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!
 

Colossians__1

Scripture  Colossians 1:9-12  We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 

 

Observation-What does it say?  The town of Colossae is near Ephesus, in present day Turkey.  Paul was most likely writing to the church while he was in prison, either in Ephesus or in Rome.  Though he had never visited the church here, he had heard there was much to be thankful for.  But, there was still area for concern, as they were introducing ideas and practices from other philosophies and religions.  This is a practice that is common to this day.  While it can be innocent in nature, this practice can take away God’s supremacy as we lean on the wisdom of ourselves and other men.  In opening his letter, Paul both praises them for their faith and prays for their wisdom and knowledge to grow deeper.  The knowledge Paul speaks of is not just the possession of facts, but the practical knowledge associated with godly living.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  When I was in my early twenties, I spent a lot of time wondering and worrying about where my life was headed.  I would have times of prayer where I would ask God to reveal his will for my life, as if He were a GPS that would give me the step by step directions from now until death.  Thankfully God never gave me such a road map, and my faith in Him has grown because of it.  Besides, I probably wouldn’t have followed the directions even if he gave them to me.    

 

I still have times where I start asking the same questions, but they come less often.  I get to move in life  with the assurance that comes with the experiences of God caring for me and providing for me.  Furthermore, I have learned to search God’s word for answers to these questions and often found answers to these questions in practices that God asks us to live out.  God reveals His will for us in directions like those give to the Thesalonians, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thesalonians 5:18).  We also see this same knowledge given to us through James, Jesus’ brother, when he wrote “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).  

 

As we seek to follow the directions found in scripture and grow in the knowledge found within, our individual purpose seems to take shape.  Furthermore, as we grow in our faith through this knowledge, the next step becomes less important. This is when God fills us with the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

 

Life Application: Jesus, when I start to feel anxious about the future, help me to look to your word.  Fill me with your peace, which only comes through your knowledge.  Help me to rely on this knowledge everyday, so I can live out your love and share it with my neighbors and with your body, the church.       

 
-Tyler Galloway



Philippians_ 4

 

Scripture 

 

Phillipians 4:4-20 

 

Observation 

 

Paul continues his exhortation to the church in Phillipi.

 

Understanding 

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

 

When I read this passage I instantly knew it was for right now, for today, for the last couple of months. With all the things happening in our world, our country, our community, with all the information circulating and our easy access to take it all in, this passage was for now. 

 

It couldn’t be said better by me or anyone. The point is driven by someone completely filled with the Holy Spirit and his words are so relevant. 

 

Phillipians 4:4-20 (The MSG)

 

4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! 

 

Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.

 

 Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

 

6-7 Don’t fret or worry.

 

 Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. 

 

Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. 

 

It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

 

Application 

 

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—

 

the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. 

 

Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. 

 

Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

 

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. 

 

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. 

 

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. 

 

Amen!! 

Deborah Lee

 
 


Philippians__3

Scripture

 

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:13-14‬ ‭‬‬

 

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing the Philippians. He is trying to motivate them not to rest on their past accomplishments, not to be satisfied of just being saved by their faith in Jesus Christ, and to push forward and keep growing into the people God has called them to be. It is a call for all who know Christ to stay focused on the prize that awaits us, and to finish the race strong.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Keep pushing forward! Keep growing!
 
Did you ever have a goal you wanted to achieve so bad? I know I have. One of them was losing weight and getting back into shape. In order to do that I had to set goals and build a certain discipline in my life in order to achieve that goal. It took hard work, discipline, and dedication in order to accomplish that task. It took me about 3 long months to be able to hit my goal. But what happened once I achieved that goal? I hate to admit it, but I got complacent. I felt I had my younger metabolism back, and I let old habits creep back into my life. Eventually I gained all my weight back (and then some), and now it seems I have to “climb that mountain” again. 😩
 
The reason I share this personal story of mine is so you can learn from my mistake. I know the story I shared is one of physical health, but the same can happen to our spiritual health if we’re not careful. If we begin to be complacent, those bad habits may start creeping back into our lives, allowing the enemy to get a foothold on us and put a strain on our relationship with Jesus. Paul even says a person’s spiritual health is even more important than their physical health.
 
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” –1 Timothy‬ ‭4:8
 
So don’t just be satisfied with knowing our faith is in Jesus, and that we will soon be spending eternity with Him in Heaven. Although that is a great thing, our goal should be to keep pushing forward, to know Him more, and to grow in our faith each and every day. If the whole endgame was to just be saved through our faith in Jesus, don’t you think God would have just snatched us up and brought us to Heaven the moment we accepted Jesus into our lives? Instead, we still have a mission to do. To multiply Christ Followers everywhere (Matthew 28:19-20), to disciple others to grow in their walk with Jesus, and for making sure we too are growing with our walk with Him until the day He calls us home. 😊
 
Life Application
 
Be determined to let nothing get in the way of achieving your goal.
 
Although we haven’t been meeting together physically at church, or even meeting in our GROW Groups, that shouldn’t deter us from pushing forward and achieving God’s mission for us. The church is about the people, and not the building. So we need to ask ourselves, “even with this whole social distancing thing, am I pushing forward achieving God’s mission?” How can I make this happen today? How can I stay connected to God’s people, disciple someone, be discipled by someone, and share the Gospel to someone who is need? It may be challenging, but I know if you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. So now is not the time to be complacent! Even with these obstacles of social distancing, God has given us the technology to still go out there and reach His people and the lost. It’s up to us if we’re willing to take that step forward and to keep growing.
 
-Moses Gaddi


Philippians__2

Scripture 
 
Philippians 2:3-4
 
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.  
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul is writing to the Philippians – the people of Philippi in Greece, which is said to be the location of the first Christian community established in Europe. 
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
As I read this I thought “what a diametrically opposed way to living to what we see today.” But, as I continued, it sounds like it was just as much in opposition back then. 
 
V 21 “For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”
 
So, perhaps, things have not changed much. People were selfish then as they are now. However, God’s character and call to His followers have not changed either. We are to live differently – to maintain humility, be obedient (even to death), honor others, “do everything without complaining or grumbling, so that [we] become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation’” (v 14-15). 
 
Life Application
 
May we “shine…like stars in the sky as [we] hold firmly to the word of life” (v 15-16). 
 
God, help me to look to your interests first, not my own. Help me to be an example of your character today – humble, loving, kind, patient, etc. Give me your eyes and your heart for those I meet today.  Amen.  
 
-Rei


Philippians___1

Scripture 

 

Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. 

 

Observation-What does it say? 

 

Paul is writing to the church in Philippi and verses 19-30 “speaks of Paul’s hope of being released from house arrest.” (bibleref.com)

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

 

Paul reminded the believers in Philippi that whatever situation they were placed in, their life must be conducted in “a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

 

Life Application

 

God will hold us accountable to how we respond in not just ideal situations, but also difficult ones.

 

Paul was one of the greatest apostles who also wrote a majority of the New Testament. However, he seemed to always be imprisoned for his faith. Regardless of his circumstances, he continued to find ways to not only be joyful, but stay on mission for Jesus Christ, even though in jail or house arrest. Does this sound familiar?

 

What are you doing to continue to be on mission for Jesus Christ even through quarantine? As the Apostle Paul’s life proves, there’s still a way to be on mission for Jesus Christ, even in lockdown quarantine.

 

Dear Lord, please reveal to us creative ways to continue to live a life worthy of our calling and mission to multiply Christ followers everywhere. Amen.

 

-Michelle Gaddi



Luke 24

Scripture  Luke 24:38-40  And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”  And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.

 

Observation-What does it say?   When Jesus was crucified, the apostles and disciples were left with a feeling of loss, not only because their friend was gone, but also because they felt they had lost their hope of a savior of Israel.  Within a short period of time, Jesus had told the apostles, very clearly, he would be taken and crucified. He explained it was necessary for Him to suffer in order to fulfill the prophecies about him.  Yet, they were left with a feeling of despair when it all happened.  In a bit of irony, He shows himself to them without revealing who he was.  In doing this, he draws out of them their testimony and then he gives them the final piece of the puzzle, His resurrection.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?  Some of my favorite movies to fall asleep to are The Lord of The Rings.  I mean, I seriously love these movies, but without fail I will fall asleep about one quarter of the way through the movie.  One cause of this, is the fact that my kids are too young to watch these.  Therefore, we have a tendency to start them late in the evening.  Since I have a tendency to live as if I were already taking advantage of the 55+ discount, I am usually ready for bed by about nine pm.  So starting a three hour movie at 8:30 never goes well.

 

Of the movies, the second, ‘The Two Towers,’ is my favorite.  I would argue that it has the best battle scenes of any movie, ever.  In one of the most pivotal moments in the movie, the Battle of Helm’s Deep,  it appears as all hope is lost and the protagonists have their back against a wall, literally and metaphorically.  As the hero, Aragon, appears to be riding out to his death in a blaze of glory, in comes help from Gandalf the wizard, who had previously told him he would be there.  In the movie, you can see the expression of relief and the amazement that help was actually there.

 

Several times in scripture God gives us similar cliffhangers, like when the priests carried the Ark into the Jordan while it was flooding (Joshua 3), or when Jonah demands to be thrown in the sea, or when Jesus allows Lazarus to hang out in a tomb for three days before raising him from the dead (John 11).  But his death and resurrection is the ultimate cliffhanger.  While all of his closest companions are dumbfounded, Jesus comes almost satirically, “Hey guys, what happened, why are you so sad?”

 

Right now, it feels like we are in a bit of a cliffhanger moment.  What’s going to happen with church, with my job, with the economy and our freedoms?  More importantly, when will I be able to park at the beach?  But God knows what is next, He told us He wins and what happens at the end.  But he asks us to trust Him in the in between.


Life Application:  Jesus, I will lean on You and Your wisdom.  I will cling to You for my peace and my comfort, for you are my strength and my refuge (Psalm 46).

 
-Tyler Galloway


Isaiah_60

Scripture – What stood out?

Isaiah 60:1-3

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,

    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

2 See, darkness covers the earth

    and thick darkness is over the peoples,

but the Lord rises upon you

    and his glory appears over you.

3 Nations will come to your light,

    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

 

Observation – What does it say?

The title to this chapter in NIV reads “The Glory of Zion”. The prophet Isaiah speaks to God’s future blessing and provision over Zion. The words seem to pertain to the people of Israel, the future king Jesus Christ who descended from the line of David, but I believe that this is a word that is for all of us who trust and believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

I have never felt so confused in a very long time. With media, scientists, doctors, politicians, and religious figures all at odds over how to best respond to covid-19, I officially feel like there is a darkness that has covered the land. Maybe if you have lived longer than the 40 years I have perhaps you can remember a time when darkness covered the land much like I feel it does now.

However…

I believe that God is telling his people “Arise, shine, for your light has come…”

“…the Glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

And “Nations will come to your light.”

 

Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Arise.

Do you have the Love of Christ in you? Shine.

The glory of the Lord rises with you.

There are people living in darkness who need that light.

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

Thank you Father for rising with me. Help me to share the light of Christ in everything that I do, from the mundane to the spectacular. Help me to be your light when times are dark. Help me to rise. Help me to shine.

 

In the name of Jesus, amen.

 

-kenneth lee

 



Luke 22

Scripture

Luke 22:42

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
 

Observation

After celebrating the Passover with His disciples Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives to pray. Here He will be betrayed by Judas, yet He willingly and humbly prepares Himself for His capture and death. Not only does He do these things, He also verbalizes His surrender to God.
 

Understanding

“Dead End”

I always thought it was really interesting that Jesus prayed this prayer. He knew what HIs sole purpose was, yet He was also (wait for it) human. It is so easy to forget that Jesus was just like us, in that He experienced every range of emotion and He still asked His Heavenly Father for favors He knew the answer to. Jesus literally asks God “to take this cup” from Him. Meaning, He didn’t want to have to experience the weight of the world crashing in on Him. He didn’t want to beat, mocked, crucified, and killed. Crazy right?! The Savior of the world did not want to suffer. And if it were up to any of us, I think we would leave the prayer right there. But Jesus seals His fate by adding, “YET not my will, but yours be done.”

I’ll keep my question to you simple today: What is holding you back from surrendering? I recently read something that I think perfectly sums this beautiful yet difficult act called surrender:

“At the end of the street I saw a street sign. It said simply “Dead End.” There was heartache, heartache so great it cannot be put into words. If you think it’s easy to go to the cross, it’s simply because you’ve never been there.”

Jesus proves that the journey to the cross is full of turmoil. The same applies to us. We think surrender simply implies dumping our problems and insecurities at the feet of the cross and moving on, but it isn’t. The journey to the cross means that we have to accept the fact we are not enough. Then we have to the even more difficult act of bearing our cross, and bearing it daily! It means I choose to die to myself everyday because of the second half of Jesus’ prayer “YET not my will, but yours be done.” What “Dead End” Street have you ventured down too many times because you’re afraid to bring it to the cross?
 

Life Application

I am not implying that God does not redeem your sacrifice and surrender by neglecting your problems and insecurities either. I’m saying that surrender is not easy, especially when we hold the problem or insecurity close to our chest. If we call ourselves followers of Christ, it means that we long to see the Father’s will accomplished NO MATTER THE COST. I know I always come back to this, but you are not alone in your venture to the foot of the cross either. Just because the journey is difficult means you have to go alone. Jesus went alone, so that we could go together, He paved the way for us. It’s time to turn our “Dead Ends” into surrenders and victories.

-Allison Khan

PS I would care to venture to say, that stress and fear about the coronavirus is a “Dead End” street. I think it’s about time to bear this cross too…


Psalm__11

Scripture

Psalm 11:1-7 NLT

“I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” But the Lord is in His holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. For the righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see His face.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

In this psalm of David, David reiterates Who he finds refuge in (The Lord Almighty). As chaos and disorder begin to surround David, his counselors urge him to flee. But David stands firm. David knows that God is his protector, and that God is in control. David knows that he serves a God of truth and justice…and despises those who love evil. David understands the wrath of fire and brimstone that awaits the wicked. So David remains steadfast in his faith. David will fight his battles with the Lord God Almighty leading the way.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

God is in control.

You ever hear people ask the question, “How can God let this bad stuff happen in the world?!” It is even a question we as Christians can find ourselves asking. We as a people have managed to think that we know better than God!..that we can manage this world ourselves! Now where did that leave us?! Just turn on your local news or go on social media. I’m sure it won’t take long for us to see.

But there is good news. God is STILL in control. Even with all the evil in this world, God is in control. He is at the throne of Heaven, observing our every action, hearing our every thought and prayer. God is waiting on us. Are we as a nation ready to turn back to Him? Are we as Christ Followers ready to stand in the gap, and pray on behalf of this nation? I encourage you to trust God (the way David did). See what God can do through all of this. We serve a God of order and justice. Let Him lead our way!

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”-2 Chronicles 7:14 

 

Life Application

Pray for our nation and its leaders.

Father God, I pray for our nation today. I pray for our leaders. I pray that You may instill them with wisdom on how to lead the people in a way that pleases You, especially during this Covid-19 season. Forgive us God for thinking we know what’s better for us. Forgive us Lord for turning our backs on You. Lord God Almighty, You are in control. Help us trust in You and Your ways once again. Heal our nation Lord. Restore this nation to make us whole again. Make us one nation, under God, (under Your reign and protection Lord). We give You all the glory, all the honor and all the praise Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

-Moses Gaddi



Psalm_10

Scripture:

Psalm 10:17

17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 

Observation:

David writes his lament over God’s seeming inactivity as evil and wickedness not only are able to carry on their wicked ways (rejecting God’s laws, being greedy and arrogant, lying and intimidating), but also seem to be rewarded with success – “always prosperous.”

Understanding:

Have you ever known someone like that?  Someone that seemed to be unfairly “blessed” while, perhaps, you’ve toiled away for average.  I think we’ve all had moments like that; moments where we take our eyes off of all the good that God has done / is doing in our own lives and began comparing…whether against where we feel we “should be” or against someone we know or against someone’s social media highlights. It’s true what they say, “comparison is the thief of joy.”

But this verse struck me in another way too.  So many people are hurting right now – whether from isolation, too much time quarantined in an unhealthy environment, in their finances or mental un-wellness.  The overnight change in our world, in our culture, in the way we interact, it impacts every person differently.  This verse is a reminder, though, that God “hear[s] the desire of the afflicted.”  Not only does he hear it, He’s knows exactly what is needed…never at a loss for words, never out of resources, never too busy; he encourages the afflicted and listens to their cry (silent or loud). 

Life Application:

“Don’t compare your life to others.  There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon.  They shine when it’s their time.” – Unknown

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms.” – Zen Shin

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves – Phil 2:3

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. – Prov. 14:30

Don’t spend another second comparing yourself; when you’re tempted, take time to turn your heart to gratitude and humility. 

And, remember, God’s got your back.  He’s listening; so feel free to pour out your afflictions and allow Him to comfort and encourage you.  Also remember, though, you were placed in this family for a reason; you are not alone.  You have a community that loves you and can be that tangible sense of His love.

Lastly, go love on somebody!  We are here on this earth to be God’s hands and feet in this world; be present and aware, look for opportunities to share God’s love with those you encounter.   We can be the mouthpiece that shares His encouraging word, the ear that takes time to listen and hear their cry.

 

Rei