Monthly Archives: February 2016

Bliss Life Group

When you said “I do” what did you think was going to happen?

Art-of-Marriage-Banner1

You found out this “married thing” was actually pretty tough at times. Your marriage obviously does not look like everyone else’s marriage. That is why you have a very unique marriage. No two marriages are alike. Your marriage is like an art canvas that will be painted on for a lifetime.

We will host a life group beginning this Wednesday, Feb 24. Each lesson will be for 60 minutes from 6:30-7:30 pm. We will be interacting with each other and viewing a study video consisting of 25-30 minutes.

Did you know that 1 in 7 marriages begins on-line today?

Top reasons people marry: Love 91%, Companionship 88%, Lifelong Commitment 82%, Security for children79%, Public Commitment %77, Legacy of Financial Status 66%, Religious Beliefs 62%, Family Pressure 50%, Desire for a Special Occasion 48%.

Children quotes about marriage:

“When I get married I want to marry someone who is tall and handsome and rich and hates spinach as much as me”, Gwen, age 9

“I want to get married but not right away yet, because I can’t cross the street by myself yet”, Arnold, age 6

“First she has to like pizza, then she has to like cheesecake, after that she has to like fudge candy, then I know our marriage will last a lifetime”, Bobby, age 9.

If it were just that simple. I am praying for all your marriages that God may bring you into a closer relationship to Himself and to each other.

marriage-triangle

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Seven Reasons Why Your Church Should Have a Ministry to Widows

This is a post by Thom Rainer:

This verse in Scripture cannot be more compelling or clearer:

“Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)

Scholars have produced massive volumes on the biblical mandate to care for orphans and widows. The Bible is not ambiguous on this topic. I am grateful churches around the world have taken some steps to care for the orphans, though much more remains to be done.

But, in North American churches, I see hardly any intentional church wide ministries to widows. Millions are left to suffer and struggle in silence.

Though the biblical mandate to care for widows should be sufficient motive for our churches, consider some of the struggles widows experience. These seven factoids should give you at least a glimpse of the need for ministries to widows in your church.

  1. The death of a spouse is the number one stressor in a person’s life. Too many survivors are not ready to deal with the issues of widowhood (Holmes and Rohe stress scale).
  2. Over 800,000 persons are widowed each year. Of that number, 700,000 are women (U. S. Bureau of the Census).
  3. Widowhood lasts on the average 14 years. That is a significant portion of any person’s life (U. S. Bureau of the Census).
  4. There are over 14 million widows in the United States today. That is an average of 40 widows for every church in the United States (AARP).
  5. Upon the death of a spouse, a widow loses 75% of her support base. It is imperative for churches to stand in the gap (Widow’s Hope).
  6. Widows have a 30% higher risk of death in the first six months after the death of their husbands. They truly die of a broken heart (University of Glasgow).
  7. The poverty rate among widows is three to four times higher than elderly married women. Financial needs among widows are often great (Social Security Administration).

Please don’t walk away from reading this short post without considering some type of action in your church to care for widows.

It is one of the clearest mandates of Scripture.

It is also one of the most neglected mandates of Scripture.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Marriage and Ministry

I am posting a recent blog post from Ed Stetzer. Enjoy.

Marriage and Ministry

Ministry marriages don’t succeed by accident. It takes effort. |
Marriage and Ministry

Marriage advice can be a bit overwhelming. But, you need it. Although most of the doomsday stats about pastors are not true (that they all hate the ministry and want to quit), ministry does put stress on a marriage.

In my most stream-of-consciousness column ever, allow my to share a few things that Donna and I have seen after almost thirty years of a ministry marriage.

1. Marriage is worth the investment.

Yes, it is an investment. I know that it is not always easy, but it is always worth it. I’m thankful for a strong marriage.

Ironically, you have to invest in a marriage for it to be worth the investment. It sounds strange, but it’s true—it takes continual investment on the investment.

I’ve seen “perfect” couples—like some we knew in high school and college—get married, drift apart, and end up divorced. We have not. It’s not because we are perfect, it’s because we work hard.

You have to make investments while serving in ministry to get the return on investment you want.

2. Choosing your marriage partner is the most important human decision you will ever make. 

Not to go all Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on you, but you must choose wisely in marriage. That begins with who you marry, if you in fact get married.

I’ve seen many miserable ministry marriages. A big part of that misery relates to bad marriage choices. My wife was/is beautiful, but that’s a really bad foundation upon which to build a marriage.

Instead, I’m thankful that as a ministry marriage, we are in this together. She, and we, have a joy in what we are doing. You simply can’t have a successful ministry marriage if you have not chosen one another wisely.

You have to make investments while serving in ministry to get the return on investment you want.

3. Most fights are over stupid things that don’t matter. 

When I was younger I always wanted to prove my point. It’s more important to prove your love. You do that by not arguing over stupid things. Note: most arguments are from stupid things, over stupid things, and including saying stupid things.

Most arguments are resolved when both people are more concerned with being in a relationship than with being right. I’m amazed at how many times I thought I was right. I had to be right. I had to show her I was right. And, let me say, that’s just wrong. It’s dumb. And it does not work.

In all marriages, you don’t sweat the small stuff. And, it’s mostly small stuff.

4. Sex is essential to a marriage relationship. 

It’s not everything, but when you value and prioritize it, your intimacy impacts your relationship. Sex does not just happen. It, too, is something you work at. It’s fun to do the work, though!

5. Practices (like date nights, long conversations, and trips together) make your marriage stronger. 

Some of these are essential—you need a regular date night if you are married. If you can’t afford dinner, you can walk in a park. You won’t have a strong marriage if you don’t act like you are married. If you’ve forgotten how to be married, then act like your dating until it all comes back to you.

6. Kids are awesome, but they stress your marriage. 

I’m a pretty obsessive parent. I love my kids. I spend time with them. They are a treasure. But they also make marriage more complicated and stressful. Kids should know that your marriage is your first priority. The most important thing you can pass on to your children might be not be what you give them, but the marriage you show them.

7. Never go to bed angry.

Yes, that’s true for everyone according to Ephesians 4:26, but stretching an argument into two days usually leads to stretching it longer. Then bitterness sets in.

You can’t really settle most arguments if you are not willing to just say, “We may not agree, but we can forgive and move on.” (See number 5.)

Kids should know that your marriage is your first priority.

8. You need Jesus. 

I started dating Donna because of her faith. She had shared her faith with the girls in her neighborhood, came to the Bible study I was leading in high school, and loved the Lord deeply. She still does. When we put Jesus at the center, everything else revolved around Him well.

I really love being married. Without a strong marriage, everything else in my life suffers. And I am well aware that such a marriage is not always so easy for many couples.

However, I learned that—in our marriage—I was the cause of many of the challenges and conflicts. Donna was the cure.

Either way, we have learned a lot. We are still learning. But, maybe you can be encouraged by our experience.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

1PeterArtwork

On Sunday, Feb 21, 2016, I will begin a new 9-week series through the book of 1 Peter. I keep asking myself, what is it that I most enjoy about preaching through a book series? Why do I continue to believe it is important to preach in this manner? As I pondered, I believe it gives me a great deal of focus about what to do next. I know many pastors enjoy the thrill of wondering what God will reveal to them for their next sermon based on current world news, but I am leery about that method. Right now, the news is so political, I don’t want to get into a political sermon series (could turn out that way). I would much rather go through a book, and allow God to help me help others in dealing with Scriptures in the total context of a particle book. This is called expository preaching. It consists of a verse-by-verse approach.

Ed Steadier of Lifeway recently wrote a part 1 of a 3 part series on this topic. You can read part 1 HERE

Here are my upcoming sermons for City Church Del Rio:

1 Peter 9-week Sermon Series, “Encouragement for a Chosen People”

Feb 21, 2016, Living Life with Hope, 1 Peter 1:3-12

Feb 28, 2016, Living Life in Holiness, 1 Peter 1:13-25

March 6, 2016, Living Life as a Chosen People, 1 Peter 2:1-10

March 13, 2016, Living Life in a Strange Land, 1 Peter 2:11-25

March 20, 2016, Living Life in Harmony, 1 Peter 3:1-8

March 27, 2016, Living Life in Resurrection Power, 1 Peter 3:9-22 (Easter)

April 3, 2016, Living Life for God, 1 Peter 4:1-11

April 10, 2016, Living Life in Suffering, 1 Peter 4:12-19

April 17, 2016, Living Life in Humility, 1 Peter 5:1:11

Stay in the Light, 1 John1:7,

Pastor Larry

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

There Is A Reason For Everything

“There is a reason for everything” is a very popular saying. Many times it is said when we really don’t have an answer as to why something happened. For God fearing people, “there is a reason for everything” is an acknowledgement for knowing that God has allowed all things to happen, good or bad.

IMG_2540

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says:

1  There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Yesterday, 2 churches made it official that the Kingdom of God is bigger than any one agenda. The reason we are uniting is to lock arms to fight the forces of evil that lurk in our midst. City Church Del Rio and Iglesia Cristo Vive will come together on February 7 for the first time. Under the dual banner with plans to become one banner in time.

City Church Del Rio is making a difference in community of Del Rio. This is our reason:

  1. Outreach—We believe we are to engage any and all persons that God places in our sphere of influence, in order to fulfill our vision.
  2. Life groups—This will be the backbone to the growth of City Church. Our Life Groups will be dispersed throughout the city of Del Rio during the week in order to have maximum impact.
  3. Multi-Cultural Church—Reaching multi-cultural families that reflect the community of Del Rio. The way we accomplish this is to have leadership that mirrors the congregation. Of course, as we minister in Jesus name, we will minister to all people God brings into our presence. We value all cultures, races, and people just as God does. We are all valuable in the Kingdom of God.
  4. Sundays—City Church Places a high emphasis on Sundays as it pertains to the worship of Jesus for the entire family. We believe in embracing God in the most excellent experience that we can provide under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Won’t you pray for City Church or if you are in the area, please stop by at one of our Sunday services. 9 am worship en espanol, 10 am Bible Study for all, 11 English worship service.

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized