• Speak to me

    The story of the Bible is the story of a God who seeks out people who are hiding from Him. He’s been doing that since the first humans rebelled against Him and hid in the garden He made for them to enjoy with Him.

    God is seeking people today, asking people to come into a real, living, hope-filled relationship with Him. He comes to find lost sinners. He may be knocking on the door of your heart right now. You may be someone whose life is unraveling and you need to know how Jesus is real and trustworthy and loving, all the way through your circumstance. Take note, God is here. You need to take hold of the hope He is holding out. Hope that is found in Jesus Christ alone. You need to ask God to open the eyes of your heart.

    If you have never heard this before, here is an honest statement: You are going to live forever, the only question is where.

    Father, open the eyes of my heart today. Speak to me.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • In christ alone my hope is found

    The day following the SBC in Anaheim in June, Sharon and I rented a car to drive to see Los Angeles in a “day”. By chance we drove past the Church of Scientology that many well-known actors are members. This organization tried to “recruit” me back in college. The aims of Scientology can be summed up in four words: We can fix this. Through our technology, through doing it our way, through our various stages of the “dianetic” discovery, you can be okay.

    So if you’ve got a problem, you need to know that it’s not your fault. And if you’re looking for an answer, look inside of you, because you’ll be able to fix it, or look to follow our rules or techniques, because they’ll be able to fix it. This modern religion view says, “Look into yourself, because you’ll be able to find divinity in there if you search hard enough, and you’ll sort yourself out if you find the right path and follow it well enough.”

    The Christian gospel says, “If you look into yourself, you will ultimately find only that which disappoints you and confronts you with your own ineffectiveness and your inability to fix even the simplest of the things that really matter. The problem is inside of you. It’s your fault. And so the answer must come from outside of you and not rely upon you—so it is the most wonderful news that Jesus has come in order to fix your problem.

    Father, thank You that in Christ alone my hope is found!

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Dependent

    “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit,

    because you can do nothing without Me." 

    John 15:5

    We are dependent people whether we know it or not. We are dependent on God for everything, even as simple as the next breath we take. Jesus’ approach to life rested on dependent prayer. The night before His death, in what we refer to as the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17), Jesus teaches His disciples in some of His most famous and moving words.

    If Jesus, the greatest teacher in the world, followed up His instruction by prayer (John 17:20-26), what about us? If Jesus Christ, who was set on a mission that changed not just world history, but all of eternity, took time to pray, what about us? If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, knew that He needed to pray, what about us?

    “Father, thank you for the privilege of addressing you in this way. Help me to remember that the Lord Jesus obtained this access for me through His death on the cross. Please help me to remember that I am entirely dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit as I pray, and entirely dependent on You in my life in every way. Help me to learn to pray as I pray, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

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  • Alone with god

    How happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk according to the LORD’S instruction! 

    Psalm 119:1

    We live in a “microwave society”. We like things quick and instant, because our schedules are busy. Many treat God’s Word the same way. It’s sad, but I heard said, “We spend more time with a blow dryer, fixing our hair, than we do in God’s Word.” The gospel is not, “I was a little anxious and I needed peace or, I was a little lost and needed some direction in my life or, I was somewhat poor financially and needed some cash.” No—it is, “I was blind but now I see.” It is, “I was facing judgment and in my pride I could not see it, but God humbled me, showed me my need, and gave me His mercy.” 

    Simply put, the gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over His enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy. 

    I hope that you spend time with God every day. Pastor David told the Youth on Wednesday night, “If you need a place to start, begin with Psalm 119.” Most Bibles have broken Psalm 119 into sections (though it was not originally written that way). Go slow and let God’s Word fill your mind and heart. There are so many resources available. If you need help, contact me. 

    Father, speak to me today as I hear Your Word proclaimed, and as the songs are being lifted up to worship You. Let Your Word saturate my mind so that I may become more like Jesus each day. Use me to tell others about Jesus in my home, my neighborhood, my business, and around the world. 

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • God is great

    Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything is the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all.

    2 Chronicles 29:11

    It’s been seventy years now since J.B. Phillips wrote a book which quickly became something of a Christian classic: Your God Is Too Small.

    In his book, Phillips essentially explores inadequate concepts of God that he says are present among the people of God, in a way that is not only an insult to God, but has a negative impact on their ability to follow and serve God. We doubt His power. We doubt His control. We doubt His ability to grow His kingdom by bringing people to faith. We grow angry or fearful, as though the forces of modern secularism might overcome the Creator God, or cause the end of His church. Sadly, we grow silent in our evangelism.

    So let us restore our vision of God as He really is. He is the God who in our day is still working in the lives around us, preparing them to hear the gospel and preparing them to respond to it.

    Father, I know that there is “lostness” all around. I want to be obedient to the leading of Your Spirit, and bold in my witness for You today.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski


    You know the story, King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue, ninety feet high and nine feet wide.  It was declared, “People of every nation and language, you are commanded that when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, you are to fall facedown and worship the statue.  But whoever does no fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire” (Daniel 3:4-6).


    Few people in the West bow down to golden images today, but they still exist in different forms such as cars, a boat, house, job titles, television, bank accounts, music, etc.  Be warned, they have no less a hold, and our reasons for bowing to them are no different – they look impressive, our peers are worshiping them, and our society threatens us with penalties if we do not join in.


    It is far easier to identify the idols in other cultures than in our own.  Paul Simon wrote these lyrics in the song, The Sound of Silence: “The people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made.”


    The Bible tells us that three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, would not bow down, and it enraged the king who ordered that these men be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.


    Sometimes as I read a Bible story, I wish I didn’t know how it turns out.  Imagine reading without knowing how it plays out.  What would these three men say?  What would they choose?  What would happen?  These men are facing the furnace – being burned alive.  How will they answer?


    What would you have said?  Would you have bowed down?


    Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Test me and know my thoughts!  See if there be any offensive way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. – Psalm 139:23-24

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Welcome to the Upside-Down World


    “If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).


    There is a place in Sylacauga, Alabama, that has everyone baffled.  Gravity Hill”, is located just off of Alabama US 280, on Gravity Hill Road.  When a driver arrives at the stop sign and puts their vehicle in neutral, it is mysteriously pulled uphill.  Scientists say it’s an area that looks like it’s going uphill, but really, it is going downhill.  We call it an optical illusion.


    What is not an optical illusion is the world that we live in.  It’s a world where truth is trashed and lies are lauded; where the honorable are despised and the depraved are empowered; and where sound morals and strong character are relentlessly mocked – while immorality is praised, paraded, and protected.


    Here are the lyrics to the song, Living Life Upside Down, made popular by the Christian group, TRUTH:

    What if we've fallen to the bottom of a well
    Thinking we've risen to the top of a mountain
    What if we're knocking at the gates of hell
    Thinking we're heaven bound
    What if we spend our lives thinking of ourselves
    When we should have been thinking of each other
    What if we reach up and touch the ground
    To find we're living life upside down


    The apostle Paul understood resistance as he worked to spread the truth of the gospel throughout hostile, and Gentile cultures.  His declaration is found in 2 Corinthians 4:1,  “Since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up”.        


    Father, may we continue to be brave and bold in our witness for Christ to an Upside-Down World.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • The Church Will Stand Forever

    I’ve always wonder why the Sunday commute to church isn’t like the Monday through Friday work week.  I guess I can always hope that one day there will be a traffic jam, and roads will be packed with people hurrying to get to church!  Sadly, as I drive to meet with the household of God on a Sunday, I pass hundreds of houses whose inhabitants do not give a thought to their attendance.  In fact, many in society believe the church is irrelevant for today.


    In the 1920s, Lord Reith helped to establish the BBC—the British Broadcasting Corporation—and then from 1927, he served as its first Director-General. He was a somewhat severe man from the highlands of Scotland. As the BBC began to be carried along by the tide of secularism that swept through Britain in the sixties, a young producer stood up in a meeting and said to Lord Reith that the world was changing, and that the BBC did not need to continue with its religious programming output. People were no longer interested in it, he said, and the church was becoming increasingly obsolete.  Lord Reith, who was 6’6” tall, stood up, told this young man to take his seat, and said: “The church will stand at the grave of the BBC.”


    Church attendance and membership have long been on a decline in America.  A recent Gallup poll states that for the first time in 80 years, membership in the “American church” has dropped below 50 percent.  There are many reasons for this.  Most recently because of Covid, but ultimately it is because lives are filled with other things instead of the “Main Thing”.


    Today, don't be distraught over dwindling numbers or a more and more hostile media. Instead, commit and serve your church family.  Give yourself to it.  Because, when the Lord builds His church, either in number or in maturity, through our labors, gifts, and giving, we are being used to build the only kingdom that will last forever. There is nothing coming next.  So, give your best to His kingdom. It may feel small, but it is never in vain, for His kingdom is eternal.


    Here I am Lord, use me!

    Written By: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Don’t Hang Up Your Harp

    By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. 

    There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs,

    our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 

    How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?

    Psalm 137:1-4


    The background of Psalm 137 can be found in the book of Daniel, where the children of Israel find themselves as exiles because of their disobedience to God.  For decades, the prophets had warned the rulers of Judah that their idolatry, immorality and injustice would lead to the nation’s ruin.  Here in captivity, they looked back at the good old days, and they wept.  Then they hung their harps up, for there seemed to be nothing to sing about in Babylon as they faced the taunts of their tormentors. 


    Today’s society is a good deal like the one Daniel lived in centuries ago.  The world still wants God’s people to “tow-the-line” to its standards and follow its practices.  We have the benefit of seeing the evidence of God’s grace and goodness in God’s Word.  Daniel didn’t, but without a doubt, I can say that Daniel and his friends were not conformists.  He was bold. 


    Today, many have just “hung their harps”.  Many find themselves complaining about everything, looking back to the good old days and worrying that church cannot survive the empire of aggressive secular post-Christendom.


    Here is something to think about: How will we handle the onset of persecution?  How will we handle the loss of our jobs on account of our Christian faith?  How will we handle the closing down of public worship?  Will we hang up our harps, believing that all the good things are in the rearview mirror? 


    Father, help me to remember that YOU ARE GOD, that YOU ARE in control, and that YOUR KINGDOM has no rivals.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Spiritual Warfare

    For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light, for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them.

    Ephesians 5:8-11


    Paul’s challenge in this passage is personal.  It is directed toward a never ceasing search to ensure that each aspect of a Christian’s life is built upon the clear knowledge of what is acceptable to the Lord.  In fact, every aspect of Christianity flows from that position.  It is the basis of faith, the certainty of blessings, and the confidence that God will powerfully move to destroy the enemies that hope to destroy the Christian.


    To discover what is acceptable, the Christian must pray, read and reread the Bible, and listen.  God will speak.  The answer may come through prayer, the Bible, a sermon, or a song, but God will speak.  Once you discover the will of God, be bold and turn away from the darkness. 


    Christianity is warfare.  But it is not a warfare that must be lost.  The greater weapons are the knowledge of the will of God, and the aggressive exposure of the works of darkness.  Each Christian must be involved, must a warrior.  No one can fight the battle for another.  Others can assist and support, but ultimately the individual Christian must fully commit to live according to God’s Word.  The Christian who finds the will of God and lives it will win.

  • One True God

    The God who made the world and everything in it – He is Lord of heaven and earth – does not live in shrines made by hands.  Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. – Acts 17:22-25


    If you came to my office, you would see some artifacts from places where I have been, or given from around the world.  One of those items is from a place called the Areopagus, which means “Mars Hill”.  If you traveled to Athens today, you would likely visit the Parthenon.  Across from the stately Parthenon, there is a solid granite deposit, almost four-hundred feet high.  For decades, the sloping side of the Areopagus were slick from tourists trying to climb to the top.  Finally, a stairway was built, making the climb easier and safer.  That massive rock is the same place Paul stood.  Why there? Because that was where the Athenian supreme court met.  It was there that they heard cases of homicide, dealt with issues of morality, settled unresolved conflicts and complicated legal matters.


    Take the time to read the story in Acts 17:22-34, and let Paul’s speech, which is recorded in ten verses, saturate your mind.  Imagine how Paul must have felt as he stood among them as the lone Christian.  Charles Swindoll shared these thoughts: “Think about it.  This was a window of opportunity opened by the providence of God – one that would never reopen for Paul.” 


    Father, give me the opportunity to share the gospel to someone today.  Your message is simple: As the Creator, You cannot be contained.  As the Originator, You have no needs.  As All-Knowing, You have a definite plan.  You are the One True God!

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Prompted In Prayer

    The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. – James 5:16b


    I came across this posting from Pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle on Facebook, “When you are prompted in your heart to pray for someone, don’t put it off; don’t fall asleep; don’t let yourself get distracted. You never know what they might be going through or how timely it is for you to call on the Lord for them at the very moment you feel led to do so.”


    Sharon and I have a very close friend name Jan.  She is what many would call a Prayer Warrior.  I vividly recall a story that she shared with us regarding her son, Will.  Sharon and I call him “our third son” since he spent so much time at our home.


    At the height of the war in Afghanistan, Jan was prompted to pray for Will, who was serving our country as an Army Ranger.  In fact, she texted Sharon, “Pray immediately for Will, I don’t know why.”  We certainly didn’t know what was going on halfway around the world in the middle of the night, but what we came to understand is Will was on a special op, and was resting for the night.  Asleep in his bunk, he was awakened with the urgency to move quickly.  Within seconds, insurgents fired a RPG which hit right where Will slept.


    A day later when William returned to camp, he was able to call home and the first question that came out of his mouth was, “Mom, were you praying for me?”


    We are all busy with life.  Think about how many times we tell others, “I’ll pray for you,” but quickly move on and an opportunity is missed.  Today, if you are prompted to pray … stop.  If someone asks, “Will you pray for me?” do so right there where you are with them.  Prayer is powerful!!!

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski


  • Desire

    So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory.

    Colossians 3:1-4


    I saw this bumper sticker again a few days ago: “The one who dies with the most toys wins.”  Sadly, there are many people who believe this, when in reality, the toys you gained will be left to someone else, and the only thing you can be sure of is your eternal destiny.


    Charles Swindoll tells this story –

    Dan, a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business, found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died.  The son decided that he’d need a wife with which to share his fortune.

    One evening at an investment meeting, he spotted the most beautiful woman he had even seen.  Her natural beauty took his breath.  “I may look like just an ordinary man,” he said to her, “but in a few years, my father will die, and I will inherit $65 million.”

    Impressed, the woman obtained his business card.  Three days later, she became his stepmother.


    What do you desire?  Fame and fortune?  If you’re seeking what the world has to offer, understand that it will only crowd out the truth of Scripture.  Do you desire things that are eternal?  C.S. Lewis said, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.”


    Father, I yield myself to You.  I want to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and not walk in the flesh.  Keep me from sin that constantly tries to lure me away from what You desire for me.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Strength and faithful love

    God has spoken once; I have heard this twice: strength belongs to God, and faithful love belongs to You, LORD.  For You repay each according to his works.

    Psalm 62:11-12


    While raking leaves earlier this week, I noticed our neighbors across street doing the same and packing “leaf bags”.  Last year they counted 21 bags for disposal.  I shouted out, “Hey, are you going for a record this year?!”  What was somewhat comical, ended up being a great time of ministry.  A childhood friend of theirs has aggressive cancer, and is going through extensive care at M.D. Anderson in Houston.  My neighbors asked me, “Terry, will you pray for Margaret? I know that you will!”  With the opportunity that God gave, right there in the front yard, we prayed.


    The phrase “once … twice” in verse 11, is a Hebrew way of saying “many times, repeatedly”.  David had often heard these words and the lesson they carried was written on his heart: God is powerful and God is merciful.  God’s strength and lovingkindness are sufficient for every crisis of life, for we are in the hands of God, whose omnipotent love can never fail. 


    David wasn’t afflicted with cancer, but he was facing other attacks.  Some think David wrote this psalm in the context of Absalom’s rebellion, but we can’t know for sure.  The attacks seem to have been prolonged. 


    Whatever you may be facing, health, a job crisis, or a personal relationship, this psalm teaches us the right and wrong objects of faith.  If we trust in God, we’re secure.  If we trust in men or in things, we’re depending on that which is lighter than breath (verse 9).


    Father, You did vindicate David and gave him his throne, and he reigned with great distinction.  By reading Your word, I understand that no matter what people may say or do, You keep the books, and one day will give sinner and saints the rewards they deserve.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Preparation

    For the Word of God is alive and powerful.

    It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword,

    cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.

    It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

    Hebrews 4:12

    Have you ever watched a cooking show on television? I was channel-surfing the other day and came across the reality show Top Chef. It is a TV program based on talented chefs competing against one another in culinary challenges and are judged by a panel of esteemed experts.

    What caught my attention and caused me to stop my scanning, was that the contestants were cooking steak! I enjoy a delicious fillet mignon or a sirloin, but when I saw the time they took to prepare their masterpiece with the right cut of beef, seasoning, marinade, and temperature, (all for your palate’s delight), I thought to myself, “No wonder my steaks don’t turn out like that. It’s takes too much time!”

    Careful attention to detail is even more important when preparing a Bible study, a sermon, or choosing music that will be presented to others. I’ve always told people that I must worship at my desk preparing for a Sunday, before I find myself on a platform leading others. This is what I teach young worship leaders. As the chef who has prepared the meal, you must taste it yourself before serving it to others. We must first apply the Scriptures to our own lives before we can challenge others to do the same. It is the same with music, or we may find ourselves just singing the lyrics.

    Father, let Your living Word penetrate and probe my life today. I yield myself to be examined, cleansed, and softened by You, and I’m open to Your instruction, encouragement, rebuke and correction so that I will be ready to teach Your truths and lead others.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • How Could I

    Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you,

    ‘Give me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.”

    John 4:10

    In John 4, Jesus speaks to the woman at Jacob’s well, and He invites her to drink of a well that will never run dry, a well springing up to eternal life. Being a follower of Jesus leads to a number of mysterious contrasts, one of which is the reality of being fully satisfied in Christ while always wanting more of Him.

    This past week, I was listening to the new Watermark Church release and heard the lyrics in the song, How Could I:

    If I don’t want more, did I ever really know You?

    If I don’t want more, have I really ever seen?

    If I don’t want more, can I really say, “I love You”?

    How could I, how could I, how could I?

    Over the years of ministry, I have heard many people who profess to be a believer say, “I’m a Christian, I live in America,” or “I’m a Christian, I’m Baptist.” I can tell that they are not in the Word when they have tried to convince me that Hezekiah is a book in the Bible! Yes, these are true statements. I have also talked with many who say they are followers of Jesus Christ, and yet the only time they are seen at church, is Christmas and Easter. Where is the hunger? Where is the thirst?

    If a man doesn’t want to know more of God, it is doubtful that he really knows Him at all. Think about all Jesus has done for us. How could we not desire to love, worship, seek, and live for Him? The moment we taste of this well of life eternal, we can never truly have enough.

    Jesus continued His conversation with the woman and said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.” – John 4:13, 14

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • God Knows

    LORD, You have examined my heart and know me. 

    You know when I sit down or stand up.  You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 

    You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do.

    Psalm 139:1-3


    I’ve been listening to the song, “Faithful” from the new recording by Watermark Church.  It is based on Psalm 139.  Here are some of the lyrics:

    Where can I go from Your spirit?

    Where can I hide from Your face?

    Where can I flee from Your presence?

    Where would I go, where would I go?


    The truth is, there is nowhere!  You will never hear from heaven, “Would you look at that!  Why, I didn’t know that!  Gabriel, come here and take a look!  What on earth is going on?”  That will never be God’s response.  He knows everything, which means He never learns anything.  God knows everything about everyone and everything.  This is what we know as the doctrine of omniscience.


    I’ve heard people pray to God as if they need to inform Him of what’s going on.  He knows all about us, so we don’t need to inform God of anything.


    Think about this, if there is nowhere we can go from His presence, that also means we can never outrun His mercy, His love, His grace, and His faithfulness.  Nowhere.  2 Timothy 2:13, says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”


    Father, as Your child, I thank You that I’m known by You.  No matter the sin, no matter the struggle, the hurt, or the history, there is nothing that can trump Your faithfulness.  

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Application

    Be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. – James 1:22-24


    As you study the Word … whether that be in a congregational setting, small group, or private study; the uttermost part in searching the Scriptures is to discover ways the truth applies to our lives.  If we fail to apply what we’ve studied, we deprive ourselves of the magnificent truth of the Word, which is meant to nourish us.


    Charles Swindoll put it this way, The Bible was not given to satisfy idle curiosity; it was given to transform our lives.  God’s desire is that we probe, observe, examine, evaluate, and determine what’s genuine to make a careful decision regarding areas of our lives that need our attention.  Far too many people fail to apply the Scriptures, which explains why some believers live with a sour attitude even though they’ve known the Lord for decades.


    One of the greatest heartbreaks any pastor must deal with is ministering to the same people in a congregation week after week, month after month, year after year, and observing that there is no visible, lasting change in many of them.  So many are still walking in the flesh.  So many seek their own ways.  These are indications that the truth of God’s Word is not being applied.  God’s plan is clear, He wants us to become like Christ.


    Father, may I apply Your Word in my life so that I can become more and more like Your Son, Jesus Christ.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Jesus Might Come Today

    When I traveled with the Christian Contemporary group, Eternity, we sang a song entitled, “Jesus Might Come Today”.  Here are some of the lyrics:

    Jesus might come today;

    The thought of it simply takes my breath away.

    He might come when I’m walkin’, or watchin’, or weepin’ –

    Jesus might come today.


    Christians have asked for centuries; If you knew that Christ would come tomorrow, how would you spend your last 24 hours on earth?  Here’s another question.  Would you want to be doing something that doesn’t glorify God at the moment Christ appears?


    The topic of End Times has been an interest for years, and for the past two weeks with the events in Europe, there is not a day that goes by that I haven’t had a discussion, or at least a conversation, with someone on the matter.  But if we knew Jesus was coming back within 24 hours (and He might), would that change our nature, urgency, or subject matter of our conversations?  In some cases, would we seek forgiveness for our sin?  Maybe we would seek reconciliation where a break in a relationship had occurred.  And most important of all, we might need to share the Gospel with someone who is not ready to meet our Lord face to face.


    Father, may I live today and every day knowing that Jesus will return, and it could be today!

    Written By: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Time … A Great Gift from God

    The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.

    Psalm 33:11


    This is a crazy world that we live in!  Just as one pandemic is in our rearview mirror, I recently read an article that quoted a billionaire saying, “Another pandemic is on the horizon”.  The stock market bounces like a “super ball” that I used to play with years ago, and now, “military exercises” have commenced in Europe.  I’ve never seen our world as it is today.


    Many people like to live in the past or at least reminisce about it.  I’ve heard many comments like: Those were the good ol’ days.  Personally, I think today is a good day … it is a great day to be alive and live out this purpose of a redeemed life!


    God has appointed every person for his or her ordained time, and our place in history is no accident.  The Lord, who makes no mistakes, plans the details of our lives, including the moment we enter the world and the moment we leave it.  Think about it, right now you are living your appointed time.  You are here, at this moment, because God appointed it.  It was true for David, Esther, Job, Jeremiah, and even Jesus, for He himself said, “For this purpose I came to this hour” (John 12:27).


    To make sense of our lives and our times, we have to acknowledge we are here on this planet, in the will of God, in the timing of God, and for the purposes of God.  If that’s true, you should seize your calling to the world around you.  It’s exciting to serve Him now, in times like these!


    Father, open my eyes that I may see the opportunities You have placed before me to serve You.

    Written By: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • JOY

    For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

    Philippians 1:21


    I am beginning the study of Philippians.  I have read and studied through this book many times.  If you have never read through this book “slowly”, let me encourage you to do so.  Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “If you master … Philippians, then you should enjoy a happy Christian life!”  Many theologians refer to this book as the “joy epistle”.  It pinpoints the joy-stealers; shows why you don’t need to worry; and outlines the secret of contentment.


    A famous comic strip went like this: “I love mankind; it’s people I can’t stand!”  I heard this once at a convention filled with pastors: “Ministry would be great if it wasn’t for people!”  People can rob us of joy, and yes, even in the church.


    The secret of joy in spite of circumstances is the single mind.  The secret of joy in spite of people is the submissive mind.  Christian unity results when believers develop the mind of Christ.  How does one develop the mind of Christ?  Simply by getting into His Word.  Also, get a good study to compliment your reading.  If believers will allow the outlook of Christ to guide their lives, harmony will be assured in all areas of life.


    Thank you for ten years of ministry here at UBC!  Thank you for your kind comments, texts and emails. 

    The apostle Paul said it best:

    I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.


    Paul went on to say,

    I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:3-6).


    There is still so much work to do!

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • LOVE

    Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).


    The passage today is an accurate description of God’s love for you.  It is often read at weddings, and it makes sense that people use this passage to commit their lives to each other and strive to have their love for one another reflect these qualities.


    Many of us know the famous line, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways from the collection, “How Do I Love Thee?” (Sonnet 43) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning - 1806-1861.  So, let’s do a little exercise by filling in the blank, “I love God because …”  Now, let’s try that in reverse, “God loves me because …”  If we are honest, it is pretty difficult.  I’ve shared this many times, “I can think of a million reasons why I love God, but I can’t think of one reason why He loves me.” 


    I’m glad that He does! 


    God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die on a cross as a payment for our sin.  If we would accept Jesus as our Savior, by faith alone, God promises us salvation and the forgiveness of our sin through Jesus Christ.  And one day, we will spend eternal life with Him forever.  Now, can you imagine being loved like this? It will change your life.


    If you want to receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, then call on Him asking Him for this gift right now. Here’s a suggested prayer:


    “Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gift of eternal life. I know I’m a sinner and do not deserve eternal life. But You loved me so You died and rose from the grave to purchase a place in Heaven for me. I now trust in You alone for eternal life and repent of my sin. Please take control as Lord of my life. Thank you so much!”


  • Discipleship

     When Philip ran up to the chariot, he heard the Ethiopian official reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”  “How can I,” replied the official, “unless someone guides me?”  So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

    Acts 8:30-31


    I have sung many times in Spanish.  In college, I had to sing in different languages to pass my “proficiencies” for graduation.  I led music in Honduras for a Pastor’s Conference, and presented concerts across the border, learning all my music by phonetics.  I certainly am not bilingual; in fact, I have told many people that “I know enough Spanish to get me in trouble.” 


    One particular day, I was in a Spanish-speaking church and the speaker was teaching in Spanish. 

    Since I only know English, I’m grateful for Joe, a friend of mine whom I used to sing with, who is bilingual. During this church service, the speaker said something and the people laughed in response.  Then he said something else, and the people responded with an “Ooh” – clearly something profound was said.  The rest of the audience was getting the message, while I was sitting there with a blank look.  I remember Joe leaning over and asking, “Do you understand what you’re hearing?”  “No, I don’t understand,” I replied; “I need an interpreter to explain what’s being said.”  As I said before, I am grateful for my friend, who in this case, translated the message, enabling me to understand.


    As I read this incredible story in the book of Acts, I see one important fact: Interpreting the Scriptures has to do with understanding what has been written.  I’m thankful for the mentors that I have had in my life who have led me through the Bible, as well as through music.  Discipleship begins in a couple weeks.  Will you be a mentor?  Will you make yourself available to help others understand the Scriptures?


    The end of the story can be found in Acts 8:35 – Philip proceeded to tell the Ethiopian official the good news about Jesus, beginning with Isaiah 53:7-8, the passage that he was reading; which led to his baptism.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski


    LORD my God, You have done many things – Your wondrous works and Your plans for us;

    none can compare with You.  If I were to report and speak of them,

    they are more than can be told.

    Psalm 40:5


    I’ve spent my share of time in libraries: the local city library, college, Presidential and even the Library of Congress.  I have to confess that it’s not my favorite place to be.  It’s too quiet.  I’m the one who the librarian usually has to say, “Sh-h-h-!”


    I wonder, “if God had a library, what would it look like?” I could read God’s Word and say, “Yep, You certainly have done a lot!”, then go on with my busy schedule, and fail to see what He has to say to me each day.  But as I stop to think about the passage above, I cannot help but praise Him for all He’s done for me.  God’s attributes are numerous.  His faithfulness, goodness, love, and friendship.  He is my salvation, provider, shelter, peace, and deliverer.  This list could go on. There is so much of Him!  


    The Apostle John put it this way, “This is the disciple of who testifies to these things and who wrote them down.  We know that His testimony is true.  And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if every one of them were written down, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written” (John 21:24-25).


    If God does have a library, there is only the need for one book.  You need to check it out.  It is the greatest book of all time … God’s Word.  I guarantee that you will be not be disappointed.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • This World Is Not My Home

    For I am here with You as an alien, a temporary resident like all my ancestors. – Psalm 39:12


    I have heard it said many times: “I’m just a pilgrim, passing through”,  or “As believers, we are heavenly beings living out an earthly existence.”  I can still recall Jeffrey coming home one day from elementary school saying, “My teacher says that she’s an alien!”  Movies like, “Star Trek”, “Independence Day”, and “Space Jam” captivated the minds of children.  It was a great tactic to get the attention of a bunch of fifth graders!


    As Jeffrey would tell us daily how his day went, he would continue to tell Sharon and me, “My teacher still thinks she’s an alien”.  One day, this passage of Scripture came to mind.  I’ve read it so often … even this morning.  I remember telling Jeffrey, “Ask your teacher if she is a believer in Jesus Christ”.  In short, he did and she replied, “You figured it out!”


    Whether it be from the lyrics of a song, a sermon preached in the near-distant past, or as in my case, a personal story, we need to all be reminded as believers that, “this is not my home!”


    This world only offers that which will decay, depreciate, and be destroyed.  Pilgrims don’t get attached to the country they’re passing through. They have a destination in mind, and they look forward to getting there.


    Father, may I always be found sharing the Word, and bringing others “home”.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Mercy

    “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” – Luke 1:50


    If you are like my family, we read the Christmas story before the distribution of presents.  I have to admit, even with a family of pastors and the anticipation of opening the gifts, (especially with squirmy grandchildren who are ready to tear in), God’s Word can somewhat be overlooked.  As I was reading from the Book of Luke today, I wanted us to see His mercy, which is new every day (Lamentations 3:22-23).


    In our text, which many call this passage the Magnificat or Song of Mary, Mary mentioned the mercy of God in her song of praise before she gave birth to Jesus. The Christmas story is all about mercy! God is love, and the Bible says that “He delights in mercy” (Micah 7:18, emphasis added). He had already shown His mercy and lovingkindness before the coming of our Savior to this earth. We see it in the Psalms of David, and we see it in the longsuffering of God towards the people of Israel, even when they disobeyed.


    But when Jesus was born, it was the ultimate outpouring of the mercy of God. It was what God had intended from the foundation of the world. He gave His only Son to come and live a life of perfect righteousness and then to pay the debt for sins He never committed. It was for your sins and mine that He gave His life. The righteous requirements of a just God were thus fulfilled. Through His death on Calvary, Jesus restored our relationship with the Father.


    Father, I thank You for inviting me to freely approach Your throne of grace, daily, to receive the mercy I need.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • He Loves Us, Oh How He Loves Us

    For the LORD disciplines the one He loves,

    just as father disciplines the son in whom he delights.

    Proverbs 3:12


    This past week as my children were visiting for the holidays, one of my boys was sharing with my son-in-law about a particular incident that happened years ago on the topic of discipline.  During a Sunday morning service when my children were in middle school, I was leading the prayer time.  I glanced over to the front row and saw my boys talking and misbehaving with one of their friends.  While I was praying, I simply walked-off stage, made my way over to the boys, and thumped them all on the head!  Jeffrey went on to say, “Dad kept right on walking back to the stage, continuing to pray, and didn’t ever miss a beat!”


    I asked Jeffrey, “What did you learn?”  He quickly replied, “Beware of someone with a cordless microphone!”  We all laughed, but the lesson learned was now something that I see my children teaching their children.  (Not that my grandchildren need “thumping”, but we all need discipline).


    I’m sure that many of us can remember an episode when we “acted up” in church.  I can still remember my mother clearing her throat when she wanted my attention, and that was even when the choir and congregation were singing, along with the orchestra playing!  To others around me it meant nothing, but to me that noise was resounding.  I still remember the “come to Jesus meeting” I had when I got home!


    Like I said, we all need discipline.  The writer of Proverbs (4:1-2) says, “Listen, sons to a father’s discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding, for I am giving you good instruction.  Don’t abandon My teaching.”  Why?  Because He loves us.


    Father, let the teaching and reading of Your Word saturate my life that I may know You more each day, and show the world of Your great love.

  • Discipline and Diligence

    Happy New Year! Traditionally, this is the time when resolutions are made.  Mine is always to lose weight, exercise more and eat healthier, but I usually give in to Rudy’s BBQ, Peach Palace and cookies!  However, there is one decision that I have kept for about 40 years, and that is reading the Bible through in a year.  There is one thing that I have learned doing this, and that is, it takes time.


    Charles Swindoll tells a story that his oldest daughter shared with him one day, “In tongue and cheek, when the kids were little, I would say, ‘Okay, kids, supper’s ready,’ and upon hearing this, they’d all hop in the car to go to a restaurant.”  That’s the quick and easy way.  To prepare a meal ourselves is a completely different story.


    Think about it.  First, you have to make a grocery list.  That means you must first consider what the menu will be.  You have to think about what’s nutritious as well as what you can afford.  After finding and purchasing everything, you come home and must face the work of preparation.  You need to peel, clean, chop, cook, bake, broil, or fry, whatever you have decided to eat.  (Here in Texas, we fry most of our meals!)  If you don’t learn these steps, you’ll be eating someone else’s cooking.


    That’s the same reason some people remain biblically illiterate.  Those who don’t learn to prepare their own meals from the Scriptures simply don’t know what God’s Word has to say.  Our souls crave more food than just the nourishment we get in an hour on a Sunday morning.


    This year, join me in reading the Bible through in a year.  Be a part of a discipleship class and/or Connect Group.  Join a prayer group.  It is all about Jesus!

  • 1818

    I enjoy history.  I enjoy listening to the “Those Were The Days” segment on the local talk-radio station in the morning as I drive to UBC.  I also like hearing who I share a birthday with, and “No, it was not in 1818”!


    In the year of 1818, James Monroe was President, and the Brooks Brothers opened its first store.  Also, the U.S. Congress adopted the flag of the United States as having 13 red and white stripes and one star for each state (20 stars), with additional stars to be added whenever a new state is added to the Union.  Later in the year, Illinois was admitted as the 21st state.


    In the country of Austria, the newly constructed Church of St. Nicholas opened in 1818.  Father Joseph Mohr prepared for the midnight Christmas Eve service, only to find out that the church organ was broken, thus ruining prospects for that evening’s carefully planned music.


    It has been said that our problems are God’s opportunities.  The book of Romans tells us, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  It came into Father Joseph’s mind to write a new song, one that could be sung organ-less.  Quickly, he wrote the words, “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright …”.  Taking the text to his organist, Franz Gruber composed a simple tune, and on December 24, 1818, “Silent Night” was sung for the first time.


    Think about it … if were not for a broken organ, there would have never been a “Silent Night.”


  • Away in A Manger

    And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him tightly in cloth

    and laid Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available to them.

    Luke 2:7


    There is a great mystery in hymnology regarding the author of this famous carol.  Over the years, many have attributed this song to the great German Reformer, Martin Luther, and is sometimes known as Luther’s Cradle Hymn.  However, when this carol was first published in 1887, no author was named. Today, it is America’s favorite children’s carol, and has been noted to be sung to over forty-one different tunes!

    As we sing this beautiful hymn, be reminded of a humble birth for a King.  The word manger, indicates that the family was forced to stay in a stable, or perhaps a cave that served as a stable, because there was no other room available in Bethlehem.


    Father, as I worship You, and reminisce on the Christmas story, may I never turn You away.  May I always make room for You in my heart.

    Written by: Terry Samplaski

  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

    Charles Wesley’s “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” is one of the most popular Christmas carols today.  It can even be heard in both of the classic films, It’s a Wonderful Life and A Charlie Brown ChristmasWhen Wesley wrote this carol in 1739, he had no idea it would become famous. He first named it “Hark, how all the welkin ring,” welkin being an archaic English term for the heavens. When George Whitefield published it in 1753, he changed the first line to read, “Hark! The herald angels sing,” and so it has remained that way ever since.


    Charles Wesley’s hymn is rich in theology. It mentions many of the names and titles of Christ: King, Lord, Prince of Peace, Sun of Righteousness, Everlasting Lord, Desire of Nations, Incarnate Deity, and Emmanuel. After the first stanza’s call to praise “the new-born King,” the following stanzas celebrate the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the resurrection of the body, and the truth of the new birth.


    As we sing this Christmas carol, there are two phrases that deserve comment: “Mild He lays His glory by” refers to Christ’s willingness to lay aside the glory of heaven, to take on human nature, and become one of us; and “Late in time behold Him come” reminds us of Hebrews 1:2, where we are told “in these last days” God has spoken to us through His Son!  


    Father, I pray that the I will always be in awe of Christmas, and celebrate the Wonder of the season.

    Written By: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Joy to the World

    Since 1719, “Joy to the World” has been a Christmas music essential.  Its lyrics were written by Isaac Watts, and to this date, it remains one of the most published hymns.  However, the song wasn’t even intended to be a Christmas Carol.  Even more, this classic wasn’t even supposed to be a song, and has been noted to be an “accidental Christmas hymn”.


    “Joy to the World” is based on Psalm 98, and the Second Coming of Christ.  It doesn’t have any trivial connection with the Christmas story, however, there does is a correlation – a “a second coming” cannot be manifested without a “first coming.”


    Sadly, many people are still looking for the Messiah’s first coming, if they are at all; and if you look at the news, there doesn’t seem to be much “joy” in the world today.  However, as believers in Jesus Christ, we know that our Savior DID come the “first time”.  Christmas does not only dwell in the past attainments, but it also looks forward to His return.


    Father, this Christmas … may I celebrate the joy of our Savior’s birth, the joy of His life, His death and resurrection, that has given us our salvation which is found in Christ Jesus alone, and may I celebrate the joy of His soon return.  Joy to the World!!!

  • Heart of Worship

    By Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

    Hebrews 13:15-16

    Matt Redman wrote a wonderful song titled, “The Heart of Worship.” Here is the chorus: “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You. It’s all about you, Jesus. I’m sorry, Lord, for the things I’ve made it, when it’s all about You. It’s all about You, Jesus.”

    What is the heart of worship? The answer is one simple word: surrender.

    The writer of Hebrews challenges us to “offer the sacrifice of praise to God.” If you know anything about a sacrifice, you know that it represents surrender. Once you put a sacrifice on the altar, you lose total control of it and you never get it back. The heart of worship, then, is found in surrender. When you surrender your time, your talents, your treasures, and your testimony, that offering of surrender is an act of worship. L.B. Cowman, a former missionary wrote, “Life is not wreckage to be saved out of the world but an investment to be used in the world.”

    Father, make my life useful in bringing glory to You by surrendering to You and living with a worshipful heart.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski


    Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

    Ask. Seek. Knock. God calls us to pray. Prayer itself is a bit of a mystery. Why should we inform God of something He already knows? And can prayer alter the plans of God, who already knows the end from the beginning?

    Prayer does matter, or else why did Jesus so strongly and consistently implore us to pray? And for that matter, why was prayer such an important part of Jesus’ life? Clearly, God will not do some things in our lives except through prayer. Prayer is part of God’s working in us to bring us to a place of humility and dependence on Him.

    What is it we seek? What do we need God to do for us? Jesus said all we need to do is ask.

    God is not some cosmic genie who bends His will toward ours to meet our selfish desires, but during prayer, God bends our will toward His, and conforms our hearts to see His will. God accomplishes this sanctifying work when we humble ourselves, acknowledge our dependency on Him, and pray.

    Yes, we can plan. Yes, we can work. But until we stop and pray, some things will not happen. So let’s pray!

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • Which One Are You?

    Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.  Do not be conformed to this aged,

    but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good,

    pleasing and perfect will of God.

    Romans 12:1-2


    When I was growing up, my Youth Minister use to say: “Every Christian is either a conformer or a transformer.  Which one are you?”  In the passage above, the apostle Paul is contrasting two ways of life – that of the believer who is being transformed by God, and that of the believer who is being conformed to the world.  It is the contrast between metamorphosis and masquerade.


    When Christian believers conform to this world and fashion their lives after the pattern of unbelievers, they’re changing the outside, but the change is not coming from the inside.  It’s not metamorphosis; it’s masquerade. 


    Vernon Whaley wrote in his book, Called To Worship, “Our lives are being changed by pressure from without (conforming) or by power from within (transforming).  The difference is worship!


    Lord, we bow down and worship You today—not just our bodies, but especially our hearts bow down before You. You are great, and we are small. You are holy, and we need the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from our sins. Thank You for being our Father. We love You and we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.

  • Wait

     "Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart be courageous.  Wait for the LORD.”  -Psalm 27:14

    In my reading this past week, I came across this passage and quickly wanted to move on.  The word "wait" makes some people cringe. Who likes to wait? I do not know of anyone who actually enjoys waiting, whether waiting in line to purchase something, waiting on someone to return a phone call, or generally, waiting because of something out of our control. Waiting is hard work. Our culture caters to speed, not contemplation. We live in a fast paced society where convenience is king and slowness is to be avoided at all cost. This impatience can be very costly and tragic. There are more and more instances of road rage in our country, and I think the primary contributing factor is, people are getting very upset because someone else is slowing them down or impeding their progress.  Have you driven on IH-35 or 1604 lately?

    In the Christian life, however, waiting on God is an important part of our walk with God. The Book of Psalms uses the word "wait" more than any other book in the Bible. The word is used 26 times, more than double the amount it is used in any other book.  God rarely operates like a microwave; He more often operates like a crock-pot, marinating and slow-cooking until the perfect time. The passing of time is irrelevant to God. He is outside of time. We are consumed with time schedules, and we often think God should hurry up because we need an answer or we need help, pronto!

    So many times God answers our prayers with a resounding "yes", and for those times we are so grateful. At other times, God tells us "no", and we have to be good with that, because He simply knows what is best for us. Aren't you glad, looking back on the times God told you "no", because He had a better "yes" later? Then there are times when we cry out to God and it seems the heavens are as brass. God seems distant or aloof. But nothing could be further from the truth. In those moments, we may not sense His presence to bless, but we can rest assured that He is still omnipresent; He sees and hears us clearly.


    I want to encourage you to keep being faithful and persistent in your prayers, and wait on God.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • I Am Sealed

    Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. – 2 Corinthians 1:21-22


    Some time back, I came across what “sealing” meant in the Roman world.  Two facts stood out to me in particular.  First, when a government affixed its seal on anything, tampering with it was viewed as an attack on the government itself.  An example would be Pilate’s sealing of Jesus’ tomb.  Second, a government seal was an official reassurance that a container held exactly what it claimed.


    Now consider those two things in regard to your relationship with God.  Belonging to Him means you are so secure that to “tamper” with you would be to take on all the powers of heaven!  When I read the Scriptures, God says that I am loved, blessed, forgiven, gifted, a child of God, and I have an eternity with Him.  Often, I don’t feel all those things.  But His seal guarantees that my “vessel” contains exactly what His Word says.  I can take comfort in knowing that I belong to God.  He has sealed me for all of eternity, and nothing can remove His seal!


    Father, I thank You that it is in Christ alone, my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski


    Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up. Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful things, not acting deceitfully or distorting the Word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by an open display of the truth. But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

    2 Corinthians 4:1-6


    I’m not much of a farmer, in fact, I have trouble growing plants around our house.  Much to Sharon’s dismay, I praise God for silk plants, though around our home, I have been known to kill a silk plant or two!


    Over the years, the example of plowing fields has always been associated with ministry.  I have been on a combine, thanks to my good friend in the Valley who owns a large farm.  With today’s technology in machinery, he is able to put a laser on a target on the other side of the field, and drives that big tractor to make straight rows, or should I say, he puts that combine on cruise-control!


    It seemed pretty easy sitting in a climate controlled cabin, but as my friend told me, “It wasn’t always that way.  Growing up on the farm, there were days when we had to remove a large rock or a tree stump, and if we didn’t eradicate it then, we had to figure a way to go around it.”


    The Apostle Paul wrote these words to encourage believers that we may gain strength to persevere despite the circumstances around us. There are times that I wish we could put ministry on “cruise-control”, but we must continue to press on … proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord, letting our light shine before all men.  We need to keep going … plowing the fields of the world, and planting the seeds of the Gospel, while praying to the Lord of the harvest.

    Written by: Pastor Terry Samplaski


    My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. – Philippians 3:10

    I had a professor at Seminary who told us, “Gentleman, be careful not to miss out on your personal Quiet Time with the Lord. It will be easy for you to fail to do so as you study the Bible in all your classes.”

    Have you noticed that there are so many Read the Bible In a Year programs? These reading plans are written to help us as a goal, to read the entire Bible from Genesis to the maps. Hey, I’m going through the Word this year like I have done so for many years, but as I do, I’m reminded of what a wise professor said, “It can be easy to miss what God has to say to us personally.”

    Dave Browning, in Deliberate Simplicity, stated, “We are convinced that that gap holding back most believers is not the gap between what they know and what they don’t know. It’s the gap between what they know and what they’re living out. Many Christians are … educated beyond their obedience.”

    The goal is not just to learn more; it’s to hear from our Father, and then to live out what we know from His Word. We are all busy and it can be so easy to gloss over our reading just so we can get on with the next thing in life. It has been said: If we are too busy for God, then we are too busy! I hope that we never get to the point where we have to schedule God on our calendar.

    Father, as I read Your Word, I want to be still and know that You are God!

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • Trust God

    I was watching LHN last Saturday night wanting to gain some insight from the commentators regarding a game I had just watched, when a commercial regarding physics “abruptly interrupted” the programming. The infomercial explained the increase or decrease of sound, light, or other waves as the source and observer move toward (or away) from each other. It is called the Doppler Effect, and according to astronomers, our universe is still expanding.

    As I listened to this “all you can tell in 30-seconds” research, I couldn’t help but recall the sermon series, In The Beginning, brought by Pastor David these past few weeks.

    As I read past the first three words of Genesis, I noticed something significant in verse 3 (in light of this research). The significance is this: The four words that God spoke at the beginning of time, “Let there be light,” are still creating galaxies at the edge of the universe. If God can do that with four words, what are you worried about? There is nothing He cannot do. After all, He created everything out of nothing.

    His Words never return void. Neither do your prayers when you pray the Word of God, and the will of God. The same God who hovered over the chaos at the beginning of time is hovering over your life, and you never know when His answer will re-enter the atmosphere of your life. As Don Miller said in our prayer seminar series, “What may seem impossible, becomes Himpossible when God’s people pray”.

    Father, with all that is going on around me, socially, politically, economically, or whatever it is … nothing surprises You. I thank You that I am Yours. I am significant, and You are still watching over Your Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12).

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • Buy Low, sell high

    Yesterday, I was enjoying my favorite television show NCIS, when it was interrupted by a commercial! I know that commercials are used to support the financing of a television program, but they are also used to entice you to buy or invest in the product. This particular advertisement was trying to encourage the listener, in this case me, to buy coins. During this 90 second infomercial, the word “investment” continually came up. The next time that particular commercial comes around, I want to count how many times it is used, but then again: Do I really want to spend the time?

    Buy Low, Sell High – that’s all I really know about investing. I do know that an investment is an asset or item with the goal of generating income, but I also know that an investment is giving our time to our family and children because we value them. Do we invest to a lost world? Are we investing in things that are eternal?

    In his book, Replicate, Robby Gallaty put it this way: “Let’s say I offer you $86,400 today to spend on whatever you desire with one stipulation – you have to spend all the money today. What’s left over will be lost forever: you cannot carry over today’s money to tomorrow. Could you do it? Most likely you are nodding your head right now. Amazon packages would be primed and ready for shipping! You might even give a few bucks to charity.

    After your spending frenzy, let’s say I show up the next day with the same offer: another $86,400 with the same stipulations. Could you do it two days in a row? Of course you could. You wake up the next morning to new stock investments, cleared debt, increased retirement funds and a replenished savings account.

    God gives each one of us 86,400 seconds each day. We are free to spend them in whatever manner we wish. And when they’re gone, they’re gone. So what should we invest in?”

    Father, help me to use each day wisely and invest in things that are eternal.

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • Can Do or Can’t Do?

    For You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. – 2 Samuel 22:29-31

    David is a “can-do” person. “Can’t” wasn’t in his vocabulary. The source of his confidence was not himself but his God. David trusted God with all his heart. Only by the Lord could David successfully go against a troop of men or leap over a high wall. He believed Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”) even before it was written.

    What about you? Are you a “can-do” or a “can’t-do” person? Do you see difficulty in every opportunity or an opportunity in every difficulty? Maybe you are facing a seemingly impossible situation. Maybe you are thinking it just can’t be done. Look to the Lord and factor Him into the equation. When you do, impossible becomes possible with God.

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • Reconciled

     Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-18


    Reconciliation is a sweet thought.  When we reconcile with a friend, a burden is lifted.  When enemies reconcile, we rejoice.  But nothing compares to reconciling with God.  Why are we now reconciled to God?  God pursed us when we were enemies and reconciled us to Himself.


    Now we have the ministry of reconciliation.  God has sent us as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) to plead with everyone to be reconciled to God.  For us everything has become new.  How we see others is new.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:16, “We regard no one according to the flesh.”  We now see the world not as the enemy to be shunned, but as sinners needing reconciliation. To God.  A sure sign that we are indeed a new creation is that we are active in the ministry of pleading with sinners to be reconciled.


    How do you see others outside of Christ?  Do you see them as people needing to be reconciled to God?  Today, rejoice that God has saved you.  Today, pray that you will represent Him well by imploring others to be reconciled to God at work, at school, on the field, in your neighborhood, and wherever people are far from God.


    Father, I praise and thank You for reconciling us to You through the cross thereby killing the hostility we had with You, our self, and others (Ephesians 2:16).

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • Doubting What?

    The eleven disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them.  When they saw him, they worshiped, but some doubted.  Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:16-20


    In the book, “Replicate” by Robbie Gallaty and Chris Swain, the writers state, “I’ve been baffled by the two words in this passage: Some doubted.”   I too have to agree with these guys.  What were they doubting?  What were the disciples uncertain or hesitant about?


    The word doubt means “to waiver or question the reliability of something.”


    The writers continue, “Could it be that they doubted themselves?  For three years, they watched Jesus give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and provide other miracles.  But things changed when Jesus died on a cross and was buried in a tomb.  Although Jesus rose from the dead, they were most likely contemplating the same fate for themselves.”


    Whether the disciples doubted Jesus or their own uncertain way forward, the end result is the same:  Jesus knew the ministry of disciple-making would be tough, which is why He changed their perspective from focusing on themselves to focusing on the providence of God.


    2000 years later, being a disciple of Christ is just as hard, but God’s promises are still the same, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Just as Jesus changed the perspective of the disciples, allow Him to change yours daily … after all, “It’s All About Jesus!”


    This coming Wednesday, the Fall Discipleship programs begin.  It is not too late to sign up … I hope you will.  

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • Abiding in Him

     Do not love the world or the things of the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17


    The Apostle John wants to make sure that we understand that being a follower of Christ in this life is not easy.  He tells us in previous verses that we are overcomers of this world because Christ overcame.  We are in Christ, and He is in us.  Our identity is in Christ.  It’s not about imitation, but rather incarnation.  Christ lives His life through us.  If we are in control, He isn’t in control.  So we must yield our lives to Him to walk in truth.


    In the passage above, John shares with us the wrong kind of love; namely desiring the things of the world that have no eternal value.  Pastor David has been preaching on this subject these past few weeks in his Generous series.


    Simply put, the temporal, the world, is passing away.  On the other hand, eternal things abide forever.  When we do anything, it will either make God smile or Satan smile; they won’t smile at the same thing.


    Years ago I heard a story of a person who was led to the Lord.  A year later, this believer ran into his older brother in Christ, and he was asked, “How are things going?”  His response was, “Well, it’s as if I have a good dog and a bad dog inside of me, and they’re fighting all the time.”  The older believer asked, “Which one is winning?”  To which the younger believer replied, “Whichever one I feed.”


    Father, keep me ever mindful that Your will is best for me – not my own will or the ways of the world.

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • How to Spend a Day with God

    Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth

    and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.

    – Psalm 25:4-5

    In this passage, we find actions to take daily if we want to please the Lord:

    Show me Your ways. Jesus taught us to pray not our will, but for His to be

    done. Discernment is vital as we long to understand the mysterious dealings

    of the Spirit. God will make His ways known to us. Listen for His voice saying,

    “This is the way; walk in it.”

    Teach me Your paths. Like parents who guide their child who are just learning

    to walk, God is our Father and will instruct us on which paths to take. A fork

    in the road is not a simple choice for Christians. We must heed the Father’s

    direction, and then walk in it.

    Lead me in the truth. This is where we must have ears to hear. Stop and listen,

    because the Father is speaking. He often uses three pointers in helping us

    discern the way. Bible passages are one source of help. The Holy Spirit offers

    direction in following God’s will. The wisdom of saintly counselors also offers

    Godly advice to follow.

    Father, help me to recognize that every day is a gift. Today will be gone forever, and

    tomorrow may never come. Help me to see that I have a choice of what to do with

    each day, and to make it worthwhile.

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • Who are you investing in?

    “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave me to do.”

    – John 17:4


    God gave Jesus a task – that task was not just to die on the cross.  Notice that Jesus told the Father that He accomplished the work He was sent for, prior to dying on the cross.  In this prayer, Jesus never mentions miracles, multitudes, or programs.  Rather, forty times He prays for His disciples.  The task the Father sent Him to complete was to invest in twelve men.


    Who are you investing in?


    In the book, “Replicate” by Robby Gallaty and Chris Swain, they state from a recent survey, “Eighty-three percent of church attendees are clueless about the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.  In a society with more access to information than ever before, we have ignored the final words of Jesus.  As a result, people sit by idly while “trained, certified” pastors carry out ministerial tasks.  No wonder we can’t motivate our people to participate and serve.  For years, they’ve been taught to watch.”


    In a few weeks, the Fall Semester will begin and UBC discipleship will restart, after taking year-and-a-half “forced break”.  I encourage you to find a place to serve and grow and get involved on Sunday or Wednesday Evenings.


    Father, may I be obedient … investing in people!

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • Praise Him

    Praise the LORD, all His angels of great strength, who do His word, obedient to His command. 

    Praise the LORD, all His armies, His servants who do His will. Praise the LORD, all His works in all the places where He rules. My soul, praise the LORD!

    Psalm 103:20-22

    In the book, “Not God Enough” by J.D. Greear, the author poses a question, “What does it take to impress an angel?” He says, “There’s not much angels haven’t seen. They had a front row seat at creation. They have seen God make a donkey talk. They filled the heavens with praise at the birth of Jesus and rolled the stone away from His tomb. The apostle Peter tells us there is one thing, that still blows their minds; one thing that leaves them in silence. God’s love for the rebellious human race.”

    When this psalm is finished, the final shout of praise comes, not from the angels, but from the psalmist himself. To think … all “redeemed” men and women have more to praise the Lord for than do all the angels in heaven and all the universe (Psalm 107:1-2).

    Father, I will praise You today. I won’t hold back and agree with the psalmist who wrote: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” (Psalm 103:1)

    Written by: Pastor Terry

  • Conduct

    Just one thing: As citizen of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. 

    Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel.

    Philippians 1:27


    Charles Swindoll is one of my favorite writers and one of my “heroes in the faith.”  In one of his writings, he tells a true story of Alexander the Great, who acquired and conquered the largest empire of the known world.  The story is told that one of his soldiers, also named Alexander, was behaving badly.  When the soldier was brought before him, the king asked the soldier’s name.

                The soldier replied, “Alexander, sir.”

                The ruler replied, “Then change your name or change your conduct!”


    We who follow Christ are called Christians.  We are named after Christ, and our daily conduct is to reflect Him.  I’ve heard this said many times: The best argument for Christianity is a Christian; and the worst argument against Christianity is a Christian.


    How well do we represent the One we are named after?  My mother always told my brother and I when we were walking out the door, “Behave yourselves!”  I think she still does.  Think about it, how well do we behave ourselves in our homes, what we post on social media, how we behave at work or on vacation – it all matters.  Christ lives in us.  When we are not behaved, our conduct does not reflect the gospel of Christ. 


    Just as the soldier received the strong rebuke from Alexander the Great, we too need a strong reminder of whom we represent.  If we have repented and trust Christ, our names have been changed, and our conduct should change too.


    Father, with every breath, make me more like You.  Amen.

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • True To Christ

    “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” and “your neighbor as yourself.”

    – Luke 10:27


    It’s pretty simple.  Love God and love people.  Every biblical law and command ultimately comes down to one of those two.  There were 613 laws in the Jewish law, but you can sum them all up with just two.


    In Francis Chan's book, Letters to the Church, he writes about his daughter and her birthday party. He asked her how many people would come if they were invited to a party with just her and some cake. She said maybe one or two friends. But then he asked, "What if I rent out Dave and Busters, and we have free games and food? How many would come then?" Chan's daughter told him that the whole school would come, if they were invited.  Then Chan told his daughter, "Then they would not be coming for you, but for the pleasures of what they would get." It is the same in many churches. I would rather serve God faithfully and be true to Christ and the Scriptures than have many more people in attendance for the wrong reasons.


    The Westminister Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”  When we love God, we glorify Him.  Worship is more than just songs that we sing, it is the total expression and act of love towards God. 


    The second command is as important as the first: love people. 


    On Sunday, Sharon, my Mom and myself, went to eat lunch at Jim’s Restaurant.  After all, my thought was, “I can get a chicken fried steak, and the service is quick.” The place was packed!  When we finally got to our table, a bundle of “joy and energy” came to our table to take our order.  Tonya was so incredible and vibrant.  I can still hear her telling us after she took our orders: “You got it sweetie!” “You got it honey!” “You got it darling!”


    Toward the end of our meal when Tonya came to refill our drinks and find out if there was anything we needed, Sharon said to her, “I wish I could see your smile behind that mask.  You seem to enjoy what you do.”  Tonya’s reply was quick and to the point, “I love people!”


    It’s pretty simple.

    Written by: Pastor Terry


  • Psalm 150

    Hallelujah!  Praise God in His sanctuary.  Praise Him in His mighty heavens. 

    Praise Him for His powerful acts; praise Him for His abundant greatness.

    Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with harp and lyre. 

    Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with flute and strings. 

    Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals. 

    Let everything that breathes praise the LORD.  Hallelujah! – Psalm 150


    Whether you can play an instrument or not, no matter where you live or what your ethnic origin, male or female, young or old – Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  After all, that breath comes from the Lord, and if things that do not have breath can praise the Lord (148:8-9), surely we can too!


    Today, give Him praise and don’t hold back!!!

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • Is History Repeating itself?

    After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what He had done for Israel.  Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.  They forsook the LORD, the God of their father, who had brought them out of Egypt.  They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. – Judges 2:10-12


    The context of this passage is found two verses before: “Joshua, son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died …” (vs. 8). And now we see a nation in decline: “They provoked the LORD to anger because they forsook Him and served other gods.  In His anger, the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them.  He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist …” (vs. 12-14).


    I read this passage and I have to be careful in comparing it to America.  I see a political landscape that is disheartening, the depravity of social values, and even the declining numbers in churches, and I wonder:  Is history repeating itself?  In two short chapters before, we read: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:14).  It is sad how quickly a nation forgot and forsook the LORD, the God of their father, who had brought them out of Egypt.


    Today, as an American, I will celebrate our nations birthday, and I will continue to pray for revival for our country.  I believe that revival will happen in the state house when it first begins in the church house.  We need to continue teaching the Word of God, applying it to our lives, and sharing it with the next generation.


    There is a song we sing here at UBC entitled, We Will Remember (by Tommy Walker).  Below are the chorus lyrics to that song:


    We will remember, we will remember;
    We will remember the works of Your hands.
    We will stop, and give You praise;
    For great is Thy faithfulness.


    Father, today I thank You for allowing me to live in this great country.  I thank You for our forefathers who came to this new world to establish a country under God, but as I celebrate “the 4th”, may I never forget … It’s All About Jesus!  Worship Him today!!!

    Written By: Pastor Terry Samplaski

  • Be A LIght

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  1 John 1:1-5


    Verse 1 of this passage is packed with an incredible story.  It’s the story of Jesus.


    Most of us understand that when “the Word” is mentioned, John is referring to Jesus.  But why did John choose to use the “Word” to describe Jesus?  The answer is that John had come to see that the words of Jesus, were the true Word of God.  “Word” depicts the entire story of Jesus.


    If we break down verse 1, we can see three things:


    The first part of the verse says “In the beginning was the Word.” Where have you heard “In the beginning” before? Genesis 1:1 tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the   earth.  John is telling us here, that Jesus was there in the beginning. 


    The middle part says “and the Word was with God”.  Here, John tells us that Jesus was with God.


    Finally, the last part says “and the Word was God”.  (By the way, this is the heart of the trinity.) This part of the verse tells us that Jesus is God and He has a relationship with God. 


    In the rest of the passage, John goes on to tell us what Jesus brought and still brings into our world: light shining into darkness, light becoming the light of men.   He wants us to understand that God’s desire for our lives is that we would receive His light and then reflect that light to the world. 


    We live in world of darkness.  This world needs the one, true light!  Have you come to the place where you have received Christ as your Savior?  As a believer, have you embraced the fact that you are God’s adopted child?  If you have, then His light will begin to shine through you because the light that fills us, cannot help but shine forth.


    “You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

    Matthew 5:14

    Written by: Sharon Samplaski

  • If I Could Teach One Thing

    Now fear the LORD and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. – Joshua 24:14-15

    As a parent whose children are grown and are raising their own families, Sharon and I had a desire to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. There are so many truths to teach, so many character traits to develop; it was always a challenge to be complete in our instruction and their training. Though we tried to be careful in our teaching, sometimes I could not help but prioritize in my mind the teachings we considered to be important.

    I asked myself many times, “If I could only impart to my children one truth, what would it be?” If they learn nothing else from their father, what is the one thing I must give them? I could convince them of the need to be faithful to a local Bible-believing church, because there they would receive instruction and encouragement. Another good first choice would be to encourage them to learn the ways of love, for the Bible says that it is greater than even faith and hope. It would also be important to teach them the importance of living a sanctified life, for they must learn how to deal with sin and how to appropriate the holiness of Christ. Or how about the need for obedience, both to God and to the authorities God places over them?

    I have settled the issue in my mind: If I could teach my children only one thing, I would teach them to be worshippers of God, for when one truly worships God, all else is well!

    Happy Father’s Day!

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • New Identity

    Therefore, if anyone is I Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away,

    and look, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

    In today’s world, we are being told so many things about what our identity is, or what it should be. One secular author defines identity as, “who we experience ourselves to be – the I each of us carries within”. Finding our identity is nothing new. In fact, did you know that many of the people in the Bible also struggled with finding their identity? Some of them messed up really bad and yet, somewhere along the way, they were able to grasp the truth that though they did mess up, God still loved them. They understood that their true identity was found in Christ, and when they began to walk in this truth, God used them to lead others to Christ.

    One of those people is Paul. Paul the Apostle, is considered by many scholars to be one of the most influential leaders in the early Christian church. He was a well-documented missionary, spreading the gospel of Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike and wrote half of the New Testament. Paul was the son of a Jewish Pharisee and at birth he was given the name Saul. But did you know that Saul actually began his work as a crusader against Christians. He spent years causing pain and destruction, and even death for followers of Christ. He had identity struggles. He identified as evil and hate.

    Among the many terrible things that Saul and his followers did was that he was the instigator and gave the approval of the stoning of Stephen.

    In the beginning, Saul identified with cruelty and hate, but something happened that changed him. He was challenged when He was called to become a leader, writer, and speaker of the truth. You see, Saul came face to face with God while on the road to Damascus. Acts 9:4-6 says, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” At that moment Saul asked, “Lord what do you want me to do?” I find this statement kind of amusing because you see, God already knew what Saul was doing, but his question to Saul, caused Saul to really STOP and THINK. God had to get his attention. How many times has God had to do that to you?

    So what can we learn from Paul? From the moment of Saul’s encounter with God, Saul changed his direction, and was transformed. He began to embrace his true identity with a new name, Paul. Instead of being defined by evil, he began to be defined by God. His work and writings now classify him as a true Biblical hero with an identity firmly planted in Jesus.

    When we think about people in the Bible who struggled with their identity, it is amazing to me that the list would include Paul. But the one thing that Paul had in common with others that struggled with their identity, is that they all met with God. That meeting changed everything about them. They learned that their identity was found in Christ.

    Are you listening to what the world has to say about your identity, or have you stopped to listen to what God is telling you? Our true identity as Christians can only be found in Christ.

    Written by: Sharon Samplaski

  • Be A “Doer” Of His Word

    Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.

    – Joshua 1:8


    As I continue reading through the Bible in a year, and having finished the Book of Deuteronomy, I noticed command words like: “Observe”, “Remember”, “You shall not …”.  All of these words were to remind the children of Israel of the utmost importance of God’s Word. 


    Moses has died, and now the LORD is talking to Joshua, and we find these words, “Do not …”.  It didn’t take me long to figure it out: “The Word of God must be important!”  In fact, worship, both corporate and individual, must begin with meditation on the Scriptures.


    So, whatever else we include in our worship, be it our personal devotional time, our spontaneous praise, our acts of reverence, or our corporate services, it should all be founded on our meditation on Scripture. Mere citation of the Bible is not enough. Only worship derived from the deep penetration and impact of Scripture will begin to look like biblically defined worship.  I’m reminded of an old Gaither Vocal Band song, “Into the Word”, where the lyrics are written:

    I’m happy to hear you’re getting into the Word

    but, is the Word getting into you?


    As I read the commands given to the children of Israel, I also see how they apply to us. First, we should view our time in Scripture as an integral part of worship.  Second, we ought to think about the other elements of worship in relation to the Scripture. Are lyrics (whether sung by the congregation or listened to by the individual) reflective of a deep and meaningful interaction with Scripture? This does not mean lyrics should be limited to quotations or paraphrases of Scripture, but that they should be so influenced by Scripture that they too help us meditate on Scripture and how we trust and obey it in our lives. Third, genuine meditation on Scriptures leads to trust and obedience.


    Father, from this day forward, may I be found to be a “doer of Your Word and not just a hearer” (James 1:22).

    Written By: Pastor Terry

  • Remember 

    So that this will be a sign among you, in the future, when your children ask their fathers, “What do these stones mean to you?” You should tell your children, the water of the Jordan was cut off in front of the ark of the LORD’S covenant.  Therefore, these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.”

     – Joshua 4:6-8

    Memorial Day is a day for us to remember.  I have many family members and friends who have served in the Armed Forces.  A friend of mine back in Alabama, once told me that one of the proudest moments in his life was the day that he graduated from the Marine Corps boot camp.  It meant that he had earned the right to serve our country in the military and to wear the uniform of a United States Marine.  That uniform holds a special meaning to those who serve in the Corps.  From the high neck banded collar, to the blood stripe on the trousers, every aspect of that uniform is significant.  If you don’t believe me, ask Colonel Frank Corte, Jr.

    At the end of chapter four (vs. 23-24), Joshua is again instructing the nation of Israel (regarding the use of twelve stones), to be set up as a memorial after the crossing of the Jordan River.  He tells them to teach their children that God’s intent for the miracles of the crossings of the Red Sea (as with Moses), and Jordan, was twofold.  First, he wanted all the peoples of the earth to know that the Lord’s hand is powerful.  Second, God wanted to lead the people of Israel and their children to fear Him forever.  This is something for us to take note, apply to our lives, and to give testimony.

    What memorial stones do you have in your life that you continue to share with the next generation?  Peter said, “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood … (1 Peter 2:4-5)”. Do your children, your grandchildren, friends, co-workers, etc., see you reading God’s Word, attending church regularly, or sharing the gospel which causes them to say in a sense, “What do these ‘stones’ mean?”

    Tomorrow … stop and remember those who have given their lives for our country so that we may live in freedom.  And just as many veterans wear their uniform proudly, we too wear the name of Jesus for the world to see.  Today, stop, remember, and thank God for “twelve stones” in your life.  Prayerfully, you have many more.

    Written By: Pastor Terry


  • Keep Your Worship Pure

    “Who will you compare Me to, or who is My equal?” asks the Holy One.

    Look up and see: who created these? He brings out the starry host by number; He calls all of them by name.
    Because of is great power and strength, not one of them is missing." – Isaiah 40:25-26


    Several weeks ago during the Sunday Evening 4-Week Study: Foundations of a Christian Worldview, Pastor David challenged us to read through the Bible, from cover-to-cover in a year. I’ve done that yearly for quite some time, and decided back in January, “I won’t this year.” After all, I have my daily quiet time, read a chapter of Psalms and Proverbs, and study a Bible book. I’m usually reading two or three books at a time, and right now going through, “Biblical Worship: Theology for God’s Glory” by Vernon Whaley.


    However, when Pastor David challenged us, I knew that God was speaking to me. I have to admit that it is refreshing … not to study … but to read. Here are some of my thoughts that I wrote down from “the beginning” to where I am now, in the Book of Joshua:

    God created the heavens and the stars. He also created the materials that men use to build false idols. However, when our worship turns away from God and shifts to something He created, it is improper and dangerous.


    Throughout their history, Israel often worshipped idols, which was a direct violation of God’s law. If we are honest, we have too!

    God wants us to worship Him. He invites us to the challenge and compare, “Who will you compare Me to, or who is My equal?” He tells us to look up at the stars and realize that by His power, He created them, He named them, and He put them in the heavens. Being amazed by God’s creation is not wrong, but we must be careful that we worship the Creator, not the creation.

    Written by: Pastor Terry