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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

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.

The Unseen

by Dan Hunter on Sep 09, 2015

It’s so easy to look at life and see how much you need, how much is going wrong, how many things are falling apart, how many issues you are dealing with, etc. Life’s circumstances have a way of consuming your energy and focus. If you’re not careful you begin to fix your eyes on the negative and not the positive, the temporary and not the eternal, the flesh and not the spirit. The fact is that God is still in control and eternity is really what matters most. It doesn’t mean you ignore the issues or forget what you need or never enjoy life. It just means God is bigger than your circumstances, failures, and successes. Remember that.

I read a verse last week as I journeyed to my Grandmother’s funeral that reminded once again that the unseen circumstances is what we must fix our eyes on not the seen circumstances. Here it is:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Let this verse encourage you and challenge you. Fix your eyes on The Unseen not The Seen.

Tags: Eternal, Focus, Hope, Life, Needs, Perspective, Problems, Spirit, Temporary

Praying with power

by Jon Ward on Aug 25, 2015

I recently heard a pastor say, “general prayers do not move God to a specific action.” When I heard this statement it really convicted me and my prayer life. So many times when I pray I am guilty of praying general prayers. I know I have been guilty of praying this prayer before “Lord help me today, keep me safe today, give me wisdom today and help those who need your help.”

While that prayer is good, what it does not do is challenge and activate our faith. As Christians we have a big God that wants to give his children good gifts as it says in Matthew 7:11. So if we have a big God who wants to give us good gifts then it is our job to ask specifically for what we need. We have a big God who wants to give us what we need so now when we pray we can realize that our prayers have power. Now we can pray with power and know that when we ask God for something in our prayer God wants to respond. So as we move into this fall lets remember that we should pray and ask for specific request. As your kids go back to school pray each day for a specific part of their day or as you go to work begin to pray for a certain co-worker or meeting and watch as God begins to help you in specific situations.

The Quiet Place

by Natalie Salinas on Jul 28, 2015

Summer is flying by and we are all doing our preparations to begin this busy season called “Fall.” As life may be picking up pace, let’s remember how even more important it is to meet God in our quiet place. It’s so easy for us to get into habits of only seeking God at church or in a public worship setting. But just as we need one-on-one time with our spouses and children, most importantly we need that time with God. My days are drastically different when I spend that quiet time with my Creator. My prayer is that “The Quiet Place” would be a place where God meets you right where you are – no matter what you are going through. One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” So with that said, I hope you will find that time to spend with God in this place of rest and encouragement for your soul.

Sowing and Reaping

by Derek Guynes on Jun 30, 2015

“…The truest measure of what leaders deeply believe is how they spend their time.”
“The Leadership Challenge”, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.) [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap.
Galatians 6:7 (AMP)

Does what you say you believe line up with your “time expenditure report”?
If you logged a week’s worth of activity, could a person tell what you really believe?

Because that is the truth.
We are what we repeatedly do. Not just what we repeatedly say.

We reap what and where we sow.

Celebrate Often

by Elisha Garcia on Jun 17, 2015

I recently heard a pastor say, “Sacrifice without celebration is unsustainable”. This hit pretty close to home. I’ve always been one who drives things, people, myself pretty hard. There’s always been something internal that feels like “we can all celebrate when it’s done. When we arrive.”

There’s nothing wrong with people who are driven. There’s nothing wrong with those who work hard and sacrifice to get where they want to go. The problem lies in never being able to stop and celebrate the successes, big and small, along the way. People need to be reminded why they’re sacrificing; what all the hard work is about. If all we ever do in our families, businesses, ministries etc. is wait until we have “arrived” to celebrate, the people who have pushed and sacrificed along the way will be spent and can even be resentful when you do eventually “arrive”.

Just this past weekend a group of our LC’ers put together a time to celebrate and thank the staff of LC. I can’t tell you how life giving this was. Both for the pastors and the family of LC. It was beneficial. Healthy. It helped to refocus both hearts and minds. I know for me personally it helped to remind me that we don’t labor in vain, and it’s not the work, but rather the people which are most important.

If you’re anything like me the work can become the focus and we forget to celebrate all God is doing in us, through us, for us. This week find things to celebrate and see how it gives life to the people and environments around you!

Laodicea, USA

by Preston Horn on Jun 03, 2015

In this world that loves DIY, embraces self-empowerment, and encourages uniquity, we can get lost in thinking we’ve got it under control. But we can often get it so wrong. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the letter written to the Church in Laodicea in Revelation 3:17:

You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.

Don’t be deceived. Instead, listen to what Colossians 2:6-8 says:

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 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. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

The only way to be truly brave and courageous is to rely entirely on the Rock. Boom.

Finding Rest

by Jon Ward on May 18, 2015

My favorite sport to play is disc golf. If you’re unfamiliar with the sport, disc golf is just like ball golf, but it is played with frisbees or discs. I enjoy playing it so much because it gets me out walking in nature and most all of the courses are FREE. But the fact that it is free is not the only reason why I love disc golf. The reason I love to play disc golf is because it provides me an hour and a half to turn my phone off. Anytime that I go play I turn my phone on “do not disturb” or off altogether. The reason I think I love turning my phone off is that it gives me time to think for myself, relax, and just enjoy the moment.

We live in such a loud and constant society nowadays. Texts, emails, Facebook, Twitter, phone calls; the list is endless of people all vying for our attention. Before we know it, the constant “go-go-go” mentality of life sweeps us off our feet and we are caught in a whirlpool doing the same things over and over. If we’re not careful we get so caught up in the constant hassle of life that we fail to take a moment to rest and find peace. And very rarely do people take time to let their soul find peace and rest. Jesus, I believe, understood the effect that life can have on our soul when he said these words:

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36

What good is it for us to answer all of the phone calls, texts, and to be constantly running around and yet forfeit our soul? Our lives get so busy and overrun by things that don’t really matter. We are constantly on the go. In this day and age there is always another task to be done or a place to go.

The reason I love turning my phone off during disc golf is that it gives me and my soul time to recharge and rest. It’s my time to pray, think, and dream. No distractions. Everything else in that moment can wait that hour and a half for me to finish playing disc golf.

So today, maybe take a moment and spend time giving your soul rest. Whether it’s stopping and taking some personal time, listening to a song without doing anything else, or maybe turning off your phone. Unplug and be refreshed in the knowledge that God is faithful to meet you right where you’re at and he will renew and refresh your soul today.

Show Me

by Ana Horn on May 06, 2015

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

Preston and I recently learned that our THIRD daughter is on the way! We are so happy with our little family and feel so grateful to the Lord for trusting us to be our girls’ parents. And with Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I have been reflecting deeply on what it means for me to be a good mom. More importantly, am I teaching my girls about Christ and raising them to know and trust in Him?

My oldest is in a fun stage right now and is soaking up so much. One thing I love about her is that when she’s asking me a million questions each day, a lot of times she follows one up with, “Show me.” “Mom, can we draw our family? Show me how.” “Mom, is this how I fly the kite right? Show me.” “Mom, is this how I write my letters? Show me again how to draw the E.” Show me, show me, show me.

And it just clicked, as simple as it is, that my kids are watching me. All the time. They see how I respond, how I celebrate or tear down, how I give or withhold, how involved or distant I am. They see all of it, and my life is shaping and setting a standard that they’ll live by forever. And no one is asking me to be perfect or flawless or to make every right decision at every juncture in the road. However, my mistakes and errors are opportunities to keep shaping that standard that they’ll one day live by. I am showing them everyday not just how to live but what it means to know and trust in God. And if I live by the Lord’s greatest and simplest command, to love Him with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength then I don’t have to tell my kids how to live for God, they’ll just see it. If I want them to learn that, then I have to SHOW them.

Not just our kids, but all people in general, watch us. They see us. So remember, some times you don’t need to have all the right words to tell people about God or how to live for him; just SHOW them.

Don’t stop believing on the Journey

by Truston Baba on Apr 29, 2015

One of my favorite songs is “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. Maybe it’s because it’s about a small town girl (Rachel) who was living in a lonely world or because it’s about a city boy (me) who was born and raised in south Detroit. Maybe it’s the guitar riffs, or the wish that I could hit those crazy high notes!

But as unbelievable as it sounds, over the last few months the last verse of that song has really been ministering to me. Totally weird, right? It’s just that in this season, as we have been pushing to get into the building, I’ve had to keep telling myself: “Don’t stop believing! Hold on to the feeling!” When we were first called to plant Living Church, the feeling, the calling, the excitement was so strong. Fast forward a few years and that initial feeling, that excitement has worn off a bit. So as we walk into this next season we have been having to “hold on to the feeling.” We need to remember who God is. We need to remember that what He calls us to He will bring us through.

Just the other day in my devotional time I reread the story of Naaman. He was a military leader, a hero, the liberator of his people. He was respected among kings. Theologians believe it was an arrow from his bow that killed king Ahab that lead to their revolution. He had done great things, but Naaman had a problem; he had leprosy, a disease that would lead to a painful and humiliating death. There is so much to the story that I can’t tell it all, but you can read it in 2 Kings 5. Anyway, he talks with a prophet and the prophet tells him to go dunk himself in a dirty river in the land of his enemy. So he had to humble himself to receive what he needed. (That will preach!) So he went and dunked himself seven times and when he came up from the seventh dunk, he was healed.

You’re probably thinking, “what does this have to do with don’t stop believing?” Well here it is: what if Naaman would have given up after the sixth dunk? He wouldn’t have received what God had promised. What if he would have come up out of the water the sixth time and said “this is stupid, I’m sick of waiting, this is taking too long, why is it so hard” and quit? I bet while Naaman was standing in that dirty water, he started humming that Journey song in his head. He had to “hold on to the feeling” he had to tell himself “don’t stop believing.” So he dunked himself one more time and he received what God had promised.
God has reminded me over the last few months that sometimes we have to humble ourselves and just hold on to His promise because we may only be one simple dunk away from the miraculous. So no matter what you’re going through don’t stop believing just take another dunk.