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Helping People Live for God

Our vision is more than just a statement… it’s a calling. It’s an exciting calling, full of hope and promise. He has called us to be a living church. The calling isn’t about a service or a building… it’s about a group of people seeking life in God and fellowship with one another. There is nothing greater than serving God! We are committed to helping people discover the joy that only comes from knowing God personally.
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Staff Blog

I Am New

by Christian Conatser on Apr 07, 2016

This morning, we celebrate the new. Many were baptized, making a public announcement about the decision they’ve made and the work God has done. Every year, since our first baptisms, we’ve named this day “I Am New”. The reality of this is beautiful and amazing.

Our Pastor mentioned something this morning that I want to highlight, because it’s so important. It’s about the miraculous power of God. When God rescues us and transforms, making us new, He doesn’t…

A. Throw out who we were and start fresh with a newly built person

Nor does He…

B. Renovate the old us into something that looks like new

Rather, God does something that only the author and finisher of our faith can do. Only God created man, so it is only God who can do what He does. God is a human technician and He works miracles. The thing that God does is He…

C. Uses the old us to make the new us

This is a miracle! It’s amazing! Wouldn’t it be true that if old was used to make new it’s not really new? Not with God.

In fact, God does something that is difficult to fathom. When we hand over our broken mess, when we hand over our sin, our abuse, our hurt and heartache, our tears and shame, God then spins it into a future that reaches back and makes it look like all of those terrible things in our past were intentional.

Now, don’t get me wrong. God doesn’t bring evil into people’s lives. What He does is He takes all of those things that seem trashy and useless and breathes life and purpose into it all. WHAT‽ How does He do it‽ Is that even possible‽

I have personally experienced some messed up stuff: pain, loss, failure. I have a lot of “regrets”, but I mean it when I say, I wouldn’t change a thing. God took the old stuff and did something so special with it. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m grateful. I tear up as I type this. It’s almost unbelievable, except that it’s actually happening. It is such, that my future doesn’t look scary or intimidating. I have a future that promises that no matter what I face, God is in my corner, so He’s going to make it beautiful. Check out these scriptures…

19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. – Genesis 50:19-20

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

There is a song by David Crowder called Beautiful Things. Listen to it.

God is working everyday to weave a tapestry with your life. He’s taking everything, all of it, the stains, the hurt, the joy, the miracles, and He is making something out of your life that is as beautiful – NO, MORE BEAUTIFUL – than this breathtaking universe filled with stars, and planets, and galaxies, and creatures. You are His most prized creation. And He is not resting until you are perfect.


Now or Never

by Ana Horn on Mar 20, 2016

Busy. Busy. Busy. Man, life never stops, does it? I find myself in a season that’s hard to keep up with and lately, I’ve found myself just trying to “hold on until it’s over.” I’ve found myself constantly looking forward to the next step, the next stage, the next season. In doing so, I have found myself in a place where I was growing very discontent; very impatient with my life and situations. And on one particular day filled with meltdowns and missed deadlines, I complained out loud to God about “this season” and to please make it pass so that I can have joy again; have peace again; have rest again (ha, this one is probably a long shot with three kids). And I read something on social media that I know God made me see, and it was this: Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.

Because I was assigning joy, peace, rest, etc. to a time line or an event, I wasn’t experiencing them in the now, in the present, in my current season of life. Unless I accept that I have the ability to have something now, then essentially, I never will. And a tear or two rolled down my cheeks as I thanked God for his endless grace and mercy in reminding me that He is with me in every season, whether it be in moments that are the mundane or the magnificent. And when I abide in Him, THAT is what brings joy and peace and whatever else it is that I need to live life more abundantly. So instead of wishing for a new season that seems to be eluding me with all its rest and happiness, I will take time TODAY to look around me at all God has provided and blessed me with. I will choose to be grateful for today, for this season of my life.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5


Anchors

by Jon Ward on Feb 15, 2016

I recently read about an experiment conducted on patrons by The San Francisco Exploratorium. They were asked random people two questions:

  1. Is the height of the highest redwood more or less than 1,200 feet?
  2. What is your best guess about the height of the tallest redwood?

Another group of participants were asked the same question with different numbers:

  1. Is the height of the highest redwood more or less than 180 feet?
  2. What is your best guess about the height of the tallest redwood?

While those two numbers may seem like no big deal they actually influenced the results pretty widely. The participants who were presented with the 1,200 foot questions guessed an average height of 844 feet. Those given the 180 foot questions guessed an average height of 282 feet. The two numbers in the questions are called by scientists anchors and as you can see they drastically affected the participants guesses. Scientists call this effect the “anchoring effect” which means people rely too heavily on the first fact, first price or first impression even if it is wrong. Once someone “anchors” to a piece of information, it becomes the baseline for their decision making.

This experiment really stuck out to me because I began to think about how many times we start anchoring to false information in our lives. How what one person said to us all those years ago, how one mistake, one accident, one false assumption can permanently affect our thinking and decision making for the rest of our lives.

I believe the bible points to an answer for our lives in Romans 8:6 it says “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,”

When we anchor our minds and decision making to things of this word we set ourselves up for failure. Yet, the apostle Paul points out that when we anchor our minds to the Spirit of God we receive life and peace. We as Christians then need to begin to anchor everything to the Spirit of God and what has been promised to us in the bible. So today, in that area where you know that you have falsely anchored your thinking to the things of this world, begin to realign them with what God has said about you in the bible. We are called more than conquerors, co-heirs with Christ, sons and daughters of the King and the list goes on and on. Don’t allow false information to define you. Don’t allow one mistake in your life affect you for the rest of your life. We can choose to believe the false information or to believe what the word of God says about us.

When we anchor ourselves to our circumstances then we look like a ship that gets tossed around in a storm. But when we anchor ourselves to Jesus Christ and the victory he won for us on the cross, then that becomes our fixed point of peace, grace, and mercy and the things that seem to define us suddenly we begin to gain a new perspective.

And just in case you’re curious the redwoods are the largest species of trees on Earth. The root system goes down 13 feet with a 100 foot radius. They can measure to up to 22 feet in girth and 360 feet tall!


Right Where You Are

by Derek Guynes on Feb 01, 2016

“The only place God can bless you is where you actually are…because that is the only place you are!” – Richard Foster

I think sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that God is waiting to bless us until we get our act together. Have you ever had one of the following thoughts?

“Once I stop doing ____ , then I will really be able to hear from God.”
“Once I get this promotion, then I will really deserve God’s blessings!”
“Once I finally read through the whole Bible, then God will be pleased with me.”

Thoughts like these are precisely what keep us from experience the best of what God has for us. They are basically a twisted form of pride, as if we were capable of earning something that God would give us.

While our own effort is a part of the equation in spiritual growth, the reality is that we will never be good enough, or clean enough, or powerful enough to earn God’s favor. That is something that He gives to us.

The reality is that God is able and willing to bless us, right where we are. That is the only place He can bless us! So, if you have been refusing to believe that God is able to speak to you right where you are, stop it! Humbly accept the fact that God took the first step toward you before you ever had the idea to think of Him.

If you’re sinful, well then, God will clean you up. If you’re in job with no authority or power–you’re in good company! Remember the shepherds who were the first to hear of the birth of Jesus? If you can’t seem to meet those benchmarks that you set for yourself, don’t worry. Remember Peter? He might’ve sunk in the waves, but he was the only disciple to actually get out of the boat!

God is waiting to speak to you, if you’ll just get over yourself!


Something New

by Dan Hunter on Dec 29, 2015

No doubt at Christmas you got something new; maybe a new shirt, a new sweater, a new tv, a new tool, etc. New things are great. They function different. They look different. They even offer different options. I love new things.

Lately, God has been speaking to me about this idea of ‘NEW’. Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” I believe that this word is not just for me but it is for you and for us. There is something new coming.

He is ready to do something new in you, in your family, in your business, in your spiritual life, etc. For some of you it is new boldness, a new anointing, new revelations in His Word, new relationships, new favor, new blessing, or even new breakthroughs. Open yourself up to what God is doing and allow Him to do that new work. Something new from God is exactly what you need and it is coming.

This will be a great year of new things in Him. He has a plan for you and a plan for LC. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


Rest

by Elisha Garcia on Dec 14, 2015

“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

There are so many things in life that fight for your energy, focus, creativity, etc. Whether you’re CEO, full time pastor, stay at home mom, college student OR (insert occupation here), you’ve probably experienced a moment of feeling tired. Now, when I say tired, I’m not referring to a few sleepless nights. We all have those. I mean tired in the sense that you feel like you’re running on empty; mentally / physically / spiritually drained. There have been moments in life I’ve found myself in place like this. In these moments I have to take a step back and consider what I’m allowing to be my source. Am I being recharged by people, success, or the current season of life? Have I allowed myself to find rest in anything other than Him? Honestly when I’m only being filled by other things, people, circumstances, and not my relationship with Christ, I quickly find me strength to be short lived. God knows and understand that His people NEED constant connection and relationship with Him. He knew if our source became anything other than His limitless power, we become overwhelmed, stressed, and spent.

If you find yourself in a place feeling empty or without strength…it’s time to rest. A good night’s sleep? Sure, if that’s what’s needed. But it may be time for a deeper type of rest. It’s time to place your focus and attention in the source that is never deleted. As Isaiah says, our strength will be renewed. Make that your prayer and focus and I believe He will deliver.


Tags: Rest, Source, Strength

Bag O’ Failure

by Preston Horn on Nov 29, 2015

Failure and difficulty are part of the recipe for success. Without it, we can’t fully perfect and appreciate the greatness of an accomplishment. So if you think of failure as an actual step of instruction, you can rejoice when it happens. I love what Proverbs 19:20 says:

“Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life.”

Live your life to the fullest! Always be a learner. Never be content or afraid to fail. Treat failure as a learning opportunity and you’ll be one step closer to success. If everything is an experiment, nothing is truly a failure. Optimism 101, people. Now go do it!


Thanksgiving

by Ana Horn on Nov 22, 2015

It’s almost Thanksgiving! I love, love, love Thanksgiving. Football, turkey, pumpkin pie-it’s the best! But honestly, I love Thanksgiving for what it is at its basic core: a time to slow down, and realize all that we have to be thankful for.

Yes, I’m thankful for people and things throughout the year, but this time every year, I like to truly reflect on all that God has done in my life. Because in all honesty, it’s hard to be thankful all the time. It’s hard to be thankful when the calendar is full, when you’re feeding and changing the baby for the millionth time in the middle of the night, when the chores don’t get done, when work isn’t going the way you planned, when the bills are only getting bigger, and when you’ve had the same argument with your spouse over something dumb over and over again. But Thanksgiving reminds me each year that I’ve started focusing on the wrong things, on the wrong stuff. It allows me to correct a perspective that inevitably gets shifted the wrong way throughout the year.

Colossians 2:7 says, “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

I’m reminded to stay rooted in Christ. I’m reminded that the closer I am to Jesus, the closer I am to the truth. And I can use that truth to filter my life, no matter what I’m going through-rather it be a fun and exciting time or not. My circumstances do not change the fact that I have so much to be thankful for. It’s easier to be thankful when I’m focused on Christ, not on my surroundings.

I know the holiday season can get crazy and we can so easily get caught up in the unavoidable chaos. But stay rooted in Christ during this time and grow strong in the truth that you know. For it is then that you will be truly thankful for all that He has done and what He continues to do in your life.


Roadkill

by Rachel Hunter on Nov 09, 2015

The other day I was driving to work along 287 South when I noticed a full size cow, dead on the road. Only in Texas, right?! I immediately noticed his friends, safely behind their fence, in their pasture on the other side of the highway. What made this cow feel like he had to bust out of the safety of where he was kept? What was he trying to get to? Was the grass really greener on the other side?!

Well, this poor cow really got me thinking. How many times have I been like that cow? How many times have I fought against the season/situation where God has placed me? Psalm 16:6, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” God places us where He wants us and we have an innate tendency to stare beyond those boundaries and wish for something else. Little do we know that our very lives often depend on our acceptance of God’s limits. His ways are ALWAYS for our good. His laws are never to keep us from good things, but to release us to receive the very BEST things!

We can’t know the mind of God and rarely can we fully understand His ways. We do know that we can trust Him. His love for us is immeasurable! David was a man who understood this about God. Maybe his background as a shepherd is what helped him trust the ways and heart of God. He even wrote in multiple verses of his “delight” in the law of the Lord. God is the good shepherd. When we learn to fully trust Him, we can learn contentment. Proverbs 30:8, “give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you.” That sounds like a contented person. I want to live in the realization that God’s ways are best, safest, most joy-filled and satisfying.

“Lord, help me be content within your boundaries. Let me rest inside your perfect plan, knowing that you are FOR me, you LOVE me and will PROTECT me.”


Tags: God’s ways, obedience, trust

Use What You Have

by Derek Guynes on Sep 21, 2015

Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find. – Proverbs 12:27

For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God. – Ecclesiastes 5:7


I spend a lot of money at the grocery store on “supplemental grocery shopping”. This kind of shopping is wholly extraneous to the regularly scheduled (and budgeted) grocery shopping that my wife does. This is the kind of shopping that sends me to Kroger to get a handful of limes and sees me walking out of the store with $50 worth of Greek yogurt, protein bars and a new kind of sparkling water I thought I’d try. In other words, this supplemental shopping is for stuff that I DON’T NEED.

At some point when the food is all put away, I get hungry. So I walk to the fridge and open the door, finding a myriad of options for a healthy and nutritious snack. I stand there, pondering. I could make a smoothie with the organic fruit and yogurt I bought—but then I’d have to wash the blender. I could put together a salad, but I’d have to chop up a bunch of veggies. Eventually, I come to a conclusion:

All that stuff takes too long to make.
I make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead.

This happens more often than I would like to admit. And the worst part is that a lot of that food I bought that looked so good in the store ends up spoiling in the refrigerator, because I am too lazy to make use of it. I let all this great food just sit there, because either it would take too long to make, or I don’t have just the right ingredients to make what I have in mind, or there’s nothing in my mind at all. Stupid! Lazy people don’t even cook the game (food) they catch (or buy at the store). Diligent (successful) people make use of everything they find.

This applies to more areas than food. Think about it for a second:

What about time?
I waste more time than I’d like to admit, even though I talk a lot about how busy I am.

Or our clothes?
We say we have nothing to wear when we need two closets to hold all our clothes.

What about work?
Do we spend time dreaming about what could be, or what we don’t have, while the people/money/other resources we do have right next to us are falling through the cracks or “going bad”?

This is not to say we shouldn’t spend time talking or dreaming about the future, or imagining what we could do if we just had _______ (fill in the blank). We should. But if we’re doing that as an excuse to not make use of what is right in front of us because it’s imperfect, then that is a sin.

All of those dreams amount to nothing if we don’t demonstrate the fear of the Lord by doing our best with what He has entrusted to us.