Thursday, December 26, 2013

God First Loves Us--by Linden Malki

God's love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son, that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God's love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.  My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another. No one has ever seen God, but as long as we love one another God will live in us and his love will be complete in us.... we are to love, then, because He loved us first.  (I John 4:9-12, 19 JB)

The family is God's pattern for His Kingdom. God created families to have children, love them, take care of them, teach them, demonstrate a Godly life. Children are intended to learn to love their parents, to want to please their parents, and learn from them. God relates to us as a Father; just as we love our children before they are able to return our love, God loves us first, and it is in His strength and grace that we respond by loving Him, and then we are made able to love each other.  Jesus then brings it full circle: "I tell you solemnly, inso far as you [showed love] to the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:40 JB) Jesus Himself fulfilled what Moses saw of God at the Red Sea: " In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling."  (Exodus 15:13 NIV) 

We cannot do it right on our own! Too often we experience what we think of as "love" that is really an emotional high that feeds our own feelings, or that we do in expectation of a return to ourselves. We see all of this during this Christmas season--we want the warm fuzzies for ourselves, and give in order to get. I am glad that the remembrance of God's servant St Nicholas has become associated with Christmas; the stories that we have of him tell of giving anonymously to children and families without credit, reward, or return; and we can give like this in the name and spirit of St Nicholas, who did these things in the name of Jesus.

Friday, December 20, 2013

God Reaches Out To His Creation! --by Linden Malki

 There are those who say there is no God--but as for one group of shepherds, they believe! God has been reaching out to touch His people since the beginning. He walked with Adam in the Garden; He confronted Cain about what happened to his brother Abel, He told Noah to build a boat.  He led Abraham to a new homeland; and sent an angel to wrestle with Jacob.  He met Moses in the desert--for 40 years. He sent Joshua through the Jordan and marching around Jericho. We find Him confronting judges, and kings, and prophets through centuries and places and reports by a wide variety of writers.

And then it happened. There is some logic in confronting a priest in the Temple. But then He sent messengers and messages to a girl in Nazareth, a baby in his elderly mother's womb, a man in a dream. And one night that group of shepherds saw Him rip open the night sky to confront them with a still-remembered message and a glimpse of an angel-filled Heaven.

And then, after a short human lifespan, He blew the stone door off of a rock-hewn tomb.

And then, spiritual fire in a roomful of praying folks in Jerusalem who went out and changed a street crowd into a Church. Then knocked Saul of Tarsus off his horse and blazed a message across the Roman world; and gave a prisoner at hard labor on a small island a vision of ultimate triumph.

Echoes of that day still reverberate in human history. He spoke to Patrick on a mountain in Ireland, Augustine in a garden, Francis in a ruined chapel in Assisi, Martin Luther in a German monastery, Adoniram Judson on a boat to Burma, David Livingstone in the heart of Africa, William Wilberforce before the Parliament in London, and ....

He still speaks, if we are willing to listen.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rejoice! by Linden Malki

O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,don’t forget a single blessing!
He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence. (Psalm 103:1-5 The Message)

One of the most beautiful parts of the Christmas season is the music. We find in the Christmas Scripture passages Mary and Zachariah responding to what God has done with overwhelming praise. We find angels filling the sky with praise. Much of the greatest music ever written is a response to what we celebrate at Christmas--and at all times.

Last week Elden Smith and I had the honor of sharing praise in song at the celebration of the life of my sister-in-law, who has  experienced her final and eternal healing. She had had major trials in her life;  difficult family situations, a disabled child, major health challenges. But the thing people remember about her is her joyful attitude.  Her big brother John, my late husband, always marveled that she always had a big smile and a laughing heart, even as she coped with pain and difficulties. She lived in a mountain community in Lebanon for some years at a time when her brother Elias was a missionary in Beirut, and would make a difficult trip down to the city, with three small children, to his church every Sunday and was known for her constant attitude of praise. She came back to the US to find help for her developmentally disabled son, prayed for him constantly and fought for appropriate therapy. He died at the age of 14, and I recall telling her at the time that yes, he was now  healed, released from his physical disabilities and whole, in the  presence of God.  We do not always see physical healing on this earth, but all of our diseases or disabilities are left behind.  She herself will be much missed at family events, but we know that she, too, is no longer subject tor the physical limitations of her last 20 years and is rejoicing eternally.

Scripture says that the heavens and earth declare the handiwork of God. Looking around, we see that God has created beginnings which  He then grows into endings. He creates seeds, and babies, and eggs, and caterpillars. What we see around us every day is works in progress; He's not through with any of us on this earth. What we become when the cocoon bursts depends on whether we are willing to become His butterflies.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Give, Pray, and Serve Now by Pastor Paul

There was a great sense of excitement in the room as we finished our Ministry Board meeting last evening.  We talked about several key things that have far reaching implications for the Life and Ministry of NorthPoint.  These things are worthy of your prayers and financial gits.  In fact, without your prayers, gifts, participation, and God's sovereign blessing none of them will ever come to pass.  Let me share the things that caused us all to leave excited.

Psalm 71:18 has guided this pastor, and our fellowship, for many years.
Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. 
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
 your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Your Ministry Board has accepted King David's prayer to focus on the next generation.  It is exciting to sit in a room of people in the "graying" category, who are willing to lay aside their personal needs and tastes, and look to the generation coming along behind them.

To that end we are praying and searching for a Worship Leader with the ability to reach down several musical generations, to those who are coming along behind us.  I praise God that Frank Zummo will continue to bless us with his guitar, percussion instruments, and rocker voice.  I love him, and thank him for carrying the weight and standing shoulder to shoulder with me for the past three transitional years.  I will forever be grateful.  Now the time has come to go musically deeper and wider.

To that end we are intensifying our search for a Children's Pastor.  If we expect people to trust us with the most important dimension of their most important connection, we must be ready.  We must have a Kids Connection where parents gladly and willingly leave their children.  A place where the Kids cry when it's time to go home.  We have four great teaching teams in place, but they deserve a trained and passionate leader.

To that end we need a building of our own where we can stage a sanctuary for modern worship, and design the coolest and funnest Kids space ever.  I want to see kids running wild, climbing, exploring, and learning about Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

To that end Pastor Chris is looking for a large, modern, creative, vibrant, dynamic, effective, and growing church where he can do a 10 hour per week internship for the next six months.  In his own words, Chris "has been raised in small classic Baptist churches."  It is one thing to read about where you want to go, an entirely different thing to go there, because you have been there.  Chris is going to go and soak like a dry sponge in one place, so he can come back and water our evolution.

To that end Pastor Paul is going to press ahead hard to finish his Doctor of Ministry degree by the December 2014 deadline.  His project will revolve around training people to utilize JumpStart in the disciple making, mentoring process.  He will continue to preach, teach, visit Life Groups, Mentor, and dream about the future with the awesome members of our church.  His door is open to anyone who would like to meet and talk about their place in the process.

Our core mission is to be a church who is raising up authentic

Our core method is

Our core target is
the next generation of young men and women who have not yet experienced the saving grace and transformational power of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ!

This is the most important blog I have written in a long time.  I pray you read it, pray about it, give your tithes and offerings to support it, and share it with everyone in your OIKOS.

Harold Weitsz told us, while we were with him in Africa, that when the time came at NorthPoint it would be like the changing of the tide.  God has times and seasons.  God prepares people, and churches, according to His own plans.  God does not serve us, we serve Him.  I sense God leading, and the tide turning.

Pray, give, and be a part of what God is doing at NorthPoint.

I love you all,

Thursday, December 5, 2013


There is something about Christmas that makes us think about what we have, and do not have.  I know it should not work this way, but I think it does.  Maybe it is shopping for people we love.  People we would really like to bless.  But looking into our empty bank accounts.  Maybe it is working on our house, or trying to fix a car that unexpectedly broke something really expensive.  Maybe it is the burning desire to help our kids beat the pressure of life, business, and house hunting.

Maybe it is simply evaluating where we are in life.  What have we done?  What do we have?  What have we built, or saved?  What are our prospects for the future?  What legacy will we leave?  How much longer do we have to truly accomplish things and make a difference?

Or maybe we begin to reflect on the Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda's.  What could I have done differently?  What should I have done differently?  What would I do if I could go back and have a do over?  This road can lead us into a very dark and unproductive place.

In the midst of those Christmas thoughts I encountered a C. S. Lewis quote that reduced me to thankful tears.  I pray it does for your heart what it did for mine!

“It is not your business to succeed, but to do right.
When you have done so the rest lies with God. ... 
Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves
as a higher tribunal than Him."

All of us want to be the person who wins.  We want to run the ball into the end zone for the touchdown that wins the game.  We want to sink the three pointer that puts us into the finals.  I want to be remembered as the farmer who brought in the record harvest, not the guy who always smelled like manure in early spring.  But God isn't going to judge us by the magnitude of the harvest if our call and gifting is turning the soil and spreading the dung.  In fact, if the plowing does not get done, and if the manure does not get thrown, there will never be a great harvest!

The writer to the Hebrews adds to the case by declaring...   All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.  Hebrews 11:39 (NLT)   Imagine having great faith, a great reputation, a record of obedience and tremendous effort for God, and yet your legacy ended on the 20 yard line!  You struggled, toiled, were successful, yet never saw the finish line.

I am massively encouraged by Lewis and Hebrews.  My job is to do my very best.  My job is to do what is right with all the strength and persistence God Almighty gives me.  My job is to plow the field and spread the manure even if I never taste one bite of the harvest.  And when I have run as fast and hard as I possibly can, exhausting every shred of energy in my body, mind, and soul, then I must accept that "the rest lies with God."  

I must remember, as Ralph Neighbour told me in a raised voice,
"Your problem is that your not God." 
So this Christmas ask yourself only one question.  Have you done, to the very best of your ability, what you, before God, believe to be right?  If you have, then be at peace and rest in the results that God brings!  Otherwise, you have taken away His right to judge, and placed that responsibility on your own shoulders.  A place it never belonged!

I love you all,
and pray that God richly blesses each and every one of you
with all you need for life and living
out of the abundance of His grace and mercy!

In Jesus name,