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 | Wednesday Weekly Blog |

Do Something 5/27/15

When will the Church see its responsibility?  When will we, the Church, learn that God has NOT placed us here to go to heaven?  When will we understand that we have a very unique and pressing responsibility to make a difference, to have an impact on our world, here, right now where we live?

I have been struck by some very staggering things over the last several days.  Last week I read an article about the horror of what is happening right now, TODAY in places like Syria, Iran and Iraq.  Girls who are approximately 9 years old and older are being trafficked into sex slavery by ISIS in the cities, towns and villages where ISIS is taking over.  The unspeakable acts that are being committed against these girls are without equal, not just in our lifetime but throughout history.  They are literally becoming slaves to ISIS warriors, who can do whatever they want with these girls and ultimately they can take their lives from them because they are considered to have no value WHATSOEVER.

On top of this there are hundreds and thousands of people who are being slaughtered every day because they are Christians.  These terrorists and extremists give no value WHATSOEVER to human beings who refuse to denounce Christ and follow Islam.

And the Church, in general around the world, remains SILENT!  I have asked our leaders in the Church of the Nazarene where our voice is on these outrageous behaviors.  I haven’t seen nor heard ANYTHING from our denominational leaders denouncing this kind of behavior.  We simply remain silent while thousands and thousands of Christians are slaughtered.  It is not just the Church of the Nazarene, sadly, but I have to ask where is the Church of the Nazarene’s voice in all of this?

I’ve heard people say, “Well, what can we do?  We have no authority . . . we have no recourse . . . we have no power to stop this.”  Humbly, I disagree.  One man who would not be silenced was the key to the end of the trafficking of slaves in England; William Wilberforce.  One man, who refused to be beaten into submission, silenced by threats of personal violence and forced to endure much more, was the key to the end of segregation laws here in the United States; Martin Luther King Jr.  Both of these men used their positions of influence, the Word of God and the unmistakable calling of Christ in their lives to start something.  Did all racial inequity and trafficking stop with these two men – no.  But that didn’t stop them from doing what they could.

In our own communities there are women and children who are suffering the effects of physical and mental abuse and ALL TOO OFTEN the Church stands silent.  There are young people all around us who are being neglected and abandoned because parents refuse to be parents.  There are children who are being reared by grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and in some cases friends or even strangers because parents refuse to take responsibility, refuse to put their selfishness aside and care for their children.  There are CHILDREN who are taking their lives, suicide, because of drugs, alcohol, abuse, neglect, violence, rape, bullying, etc.  What is the Church doing there?  What are we doing?  What are you doing?  What am I doing?

“Well, what can we do?  We have no authority . . . we have no recourse . . . we have no power to stop this?”  MAYBE WE DO.  Maybe we can’t stop it entirely . . . maybe we can’t do everything, BUT WE CAN DO SOMETHING!  I think it’s time we did something.

Personally, I took a step last week of sending money to an organization that is in a position to help these families that are fleeing from ISIS.  I’m not there, but they are and maybe my insignificant dollars can help one.  I wrote my six General Superintendents, one of them personally, and asked them, and him specifically, when the Church of the Nazarene is going to stand up and be counted and begin to lend its voice to those who are speaking out against the atrocities that are being perpetrated in the Middle East.  I work with the local domestic violence shelter board because I feel like as a pastor and as a member of this community I need to do whatever I can to help those who most times have no voice of their own.  I continue to work with a board of people who are doing everything we can to begin a Transitional Housing program for women who are coming out of domestic violence shelters and for teens who are aging out of the foster care system.  And as your pastor I’m going to continue to challenge us to give food away and do whatever we can.

I haven’t told you what I’m doing to have you look at me – I’ve told you what I’m doing to tell you that I’m trying to do my part and I’m asking you to do your part.  We CAN’T do everything, but every one of us can do SOMETHING!  Send a contribution; write a letter; pray; make a phone call; join a board; pray; give some of your time to a worthy cause; pray!  PRAY!  Did you get that?  PRAY!  Pray for these children; pray for those who live in areas where Christians are being martyred and children are being trafficked into slavery; pray for our local officials; PRAY!

I have been listening to a song that has challenged me by Matthew West entitled Do Something.  These are the words of the first verse, “I woke up this morning, saw a world full of trouble now- thought, ‘How’d we ever get so far down and how’s it ever gonna turn around?’  So I turned my eyes to heaven and said, ‘God why don’t you do something?’  Well I just couldn’t bear the thought of people living in poverty, children sold into slavery, the thought disgusted me, so I shook my fist at Heaven, and said, ‘God, why don’t you do something?’  He said, ‘I did . . . I created you!’  {He laughs in the song and says ‘Now listen}  If not, us then who, if not me and you, RIGHT NOW – well it’s time for us to do something.  If not now, then when, will we seen an end to all this pain, it’s not enough to do nothing . . . It’s time for us to do something!”  In another part of the song he writes and sings, “We’re never gonna change the world by standing still.”  AND I AGREE

Please take the time to pray and ask God what YOU should do.  Find a place to lend your voice, your hands, your money, yourself!  Pray and “Ask the Lord of the Harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field”  Matthew 9:38.

I love you,

Rick

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Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday May 27– No regular Wednesday activities tonight.

Sunday May 31 – We have our regular schedule of services on Sunday and we hope to see you here at the 8:45 or 10:30 services or the Hispanic service at 4:00.  We are going to have a GREAT day of worship and celebration of who God is!  I hope you’ll join us!

Sunday June 14 – We have the privilege of having Dave and Kim Hane with us in our worship services.  Dave and Kim are missionaries in Singapor and have been with us before.  This will be a great day of celebration and hearing about what God is doing in the Asia Pacific region of the world.

Food 4 Kids Backpack Program, which Angus Church helps to sponsor, is having a golf tournament to raise money for this incredible program.  The 4-person scramble will be on Friday June 19th beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Rainmakers Golf Course.  The cost is $125 per person or $450 per 4 person team.  For more information contact Elizabeth Potter at lincolncountybackpacks@gmail.com or the Rainmakers golf pro John Rogers at jrogers@rainmakersuse.com.

Our prayers go out to Donnie Glover in the death of his mom this past Sunday.
Our prayers go out to the Johnson family in the death of Elwin Johnson, a former member of Angus Church, this morning.



God’s Vision 5/20/15

A good friend shared a post on Face Book a few days ago that reconfirms what God has been doing in my life over the last 4 years.  The post was a portion of a devotional by Heidi Baker excerpted from the book “Reckless Devotion” by Rolland and Heidi Baker, published by River Publishing iBooks, “Day 136 – Larger Vision.”

Naturally speaking, I was not “qualified” to go to college and graduate with a degree.  How could I make up for sixteen years of dyslexia?  Everything was stacked against me.  But God changed things.  He stepped in and brought a miracle.  Suddenly, impossibilities became possibilities.  The odds against me were overwhelming but God overruled and overturned the odds.

If your vision of your future can be accomplished by you alone, it probably is not the real vision God has put inside you.  God fills us with visions that are impossible for us—utterly impossible for us to accomplish in our own strength or by our own resources.  He wants us to come to the place of complete dependency on Him.  When we are dependent, then He can do a miracle.

I hope you’ll allow me to be honest with you this morning.  I’m not complaining, I’m not trying to do anything here but just be honest.

I have faced some incredible challenges over the last few months.  I’ll admit to you that there are times when I get discouraged and I want to throw in the towel, slow down and let go of some of the challenges.  I get tired and I want to sit in a chair and just quit.  I miss my kids.  I want to spend three or four days just walking with my daughter on the beach or working side-by-side with my son.  I want to play with my grandsons for three or four weeks with nothing to do but “play the bed game.”  (While I was with them a few weeks ago we spent about 10-15 minutes, until I ran out of steam, bouncing and rough-housing on the bed a couple of times each day.)  I want to take a month and go hiking with my wife, sit out and look at the stars at night, NOT answer the phone and be anonymous.

But then something happens and it reminds me that those things are not three or four week things to do – those are special times when I can steal away for a few days or maybe even a week at a time.  God has put something inside of me that is impossible for me to accomplish in my own strength or by my own resources.  BUT, He has placed that vision there and He reminds me that He has something incredible for me that He wants to accomplish.

I got a text from a friend last week that made me smile for three days.  This friend is not a part of the church, doesn’t live life by some of the standards that I have, and yet they call me a friend and I am HONORED to call them a friend.  They asked me to do something for them – completely out of the blue, something I never expected to even be considered for and yet there it was!  (I still smile as I am writing this just thinking about it.)  Anyway, God (and my wife I might add) reminded me that this is what happens when I listen to Him, step out when I’m tired and would rather be somewhere else, and I go and do what He is asking me to do.  Again, let me tell you, I can’t do this by myself; I’m tired and my plate is full; but God reminds me that this is His call, His plan, His vision and He is responsible to give me the strength, the wisdom and the courage to step out and continue.

And I’m in places I’ve never been before and I am learning to love where God has me, meeting people and doing things I’ve never been able to do before and it’s bringing trust in Him in ways that I’ve never trusted before.  And it’s overwhelming; and it’s scary; and it is the most fun I’ve ever had in my life!

I want you to know that I’ve been honest here because I don’t want you to think that I never have issues, that I never get weary or that I think I know everything – I don’t.  There are times, when I stop and think about this, that I’m scared silly.  I don’t want to mess up; I don’t want to miss something.  But I’m trying to stay as close to Him as I can and listen carefully and do whatever He says, regardless of what I’m feeling or how scary it seems.

I’d like to encourage you to trust Him.  I’d like to encourage you to let the vision for your future be His vision – it’s going to look like it is impossible, and in truth, it is . . . but I need to remind you, “Nothing is impossible with God!”

And when I can, I’m going to go and spend a week with my daughter; and when I can, George, Arlo and I are going to “play the bed game” until grandpa runs out of steam; and when I can I’m going to take 2 or 3 days and work side-by-side with my son.  And I’m going to take as many hikes as I can and look at the stars as often as we can, with my wife.  BUT, while I’m in this season of my life, I’m going to follow God’s vision and when I get discouraged and when I feel overwhelmed or scared, I’m going to read that devotional again (I’ve got it taped in the front of my new Bible) and I am going to remember that the impossible things are His department!

I love you,

Rick

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Upcoming Activities

Today, Wednesday May 20 – We have our regular Wednesday evening activities beginning at 5:00 with dinner.  Come and join us!

Sunday May 19 – We have our regular schedule of services on Sunday and we hope to see you here at the 8:45 or 10:30 services or the Hispanic service at 4:00.  Our teens and sponsors will be in San Diego this week for the Regional Activity days at Point Loma Nazarene University and many of our folks will be involved in the Memorial Day service at the Angus Schoolhouse, but we’re going to have a GREAT day here at Angus and we’d love to see you here!  And if you’re interested in helping with breakfast in the first service, our regular folks are going to be gone and I KNOW you could help out!  Call us here at the church, 336-8032.

 Food 4 Kids Backpack Program, which Angus Church helps to sponsor, is having a golf tournament to raise money for this incredible program.  The 4-person scramble will be on Friday June 19th beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Rainmakers Golf Course.  The cost is $125 per person or $450 per 4 person team.  For more information contact Elizabeth Potter at lincolncountybackpacks@gmail.com or the Rainmakers golf pro John Rogers at jrogers@rainmakersuse.com.