Same Old Story

Church Family,

As we watch the story of scripture unfold in Genesis, it might seem like the same old story over and over again.  A difficult situation, a sinful action, God’s sovereign act of faithfulness to his promises to right the ship, everything back on trace, then repeat!  This should not discourage us nor cause us to be frustrated with scripture.  The story of the early patriarchs is our story.  As a matter of fact, it’s the story of God’s people from the beginning.  Sin, God redeems, then repeat!  This actually serves as a helpful understanding of what it means to follow God and how dependent we are upon God the Father sending God the Son guiding us by God the Spirit.  Isaac this past Sunday has his moment of struggle (famine), lack of trust (deception), God remains faithful despite his unfaithfulness (continued blessing in the land), and it all reveals genuine faith (Genesis 26).  We have to understand, brothers and sisters, genuine faith is not without struggle but will, in the end, remain fearless by clinging to the promises fulfilled in Jesus.  All Isaac has is God’s promise of faithfulness!  Fast forward to the same old story playing out again in the life of Jesus.  Jesus is forced into famine (fasting for 40 days), He’s tempted to not trust (devil ‘s temptation), but (there is where His story differs greatly) He is without sin (Matthew 4).  Jesus clings to the promises of God and is sustained.  Brothers and sisters, we will struggle, but through the fulfilled promises of God in Jesus, let us remain fearless!

 

Christology

This week we will pick back up our study of Christology.  We will meet at 6 pm to discuss another aspect of the work of Jesus.  Here is a zoom option (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83868049136).

Desert Kids

What a great Sunday as we kicked off a few new things for Desert Kids!  Thanks for all those who volunteered and for patience as we fine tune.  Parents, let us know if you have any questions.

Birthright and God’s promise

Church Family,

Holding tight to God’s unshakable word is difficult in uncertain times.  It becomes more difficult when suffering is great, and a quick fix is before you.  This is where we found ourselves in Genesis this past Sunday; Esau starving and willing to give up on the promises of God for a quick fix (Gen 25).  Jacob has apparently thought about God’s promise a lot and considered it of more value than temporal things.  Esau can only think about the moment.  We were encouraged this past Sunday not to be fixated on our current condition; but, rather we should be asking how God’s promises give us a better reality over our circumstances.

 

Desert Kids

We are super excited about this coming Sunday!  We have a deep conviction to invest in our children by giving them God’s word and helping mom and dad have spiritual conversations.  With that said, we are making a few changes this Sunday, May 2, to our Desert Kids area.  The most important detail is for you to have your children here by 9:45 am.  Here is a breakdown of what will occur:

  • We will be offering two classes–Nursery/Preschool (in the nursery) and K-5 (room 204).
  • At 9:45 am, you will drop your child off at either of those rooms
  • Teachers will bring nursery and preschoolers into the auditorium at 10 am to meet their parents and join in the singing.  They will then be dismissed back to their room after singing.
  • K-5 will have a structured 25 minutes of learning a biblical truth, studying scripture, singing songs, and preparing for the sermon.  After their time, they will be dismissed to come to the auditorium to join their parents.

Do be patient!  I’m sure the transitions will be bumpy at first, but we trust this structure will serve our children and parents very well!

Let Us Pray!

This Wednesday, we will have a prayer gathering at 6 pm.  There will be no zoom option because the topic of our prayers will contain sensitive information that might compromise some work across the world.

Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to the many of you who brought shoes for Jefferson Elementary.  It is always so encouraging to see how our Church responds to the needs of our community.  I will be taking them over to the school this week since there is only a couple of weeks left in the school year.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Steadfast Love

Church Family,

In a world of constant change, it’s comforting to know that the Lord is steadfast in his love towards us.  He is not a short-lived interest God who is only around for a few moments here and there.  He is consistent, determined, and has set His love toward us.  We saw the steadfast love of the Lord last Sunday so clearly in the story of God choosing Rebekah.  We watched those faithful followers rejoice in Genesis 24, specifically over the steadfast love of God.  It was evident to them, and us, in his providential care of being faithful to His covenant promises that His love was and will always be steadfast!

 

Christology

Join us this Wednesday at 6 pm to discuss the work of Christ upon the cross.  This significant event in human history has changed everything.  Please bring a friend as we look at various aspects of what Christ accomplished by his work on the cross.  We will also provide a zoom option here, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84719173252.

Death

Church Family,

Preaching through Genesis, which is primarily a historical narrative book, has been enjoyable for many reasons, but one is watching real-life followers of God go through life.  We’ve been following Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac the last several months through the ups and downs.  We’ve learned a lot about the providential care our sovereign Lord gives to them (and us) despite their not so glorious moments.  Following God requires faith grounded in a faithful God who does what he says.  This past Sunday, even in death, we learned that it does not stop nor interrupt God’s promises being fulfilled.  Abraham secures a burial place for his wife Sarah and, in doing so, honors her and encourages God’s people for generations to come that we live in faith that God will fulfill his promises despite our death (Hebrews 11:11, 13-16).

 

Baptism

In a couple of weeks, we will have baptisms!  This is very exciting, and we cannot wait to celebrate God’s grace in bringing salvation to others. If you have never been baptized and have questions, please reach out.  I would love the opportunity to explain what baptism is and to celebrate with you!

Christology

This Wednesday at 6 pm, we will continue our discussion on the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Come ready to discuss the deity of Jesus and bring a friend who might have questions.  Here is a zoom option https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82037561270.

Donations

We have another wonderful opportunity to encourage both teachers and students at Jefferson Elementary School.  They have a boutique where students in need can come and get clothing and other necessary items.  They are short on shoes.  So, they reached out to us to see if we would be willing to collect shoes, sizes 1-6 (Kid sizes, of course), for the next couple of weeks.  We jumped at the chance to help.  In the foyer, for the next several weeks, we will collect shoes on their behalf.  Used shoes are welcomed but do use your judgment on whether they are still usable.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

According to the Scriptures

Church Family,

Easter weekend was a joyous time together at both our Good Friday Gathering and our Resurrection Sunday Gathering.  If you are like me, not gathering during Easter weekend last year was one of the hardest parts to endure.  That made this weekend all the more special and joyous.  As we reflected upon the person and work of Jesus, I trust you were encouraged to confess before the Lord your sins and rejoice that sin has and is defeated in the Resurrected Lord (1 Corinthians 15:56-57).  We have much to be thankful for this year and every year.  Resurrection is the great display of power in the defeat of sin by the work of Jesus according to the scriptures!  AMEN!

 

Christology

Don’t let the word intimidate you!  It simply means the study of Christ.  That’s what we aim to do over the next few weeks on Wednesday Evenings at 6 pm.  We will gather in person (zoom option here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85872570092) to hear a teaching from the bible on the person or work of Jesus then discuss that particular subject.  This time is geared to encourage the believer as they rejoice over Jesus and challenge the skeptic to consider the person and work of Jesus Christ seriously.  Invite your friends, family, or co-workers to join us in discussing our greatest love, Jesus!

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Security

Church Family,

This week brings with it a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  The foundation of our beliefs is what we celebrate this week.  This past Sunday, we reflected on what God through Jesus secures for us.  As Jesus, our King, rides into town with shouts of Hosanna, God is securing for us our salvation.  We are made safe in final judgment and given life through the person and work of Jesus.  Take this week and follow Jesus in His last week, what we call Passion Week or Holy Week.  Here is a breakdown of each day and the scripture that corresponds to that day.  Carve out space each day and read, pray, and perhaps sing in worship for the work of Jesus that secures our salvation.

 

Passion Week Schedule

There are several ways for you to engage this week as we reflect deeply upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

  • Let Us Pray! – In-person prayer gathering this Wednesday (3/31) at 6 pm.  Zoom option available (link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88997861173).
  • Good Friday – In-person gathering this Friday (4/2) at 6 pm to reflect upon the cross of Christ.  This will be on Facebook Live, or you can view it from the Livestream on our webpage.
  • Waiting Saturday – A guided reflection upon the time between Jesus’ burial and resurrection.  We used this last year and found it helpful in considering uncertainty and doubt.  Click here to see the guide.
  • Resurrection Sunday – Our normal in-person Sunday Gathering (4/4) at 10 am to celebrate our Risen Lord!  This will be on Facebook Live, or you can view it from the Livestream on our webpage.

At all of our in-person gatherings, we will still observe all the restrictions we’ve had in place for the past several months (See video here from our webpage).  Thanks for your patience and willingness to serve one another during this season.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Isaac and Ishmael

Church Family,

This past Sunday, we continued our trek through the book of Genesis.  We’ve been following Abraham for several chapters and finally arrived at the birth of the long-awaited promise of a child, Isaac.  What a glorious moment after all the waiting!  Abraham and Sarah both rejoice at the birth of Isaac.  The scriptures tell us they laughed in joy at the astonishment of God’s faithfulness.  God provides as he promised (Gen 21:1)!  In the arrival of God’s divine promise, another thing occurs; the shortcomings of man’s attempt to do what only God can do.  Ishmael (Abraham and Sarah’s way of taking matters into their own hands back in Gen 16) laughs in mockery at God’s provision.  He does not receive God’s provision with trust.  Despite all this, the Lord still has his ear towards him and provides safety and provisions for him and Hagar (Gen 21:15-21).  In contrast between Isaac and Ishmael is both joy and difficulty.  Joy in that God is faithful, difficult in that man’s attempt to be God causes strife.  God’s way is always best, and man’s way always falls short.  We are to trust his ways in his timing!

 

Easter Schedule

Next week marks the last week of Jesus’ life that we often refer to as Passion Week or Holy Week.  There is much to contemplate during this time leading up to Resurrection Sunday.  We want to take advantage of this time to think and consider what the person and work of Jesus mean to us.  We will do this by having a Good Friday Gathering (April 2nd at 6 pm) and our regular Sunday Gathering (10 am).  Mark your calendars and plan on intentionally engaging in those two gatherings.

Let Us Pray!

We will continue with our Wednesday Prayer Gathering this week at 6 pm.  This is an in-person event, but we will offer a zoom option as well (link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83652085669)

Desert Kids

This is just a quick reminder that if you have children or interested in serving in Desert Kids, please hang out after the gathering for an informational meeting.  Thanks to all the parents for your patience.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Fear God

Church Family,

It was such a joy to have church planter Andy Shurson, who is in the process of planting Desert Ridge Church, with us this past Sunday.  He walked us through Genesis 20, the story of Abraham and Abimelech.  For a second time, Abraham is overwhelmed by the fear of man and lacks trust in the providential care of the Lord.  On their own terms, he and Sarah try to preserve the promises of God rather than trust.  Their fear of Abimelech caused them to sin and, in doing so, brought sin into Abimelech’s house (Gen 20:9).  As the Lord confronts Abimelech, he exhibits a greater fear of the Lord than the great patriarch Abraham (Gen 20:8).  It’s easy to point figures at Abraham and question his trust.  But we too often lack trust and are overcome by the fear of man.  It hinders our joy and suffocates our faith.  We must function in reverent awe of God if we are to experience great joy and true freedom.  It’s far greater to walk in trust of the Lord than others.

 

Let Us Pray!

This Wednesday at 6 pm, we will meet in-person (woohoo!) for a time of prayer together as we anticipate Easter week.  There will be a zoom option as well (link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85629190158).  I don’t know if you noticed, but we consistently call our times of prayer together (whether during our Sunday gathering or Wednesday evenings) “Let Us Pray!”.  This is because we want to remind ourselves of Scripture’s call to be a people who pray and pray often.  As a church family, we must saturate our church, our community, and the world with prayer.  As a church family, we must seek wisdom through prayer, we must pray seeking courage to be obedient, and we must pray for stamina to be faithful.  Join us as we call out together to our gracious God to do His will among our community and us.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Sodom and Gomorrah

Church Family,

I love our commitment to God’s Word every time we gather.  Preaching through books of the Bible forces us to look at the not-so-pleasant sections of Scripture.  This past Sunday, we considered how the Lord responds to sin by looking at the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  These are popular places even today used as references for outright evils.  One thing that becomes evident is that sin requires judgment.  The Lord, upon Abraham’s pleading, cannot find anyone righteous in Sodom.  Through sexual perversion, they put on display their evils (Gen 18:4-11).  Though judgment comes, the Lord saves Lot precisely because of Abraham (Gen19:29).  Sin does indeed require judgment, but grace is available through another.  We are all like Lot, only saved because of another, Jesus.

 

Life Among the Nations

This past Sunday, we announced an opportunity to encourage international college students at ASU.  It’s simple, do you have a piece of furniture you have been looking to get rid of?  Well, nows the time!  Most international college students don’t have the bare necessities, such as a table to sit and eat or a desk to do their work.  Life Among the Nations is asking for donations of unwanted furniture to help these students.  If you have any items you are willing to donate, email me.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

The Patience of the Lord

Church Family,

This past Sunday was a tremendous encouragement to us all.  God’s Word is always relevant to our day no matter the number of years between us and the time of the event.  We saw in the Genesis account of Ishmael and Isaac a patient Lord.  Abraham and Sarah take matters into their own hands to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise (Gen 16).  In doing so, they caused tremendous problems for themselves and future difficulty for God’s people.  Despite all this, the Lord in his patience reestablished covenant with Abraham and brings about his promises in Isaac (Gen 17).  In his appointed time (Gen 18:14), He provides Sarah with a child who will carry on the everlasting covenant of the Lord.  His delay was not a display of weakness, but rather a moment to bring about His power; “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen 18:14).  The Lord’s patience is a display of His tender power.  Brothers and Sisters, be patient, pursue intimacy with the Lord, and let the waiting breed greater trust.

 

The Doctrine of Humanity

This week’s topic in our lecture series on a biblical doctrine of us will be original sin.  Here’s the zoom link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82256318650.  We will take next week off due to Spring Break.

Members Meeting

If you are a member of Light in the Desert Church, we are having our quarterly Members Meeting this Sunday at 6 pm on zoom.  We will be sending out a link through email in the next few days to all the members.  Do make some time to join us as we discuss the effects of 2020 and look ahead to 2021.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan