Valuable Wisdom

Church Family,

What another great Sunday it was gleaning insight from Proverbs.  The loving instructions the father gives to his son in Proverbs reminds us, as God’s children, how He has and continues to instruct us with love.  Often those instructions come through conditional statements: if this, then this.  These are extremely valuable in moving us towards wisdom and greater maturity.  As we said on Sunday, once we become believers, we do not instantly become wise, so seek and search for it in God himself because he willingly gives it, and it’s worth it.

Returning to Sunday Gathering

Thank you all for your continued prayers for wisdom as we plan when and how we will return to Sunday Gathering.  We will be announcing this coming Sunday the tentative date we plan to return to gathering face to face.  As we have been doing each Sunday, be at our Facebook page at 10 am to hear a few details.  We will be giving many more details in the coming weeks as we get closer to returning to our Sunday Gathering.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Two Paths

Church Family,

This past Sunday, we explored the two paths Proverbs puts before us.  It uniquely does this by personifying the choices; Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly.  Lady Wisdom’s speech consumes a large number of verses, while Lady Folly’s speech is short, indicating just how much more Lady Wisdom has to offer.  Proverbs will call us consistently to choose because that is what wisdom does; it makes decisions.  We cannot fill our heads with insight, knowledge, and understanding and not use them in our daily living.  Proverbs seek to help us gain a better skill at life, which requires action.  Two paths will continually emerge before us, and sorry, we cannot take both, so let us stand and ponder each paths’ outcome.

 

Sunday Gathering

The Leadership Team and I are diligently and prayerfully discussing a reopening strategy that will serve us all well and, most importantly, honor the Lord.  As we consider everything, would you help us by filling out the anonymous questionnaire below?  It should only take a few minutes of your time and will be extremely helpful to us.  This questionnaire is designed to gain insight to help us better make wise decisions. None of the suggestions below are guarantees, but a starting point in gauging comfort levels.  Thanks in advance!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

 

 

Returning to Sunday Gathering

Vain Is The Net

Church Family,

I do hope you all are well.  We are hopeful that we will be able to gather again soon.  The Leadership Team and I are considering everything to make decisions that will best serve us all and ultimately honor the Lord.  We are, like Proverbs, beginning with what it calls “Fear of the Lord,” which calls for greater trust in Him, surrender to His ways, and humility of understanding our need of Him.  We will keep you posted.

This past Sunday, we looked at Proverbs 1:8-19.  Within that section of scripture, we explored verse 17, For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird.  The meaning is rather straight forward if a net is spread out in plain view of the bird, well any sensible bird will see it and avoid the trap.  Easy to understand, but often not practiced.  The sinners of Proverbs 1:8-19, did not avoid the net, though it was plain to see that their actions, desires, and motives were outside of God’s instructions and wisdom.  The son in this text had the advantage of a father giving instructions, and a mother giving him teaching—which in the end is God’s instruction and teaching.  They are giving their child God’s words, God’s wisdom, and it will make him/us wise to the nets that so easily entrap us.  Take time this week and read some Proverbs to gain insight into the ways of sin and your heart tendencies towards easily being enticed.

This Week:

  • Disciple-Makers:  We have two more weeks of Disciple-Makers.  This Wednesday at 6:30 pm, we will discuss scripture and let God’s word encourage, convict, and mature us (link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/501936397).
  • Sunday Gathering:  At this point, you are very familiar with how Sunday works, so just let this be a reminder to be on Facebook at 10 am to participate in our virtual gathering.  You can also view it from our webpage here.
  • Needs:  Please don’t hesitate to let us know about any needs that arise as a result of these uncertain times.  God, in His sovereignty, has put us in a position to be able to help.  If you experience a significant drop in income, you don’t have to bear that burden alone.  Or, if you have a neighbor you’ve been reaching out to that you think we could help with, let us know.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Wisdom

Church Family,

I do hope you all are well.  This past Sunday, we began our series in the book of Proverbs.  We discovered the impressive work Proverbs could do in our lives.  It can make us wise, give instructions on life, direct our interactions with each other, and continue to mature us.  All these glorious things–knowledge, wisdom, instructions, justice, fairness, wise dealings, continued development–hinge on one thing; fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10). Fear of the Lord requires us to remove ourselves from the center of life.  It is an acknowledgment that He, the Lord, knows best.  It is surrendering to Him as the higher authority.  Come to find out; wisdom is a heart issue more than just filling our heads with knowledge.  I look forward to the coming weeks and anticipate the Lord revealing our hearts along the way to bring us towards greater maturity.

This Week:

  • Disciple-Makers:  We will continue looking at scripture and working together to unpack its truths for our life (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/501936397).
  • Prayer Gathering:  This Friday, we will have a prayer gathering using Zoom at 6:30 pm.  This will be a guided prayer time so come prepared to hear how the Lord is directing our attention and to saturate those concerns and praises with prayer (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83004580171).
  • Sunday Gathering:  By this time, we all have down our Sunday rhythm, but as a reminder, go to Facebook at 10 am to watch our Livestream.  You don’t have to use Facebook.  You can view it from our website here. I would encourage everyone who can to use Facebook.  That is the best place for interaction within the comment section.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Friendly Reminder

Church Family,

This is just a friendly reminder of our Sunday Virtual Gathering tomorrow at 10 am.  There are several ways to participate:

  1. Facebook – this is the simplest and probably the best way.   All you have to do is go to our Facebook page at 10 am and watch the live video.
  2. Website – if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can view the Livestream from our webpage.  Click here.
  3. Zoom – we will be using Zoom this week again to add a few other people to the Livestream.  If you want, you can use this link (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/93829106917) and view the Livestream that way.
  4. Read – lastly, grab your bible this evening and read Proverbs 1:1-7 to prepare your heart for tomorrow.

See you all tomorrow!

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Be Watchful

Church Family,

I hope you were as encouraged as I was this past Sunday.  Our journey through the book of 1 Corinthians has been needed and timely.  1 Corinthians 16 was an excellent summary to challenge us as we part ways with this book.  It reminded us of the great truths the book unpacks for us as the people of God, the local gathering.  One such challenge was to “be watchful.”  Brothers and sisters, we must be vigilant in these days to be watchful for our tendencies to doubt, to waiver, to slide down into despair, and to neglect God’s Word.  We must be watchful for one another as well, looking for ways to encourage, to meet needs, to serve, and to be generous.  All of which should be done in love!

Schedule for this week:

  • Disciple-Makers:  We will shift gears and focus solely on unpacking God’s Word together, using the skills and techniques we discussed throughout the semester.  The link is the same (https://zoom.us/j/501936397).  See you at 6:30 pm on Wednesday.
  • Sunday Virtual Gathering:  Last week, we introduced a new element to our 10 am virtual gathering.  It went well, so we intend to use the Zoom webinar again this coming Sunday.  You do not have to use zoom; you can still view it through Facebook or our website.  Speaking of Sunday, see below for our new sermon series we will start this Sunday.  Take some time this week to read the first chapter of Proverbs.

 

Proverbs | Wisdom for Today

A person gripped with love for God and overwhelmed with His grace will never be the same.  His or her life will be marked by an unusual take on life and unfortunate circumstances.  They will desire to live for God’s glory and leverage everything for His purposes.  But, who are we kidding, that is not easy.  Decisions are not as clear cut as we would like them to be, and sometimes an answer can be right in one situation and wrong in another.  This is why we desperately need the wisdom to navigate life’s quick and uncertain turns.  Proverbs has long been that source of wisdom.  It provides insight into what godliness looks like in our day to day affairs.  Join us as we look at the nature of wisdom and what it looks like in our lives.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

This Sunday 4/19/2020

Church Family,

I do hope you all are well and had an enjoyable week.  I was able to join hundreds of pastor across the country to attend (virtually) a pastor’s conference.  Though it was not a usual way to enjoy and participate in a conference, it still encouraged my soul.  Going with the flow and making adjustments to our old rhythms is the current theme of our lives.  With that said, we are making a slight adjustment to our Sunday Virtual Gathering.  It still will be on Facebook live at 10 am or our website as well.  The tiny change is that we will be using Zoom to broadcast the Livestream to Facebook.  So if you want to use Zoom instead of watching on Facebook, here is the link (https://zoom.us/j/93829106917).  It is not a regular meeting that most of us are familiar with but the webinar feature.  This simply means you will be an attendee and just be viewing the gathering.  The only benefit I can perceive at this point is a better quality video.  We are using this feature because many months ago, I scheduled a dear brother to preach this coming Sunday.  I trust the Lord already knew the unique circumstance we would be in when I asked; so, he is preaching from his home.  Zoom allows for multiple people from different locations to be on the Livestream at once.  We will more than likely continue to make use of this feature in the coming weeks as we wait to meet face to face.

Let me encourage you to prepare your hearts for tomorrow morning.  Many distractions are pulling at your attention as you watch from home.  Take the extra steps to silent your phone, turn off notifications on your computer, and ready yourself to hear God’s Word.

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow morning.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Dealing With Anxiety

Church Family,

What a great Easter weekend!  It was enjoyable to reflect on a few of the most important truths we hold dear.  In times like these, it is essential to hold tightly to the truths about Jesus that never change, waiver, nor fail.  “He is alive” is much more than a slogan once a year; it’s our rally cry into eternity!

I wanted to direct your thinking towards a helpful article I stumbled upon a few days ago about anxiety.  One thing is for sure, whether you struggle with anxiety or not, COVID-19 is more than likely causing you to worry.  It’s helpful when dealing with anxiety to clarify exactly what you are feeling and what type of anxiety you feel.  In doing so, it allows you to address the worry better and begin to cope and or overcome the stress.  The long term effects of this virus are very uncertain, so it is wise for us to be aware of the areas we are prone to higher anxiety and to be experts on God’s Word that reminds us of our ultimate reality.  This article will help with both.  Click here to read more.  If you need someone to chat with further about anxiety, reach out to myself or Blaine Barber, who can be reached by email (bbarber@biblicalcounselingaz.org).

Schedule this week

  • Disciple-Makers:  Wednesday at 6:30 pm, click this link (https://zoom.us/j/501936397) and jump into a wonderful conversation about reading scripture well.
  • Sunday:  We will continue to go live on Facebook at 10 am with a few announcements and then a message.  You don’t have to have a Facebook account to view that video, just click here, and you can watch it from our website.
  • You:  Yes you!  Why would I include you in the schedule for the week?  Because it is crucial that we as the body take time each week to connect through whatever means we have available.  Emails are ok, a text message is a little better, a phone call is way better, but a video chat is the best!  Use these things to chat, listen, and pray for one another this week.  Perhaps you could even read scripture together as part of your time.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

Easter Weekend Schedule

Church Family,

I hope this week has been a fruitful time of reflection upon the person and work of Jesus.  If you have not considered thinking through the days of Passion Week, here is a list of events from the last week of Jesus’ life.  Take time and read through the various events and the words of Jesus.  Considering the magnitude of what this week represents, we as a church family want to take advantage of each moment to contemplate the multiple feelings that surround this week.  We pray for conviction, for strengthening, for a deepening of our faith, and for joy unspeakable to result from this weekend.  Below are the events we are encouraging us all to participate in:

  • Good Friday:  Good Friday is designed to be somber and focused solely on the cross. We want to approach this moment together as a solemn preparation for the joys of resurrection. We will try to do that by maintaining a reverence throughout that highlights that reality.  So as you join the Zoom, join prepared with a quiet spirit ready to receive from the Lord.  We will begin at 5:00 pm.  Here is the link (https://zoom.us/j/486027828)
  • Waiting Saturday:  Waiting is not pleasant and uncertainty can be crushing.  That is exactly how the disciples and all those who followed Jesus felt as his lifeless body lay in a tomb.  We are encouraging us all to take time to walk through this guide with our families on Saturday praying to be strengthened in our waiting.
  • Resurrection Sunday:  He is ALIVE!  Join us at 10 am Sunday on Facebook to celebrate our Risen King!  You don’t have to have a Facebook account to watch the live video.  Simply click here to watch it without a Facebook account.

 

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan

This week and Easter Instructions

Church Family,

I do hope you all are well and encouraged today.  Yesterday was a great day of connecting with you all in various ways. From our 10 am Facebook live (you can watch it here as well) to the many Zoom calls, it all was good for my soul.

With that said, now that we are several weeks into COVID-19, perhaps things are starting to feel a little overwhelming.  We should anticipate as this virus drags on an increased sense of frustration and a longing for normalcy.  Knowing these things will come, it’s wise for us all to stay connected and participate in the different activities we are making available throughout the week.  So grab your calendar or open it in on your phone and put in these activities:

  • Disciple-Makers: Every Wednesday, we will continue our disciple-makers class at 6:30 pm.  The link will remain the same (https://zoom.us/j/501936397) each week.  We are discussing healthy and practical ways to read the bible.
  • Easter Schedule:  Historically, the church for centuries has marked out this week, often called Passion Week, to reflect deeply on Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.  Though we are separated, we can still leverage this week and experience joy, conviction, and hope!  I will be sending more details as the week progresses to prepare our hearts for these moments:
    • Good Friday (death):  Jesus experienced a brutal death upon a rugged cross.  We must not soon forget the enormous suffering He endured that brings us our salvation.  At 5 pm on Friday the 10th, we will have a Good Friday service through Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/486027828)
    • Waiting Saturday (burial):  The period after the death of Jesus until resurrection would have been a very uncertain time for God’s people.  It would have been extremely disorienting to them as Jesus was their great hope who now lies in a tomb, died.  This is similar to our current state of uncertainty, and this is the one time in our lives, we can think deeply about the waiting, about the uncertainty, and express how disoriented we feel.  To reflect on this, I will be sending out some instructions for you and your family to use to reflect on this time.
    • Resurrection Sunday (resurrection):  The tomb is EMPTY!  He is ALIVE!  We will continue with our 10 am Facebook live unpacking all the resurrection means to us from 1 Corinthians 15.  Invite those who you have been praying for and sharing with about the gospel of Jesus.

Lastly, thank you for the many that continue to give.  If you are unaware of how to give during this time, there are three different ways:

  1. Online:  This is the simplest way to give.  Just click here and follow the steps.
  2. Church Mailbox:  If you feel like getting out, you can drop it in the onsite mailbox to the left of the glass double-doors.
  3. USPS:  You can simply put it in an envelope, slap a stamp on it, and send it in the mail.

I miss you all tremendously!  I look forward to this week of reflection and wholeheartedly trust the Lord will encourage us, convict us, give us joy, and strengthen our faith!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Bryan