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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew’

To be a place that inspires spiritual growth, worship and ministry to people!

Our desire is to use Sonrise in the Woods to minister to people on the mountain.

Our mountain communities need a place where children can enjoy playgrounds, youth can gather for wholesome activities, adults can fellowship in unhurried peace and the elderly are treated with the dignity and honor they deserve. That is the vision God has given Church of the Woods for the new campus.

Our San Bernardino Mountains have more than 671,686 acres of National Forest land. There is another 147,313 acres of non-USFS land within the National Forest. As we consider that the 818,999 acres will always be preserved and undeveloped, it seems like our 37-acre parcel is a great location to serve the needs of people on our mountain.

It is amazing how much false information and hysteria is being generated over a project that seeks to serve our mountain communities by providing resources that are sorely lacking. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that the two greatest commandments are: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39) That is our goal!

God’s Word declares, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) In other words, God’s greatest desire is for the eternal souls of people to be saved. That is our goal too.

It is our prayer that Church of the Woods will be a catalyst for people to come to know God personally through Jesus Christ. Our project, Sonrise in the Woods, is designed to enhance our ministry into people’s lives and provide a wholesome, beautiful environment for ALL the communities to enjoy. It will be a great place to benefit from picturesque landscaping, natural beauty and fellowship with people from all over. It will be exciting! Hope to see you there, too.

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Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

When the rich young ruler approached Jesus with the question, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” Jesus got to the heart of the issue. He told the man to go and sell his possessions and give to the poor so he would have treasure in heaven and to follow Jesus. Is Jesus stating that the selling of his goods was merit for heaven? No! He exposed the man’s idol. The only way to heaven is through trusting Jesus. The rich young ruler trusted his riches. That is why Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.”

The man went away grieving! Did you notice that? He was grieving. He was not happy and fulfilled. He walked away from the only One who could grant him true fulfillment. It was at this point that Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24) His disciples were astonished at this and asked, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus responded, “With people this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Be encouraged, Friend! There are some things that are impossible for people—like earning salvation, but Jesus came to offer eternal salvation as a free gift. We only need to humbly trust in Him as Savior and Lord. He is the one who gives true satisfaction, genuine love and everlasting forgiveness.

No matter what circumstances you face, as you focus your attention on God, He will make a way. The key is to keep our faith fixed on God! Trust in Him. Pray to Him. Seek His face. As the old chorus states, When we turn our eyes upon Jesus, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

Have a blessed day!

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It's an amazing gift to walk where Jesus walked and pray where Jesus prayed.

An early morning after a late night was well worth the effort as we walked along the Dan River to Tel Dan. This hike invigorated everyone with the beauty and splendor of this land. This resembles the land that the Israelites of old found:

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will eat food without scarcity” (Deuteronomy 8:7-9).

These eight items listed in this passage of fruitful produce are still national crops today as well. We also could look into the Lebanese and Syrian borders where so many military conflicts have occurred.

Caesarea Philippi was our next stop, the most northeast place that Jesus traveled. Like the Dan River, another spring flows as a head water tributary for the Jordan. It was here that Jesus questioned His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (read all of Matthew 16:13-20).

This Roman colony was the place where they worshipped the false god Pan, of lower Echo. Here they had the “gates of Hell” where they performed sacrifices to their pagan gods. It was also here that Jesus said, “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus was the Master teacher who utilized visual illustrations to impact His listeners with spiritual truths. Praise the Lord that He is the One who is building His church!

Back in Galilee, we ate a St. Peter’s fish lunch and then came to Capernaum, the place where Jesus spent most of His earthly ministry (Mark 1:21-3:14). It was here that Jesus called five of His disciples; therefore, we learned about what being a disciple really looks like.

Passages of John 8:31-32; 13:34-35; 15:8-11 and Luke 14:25-27 all point out key qualities of being a biblical disciple! We had a spiritual time of worshipping God right there on the sea shore of Galilee. It is remarkable to walk where Jesus walked, pray where Jesus prayed, teach where Jesus taught and worship where Jesus worshipped. Please pray that our lives will never be the same as I pray for you too. Thanks!

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Greetings from Egypt

Our tour family is bonding well as we experienced our first day of touring, even with some jet-lag! Ancient history filled our eyes and ears as our Egyptologist guided us through the fascinating Egyptian Museum spanning over 5,000 years. We learned that headdresses and eye liner were originally used as protection from the sun and sand of Egypt—only later did they become fashion/religious coverings and cosmetics.

The forty day mummification process was explained and then “dead” results viewed in the Royal Mummies Hall—this same embalming process was used on the Patriarchs, Jacob and Joseph, signifying their high standing in Egypt at their deaths (Genesis 49:33-50:3, 26).

The word “Egypt” occurs over 600 times in Scripture with about 150 times signifying to get “out of Egypt.” However there is one time that God commands to “flee to Egypt.” Matthew 2:13-15 tells the story. After the museum, we ate lunch on the Nile. Next we made a quick trip into the Coptic Christian section of Cairo. The Church of St. Sergius is believed to be one of the places where Joseph, Mary and Jesus stayed during their flight from Herod.

The Giza plateau was our next destination to view the impressive Pyramids and Sphinx, as well as “Cheops Boat Museum,” housing one of the large boats buried next to the pyramids to be used in the afterlife. There was drama unfolding as our group arrived after the gate was locked to enter the Sphinx viewing/photo area, but our tour security guard convinced them to open up the gates for us.

Throughout this day, I kept thinking about how much time, energy and effort these ancient people took to prepare for the afterlife. WOW! Scriptures emphasize the fact that we will all give an account of our lives before God one day. My question after today is, “Are we preparing for our eternal home with the same kind of passion?” Obviously, we don’t need to build a pyramid, nor be mummified to secure eternal life. But we do need to repent of our sins, and receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord to obtain salvation. Then we make our lives count for eternity by our ministry for His glory.

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