Sunday, March 28, 2010

NICK VANDERLAAN AT CCNORCO

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March Madness made it's way to Calvary Chapel Norco as Nick Vanderlaan was our special guest speaker. Nick was hard to miss at 6'10" and his testimony for Christ was just as easy to see. He told of his time in the NCAA and his experience as a pro player in the NBA minor leagues. Here's a little video clip of him giving glory to God. We met on the Israel trip and it was great to see him and his wife Jackie and little daughter Naomi once again.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

HOSANNA


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP


HOSANNA

(Mark 11:9) Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday the people cried out "Hosanna!" It's a word we throw out every now and then as well as on this special day. It's a fun word and has a happy feeling to it. But what does it mean? It's always good to know the reason behind what we are doing as believers in the Lord so let's give some definition.

Hosanna is a Hebrew word that is built from two other words to give a compound meaning. The first part yasha' means to "save" or "deliver." The second part na' means "I pray now." So together the word hosanna means "come and save me now I pray."

Why were the people saying this at the time of the triumphal entry into the city? Well, they were pilgrims coming into Jerusalem for the Passover feast and the Jews would traditionally sing selections from the Psalms. This would include the Song of Ascents (Psalm 120-134) as they were ascending up to the city of Jerusalem. They would also have the Hallel psalms (Psalm 113-118) on their minds that were sung at the great festivals of Israel. Psalm 118:25-26 says..."Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!...referring to how salvation only comes from the Lord and one is blessed who comes in the name of Yahweh to worship at the Temple.

So now you can picture it. As Jesus was riding into the city he met a group of pilgrims singing these celebratory psalms in anticipation of the Passover feast. Suddenly their praise shifts over to Jesus and His coming as King into the holy city. Psalm 118:25-26 became their special song and it was prophetic of Jesus' offer of Himself as King to His people. Jesus came in the name of the Lord and the people were crying out for the King to save them. Even the children were picking up the refrain and Jesus said if they didn't the rocks would cry it. It was a special time and a special event as our Lord entered His passion towards the cross.

But did you know that a person can still cry "hosanna" today? The first hosanna is when we ask the Lord to save us. We recognize Jesus as the One who came in the name of the Lord to bring His salvation through His shed blood. Have you cried hosanna to the Lord? Have you asked Him to save you now? Do you recognize Him as the One who came from the Father? That He went to the cross and rose again? (Rom 10:9) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

The second hosanna you can use is when you as a believer are found in some kind of trouble. You need the Lord to save you and to save you now! You understand that Jesus comes in the name of the Lord to be the help that you need in times of difficulty. That it's not a program you need. It's the person of Jesus Christ who you can call upon. He will rescue you from the dangerous waters that threaten you. He is a refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble. (Psa 46:1) All you have to do is cry out like Peter when he was going under and say," Lord, save me!" (Mat 14:30) He will stretch out His hand to save you and deliver you in a flood of great waters. (Psa 32:6)

Hosanna! Now you know it's a prayer you can pray as well. On palm Sunday or any day!!

Louie

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DETERMINATION


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP



DETERMINATION

(Luke 9:51) Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.

Would you categorize yourself as a determined person? One who resolves to do something and doesn't get sidetracked no matter what? Do you attack your problems with fortitude and grit? Or maybe you feel just the opposite. You tend to avoid difficult situations and hope they just kind of go away. And when they don't you feel uncomfortable and agitated as to the long term prevalence of your problem. You then weaken and wilt and fall prey to your anxiety and feel like a victim of the "system." If you're the latter (like a lot of us) then you need to learn determination!

So many people speak of Passion Week when Easter comes around beginning with Palm Sunday and then ending with Good Friday and Easter Sunday. But did you know that Jesus was determined to go the cross long before He arrived in Jerusalem? Months before He was up in Galilee away from the hostile religious leaders down in Jerusalem. Then Luke tells us that the time had come for Jesus to be received up. Jesus then steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. Later He arrived and kept His focus all the way to the cross.

What kind of obstacle might be in the way in your life currently? Are you facing a health issue? Is there a difficult relationship you are dealing with? Is there a mountain of complexities and perplexities that is overwhelming you and you are wanting to flee from it all but you can't? Then you need the Lord to make you a determined person and trust that He will navigate you through your hardships. (Heb 2:10)

Sometimes we are forced into an arena of life that we wouldn't choose otherwise. But this may be the Lord who is trying to teach us His power in difficult situations. Instead of relying on willpower it is time then to rely on God's power! We've tried in the past to do it on our own but we have failed miserably. Now it's time to lay claim on the promises from God's Word.

Zerubbabel faced the incredible task of rebuilding the Temple but was answered with: (Zech 4:6-7) ...“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain!... Abraham and Sarah were facing infertility yet God had said they were to have a son of promise: (Gen 18:14) Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Daniel was determined to live a pure and holy life in the midst of a defiled pagan nation: (Dan 1:8) But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Once we understand God's power we can then be determined to keep moving forward as we watch the Lord topple the mountains in front of us. He will make smooth our paths ahead of us but not until we decide to walk down that road in faith.

Make determination work for you in a positive way. You're either determined to go ahead in life or you are determined that there is no way you can. Either way you make a choice and walk down a road. The time has come for you to set your face toward your "Jerusalem" and never turn back. It will be worth the trek!

Louie

Thursday, March 11, 2010

GOOD LUCK


SHEPHERD TO SHEEP

GOOD LUCK

(Num 6:24-26) The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’

It is common when you want to wish someone well to say "good luck" to them. You want them to succeed in their pursuits and perhaps that's the best thing you can think of saying at the time. It's a nice thing to say and usually the person responds by saying "Thanks!" But is saying "good luck" the right thing to say? And why make such a big deal about a common saying in our culture anyway?

Luck is defined as "the chance happening of fortunate events." Luck includes a belief that something is out there working for people at occasional times. They don't know what that force is but they are sure glad that fortune or fate favors them when they needed it. They end up saying "Thank my lucky stars" or something like that and are just thankful things went there way.

Some people don't believe in luck at all. They are skeptical of it. "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." (Seneca, Roman dramatist) "The harder I work, the luckier I get." (Samuel Goldwyn) This category of people are the hard working type who make things happen instead of waiting for your number to come up or your ship to come in. And then there are those who side more with Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars series: "In my experience, there's no such thing as luck." This persuasion leans more towards there being a force or a cause that affects all. Like Buddhism this teaches all things which happen must have a cause, either material or spiritual, and do not occur due to luck, chance or fate. (That's ironic because belief in luck is overwhelmingly prevalent in many predominantly Buddhist Asian countries!)

But what does the Bible say about luck? You know if you really look through the pages of scripture you find the emphasis is not on luck but on God's blessings. God is in control of all events. When good things happen we call them blessings. When bad things happen we call them blessings in disguise because...(Rom 8:28) ...we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Nothing is coincidence but providence. God is good all the time and can be trusted even during the occasion of harsh or adverse events. (Job 2:10) ...Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”...

I talked to a woman in the hospital today who said she felt so blessed and who had such a peace about her circumstances. This is also knowing her mother is also in the hospital 3,000 miles away! From where does that serenity and optimism come from? (Col 3:15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

I believe if you understand the grace and favor of God you will feel fortunate no matter what. You know that God loves you and is in control of all things. Whatever happens you know God is ruling His universe. You just wake up in the morning and give the Lord the day. You pray that the Lord will lead you and guide you in all aspects of that day. You know God is in charge and is managing your affairs. You expect the Lord to bless you because you are under grace and not under the law. There is no karma involved and you’re not getting paid back for anything because Jesus paid for it all on the cross.

Instead of saying “good luck” to someone why not say “The Lord bless you” because He is good all the time!

Louie

Friday, March 5, 2010

FINAL DAY (DAY 9) IN ISRAEL

The day started out with singing happy birthday to Dean and Gaby. They are twins and turned 18 today. The bus sang happy birthday to them first thing. What a way to spend your birthday...in Jerusalem!

(Jer 29:11) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

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We met at the garden tomb and heard pastor Chuck give a message on the resurrection. We then had communion. It was a special time and a great way to spend our last day in Israel.

(Acts 1:3) to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
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Thist is the Lion's Gate. See the lions on the upper right and left of the gate? We walked all around the city with our tour guide as he pointed out things to us about Jerusalem.
(Psa 48:12) Walk about Zion, And go all around her. Count her towers;
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After we had a study at the pool of Bethesda we went in to St. Annes church built during the time of the Crusades. We sang and worshipped in the church as it is known for it's great acoustics. Our worship leader was Billy on the harmonica.
(Mark 14:26) And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
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After a visit to the upper room we took a group photo of those on our bus. We had such a great time getting to know these special saints from all over the States who like us joined with pastor Chuck and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.

(1 John 1:3-4) ... truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
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Here are the birthday twins at the airport ready to go home. What a great trip we had! I am looking forward to sharing on Sunday morning about the trip as I tie it in to the message from God's Word.
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Lord willing we will go again to Israel in spring of 2012. Hope you can join us!!
(Heb 6:3) And this we will do if God permits.
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SHALOM!! : )
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

DAY 8 IN ISRAEL

At the beginning of the day we were dropped off on top of the Mount of Olives to walk down the Palm Sunday road. Half way down we had a Bible study with pastor Chuck. In the background was a great view overlooking the city of Jerusalem.

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As we walked further down the steep road I was able to get a video our group walking along the road like they did 2,000 years ago in Christ's time:

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At the end of the Palm Sunday road we entered the garden of Gethsemene where our Lord agonized the night before His crucifixion.

(Mat 26:36-37) Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there." {37} And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.

Olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane. Can you picture Jesus and His disciples here?

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This is Golgotha, the place of the skull. It's the possible location where our Lord was crucified.

(Mark 15:22) And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.

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Gaby


Patty


Dean



Cheryl

Why are they so happy? What did they just see?


(Mat 28:6) "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
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In the afternoon we went underground along the Western Wall and saw the ancient walls of Herod the Great.
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Tomorrow is our last day in Jerusalem. We will have communion at the Garden Tomb and then have free time in Jerusalem before we drive to the airport for our return flight home. I won't be able to blog until I get home so come on back in a few days and see the rest of the pics from our last day in the Holy Land! Shalom!!
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Monday, March 1, 2010

DAY 7 IN ISRAEL



We started out the day at the southern steps of the old city Jerusalem. Here we had praise and worship and a study from pastor Chuck.


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This is a 1 to 50 scale model of the old city Jerusalem including the Temple mount area in front. It really helped to see how things were in the Bible days.



Next door to the model scale of Jersalem is the Dead Sea scroll museum. The top of the museum is designed to look like the lid of a clay pot. Clay jars housed the Dead Sea scrolls for centuries until they were discovered in 1947 in Qumran by the Dead Sea.


(Isa 40:8) The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."


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Shofar being blown in old city Jerusalem celebrating the feast of Purim.

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We then bussed out to the Yad Vashem holocaust museum. May we never forget!!

(Isa 40:1) "Comfort, yes, comfort My people!" Says your God.

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Pastor Chuck teaching the book of Ruth with Bethlehem in the background. We even sang Christmas carols!

(Micah 5:2) "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting."

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Here are the golden arches. The sign in the middle of the "M" says "kosher."
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