Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sunday Reflections - December 8, 2016

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT A “SELFLESS” CHRISTMAS?

Hello Deer Flat Family,

We’re eight days into the month, and maybe you’re not totally done shopping.  I’d like to take a moment to provoke your thoughts.  It’s been on my heart over the past couple of months to target a “selfless” Christmas.  What does that mean and what does that look like?

It’s so easy for us to be consumed with ourselves.  We live in a world that is over the top with self-centeredness.  When you step back from the commercialism of Christmas, you realize that the thrust is about considering “others.”  This was and still is the heart of the very Savior that left Heaven and all the joys of it, and took on flesh and blood, determined that he would serve and give His life as a ransom for many. 

You don’t have to look very hard or very far to see the overwhelming needs that surround us in the lives of others.  I’m wondering how different it would be if you (and if you have a family) thought about being intentional about make this a selfless Christmas.

Donating is easy to do and it makes a big difference. You can donate time, talents or money.  Donate to a charity, donate clothes to a homeless shelter or donate food or toys to needy families this holiday season.  Volunteering is one of the single greatest thing you can do during this season.  Perhaps adopting a family for the holidays. Fixing a meal, scratching out some notes of encouragement, or stopping by to visit the forgotten person who is at the care center.  This and so much more awaits anyone who wants to get out of themselves and become a “go giver.”

Whatever you do, don’t miss this Sunday!  I’ll give you two great reasons…

First hour – 3 special guests – YOU CAN’T MISS THIS.  You’re going to be given one of the greatest opportunities to make a tangible difference in someone’s life, perhaps like never before. I’ll be sharing this amazing invitation through these special guests whom you’re going to love.  It’s a great morning to include someone!  Amazing music and amazing guests await you.

Second hour – The Children’s Christmas Program.  This is ALWAYS a huge part of December at Deer Flat.  Julie and her team have been preparing for weeks and now the big day arrives.  Bring your family, your camera and your friends.  It’s going to be full of life and GREAT NEWS!

I can’t wait to see you this Sunday!  Come expecting a tremendous morning.  Let’s capitalize on these Sundays of December together!  I LOVE MY CHURCH!


Pastor D

Friday, November 18, 2016

Sunday Reflections - November 18, 2016

HEY EVERYONE, IT’S ALMOST THANKSGIVING!

Hello Deer Flat Family,

Maybe, like me, you’ve heard this saying before: “When you see the lights going up and the Christmas music playing in the stores, you know that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.”  It’s coming at us fast.  So, I’m thinking about it and here’s a few of my thoughts…

* Where has the time gone?

* I love Thanksgiving – friends, family, food, fun, football, Christmas lights, and the beginning of Advent.

* There’s nothing like a great turkey sandwich made from the leftovers on the softest bread in the world, followed by a small piece of pumpkin pie with just a hint of whipped cream.

* I hope these people help us with the dishes before they walk out the door.

* How thankful have I been throughout this year? I found myself answering, “I’m really thankful the election season is over! REALLY THANKFUL!”

* I can get my green bean casserole fix and move on.

Okay, enough of my thoughts. What about yours? Have you been living with gratitude this year? Let’s talk about that for a minute. A grateful heart is a true blessing. It’s the ability to give God praise in the good times and the not so good times. The Psalmist declared, "I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart." Ps. 30:12

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.

Gratitude is a powerful thing. In fact, if you’re not careful with it, it will change your life. I’ll be talking to you more about it this Sunday as we look at one of the most poignant stories in the Gospel. The power of gratitude is amazing. That kind of an attitude gets God’s attention. I can’t wait to share it with you this Sunday.

Speaking of grateful – we would be so thankful if we had some capable VOLUNTEERS to help us in the Children’s area. We are in need of a couple of teachers for elementary level boys. If you have an interest, please don’t hesitate to see our Children’s Ministry Director, Julie Walker, or her assistant Larissa Esparza. They would be so encouraged and you would be so blessed.

We are headed into one of the greatest seasons of the year – Thanksgiving and Advent. We have an outstanding Musical Program being presented on December 4 and then a double good Children’s Program being presented December 11, during Second Hour.

I hope you’ll join me in reaching out and inviting friends, neighbors & family to an unforgettable Sunday at Deer Flat!

Loving You and Loving Him,

Pastor D

PS - Deer Flat Youth will be going to Cuba in June of 2017.  Are you called to go? Is your youth interested?  Please come to an informational meeting November 20th in the downstairs Youth Room at the conclusion of the 2nd service. For more information, call Heather Webster at 208-899-0586.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Sunday Reflections - November 11, 2016

DAVID DOLAN AND DAD

Hello Deer Flat Family,

There’s a verse in the Bible that I’ve been drawn to over the past week. "Weeping may last for the night but joy comes with the morning." It’s a reminder that the season, the situation or the hardship we’re in will not last forever. The “night” represents the harder times in life; the trials, meaning only a season of our life--while “morning” represents the time when that difficult time has passed.

Life certainly does include times of weeping - even in the lives of the most faithful. Sometimes it happens because our misdeeds have incurred God's anger, and sometimes just because of suffering that comes from living in a fallen world, it comes to an end. Morning stands for the time when God gives relief; it might not arrive until the last day, but it will surely come. "Morning” comes after the night, therefore joy comes after weeping--and as a believer there is True, Pure Joy because of our hope in God; that Joy comes from His Sovereignty, His Power, and His Faithfulness. He has promised He will see us through the hard times.

Do you remember the song, "Trading My Sorrows:"

I'm trading my sorrows
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying them down
For the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying them down
For the joy of the Lord

Yes Lord yes Lord
Yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord
Yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord
Yes yes Lord Amen

I am pressed but not crushed
Persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse
For His promise will endure
That His joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

It's about laying whatever we are going through in life down before the Lord, trading your sickness, your pain, your sorrow, laying them down for the Joy of the Lord--God is Faithful! no matter what you are going through. He is Faithful to heal, to provide. I’ve been finding this to be so true with the departure of Dad. What joy comes in the midst of sorrow.  God is so good! May you just put your God-given faith in Him and experience pure Joy in your day, in your season, in your life.

This Sunday – Special Guest David Dolan.  Do me a favor and think of who you need to invite to an unforgettable morning at Deer Flat. 

I can’t wait to see you.  And, thank you again for all of you who have loved us and prayed for us during this time of loss.  Don’t know what we’d do without you!

Loving You and Loving Him,
Pastor D

One more thing:

OPERATION GUARDian Angel
We would like to honor and serve those who GUARD our freedoms this Christmas by celebrating the families in the 124th Fighter Wing at Gowen in Boise.  As you heard last Sunday, there are so many different dynamics when a loved one is deployed. We will still have over 100 airmen & women from Gowen deployed this Christmas.  If you would like to help honor them, please stop by the tree in the lobby and pick up a tag to purchase a gift for a child.  If you would like to make a donation, please mark it “Operation GUARDian Angel”.


For more information, please contact Jessi at jessisams@deerflat.org or 880-2897.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sunday Reflection - November 3, 2016

SOME GREAT THINGS HAPPENING AT DEER FLAT
THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS!

I’ll get right to it…

#1. THIS SUNDAY – We’re going to take some time to honor those who have served our Nation and who provided us the freedoms that we enjoy, including the ability to gather and worship without worry. Veterans are everywhere; we stand behind them in the grocery store line, sit next to them in the waiting room and worship beside them in church every week. Their fraternity is made up of courage, tenacity, and strength. Across the years of being involved in war, they have reflected heights of human charity; standing in the line of fire for one another, risking their lives for civilians and comrades alike.

There is a very serious crisis happening among our Veterans. 22 Veterans a day are taking their lives. That’s 1 every 65 minutes, a rate higher than any other recorded in our nation's history. Suicide is currently the leading cause of death among our troops, those men and women we ask God to bless. We get a chance to hear some sharing from the heart from several of our Deer Flat Vets. This will be a God honoring morning and one that you’ll feel so good about inviting a friend, especially if they have served our country.

#2. NEXT SUNDAY: NOVEMBER 13 – Special Guest David Dolan will be speaking both hours. You’re going to love his heart for God and his insights regarding the future. David is an accomplished journalist who served as the CBS News correspondent in Jerusalem, reported for Moody Broadcasting, was a regular with Zola Levitt and has authored several books. Two things: 1) Don’t Miss This!  2) Bring a Friend!

#3. AN HOUR OF PRAYER FOR OUR NATION – I’m asking you to join me at 5 pm this Sunday for an hour of intercession on behalf of our upcoming election and this really important decision. This hour will go by fast. No boredom. Your investment in seeking God’s Will for our Nation will make a difference. I hope you’ll carve out the time for this time of prayer. I know that God will hear us!

#4. SLEEP A LITTLE LONGER – Yep, it’s Time Change Sunday. Turn that clock back an hour and enjoy that extended sleep. Here’s what will happen – 1) You’ll be in a better mood and 2) You’ll stay awake for the whole service!
I can’t wait to see you this Lord’s Day. Come expecting a fresh encounter with the Living God! I’m thanking God for you today. I LOVE MY CHURCH!

Loving You and Loving Him,

Pastor D



Holiday Schedule

Thanksgiving - Thursday, November 24th - Office Closed

Christmas Musical - Sunday, December 4th at 9 am and 11 am
     No adult Sunday classes either hour
     KidZone - Regular classes first hour
     No KidzChurch second service - join your families in the Worship Center
     No God, Life & Other Stuff for Middle School Students

Children's Christmas Program - Sunday, December 11th at 11 am

Christmas Eve - No Service

Christmas Day - Sunday, December 25th at 10:30 am (One Service)

New Year's Day - Sunday, January 1st at 10:30 am (One Service)

The Office will be closed on Monday, December 26th and Monday, January 2nd

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sunday Reflections - October 26, 2016

THERE IS A TIME FOR EVERYTHING

Wise old King Solomon teaches us much about living in our world.  For instance, take a look at his words from Ecclesiastes:

    There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens: 
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build, 
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away, 
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak, 
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
    a time for work and a time to retire (words added by Pastor D)
    He has made everything beautiful in its time. 
                                                                         Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11

Contrary to popular opinion, retirement is not the time in which your satisfaction with life declines and your health deteriorates. Instead, it’s the exact opposite: Retirement is likely to improve your overall happiness and health, at least it is according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In light of that, we have an event happening within our Pastoral Team at Deer Flat.  I’ll let you read this gracious letter for yourself.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
            I write this letter with mixed emotions, joy and sadness, as my wife and I have had an awesome ten plus years serving as your Associate Pastor to the Latino community at large.  How the years have blown by. We have shared many special moments, babies, weddings, picnics, and many other fun activities.  There have also been those times of sharing in sorrow, with hospital visit, nursing home visits and funerals of loved ones.
            My wife and I have decided to start a new chapter in our lives. We will be retiring by the end of this 2016 year. It has been an honor and privilege to have been a part of the Deer Flat staff. My thoughts and prayers will be with them as they continue to lead the people of Deer Flat to bigger and better adventures.  I want to thank you all at Deer Flat for your friendship, help and support. You are an amazing and generous people, not just to my wife and I, but to the widows, orphans, the poor and the disenfranchised. May God continue to Bless you all and fill you all with His Love and Grace. I am taking away many great and wonderful memories of what God has done because of your faithfulness to Him.
            Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Sincerely,
Jose and Jan Quezada,

So, Pastor Jose is retiring - not dying. One wife commented about retirement, saying "Twice as much husband for half the income."  So, you can see both Pastor Jose and Jan need our prayers.

We rejoice with them on this decision and we will be planning a time of celebration - to be announced - as their retirement date gets closer. They have given a significant number of years serving the people of Canyon County and the Deer Flat Family. No one will ever know the amount of miles they have driven, gallons of fuel used, vehicle
tune-ups done, hospital, home and care center visits, phone calls made, prayers prayed, funerals conducted, counseling sessions refereed, weddings performed, lunches bought and calls in the night taken, except the Lord alone. Time doesn’t permit me to tell you of the amount of furniture and appliances they have secured for people, furniture they have delivered, or assisted people who needed help moving. All of this done by Pastor Jose and Jan.

Did I mention the classes taught, sermons preached, clothing distributed, food delivered and meetings attended? We as a church are much indebted when it comes to these dear servants. That is what Pastor Jose and Jan are – servants. They will continue to be servants as they move into retirement, because that’s who they are.

May God bless them as they close this chapter of their lives! We are glad they will remain with us in Caldwell.

Loving You, Loving Him, and Loving the Quezadas

Pastor D      


PS – That’s the title of the message this Sunday – PS.  We’ll look at the final two verses of the Book of James. You’re going to love what happens at Deer Flat this Sunday! I can’t wait to see you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sunday Reflections - October 19, 2016

LIVING EFFECTIVELY IN A MESSED UP WORLD

Hello Deer Flat,

I was perusing the headlines this morning and reminded again of how the world we live in is filled with turmoil.  Here’s a sample from today:
Retaking Mosul – Kurdish, Iraqi and American forces vs. ISIS
The Quagmire of Aleppo
UN Sanctions Against Israel
Iranian Missiles targeting US Navy Destroyer in Red Sea
Disaster Clean Up in Haiti
Finger Pointing Between FBI and Department of Justice

The fierce conflicts we are witnessing in the two presidential camps are not just an American phenomenon, indeed it’s hard to find a country that isn’t fighting internally as we are. Most of the world is intensely divided, and our own domestic debates are part of a global disruption.

I saw a note written to a Christian Ministry that I thought captured the feelings of many people.

“I’m a Christian and I’m scared. It seems like the globalization of our world teeters on the brink of collapse. I worry about recessions. I worry about our retirement funds. I worry about the future of our children. I can’t believe it, but I’m scared to go to the mall. Is it safe?
Stock market dives, natural disasters, violence, and political unrest terrify me! How do I find peace?”

The ability to live sanely these days is a “God thing.” Here’s the key:
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

There is no doubt that the events happening in the world today are scary, and can bring much anxiety. But we who belong to the Lord must come to Him with our fears, anxious thoughts and troubles. He says “Fear Not” throughout His Word.

As Christians, it is imperative that we look to His Word to help us during these times. This also presents us with opportunities to share the Gospel with the lost. They are afraid too, and we have the BEST news in the whole word to tell them! It is during times when people feel so vulnerable, that they just might be more open to the message of Salvation.

Isaiah writes, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)

Trusting in Christ is what transforms us, and keeping our mind stayed on Him is what sustains us. However, while we have the responsibility of actively keeping our minds fixed on his truth, Christ is ultimately the one who pursues us, opens our eyes, redeems us, and sustains us. If our Savior has done all of this for us, what more shall we fear? What are you allowing to steal the peace which he has purchased for you?

One of the greatest culprits that robs us of peace is our own lack of knowing the truth and believing it. Jesus tells us clearly that he will keep him in perfect peace the one whose mind is stayed on him. Why? Because when our minds are stayed on him, we come to know more of the incomparable holiness, power, love, sovereignty, and grace of the God we serve, which creates in us a greater humility, dependence, and trust in him alone. That knowing removes the fear.

When his Word permeates our hearts, it changes our thoughts, actions, and entire being. The things we once held so tightly to – our hopes and dreams, external comforts, health and financial security, and any other things which often rob our peace for fear of losing them – begin to lose their power over us as we learn to trust more fully in the love and sovereignty of Christ.

For the peace of Christ is not found in lack of turmoil, but in Christ’s presence within it.

Let me close with an important word. For a number of years, Deer Flat Church has made significant investments in Haiti. As you know, this small country has suffered much over the years due to poverty, earthquakes, disease, and most recently, Hurricane Matthew, resulting in a big increase in cholera, poor drinking water and little food. Deer Flat continues to make investments in Haiti, for which we are thankful. Your generosity still helps us make a difference there. 

A great couple in the Deer Flat Family are Vahan and Zoe Sipantzi. They too, have also invested much in Haiti. Their generosity has touched many of us as well, because throughout the summer (Sunday after Sunday) they are always loading up our fruit and vegetable wagon with great produce.  The various outlets where they sell their vegetables and produce have now closed for the season, but they still have a wonderful crop of apples and some fall vegetables. 100% OF THE MONEY GENERATED FROM SELLING THEIR HARVEST GOES TO SUPPORT AN ORPHANAGE IN HAITI, OPERATED BY MARANATHA MINISTRIES. Now, here’s the deal: You can bless them and the orphanage by stopping by their home and buying some of their goods. Their address: 26972 Lower Pleasant Ridge Road, Wilder. Just 2 blocks west of Hwy 95.

We’ve got an amazing Lord’s Day awaiting us this Sunday. Do you know someone who needs prayer for healing, some encouragement, some strength to endure? Why not invite them to join us, as we will be praying over all who would like prayer for healing. “Are any sick among you? Call for the Elders of the church. They will anoint you and pray over you, and the prayer of faith will make them well.”  James 5

Can’t wait to see you! Come expecting great things. Bring some faith and some friends!

Loving You and Him,

Pastor D 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sunday Reflections - October 11, 2016

THE MOST AMAZING DAY IN HISTORY

This evening begins the Holiest day on the Jewish calendar and in the life of the Jewish people. However, this important day isn’t just for the Jews. Once the sun goes down this evening, for the twenty-five hours, Yom Kippur will be observed and remembered. God mapped this whole thing out for His people back in Leviticus.

Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land.
(Lev. 25:9)

Let me give you some background. The people will refrain from work, fast, and attend synagogue services tonight and tomorrow. “Yom Kippur” means “Day of Atonement,” and it is a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year.

Many religious Jews believe that in Heaven the books recording all the deeds of mankind are opened on Rosh Hashanah beginning an annual review of man’s behavior.

Those whose behavior has been exemplary in every respect are given another year of life, those who have demonstrated no redeeming qualities are scheduled for death, and those who fit neither category are given 10 days until Yom Kippur to right all the wrongs committed during the year just past.

These 10 days are called the Days of Awe because each man’s destiny hangs in the balance as he goes about asking forgiveness for sins committed against Him (violations of His Law) and from friends and neighbors for wrongs done to them. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed and the books are closed for another year. So this day is, essentially, their last appeal, their last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate their repentance and make amends.

Yom Kippur is a Holy Sabbath; no work can be performed. Jews refrain from eating and drinking even water. It is a complete, 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on this evening and ending after nightfall tomorrow.

In bible times through the life and times of Jesus, until the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, Yom Kippur was the only day of the year when it was permissible to speak the unspoken, sacred Name of God. During a great and solemn ceremony at the Temple two goats were brought before the High Priest. One was a goat “for the Lord” to be presented as a sin offering as commanded in Lev. 16:7-10. The other was called “the scapegoat” because all the sins of the nation were symbolically placed upon its head, and it was led outside the city. The goat for the sin offering had done nothing to deserve this, but was killed to remind the people that only the shedding of innocent blood could atone for their sins. The death of the two goats symbolically set aside the sins of the nation, made their offering acceptable and gave them another year of peace with their Creator.

A bull was selected and slaughtered, its blood captured in a temple vessel and the High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat. This would atone for those priests who served throughout the year who were not pure.

Following that process, two goats were brought before the High Priest, their respective roles in the ceremony were determined by lot. Two golden lots were placed in a golden bowl and as he placed his hand upon the head of each goat, the High Priest reached into the bowl and pulled out one of the lots. One of the goats would be the scape goat, and the other would be the sacrificial goat. Before the cross the goat that was to be presented to the Lord as a sin offering was always on the right hand of the High Priest. Tradition says that after the cross it never was.

While the High Priest was confessing every conceivable sin to God, and everyone in ear shot was offended by the confession, a scarlet ribbon was tied to the scape goat. According to tradition, a priest would walk that goat out into the wilderness.  While this is taking place, the sacrificial goat would be slaughtered, its blood caught and then the High Priest would take that blood, once again into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat.  As the sin offering was made, and the blood applied, a miracle would take place out in the wilderness. The moment when God accepted the sin offering and confession of the people, the ribbon on the scape goat would turn from crimson to white, fulfilling the passage from Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” After the cross this never happened again.

The Feasts and Festivals of Leviticus are Only A Shadow ... A Picture of Yeshua
It’s easy to see the Lord in the role of our sin offering, whose shed blood purchased our pardon forever (Hebrews 10:1-4). And at His trial before Pontius Pilate, wasn’t He chosen to bear our sins while Bar Abbas was released? But He was also our peace offering. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross (Colossians 1:19-20). He is our peace, who has broken down every wall (Ephesians 2:14).

So why was the goat chosen for the Lord never on the right hand again? And why did the ribbon no longer turn white at the death of the scapegoat? The One Who had fulfilled the role that the two goats only symbolized had come. It is He Who sits at the right hand of the Father and it is He Who has forever taken away the sins of all who would accept Him. Where the reality has come the shadow is no longer effective.

The prophetic fulfillment of Yom Kippur will come at the end of the Millennium at the Great White Throne judgment, when all the unsaved dead are brought back to life to be judged according to their works. (Revelation 20:11-15). The books will be opened for the last time and those from all ages who have refused the pardon purchased for them at the cross will bear the full responsibility for their sins against God and man, destined to spend eternity in shame and torment. But those who have accepted the Lord’s pardon are at peace with God, and will spend eternity with Him and shine like the brightness of the Sun. Do we not serve the most amazing God?  To have given His Son for our sin, what a God, what a Jesus, what a miracle.

I am wishing each of you a blessed and meaningful Yom Kippur.  Why not take some time during the next 25 hours and consider carefully what the Savior has done for you?  Perhaps there’s a person that you need to forgive, or maybe even someone you need to seek forgiveness from.

I can’t wait to see you this Sunday for another outstanding Lord’s Day at Deer Flat!

Loving You and Him,

Pastor D                   

BTW – Jer would love to have any of you ladies who can to join her this Saturday morning in the lobby of the church for some coffee and a chat!