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Be inspired by biblical teaching from Pastors Shaun & Amy Gustafson WATCH MORE

 
 
 
 
 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS 

 
 
 
 

THANKSGIVING EVE NIGHT OF WORSHIP

 Wednesday, November 21
 6:30 PM
 
 
 
 

CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES

 Monday, December 24
 3:00 & 5:00 PM
 
 

 

 

FROM THE BLOG

 

God’s Glory Restored in Us

…For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
 
I remember when one of my Bible college professors opened our first class of the year with a glass jar in his hands. He told the class that the jar was symbolic of the glory of God. He began to describe in great detail how perfect things were at the beginning in the Garden of Eden. The class was completely quiet as we heard him elaborate on the glorious beginning Adam and Eve experienced. Suddenly, he picked up a hammer and shattered the glass. He then described with deep compassion how the glory of God was shattered from mankind. He asked, “Have you ever met someone who is a little rough around the edge?” as he pointed to the sharp glass fragment sill in his hand. Then he picked up more pieces off the floor and remarked, “Have you ever met someone who is edgy and impatient with people? Or have you known someone who cuts others down with their words, always finding things to ridicule?”
 
Since sin entered the world with the fall of man, it doesn’t take long to look and see what this professor was illustrating. The more someone has experienced sin, the more they develop a sharpness and anger toward people. Whether a person is watching sin through media or experiencing it personally, it is like someone is taking that person’s heart each time and pouring sludge into it. The more sludge the heart is filled with, the more the enemy is able to work through a person to try to destroy them and those around them.
 
Even though God’s holiness, His glory, and His perfection were all shattered in the life of man through sin, Jesus came and made a way for God’s glory to be completely restored in us when we choose to accept Him and walk in His ways. His ways are clearly laid out for us in Scripture. 1 Peter 1:16 tells us, “Be holy for I am holy.” Since we still live in a fallen world, how do we walk in this holiness and love others from a pure heart as Christ loves us?
 
This is a question many have had, even in the church. Occasionally when we are sharing the love of God with someone and invite him or her to pray the prayer of salvation, they may say something like, “Oh, I can’t do that. I’m too sinful. I could never live my life right, the way I would have to in order to be a Christian.” Or they may say, “I think God is mad at me. He wouldn’t want me after all I’ve done.” What these people are really saying is, “I know God is holy and I also know that in my own strength and ability I have some major imperfections. Therefore, I don’t think He would want anything to do with me.” 
 
The truth is, God gets great pleasure and glory from taking someone the world has considered a failure and making them into a great success! He enjoys showing Himself strong in the life of anyone who will look to Him and ask for help, because He is no respecter of people. He desires to help everyone, whether they are rich or poor, tall or short, black or white. It makes no difference to Him, but He is a gentleman. He doesn’t force Himself or His ways on anyone. He always waits for an invitation. When He gets an invitation, He always shows up immediately. He is always ready and waiting to freely impart His life, love and holiness into anyone’s life that will call upon his name. Let us look at how we are able to partake of His holiness in our own life, which includes loving others with His love. 
 
One of the descriptions we found when we looked up holiness was, “The holy people of God are called to holy living precisely because they have been made holy in Christ. Not as a means to that holiness.” Therefore, holiness is not something we can earn. The Bible tells us God alone is holy (see Revelation 15:4). Therefore, we can only be holy as He is holy though having a covenant with Him and receiving His holiness in us. 
 
When we enter into that covenant through repentance of our sins, accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we freely become partakers of His holiness. In other words, He made us holy through Christ when He came to abide in our heart. As a result of His holiness living in us, we then have the power to daily make the choice to walk a life of purity for His glory. 
 
-In love, Pastors Shaun & Amy 

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(Un)qualified

I recall one Sunday afternoon when my family was about to go on a drive. We were all loaded up in the car when Dad realized he had forgotten something inside. So he pulled up to the front door of the apartment complex and ran inside. “I’ll be quick,” he promised, leaving the car running. What a mistake that was! When he came back outside, there was a woman paused on the sidewalk between the car and our front door, ready to give him a piece of her mind about the environmental damage we were causing by leaving our car running. What she yelled was something along the lines of “You stupid Americans are coming over here unwelcome, ruining our environment and our country. Leave Switzerland to the people. You’re not qualified to be here.”
 
Fair. Ish. It was our bad leaving the car running… but to call us unqualified seemed a little far. By the time Dad got back inside the car, he was chuckling. Confused, we asked Why are you laughing? That was so rude of her! … “My company,” he replied, “only hires people from outside of Switzerland if they can’t find someone within the country qualified to do the job,” He said. “If someone else was as qualified as I am for my position, I wouldn’t be here. I’m here because I’m the most qualified to be here.”
 
God would not have put you in the world if you were not the most qualified person for your calling.
 
My next point might seem paradoxical, but hear me out…
 
You are unqualified and here’s why:
 
God has a Word to get out. A few words, actually: Power. Love. Peace. Jesus Christ. Salvation. Abundance. Restoration. Healing. Everything He is and does, He wants creation to know. e is getting that word out through people, partnering with His creation. I can think of two major reasons why 1. to build a relationship (working with us) and 2. to demonstrate His glory (working through us).
 
Isaiah 43:7 states, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (NKJV, emphasis added).
 
You were created for God’s glory. This means that the main purpose for your life is to point back to God and say He deserves the glory. Your existence, your talents, your job, your family, etc. All of it should be evidence of God’s existence and power.
 
Wouldn’t it follow, then, that one of your most useful qualities to God is that you don’t have “what it takes”?  Think about David and Goliath. If God had sent a 9-foot trained-from-birth warrior to represent the Israelites, who would have been praised for the victory? It would have been easy to look at the warrior’s physical strength and training as the explanation for his success. David, on the other hand, is the youngest man in his family. He has never been trained for battle, he isn’t part of the Israelite army, and he doesn’t even have armor. David’s victory, the victory of the “unqualified”, is a straight arrow to God.
 
God uses the same approach through Gideon (insecure > mighty warrior), Peter (unstable > rock on which the church was built), Paul (brutal persecutor > 1 Corinthians 13), etc. His existence and power is evident through the success of the unqualified. And if His purpose for us is to demonstrate His glory, as stated in Isaiah, then the least qualified will be the most qualified to fulfill that purpose.
 
The less qualified you are, the more qualified you are.
 
I wrote a little bit about my husband in my last blog “No Filter Needed”, but I want to go a little deeper into Tyler’s life right now. It’s a rather good story.
 
Tyler was born on March 1, 1994 with little chance of making it out of the hospital. Three months premature and just a little over two pounds, he was small enough to fit inside his dad’s hand. His vitals were dismal and his brain was flooded, to the point that the doctor started preparing his parents to say their goodbyes. God miraculously kept Tyler alive through weeks of medical complications, but the brain flooding still affected his early learning. A major speech impediment, difficulty concentrating, and a constant struggle to retain new concepts landed Tyler in special education classes throughout elementary and middle school. A simple math problem would take him two hours to complete, with help.
 
By the time he was a senior in high school, teachers didn’t have an observable “reason” to believe in his academic ability. In fact, many teachers told Tyler and his parents that the time and fees involved in college applications would be a waste; he shouldn’t bother because he wouldn’t make it in. Despite the discouragements, Tyler applied.
 
He had just sent in his application for RCTC when an someone influential in his life sent him a letter, the contents of which boiled down to, “Remember how difficult high school was for you? Remember how many times you failed? College will take a lot more work than you realize. I don’t want you to disappoint yourself by getting your hopes too high.”
 
The enemy’s plan is to convince you that you’ll never be qualified, and he’ll use any avenue he can find to do that. He’ll use other people’s comments: Don’t you have to be really smart to be a doctor?… What makes you think you’re good enough for her?… Applying for that scholarship is a waste of your time. Those comments may come from so many directions that they start to echo in your own voice: I’m not creative enough to write music… I’ll never be smart enough for grad school… How could I be happily married when my family has a history of bad relationships?
 
That may be what the enemy says, but God says something different.
 
Tyler got straight A’s his first semester of college, in case you’re curious. He has made it on the Dean’s List multiple semesters and graduates this spring with a well-earned degree in aviation. He moved forward despite his early struggle. He moved in faith despite the letter.
 
If our ultimate purpose is to bring God glory, then the people you’ll see doing it best are those who knew they weren’t qualified but did it anyway
 
I’m not saying that if you have a particular gifting, God’s not going to use it. God gave you your natural talents in the first place. I’m not going to stop using my voice just because it’s a good one. My voice fits within my calling. But I’m called to go way beyond what a good voice qualifies me to do, and that’s the place where God’s glory is coming through visual, tangible evidence that God exists. God is powerful. God qualifies me.
 

You can’t know what you’re qualified to do until you let God do it through you. If you don’t know what your calling is yet, I can tell you with 100% confidence that it’s much bigger than what you’re qualified to do. That means not saying no to a job opportunity because you think you’re not equipped, not dismissing college because you think you’re not smart enough, not giving up on good relationships because you think you’re incapable of keeping one. You are here in your life, in your family, in your position because you are the most qualified to be here. You are the most qualified to show God’s glory through your life. Show the world how impressive God is by moving forward in faith. Don’t use your (un)qualifications as an excuse. God will not let His glory go unnoticed.

 
-Catherine Lexvold

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The Waiting Game

Good things come to those who wait, right? Yes. Does it always feel like that? No.
 
The bible is full of stories of those who waited on God and those who didn’t. We will take a look at two of those in a moment, but first a little bit of my story…
 
When I first accepted Jesus as my savior at 16 years old, one of the first Bible verses I learned was Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.’”
 
Wow!  I thought, God has a plan for me?! This 16-year-old girl, who made painful mistakes in her early teenage years, has a prosperous future? I could hardly accept it! But with the help of a few amazing friends, I chose to believe it. The rest of my teenage years, I still accepted this truth at surface level but never really dug into it. When I turned twenty, I decided I wanted to know God on a deeper level to really understand who He is and the plan He has for me. In my quest to know God, a few things became certain: 1. He did have a good plan for me (actually a great plan), 2. it wouldn’t happen all at once, and 3. it wouldn’t come easy…
 
With Hebrews 10:23 (“He who promised is faithful”) and Psalm 37:4 (Those who delight in the Lord shall receive the desires of their heart) as my backbone, I began to wait on the Lord for His perfect plan…
 
And when I say wait, I mean like waiting for paint to dry or waiting for your mom to stop talking to her “long-lost friend” in the grocery store… You know what I mean? The kind of waiting that is tapping your foot, sighing and checking your watch. You get the picture? That is called being impatient. “God, when will you reveal your gifts in me?”, “God, where is my perfect guy?! You promised!” And you know what that is? Complaining. Sound familiar?
 
In Exodus 5:22-6:12, Moses cries out to God asking Him why His people are enslaved. God answered, “I will bring you and your people out from under the yoke of slavery and I will bring you to the land I promised to you” (paraphrased). Soon after, through the Ten Plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, God saves the Israelites and there begins their journey to the Promised Land. You would think after being rescued from slavery that the Israelites would be thankful, right? Wrong. Numbers 11 says, “One day the Israelites started complaining about their troubles” (11:1 CEV). They were just saved from a life of slavery and are complaining! It isn’t just one complaint, either; their complaints are continuous and eventually lead them to forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
 
When I turned 22, I had enough of “wandering in the wilderness,” and I decided to take matters into my own hands. I wanted my perfect guy and I wanted him now! I bet that sounds familiar, too.
 
In Genesis 15, God promises Abram that he will have descendents as numerous as the stars. Abram believes Him, even though He and his wife, Sarai have no children and are way past child-bearing age. Sarai laughs at the thought of having children at this age, so much so that one chapter later, she gives her slave Hagar to her husband and Hagar conceives a child. An angel of the Lord appears to Hagar and says, “you will name this child Ishmael. . . . His hand will be against everyone and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
 
Abram and Sarai attempted to fulfill God’s promise on their own (AKA compromise) instead of patiently waiting on God’s perfect promise. That is exactly what I did. I got impatient and found a guy that fit most of the promise. I mean, who’s really going to meet all of my desires? A few months into the relationship, I realized I had made a mistake and wasted valuable time.
 
The great thing about Abram & Sarai’s story is that it didn’t end there… In Genesis 17, God changes Abram & Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah, meaning that they will be the father and mother of many nations. Then in Genesis 21, Sarah gives birth to a son named Isaac, and God blesses Him. Still, God didn’t stop there. He blesses Ishmael, too. Isn’t that neat? God didn’t just bless the promise; He also blessed the result of Abraham’s and Sarah’s mistake, after they chose to obey.
 
Throughout the book of Genesis, Abraham and Sarah continue to be blessed in many ways, but the coolest thing to me is that in Hebrews 11:8-12, the Spirit of God chose to mention them in the “Hall of Faith,” basically saying that they were blessed because they decided to believe that God was faithful.
 
That is the key, isn’t it? Deciding that God is faithful, no matter what? When we come to the realization that God is faithful, that HE WILL do what He promised, waiting doesn’t have to be “foot-tapping-watch-checking waiting” anymore.
 
Shortly after I ended my relationship with the wrong guy, I was reading Hebrews 6:12, which says, We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised [by God)” (NIV). In this scripture, God is instructing His people not to be lazy, but that doesn’t mean He wants us to make our own promise. He wants us to have faith and patience. As I was meditating on those two words, God revealed something to my heart that finally made everything click. God doesn’t want His children to wait. That word in itself means to “stay where one is or delay action until a particular time.” Rather than wait, He wants us to patiently prepare.
 
Patiently (adv): “In a way that shows tolerance for delays without becoming annoyed or anxious.”
 
Prepare (verb): “To make something ready for use.”
 
We’ve been given a promise, and waiting won’t lead us to receive it. We need to patiently prepare ourselves, making ourselves ready for use so that when the promise does come, we are ready. That sounds a lot like faith, doesn’t it? Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not [yet] see” (NIV).
 
Has God promised you an Ephesians 3:20 spouse? Someone who is exceedingly above all that you can ask or imagine? Don’t just wait. Prepare. Read marriage books, study God-centered marriages, and grow so that when your God-given promise reveals itself, you are ready.
 
Is it your desire to have a baby? It’s God’s, too, but don’t just wait. Prepare. Read books on Godly parenting. Sow a seed by investing your time into the others’ children. Paint the nursery and buy the diapers.
 
Literally anything that God has promised you (i.e. health, financial security, a new job, etc.). He is asking you to patiently prepare – to trust that He is faithful and will bring about what He has promised.
 
Now, back to my story… Two and a half years have passed since I decided to patiently prepare myself for my future spouse. Over that time, I asked God to change my heart to be ready for my future spouse. I read numerous marriage books, listened to relationship podcasts, prayed for my future spouse, studied healthy marriages, praised God for my future marriage and chose to be content, knowing that God had my back and has set aside someone for me. Although this part of my story is still being written, four months ago, when I was least expecting it, God brought me to a man who meets all yes, ALL my desires.
 
GOD IS FAITHFUL!  
 
And He fully intends and desires to show you His faithfulness. But first, He needs us to transform our tendency to wait into a habit of patiently preparing.
 
-In love, 
Liah  

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Our 2-Part Connection Point class is held every other month. 
Join us Sunday, September 23 and Sunday, September 30
During the 11 AM Service, upstairs
 
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