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!
 

Revelation_2

Scripture

Revelation 2:7

 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

Observation – What does it say?

As I “walk” slowly and deliberately through the book of revelation I want to pause and observe the “unveiling” or “disclosure” of Jesus Christ.  “Revelation” or Apocalypse” can mean 1) by or from Jesus Christ, 2) about Jesus Christ, or 3) both (NIV text note).  Either way I am assured of “more pixels” as I proceed.  In the digital realm more pixels equates to more detail in the final picture . . . the majesty of the heavenly scene and its chief protagonist Jesus Christ.

Let ev’ry kindred, ev’ry tribe on this terrestrial ball.  To Him all majesty ascribe and crown Him Lord of all.  To Him all majesty ascribe and crown Him Lord of all!  (“All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name” Edword Perronet 1779)

Chapter 2 introduces the reader to 3 of 7 historical churches addressed by Jesus in the form of letters that follow the general pattern of commendation, complaint and correction.

Understanding – What does it mean?

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. Psalm 145:8

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full John 10:10

To be proactive in my reading I want to be continually aware of additional detail in the sense of the character, heart, purpose and plans of the One who sits on the throne of all creation.  As I read the letters to the churches I am somewhat convicted. Is it just me or does anyone else like a little commendation from time to time; especially, from your spouse, parent, teacher, boss or anyone else in authority?  The first century church operated amidst extreme testing and required great wisdom and perseverance.  The very core of sound doctrine was being perverted by “false apostles and wicked men.”  Jesus commends the church of Ephesus for enduring hardships for His names sake and for not growing weary in the process. This is followed by the complaint.  Notice I did not say condemnation.   The spiritual environment of the church was missing the extravagant joy and gratitude that characterized their “first love”.   Persecution was taking its toll.  Regardless of the situation the Head of the Church is not impressed by a congregation resigned to a form of church that is void of the power of His presence.  Ever gracious and ever compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, Jesus calls the church of the first century and today to a course correction; a U-turn in the direction of their first love.  The challenge to overcome is a foretaste of the perfect fellowship that existed before sin entered the world – and will continue in eternity.  Look for this three-fold pattern of commendation, complaint and correction as you read the letters to the six churches that follow. 

Life Application

Lord Jesus, you are a good Father.  I have tasted your grace and compassion.  You have lavished my life with your love and called me your son.  Search my heart and see if there be any offensive way about me.  Call out anything that does not draw life from You, my first love.  I can only respond in praise because you have overcome this world and its tribulations. 

-Warren Vivian

 

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



Revelation_1

Scripture

Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Observation

“The book of Revelation is a loving message from Jesus Christ to His precious bride, the church, revealing the things that must soon come to pass. It is meant to be understood by His people, with a blessing promised to those who read, hear and keep the things revealed in these prophecies.

The word “Revelation” comes from the Greek “apokalupisis” (Strong’s # 602) which means: “an unveiling of”. The very name of this book disproves the common assumption that it cannot be understood. Despite the many different interpretations of Daniel and Revelation, the Bible says that the wise “will” understand them. (Matthew 24:25; Daniel 12:10)

This book is said to be the “Revelation of Jesus.”  He is its author; it is a message straight from Him. Revelation continues where the four gospels and the book of Acts left off, and shows us what Jesus has done since then, is doing now and will do for His church in the future. (Revelation 1:19)

“The time is at hand.” This book of prophecy contained messages needed by the Church in John’s day, by the Church throughout its history and for us as individual Christians today. The message for today is especially relevant, for we are living in the “time of the end” and “the time is at hand” when the final events portrayed in the book of Revelation will sweep over the world and bring the great controversy  to a spectacular conclusion.”

http://amazingdiscoveries.org/S-deception-Revelation-1-Commentary-Jesus

Understanding

“Alpha and Omega” are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet. Jesus calls himself the A to Z, “the First and the Last.” Jesus Christ is God Eternal. His love is constant and sure. He is everything we need from beginning to end. (see website reference above).

Isaiah 41:4

Who has done such mighty deeds,
    summoning each new generation from the beginning of time?
It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last.
    I alone am he.”

Life has felt big lately.  And these words are a reminder to me that regardless of how big life gets, God is bigger.  He’s been here long before I was even thought of by any earthly being…He knew me then and He knows me now – inside and out.  He knows and loves the people I love…even better than I do. 

Therefore, He is trustworthy.  He is worth pursuing.  His messages of love, grace, discipline are just as true for today as they were then. 

Life Application

May I live right and honor God in all that I do…in the way I speak, the way I think, the way I talk, the way I treat others. <3 

God, I’m so grateful that you are in control.  Thank you for watching over me and my family…it sometimes frustrates me because it’s not in my timing or in my way but I know you know better.  Help me to be mindful of that. 

Please provide healing in the people I love and use me as you see fit to be a conduit of your love, your grace, your mercy and your healing truth.  Help me stay open to be used by you and for your glory.

In your name, I pray. Amen!

– Rei

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



James_5

Scripture 

James 5:13

Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.

Observation

In this chapter, the author starts out by warning us to be mindful of our riches.  He gives an admonition that we will be held accountable for what we do with our resources.  He continues by encouraging us to wait patiently for the Lord.  He states that we need to wait while God completes the work that he started. 

As he is wrapping up this letter, James reminds us that we will face both affliction and prosperity in this life.  He encourages us to act in accordance with the season that we are in.  If we are suffering, we should take this as an opportunity to draw near to God.

Understanding

Be present in the moment that you are living in, God is doing something in you.

Life is full of peaks and valleys.  Sometimes the valleys can seem never ending, dark and scary.  Sometimes the peaks appear as if they are brought on by our own abilities, and we forget about God’s kindness and love.  Whether we are in a peak or a valley, God wants us where we are for a reason and He wants us to rely on him or praise with him.

When I was 18, I got myself in a horrible car wreck which put me in the hospital for some time.  And as I recovered, I went through times of depression.  I remember asking God, “Why did you let this happen to me?”  I asked this question a lot.  Instead of taking the time to draw near to God, I took the time to feel sorry for myself.  As I look back on that time, I know that I let something slip out of reach because of a bad attitude and a poor perspective.

God wants us to be looking to him in all life’s situations.  When we are low we cry out, “God I need you!”  When we are high we sing, “God I love you.”  No matter what it is, He is the center of attention.  Just like the author of Ecclesiates told us in chapter 3 that there is a time for everything under the sun, whether that be weeping or singing.  But God is the center of it all.

Life Application

God give me the grace to change my perspective.

Jesus I need your grace to change my focus from being Tyler centered to being centered on You.  Help me to be present in the season that I am in.
 
– Tyler Galloway
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.


James_4

 
Scripture
 
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
‭‭James‬ ‭4:7-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
ObservationWhat does it say?
 
James is said to be the brother of Jesus, who did not become a believer until after Jesus’ resurrection (gotquestions.org). In this chapter, he speaks on the issues of submission and humility.
 
UnderstandingWhat does it mean?
 
Submission and humility to God are the ingredients needed to make the devil flee.
 
Submission and humility go hand in hand, yet it is easier said than done. We are essentially saying, “Not my will Lord, not what I want, but what You want.” We are essentially losing our lives for the mission.
 
 
Just like God doesn’t discriminate when it comes to His love, grace and forgiveness (John 3:16), the enemy doesn’t discriminate either when he sets his traps. We could have a perfect testimony and be a Christ follower for 20 years (which was my story), yet still be susceptible if complete submission and humility are not present.
 
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬
  
Life Application
 
The #1 way to destroy any relationship is pride. We serve a God who is very relational, so a prideful heart will naturally destroy our desire to live out the 2 greatest commandments of loving God and loving others.
 
What are we guilty of being prideful of in this life? Are we prideful that we are not like “those other sinners over there? (Luke 18:11)” block them from our lives, and as a result discourage them from being part of the family of God? The devil has a foothold.
 
Are we prideful because we’ve never rebelled against the Lord and feel like we are unaffected by sin, so we keep our guards down? The devil has a foothold.
 
Are we prideful with our plans for the future, and as a result, we don’t include the Lord in them? The devil has a foothold.
 
Are we prideful with our current status in this world, yet behind the scenes we don’t make it a priority to read the Word, pray, and love and forgive others? The devil has a foothold.
 
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
The good news is that we can make the devil flee by submitting to Jesus and humbling our heart toward Him. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV
 
Dear God, thank you that you are stronger than the enemy, have already defeated him and that Your light can penetrate through any darkness. Please forgive me for the many times I’ve fallen into the enemy’s traps due to pride. I pray that I (we) would all continue to be connected to You, the source of everything loving, good, righteous and just. Holy Spirit keep our hearts humble and submitted to You alone and as a result, cause the enemy to flee. Amen.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi
 


James_3

Scripture
 
James‬ ‭3:10‬ ‭NLT
 
“And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
 
Observation-What does it say?
 
Although a small muscle, James writes about the power of the tongue. One analogy James uses to describe the tongue is it being like a small rudder on a huge ship. Although small in stature, it has the power to steer the huge ship, wherever the pilot chooses to go (vs.4). In verse 5 he points out the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But James also reminds us that even a small spark can set a great forest on fire (vs. 5b). So he warns us about the evil the tongue can bring. It is an untamable part of our body. If it is not controlled, it can set our lives on fire! James writes how something so small has the power to either bless or curse people. It can be used to bless our God, or curse the people who are made in His very own image (vs.9). And it shouldn’t be that way! If we are one with God, and filled with His Holy Spirit, there is no way we should be contradicting Him by spewing words that are evil from our mouths.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Am I using my tongue to bless or curse?
 
It’s easy to get caught up in a world that is so negative. In today’s society, it is common for people to bash our president or other people in authority. It’s common if someone hurts us, we have to hurt them back (even if it’s just with words). But our words have the power to carry on a long way. Think about the father or mother who will tell their kid they are worthless and will never amount to anything. Or the parents who speak highly of their children, who encourages them, and tells them how good they are. These are words that can stick with them for a lifetime! It has the power to either influence them to live their lives in a negative or positive manner. So before we speak, we need to think about the impact our words may have on someone. We have the power to either build up or tear down. And if Christ truly dwells within us, shouldn’t we be “building up” His kingdom and his children?
 
‬ ‭“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”-Ephesians‬ ‭4:29
 
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”-1 Thessalonians 5:11
 
Life Application
 
Find someone to encourage and bless with your words today.
 
With DSC’s Grateful Gathering around the corner, (by the way, please make sure to RSVP on the website), what a great time to use this passage and help bless someone this month of November. Time to write out some “Thank You” cards for some people and thank them for the people they are and for the wonderful things they do in life.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, please click here
‬‬
-Moses Gaddi


James_2

Scripture

James 2:1

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.

Observation

“The book of James is full of practical wisdom for everyday living.  Genuine faith will manifest itself in righteous acts that come out of a pure heart.  This study will take a close look at how our faith is worked out in everyday life by understanding the principles of godly wisdom.”    

https://bible.org/series/living-what-you-believe-study-through-book-james

Understanding

“In this chapter the apostle condemns a sinful regarding of the rich, and despising the poor, which he imputes to partiality and injustice, and shows it to be an acting contrary to God, who has chosen the poor, and whose interest is often persecuted, and his name blasphemed, by the rich (v. 1-7).”

https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/james/2.html

How often do we make snap judgments?  See people a certain way just because of where they live, how they live, how they look, how they speak, etc. 

About a year ago, I remember sitting on a plane.  I spent the entire plane ride sitting next to a guy who’s look made reminded me of people I knew that were hard drug users.  I didn’t avoid talking to him; but I didn’t engage with him either.  Towards the end of the plane ride something caused us to begin a conversation.  I learned that he was a yoga instructor that teaches yoga and meditation in jails as part of non-profit or business…and I really enjoyed our conversation.  He gave me tips about best yoga and meditation for the kids.  Shared some cool stories. 

I walked off the plane a little ashamed of myself.  I had judged the book by its cover, so to speak.  But it was a learning lesson…to be conscious of how I view people. 

Life Application

What if we were to see EVERYone as valuable creations of God?…and treat them that way. <3  

God, thank you for leaving the 99 to chase after me.  Thank you for your heart for the lost.  May I see each person I meet today through your eyes and share your love with them.

In your name, I pray. Amen!

– Rei

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



James_1

Scripture

James 1:5

 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Observation – What does it say?

Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  James.  James who?  That’s a good question.  The James in question was probably the brother of Jesus who was also a leader in the Jerusalem church.  The Apostle Paul called him a pillar of the church (Gal 2:9) and met with him on both his first and last visits to Jerusalem.  The letter is distinctly Jewish and is written to Jewish Christians; possibly those who had fled the persecution of believer’s after Stephen’s death.  The tone of the letter is pastoral including instruction and encouragement in the face of difficulties.  Even with his impressive resume the author chooses to be known as James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (NIV text note)

Understanding – What does it mean?

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6)

Trials and temptations have been the lot of believer’s since the beginning.  Liable at any time to be scattered and afflicted, temptations are often in close company.  How is the disciple to navigate this landscape?  Ask.  That is Pray.  Tradition has it that James was such a man of prayer that he was known as “camel knees.”  An obvious response to trials is to pray for their removal.  James advocated for prayer for the right use of these circumstances – that is to pray for wisdom.  “To be wise in trying times is a special gift of God, and to him we must seek.  We go to God with our own weakness and folly, to ask for wisdom.  With God’s glory our aim, we are sure of its provision.  And, not in small quantity.  He gives generously, He gives without finding fault and He gives to all” (Matthew Henry). 

Life Application

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3)

 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29)

Be encouraged today.  Let us take a fresh look at our trials.  We are not beggars at the throne of grace.  We are his sons and daughters – loving our heavenly Father by serving others during trying circumstances.  We are to ask, according to the measure of faith we have been given (i.e., the power given by God to each believer to fulfill various ministries in the church).  It will be done.

– Warren Vivian

 

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


Jude_

Scripture

Jude 1:20-21

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Observation

Jude, probably Jesus’ brother, is writing to an unknown group of Christians.  His main point is to warn them about the false teaching that had been going around.  There was a group of people who were teaching others that they could go on sinning because there sin was forgiven.  They were using God’s grace as a license to carry on in ungodly behavior.

As he draws to a conclusion, he encourages the church to dig deeper into God’s love.  He also wanted the church to learn how to lean on the Holy Spirit. Additionally, he reminded us that our end goal is a life with Jesus.

Understanding 

Waiting is best done with those who encourage.

I went away to college for a short time compared to most.  I lasted all of six months in Oregon, but it was the longest stretch of time I had ever spent away from home.  After the winter session was spring break.  I could not wait to get home, to see my family and friends, to sleep in my bed, and to see Southern California.  As it got closer to spring break, I almost couldn’t stand the wait any longer.  I had never had so much anticipation to get home.

As Christians, our home is not here on earth, our home is waiting for us in heaven. (Psalm 130:5)  We are only here temporarily. And much like I couldn’t wait to get home to see my family, we should be looking for Christ’s return with the same anticipation. 

But as we wait, God has asked that we build each other up.  It’s almost like when you are telling someone who has never been to Santa Clarita how “awesome” it really is.  You begin to peak that person’s interest in your home.  So it is to be in our lives, the excitement of being with Jesus is to overflow into the people around you. 

The good news is, we don’t nee to fake sense of anticipation.  Much like Paul wrote in Romans (8:26), Jude reminds us that we can rely on the Holy Spirit to show us exactly what to pray for.  Which is also the best way to build each other up.  

Life application 

If I ask, the Holy Spirit will guide me all the way home.

Jesus, help me to rely on the Holy Spirit so that I can be an example to those around me.  Help me to see my future so clearly that I can’t help but to tell other’s about where I am headed.  Jesus, guide me so that I will not be disqualified from spending eternity with you.
 
– Tyler Galloway
 
 
To check out the discussion or to join in click here
 
PS. If you haven’t RSVP’d for our Grateful Gathering dinner, take a moment to RSVP now. We’re going to have a great time together!


Romans_16

 
Scripture
 
Romans‬ ‭16:1-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys. Greet Apelles, whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus. Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew. Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord. Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too. Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the other brothers and sisters with them. Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the Lord’s people who are with them. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings..”
‭‭
 ObservationWhat does it say?
 
Paul continues to write to the church in Rome, who were “loved by God and called to be saints” (Rom 1:7), in order to encourage and teach them about the doctrines of Christ. (gotquestions.org)
In this chapter, specifically the first section, he is acknowledging and recognizing fellow believers who are near and dear to his heart.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
No matter what we are going through in life, make a way to stay connected to those we love.
 
“You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ””
‭‭Acts‬ ‭20:34-35‬ ‭NIV‬‬
 
Even through the trials and tribulations of Paul’s life from arrests to imprisonment, Paul finds a way to connect with those dear to his heart through letter. I love how he honored each of them by name personally and specifically and then included some encouragement to the church, commending some for their obedience, but still warning them to be wise with the good and innocent with evil.
 
Life Application
 
Contact, pray for and encourage someone today!
 
Who can you or I contact today that we’ve been putting off because of our own personal schedules or issues? Let’s look outside of ourselves and be an encouragement to someone who needs it today!
 
Holy Spirit, help us to love You wholeheartedly and as a result love, serve and encourage others the way You have called us to. Please give us the desire to look outside of ourselves, our personal lives and struggles. Amen.
 
*Also, speaking of honoring and encouraging people, just a plug that our Grateful Gathering date has changed to Friday, Nov. 17th @ 6:30pm. Take a second to RSVP now.
I’m thankful to be part of a church where we seek to be intentional about giving thanks and honoring others.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
 
-Michelle Gaddi


Romans_15

Scripture
 
Romans 15:2
 
“We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.”
‭‭
Observation-What does it say?
 
Paul writes to encourage his brothers and sisters in Christ to live a selfless life. To live a life the way Jesus did…which is to serve, and not be served. Paul encourages his fellow Christ Followers to help build one another up in the Lord.
 
Understanding-What does it mean?
 
Building a discipleship culture.
 
In one of Pastor Gary’s sermons he said, “In order to be a true disciple, you must be making disciples.” That really hit home with me. Am I a true disciple? It’s sad to say, but many of us get saved, and really only focus on ways we can improve our own faith, and ways we can build our own personal relationship with Jesus, (myself included). Sure that is an important thing to do as a Christian, but we are missing a major part of our faith in the process. The Bible tells us to love one another:
“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”-1 John‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬
 
The Bible also tells us to value others more than ourselves:
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”-‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:3-5‬ ‭NLT
 
With these two verses and the verse that I chose in the opening, I know I must do my part and encourage those still growing in their faith, and help build them up into the person God has called them to be. It’s an investment in people’s lives by giving our own time and God-given talents to help make more mature Christ Followers everywhere. It’s an investment that is life changing for those involved!
 
Life Application
 
Become a true disciple by helping to build more mature disciples.
 
Sure, we have the excuse that “we’re too busy” or “I don’t have the time”, but I look back at the people in my life who invested in me. What if they shared that attitude? I’m sure they too were busy balancing work, family life, and personal life. But these people were called to a higher calling. They chose to live with an attitude like Christ. My life has been changed for the better because of it! And for that I’m eternally grateful! So thank you Pastor Gary for leading our Point Men Group. Thank You Pastor Parker for leading and teaching Higher Learning! Your men’s time and efforts helped make me to the man I am today.
So…isn’t it about time I pay it forward? After all, it’s what God calls us to do.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi