Experience Israel 2019 - It's not too late!

There is still time to join Lauri and I on the adventure of a lifetime! In January of 2019, we will be leading a trip to Israel called Experience Israel 2019!
We took our first group last year and it absolutely changed people’s lives! Imagine walking the streets of Jerusalem, or praying together in the place where Jesus delivered the sermon on the mount, worshiping on the Sea of Galilee, or being baptized in the Jordan River! The scriptures we have studied and read come to life as you walk where Jesus walked! Not only will you see biblical culture through a different lens, but you gain a far greater understanding of the modern challenges in the middle east.
If you’ve ever had a desire to visit Israel, this is your chance. We’ll be staying in beautiful, modern hotels, the food is fantastic, and our tour company works hand in hand with the Israeli government to insure a safe and secure experience.
Experience Israel 2019 is January 16-26, 2019. For more information, including costs, itinerary, and registration go to reallife.org/Israel or the events page of the River City App. The old Passover prayer says, “next year in Jerusalem.”  Well, that could be true for you and I!
If you plan on going, or would like to be kept in the loop, please respond to pastorsean@reallife.org so we can include you in our interest group for updates.
I hope you consider joining us for this incredible opportunity!


On the death of Rev. Billy Graham

For my entire life, Billy Graham has been a champion of the gospel and a voice for the unconditional love of God. His passing makes the world feel like a different place. Rev. Graham cast a long shadow of passion, integrity, and sincerity in pursuit of souls for the Kingdom of God. 

I remember seeing Him speak in person, when I was a young man. His message was simple, His delivery, that night...fairly average... nothing spectacular. But I was deeply moved, even shaken, by...his urgency. It wasn’t a frothing kind of emotionalism, but rather a deep passionate urgency that knew what was at stake. I left having a different feeling about the importance of our mission, as ministers. God used Billy Graham to let me see His heart, His passion for people who are lost. I will never forget. Rest in peace, Billy. Well done.

Thoughts on another massacre

I’m frustrated and angry. My heart is broken.

As I read and watch stories about the people lost in the Douglas HS shootings, in Parkland, Florida, I can only imagine the horror of those moments. I feel the pain of families grieving their loved ones. So much sorrow and loss.

I see the pictures and hear the story of the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, and I wonder what happened to him. What kind of torment and pain drove him to this insanity? 

And then, of course, I hear the mindless drivel from pundits and commentators who callously point fingers and debate over the weapon used or whether more laws, that we don’t enforce, would prevent this kind of thing. 

I’m frustrated and angry.

When will we realize that what we should be talking about is why do people want to massacre other people? Whether they use a gun, knife, bomb, car, plane, or truck load of fertilizer is secondary. What hopelessness or blind hatred drives people to this kind of violence?

My frustration stems from the fact that I believe that there could have been help for Nikolas Cruz. I’m not just talking about mental heath intervention, although that seems obvious. No, at a much deeper level, I believe that the love of Jesus shared through authentic Christian community could have saved him...and all those he murdered. I have personally seen the transformative power of Christ’s love, shared in Christian community, countless times. I’ve seen very dark people brought back into the light by the love of Jesus and I wonder what could have been for Nikolas Cruz...and those he murdered.

Stop and look around. Kids are mandated, by law, to spend the majority of their day in schools, where they are told, God is not welcome. They are told God is not relevant, and they are not allowed to explore, or even acknowledge, the spiritual dimensions of truth, or right and wrong. Then we wonder why an increasing number of children, raised in this ambiguous, moral vacuum, get lost...and why some end up in a darkness that we never thought possible. 

But, of course, we can’t talk about this. 

That’s why I’m frustrated...but I’m also motivated. This is not a matter of politics or opinions; it’s a matter of life and death. Those of us who follow Jesus must be open and bold with the message of His love and grace. There is power in Christ-centered community and we need to share it with more fervor than ever. The world can fight and debate over types of weapons, and more laws, which we won’t enforce. I want to share the love and the light of Jesus with as many people as possible! Who knows who we may pull out of a deep darkness and what lives may be saved?

For the one hope.