Friday, January 20, 2017

Sunday Reflections - January 20, 2017

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY’S INAUGURATION

I awoke early this morning with the National events of the day on my mind.  I took the time to pray for both the outgoing President and the incoming President.  I began to catch the coverage at 4:30 am. I had a thousand thoughts go through my mind as I watched the day unfold, listened to the coverage, tolerated the commentary, and made a variety of requests to my Lord. Here’s a few of my thoughts as I consider this day:

The world needs hope like never before. Our hope is not in the government, and it will never come through a politician. Our Nation needs hope as well. As a society, we’ve done an extremely good job at pushing God out of the National conversation, banning Him from schools by banning the Bible and prayer and seeking to do so in every other possible area. When a Nation distances itself from God, it also pushes away hope. We see this clearly illustrated in the history of Israel.

Israel’s first king was Saul, who turned out to be a disaster. God rejected Saul and chose a new king, “a man after his own heart” (I Sam. 13:14). David was God’s choice. He was the greatest king Israel ever had and set the standard for all future kings. Next came Solomon who led Israel to her greatest splendor. But he also modeled a divided heart.

Solomon’s divided heart made possible a divided kingdom. Israel in the north (10 tribes) lasted about 200 years and had 19 kings from many dynasties. All of these kings “did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.” Judah in the south (2 tribes) lasted about 350 years and had 20 kings, all descendants of David. Eight of these kings “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”

Important Lessons Worth Learning -

Over a period of about 350 years the Southern Kingdom of Judah had 20 different kings, all descendants of David. Only eight of these kings were responsive to God. The rest were evil. The stories of these kings introduces us to the historical reality that God’s people have always been led by leaders who are a strange mixture of good and evil.
1.   The summation of a person’s life in the Scriptures is based not upon professional success, wealth, or power but rather upon moral character.
2.   Though all of these kings were a composite of good and evil, Scripture dares to give a summary statement of their life. Ultimately a person’s life will be deemed either “good” or “evil.” The Bible speaks in terms of either/or .... not both/and.
3.   A person’s moral character is ultimately measured not by some human standard of conduct but rather “in the eyes of the Lord.”

With the election over, and a new president sworn in, the work has really just begun. The years ahead could easily produce anxiety, greater division and frustration. We’ve seen the questions: Will our country ever be united?  Will this political party destroy America?

The results mean good news for some, and bad news for others. It’s good to be involved and even concerned about the political climate of our country. As Christians, this burden for the nation should lead us from angst to prayer.

The Apostle Paul instructed the church to pray for leaders:  
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:1-4).

In this passage, there is a clear calling for us to pray for kings and all people in high positions. That means we pray for our President and all governing officials regardless of their political ideology or conviction.

Our government will never live up to what it should. Our presidents will never be completely who they should be. But we can rest and trust in God now - there’s an eternal future awaiting us. Jesus is coming back, and nations will not stand in his way. We will not always need to submit to governing authorities led by sinful men and women, who, just like us, are in need of God’s grace. Until the day of Jesus’ return, we continue to pray and rest in God because we know he is ruling, and we have a beautiful inheritance awaiting us.

It ain’t over till Gabriel blows his trumpet.

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Heb. 10:3639)

I encourage you to take some time to pray today for both of these first families. I especially encourage you to pray for our nations new leader. We all know, he’s going to need it!

I can’t wait to see you this Sunday.

Loving You and Loving Him,

Pastor D

PS – If you have any snow removal equipment - be it a shovel, a snowblower, a tractor or your gloved hands – and would like to help those in our congregation who are shut in or stranded, please contact Jessi at jessisams@deerflat.org or Rick at rickday@deerflat.org

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sunday Reflections - January 10, 2017

AN IMPORTANT ITEM I WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT

Dear Church Family,

I’m sending this to you today as I am flying to Washington DC.  I received a call this past week from Christians United For Israel (CUFI) letting me know that there was a decision made by the leadership that it was urgent to send a group of CUFI leaders to Washington DC.  The decision was based on the recent UN Resolution 2334 which was a very damning decision regarding Israel.  President Obama specifically directed our UN representative to abstain from the vote.  I’ve included the bullet points of the recent weeks leading up to and including this decision.  Thanks for our dear friend, Randy Neal, for mapping these out.  I’m asking you to be praying diligently for the next 24-36 hours for God’s favor to rest on those of us headed to Capitol Hill to meet with Senators.  Pray that God’s divine favor will precede us and that the reception will be nothing short of a “God thing.”  Take a look at these bullet points, and then I’ll have a closing note.

“Greetings friends, several have asked for bullet talking/prayer points on the most recent event that unfolded regarding Israel, the UN, and the US. I tried very hard to simply state the facts without commentary, but could not restrain myself on a couple. I hope this is helpful, Randy”.  Western Regional Director for CUFI

These bullet points regarding Israel are just the tip of the iceberg but will help connect the dots of actions and intentions. They can also be used as prayer points in this increasingly contentious time for the Jewish State.

* In October  2016, the United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization’s World Heritage Committee voted by secret ballot and passed a resolution on the status of the Old City of Jerusalem, concluding that there are no Jewish historical ties to the Temple Mount. UN entities, their printed materials, and their public comments will now only refer to the site by its Arabic name, The Noble Sanctuary, referring to the al-Aqsa Mosque area.

* Summer/Fall 2016 increasing evidence confirmed that UN, US, and EU aid to the Palestinian Authority is used to pay stipends to terrorists in jail for injuring or killing Jews, and to the families of terrorists killed in the act they were committing. 
US House members seek to cease payments to the UN until incitement for terrorism ends. 


* December 23, 2016 (one day before Chanukah) the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 2334 with 14 of 15 voting yes, and the US, by order of President Barak Obama, to abstain rather than veto the resolution. The resolution affirms that all land Israel recaptured in the Six Day War in June 1967 is legally Palestinian territory and illegally occupied by Israel. 2334 calls for “a complete cease of all settlement activity and expansion.” In addition to east Jerusalem and zones in Judea and Samaria, aka the West Bank, long agreed in all past peace accords to remain part of Israel in the event of  two State solution was forged, the resolution denies Israel to possess the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, or the Jewish Quarter.


* Days following UNSC 2334 International dignitaries, including from the supporting UNSC member nations, denounce the resolution as biased, one-sided, and a road block to peace. They also denounce the abstention by the US to be malicious, shameful, damaging to the region, and politically motivated.


* December 25, 2016 - Senator Lindsey Graham, followed by Senator Ted Cruz, committed to lead efforts for the US to withhold its $8 Billion dollar annual funding of the UN until it rescinds UNSC 2334. The US funds 22% of the UN annual budget, far more than any other country.


* December 28, 2016 Secretary of State John Kerry gave a 72 minute speech defending the US abstention and choice to not veto. The majority of the speech criticized Israel as blocking peace by occupying pre-1967 territory and expanding “settlements”. He had presented a detailed six-point plan initiate a two state solution. 
(It is important to know and to note that the cornerstone premise legitimizing Kerry’s Two State Peace Plan hinges on the notion that “there were no Jews living in these areas before 1967”. It sounds reasonable and compassionate to intervene after 50 years of illegal occupation . . . if it were true. Mr. Kerry failed to mention that Jews lived in these areas for thousands of years, until 1947 when Jordan attacked and captured them, expelling, imprisoning, or killing every Jew in east Jerusalem. Twenty years later Israel recaptured east Jerusalem, the Jewish quarter, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in 1967. 


* January 15, 2017 - There are growing concerns that the Paris Peace Conference, at which dignitaries from seventy nations are set to assemble January 15, 2017 to discuss how the international community can assist in expediting a Two State Solution will result in a blue print based upon John Kerry’s proposal to the UN Security Council for a resolution that would include an implementation timeline and enforcement mechanisms, possibly resulting in sanctions against Israel. 
It is further concerning that such a resolution could be presented and voted on before the new US president is inaugurated to prevent a US veto.


Paris claims no plans at UN:

* January 4, 2017 - Senators Heller, Rubio, and Cruz seek Congressional mandate to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an edict approved by Congress in 1995 but delayed by Executive Waiver by all US presidents since its passing.


* January 5, 2017 - US House condemns UNSC 2334.

* January 2017 - CUFI is preparing to launch a national campaign in DC and nationally at the grassroots level to support efforts to undo UNSC 2334 and significantly strengthen the US -Israel alliance - details are not public until January 11, 2017.

This is a whirlwind trip.  I will arrive in DC late this afternoon and spend the evening in a detailed briefing.  I will be given all of the behind the scenes happenings and hear the plan presented regarding going forward with these thoroughly thought through efforts at pulling down this recent resolution.  On Wednesday, some 200 of us will be lobbying every Senator on the Hill.  The appointments have already been made.  We are so fortunate to have both Idaho Senators, Risch and Crapo, be pro-Israel.  I will fly back home late Wednesday afternoon.

So many of the Deer Flat family share a heart for Israel and the Jewish people.  I couldn’t be more proud. I know you would want to know about this serious event happening this week.  I look forward to being with you this coming weekend.  Until then, I rest in your prayers and thank God for the privilege of serving such a great congregation!

Deeply Grateful,

Pastor D

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Sunday Reflections - January 5, 2017

I AM SNOW TIRED

So, we just had one of the heaviest snow storms in the past 30 years. A record breaker.  Probably like me, you’ve shoveled more than your share of snow.  I can now do it in my sleep, only to wake up to more inches of the white stuff.

Snow used to be this amazing magical thing that happened every year when you were a kid. It was synonymous with awesome. Imagine having a playground fall from the sky for you to play in.  You could build a snowman, igloos and forts. You had unlimited ammunition for the inevitable wars that would break out, and for some reason you used to have a much higher tolerance for the cold weather.

But now I’m an adult and I feel betrayed by the snow.  How could something that brought me so much joy as a child, be so annoying to deal with today? These days, I find myself thinking that snow is just a burden. Think about it, snow means:

Dangerous roads and nervous drivers.

Slipping on the sidewalk.

Shoveling.

Scraping car windows.

Ruining the bottom of your pants.

Shoveling.

Forcing you to move your car from one side of the street to the other for a snow plow that never shows up.

Losing your parking spot to a pile of snow.

Looking stupid in a big puffy jacket.

Having to leave your amazing shoes at home and shuffling around in ugly boots.

Having a runny nose.

Hat hair.

The fog in your glasses when you come back indoors.

Shoveling.

Never knowing if your windshield wipers are going to clean your window or turn into an icicle.

The way your hand smells after it’s been in a glove too long.

Talk about freezing and storms…On 31 July 2003, the adventurer Bear Grylls led a team of five across the North Atlantic Ocean in an inflatable rigid dinghy. They set out from Halifax, Nova Scotia, heading for John o’ Groats, Scotland. On 5 August, a great storm arose. There were 100-foot waves. They lost satellite contact. They feared for their lives. Thankfully they survived to tell the tale. You can read about this life threatening event at Facing the Frozen Ocean by Bear Grylls.

Here’s the great news: Not all of us will have to face physical storms of this kind. But Jesus said that we would all face the storms of life (Matthew 7:25–27). Life is not easy. The storms of life are many and varied. As we see in a variety of Biblical passages, Abraham, David and Jesus’ disciples all faced storms in their lives. What can we learn from their example?

1. Take up the shield of faith - Psalm 7:10-17
“My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows. Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads. I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.”

2. Put your trust in Jesus – He’s been there and faced it.  He has the power to calm any storm.

3. Thank God for His provision – I’ve got heat at my house. I had some food to eat. I own a snow shovel.  I had the physical ability to shovel snow – lots of it.  I had a warm coat and a pair of gloves.  I had a hot beverage waiting for me in the house.  God provides.  Be thankful that we never face the storm alone.

Here’s to great shoveling.  I can’t wait to see you this Sunday.  We’re back to our regular schedule.  BY THE WAY – We have the absolute best team and volunteers who clean the sidewalks and parking lots so that we can have easy access to enter the Church.  A HUGE SHOUT OUT TO ALL WHO MAKE A WAY THROUGH THE SNOW!

Loving You and Loving Him,


Pastor D

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sunday Reflections - December 29, 2016


                        A New Year And A New Name

Hello Deer Flat Family!

I came across this piece that I thought was worth sharing. Take a look at it…

Happiness depends upon your outlook on life. - Find the good in all situations
Attitude is just as important as ability. - Keep your attitude positive
Passion find yours this year! - Do what you love and you will never work
Positive thoughts make everything easier. - Stay focused and stay positive
You are unique, with special gifts, use them. - Never forget you have talent

New beginnings with a new year.
Enthusiasm - a true secret of success.
Wishes - may they turn into goals.

Years go by too quickly, enjoy them. - Wisdom from your elders, listen
Energy may you have lots of it. - Take care of yourself
Appreciation of life, don't take it for granted. - Live each day
Relax take the time to relax in this coming year. - Keep a balance in your life

As we’ve approached this New Year, I’ve been thinking about the wonderful advantage we have of knowing God, who knows the future. He knows what lays ahead. He knows what we will face. He knows all of the unknown. One of the things we’ve enjoyed over the past few years has been the series on THE NAMES OF GOD. It’s my desire to take us into this New Year with the awareness of some NEW NAMES of God. We will be looking at a number of these amazing names, all of which tell us about the kind of God we serve, who is able to do all things. I know we’re going to have an incredible trek together over these Sundays of January. 

This Sunday I’ll give you an overview and lay the foundation. I can’t wait to share these new names with you. I’ll close with a poem that I think speaks well about having confidence as we head into a tremendous New Year!

His Unfailing Presence
(Author Unknown)

Another year I enter
Its history unknown;
Oh, how my feet would tremble
To tread its paths alone!
But I have heard a whisper
I know I shall be blest;
"My presence shall go with thee,
And I will give thee rest."

What will the New Year bring me?
I may not, must not know; will it be love and rapture,
Or loneliness and woe?
Hush! Hush! I hear His whisper;
I surely shall be blest;
"My presence shall go with thee,
And I will give thee rest."

Don’t forget: ONE SERVICE AT 10:30 am 

Loving You and Loving Him,

Pastor D


PS – A sudden and unexpected passing of one of our congregants who lost her husband less than two months ago, has left their doggies needing a forever home. If you have it in your heart to love on these special members of their family and would like to take them in, please call Jessi at 459-3845 or 880-2897.



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sunday Reflections - December 21, 2016

Dear Church Family,

It’s hard to believe it’s Christmas time again already. What’s even a bit more challenging is that this is our 5th Christmas together at Deer Flat.  How is that even possible when we just arrived here two weeks ago? Well, Christmas provides a unique opportunity each year for all of us to re-visit the past year and see God’s goodness, and perhaps do some re-focusing as we look forward.

Not only are we reminded of the awe-inspiring, world-changing, 
life-altering gift that is Jesus; but we are also reminded of our need for this Jesus to heal us in our brokenness. This is indeed why he came. To bring peace between God and man. This is why the angels declared triumphantly “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14   

As a new year approaches, I want to challenge us as a church to impact this world for good. People are in great need, and more than ever. You see it and so do I. We can still make a difference! We need to be people of prayer, faith, righteousness and compassion. We need to love each other and love God above all else. I don’t know about you, but I really want to live more full for Christ in 2017 than ever before.

What an exciting year it has been for Jer and I and the whole Staff! By God’s grace we have had an outstanding year at Deer Flat. God has blessed this congregation in virtually every area of ministry we have.  These past almost 5 years have been so full, so meaningful and so fun - it just makes us look at the future with tremendous anticipation about what God has in store for us together.

For Jer and I, we have sure felt the love of all of you who make up the Deer Flat Family. I’m especially grateful for your kindness and love that you extended with the loss last month of Dad, and just bathing us in your prayers. I know that the whole Staff joins me in saying that you all have been a HUGE blessing to each of us, and we are thanking God for a chance to serve you here at this amazing place!  Please continue to pray for us as we boldly move into an adventuresome future.

Now, May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ Child. God bless you now and forever.”  Amen!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Pastor D, Jer and the entire Staff of Deer Flat Church!


Can’t wait to see you this Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sunday Reflections - December 15, 2016

THE LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

We’ve heard about it most all of our lives. This little place called “Bethlehem”. It is still very intriguing to me that I’ve been able to visit there a variety of times over the years. I’m probably more fascinated this year than ever before. The significance of this little town is no small thing.

It’s located just 5 miles south of Jerusalem and its name means “House of Bread”. We all know that Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus, but what is the bigger significance of this little town? It is a city in the hill country of Judah that was originally called Ephrath and shows up clear back in Genesis, but it was also called Bethlehem Ephratah by the Prophet Micah, and “the City of David” in Luke 2.
                    
The first mention of this tiny place in the Bible is the place where Jacob buried his wife Rachel, who died in child birth. Her burial site is still marked to this day, right alongside the road going into Bethlehem. Just to the east where the fields lay was the scene of the story of Ruth. 

Bethlehem was also the birthplace of David and the place where he was anointed king by the Prophet Samuel. And, for whatever reason, it was distinguished above every other city as the birthplace of the promised Messiah – The Bread of Life.

It is the relationship of Bethlehem to Christ that has really put it at its highest visibility. The old prophet Micah was understood to indicate that the Messiah, like David, would be born in Bethlehem not Jerusalem. Three of the Gospel writers, Matthew, Luke and John, all report that Jesus was born in that humble village. Flash forward three centuries, during the reign of the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire. It was under Constantine that the Church of the Nativity was constructed. It was destroyed during the Samaritan revolt around AD 529 and rebuilt between 527-565. That ancient structure forms the basic unit that is still in use today although many modifications have occurred, especially during the Middle Ages.

I love what Max Lucado says about Bethlehem, “God knows what it’s like to be a human. When I talk to him about deadlines or long lines or tough times, he understands. He’s been there. He’s been here. Because of Bethlehem, I have a friend in heaven. Because of Bethlehem, I have a Savior in heaven.”

Christmas begins what Easter celebrates. The child in the cradle became the king on the cross. And because he did, there are no marks on my record. Just grace. His offer has no fine print. He didn’t tell me, “Clean up before you come in.” He offered, “Come in, and I’ll clean you up.” It’s not my grip on him that matters but his grip on me. And his grip is sure. So is his presence in my life. God is always near us. Always for us. Always in us. We may forget him, but God will never forget us. We’re forever on his mind and in his plans. He called himself ‘Immanuel’ which means ‘God with us’.

I can’t wait to tell you more about this amazing little place when we’re together this Sunday at Deer Flat. Come expecting an outstanding morning.  I look forward to being together with you!

Merry Christmas!


Pastor D


PS - Is God calling you to serve Him abroad? Deer Flat is taking a trip to Cuba June 2-10, 2017. Join us for an informational meeting which will lay out the trip details and show you how to sign up for the trip this upcoming Sunday, December 18th after 2nd service in the downstairs Youth Room, #25. The final day to register for the trip is January 22nd. Have questions? Please call Heather at 899-0586 or Martin at 353-2500.

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