Category Archives: News & Announcements

Reminders for this week

April 18th:

The Enneagram- A Small Group Study

Who am I?  Why do I get along with some people and not others? Why do my spouse and I keep having the same arguments?  How can I love my kids and get so frustrated at the same time? How do I draw closer to God? Pastor Peter and Julie have found the Enneagram to be a very helpful tool in answering these questions.  They invite everyone to join them for a conversation in the Sanctuary on Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm beginning April 18th.  The conversation will be based on the book The Sacred Enneagram: Finding your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher Heuretz.

April 19th:

The Long Term Recovery Group

The following sub-committees have formed: Finance, Case Management, Unmet needs, Communication & Advocacy, Youth, Spiritual/Emotional Care, Construction, and Volunteer Management.  If you’d like more information please see Pastor Peter.  The next LTRG meeting will be Thursday, April 19th, 3pm, at the St. Croix Christian Church.

April 22nd:

What does it mean to be Reformed?

Inquiring minds want to know and there are a lot of them based on the number of times Pastor Peter has been asked.  It’s time to start working on an answer.  On APRIL 22nd, we’ll meet after worship to begin a discussion on Reformed history, theology, polity, and practice.  Our second question will be: what were the main points of theology in the Reformation?

You are invited to join us for a small group study: The Enneagram

Who am I? Why do I get along with some people and not others? Why do my spouse and I keep having the same arguments? How can I love my kids and get so frustrated at the same time? How do I draw closer to God? Pastor Peter and Julie have found the Enneagram to be a very helpful tool in answering these questions. They invite everyone to join them for a conversation on Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm beginning April 18th. The conversation will be based on the book The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christopher Heuretz.

Visit the link below more a glimpse of the book

https://gravitycenter.com/sacredenneagram/

Join us for Christmas Eve lessons and carols at 5:00pm

Advent devotions: December 18th

advent devotions

By Fernando Jensen

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. …

Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.

David has been delivered from all his enemies, has been proclaimed king, and is living in a palace. In a moment of quiet, David reflects, “The Lord took me from the pasture, where I was tending sheep, to a palace to be the leader of Israel. I must build a house for the Lord.” David has a plan and good intentions; it’s part of a response of gratitude to God. But is this what the Lord expects of him? Are King David’s good intentions sufficient?

There is an old phrase, “All roads lead to Rome.” It’s very common today to believe that there are many different ways to draw near to God and please him. But that’s not actually the case. The writer of Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12). Even though the way seems right, it may not be. Even though David wants to build a house for God, God does not want David to build it. Instead, God says that he will make David a house and establish David’s throne. God will keep his covenant to the people of Israel.

The reason David runs into trouble is because he doesn’t ask, “What is God’s plan?” As Christians, we ought to start by seeking the truth and trying to understand God’s will. Rather than looking to our own experience alone, we should look to the Word of God, since we believe in “Sola scriptura” (Scripture alone). We know that God is sovereign, and we want to live according to his plan.

As we go about our lives, it’s important to seek God’s purpose and plan, and this plan is found only through his Word. Despite our intentions, the promises of the Lord are unbreakable: “I will not violate my covenant, or alter the word that went forth from my lips.” (Psalm 89:34). The Lord never forgets his covenant.

Prayer: Lord, help me to seek you, and to trust that you will keep your promises to your people. Give me the humility and insight to recognize when my own best intentions don’t align with your purposes. Amen.

Fernando Jensen is a retired church planter in the Orlando, Florida, area.

Advent devotions: December 12th

advent devotions

By Carlos Corro

Isaiah 61:8-11
For I the Lord love justice,
      I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
      and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
      and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
      that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
      my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
      he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
      and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
      and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
      to spring up before all the nations.

People and history are filled with layers upon layers of complexity. In the face of that complexity, we can easily ignore two of the deepest truths that Advent attests to.

First, humanity is deeply broken and in desperate need of a Savior. We live in and are a part of a sinful world, a world of broken relationships with God and neighbor. This is true for all people, in all times and all places. Second, the work of God through the incarnation of Jesus Christ is both greater and more mysterious than we want to admit. The Word became flesh to save us and now through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word becomes flesh in us, in order to restore us and equip us for the continued work of redeeming all of creation back to God.

This Scripture passage paints a rich portrait of people coming together through the redemptive power of the gospel. In this biblical account we see the living God causing “righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations” (v. 11). Rather than conforming to the patterns of this world, Advent invites Christians into a new perspective that encourages each person to joyfully embrace their own culture and at the same time celebrate the cultural differences of other sisters and brothers in Christ.

In a broken world often marked by tribalism and suffering, the gospel offers expressions of unity through praise and hope for oneness without sameness. In the kingdom of God, diversity within God’s people is not just a nice commodity for contemporary Christianity. Instead, multicultural worshiping communities serve as a faithful witness of the living image of God to the whole world.

Prayer: Living God, continue to renew and transform us during this Advent season. Teach us your ways and remind us to praise you in our rejoicing and even in our grieving. Transform and conform us more into the likeness of your son, Jesus Christ, in order that the Word may become flesh in us. Amen.

Carlos Corro is pastor of Imago Church, a church plant in Visalia, California, and president of the RCA Council for Hispanic Ministries.

Join us for Christmas Eve lessons and carols at 5:00pm

Join us for our live nativity. The live nativity is scheduled for Saturday, December 16th at 4:00pm

Second Sunday of Advent: Love

Advent-love 2

Advent devotions: December 8th

advent devotions

By Karla Moreno Camacho

2 Peter 3:14-15
Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him.

The Advent season can be full of preoccupations and worries. We are reminded daily that we live in a dysfunctional, broken, and selfish world that’s full of evil. As we long for things to be set right, we may get discouraged and continue to feel anxious about the state of the world and of our lives.

But today’s passage of Scripture encourages us to live a life of peace. Instead of wrapping ourselves with worry, we should stay committed to Christ during difficult times. Even when we try to live in the peace of Christ, we might find ourselves stressed rather than calm. So we should listen to the words of Peter and be encouraged that that the glorious day, when we will be glorified together with Christ our Savior, is drawing near.

Peter also tells us to be without spot or blemish. Being spotless doesn’t mean that we are perfect but that we are being transformed into the image of Christ each day, as long as we remain in relationship with him. It fills me with hope to know that I am not perfect and can give all the credit to Christ as I walk this path of transformation.

Someday, when Christ returns and the transformation of our world and of ourselves takes place in its fullness, we will no longer live with anxiety. What is broken will be restored. Come soon, Lord Jesus!

Prayer: Jesus, as I wait for your coming, give me your peace. Purify my heart and make me spotless. Amen.

Karla Camacho is an elder at Iglesia Nueva Esperanza, an RCA church plant in Mesa, Arizona. She is also a member of the Commission on Race and Ethnicity, a facilitator for a women’s leadership collaborative, and a seminarian at Western Theological Seminary.

Advent devotions: December 7th

advent devotions

By Richard Caballero

2 Peter 3:8-13
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Advent is my favorite time of the year. I love to sing Christmas carols and decorate the house with ornaments. I get excited to see the preparations in the church weeks before—the pageants, the choirs, and the groups of excited children rehearsing to recreate what took place on that beautiful night in the small village of Bethlehem. All the enthusiasm and preparation of Advent gives the impression that we are longing for Christmas to arrive. Christmas Day is the fulfillment of the most glorious and marvelous act in history: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). And that act should awaken in our hearts feelings of longing and expectation for the one who has already come and who has promised to return.

Advent is not only a time of preparation for celebrating Christmas, but is also a time of expectant reflection for the second glorious coming of our great King. As Christians, we should long for that day to come. But in today’s passage of Scripture, Peter reminds us that the Lord does not delay his promise because he’s slow. Instead, there is a very powerful reason: God is patient, waiting until the last of his chosen people acknowledge him as their Lord and Savior.

In this time of Advent, we remember that Christ came and that Christ is coming. While we prepare to celebrate the origins of our redemption, we take advantage of each opportunity to announce with passion the good news of the gospel. Amen!

Prayer: Lord, help me to live like a true chosen one and give me the opportunity to share your gospel with someone today. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Richard Caballero is pastor of the Spanish-speaking congregation at Emmanuel Reformed Church in Paramount, California.