Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!



Matthew 19:13-14


13Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.


Observation-What does it say?

When the little children were brought to Jesus, His disciples rebuked them. They rebuked the people who brought the kids to Jesus. The Oxford American dictionary defines rebuke as, “express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions.” The disciples were critical of the fact that little children were brought to Jesus, but Jesus told His disciples to let them come. Jesus welcomed the children, blessed them and prayed for them. 


Understanding-What does it mean?

It doesn’t matter what age, race, gender we are, or past we have. We can all come to Jesus and He will accept us with open arms.


Children were just like women back in those times in Jewish culture. They were not highly regarded. However, Jesus continued to break those social barriers. When doing research on, it said that, “It is likely that their (the disciples’) move to hinder the parents from bringing their children to Jesus was motivated not by unkindness, but by a desire to respect Jesus’ position as a teacher.”


To the disciples, Jesus’ position as a teacher gave Him no time to pray over children because He had more important matters to attend to. However, Jesus continued to show His disciples that He was there to serve people no matter what gender or age they were. He came to serve everyone, to die for ALL and to resurrect from the grave so that we could have life in Him. The Kingdom of Heaven did not only belong to the religious leaders or to men, but to the sinners, the poor, the women, the children and everyone else who weren’t socially accepted in those days.


Life Application

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28 NIV


Think of people today who are not socially accepted or people we write off because they are unlike us. Poor/homeless, mentally/physically ill, sick, broken, needy, hurt, dependent….you fill in the blank. 


Those are the people that Jesus went out of His way to minister to and who we should to as well. There are no cultural, social, age, gender, or political gaps with Jesus. Everyone has an opportunity to be part of the Kingdom of Christ because in His Kingdom, those barriers do not exist.


Dear Jesus, thank You that You loved and love the “least of these” and as we were adopted into your family, we inherited more than the world has to offer, life with You. I pray against any cultural or social filter/barrier that prevents us from reaching out to those You desire in Your Kingdom. As Your Word says, “the last shall be first and the first shall be last (Matt. 19:30).” May we have a humble servant’s view towards people just like You had towards us. We love You Jesus and thank You for choosing us despite who we were. May we extend that same love and grace towards others when reaching out. Amen. 




-Michelle Gaddi

Hosea 4



Hosea 4:1-2 


Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.  There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.


Observation-What does it say? 


The book of hosea paints a detailed and graphic picture of Israel’s and our relationship with God.  The first three chapters outline the life of Hosea’s family and his calling to love a woman who acts outside of God’s law.  This is the perspective from which we are to understand chapters 4-14, which present God’s case against Israel and how they have walked away from His law.  In addition to walking away from God’s word, Israel became involved with the Canaanite religion and their worship of idols.  The words Hosea uses to describe Israel’s behavior goes from bad to worse.  The faith of God’s people often waxes and wanes over time.  But, to act so blatantly outside of God’s law, through lying, stealing and killing, shows how far from His will they have gone. 


Understanding-What does it mean? 


Baseball is a lazy man’s sport, according to my father-in-law and I have a tendency to agree.  There is a lot of standing around, a few short bursts of energy, and then some more standing around.  While it definitely takes skill and some practice, what a player does in the offseason is not as critical as other sports, like swimming, cycling and running (though some people call these activities, they are in fact sports, unlike golf, which is a game (but, I digress)).  I spent a long time involved in long distance running, both as an athlete and as an assistant coach.   In distance running, you can always tell the difference between athletes who used their time in the offseason to prepare for the upcoming season of racing and those who saw the lack of structure as a time to venture into other things.  


I remember one year when a new kid transferred into our school from a high school in Taft, we’ll call him Matt.  He had a lot of talent and was a great asset to our cross-country team, which was having trouble recruiting.  During the school year and with the structure provided by the races and training schedule, Matt showed a lot of promise for the track season.  But, when the cross-country racing ended, so did the structure.  Matt became interested in the other extracurricular activities that many high school kids enjoyed, which were not involved with long distance running.  He began smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol, both of which seemed counter productive to a long distance running lifestyle.  Needless to say, he struggled during the track season, got injured, and ultimately stopped running altogether.


Our relationship with God can be like this.  We have seasons where we can easily engage in what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives and seasons where the Holy Spirit is a little more quiet.  If we take the seasons of quiet as an opportunity to “explore” other religions or ways of life, like the Israelites did, then we risk becoming out of shape for the seasons when God is speaking to us.  We also risk, as Israel did, becoming subject to God’s anger.  To the Ephesians, Paul wrote, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (4:30).  We grieve the Holy Spirit when we walk away from the commandments of God, much like an athlete grieves his coach by smoking in the offseason.  Part of the process of steering clear from following the religions of the world involves us holding each other accountable and encouraging one another.  The author of Hebrews encouraged us by writing, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (10:23-25).

Life Application  

Today, it has become increasingly easy to dive into the “religions” and belief systems of this present world.  These beliefs even creep their way into the doors of the church, dividing the unity based on the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Holy Spirit, help my message to be of Christ and Him crucified.  Help me to neither add nor take away from your perfect message of hope.  Help me to trust not in the markets and seasons of this world, but in your perfect timing and perfect grace.  May my words be seasoned with the grace only you can provide.    
-Tyler Galloway   


Scripture – What stood out?

Hosea 3:1 

The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.


Observation – What does it say?

God continues to prophecy and teach through Hosea and the story of Hosea and Gomer.


Understanding – What does it mean?

It didn’t take long for a verse to stand out in this group. I had already been moving in a season where i was beginning to chew on Ephesians 5 again and so when I read Hosea 3:1 immediately I was struck by this detail:


…though she is loved by another man…


She wasn’t just an adulteress, the other man loved her.


I’m not sure I can explain why, but I feel that that is somehow worse than Gomer just being an adulterer. Very briefly, I am in this phase where I am trying to understand why the apostle Paul urges women to submit to their husbands and in turn tells the husbands to love their wives. He could have chosen 20 other words on par with submit. Instead he tells us to love our wives…(There is a connection here which I haven’t quite seen yet, but i have clearly digressed.)


Here is the clincher “Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites,

…Your thoughts are definitely not my thoughts Lord, but one day soon I hope to get closer to your divine way of thinking.


Life Application How can I apply this to my life today?

Lord for my life application, I would like you to help me move past a mistake I have been holding against a loved one. Nothing too crazy but clearly I can’t move past it bc clearly I have been wronged. Help me to move away from the pain, memory and trauma. Help me to love them anyway. And perhaps by taking this small step I can move towards loving as You Love.

In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen.

-kenneth lee



Matthew 16:24-25


24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.


Observation-What does it say?

Jesus was speaking with His disciples and predicted His death. He rebuked (aka corrected with sharp disapproval and criticism-Oxford dictionary), Peter’s response to his death because Peter was concerned about what Jesus said at the human level, not on the God level.


Understanding-What does it mean?


Jesus had to die to save ALL of mankind, including His disciples. That was the cross that Jesus had to bear. His life was His offering to God.


Peter didn’t understand the big picture and that’s why Jesus was frustrated with what he said. If Jesus didn’t die, Peter and the rest of the world would not live and would still be under the wrath of a just God. I also believe that Jesus’ words to Peter was a foretelling of how Peter would betray Jesus. Peter’s denial of Jesus was because he was more concerned about what others would think of him (human concerns) instead of what Jesus thought of him.


Life Application


What does taking up your cross look like?


In Biblical times, with taking up one’s cross, people literally had to die for their faith in Jesus. All the disciples were martyred, except for John.


Some of us may still be called to physical martyrdom, but more commonly in today’s times, taking up one’s cross daily means doing everything different than the world does it. It’s a struggle because although we are called to not live OF the world, we still live IN it and can easily be influenced by it. That’s the importance of staying close to Jesus daily. Here are personal examples of how I’ve had to take up my cross and lose myself completely to Jesus.


-Forgiving people who have hurt me deeply and responding in love and kindness instead of chewing their head off and hurting them back the way they’ve hurt me.

-Choosing to live a lifestyle different from everyone else in order to be more generous with time and money for Kingdom purposes.

-Setting up safeguards to protect my integrity and marriage. I had to do the same thing before marriage too.

-Choosing not to be part of the rat race and setting aside one day a week for Sabbath rest.

-Letting go of a higher paying job in order to live out God’s calling for my life.

-Looking at suffering as a blessing, instead of a curse.

-Being comfortable with having a reputation of being “weird.”

What are other examples you can think of of taking up your cross in your own life?


In John 17, before Jesus was betrayed and arrested, He prayed for His disciples and for ALL believers. If you’ve never read it, I recommend that you read it. It’s very encouraging to me because if God was to hear anyone’s prayer, it would be Jesus’ prayer. Jesus prayed in advance for us!

“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” John 17:9-11 NIV

Thank you Lord! Amen.


-Michelle Gaddi



Matthew 15:32-33 NIV


Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?””


Observation-What does it say?

Jesus had just retreated again to take a break and sat down on a mountainside along the Sea of Galilee. However, a large crowd that needed healing came to Him and Jesus healed them. As a result they praised God. However, they were with Him for 3 days and had nothing to eat. This concerned Jesus, because he was worried that they would collapse on their journey home if they weren’t fed.


Understanding-What does it mean?

Jesus cared not only for their present journey, but their future one as well.


These people had fasted for 3 days while they were with Jesus and probably traveled a long distance just to see Him. He did not just heal their present physical and spiritual needs, give a blessing and send them away. He took the time to think about their journey back home and wanted to take care of that too.


Life Application

Jesus is concerned with not only our present, but our future as well. But, there’s a part that we must play in that too.

A popular verse to quote is, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


However, the following verses after that one are just as important. “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”” Jeremiah 29:12-14 NIV


In context, it was written to the nation of Israel, who God brought back from exile and restored for a time. 


Just as the crowds sought Jesus out for healing, (He didn’t seek them out), we are also to call on Him, pray to Him, seek Him out with all our hearts, for when we do, we will find Him. We will be protected, cared for, nourished by Him and we will find our purpose not just for the present, but the future as well.  (Jeremiah 29:12-13). 


Dear Jesus, just as You healed and restored the physical and spiritual needs of that crowd who sought You out, followed You and fasted for 3 days along the Sea of Galilee, I pray that Your Spirit would give us as a church the desire to also fast, seek You out and follow You so that our present and future needs would be protected and cared for by You. Thank You that all Your thoughts and present and future plans for us are good.  May You reveal more of Yourself to us as we stay in pure and in constant relationship with You. Amen.


-Michelle Gaddi



Matthew 14:22-23

“Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.”


Observation-What does it say?

Jesus had just finished performing yet another miracle. Not only did Jesus heal all the sick from the crowds of people who were following him from town to town, but Jesus decided to feed the 5,000 men (not including the women and children) that day with only using five loaves of bread and two fish! And all the people ate as much as they wanted that day, and to top it off, they even had 12 baskets of leftovers to spare! Immediately following this miracle, Jesus sent the crowds of people home and sent his disciples back on the boat to cross to the other side of the lake. After everyone was gone, Jesus went up to the hills by himself to pray.


Understanding-What does it mean?

As busy as Jesus was with helping others, teaching, discipling, and performing miracles, He still found time to recharge and rest through His alone time with God.

Throughout Scripture you will find that Jesus often set aside times to be alone and pray to God. Whether it was spending 40 days in the desert or His time in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knew the importance of connecting to His Heavenly Father for strength, comfort, and wisdom. 

We all complain about our busy schedules and the lack of time we have to accomplish our daily tasks. And the first thing we seem to sacrifice in our life is our time with God (prayer time, Bible study, and journaling). Why is that? I know I can be guilty of this. But reading this passage reminds me just how busy Jesus was in life. He had his own ministry to do, He had his disciples to groom, and on top of all that, He had people fighting for His time on all sides of Him so that they could be healed! How did he keep it all together?! I believe it’s because of the emphasis He put in his life with spending time with God. He was purposeful about it. He would sneak away from the crowds and His disciples to get that one on one time He desperately needed to recharge with His Almighty Father. It was in these times Jesus found guidance, strength, and focus on what He needed to do. And He always walked away from those prayer times re-energized to keep moving on to fulfill God’s will. So how did the prayer time in this passage end up for Jesus?..He rescued His disciples who were on the boat experiencing rough waters, as Jesus came to them…walking on water!!!


Life Application

If I am to call myself a follower of Christ, shouldn’t I follow the things that He does? Shouldn’t I make my prayer time with God a priority?

We find time in life to do the things that are important to us. Whether it is waking up early to get to work on time or me not sitting on the couch watching television so I can spend time with my kids. We do these things because we prioritize the things in our life that are important to us. So where does God fit in? Where does His people fit in? If God truly is the head of our household and number one in our lives, our lives should reflect it. 

Let’s be purposeful with our time with God the way Jesus was purposeful with His time with God. Let’s re-energize, re-focus, seek God’s strength and wisdom through it. Let’s see what miracle He has in store for us and our church family because of it!

-Moses Gaddi



Matthew 13:44   


“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells everything that he has, and buys that field.


Observation-What does it say? 

Jesus often used parables to share his message.  The parables were thought provoking, used to separate those who came to be entertained by Jesus’ miracles from those who came to him to find truth and understand His teachings.  Though, Jesus’ parables used common language and everyday examples, which were relatable to his audience.  By doing this, he differentiated himself from the religious elites of his time, the pharisees, who loved to pray using big words (Matthew 6:5-8) and place heavy religious burdens on people (Matthew 23:1-6) and wouldn’t honor their parents because of their religious traditions (Matthew 15:3-7).  Through his parables, we experience the love of God that is for all mankind (John 3:16), not something that is muddled up with rules and religious requirements.


Understanding-What does it mean? 

Have you ever had that one thing that you thought, “If I could only have this, life would be so much better”?  When I was a kid, that one thing was a horse.  I wanted to be a cowboy more than anything else in the world.  I had my boots and jeans, my holster and trusty cap gun, and even a real felt cowboy hat.  The only thing I was missing was a horse and saddle.  For years my Christmas wish list included these items, not realizing the true cost of owning and caring for a horse.  When my parents finally broke the news to me, that they could never get me these things, I was heartbroken.  Later on in life, my desire turned to a league championship in track.  I trained all of high school to become the champion of the 800 meter run.  I expected it to pave the way for a college education and a career in professional running.  I succeeded in attaining my league championship and I still have the medal to prove it.  But, life after the championship did not go like I thought and I was again left with an empty feeling in its wake.


The kingdom of heaven is like these things, only much, much better.  The kingdom of heaven is that very thing that we are looking for in the horses and trophies, in the homes and the cars, in the careers and the accolades.  However, the kingdom of heaven does not disappoint us.  We will not be left with the need for something more, because it is so much more than we can imagine. The other things in life are the lies that come from the devil.  Jesus comforts us in saying, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  In Jesus, we are made whole and can experience the abundant life that this world leaves us wanting.


Life Application  

Jesus, help me to always look for your truths.  Thank you for being the only thing that makes me complete.  For in you I find my being.  Help me to share your truths and the message of your love in the same relatable way.   


-Tyler Galloway 



Daniel 10:12

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.


Observation – What does it say?

After having a troubling vision that he didn’t understand, Daniel humbled himself before God and spent three weeks mourning and seeking God for understanding. At the end of the three weeks his answer came via a messenger from God. This messenger explains that as soon as Daniel began to seek God, he was sent in response. But, he encountered opposition by an evil spiritual power he refers to as “the prince of the Persian kingdom,” delaying him 21 days.


Understanding – What does it mean?

This is a fascinating chapter, and I probably have more questions than answers after reading it. However, this one thing stood out to me: Daniel’s prayers were heard and his answer was sent immediately, although he had to wait 21 days before it arrived.

Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 7 to “Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.”

I wonder how many times we pray about something and lose all faith when we don’t see an answer within 24 hours. The “keeping on” is the achilles heel of our prayer life. There are things going on in the spiritual realm we have no idea about. I imagine many times we fail to “keep on knocking,” giving up and walking away when God’s hand is reaching for the handle on the other side, to open the door. Daniel teaches us in this passage to continue seeking without giving up.


Life Application

Keep seeking! For the people I’ve been praying for to come to know Christ, for breakthrough in relationships and in our community, for a powerful move of God in our city.

God, I believe that you hear our prayers and the moment we speak out our prayers the answer is set in motion! I trust that even when I don’t see much happening in the natural, there are things in the spirit that are shifting, angels engaging in battle, hearts being prepared and people being positioned. I believe you meant it when you repeated the promise 7 times, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Fill us with faith and grant that we may be ones who persevere in prayer. Amen.

– Levi Thompson



Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.


Jesus has just finished speaking to a crowd of people about John the Baptist, and He even goes on to somewhat “call out” certain towns that have not yet repented. He then goes on to say that anyone who comes to the Father must know the Son, yet He reassures those people that his “yoke easy and his burden is light.”


In the past when I have read these verse I tended to only focus on the one that promises rest for a tired and weary soul. The other verses seemed like added “work” and I didn’t understand how they applied to rest. Upon research I discovered that a “yoke” is a tool that is used in farming to join two animals so that the workload becomes equal and shared. Ironically I used to ignore these verses… which seems to be pretty indicative of how I view God trying to “yoke” me. Here’s what I mean while I thought I was busy toiling with my land, God longed to partner alongside me to make my burden less. However, in my stubbornness I haven’t always taken the time to stop and accept the help. Quite honestly I think other people can relate to this to. Rather than taking the time to understand what taking a yoke from someone is, we would rather just do our own thing when there is a way better (and more efficient) way.

The bottom line: God longs to partner with us in order to make our burdens light.

Jesus even says in these verse “I am gentle and humble in heart,” meaning that if it seems like He’s giving us more than we can handle it’s because He’s going to put in the work with us. He’s not going to strand us on our land toiling with no progress. God desires to see growth just was much as we desire to see it too. We have to be willing to let Him in though.

Life Application

Take a rest! You don’t have to keep on toiling by yourself. Where do you see areas that you haven’t let God “yoke” you? Take some time to listen and allow God to reveal the places that He longs to work alongside you. I promise it will provide rest that you thought would never come. Let’s choose to partner with God!

-Allison Khan



Matthew 10:39 NIV


Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for My sake will find it.”


Observation-What does it say?

Jesus sends out His 12 disciples in the same authority that He has to heal and cast out impure spirits. The above verse was part of the instructions given to His disciples before He sent them out. He was encouraging them and making them aware of the opposition they would face as His disciples. At the same time, He was encouraging them to take up their cross daily, for when they lose their life for His sake and His mission, that is when they will find it. 


Understanding-What does it mean?

The gains of being a Christ follower are greater than the losses.


This verse can be taken 2 ways-it relates to the present and to the future. It relates to the present in the sense that our lives as Christ followers are not for our own selfish gain or to pursue our own sinful desires. It is the opposite. While others in the world are seeking to “find themselves,” we seek to “lose ourselves” as a servant of Jesus Christ. That’s when our true purpose is realized.


This verse also relates to the future- eternity. When we die, we are not lost in a hellish existence. Instead, we find our life, for our true dwelling place to come in eternity with Christ is where our hope lies.


“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 NIV


Life Application

Do our lives seek to serve Jesus and others? Or are we living for ourselves?


The interesting thing about wanting to serve ourselves is that it never satisfies. We will always want more money, a better title/job, a bigger house and car, a better spouse/relationship, a better body/health, more praise, a better life, more freedom, more justice, etc., and it’s a downward spiral that is a result of discontentment because of a thirst that can’t be quenched. Then comes the high counseling bills or sometimes destructive means of masking that pain through drug/alcohol use, inappropriate relationships, workaholism, etc.


Our spirit man longs to serve and love Someone greater than ourselves and the END of the search will always be Jesus. Just like Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:14, “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst..”, the best way for us to find “your best life now,” is to lose it for the sake of Christ.


Dear Jesus, Your Word says that You’ve given us authority in this world. However, it also says we will face many sorrows in this life as we take up our Cross daily for You, face opposition, as well as give up what we want to serve You and others. Please remind us to find refuge in You and be content in You alone. Please help us to live a life of authority in godliness with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6) and remember to be content because You promise that You will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Please remind me of my purpose when I fall into the trap of being envious of the world’s gains and question the sacrifice of a Christ follower. May Your Holy Spirit remind me of Proverbs 23:17-18, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Amen.


-Michelle Gaddi