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!

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 Thessalonians 5:18
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
God’s will for our lives – in every moment, every day, every circumstance –  is that we give thanks! There’s no better day to stir up gratitude within us than today. Below are some fun questions to consider that will help you live out God’s will for you to give thanks. Answer them on your own and give thanks to God, and consider presenting these questions around the table today as you celebrate Thanksgiving with those close to you.

1.What smell are you grateful for?

2.What technology are you grateful for?

3.What color are you grateful for?

4.What food are you most grateful for?

5.What sound you grateful for?

6.What in nature are you grateful for?

7.What memory are you grateful for?

8.What book are you grateful for?

9.What place are you grateful for?

10.What taste are you grateful for?

11.What holiday are you grateful for?

12.What texture are you grateful for?

13.What abilities are you grateful for?

14.What sight are you grateful for?

15.What season are you grateful for?

16.What about your body are you grateful for?

17.What knowledge are you grateful for?

18.What piece of art are you grateful for?

19.What touch are you grateful for?

20.Who in your life are you grateful for?

21.What song are you most grateful for?

22.What story are you grateful for?

23.What tradition are you grateful for?

24.What challenge are you grateful for?

25.What moment this last month are you grateful for?

26.What form of expression are you grateful for?

27.What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for?

28.What friend/family member are you grateful for?

29.What talent or skill you have that are you grateful for?

30.What else we missed are you grateful for?


Psalms‬ ‭27:13‬ ‭NLT
“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.”
Observation-What does it say?
In this psalm, David writes of his confidence in God. David understood that no matter how dark a situation he may be placed in, that God was with him, and would never leave him. So why should he be afraid?! His enemies were the ones who should tremble in fear because Almighty God was with David. God was his fortress, his protector, and his savior. What more does a person need?!
Understanding-What does it mean?
He is my rock. He is my fortress. He is my confidence!
David was a man after God’s heart. He was a servant of God. Yet that didn’t stop life’s struggles from happening to him. God allowed those things to occur in David’s life to mold him into the man we all know him as today. David had confidence! Confidence in knowing what kind of God he served. (A God who is loving, just, and mighty)! No matter how bad the odds were stacked against David, he knew when all the dust settled, His God would reign supreme. He knew God’s glory and power would shine to make the impossible, possible.
After all, God split the Red Sea to help His people escape from the mighty Egyptian army. God tore down the mighty walls of Jericho with one big shout from His people. God even used a lowly shepherd boy to bring down a GIANT of a warrior named Goliath.
So whatever mountain there is in my life that needs to be moved, or whatever giant I am faced with battling, I am encouraged with David’s confidence. I will wait patiently on the Lord, and expect nothing but His goodness to breakthrough in my life.
“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”-Psalms‬ ‭27:14
‬ ‭‬‬
 “O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!”-‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭32:17
Life Application
My God is greater!
All I can do is give Him my praise and worship. Here is a link to a song of worship that came to mind:
-Moses Gaddi‭



Luke 23:39-43

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Observation-What does it say?

Luke recounts the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. The above verses show 2 criminals’ perspectives on Jesus and the outcome. 

Understanding-What does it mean?

The criminal who hung on the Cross next to Jesus had an encounter with Jesus.  He understood the vastness of His love for mankind and himself through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. It was a sacrifice because He didn’t deserve it.

The criminal understood that he was getting what his deeds deserved…death. However, Jesus was getting punishment for doing nothing wrong. The sins of the world had fallen on Him.

While the other criminal hurled insults at Jesus and challenged him to prove himself to them (which was what the rest of the crowd and religious leaders were doing) the other criminal recognized Jesus’ purity and innocence. Why would a man who committed no sin be put through a criminal’s death if He did no wrong? He must be the Messiah. 

Life Application

Share His good news with someone and share how He has saved your life today!

Regardless of the criminal’s past, the moment he met Jesus and gave his life to Jesus, his fate forever changed.

The difference between Christianity and all other religions is Jesus. We believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and not just a prophet. We believe that He is One with the Father. We believe that He died and resurrected. The grave and death could not hold Him. We believe that salvation is a free gift to all who would confess their sin and declare with their mouth that Jesus is Lord. It is NOT based on works. If it was, the criminal would have had no chance of salvation. 

Because Jesus is the only way to God and the only One separating Christianity from other religions, we must freely proclaim His name, sing it out in worship, and share Him with others! Every religion has a “god”, but not every religion has Jesus. 

Dear Jesus, Your Word and what You did for us is something we cannot keep to ourselves. I pray that we would continue to be grateful for saving us from the fate of hell that we were destined for. I pray that we would freely share Your testimony and our testimony with others with no shame. I pray that we would never stop being on mission for You until we take our last breath—for that is Your will for our lives. Amen. 

-Michelle Gaddi



Psalm 25:3, 15

No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,…

15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.


Such an expressive book – David pouring out his heart, to and about God. 


About half of this book tugged on my heart but as I whittled it down, these two stood out most. 

No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,…

I don’t know about you but lately it feels there’s been more darkness.  Holidays, in general, can be hard or busy or stressful…or all of the above.  But feeling the weight of the most recent tragedies – both of the recent shooting and the fires – my heart has been especially heavy for those directly impacted as we quickly approach Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And, in these moments, it can feel foolish or insensitive to be hopeful; but for now, I’ll focus on the “foolish.” 

I think the reason this verse stood out to me is – sometimes known as a “ray of sunshine” (because of my name and my typically positive outlook), I actually have been shamed for my hope…but as I sat with this verse, I recognized its truth.  Even when people have tried to shame or shut down my hope, I was never put to shame. 

“Put someone to shame” means to “embarrass someone; to make someone ashamed.”  Despite best efforts, their attempts could not embarrass me or make me ashamed…but when I allowed them to speak, made space for their feelings, it opened my heart to (usually) their grief, hurt, insecurities, their search for something REAL AND TRUE AND DEPENDABLE…and, guess what.  God is all of those things.  God is the answer, the comfort, the healer, the strength.  So, being the bearers of light, we must remain hopeful and share that hope because, well, people need it. 

15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

This to me was just a quick reminder to look up.  When we are stuck, we often look at what we feel has us stuck; so, in this case, ensnared feet…but that takes our eyes off of the path, off the solutions that may be all around us, off the one who called us.  So…may my eyes be ever on the Lord. 

Life Application

Shine bright and look up!

God, I am grateful for who you’ve called me to be, how you’ve gifted me, where you’ve placed me…I’m grateful for it all.  May I recognize the opportunity that surrounds to shine bright, to maintain and give hope, to be a conduit of your love, a helper to those in need.  But, I know all of that comes from staying close to the source – seeking you and being filled to overflowing by you so that I can be used by you.  Fill me up today.  Redirect my heart, my eyes to you…then give me your heart for those around me.  Use me.

In your name, I pray.  Amen.


To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Psalm 24:1-2
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
Observation-What does it say?  
This is a Psalm of David.  It was possibly written as a processional song for when the Ark was first carried into Jerusalem.  It begs the question of who is worthy to be in the presence of God.  If it weren’t for the covenant that God made with his people and the eventual sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, no one would be.  
Understanding-What does it mean?  
The other day, as I was getting ready for work, I began to feel overwhelmed with the week to come.
I began to think about some of the other stressors that accompany my job, the jockeying and striving for recognition, the constant pull to fit in, as well as making sure I do my job within the policies laid out for me (even the ones I don’t agree with).  In a rare moment of clarity, I knew I needed to lean on God’s strength instead of my own.  I stopped my family and prayed for peace and strength for the upcoming week.  

After praying, I was able to reflect on some of my past failures.  Or at least what I took as failures.  Jobs that I applied and didn’t get, auxiliary assignments that I was denied, and transfers that did not go through.  As I was doing this, I was also listening to a sermon pod-cast, and encountered what I like to call God’s sense of humor.  The pastor was speaking about Paul during one of his missionary trips.  In Acts 16:6-10, we encounter the story of Paul trying, and being denied by the spirit, to go to Asia and Bithynia to share the good news of Jesus.  However, he then received a very clear message from God to go to Macedonia, which was the first missionary journey into Europe.  This was the jumping point for Paul to go to Rome.

The pastor aptly pointed out that, often times, a “no” from God will lead to an even bigger “YES!”  On that day, God showed me His peace by shedding light on the fact that he is ultimately in control.  When I trust in His wisdom, he will ultimately guide me to what His will is.  So when I look back on my “failures,” I can see the “no’s” that I was hearing as God leading me to a bigger yes.

Life Application
Jesus help me to trust in you everyday.  As you taught the disciples how to pray, “Your kingdom come, and Your will be done,” let me learn to pray this earnestly.  Help me to trust that you have plans for me to prosper, as you tell me in Jeremiah 29:11.  I know that if I seek to bring You glory, You will work things out for good (Romans 8:28).
-Tyler Galloway



Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Observation – What does it say?
David paints one of the most beautiful pictures of God.  In the same way that a good shepherd cares for his sheep – leading and guiding and providing and protecting -God cares for his people. This opening statement sums up the entire Psalm. All the following verses unpack this declaration, listing the ways God supplies every need. 
Understanding – What does it mean?
Those who follow Jesus lack nothing. Complaining is easy.
It takes no effort to imagine the ways we wish things were different or better, to wish we had more money, more joy, more influence, more ________.  While we may perceive a lack, it’s only an illusion.
Consider these verses:
Ephesians 1:3 [God] has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Ephesians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
We who follow Jesus lack nothing! 
That means right now…
  • We have all we need to fulfill the plan of God for our lives
  • We have all we need to overcome sin and temptation
  • We have all we need to impact the lives of those around us for God
  • We have all the strength we need to face our present challenges
  • Any need we can imagine, God will supply
Life Application
Stop focusing on what we think we lack and thank God for supplying all we need! 
Stop waiting for God to give us something else before we obey him. 
– Levi Thompson


Psalms‬ ‭22:2-5‬ ‭
“Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced.”
Observation-What does it say?
David writes this psalm in the midst of being under constant attack from his surrounding enemies. He is constantly crying out to God for help, but he is getting no response. David finds comfort remembering how much he already has overcome because of God. David remembers how his ancestors trusted God, and God rescued them. David trusts that God is holy and just. David stands on God’s promises to His people, knowing of God’s unfailing love.
Understanding-What does it mean?
In God we trust.
David was being put through a crucible in life. He was under constant scrutiny and attacks. His life was in constant danger. David called out to God for help, but it seemed God didn’t answer. What was David’s response? He trusted God. He remembered all the things God had gotten him and his people through. He is anticipating God’s mighty hand to rescue him once more. David vows to God that he and his people will praise His name for generations to come because of His faithfulness.
How many of us have been in David’s shoes? We feel life closing in on us. We feel that God isn’t hearing our cries for help. How do we respond? Do we turn our backs to God? Do we have the attitude of “Fine, I’ll do it myself!”? Or do we respond the way David did?..(Trusting in God’s goodness and holiness). We must understand that God has a reason behind everything. We may not understand it, but we must trust in Him, and know that He is good. God may be using that situation to strengthen you/your faith, and using it to reveal His strength, power, and unfailing love when it’s all said and done.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭
Life Application
Stand firm in God’s promises and seek Him during life’s storms.
How can I know God’s promises for me? I must continue to read and study His Word (SOUL Journal). How can I seek Him during those difficult times? By spending time with Him in prayer and worship (PB&J-Prayer, Bible reading, and Journaling). Being a Christ Follower doesn’t exclude me from life’s hardships (look at David’s life). But I am encouraged knowing that God hears our cries and is always faithful to those who constantly seek Him. 😊 
-Moses Gaddi



Luke 18:18-30 NIV

“A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.””

Observation-What does it say?

We cannot be confident in our own righteousness. In this story with the rich young ruler, he was exalting himself to Jesus—basically he tried to base salvation on his good works, but Jesus did something He is always good at…He exposed his heart. In this same chapter was the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector. The Pharisee was confident in his own righteousness and looked down on the tax collector. He was exalting himself in his prayer to the King of kings. The tax collector however, exalted The King of kings in his prayer by understanding who he was in relation to God.

Understanding-What does it mean?

The Lord’s love towards us is not dependent upon our works. If it was, the Cross and Resurrection would be null and void.

Pastor Gary spoke last Sunday about how God gave him a picture of His love for him (and us) through his dog Harley. Basically, through his illustration, His love is not based on our title, what we did wrong or right that day, what mood we are in, etc. He also used Naomi (in the book of Ruth) to show that even though Naomi was bitter with Him, God never turned His back on her and worked through Ruth to restore her faith in Him. 

Even when the Pharisees mocked, flogged and killed Jesus and the people consented to it; even when His disciples and best friends turned their backs on Him, Jesus still loved them and you and I so much that He continued with His mission in order to have relationship with us. 

Thinking about His love for me (us) always leads me to WANT to live my life for Him. 

Life Application

Our good works are dependant on how dependent we are on our Good and Perfect King. 

Pastor Levi once said that we are who we are only by association. It is so true. All of our gifts, talents, abilities, wisdom, and good choices are a fruit of our relationship with Jesus. 

Let’s continue to put Him first through prayer, Bible reading, journaling, application, staying close to the family of Christ and loving and serving others for His glory!

-Michelle Gaddi



Luke 17:20-21

20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.*”

* The foot note reads “Or is within you”


A lot packed into a single chapter, Luke 17 covers: the importance of not causing others to stumble, forgiveness against others who may sin against us, the power of faith, remaining humble and the healing of 10 men with leprosy, only one of which returns to give thanks.


For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

-1 Corinthians 4:20 (NIV) 

A while back, we read “When Heaven Invades Earth” by Bill Johnson as part of one of our DSU courses.  It turned my idea of heaven on its head…talking about how we are the conduits to bring heaven down.  But in order to do so, we must live in power – the power of the living God and His kingdom living INSIDE of us. 

And how do we do that?  We’ve got to fill ourselves up from the source.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…

– Matthew 6:33

Life Application

As we go into the “holiday season,” it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle, bustle, shuffle of getting everything done – only X days til Christmas, the need/desire to close out 2018 with a laundry list of things you’d hoped to accomplish, or already preparing for the new year.  There are tons of things that can steal our attention away from our source, and not necessarily even bad things…but may we orient our days, orient this season to the one from whom all good things come.  Also, may we look for opportunities to be the conduit through which Heaven invades Earth…with the destruction our state has faced over these last few weeks, there’s likely many hearts searching and needing healing – which only God can truly provide. 

God, fill me to overflowing.  May I seek you first daily, not allowing the distractions to steal away what belongs to you and what you deserve.  Keep my eyes open to share your love with others; and may I operate in boldness as I do. 

In your name, I pray.  Amen.


PS If anyone wants to read/reread “Heaven Invades Earth” with me, I’m setting out to complete it before we head to India at the end of December.  Hit me up, would love to have opportunity to discuss it with someone…or multiple someones. 🙂

 To check out the discussion or to join in click here.


Psalm 19:8-9
The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.  The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.  The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
Observation-What does it say?  
This Psalm is written by David, the king of Israel and a man after God’s heart. It expresses how he sees God’s glory in the universe, without the need for words.  He then expresses his love for God’s law- pure and clean, bringing joy and enlightenment.  David confesses of his own need of protection from and forgiveness of sins.
Understanding-What does it mean?  
I heard it said recently in a discussion of God’s laws and ways (and I’m paraphrasing), “God is God, and if he wants it done that way, that is the way it’s done.
It doesn’t matter if he wants me to stand on my head to worship him, that is what He wants and I’m going to do it.”  Sometimes there are times and events that don’t seem to make sense, or that God is not present with us.  But His wisdom is higher than my wisdom, and His ways are greater than my ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

In light of tragedies where family, friends, children, colleagues are taken without explanation, there can be a lot of reactions.  I am angry at the unexplained motives behind the actions at the Borderline that took a co-worker of mine.  But ultimately I must lay down my will and respond to the will of my heavenly Father.

Life Application
Jesus, teach me to pray as you did. Not my will but yours be done.  And teach me to love as you did.  For you gave your life for all the sins of all mankind, no matter what they have done.  I trust that your plan is actively playing out.  
-Tyler Galloway