I’m so glad you’re joining us during this Lenten Season for these short and poignant readings. Lent has always been a time when the Church has prepared its heart for Easter. So let this Lent be a time when we do the same.

Each day you’ll receive (or access on our church’s website) a short reading. The scriptures come from the lections (Church scriptures arranged according to the Church calendar). The reflections come from a number of people in the life of our church. Each reading attempts to reflect on the Word of God from a place of missions. Simply put, these are men and women, boys, girls, teens, who have had experiences in sharing the Good News of Jesus in our community and (quite literally) around the globe. We have done this to remind us that God has a heart for this world and we are the hands and feet of Jesus sharing His love to those around us.

As you access the devotions you’ll notice there are a number that I’ve written as well. Given the fact all the contributors are writing from a place missions, I’m taking the lens of where we are with God in a more general sense. I hope the balance is helpful. Besides, the bottom-line in our life with God and our neighbor is balance. We love others (mission) out of a deep love we receive from the Lord.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Tim

Week 5 – April 11

Name: Linda LaVardera, age 50
Missions Experience: China Mission Trip
“My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning” (Psalm 130:6).

During my mission trip to China in 2005, our team had an opportunity to visit the Great Wall. As we spent time walking along a portion of this historic site, we prayed for unbelievers in this beautiful country to know Jesus. I thought back to a time when watchmen stood on the Wall and guarded their post all night long until they saw the light of morning. It reminded me of how Jesus came to be the light of our lives. He offers us His unfailing love and forgiveness as we wait in hopeful expectation to the day when we, as believers, will dwell with Him forever. As I walked the Great Wall, I thought about its purpose so long ago to keep intruders at bay. It reminded me of my own life back at a time when I had a “great” wall up in my heart, determined to live my life, my way. When I finally decided to trust in Jesus and allow Him into my heart, my wall came tumbling down. My soul was thirsty and He came to quench my thirst, give me hope and a future. He came to be my light in a world full of darkness. Just as in my own country, thousands of miles away in China, I saw the hurting faces of despair of those looking for something better. When I reflect on my missional experience in China, it encourages me to be praying for those all across the globe who do not yet know Jesus as their Savior. If we all will slow our busy pace, the Lord will show us who He has put in our path that might need to hear the message of the saving power of Jesus.

Prayer: “Lord, help us to slow down and pray for those around the world that do not yet know you. Put in our path, those you would have us share your message of love, forgiveness and hope with. Amen.”


Week 4 – April 9

Pastor Tim

“You honor me...” (Psalm 23:5b, NLT).

God takes notice of our faithful response. Do you know that? Another way to put it is this: God honors our trust.
Have you ever felt honored by another person? If you haven’t, let me just say that it’s the most powerful interpersonal experience a man or a woman can have. You see, to be honored by another person means they give you respect and dignity. They see you in the best sense of who you are. It leaves you feeling valuable, loved, cherished. Like who you are and what you’ve contributed means something after all.

I think it’s pretty incredible that God honors us! In all of His glory and majesty God isn’t averse to bestowing honor. To give respect and dignity… to enable us to feel valuable, loved and cherished. Isn’t that amazing? The most powerful interpersonal experience can be had via God’s willingness to take the time to honor you and me.

Being honored is what it means to receive from the Lord the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s God’s faithful response to our faithfulness. In an Avatar world, it’s the Lord basically seeing you and me in the deepest sense of the word.
Are you honoring God? If so, is your highest aim to receive His honor? I hope so… because it’s the only thing worth having.

Lord, thank You for honoring me as I honor You. Amen.


Week 4 – April 8

Pastor Tim

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid…” (Psalm 23:4a, NLT).

The blanket of darkness can be like a cloak of fear. Its pervasiveness can be overwhelming to a sheep. You see, being able to see and feeling safe often go together. If I can see what’s around me I can be sure I’m ok. Darkness takes that comfort from us. We can’t see and so we can’t maintain control.

I remember as a child being afraid of the dark. We had one downstairs bathroom and there were a lot of shadow to traverse to get there. I can remember my heart thumping and my fear growing. What if a monster gets me? What if that hideous and nauseating alien beneath my bed nabs me? I’d run as fast as I could to get there and back. The sunrise was always a welcome and needed relief (quite literally).

The presence of darkness can be overshadowed by the presence of the Shepherd. The psalmist says that even the “darkest valley” doesn’t have to cause fear. That pitch-dark-can’t-see-a-thing experience doesn’t have to mean we grow fearful. Why? Because God’s presence is ours:

  • both day and night,
  • in the good and the bad,
  • in the terrible and the beautiful,
  • after sunset and before sunrise.

The Shepherd gives us comfort. Do you know His comfort today?

Lord, I don’t want to fear. Help me to know You are with me. Amen.


Week 4 – April 7

Pastor Tim

“He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” (Psalm 23:3b, NLT).

Like any well-traveled place in this world, there are multiple paths we can choose to walk along. Most of the paths of this world are rather broad and easy to spot. They are the roads most go by. It’s alluring to take the highways of this world because we get to become one among many. The nameless multitudes cushion our sense of heading in the right direction. We don’t have to think a lot or reflect on our direction. We just move with the flow of traffic.

But Jesus spoke of a narrow way. A passage hard to spot. The Bible has also referred to this as the ancient path. There tend not to be as many people on this path. In fact, there can be whole chunks of mileage where we feel desperately alone. The world’s travelers don’t understand. In fact, many will try to inform us that we need to get a new GPS system. But the truth is… we don’t need the world’s maps. What we do need is a personal guide. We need a shepherd.

The Lord desires to be our Shepherd, and as such, He longs to guide us along right paths. The path of righteousness is not a road we can figure out. We’re too sin soaked and easily led astray. So this guidance from the Lord is a humbling reality. It’s a self-admission that I can’t walk this path on my own. I need the Lord out in front of me, beckoning me on. I need the Lord behind me, steering my every step. Simply put, I need the Lord.

So let me ask you: Are you keeping close company with the Lord? Is He your guide?

Lord, I’m lost without You. Guide me. Show me Your way. Amen.


Week 4 – April 6

Pastor Tim

“He renews my strength.” (Psalm 23:3a, NLT).

There is a purpose behind why the Lord lets us rest. The intention is for our strength to be renewed. It doesn’t take long to recognize how living in this world saps us dry if we’re not careful. Part of being human is the very real experience of wearing out, giving up, and becoming discouraged. Just like the curse in the Garden of Eden, we really do work by the sweat of our brow. After we’ve weeded the garden one day… it’s strewn with nettles and thistles the next. There’s never an end to work. We lose our strength.

Yet as we turn to the Lord, he leads us to rest. The rest… and really Him alone… begins to work wonders in you and me. We find our strength returning. Our muscles grow strong. Our synapses begin to fire more quickly. We grow sharp and courageous. We feel like we can strike out again and face the wilderness world in which we live. We become renewed.

Are you discouraged? Are you tired? Do you feel weary worn? If so, be reminded today that our Good Shepherd wants to renew us. Here these words: “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, NLT).

Lord, I’m tired and worn out. I turn to You alone. Help me to be renewed. Amen.


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