Leeeetttt’s get ready to rumble! Is this the battle cry you feel like chanting as we prepare for 2021? What a year 2020 was! It started with so much promise, hope, and dreams. And yet it feels like this year is ending in denial, despair and shattered dreams. Can anything good come out of a year of economic shutdowns, millions infected by Covid19, and political chaos? Yes! If God can bring the greatest good out of the worst event in history, He can bring good out of 2020.
I recently read these verses and I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to slow down and read them again.
“They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.” Psalm 112:7-8
Wow! I mean, if there is a verse or verses that all of us should adopt for 2021, here they are! The child of God receives bad news with confidence and even joy because he knows the good news that will one day engulf and wash away every terror that might be.
More bad news may come in 2021. But, as a child of God I can confidently look to the Lord who will care for me! As Christians, we recognize that this life is really just a prelude to the eternal one; a life in which “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4
We’re going to a place where the worst pain or year we go through will seem like brief birth pains swallowed up in the joy of new birth. Hallelujah!
I love you Lifers!
It is always difficult trying to figure out what we’re going to get others for Christmas. I heard about one little guy who got a harmonica from his uncle. A few days later he saw his uncle for the 1st time since receiving the gift & with a big smile said, “Thanks for the harmonica you gave me for Christmas, It’s the best present ever.” His uncle said “You’re welcome. Do you know how to play it?” The little guy said “No, I don’t play it. My mom gives me a dollar a day not to play it during the day and my dad gives me five dollars a week not to play it at night!" That’s a gift that keeps on giving.
We’re about to celebrate the gift that keeps on giving, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Soon we’ll be hearing friends, family and even strangers smiling and saying “Merry Christmas.” But how do you really have a merry Christmas? To have a merry Christmas we must focus on the Christ of Christmas and honor Him in all that we say and do because Christmas is all about Christ. Christmas is a never changing message to all mankind that says you matter to God; that God cares about you and loves you unconditionally.
Christmas celebrates the birth of our Lord. It reveals a life changing moment in time when the infinite infant, God in the flesh became man; incredible, inconceivable yet, undeniable. Heaven touched earth and God directly intervened in human history providing abundant and eternal life. Christmas is an exciting time of bright lights and decorations, fun and festivities and a time of food, family and friends. It is a reflective time as we meditate on the virgin birth and celebrate Immanuel, God with us and because His presence we can experience love, joy and hope even in the most difficult times. Christmas is always a tremendous opportunity to show and share the love of Christ to a lonely and hurting world.
On December 13th we will have the opportunity to impact the world and invest in God’s Kingdom by giving our gift to Jesus as we celebrate His birthday. Our goal as a church is $60,000. During the service mangers will be down front for you to come and place your monetary gift in the manger. Every dollar given will go directly to support faithful missionaries all over the world to reach the lost and unchurched. There are over 7000 unreached people groups and this has been an extremely difficult year for our missionaries. We may not be able to go but we can give to those who have gone. Please pray and be prepared to generously give your gift to our Lord on His birthday!
It breaks my heart to say this, but our Candlelight Christmas eve service will be online. Every year we’ve had a packed house, an overflowing crowd therefore there is no room to distance people safely. But we have planned a very exciting, encouraging online service for 5:00 on the 24th. Gather with your family and join us as we celebrate the birth of our King.
As we prepare to conclude this year and celebrate the Christmas season may I encourage you to “make memories” that you will always cherish. Make memories with your family and church family that will honor our Lord, build His Kingdom and bless your life. The most memorable Christmas ever, awaits each of us if we’ll step out by faith and allow the Christ of Christmas to live in and through us.
May you and your family have a Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year,
Your Pastor and Friend,
Who would have ever believed when we began talking and taking precautions in March concerning Covid-19 that we would still be dealing with it in November! Even though we realize it’s not a life threatening virus for the majority, it is still a highly contagious virus that we have no cure for, and don’t know what long term effects it may later have for those who have been diagnosed with it.
I mention this because when weeks turn to months it’s easy to take less precaution and be less concerned but recently the cases have been increasing in our county and we all need a timely reminder to wash our hands, keep a safe distance from others and to wear a mask in populated areas.
We at Life Community want to provide a safe environment to keep people safe, to equip them and honor our Lord. I believe the church is essential. It’s the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, bought with His blood. Many people watch online and I’m grateful for that, and realize for some, this is their only option. That can be a short term solution, but it can also become a terrible habit that drastically affects our spiritual maturity.
Church is the gathering of God’s people. There is the universal church we are born into the moment we receive Christ, therefore people say “we are the church” which is correct. But there is also the local church where we come together being equipped, encouraging one another and worshiping our soon returning Savior. The NT epistles are written to the local church and in 2 Tim 3 we have the qualifications for pastors and deacons. Then in 2 Tim. 3:15, Paul says he’s written these things so we might know how to behave our self in the church, the house of God. Church is not sitting home & watching on-line. It’s too easy to be distracted and we need one another. Even during times of extreme persecution believers gathered because the Bible says to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Hebr. 10:25
True story; I spoke with a pastor from Florida recently who had one of his leaders tell him that he’d not be back until this was all over. Weeks later he saw the man and his family at Disney shoulder to shoulder with strangers. Many today are in crowds, but not in church.
Since the beginning I have found myself in a dilemma. I have a strong conviction concerning gathering as a church and a strong concern about everyone’s safety. We’re living in a time like no other in the history of our nation, and the enemy is determined to divide us. But if the church doesn’t come together, who will?
So I believe we should make every effort to gather together but I also believe we need to take every precaution. Don’t minimize the need for safety. When you come you should social distance from others who are not family or close acquaintances, and wear a mask if possible. We as a staff have committed to wearing a mask. We’ve talked about a mask only service but we’ve decided not to do so at this time. I think it would be impossible to enforce, but if necessary we will do so. We desire to honor you and honor our Lord and we covet your prayers.
For the King and His Kingdom,
Wikipedia, relying on respected Christian sources states “The annual growth rate of evangelicalism in the U.S. is 0.8% according to Operation World and as a nation we rank 30th in the list of countries where evangelical growth is least.” The church must wake up before it’s too late!
Everyone is in agreement. These are unprecedented times. In the history of our nation we’ve never seen a series of events like we are experiencing today. A virus has paralyzed our nation even though the symptoms are far less than often reported and over 99% recover. We’ve legalized same sex marriage, demonized and defunded faithful police men and women who protect us, we’ve allowed violence to erupt in major cities across our nation and many churches are not gathering, or poorly attended if they do.
The church should be alive, vibrant and faithful lifting up Jesus during this time. We should be fervently praying and desperately seeking God yet our pleasure and prosperity has lulled many to sleep. Our society has changed us more than we’ve changed our society. Desperate times require desperate actions. Martyn Lloyd Jones said "In these days of exceptional evil, are you doing something exceptional?”
I’m in whole hearted agreement with Dr. Michael Brown. He said “It’s time to get back to the basics; deep personal devotions, committed corporate prayer and compassionate outreach ministries in our communities. The Great Commission, adorned with good works and empowered by the Spirit, must be our great priority.” He went on to say “We are living in desperate times, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we are not desperate. Our nation is broken, but we are not broken. We need prayers that bleed and hearts that cry. We need God.”
That’s why we set aside August as a time of prayer and fasting. That’s why Pastor Chad and I will be preaching a series this month entitled “Exchanging Survival for Revival.” That is also why we are going to simulcast a nationwide Solemn Assembly at LCC on Saturday, September 26th from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Some look at that time frame and say my Saturday… all day… and that is the end of the conversation. But before you write it off would you look at our nation and ask “Is it worth it?” Would you look at your children and grandchildren and ask “Is it worth it?” Would you look at our Savior and the price He paid for us and ask “Is it worth it?”
This is a time to confess and repent of our sin, both personally and as a nation. It’s a time to cry out to the only one who can save and change us. This should be the priority of every born again believer! Imagine coming to LCC Saturday morning on the 26th and the parking lot full, and the church family gathered with a spirit of expectancy, and the presence of God greeting us as we entered.
Check out the website www.thereturn.org and if you can’t attend all day check out the itinerary and plan to stay as long as you can. Our future may depend on it. If not us…who? If not now…when? If not you…why?
Break us Lord that you might bless others,
These are unprecedented times. As the cry of socialism is escalating and the foundation of our great nation is under attack and crumbling, we as followers of Christ must recognize “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4) And we must respond in fasting and prayer.
When our society forgets its reason for existence, allows vice and corruption to thrive, and no longer cherishes the Christian beliefs and values that allow it to prosper and grow strong, it will be destroyed from within. We have a responsibility in times like these to gather together and cry out to the Father.
That’s why we have set aside the month of August to pray and fast. We’re asking every member of LCC to sign up for at least one day during August -- and preferably one day every week during the month - to fast and pray. If you haven’t yet, please email the church office to sign up for the days you'll commit to fast and pray.
Unfortunately, we as Christians know a lot about feasting but often very little about fasting. Jesus made it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that we should fast. He said, “when you fast...” (Mt.6:16,17) Listen to the words of Jesus in Mt. 9:15, “But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, then they will fast.”
Fasting can be seen in the lives of God’s children throughout the Scripture. It is mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament and about 30 times in the New Testament.
How long has it been since you prayed and fasted for your nation, your church or your family? America is crying, crippled, cursing and corrupt. Our nation is spiraling out of control while many of our churches are empty, and our streets are filled with violence and lawlessness. We must fast and pray!
What is fasting? Fasting is abstaining from food for a spiritual purpose. It means crying out to God that He might heighten our hunger for the things of God! Fasting has been called praying without words - the silent cry! Fasting is crying out for God to change our appetite that we might be more concerned about our spiritual life than our physical life, more concerned about our faith than our flesh, and more hungry for God than we are for food.
It is a means of humbling ourselves before God. David said, “I humbled myself with fasting.” (Ps. 35:13) Fasting demonstrates sincerity and desperation. You can pray half-heartedly, but no one can fast very long without being serious! Man is body and spirit. Fasting is the discipline of the body to deepen the devotion of the spirit. It’s more than self-denial or abstinence yet it involves both.
Fasting is the discipline of the body to deepen the devotion of the spirit.
Would you consider setting a time aside to pray and fast? If you are pregnant or if you are required to take life-saving medication, or if you have health problems, don't participate without consulting your physician. If you’re doing it because I said so, don’t. But if you’re concerned about our nation and you’re convicted by the Holy Spirit, then let’s cry out to God in prayer and fasting!
For the King and His Kingdom,