I was not planning on writing to you during my Sabbatical, but some sad events for our Living Streams family have taken place and I wanted our entire spiritual family to be informed. Last Sunday, Brad Piccirillo, the oldest son of Michael and Terri Piccirillo, was working on the brakes of his car after church when it slipped off the jack onto his face. He died on Memorial Day. Brad was a member of Living Streams for twenty three of his twenty nine years. He worked with our Junior High students before joining the Marines. Brad did two tours of duty in Iraq where he shared his faith with many soldiers. Brad was a comedian and had his own TV show. We will be celebrating his faith, his life and his love this Friday May 31 in our sanctuary at 10:00 AM, with lunch following in our Activity Center.

Today, Cheryl Watkins, the wife of Jim Watkins, the chairman of our board of elders died from cancer. Cheryl was a woman of God, a prayer warrior, and a great wife, mother and grandmother. Cheryl was a faithful part of Living Streams for many years. She was a vital part of our Drive Through Prayer ministry, interceding for the needs of many people even though she was in a battle for her own life at the time. Cheryl fought the good fight of faith, and was a sweet blessing to everyone who knew her right up until her last day. The memorial service for Cheryl will be on Tuesday in our sanctuary at 4:00 PM followed by a dinner in our Activity Center.

Those who love deeply also grieve deeply. Believers who die when it seems like they could have had many more good years of life, often leave a powerful legacy to those who knew and love them. We want to celebrate their lives and welcome their legacies. I expect to see the prayers that Cheryl Watkins prayed for our Living Streams family answered in a powerful way in the days to come. I expect to see fruit in the lives of his friends come from the faith of Brad Piccirillo. Ecclesiastes 7: 2 says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting because death is the end of every man and the living should take this to heart”. I want to invite each of you who know and love the Piccirillos and the Watkins to join us for these memorial services.

Living Streams is a great spiritual family. We pull together when people are grieving. We will weep with those who weep, and trust God to bring the Holy Spirit to comfort their hearts as He faithfully does as we mourn.

Sunday Preview

May 16, 2013

My sermon this Sunday is called, “The Focus of a Blessed Man” from Matthew 25:31-46. In this teaching about the day of judgment, Jesus tells his disciples to focus on meeting the needs of other disciples. Jesus is not telling us to meet the needs of every poor or hurting person on earth, but specifically to help other disciples when they are strangers, sick, in prison, hungry, thirsty, or in need of clothes. I hope to bring some clarity and balance in this teaching so we fulfill this ministry and experience the blessing the Lord has prepared for us.

After our service this Sunday I’ll be flying to California to speak at a missions rally and retreat, and then I’ll begin my sabbatical later next week. I’m looking forward to a season of seeking the Lord, resting, reading and writing. I hope this season will prepare me to serve the Lord and Living Streams in the years to come with more wisdom and grace than ever. I’m not planning to respond to ministry requests beginning next Wednesday until our men’s retreat in August. Kristina and I would appreciate your prayers during this season and we will certainly be praying for everyone at Living Streams.

I have a wonderful expectation that we will be experiencing some fruitful ministry in the days to come. In our discipleship group this morning the men each shared some goals for the coming months. I hope you have a goal of drawing near to Jesus and letting God use you to share his word and his love with others this summer. Even though we haven’t even left yet, I’m already looking forward to being back at Living Streams in August and sharing with you the gifts and treasures the Lord puts in our hearts.

Sunday Preview

May 12, 2013

This Sunday is Mother’s Day and I’m expecting our services to be a blessing for everyone who attends. Our mothers have a powerful influence on each of us. A good mother loves her children and pays attention to them. She is concerned about every aspect of their lives. She wants her children to develop their gifts and talents to their full potential.

The key to each of us having a powerful influence on others can be found in the ways mothers impact their children. If we care about someone enough to listen to them, serve them, pray for them, and invest our lives in their success, we will have a powerful, positive impact on them.

My sermon this Sunday is called “Maximizing Your Influence” from Matthew 25:14-30. In this parable about the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus tells us that we are each given some of his wealth to invest until he returns. If we invest the gifts and talents he gives us wisely, we will be rewarded with joy and an inheritance prepared for us from the beginning of time. If we are selfish, lazy and refuse to invest the treasure the Lord has given us, we will be cast into a place of darkness where there is great sadness and frustration.

Like a good parent who is concerned only about the welfare of his child, Jesus always tells the truth boldly and fearlessly. The truths we will be looking at this Sunday have the power to transform our lives, maximize our influence, and bring us great blessings.