November 2023

"Beautifully Broken You"

There are beautiful things that take our breath away, like a rainbow, a newborn baby, a sunrise, or gorgeous autumn colors. Then, some not-so-beautiful things steal our breath away in a different, unwanted way. Like hearing news, you never wanted to hear or going through the hardest trial of your life.

This year, I noticed something I’d never noticed before. As I was driving along, I noticed some of the most brilliant, beautiful colors of leaves spiraling up the trees, over rocks, and along fence lines. WOW! What beautiful plant is this? It is so bright and glowing this year! Upon closer investigation, I began to realize what this plant was. Poison Ivy! Yes, poison ivy- something I despise because I get an awful reaction to it, even when just getting too close.

How can such an awful plant bring me such joy just seconds earlier? This terrible, despicable plant had turned the prettiest and most beautiful of all. It got me thinking about some recent situations in my own life. I began to think about these situations; these awful, terrible situations throughout my whole life have brought about some of the most beautiful things in my life. Sometimes, I can see how God is already beautifully molding and shaping me and my family through these things. Others, I have yet to see how it will be beautiful. But what I must remember is that God is GOOD, He is faithful, He loves us so much, and He has a plan.

He can use even the toughest, hardest, most awful things in our lives to weave it all together into a beautiful masterpiece- Like only He can do. Isn’t that what our God masters in any way? Taking the broken things and putting them back together; taking the discarded things to claim as His own; the rejected are accepted, unqualified become qualified, and the lost are found. He loves making “ugly things” beautiful in its time.

It can be very difficult to see the beauty in the broken things and in the tough times. But God tells us in His Word that He makes everything beautiful in its time.

 “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people can not see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT. 

We are also told He uses all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Just remember that, in your hard times, God wants to be close to you. Psalm 34:18 NLT says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” When we feel broken, there is also beauty in His closeness to us. We are also reminded that He experienced brokenness Himself in so many ways. In reference to His own life and soon approaching death, he said, 

“Most assuredly I say unto you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” (John 12:24 NKJV)

Let Him take the broken things in your life and use them to make them into something beautiful. The following is a quote I liked quoted by Vance Havner:

“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”

As the season shifts once again and beautiful leaves begin to fall to the ground, we may be tempted to see things as bleak, bare, and ugly; when things start to feel empty, draw close to God. Choose to trust Him to make things beautiful no matter how empty everything might seem. Remember, God makes everything beautiful in His time. Every. Single. Thing. Give it to Him so he can do what He does best. He makes it… and makes us… beautiful!

“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 NLT.

I’m so glad God uses broken things and broken people, aren’t you?

- Crystal McFarland

Crystal is an integral part of Refuge Church. She is kind-hearted, sweet, and always looking for a way to help and contribute. You will often find her lending a hand wherever she is needed, with a smile on her face and a winning attitude.

October 2023

Love is the first and greatest commandment. It is at the foundation of everything that stems from God. We are to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). Without love motivating us, we will not have the faith and hope we need to make a real difference in this world. We must keep going to God and the Bible to refill our love bank daily to be at peace within ourselves and others. (Ephesians 4:29-32).

Everything we strive to do to fulfill God’s plan for us to be his ambassadors hangs on the greatest expectation for us to love. Our love for one another, not our righteous deeds or acts of service, distinguishes us as Christians (John 13:34-35). After all, As Christians, when it comes to loving the lost and winning souls, we have nothing to lose, but they have everything to gain.

-Andrew Pottker

Andrew is a dedicated member of Refuge church. He's involved in children's ministry, a leader in Impact Student Ministries, on the praise team, and involved in various other ministries.

September 2023


In 1902, a woman in her forties sat heartbroken in a prayer meeting. Throughout her adult life, she faithfully served the Lord in various capacities, always nurturing a deep desire to bring the gospel to Africa. Just when it seemed like her plans were falling into place, a lack of financial support abruptly halted her dreams.

Lost in her thoughts and barely aware of her surroundings, she overheard the prayer of an older woman nearby, “Lord, it doesn’t matter what You do with us; just have Your way in our lives.” The words lingered in her mind as she later sat meditating on Jeremiah 18:1-4, the story of the potter molding the clay. Before falling asleep, Adelaide Pollard composed all four stanzas of the beloved hymn, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” You may be familiar with its opening verse:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!

Thou art the Potter; I am the clay.

Mold me and make me after Thy will,

While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Was God purposefully delaying Adelaide’s journey to Africa to shape her character, to refine her for His service? She did not have the answer, but she was willing to surrender to the hands of the Potter. Eventually, in God’s perfect timing, she did become a missionary in Africa.

Two crucial elements come into play on the Potter’s wheel: the pressure of the Potter’s hands and the wheel’s speed. Both are under His control. Let’s invite God to have His own way in our lives as He transforms us into His wonderful image. Placing our trust in Him, we can echo the prayer of Isaiah: “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:8).

This article appears on the Reflections Blog. It is written by Julie Long, the editor of Reflections magazine.

August 2023

"Change your world"

When I was younger, I was convinced I would become famous. I didn’t know how it would happen; I figured it would just happen. Maybe a talent scout or tv producer would notice my charisma and outstanding sense of humor and put me on tv. Perhaps a tennis instructor would see my potential, and I’d soon be playing Wimbledon. I knew I wouldn’t get famous playing golf. Those of you who have golfed with me know that’s the truth! Maybe a record producer would hear my deep, rich voice, and I’d be accepting Grammies in no time. Regardless of how it happened, I’d become famous and change the world.

Fast forward to today. Obviously, I’m not famous. I’m still trying to get people to spell my name correctly. I’ve replaced tennis with pickleball. The term “joyful noise” best describes my singing voice, and not even my wife laughs at all my jokes. So, what does that have to do with changing the world?

Today’s world is very strange and only getting stranger. Things that I thought were wrong are now considered “ok”. Values, morals, beliefs, and kindness are becoming notions of the past. Sadly, most people only care about themselves these days. So, what’s my point?

There are people in this world who have the wealth, power, and connections to see the whole world and interact with millions of people and change nothing. I don’t have those types of resources, so I know I won’t change the world like that.

Consider this verse of Scripture where Jesus is speaking to His followers after He had risen from the dead.

“And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” Mark 16:15 (NLT) 

Here’s the dilemma. We don’t have the resources to reach the whole world, but Jesus has commissioned all believers to share the Good News. What do we do?

In this verse, Jesus is addressing His disciples. We know them now as The Rock, Doubting Thomas, the Sons of Thunder, and the Tax Collector. They would go on to share the Good News with everyone, write books of the Bible, and even die for their beliefs. At the time of the Great Commission, however, they were just average men. They had all recently abandoned Him during His toughest hours, yet here Jesus is telling them to take this great message to everyone. 

When we have great news to share, who do we tell first? Our closest friends and family. I’m sure the disciples all had those people in their lives, just like we do. Wives, children, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends who know all about us and still love us! We all have that sibling who beat up on you even though you were the older brother. Or that uncle who played catch with you in the backyard or the best friend from school with whom you got into a lot of trouble. I’ll bet you have someone in mind right now!

You see, nobody can tell your testimony better than you! You know what God has done for you better than anyone. I have an awesome testimony that I don’t tell nearly enough. Ask me about it sometime. Our worlds consist of our families, friends, co-workers, church members, neighbors, the coffee baristas you see all the time, doggy daycare workers, and store cashiers. This is our mission field! This is the world YOU can reach!

I’m hoping at this point, we are going through our mental catalog of these people. Do my co-workers see Jesus in me? Have I invited my family to a church service or Bible study, or am I worried it will be awkward? What about the other parents at your child’s sporting event? You see them every week. Have you even talked to them?

You may be saying, “C’mon man. Nobody wants Jesus forced on them.” That may be true, but we aren’t shy about sharing our political views, opinions of our favorite sports teams, the pizza we ate, parenting tips, or the cute thing our dog did. I struggle with trying to reach my world too. I let the distractions of life keep me from sharing the Good News with others, but I’m reminded of this verse in Matthew 10: 32-33,

“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” (NLT)


Some of us will or have traveled to different areas of the world, but for most of us, our world, our people, and our areas are where we are right now. I believe God knows how to use His army; because of that, we may be the only ones capable of reaching certain people. For instance, I will most likely never be able to reach your grandmother, and you may never meet my co-workers, but maybe, just maybe, we’ve been put in these specific situations and certain people placed in our paths because God is asking us to share the Good News with them.

Lastly, there will be things you may say to yourself, like:

“My testimony isn’t very powerful.”

“I’ve done too many things wrong to share Jesus with anyone.”

“I don’t know how to witness.”

“I don’t have anyone to share Jesus with.”

These statements are all lies whispered to or told to keep us from really going out and changing our worlds! Don’t believe those lies! God has given us the same power the apostles had when they changed their worlds. 

There are so many people in all of our worlds who need Jesus. So many broken, hurting, scared, sad, angry, and sick people who need their worlds changed by the Miracle Worker! If you want to see a change, you need to go out and be that change. 

Be blessed,

Rahl Douglass

Rahl is an integral part of Refuge Church and he can be found serving in many areas. If you get a chance to spend time in his company, you will appreciate his quick wit and willingness to be transparent about all Jesus has done in his life.

July 2023


Our society deals with agreements, arrangements, and contracts, which are simply covenants: They show two parties willing to work with one another to obtain something each party wants. A Covenant can vary from marriage vows to a 30-year mortgage or a contract to work a job for a set number of years. It could possibly be for independence or freedom, similar to our "Declaration of Independence" which we celebrate in July. They are different but are covenants.

For a covenant to occur, there have to be two things involved an offer and acceptance. A covenant is what's mentioned in the Word of God several times. Its purpose is to serve as a record of rights, responsibilities, and obligations of both parties who signed the Covenant. It explains, in detail, the duties of each party toward one another. How actions are to be performed, measured, and at times, an expiration or end date. If it's to be revised by the original creator. A Covenant is useful to remind everyone of the expectations. Most often, it's a legal Covenant. Disagreements will arise, but the Covenant helps minimize disputes based on earlier agreed-upon terms.

II Chronicles 7:14 mentions a Covenant that God accepted from Solomon. Solomon actually initiated/offered to God a Covenant. II Chronicles 6:1-42 is God's response to Solomon’s offer. But God added additional things he wanted within the Covenant concerning Solomon and consequences (if He were to turn away and forsake his commandments). Solomon's initial offer only included the people he was leading. II Chronicles 7:14 says,

"If My People which are called by My Name shall Humble themselves and Pray and Seek my face and Turn from their wicked ways Then will I Hear from Heaven and will Forgive their Sin and Will Heal their Land."

We are his people, we are the Bride of Christ, the Church! When we Heard the Word spoke (Rom 10:17), when we Believed the Word Heard (John 20:29,31), when we Repented of our sins ( Luke 15:7), when we confessed Jesus to others (Luke 12:8-9), when we take action and be Baptized in his Name (Acts 2:38). Through this plan of salvation, we have access to God and his Covenants.

Throughout the Word of God, He has made a Covenant with Man. Adam, Abraham, Moses, and David, are all of the Old Covenant in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ the Messiah New Covenant in the New Testament. It's been God's desire and plan to dwell with Man, be in Covenant with him, and for Man to live forever with Him, like Him. He mentions this in Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 2:16,17 and 22. In these passages, He mentions living forever and the "Tree of Life". But when man disobeyed, it caused a separation, and God altered His plan. There has been a longing for this connection. Solomon as a leader, prayed and offered a Covenant to God in II Chronicles 6:1-42. He projected his prayer/offer to God not just for the present time but the future of many, many generations to come.

Solomon's key point in his offer was, first, reverence God. He recognized who God was and that He does keep his covenants. Second, he reminded God of His promises made to his father David. Third, he asked God to listen to his cry, see his supplication, and look upon him, for he had an offer to submit. 4th, he prayed for the neighbor that his people would sin against. Fifth, Solomon knew his people; he prayed for them when they sinned against God. Sixth, he prayed for the elements in the atmosphere when Heaven would shut up, and no rain fell because of the sins of the people. Seventh, Solomon prayed for the land, pestilence, mildew, caterpillars, burdens of the people, and sickness. Eighth, he prayed for the strangers who would come from afar and pray to God. Ninth, he prayed for war; if they would go out to war, which God had sent them, they would maintain their cause and not be overtaken. All of these offers were conditional based upon if they did something in return. If they turned, confessed His name, prayed and made supplication, then God would do His part.

Solomon's prayer ended with reminding God of his Father David, whom He anointed, and the mercies shown his father ( II Samuel 7:10-17). He then asks God to open His eyes to the needs that He hears, and be attentive to his prayer. He asks God to arise and go into the dwelling place he's prepared for Him (do we have a place in our homes where He can dwell and meet you there?)

God’s response to Solomon's covenant offer is found in II Chronicles 7:12-22.

I will do my part if you will keep yours. If you break a covenant, consequences are listed.

God responded to Solomon with I will accept: IF you're humble, praying, seeking and if you turn around. Humble is submitting yourself to someone who is either higher or lower in status than yourself. If you're in a position of power and authority, you know who you are, and what you're capable of doing in certain circumstances Jesus did this in Matthew 27:11-14, Mark 14:60-62, John 18:35-36.

God humbled himself in John 1:1, 10,13,14. One of the fruits of the spirit is meekness, which is gentile or mild even in a position of Power and Authority.

God responded to Solomon with I will accept: If you're praying. It's a commandment of God, and it's God's way of intervention on earth (it happened with Daniel). Action took place when he prayed (Daniel 10:12), but the answer was delayed (Daniel 10:13). Praying communes/communicates with God, it goes back to Genesis. The beginning (Genesis 3:8-11) is when God talked with Adam. Verse 11 reads,

"And he said, who told thee that thou wast naked?"

In other words, WHO TOLD YOU that I would NOT keep MY WORD? MY COVENANT? Our adversary will get you to doubt/question what God told you. Only look for and listen to the voice of God and when he speaks. Obey, trust, and GO!

God was transitioning things from the Old Testament (Covenant) to the New Testament (Covenant). On the mountain of configuration, when he took Peter, James, and John, his brother, to the mountain, He spoke with Moses (Old Testament) and Elijah (New Testament) concerning what was to come. Part of the armour of God, Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:18 to pray for the saints, always watching with perseverance-intensity, pursing, and supplication--sitting, meditating, and waiting.

God responded to Solomon with I will accept: if you seek me first.

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:3

God has been seeking us and pursuing us, He wants us to seek and pursue Him. God has been seeking us from Genesis until now and came among us because of his Love and a covenant he's agreed to keep. In acceptance of Solomon's offer, he wants us to seek him 1st, and as a King as Abba Father, he will provide Everything we need. He keeps his covenant. We have to continually do our part.

God's final response to Solomon is I will accept: if you turn, move in a different direction don't keep going in the same direction of sin. He used a stronger word, wickedness which means unpredictable, frightening, destructive, and volatile. Everything that's opposite of the fruits of the spirit, Love, Joy, Peace, Gentleness, Meekness, Temperance, Long Suffering, Faith, Goodness. These are all His attributes. Finally, God said, if you humble yourself to Me, seek only Me first, pray, speak to Me, listen to Me, and turn from wrong things, this is what I will do; I will hear from heaven, I'll forgive your sins and heal your land. He shows mercy and grace, is very loving and quick to forgive, and with that forgiveness comes healing and restoring, making one whole, and new.

"If a man be in Christ, he is a new creation behold old things are passed away.”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Finally, one of God's love languages is obedience.

Historically this month of July, we celebrate Independence Day. When the Declaration of Independence was signed on 7-2-1776, announcing America's colonies separating from Great Britain, the birth of America's Independence. However, spiritually God makes, keeps, and reveals his covenant with us. We are his people!

"WE THE PEOPLE" make a declaration this day to Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior; where there is no God like thee in Heaven nor in the Earth which keepest Covenant and shewest mercy unto Thy servants that walk before Thee with ALL their Hearts. (II Chronicle 6:14) Because You're the Covenant Keeping God!

“You'll Never leave me

You said that you won’t forsake me

You're right beside me, and that is all that matters!

The Sun won’t spite me

and the Moon it will not hurt me,

The flood won’t sweep me, the Lord is my anchor!

You're the Covenant Keeping God!”

- Phoebe Boggs

Phoebe is a valued member of Refuge Church. You can rely on her when she says she'll pray for you. She knows how to touch the Throne of Grace. She serves in many vital roles and makes Refuge a place of love and acceptance! 

June 2023

"The Fish Story"

I’m Kenny, and my wife is Cheri. You may better know us as Jackson and Paysen’s grandparents. We moved to Liberty last year to be close to the kids and enjoy life in the four seasons of the Midwest. Life has recently brought struggles, and we covet your prayers. The verse that has been on my heart throughout is “If I may but touch the hem of his garment...” What has that got to do with fishing, you may ask? Let me share my story.

It was a few years ago, 20 plus, that life threw us a curve ball. I worked an 8-5 job, then supplemented with side jobs to keep our family of four going. One day I received a letter from the IRS wanting to audit my books, which was not fun. I had made a mistake, very costly, to say the least. Without going into detail, at the end of the day, our life was affected. We were living week to week, and now a large bill without an easy payment plan. On breaks at work, I read my bible, trying to make sense of it all. I was reading about the tax collectors coming after Jesus and the disciples; Jesus had said,

“Go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you

will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.” Matthew 17:27

My motto from then on was, “I just need a fish.” Side jobs had stopped, and stress was high, until one day. Within an hour, three different contractors had called for estimates. I went to the home to review things and figure out pricing for the work. As I was crunching numbers, the lady of the house asked me if I knew how this remodel came to fruition. It goes like this: her husband was in a fishing tournament in Mexico and won the grand prize. Friends, I’m stopping right here. God sent me a fish with a coin in its mouth. God proved his word is relevant today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If we can but touch Him. He will provide our healing touch; sometimes, you just need a fish.

- Kenny Condren

Kenny is a faithful member of Refuge. His love for God and his family is apparent to anyone that has the pleasure of spending time chatting with him.

May 2023

"The prodigal son"

The story of the Prodigal Son has always been one of my favorites and has always touched my heart in a profound way. You see, I am a prodigal son. I left my home at an early age to seek out what I thought I wanted and to discover what I didn’t know. I lived frivolously and foolishly, thinking that was where I could find happiness, and, much like the story, I only ended up wallowing with the pigs. Maybe not in the physical sense of the words, but definitely in my lifestyle, where I laid my head, and in the things I chose to do. That story is written all over my arms and body with tattoos and scars and written even deeper in my heart. But then…oh, but then…there was God.

He was always there and has always been there for me whether I chose to ignore or embrace it, and He is why I am able to stand here today. That is why I love the story of The Prodigal Son so deeply and profoundly. It is something I can relate to and is a story that is my own. That story cost me 15 years in prison and even more years of heartache for my family and those closest to me. But God brought me through and embraced me with love, hugs, and tears from the moment I came back home.

It wasn’t easy and hasn’t been easy, and there are still moments of struggle (which we all have), but here I stand. I didn’t leave home with physical riches or goods as the prodigal son did, but I did leave home with unspoken riches that were instilled in me at an early age and were far more valuable, as the prodigal son also did. It is something that may be missed upon an initial glance or first reading of the story, but he had to have left home knowing somewhere in his heart that he could return. Whether as a servant or a son, in his heart, he knew he could still go home.

That is why it’s so important to instill in our children and every aspect of our congregation that His love and our walk with God is where home is. I grew up in the church until my early teens, and though I may not have realized it at the time, my father made sure that I knew God was always my home. It was in his teaching, his love, and, at times, his scolding, but it is and has always been there. God’s love is like a father’s. He is our father. He teaches us and loves us and at times, scolds us, but He is always there with open arms.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way of he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It may not always feel that way for those who have children or loved ones that are lost but don’t lose faith. Guide, teach, love, and be confident that you have taught them where and what home is, how to get back home, and that they can come home.

I am grateful to my own father for teaching me God’s love and grace because, though I veered from that path, I found my way home. Now I do my best to instill that same love and knowledge in my son. I want him to know God. I want us all to know God. And I want those who are lost to know they can come home to open arms and love.

- Jonathan Breckenridge

Jonathan is a faithful member of Refuge. You often find him putting his hands to work in any area where he sees a need. He is a willing and gracious servant and a true example of the love of Jesus.

April 2023

"Worship in the waiting"

Pastor has compared our church-building campaign to the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness. There were many unknowns, but the test was to trust in the Lord. The Lord was still with them- there was a cloud. When the cloud would move, God's presence was with them and continued to be with them and lead.

We don’t always see where God is directing us, and sometimes we don’t realize it was God until much later. When we are walking in His Spirit, we know our steps are ordered. If God leads you to it, He’ll bring you through it.

In my own life, I can see where some of my husband's work relocation to new areas or churches developed our ministries and our contribution to the kingdom. I’ve had a lot of change in my lifetime, mixed with periods of waiting. The only time I’ve ever had complete peace and joy is when I had a relationship with God, obeying, studying, ministering, fasting, believing, trusting, and walking in confidence.

Our church has been given a word- let’s worship and rejoice in the waiting, thankful, and believing God that when He moves the cloud, we will be ready to follow.

- Heather Livingston

Heather is a dear friend to Refuge church. She served in many aspects of God's Kingdom while she lived in Kansas City and we are blessed to continue with her in friendship as she pursues the calling of God.

March 2023

"My contemplations on being rich and having a 'rich life'"

Am I rich? Of what do riches consist? Don’t answer too quickly.

On this day, as I am at home looking out the window. I see the icy ground covered in sleet and snow. This is a season of Valentine/Love, IRS/Taxes, and catching up from all the past Holiday's aftermath and life’s busyness. There is the work schedule, the household chores, church duties, fundraisers, doctor and dentist visits, car appointments, etc. You can stay very busy and not feel like you have accomplished a lot. I ponder the season of change. Not really Spring yet, but the feeling of new beginnings is stirring in the air. A new day, month, year with no mistakes!

“It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

 “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26

I hear the multitude of birds that have come to my bird feeder. They give me joy, trust me, and are happy and singing, “Come and Eat! She has put fresh life-sustaining seeds in the feeder.” I do my part and “plant the seeds”. The birds are happy to come and partake. They leave “rich and full” of daily food. Singing as they go. I don’t know which ones will come by, but they are all welcome. Some have come to dispute and fight with others. But they still come and are rewarded with fresh seed. They trust that I will do my part and continue to love and nourish them.

“But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” I John 3:17

My thoughts progress to IRS Tax preparation. I have enough for daily living, but I have worked since I was a teenager. Where, oh where, is all the money that I have earned in my lifetime?? I should be RICH. LOL

I cannot say that I have a rich bank account! There is always a line of hands wanting what I have earned. I am faithful to give God His first. He has always taken care of my family and I. We didn’t always have the newest stuff that was being promoted and that everyone thought they had to have, but God was our supplier.

Jesus wants to give us rest and supply our every need. He is rich in mercy, love, forgiveness, and provision. Plus, a whole lot more!

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” I Peter 1:18-19

“ But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” I Peter 1:25

Be consistent! You can’t be a “Super Spiritual Christian” wearing your super-cape most days.

   • Read your Bible- the Word of God

   • Pray – as often as you can. There is never a lack of needs. Pray for help and inspiration. Pray the        Word!

    • Sing- to the Lord! He loves your praise.

    • Fast – as you can

    • Testify- God has given you a life to share with others. Be their inspiration!

How rich in spiritual things do you need or want to be?

If you will hide the riches of the Word in you – YOU CAN BE RICH! Be blessed with all Jesus has for you.

Acts 2:4 - and they were all FILLED with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 3:6 - A scripture that always has jumped off the written page for me is ”Silver and gold have I none but such as I have I give unto thee..”

The wind of the Holy Ghost is still blowing today. It is fanning a new fire that produces new life and riches in Jesus! The riches of the Holy Ghost oil can fill your life and the lives of those around you.

Job 11:7 - Can you discover the depths of God?

Isaiah 40:8 - Grass withers, and flowers fade. The word of God is forever.

The riches of this world will fade and vanish. You can’t take worldly riches with you when you leave this world.

Jesus wants to make you abundantly rich in your life and your family’s spiritual life. Let him fill you and bless you to bursting with his abundance. Let your riches be in Heaven!

I hope to leave my kids and grands a “rich” legacy of depending on Jesus. I want them to grow in the grace and favor of the Lord.

Planting seed! Serving! Praising! Sharing the word! To God be the Glory forever.


- Rita Huey

Rita is a faithful servant, an active member of our Ladies Prayer group, and a longtime member of Refuge Church. You can often find her in the foyer greeting everyone and welcoming them into church. She is a mother, grandmother and steadfast saint.

February 2023

"Love them well"

As a mother of two young adults and one teenager, I have experienced a lot of celebrations through the years. As I continue to plan birthdays, graduations, and other various milestones with my children, I find myself in a constant state of reflection. As I recall the years of precious memories, I ask myself, did I do enough? Did the kids have a fun childhood? Did we make positive memories? Did I prepare them for the world? Did I teach them the things of God? Did I equip them for life and ministry? Did I love them well and with everything I had?

Psalms 127:3 states, "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."

At the end of the day, despite the questions I ask myself, there is one thing I know: Children are not just for a season! We should not be anxiously counting down the days until their 18th birthday so we can send them on their way and get back to our regularly scheduled program. These precious children are not distractions keeping us from fulfilling our own desires and goals. Kids are in no way a burden. Yes, we constantly have to feed them, keep them safe, refill drinks, change diapers and wipe that little runny nose. But despite their needs, children are, in fact, the MAIN thing! They are, and should always be our LIFE! In fact, children are OUR examples of the kingdom, and Jesus himself said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:14

Jesus shared valuable insight with us about heaven, and what He speaks is simple yet profound! Jesus said Heaven belongs to children! Could this be a physical comparison or perhaps a nudge to call us to a state of simple faith? The faith of a child proves just how simple it is to love effortlessly and with genuine compassion. Have you ever watched Kids interact with the things of God? They worship with abandon! They never look around to see who might be watching! (Well, maybe a peek or two here and there.) They just tap their little toes, clap their hands, and jump around together with such joy and excitement! You might even see them holding hands with each other to really get some leverage with each jump! And my favorite part, when it comes to matters of prayer, children are very matter of fact. If you have a need, they are eager to take it to Jesus because they know that He WILL take care of it!

So dear parents, caregivers, and loved ones of littles be encouraged today in God's word. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it". Through your everyday interactions with your children, you are, in fact, loving them well, teaching them, and equipping them with the tools necessary to love and serve Jesus. And I trust that if you would allow it, in return, their simple faith, joy, and love will impact your own life and walk with God! So I implore you let this season of child-rearing have an eternal impact on not only your children and their walk with God but you and your walk as well! Look at Jesus today through the lens of a child, and you just might find that things are not quite as complicated as we sometimes make them out to be.

- Jenn Huey

January 2023

"Ministering for the Kingdom"

Bishop T.F. Tenney was an amazing man of God. He has since passed on to his reward, but before he did, he shed light on 65 years of ministry (27 of those years as the Louisiana District Superintendent). He once shared a list of 11 things that he wished someone had told him sooner in ministry.


As we aim to minister for the Kingdom of God this upcoming year, I wanted to share with you these 11 things so you can apply them to your own life and ministry.


1) Ministry comes in seasons.

2) People can belong before they believe.

3) There's a variety of men and women that make up leadership.

4) We need more unity on the inside and fewer labels on the outside.

5) I wish I understood more about mentoring.

6) There is a difference between growth and control.

7) I wish I had been more sensitive to voice of God

8) Always leave a “yes” on the altar.

9) The first thing Jesus called His disciples to do is to be “with Him." Remember relationship.

10) Enlarge my margins for human error.

11) All invitations are not an obligation.

- Pastor Gary Dornbach

December 2022

"The God who sees me"

I asked God: “Do I matter to this church? Do people even notice me? Would it be known if I quietly slipped away into the night?”


God answered but not immediately. I began to struggle with sickness in my body. It seemed that one sickness after another plagued me, and I can’t claim I was some steadfast saint that kept the faith through every bitter moment. I spent time in a hospital bed, begging God to heal me. I spent plenty of time complaining to God about “always being sick”. I felt like I begged and complained to thin air.


Reflecting on my struggles reminds me, although infinitesimal in comparison, of the plight of Hagar in the Old Testament. Hagar was an Egyptian girl who was a slave to Abraham’s wife, Sarah. God had appeared to Abraham and promised him a homeland and a heritage, ten years went by, and he and Sarah still had no baby. In her impatience, Sarah took matters into her own hands and gave her maid to her husband; Hagar became pregnant.


Despite the fact that this adulterous situation was of her own doing, Sarah became jealous. In anger, Sarah started treating Hagar harshly, causing Hagar to run away into the desert. The angel of the Lord found her there and comforted her, telling her to return to her mistress. This was Hagar’s first encounter with Abraham’s God, and she called Him “El Roi” or “the God who sees me” (Genesis  16:13).


Later, Hagar bore a son to Abraham and named him Ishmael, as the Lord had told her to. Hagar’s story resumes fourteen years later when Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah. Shortly after Isaac was weaned, Sarah saw Ishmael taunting him and took the matter to Abraham: “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac”. Although it grieved Abraham to do so, he gave Hagar and Ishmael some provisions and sent them away, and Ishmael and his mother wandered in the desert.


When Hagar’s food and water ran out, she did not know what to do. She put Ishmael under a bush for shade and then went a few paces away so she would not have to watch him die. As Hagar wept, the Lord called to her from heaven with words of comfort; God then gave her a promise: “Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation”. The Bible says that God “opened her eyes and she saw a well of water” that she had not seen in her distress. God rescued Hagar and gave her hope and direction again.


I’m not saying God sent sickness to me. People get sick every day, it’s the way of the world. However, God showed me, out of the shadows of that sickness, how much I was valued. As I returned to church after what would be my final battle with that string of illness, I remember the pats on the back, the hugs, the texts and calls, and the echo saying, “We love you. We see you.”. I also remember that still small voice whispering into my spirit, “I see you. I heard you. I never turned my ear or my eyes from you.”


Jesus is El Roi, to me, to you, to the world. Tell someone today about the God who sees us.

- Abigail Pottker

November 2022

"Another piece of pie"

November is the ushering in of holidays, and cheers for hope and thankfulness are on the horizon. We cherish our moments with loved ones, or at least we should! Yes, even those on vastly different ends of the aisle don’t hold the same faith that we have. 

November can be a rather cold month, a chilling month for those unfamiliar with Missouri cold. It is also the month that we take family vacations and travel to see those family members in other states. 

What can we take away from past November’s experiences? Don’t bring up the elephant in the room; remember to hug your dearest aunt who wears entirely too much perfume; you get to start the diet in Jan, and that is two months away, so enjoy the extra slice of pie! 

It truly is a great season, but what if we take time this season not just to enjoy family and great meals but offer mercy and forgiveness to those who are not like us and whom we might have decided never to talk to again? After all, this season of gratitude wouldn’t be truly great if our Savior hadn’t first forgiven us. 

Jesus' words to his disciples still echo to his believers today. 

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9 

We are blessed because we are the peacemakers. We will be known and called children of God if we are to make peace. 

It is easy to make peace when we are the same and agree on the same things. I love everyone who agrees with me, and I have a blast being with those who see it the way I see it! 

The most challenging place to make peace is most commonly found at the kitchen table before family members share meals. Especially when the family has yet to come into the fullness of the faith of Jesus Christ, it is the most important place to be a peacemaker. 

Imagine that this November, you have one last shot at showing your loved one, your family member, an example of a son or daughter of Christ. This is your year to leave a lasting and robust memory. Be the change and the peacemaker you are meant to be. 

The world needs more peace, so go and make peace! While you're at it, have another piece of the pie!

- Rev. James Chester

October 2022

"The Unseen Realm"

It was a cold, dark, rainy night in Oslo, Norway. We had come to the country to preach and visit with our friends, the Tilleys. Laura, our daughter born with Downs Syndrome, was in her room and we checked on her periodically to make sure all was well. Somehow in between our checks, she left her room, went downstairs, and left the house. We didn’t hear her. After searching the house and all the places she might hide, we went outside. She was not in sight. My heart sank. How were we to find her? Was she safe? My next thought was to pray for divine intervention. We called the police to ask if anyone had seen her. It seems that someone had just called in and reported a little girl walking along the side of the road.

Brother Tilley and my husband hurriedly drove to the place where she was last seen. She was more than a mile from the house. They found her and brought her home. She was wet and trembling with cold. I drew a bath for her to help her warm up. As I prepared her to get in the bathtub, I said, “I am so glad we found you. Thank you, Jesus, for saving Laura!” Surprisingly she said. “Yes, thank you, Jesus.” Laura is nonverbal and to hear her make a complete sentence was amazing. But the amazement was not over, for as she spoke, I turned around and there stood an angel. As I thanked him for keeping Laura safe, he saluted me accepting my thanks and walked off. I will never forget that night for in that moment the supernatural realm opened to me.

I relate this story so that you might understand that the unseen realm of the supernatural is very near us. I think sometimes we have a picture in our minds that Heaven, the spiritual realm of God, is way out there past outer space. This picture creates a barrier and sets God far from us. We do know that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, but we pray and act as though He is far away. This kind of limited and narrow thinking hinders our prayer and faith.

A song comes to mind: “He’s as Close as the Mention of His Name.” He is near, and we realize that when we develop a prayer life that sensitizes our spirits to His presence. When we develop a relationship with God through prayer, we enter a place where the working of the Spirit in and around us becomes the normal and not the unusual. God opens our spiritual eyes to see, and our spiritual ears to hear. Dreams and visions can come readily to us as we mature in the Spirit.

The Bible gives us many instances when the spiritual world was revealed to men and women. Samson’s mother received an angelic visitation announcing the birth of her son. We see Elisha and his servant surrounded by armies. The servant, fearing for their lives, brought the news to Elisha. He simply prayed asking God to open his servant’s eyes. That thin veil that separates the material world from the spiritual world parted and the servant saw the armies of the Lord surrounding them.

In the New Testament, I think of Jesus at His baptism. The heavens opened and a voice proclaimed who He was. There is also the time when Jesus appeared in the room with His disciples; He asked Thomas to touch His riven side and the nail prints in His hands. As Thomas touched the side and hands of Jesus, the veil parted and Thomas cried, “My Lord and my God!”

God draws near to us and opens the door to the supernatural as we hunger for Him and seek Him with great desire.

What can you do differently today to be with Jesus? Do you need to adjust your calendar to include daily prayer? How can you grow in spiritual awareness that the supernatural realm is near? The answer is to spend much time in the presence of the Lord where faith is nurtured and relationship with God established. By the authority of His name, we then can announce the good news of the gospel with miracles and signs following.

However, even with the occurrence of great miracles, walking in intimate relationship with Jesus is the greatest miracle of all. The songwriter sums it up with these words: “Just to walk with Him means everything to me. Just to feel His hand and know He’s leading me.” To walk with Him in the unseen realm is the joy of prayer.

- Cheryl Craft and husband, George, served forty-five years as UPCI missionaries in the European/Middle Eastern region. They are now retired and continuing ministry in Christ Temple, Glendale, Arizona. Cheryl has written a book on prayer, Drawing Near to God, available in English, Serbian, and German languages.

September 2022


I once heard the following story, and I wanted to share it with you:


A pastor had purchased a piece of property in the country, where he had placed some sheep. When he bought the small flock, a few goats were “thrown in” by the seller. At the time, the pastor thought this was a kind gesture, but he soon realized why the goats were free.


In the middle of his property, he fenced off an area and put-up shelter with food and water for his flock. One morning, he came to check on them and found they had all broken through the fence and were grazing beyond its perimeters. He found the breach, repaired it, and then managed to get them all back inside.


The next day the animals were out again: not that far away, just a few feet outside the fence. He thought to himself that there must be something that they wanted or possibly needed, so he enlarged the border of the fence just enough to include the area where the sheep and goats had been grazing. He said to himself, “Now you will be happy. This is what you wanted!”


When he came back the following day, they were again outside the fence: not that far away, but just beyond the bounds that he THOUGHT would make them happy. He repaired the breach and once more herded them all back inside, only to come back another day and find them outside!


He enlarged the fence yet once more, saying, “O.K., this is where you want to be. The fence is now big enough to accommodate your desire.” But the next day, they were outside the fence again! Through this process, he realized that it was the goats that were the real instigators of these “breakouts” and understood why they had been given to him for free!


The property where he kept his flock was surrounded by a fence and dirt roads. The fence surrounding the property obviously had little ability to keep the sheep and goats in, and the pastor got frustrated and tired of the animals constantly getting out. He figured there would be nothing appealing in the road for them to eat and would, therefore, they would probably be safe enough. So, he removed the inner fence completely. His attitude was, “All right, go ahead and have the whole field! I’ll let them do whatever they want. I know they can get through the main fence, but why would they want to?? They’ll be alright!”


Early one morning, he received a phone call from a neighboring farmer. He said, “Preacher, you had better come down here. You’ve really got a mess on your hands. A pack of wild dogs came through last night, and they’ve slaughtered your flock.”


When the pastor arrived at the scene, he found every sheep and goat dead. Their stomachs and throats had been ripped out, and their carnage was gruesome. The dogs didn’t even eat them; they just killed the flock in blood lust and left them while they yipped and yapped their way.


As the pastor stood there in the midst of the blood and gore, looking at the slaughtered flock, the Lord gave him these words…


“Fences are not just to keep things in; they also to keep some things out.”

- Pastor Gary Dornbach

August 2022

"Getting angry at a woman"

I remember a season of my life where I had some serious bitterness towards the virtuous woman.

Does that sound wrong?

Perhaps it was.

She just seemed too good to be true… And my competitive nature demanded that I figure out how it was possible to be THAT good…

That good at running her household.

That good at leading those around her.

That good at creating an enterprise.

That good at being a wife.

That good at being a mother.

That good at being a friend.

That good at keeping her mouth closed and only speaking kindness.

I mean really?!

How could she be that good.




And so my life quest became to be like her.

The Bible praised her so adamantly that an entire chapter was devoted to her

greatness… How could I aim for anything less?

Verse 29 literally says “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou EXCELLEST them all.”

She is the best of the best.

She is what every lady yearns to be.

She is the epitome of excellence in womanhood…and yet… her qualities feel…

Dare I say it.

They feel unattainable.

I remember a time so clearly in my late 20s when I was completely feeling overwhelmed by the tasks before me. Being a pastor‘s wife, working cleaning houses, having two young children, trying to do music ministry and other ministries, trying to keep myself healthy, fit, and in my right mind, etc. It just felt like too much.

Jesus and I had a conversation… as we often do… in which I expressed to him my frustration with this proverbs 31 lady and His praise for her.

In prayer, I began to pour out my annoyances (which is the place you should pour out your annoyances… and not to other people… but that’s another topic for another day). 😉

I poured out my frustration at how capable she was and how good she was at things, how everyone loved her, how she had all these wonderful traits that left me feeling defeated.

How could I ever be THAT good?!

As I was whining, I literally said to God “I mean really, The Bible says that "her candle goeth not out by night" and a couple versus before it says that "she rises also while it is yet night". Does she not even sleep? Is that what you expect for me? Not to even sleep?!

I immediately felt God check me in my spirit and so I went quiet to listen to what he wanted to say.

It was in that moment that God helped me to understand that while the virtuous woman was all of those things…

She was industrious.

She stayed up late. She got up early.

She made clothing.

She bought fields.

She entertained people.

She was a constant blessing to her family.

And more…

While she was all of those things. That didn’t means that she did all of those things in the same day!

NOT in a single day!

She was all of those things in an ENTIRE LIFETIME.

Not in a single day.

Not in a single week.

Not even in a single year.

In a lifetime.

Wherever you are today, take heart in the fact that you do not have to be everything in the same day. In truth, you literally cannot be.

God only gave you 24 hours in the day.

And he created you with a need for sleep and a need for rest from your labor. If God had wanted you to work constantly, he would not have created you with the need for rest.

But, He also created you to work diligently 6-days a week; to build, to grow, to give, to learn, and to walk daily with Him.

One step at a time.

One day at a time.

Aiming for something that you may spend a lifetime on.

Use those hours wisely. Redeem the time.

Keep pressing and trying and working.

But we should also give ourselves grace.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

And the virtuous woman wasn’t commended of all her attributes in a day.

Some things take a lifetime.

Keep working.

Keep pressing.

Become the virtuous person who slowly but surely “masters” every area of their life and spirit in worship unto God.

- Jackie Dornbach

July 2022

"Fight for truth"

The founding fathers of this country fought and died for the freedoms that we enjoy today. The brave men and women of our nation's military have fought to protect those freedoms. We must never forget the sacrifices that were made, and we must not take for granted the freedoms that we have.

In the same vein, the disciples and the early church fought and died for the truth to be spread to everyone. The modern pioneers of the Apostolic faith made it their mission to restore what had been somewhat forgotten. The battles that they fought paved the way for the truth and revelation that we know today. We still have our own battles to fight. We still have victories to be won, but we are further today because of what others did before us.

We are currently living in a world where we know freedom and "rights" are fragile. As we celebrate our freedom as a country, let us also take a moment to also celebrate the freedom and victory that we have in Jesus.

- Noah & Calandra James

JUNE 2022

"The mirror of self-reflection"

Looking in a mirror is not my favorite activity. I often find myself rerouting my path when a mirror lies ahead. Often times, in the world of “selfies” I think I am alone. But actually, we are all like that - just maybe the mirror we commonly avoid is not the physical mirror, but the mirror of self-reflection.


I read a book once and the part of the book I never forgot was when the author was talking about how she was self-reflecting and realized that she wasn’t the most intelligent person in the room, she wasn’t the funniest person in the room, she wasn’t the prettiest person in the room, she wasn’t the most talented person in the room; But she could always be the most competent person in the room and she could always be counted on to take care of everything and I really got that. That resonated with me. I pride myself on competence. Sometimes, I think I worry about coming to the end of things and have others think, “Tiffany was stupid. Literally, she was a fool again.” I just don’t want to be incompetent.


I was sharing this thought recently with a friend and she promptly stopped me. She said she didn’t think it was good for me to ruminate or relate to the thoughts from this book. She said, "You are not any one thing. I do not want you to think you are any one thing. You are not only competent - you are all the things. You are exactly who and what you need to be. You are everything through God. Literally, you are everything you need to be."


I will not ever forget that. What I was talking to my friend about was not about any actual deep-rooted or conceived insecurity. Yet, she recognized how damaging my ruminating on this thought from this book was. And, she put on her gardening gloves and pulled out my problem by it’s root.


You know you can remove weeds out of other peoples hearts and minds with your own words and your own hands? Everybody needs to hear that they are valued and loved and important and accepted. Everybody needs somebody to call out the greatness in them. Everybody needs to be reminded who they are and how you feel about them. Everybody has their own darkness. Everybody has their own thing that they struggle with. Sometimes the voice of the enemy tries to speak words of self-hate and defeat into our minds. But “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Sometimes God’s voice is hard to hear above the noise of the busyness of life, our own inner voice and the voice of the enemy. Sometimes the voice of Jesus sounds like the voice of “your people”. The voice of a friend saying, “Let’s put a pin in this negative thought.” The voice of your people speaking life and reminding you of how great and unique God made you.


It’s a beautiful life we have been given. A beautiful Church we belong to. Full of beautiful people we get to encounter whose hearts we get to touch. Be present. Handle with care. Remind them who they are. Remember who you are. Let’s keep being sensitive to His spirit. Let’s keep moving in the direction that He has called us. Let’s hold up our shields of faith in defending our church family. And thank you to each one of you at Refuge Church - Your voices so often sound a lot like the voice of Jesus.

- Tiffany Condren

May 2022

"Our never-Ending source"

Numbers 13:16 These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.


Moses changed Joshua’s name from Oshea (salvation) to Ya-Hoshea (the LORD is my salvation). The Law giver (Moses) pointed out that WE aren’t our own source of salvation, but the LORD is our salvation. The Law points us to Christ in the same manner as Moses pointed to Joshua who the real salvation was. Oshea never conquers Canaan, but Ya-Hosea can! Whatever is going on in your life, recognize that GOD is your salvation and through Christ you can do all things because He is the never-ending source of all strength.

- Pastor Bill Foster

April 2022

"Reflecting on his Resurrection"

Do you or your family have holiday traditions?

I remember as a little girl my mom would get my sister and I all dressed up for Easter and take us to our great grandparents house. The whole family would arrive, cousins would play, family would sit and feast on a meal together, and of course it would not be complete without the egg hunt for the kids.

Throughout the Easter season, it's easy to get caught up in all the activities this holiday brings. It's important to take time yourself, with your family, or both to reflect what Easter is really about...the Resurrection! He is Risen!

"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshiped him." 

Matthew 28:1-9

- Sarah Chester

March 2022

"Faster alone, further together"

There is an old saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The first time I heard this was in reference to a project I was included on with a group of individuals who all had strong opinions about a particular research project. Everyone had big ideas about gathering information, putting together a project, and getting to an end goal. Everyone was cordial and listening to each other but whenever an argument or idea was presented it was slanted towards a somewhat selfish agenda. "I'll just leave the group and do it on my own” was the underlying threat of each individual. When the situation appeared to be breaking down someone pulled out this quote that I mentioned above and allowed for a fresh perspective. 


Living for God and being part of a church community can present similar challenges as that research group. We all want to go at our own pace and can get frustrated when we feel like someone is dragging down that pace. We can also get frustrated with people who might be pushing the pace a little more than we are comfortable with. It is important we remember the words of Ecclesiastes 9:11 that remind us the race is not to the swift or the strong but rather as Matthew 24:13 says: they that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. 


When we travel this road together and give thought to those traveling with us, we will find that we can all endure and go further together!

- Pastor Chad Condren

February 2022

"Get out of your zone!"

We all have our zone, where things are just how we want them to be. But sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zones to move forward into the next chapter of our lives.

For some it might be switching jobs, moving to a new city, a new house, or meeting new people. Right now we are all about to step out of our comfort zones as we begin to share space. The building that many have called home becomes someone else's space that we are just borrowing. During this time we will no doubt all face challenges and be forced out of our zones in one way or another, but this discomfort is necessary in order for us to get to the next chapter that God has for us.

Every chapter of life is marked by discomfort. Learning to ride a bike, going off to college, starting a business are all examples where people step out of their comfort zones to reach a new goal in life. During this time we must remember that God is directing our steps and that we are all facing this together.

- Noah James

jANUARY 2022


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