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PASTOR’S BLOG

 
BE BLESSED BY GOD’S WORD THROUGHOUT THE WEEK

“Life’s Unexpected Twist”

“They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him” Mark 5:1-2

Sometimes you end up at a place you did not plan to go. It was that way with the disciples. On the northwestern corner of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus had said, “Let us go over to the other side” (Mark 4:35). They probably figured they could hug the shoreline, sail a few miles, and then end up on the northeastern edge of the lake where a number of them had their homes, Bethsaida.

But the wind blew them off course, and they hit the shore several miles southeast of Bethsaida, at Gadara.

Have you ever been blown off course with an unexpected twist in life? I will be the first to put up my hand.

I graduated from seminary in Fort Worth with a wife and two small daughters. As Sister Tina and I were seeking God’s direction, I received a phone call from a pastor in Los Angeles asking us to serve as associate pastors at his church. We were not from California, not knowing of anyone there, but God did a suddenly moment in an unexpected twist, and we went. After serving in the Los Angeles church for two years and being very happy there, thinking we would be permanent Californians, God did another unexpected twist in our lives and opened up a door for us to serve at a large church in Houston. We were in Houston eleven years, thinking we would be permeant Houstonians, but God did another surprise twist and brought us back to our home church in San Antonio to serve as pastors.

Sometimes Jesus takes us to places we do not intend to go, for I never intended to go to California. We prefer to go, as did the disciples, to a familiar place where we know our friends and family. But, we find ourselves in places we have never been, working in situations we did not choose, or living in a neighborhood not of our choosing. When I look back on it, if I never went to California, I would have never went to Houston, and more than likely would not have ended up full circle back home.

It must have been a shock when the disciples found themselves in Gerasene land. It’s likewise a shock when we find ourselves where we had no intention of going or wished we didn’t have to remain.

But on the other side of the lake was a person who needed the Lord’s help. From the shoreline, that man watched as the boat drew near. Then he raced to the shore line to welcome Jesus.

The incident became a life lesson for the disciples. Contrary winds would sometimes take them where they had no intention of going, but the Lord knew someone desperately needed their presence, help, and the good news they carried.

As we look ahead, God has some unexpected twists for you and our church. Often, they will come as a surprise and not seem logical. But, as we pursue and seek after God we know that God orders our steps and directs our paths. There are people on the other side of the lake who need our presence, help, and prayers. Let us allow God to shake up our comfort zones and be willing and available for the tremendous things He has ahead.

Until then, let us continue…

Changing Lives for Eternity!

With Love,

Pastors Terry & Tina Richardson 


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“Don’t Back Up!”

“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And, I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots and his horseman.” Exodus 14:14-18

In this passage, God’s people were being pursued by Pharaoh and his Egyptian army. However, only the Lord knew what it would take to deliver his chosen people from slavery. As the Israelites came to the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army behind them and the hills on each side, the only thing they could do was go forward. It was impossible to go back. In actuality, there was nothing to go back to!

In the midst of their dilemma God told them, “Go forward!”. Ultimately, they won the victory over Pharaoh’s great army because God was with them before, during, and after the crossing of the Red Sea.

In spite of the obstacles the enemy has put before you, there is also victory for you if you face every day with the attitude that you are going forward and not back. So, how do you move forward without moving back?

Know that you are heading to something better

Where you are now is only temporary. This is not your final destination. Heaven is our goal and not the things this world has to offer. To move forward you must move out of the place of your comfort. The Israelites became comfortable in Egypt. They were used to settling for leftovers, but, recognize God has better things ahead.

Change your attitude
The Israelites developed a slave mentality. They became content with where they were. People of God sometimes get accustomed to their surrounds or they get used to “hand me downs” even if it’s not the best the Lord has for them.

God has called His people to be the head and not the tail, to be above and not below, to be victorious and not the victim. Your attitude determines your altitude.

Have faith in God and put to use what He has placed in your hand

In this verse, God said to Moses, “Raise your staff and stretch your hand over the sea.” Notice the only thing Moses had was faith in what God had promised and a stick. What has He given you to move yourself and lead others to their destiny? It might be a talent such as singing or playing an instrument, to a trade like carpentry or landscaping. It doesn’t matter what it is, but, use it for the glory of the Lord.

Depend upon God’s favor and not man’s favor

God showed his favor upon Moses and Israel. God desires to show His favor upon you as you walk in obedience to His will.

Depend upon God’s power
As Moses lifted his rod toward the Red Sea, the power of God was demonstrated and the waters parted. Not only does God give you power to overcome the obstacles of life, but He gives you the power to move forward-if you are willing. Be determined to heed the voice of God and not allow anything to stop you from drifting back into the things that once held you down or back.

As we move forward as a church, God has wonderful things ahead for us. With the construction of the West Campus on Potranco Road in progress and God’s dream becoming a reality, we have many things to do. We can’t look back and be distracted, but must move ahead by faith to see in the spiritual what God will do in the natural because the best is yet to come!

With Love,

Pastor Terry & Tina Richardson


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“Near The Cross”

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister (Salome), Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother and the disciple standing by, whom He loved (John)… -John 19:25-26

When Jesus was crucified, there were a number of people who stood near the cross. We pray and sing, “Keep me near the cross”, but what does it really mean to be near the cross where Jesus was crucified? I am not speaking about a literal, physical presence, but I am referring to a spiritual positiona special relationship to Jesus Christ.

John gives us insight by name to several people who stood near the cross when Jesus faced the crucifixion. From these we can understand what it means to be near the cross.

Mary MagdaleneA Place of Redemption

Luke 8:2 tells us that Mary Magdalene was a woman whom Jesus had cast out seven demons. She had been in bondage to Satan for a long time, doing terrible things. Then, Jesus came and cast out the demons and delivered her from bondage.

When a person trusts in Jesus Christ for deliverance, these same marvelous changes take place in their life. The individual goes from darkness to light; from the power of Satan to the power of God; from being guilty to experiencing forgiveness; and from being spiritually impoverished to becoming spiritually wealthy. That is what Jesus did for Mary Magdalene. Standing near the cross, Mary saw the price paid for her deliverance. Jesus died that we might be redeemed and bought back from bondage. It is no wonder that Mary stood near the cross, because she had experienced deliverance from sin and the gift of salvation.

SalomeA Place of Rebuke

Who is Salome? Most Bible scholars identify her as Jesus’ mother’s sister, the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John. As the mother of James and John, she was one who asked Jesus a very selfish request: “Can my two sons have places of honor in God’s Kingdom?” Jesus’ response to her was, it is not His to give away. Salome forgot the cost of the reward. There are many times that we can be selfish in our desires, thinking about ourselves. As we draw near to the cross, we see Jesus and not our selfish ambitions and motives.

Mary, the mother of Jesus 

A Place of Reward Mary was Jesus’ earthly mother. He did not ignore her on the cross, but rewarded her by sharing His beloved disciple with her. Why did Jesus reward her? Because of the suffering Mary was willing to endure. She suffered shame, reproach, and gossip when she was found to be with child while engaged to Joseph. She suffered emotionally as she felt the climax of Simeon’s prophecy concerning the death of her son and as she watched her innocent son suffer and die in a public and shameful death. Jesus felt her sorrow and suffering as He hung on the cross and He rewarded her. Likewise, He rewards those who suffer with Him; then we shall reign with Him.

JohnA Place of Restoration and Responsibility

For John, to be at the cross was to stand at a place of restoration and responsibility. John stood at the cross restored, for he, along with the other disciples, had forsaken Jesus and fled for their lives at the garden of Gethsemane. However, John returned to the cross restored and forgiven. Jesus gave him the responsibility to care for His mother. As we stand near the cross, it is a place of restoration and responsibility as Jesus forgives and restores us in our relationship to God. He gives us the responsibility to be an example and tell others of the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

As we prepare for Easter, let us keep our eyes and hearts near to the cross as we recognize what Jesus did for all of us. The cross is a place of redemption, rebuke, reward, restoration, and responsibility. Let us value the great love that Jesus has for us. Until then, let us continue…

Changing Lives For Eternity!

With Love,
Pastors Terry & Tina Richardson  


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