Be a Gatherer

Joshua 24:1 - PASS THE TORCH:

My 3yr old grandson took me on a walk. He was at the, ‘what is it?’ stage... as I began to explain grass- hoppers, butterflies and frogs... we stopped and ate from the blackberry bushes, he said “thought cows were big,” as a few deer hoped by... and the trees blowing in the wind sounded just like a train, but then...

He saw a bee, it was very large and buzzing very loud. He said, “Wow, what is that G.G?” (His attempt at Grampa). I told him it was called a bee. And bee’s, gathered ‘sweet things’ from flower to flower and plant to plant and made the flowers bloom and grow pretty, and carried them home.

I told him all the bee’s work together and bring the Pollen-nectar back to the hive and share their findings, and mixed all together makes, the sweet honey that we eat! And the bee has a very big stinger for anyone who tries to get in the way of his mission – to make and share their honey! His eyes got really big!

And in that moment, I realized in ‘our walk with God’ that is what we are called to do! Our mission as Christians is ‘Pass the Torch,’ we’re called to gather sweet memories, stories and testimonies with each other - to encourage one another... when we are hurting or down, defeated or sad or share truths of God’s grace, love and compassion, but those who try to stop that – ‘sharing of the gospel...’ there is a very big stinger waiting for them.  Amen?

He said he, “wanted to be, a bee...” I said, “You are, you will,” and he said, “I want a big stinger,” well that’s what he meant!

So, be a gatherer of all God does, proclaim it, share it – make a declaration that nothing will stop you from revealing God’s truth of mercy and grace... but that there is a day, a big day when all will be revealed...

16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”  Luke 8:16-18

Pastor James Stark 

Hillside Community Church Brownsville, CA

Love Comes First

Be very careful to love the Lord your God.  Joshua 23:11

As the aging Joshua gave his farewell address to the Israelites, he reminded them of everything God had done for them.  The appropriate response to God's faithfulness, Joshua said, was to "be very careful" to love Him.  It is an act of will, an intentional response to who He is.  But have you ever thought about what it really means to love God?

So how do we love God?  We lie at His feet and tell Him we are His.  We seek to honor Him in all we do.  We want to be like Him.  We crave His fellowship.  We pray His desires.  We are consumed with, obsessed with, and filled with His ways, His works, and His will.  The theology, the works, and the feelings will come.  They are good - but only after the devotion.  Love always comes first.