jANUARY 2022

"IN HIS HANDS!"

January is a month for new things! A time for new beginnings. The first month of a new year! I love this time of year because it's a needed time for fresh starts. It is an opportunity to refresh and renew.


Sure, spring isn't here yet. Winter is dragging on or maybe even just getting started. There are some days with gloomy grey skies, but the new year presents us with an opportunity for a new starting line! A clean slate! 


What do you have planned for the new year? What do you intend to be and do for Christ? You may have heard this famous line: “Goals are dreams with work boots on.” If you have dreams for this year, what are your plans to see them come to fruition?


Certainly, God is going to bless your efforts, but don’t just leave everything to God. Read that last line again. That does not sound like a line a pastor would say! 


You need to read it in its context! Of course, I believe in putting everything in God’s hands and trusting our past, present, and future to Him. However, I think sometimes we can use God as a “cop-out.” 


At some point…


  • If we want to know God, we need to pray.

  • If we want to lose weight, we need to watch what we eat.

  • If we want to get stronger, we need to exercise.

  • If we want to provide for our family, we need to work.

  • If we want a different job, we need to prepare our resume and apply.

  • If we want to get smarter, we may need to go back to school.

  • If we want friends, we must show ourselves friendly (yep, this one is biblical).


God ordains our steps, but in order for Him to do so, we have to be in motion (steps don’t happen by laying around). I can’t believe I am going to do this, but I am going to quote Christian artist TobyMac in his song Til the Day I Die


You say you doin' work, but you're asking where the couch at

How you doin' work when you asking where the couch at?

God is not a crutch, you can use Him when you wanna

You only look to heaven when you goin' through some drama

And when they goin' through some problems and that's the only time they call Him

I guess I don't understand that life, wonder why?

Cause' I'm all in

Til the day I die


I might not agree with TobyMac on everything, but he sure does a good job capturing the mainstream Christian attitude with that stanza! I want to be “all in” for Jesus this year! I don’t want to do it halfway and just holler at Him when I need Him for a specific situation.


God has incredible things in store for you this year. He wants to use your life in a powerful way. He wants to use you to make disciples for His kingdom. He wants to know you more. He wants to perform signs, wonders, and miracles through you!


Get up and put work boots on those dreams! Come up with some goals! Let’s not just sit around telling people, “I am giving my situation to God,” and then just sitting around and doing nothing. 


What could a supernatural God do with a willing vessel this year?


What do you say we find out?

- Pastor Gary Dornbach

December 2021

"Too busy for what?"

Merry Christmas! I get such a giddy feeling when this time of year comes around. However, it’s so easy to get wrapped up (pun intended)  in the rush of the season. I think we can all agree, that while Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year, we tend to stay busy all year round. It’s so important to take care of yourself and those around you, but in this world where such heavy focus is placed on “self-care” and “me time” mentalities, can we forget what sacrifice looks like?

Jesus had moments that He was emotionally and physically exhausted and the Bible tells us He wanted to get away (Matt. 14:13). He wanted some “self-care”, some “me time” and while He did take those moments, He also showed us that busyness can be a blessing. Perhaps, you feel exhausted and worn-thin, you’ve been working for The Kingdom at a breakneck pace. I encourage you to embrace that busyness, Jesus focused on compassion in the midst of His busyness (Matt 14:14) and I believe we should strive to do the same.

Jesus exemplified that we should take time to recharge and unplug by getting away but He never let busyness take Him from His calling. He didn’t allow busyness to rob Him of joy, power or making a difference. He sacrificed time and gave of Himself to minister to the world. Don’t despise your busyness, treat it as the sacrifice that it is for God. Take care of yourself but keep your eyes open for those that can be blessed by your busyness.

-Abigail Pottker

November 2021

"What are you thankful for?"

1st Thessalonians 5:18 says "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."


The month of November always reminds me of the reality that we all have something to be thankful for. It is the month where I am reminded to be mindful of the things that I am thankful for.


We are left with a question each time this season comes. "What are you thankful for?", we should have already asked ourselves that question every month previous to November but November asks everyone no matter who you are, what are you thankful for? 


Instead of asking what you are thankful for I ask this question: what are you making people thankful for? Are you being the light of the world, the salt of the earth? Jesus told us to be the light not to hide it under a bushel. Our actions show love and compassion amid intolerance, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. 


Reach out to that neighbor who is alone during the holiday season. Call the loved one who is dealing with a loss this season. Invite a friend to Thanksgiving dinner. Tell those around you how grateful you are for them in your life. These are things we do in order to help share the love of Christ. 


Find the things that God has blessed you with and give thanks to the king of kings for all that he has done for you. Look for the little things to be thankful for and find the little moments to pause and take reverence for the goodness of God. 


I pray that this season will be a blessing to you and to your family. That you find many things to be thankful for and take the time to create lasting memories with the ones God has placed in your life. Most of all I pray you take the time to allow the love of Jesus to embrace you and keep you in his lovingkindness.

- Rev. James Chester

September 2021

“When’s Your Birthday?”

When’s your birthday? Are you looking forward to it? Are you excited for it to come and turn the next age on the dial?


As children, we are super pumped for our upcoming birthday. My kids start planning their birthdays like six months in advance. They plan parties, themes for parties, lists for gifts, friends who they will invite, and they talk about how soon they’re going to be older than they are now.


I feel like this stops at some point. Am I wrong? 


When do we stop being excited for our birthday? Is it based on an age? Is it based on how our body feels? Is it based on weight gain or gray hair? 


If you don’t already know, my birthday is later this month. I am not dreading it, but I can’t say that I am excited for it either. For me, birthdays have become a time of introspection. I reached a point in life where it started to dawn on me… “Am I officially ‘middle-aged’?” I am probably never going to be a better basketball player than I am now. I am probably not going to have a better body with less physical ailments. My eyes are not going to see better than they do now. 


I find myself at an interesting stage. I am looking backward and seeing all the things God has done and what He has brought me through, and I am also looking forward and dreaming about what He still has left that He wants to accomplish. My birthday, at least for me, becomes this time where I am celebrating the goodness of God, while also still dreaming about the plan of God.


When’s your birthday? How old are you (Oh yeah, and at what age is it improper to still ask that question)? No doubt that most people reading this range in age from about 20 to 70. I know there are exceptions, but this is the majority taking time to read this (at least I keep telling myself someone is reading this, haha). 


Chances are, if you are more toward that 20 number, you are reading this and thinking I am old. Maybe you even feel slightly bad for me. 


If you are close to 40, maybe you can totally relate to what I am saying.


If you are more toward 70, you may be laughing at me for even hinting that I am getting older, and you are chuckling as I talk about aches and pains in my body. 


Here’s the thing though, no matter where you are in age and life, I think we would all be wise to practice these same things. It might not be your birthday this month but help me celebrate mine by doing the same two things I am going to do. I am looking backward and seeing all the things God has done and what He has brought me through, and I am also looking forward and dreaming about what He still has left that He wants to accomplish.


When God used the Old Testament prophet Joel to shed light on the future outpouring of His Spirit, God said, “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28, NLT).


God had a vision for His Church that included both the young and the old. This is also why Paul wrote to Titus in the New Testament and simply said, “These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children,” (Titus 2:4, NLT). 


For us to be the Church that God has designed us to be, we must never have an individual quit or stop seeing his or her place in the Body of Christ. God’s design was always to have both young and old working together. For this to happen, older people must be willing to take and make time to invest in the younger generation, and the younger generation must be willing to listen and receive. 


It really doesn’t matter if you have gray hair or not, if your clothes have gotten a little tighter with age, if you are still excited for birthdays or not, or if you now wear glasses because the eyes are getting tired. You are needed. If you are 20, you are needed. If you are 40, you are needed. If you are 70, you are needed. 


When’s your birthday? Mine is this month. I am thankful for all God has done in and through my life. I am also really excited to see what He still has planned. 

- Pastor Gary Dornbach