Staff Blog
A blog for the staff at Pacific Church of Irvine

THE INHERITANCE

 

August 1, 2017

 

A poor, elderly couple sat in the office

Of a middle aged attorney’s legal practice.

The reading of the will, as they sat in posh chairs,

A filthy-rich man just made them millionaires!

 

The lawyer had known the deceased for many years,

Whose passing brought the lawyer to impassioned tears.

To hear all that the man had left for this couple

Made his love for the man that much more supple.

 

The long list of items in the inheritance

Was more stunning than anyone’s extravagance.

The deceased was spectacularly generous,

His gifts to this couple mixed with tenderness.

 

A farm was bequeathed, which brought the man to tears,

He’d left a farm he loved, back in his childhood years.

A ranch was bequeathed, with one hundred horses,

These girl’s ranch days had ended with dad’s divorces.

 

A five-bedroom home sat perched on the waterfront,

With a yard so big grandkids could Easter Egg hunt.

God’s sun sat at dusk from this home on the ocean,

But they were clouded with competing emotions.

 

The inheritance was stunning, gifts and treasure,

Certainly beyond them and beyond all measure.

While almost anyone else would have been thrilled,

The deceased was their son, and for them had been killed!

 

Til heav’n comes, I too will be an “inheritant.”

The wealth of which makes “toys” here seem irrelevant.

There’s nothing I would trade, no trinkets, no treasure

Than share my inheritance all for His pleasure.

 

Seth

TWO FISHERMEN

 

July 6, 2017

 

A small boat glides into my still and quiet cove,

Two young teens, hoping to add to their fishing trove.

Baited fishing hooks and lures hang from a pole,

It’s quiet, the hunt begins, they are on patrol.

 

The fish sees nothing of lures and hooks, rods and reels,

He’s moved by what he sees and moved by what he feels.

The bait is slyly tempting, gleaming right at dawn,

The duped fish takes the bait; the morsel is the con.

 

For a brief moment the morsel is so tasty!

It’s just as delectable as any French pastry!

But in a flash, the barbed hook tears into flesh,

His doom is sealed by the hook now locked and enmeshed.

 

The sharp pain is searing as the line is reeled in,

No matter the thrashing, the fish just will not win.

Out of the blue water and into the green net,

The fish has left his home, in shame and vile regret.

 

The boys are gleeful, being smarter than the fish!

They came, they saw, they conquered, getting their wish!

Within seconds, that fish will be a trophy,

His plight is sealed, on a pizza with anchovy.

 

A roaring lion prowls, seeking to devour,

Satan is a fisherman, wants you in his pow’r.

With tempting bait and sly lures, his hook, rod and reel,

He hopes you’ll bite on what you see and what you feel.

 

Seth

This past Sunday I listed out 20 “words of wisdom” for my daughter Charlotte. I wrote these with the idea of Solomon writing Proverbs for his son and thought it would be a fun exercise. A few people after service asked if I would share that list with them. So here it is:

Charlotte:

  1. Pay attention to the way a guy loves and treats his mother, that’s a pretty good window in how he will treat and love you
  2. You can do anything a man can do including, rocket science, changing a tire and assembling IKEA furniture
  3. Older women wear makeup so THEY can look like YOU. You’re good
  4. People will judge you by the way you look. It isn’t fair, but it is how the world works. Keep that in mind as you pick out your outfit in the morning
  5. Never let anyone do your thinking for you. Taste ideas, play with knowledge, come to your own conclusion. There are a lot of people with a lot invested into getting you to believe what they believe
  6. Art and philosophy stretch your mind, science and business keep you fed. You will need both
  7. Nothing is more attractive than intelligence
  8. Learn to drive a stick shift
  9. Be comfortable with power tools
  10. You don’t have to like either but, have a working knowledge of football and baseball
  11. Know the difference between Marvel and DC comics and know the key players in each
  12. You don’t have to “DO” anything for someone to love you. The right person will cross the Sahara for the chance to sit next to you at lunch.
  13. Peer pressure is all about insecurity. Be confident in the woman God created you to be, not in “fitting in”
  14. The fastest way to strain a relationship is bringing up old drama, Your mom knows I don’t remember what towel I used this morning, let alone what I did six months ago.
  15. If a man genuinely loves you, he will let you set the boundries and consider it his duty to protect them
  16. It isn’t all about you. The sooner you learn that you are not the center of the universe the easier life will go for you.
  17. You were flawless the day you were born. Before going to get a tattoo, think to yourself, “Would I want my dad to have this too?” Because I am not afraid to go there.
  18. You are perfect the way you roll out of bed. Don’t confusing wanting to put on makeup with needing to put on make up. You don’t need it.
  19. Though I may be smiling on the outside, when you leave for college, I will be falling a part on the inside. You better call me the first time and tell me you love me.
  20. Compare every single boy you meet to your daddy. Nobody will love you the way I do.

Last week, I sat on our back patio at sunrise, sitting in the midst of June gloom. As Californians, June gloom means “the fog rolled in off the coast.” But more, I was struck by the term, “gloom.” I then wrote this poem…

JUNE GLOOM

 

The fog rolls in off the coast, our Pacific blue,

The sun turns “off,” hiding, cowering, out of view.

The cool summer breeze, fresh mists, delightful to me,

My bible, some coffee, sitting under a tree.

 

The flowers around me, dancing in their blooms,

A hummingbird sipping water, reddish-green plumes.

Sitting in everyday wonder, God’s gifts that woo,

Beauty awakens longing, deepens hunger for You.

 

In the light fog, another picture from June gloom,

Life without light looms, godless, destiny of doom.

“But don’t all go to heaven?” our pride does presume.

“Life is not fair, and neither is God,” some hearts fume.

 

I ponder who I once was, sitting in June gloom,

How my life has changed; started with an empty tomb.

One day, ever coming soon, no more life with gloom,

I’ll enjoy the Son, singing, in heaven’s sunroom.

 

Seth

How much about Easter can kids REALLY understand?  Does the story of Easter frighten or confuse younger children?  These are a couple of questions parents may have.  Here is some insight to the levels of understanding about Easter to the different age groups of kids per: LifeWay|Kids:

Younger Pre-School – 2yrs old – Jesus did everything God told Him to do.

Middle Pre-School – 3yrs old – Jesus always obeyed God.

Older Pre-School – 4-5yrs old– Jesus died on the cross and is alive.

Younger Kids – 6-8yrs old – Jesus died on the cross, and God raised Him from the dead.

Middle Kids – 9-12yrs old – Jesus died to pay the penalty for sin.

Pre-Teens –12yrs old-  Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection were a necessary part of God’s plan for the forgiveness of sin.

We here at Pacific Church of Irvine enjoy celebrating Easter in many ways.  That is to say we have fun together, we study together, worship together.  There may be an egg hunt, we may have a craft that has a bunny on it, or there could be coloring pages that show Jesus teaching or an empty tomb.  We will tell the story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sin and rising on the third day in the age appropriate level per class ….“He is ALIVE…He is alive INDEED”.  Thank You Jesus!!

By Debra

SIX ACHES OF THE SOUL

 

A frustrating world, the first kind of ache,

Earthquakes, annoyances, and another headache.

Would we turn to God if this world was ideal?

The God of redemption found in life’s ordeal!

 

The pain of bad choices, the second kind of ache,

Consequences felt from my own mistakes.

We reap what we sow, says Paul in Galatians,

Learning to say “No” to any more temptations.

 

Others’ bad choices, the third kind of ache,

The pain of heartache, the pain of heartbreak.

To resent or forgive, a choice we all face,

But more! The chance to reflect God’s amazing grace.

 

The monster of grief, the fourth kind of ache,

Masquerades in many masks, our souls it will shake.

Crocodile tears? Or a haunting stark numbness?

An inconsolable ache, immersed in sadness.

 

A hunger for God, the fifth kind of ache!

Realizing that my thirst, nothing else can slake!

All other loves will grow in their depth,

When love for God is my soul’s first breath!

 

A hunger for heaven, the sixth kind of ache!

With us through life; not lost ‘til heaven’s daybreak.

Restlessness we can’t shake; through all of life we roam,

We are in exile, until we’re finally home!

 

EPILOGUE:

 

Every day there’s at least a trio of aches, (#’s 1, 5, 6)

Felt as a sigh or a deeply groaned quake.

Any mix of the six, we just say, “My heart aches,”

But numbers five and six are good for our sakes!

 

Aches one, five and six, will not “go away.”

They build eagerness and hope; it’s joy’s hard pathway.

They’re gifts for our soul! Gaining new bearings with God,

And help us deal with two, three and four on this sod.

 

Aches two and three are sins’ albatross,

Brokenness, humility, the way of the cross

While ache number four is the fiercest of all,

You will seek Me and find Me through your panged call.

 

-Seth

“In this age of grade inflation it is difficult to earn a grade of zero much less four consecutive zeros. Professors who do so are likely to be sending a message,” – Dr. Mike Adams

I read an interesting article written by Kaitlyn Schallhorn (click her name to be directed to her twitter) today at Campusreform.org. It seems a college professor gave a young girl four zeros on four consecutive papers  for expressing her Christian world view. The four papers had either religious undertones or were blatantly religious in nature.  I wish I could say that I am shocked by this story. Unfortunately, I am not, In a lot of ways, this is my story.

When I was in junior college, I had a humanities professor who on our first day of class, took up the entire lecture to show us why Christianity was stupid and how any one that believed in it was childish and delusional. I knew better than to confront him in class (God’s Not Dead hadn’t come out yet) but I did schedule an office visit with him to talk about why I thought Christianity was perfectly rational. I had been going to church all my life and as a 19 year old I assumed I knew everything I needed to know. I was so wrong. He moped the floor with me. He used the Bible in my hand to make Christianity seem silly and trite. I was devastated. I can see why so many students leave the faith when they start attending college. Most of them do not have concrete reasons why they believe what they believe.

Lucky for me, I can be stubborn (Just ask my wife) and instead of walking away I dug my heels in. I went to find answers to his arguments. This began me on a path to enjoy apologetics and ultimately what opened the door to becoming a pastor.

My heart breaks for this young girl, who was 16 by the way. To be treated so harshly by an authority figure while she was expressing herself in a place that prides itself on being a place of freedom and expression. We send students in droves to college and in one way or another, most of them share similar experiences.We need to spend more time training and inoculating our students for the schools we send them to. The university, unfortunately has become a place that is very much against Christians.

The Miracle And Choice Of Obedience.

I recently was reading the notes for my Bible Study and the question:” Does Faith in God come first or does Belief in God come first”.  The answer was; that neither act comes first, they happen simultaneously and miraculously.  I love this explanation, because no matter how much I have thought about this in the past I wasn’t satisfied.  The question would still remain, which comes first, which one is more important?

God, through my belief in Jesus, can do so many miraculous things to transform me.  OBEDIENCE is a big one.  I have been someone who was quite rebellious in my pre Born Again life.  It is a miracle that I, now, want to obey The Lord.  I WANT to please Him.  I don’t think I always hit the mark by any means but in my past I never even thought about obedience to God and Joy as a result.  Yes, it is a choice and I see my desire to please Jesus as a miracle of sorts.  Explaining to children that; obedience to Jesus leads to joy is well worth the effort.   We must pray for our kids to be led by the Holy Spirit to be obedient and to joyfully submit to Him.  Read more on this subject on www.pacificchurch.com in our  Parenting Christian Kids – March 2017 issue. Parenting Christian Kids

By Debra

I wrote this poem this morning, based on a true story that happened to a very good friend of mine, yesterday.

SUFFERING IN BURMA

In the forested mountains of far off Burma,

A group of doctors trek over terra firma.

An eight-hour drive, bamboo rafts over rivers,

Hours on a tractor, jungle hikes, to be givers.

 

Backpacking supplies and medical equipment,

Medicine, labs, still not enough shipment.

One of the young doctors, a very special friend,

An amazing woman, a grand heart, I contend!

 

A twelve-year old boy with a life-ending disease,

A grieving mother sobbing down on her knees.

Held by my friend, the boy breathing his last,

Watching and grieving as his time here did pass.

 

The next morning a small coffin was made,

Next to the boy, toys and candy the father laid.

The mystery of suffering, the pain of heartbreak,

Down to our core an inconsolable ache.

 

“The child is at peace. The child is with Me.”

That is our anchor, that child, again, we will see.

Oh God, where are you when death pounds on our door?

“The same place as your friend, sitting on the floor.”

 

“Like your doctor friend holding that small, little child,

I sat right there, holding them both, meek and mild.

Amidst the grief I gave her My presence,

As she reflected the wonders of ‘withness.’”

 

-Seth

As I was preparing for this month’s study in Romans 10, for the men’s staff breakfast, there was a verse that kept sticking in my mind.  Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah in Rom 10:15, when he says “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  God is sending us as “foot soldiers” of the Gospel of peace.

  • God’s sending people, leads to His Word being spoken
  • His Word being spoken leads to people hearing
  • Because of His Spirit, people hearing leads to people believing
  • And people believing leads to the building of God’s Kingdom

Our goal should be to have beautiful feet, by sharing the reason for the hope we have.  Sometimes I cant myself thinking that I have a message that people have heard, don’t want to hear, or are tired of hearing, because I don’t give the Holy Spirit His due.

I am simply the messenger.  However, the task given me was not a holy suggestion, it was the divine will of God…who loved me, and gave himself up for me!

Okay feet.  Let’s working on being a little bit more beautiful today.

-Lance

 

 

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