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

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

 

 

Respect, Kindness, Listen…

I noticed Sunday during Kids Church that there were a couple of squirmy kids that were demonstrating a measure of disrespect to the teacher.  Oh wait,  I was the teacher….My helper who is a very experienced teacher decided it was time to give the kids an impromptu lesson on respect, kindness and listening.

To my delight, the kids were truly engaged in this lesson and seemed to respond well to being reminded about what their behavior should look like during Kids Church and anytime they are in a learning environment.  I must say that the style and transparency of the lesson giver was truly entertaining too.

It is useful to repeat the rules to the kids and to let them know what is expected, to let them know what is coming next for smooth transitions, to praise them for good behavior and to expect the best from them. We also need the skill to get them back, for example: shave and a haircut – 2 bits…this is a signal to clap and look at the teacher.

We had about 20 minutes of good solid sit down discussion about the life lessons, and the Bible story lesson….we were tempted to keep going but that was asking for ultra squirmitus among us.  Twenty minutes was a good block of time for this assorted age group to be sitting and focusing on the same content, we needed to transition into another type of related activity.

Repetition is useful when memorizing songs, verses, and for plain learning.  Sometimes we repeat the Bible Story with a review of a video, after reading, to reinforce the lesson.  I have noticed in the Old Testament that God repeated all kinds of lessons and teachings and warnings to the Israelites.  We need repetition at times….young, adult, and senior.

By Debra

 

 

Learning Styles

Even when you think the kids are not listening, or you watch them fidgeting or wanting to get up and move around…..they still can be learning.  More than once parents have said to me “ I am amazed that my child is learning at such a young age”, or “he can answer my questions about the Bible story when I thought that he wasn’t paying attention”.  Comments like these are examples of the fruit of pouring Bible Stories and the Word into kids.

Learning Approaches differ…Below is a snapshot of 8 approaches: Taken from: Wholly Kids –Guiding Kids to Life in Christ…LifeWay|Kids

Visual Learner: Often see clear visual images when eyes are closed—Enjoy doing puzzles, mazes, visual type games—generally find their way around unfamiliar territory.

Musical Learner: Can tell when a musical note is off-key—love listening to music—make up songs while working, studying and learning something new.

Logical Learner: Can easily compute numbers in their head—math and science are favorite subjects.

Verbal Learner:  Books are very important to them—Get more out of listening to audiobook, radio than TV or Video—Conversation includes frequent references to things I’ve read or heard.

Physical Learner:  Engaged in at least 1 sport or activity on a regular basis— best ideas come when I am out for a walk or jog or other physical activity.

Natural Learner:  Spend time outdoors—collecting things from nature—hobbies include taking care of plants and/or pets.

Relational Learner: Enjoy being involved with people in social, church or community—would rather be with people than home alone—seek out another person for help rather than solve problems alone.

Reflective Learner: Spend time alone meditating, reflecting and thinking about important life questions—Keep a personal diary or journal—realistic view of strengths and weaknesses.

As God has made us all quite complex you can see how one person doesn’t learn in the same method as another.  Yet God’s word promises this: Isaiah 55:11 “It is the same with my word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I sent It.” NLT

SOLOMON

 

A prayer for wise guidance,

Book of Proverbs, you penned.

What could be wrong with that?

Solomon, what happened?

 

Fortune 500 guy

And pleasures unbridled,

Um, a thousand women???

What’s with foreign idols???

 

Outside? All “together.”

Inside? Another matter.

His heart’s center, he lost.

His life then would shatter.

 

If the core of God’s plan

Isn’t the core of your hope

You’ll compromise your heart,

Skiing the uphill slope.

 

He used wisdom to serve

His purposes, digressive,

The “good life,” and pleasure.

Appearance? “Impressive.”

 

“Follow” My principles

While your heart is your own,

Just puts off what’s coming:

Heartache, foolishness, groans.

 

You’ll turn to tougher stuff

With pleasures, overtime.

Trouble you will find and

A deep hole will you climb.

 

If pleasure could fell

The once wise Solomon,

Be warned! And be cautioned!

They can fell any man!

 

-Seth

 

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