa.  All of a sudden he began to say “Papa! Papa!”   He then quickly took her in the direction of my voice.  Out of a crowd of thousands, my son heard my voice.  When God says something, it’s for good reason and worth obeying.  When he calls, it may be to say “stop,”  “go this way,” or it may even be “not that way!”  His voice is one that calls us, guides us, and protects us.  God spoke audibly to some such as Moses and Abraham, but God also speaks clearly through the pages of the Bible.  There is a lot of noise in the world that can get in the way.  The noise can be in the form of social media, TV, or even politics.  But the more you read the Scriptures, the more readily you will know when God is speaking.  The word “leads” in this verse speaks of “leading out.”  He has the way and He is ready to lead you out of whatever you are going through and into His green pastures (Ps 95:7).  “If you hear His Voice.”

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets Sundays 8:30 & 10:30 am, Wednesdays at 7pm at Clara Barton Elementary School (7437 Corona Valley Ave, Eastvale).  Visit their website at www.calvaryeastvale.org.

 

The Grudge: A Horror of the Heart

By Pastor Mark Lee

With Halloween right around the corner, many people will view at least one scary movie in the upcoming weeks.  From current releases to old standbys, these terrifying tales have become as much a part of October as trick-or-treating and pumpkin patches.  One fan favorite is The Grudge, a thriller released in 2004.  Described by critics as “a creep-fest that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” the film focuses on a curse that consumes its victims.  Sounds aptly named, doesn’t it?

Nearly everyone has been hurt by the action or words or another.  It is not unusual for emotional wounds to leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness, or vengeance.  As a result, we find ourselves avoiding the offenders, rejoicing in their misfortunes, and plotting their demise.  Much like the film of the same name, a grudge is a curse that consumes the victim it has inhabited.

It has been said that harboring feelings of resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.  More often than not, our inability to offer forgiveness is more detrimental to ourselves than to our enemies.  Holding grudges eats away at your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.  When we let go of our resentment, we make space in our lives for peace, gratitude, and joy.

In Romans 12:18-19, the apostle Paul wrote, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.  Never take your own revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”  Why entertain a horror story in your own heart when you can hand it over to the Almighty?

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 8 a.m., 9:15 a.m., and 11 a.m.

 

The Paradox of Giving

Pastor Robert Jewett

Pastor Robert Jewett

By Pastor Robert Jewett

Have you ever noticed that the most generous people are often the most content people?  How is it that when given the opportunity, to give or to keep their resources for themselves, those who give are the most blessed?  The same questions hold true for the exact opposite.  How is that the people who are not generous are often the ones in constant want?  How is it that they never seem to have enough to get by?

For the believer, the answer is simple.  Jesus said that our entire lives, everything that we are, should be in whole-hearted devotion to God.  He said that our primary focus is to love God with everything that is in us.  Jesus continued and said that we are also to love our neighbor as ourselves. By satisfying these two commandments, all of God’s Law is fulfilled (Matt. 22:37-40).

So what does this have to do with giving or not giving?  When we love God whole-heartedly, we put him above everything else…including material gain.   We willingly use our resources in areas that matter to God.  We invest in things that have eternal value.

The amazing thing is that when we obey God and give freely, we are blessed in return.  Whereas, when we are greedy and do not give freely, we are constantly in want (Prov. 11:24). The apostle Paul puts it this way: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6).  You see, in God’s economy, you can never out-give him (Prov. 3:9-10).

Lakeshore City Church meets Sundays at 10:00 a.m. at Circle City Center (formerly Fender Museum), 365 N. Main St. in Corona. For more information, visit lakeshorecitychurch.com.

 

Snuggle Up

By Tim Eaton 

Tim Eaton

Tim Eaton

Fall is in the air.  The kids are deciding on Halloween costumes, you are sipping on pumpkin spice something, apple cider suddenly sounds appealing, the frantic pace of fall sports has begun, and for a few days the temperature has finally dipped below 90 degrees.

One of the great comforts and escapes of the fall season is to snuggle up with a great story.  It’s a great time to share a love of reading with your kids, engaging their imaginations and making memories.  This fall can I make a suggestion?  Read a great story; “THE STORY.” That’s right.  THE story.  A true story.  A really great story about how important you and your loved ones are to the one who made everything.

This fall at Edgewater we are diving back into THE STORY.  This fall we will see real accounts of deliverance, of strong men and women facing horrific odds, of sometimes-weak people being used by God to accomplish great things.  It’s a story that can change your life forever.  If you don’t read it with us, I hope you will read it with those you love.  Join us Sundays starting October 16th.

Edgewater Lutheran Church meets Sundays at 10 a.m., worshipping at Harada Elementary, 12884 Oakdale Street, Eastvale, CA, 92880; http://www.EdgewaterLutheran.org.

 

A Parent’s Top Five

Pastor Rob Norris

Pastor Rob Norris

Rob Norris

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go; Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Tami and I have not been perfect parents, but when you have children God gives you a few hundred lessons along the way. And from our years of experience, we’ve come up with a list of five non-negotiables that all parents need in order to raise a family God’s way:

  1. Understand the times. In past societies, the culture helped reinforce the values that parents were trying to instill in their children. Not today. That’s why you need to be surrounded with a few like-minded parents who can support, encourage and counsel one another through the choppy waters of life
  1. Have a sacred commitment to each other. Your kids need to see your vows lived out in every circumstance, in times of both peace and conflict. Make it a priority to resolve disagreements with your spouse, to forgive each other, to remain faithful. These qualities of love build a powerful, profound sense of security in children.
  1. Know what you believe. You are the textbook your children read. Your deeply held values about life will influence your interactions with your children. As parents, you need to know what your unshakable convictions are.
  2. Remember God’s perspective on children. Never forget that children are a gift from God. Raising your children is a privilege and responsibility He has given to no one else, and they should be raised to know Him and walk with Him.
  3. Strive for the right goal. More than anything else, your children need to grow to love and fear the Lord. That’s more important than ensuring they have a good education, develop different skills or learn how to succeed in today’s culture. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Live it

Which of these purposes strike the deepest chord in you? Which ones need the most work?

Pray

That your priorities will be shaped by God’s Word and will influence your choices for you and your family

The Crossings meets Sundays at 10 a.m. at River Heights Intermediate School, 7227 Scholar Way, in Eastvale.    For more information, visit http://www.atthecrossings.com.

 

Burn Out

Dennis Morales X-ORIGBy Pastor Dennis Morales

Leviticus 6:12  “And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out.  And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning…”

A first-grader wondered why her father brought home a briefcase full of work every evening. Her mother explained, “Daddy has so much to do that he can’t finish it all at the office.” “Well, then,” asked the child innocently, “why don’t they put him in a slower group?”  I believe there is much truth to this.  We find our fast paced environment creeping its way into our lives more often these days.  We can walk into worship at church lacking energy and being a spectator rather than a willing participant.  This may not always mean it’s time for vacation, but it may be an indicator to at least “slow down.”  The fire on the altar of “burnt offering” was to never go out.  If your time with God is dissipating, you will burn out.  God is calling upon us to burn brightly for Him in our daily lives, but there needs to be fuel for the fire.  The priests would throw wood on the fire every morning to keep the fire burning.  It may be time to prioritize, slow down, and put wood on the fire.  There is no greater fuel for the Christian heart than the Bible.  In Luke 24 after Jesus rose from the dead, he met two disciples on a road and opened the Scriptures to them.  After their encounter with the Risen Christ they proclaimed “did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us?” (Luke 24:32)  Make it a priority to get back into the “daily” practice of reading your Bible and praying.  It will bring fuel to your life.

Calvary Chapel Eastvale meets Sundays, 8:30 a.m. and 10:30am, and Wednesdays, 7:00pm at Clara Barton Elementary School (7437 Corona Valley Ave, Eastvale).  Visit their website at www.calvaryeastvale.org.

God Never Fails, But People Do

Pastor Mark Lee

Pastor Mark Lee

By Pastor Mark Lee

Last year, the public disgrace of an outspoken reality television star made national headlines.  Not surprisingly, the media was quick to point out the conflict between this individual’s grievous wrongdoing and his frequently-professed Christianity.  Soon, it seemed as if everyone was talking about this man of faith and his fall from grace.  For many, his actions were both disappointing and discouraging.

Unfortunately, it is not unusual to learn about the transgressions of Christians.  After all, a faith in Christ does not make you immune to the temptations of the flesh.  Whether it is the misconduct of a public figure or the hurt inflicted by a Christian friend, the sins and mistakes of believers can seem like betrayal.

In reality, even the most virtuous of people disappoint others at some point during their spiritual walk.  It may not be because of some horrible offense, but simply because expectations were not met.   The problem is that people often reject or turn away from Christ because they feel as if they have been let down by Christians.

When you put your faith in friends, family, or even the church, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  At some point, you will find yourself frustrated or disillusioned by each person you know.  It is important to remember, however, that there will be moments when others are disappointed by you.  The key is to not allow ourselves to be swayed by the disappointment.

When we can look beyond the failures of men and remain focused on God, our faith becomes stronger and more mature.  Psalms 118:8 says, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”  People fail.  It is inevitable.  God, however, never fails.

VantagePoint Church meets at Roosevelt High School on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Help Me O Lord My God

Pastor Robert Jewett Word of Truth Community ChurchBy Pastor Robert Jewett

Have you ever been to the point where you just felt like giving up? Did it seem like no matter what you did, you were mistreated anyway? Perhaps you threw your arms up and said, “I can’t do this anymore!” Take heart, the Lord is faithful to help His children.

King David was completely overwhelmed by his enemies. No matter what he did, they intended to do him harm (Ps. 109:4-5, 26). He would demonstrate love, but they would hurl insults at him. He would do good unto them, but they would do evil unto him. David knew that when his heart was overwhelmed, he needed to go to the Rock (Ps. 61:1-2). At his breaking point, David cried out, “Help me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love!” Apart from the Lord’s intervention, David was headed down a treacherous road to disaster. God’s amazing steadfast love is such that he never leaves us nor forsakes us (Heb. 13:5). At that point of despair, he is right there waiting for us to call upon him: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

Next time you are contemplating throwing in the towel, cry out to Jesus wholeheartedly like David, “Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love!” As you do, God in his faithfulness, will respond to you and help you walk through the storm.

Lakeshore City Church meets Sundays at 10:00 a.m. at Circle City Center (formerly Fender Museum), 365 N. Main St. in Corona. For more information, visit lakeshorecitychurch.com.