Happy Summer!

It’s only early July, and a great summer is already underway: 24 of our youth & leaders had a powerful week at their Christ in Youth conference in June, we just thanked God for our freedoms and honored our military at our Freedom Celebration services last Sunday, and we’re about to hold an exciting Vacation Bible School program for our children this Sunday – Thursday night.  If you have children or grandchildren 3 years old – 5th grade (or know someone who does), they can still join us for this special week geared for them (see announcements for details).  And we still have Beach Day and other good things to come!

Personally, we were able to celebrate Father’s Day with our daughter’s family in Montana, then Andrea and I enjoyed a Sunday afternoon at the San Diego Fair, we had a cookout & game day on the 4th of July with our son’s family, and we’re about to begin celebrating 6 birthdays in our family this month, starting with our daughter-in-law’s tonight (7/6), followed by 3 of our grandchildren’s, then our daughter’s, and ending with mine on the 30th.  On top of that, we’re now involved in some remodeling at home, which means moving everything around.  So we’ve been having a busy, but good summer so far – how about you?

Some people are having a challenging summer, with health issues, family issues, or financial issues.  We need to remember those who need our prayers and encouragement and do what we can to support them.  Others are distracted by politics, crime, and cultural decline in the news, which is spoiling their summer.  In fact, you hear poll after poll about people’s concerns about our leaders, our economy, and our country’s direction, and the news isn’t good.

They say it’s important for people to feel heard.  So after some thought and prayer, we’re going to begin a new series this Sunday called Hearing Your Concerns.  It will start this Sunday with my message “Does the Lord Really Care About Our Concerns?”, with a simple formula for handling a challenge or a crisis; and will be followed for the rest of the summer with messages addressing your concerns.  So this Sunday there will be a bulletin insert for you to list your top concern right now.  We’re not looking for strictly political concerns or to be divisive, but be thinking about what is your main concern in life right now that you would like to heard God’s Word address.  We’ll choose 8 of those for messages for the rest of the summer, so be thinking and praying about your concerns.  I look forward to hearing them, and hope you can join us for this series.

Whether your concern gets chosen or not, you can take it to God in prayer and know that He hears and cares about your concerns, and will answer appropriately, according to His timing and will.  Psalm 116 begins:

“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.”   (Psalm 116:1-2)

You might want to read the rest of this song, which ends with “Praise the Lord” (Hallelu Yah in Hebrew).

Believing in a God who hears and who cares makes a big difference in handling the challenges and concerns of life, and leads to praise, not despair.  The Apostle Peter wrote:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Believing this and doing this can make the difference between having a good summer and a bad one, a good year or a sad one, a good life or a miserable one.  Just think how different our frustrated, violent, and divided world would be if each person took their concerns in trust to God!

Bring yours this Sunday,

Mike Openshaw, Senior Minister