A regular (daily, weekly, monthly) specialty serving of significant
or insignificant musings from the mind of an Italian Pastor.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Back from Vacation

Amy, Callie and I were able to head to Sunriver Oregon this last weekend for a time of rest, refreshment and time of fellowship with good friends. It is times like these that remind me of how we are designed. We were designed to need rest. We also were designed for relationship. Exodus 20:8-11 is where God mandates that we take time off. Jesus Himself looked for opportunities to be alone and rest from His public ministry. Mark 1:35 we see Jesus seeking opportunities to refresh with His Father. In Genesis 2:18 we see that we require relationships with other people. So often we get lost in the business of life that we don't allow time with God or time with other believers to refresh. Let me tell you, it is needed. It is not optional. If you don't you will burn out. Oh, and by the way, it is Biblical! So take your family and go refresh with other believers and especially with your Heavenly Father! God desires that and commanded that!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A New Holiday Tradition

We all do Christmas Trees, listen to Christmas music eat the cookies, drink the cider and give gifts right? Ever wanted to do something more spiritual around the holidays? Check out this article on The Jesse Tree Tradition! http://www.crosswalk.com/11641703/

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day 2010

This is a day that many Christians today face with fear and trepidation. However, I came across a passage today that puts the election into perspective. It is Psalm 2.

1Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
3"Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us."

4He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
5Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6"As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill."

7I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel."

10Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Great Gobbler Giveaway!

This year our church is giving away Turkeys to families in our community who have financial needs. This is a huge help in our community and we have literally 100+ that we try and give to. However, we cannot do it without you're help. Please let us know if you can donate turkeys or give money towards turkeys ASAP! Make checks out to Grace Community Church and write Turkeys in the note section. You can mail checks to 598 E Ellendale Ave. Dallas, OR 97338 or drop them in the offering plate on Sundays leading up to Thanksgiving.

Remember the words of Jesus, "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How fleeting life is...

Please be in prayer for the Tawney family. They recently lost their son Ian who was a Marine in Afghanistan. If you are available, there is a procession down Ellendale at around 2:30 on Friday as they bring the body back to the family. The funeral is at Faith at 11am on Saturday.

This is a harsh way to be reminded just how fleeting and fragile life is. James 4:14 says, "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." 1 Peter 1:24 says, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall." We are so insignificant. Yet, to God we are very significant. Paul describes God as someone "who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

Let us celebrate our God given significance while humbly realizing the reality of our insignificance! We have a God who loves us and cares for us more deeply than any of us can understand!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Verse of the Day...

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.

2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2

If you are like me, I cannot honestly say that I praise the Lord with "all my heart." What would that look like? I praise Him with some of my heart for sure! And then do I "tell of all Your wonders." What would that look like? Do I rejoice in Him? The only part of this passage I feel confident in is singing praise to His name. We do that each Sunday at Grace and I do it in the car to Lincoln Brewster worship albums. However, it seems I have a long way to go to capture the heart of these verses. How about you?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Awesome Giveaway from a Great Company

Logos Bible Software is giving away thousands of dollars of prizes to celebrate the launch of Logos Bible Software 4 Mac on October 1. Prizes include an iMac, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPod Touch, and more than 100 other prizes!

They’re also having a special limited-time sale on their Mac and PC base packages and upgrades. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Giving Out Grace...

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (Heb. 12:12-17)

I came across this passage this morning in my reading and was immediately struck by the phrase "See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God..." How often do we go through life and fail to make use of opportunities to give away the grace of God? Of course, by ourselves we cannot do anything. However, that is not a reason to not share! If we are faithful in sharing, the Holy Spirit will be faithful in working! Isaiah 55:10-11 says,

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Let's make sure we are giving everyone a chance to hear of God's Grace!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall is here...

This is what life in Oregon is all about. It is cold, rainy and gloomy. Many people seem depressed with the coming of the fall. Bad weather, back to the mundane routine of life. However, I love the fall. As soon as the first big rain comes, the first leaf starts to turn, the first dark dark night we experience signifies the coming out of hot apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes, reading a good book on the couch in a warm house and the countdown to Christmas!

This is the best time of year for me! And this year, I can live it all as if it were the first time thanks to our beautiful baby girl! Every experience for her will be the first time. So bring on the rain and the cold! Good stuff is ahead!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Verse of the Day...

Philippians 3:12 - I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But, I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. (NLT)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Verse of the day...

In John 13:35 Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Need I say more?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Faith vs. Works and a Musical Memory

There was a band I used to love called "Plankeye." Looking back they were pretty good - at least I thought so then. However, their name is profound. Pastor Ben and I were chatting in my office earlier today about Lordship Salvation vs. Free Grace. The question is how much do works play into our salvation. The easy answer is "not at all, read Ephesians 2:8-9." However, then go and read the book of James. You cannot divorce works from salvation or works from faith according to that divinely inspired book.

I think the argument is misleading however. Because ultimately, what we are trying to do by defining the faith vs. works issue is to give us a standard by which we can judge people. How good do they have to be to get into heaven? Can I call them out for their mistakes? Did they pray the right prayer? All those are irrelevant questions. Jesus had a completely different take on this topic. In Matthew 7:3-5,

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

The issue isn't does faith save or works. According to Scripture the answer is a qualified "yes." Both are true to a certain extent. Faith and faith alone saves. But, faith that doesn't produce fruit isn't faith. According to Jesus, Christianity is all about self examination. How are we living? Do we have fruit? If I don't see evidence of fruit in my life maybe I need to start asking some tough questions. If I'm not living it, how can I claim it? If I'm not becoming more like Jesus - however slow a process it is - do I really love Jesus?

I love debating theology. I love the faith/works, Lordship Salvation/Free Grace issues. I hope that these discussions happen among believers as they wrestle with difficult questions. Let us not lose sight of what its all about though - you and Jesus. Did He rock your world like He did mine? Because after what He did for me, I want to make sure I do everything I can for Him!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thoughts for the day...

I read the book of Philemon this morning. It is the 3rd shortest book in the NT. It is a letter written by Paul to a wealthy Colossian man who hosted a church in his home. The verses that stuck out to me are verses 4-5 which say, "I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints..."

Is that what Paul would write about us? Do we have such faith that people thank God for us? Do we have such love that people thank God for us? Is the world a better place because we are here?

I am humbled by the people who have gone before. May we live up to the standard that was set by the saints of old!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grace CC Ministry Survey

We at Grace CC desire our ministries to be as good as they can be at meeting the needs of our people and reaching out to those in our community. As we launch our fall ministries, we would like to hear from our church body how we can improve. Below is a link to a survey about our ministries. We ask every adult regular attender and member in our congregation to take about 10 minutes and honestly answer these questions so that we can accurately listen to our church family! Thank you for your help!

Click here to take the survey.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Making the Most of Our Time

It seems that the word evaluation has been tainted over the years. We seem to feel that if we are being evaluated then people are looking for our faults, our mistakes, how they can elevate themselves at our expense.

However, a lack of evaluation can be a tragic thing. For instance, if we never evaluated anything at Grace Community Church (where I am a pastor), we could completely miss the boat and never know it. We must constantly ask ourselves, are we achieving our goals, are we reaching people, are we caring for people, how can we be better. Without evaluation we just stagnate.

Colossians 4:5 says, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." We must make the most of our time. That takes constant evaluation. We will be soon be launching a evaluation survey at Grace to make sure we are doing the best job we can to minister to those God has entrusted us with. We hope all those who attend Grace will be a part of it as we strive to become a better church.

However, we must as the same questions as individuals. Am I doing all I can for the kingdom, for my neighbors, for my family, for the world? It may be time for some self-evaluation!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Resolution

I am committing here and now to regularly update my blog. Let's see how long that lasts!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Seminary Scholarship!

Going to Seminary is expensive. On top of that, finding a scholarship can be really difficult. That's why I was so excited to find this Seminary Scholarship website today. Not only are they giving away a $1,000.00 scholarship and a digital theological library, all I had to do to apply was watch a short video and answer a few questions! It took less than 15 minutes. What is best of all is that if you're in seminary and apply for the Seminary Scholarship, and put my name as the person who referred you, if you win the scholarship, so do I! We could both get a $1,000.00 scholarship and digital theological library. So, do us both a favor and go apply for the Seminary Scholarship today.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wheels up in 1 Day 19 Hours and BOOM

Have you ever heard the phrase, it never rains it pours? Us Oregonians know exactly what that means in the literal and figurative sense. However, it is the figurative sense that I want to talk about right now.

Many of our adults are leaving families behind. Some of those families are beginning to get stressed all because of the little phrase we just mentioned. Sunday, we have the both sides of the family coming over to celebrate Callie's dedication and the 4th. Our dishwasher breaks! Not only do we have tons of dishes to wash by hand, but we have to buy and have installed a new dishwasher after a holiday weekend and before I leave.

At the Pearce household, their air conditioner just went out last night. So on the hottest day of summer this year, no AC and it won't be fixed until tomorrow. And yes, Kenny is leaving on Friday! To make matters worse, the allergies Kenny was experiencing - not allergies but rather a cold.

So, be praying for Amy/Callie, Jodie/Parker and the Andersons, Gollys, Potloffs who all have families without dads/husbands back home! Not to mention all the other families who's students will be gone to Alaska! Also pray for the Lanyons who are leaving Luke at home while they do the missions trip and then stay for a week of vacation!

We appreciate your prayers and would love you to check in on our families while we are gone!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Why is the mark of a good Christian that they are "busy"? I've noticed that we tend to pack our schedules with all these things we "need" to do that we really don't "need" to do. Then we proudly proclaim, when someone asks us how we are doing, "I am so busy!" We seem to think that makes us more worthy than someone who is relaxed.

Why then in Scripture does God make such a point out of rest? God rested after creating the earth. Jesus often left the crowds to go rest. If rest is good enough for God why isn't it good enough for us?

The reason this is on my mind is that I just realized how I haven't updated my blog in a long time. I was about to post how it was because of how busy I am! Maybe I should try and be more like Christ in my scheduling!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Little Love Goes a Long Way!

Our Alaska Mission Team decided to pool their resources and support someone who is in need. We selected a young single mother in our church who is juggling going to school, raising a young daughter, worrying about child support issues and relying on insufficient financial aid.

Each student and adult donated $10.00 of their own money, even while trying to raise $1,200 for the missions trip. Because of that, we were able to give this struggling family a $150.00 gift card to Safeway and $150.00 gift card to Walmart. She was blown away by the gift. The next week she gave me a card that I would like to share with you.

The Card's message is: With Many Thanks - We can see God's love at work in the warmth of helping hands. In the comfort that a gentle word imparts, in the thoughtfulness that offers cheer, in love that understands...we can see God's love at work in caring hearts. God bless you for being so kind - it meant even more than you know.

She wrote in the card this message: I just wanted to tell you thank you so much for the gift cards that you gave me last week. My daughter's b-day is on June 20th and I've been stressed about being able to give her a party or presents. I have been struggling because I took 6 classes this term and financial aid didn't cover it all. This was really appreciated and perfect timing. I am very thankful! You guys are awesome!

$10.00 maybe didn't seem like a lot to give. However, when the body of Christ works together, God is able to touch lives in an amazing way!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Challenging Teens to Evangelize!

One of the things we push often and hard at youth group is reaching out to friends. We try and teach evangelism at ever opportunity. Last weekend, we had out Mission: Alaska Spring Retreat. This retreat brought all the mission teams from Oregon and southern Washington together to train for the summer trips. Brian Aaby asked the youth pastors a very thought provoking question: "Are you modeling evangelism to your students?" Wow! What am I doing to fulfill the great commission? Am I simply "fulfilling" it by telling students how to do it? Or is the command to "go and make disciples" more specific?

What are we doing to reach the lost? Do we pray a lot? Do we tell our children to reach their friends? Do we live a good life and hope someone drops to their knees and accepts Christ because we are such great people? That is not enough! We need to once again see the lost for what they are, LOST! We may be the only thing standing in between them and an eternity separated from God. Let's get out there and work people!

You can pray for our neighbors Frank and Barbara. They are our missions field! Pray for opportunities as our schedules seldom seem to match up. Pray for boldness to take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves!

Who can we be praying for you for?

Youth Sunday Tomorrow!!!

Our Alaska Team is in charge of our Sunday morning service! Come support our teens and our summer missions trip to Alaska! Service starts at 9:30am!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Port Chilkoot Bible Church

Hello All,

Yesterday, Pastor Ben and I had a fantastic conversation with Pastor Bill Diggins of Port Chilkoot Bible Church of Haines Alaska. This is the church we will be ministering with while in Alaska this summer.

The town of Haines is around 2,200 people. It is a stop on the route of some tour boats and so has a tourist section during the summer. However, there hasn't been a missions team in to this church in a number of years. Pastor Bill has been at the church for a year and a half and has attracted younger families to a more elderly congregation. They have a High School group of around 12 students and a J-High group of between 15-20 students.

They are excited about us coming and can't wait to partner with us in ministry. Be praying for the people of Haines, the Port Chilkoot Bible Church, and our team as we make preparations for this incredible trip.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Great Emptying

Phil. 2:5-11,
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

What must this have been like for God? I cannot come up with an analogy that does justice to the humility required for the God who created everything, to make Himself nothing for the sake of His creation. Is it like us becoming a child? Not even close. Is it like us becoming an animal? No way. Is it like us becoming a hideous bug? Closer but not good enough. Is it like us becoming a germ? Much closer.

However, consider this: we could never created anything! We can't create a speck of dust let alone a germ that actually has life! Even comparing a germ to us is nothing close to comparing us to God - the God who CREATED us! Let us never forget the sacrifice of God becoming man. And after becoming a man allowing Himself to die at the hands of men! Praise the Lord we now serve a risen Savior who is our Creator! He is now where He is meant to be and we have been given the opportunity to live with our Creator where He is forever!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

7 Reasons Why I Believe in a Pre-Trib Rapture!

1. Because Paul is a Pre-tribber! Don't believe me? Just wait!

2. Because I want to be a pre-tribber!
Who really wants to be a post-tribber? I have heard many people say, “I am willing to suffer for my Lord!" I am willing too. But willing and want to are two different things! I would rather be willing to suffer AND be raptured!

3. If I’m wrong I have time to change my mind!
If post-tribbers are wrong they will be shocked out of their socks if you know what I mean! If I am wrong, I will change my mind :-)

4. Jesus’ coming is to be a surprise!
1 Thess. 5:1-3, Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

Matthew 24:40-42, Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

I will grant you that the first passage is talking about the "Day of the Lord" and not the rapture. However, the day of the Lord comes when there is peace, a peace brought about by the Antichrist. Then the "Day of the Lord," the 3 1/2 years of judgment comes raining down upon his head. I really can't see Jesus' description of the rapture in Matt. 24 working well if bowls of God's Wrath are being poured out can you? Not to mention the fact that if we were in the middle of the wrath of God being poured out, Jesus' coming wouldn't be a surprise as described in Matt. 24. We would have a specific time-line to work from. That doesn't jive with how Jesus describes His coming to gather his people to Him.

5. Jesus took God’s wrath for us
1 Thess. 1:9-10 – They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

Rev. 3:10 - Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

The word “from” is from the Greek word “ek” which means “out of.”

1 Thess. 5:9-10 - For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

If Jesus took our place on the cross, and took God's wrath on our behalf, why would some believers still have to endure it?

6. The rapture is to be a source of encouragement
1 Thess. 5:11 - Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

This passage is in the context of the rapture and the Day of the Lord. Why would we encourage each other if with the idea that we will suffer 3 1/2 years of God's wrath being poured out on us?

7. The rapture is essential to the rise of the Antichrist
2 Thess. 2:5-7 - Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.

What or who has the power to hold back Satan? God is the only being I know of that has that sort of power. How is God in the world today? Through the Holy Spirit. How is the Holy Spirit dwelling in the world today? In the lives of believers. What has to be removed before the Antichrist comes? The Holy Spirit dwelling in the lives of believers!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Facts or Fettucine? That is the question!

Blogging, Twitter, FaceSpace & MyBook :-),
Who came up with such a concept? Personal information that no one really cares about, put out there for everyone to see. If we are completely honest, we don't care that you dreamed of swimming in chocolate, that your colon needs cleansing, or that you broke up with your significant other/got together with your significant other, have complications with your significant other (you can tell I work with youth!!!) etc.

However, for some strange reason, it seems that we cannot get enough of the above mentioned news items! They have become more significant than the possibility that Iran is going to nuke the rest of the world, that the NASA Moon Missions have been canceled, or that there has been an alarming increase in earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and avalanches around the globe!

Because we suddenly care about these things, and blogs are so much more fun than newspapers, I am launching a new blog where we can talk about all the insignificant and significant topics that my Italian mind can come up with. It may be daily, weekly, monthly - who knows! So, be ready for the "Pasta" specials that will be coming your way!

Stay tuned because it's about to get good!