Thursday, April 17, 2014

Enthralled With Jesus

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

It’s Easter week! I truly love this celebration more than any other as we take time to focus on the greatest event in human history – a dead man came back to life. We’ve spent quite a bit of time this spring leaning in and engaging with the “Famous Last Words” Jesus spoke from the cross. I’m more enthralled with Jesus than I’ve ever been. I love how God continues to open up deeper ways to experience His love through the message of the cross.

Here’s the deal. Some people believe that Jesus was just a good man, a great teacher, a miracle worker, a wise prophet. But Jesus never claimed to be those things. Instead, Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the Messiah. And the resurrection is God’s stamp of affirmation on every word Jesus spoke. Since Jesus is alive – He rose from the dead – then all Jesus claimed to be must be true. No other good man, teacher, miracle worker or prophet can make that claim.

This is what makes Christianity unique among all other religions, philosophies or beliefs. A dead man came back to life and still lives today. We truly have a living hope. Jesus is alive, and that fact gives us hope for our past, present and future. Easter means we can know we’ve been forgiven, that we have a purpose for living, and that we are guaranteed a future in Heaven.

Please pray about the people in your world who need Jesus. Let the truth of who Jesus is fill you with confidence and strength as you consider inviting your friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances to one of our Easter weekend services. We have four opportunities for people to hear about hope. We’ve looked at the final seven sayings of Jesus before His death, and on Easter we’ll consider three of the first sayings of Jesus after His resurrection.

It’s all about hope. It’s all about a living hope. Jesus is alive! I can’t wait to celebrate His life and my new life.

If you’d like to focus more on the cross this week, consider attending the Nevada County Good Friday service at Sierra Presbyterian Church, 175 Ridge Road in Nevada City from 12:00 – 1:00 this Friday.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Goosebumps, the Love of Jesus, and Choosing Gratitude

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

I had no idea when we planned our Famous Last Words series that God would use it in our lives in such a dynamic way. I’ve been planning message series now for 22 years, and I usually feel like the series we’re in at the moment is the best we’ve ever done, but this series tops the cake. I love how God has touched us at the core of our being as we’ve listened to these final last words Jesus spoke from the cross.

One person wrote this week: “I wasn’t able to be at church on Sunday, but I’ve already watched the message on the word of Victory. I got goose bumps as I reflected on how much Jesus loves me. I have an anticipation for Easter that is fresh and full of expectation to celebrate the resurrection of my Savior.” I agree.

In each message, we’ve given you some ways we might respond to what Jesus said as He spoke from the cross. Three of them seemed to catch you by surprise. I love it when God does that. The three were: To enjoy Jesus, to rest in grace and to live in gratitude.

I wonder how it is that we’ve allowed the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the greatest words ever spoken become so dry, dull and somewhat meaningless. Could it be that we’ve lost a sense of our own need for a Savior? Could it be that the message of this kind of love has become “white noise” to our ears? Could it be that we just take forgiveness for granted and end up without wonder?

Enjoying Jesus, resting in grace, and living in gratitude are all choices we get to make. We choose our focus. We choose our attitude. It’s been my prayer that I would learn even more how to walk with Jesus through each moment of my day. It’s been my prayer that we would let the message of Jesus transform us and that our church, you and me, would be the most joyful, graceful and grateful people that others have ever met. So, that someone might say, “I can tell those people have been with Jesus.”

Friends, when that becomes our everyday reality, then we’ll truly see people flock to want what Jesus wants for everyone. I can’t wait for this Sunday as we wrap up our series with the Word of Trust.

See you Sunday,

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wow! God's family is GROWING!

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

God is so moving in us! I just received the statistics for the month of March, and I was so excited to learn that TWENTY-ONE people made first-time commitments to Jesus Christ this month. I can only imagine all the angels and saints celebrating over these people who have now entered into God’s family.

We ended our RENEW series with a clarion call to be involved in reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Pastor Mark did a great job of describing what is most important – that Jesus Christ died on the cross and was raised from the dead. If you missed that week – February 16 – you’ll want to watch it soon.

As Easter approaches, I ask you to pray for those whom Jesus is calling to come to Him. Pray that they would join us for one of our four Easter services to hear about the love God has for them and how He proved it on the cross of Jesus. The next two Sundays we’ll continue our series on Famous Last Words Jesus spoke from the cross and then on Easter weekend, we’ll focus on words of hope that Jesus spoke after His resurrection. Please pray that many people will come to hear of His love.

If you are one who made that first-time commitment to Jesus during this series, I want to invite you to be baptized. We’re having special baptisms at all of our Easter weekend services. I can’t think of a better time to be baptized than Easter. You become an example of what happened when Jesus died and rose again as you are put under the water – representing death – and lifted out of the water – representing new life. We have classes on April 6 and 13 at 9:30. If you’ve been waiting to be baptized and have been to Journey 101, you can skip the class. Please contact Angel at our church office, and she will give you the information you need to be baptized that weekend.

Kidz Closet is this weekend. Just bring your gently used children’s clothing to the church this week by 7:00pm on Friday and then come back and “shop” (everything’s free) on Saturday morning at 9:00.

This week we’re going to focus on the sixth statement Jesus spoke from the cross as we look at the Word of Victory. I hope you’ll be here to celebrate with us.

Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday,

Thursday, March 27, 2014

This Week @ Twin Cities Church - Expressing Compassion

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

As we move toward Easter, we have several opportunities to serve our community. A couple of weeks ago, Pastor John challenged us to think of how we can express compassion to those in our world through acts of service. I want to share a few ways we can do that so you can jump in and help make someone’s day!

First, Sisters’ Closet is this weekend. Ladies, bring your gently used clothing items – including shoes and accessories – to church this Friday from 3:00 – 7:00. As you do that a group of women will sort and hang and pile clothes according to sizes. Then on Saturday morning at 9:00 we’ll open the doors and women from our community and church will get to “shop” for free. The really cool thing is that we offer free childcare for those moms with young children. I love watching the smiles and even some tears as women get to have some “new to them clothes” which boosts their dignity and pride.

Second, Kidz Closet is the weekend of April 4 and 5. Based upon the success of Sisters’ Closet, this new event will follow the same schedule and will allow folks the opportunity to fit their rapidly growing kiddos with some “new to them” clothes.

Third, Divorce Care begins April 2. This class is for anyone who is experiencing the pain of divorce or separation. It’s an encouraging experience to find help and discover hope after a difficult marriage has ended.

Fourth, our Community Easter Egg Hunt is April 19. Hundreds of kids and parents flock to Scotten School for what has become one of the largest egg hunts of the season. In order for this to be successful we need lots and lots of individually wrapped candy to stuff in those plastic eggs. Please bring your candy donations with you on Sunday or come to help stuff those eggs on either April 9 or 16 at 6pm here at the church.

What a great season to serve our community.

Looking forward to the smiles and tears we will see,

Pastor Ron

Thursday, March 20, 2014

This Week @ Twin Cities Church - God is Moving!

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

I hope you can sense how God is moving in our church, and I believe it’s the result of our renewed emphasis on prayer that began last Fall. We’re praying together with more intensity than ever before. I’ve personally found that my commitment to the 2014 Church Prayer has been one source of renewed focus, vision and joy. I want to bring that prayer back to your attention.

If you missed our January 12 service, please go online and watch that message so you can fully grasp what I believe God is asking us to do. We’re using five requests from Ephesians 3 as our prayer guide. Each request begins with “Give us” because this is the prayer that we’re praying together, but it’s also your prayer for how you want God to work in your life.

The key is to pray with this attitude from Ephesians 3:14 – “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…” This shows the intensity of our prayers – we’re on our knees in humility, awe and desperation. The plan is to pray these five requests – one each day of the week and all five on Saturday. On Sunday we come to church to be inspired and experience God. It’s very important to meditate on the Bible verse as well. If you haven’t yet done so, please pick up a 2014 Prayer card next time you’re at church. Here are the five prayers:

God, Give Us Inner Strength – Ephesians 3:16
God, Give Us Stronger Faith – Ephesians 3:17a
God, Give Us Deeper Love – Ephesians 3:17b-19a
God, Give Us Greater Filling – Ephesians 3:19b
God, Give Us Bigger Dreams – Ephesians 3:20-21

The key to our 2014 prayer is that it’s all about what God does for us that results in our desire to bring God glory in all we do. I want to reiterate that we are who we are because of God’s grace and we do ministry together in order to bring God glory.

I look forward to continuing our “Famous Last Words” series this Sunday as we look at Jesus’ words of purpose and passion.

On my knees with you,

Thursday, March 13, 2014

This Week @ Twin Cities Church - Enthralled with Jesus

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

I have been so inspired by this series we’ve been in now for two weeks. In my life as a Follower of Jesus, I’ve heard the crucifixion taught and even taught it myself. I’ve been in seminary where we walked through every moment. I’ve been to Easter pageants where the whole story was played out. I’ve seen The Passion of Christ and The Son of God. None of these have impacted me as deeply as this series on the seven last sayings of Jesus from the cross, and we’re only two weeks in. If you’ve missed either week, let me encourage you to watch or listen online.

I’ve been asking myself why this series is so moving to me, and I believe I have some insight. As I’ve mentioned before, last year when I drove across central Nevada, I clearly heard God speak to me about my prayer life. I was listening to a series of messages by Dallas Willard where he was talking about leadership. He talked about a book – Prayer: The Greatest Power On Earth. At that point, I heard God say, “Ron, you talk a lot more about Me than you talk to Me.”

What I realized is that God was so right. I did. At that point, I made it my goal to ratchet up my prayer life. Well, that has now spread out into my devotional times as well. I now find myself wanting to be with God by devouring His word. I now want to be with God in my message preparation, in my marriage, in my parenting, in my leading and in my friending.

Someone wrote a note to me after the first week of the series and said, “You told me one time that you speak every message as if it were your last one. Well, today, I really felt it.” Folks, the only thing that has changed in me is my willingness to carve out time to be with God in Bible reading, prayer, meditation, serving. I’m trying to practice the presence of God in every area of life.

I’m also asking Jesus to let me see Him so clearly that I’m enthralled with Him. Now for the rest of the story… I still fail, stumble, sin, make poor choices, miss times to pray or meditate on Scripture. The really cool thing is that I’m learning to embrace Jesus even in my failures. In doing that, I’m seeing Him in a fresh way

Longing to be totally enthralled with Jesus,

Thursday, March 6, 2014

This Week @ Twin Cities Church - Jesus' Hands & Feet

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

I wish all of you could have been here last Saturday for our FIRST EVER Horizons Single Moms Car Care Day. Fifty men set up several stations in our parking lot and gave each car a thorough inspection, topped off fluids, inflated tires and washed them sparkling clean – even through intermittent rain. I was so proud of our church and the men who served, and the response was incredible.

We were also able to serve several single women from our church and the community who need that kind of help as well. It was awesome that some of our Community Partners also promoted the event. We had a mom here who could only speak Spanish and brought her 12 year old son to translate. We even served a homeless woman who lives out of her van.

Here’s what one mom wrote: “Wow... how awesome & comforting was it to walk into Horizons this morning & enjoy time with other moms and our kids... and then to be delivered nice clean cars (inside & out) & a checklist of things that they had covered on our cars! Amazing! Thank you to you, Pastor Ron & this kind & selfless group of men!”

In case you haven’t heard, Horizons is our new ministry to single moms. I’m so thankful for the team we’re developing to help these women to know that they’re not alone. Someone does care. If you know of anyone who would want to attend the Horizons Single Mom events, have them contact Angel @ ext. 400.

The response to Sunday’s service and the new series was terrific. If you missed Sunday, you’ll want to watch as we talked about how Jesus made it possible for our greatest need to be met. This Sunday, we’ll focus on the assurance and confidence we can have based solely on God’s grace.

Looking for a deeper connection with Jesus,