Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Very Special Christmas Eve

Join us for a very special Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at the River!

"Come Home for Christmas" has an extra special meaning this Christmas. Many of us have been 'Displaced' in one way or another. All of our lives have been interrupted or inconvenienced at the very least. We have all been displaced from our church home.

But this is not the first Displaced Christmas, or the first time the lives of God's people have been interrupted. That very first Christmas a young couple, trusting God, found themselves displaced and in an uncomfortable situation. Giving birth to a Son on the floor of a barn, in the company of a donkey and some camels, days away from the comfort of home and family. Yet God was with them. 

And He is with us. 

Listen to the promise that God gives His people in Jeremiah;  "I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:10,11

Ultimately that home and hope is Heaven. Jesus was 'displaced' so that we could come home again. He left His home, and stepped into our mess to make a way for us to come home. That is the Christmas story.


This Christmas we are going to celebrate our 'Displaced Christmas' together, in a special way . Our building is much like the manger that very first Christmas, minus the animals! Some dirt floors. Some missing walls. Maybe a little uncomfortable. Maybe a little inconvenient. But He will be there. He will be with us. That is His promise. 

We can promise you a safe, warm place... and a special message for those who know what it means to be displaced.

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Being Thankful in Difficult Times

Are you having a rough time with Thanksgiving this year? You are not alone!  It's not "normal" to be thankful after a major flood has disrupted your life, displaced your family, destroyed or even taken away your home.  It's "normal" to be discouraged and angry.  Most of us have experienced a lot of "normal" emotions as we long for things to get back to "normal."  But there is nothing "normal" about Jesus!  He came to us, suffered our "normal" kinds of trials, in order to provide us much more than "normal."  His death and resurrection purchased an abnormal grace for us, complete with forgiveness and eternal life. And He calls us to walk in His footsteps.

My prayer for each of us this Thanksgiving is that we allow His Holy Spirit to lift us above "normal," to the place where we, with bewildered but genuine hearts, find thankfulness for the trials and setbacks, knowing that God is working in all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

We're not only called to be thankful 'in' difficult times, but 'for' difficult time. We all face trials. We all experience suffering. But for those who follow Jesus those trials have a purpose, and that suffering has a reward.

James says it this way;
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

Paul says well also;
Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies... And as God's grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. (2 Corinthians 4:7&15)

And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. (Romans 8:17-18)

This year, by God's grace, you are in a position to know this passage, to understand it and experience it's truths.  Maybe you are having a rough time having a "happy" Thanksgiving.  May God bless you with an abnormally joyous Thanksgiving!

Serving Him with you,
Pastor Mickey

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What Does Mold Have to Do With the Bible?

Have you wondered what is taking so long, why it is that some two months after the flood, we are still not quite ready  to put the church building back together? Why have we spent so much time and effort tearing it apart? The problem is invisible, at least at first. Mold grows invisibly, making people sick, and eventually showing itself when so much damage has been done.  We could have cleaned and cleaned the church building until you could eat off the floor, but until it has been thoroughly sprayed and treated for mold, it would still be in dangerous shape. Stripping away all the outside layers of drywall and decorative rock and flooring is just the first step. What we really need is spraying for mold.

Just like sin. People get the idea that we can clean up our act by self-effort. People get the dangerous idea that if we just try harder to be good, if we just keep going to church and saying the prayers, we will be good enough. But sin, like mold, grows invisibly in places our own efforts will never be able to spot it in time. By the time we can see sin in our lives, it has already begun to do its damage.  What we need is spraying – by the blood of Jesus Christ.  

But first, we have to expose the deepest layers of our soul to the Lord for His treatment.  That is done through honest, deep confession. First we strip away the external layers, the part we let others see, exposing ourselves right down to the stud walls, so to speak. Then we are forgiven and cleansed. Here's how John said it:

1 John 1:8-9 (NIV) 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Flood Relief University

There is a university degree you can receive for work done in flood relief and recovery. It's from JSU, the school that knows the most about disaster recovery and the one that gives the best education, too.  JSU.  Where is it? It holds classes in New Jersey, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Haiti… and in Lyons, Colorado. JSU.  It stands for "Just Show Up."  Interested in getting a masters in flood recovery? (You may not have a choice!)  Here's how it works:

Let's say a work day has been announced for next Saturday at 9:00 a.m. (it has) and the email you got asks you to respond "I'll be there" if you can make it. You respond: "Count me in!" and you are well on your way.  What's next? JSU.  

But, what if, because your kids are involved in a soccer match, you can't be there until 10:00? Or what if you have to be to work at 1:00, and can only serve half a day? What do you do? You could send a response by email: "I'll be there around 10:00," or "I can only stay till 1:00". And then, JSU.  Do that and you are on your way to a rewarding and satisfying advanced degree in flood recovery!  But here's how to flunk the course; here's what you DON'T want to do. Don't call and ask if it's ok to come late, or leave early. Instead, JSU!

If you can't lift things, JSU. If you aren't handy, JSU.  If you can't stay long, JSU.  If you have no idea what you could do, JSU. Jesus will use you! Jesus will work through you!

One exception to this: If you would like to help feed the folks who JSU, and we need lots of people who are willing to do that, then first contact Charity (cb.good@yahoo.com) to get your assignment. Then, when it's your turn to bring some food, pack it in your car and…. Well, you know…

Studying at JSU with you!
Pastor Mickey

Monday, November 11, 2013

Short Term Missions Trip

The Lyons community and our church building could use some tender loving care and a lot of muscle to rebuild. Consider creating a work crew for a short-term missions trip — here!

We are especially grateful for Curt & Mary Jo Hencye (from Calvary Relief - Calvary Chapel Saratoga) and Delta Ministries. They have stepped in to help us in immeasurable ways to facilitate the volunteer efforts.
Curt and Mary Jo Hencye are our local volunteer coordinators. They determine which projects we work on Monday through Saturday. If you are local and would like to help, they will definitely find a place for you to work. 
For weekdays, call Curt: 941-915-9560 or Mary Jo 941-374-1609
For Saturdays, call the River Church Office: 303-823-6469

Delta Ministries will be overseeing and facilitating the teams who come from afar for week long mission trips. They will train and equip your team! Call Mark Wogaman 207-272-7391.

So they said, "Let us rise up and build." They they set their hands to this good work. (Nehemiah 2:18b)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

How Does Jesus Show Up?

After the flood, it would be very easy to get the feeling we were alone, that it would be up to us to sort this all out. We could just feel left alone and overwhelmed. But that feeling would not be consistent with Jesus' promises. Jesus said, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18)  He said, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)  

So then, how does Jesus show up?  We have had so many examples of Him showing us He is with us through the hands and feet and gifts of His Body, the Church.

• Michael Sprague came to speak with us, encourage us and pray for us.
• Curt and Mary Jo Hencye from Calvary Relief have come to live in Lyons, participate in The River, and work full time, coordinating volunteers.
• Chris McDaniel and Delta Ministries have offered to coordinate volunteer teams coming from all over the country.
• Jezreel International, a Messianic ministry from New York, and Barry Feinman sent a 53 foot truck full of building supplies. Steven Kowalski paid for the truck.

A massive 53-foot truck was filled with all these building supplies and more!

• Reach Global, the Evangelical Free Church Disaster Ministry has traveled to be with us, to encourage us and train us.
• A film producing ministry is preparing a video to assist us in getting the word out to other churches across the country.
• Churches all over country have expressed interest in sending volunteer teams.
• Many local congregations have reached out to help us and partner with us in being His hands and feet to our community.

Hard working, generous and gracious — just a few words
that describe these amazing young people who volunteer from Ellerslie

More to come! His Word is true and His promises are sure!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Take Care of YOU!

Now that some of us are moving back home, now that most of the initial work has been started on the church building and damaged homes, we are entering into the "long term" stage of flood recovery.  In running terms we have gone from an initial sprint, to a sustained marathon.  It will take months and years before we get done with the clean up and restoration.  We won't ever go back to normal, but will one day emerge into a "new normal."  But during this sustained period of recovery, we all must be aware of how common it is to experience symptoms of fatigue.  Perhaps you have already experienced some of these in yourself or in others:

Excessive blaming, Bottled up emotions. Isolation from others. Complaining about … (fill in the blank: FEMA, Leadership, the neighbors, etc.) Compulsive behaviors (such as eating, spending, gambling, drugs or alcohol). Nightmares, Chronic physical ailments, Apathy, Difficulty concentrating, Mental fatigue and more.

You should know that, while these symptoms are normally encountered in times like this, they are danger signals.  We should be aware of ourselves and others, and ready to step in with emotional support and prayer.  Be sure to get enough sleep.  Be sure to take time to rest, relax and have fun.  Remember that our enemy, Satan, seeks to pick us off, to destroy us.  Remember also that our Strength is in the Lord, not in our own self-effort.  Don't be afraid to ask for help for yourself, even if it is only a friendly ear!  We are going to need one another as we go through this tough time together.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The River Building Update

The River building is still in clean-up mode. 
Here is our sanctuary - shows how a quarter of the foundation is gone
 and all the flooring has been removed.

Drywall has been removed throughout the building
— up to 3 feet, as can be seen here in the sanctuary

The youth room was nearly condemned but work is being done to restore it

Atop all that, we are still without water, sewer and gas.

As for our church family, there are at least 15 homes that have been affected, either completely gone or heavily destroyed. Most importantly, we desire to touch our Lyons community for Jesus; so many have lost everything.

We have a lot of work to do here and in our community. We need your help financially. Please share our need with everyone you know: family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members, distant cousins...well, you get the picture. Make sure to tell them our Disaster Relief Fund will go right to the people who need it most, without administrative fees, overhead costs, etc. Every dime will make a big difference. We sincerely thank you for your support! You can find out how to give at http://www.therivercolorado.org 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Praising God in This Storm

I was awakened by my husband’s rapid exit from our bedroom at around 2:00 a.m. the morning of September 12. He had heard knocking on the doors of other trailers in our little park and he knew something was seriously wrong. Before I could ask him what was wrong out the door he went. I got up, put on my robe, and went to the living room where I noticed the red and blue flashing lights of two emergency vehicles parked outside. One was parked in front of our trailer and the other one just to the right, almost in the road. Sheriff’s deputies were knocking on people’s doors telling them to gather what they could and get out NOW! While we gathered a few belongings the Emergency Warning System sirens went off. I packed the few things I’d put together and got in the car. Robbie mounted his scooter and we headed for higher ground. I had no clue how drastically our lives were about to change.

We ended up at the Elementary School where the generous Lyons community rallied around the evacuees, bringing in blankets, clothing, pet food and kennels, snacks and toys for the little ones. It was truly amazing to witness the support given by those whose homes were not being threatened. One of the folks we saw during our evacuation was Pastor Mickey. Due to a really busy summer I hadn't been to church since our wedding in May and it was just so good to see him walking through the halls hugging and encouraging people, as he always does. It was the first "normal" thing to happen since we got there. Shortly after Pastor Mickey left to continue his mission of encouragement, a song popped into my head and it's  been there ever since. It is "Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crowns. The first verse says:

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's still raining.

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you".
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away.

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Life has gotten back on track, and we're developing a "new normal". We're back to work and will be moving into an apartment later this month. But it still feels like a storm is raging in my heart sometimes. Like when I make the trek to Lyons to see what we can possibly salvage from our former home or when I drive by The River Church property. I continue to sing this song in my head when I feel the flood waters of fear rising up in my soul.

I went out to help clean up at the church's property last Wednesday, and it broke my heart to see the condition of The River. The grassy yard where my grandfather walked me down the aisle at my wedding is gone. The massive wooden deck where we spoke our vows is gone. It was violently washed away, along with parts of the concrete foundation that used to be under the sanctuary. You can see the "new" river flowing by from inside the sanctuary where the floor is sagging. The mound of ruined items in front of the church continues to grow. We lost our church building and many of us, including Robbie and me, lost our homes.  Others incurred great damage and to their homes and property.

Life has been a little bit harder and scarier since that day. We all face a lot of uncertainty. But the flood also brought with it tremendous blessings. Through this disaster we've seen miracles of love and generosity that we would have missed out on had this tragic event not occurred. Personally, I've received enormous amounts of encouragement, love and assistance from co-workers, friends and family. We've had people all over the world praying for us, thanks to blogs, the news, email, Facebook and Twitter! That is truly miraculous!

The River's building was wrecked and people's houses have been lost and damaged. But the good news is that the building and the grounds are not the church and the houses are not the homes. The church, as Pastor Mickey has said so many times, is God's people and a house is only a home because of the people who make their lives there. We are all still here, daily praising the God who gives and takes away! It's kind of like Job in the Old Testament. Our God is bigger than this flood! He is our Strength and our Encourager. He is our Father who loves us and will make all things new and He will show us all how to move forward and how to grow stronger because of all that has happened.

"Every tear I've cried, He holds in His hand. He's never left my side. And though my heart is torn, I will praise Him in this storm."

Lynda Anderson-Clayton

Monday, October 7, 2013

"It is well with my soul"

The Story of Dave and Cat Wechsler
By Cat Wechsler

The morning of September 12, at 1:38 a.m., we were woken up by our phones going off with a flash flood warning. Moments later my husband’s sister called saying that people were being evacuated. We live across the street from the St. Vrain River in Lyons, Colorado, near the corner of 4th and Evans. It had been raining for four days, and the ground was saturated. I grabbed some clothes for all of us — me, my husband, and my two boys, ages 6 and 9 — and threw them in bags.  Then I started to grab some food. The air raid sirens started going off, and my husband went outside to check the river. He immediately came back inside and said that there was at least six inches of water in our front yard, and we needed to go NOW!

We woke up our friends who live in a small cabin in our yard, and I threw the bags in the car.  Then we woke up our boys and told them we needed to go to the car.  I tried to remain calm, telling them, “It’s ok, it’s ok. We just need to go now.”  We wrapped them in their blankets in only PJ’s, no shoes, and put them and our dog in my husband’s car.

It was total chaos, completely dark, rain pouring down, water where it is not supposed to be and air raid sirens blaring.

The hardest thing I have ever had to do was get in my car alone and drive without my family. I followed them through the water across the bridge and left my car at my mother-in-law’s house a block away, which was on slightly higher ground. On the way I called my mom and asked her to pray. I got in with my family and we drove through a river of water on Highway 36 to our shop where my husband has his business. My husband waded through three feet of water and miraculously got our motor home to start and drove it out of the water.  He drove it up to the top of the Stone Canyon subdivision above our shop and left us there. He then went back to try to save what he could at our shop.

As I waited there, I asked the angels to stand shoulder to shoulder, surrounding my house and hold it up.  I remembered what a speaker had said just few days earlier at a Women of Faith Conference that my mother and I and a friend had attended.  She said, “Worship God and He will draw near to you.”  I prayed and started to worship God. As I sat there, with the rain pouring down, I praised God over and over. I sang every worship song I could think of.  As I did this, a calm and peace came over me that I have never experienced.  The boys fell asleep and we waited there through the night.

When the sun came up it was hard to see anything.  I got on Facebook to see what people were saying and asked local people if they could see my house.  Kim, our Pastor’s wife, answered that our area was flooded:(, I was happy for any information.  My boys woke up, and, to pass the time we sang, You are my Sunshine, Let the Sunshine In and The Sesame Street Theme Song (“Sunny days, taking my cares away…”) A friend that lives in Stone Canyon called to see if we were ok and brought us toys and shoes for the boys and food — what a blessing!

Later in the day, when it quit raining, we were able to drive up to the top of the mountain overlooking Lyons. All we could see was a town divided by rivers into five islands and areas under water. Another friend in Stone Canyon told us to come and plug our motor home in at her house.  What a blessing to have friends like that. There were tons of kids there and the boys made new friends and had a great time.   Every day we have had huge blessings like that from God.  Friends and family helping us, bringing us food and supplies, helping with my kids and bringing a backhoe for my husband to use almost immediately to help the community as soon as the waters receded.  

There are too many blessings to count.

As we watched from the other side of the river, our house sat in the raging water for two days.  When the waters finally receded, we were able to hike in to get a few precious things.  God gave me a song of comfort, as I went into my house for the first time, I sang (ironically) ”I am going to the River” and it helped me do what I needed to do.  When I was able to get to the front of my house, I saw the most incredible sight I have ever seen.  There, wrapping from the middle of the front of my house all the way around it to the side middle corner, was the most amazing debris wall I have ever seen!  The wall the angels built.  MY angel wall!  It kept the water from slamming the house and diverted it between the houses and down the street.  It was beautiful.  My angels are so awesome!

God gave me physical strength over the next few days to rip all the wet, mud-soaked carpet out of the house, throw out tons of flood-soaked stuff that was in our house into an enormous pile and pack everything savable into a truck. This is not something I could ever do alone. I am not that strong. Jesus was walking with me. He kept me calm through it all.  An incredible team from disaster relief came and gutted my house of drywall and floors, they were an absolute God send!

Every day I sang worship songs and praised God. It kept me calm and strong, even through countless hours of insurance adjustors, FEMA and more insurance companies.

The flood was three weeks ago. God has given me a tremendous peace about all of this. Our house and property is a mess, but I see it now as a blessing in disguise and a new beginning.  We don’t know what it will take to repair our house or when we will be back in our home, but I know that God is in control and He will provide. We are all ok and that is only stuff.  I no longer see any of the yuck around.  I see many blessings, too many to count, that have come from this, and keep coming every single day.  I see our family strengthened by this. I see so many incredible people who are willing to give of themselves, and I see my sons learning that God is good and so are people. I have told so many people what God has done for us, I only hope they will see it too.  Amazingly, this is not something that God is letting me to be sad about! Our community may be changed but it is not gone. This will only strengthen us.

Worship God and He will draw near to you.  Praise Him. This is a new beginning! It is well with my soul.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Serving Him and others in life's disasters

The hope of the River since day one was that we would be a vital part of our city. That we would be a culture within our culture that loves Jesus, believes scripture, and lives for the good of the whole city and not just our own self interests. Our heart was really to build a culture within our culture that would love our town, and seek to transform our town as they meet Jesus. And right now, in the middle of a disaster, we've been given an "opportunity" to further that vision and in a powerful way LOVE OUR CITY!

Nehemiah had a similar situation. He could have thought, "I'm glad I don't have to deal with the trouble in Jerusalem."  He was far away and could have ignored it.   He could have gotten angry at them, considering them to be lazy or stupid (you know, kind of like you feel about our "leaders" in Washington?).  But he prayed for his people, he prayed for his town with grief.  And humility!  One of the most surprising words you find in his prayer is the word, "we."  "I confess that we have sinned against You" (see Nehemiah chapter 1). Even though he was far away, serving in the luxury of the court of the king of Persia, Nehemiah knew he was part of "we."  "We" are all in this together.  He prayed about "we." He confessed about "we." He grieved for "we."  And then he asked God and the king to be allowed to go, with money and supplies to help "we."  We at the River are "we" of Lyons.  No "them and us" here; We are "we."

And we are asking God (and God's people) for the resources and strength to rebuild not just our church, but our town. If you have been effected by the flood and need help, please go to our website and click on the "Get Help" button. If you would like to help please go to our website and click on the "GIVE" button. Again, 100% of the donations that we receive will go to the disaster relief effort. www.therivercolorado.org

Serving Him and our town,
Pastor Mickey

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Update, October 3, 2013

There is a certain amount of adrenalin that carries you through in times of evacuations in the middle of the night, even a certain amount of a spirit of adventure that, at first, allows us to be brave and optimistic.  But now people are returning to Lyons – not to live, not yet – but to shovel the muck, search for precious things, and to deal, face to face for the first time, with the enormity of what has just happened.  It is overwhelming.  The expressions you see around town look stricken, stunned and hopeless.  Some have simply moved away; it's just too much.

But God has chosen to put us, The River, right here in our little town.  By His sovereignty, He has allowed us to suffer the same kind of devastating set-backs as have our neighbors.  Now, as people are returning, we will be His hands and feet, His servants and witnesses.  But how?  How can a tiny congregation do much of anything in the midst of such confusion and loss? Nehemiah has some great insight on how to answer those questions.

They said to me, "Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire. When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven." Nehemiah 1:3-4 (NLT)

When Nehemiah was faced with overwhelming circumstances, the first thing he did was to avoid the great temptation to look away.  Instead he opened his eyes and his heart, indentifying with his neighbors in their time of loss.  And he wept for them – no, that's not right; he wept with them.  And then he called Somebody he knew.  He fasted and prayed.  How will a tiny congregation that God planted in Lyons respond to such destruction and despair?  Let's start with heartfelt compassion – sharing the grief of those who have lost so much.  And then let's pray – fast and pray as God leads you.  As God leads us. And then lets watch and listen as God leads us to be His hands and feet to our community.  The adrenalin, and adventure will fade, but God will never leave us or abandon us!

Serving Him with you,

Pastor Mickey

If you need help or you would like to help, please visit our website at http://www.therivercolorado.org

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Church Update

Last Thursday, a church in Aurora, Colorado, called down to a church disaster ministry in Louisiana, asking if they could send help to Colorado.  How does that work?  Jesus did it.  He arranged for the disaster ministry, called ReachGlobal, to personally contact several churches in the flood zone - including us at the River - to see what help they could offer.  For five years, the church in Aurora had been sending work teams down to help after Katrina, working with ReachGlobal, because they had been sent there by Jesus.  The next time they called, Jesus said, "Send them to Colorado."  ReachGlobal called The River.  The only way for us to receive a work team last weekend was to work with LifeBridge church.  Why?  Jesus had told them to devote the energies of His large church there to organizing relief work.  They had gotten so well organized that they were able to convince the City of Lyons it would be safe to send work teams.  (Once you see the condition that Lyons is in, you will understand why the City leaders are being so cautious...)   How did LifeBridge get so well organized?  They were trained by a team of experts from back east, a group that does this kind of training after disasters all over the country.  Why?  Let's see if you can guess.  Their name is "Operation Blessing."  Guess Who they take their marching orders from?  So a team from Aurora, got sent from Louisiana, to organize at LifeBridge, who were trained by Operation Blessing, to go with a representative from The River, to serve with compassion in Lyons - all because the Church has One Head.  His Name is Jesus!

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4 - 4:6 NKJV)

As you listen to Jesus, here's what you can do.  Do you know someone (including yourself!) who really needs help?  Go to this link:  www.therivercolorado.org   and click on the Get Help button.  You will find a place to register their information.  Jesus will send help.  Are you willing to be sent?  Not everyone is able to shovel muck.  Some can make sandwiches.  Some can sit and listen in a compassionate way.  If you are willing to help, go to that same website and click on the volunteer button.  You will be called to serve when Jesus needs your gifts and abilities.

Serving Him with you,
Pastor Mickey

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


God continues to bless The River, as we seek to extend His blessing to the community of Lyons.  There is an IMPORTANT NEW DEVELOPMENT:  Our website is now setup for Paypal donations to our flood relief fund.  Would you please begin to forward this information to everyone you know – your friend list, email list, relatives, classmates, co-workers, hunting buddies, workout acquaintances!  Please do this today, if you can, because people ordinarily concentrate their decisions about how to help at the very beginning of a disaster.  We trust God's timing and know He has plans to provide, but we also must be faithful to act quickly.  Ephesians 5:16-17 says:

"Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do."

As you invite people to give, please emphasize that every dollar of this fund will be spent for disaster relief for Lyons.  Many other funds have heavy administrative costs.  This is an opportunity for people to know exactly where their money will be spent. Here's the link: http://www.therivercolorado.org/give.html

Monday, September 30, 2013

The River Church Update


It was great to be with the Church! For the first time since the flood, the congregation of The River (better known as the River family!) met together, under one roof, for worship.  What a time we had! 

We didn't take the greatest pictures, but they catch the excitement!

"You are God in what seems like happenstance,
 You are God in every circumstance. 
 You are God when we fall and God when we stand,
 You are God who holds us in your hand…"

The combined voices of our people, many of whom are reeling after suffering heavy losses, rose together in praise, as God's Holy Spirit moved among us.  The flood waters have severely damaged our newly purchased building and have transformed the church property from a beautiful, green, peaceful place into a wasteland of mud.  But the "Church" is strong and well, united by the power of Jesus. 

There is much excitement as we face this opportunity for an "Acts 29" experience, a time when we see God's mighty hand at work among us.  It will be hard for me to keep everyone informed about all the miracles we are seeing day by day, but I'm going to try.  And one of the miracles we heard about this morning in worship was about how God provided a home where we can all gather for worship.  And now is the time for us to worship together.  Let's wrap our arms around one another as we face the challenges ahead. 

Now is also the time to invite neighbors, many of whom are struggling with the same heavy losses, but without the comfort, peace and security that comes with a relationship with God.  As we reach out to the community, let's do so with open arms and invite them to be part of our family at The River, and part of His family forever!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The River Church Update


What is that noise?  A terrible grinding, pounding, thrashing sound, combined into a terrifying roar was just outside our house.  We crept out onto the deck and tried to see, peering into the darkness and torrential rain.  We couldn't see anything, not that first night, but we could hear!  The South Fork of the Saint Vrain river hadn't just risen, it had formed a massive fist, smashing through the valley on the other side of the road.  That first night was a night of sounds – drenching rain and vicious thunder; the sound of silence when the power was lost; the sound of the phone, ringing at 2 a.m.mournful sirens – but most alarming, the terrible, thundering roar of the river.  



The next day, our eyes began to see what our ears could only imagine.  It was worse, so very much worse, than what we had feared.  Lyons had been devastated. Massive trees were surging by in the river.  Hundreds of people were emerging from the rubble in neighborhoods around town, with shock and disbelief.It wasn't easy, but we made our way over to the church building to see if it was still standing.  Six feet of water was pounding up against the far wall. Anywhere you went in town that dayoverpowering everything you could see, was the concussive thumping and crashing, the menacing full-throated growl of the three rivers that converged on Lyons and were smashing our little town.

In the midst of that deafening noise, I learned all over again how God speaks to us, even in the midst of worst of times.  He promised His people, as they were about to lose their homes and be "evacuated" by force,  to live in a hostile country, that He would speak to them.  He said:

Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:20-21 NAS)
These promises have been fulfilled to us who trust in Jesus.  When everything seems overwhelming, when we can't imagine what to do, that is the time to look for our Teacher, Jesus, the time to listen for His voice. He has promised to be with us no matter what the storm and we take Him at His Word!
Serving Him with you, Pastor Mickey

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The River Church UPDATE


Hello all, 

Here it is, the first of a regular update on the church building, our church family and our community. There is much going on!

First, I want to share this scripture — this is God's Word and it is written to us! 

“The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; 
the LORD is enthroned as King forever. 
The LORD gives strength to His people; 
the LORD blesses His people with peace” (Psalm 29:10,11).

He is our King who rules over every storm. Don't miss the promise here: He gives strength and peace to His people in the middle of the flood/storm. Our heart as a congregation is to glorify Him in the middle of “our” storm and be His hands and feet to our community.

OUR BUILDING: Our church building and property have been badly damaged. The northwest corner of the sanctuary had the foundation washed away and the floor collapsed. The river was literally “running through the sanctuary!” We temporarily secured that corner with braces and we believe at this point that the building is repairable! However, this depends on where the river ends up. The Saint Vrain has re-routed itself and currently flows strongly only feet from the building. The Army Corp of Engineers decides whether the river gets moved back to its original location or remains on its new course. If it is not moved back then we will most likely have to rebuild. This is totally out of our hands, but we know it is in His hands!

View looking toward what was our back field. The River Church is on the Right.

The River Church 'backyard" with the river flowing so very close!

Our sanctuary with the River literally running through it!

OUR CHURCH FAMILY: We had two wonderful services this last Sunday — one in Lyons, the other in Longmont. (Thanks to Merle & Peggy and Phil & Michelle for opening up their homes for church!) Jeff Sill and I discovered we preached almost the same sermon, without ever talking to each other! I love how God works.

This Sunday we will all be together to worship for the first time since the flood hit! (YEAH!)  We will all meet at the McKinney’s. Kim and I look forward to seeing you all!

As a church body, many of our members have been affected by the flood. Some have damaged homes and some have no homes left. Please know that no one will walk through this alone! We will walk through this storm together, and He will walk through this with all of us! We have been "Hit," so to speak; we have been wounded. However, the Body of Christ has stepped up to love and support us as we recover. We have partnered with other ministries to help us in the recovery process. 
  • LifeBridge Church has opened their arms to us
  • Operation Blessing, also operating out of LifeBridge, has "work orders" for anyone who was affected by the flood to fill out. They are keeping a database specifically for us of those affected in our church and in the Lyons community. There are over 1600 volunteers ready to begin the recovery process. If your home has been affected in any way, make sure you get a work order filled out and you will have help! We will have a church office set up in Longmont by the end of this week. You will be able to get work orders there or you can go directly to LifeBridge to register and they will add you to The River/Lyons database.
  • Reach Global has also reached out to us and really wrapped their arms around us. They are the Disaster Recovery ministry of the Evangelical Free Church. We will have more information soon on the teams they will have to work with us. We are blessed!

If you would like to volunteer, sign up with us or at LifeBridge and tell them that you are part of the River Recovery Team! They are going to make sure that they plug The River/Lyons people into the Lyons recovery effort. The volunteer teams will go in on Saturdays and begin the process of helping people put their lives back together. LifeBridge and Operation Blessing have already begun this in Longmont and other areas. We are hoping to get into Lyons soon!

OUR COMMUNITY:  As I already said, our heart as a congregation is to glorify Him in the middle of “our” storm and be His hands and feet to our community. With the rest of the body of Christ coming to stand with us, we hope to represent Him well! At this time we need to begin collecting “the needs.” Anyone you know in Lyons who was affected by the flood (and that is a lot of people), please let them know that there is help. All we need is to get the work orders filled out and we will get teams in possibly as soon as this week to begin rebuilding and loving people!

Lastly, we have a community and a church to begin rebuilding. In the next couple of weeks this will all fade from the national news, but we will only be beginning. Please get the word out that we need help. 100% of the money given for disaster relief will go to disaster relief. we are in the process of setting up a way for people to give electronically on our website. Until then, please send donations to:

PO Box 6043 
Longmont, CO

We are setting up a blog on our website to keep everyone informed on what we are doing and what the progress looks like in our community and for the church building as well. 

We need to get the word out to as many as possible so if you would pass this along/forward it/share it with everyone you know that would be great!

Serving Him with you,
Pastor Mickey