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 ( 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