When Nehemiah was given the task of rebuilding the broken down wall of Jerusalem there were several factors that had to be dealt with. In reading this Old Testament account you easily see that the job required evaluating, planning, securing supplies, preparing, executing, and team-work. In the process they also had to deal with internal and external struggles. All of these factors are evident.
One less evident factor was that which required them to quit looking backwards and begin to look forwards. Someone once said that it is okay to glance in your rear-view mirror while going down the road, but fixating on what is behind you will keep you from seeing what is ahead of you!
As we work together to rebuild discipleship and a kingdom mindset at Scotsdale, we must look back only long enough to learn from our past; but we must also keep looking forward to how God wants to use us for His kingdom agenda.
Christian leaders love –at least that is how it is supposed to be! How do we know this? The Bible tells us so. John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” In John 13:15 Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This is exactly what Jesus did—He laid down His life for us. Paul wrote that Jesus’ sacrificial death was the demonstration of God’s love for us. The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God…”
In February the country celebrates Valentine’s Day, referring to more of an erotic kind of love. God’s love for us is so much more complete than that! His is a selfless, sacrificial love. He commands us to love each other in the same way. During this year as we focus on “REBUILDING” God’s kingdom, let’s remember that the greatest commandment God gave to us is to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and to love others as we love ourselves.
Here is a quote from our Southern Baptist Convention president, J.D. Greear – “Intentional evangelism has always been a defining characteristic of Southern Baptist missions. On any given weekend five million Southern Baptists gather to worship around the country. Can you imagine the impact if every one of them asked God each day to let him or her lead one person to Christ next year? Who’s your one?”
Imagine what it would be like for you to see someone being baptized as a new follower of Jesus, and to be able to say, “That was my one!” Imagine what it would be like to see one or more persons being baptized nearly every week because we were intentional about sharing God’s good news story with others!
Dear church family, WE MUST REBUILD! That will not happen by just wanting it to happen. It will happen when want meets action. Let’s do this for God’s glory.
Hebrews 1:2 says, “In these last days God has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the whole world.” GOD HAS SPOKEN! Wow, what a wonderful reality! Not only has God spoken in the past, but He continues to speak to us through Jesus.
During this Christmas Season I am going to bring a series of messages to show you, using the account of Christ’s advent, how God continues to speak to His children today. Our God is an AWESOME God who has an AWESOME love for us, and that was demonstrated through His Son Jesus Christ! I pray that this series and this Christmas Season will draw us all closer to our loving Heavenly Father.
[Editor’s Note: sermons are available on our Facebook page under the Videos tab.]
Israel, the Promised Land, the Holy Land! On October 13, 2018, some of our church members will fly away from El Paso for a ten-day tour of Israel. If you are interested in making this trip brochures are available in the Visitor’s Center. Please read ALL contents of the brochure carefully. Here is a brief run-down on dates and payment (per person) schedule:
• August 13, 2017 – Registration Form and $350 deposit due (make checks payable to Calvary Chapel New Orleans, 2315 No. Woodlawn Ave., Suite 200, Metarie, LA. 70001).
• February 13, 2018 – 2nd payment of $1,000
• June 13, 2018 – – 3rd payment of $1000
• August 13, 2018 – Final payment of balance due
IT’S JUNE! Half of 2017 is behind us. Can you believe it? During this month the school year will officially end, children will go to camp, our youth will attend their camp, families will be traveling for vacation, and others be hosting or attending family reunions. Life does not stand still! God, however, commands us to STOP! On the seventh day God Himself rested from all that He had created. God gave us ten commandments, one of which tells us to set aside a day to rest and worship Him. The psalmist said in Psalm 46:10, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” In all of our summer activities it is important for Christians to do two things—1) Take time to rest; and 2) Remain faithful in tithing to the Lord through the ministry of the church. Take/Make the time to stop long enough to take in the majesty of God’s creation. Demonstrate your thankfulness to God, in part, by investing in the ongoing ministry of His church.
Throughout the four books in the Bible focusing on the life of Jesus, people were noted as saying that they were amazed by His teaching and His authority. How long has it been since you have been amazed by Jesus. Two songs come to my mind as I am writing this—one is an old hymn, and the other is a contemporary song. The hymn’s title is “I Stand Amazed in the Presence” (…of Jesus the Nazarene). The contemporary song simply says, “Lord I’m Amazed By You” (…how You love me).
We have carved out the dates of April 22-25th for a series of meetings called “Encounter Christ Revival.” It is my sincere hope that God will use this series to help us to have a special encounter with our Lord Jesus.
In preparation for this series I have invited a team of ministers to come and help us. The preacher for this event is Jonathan Hewett. Jonathan is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Carrizo Springs, TX. God has used him to help others encounter Christ in many other countries as well as throughout the U.S. The singers for our event are Sherman and Tammy Aten. They have been with us on several occasions as they travel extensively with their message of Christ through music.
As this team comes to join us for this series there is something we can do to help them to be refreshed and energized. I would like for us to begin praying RIGHT NOW for them and for this event. As we are praying, I know they would be so blessed to hear from us that we are praying for them. So—I want to challenge you to go to their respective websites and reach out to them. Their sites have been given below, and each site has a menu bar with an option to connect with them. Please send them a message to let them know that you are praying for them and for Scotsdale. As we prepare for this event, please pray that God would have His way with us! Here is how you can find out more about this team, their ministries, and how to connect with them:
- Jonathan Hewett at www.makeitplain.org
- Sherman and Tammy Aten at www.a10s.org
God bless you for your prayers and participation. I can hardly wait to see what God is going to do if we will let Him!
Thankful to serve as your pastor,
P.S. Right now Sherman Aten and a team of men are scheduled to go on a mission trip to a place that is potentially volatile. God knows where they will be, but let’s pray for their safety and that God would use them to bear much fruit for His kingdom.
Ask almost anyone what February 14th is and they will tell you that it is Valentine’s Day. Commercials share no shortage of ideas for you to commemorate your love for others. Valentine’s Day is seen as a way to tangibly demonstrate your love for special people in your life. My guess is that this is only one of many days that you express your love for the dearest people in your life in such a demonstrative way. If not, then you and I need to have a serious talk!
I am blessed by the number of ways that I see Scotsdale members demonstrating their love for our Lord and for others! Recently I have seen church members helping other church members through struggles of various kinds. At the beginning of this month I witnessed a large group leave the parking lot of the church to serve a meal and some groceries to low-income residents in the Sparks Community. What was so beautiful about what I witnessed that evening was the various ages represented. Parents brought their children. Some of our members brought friends. Some of our members were brand new while others have been members here for a number of years.
When we got out to the church where the meal and food distribution takes place I saw my brothers and sisters quickly jump into action unloading, setting up, serving, and cleaning. When it came to the distribution of groceries we formed an assembly line. Next to me were two children who said, “We want to help.” They could have remained outside to play, but they wanted in on the action of serving—so they did! So on one side I had a collegiate student, and on my other side I had these two grade school aged kids. Down the line were others who were teenagers, retired, working, young, middle-aged, and elderly all working together for a common cause.
On that night I heard the testimony of one of our recently returned soldiers. After that Pastor Luis very clearly shared God’s message of love and salvation. After that I saw a couple of our ladies praying for someone who had requested prayer. What I saw that night was not only a picture of teamwork, it was also a picture of love in action. It was a picture of love through service.
Jesus said, “When you serve the down-and-out, you are serving Me!” Beloved this is true whether you are serving in a large group like we had at Sparks, or within a small group of friends, or all by yourself. When we serve others, or one another, we are serving our Lord. Jesus also said that He Himself did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His own life as a ransom for many.
Thank you church members for allowing me to serve our Lord with you. It is so cool to see your love in action!