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Committed to One Another

It is one of the great privileges of my life to be able to be your pastor. I am humbled that God would be so kind to me, giving me this congregation to love and serve and teach and shepherd.

When Pastor Roy announced his retirement there were some difficult decisions to be made. Many of you found yourself in this hard place, wondering what would happen next and whether or not you should stick around.

If you’re here, you decided to hang around. I trust one of the reasons you stayed is you were trusting the Lord to lead this church through the uncertainty. You knew the Lord could bring about the changes necessary to bring this church back to health and viability. If that’s you, I want to commend you, thank you, and encourage you do press on in the Lord.

Everyone here has commitments. First, we’re committed to our Lord Jesus. That’s foremost. Underneath that, we make commitments to one another. As a pastor among you, here are some of my commitments to you.

  • I am committed to love you as well as I can.
  • I am committed to teach and preach God’s Word as best I know how.
  • I am committed to pray regularly for you by name.
  • I am committed to sharing life with you as my new family.
  • I am committed to staying here for the long haul if the Lord wills.

Can I ask you to make some commitments to me as well?

  • Will you pray for me and my family?
  • Will you love and protect my wife and kids?
  • Will you put up with my quirks, missteps, and shortcomings?
  • Will you pray that our church continues to grow toward health, even to the point where we’re making disciples, training leaders, and reaching our community?

It is an immense privilege to be a part of this church. I look forward to gathering with you each Sunday. Please, continue praying for a growing love for Christ, an increasing sense of unity, and a heightening zeal for service. The Lord is worthy.

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An Intergenerational Church

I’m thrilled that the Lord has allowed me to be part of this inter-generational church. If everyone here was younger, we would lack the blessings of age, experience, and wisdom. If everyone was older, we would lack the energy, excitement and zeal of youth. When the members from Simi and Orange join us from here in Rancho we’ll have infants, toddlers, kids under ten, teens, twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings, forty-somethings, fifties, sixties, seventies, and eighties! This is beautiful and biblical.

Let’s celebrate this gift. It is a special, unique grace not every church enjoys. It makes us uniquely prepared for biblical growth and ministry.

In Titus 2 Paul speaks about different categories of people. He addresses older men (vs. 2), older women (vs. 3), young women (vs. 4), and younger men (vs. 6). All of them are needed for the church to grow in health. Younger women need older women; younger men need older men. In this sense, a church without older and younger together is crippled. If there are no younger, the older are denied the tremendous growth opportunity that comes with pouring into another generation. If there are no older, the younger are denied the spiritual parenting they need.

This is one of the reasons why it’s great to be here at this church. In Scripture, the aged are never described as useless and the young are never described as burdens. I’m hoping that moving here, my children inherit new spiritual aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers. I hope my wife and I get friends much older than us and much younger than us, so we can always be learning and growing and helping others do the same. I hope we all work together to make disciples in our church family and in our community.

These are exciting times. In the coming months, we’ll be doing what we can to get the nursery ready to handle our babies. We hope to prepare some of the rooms for Sunday school. We are going to get the office spaces ready. My prayer is that this church becomes a place humming with ministry-- where children are being discipled, older and younger are meeting for fellowship, leaders are being trained, and people are being helped. We need your help. We need your prayers and your continued faithful support as we look forward to what the Lord has for us.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Psalm 90:17.

 

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Preach the Gospel to Yourself

Last week we spoke about blessing. One of the main points was that the life of blessing was purchased in full by the death of Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve deserved the curse of death. Israel inherited the curses. All humanity has deserved nothing except curses. But “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). This is tremendous news. But that’s not all. Christ did this “so that in Christ the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles” (3:14). Christ was cursed so that we might be blessed.

Now, those who are united by faith to Jesus Christ are “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3). Our blessing includes justification (we’re made righteous), adoption (we’re made God’s children), and glorification (we’ll be made like Jesus). We have an inheritance waiting for us (1 Pet. 1:4). We are infinitely rich, completely secure, totally safe. In Christ, God harnesses all creation for his glory and our good (Rom. 8:28). For the next five minutes, five months, five millenia-- and throughout all the endless ages-- God will be working for your eternal happiness.

Do you see how practical this is? Do you see how this soaring doctrine connects to your daily life? Isn’t it refreshing that right now you live in the immeasurable grace of God? Isn’t it great to know that this moment, you’re in the middle of omnipotent love and constant care? Shouldn’t we rejoice that every inconvenient red light, every unforeseen accident, every unfortunate job change, every tense relationship, is ruled and governed by God’s almighty love toward you? Right now, this very second, God is actively doing everything in his omnipotent power to lead you into everlasting joy. What more could you ask for?

Preach the gospel to yourself everyday. Remember who you were. Remember what God has done for you in Christ. Remind yourself of the eternal blessings that are yours. Remember who you are, what you’re doing here, and where you’re going. We all must master the gospel.

This week, let’s pray alongside Paul that we as a church would “have the strength to understand with all the saints what is the breadth and the length and the height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:18-19).



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