Daily Word

Join us as the social norms continue changing during this ongoing situation to better ensure public health and safety.

April 7, 2020

Pause for a moment, if you would, and join me in taking a deep breath in and exhaling out. 

Maybe for you, that was the first moment of calmness you have experienced in the last few weeks. The reality is, amidst all the things our world is offering us, I believe God is challenging us to choose PEACE in this season. 

In John 20, after Jesus had been resurrected, He appears to His disciples and says these four simple words, “Peace be with you.” You see, after Jesus was crucified, the disciples had lost their peace. However, in this passage, because JESUS was now in the room, PEACE was now in the room.

Have you lost focus of your peace because you’ve lost focus of your Savior? Invite God to realign your focus to the only source of true peace!

Bryce Holdman, Middle School Coordinator

April 6, 2020

Yesterday, we celebrated the beginning of Holy Week with Palm Sunday, the day that commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The following day, Monday, the Gospel writers record Jesus’ activities. Take a moment to read these accounts in Matthew 21:12–22, Mark 11:15–19, and Luke 19:45-48. 

Jesus cursed a fig tree for not being fruitful. In John 15:1-2, He says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”  Bearing fruit is an indication of living faith.  

Arriving at the Temple, He responds to the injustice of the corrupt moneychangers with a righteous anger. He overturned the tables and cleared the Temple saying, “Is it not written: “‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of robbers.’” – Mark 11: 17

This week a friend of mine witnessed a line five blocks long outside the Harvest Hope food distribution point. Grieved, she overturned the table of apathy and initiated a “go fund me” account on Facebook to raise money to go towards food for the hungry in our local community. Our partners in India are struggling to get food and provisions for their families due to the government lockdown and price inflation. Rather than letting the people outside their gates starve to death, they overturned the table of entitlement and shared their meager resources with those less fortunate.  

This message for today is a call to be fruitful in overturning the tables of injustice in our day. Let’s invite Jesus to break our hearts for the things that break His and then use what we have been given to bear fruit for the Kingdom.

Janis Albergotti, Missions Director

April 5, 2020

Got Love? Which kind? When we study the Bible, we are led to the definition of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV. This states, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” As we read these words of the New Testament, we see that this love in Greek is called Agape love and it is an action. This is what is known as unconditional love.

Another type of love is Eros love which is the warm fuzzy, sensual, or feeling based love. Our world today is wrapped around the axel of Eros love which is conditional love. It’s a quid pro quo love which when given expects something in return. When we fall in or out of love, we exemplify Eros love. We place a condition on someone and if they do not live up to that, we withdraw our love. That’s not biblical love.

The Bible implores us to love God, love self, and love others. Yes, the Bible even commands us to love your enemy. This would be impossible to do if we were to love them always with our feelings. However, when we apply unconditional Agape love to these commands, we realize that as 1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV states, “Love never fails.” Let’s all practice Agape love today and see how much deeper our faith with grow.

Steve Arneson, Mt. Horeb Member & Professional Christian Counselor

April 4, 2020

Most churches and spiritual leaders seem to be communicating a collective message right now: use this time to grow in your walk with God. 

Sure, the how sounds different. Read more Bible, or Christian books, extended time in prayer, daily walks, family time, new traditions, projects around the house. Do what you must to redeem the time you have now. 

I’ve been thinking a lot, however, about the why behind this advice. And I think this verse speaks to that.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” I especially love this verse in the New Living Translation which says “do not COPY the behavior of this world.” 

How is the world behaving right now? I see confusion, worry, anxiety, finger pointing and everyone trying to offer their best solution to what truly is a worldwide crisis. What are you noticing? How are people in your sphere dealing with these strange times? 

Paul tells us, his readers, that we don’t have to copy these patterns. Instead we can and should look very differently than the rest of the world. And not because we are some superheroes that are immune to fear and hard times. We don’t have to behave like everyone else because we can be transformed by the renewal of our minds. And this is the how that I alluded to in the beginning. 

If you will allow God to lead you to use your time differently for Him, as you read and pray and seek Him, He will renew your mind. You will start to see the situation under a light of hope and peace that comes directly from God. And that type of attitude is different from the world and is contagious to the world. It is the greatest testimony we could give about our God during this hard time.

Daniel Stevanus, Student Ministry Director

April 3, 2020

At one time or another, most of us have heard the term “first-world problem.” Maybe you’ve said it jokingly about something you’ve complained about or someone else has said it at the expense of one of your stories. Either way, it’s pretty easy to understand its meaning without having to ask Siri. What we considered to be worthy of a mood swing was really nothing more than a mere inconvenience – not even a consideration in some parts of the world. In the good ol’ USofA, we’re no strangers to convenience. Basically, all of life has become a convenience at this point for most of us – fast food, remote starters for our cars, talk-to-text, automatic doors. The point is, many of us enjoy so many modern-day luxuries that when we’re forced to choose the “reduced sugar” version of chocolate fudge ice cream because the grocery store ran out of regular, we get frustrated and later start the story of that loss with “can you believe I had to…” 

Well, some of our problems these days don’t feel so comically “first-world” anymore – parents have instantly become teachers to their school-aged children, small business owners are wondering if they’ll have to close their doors and those who need the Church the most are now more socially isolated than ever. Each one of us has our own brand of struggling right now. And our problems are more real than they’ve ever been. So at a time when things seem so difficult and the future looks so uncertain, what do we do? 

We shift our focus. Not forget about what’s going on around us, but intentionally set our eyes on what God has already done in all the other seasons of our lives. You see, this time has opened my eyes to more blessings than maybe ever before in my life. The blessings were always there. My focus just wasn’t on them. Right now, many of us actively fear suffering, and many times only the possibility of it, but how often do we look to heaven and proclaim what David did in Psalm 9:1?

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. – Psalm 9:1

 David saw much success in his life, but can you imagine the suffering he witnessed as well? I believe he set the example for us to follow. To keep record of what God has done for us, to tell others, and right now, to tell ourselves. God has poured out his blessings in different ways over each and every one of us – through our families, our friends, our jobs and resources. You see, we have a rare opportunity right now – to be faced with the choice to be fearful or faithful. To be hopeless or thankful. 

I want to encourage each of you right now to thank God for five things He has done in your life. And when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, thank Him again. Let’s be people who are faithful in our praise to the God who has always been faithful to us. 

Alex Killman, Contemporary Worship Leader

April 2, 2020

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This passage from 1 Thessalonians has been on my heart for the past few days. These three short commands from Paul have been important and convicting for my attitude during this season.

Rejoice Always:
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul writes to a community undergoing persecution for their faith. Despite this suffering, Paul urges them to “rejoice always.” This isn’t a command to be annoyingly happy amid the troubles. Instead, it is reassurance that when we have firm hope in Jesus Christ, we can experience genuine joy in every situation.

Pray Continually:
How could we possibly pray without ceasing when we have work to do, children to care for, dinner to make, etc.? This seems impossible and impractical. But Paul is not telling the Church in Thessalonica they have to be on their knees, with their eyes closed, and their hands folded in prayer 24/7. Rather, Paul is speaking of a lifestyle of prayer. This means being conscious of the constant and active presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It means being fully dependent upon and in continual fellowship with God. When we are in Christ, each breath we take is a prayer.

Give Thanks in all Circumstances:
Paul does not say give thanks for all circumstances, but instructs that we are to give thanks in all circumstances. As we grow in our love and understanding of God, we have more reasons to be thankful. We thank God for His faithfulness in our wandering. We thank God for His strength in our weakness. We thank God for His peace in our chaos. And we thank God in all circumstances because we know He “works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).

Emma Murphy, Congregational Care

April 1, 2020

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

Life has a way of winding us tight.


Many of us walk around with a low-grade anxiety boiling just below the surface.

The writer in Psalm 46 tells us to “Be still”. This is the Hebrew word raphah. It can be literally translated as abandon, sink, relax or cease. To be still is to let go. To be still is to stop striving. To be still is to take our hands on the wheel. To be still is to loosen our grip. Practice the art of stillness today. Know that God will be exalted and He is in control.

Pastor Trevor Miller

March 31, 2020

Our holy confidence is not shaken! But when we focus on the pit of despair, we can be in danger of falling into the pit. To keep from falling we must change our focus.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Our Holy Confidence is restored when we focus on Jesus Christ!

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. – Isaiah 26:3-4

How do we fix our eyes on Jesus? We stay focused on facts and not our feelings! Facts based upon the Word of God. Remember Jesus is the Word that became flesh. When you see Jesus, you see the Father!

• God is with us!
• God is for us!
• God is in us!

If you shut your eyes and think of Jesus Christ, what picture comes to mind?

Most of us see Jesus on the cross. Reminds of us of God’s great love! His forgiveness, grace and mercy.

But Jesus isn’t on the cross! The only thing on the cross is our sins! Where is Jesus? 

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. – Romans 8:24

And not just Jesus but also the Holy Spirit!

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – Romans 8:26-27

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? – Romans 8:31

Pastor Jeff Kersey

March 30, 2020

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…” – Philippians 4:12b

Earlier this week, I was sitting with the Lord and unloading all my frustrations and discontentment at His throne. Suddenly, I felt the Spirit bring to my mind these verses from Philippians, written by the apostle Paul. Paul is what we would consider a giant in the faith. He was one of the leaders of the first generation of Christians, considered by some to be the most important person after Jesus in the history of Christianity. He writes that he has learned the secret of being content. And not only did he learn it, but he shared it with us. 

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4: 11-13

Paul learned how to be content because he had ample opportunity to practice it. He had weathered seasons of uncertainty, discomfort, persecution and rejection and knew first-hand the strength the Lord provides. He writes, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4: 8-9).  This secret Paul is referring to is the ability to rise above our external circumstances because our focus and strength come from a Source that is trustworthy, unshakable, unchanging, all powerful and eternal. The God he knew in Jesus the Messiah enabled him to face everything with a strength that came from outside of himself.

Contentment in times of adversity is a choice, and often it is a choice that has to be made over and over again. It has to be practiced until it becomes our default response. It gives me hope that Paul said he had to learn it. We see here a very human Christian facing difficulties and troubles and having to learn, just like us, how to navigate them. No easy button. No shortcuts. It was a process for him too. So, let’s be gentle with ourselves and others during this uncharted time. Let’s be people who cooperate with the work God wants to do in us so He can be magnified through us. Together, let’s proclaim and live out that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Janis Albergotti, Missions Director

March 29, 2020

Got Hope? In what? The Bible teaches us that hope anchors the soul, but we need to understand the object of that hope to make sure we don’t become hopeless. In Hebrews 6:19 NLT we read, “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” So, we are not to hope in our circumstances, but hope in The One who brings us through our circumstances. Our focus of hope must be constantly and only in Jesus.

Sometimes we become hopeless when life gets overwhelming and frantic. During these times just surviving the day can be our only goal. This often creates a desire to numb or escape from the emotional pain so alcohol, drugs, food, social media, are used to cope with these stresses. As the old hymn states, “In Christ Alone, our hope is found”.

Real hope is only found in a personal relationship with Jesus. Not because He will magically take your pain away, but because He will walk with you through your suffering. The Bible teaches us in Daniel 3 that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not pray to be saved from the fiery furnace. They were confident in God’s ability to take them through the trial, and eventually Christ showed up with them in the fire. So, if you’re going to be hooked-on-hope, make sure it’s on someone who reigns above your circumstances!

Lastly, we read in Hebrews 11:1 NIV, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Therefore, our hope is an essential element of our faith, and we must strive to anchor our hope in Christ Alone.

Steve Arneson, Mt. Horeb Member & Professional Christian Counselor

March 28, 2020

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Psalm 90 is a Psalm of lament written by Moses. He offers up this prayer to God coming from himself as well as the people of Israel. Here he confesses the hardship of what they are going through by spending their time (40 years) in the wilderness, the desert. He also is sure to continue to worship and lift up God’s name as he understands this difficult season was brought about because of their unbelief and rebellion. 

Then, in the middle of this whole Psalm he offers up these words in verse 12 which start out with “so” or therefore, in light of all that I just said…Moses talks about the brevity of life in the first part of the Psalm and then says, so, in light of this, while I am stuck in the wilderness season of my life, teach me to number my days. 

Another way this could be said is, while I feel like my days are wasting away, and I’m not able to accomplish much, teach me to have the right view and perspective on my time. Then I will gain a heart of wisdom or then I will know how to better use my time. 

This can help us today. We didn’t cause our wilderness time, but we are in this weird holding pattern. Most of us have gained time with no school, working from home, events being cancelled. So we don’t want to just let it waste away. And while it may have been fun to just sit and do nothing, watch shows, nap, catch up on some much needed rest, at some point, we must learn to number our days. To see this time as precious and valuable and to develop a plan to better use it. 

Here are some ideas…

  • Worship God through your daily reading of Scripture, prayer, singing worship songs, joining our church online, leading your family to do the same and caring for others
  • Enjoy your family using this time establishing new traditions, movie nights for sure, but also board games, plant some flowers, have a bonfire, host a family talent show night
  • Learn something new – our biggest excuse for not starting anything is always that we don’t have enough time. So pick up that book, watch those youtube tutorials, check the Pinterest DIY section and then go take that car apart and paint that wall
  • Sit at the feet of Jesus – grab a cup of coffee, and after reading and praying just simply sit. Enjoy knowing that God made you and loves you, and he delights in you as Trevor wrote about earlier this week

Lord Jesus, help us to remember that our time is limited. So during this season of uncertainty, where we have some extra time, help us to use it well, to your glory. Amen!

Daniel Stevanus, Student Ministry Director

March 27, 2020

The Hebrew word Halal means to praise, shine, boast, celebrate. When we couple this with the Hebrew word Yah, which stood for the name of the one true God Yahweh or Jehovah, we get the meaning “Praise Ye the Lord”. This is where we get our word Hallelujah, which is one we often hear in songs of worship. 

Throughout the Bible we see believers being called to lift their praises to God. All of the circumstances we could imagine are represented throughout their journeys. There were times of captivity, times of wandering, times of blessing, and times of rejoicing. Emotions during each of these journeys would surely range all over the place. However, the call for the people of God to raise their own hallelujah was clear. Scripture reminds us of the importance of praising the Lord for who He is and what He has done! 

Psalm 145: 4 says, “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power.”

Then Psalm 145: 7 says, “Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness.”

Homes full of hallelujahs! That’s what we need right now! There is a generation watching and listening, and how we raise our hallelujah during this time is important! Besides, don’t we still have a wonderful story to share?

Grace Marie Ward, Worship Arts Director

March 26, 2020

For the past two weeks, I’ve gotten in the bad habit of immediately checking the news when I wake up each morning. It’s the first thing I do when I grab my phone to turn off my alarm. I fill my head with news about the increasing reported cases of Covid-19 and the number of deaths caused by this virus. So, before I even roll out of bed, I’m sad, fearful, and anxious about tomorrow.

But this morning, I did something different. Instead of instantly checking the depressing news, I felt this nudge from the Holy Spirit to be joyful.

Psalm 118: 22-24 exclaims, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

We are all familiar with the last verse in this passage and use it often to express our desire to choose joy every day because each day is a gift from God. We don’t, however, pay much attention to the two verses proceeding it. But Jesus uses the exact words of verses 22-23 in the New Testament when he refers to his rejection by his own people. Jesus explains that he is the rejected stone that became the cornerstone. Jesus is the crucial foundation of our salvation and faith.

When we read verse 24 in light of this context, we realize something even greater about this “day that the Lord has made.” This “day” is a prophetic image of the establishment of Jesus Christ on the Throne. This “day” is a direct reference to Christ’s life, death, and resurrection that gave us the gift of salvation.

We are currently enduring challenging times in our world, but Psalm 118 gives us hope that Jesus still sits on the Throne. We can delight in the truth that Jesus came to earth to give us undeserving love and unexplainable peace. And because of Jesus, we can live each day, even the most uncertain and difficult days, with joy.

Emma Murphy, Congregational Care

March 25, 2020

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” – Zephaniah 3:17

A few days ago, I was holding my 5-month-old little girl while she was sleeping. She was so sweet in my arms with her little lips poked out and quiet snores. She looked perfect. So, I took some pictures. A lot of them. All of them of her… sleeping.

You see, my heart was bursting with love and joy over my daughter and she was doing nothing to earn it. I was in love just because she was mine.

Maybe you need to hear today that the God of the universe delights over you with gladness. This Hebrew word for delight literally means… well… delight. God is madly in love with you. Maybe you need to hear today that the God of the universe rejoices over you with song. The Hebrew word for rejoice literally means… well… rejoice. God beams with affection for you.

Now some of us can buy the fact that God might feel this way about your kids or feel this way about a good friend of yours, but we struggle to accept God’s unbridled love for us. Maybe we can see him loving the more dependable, less angry, more sober, better filtered, slightly more fiscally responsible and kinder version of ourselves, but the current me? No way.

But God sees you for who you really are. The purest you. The realest you. And He loves it. So, stop trying to earn His love. You never can, it’s to be freely received. Stop trying to impress Him. He created the world; He does not impress easily. Just be. And if you listen closely, you might just hear the joyful song. 

Sometime today, play the song “Goodness of God” by Bethel Music. Listen to each word and allow it to penetrate your heart and cause you to believe that this is the way God feels about you.

Pastor Trevor Miller

March 24, 2020

“These are the times that try men’s souls.” – Thomas Paine

Today we are being tested with uncertainty, trials and tribulations. Our response will reveal what we are made of, what we really believe and what our life is built upon. In Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus said,

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Now more than ever we need to “put into practice” the words of Jesus.   While teaching His disciples, Jesus must have seen the worry and anxiety on their faces. The words He spoke to them, He wants us to hear today.

“So my counsel is: Don’t worry about things—food, drink, and clothes. For you already have life and a body—and they are far more important than what to eat and wear. Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Will all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothes? Look at the field lilies! They don’t worry about theirs. Yet King Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as beautifully as they. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you, O men of little faith?

“So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to.

“So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. – Matthew 6:25-34

My friends as we navigate this coronavirus let’s seek first God’s Kingdom and live one day at a time. It really is the best way to live!

Pastor Jeff Kersey

March 23, 2020

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  – John 14:12

No matter where we go (or don’t go), uncertainty about the future, and the resulting fear, battle for our thoughts and emotions. However, this is a day to remember that our hope comes from the LORD. When faced with the unknown, we turn to the Word of God to find our direction, wisdom, and Truth. We remember that God rules and reigns even when circumstances would tempt us to believe otherwise. God is not surprised by the development of a virus or the upheaval of our day-to-day living. He is not distracted, absent, or disinterested. He remains “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1 emphasis added).  

Many among us may be feeling helpless to do anything significant while practicing social distancing. It may be true that we can no longer do things the way we are used to doing them. But this season provides us with a unique opportunity to show the world how a Christ follower responds to crisis through the lens of faith rather than fear. John 14:12 reminds us that those who believe in Christ will not only do the things that Christ did but that they will have power to do even greater things.  

I believe that this crisis will be redeemed as the sick receive supernatural healing, the love of Christ is demonstrated by His Church, and the Gospel is announced in neighborhoods across the globe drawing lost people into saving faith. I don’t know about you, but this is a movement I want to join.

Take some time to read the Gospel of Mark.  As you read ask yourself these questions:

1. What do I learn about Jesus from this story?
2. How can I take what I learned and apply it to my life today?
3. How can I use this story to help someone else?
4. Who can I share this story with this week?

Janis Albergotti, Missions Director

March 22, 2020

Got Anxiety? Got Stress? Did you know that Stress does not come from a stressor? For example, the coronavirus, finances, employment, health and relationships, can all be stressors, but not everyone may receive stress from them. If Stress came from a stressor, they everyone would get stressed from these. So, Stress only comes from a Mindset or a Belief about the stressor. If we do get stressed, we then often get anxiety. This can happen so fast that we need slow motion replay to discern the true root of the problem. Anxiety is simply the result of our mind (belief) trying to control ourselves and our environment. Just think for a moment, what are you truly in control of? Can you control the events of the next minute, or your heartbeat? No, so when you surrender control of things you are not in control of, you trade your rags for God’s riches. That’s what Philippians 4:6-7 NIV says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.” That’s right, our minds. So, change is made as the Bible says in Romans 12:2 NIV, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” This means that you are in control of your decisions and choices (free will), but not much after that. In fact, your expectations can often cause much anxiety because we sub-consciously believe we can control outcomes more than we really can. All this to say, when trials and tribulations come, be Still and know He is God.

Steve Arneson, Mt. Horeb Member & Professional Christian Counselor

March 21, 2020

The people that know me best know that I love to quote Joshua 1:8 

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

I like to quote this because it is one of the first verses I ever memorized, and it’s message is so simple, yet profound. 

You see, simply put, this verse reminds the reader to meditate on the Book of the Law which for at the time was the first five books of the Old Testament, and for us is the whole Bible. We must learn it, think about it, share it with others and most importantly obey it. Then we will see success in our life. 

However, what makes this so applicable to us is the backstory of this verse in the context of the whole chapter. You see chapter 1 of this book sees Joshua taking over leadership after Moses’ death. Talk about some big sandals to fill! The leader of the whole Jewish people, who successfully lead them out of Egypt, and through the wilderness has died. The new, young guy is about to take over and is going through a season of transition. 

While our season of transition today is very different, with quarantines, social distancing and changes in routines, I am sure some of the feelings that Joshua had are similar or the same as what we are feeling. Emotions such as uncertainty, fear, anxiety and trepidation about what is to come, these are typical of big changes and transition. 

That is the exact backdrop, however, for the encouragement that God gives Joshua, and it is the same encouragement He gives us today. Though there is transition, and times are different, even uncertain, we must remain faithful to God’s Word. To learn it, share it with others, and put it into practice. Then our ways will be prosperous, then we will have good success, even in uncertain times. 

Daniel Stevanus, Student Ministry Director

March 20, 2020

What has been your song this week? Maybe there’s a phrase that is bringing you comfort or a truth you are declaring daily, and you just can’t help but sing it out. The songs we sing on the mountain will often be the songs we need to cling to in the valley. For many people this week, this disruption to daily life has left them navigating a new normal, which feels like a season in the valley. As a worship leader I love encouraging the people of God to lift their praises to Him in a collected voice altogether in every season we go through.  I’ve always believed there is such a powerful shift in the room when this happens. We represent all different stages and seasons of life as we join as the body of Christ, and together we are continually pointing each other to His goodness and faithfulness.

“O magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together” – Psalm 34:3

On Sunday morning this week we begin something new, and we don’t know how long this may be a new normal. It’s going to look different and probably feel different as people gather to watch and worship as a church online only. The beautiful thing is that churches across the nation will be doing this very same thing. We won’t be able to hear the singing and praising of the church body in a gathered room that’s full of energy like a typical Sunday service. Rather, you get to lift your own unique, individual voice to the Lord, and maybe that’s the very thing the church needs to hear right now; hearing your own voice magnify God, reminding you of what you believe and why. Your worship location may be changing but your worship proclamation has not! So lift His praises loud in your living rooms, from your back yards, or from your cars as you take a beautiful drive. Declare His goodness for your family, your neighbors, and for yourself to hear. And remember your church family will be doing the same thing at the same time as we exalt His name together!

Grace Marie Ward, Worship Arts Director

March 19, 2020

We often find ourselves associating the Church with a building. We think of the Church as a structure where Christians gather for worship, prayer, fellowship, programming and special events. But as this pandemic sweeps through our nation, we are forced to close the doors to our beloved building. More importantly, we are faced with the lingering question: what do we, as the Church, do now?

Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 5: 14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Even though the doors of the church building are closed, we are still called to be the Church. The Church is not a building or a structure or a location. The Church is the Body of Christ, the community of believers, set apart with the purpose of shining Christ’s light in this dark and troubled world. While we can’t physically gather on Sunday mornings, we can still be an embodiment of the Gospel.

Find times this week to be the hands and feet of Jesus (but make sure to use lots of hand sanitizer). Call and check in on your neighbors. Share the link to our livestream services with a friend. Write a card to someone in an assisted-living facility or nursing home.

Emma Murphy, Congregational Care

March 18, 2020

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

We were never promised an easy life. In fact, Jesus promised quite the opposite. When talking with his disciples, Jesus warns them that in this life they will face trouble. We all can relate to these early Jesus followers because we too can rest assured that we will face difficulty in this world. Trouble in the form of broken relationships. Trouble in the form of disappointing diagnosis. Trouble in the form of overwhelming bills. Trouble in the form of paralyzing pandemics.

But look what Jesus also promises.

We can take heart because right in the middle of the trial we are offered peace. Right in the middle of the struggle we are offered peace. This peace is not the absence of conflict, the absence of anxiety, the absence of disappointment, the absence of a crippling virus, but it is the very presence of God. There is nothing this world can throw at us that we cannot handle because Jesus has overcome the world.

You are not alone. God is by your side.

Find several moments today to shut off all technology and spend a few minutes in quiet silence, resting in God’s peace for you today.

Pastor Trevor Miller

March 17, 2020

As the coronavirus spreads globally and locally, we want to feed our faith instead of feeding our fear by becoming more connected with believers all over the world through prayer and Holy Scripture. As Christ followers we turn to God in times of fear and uncertainty as we do in joy and victory. As we practice social distancing, we are reminded our God does not keep His distance.

As a Prayer Driven church let us:

Pray for the Prince of Peace to guard us from panic, anxiety and division.

Pray for the supernatural gifts of Wisdom, Discernment, Knowledge and Faith for our Spiritual, medical, political and economic leaders. The people God has placed in authority.

Pray for Protection and health for those providing medical care to those battling the effects of the coronavirus. Ask God to pour out the supernatural gift of healing upon our healers.

Pray for sufficient medical and human resources.

Pray for healing for those infected and those who face quarantine.

Pray for the discovery of a corona vaccine and treatment.

Pray for the Church to truly represent the Light of the World. To be ready, available and able to give witness to the love of God.

Pray we all come to a place of true repentance and total dependence on God for all things and that God would release to this world protection, provision, healing, restoration, strength and salvation.

We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he’ll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don’t want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God’s deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part. – 2 Corinthians 1:9-11 MSG

Pastor Jeff Kersey