Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Open Doors

by Tim Howard

My first job after graduating from high school – at the age of 19 was working at an Exxon Service Station in Vancouver, British Columbia. My assignment was to pump gas into the vehicle, check the oil and tires – wash the front windows and smile. Those were the days when ‘Gas Stations’ actually gave you service and there was no such thing as ‘Self Serve.’ I had been working with my dad since the 8th grade but this new job was outside the family and I was a bit fearful to say the least.

I was able to land this position because of a relationship I had with a friend – who in turn had a relationship with the owner. I discovered this old adage to be true: “It’s not what you know but who you know that matters the most.”

Relationships are of key importance if doors and opportunities are to open in any area – especially employment. One can understand the frustration with ‘Job Hunting’ in today’s climate because many times it’s done through filling out a “Resume” and little – if any, personal contact.

Having a relationship with God is key because if you are His friend – He knows everyone. He is able to give you favor and open doors for you.

Revelation chapter 3 – in the Bible, we are told that God speaks to a specific group of people and tells them this: “These are the words of him who is holy and true…What God opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds…. I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut… “

When decisions need to be made in reference to future opportunities – I pray the same prayer that I’ve prayed – hundreds of times – over the past 65 years. “Oh God if this opportunity is right for me then ‘Open the Door’ but if it’s not the correct choice – please ‘Close the Door.”

God can open and close doors. When He chooses to close a door it is for our best! We may be disappointed with His ‘No’ to our request but with hindsight – His wisdom can often be perceived. Some of the greatest blessings for me personally have resulted from Him not allowing me to have what I desire and requested.

Here’s what I have learned: When God closes a door that you wish He would open – He does so because He intends to open a door – you could not imagine would open.

In 2002 God closed doors to a 28-year vocation that was based in Fresno, Ca. My resignation brought many tears and not knowing what was next in my life brought more tears.

I could not have imagined what God would do – two years later.
In January 2004 He opened a door to the city of Hanford that would allow me the privilege of being the Lead Pastor of ‘Koinonia Church.” As a result: The people of Hanford and Kings County have provided my family with tremendous joy over the past 13 years. I’m reminded of a scripture that says: “…Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning…” My morning came in 2004.

Don’t be discouraged when doors are closed or even slammed in your face. God has plans for opening a door that you can’t imagine. He says to you: 1 Cor. 2:9 “… No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” He has plans for you and they are all good.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Make the Rest of Your Life Different

by Andrew Cromwell

Every day is an opportunity to define the rest of your life. Many of us feel that we have already made mistakes that can never be repaired and that have defined our lives. Sometimes we feel trapped and powerless, stuck in our life and condemned to a future that looks like the past. But this just isn’t true. There are so many examples of people who have been right where you are and have changed. They have changed their outlook and their choices and by doing so, they have also changed their future.

It always starts with one decision and it always starts right now.
How will you live the rest of your life? What will define you next month, next year or ten years from now? Will you be moving and growing or will you stay stuck? 

The Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 5:15, “be careful how you walk, not as unwise…but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”  We are surrounded by plenty of evil.  We are more then familiar with its results. The question is how will we walk in the midst of evil surroundings. Will we be wise or will we be unwise?

Here are a few simple truths that can keep us on the right track and help us live the rest of our life with great success.  I must warn you, these are not easy or feel good truths, but they have the power to transform our life if we allow them. If you want to live a different tomorrow, start these things today and you will see the results.

First, pay up.  Romans 13:8 says, “Let no debt remain outstanding.”  We all know that in America the national pastime has been the acquisition of more and more personal debt in order to pay for things we want but can’t afford.  Now that all that has come back to haunt us, we are once again learning the hard lesson that debt does nothing more than make us a slave to the lender.  This year, make a decision to pay your debts — get out from under that credit card debt, sell the car and dump the car payment and make some wise spending decisions.

Second, build up.  After Romans 13:8 says to let no debt remain outstanding, it says “except the continued debt to love one another.”  There is a debt that we all owe and that we can never repay.  That is, the debt to Jesus Christ for loving us unconditionally and for offering us a way out of our self-imposed exile from Father God.  Because of what Christ did for us, we now have an obligation to love and build up our fellow human beings.  If we can realize that life is not about us but about building other people up, we will discover true success.

Third, we must wake up.  Romans 13:11 says, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber.”  Many of us have fallen asleep spiritually.  We have allowed the things of this world, the pursuit of money and the rat race, the toys and trinkets and all the mind-deadening entertainment escapes to lull us into a spiritual slumber.  It’s time to wake up!  The truth is, God has a plan for your life!  He has great things that He wants to do in and through you, but only if we will stir ourselves out of our stupor and get back on the track of life and light. 

So let me encourage you, start the year out right and make a commitment to get out of debt, live to invest in others and to pursue the things of God.  

Saturday, May 7, 2016

In Celebration of Moms!

by Tim Howard

This weekend our nation celebrates all mothers!

Anna Jarvis was the catalyst for this tradition of honoring mothers and because of her persistence – on May 9, 1914 by an act of congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

Even prior to that decision, God gave us the Ten Commandments and the 5th commandment says: “Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long…” Ex. 20:12. It is the only commandment with a promise.

Being a mom is not so easy! One woman said: ‘‘before I was married, I had three theories about raising children. Now, I have three children and no theories.'' Can any of you moms relate to that?

If you want to be a mother you must be able control your emotions when you walk to your child’s room in the darkness of night and step on a bunch of Legos that your little one left in your path. It’s not easy!

If you want to be a mother you will be required to work long hours – give up your personal space – be on call 24/7 – get very few hours of sleep – receive little thanks and enjoy it. It’s not easy!

Someone compared a mother to Moses – A leading figure in the Bible who never entered the land of promise. They said: “Every mother is like Moses. She does not enter the Promised Land. She only prepares a world she will not see”.

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the famous French sculptor, gave 20 years of devotion and raised $4 million to complete the Statue of Liberty: For over 130 years this statue has towered above Bedloe Island near the entrance to New York harbor. It’s the great American symbol of freedom. The French nation gave the USA this statue, but finding a model for the sculptor became quite controversial. She had to be a woman whose features could reproduce liberty, freedom, respect, love, and acceptance. He examined dozen of outstanding heroes, but in the end he chose as the model - his own mother.
To the Faithful Mother

You put your child’s need above your own desires. When they call – you are there. You do not allow emotion to lead you because you know that love is a decision. We salute you !

To the Unfaithful Mother

God’s love for you is still available. He still wants to grace you with gifts and give you a new start. He will redesign the future for you and give you a mother’s heart. He will hear your prayers and touch your children. He welcomes you!

To the Grieving Mother

You have experienced great loss. Some have sent a child off to war and heard the news that he or she will not be coming home. Some have tasted the pain of losing a child to sickness, accidents and ultimately death.  We salute you!

To the Working Mother

You are seeking to meet a need. Your sacrifices do not go unnoticed and your willingness to provide a quality home is much appreciated. We salute you !

To the single moms – the never married moms – the foster moms – the moms of adoption – the military moms – the grandmothers who fill a void and all other moms – The challenge is great and the road is long but God will meet your needs. You are not alone! We salute you!

This weekend we pause to say: Thank You! We value you! We honor you – We are stronger and better people because of you!