IT'S AN AMAZING SEASON ON THE BIBLICAL CALENDAR

IT'S AN AMAZING SEASON ON THE BIBLICAL CALENDAR

Hello Deer Flat Family,

 Welcome to the second half of September.  I can hardly believe that summer is in our rear view mirror and we are moving quickly towards the end of the year Holidays.  While we are all involved in daily living, there are some very interesting days that have been taking place on the Biblical calendar.  Take a look at this…

 September 9 – Rosh Hashanah – It is the Jewish New Year.  It’s a day of prayer, a time to ask Almighty God to grant us a year of peace, prosperity and blessing. But it is also a joyous day when we proclaim God King of the Universe.

 September 18 – Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement.  This is the holiest day of the year.  This is the day of confession and repentance.  This was always the day that the High Priest would take the blood of the animal sacrifice into the Holy of Holies and seek God’s forgiveness on behalf of the people.

 September 23-30 – Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles.  This is an eight day celebration that is a reminder of God’s divine presence with His people, remembering that God “tabernacled” or dwelt with His people in the wilderness.

 So, why does this matter?  Great question! These special Holy days were given by God, instituted by Him to be “a lasting ordinance.”  Meaning that these special days will stay in place throughout eternity.  Why would God desire this? Because each of the feasts and festivals are a picture of our Messiah!  They are beautiful portraits of Jesus.  These are our roots as Christians.  This is what we were birthed out of.

 Yeshua is our High Priest. Yeshua is our King of Kings! You can read about these special days in Leviticus 23.  John tells us in his Gospel, chapter 1 that, “the Word became flesh and “dwelt” (tabernacled) among us. And we beheld His glory…”  This is our Messiah, who came to the world.  We are indeed fortunate for sure! 

 Speaking of a New Year, that’s pretty much how we look at September.  The school year begins and it also is very much the way that the Church Calendar functions.  We stay busy throughout the year for sure, but the Fall season is really the major launching time for us at Deer Flat.  Here’s a few things you will want to know about:

 BAPTISM – Sept 30.  If you haven’t taken this incredible step in your faith, why not do it now.  This is a chance to let the world know that you have abandoned yourself to Christ and now live for Him.  We will celebrate this act of obedience together on the last Sunday of September.  An information class is happening this Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

 LIFE TRACK – Interested in knowing more about Deer Flat Church?  Interested in learning what your gifts are and how to use them?  Interested in being a disciple?  Get into Life Track.  It all happens this Sunday at 4 p.m. You need to get registered ASAP because we are serving dinner and will want to include you in our numbers.  Go online (deerflat.org) or contact the church office 208.459.3845.

ISRAEL TRIP MEETING – 3:00 pm Sunday.  If your interested in the upcoming trip, would like more information, don’t miss this connect.  Jer and I will be walking through the itinerary and answering any questions you have.  We would love to have you travel with us on this unforgettable trip to the land that is closest to God’s heart.

 If you’ve got any stories of how God has used you this month in extending His compassion towards someone, please share that with us.  We want to be able to share some stories with the congregation.  I can’t wait to see you this Sunday! We’ve got a GREAT LORD’S DAY awaiting you!

 All For Jesus,

 Pastor D

GREAT OPPORTUNITIES YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE AT DEER FLAT

Hey Church Family,

I'll get right to it.  I’ve got some great things that you’re going to want to know about.  Each of these are the perfect things to invite some people to enjoy with you.  Here they are…

TOMORROW EVENING – 7 pm  SPECIAL GUEST, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR IRVING ROTH – Whatever you do, don’t miss this one.  Those still living, who survived the Holocaust are now on the “endangered species” list.  You will love Irving’s heart, his story, and his passion. WOULD YOU MIND TO SPREAD THIS EVENT ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES, EMAIL LISTS, AND ANY OTHER AVENUES YOU HAVE AVAILABLE?  THANK YOU!

SEPTEMBER CLASSES – What a great way to connect with others, make an investment in yourself, and grow in your spiritual life.  Here’s the entire list of the NEW classes. Enjoy!

SUNDAY CLASSES

FIRST HOUR

THE ART OF MARRIAGE - John & Hanna McGee

Beginning September 9, 9:30 am, Room 38 (September 9 - October 14)

PARENTING THE LOVE & LOGIC WAY - Mike & Monica Williamson

Beginning September 9, 9:30 am, Room 4 (September 9 - November 25)

YOUNG ADULTS / COLLEGE AGE - Katy Stoops & Andrea Morris

Beginning September 9, 9:30 am, Room 26 (September 9 - May 26)

STORIES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT - Jerri McGarrah & Rob DiCrasto

Beginning September 16, 9:30 am, Room 12 (September 9 - November 25)

READY TO WED: PRE-MARITAL COUNSELING - Dale & Leslie Hamilton

Beginning September 16, 9:30 am, Room 40 (September 16 - November 18)

SHARING YOUR FAITH THROUGH A SPIRIT FILLED LIFE - Kay Cole

Beginning September 30, 9:30 am, Room 39 (September 30 - October 28)

SECOND HOUR

OUT OF THE MATRIX - Frank Alvarez

Beginning September 9, 11 am, Room 12 (September 9 - November 18)

TUESDAY EVENING CLASSES

SEVEN PILLARS OF FREEDOM FOR MEN - Gene Foster

Beginning September 18, 7 pm, Room 38

BETRAYAL & BEYOND FOR WOMEN - Jamie Scherer / Kelli Manker

Beginning September 18, 7 pm, Room 5

TAKING BACK GROUND - Earnie Lewis / Lisa Bates

Beginning September 18, 7 pm, Men - Room 40 / Women - Room 2

MENDING THE SOUL - Dan Werre / Diane Werre / Cindy Butler

Beginning September 18, 7 pm, Men - Room 39 / Women - Room 4

STAYING SOBER - Ron Manker / Bob Greenwald / Sylvia Lopez

Beginning September 18, 7 pm, Room 12

WEDNESDAY MORNING CLASSES

KNOW THE GOD OF THE BIBLE - Dr. Bruce Johnson

Beginning September 12, 9 am, Room 5 (September 12 - May 22)

THURSDAY MORNING CLASSES

WOMEN OF THE OLD TESTAMENT - Marva Crecelius

Beginning September 6, 9:30 am, Room 38 (September 6 - May 23)

PRECEPT MINISTRIES STUDY - Sue Walz

Beginning September 6, 9:30 am, Room 5 (September 6 - May 23)

SATURDAY MORNING CLASSES

COFFEE TALK WITH JERRI

Beginning September 15, 9 am, Room 12 (Usually 3rd Saturday of the month)

SAVE THE DATE – OCTOBER 16 – CITY OF DAVID ARCHEOLOGIST ELI SHUKRON. Again, one of those things you’re not going to want to miss.

Don’t forget, we have ONE WORSHIP SERVICE THIS SUNDAY AT 10:30 FOR LABOR DAY WEEKEND.  I can’t wait to see you!  I LOVE MY CHURCH!

Pastor D

EVER BEEN WEARY AND HEAVY LADEN?

EVER BEEN WEARY AND HEAVY LADEN?

Ever been weary and heavy-laden? Yep, I’ve been there too. You have so much on your plate — and feel overwhelmed. You face impossible problems — and feel hopeless.

You’ve experienced setbacks, disappointments, discouragements — and are exhausted.

Weary and heavy-laden.

 What do we usually do?

  • Well, there’s Law and Order or NCIS on TV.
  • There’s calling someone and complaining.
  • There’s pumping yourself up with positive self-talk.
  • There’s finding something comforting in the fridge.
  • And of course there’s always pity-parties.

But why not listen to Jesus?  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Mt. 11:28-29

Every time we feel weary and heavy-laden, Jesus says —Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  This is a promise that is really perfect for you and me because we are included in the invitation.  But, what does it really mean?

What rest does Jesus promise?

Notice — this rest comes from taking His yoke and learning from Him — So the yoke is a picture of learning from Jesus.

 Learning what?

What will Jesus teach us that will bring us rest? If you read what Jesus said right before his invitation to the weary —… no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Mt. 11:27

Sin blinds us to knowledge of God the Father.  But in great mercy, through the Cross and the Spirit — Jesus reveals the Father to us.

Then in v.28 Jesus continues the theme of us learning from Him – If we come to Him, all of us who are weary and heavy-laden, He will give us rest.  If we take His yoke upon us and learn from Him...  (according to what He said in v. 27)He will reveal the Father to us!  What a gift!  What a Jesus.

I invite all of you to bring your weariness and overwhelming problems and situations with you this Sunday, because we are going to take all of these and lay them at the feet of our Master.  We are going to call on the One who says, Anything’s possible, because God is bigger than you think!  Don’t miss this chance to be prayed over and to have your burden lifted.

I can’t wait to see you Sunday.  Come expecting.  Our combined faith will be difference making.

Loving You and Him,

Pastor D

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE...BECAUSE GOD IS BIGGER THAN YOU THINK

Hey Deer Flat Family,

Just some thoughts about this current series that we’re in.  The Bible is really full of verses that underscore just how much God loves the word “IMPOSSIBLE.”  Here’s some examples…

1.)  But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ~ Matthew 19:26 ESV

2.)  For nothing will be impossible with God. ~ Luke 1:37

3.)  I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

4.)  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” ~ Mark 10:27 ESV

5.)  He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you.” ~ Matthew 17:20 ESV

6.)  And the LORD said, Behold, the people [is] one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. ~ Genesis 11:6 KJV

7.)   ~ Job 42:2  “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

8.)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16 KJV

9.)   Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  Mark 11:24

10.) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

11.)  “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. ~ Jeremiah 32:17

12.) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? ~ Romans 8:31 ESV

13.) In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

14.) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

15.) Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me? ~ Jeremiah 32:27 ESV

This Sunday, (tomorrow) we’re going to investigate one of the most amazing stories found in the Gospels.  It is in this story that we hear the famous words of Jesus, “All things are possible if you dare to believe.”  You’re going to love it.  So, here’s the deal: If you’ve got a friend, neighbor or famly member who needs God to work a miracle, this is the Sunday to invite them to.  Come expecting.

One last thing I want to include here is some important words from our Children’s Ministry Director, Julie Walker. 

The long-anticipated dedication of the new Children’s facility is right around the corner. Many of you have contributed in many different ways, helping make this a reality.  It is an amazing facility. New furnishing, state of the art sound system and lights, and many additional class rooms just waiting to be filled.  But it is only a building without a loving staff of volunteers that are willing to give of their time and share their love for Jesus with the kids.  There are many positions that MUST be filled by September 9th. 

  • Greet and Check-in Team
  • 1st hour teachers for 1st grade boys, 1st girls, and 2nd and 3rd girls
  • 1st and 2nd hour pre-school class leaders

Please don’t wait for us to contact you or assume someone else will step up.  It takes a Church Family to feed and care for God’s little lambs.  Please prayerfully consider being a part of the team.

 Contact:

Communication card, email Julie juliewalkr@deerlfat.org , call or text Julie @ 208-880-8463

       For Kids and the King,

          Julie Walker

Director of Children’s Ministry

 I LOVE MY CHURCH!

Pastor D

Where is the Hope

Where is the Hope

It’s often been said that the church is the hope of the World. But, is the Church really the hope of the World? CS Lewis wrote, “The church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply, a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.”

I often reflect upon how Deer Flat is doing in relationship to making little Christs (disciples). To make disciples is to allow God to use our availability and obedience, making us part of a process in another person’s life in which he/she becomes someone who is growing in his/her faith and his/her love for the Lord. We make disciples by spending time and investing in their lives, modeling faith and love through how we live our own lives. Simply put, this means we are missional, living with purpose and intentionality. 

One of the greatest threats to the Church’s missional effectiveness is actually sexual sin. Pornography and other sexual sins paralyze believers. We get stuck. Our motivation evaporates because of distraction, shame, or any other number of intervening factors. These factors cause us to isolate, removing ourselves from close, authentic relationships that stimulate us to love and good deeds. We are called to go, but sexual sin causes us to stay put. For so many it’s not an unwillingness to be missional. Rather, it’s a feeling of disqualification or nullification based on their sexual sin. 

If it’s true that the Church has lost a large part of its effectiveness because of sexual brokenness, what are we doing to address this? Most pastors and church leaders will acknowledge that pornography and sexual brokenness are among the greatest threats to the church today, yet, only 7% of churches offer any solution whatsoever to people who struggle. The reason for this is, many churches are still learning that this doesn’t have to be a “taboo” topic and there are good answers to this tough challenge. 

Whether this topic hits home on a very personal level or not, you won’t want to miss this Sunday. We are going to address this further with an evidence-based understanding that sexual brokenness and the associated struggles are a church family issue, not just an individual problem. Our goal is to educate ourselves, communicate a grace message, create a safe “me too” culture, and offer real solutions for you and our world. 

I’m so grateful to be part of a church that says we will be the 7%, we will do what it takes to make little Christs, we will be the hope of the World.

For His Glory!

Pastor Ryan

PS – This Sunday we will be introducing a whole series of new classes that we will be offering this fall for any who are looking for support and freedom in sexual brokenness: pornography addiction, spouse support for sexually addicted, victims of abuse, and LGBTQ+

DOES THE BIBLE REALLY ADDRESS OUR TIMES?

DOES THE BIBLE REALLY ADDRESS OUR TIMES?

The Bible does give us some very black-and-white things when it comes to knowing and understanding the forcasted events of the future, which is also known as prophecy. We know for instance that many of the prophecies of the Old Testament have in fact been fulfilled.  And, a number of those prophecies have been fulfilled during our lifetime.

While that is true, there are some prophecies that we have little knowledge about.  For instance, we don’t know what year Jesus is coming back, however, we do know that his coming is near. And by “near,” I mean what the New Testament means when it tells us, multiple times, that his coming is near.

The Next Big Thing - God calls his church, in every generation, to live in light of this remarkable truth: nothing now stands in the way of Jesus’s return. After his perfect life, sacrificial death for us, resurrection from the grave, and ascension to heaven to pour out his Spirit on his church, the next major movement in the history of the world is the second coming of Christ.

In the meantime, there are a variety of very interesting prophecies that address a variety of the current events that mark the days in which we are living.  Some of these prophecies are little known.  I can’t wait to tell you about one of those THIS SUNDAY as I do a Current Events Briefing.  These are always amazing opportunities to tie the things we hear about on the news and read about in the paper, to the insights and forecasts in the Bible.  Someone has said, “Prophecy is history written in advance.”  I think that’s so true.  I hope you’ll come expecting to find once again, what an amazing book the Bible is. 

This is one of those great times to invite someone to experience Deer Flat with you.

On a second note, we have a real need:  We have over 100 children signed up for Kids Camp next week.  We are a bit pressed for housing.  We are looking for a trailer or motor-home that would provide housing for the Camp Speaker to stay in, which will open up more space for the kids.  If you can help us out, please call the office. 208.459.3845

We’re off to a great month.  Thank you for helping make it a significant summer that is filled with difference making events!  You guys are absolutely the greatest flock.  I feel so fortunate to be the shepherd of the Deer Flat Family!  I can’t wait to see you this Sunday!

All For Jesus,

Pastor D

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T MISS THIS SUNDAY!

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T MISS THIS SUNDAY!

Hello Deer Flat Family,

 

We’ve arrived at one of the great times of the year at Deer Flat – JULY!  It’s midway through the summer and its full of great events and great celebration.  This Sunday we get a chance to rejoice and give lots of thanks to God for what He’s been up to over the past year.

 

I can’t wait to tell you about the many different ways that we have seen God at work providing, blessings, answering, protecting, healing and ministering to the people of Deer Flat. I hate to admit it, but I think we’re a bit spoiled.  I only wish that all the churches of the Treasure Valley were able to enjoy the same blessings from God as we do.

 

Beyond this, we will be able to enjoy an OPEN HOUSE in the new Children’s Ministry Center. We still have a few loose ends to wrap up, but the new wing is 99.7% complete and we want to make it available to everyone to see and enjoy.  The children are going to be in a significant and safe environment, strategically located within moments from their family members. This building has been constructed with many safety and security measures, as well as technology that will serve it well in the years to come.  Our Administrator, Rick Day, along with the assistance of Pastor Phil Whitbeck, have given tremendous oversight of the project.  You’ll hear so much more about it as we gather together this Sunday.

If you happen to know of a young family that you live around or work with, this is the perfect time to invite them to Deer Flat.  Never underestimate the power of an invitation, especially when it comes the people who have children.  The Children’s Ministry at Deer Flat is outstanding.  We intentionally do everything we can to make Sunday Morning the most desired and exciting day of the week for children.  We want the kids to nag the parents – forget the “strong urging” and go straight to the nagging – so that Mom and Dad will load them up and deliver them to Julie and her tremendous team of Volunteers and Staff.  We want to do all we can to expose them to Jesus while they are young, and then invest in them through the remainder of their growing up years, until we are sending World Changers out into our world.

This Sunday we’re back on track with our regular schedule of 9:30 and 11:00 am. Come expecting an outstanding time at The Church That Sits In The Field of Dreams!  I LOVE MY CHURCH!

All For Jesus,

Pastor D

IT’S A GREAT SUMMER AT DEER FLAT

Hello Deer Flat Family, 

If you’ve got a minute, I’d love to give you a quick update on what’s happening in the life of Deer Flat Church during this month of JUNE.  You’re going to love it…

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL – What a week and what an outstanding bunch of children that came through the door!  We are so fortunate and so spoiled!  Deer Flat has the most AMAZING VOLUNTEERS you could ever find.  In fact, there’s just no way that we could have pulled off the week without them.  They served with a big heart, loved the kids, invested themselves at all levels, and put a BIG WIN in the books.  This was the largest VBS we’ve ever had!  Julie and her team made a HUGE investment in these children, and with such joy.  The average attendance each day was 323.  Isn’t God good!

THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO LOANED YOUR KIDS, GRANDKIDS, NEIGHBOR KIDS, FRIENDS’ KIDS AND ALL ELSE.

MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMP – This week we have a great group of Middle Schoolers at Camp Cascade.  The summer camps of Deer Flat are nothing short of amazing and life changing. This group of students are made up of both churched and unchurched.  These kids have done a great job of inviting their friends.  God is at work this week impacting hearts and lives of young people who will end up changing our world.  We are very committed to reaching children and students for Christ while they are still young, and then anchoring them in their walk and relationship with Jesus.  Because Camp Cascade belongs to Deer Flat, your giving is providing this camp and the investment being made in every camper.  CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR YOUR GENEROSITY! Once again, tremendous VOLUNTEERS helping us do what we couldn’t do without them.  Pray for an unforgettable spiritual encounter for everyone at camp.

THE NEW BUILDING – Final finishing touches are being put on this big project, and on JULY 8TH there will be an OPEN HOUSE to enjoy.  I will be giving you all of the latest information and so much more on the 8th as we talk about what God has been doing at Deer Flat Church over the past year.  This is one of those Sundays you don’t want to miss.  The end of June is the target date for having the building finished.  THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!

JUNE FINANCES – We have just finished the last Sunday of June and WE HIT THE TARGET BUDGETED FOR THE MONTH! YEA GOD! YEA DEER FLAT PEOPLE!  Once again, because of your kind generosity, this happened.  Words aren’t adequate to express the deep gratitude to all of you who give, pray and sacrifice.  I am the most fortunate pastor to be the shepherd of this wonderful flock!  You put a big toothy grin on my face when I think about you!

THINGS YOU’LL WANT TO KNOW

  • The NEW sermon schedule is out and you’ll find it on the Welcome Center.  It covers the rest of the summer thru November.
  • SAVE THE DATE – July 8th and August 26th are VERY IMPORTANT SUNDAYS at Deer Flat.  July 8th will give you lots of information about what’s been happening during the past year in the life of the church and the NEW BUILDING will be open for your enjoyment.  August 26th is our DAY OF DEDICATION AND CELEBRATION of the Children’s Ministry Center.  This will be one of the most meaningful and unforgettable days in the 110 year history of Deer Flat.  PLEASE DO ALL YOU CAN TO SAVE THESE DATES.  Make them a priority and then help us spread the word.

July is staring us in the face and I’m having a hard time believing that we are a third of the way through summer.  I confess, because of the summer solstice happening on the 21st of June – the longest day of the year – I have been a bit depressed knowing that the days are going to get shorter.  Where’s time going?  So, let’s make the most of every opportunity to be together during these Sundays of Summer.  Thanks for making Deer Flat Church such a great place to be a part of.  I LOVE MY CHURCH!  Can’t wait to see you Sunday - and don’t forget…

SINGLE SERVICE THIS SUNDAY – 10:30 AM.

Loving You and Loving Him,
Pastor D

SILENCE IS DEATH

Silence is the ultimate death.  One of my greatest life lessons was to be reminded that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  A marriage that has lost its life goes silent.  An automobile that has lost its life goes silent.  A church that has lost its life goes silent.  Too often silence is perceived as making peace but it’s actually just the opposite, it’s death.  Where is the peace in a broken marriage, where is the peace when we are left stranded on the side of the road and where is the peace in a church that watches its people and community crumble around it?  Maybe it’s time to make some noise?!

I know there are many things we can make noise about, but would you consider joining me in making some noise for those who can’t do it for themselves.  Our U.S. congressional representatives have a chance to hear the squeaky wheels of Idaho and Deer Flat.  The days of our groveling over the infamous Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade can be over. 

Working from what the Supreme Court ruled in Roe, pro-life lawmakers can pass a Life at Conception Act (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/231 & https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/681) and end abortion by using the Constitution instead of amending it.  A simple majority vote in both houses of Congress is all that is needed to pass a Life at Conception Act as opposed to the two-thirds required to add a Constitutional amendment. 

Our world has changed in many ways over the past 40 years, and not necessarily for the better. Human beings continue to treat one another as commodities or inconveniences rather than as precious, unique souls bearing the image of their Creator.  Deer Flat Church holds firmly to the Word of God that all human beings are created by God in His image, and that we are called to value every life.  Together let’s make some noise for life, for the lives of these innocent children who don’t have to be an inconvenience but instead they can be image bearers of their Heavenly Father! 

Let us accept the inconvenience and make some noise by calling (202) 224-3121 and graciously challenge our congressional representatives to cosponsor the Life at Conception Act (Senate bill 231/Congressional bill H.R. 681).  Just imagine the opportunity we have before us; our voices can give life to a whole new generation! 

John 10:10 reminds us that it’s actually the enemy (the devil) that comes to take life, but it’s our Savior that has come to give life.  So many amazing women in their brokenness have made choices to silence these voices only later to discover it never gave them the peace they were promised.  In addition to making some noise with our Senators and Congressmen, let’s also never forget to make some noise with our Father in heaven and cry out on behalf of those who have been deceived by the enemy.  It’s a broken world friends, we all need Jesus!  So, may our voices be loud, and our grace run deep.

Your voice matters,
Ryan

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF TURKMENISTAN?

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF TURKMENISTAN?

I know what you’re thinking, because I was thinking the same thing. “What is Turkmenistan and where’s it located?”  Even more, “Why should I care?”  Great questions!  So, let me tell you a little about it and why.

This country is located in a tough neighborhood.  It’s bordered by Iran to the south, Afghanistan to the southeast, Uzbekistan to the north and the Caspian Sea to the west. It’s got a population of 5.6 million, and, it has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. It has been the home of one of the great cities of the Islamic world and a key location on the famous Silk Road, which is a caravan route used for trade with China.

For many years it was a part of the Russian Empire, but over time began to pursue its own independence.  It wasn’t until 1990-91 that it fully gained its own sovereignty as Russian Empire fragmented and then ceased to exist, creating a variety of new Nations in Central Asia.

This nation has one of the largest natural gas deposits in the world.  It is so large that it provides this utility virtually for free to its people.  Between the natural gas sales and cotton, its economy gets quite a boost.  However, the level of poverty is no small thing. It lacks adequate export routes for the natural gas and carries a large debt load.  Unemployment is runs about 11%.  The country also is blessed with oil reserves, lots of farm ground, while hosting quite a massive land mass of desert.

Turkmenistan is 93% Muslim, made up of Sunni’s. The Baha’I faith is there, along with the Hare Krishna’s. Christians, as you can tell, are a very small minority.  Most are connected to the Russian Orthodox or Eastern Orthodox church.

Enter Kirt and Susan Edwards.  This couple serves as God’s Ambassadors to this interesting place. Their work there is young.  You can easily imagine the challenges and difficulties that come with being a Christian in that environment.  They have been watching God do amazing things, open doors with key leaders, physical healings of people, opportunities to share the gospel, and relationships being established. 

We will be privileged to have Kirt and Susan with us this Sunday.  You will hear their compelling story as they tell about what God’s Spirit is doing among the people of Turkmenistan.  You’ll hear the stories of how God has been working miracles, and how hearts are being changed.  It is so good when we get to hear what God is doing as He redeems the world to Himself in all kinds of ways and through all kinds of people.  Here’s a chance for us to learn about some of our brothers and sisters.  I’m reminded that Heaven will be filled with every tribe, every tongue, every people, every land – “He’s got the whole world in His hands!”

So, come expecting an unforgettable morning, and don’t forget…

            One service, 10:30 a.m. – Memorial Day Weekend.

I can’t wait to see you! 

Loving You and Him,

Pastor D

PS- VBS is just around the corner!  Our theme this year is Let’s Go 2 Mexico.  We’d love to have this place at capacity with all your kids!  It’s an exciting time for our kids program as we go into the summer, and this will be the kick-off to it all!  You can register online at deerflat.org/events.

We also need THOUSANDS of homemade cookies to feed the kids.  Due to food allergies, we ask that you steer away from nuts or peanut butter. You can sign up at Guest Services or by contacting Larissa at larissaesparza@deerflat.org.  You can start dropping them off anytime between now and Sunday, June 10th.

THE JOY OF GRADUATION

I wanted to take a few minutes to say, “Congratulations, class of 2018.” Your day has finally come. The classes have ended. The final papers are in. The exams are behind you. You are free!  What a feeling!

Over the next several weeks, large numbers of proud, relieved, and ambitious young people like you will walk across the stage, shake a couple of hands, and receive the prized piece of paper declaring, “It is finished.” 

For many of you — maybe most — this is the greatest accomplishment of your lives thus far. Four years — or five, or eight — of hard work have earned you the cap, the gown, and the degree. Others of you, twelve years of the daily grind, and you earned that diploma. For many, it’s the end of some of the best years of your lives — experiencing freedom and independence, learning from great teachers, joining fraternities or sororities, competing in sports, reading life-changing books, meeting and making lifelong friends. Let me give you some…

Truths to Remember While You Wait For What’s Next

For just as many, though, graduation marks the beginning of months (maybe more) of waiting, searching, and doubting. Degrees don’t guarantee jobs. The vast majority will not even help make the big decisions for you. What city should you live in? What jobs or College should you apply for? How will you know to accept an offer? 

And then what if the offer doesn’t come? The graduation ceremony is a massive affirmation that can quickly be undone by dozens of unreturned calls, uninterested employers, and unclear steps forward. Leaving the comfort, community, and identity of school life can be a confusing crash back into reality. 

Here’s some things to remember while you wait for the acceptance letter from the College or University, or the call back from the job application/interview, the offer letter, and that first paycheck, however long you have to wait.

God has prepared you for something significant.

Every human being, believer and nonbeliever, was made — knit together in his or her mother’s womb — for the glory of God. God says, “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:6–7). God made you for his glory, and God saved you for his glory!

God’s purpose for your life — and it is a real, tangible, actionable purpose — has not changed, and it is not undone by a few months, or longer, of unemployment. Your hours from 8 to 5 are just as gloriously and significant right now as they’ll ever be. Don’t be distracted by what you’re not doing yet. Instead, give yourself to the work for which you were made. What you live for is so much more important than where you work.

God gifts every one of his children for one purpose, and then many other, smaller, temporary purposes, including careers. Employed or unemployed, you were made for something bigger than your next step in school, or job, bigger even than forty years of forty hours a week. God made you for God, not work. Whatever you do while you wait for your next job, do it with all your heart for God’s renown 1 Corinthians 10:31  Here’s a quote from a graduation speech from one of my favorite “theologian.”

"Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate. The world doesn't need any more gray. On the other hand, we can't get enough color. Mediocrity is nobody's goal and perfection shouldn't be either. We'll never be perfect. But remember these three P's: Passion + Persistence = Possibility." -Jon Bon Jovi,

God lets you wait and wonder — so that you learn to pray.

If you find yourself this coming month feeling discouraged and abandoned by God while looking for work, you have a friend in the apostle Paul. He also experienced an intense period of hopelessness and despair. He writes, “We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8–9).

Now, Paul was facing death, not joblessness. So the differences are real, but the principle is the same. God intends for our neediness to bring us to our knees. A good Father would never watch his kids suffer for the sake of suffering. He might wait to rescue them, though, if he knew it would eventually bring them a better and longer lasting peace, strength, and joy. We all desperately need to learn the futility of self-reliance and the reward of relying wholly on God. Go to him with your questions, your restlessness, and your heartache. Another graduation speech quote from one of my other favorite theologians…

"We have, if we're lucky, about 30,000 days to play the game of life. And trust me, that's not morbid. In fact, it's wisdom that will put all the inevitable failures and rejections and disappointments and heartbreaks into perspective."  Arianna Huffington

Friendship is indispensable, but even more important after campus life.

It’s no surprise that some of our best friends to this day are people we met in High School and College. When you study, eat, sleep, and play in the same square mile for four years or more, it’s harder to avoid having friends than to make them. 

Friendship off campus can be more challenging, though. No cafeteria. No biology lab. No student section. You probably won’t just run into your friends in the real world. Pursuing a job or moving forward with your education can be made more painful, then, because it comes with loneliness. You’ll have to be intentional with your friends, set aside time to be together, coordinate schedules, and then make it happen regularly. It’s not convenient, but it’s critical. In fact, God may have given you great friends in high school and college mainly so that you would have friends when you walk through hard things after college — hard things like waiting and looking for work longer than you expected.

Don’t be surprised, God can speak through your friends — their knowledge of God’s word, their love for you, their experience in the world, and their hope in Jesus for your future — to keep you in the faith, walking in line with the gospel.  A couple more graduation speech quotes from some of my favorite theologians…

 "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life... Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish."  Steve Jobs, Stanford University

"You're going to have naysayers, and I'll tell you, you will throughout your life have people who will tell you you're not good enough. Maybe they're jealous. Maybe they think you aren't. Maybe they've had a bad day. But ultimately you have to believe in yourself." -Meredith Vieira, 

 We’re going to be honoring our graduates this Sunday during our morning services.  God’s Word tells us, “Rejoice with those who rejoice…”  Let’s do that with great passion and celebration!   An outstanding day awaits you this Sunday at Deer Flat!  I can’t wait to see you!  I LOVE MY CHURCH!

Pastor D

BTW – 2 Quick things you want to know about

1.      There ‘s a great opportunity to have a coffee and a chat with my wife tomorrow morning in the Lobby of Deer Flat at 9 a.m.  She would especially love to meet you if you’re new to the church.

2.     We’re in need of some housing for several of our single ladies.  If you have a place to rent, or perhaps even a room to rent, please let Jessi know at the church office.  208.459.3845

2020 VISION - BUILDING EXPANSION UPDATE

Hello Deer Flat Family,

Things are going crazy here at the expansion project.  Everyone is working hard to get this building done as soon as possible.  Here is a current list of what we have recently completed and what is currently being worked on:

  • Half of the building is now textured and painted
  • The ceiling grid-work will soon be complete in all the painted rooms
  • Doors and trim are being painted
  • We have lights and power in almost half of the building
  • Tile is being installed in the kitchen, followed by the installation of equipment
  • We will begin installing tile in the restrooms next week
  • The new parking lot is complete
  • The old parking lot will be patched, resealed and restriped soon
  • We have received chairs, tables and benches for the rooms
  • Carpet will be installed in the nursery next week
  • The eventual grass and playground areas are being graded and prepared
  • We will soon be competing the final step in the septic system update
  • The sprinkler work in the old building is nearing completion
  • Flooring for the rest of the building will begin arriving in mid May and should all be on site by the end of the month
  • We are now using the new vestibule entry for most events.  The office door we have been using as the main point of entry will no longer be open.  We are required to return the doors from the office to the lobby back to a single door prior to receiving our occupancy permit and will begin this as soon as possible.

If all goes as planned we should be able to move in sometime in mid to late June!

I cannot help but say this at every possible opportunity.  None of what is happening is possible without you.  Your support, prayers, service and financial donations make this possible.  Thanks to those who have helped in a variety of different ways and those who have been providing snacks, beverages and meals to our construction crews.  They have been very, very appreciative and we have had one new family begin to attend as well as several others who have visited.  Of course we all know that nothing we do is important if God is not in it and all evidence is that He is!

At this point we continue to be on or below budget in most areas.  Our original budget goal was $3.0 million, but as I have mention before, we had the added cost of the requirement to add sprinklers to the old parts of the building.  Although I cannot yet put final numbers out, I can say that in addition to staying within our budget we have had significant donations of goods/services by Deer Flat members who have played major roles in the construction.  In the end this will lower the net amount of cash required!

As of this moment, we have received almost $1,150,000 to the building fund.  The original pledges were $1.7 million and in addition we have received donations from many who did not make an initial pledge!

I ask for prayer during these final weeks for things to go smoothly, products to show as scheduled, workers tol be kept safe and for the workers in general.

Thanks for all you do for the Kingdom

Rick Day
Executive Administrator

SAVE THE DATE SO YOU CAN MAKE AN AMAZING DIFFERENCE

SAVE THE DATE SO YOU CAN MAKE AN AMAZING DIFFERENCE

In just 12 days the NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER event is happening.  What a great chance to make a difference…if you believe in prayer.  The scripture directs us to pray, and the scripture gives us a thorough list of things that we could and should remember in our prayers, such as…

·         Pray For Unity In America – Maybe like me, you’ve never seen our nation more divided.  Let’s do something about it, by calling on the Name of the Lord.  Ephesians 4:3

·         Pray For Unity In The Church of America – The need for God’s Church to stay strong, biblically based and full of life is an absolute as we face an uncertain future. Pray that the Gospel will continue to be preached with passion and love. 1 Cor. 1:10

·         Pray For Unity That We Agree Clearly, Unite Visibly, and Pray Extraordinarily For The Next Great Spiritual Awakening In America.  Acts 1:14

·         Pray For Those In Authority Over Us – Our President, His Cabinet, Senators and Congressmen, Supreme Court.  Our Governor, State Legislative Leaders and Upcoming Elections.  Pray for our local Mayors, City Counsels, County Commissioners and Judges.

·         Pray For The Salvation Of The Masses – There are yet so many who still need to come to know Christ and His amazing love!

·         Pray For The Unborn Who Are In Jeopardy of Not Being Carried Full Term – This is still a big issue on God’s heart.

This is really an incredible opportunity to pull together, along with others churches in Caldwell and the surrounding area.  This year’s event will take place MAY 3rd, 12:00 NOON OUTSIDE OF THE CANYON COUNTY COURT HOUSE.  We’ve been given full permission to hold a prayer meeting outside of the courthouse, which I think is a great opportunity.

Why not get this on your calendar right now?  Why not set aside a half hour lunch time and join us?  Why not set aside a full hour and join a group of intercessors as each of these issues and more are lifted to the God of heaven,  who still hears and answers prayer! This is one of those opportunities to invite others.  This is one of those moments we all desire when we wonder if our lives are making any kind of difference.

I have HUGE confidence in the prayers of the Deer Flat Flock.  Let’s go mobile and make some serious noise outside of the courthouse as we pray together.

Tomorrow is going to be another tremendous Lord’s Day at Deer Flat.  I can’t wait to see you!

Loving You and Loving Him,

Pastor D

DID THE FLOOD REALLY HAPPEN?

DID THE FLOOD REALLY HAPPEN?

The story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood is one of the most famous from the Bible, and now an acclaimed underwater archaeologist thinks he has found proof that the biblical flood was actually based on real events.

I was reading an interview ABC News did with Robert Ballard, one of the world's best-known underwater archaeologists, where he talked about his findings. His team was probing the depths of the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey in search of traces of an ancient civilization hidden underwater since the time of Noah. Ballard's track record for finding the impossible is well known. In 1985, using a robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras, Ballard and his crew hunted down the world's most famous shipwreck, the Titanic.

At the time of this interview, Ballard was using even more advanced robotic technology to travel farther back in time. He was on a marine archeological mission that would possibly support the story of Noah. He said some 12,000 years ago, much of the world was covered in ice.

"Where I live in Connecticut was ice a mile above my house, all the way back to the North Pole, about 15 million kilometers, that's a big ice cube," he said. "But then it started to melt. We're talking about the floods of our living history."

The water from the melting glaciers began to rush toward the world's oceans, Ballard said, causing floods all around the world. "The questions is, was there a mother of all floods," Ballard said.

According to a controversial theory proposed by two Columbia University scientists, there really was one in the Black Sea region. They believe that the now-salty Black Sea was once an isolated freshwater lake surrounded by farmland, until it was flooded by an enormous wall of water from the rising Mediterranean Sea. The force of the water was two hundred times that of Niagara Falls, sweeping away everything in its path.

Fascinated by the idea, Ballard and his team decided to investigate. "We went in there to look for the flood," he said. "Not just a slow moving, advancing rise of sea level, but a really big flood that then stayed... The land that went under stayed under."

Four hundred feet below the surface, they unearthed an ancient shoreline, proof to Ballard that a catastrophic event did happen in the Black Sea. By carbon dating shells found along the shoreline, Ballard said he believes they have established a timeline for that catastrophic event, which he estimates happened around 5,000 BC. Some experts believe this was around the time when Noah's flood could have occurred.

We’re going to be talking about this in great detail over the next number of weeks as we walk through Genesis 6-11.  The amazing insights laying just below the surface of the printed page of the Bible is no small thing.  Tomorrow, we get a chance to start getting acquainted with this guy named Noah. 

Why not think about who you could invite that has an interest in the Bible, or who is a great skeptic.  Either way, it’s a win.  I can’t wait to see you!

Loving You and Him,

Pastor D

IT'S FRIDAY,  BUT SUNDAY IS COMING

IT'S FRIDAY, BUT SUNDAY IS COMING

For the past few weeks I’ve taken the time to tell you briefly about each of the 4 major days that are celebrated during Holy Week:  Palm Sunday, Passover Thursday, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.  Each week we’ve considered how Jesus totally overwhelms our expectations of who He is.

Palm Sunday – Jesus rides into the City of Jerusalem amid the shouts of “Hosanna.”  Everyone sees Him as the perfect person to set everything right with everything that’s wrong.  When He doesn’t do it the way they expect, they are ready to crucify Him.  The reality is, they were thinking politically and He was thinking spiritually and eternally. He didn’t come to kick out the Romans, He came to die and take the punishment that we all deserve…on himself.  He still takes us by surprise

Passover Thursday – This is the night that Jesus celebrates His last supper with His disciples.  This is the night He will be betrayed.  He’s betrayed because Judas is more concerned with saving souls than about starting a revolution.  And because Jesus doesn’t follow the script, Judas throws Him under the bus.  Do you ever get disappointed with God because He doesn’t do what you want him to do?  Passover Thursday is about all the ways we turn our back on Jesus.  It’s really the dirtiest, ugliest night in history.  His disciples fall asleep instead of praying with Jesus; He’s taken to trial that is totally a sham.  He’s handed off to Pilate, who passes him off to Herod, who hands him back to Pilate.  Finally, as Pilate caves to the wishes of the people, he’s given a death sentence and taken out to be crucified. Passover Thursday is about all the ways that we fail God, but here again Jesus surprises us. You would expect him to give up on such a sorry lot, but that is not what He does. Instead He keeps pursuing us and chasing us, and as much as we run away from Him, He never gives up on us. Do you know who held the seat of honor at the Last Supper? Judas - because God never gives up on us. Passover Thursday is about how Jesus loves us, in spite of our failures, fears, and weaknesses. It`s about how he cleans us up and makes us whole. 

Good Friday - This brings us to the third day of Holy Week, the day Christ was crucified. Surely there is no bleaker moment in human history than when we decided it was expedient to kill our Creator. But here again Jesus defied our expectations and surprises us, because - as the name suggests - this horrible event turns out to be good. Not because of what happened on that day, but because God used that day to make us good by paying the price we deserved so we could be reconciled to God. It`s the best worst thing that ever happened and that`s the irony of Good Friday. Unlike other religions that just pretend there is no such thing as evil or say if only you meditate right you can escape the illusion of suffering, Good Friday tells us the truth. Evil really does exist and suffering really does hurt, but God can take even the worst events and make them good. Unlike other religious figures, Jesus doesn`t AVOID SUFFERING and SIN, he absorbs them and transforms them into something good. 

Resurrection Sunday - The last day of Holy Week is commonly known as EASTER, the day Jesus was raised from the dead. Easter is a powerful declaration that with God there is no such thing as a dead end. God can conquer even death itself and can take the worst defeat and turn it into victory. The story is told about a semi-famous painting called "Check Mate" that depicts a chessboard where the king is supposedly in check mate, but one day a master chess player was studying this painting for hours and finally said, "It`s not true; the painting is wrong. The king is not in check mate; he has one more move." That`s Easter and again it defies our expectations. You would expect death to be the end of the game, but not with God. He can make even the worse defeat a victory. As bleak as things get, God always has one more move left. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter.

But there is one more day left, and we don`t celebrate it, but it could be the most important day of Holy Week - Saturday - the day between the crucifixion and the resurrection. What do you think the disciples were doing on Saturday? Here they have seen their friend and their Master killed the day before but also have this vague promise, which probably seemed ridiculous at the time that He would rise again. So what do you think they were doing on Saturday between the tragedy and the promise? 

Most of life is Saturday. We`re in a terrible position, but we have a promise from God that we only half believe. It`s after the doctor tells us we have cancer, but before we`re cured or find a new depth of faith to cope with it. It`s after the marriage breaks up, but before God heals the grief. It`s after we`ve been laid off, but before God uses our gifts in a new place. Most of life is Saturday. It`s waiting in faith and hanging onto the promise that God is going to come through for us in spite of how bad things look. Doesn’t it seem like most of life is Saturday?
 
I don`t know where you are this Holy Week. Maybe you`re in a Palm Sunday kind of mood.  Maybe you’re basking in Passover Thursday knowing that God loves us no matter how dirty our feet get in life. Maybe you`re in a Saturday kind of place - between a hard time and a promise you only half believe. Know this for sure that God`s Resurrection irony is still at work, and He can use even the worst tragedies for good, and He always has at least one more move left. No matter how bleak and dark Saturday gets, Sunday`s coming, and it`s coming sooner than you think. 

I’ll close with these important things:
1.    Don’t forget Good Friday service is at 7 pm
2.    Don’t forget to invite someone to experience Deer Flat this Sunday. It could change their life
3.    Don’t forget to come expecting an UNFORGETTABLE day with the Living God!

I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU SUNDAY!

All For Jesus!

Pastor D


PS
MCCLASKEY OPEN HOUSE – Saturday, April 7, 1-4 pm, Lobby
All are invited to an Anniversary Open House honoring Charles & Grace McClaskey from 1-4 pm in the lobby on this upcoming Saturday. Congratulations Charles & Grace - one of our Pioneer families of Deer Flat!
 

FROM THE UPPER ROOM TO GETHSEMENE

FROM THE UPPER ROOM TO GETHSEMENE

We’ve been walking through Holy Week this month.  It’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching the final Sunday of March.  We began with Palm Sunday and have made our way through the major days of that last week of Jesus life, including Passover and now it brings us to the third important day of Holy Week, Good Friday, the day Christ was crucified. Surely there is no bleaker moment in human history than when we decided it was expedient to kill our Creator. But here again Jesus defied our expectations and surprises us, because - as the name suggests - this horrible event turns out to be good. Not because of what happened on that day, but because God used that day to make us good by paying the price we deserved so we could be reconciled to God. It`s the best worst thing that ever happened and that`s the paradox of Good Friday, the irony of Good Friday.

Unlike other religions that just pretend there is no such thing as evil or say if only you follow the rules and meditate right you can escape the illusion of suffering, Good Friday tells us the truth. Evil really does exist and suffering really does hurt, but God can take even the worst events and make them good. Unlike other religious figures, Jesus doesn`t AVOID SUFFERING and SIN, he absorbs them and transforms them into something good. 

This Sunday I’ll be taking you through another major section of John’s description of Jesus amazing love and agony displayed through the events of Holy Week.  You’ll be amazed at what has been laying on the pages of the Gospels that most people never see.

Question: With Easter Sunday just over a week away, have you considered who you might invite to experience Deer Flat Church?  An unforgettable weekend awaits them as we have prepared some very special things for that very special morning.  Let’s maximize on reaching out to those who have no church home.  Let’s risk inviting.  Who knows, they could be forever changed because you dared to invite.

I’ll close with this quick update – We are on track to close out March making our financial budget for the month.  We missed the mark in January and February, BUT NOT BY MUCH – Yea!  Thank you for standing by the church financially.  Thank you for your faithful generosity.  Thank you for honoring God with your finances.  Thank you for enabling us to get this new addition built and paid for in a very timely manner!

The Deer Flat Flock is absolutely the best!  I am so grateful for the people of Deer Flat.  You impact my life weekly.  You encourage, pray, support, serve, give, care, stand in the gap, reach out, worship, value spiritual growth, help lift the load, invest in others, sacrifice for those important things, love one another and so much more.  I am the most fortunate pastor I know.  I LOVE MY CHURCH!   Can’t wait to see you Sunday!

All For Jesus,

Pastor D

A WALK THROUGH HOLY WEEK CONTINUES

A WALK THROUGH HOLY WEEK CONTINUES

Our walk in this series began with Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem and everyone is thinking he`s coming to kick out the Romans and bring freedom to the Jews, so they lay down Palm branches and shout, "Hosanna " King of the Jews." You can understand why they are so excited because for centuries they have been oppressed and conquered by everybody - the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans - they`re 0 and 5 and their season is not improving.

However, they are so excited because finally they think Jesus is going to give them a political victory, but that`s not what Jesus came to do. He didn't come to Jerusalem to kick the Romans out; He came to die in order to take the punishment that we all deserve on himself. That is not what they expected or wanted. Palm Sunday represents all the times that we get really excited about Jesus because of what we think He can do for us rather than about who He really is and what he really offers. Palm Sunday represents all those times we get excited about Jesus because we think He`s going to give us the job we want or the health we want or the friends we want. 

This leads directly into the second major day of Holy Week - Passover. This is the night that Jesus celebrates the last supper with his disciples. It`s also the night that Judas betrays him, and the gospels imply that the reason Judas betrays Jesus is because he`s exasperated that Jesus seems more concerned about saving souls than about starting a revolution. So because Jesus doesn't follow the script, Judas turns his back on him.    

Here again we can relate because this sometimes happens to us. We get disappointed with God because he doesn`t do what we want him to do. We just ignore Him or do our own thing or maybe come to church, but don`t really give our lives to him. Like Frank Sinatra we do it "our way" and follow our own path. Passover is about all the ways we turn our back on Jesus, as everyone does that first Lord’s Supper night 2,000 years ago. It`s the most sordid night in human history. The disciples fall asleep instead of praying with Jesus; the chief priests put Jesus on trial in secret at night. Then the priests get afraid and pass him off to Pilate, who passes him off to Herod, who passes him back to Pilate. Pilate finally caves in like a house of cards to the angry crowds, who just a few days before were praising Jesus but now demand his death. 

Passover is about all the ways that human beings fail God, but here again Jesus surprises us. You would expect him to give up on such a sorry lot, but that is not what He does. Instead He keeps pursuing us and chasing us, and as much as we run away from him, He never gives up on us. Do you know who held the seat of honor at the Last Supper? Judas - because God never gives up on us. And do you know what Jesus does BEFORE the Last Supper? He washes his disciples` feet. Think about it -- in a culture where people walk everywhere in dirt and dust, no water to take a bath, nothing but leather sandals absorbing all those odors, and what does the son of God do? He kneels down and washes those dirty feet. Thursday of Holy Week is about how Jesus loves us in spite of our dirty feet, in spite of our failures, fears, and weaknesses. It`s about how he cleans us up and makes us whole. 

I’m going to tell you much more about Passover tomorrow when we gather together.  I can’t wait to see you.  Come expecting an unforgettable encounter with the Risen Christ!

Humbled by Him,

Pastor D

AN IMPORTANT WORD… WHY WOULD JESUS AUTHORITY BE QUESTIONED?

AN IMPORTANT WORD… WHY WOULD JESUS AUTHORITY BE QUESTIONED?

There’s a very intriguing passage found in Mark 11 that focus’s on Jesus authority.  Jesus had become a burr underneath the saddle of the religious leaders of His day, simply because He was messing up their system.  In verses 27-33 there is an exchange between this group of religious leaders and Jesus while He is at the Temple.

The people challenging Jesus were identified back in chapter 8: “the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes.”

The reason that Jesus is approached by these elite religious men is because they are concerned with what just happened at the Temple… He came unleashed on the abusers of the people who were coming to the Temple, turning their tables over and putting some serious “bass” in His voice reminding everyone within ear shot that, “My Father’s house will be a House of prayer for all Nations.” This really got their attention.  So, they begin to question Him about His authority, AKA, “Just WHO do you think you are?”

It appears that the purpose of the question posed to Jesus was that the authorities were hoping to trap him. If he claimed that his authority came directly from God they might be able to accuse him of blasphemy;  if he claimed that the authority came from himself, they might be able to ridicule him and make him appear foolish.

During these days, some rabbis were simply "Torah teachers", meaning they only had the "authority" to teach the "common Torah understanding" of the community.  Those rabbis generally lived in one community and taught at the local synagogue.  There was however, another "class" of rabbis, those with "sm'kha", (authority), to teach Torah as it was revealed to them from God.  Jesus was a sm'kha rabbi, and these rabbis generally traveled, had disciples (talmidim) and were held in the highest standing.  Jesus demonstrated his sm'kha when in his teachings, he would begin by saying, "you have heard it said......., but I say........".  He was presenting his "yoke", his teaching.  In Matt 11:29, when he say "take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart....", he was teaching "different torah interpretation", and obviously the Chief Priests were at least "initially" interested in who Jesus was, and then became threatened as Jesus would soon oppose the way the temple and sacrificial systems were being forced upon the people. As they question Jesus, they are questioning, “Where did you get your sm’kha?” 

Jesus chooses to answer their question with a question. Rabbinic dialogue frequently was composed of answering questions with questions, because oftentimes, "the answer to the question was a question"!  Jesus often employed this technique where he refused to "play" by the pharisees groundrules, and thereby, turned the tables on them.

I’ll tell you much more about this chapter in Mark 11 tomorrow and we continue out “WALK THROUGH HOLY WEEK.”

 DON’T FORGET 2 THINGS:

1.      It was Jesus who said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me…”

2.    DON’T FORGET TO CHANGE YOUR CLOCK – I HOUR FORWARD.

 Can’t wait to see you tomorrow!

All For Jesus,

Pastor D

 

 

 

WHAT DO YOU REALLY KNOW ABOUT MARY MAGDALENE?

WHAT DO YOU REALLY KNOW ABOUT MARY MAGDALENE?

It was really just a few years ago that they opened up a new dig in the Galilee area of Israel.  What they found was the ancient fishing village of Migdol.  This was the place that Mary lived.  Which Mary? Mary of Midgol – AKA: Mary Magdalene. She is definitely one of the most well-known female characters of the New Testament.  She has been popularized in dozens of films, stories, and once in the popular rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. In almost all popular presentations, she is portrayed as a former prostitute who comes to Jesus in the spirit of true repentance. In the controversial movie, The DaVinci Code, it tells of Mary becoming the wife of Jesus and having a family. While the gospels are known for their graciousness towards persons with moral failings (both men and women), in our interpretation of the Bible I believe we have misrepresented the person we call Mary Magdalene.

I’ve had the chance to walk among the ruins of that small community several times over recent trips to Israel.  It’s always thought provoking.  You can stand in the midst of the dig, look to the West, and see the canyon from which Jesus and His disciples would walk through to go from Nazareth to the Galilee.  The very first place you come to when you get to the Sea of Galilee is Migdol.

It’s in this place that Jesus encountered a demon possessed woman that had no idea what was laying ahead of her regarding her future. She shows up no less than 12 times in the Gospels, which is more than most of the Apostles. Mary is one of the most prominent people in the crucifixion narrative. Then, she is also present two days later immediately following the Sabbath, and becomes the first person to testify to the resurrection of Jesus. And, even though she plays such an important role in the life of Christ, we know so little about her.

This much we do know. When Christ set her free, he liberated her from the evil impulses that had kept her chained figuratively and perhaps literally.  She is living proof that those who the Son sets free, are free indeed. And the transformation of her life resulted in her determination to follow him from that moment on, “I love him for what he did for me.  I will follow him wherever he goes,” and that determination took her to the Cross.

It must have been gut wrenching for her to watch her Messiah tortured and put to death.  Death is never easy to deal with.  Most of the time we can avoid it or postpone it or keep it far removed from us, but there are those times when death stares us in the face and we don’t know what to do or how to respond. And that’s why Mary was standing alone at the Garden Tomb early on that first Resurrection Sunday.

There is so much more I want to tell you about her.  We’ll be taking a deeper and intriguing look at her in our series that beings this Sunday, A WALK THROUGH HOLY WEEK – an in-depth look at the last week of Jesus life.  This is going to be one of the most amazing glimpses into what is really happening that you’ve ever heard.  You’re not going to want to miss any of it.  It will cover all of the Sunday’s of March, as well as the GOOD FRIDAY service, and even the Passover Seder.

I’ll tell you more about it this Sunday when we get to be together.  I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU!

All for Jesus,

Pastor D

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I WALKED WHERE JESUS WALKED

I WALKED WHERE JESUS WALKED

Hello Deer Flat Family,

Jer and I had the privilege today of walking where Jesus walked.  We walked the Palm Sunday Path down the Mt. of Olives, over to the City of Jerusalem.  Once again it was unforgettable. Today you can still follow the footsteps of Jesus in Jerusalem. There’s no shortage of places in the city that testify to His being there.

At the foot of the Mount of Olives is an ancient Olive Garden.  The Gospels tell us that Jesus used to visit a wonderful, quiet place there in Jerusalem called, “Gethsemane -the place of the pressing.” It was there that Jesus prayed in great agony about God’s plan of salvation.  What set this place apart is that it was an orchard of Olive Trees, and in that place there was an olive press.  Think about the process used to make olives and gathering the olive oil.

The trees would be beaten to knock the olives to the ground, collected and then put in the olive press.  A heavy stone would be rolled over them so that their outside skin would be broken, allowing the olive oil to ooze out.

The next step would be to gather up the olives in gunny sacks and stack them in a location where they can be pressed and the oil can be collected.  Heavy weights would be placed on the stack of olives so that the pressure would squeeze the oil out.  Then, it was collected in containers and served a variety of important purposes, including cooking, creating light, soap and especially the giving of a tithe to the Temple.

This is exactly what was happening to Jesus on the night of His betrayal.  He was so weighted down with the weight of the sin of the world, the gospels tell us that he, “sweat as it were drops of blood.”  In fact, it goes on to say that the Angels from heaven ministered to him there in order to strengthen him for the hours that lay ahead.

In just over a week we will be taking an in-depth look at the last week of Jesus life.  We’ll walk with Him through Passion week – His arrest, betrayal, trial, crucifixion.  We’ll consider his Disciples, His mother Mary, and the other Mary’s, and the people of His day.  I have much to show you in God’s amazing Word. March is going to be an outstanding month, and I can’t wait to see all of you. In the meantime, Jer and I have carried you in our heart, lifted you in our prayers, and thought about you throughout our time away.  We have thanked God 1,000 times for our Deer Flat Family.

Continue to pray for us.  It’s the greatest thing you’ll ever do for us.  I LOVE MY CHURCH!

From Jerusalem,

Pastor D