Friday, September 23, 2016

Sunday Reflections - September 23, 2016

IT’S JUST TWO DAYS AWAY!

Hey Deer Flat Family,

I’ve got to tell you, I’m still celebrating the fact that we have over 2 million dollars and counting committed for our Children’s Ministry Center - Vision 20/20! God has certainly been at work helping us with such an overwhelming togetherness as we undertake this next phase in the life of DF.  Plans are being drawn and the pieces are being put in place to be able to get a “green light” from the County so we can pull permits and break some ground in early 2017.

A number of you have asked me, “Pastor Dave, how soon should we start giving towards the project with what we committed?”  Great question!  You can start giving any time.  If it helps, you can start at the beginning of the year.  Remember, our goal is to pay for the building within 36 months.  Please mark your pledge “Building Project.” You guys are amazing!

Speaking of amazing, 3 out of the last 5 weeks we have had over 900 in Sunday attendance.  Even better, we’ve got a group of people being BAPTIZED THIS SUNDAY!  Now, that’s something to celebrate!  We are going to rejoice with those who rejoice at the end of 2nd Hour.

Each of these people are taking a great step of obedience.  Once you step into the Kingdom of God, the next step is to go public with your faith – AKA Baptism.  We value this greatly at Deer Flat.  If you haven’t taken this step yet, please sign up for the next Baptism class and “jump in.”  It’s one of the greatest things you’ll ever do as a follower of Christ.

Whatever you do, don’t miss this Sunday.  In just two days we’ll be continuing working our way through THE BOOK OF JAMES.  You’re going to be amazed at what James has to say about one of the most important issues in everyone’s life.  God is up to so many great things at Deer Flat and the lives of so many who make up the church family.  This is a great time to include a friend.  I LOVE MY CHURCH!  Can’t wait to see you in just TWO DAYS!

Loving You and Loving Him,

Pastor D

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A CHANCE TO LOVE OUR CITY

In just two days, on Saturday September 10, Caldwell will be blessed with an outpouring of love for the third year in a row.  The event is called COMPASSION CALDWELL.  This is an intentional effort to serve a segment of our city who needs medical and dental assistance but typically can’t afford it.

Through the vision of some of our gifted professionals, along with a group of churches, it combines to provide many outstanding services that are very important and meaningful to many individuals and families in Caldwell who need a boost.  Services include medical screenings, dental care, immunizations, and a whole host of resources that are made available right on sight through the many vendors.

Doctors and Dentists, Physician Assistants, Hygienists, nurses and various other professionals give generously of their time and talents to touch people’s lives at no cost to the recipients.  Beyond this, there are many other volunteers who avail themselves to serve and help make a difference in people’s lives.  Over the past couple of years HUNDREDS of people have been blessed and helped.

A big SHOUT OUT to all of the Deer Flat people who give and serve with such great hearts.  If you have an interest in volunteering and would like to serve many of our friends and neighbors, check out www.compassioncaldwell.org and you’ll be amazed at the variety of teams that you can be a part of.  The combined effort of people of faith, and people of good will combine to “DO GOOD AND LOVE CALDWELL.

We are so blessed to have so many great volunteers that serve at Deer Flat church and beyond.  People who serve as volunteers at schools, the hospital, various organizations, care centers, and many other venues.  Thank you for your servant hearted life.  We are all recipients of your heart for God and your heart for people!

There is another amazing Sunday awaiting you at Deer Flat.  There’s something special for you and your whole family planned with you in mind.  I can’t wait to see you!  I LOVE MY CHURCH!


Pastor D

Thursday, September 1, 2016

What’s So Important About Labor Day Weekend?

The first Monday of September means that summer clothes are headed out, sales are in, holidays are over for a while and classes begin. It means one more chance to BBQ, a day off, a last weekend away for fun and relaxation. Americans have celebrated Labor Day weekend since 1882. From picnics and parades, to fireworks and friends, thousands of people every year take time to relax and recreate.

But what is Labor Day about anyway?  Great question.

It’s a day set aside to honor the working men, women and children who were the industrial foundation of America. Through the efforts of the Central Labor Union, and other trade unions throughout the states, the labor movement successfully established regulations that governed the working world, such as eight-hour days, two-day weekends, minimum wage and the abolishment of child labor. This movement eventually introduced an annual 'day off' for the working man, a day to pay tribute to those who contributed to the social and economic success of the nation. But the concept of an official day off of work began long before Congress voted it into existence.

For the Christian, a day of rest goes back to Creation: "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work." (Genesis 2:2, 3) This day of rest was of such importance to God, that He established it as part of His law: "Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant -- for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed." (Exodus 31:15-17)

God created the heavens and the earth, birds of the air and beasts of the field. Every living thing seen today originally was created by God. But the scriptures teach that God does not sleep nor does He need rest, yet He chose to set aside a day to rest from His work. He did so as an example for all of mankind to follow. This day of rest is meant to be a time of refreshing, of looking over the week’s accomplishments and either enjoying the results or seeking ways for improvement. But it was also time to allow God to prepare us for what is coming in the next week. God, upon His day of rest, looked over everything He created and said it was good. His work was complete. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most of us today. There will always be more work to finish. But the concept of assessment and refreshment is still valid.

So many times we tend to see work as both a curse and a blessing: The mandate to toil the earth came with our expulsion from the Garden of Eden; but it also represents a high and noble calling of stewardship over God’s good creation.

So, here’s my encouragement to you:  Relax while you can.  Sleep in a bit even this Sunday, because there is ONLY ONE FAMILY SERVICE AT 10:30 A.M.  The coffee will be waiting for you upon your arrival, and so will an unforgettable time of worship as well as a great time in the Book of James.  This is one of those great times to invite a friend.  I can’t wait to see you!  Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Loving You and Him,


Pastor D

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sunday Reflections - August 25, 2016

THE END OF THE SUMMER OPENS THE DOOR TO NEW BEGINNINGS!

This is an exciting time of year for so many people. As the summer ends and the weather turns, it's a good time to re-focus on your goals. Even if you are no longer in school, the beginning of the school year often triggers an ingrained instinct to buckle down and get to work.

For students, a new school year means a new start with new teachers, new classmates, and best of all, new school supplies. I remember the excitement of getting that fresh box of crayons (with a sharpener, if you were really lucky), a new backpack, maybe some new clothes, or a notebook in your favorite color? These are always highlights of the new school year for most kids.

This time of year is also a new season for the Church.  The Staff and I are always anxious to get the flock back again from the summer.  New plans, new classes, new people and new experiences combine to make the Fall season exciting and enjoyable.

While we are thinking about the kids, let me just maximize on the chance to tell each of you what a phenomenal thing you are doing to step out in “Daring Faith” and building a new Children’s Ministry Center.  This is an incredible investment in the lives of kids that can last for years to come.  What excitement and memorable experiences await them as they walk into a place that is specifically designed for them to sit in an environment created just for them.

It’s in this place that they will hear the stories of Jesus, discover new friends, learn about the miracles of God and encounter an invitation to know Jesus personally.

The ministries of Deer Flat are all important, but the children’s arena is especially key.  A place that will create a sense of safety and security — maybe for the first time in their young lives — but a place where we help them develop the skills and emotional resilience they’ll need to become healthy, spiritually grounded adults who are capable of choosing and sustaining great relationships.

Words can’t express how deeply I feel about the Deer Flat family.  The selfless crowd that gathers in the Beet Field is determined to make a difference in the lives of people.  I couldn’t be more proud!  Thank you for your dedicated heart and generous and sacrificial spirit!

A couple of important notes as I close…

City Pointe - On October 31st we will be closing our City Pointe location.  This was a great experiment and has allowed us to host a number of classes, events, etc.  It also confirmed that there is a desire/need to have opportunities closer to town.  At this time, we feel that it is best to focus our finances and efforts on getting the building project done.  We are working on other options for some of the groups now meeting there and will inform all concerned as we know more. Thank you to all of those who helped make City Pointe possible!

Newcomers Lunch Sunday!  If you’re new in the past few months, stay and give us a chance to get acquainted with you!

Loving You and Him,


Pastor D

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sunday Reflections - August 11, 2016

RUNNING WITH ENDURANCE

Been watching the Olympics?  Have you noticed the cheering crowds?  The role of the crowd plays a huge part in the life of the athlete.  The shouts of the crowds in Rio can be heard throughout the wide spectrum of events, from table tennis and fencing to swimming and beach volleyball events.

While every sport has its own custom for when it is appropriate to cheer and when quiet is expected, none of that seems to apply there. The Rio Games have only just begun, but already the exuberance of local fans has intersected with athletes and officials have had to make pleas for silence.

As you watch and listen, you hear shouts and read signs:
 “Well done!”
“Keep it up!”
“Great running!”  And…
 “Keep your cadence quick! Use your arms to pump you up the hill!”
Or practical, geographical guidance: “Keep going, only one more hill to go, then you’re on the home straight!”

As I watched some of the events, I was reminded of the verse out of Hebrew 12:1   “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
A crowd can make all the difference in the world!

In the famous movie, “Chariots of Fire”, one of the film’s most iconic scenes involved runner Eric Liddell. One of the reasons Liddell himself is so famous is when he refused to compete in the Olympics 100-meter heat because it took place on a Sunday. As a devout Christian, Liddell steadfastly refused to run any race taking place on the Sabbath. In the film, this decision is made on Liddell’s journey to Paris from Britain. However, in real life Liddell was well aware of when the race took place several months in advance and planned appropriately, mainly training instead for the 400-meter race.

Liddell was harassed for months about his decision and was even reportedly “grilled” by the British Olympic Committee, particularly because the 100 meter was his best event and his best time in the 400 meter (49.6 seconds) had little chance of winning anything in the Olympics. Despite this, he didn’t back down on the issue.

Long story short, when the 400-meter final rolled around, Liddell defied the odds and won the event with a world record performance (47.6 seconds). A performance usually attributed to the fact that Liddell treated the race as a dead sprint, running all 400 meters as fast as he possibly could. To quote the man himself when asked about his plan for victory: “I run the first 200m as hard as I can. Then, for the second 200m, with God’s help, I run harder.”

There is a role the crowd plays, for sure!  We’ve been considering the words of James, “Consider it joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of various kinds…” James 1:2   If you find yourself in a trial, you sound normal.  It’s a standard part of living in our world.  Listen to some encouraging words of the former Olympian, who went on to become a missionary in China:

“In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.” - Eric Liddell

“God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure. ” - Eric Liddell

Listen to another runner, who ran an amazing race and finished well, but not without times of intense testing.  “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

Run well!  The crowd of heaven is watching and cheering for you! I can’t wait to see you this Sunday as we continue to look at the words of James.

Loving You and Him,

Pastor D

Friday, August 5, 2016

Sunday Reflections - August 5, 2016

HOW IN THE WORLD CAN WE EXPERIENCE JOY IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS?

That is such a great question. And it’s one that is asked so many times on any given day. “Why me?  Why now? Why this?” Questioning is one of the major ingredients that comes with troubles. Part of the reason that the Bible is as thick as it is, is because it includes many verses of scripture that speak specifically about trials, troubles, temptations and life’s unfairness.

I was reading some interesting remarks regarding trials and found them thought provoking and fascinating. Here’s just a few:
            The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. – Theadore Rubin

            If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire – then you got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. Learn to separate the inconveniences from the real problems. You will live longer – Sigmund Wollman

            Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional – M. Kathleen Casey
           
            A bend in the road is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the turn.

James says that, “we should consider it pure joy, my friends, when you face trials of many kinds…”  James 1:3   Where did James learn this? How does he know this? Here’s how, and he speaks with authority, JESUS WAS HIS OLDER BROTHER. James had such an encounter with Jesus as his Messiah that he knew in his knower that he knew Jesus would provide the joy in the midst of the journey.

You might not know it, the way we Christians talk. But Jesus Christ says, in essence: “Even in volatile seasons, smile at the future. Laugh at the days to come.”  In John 16:33, he said it this way: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  Only when we see his words in context do we begin to grasp their force. Jesus wasn’t dismissing or minimizing the hard stuff. He was facing the worst head-on, and announcing beforehand, “I have conquered it”.

Here, then, is the context:
The night before his crucifixion, Christ ate with his 12 apostles in an upper room. Then, as Judas exited to betray him, Jesus walked with the 11 to the Garden of Gethsemane. Along the way, he talked. Every word he spoke prepared his followers for the new, volatile season already careening in.

Before entering the garden where he would be betrayed and arrested, Jesus stopped teaching and started praying. He prayed for all his followers of all time (John 17). The last thing he uttered before he prayed – the capstone of his teachings – was this:
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” John 16:33.

Jesus knew what his followers would see as the next three days unfolded. He deeply desired that they also see the greater reality:
    Because of that pivotal moment in history, God’s kingdom will come. It will arrive in its glorious fullness the day the Lord Jesus returns in glory.
    Because of that pivotal moment in history, God’s kingdom has come. It’s already here.

With Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, the unseen world invaded what is seen. Because he died and rose again, ascended to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, all who confess, “Jesus is Lord,” can also live in two worlds at the same time – the natural world we can see with our eyes, and the supernatural one we can see only by the Spirit.

I can’t wait to tell you more about this on Sunday as we dig deeper into James.

Loving You and Him!

Pastor D


PS:  YOU GUYS DID IT!  YOU ALL STEPPED UP AND HELPED US CLOSE OUT JULY MEETING AND EXCEEDING OUR BUDGET…SO THAT IT MADE UP FOR ALMOST ALL OF THE SHORTFALL OF JUNE!  YEA GOD!  YEA PEOPLE OF DEER FLAT!  I’m spoiled to be able to be the pastor at Deer Flat Church!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sunday Reflections - July 26, 2016

HEY, HAVE YOU READ A GOOD BOOK LATELY?

Sometimes Summer provides a chance to slow down a bit and catch your breath.  It might even provide you with a chance to pick up a good book. Have you ever spent any time getting acquainted with Jesus’ family?  According to the Gospels, He had some brothers and sisters. We don’t really hear much about them. But, there is actually one of his brothers who penned one of the 66 books in the Bible. His name? James.
James grew up as Jesus' kid brother and went from incredulous skeptic to die-hard believer. He became one of the most influential pastors in the history of the world, proclaiming that his big brother was our sinless Savior right up to the day they killed him - it was the only way to silence him.
The Book of James is one of the most exciting parts of the New Testament. It has a hard-hitting punch and is a handbook for daily living. This sometimes catches readers off guard and at the same time gives them many practical insights for life.
We’re getting ready to begin our next series walking through the chapters of James.  I can’t wait to experience this in-depth look with you.  It starts this Sunday.  By the way, this is one of those perfect times to invite a friend or neighbor to a Bible study that will be both encouraging and adventuresome. We begin this week learning about James – quite an amazing fellow.  He’s written a letter that had you in mind – a follower of the Messiah. 
WARNING: James gets quite personal.  Better wear your steel toed shoes!
Let me wrap up here quickly with 2 things:

#1. An outstanding day at Deer Flat was had on Sunday!  All of us who were able to be at church were deeply touched by the way God used our special guest, Philip Zimmermann.  His challenge for us was to join God where He is at work in the dark valleys of our world.  It was a great chance to renew our zeal to partner with the Master in His work during these challenging days of living in a changing world.  Thank you for being the kind of Christ followers that thrive on making a difference!!

#2. We’re running a bit behind in our finances.  We fell just short of our budget in June and a bit shorter this month.  You guys ALWAYS do a great job when it comes to giving and generosity.  Let’s see if we can close the gap and end the month right on track. 

Have a great week!


Pastor D