Keeping our minds on things above and enjoying life on earth.

~Pastor Brian

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You are the reason for the season!

Dec 19, 2013,   BY Pastor Brian Gobar   IN Faith, Lifestyle

You are the reason for the season!

Yes, you read that right. YOU are the reason for the season. I know, I know, that’s almost blasphemy to most Christians because from buttons to bumper stickers we’ve been told that Jesus is the reason for the season.


Now, before you pick up a rock to stone me, let me explain. First, let me say that, yes, I agree that Jesus is the reason for the season. Christmas is not about a fat-bearded man in a red suit, and it’s not about the endless commercialism that this season brings (although an Xbox One would be nice). Christmas is first and foremost about an angelic proclamation – Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. (PB paraphrase of Luke 2:9-10)


So, yes, this season is all about celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, but let me ask:  Why is it that Jesus came to planet earth in the first place? Why was He born of a virgin in an obscure little town? Why would God send His one and only Son to earth?


It’s because God loves you, and me, and this whole world. It’s because of this well-known verse …


For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)


In Luke’s account of the angel’s proclamation he said – unto YOU is born this day a Savior. This Savior was born for, or because of, you. This Redeemer was born because of the great love that His Father had for you. So you see, in a way Christmas really is all about YOU! What a great line to share with someone – you do realize that Christmas really is all about me, right? And then you can tell them that Christmas is about them too.

This message changes people. From the first century through today, when people realize the God Who created the heavens and earth, Who spun the galaxies into orbit keeping them moving rhythmically together, is the same God Who loves and cares about them ― it will revolutionize their lives. It will change the way they approach God.


Christmas really is about you, and me, and us…everybody. It’s for all people. Red, yellow, black and white, rich and poor, deserving and undeserving, from the greatest to the least … all are precious in His sight. And for those of us that know and have received this love, we also know that not everyone knows this.


So let us live to tell that story! Christmas is all about you – you really are the reason for the season!


With Joy,

Pastor Brian

Have you got your keys?

Jun 8, 2013,   BY Pastor Brian Gobar   IN Lifestyle

I am often reminded that I have a bad habit of leaving my keys in my car. I’m not sure why I do that but I justify it by saying it’s more convenient and besides it’s only when my car is in the garage… or my driveway. And … well … I probably shouldn’t do that. Why? Because someone could steal my car of course! And keys are really important.

I remember my very first car and the keys on that lucky rabbit’s foot key chain. My first car was a very beat up Chevy Impala that I had purchased for $50. None of that mattered though because with those keys in my hand a whole new world opened up to me. Suddenly I could go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted. No more trying to borrow someone’s car or begging someone for a ride. Because it was all mine!

Something else came with those keys though. Responsibility because it was all mine! That $50 car still needed gas and oil and soon a battery, and then something was wrong with the carburetor. And imagine my surprise when I discovered it was still fast enough to get me a speeding ticket!

Here’s my point.

Those keys gave me two things that taught me a powerful lesson.

The keys gave me
• Authority (which I welcomed)
• Responsibility (which I was unprepared for)

The Lesson
• By accepting the keys I had to learn I accepted BOTH the authority and responsibility


The car was mine so I could go where I wanted when I wanted – that’s authority. And when it needed gas, oil or repair – it was mine – that’s responsibility.

Keys are wonderful things whether it’s for a new home, a new car or you’re given a key on the job. In each situation when you accept the key you accept both the authority and the responsibility that comes with that key.

Let’s say you’ve been given the keys to a building. You need to understand the parameters of the authority and responsibility you have. Is your job to make sure the building is open to customers or do you lock the door to keep the building and its contents safe? Maybe it’s both? Keys bring authority and responsibility.

So … what do you suppose God meant when he said …

Matthew 16:19 (AMP)19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven.

Jesus gave His church the keys to the Kingdom. When you said yes to Jesus in your life you were given keys. Not just any keys but the keys of the Kingdom. And when you accept the keys you accept both the authority and responsibility that comes with the keys! But here’s the most important question. Do you understand the parameters of the authority and the responsibility that these key’s bring?

So let me ask you again … Have you got your keys?



Oatmeal Man

May 11, 2013,   BY Pastor Brian Gobar   IN Connecting

I have discovered the peace and solitude of a little family-type restaurant called “The Copper Lantern.” On some occasions, Shelly and I will have a “date” morning and enjoy breakfast together. Other mornings, I’ll go alone and enjoy coffee with time to read, dream, and reflect.

I’ve noticed over the few months of doing this that there are many “regulars” like myself. There’s a group of 4-6 guys who trade stories of golf or fishing every morning. There’s another group of guys at the counter catching up with each other as they start their day. There are police officers and highway patrolmen, business people, families, and people just like myself having breakfast. Some are alone. One such loaner I named “oatmeal” man. Oatmeal man is an elderly gentleman that always orders oatmeal. I discovered him one morning as I was deep in my meditative thoughts. Actually, I first became aware of a clanking, clinking sound. As I looked around the restaurant, I soon realized that the culprit was … oatmeal man! It’s amazing how obnoxious and distracting the sound of a metal spoon clinking in a glass bowl can shatter the peaceful solitude of an early morning cup of coffee. Some mornings I would be reading, or Shelly and I would be having breakfast and suddenly there was the noticeable sound of a clank, clank, clink, and there he was. Over the next few weeks, I became more aware of oatmeal man, and I made it a point to watch for him. I thought to myself from the relative safety of my booth, “this man is rude and obnoxious.” Doesn’t he realize how obnoxious he is? But over time I began to notice something else. Anytime anyone would walk by, he’d look up – intently – almost childlike as if to ask – do you see me? Do you know I’m here? I thought to myself, bud, the whole restaurant knows you’re here! As I thought about oatmeal man, I wondered, is he always alone? What’s his name? Is he married? Is his wife housebound or perhaps has she passed away? Maybe his clanking spoon is his way of asking, do I really matter anymore, maybe his obnoxious noise was so that someone somewhere would acknowledge his existence.

I wonder how many times we experience people who are obnoxious and loud, clanking their way through life. From a safe distance, we notice their activity and wonder why they act like they do. Maybe they’re lonely. Maybe they wonder if anyone even notices them. With each clank they’re asking, am I alive? Am I valuable? Do I matter anymore?

I realized it’s really not enough to tell people that God loves them. I can’t just quote a few scriptures at them as I quietly think to myself, quit clanking your spoon!

Yes, people need to know that God loves them. God knows them and cares about them. But more importantly, God needs people willing to leave the safety of their side of the restaurant and engage people in a meaningful way. Their clanking spoon may be a cry asking someone to notice them, care for them, or express God’s love to them – Selah.


. . . Today, I bought Clarence his oatmeal.

oatmeal photo credit


Guest Blog Post: Rev. Tony Cooke

May 3, 2013,   BY Guest Author   IN Faith

We are privileged to have Rev. Tony Cooke with us this weekend for our Sunday service and also at Elevate on Monday night. Rev. Cooke is an author and wonderful bible teacher, teaching and ministering in 46 states and 26 countries. The following article was written by Rev. Cooke and I think it will help give you a flavor of his style.

Pastor Brian

What Does “I’m Not Under the Law” Really Mean?

When a believer says, “I’m not under the law,” we usually assume that the person is really saying, “I’m not under the law of Moses.” This reflects an accurate understanding of Scripture. Even a casual study of Romans and Galatians will support this. For example, Paul was clearly speaking about the law of Moses when he wrote:

Romans 3:19-20 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Galatians 2:16 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Galatians 3:10-11 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”

But here are some important questions:

    1. Does not being “under the law” mean that Christians are lawless?
    2. Does it mean that there is no governing influence or authority in their lives?
    3. Does not being “under the law” mean that believers have no moral restraints or ethical guidelines whatsoever?

If these are examples of what a Christian means in his not being “under the law” statement, then we have a real problem relative to the rest of God’s Word. Paul said, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). Our purpose in life is not simply to be out from under the bondage of rules and regulations relative to the Old Testament; rather, God’s goal is that our lives be fully governed by the Holy Spirit, His Word, and His love.

It is essential that we understand that the word “law” in Scripture does not always refer to the law of Moses. Even in the Old Testament, Proverbs 31:26 refers to “the law of kindness.” When we move into the New Testament, we discover that the usage of the word law – referring to a guiding and governing principle – has a much broader range of meaning than simply “the law of Moses.”

    1. Romans 3:27 refers to “the law of faith.”
    2. Romans 8:2 mentions “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”
    3. Galatians 6:2 tells us to, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
    4. James 1:25 refers to “the perfect law of liberty.” (also mentioned in James 2:12)
    5. James 2:8 refers to love (loving your neighbor as yourself) as “the royal law.”

As powerful as all of these references are, perhaps the most penetrating insight that delineates “the law of Moses” from other aspects of God’s principles of governance and influence toward our lives is found in Paul’s statement…

1 Corinthians 9:21 (NLT) 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.

Notice that Paul differentiates “the Jewish law” from “the law of God” and the “law of Christ.” If I say, “I’m not under the law” and I’m referring to the law of Moses (or as Paul calls it here, “the Jewish law”), that’s perfectly appropriate. But if I mean that I’m free to do whatever I want and I can live however I want, without any consideration for the influence of God’s Word and Spirit in my life, then I have grossly and terribly misunderstood the teaching of the New Testament.

Romans 13:8-10  …he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

It should be clearly understood that the word “law” is not a bad word in the Bible. The law of Moses could not justify us; it was never intended to. Even so, the problem was not the law itself. The problem was US!  Paul said that “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:21). He said, “…the law is spiritual…” (Romans 7:14), and again, “..the law is good if one uses it lawfully…” (1 Timothy 1:8). The law set a righteous standard to which we could not measure up. Therefore, it is our trusting in the law to save us that is futile. When we trust in our performance (which can never measure up to absolute perfection), we are trusting in ourselves and not the redemptive work of Christ. So the law of Moses, in and of itself, is good; it simply revealed that we were not.

What is used 100% negatively in Scripture is not the concept of law, but rather the concept of lawlessness. If you get a concordance and look up lawless and lawlessness in Scripture, the references are absolutely negative. John said, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).

As Christians, we are not under the law of Moses, but we are certainly not lawless. Even the New Testament doctrine of grace, often set in contradistinction to law (see John 1:17), in no way leads a believer toward lawlessness. Paul said, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:14-15).

Why should a believer focus more on the negative than on the positive? Instead of simply saying, “I’m not under the law [of Moses],” perhaps we should consider focusing more on what actually does govern and influence our lives. Why don’t we confess this:

    1. The royal law governs me. 
    2. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus governs me. 
    3. I am under the influence of God’s love, His Spirit, His Word, and His Grace. 
    4. The law of Christ enables me to become everything God wants me to be, and empowers me to effectively carry out God’s will for my life!” 

Like Paul, we can say, “not that I am without the law of God and lawless toward Him, but that I am [especially keeping] within and committed to the law of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21, AMP).

Rev. Tony Cooke

I’m Breaking Up With You!

Mar 21, 2013,   BY Pastor Brian Gobar   IN Faith

Maybe you’ve heard about or watched this YouTube video that has gone viral, but if you haven’t take a moment and watch it to the left, because it’s pretty crazy! The video shows some thrill seekers jumping off of a cliff with a giant rope creating a HUGE rope swing. You can see them running toward and diving off of the cliff and then doing flips and spinning around all while dangling over the earth attached to a cord! The video that went viral was of a boyfriend encouraging his girlfriend to go ahead and jump. She tries to jump (unsuccessfully) several times. Finally her boyfriend gives her a shove and over the side she goes! In the midst of her screaming you hear, I’m breaking up with yooooooou!”
Which made me think of this question; when’s the last time YOU did something for the FIRST time?
Can you remember what it was or what you did? Do you remember what you felt?

  • Was it …
    • Excitement?
    • Apprehension?
    • Fear?
    • All of the above?

Or did you need a shove?
Well, that’s what I feel because right now I’m doing something for the first time!
I’ve been standing on the edge of the blogosphere reading various posts for a long time. I appreciate the people who take the time to express their thoughts and feelings. I’m impressed with the way some of them think and write. I even enjoy those times that I disagree with what they’ve written. And I’m very happy to be standing at the edge of the cliff. I’m comfortable there.

  • I’ve not really wanted to jump because of thoughts like …
    • Apprehension
    • Fear
    • Does anyone really need to know or even care about what I think?
    • How long will this take me?
    • Is it worth it?
    • Or all of the above

But like the girl in the video I’ve been pushed off of the edge and feel like I’m hanging by a rope, afraid I’m going to do a face plant on planet earth!

Welcome to my blog, welcome to my thoughts, welcome to my world. As you can see the tag line says – Keeping our minds on things above and enjoying life on earth. I believe that life is too short not to enjoy it!
What you’ll find here are heavenly things with a steady dose of earthly things. You’ll read about things happening in my life, my church, and probably a few friends and family things as well. I’ll be writing about things I wonder about, excited about and passionate about. I’m pretty sure there’ll even be a post or two about metal detecting or racquetball as well. So here I go … hopefully I won’t have to break up with you!

Are you planted, I mean, really planted?

Mar 19, 2013,   BY Pastor John Jose   IN Connecting

Breaking news – I’m turning 45 this year, and getting a little bit more reflective every day!    One of the things I think about often is people I have met along my life’s path, who could never really “connect” in churches.

(Some background info; I grew up the son of a preacher, so I have spent the majority of my life in church in some way, shape or form.)

OK, back on track now.  As I think about the folks who could never “connect”, it reminds me of a passage that has become one of my favorites.   Psalm 92:13 talks about how those that are planted in the house of the Lord, will flourish. I have found that scripture to be true. If you are one who is having trouble “connecting”, I want to challenge you to ask yourself, “Am I truly planted?”

Here are three basic questions for you to ask yourself to find the answer.

  • Is serving consistently and faithfully in the house of God a priority for me?  (By the way, I am not talking about being on a schedule once a month.)
  • Is attending services something I do each week TO LEARN? (Taking notes from my Pastor’s sermon, going back over the message during the week, whatever it takes for you to lean in and learn.)
  • Do I work at building relationships in my church, spending time with people on purpose? (Serving, attending a small group, just being hospitable and inviting someone over.)

If you answer no, to even two of those questions, unfortunately, you will probably have a hard time “connecting” wherever you try to call home.   Good news, if you get yourself truly planted, you will flourish. God said so.  If Joy is the place you call home, or want to and need help, check out the “Next Step” portion of our website, and we will do our very best to try and help you get planted!

poppies In grass photo credit