“Because He Cares, We Care”

“Casting all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you.” I Peter 5:7

The man walked down the road. The dust from the many travelers choked him, and the flying gnats bit at him unmercifully in the heat of the day. As the travelers went by, his hoarse throat cried out, “Unclean! Unclean!” The crowds quickly moved to the far side of the road. Inside, the pain of rejection and guilt ate away his soul as surely as the leprosy ate at his body. He knew he was cursed, and he know no one cared.

One day, the crowd was unusually large. People were shouting a name and others seemed to be in frenzy, pushing and shoving to get near the one called Jesus. Some even dared to call Him Messiah. The leper had heard of Jesus, His miracles and His compassion. If the stories were true, if He were the Messiah, then surely the he could heal. The Messiah could command this awful curse of the body and soul to dry up. Surely, the Messiah could care even about a leper. Then, he saw Him. For a moment, Jesus stood alone, as if waiting just for the leper.

The leper ran, stumbled, and then crawled to the feet of Jesus. He forgot about his cry, “Unclean!” He could only say with head bowed low, “Lord, if you are willing, make me clean.” The silence of the next few seconds seemed like an eternity. His heart pounded like a drum inside. He waited to hear harsh words of scorn and rejection as he heard so many times before.

Suddenly, he felt something no leper could feel. It was the touch of another’s hand. It sent a flood of emotion like liquid fire to the very core of his soul. Then, Jesus spoke, “I am willing. Be cleansed!”

Tears washed down the leper’s dirt stained face. The scales of leprosy fell from not only his body, but his heart and soul as well. Jesus cared! Jesus cared!

Because He cares, we care! People in our lives and around us need to experience the care of Jesus. They must know that we, as a church, care for them. We must be the extended hands of God’s grace and mercy to those around us. We must provide the touch which says, “Jesus cares! We care!” People are not interested in how much we know or what our credentials are. They really want to know and experience that someone cares. If we don’t care, then who will?

I am so excited about a new ministry we are about to launch at Life Church: Community Connection. During our morning services, we will be sharing about this concept. Over time, I have become concerned about us not being connected consistently with all our Life Church family. The busyness of the world we live in has made us become somewhat disconnected, and that is not good. We see each other on Sunday, but then part as soon as the last amen is said.

Here at Life Church, we are a family and want to be known as a place where love abounds. I desire for every individual who considers Life Church their church to care for one another by giving in Christian love to a relationship in times of weakness and strength. I would love for you to be a part of this ministry. Join with us in prayer as we launch this ministry, watch for upcoming details about Community Connection, and don’t miss the upcoming Sunday morning services to become acquainted with the Community Connection or listen to them online at www.lifechurchsa.com.

Finally, lift up our eyes and look around to those needing a touch – physical, emotional, or spiritual touch. Be Jesus with skin on. Don’t be afraid to reach out and care. Because He cares, we care! Until then, let us continue….

With Love,
Pastor Terry & Tina Richardson


“Showing Love”

“Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and you God, my God.” Ruth 1:16

A couple married for 50 years sat reflecting one day. The wife said, “Things have really changed over the years. You used to sit real close to me, but you haven’t done that for a while”. “Well, I can fix that!” said her husband as he moved closer to his wife. “You used to hold me real tight”, said the wife. So, the man wrapped his arms around his wife and asked, “How’s that?”. She continued to say, “You used to nuzzle my neck and nibble on my ear lobes.” At that her husband jumped up from the couch and dashed out of the room. When he returned, she asked where he had been. He replied, “I had to go get my teeth.”

In Ruth 1, we see a beautiful picture of a love between not only a husband and wife, but a love between friends – Ruth and her motherin-law, Naomi. Naomi left alone after her husband and two sons died and prepared to return home to Bethlehem. Rather than remain in her homeland, Ruth chose to return to Naomi’s country. In this story of friendship, we see several principles of how to show love:

By staying with someone through the tough times
Ruth decided to remain by Naomi’s side instead of going her own way. She was determined not to leave her. You see, love has “sticking power”. Genuine friends do not abandon each other during tough times.

By adjusting to others
Love is willing to make adjustments for the other. Ruth was willing to leave the people and her God in order to be with Naomi’s people and serve her God. When a couple marries, there’s always ad- justments to be made and one’s outlook on life changes. No longer does one live as single, but as two that become one.

Things adjust from what you eat, what you wear, and how you spend your time and finances. Love is willing to go the extra mile and make adjustments.

By reaching beyond your comfort zones
Loving someone else means you have to dig down deep and be willing to take a risk. Some- times, the risk may be your emotions or trust in that person. In other words, you have to be willing to deny your desires and wishes for someone else’s. Love is not thinking of yourself, but the other person. Reaching beyond your comfort zone means being willing to sacrifice.

By offering encouraging words
Ruth showed her love by telling Naomi she would never turn away from her. She reminded her mother-in-law that she would never walk alone. Wherever she went and whatever happened to her, Ruth would be by her side. Our words of encouragement have a great impact on others.

By putting other’s needs above your needs
Ruth was determined to go with Naomi. It didn’t matter how uncomfortable the journey would be or how difficult living in a new country might be. Ruth put her mother-in-law’s needs above her own. She was determined to stay by Naomi because Naomi
needed a friend.
As you think about it, this is a picture of God’s love
for you. Proverbs 18:24 says, “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. Who is this friend? His name is Jesus. He will stick with you through tough times; He will accept you just as you are; He will reach beyond His comfort zone for you; and He will put your needs above His needs. Let’s be mindful of Christ’s love and show His love towards others!

Until then, let us have “20/20 Vision in 2020” as we grow in our love for one another.

With Love,
Pastor Terry & Tina Richardson


“20/20 Vision in 2020”

“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:2-3(KJV)

Vision is a vital part of our life. Your dreams are planted deeply within your heart. Without a vision, we are like a rock that is skipped on top of a lake. We have no way of guiding ourselves. We are at the lake’s mercy as to where we end up, as to how far we go, or as to when we turn or stop.

Without vision, we have no control over our own lives. Helen Keller was once asked, “What would be worse than being born blind?” To which she answered, “Having sight without a vision.” Vision gives you direction, creativity, and resilience. Without one, you become passive, aimless, and vulnerable to quitting.

All of us, whether we care to admit it or not, have a dream. However, along this journey of life, while hoping and waiting for our dream’s fulfillment, we will face challenges, causing us to think about giving up. Giving up on your dreams might seem like an easy way out. But we need to hold on to our dream because when we give up on it, a part of us dies.

God told the prophet, Habakkuk, that in the midst of challenges to not give up on the vision, but to write it down.

The word vision in the original Hebrew language can be translated as “dream.” This was God’s response to the prophet: to write the dream down and make it clear. Why would God want Habakkuk to write down his dream down? God instructed him to write the dream down because in the future, it would help his mind to understand and embrace what he sees. In short, he was to write it down in order for him to see the big picture.

The Apostle Paul understood this concept because in I Corinthians 13:12, we read, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then I shall I known as also I am known.”

Once you write it down, your dream will grow wings and fulfillment will surely come. When you write it down, the dream will motivate you to take action, provide a filter for other opportunities, help you overcome resistance, and, most importantly, enable you to see and celebrate your progress. Under the right conditions and the “appointed time,” God will bring your dreams to pass.

As we look ahead to 2020, what dreams or visions has God planted in your heart? Do not become distracted but endeavor to have 20/20 vision as you focus on the tremendous things God has for you. The Lord told Habakkuk, “your dream shall come to pass.” He did not say it might come to pass, or maybe, or perhaps, but it “surely” will come.

Your dream or vision will go through a time of testing. However, the purpose of testing is to strengthen your faith and reliance upon God. Think about Joseph. He maintained his faith, in spite of his setbacks. Understand that today’s “setbacks” are tremendous opportunities for “come backs.” Your dream may be tried and tested. It may not come to pass immediately, but hold onto the hand of God, for it will come to pass. Remember, obstacles will never destroy your vision, but your attitude can. Continue to look unto God for He is the author and finisher of our faith. Until then, let us continue having….

20/20 Vision in 2020!

Changing Lives for Eternity,

Pastor Terry & Tina Richardson