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This past Sunday Steve preached on the Ascension of Christ. The glorious truth about Jesus being in heaven as my representative before the Father made me want to weep. The enormity of what Jesus had done, and is still doing for me, is so overwhelming. It can be easy to hear a sermon and then go on as usual afterwards without letting the impact of the word affect our lives. James calls this being a hearer of the word and exhorts us to also be doers.

Over the last number of months I have had the opportunity to read the biblical and helpful blogposts of our sister, Holly Sands, through the ministry of United in Christ Jesus. Joy brought my attention to the content, particularly, of an email that Holly had sent out to a few of the ladies involved in the UCJ ministry this past Monday. Both Joy and I were encouraged and exhorted to believe in the goodness of our sufficient Savior and God in the midst of trials and thought it may be helpful to share with the other ladies in the church. May our feet be firmly planted on the goodness and kindess of our Savior as we cast all our cares on Him. - Pastor Steve

A few weeks ago, at our Wednesday night ASK Prayer Gathering, I shared for a few minutes about "spinning plates" and the affect of doing so in our own strength (results mostly being anxiety). I mentioned that all of us are spinning multiple plates. Not just a few of us; all of us - it's just simply the way God has ordained our lives. We all feel that, right? Jobs, relationships, finances, church, neighbors, parents, kids, spouse, school, reading, etc....

I recently awoke with a cloud hanging over my head. Ever had one of those days? You know, nothing is really different in your life and circumstances than the day before but your outlook today is dismal. That's how I felt as I awoke and all the little nagging concerns over a myriad of issues began to grow and threatened to blow my faith to bits.

I grew up in a state where fair skies were the norm, beautiful mountains could be hiked, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean enjoyed. While I certainly enjoyed all of those things, growing up in Southern California also quickly acquainted me with fear. I am sure that I would have been a fearful person no matter where I grew up but the uglier realities of living in Southern California increased my natural tendency to fear exponentially. Turn on the local news and, of course, you were inundated with news of rapes, kidnappings, murders, and even serial killers. But unfortunately there were even more "closer to home" examples as well. A woman in our church was stabbed and killed as she was taking her morning jog by a man who was casually jogging past her from the opposite direction. A guy from our youth group was killed by a gang on the beach. The examples were not all violence. My brother's best friend died in a car accident when he was a teenager. We visited one of my dad's friends in L.A. who went into a depression and lost everything when his wife left him (he was literally living at the park for quite some time as a homeless person). A young wife died of cancer (as did my mom). These people were professing Christians and this challenged my young hopes that God protected those that belonged to him. It was quite obvious to me that God "allowed bad things to happen to good people" and so I became even more fearful.