Get Connected  





I was in 6th grade Spanish class, with Mrs. Z presiding. She wasn’t someone to be trifled with. A friend and I got talking – and became so engrossed in our conversation that we didn’t notice when Mrs. Z stopped teaching. Or when she waited for us to get quiet. Or when she called on us to answer a question. Or when she waited again. Or when she walked down the row of desks to right where we were at the back of the room. Or when she stood over us and waited yet again.

Suddenly we both noticed the shaking shadow leaning over our desks. With terror we looked up into her red face with pulsing veins protruding as she shouted, "IF IT WASN’T AGAINST THE…"

I think she was telling the truth.

Thankfully, Arizona had strict laws against killing 11-year-olds, so instead we ended up in the principal’s office.

He wasn’t nearly as scary as Mrs. Z.

A couple years later I got my first job delivering the early morning Arizona Republic newspaper. Mrs. Z was on my route. Delivering to her house before 5am, and having to collect money at her door, I learned something about her life. Married to an alcoholic, I’d often see her asleep in a chair or sofa as I dropped off the paper on the front porch. When collecting I’d actually pray to meet her at the door, rather than him.

Sometimes it’s hard to forgive. Sometimes it’s harder to ask for forgiveness. Sometimes knowing the whole story helps.

I like the way Paul put it in Romans 12:17-18. Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.  Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. NLT   

See you Sunday!





w date

There was a revival – I think it was in Tibet. Empower Ministries was there, and I remember asking their president, Ron Pierce what their ministry needed. "Elephants -- to get the gospel out, we need more elephants."

In 2003, when our troops went into Iraq, Samaritans Purse followed and handed out shoeboxes like we supply at Christmas. This was planned in the months leading up to the invasion, but Franklin Graham knew the shoeboxes themselves needed to be followed up by a personal witness. So, he contacted Ron, and Empower Ministries trained Arab believers in neighboring countries to follow the shoeboxes with the message of Christ.

Ron will be here THIS COMING SUNDAY, February 12, speaking at our 10am service, and doing a Q & A at 6pm in our Worship Center. He’s a fantastic story teller, his stories make you jealous for what God is doing around the world, giving a fresh desire to see God work in powerful ways here.

I got to know Ron in Canada, and have always wanted to bring him here, but Cottonwood just seemed too small to pull it off. But, now that we have merged, this opportunity opened. You can check out his ministry here.

Come Sunday morning, and if Ron is anything like I remember, you will want to be there Sunday night.



Rev 5:9 (NIV2011)  And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."


correction banner

Humbly Give and Receive Spiritual Correction


What’s more difficult for you – to give correction - or to take it? 

Aaron is speaking with me this week, here is what he wrote about giving correction. . .   

"My wife likes to call me ‘Actually’ as a nickname. Why? Because I have this bad habit of correcting people on matters of fact, grammar, trivia, etc. These corrections usually start with me saying, ‘Actually…’ hence the nickname. Some of my favorite things to catch people on include:

         Saying ‘good’ when they mean ‘well’

         Correcting pronunciation

         Any historical fact, ever

         And pretty much anything else anyone says or does wrong when they are around me.

Annoying, right? It turns out that giving correction is not as easy as it seems. There are right and wrong times to correct someone. There are right and wrong ways to do it. Sometimes it is desperately needed, and other times it is quite inappropriate. Who knew? 

The same goes for giving scriptural correction. As Christians, we are called to keep each other accountable, but what does this look like? When is the right time? What are the right words? What areas warrant scriptural correction in the first place?"   

Of course, taking correction isn’t easy either, with right and wrong ways to take it, as well. As Aaron would say, "Who knew?" Join us this Sunday as we tackle Heart Attitude number three, "I will humbly give and receive scriptural correction." See you there!" 


2 bannerI will live an honest and open lifestyle.

Liar, liar – but my pants never caught on fire – so what’s the big deal? Well, like every command from God, when we disobey Him, it’s bad for us.

According to US News, Anita Kelly, a psychology professor at the University of Notre Dame, spent 10 weeks tracking the health of 55 liars.

She took 110 adults, and asked half of them to stop lying, although they could still omit the truth, keep secrets, and dodge questions. Assuming the others lie as much as the rest of us, the other 55 were told to simply keep track of the number of lies they told each week. Everyone filled out questionnaires about their relationships and physical and mental health.

The results? After 10-weeks, those instructed to tell the truth reaped more health improvements. "When they told more lies, their health went down. And when they told the truth, it improved." Telling three fewer lies a week, even minor ones, translated to four fewer mental health, and three fewer physical complaints.

There was plenty more to the study, but the core truth rings true: When we disobey Him, it’s bad for us. This Sunday we look at Heart Attitude #2: I Will Live an Honest and Open Lifestyle. Hope to see you here!

Passage: Ephesians 4

Verse: 1 Peter 3:10 Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. NIV


skinny bannerQuestions and Heart Attitudes

I’ve had some great questions come across my desk recently. The blog seemed like a handy way to answer them, in case others were wondering the same thing. Here they are:

Are we really paying the mortgage off in March 2016?

Uh, no. That was a misprint in the original budget sheets put on the back table. It’s been corrected to say that to pay off our $600,000 mortgage by July 2023, we need to pay an extra $36,000 a year. Paying extra would keep us from having to refinance the remainder of the mortgage in six years, and save us about $100,000. Maybe it was a prophecy?

Are we going to fix the parking lot?

Yuppers! When is the issue. We had $3300 come in the Christmas Offering towards the lot; the total cost will be $20,000 to $30,000. We have the money, but we also have a domino of issues to answer before we pave. Our storage container is on the lot, and we would love to move it behind the Annex before work is done. But, to do that, we have to put down some concrete so that the container doesn’t rest on dirt. But, to do that, we need an engineer to deal with our drainage issue and lake forming behind the Annex. Reinaldo and I thought a kids Sunday bucket bigrade would be good training, but we got out-voted.

When are we going to two services?

We have some space issues, and our poor children’s department has kindly been taking the brunt of the changes in trying to get us all to fit. Our biggest issues are room for our children, security for children (improved already with one designated building for them) room for adult fellowship (when weather keeps us from using the breezeway), and sometimes parking and seating. We could always enlarge the Worship Center, enclose the breezeway, expand children’s and add parking instead – if we could just get Zuckerberg to church. In truth, we want to know this is totally warranted, our best if not only option, and have the support staff in place before going forward.

There is another temporary option – for helping the adult area anyway. Our sermon series starting Sunday is on our Heart Attitudes. The first one is, I Will Put the Goals and Interests of Others Above My Own. If we came early, sat close to the front and in the middle of the rows, that would make a huge difference. There would be room for others who come later to sit together as families, without going half-way up to the front and crawling over us sitting by the aisles.

Did we sell the Cottonwood Portable equipment?

One trailer with empty carts inside sold for $7800. The other one is full of carts and audio video equipment, and is worth a lot more. Unfortunately, we still own it. If you are looking to start a church, we can set you up!

What are Heart Attitudes?

So glad you asked! Come Sunday and find out.