This Changes Everything

There are moments in history that are pivotal. History takes a right or left turn, goes forward or backwards, but it can not continue on it’s pervious course. You can think of those events in our modern era with things like the attack at Pearl Harbor, D-Day or 9-11.   Those events happen on a personal level as well. I don’t know anyone who when holding their first little one in their arms is not fundamentally changed. It changes everything.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ was and continues to be just such an event. It changed everything. It changed it for the disciples, it changed the world and it continues to have this incredible transforming impact.

Do you think it would have that impact if it were all made up? Can you think of one other myth or legend or story that has had such an impact on the world? It is not just that our side won, but through history and even today whenever and wherever the resurrection of Jesus is proclaimed, and whenever and wherever it is accepted with the response of living faith, it changes everything! That is the power of the resurrection.

As evening falls, we can remember what it must have been like for the disciples. They had just seen their Messiah crucified. He was laid in a tomb. As the sun went down and the Sabbath began they must have been so discouraged and disillusioned. They would remain that way until the incredible discovery. The discovery that He had indeed raised from the dead, and that would change everything!

Gather your friends and family and come to church tomorrow as we celebrate His resurrection!

Pastor Chris


One Way to Fix It

Only One Way to Fix It.

 I recently replaced the faucet in my kitchen. I didn’t want to replace it. I wasn’t doing it to update the color or get one with more features, but rather because the faucet was worn out. The gaskets and mechanical parts were failing. The faucet was made in such a way that “fixing” it was not possible. No one sold the parts that it needs, and by the time you actually found said parts (if they exist) and ordered them you would have been most of the way to price of a purchasing a new faucet. They didn’t make it to be repaired they made it to be replaced. There was only one way to fix it. It had to be replaced.

 I like options. I hate being forced into “one way or the high way”. In fact, I am most attracted to methods and ways of doing things that are often considered unconventional. I find that the experience of life is better when I leave the highway and explore the less traveled lanes. However, on occasion there is nothing to be done. There is no creative way around it. There is no alternative choice, indeed there is only one way.

 The sacrifice of Jesus was just such an instance. Why did Jesus have to die? Why would he sacrifice Himself? Last week we talked about His motivation. He loved us and laid down his life for His friends all for the glory of God. It answers the question of motivation but leaves unanswered a question “Why this method?” Wasn’t there some other way that sin could be dealt with? Wasn’t there some way He could save His friends, but not have to experience crucifixion? 

The answer to this question lies in understanding the very nature of God Himself. It was not that there is some universal principle that constrains and supersedes even God. If that were true then there would be something greater than God. Nothing is. Rather, we can only understand the necessity for the sacrifice if we understand the immutability of the righteousness of God Himself. It is impossible for God to be something and act in a way that opposite of His very self.   Sins penalty is death comes out of God’s holiness and righteousness. There was only one way to fix it.  This week we will focus on this one way, the sacrifice of Jesus.

“Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process.”

                     ~Hebrews 10:11-14 (MSG)

See you at church,

 Pastor Chris

Dear Occupant

When you pick up your mail every day don’t you love to get those letters from this that or the other business that just knows that you need their product or service? They have spent so much time getting to know you and what you need they neither know your name, nor do they really care who you are. You are just another consumer that they hope to entrap with their offer of easy credit cards, or junk you don’t need. They refer to you as occupant.   How different it is when you discover a letter from a friend.

It is certainly rare to actually get a letter in the mail. I almost hesitate to use the analogy for fear that a younger generation might not be able to even relate. Like VHS, and human controlled cars, it will eventually be completely replaced by superior and more reliable technology. But there is still that little jolt of excitement when surprisingly, mixed in all the junk, you find a card or a letter from a friend.

As we continue to explore the idea that Jesus coming and dying on a cross, and ultimately being raised from the dead, is believable, we are forced to consider motivation. We know that “God so loved the world that He sent his Son…”(John 3:16), and we know that Jesus went to the cross for the glory of the Father (John 12:27-28) but we too are in the mix. Jesus says this in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus loves His friends, and when we consider that, it makes the extraordinary understandable, even believable.

Are you a friend of Jesus or are you standing afar, distant, occupant? Come discover the ways he demonstrated His friendship and how it should cause us to worship Him!

See you at church,

Pastor Chris

Believable II

I got a call today from a fellow who said he was from the US Treasury department. He wanted to talk with Susan about a legal matter.   His halting English and my phone caller ID, which said he was from Brawley, CA (about 10 miles from Mexicali), said I don’t think so. There is not even a US treasury office in Brawley. I laughed at him and said “Cool now I too can say I got called by the IRS scammers. “ He just wasn’t even remotely believable.

 The last time we talk about Believable it was in the context of the miracles that surrounded the birth of Jesus. It was to ask and answer was this historical event, the arrival of Jesus, believable? It was! Now we move into part two of the trilogy. In the next 4 weeks we will look at the eyewitness accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.   Depending on where you are at you will be either challenged to believe or reaffirmed in your belief.

 Unlike the phony IRS scam caller, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus has all the characteristics, all the tale-tale signs of something that rings true. This week we will look at His teachings and their qualities that make them and Him Believable.

 See you at church,

 Pastor Chris

Light Not Grey



Love is bannerWalking in darkness is never very much fun. I have pretty decent night vision, but even so wandering around in darkness can really get a person in trouble. You often can’t see to avoid the stick in the trail that is at about eye height. You fail to see the Lego minefield (if you have young ones) or the corner of that piece of furniture that you have walked around hundreds of times. Walking in darkness usually just hurts.

 February is a month where (since the 14th century and the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer) people have come to celebrate the romantic love we so enjoy with our sweethearts. Little cards, candies, and other sweet nothings will be exchanged. Romance is a gift from God, and it is wonderful. Our culture too will celebrate, by releasing their latest and greatest vomit of big screen pornography. Celebrating their walking in the darkness as they stumble, trip, fall, are impaled, and broken in their relationships, but pretend they are free and these things have no real impact. What they really need has nothing to do with ugliness of literotica blasted onto the big screen. What they really need is true love. What they really need is light not shades of darkness.

 For the month of February we will look at true love found in 1 John.   There are no shades, it is just pure light. All who bask in it will find true freedom, true joy, true strength, and an intimacy that that brings life. Hope to see you at church.

 Walking in the light,

 Pastor Chris

Ignoring the Prime Directive

I must confess I am a science fiction geek.    I enjoy entertainment that is about as far away from reality as I can get it.  If I watch movies or read books that are set in the real world I end up working.  I want to counsel bad relationships and help broken people. I find that I neither escape nor relax after watching a movie set in the real world.  But Star Trek that is another matter.   I don’t have to worry about the missionaries on Vulcan! 

In the Star Trek universe there is something called the Prime Directive.  Simply stated it forbids Starfleet personnel from interfering or impacting the internal development of alien civilizations.  Unfortunately all to often the Church has adopted the Prime Directive.

Having discovered that “the world” is alien with desires and motivations that are completely at odds with all things Christian.  And discovering that interacting with this world is hard work that sometimes results in things like criticism, mocking, and resistance we adopt the Prime Directive. We take our ball and go home.  We develop a little mini-society where everything we do is Christian.  We have Christian friends, watch Christian shows, and even in our service we end up serving Christians.  We adopt the Prime Directive, and just let the world go where it is headed.

Christ’s calling is higher than Starfleet’s.  We are called not to ignore the world, or isolate ourselves from it, but rather to serve.  We are not called to conform to the world, but rather do our best to transform and influence as many as God puts in our reach.  We are to love, serve, care for, visit, and encourage.  It is our hope that we do indeed impact and interfere with where their “alien” culture is headed.

This week we are once again be reminded of our targets in Vision 2020.  We are going to specifically be looking at how we will accomplish our call to service.

Come be encouraged to ignore the Prime Directive.

Live long and prosper and Go Hawks, 

Pastor Chris

A Letter From My Dad

In my office I have a letter from my dad.   I put it in a frame and with that letter I have a picture of when I was ordained as a pastor and my dad was praying over me.   The letter is not incredibly remarkable and I am quite certain my dad had no idea of the significance it would later have for me.   It was from his heart to mine, and so when roads are bumpy or when I feel tired I look at it and find comfort and encouragement there. My other Dad left me a letter too.

This letter is different. This other Dad did know of the significance it would hold and in fact, wanted it to have an amazing place in my life. In this letter not only does He relate to me who He is, but who I am as well.   He relays how much He loves me, and all the things He has given me both to strengthen me, guide me, teach me, and help me get through this life. But even more than all of that, He gave me this letter so we could be close. Like a love letter, it reveals His heart and draws my heart into His.

Sometimes I read it and it doesn’t seem like a love letter. Sometimes it tells stories of far off lands, peoples, and events. Sometimes I feel like ;“How does this have any meaning to me?” It is funny how I never felt that way when my earthly dad would tell me stories of his adventures. It had application to me because it was what happened to him. I guess not every letter has to be all about me.

Other times I read it, and the words reach me right where I am at. They comfort me and hold me up or maybe they give me a quick kick in the seat of the pants to get me going again. Usually, it is just what I needed and makes me feel close to my Dad.

Your Daddy has written you a letter, are you reading it?

See you at church,

Pastor Chris

A New Year

Well we are at 2015.  As we step into the new year, what will it be like for you.   Some years are good years and some not so much.  Every year has its blessings and then the other stuff.  Some years have more of one or the other.  You might be glad 2015 is here, ready to leave 2014 behind, or you might be reminiscing about how great last year was.

 Much of what we experience in a particular year is completely out of our control.  Circumstances and events good or bad, happen to us.  We of course, have the ability to react and respond to them, yet we sometimes feel like a ping pong ball on the sea of life.  Staying afloat but not really getting anywhere.  For many things that is just the way it is.  But if that is the case in our walk with Jesus, then we somewhere along the way made a choice, and not the right one.

 In relationships (and much of life) we can either let them be and let them slide into the least common denominator, or we can impact them with effort.  Stagnant, boring, lifeless relationships are not caused because people are stagnant, boring and lifeless.   They are caused because people become tired or lazy, mostly the latter.  Dynamic, passionate, growing, life giving relationships are not accidentlly arrived at. They are developed and maintained.  There is no greater place where that is true than in our walk with Jesus.

 So at the beginning of this year I want to focus our attention on our relationship with Jesus.  How is it?  Is it close?  Are you getting close and staying close?  My hope is that 2015 is a year for just that.  Circumstances will impact us, but in our choices about our relationship with Jesus, we have control.  What choices will you make in the coming year?

 I hope to see you at church where we will explore together how you can get close and stay close to Jesus.

 God bless,

Pastor Chris

The story isn’t over……

 Have you noticed that in a lot of movies there is a teaser at the end, for the next installment of your favorite super hero story.  Telling a story in just one movie is moving aside for movie trilogies, and even more.   The plus side is that they are able to take well written books (the Hobbit comes to mind) and make good films from them.  The down side is you have to watch all the credits and endure the cleaning crew dirty looks to find out if there is a teaser at the end!

The story of Christ’s birth was just the beginning of the story of course, but after a bit of credits, (roughly 2 years) there is a teaser at the end.  The Magi come to find him.  Because it is so significant, and because Jesus is still an infant, it often is included as something that occurs on the night of His birth.  Scripture is clear however, that it did not occur on the night of His birth but possibly up to two years later.  Mary and Joseph had moved from a stable to a house, and the Magi had traveled a long distance to get there.  

The Magi are fascinating and while we do not know much about them, they are the trailer for what would be coming.  In fact, we find in their story not just a curios aside, but fore-gleam of worship, a prophetic enactment of things to come, things that will involve us.  Want to find out more?

 See you at church.

 Pastor Chris

W.A.Y. Big Christmas Celebration

W.A.Y. (Wellspring Active Youth) celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ and a whole lot more! In what was a fun-filled evening of Christmas cheer, the birth of Jesus marked the cornerstone for the night.

Yes, we did the simple and silly fun antics of Christmas gag gifts and games, much pizza, soda and candy but the focus was on what is eternally important in life. The star, as per usual was Dalton Harper, but a very close second was his sidekick kitty April- the newest member of the Ehrhardt family. The two made quite the pair!

 It was a night of celebration and focus on our W.A.Y. future, we discuss the plan of our group attending ‘Acquire the Fire’ this coming spring and viewed a video clip of what this would entail. We concluded the night with a powerful movie, ‘God’s Not Dead’. In the movie, we witnessed different walks of life and how they are connected through God combined with the individual struggles and turmoil’s life deals us. We too concluded that God is very much alive.

Our group wishes you all a Merry Christmas and that we may stay centered on that which is of ultimate importance- Jesus Christ. We pray you do as well!

DSC_0002 DSC_0003 DSC_0004 DSC_0005 DSC_0006 DSC_0009 DSC_0011 DSC_0013 DSC_0017 DSC_0018 DSC_0021 DSC_0022 DSC_0024 DSC_0026 DSC_0027 DSC_0028 DSC_0030 DSC_0031 DSC_0032 DSC_0035 DSC_0037 DSC_0039 DSC_0042 DSC_0047 DSC_0048 DSC_0049 DSC_0054 DSC_0055 DSC_0056 DSC_0058 DSC_0060 DSC_0062 DSC_0065 DSC_0066 DSC_0068 DSC_0071 DSC_0076 DSC_0081 DSC_0082 DSC_0084 DSC_0086