Friday, July 31, 2009

Upcoming Sunday Morning Messages

Beginning this Sunday I will preach a series of messages through the seven letters Jesus gave to the churches in the book of the Revelation. This is Christ's final warning to the church and to believers living in our day. I am looking forward to diving into this and seeing the changes God will bring in our lives and our church...

8/02 --- Final Warning: Don't Neglect the Passion (Rev 2:1-7)
8/09 --- Final Warning: Persevere through Persecution (Rev 2:8-11)
8/16 --- Final Warning: Don't Believe the Lies (Rev 2:12-29)
8/23 --- Final Warning: Hypocrisy is Poison (Rev 3:1-6)
8/30 --- Final Warning: Seize the Day (Rev 3:7-13)
9/06 --- Final Warning: The Final Warning (Rev 3:14-22)

Pastor Noel

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I just finished the book, Columbine, by Dave Cullen. It tells the story of what really happened at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, when two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Kiebold killed twelve students and one teacher and injured many more before committing suicide.

It was a very interesting book… more than you would think, though it is difficult to read because of the very offensive language.

There are many lessons to be learned from this tragic event. People involved in law enforcement, school administration, media, and those responsible for emergency response or security for a large facility should definitely read this book.

I’m not involved in any of those fields, so I read the book as a father of two pre-pre-teens and as a pastor. Here are some of the lessons I learned and a few truths that I was reminded of…

• Media reports of anything beyond the basic facts of a news event are mostly wrong! Most of what you know about the Columbine event is wrong: the background of the killers, the kind of people who were targeted, the motives, the events of the stand-off… With the Columbine tragedy certain wrong information was given by the media in the beginning and even when it was clearly shown to be wrong, the media stuck with it because it was more ‘interesting’ than the truth. It seems every time I am involved in a news event or have some knowledge of what really happened, I am amazed and surprised at how the newspaper reports differ from what really happened.

• Having a two parent home with a stay-at-home mother doesn’t guarantee your kids will turn out great. Parents need to be committed to being involved in their kid’s lives beyond just providing a stable home. Parenting must always be active; never passive.

• Parents should take seriously the warning signs of aberrant behavior. While much of the time there may not be reason for alarm, we should not operate from that assumption. I know from the few suicide cases I’ve been involved with that this truth is too often ignored.

• Having a relationship with Christ really does make a difference in the way we are able to handle tragedy. There really is a peace that passes understanding! The author, while definitely not writing from a Christian perspective, remarked at how very different the reactions were between the Christian parents and the non-Christian parents when the bad news started pouring in.

• In a tragedy, churches should focus on caring for and loving people not on aggressive outreach. The Holy Spirit will draw people to Christ. In the midst of a tragedy, our first response should be love in deed and in word. I believe in evangelism, but the message from the church to the world should be that we love you and Christ loves you, not that we want to take advantage of a difficult situation to ‘sign you up’. If a church doesn’t have a stronger witness and testimony in the community a year after the tragedy, then the church didn’t respond in the right way.

• It is never right to exaggerate or embellish a story to accomplish a good and noble purpose. Some of the great stories of Christian faith that could have come from this event have been lost because well meaning Christians encouraged or embraced known exaggerations, and when the embellishments were proved inaccurate, the whole story lost credibility. God will never bless an untruth, no matter our good intentions.

Pastor Noel

Monday, July 13, 2009


We had a great day of worship yesterday!

First, what a great morning of singing... the choir really showed out... the worship music was wonderful... In the last three weeks, Pastor Shawn has taken our worship time to a new level. I appreciate his hard work. I believe the Lord was truly honored yesterday morning in our service.

Our Patriotic Celebration last night was a big success. Good food... Great crowd... Super service! It was encouraging to see so many people come from our community join us for the celebration. Our choir did an exceptional job. I heard many good comments from a ton of visitors following the service.

Pastor Noel

Monday, July 6, 2009

Chafisi Orphan Ministry in Kenya

Well, we had another early morning Kenya meeting today... nobody should have to have a meeting at 5:00 a.m. The next time we partner with an international mission effort, we will partner with one west of us so that the meetings can be later in the day ;)...

So everyone wants to know... how are things going?

Good news! We have 42 orphans who all have uniforms, shoes, food, transportation, and paid tuition to school! We received a good report this morning concerning this ministry. I am thankful for all of you who make this ministry possible by your sacrificial giving, and I am thankful for the work of our four church members who have been in Kenya the past six months helping to facilitate this ministry. (By the way, if you would like to help us maintain this ministry or even help us minister to more orphans, contact the church and ask to speak with Carla. It costs us about $40 per month per orphan to provide this ministry. When you contact us, we can give you further details.)

The second piece of news is... our team in Kenya will be returning to Heath on July 22. They are coming back for a breather and to make preparations for a probable return in December. Pray for them as they travel and as they seek to get re-adjusted to living here.

Stay tuned for more updates in the days to come...

Pastor Noel