Approachable!

December 12, 2016  
Filed under Pulse

nativity

Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. – Hebrews 7:25

Dear Convergence Family,

There is a little over two weeks until Christmas!  I don’t know about you, but this year has flown by at a rapid pace.  It’s amazing that 2016 will come to a close soon.  What a year it has been!  I am grateful for this Advent season as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ!  I am definitely in need of His hope daily.
 
Lately, I have been reflecting on how Jesus entered the world.  I think that I had gotten so used to looking at the image of the nativity scene, that the impact of what God was doing was not hitting me.  Jesus was conceived out of wedlock and born to a virgin teenage mother.  He was born next to farm animals and his first crib was a feeding trough.  The thought of this does not seem as glamorous as the nativity scene images and sets that I see all around this time of year.  Having a child of my own, the idea of him being born near animals and sleeping in a manger saddens me.  Why would God allow His son, the savior of our world, to be born in such a manner?

Jesus’ humble birth conveys a powerful message to us.  Instead of being born in a palace, protected by large gates and guards, he was born in meekness as one of us.  He is approachable and available.  God comes to us!  How beautiful is it that the first people to see Jesus are not rulers or distinguished folks, but shepherds!  As we continue through this season of Advent, let us be reminded of the hope that is in Christ.  We can approach God, because he approached us first!  He tears down walls to make himself available to us!
Grace and Peace,

Pastor Joe

A Seed

May 6, 2016  
Filed under Pulse

mustardseed

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” Luke 17: 5-6
There is a story about a minister who sought out Mother Teresa for prayer in regards to God’s plan for his life.  She agreed to pray for him, but not for what he asked.  Mother Teresa told the minister that she would pray for him to have faith because it was faith that he needed.  She shared that if God had revealed His full plan to her when she was younger, she would have been too frightened to leave her convent and serve the first person she met in the slums of Calcutta.
In the beginning of Luke chapter 17, we read Jesus’ warnings about sin, the necessity of forgiveness, and the power of faith.  Jesus was not concerned with the size of faith as much as if faith was present.  It is not a faith of what I want, but a trust that what God provides is good and sufficient.  This may be a faith to endure rejection.  It may be trusting God for discernment.  It may be standing firm in wherever God has me trusting that He is with me and his grace endures.
I struggle with change and when change needs to happen or is thrust upon me, I claw for any control that I can get.  I’ve realized this most as a parent.  Through challenges and difficult prognoses, I have found myself at times not seeking God out of fear of being disappointed or let down.  The unknown at times seems impossibly overwhelming.  As I let this scripture sink in, there is peace knowing that I can turn over my doubts and my fears and God will hold it and grow something beyond my own understanding.  I don’t need to know the plan as much as I need to possess a seed of faith.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Joe

Doubt

March 16, 2016  
Filed under Pulse

Doubt
“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:29-31

Dear Convergence Family,

Peter has always been a favorite character of mine from scripture. He has done many great things for the kingdom of God, but it is his challenges that encourage me. It’s in his struggles that Christ’s grace is experienced.

Jesus has just miraculously fed the 5000 and has sent his disciples ahead of him by boat while he went up a mountainside to pray. The disciples were buffeted by high waves due to strong winds and found themselves struggling. After sometime Jesus joined them in one of the most famous miracles, by walking on water. Not surprisingly, the disciples thought it was a ghost, and after Jesus revealed himself, Peter asked Jesus if he could join him on the water.

I see so much of myself in the disciples and Peter in this story. There are times that Jesus has shown up in my life and I failed to see him and saw a “ghost” because it was not what I expected. As Peter walks out to meet Jesus, his focus shifts to the wind and away from Jesus and he begins to sink. Wind comes in many forms. For me it comes in looking at my mistakes, looking at my past, self-doubt, and comparisons. We all have wind, but we must take heart and focus our eyes back to Jesus.

What is your wind? In 2 weeks, we will be gathering together to remember Christ’s death and resurrection. We will reflect on the night that Christ was betrayed and abandoned by his closest friends. We will celebrate Christ’s ultimate show of grace. Whatever wind is trying to shake you, be reminded that Christ hand is always extended. He calms the wind and the waves. In the midst of our doubts, Christ is faithful and is not done with us!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Joe

What Are You Looking For?

December 11, 2015  
Filed under Pulse

Searching for God

Dear Convergence Family,

There is a saying, “what you look for you will find.” This has always been intriguing to me. For a long season of my life, I spent nearly all of my time looking for what was wrong with everything. Whatever I was looking at, I felt it was my mission in life to break it down and determine what was wrong with it. What you look for you will find. So, the question is, what are you looking for?

Can you see Jesus? Are you looking for Jesus? Jeremiah 29:13 says, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”  Again, can you see Jesus? Are you looking for Jesus?

I find this to be a challenging discipline. I think it’s easier to despair and see everything that’s wrong with the world.  My hope and encouragement, however, is to open our eyes to see Christ in our world. He is present and at work even in our deepest pain and when we can see and realize this, I believe that we will rejoice and be filled with inexpressible joy!!!

Look for what is good, right, beautiful, and holy this Christmas season and rejoice!

Seeking Christ with you,

Pastor Bobby

 

Crucified with Christ!

November 9, 2015  
Filed under Pulse

Crucified with Christ

Dear Convergence Family,

I was reading Galatians 2:20 yesterday, which reads:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…”
In my devotional the author talks about how this refers to a breaking of our “individual independence of God” and allowing Christ to use our lives as He wills. In other words, my aspirations apart from Christ are given up so that Christ can use my life however He sees fit.

There are many times where I pause and think about my life and wonder if I’m creating anything of great worth. There are also times when I compare myself to others who are more successful and wonder if my life will ever be “put together.” After reading Galatians 2:20, however, I believe that I’m supposed to be willing to crucify my picture of life that I’m trying to fulfill in order for Christ to use my life however He chooses. In that case, maybe what I consider to be a waste of time is actually a divine moment that God wants to use. Maybe what I see as an interruption to my great plan for my life is actually God’s will for my life. Maybe I have it all backwards. Maybe the things that I think are getting in the way of my success are the things that God wants me to stop and consider.

My hope and prayer is that God will use me for His glory.
My hope and prayer is that I truly mean it.

For His glory,

Pastor Bobby

Christ-Centered Community!

October 23, 2015  
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Christ-Centered Communtiy

Dear Convergence Family,

You are not alone! I want to reiterate this reality and necessity to you. You and I were not meant to be alone. From the beginning of creation, God knew that it wasn’t good for us to be alone. In light of this, I want to encourage you to be proactively part of community.

It’s been said that sin “disintegrates” our souls. It disjoints our life. In the same fashion, sin has the power to pull our communities apart. It creates such shame in our lives that we begin to isolate ourselves from even our closest of friends. What we think will bring us comfort (being alone) actually amplifies the power of sin. The apostle Paul says in Romans that “the wages of sin is death.” Perhaps a way to look at death is ultimate isolation, to be utterly apart from anything and anyone.

All the more, I believe we need to be actively engaged in Christ-centered community. Christ redeems and heals our sin and Christ-centered community reminds us of this truth. Christ-centered community doesn’t just show us Christ, but helps us “experience” the redeeming truth of Christ by forgiving our sins. Christ-centered community accepts us in our failures and loves us when we think we are unloveable.

I want to encourage you to be a part of Christ-centered community. I want to encourage you to be this Christ-centered community to all who come…

In His Amazing Grace,

Pastor Bobby

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
‭‭-Colossians‬ ‭3:12-17‬ ‭

Ekklesia…The Called Out Ones!

October 14, 2015  
Filed under News, Pulse

Ekklesia

Dear Convergence Family,

I’m so excited as we begin a new sermon series this Sunday!  For the coming weeks, we’ll be learning about “church.”  I know that there are some of us who have grown up in it, some of us who are just experiencing it for the first time at Convergence, some of us who are healing from painful experiences with it, and some of us who absolutely love and adore it!  Wherever you may be on the spectrum, I believe that growing in our understanding of church, the role it plays in our lives, and the role our lives play in it will be essential for us as we go through life as Christians.
The word church comes from the Greek word “Ekklesia” which means, “The Called Out Ones.”  Do you hear that? Can you hear that in your soul? Even this short phrase should begin to shape (or reshape) our understanding of what church is and what it’s all about.
I want to invite you to journey with us starting this Sunday as we explore all that it means to be the “called out ones” unto God, unto one another, and unto the world!
Excited for the Journey,
Pastor Bobby

Rooted!

October 12, 2015  
Filed under Pulse

Rooted in Christ

 

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear Convergence Family,

As I’ve been reading through Colossians, these verses have really been encouraging me. When I think of being deeply rooted in Christ, I think of how roots need fertile soil. I recently watched a documentary that highlighted natural, organic farming. One phrase that struck me was, “conventional farmers farm the crop, organic farmers farm the soil.” In other words, natural farmers spend time cultivating the quality of the soil instead of trying to genetically enhance the crop. There was a picture that illustrated the difference of root depth between conventional and organic farming. It wasn’t even close! The roots of natural farming went three to four times deeper than that of conventional farming. Why is this so important? Becuase the depth of the root system correlates to the quality of the fruit. How do we become more deeply rooted in Christ? How do we bear quality fruit? I believe it has to do with the condition and posture of our heart: Am I open to hearing God’s word? Am I teachable? Am I allowing His word to inform and ultimately form me?

The last part of the verse is challenging. It reminds me that as I grow deeper in Christ, I am to overflow with thankfulness. The realtiy, however, is that I don’t always feel thankful. It’s been said that this current generation of 20 and 30 somethings are the most entitled generation in history. We believe that we constantly deserve more and better. When we take in the Good News of Jesus Christ, however, we realize that everything is a gift and everything is grace because what we truly deserve apart from Christ is death. His life, death, and resurrection has been given to me as a gift that I might know of his unconditional love and receive eternal life in His Kingdom. He gave himself to us, He gave himself for us.

I want to encourage you to look at the world through the lens of the Gospel. I want to encourage you to see everything as a gift and everything as grace. May we be deeply rooted in Christ and overflowing with thankfulness.

Growing Deeper with You,

Pastor Bobby

Watering Your Soul!

September 14, 2015  
Filed under Pulse

Watering Your Soul

Dear Convergence Family,

I’m so excited for this upcoming season of ministry! I can sense that God is doing something in the midst of our church community. I keep hearing from people that they’re praying more, reading the Bible more, and having a greater sense of the Spirit’s presence in their lives. It’s both encouraging and inspiring!

I know that we tend to want quick fixes in our lives, but I believe that a well-lived life is cultivated over time. In 1 Corinthians 3:6, the apostle Paul says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” In essence, as we practice our faith in word and deed, God transforms our lives. Our practices may not lead to immediate change, but as we continue to plant and continue to water, God forms us and matures us over the course of our lives.

So, let’s keep encouraging one another to practice our faith. Better yet, let’s invite people to practice our faith with us as we practice ours. And through it all, let us trust that God is growing us into mature disciples of Christ.

Planting and watering with you,

Pastor Bobby

Redeem the Text!

August 31, 2015  
Filed under Pulse

Reedeem the Text

Dear Convergence Family,

Living in this information age definitely creates tension for me. For instance, I love the fact that I can call or text anyone at anytime from anywhere. Simultaneously, I hate the distraction that calls and texts can create when something or someone else has my attention. That being said, I want to encourage you to “redeem the text!” This is taken from Ephesians 5:16 that says, “redeem the time for the days are evil.” In essence, let’s make the most of what we have and use it for good. So, “redeem the text.” When someone comes to mind, text them at that moment some kind of blessing. Or, text them to let them know that you are thinking of them. Encourage them. Pray for them and let them know that you are praying for them.

In this past year, I have been the recipient of very timely text messages that have encouraged me in times of struggle and pain. I also have received text messages that felt like God Himself was confirming what I was hearing from Him in prayer. This may sound incredibly simple or even gimmicky, but I believe that sending some kind of simple blessing is better than sending none at all. So, rather than waiting until you see the person at some point in the future, let’s utilize the tools before us and encourage one another while it’s still called “today.”

Blessing you,

Pastor Bobby

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