Live to Give

The world continues to change, and with each day it seems the cost of living goes higher. We rarely leave Walmart for under $300 anymore, and to fill the pickup with fuel costs well over $100. We know everyone around us is also feeling this pinch, and it is something we have discussed often amongst each other. Money is not the first thing any of us want to address though, and we definitely don’t like to discuss what is the “right” way to use it with fear of being seen as a hypocrite. But a question I am sure we are all trying to answer is, “How do we keep giving to the church & those in need when we have less and less ‘extra’?” We can find several references to money throughout the Bible, and we can also find that the hearts of men have not changed since the very beginning. In reading about Cain & Abel this week, the Lord makes it very clear how seriously he takes our offerings.

Genesis 4:2b-7

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

‘The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering’; so, what was so different from Cain and Abel’s offerings? Abel gave his FIRSTborn while Cain only gave SOME. This can be applied to several areas of our life, but in particular what of our goods (today that would be mainly our money) are we giving to the Lord. Are we giving first and taking for ourselves second? Or are we only giving when we have “extra.” This could also be a lesson in how we spend our time and our energy. If we are not diligent, we will put our time, energy, and resources (money) towards other things first, and not even realize we are dishonoring God.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8

6Remember this:  The one who plants few seeds will have a small harvest.  But the one who plants a lot will have a big harvest.  7Each one of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give.  You should not give if it makes you unhappy or if you feel forced to give.  God loves those who are happy to give.  8And God can give more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything.  You will have enough to give to every good work.

As I write this, it is a lesson we have to learn in our own home, too. We are not always giving first, although it is very clear throughout the bible that we should. We live in a society where selfishness is glorified and we need to practice being more selfless. As uncomfortable as money conversations can be, it is clear we are all living in the same world where decisions have to be made; and as we talked about during CED last week, God takes all of our actions and thoughts very seriously. Ananias and Sapphira (Acts chp 5) were struck dead for being dishonest with the Lord about their money (the price of the land). We must to be honest with our money, as the Lord knows all. He gave His life for us; what are we willing to give for Him?

By Andrew Hervey, Spiritual Ministry Team Member



Pastor’s Pen

In recent days, I have had extraordinary opportunities to hear several sermons, conference messages and other believers share some profound yet simple things that really caused me to consider much needed ideas and truths that I want to share.

Let’s start with the following – “What offends me, reveals me”.

I started with considering my own offenses and what bus me. God’s Word tell us “it is to a man’s glory to overlook an offense”. (Proverbs 19:11b) Well, Jesus said “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45) So, note the truth about what is held in our hearts will come out in what we say and what offends us…. That means likewise whatever we keep, store, consider – they all point out exactly who we really are, therefore what offends us also tells us a lot about what idols we have, what things we care about and what is important truly to us. Do these things that offend us line up with what bothers God? Do the offenses line up with what Scripture tells us should offend us? Either we are a pile of grudges and grumbles about pet peeves and fickle feelings or we are rightly bothered by the things of God and of His Word.

Next is this – “in God’s plan, small is the new big”.

After pondering this I found that most folks dream of doing big, great things for the LORD…. That is good and admirable, but isn’t it the little things done consistently over time what advents the biggest lifelong changes. The Word tells us “who despises the day of small things”. (Zecheriah 4:10a) and “He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are” (1 Corinthians 1:28), not to mention “He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” (Matthew 13:31-33) Each of this indicate a small thing or a person considers as such making big impact. Yeast is a miniscule fungus that impacts food and drink. A mustard seed is tiny, but when planted and germinates grows to bring a tree that gives shade, home and rest. And people who seem unimportant bring many small things into larger than life reality. God takes small things – that over time produce lasting fruit, relationships and changes to lives.

Now – I would like to now share what God gave me – “prepare for prophetic reality looking forward to the future without neglecting the duty of today”.

Think about it…. Looking at Scripture as a whole – many prophecies have been, are and will continue to come to fruition. It tells us to look ahead to Jesus’ return as the seasons of the end times are at hand and in great convergence; all the while not forgetting to “be about the master’s business” while we look forward to “His glorious appearing”. All three in conjunction are necessary to live a full life of service in proper perspective as the Gospel is fleshed out in our lives from faith.

Which one of these hits you right where you live today, in this moment, at this juncture? I confess – all three deeply have affected and have brought about great effect in my life…. Will you let what “the Holy Spirit is saying to the church” move you beyond where you have settled comfortably and into a place of small miracles that certainly have eternal impact?


By Jesus’ Grace, Truth and Love,

Pastor Daren Lee Barnett




Psalm 130: 5-8 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.  O Israel, hope in the Lord!  For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.  And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.  Commentary:  The word hope in our present thinking most often carries the idea of wishful thinking, but in biblical thought, hope was synonymous with certainty.  (Heb 11:1 )The psalmist puts his hope in God’s Word; he is standing on the promises of God.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Commentary: Faith treats the thinks hooped for as facts and places confidence today in what has been promised for the future.  It is an absolute conviction-based on the assurance of God’s unchangeable and perfect character-that God’s romises will be gulfilled.  For the unbeliever, “Seeing is believing.”  For the believer, “Believing is seeing.” (Romans 8:24, 1Peter 1:8,9)

Romans 8: 24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:18-30 is about future glory)

My great aunt, Annie, and I were talking this week about hope and what it truly means and how to share it with others.  To be able to share with others that hope isn’t just this, “I am wishing for” but true biblical hope is certainty.  I believe we were talking about Catholicism when this came up, how they don’t really “believe” (maybe if that’s the right word” in hope because they don’t fully rely on God’s work.  They kind of read it, (or take parts of it and use) but rely more on other writings/teachings from other “people”.  They don’t really know if they will go to heaven until they get to maybe purgatory? (I don’t quite know all the details about how they believe the “order of things” after death.  Jaden was sharing what she has recently learned about it and we were discussing/discerning some scripture and such to share with Catholics.)  But our main thought was how sad to be missing out on such an incredible part of what the Lord gives us.  Hope!  That hope we can patiently wait for and be certain of.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot since we talked about it, how simple yet profound that is (hope synonymous with certainty) how it’s one more little tool to use when talking about Jesus.  I’m sure I’ve been told that numerous times but this time it stuck.  Sometimes our (my) thick heds have to be told something numerous times before it “sticks”.  I’m thankful for my conversation with Jaden that lead to my conversation with Annie.

Thank you Jesus for suffering the way you did.  For me.  For all of us.  We (I) don’t deserve it in the slightest (and I pray we don’t take it for granted).  But, because you suffered, died a slow agonizing death and then conquered death, we can hope in a future with You.  Praise you Lord, that we can be certain with that. )If we are born again believers.)  And if you aren’t a born again believer… is the day.  Right now is the time.  We aren’t promised tomorrow.




Pastor’s Pen

In our day, things that God detests abound and even things that make Jesus sick…. Sadly, it is not just the world, but it is among His people. The following passages, I just cannot shake. The first passage comes from the wisdom literature of the Old Testament.

Proverbs 6:16-19

There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him:

haughty eyes – this is the arrogant looks and see themselves higher than they really are – this is psychopathic narcissism

a lying tongue – untruths, feigned words, false presentations in what they say – this is pathological falsehood

hands that shed innocent blood – bloodthirsty and enjoys slaughter of innocence – this is sadistic torture

a heart that devises wicked plans – schemes and texturing of narratives and imaginations – this is premeditated sabotage to emotionally manipulate

feet that hastily run to evil – a hunger for argument and adversity and causing distress – this is looking to cause problems

a false witness who breathes out lies – sham recorder and feigned testimony – this is perjury for selfish ends and framing

one who sows discord among brothers – causes fights, strife, quarrels, contention in relations – this is controlling and causing relational break down

 The second passage comes from the apocalyptic Scripture from the New Testament.

Revelation 3:14-16  “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

If you did not guess it, the word used by Jesus when telling John what to write down is vomit. It makes Jesus sick when Christians that bear His name are lukewarm! When indifference sets into the hearts, minds and lives of His people…

 If you these place these two passages of the Word of God side by side – you can see the characteristics of what I call a spiritual psycho-sociopathic narcissist. Think about it! Thinks to highly of themselves, willing to hurts others and harm others relationships, has no problems pinning one against another to control situations, has hidden plans and schemes to manipulate emotions, feign charm and testimony to twist and skew things in their direction or favor and then have no empathy, concern or care – indifference towards how things have affect as long as they get what they want and need.

So, in an age that is full of these hated attitudes and actions – really a prophesied increase of wickedness and self-centeredness that Jesus and Paul warned us about, do not let your love grow cold… do not give up doing good, and do not repay evil with evil… rather speak the truth in love, expose the deeds of darkness, stand firm in the Word of God and do not lose heart by becoming bitter…. Satan is attempting to wear out the saints. Remember, in the end God wins! The wicked perish and the false are made known…

Praying Deeply and Standing in the Lord,

Pastor D. L. Barnett


Life’s Choices

I find myself, at that point in my life, between working through choices of getting myself through the day and those of getting myself right for the day.  This time of the year for us reminds me of life’s uncertainties and that we are promised strength for each day, whatever that day brings, when we rest in the promises of our Lord.

Our choices never end from the moment we rise in the morning until we rest our head on the pillow at night.  What to wear?  What to eat? Did the laundry get put in the dryer? Do I have gas in the car?  What do I need to do first at work?  What and who do I need to address or can it wait?  What do I say – What don’t I say?  Did I get the clothes in the dryer?

Unfortunately, we may have forgotten to ask the more important questions:

Who need to hear words of encouragement?

How can I best be Jesus to someone?

How can I speak truth in honest, loving ways and how do I show Jesus’ love with those who don’t know Him or want to know Him?

Help me speak truth in honest, loving ways and may my actions reflet your hands, Jesus.  Align my thoughts with Your will, Lord.  Help me remember that you have this, Lord, and it is written for us to reference when we need it.

Let’s: Open our Bibles, rest in His word, obey His commandments, speak His truth, walk in His path, listen with a discerning heart, and reach out in His love –Love God, Love others.

By Ann Krause,

Spiritual Ministry Team Member



Pastor’s Pen

So, I have been pondering… I have been seeking… I have been praying… asking the LORD some questions. Those life questions that keep a man up at night and those deep questions that everyone will face someday.

How long do I have left on this earth?

What Biblical prophecies will I get to see come to fruition?

Have I been the man God wants me to be?

What does God really think about me?

What do my wife, my kids, my friends, my congregation really think of me?

Have I been a good husband, father, friend, pastor?

What will God have me doing in the foreseeable future?

Have I really made an impact for Jesus?

Have the things I said and the things I have done pleasing to the LORD?

Maybe this is all vanity, but I know that one day I will stand before Holy God Almighty and give an account… as it is written:

Matthew 12:36-37  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

2 Corithians 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Hebrews 9:27  ….as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment

 I think it is a good and godly thing to seriously consider the questions that bring us to place of humble circumspection about ourselves and ask God to help us in that introspection. A passage that Paul recorded in the New Testament really keeps things in perspective:

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

I know I don’t what to be found wanting when I die or Jesus returns – whichever comes first. And I believe that the Bible is clear about confession, honesty and integrity and judgement. If one deals rightly in this matter before the day of account as they stand before the LORD, what has been dealt with here on earth, letting the LORD judge me now, these things will not be part of that day of account.

Letting the LORD Look Deep in My Heart, and I am praying you are too….




Luke 21:34-36  “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

This life is full of heaviness…. and often many seek to lighten the burden through things that only temporarily ease the strain; yet more times than not these very things increase the weight. What is even worse – they dull the spiritual senses, leave a person trapped and distracted.

In the verse above it refers to the heart being weighed down. The word weighed down in the Biblical Greek means overcharged, burdened, grievous and heavy. The term heart means not just the physical heart but the thoughts, feelings, and mind plus being broken hearted.

I can’t help but notice that three things cause a heavy-hearted brokenness in one’s life: dissipation, drunkenness and the cares of this life.

   Dissipation means literally a headache or seizure of pain from debauched( that is to corrupt by intemperance or sensuality and or to lead away from virtue or excellence) surfeiting (that is an intemperate or immoderate indulgence in something such as food or drink and or disgust caused by excess) gluttony. 

 Makes one think of having to loosen their belt after a Thanksgiving meal because they ate so much it hurts or a hangover headache from overindulgence of alcohol, caffeine laden drinks or anything over consumed that has a side effect of a headache or pain.

Drunkenness means any intoxicant- and just so happens the Greek word is methē. Makes one think of meth. SO obviously it is more than just beer and booze, it is anything that intoxicates a person from overuse or misuse.

Cares of this life means through the idea of distraction and solicitude (that is the state of being in excessive concern and anxious, eager uneasiness of mind lest some desired thing may not be obtained or some apprehended evil may happen). Makes one think of a person so worried and fearful of something going wrong and bad things coming in the future or not getting something they want and the current rise of anxiety in people today.

These three things all prevent a person from being ready for Jesus’ return…. I think we can even be so worried about the state of the world or so enamored by the world that we become heavy laden and spiritually sleepy.

How about you?

Prayerfully and Lovingly Yours, By Jesus’ Grace,

Pastor Daren Lee Barnett



Contentment is Found in Christ Alone

How many of us are content? Many struggle with this, always looking for the next best thing that we think will make us happy but once we have it or the newness wears off, we are once again discontent.  We need to slow down and realize that being closer to God, being happy with what we have and realizing what is truly important will bring us contentment. When you have a complaint, remember all your blessings!

I read the following and it really hit home.  “Don’t let your prayers become an exercise in worrying on your knees!  Always keep in mind the blessings in your life that God gives you every single day.  Give him thanks for everything he has done for you.  Bring your concerns to God knowing that you will receive peace from Him.  Contentment comes from the strength we receive from Christ.  Learn to be content even when you are facing difficult circumstances by being thankful and grateful and giving your worries over to Christ.

Hebrews 135: tells us that we are to be content with what we have.  Paul went through horrible persecution and suffering, but he was able to face his trials due to his contentment in Christ. In Philippians 4:12-13 Paul said “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

Here are some steps to a contented life from the teaching of Paul:

*Give thanks in all things.

*Rest in God’s Word

*Learn to be satisfied with little.

*Learn to live above life’s circumstances.

*Rely on God’s power.

*Become preoccupied with the well-being of others.

With everything happening in the world today it can be difficult to be content but studying God’s word, praying and keeping Jesus front and center in our lives will help us face these trials.  Christ promises strength for today!

By Melissa King

Spiritual Ministry Team Member



Pastor’s Pen

I recently read this for my morning devotions and it struck me that too often people miss what God has called them to do…. And a friend of mine sent me this following quote around same time I was reading the devotional below:

“There are two great days in our lives…. The day we are born and they day we know why we were born.”

I would like to actually put right in the middle of these two great days, the greatest day – the day we are born again. I hope the devotional below strikes you deeply at the heart and effects change in your calling from the Lord.

“He called ten of His servants….” (Luke 19:13)

Have you ever been in a place where the phone kept ringing and nobody answered it? In moments like that it seems everybody is busy with something else, assuming that somebody else will answer the call. But nobody does. After awhile it can get to be quite annoying. There is something irritating about an incessant, unanswered call.

Over the years I have noticed a similar thing in the lives of many people — a call that is not being answered. A call from God. Busy with so many other things, and sure that the call is for someone else, many men loose themselves in trivial moments and miss the momentous opportunity to answer the call of God on their lives. Have you answered the call?

Missing out on God’s call for your life would be the worst thing that could happen. Research shows that one of the greatest fears men face is having lived a meaningless life; a life that didn’t matter; a life that made no difference. This dreadful thought haunts even the most accomplished of individuals. Maybe it haunts you even now.

Os Guinness wrote, “Our passion is to know that we are fulfilling the purpose for which we are on earth. All other standards of success—wealth, power, position, knowledge, and friendships—all grow tiny and hollow if we do not satisfy this deeper longing.”

Each of us long to know that our lives counted; that we accomplished what we were put on this earth to do. Yet, in an odd contradiction, nothing is more common than unrealized potential. Most of us settle for far less than we are capable of being, and of doing. On the one hand we want our lives to count; on the other hand, we seem far too willing to become marginalized into mediocrity. Our only hope is to answer the call of God upon our lives.

 Now, I took this to heart and came up with some practical things that I have begun to apply to my life that are helping me realize the potential God has called me to:

Less Entertainment and More Learning Engagement. Choose prayer, visiting others, reading, documentaries and podcasts over movies, social media and television programs. Non-fiction is far greater than Fiction.

Pick Productive Hobbies instead of Mundane Activities. Some things are mindless, and others are mind-filling, find ones that produce and promote skill and growth that benefits your life and others lives. Eg: Bible Study

Grow in Your Vocations Skills and Development in Your Calling. Nothing better than a man “working as unto the Lord”…. Christians should be the best, most productive and knowledgeable in the call and work God has put them in.

Expand Your Vocations. It has been said “I am a jack of all trades and master of none”…. I attempt to become master of many trades, as to be not only help but a better leader. Take for instance a man named Kevin Swanson. He is a full-time pastor plus a daily radio program host, home school curriculum writer and teacher.

Understand the Definition of Laziness and Don’t Be a Slacker. Not doing what your supposed to do when your supposed to do it… because then you can’t do what you want to do when you want to do it. Rather we should do what we are supposed to do when we are supposed to do it… then we can do what we want to do when we want  to do it. I would like to add do not miss the mark and equate godly rest as an excuse just so you can do less… this is the biblical definition of what it means to be a sluggard. Yes we need a day of rest and times away “on the mountain”; however many use this as a way out of godly work and service.

Set a Scheduled Routine for Bedtime and Get out of Bed time. I know, we all like a day now and then to sleep in… and it is good on occasion, yet we are given only a set number of days and hours in our lives so oversleeping does what Proverbs 20:13 says “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.” Right and regular rest coupled with intentionality with our time will not only keep us full of energy – it makes our time more productive and useful. Besides, we all know what happens when kids do not have a schedule – guess what, adults are the same…. We just don’t like to admit it.

Keep Your Appointments with God. Do not skip prayer time and devotions time. Any relationship that is skipping over communication and interaction cools and drifts apart. Same goes for our time with the Lord – if you consistently miss it there is no way we will stay spiritually consistent in our relationship with God.




For God has not Given us a Spirit of Fear

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (Timothy 1:7)

In a World full of challenges, trials, and uncertainty this passage is one that we should remind ourselves of often.  Every day when you turn on the news there seems to be a few more things that we could fall prey to fearing if we allow ourselves to.  AI wants to “rewrite” the Bible, our government is busy trying to take away our freedoms, the elites are busy finding ways to combine man and machine, and our children and family unit are under attack like never before.  There is certainly no end of things that bring us great fear in this life.  But this passage is a reminder to us that God has given us the power not only to face those challenges, but to have victory over them.  As followers of Christ, we are blessed to be able to claim the promises of God that are found throughout His Holy Word.

Feeling confused and overwhelmed?  Proverbs 3:5-6 says – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.  Anxious about what’s going on in the world today?  Philippians 4:6-7 says –  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Afraid of the possible coming of religious persecution?  Isaiah 51:7 says –  Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is My law.  Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults. 

There are so many wonderful promises in the Word of God that we are able to claim when we belong to Him!  We can take great comfort in knowing as Deuteronomy 31:6 says –  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.  No matter how frightening this become in these end times, we are never alone, God is in control, and the battle has already been won!

By Darlene Holdgrafer, Spiritual Ministry Team Member