God is in Control

Dear Westside Family and Friends,

Two days ago, Sam LaCara, a local school principal was shot and killed in broad daylight.  It was a tragic and senseless experience that this community will not soon forget.  Our hearts go out to the family, friends, co-workers and students of Sam.  Many of our own church folk fit into these categories, and our hearts go out to them in this season of sadness and searching.

During times like these, we ask the deepest of questions and there seems to be no comforting answers.  These are the times that test what we are made of.  Often, the best answers are simply . . . none.  Often, the best response is a hug, a hand held tightly, or a shared tear.  Often the best prayer . . . is one offered in silence.  We will continue to hold this painful situation and those involved, in prayer.

Jesus said: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that I preached last Sunday that “God Is In Control.”  And I don’t think it was a coincidence either that while I was preaching during the first service Sunday that, unknown to me (or anyone else), my wife, Teri was having an episode of serious Stress Cardiomyopathy, a well-recognized cause of acute heart failure.  As I drove to the hospital and then followed the ambulance down to Sacramento, I had a serious discussion with God about believing what I preach.  “God Is In Control” was the topic of my sermon and the topic of this conversation with Him.  I would like to say that my arguments to God were perfectly in order and that I never once questioned His timing and wisdom, but I didn’t.  However, there was a supernatural peace that was upon me during that time.  A peace that this world cannot understand because they don’t know the One who gives us that peace.  Thank you to all those who were praying for Teri and me during those hours.  We are very grateful to God for our Westside family.

Here’s another thing that I am grateful for: Team.  I am thankful for being in team with my wife, Teri.  She is the most wonderful person for me.  She complements me and is the one person in this world that really knows me and loves me anyway.  I am grateful for the eldership team that God has gathered to lead this local church.  Together we have the rich privilege of loving and leading the most absolutely terrific flock in this entire world.

I am grateful that one of them, Logan, was able to pick my notes up with five minutes notice and preach in my place (well done, Logan).  Check out our website and see that we are both listed as preaching the same sermon: “Who’s In Charge Here?”  What an honor it is to be in team with such men of God.

I am also thankful for the ministry team at Westside: you . . . all of the dear saints who take up the challenge of impacting their spheres of influence and actually being a “Priesthood of All Believers.”  We have an army of sold out believers that are representing Jesus in the marketplace by being salt and light in a lost and hurting world.  I never tire of hearing the “naturally-supernatural” reports of God encounters happening each and every day in our region.

So, remember that God is in control.  He has never left His throne.  He has never waivered, faltered, or lost His grip.  He is our anchor, our rock and He is the One on whom we fix our sights.  Stay steady, keep it simple, and keep your servant’s hearts.

Thank you again, Westside family and our friends around the world for your steadfast commitment in bringing all the glory, honor and praise to Almighty God!

He only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:6

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Psalm 46:1-3,7

Love you guys,


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