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May 28, 2019, 12:11 PM

May 29, 2019

"I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard; My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit." Isaiah 5: 1-2
     How many of us have planted a garden this year? Even if you do not have a large garden, maybe you still have a few vegetables and flowers around the house in pots or beds. Regardless of the size of the garden, you must make some preparations in order to have flowers or fruit. We must prepare and maintain the garden if we expect to see results. Sometimes, it requires a fence or some other protection to keep other animals from destroying our crops. Have you ever had a time when you did everything you could for certain plants but for whatever reason they just would not produce?
     The Bible frequently describes Israel as a vineyard. The owner of the vineyard (God) did everything to produce a great crop. He prepared the ground, cleared all of the stones, built a watchtower in the midst of it and planted the choicest vines yet, even though He did all of that, the vineyard only produced bad fruit. God chose Israel as the ?apple of His eye?. He loved them graciously, cleared all of their enemies away and carefully watched over them. However, they constantly struggled in their relationship with Him. They desired an earthly king rather than God. They wanted to follow their own ways instead of His and they desired to worship idols while neglecting the One who truly loved them.
     What about us? Have we really been any better? Do we recognize daily the blessings God has bestowed upon us? Do we love Him with all of our heart, serve Him and worship Him above all else. If we are honest, there are probably things in our life that we put ahead of God. Have we become full-time in everything else only to be part-time Christians? As we become involved in our daily routine, let us never forget the ways God provides for us. He has allowed us to be grafted into His vineyard because of His amazing grace and mercy toward us. As with Israel, God desires to take care of us, meet our every need and even clear away our enemies. Do we trust Him to do that or do we, like Israel, look to the world and those around us for comfort and safety? The time is upon us when we must understand that God is really our only refuge. Isn't that what He has always desired? May you have a blessed week as you desire to serve God more efficiently and more effectively this week!

                                                                                                                 We love you,
                                                                                                                 Brad and Virginia

May 21, 2019, 10:40 AM

May 22, 2019

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” Psalm 107:1-2

What is your story? We all have a story to tell. The Psalmist reminds us that the redeemed of the Lord should enjoy telling their story. Sometimes we struggle with telling our story because it does not seem as important or exciting as the testimony of someone else. However, everyone is not affected by stories the same way. You may feel that your story is dull or unimportant when it may be the exact story someone needs in their current situation.

Take a moment to reflect upon God’s blessings (both spiritual and physical) in your life. Remember what God has done for you that you could never accomplish on your own. Where would you be without God’s continual presence in your life? Are these stories worth sharing with others? Certainly! We do not mind talking about the weather, jobs, politics or sports but we find it difficult sometimes to talk about our relationship with Almighty God. We tend to talk about things that are exciting, important, and familiar to us. What might that say about our relationship/fellowship with our Father? One of the first subjects in our conversation with others should be about our walk with Jesus. Our relationship with God is special because it is personal by faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Along with sharing our story, we also need to be serving. It is almost time for our Vacation Bible School. In the next few weeks, we all have one of the greatest opportunities to serve in the Kingdom. VBS is one of the greatest outreach opportunities in which we participate together as a church family. Guess what? We still need workers! You will be blessed as you have the opportunity to be a blessing in the lives of our young people. Please prayerfully consider volunteering in some way to experience the life-changing impact of VBS. Don’t miss out on the fun and privilege to serve. As you go about this week, pray about ways that you can share your story more effectively and about ways you can serve in VBS!

                                                                                                                                               We love and appreciate you,

                                                                                                                                                Brad and Virginia

May 14, 2019, 11:37 AM

May 15, 2019

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

There is no doubt that the enemy desires to destroy people. Jesus said very plainly, “the enemy comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. Look carefully again at what Jesus said. “The enemy comes only to steal, kill and destroy!” It is the business of the enemy to destroy people, and he has many tools to purposely steer them in the wrong direction. As Peter vividly reminds us, the enemy is constantly looking for someone to devour. Who is the devil looking for? Make no mistake, we are all vulnerable to the devil’s schemes. However, much like predators hunting for prey in the wild, our enemy takes full advantage of the vulnerable. Who are the most vulnerable among us? Those who are without Christ, those who have been brought up in church but have not connected with the truths of God’s Word and Christians who have not been put to the test.

Probably some of the most vulnerable among us are our young people. It is vital that we nurture and encourage them as we have the opportunity because the world’s culture and peer pressure can easily sway them. Satan likes nothing better than to infiltrate the lives of the most vulnerable. There are some ways the devil uses constantly to lead people away from the truth. First, the enemy makes sure the vulnerable person is in constant contact with those who claim to be Christian yet do not live that way. This makes the vulnerable person believe that Christianity is important for a couple of hours on Sunday morning but then fades into the background the rest of the week. Another approach of the enemy is to make the vulnerable person feel secure in “holy acts” pushed by others. They need more than Bible stories and holy “rites of passage”. They need a true relationship with Almighty God by faith in Jesus and examples they can follow from those who walk with Him.

Then, there are those who feel that they are just not as spiritual as others and begin to separate themselves from other Christians. Before long, they have a new set of friends who are leading them down the wrong path. When difficult times come, they are not prepared and question everything they have been taught. They quickly conclude that what they have been taught is just not true and distance themselves from anything Christian. Young people are not the only ones vulnerable and certainly not the only ones the enemy loves to devour. However, our young people are faced with some very difficult challenges and deal with many more issues than previous generations. They are bombarded with issues like political correctness and inclusivism. In the midst of life’s toughest challenges, let us be there for them. Let us be willing to spend time with them, answer some difficult questions and more important than anything else, let them see us as true and trustworthy examples of the Christian life!

We love you,

Brad and Virginia

May 7, 2019, 12:54 PM

May 8, 2019

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31: 28-31

Moms are special! The meaning of being a mother is virtually endless. A mother is a protector, disciplinarian and friend. A mother is a selfless, loving human who must sacrifice many of her wants and needs for the wants and needs of her children. A mother works hard to make sure her children are equipped with the knowledge, wisdom, skill, and abilities to make decisions in a difficult world. Being a mother is perhaps the hardest, most demanding yet most rewarding job a woman will ever experience. However, the greatest responsibility of a mother is to “train up” their children to be followers of Jesus!

“Make sure to call mama on Mother’s Day, her birthday and the rest. You know she’s sitting by the phone wishing you all the best. She doesn’t want to bother you so she waits for YOU to phone. She has so much time now, most of it spent alone. She knows you are very busy now, with work and kids and wife. She helps you out whenever she can, she is the one who gave you life. The years go by, so fast they fly; the years just never stop. She has joined the local church and at local thrift stores she shops. Luckily you have an organized wife who sends the cards you sign. You moved away for job prospects not because you wanted to leave her behind. She quietly lives her life puttering around the yard, thinking of ways she could help you and cherishing your beautiful cards. Whenever you think of her, please listen and take the time, because I would give everything I have for just five minutes with mine!” Debbie Leads

People may not remember many of the things you do in life. However, when you are the mother God called you to be, your children will never forget the impact you’ve had on them. Let us pray for our mothers. Father, thank-you for the millions of mothers who are never in the limelight but raise their children the way you have instructed them. Thank-you for the mothers who love you and are faithful and true. You know them and will reward them. Amen. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms and to those who have been like a mom to others.

                                                                                                          We love and appreciate you,

                                                                                                          Brad and Virginia

April 30, 2019, 9:50 AM

May 1, 2019

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” Titus 2:7-8

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyles. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Brennan Manning

What examples do we share with an unbelieving world? What does our lifestyle reveal about our relationship with God? What does our lifestyle reveal about our belief in the Bible? We do not like to hear it, but we often try to intertwine the world’s standards into Christian standards. It simply will not work! The world has such a grasp and uses its grip to challenge Christians to compromise their beliefs. As Christians, we live under grace, but grace does not give us the right to join in all the ways of the world. In fact, grace gives us the ability to recognize what God has done for us and should encourage us with the desire to please Him in every way. Think about our lives for just a minute. Does our speech honor God? Does our appearance honor God? Do the decisions we make honor God? Do our lives encourage a lost world to come to Christ?

Now, another very important question? Does living the Christian life mean that we are able to look down on everyone else? Absolutely not! None of us are perfect and we all sin. However, when we do sin, do we acknowledge that sin for what it is? Do we sometimes overlook our actions with the famous excuse that “everybody does it”? God has called us to live the abundant life. The abundant life does not consist of a little bit of God mixed in with a little bit of the world. The balance in the Christian’s life is this: one hundred percent of my cooperation and willingness to say yes to God, and one hundred percent of God’s power and presence in my life. Are we consciously and consistently presenting our lives to Jesus daily?

There are lost people all around us. They are looking for the abundant life that Jesus describes in John 10:10. Their problem is that they are looking in all the wrong places. We have the answer but do we exemplify the lifestyle that will encourage them to seek Jesus? May we examine our life, repent, and ask forgiveness for those things we’ve done against God and live in a way that honors Him. Only then will we have an impact on those around us and be the example for them so that they seek God for the abundant life.

                                                                                                                    We love you,

                                                                                                                    Brad and Virginia

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