Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from Ukraine

This is a portion of an email from a from a recent Bible School student who listens to the odcast. Just another example of JCFC "redeeming technology."

I just had to write to you and let you know what a blessing you and JFCC have been to me recently, especially these last few weeks leading up to Christmas. I have been living in Kiev, Ukraine since September teaching English to University students and young professionals here and am loving it. However, the holiday season has been rather discouraging for me. The country still has a residual atheist feeling left from its time of Soviet occupation, and the Christians here are Orthodox, so they do Christmas later, on January 7th, but focus mainly on the secular "New Year" holiday. I have found a wonderful church family to be a part of but listening to your simple yet impacting messages on the reality of Christ's coming and what it means for us has been a constant reminder of how blessed I am this season, whether I have to work on Christmas day or even if I don't get Christmas dinner or time with family and friends.

It seemed fitting to tell you thank you and that your commentary on God's Word (praise Him for podcasting!) has been encouraging in a potentially discouraging time for me.

I pray for you and your family and the church, and hope that your holiday travels and festivities go safely and that you enjoy this time. Again, thank you and may you have a Divine realization of what this season truly means. I guess the short way to say it is simply "Merry Christmas."

Hannah Larsen

Merry Christmas

Well today was a crazy day. Andy called me this morning about 7.30 explaing to me that the truck wouldnt start! Argh. All of our kids church, nursery, lights and some of our sound is in the truck. We also have all the stable and manger scene for the drama today!

I buzzed over to the offices to try to help, and after a battery run to Wal-Mart, we tried again to get her started. But by almost 9 it was a lost cause. She has some issues.

So we ran a skeleton set up today, but all things said it went well. Too short spoken word pieces from the thoughts of Mary and Joseph intermixed within some great acoustic Christmas carols.

We even had a special appearance by Mr Aiden Kempers in a stellar role as baby Jesus. His debut acting endeavor.

Well we are on our annual Christmas journey, racking up the miles, but seeing a lot of family we miss though out the year. I will try to post a few times this week, before we get back in the swing of things next week!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Life this week

Well, I am sitting at my desk getting ready to go help Mark a bit with the stable and the manger for the Kids Production this weekend. It has been a busy week, and the snow and ice only adds to that drama.

Sunday is going to be great! You re going to love the Kids Christmas Production this weekend. We have a full nursery set up for your small children will be able to be taken care of. As usual the coffee bar will be ready to go at 9.45 for everyone!

It always throws me off when we have to miss a weekend. So I am ready to get back in the swing of things Sunday.

Use the e-invite to invite a guest this weekend!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Things Colin is saying Pt 2

Yesterday we were at a store, and there was a balloon on the ceiling. Probably 17 or 18 feet up. I told Colin I could throw him up there so he could grab the balloon and rescue it.

He quickly responded with, "But Dad I dont even have a cape?!"

Point well taken.

Things Colin is saying Pt 1

The other day he came into my bedroom while I was gettign ready for work with a tape measure in his hand. He asked me to "measure me, Dad."

To which I quickly agreed. I told him the measurement and he asked me if "he was bigger." I said , "Yeah buddy, you're bigger."

Again he confirmed with a question, "So that means I am bigger?" Yeah...

"Then since I am bigger can I watch the pirate movie dad?"

He has been dying to see Pirates, and I told him he could once he got.... bigger.

Here is our King Pt 3

...continued from the two previous posts.

3. Dwell on the Positive.

The third key to peace of mind is partially connected to the second - when it comes to our thinking, dwell on the positive. Paul commands, in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

I tend to believe that this is the key to our having peace of mind where we fail most. Too often we allow our minds to dwell on the negatives in our lives than on the positives. We are quite adept to seeing our glass as half empty rather than half full.

Every believer needs to learn Pollyanna‘s “Glad Game.” If you are not familiar, the "Glad Game" is to find something to be glad about rather than finding something to be sad about.

Everyone can find a silver lining in even the darkest cloud. This is especially so with we Christians! With God being with us, for us and working in our lives for our betterment, we should be the most optimistic and positive people on planet Earth.

4. Obedience to God’s Word.
The last key to enjoying Divine peace of mind is striving to obey the teachings of the New Testament. Paul says, in verse 9, “Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

There are three ways that obedience leads to peace.

A. If we obey God’s Word, we will avoid many pitfalls in this life that bring unnecessary heartaches and headaches. We can stay away from so many problems and troubles if we would truly strive to apply the teachings of Christ to our lives. Psalms 119:165, “Those who love Thy law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Proverbs 3:1-2, “Do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments;….peace they will add to you.”

B. True peace comes when you know in your heart and mind that you are doing all that you can to please God. If we are sincere in our religion, our conscience will be troubled as we know that we are not walking in obedience. Paul said, in Acts 24:16, "I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.” With obedience comes a clear and clean conscience. A clear and clean conscience promotes peace of mind.

C. Lastly, the teachings of Christ emphasize looking beyond self and serving others. The more we take our focus off ourselves - our predicaments, our troubles, our difficulties, our afflictions - and focus on how we can make life brighter for someone else or how we can glorify God, our minds will be liberated. We need to put into practice
Christ’s demand for selfless service. Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.”

Here is our King Pt 2

Here are two of the four keys to receiving Peace.

1. Prayer.
Paul says, in Verse 6, “in everything by prayer and thanksgiving…let your requests be made known to God.”

Whatever is bothering us, we need to take it to the Lord in prayer. Whatever we are facing that gives us cause for mental or emotional turmoil or distress, we need to bring it to the Lord’s attention.

We do not need to be bashful about bringing any troubling matter to Him, however great or small. If it brings concern to us, it is a matter of concern to Him because He wants us to be at peace. We don’t have to be shy about pouring our heart out to Him, Peter reminds us - “He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) God is interested in the big things in our life and the small things in our life. Nothing is too trivial to discuss when you approach the “the throne of grace.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Paul says, “let your requests be made known to God.” How would you like your situation to be? What changes would you like to see in your circumstances or in the circumstances of others? What would you like for God to do?

We need to be specific in our requests. We need to tell God exactly what we want changed. If it is not an unrighteous desire, we need not be timid in stating our requests.

We may ask whatever we wish of God. But, it is important that we believe that God can grant our request. We must believe that God can answer our prayer in bringing-about that which we desire.

We must remember what we are told, in James 1:6-7 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord..”

Perhaps, before we take our requests to the Lord, it may be good for us to consider the encouraging and faith-building words of Paul, found in Ephesians 3:20, where the Apostle says of God that He “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.”

Once we have made our requests known in faith, we need to with faith wait patiently and calmly for Him to answer. God always answers our prayers.

His answer will be the product of His love, His compassion and His wisdom. He will answer by delivering whatever is best for us. Matthew 5:7-11, "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father Who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

Did you notice that last phrase - “how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

The Lord will always answer by giving us, His children, what is good for us. That means that sometimes He will answer our prayers precisely as we requested. That means that sometimes He will answer in a way different than we had envisioned.

Our basis for peace of mind is that God hears and God answers us and He answers us by giving us what is good. He always delivers what is best. We must accept that God sees the big picture and He will give what is truly the best based on His infinite wisdom, love and power.

Once we take a matter to the Lord, we must leave it with Him. So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. I peter 5:6-7

We cast our worries and fears upon Him like we throw a ball to someone. The ball, if you will, is now in His court. We let Him make the next move and rest in knowing that He will respond “at the proper time” by giving us that which is for our good.

2. Thanksgiving.
The second key to acquiring Divine peace is also found in verse 6. Paul says that we are to submit our requests along “with thanksgiving.”

Too many times, when we are full of worry and fear, we fail to count our blessings. We fail to acknowledge how good God has been to us already.

I love the stanza in Amazing Grace in which we remind ourselves - “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. Tis grace that has brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”

We need to reflect upon how God has faithfully brought us to the present moment and thank Him for His past care. Think of the many dangers, toils and snares He has delivered us from and thank Him for it.

But, do not only thank the Lord for past blessings and deliverance. We need to thank Him for present blessings. No matter how distressing or harsh may be our current circumstances or situation, surely we can acknowledge that we are enjoying many Divine blessings right now.

Psalms 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.” Psalms 118:29, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His loving-kindness is everlasting.”

Here is our Peace PT 1

Since we have canceled service today, here is a recap of the sermon...

A Christian’s life should not only be characterized by outward peace with others but also personal, inward peace. The Lord not only wants serenity between His followers but serenity within His followers. God not only wants tranquility within each congregation but tranquility within each Christian’s heart and mind.

It is a sad commentary that peace within congregations seems so rare. It is equally a sad commentary that true peace within Christians seems also to be a rarity. The reason for both deficiencies is a lack of faith and a lack of spiritual discipline.

This morning, Paul is going to teach us how we might experience the inward peace that God wants us to have. He is going to give us four keys to peace of mind. I would have you note that these keys are not presented as suggestions but as commandments.

A Christian with a troubled and fearful mind dishonors His Lord. We need to understand that to be troubled, to be worrisome, to be fearful or fretful means we do not trust God’s sovereignty, God’s wisdom, God’s faithfulness and God’s goodness. It is an indication that we have not yet completely turned our lives over to the Lord.

In verse Philippians 4:6, Paul begins by commanding - “Don’t worry about anything.”

That is quite a commandment. We are not to have anxiety. We are not to have worry. We are not to have nervousness. We are not to have fretfulness and fear. No matter what our situation or circumstances, there is no need to be anxious. Thus, we are not to be anxious.

What benefits come from worrying? from being fretful? from being afraid? Absolutely nothing. Our worrying, our being fretful, our being fearful does not improve our circumstances in any manner. We can worry and fret but it will not bring about any positive changes in our situation.

Jesus made this point in Luke 12:25-26 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

What is the Lord saying? He is saying that we cannot prolong our life-span a single hour by worrying. A person cannot increase the length of his life at all. The utmost anxiety will not prolong it one hour beyond the time appointed for death. If we cannot, through being worrisome and fretful, effect our own lives by ensuring that we live a single extra hour….how can our worrying and being fretful change the circumstances around us? Worry and fear cannot bring-about any positive change.

On the contrary, worry and fear can do much harm. Not only has it been proven that it is destructive to our physical health (being a large contributor to heart disease, weakening of the immune system, gastro-intestinal diseases, migraines, ulcers, high blood pressure, etc.), it is very destructive spiritually.

Why? Because a mind that is occupied with worry and fear and distress is a mind that is not focused on the Lord.

When we worry and fret - we lose sight of the Lord and His providential working; we lose focus on the Lord and His revealed Will and we are tempted to handle our circumstances and situations with fleshly wisdom and fleshly strength; we lose focus and try to correct the external circumstances when, perhaps, our circumstances were meant by the Lord to correct our inner-self; we get distracted from carrying-out the Lord’s purpose and plan for our lives; we lose sight of the Lord’s goodness and our blessings and we are tempted to become negative and ungrateful; we take our eyes off the One Who is the only source of true and lasting peace.

Paul tells us, in Verse 7, that “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

The peace that comes from the Lord can banish all worry and distress from our hearts and minds. Not only can it banish anxiety and anguish and fear from our hearts and minds, it can keep it away.

The peace of God can act like a soldier on guard to protect our heart and mind. It will not allow anxiety and despondency and fear to sneak back in. The peace of God is stronger than the worry and fear of the flesh. Just as God is greater than our situations and circumstances so is God’s peace greater than our inward worries and fears.

We can experience perfect inward peace and tranquility in the midst of the most trying circumstances and severe tribulations. This does not seem possible nor rational. But, that is why Paul says that “the peace of God… surpasses all understanding.”

It is hard to comprehend or understand how our world can seem to be collapsing around us yet we can be perfectly calm and completely composed. The peace of God can provide that immense blessing.

Jesus said, in John 14:27, "My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

The world cannot give you nor teach you how to experience Divine peace. Y The world can’t supply it nor can you find it in yourself. It comes from God alone.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sunday Weather Closing

Dear JCFC church body,

As much as I hate to cancel services in the morning, I am going to do so. The weather isnt great right now, and is only going to get worse in the morning. Right now you can hardle keep your windshield clear, and the roads are getting slick.

At 6 AM the conditions are supposed to change to freezing rain and snow mix. I dont feel it is safe for all of our volunteers and congregation to try to venture out to service.

I will be posting the sermon online later tonight.

Again, I am sorry to have to cancel due to the weather. Take some time with your family in the morning and read my blog at for the sermon.

If you would like to make a contribution or give your tithe you can do so at under online giving.


Joshua Singleton
lead pastor

Sunday Sunday Sunday

Think about the title in regards to a monster truck show announcer voice!

We are still on for tomorrow. So glad we didnt cancel last weekend, the weather turned out fine for Sunday Morning. I am praying for the same thing this week. We have an awesome snow crew in this city, and they do a great job getting everything cleared.

BTW, if you are behind a snow plow, dont be frustrated. These men and women work long hours to keep us safe on the road. Instead of thinking angry words, say a short pray of safety for them and their families this winter.

See you Sunday.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

New Babies

Well we are going to grow one way or another!

Nate and Shanna had their little man via c-section on tuesday morning at 4:22 AM.

His name is Aiden Gerrit, weighing in at 8lbs 14 oz and 19 3/4 inches long. The family is great!

Kevin Rains and Lindsey had their new man at 6:10 on Tuesday evening. Isaiah Michael Patrick weighed in 8 lbs 4 oz and 20 1/2 inches long. They also had a c-section but are doing well.

Everyone looks to be coming home on Friday. I think to this point meals are ready for Shanna, but we need to get started for Lindsey.

Congrats to the new Moms and Dads.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Team Christmas Dinner

Cant wait for Wednesday! Team Christmas dinner with spouses! I love our team and I am so privileged to have such a great team of leaders who make JCFC so great!

We are planning to eat, and laugh, and celebrate Christmas. The only bummer is, Nate and Shanna wont be able to make it-----



As some of you know I have a soft spot for rock singers. My heart breaks as I listen to the lyrics of many of their songs. I have prayed for Scott Stapp of Creed for years. I am glad to say that God has been doing some great things in his life since the disbanding of Creed.

Today I spent some time praying for Alecia Beth Moore. Most of you know her as Pink. She has been on my heart lately. She really has had some difficult blows in life. The great thing is that I know that God cares about her.

So Pink if you happen to google your name today and this blog comes up, just know that there are people that are praying for you.

John 10:10 Jesus came so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.

Weekend Update

This last Sunday went extremely well considering the ice. We kind of took a chance on whether or not to have service or not. I am glad we did. The Band did a great job with "Here is Our King." They are really doing a great job.

I just want to say thanks for all of our awesome volunteers who make Sunday a go each week. Without you guys and your tireless labor we couldnt do it. God has blessed our city with some awesome people who really want to see this community changed for His Glory. So go JCFC volunteers.

BTW, December 30th is going to be our Volunteer Appreciation Sunday. You wont want to miss it.

Christian and Jessi have done a bang up job with getting Life Groups set for January. I am so excited about the new groups we have coming. We are going to get some good study, discussion , and community outreach taken care of this spring!

Pastor Kevin has got some great plans in place for our Kids Ministry. We are tweaking and retooling a few things, and the kids are having a blast. We are gearing up for splitting the Kids Church into two more age appropriate theaters. We are actively pursuing more volunteers to make this transition a huge success.

After the Holidays Kevin will be putting together a leadership team for Creek Kids. It is going to be a team of parents with some vested interest in the ministry that want to give feedback, support, prayers, and time. Be praying about how you fit within Creek Kids.

Great weekend. Thanks for being a support to the vision of JCFC.

To help turn people into fully devoted followers of Christ.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Church is ON

Just to let everyone know, we are here setting up. The roads are not bad at all, and the sidewalks are pretty clear.

Join us today as we kick off our new series "Here is Our King"

We have a special Advent booklet to give everyone today. You wont want to miss it. So brave the weather and join us. Its warm in here!