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From Pastor Emeritus Doug Self:
February 2020

Getting a little off track doesn’t seem like a big deal.  But where we live, getting slightly off trail on a backpacking trip can have you thrashing through thick brush and stumbling through boulder fields!

If you think that’s a problem consider when NASA sends a rocket to the moon.  Extremely precise calculations establish the trajectory.  But if the rocket is off course just one degree at the first, instead of arriving at the moon it would end up 4,169 miles off target!

The New Testament gives us precise instructions for developing a healthy relationship with God and a flourishing Christian life.  Prayer is our means of communicating with God.  What you pray about could indicate that you may be off course in following God’s will for your life.  Here are 3 signs you may be off track with God.

  1. Your prayers are usually about getting God to change things, your circumstances. Something like, “Oh God, please help me get that job.”  Or “Please get me out of this jam.”
  2. Your prayers are primarily about getting God to change others. “Oh, God, if you’d just make her/him stop being so critical my life would be much better.”  “My boss is such a jerk, can’t you just make him/her nice?”
  3. Bargaining with God.  You want God to work in the circumstances of your life to get you what you want.  “Oh God, if you’ll just make that medical result positive I’ll go to church for every Sunday next month.”  “God if you’ll just help me get a date with her/him I’ll read my Bible more.”  Notice this bargaining is still about getting God to change things or other people.

While there’s nothing wrong with praying as described above, it’s way far from developing a nurturing relationship with God and a vibrant Christian life.  How about changing the primary focus of your prayers away from getting God to change things or others to, “Oh God, change me!”

Ask God to reveal to you changes you need to make to mature in your faith.  You may become aware that your anger or worry is negatively affecting your life and the lives of others around you.  With this insight you can pray that God help you build up your patience and develop in you peace and joy regardless of the circumstances.

Take a cue from these directions Paul gives for people who fret and worry in Philippians 4:6-7.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Personalize those instructions like this in prayer, “Oh, God, instead of worrying I’ll turn my attention to You and pray.  I’ll ask You with thanksgiving to replace my anxiety with Your peace that strongly guards my mind and emotions.  Then I can face my problems with strength and wisdom.  Thank You.”

From Pastor Daniel Self:
February 2020

It’s an exciting time to be a part of The Orchard. 2020 has started off unlike any year we’ve experienced and God is giving wisdom and favor as we audaciously trust Him and move forward. We see a lot of new faces each Sunday, and many seeking wisdom and clarity amidst life’s challenges. We have fresh leadership in areas of Stewardship, Outreach, and Discipleship as well a development plans for Men’s, Women’s, and Young Adult’s ministries. Our Student ministry meets each week and is speaking truth and identity into our youth. Our Children’s ministry is planting virtues and biblical truths deep in children’s hearts that will last a lifetime.

There are so many generous people giving out of gratitude for what God has and is doing. In fact, our building debt that was at $700,000 in 2019 is now down to $450,000… just in February. That’s over 2 years of payments gone in one month!

Our new Sermon Series begins Sunday! We will be journeying through the New Testament book of Ephesians and the revelations it holds about who Jesus is and who we are called to be.

Bottom line; God has a calling on your life. He has created you, equipped you, and put you where you are to reveal Jesus in a way no one else can. It’s important to know who you are in Christ and it’s vital to know the calling God has for you. I know the spring powder can be deep but, I encourage you to dive deeper in this series and see what God has for you.

“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling God has given you.” – Ephesians 4:1 The new series starts this week and takes us to Easter.

Speaking of Resurrection Sunday, due to our growth, we will be having three services this year, a first for us. We will have our 8:30am, 10:00am, and add an 11:30am. This means that there is plenty of room to invite our family and friends to attend with us.

All in all, “it’s fun to be us.” I thank God for each of you and I am often amazed when seeing so many of us stepping out with Bold Decisions and putting down Deeper Roots. Thank you for your faith in Jesus, your love for God’s people, your audacity, and your generosity.

Love God! Love People!