Saturday, September 27, 2014

Knock-Knock - Who’s There?

by Tim Howard

Have you ever heard a knock at the front door of your home and wondered who it was? Is it someone selling magazines; is it someone wanting to steam clean you carpets for a really great deal or maybe a young child trying to sell candy bars for a school project? To solve the mystery you only need to go to the door, open it up and then you will see who is there.

In the Bible, John the apostle wrote the book of Revelation and in Chapter 3, verse 20, he uses figurative language to tell us what God says.  “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

I can understand why a person would not want to answer the door when someone comes knocking late at night or early in the morning.  More often than not, those who are doing the knocking aren’t there for your benefit but seeking to solicit something from you.  They want to take and not give.  But what if the person who is knocking has your best interest in mind?  Maybe he or she is knocking to say the windows in your car are down and it’s raining.  Possibly it’s a neighbor who wants to tell you he gave away his dog that constantly barks.  What if it was those from Reader’s Digest to notify you that you are the grand prizewinner of the sweepstakes?  Wouldn’t you run to the door and open it?

God doesn’t come to take anything from you because He already has everything. Col. 1:16 tells us this truth, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”  He doesn’t need what you have!  He knocks on your door because you need what He has!  He knocks because He wants to develop a relationship and share His wealth with you. When you open the door to Jesus, you begin a two-way relationship.  It’s not a monologue but a dialogue.  He eats with you and you get to eat with Him.

In 1973, a song called Knockin' on Heaven's Door, was written and performed by Bob Dylan for the soundtrack of the 1973 film Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.  It was about a sheriff who had been fatally shot and as darkness set in he began to knock on heaven’s door. The good news from the Bible is that you don’t need to have a near death experience in order to have a relationship with God. He’s reaching out to you right now. You do, however, have to open the door and invite Him in.

Not too long ago I heard a knock at my front door. It was after 8 pm but I opened the door regardless of the time and found my neighbor on my steps. They had a delicious Apple Pie for us in case we wanted something sweet to eat before we retired for the night. Great Neighbors!  I would have missed a delicious dessert if I hadn’t opened the door?  

Don’t miss what God has in store for you. Open the door to Jesus and invite Him in.  You won’t be disappointed!

Pastor Tim Howard is the Lead Pastor at Koinonia Church. Any comments can be sent to:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Shake It Up

Shake It Up

Recently an unexpected 6.0 earthquake shook Napa, CA and shocked residents of the idyllic winemaking valley. The damage from the quake resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to historic buildings, several fires, and about 200 injuries. Within hours the governor declared a state of emergency and mobilized the necessary resources to assist the county.

But there was a silver-lining to the chaos caused by the earthquake. Within a few days, news stories began to emerge marveling at the sudden increase in water in the rivers and streams surrounding Napa. Geologists soon confirmed that the four to ten time increase in flows in streams and rivers were the result of the earthquake shaking loose groundwater supplies. For a drought stricken area, this presented an unexpected gift in the middle of an otherwise challenging and difficult time.

No one in Napa would have asked for that earthquake. Earthquakes are destructive and undesired. But sometimes earthquakes bring unexpected goods along with them. They expose weakness and demand that we rebuild more wisely. They force us to work together and to care for our fellow man. And, yes, sometimes they even open the ground and release springs of water.

These things are true, not only of physical earthquakes that affect the ground, but also the earthquakes that affect our relationships, health and finances. You may never have experienced a violent, building destroying earthquake, but almost certainly you have walked through a death or sickness in your family, the loss of a job or even a fissured marriage or friendship.

These quakes are no less destructive than the ones that shake the ground and they can result in severe and long-term damage. But they can also reveal inside of us, wells of strength and untapped resources that we did not know existed. 

I have experienced a number of violent quakes in my life. Some of them were so severe that I wasn’t sure I would make it out. But I have discovered that when I look up to heaven and ask for help instead of looking down and cursing the situation, I discover God’s grace and help in ways I didn’t even know existed. 

Jesus said, “whoever believes in me will have rivers of living water flowing from his heart.” I have found this to be true, especially when circumstances are at their shakiest around me. When we reach out to our Heavenly Father in earthquake moments, we discover that He has hidden resources reserved for the moments in life when we need them most.

The pastors in Kings County would love the opportunity to encourage you to tap into the river of God this weekend. Why don’t you grab your family and get into church this Sunday? You will discover new resources in the midst of the earthquakes of life.

Andrew Cromwell is the executive pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford. E-mail him at or call 582-1528.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


by Tim Howard

As a child, my parents had us kids bow our heads before every meal and say grace. I didn’t know what that meant until my parents told me it was a blessing or a statement of thanksgiving for the meal we were about to receive. That was difficult for me since I was a very picky eater and didn’t usually like what I was being asked to devour. I would rather have prayed for a miracle and ask God to change the spinach into French fries and the broccoli into ice cream! 

Since that time I’ve discovered the word ‘grace’ to mean so much more than a prayer you offer before a meal. It has helped me to lead people in a more compassionate way. It causes me to release people from my ‘hard line’ ways and encourages them to experience a dimension of freedom from my opinions. Grace helps me love people more completely because it doesn’t make performance the basis of relationship. It is an activity that is cloaked around generosity, kindness and goodwill. When grace is present a person will find favor, acceptance and respect. 

Paul the Apostle used these words to describe our relationship with Christ. Eph. 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Grace makes relationship possible! Without it, none of us could connect with God or others for a long-term kinship.

Some people believe in Karma. The literal meaning of the word means action, work or deed. It basically refers to the principle of causality where intent and actions of an individual – influence and dictate the future of that individual. Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and future suffering. In other words, ‘What goes around comes around.’ 

I do believe your actions carry repercussions and ramifications. Isaiah Is. 3:10-11 indicate that to be true. “Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with them for what their hands have dealt out shall be done to them.” Paul the Apostle said: “whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

There is much to be said for this principle but God’s Word tells us that your good or bad actions do not dictate and decide your ultimate fate. God’s Grace does! According to the Bible… No one’s future is bright if it is determined by his or her own personal thoughts, actions and attitudes. We have all sinned, disobeyed, strayed, resisted, rebelled and lived in autonomy. No amount of good works can earn you a medal – deserving of a pardon. 

Believe me, you don’t want to get what you deserve. You and I need GRACE from God and people need for us to extend grace to them.

Maybe you should set some time aside to visit one of the many church families this weekend. It’s a place where grace is extended to all those who come.

 Pastor Tim Howard is the Lead Pastor at Koinonia Church. Any comments can be sent to:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stop Going Around

by Andrew Cromwell

Most of us have a built-in dislike for anything that makes us uncomfortable and is difficult. And that is normal. There are times when this self-protection mechanism is beneficial to us. Running straight into a buzzing hornet’s nest is just not very smart and will most certainly result in great pain and suffering.

But when it comes to relationships, this natural inclination toward self-protection often results in behavior that actually causes more pain in the long run. You know how it goes, your spouse, friend, boss, or co-worker has a pattern of doing or saying something that is hurtful to you. Your choice is to either ignore it or talk about it with them. The “talking about it” option sounds difficult to most of us. We immediately envision that conversation going very badly and we generally choose to avoid it at all costs.

We choose to work around the issue rather than confronting it. Often, we go to ridiculous lengths to avoid having that talk. Sometimes we avoid the person for as long as possible, coming up with any and every excuse in the book to keep from being with them. When avoidance is not an option, we will often end up acting like nothing is wrong at all.

For many relationships, this strategy is the equivalent of watching the dog go to the bathroom in the middle of the floor and then, instead of cleaning it up, we just throw a rug over it and try to avoid stepping on that spot again. Everyone knows what happened, but no one will actually clean up the mess.

And generally, if the dog has done his business once, he is going to do it again. And again. And unless we change our strategy, we end up with land mines all over the living room as we delicately seek to step in just the right places so as to avoid exposing the mess.

Eventually, the smell becomes so bad that it would seem the only option would be to actually clean up the messes. What is so sad is that more often than not, what people do is one of two things: either they just continue to act like nothing is wrong (no matter how ridiculous this might seem) or they just move into another room.

Everyone knows that a dog mess does not clean itself up. So if you are not going to throw a rug over it, you have to get out the cleaning supplies, put on some gloves and just get to it. Usually, the smell gets a little worse and sometimes you even get a little bit of it on your hands, but soon all evidence of the mess is gone.

In relationships, the only real way to clean up messes is that you have to choose to go toward them rather than go around them. You have to roll up your sleeves and get into it. Of course, you need the right supplies and strategy if you are going to have a good result—if you use cleaners that are too harsh you’ll do more damage than good.

The best, most intimate relationships are those that have worked through tough stuff and come out on the other side. The most superficial relationships are those that avoid the tough stuff altogether. You might have been married to or known someone for fifty years, but if you’ve never dealt with the dog doodoo then you haven’t really gotten very far.

What messes have you been avoiding in your relationships? Where have you fallen into the habit of going around things rather than simply talking about them? Maybe the next time you run into a relationship mess, you should move towards it rather than running away from it.