If God told you to pack up and move to a new country, would you go? That is precisely what He did with Abraham. The narrative begins in Genesis 12 at a time before God had changed his name from Abram to Abraham. He, Abram, was living in a good land with his relatives in security and comparative prosperity.
“Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you (Gen 12:1 NASB).”
There is so much to be said about God’s promises to Abram and how God’s redemption plan for the human race took shape through Abraham. However, I want to focus on the faith of Abraham. A faith that would, at the age of 75, pack up all his immediate family and belongings and leave his comfortable surroundings to go somewhere he knew nothing about just because God told him to! While there were many blessings poured out on Abraham in his lifetime and his faith was generously rewarded, what I really want us to examine is his willing obedience that proved his faith.
Now, God may not call us to pack up everything and leave to a place He will show us. But He quite regularly calls us to move out for Him right where we are. While Jesus’ commission to the Church to make disciples is world-wide in scope, its application is always to be done right where we are at the time. Simple, sincere obedience is the evidence of our faith. James 2:17 says “…Faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep (obey) my commandments (Jn. 14:15).” For Abraham, it was a simple decision to obey the Lord. It is the same for us, it is a simple decision to obey! What is God leading you to do? Where is He leading you to go? Is it a major life-altering move? Or is it the more mundane but no less important decisions to walk by the Spirit in every situation? It is up to us to simply trust Him and move out in obedience.
Some of us exercised the faith of Abraham to come here to the Morongo Basin in the first place. I believe He is calling all of us right now to live out that faith with fire and enthusiasm. Because for all the difficulties of this pandemic, we, the followers of Jesus, know the end of the story. Our hope is fixed on the One who has overcome the world. The general will of God for the Church, our church, is to make disciples. In addition, God has given each of us a specific plan for our lives. Let’s move out in the faith of Abraham, the father of faith, in that simple obedience that demonstrates our trust in and love for our Lord Jesus.
In Christ our living hope,
Current News: October is Pastor Appreciation Month!
We wish to express a sincere thank you
to Pastor Bill and Pastor Eric
for all they do!
Peace. An elusive but valuable commodity in 2020. Sometimes we think that peace means the absence of conflict. But true peace, God’s peace, is that which keeps our hearts calm in the midst of conflict. Consider Jesus in what was, arguably, the most difficult circumstance of His life, the crucifixion. As He hung there people were mocking and casting aspersions at Him, He was completely deserted by almost all of His friends, and the physical agony must have been excruciating. While all that turmoil was raging around Him and being inflicted upon Him, consider His actions as He hung there: He witnessed to a thief, directed His responsibility for His mother as the firstborn son to His friend John, asked God to forgive the men who were illegally and unjustly executing Him, and recognized when the task was finished. Indeed, His heart was calm in the midst of this horrific conflict!
And so, we are told in Colossians 3:15 to, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” That means that we already have the “peace of Christ”, it is only a question of whether or not we will allow His peace to be preeminent in our hearts. The word translated “rule” means to arbitrate. Much the same as a referee or other game official arbitrates for the two teams playing the game. It suggests that the peace of Christ is available to all of God’s daughters and sons but it is the responsibility of His children to LET that peace be the arbiter of all the various things that occupy our hearts.
These are tumultuous times in which we live. There are many competing emotions seeking to take over the control of our hearts. Fear, anger, anxiety, depression, confusion, pain, disappointment, sorrow, and many more. And sometimes the drive to try to escape them all is almost overwhelming! But God has not called us to escape this world, He has called us to be His ambassadors to this world. And for that we need peace, nothing less than the very peace of Christ.
Only when we step into Jesus’ presence does He take away all the struggles and difficulties of this life. But we have the availability here and now of the peace of Christ to bring calm to our hearts in the midst of this 2020 turmoil. You can let the chaos of life’s conflicting emotions arbitrate your heart, or you can let the peace of Christ rule over all the rest. The choice is ours.
In Christ our living hope,
The Bible teaches us to highly value our children and one of the ways that we do that is by providing for them an excellent education. There are numerous places throughout the Scriptures where parents are given instructions on training up their children. We also find that children were special to Jesus during His ministry here on earth. In addition, it has been the recognition of the church throughout her existence that caring for and teaching our children is one of the church’s biggest responsibilities. A few Bible examples:
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Pro. 22:6 nasb)
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4 nasb)
And they were bringing children to Him (Jesus) so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant
and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mk. 10:13-14 nasb)
In connecting this priority to our current situation, probably the second greatest threat of this corona virus pandemic has been its threat to the training up of our children. For not only have the public and private schools been forced to close, churches have been mandated to discontinue all children’s ministry gatherings (see California Department of Public Health publication, May 25, 2020, p.10, 2nd bullet). At a time when encouragement and helpful information from trusted adults are vital to the well-being of our children, those very things have been taken out of their lives. We need to find ways to “Permit the children to come to (Jesus).”
Parents, it is crucial for you to embrace your biblical responsibility to provide for the education of your children. Many of you have ‘delegated’ this authority to the public-school system. It is time to reacquire your obligation and take a more active role in directing your children’s instruction. As helpful as classroom instruction can be, it provides nothing of the love and nurture of a parent. Also, it is vital for the church, our church to step up our support for our Living Hope parents in their task of training up their children in the way they should go. Among other things, the services we post and the services we host need to be a little more ‘kid’ friendly, both in content and participation. Finally, it is critical that we pray earnestly for our local, Morongo Unified School District as they attempt to develop a plan to safely put children back into the classroom. Whatever they come up with will become the model for in-person instruction. It’s not enough for the church to sit back and decry the ‘sad state of public education’. We must pray much for our students, their teachers, and for those making the plan.
I want to pass along a cordial invitation to our Sunday evening service at 7:00 p.m. on Sundays in the Amphitheater. It is a casual format with great worship, teaching and fellowship. Hope you are able to attend!
Yours for making disciples of every nation,
Dear Living Hope family and friends,
Because of the continued rise in COVID-19 infections in the State of California, particularly here in the Morongo Basin, after much prayer, the Elders made the decision this morning to cancel our in-person worship service in the Gym this Sunday (July 19). We feel this is in the best interest of public safety and so we will do our part to slow the spread.
There will be a prerecorded service of worship songs and a message available Sunday morning on our Living Hope Yucca Valley YouTube channel. Because things with the pandemic continue to change quickly, we will revisit this situation week by week. Keep watching your email and our church Facebook page for the latest information from the church.
The Elders also decided in our meeting to have an evening service outdoors in our church Amphitheater this Sunday. Outdoor gatherings are deemed to be safe by the State Department of Public Health as long as we practice appropriate social distancing and wear face coverings. We plan to begin at 7:00 p.m. with a time of worship in song along with a brief message from God’s word.
Please continue to pray for our church and for wisdom for the board of elders as we seek to honor God and advance His kingdom!
In the grace of our Lord Jesus,
The Living Hope Elder Board
Jorge Rodriguez, Russ Gentry, Chuck Nixon, Scott Reynolds, Dominic Heiden, Glen Kippel, Eric Armendariz, and Pastor Bill
From the Pastor’s Desk
So we’ve settled on a new name for our church. Just two words: Living Hope. Simple to say, easy to remember, and packed with positive meaning. And, my prayer is that this new name will open up many windows of opportunity for each of us to share the gospel with others!
The Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, is full of ‘living hope’! Our hope is alive because it’s true. It’s alive because of God’s present blessings which affirm its truth. And it’s alive because of God’s sure and certain promises for the future. Our hope is not mere wishful thinking, it’s a confident and favorable anticipation. We know that God will keep His future promises because of His faithfulness in pouring out present blessings.
How can I be so sure? Because of Jesus. He is the very embodiment of our living hope. He laid aside His divine attributes temporarily and became a human in order to communicate God’s love to the human race. In Jesus, we discover that God’s attitude toward us is good and that our fellowship with Him can be restored because of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus is who He claimed to be. And because He is, we have a powerful hope that is very much alive!
There are a couple of things we need to rememberas we transition into our new church name. For the time being, donations to the church will still be processed under our old name, Evangelical Free Church. We will notify everyone through the church bulletin and church newsletter when we can begin making checks out to “Living Hope Church”. But until then, thanks for your cooperation. Also remember, we have not changed what we believe or our affiliation with our denomination, the Evangelical Free Church of America. We are the same in our beliefs today as we were when this church was founded in 1960, we just have a new name. And we are still a member church of the EFCA.
I am excited about our new name and the increased possibilities it gives us to share with our friends and neighbors the greatest of all good news, the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Yours for making disciples of our Lord Jesus,
NEW HOPE CHURCH WEEKLY SCHEDULE
Adult Sunday School
Join us for fellowship, coffee and snacks !
Worship Service 10:30 am
6-7:15 Ladies' Bible Study
Adult Sermon Discussion and Bible Study
6:30 - 8 pm
Kids Quest and
SECOND SATURDAY OF EACH MONTH
Men's Breakfast and Bible Study 7:30 am
Ladies Fellowship Brunch 10 am-noon
See weekly bulletin
For additional information call the church office:
Mon-Thurs, 10 am - 2 pm - 760 228-1747