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!
 

Romans_3

Scripture

Romans 3:3-4

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. 

 

Observation – What does it say?

The Apostle Paul pointed to a popular argument at the time: The unfaithfulness of God’s people must point to the fact that God himself is unfaithful. He argues that God is not a reflection of his unfaithful followers! Even if every human being is unfaithful, sinful, and a liar, it doesn’t take away from the fact that God is completely faithful, holy and true.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

You cannot blame a holy God for unholy followers.

We have all heard people make a negative observation of a Christian and say, “If that’s what a Christian is like, I don’t want to have anything to do with Christianity.” They get hurt or put off by one person and then use it to discredit God and the entire gospel.

So many people in our culture today are wounded by Christians. It’s inevitable. None of us are perfect, and none of us (if we’re honest) can claim to be. The world will surely see our love and the positive effect that the gospel has had on our lives. But the world will also surely see that we are still imperfect. And it’s those imperfections that can lead others away from God if they believe that Christians are supposed to be perfect representations of God on the earth. Although that is our goal, none of us are there yet.

Paul reminds us, human unfaithfulness doesn’t nullify God’s faithfulness!

 

Life Application

Have I been hurt by someone and blamed God for it? Has my perception of God been tainted because of my experience with others?

God, we declare that you are faithful. You are good. You are holy. You are kind. Help us to see you for who you are and to not fall into the bad logic that because someone who claims to follow you is imperfect it must mean that you’re imperfect. We disregard that and acknowledge that you are perfect in every way. We worship you. Amen.
 
-Levi Thompson


Romans__2

Scripture 

Romans 2:7-8 

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.  But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

The letter of Romans was written by Paul and it was likely written on his third missionary journey.  He wrote the letter to the church in Rome, which was predominantly gentile, with a large minority of Jews.  The letter focuses on a basic gospel message and God’s plan of salvation for all people.  He uses frank language when addressing that all people are broken and in need of the freedom we receive from Christ’s death on the cross.  In chapter two, Paul addresses God’s wrath, which is a consequence of our choice to live in sin.  God’s wrath and judgement often seems juxtaposed to His grace and mercy, though it is an equally important part of his character.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

Police officers are, to a degree, the bearers of the wrath of law.  As a police officer, I have become used to the idea of being the “bad guy.”  I have been called all types of names, many of which shouldn’t really be repeated.  More times than I can count, I’ve been accused of ruining peoples’ lives by enforcing the law.  I’ve also been accused of upholding the law with prejudice and targeting certain types of people.  Rarely has anyone told me thank you for taking them to jail.  

 

Part of the reason laws are created is to ensure the safety of people in society.  For example, it is against the law to drive above certain speeds in certain areas (i.e. residential areas).  It’s also against the law to drive after having alcoholic drinks, because there is an increased risk of injury to the driver and others on the road.  Therefore, when an officer writes a speeding ticket, or takes someone to jail for DUI, they are acting for the safety of the person who is experiencing the wrath of law.

 

Throughout scripture we read of times where God brings His wrath on the people he loves.  Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets foretold the impending doom of Israel, because they were not living out the laws given to them by God.  After the wrath, when the people of Israel turned back to God, He would pour out his love and favor on them.  The laws given to Israel by God were written for their good, even more than the laws written by man, and yet Israel (and us) still chose to live in opposition of those laws.  God’s wrath works to turn us away from our sins, much like the fear of getting a speeding ticket keeps people from speeding.  

 

Paul later writes that we are all sinners and deserve the wrath of God.  But, Jesus took on that wrath when he died on the cross.  “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)  God’s love for us is so great that he placed the burden of His wrath on Jesus, the burden which we could not bear.


Life Application 

Jesus, thank you for taking on God’s wrath for me.  Even though I deserve death, you have taken that sentence for me.  Help me to look at your discipline as an aspect of your love.  When your word directs me to abstain, help me to know that is your love.    
 
-Tyler Galloway


Romans__1

Scripture – What stood out?

Romans 1

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

 

Observation – What does it say?

In chapter one of Romans, Paul introduces himself and expresses his desire to go and visit the church. The second half of this letter is Paul’s description of what it means to be “unrighteous” in relation to God.

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

The phrase that really stood out to me was the second half verse 25, …”and served the creature rather than the Creator…” It just made me feel sheepish immediately. Like, yikes that’s a pretty major oversight. I ended up reading both verses several times because I felt like it gave such insight into the human condition. Hearts of impurity. Dishonoring our bodies. Worshipping creature over creator. All are results of believing a lie instead of God’s truth. 

 

I have just begun to scratch the surface in understanding how important truth is. In the 90’s the tv show the X-Files gave me a nudge towards the truth, just not in any biblical sense. Decades later I found that I didn’t have to look very far at all. God’s truth was here all along. I had lost so much time worshipping and serving creature rather than Creator. Because I refused to exchange – i refused to let go of my lie – in exchange for God’s truth. 

 

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

Lord I pray for all who are lost in deception. May they see Your truth today. Right now. I am a follower of yours already but I pray that you reveal to me an area of my life where I am serving creature rather than Creator. Expose this lie to the light of Your truth. Help me to make the exchange. And by Your Truth may I continue to be set free. In the name of Jesus do I pray. Amen. -kenneth lee

 



Psalm 22

Scripture
 
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 on 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


Nahum 3

Scripture

Nahum 3:19

Nothing can heal you;
    your wound is fatal.
All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands at your fall,
for who has not felt
    your endless cruelty?

 

Observation – What does it say?

The prophet Nahum declares the coming destruction of Nineveh, the great capitol of Assyria. It will be a complete destruction, and no one will pity them. Why? Because the world around them suffered at the hands of the Assyrians. The destruction of Nineveh, to the rest of the world, was the destruction of their oppressors – their enemies.

The Assyrians were notoriously barbaric, killing all in their path. They would pile the skulls at the entrance to the cities as a sign to any who came by that the Assyrians had been there. They would plundering all the city had that was valuable and burn the rest. They were ruthless and like the prophet said, “…who has not felt your endless cruelty?”

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

You reap what you sow!

King David found himself deeply troubled when he observed the prosperity of the wicked in his day. He wrote this (Psalm 73):

12 This is what the wicked are like—
    always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
    and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
    and every morning brings new punishments.

He was deeply troubled. It had appeared that you don’t reap what you sow! Righteous are suffering and the wicked are without trouble. But then God gave him revelation…

19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors!

Although the wicked may prosper for a time, they will eventually reap the destruction they’ve sown. And, thought the righteous may suffer for a time, they will eventually reap eternal life if they don’t give up!

The Apostle Paul reminded the Christians of his day, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”  (Galatians 6:7)

 

Life Application

What are you sowing?

Am I sowing wickedness or righteousness? Am I sowing faith or doubt? Am I sowing for my own benefit or the benefit of others? Am I sowing in prayer or in gossip?

We are always sowing. And I’m reminded that if it doesn’t have to do with loving God or loving others, I’m not going to like the harvest.

God, may we learn from the Assyrians that we will never get away with evil. Purify us your people that we may shine bright like stars in the universe, showing the world what you’re like. May we be intentional to sow love and righteousness. We rejoice that although we may suffer for a time, we will receive a glory that far outweighs the suffering. Amen.
 
– Levi Thompson
 


Acts__26

Scripture  

Acts 26:28-29  Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”  And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”

Observation-What does it say?  

Paul is sitting before King Agrippa, as part of his appeals process.  He is slated to go to Rome, to be heard by the Cesar himself, but before he goes, Governor Festus and Agrippa want to hear his story.  Paul expounds on his life as a pharisee, his attack on Christians, and his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He goes on to tell them that, through his extensive knowledge of the scriptures, he could not deny that Jesus was in fact the Messiah.  As they were listening, they were trying decide what notification they were going to give to the Cesar as to why he is appealing his case.  Both Festus and Agrippa agree that the Jews have no case to hold Paul.  During Paul’s testimony, Agrippa is apparently deeply affected by  his words.

Understanding-What does it mean?  

We all know that one guy, whether it’s at work or just an acquaintance, who is totally committed to whatever he is doing for about six months to a year and then onto the next thing.  Whether it’s mountain biking, or surfing, or snow boarding, it’s all you ever hear about from that guy for a period of time.  He gets all the right gear, spends a ton of money, and apparently masters the skill.  And what’s worse, he gets you interested in it too.  And now you have a new snow board, boots, pants, jacket, helmet, glove, an industrial tuning station in your garage, and you can barely make your way down the bunny slope.  Before you know it, your buddy is onto a new sport and you have just spent your life savings on a sport that you don’t really like that much, but are too committed to quit.

Paul is like that guy, except he takes it to the end.  He never lost interest, or moved onto something else, leaving his friends in the wake of a bored hobby.  Paul is the epitome of a true believer.  He takes the cause to the end, knowing that there is more left to the story.  Paul has the innate sense that he is part of something much bigger than himself.  He has tapped into that source that we are all looking for, and found his purpose.  Like the other apostles, his sense of resolve will carry him to lengths that would be unimaginable to most.  

Life Application  

Jesus, I want to know you and experience you like Paul.  I know that this means I must commit myself to taking the time to come to you and to hear your voice.  I must listen through constant time in your word and prayer.  Help me to have the resolve to overcome my weaknesses and to place my trust in you. 

-Tyler Galloway



Psalm 19

Scripture  

Psalm 19:7-10 

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  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.  They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.

 

Observation-What does it say? 

This psalm is another attributed to the man after God’s heart, King David.  The psalm is written in praise of the goodness of God’s law, which is pure and clean, bringing joy and wisdom, instruction and enlightenment to our souls.  David highlights the seemingly contrasting nature of God and his wisdom, to the world’s view of wisdom and knowledge.  The simple, or childlike, are made wise.  Rules and discipline are not intended to hinder, but to bring joy.  David had the same view of God’s words, which was later expressed by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

Understanding-What does it mean? 

I had lunch with an old friend recently, someone who I have been close with for more than half my life.  He’s one of my closest friends, whom I can trust to be both good company and wise counsel, even when we go through times that our schedules prevent us from getting together.  As we caught up over a bike ride and lunch, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated and excited about life.  I was able to gain perspective on the problems that I was having and we could rejoice over the good things going on in our lives.  Almost anytime I get to spend time with old friends, I am surprised at the feeling of refreshing I get.  Proverbs 25:13 says these words are like a drink of cool water, “Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master.”

 

If the word of a friend is so refreshing, how much more so are the words of our creator?  God’s words and laws bring us the life and fulfillment we are looking for.  But, when we go through times that are trying and grow our faith, what do we fall back on?  If we fall back on the word of God, we will be refreshed and find life.  How do you know God’s words unless we read them?  When we read and remember His words, then we can fall back on them.  

 

6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

 

Life Application 

Jesus help me to remember your words more readily.  Words like those spoken through Paul, when he reminded us we can do all things through Your strength (Philippians 4:13), and that you work out all things for our good (Romans 8:28).  Help me to spread the refreshing of Your words with my family and friends.  Fill me with joy to sing of Your kindness and mercy.

-Tyler Galloway   





1 Thessalonians__5

Scripture – What stood out?

1 Thessalonians 5

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 

 

Observation – What does it say?

The apostle Paul having founded the church in Thessalonica continues to instruct them from afar in this letter. 

 

Understanding – What does it mean?

It has been a rough month of fasting to start off 2021. Which is odd considering 2019 and 2020 were amazing months of fasting. I think it’s safe to say I limped out of 2020 and I limped into 2021 lacking the impetus that I had had in the previous 2 years. And so it goes without saying that I am glad that every Wednesday night and every Sunday morning I have had the opportunity to engage in something that points me back to God. Over the past few years as I have observed the pastoral team and the church staff I am amazed at the level of energy and consistency everyone brings to their position on such a consistent basis. (I will admit I that if I ever transition into full time ministry I will mourn the loss of my sick days.)

I have had the opportunity over the past several year to see a lot of the behind the scenes work that goes into moving Jesus’s mission forward. I have seen a lot of the sacrifices that are made to move the mission forward. The above verse is a good reminder. In my times of spiritual weakness I have turned to various leaders within our church to keep my grounded. I can turn on worship Wednesday and Sunday morning service without fail. I can reach out to elders and request prayer whenever I need it and I know it will be done. The list goes on and on. 

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

On day 25 in pastor and author Gary Khan’s devotional Reset, he asks us to reflect on who God has “placed over us in the Lord”. To reflect on some of those names and reach out and encourage, possibly even treat to dinner (deliver food for them> then request the person zoom you as they eat their food). When I am down and out spiritually and sometimes even emotionally these are the people I turn to. They work tirelessly in the background making sacrifices that most of us will never know about. They have taken our spiritual growth and placed it squarely on their shoulders. And as they strive towards deeper relationship with God, they take us along for the ride as well. Today I will bless those who work so hard to bless everyone else around them.

 



Matthew____28

Scripture

Matthew 28: 18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority on heaven and on earth have been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
 

Observation

After Jesus rose from the grave and made Himself known to Bis disciples and close follower He assigns them a very important mission. Jesus’ last commands to His followers are these verses above, we know them today has the Great Command or the Great Commission. He seems to save His very most command or mission for last, as after this He ascends into heaven.
 

Understanding

I know it has been a while since we’ve been in the actual building of church, but let me put a little throwback in here. When I was first old enough to go to “adult church” (I was like 12 or 13) I remember at the end of each sermon we would have to get up and recite the Great Commission verses. These verses became engrained in my head, and my heart for that matter. Here’s the deal, not only were they important to us (as they are church’s foundational verses, other than Isaiah 43:19), but they obviously are very important to Jesus and His followers! If we break these verses down, here’s what we can glean:

“Therefore go…”: this is a command! Meaning it is not optional or if you feel like it. Being a follower of Christ is not a sideline sport, we are called to go and minister to others. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant mission trip either, we can start in our own family, workplace, grocery store, gym, etc. The main objective is to GO, and not keep the Good News to ourself.

“Make disciples… teaching them to obey…”: Making disciples doesn’t mean you have a bunch of groupies following you around like Jesus did. Making disciples is as sharing the Good News and then keeping that person accountable in their walk with God. Now obviously everyone’s journey is different and discipling someone also requires teaching them the foundation of what Jesus laid out for u sin HIs life. The great part about teaching is that you learn along the way too (I think that part is pretty great)!

“And surely I am with you always…”: Now all of this seems pretty daunting, but Jesus reminds us that we are never forsaken. He is always with us, that’s right always! Even when we don’t see or understand the will of God, He works it together for those who trust Him and obey His commands. And this command in the verses above are pretty important.
 

Life Application

Another throwback from church in a building was P.I.I. cards. The acronym was as follows: Pray, Invest, Invite. The goal was to have a list of about three people that we were continually praying for, and investing in little ways. Then when the opportunity came we would invite them to church. I think the P.I.I. cards and the Great Commission work in tandem together. So take some time to revisit or create your own P.I.I. card if you forgot or haven’t already. Jesus gave us an important mission and I don’t want to let Him down.

-Allison Khan


Psalm_16

Scripture

Psalms 16:1-2, 7-8 NIV

“Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

 

Observation-What does it say?

This Psalm was written by King David and my Bible says it is a miktam, which defined is “a literary or musical term,” so basically, this is one of his poems or songs.

 

Understanding-What does it mean?

Take refuge in the Lord.

I love King David’s humble heart. He acknowledges that apart from God, He has “no good thing.” He receives His counsel from God, keeps His eyes on Him and continues to be stable and secure regardless of what is going on around him, because the Lord is on His side.

 

Life Application

We are called to pray for our leaders and government, but they were never meant to replace our faith and security in the Lord. The only “savior” of the people is our One True Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Just like King David says in this Psalm, let us keep our eyes ALWAYS on the Lord. If we keep our eyes on Him, no matter what is going on around us or what unlikely circumstances we find ourselves in, we will continue to remain stable and secure, unable to be shaken. Thank you Lord!

-Michelle Gaddi