panelarrow

March 5, 2019
by Steve Sanchez
2 Comments

State of Our Church 2019

Every year we have an address detailing what we have done at Community Church of the Hills and where we are going. This year’s address was inspired by my friend Cher Guevera’s Facebook post. If you don’t know about Cher, he’s a radical, left-wing, communist, queer activist, as well as an anarcho-syndicalist, gender non-conforming, poet, journalist, performance artist and actor…and we’ve been friends for over five years on Social Media. Read a little more about him here.

He inspired my 2019 address with a—believe it or not—pro-abortion post! I then left him a skeptical appraisal in the comments section. This is how he responded:

“You know, Steve, here’s the rub, I would take the “pro-life” position a lot more seriously if the movement was interested in life. But by and large, it’s not. And we see that from politicians who endlessly promote themselves as “pro-life” on the campaign trail. These same politicians who tear their hair out over the unborn don’t seem to care about a fetus after they are born.

“You posted recently asking if people’s pastors preached a pro-life message and I ask you the same thing. Did you? Not an anti-abortion message, but a pro-life message, one that seeks a better life for poor children after they exit the birth canal?”

My Response: “We are committed to life in all forms. Our church supports a local Pregnancy Resource Center that sees moms and dads through the whole birthing process including educating them to be good parents and helping them with food and other items. 

“This year we are committed to helping the needy in our area. We just recently handed out 72 bags of cookies door-to-door in a low-income housing apartment complex to introduce our church to them, and want our church to reach out to see how we can help the residents and their children in the future.

Continue Reading

March 5, 2019
by Steve Sanchez
2 Comments

The Voice of the Martyrs

THE SCARY-LOOKING MAN entered the crowded Syrian church service carrying a small package. Squeezing through the hundreds of worshipers he made his way to the front of the sanctuary where he set the package down in front of the altar while the pastor preached. He then shouted, “Allahu Akbar!” Over and over again the scary man screamed “Allahu Akbar!” until about half the congregants fled the church in anticipation of yet another terrorist attack. Fearlessly, the pastor kept preaching expecting that at any moment the package was going to explode. It didn’t. The scary-looking man had just become a believer in Jesus Christ and didn’t yet know how to praise the Christian God. Instead of shouting “Hallelujah!” he praised Him in the only way he knew how: “Allahu Akbar!”

Tears welled up in my eyes as I listened to the testimonies of pastors who ministered in China, Pakistan and Syria at a conference sponsored by The Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry devoted to assisting the persecuted Christian Church around the world. This is a subject that most churches don’t talk about, much less pray about, even though more believers have been killed for their faith in Jesus in the last century, than in all other centuries combined after Christ was crucified.

“The persecution index is rising,” wrote Mindy Belz, for WORLD Magazine. “If someone launched a futures market based on Christian believers getting killed and took a ‘long’ position, they’d have a safe prospect of a return. Last year 1 in 9 Christians experienced serious persecution—a 14% increase over the previous year. Christians are enduring high levels of persecution in 73 countries. The freedom to believe is the first freedom, making possible all others for all people. Roughly 70% of the world’s Christians live without the right to worship freely. Many of us are the world’s 30%, rich with religious privilege.”

Continue Reading

February 24, 2019
by Steve Sanchez
4 Comments

Eating to God’s Glory

HOW MUCH WEIGHT DO YOU NEED TO LOSE? As an American, chances are that you need to shed a few pounds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 71% of adults aged 20 and over are overweight or obese. It’s no wonder!

Finish these 3 sentences to see if you’ve been food brainwashed:

  1. Eat everything on your _______________
  2. You are finished eating your meal when you are _____________
  3. The most important meal of the day is _______________

We’ve all been taught to overeat since we were children and have carried that bad habit into adulthood, which will be shortened if we don’t re-think our food consumption. Not only that, but carrying extra poundage has been linked to a number of chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. What if we all did something radical and obeyed this commandment from the Bible? “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Continue Reading

February 19, 2019
by Steve Sanchez
5 Comments

Thou Shalt Watch Thy Waistline

I HAVE A DIRTY LITTLE SECRET: I hate working out! I do it because at almost age 60, I want to make a difference for Jesus for many more years to come; also, I want to live long enough to see my daughters graduate college and get married. I want to die only when I’m holding one of their babies in my arms and, after looking lovingly in the child’s eyes, I whisper, “I love you, little Stevie….” then, suddenly, I’ll keel over. 

The Bible asks rhetorically, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Sadly, too many of us have not taken care of that sacred place where Jesus dwells. Instead of a temple made for him, we look more like the restroom of a Golden Corral after a football game.

Since the emphasis of the Good Book stresses a holy walk with the Lord by reading and obeying His Word, there is not a lot of stress on physical exercise, though the Apostle Paul does say to a young pastor named Timothy, “for physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:10)

When I was lean and mean in my twenties, I promised myself that I would never become a fat man in the bath tub, and would never sport a huge, protruding pot belly. Too many pastors preach about sinful excesses while barely able to buckle their pants. May I suggest that the two greatest secret sins in today’s America are laziness and gluttony Wait. Those are two of the seven deadly sins, are they not?

“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3 John 1:2)

To maintain good health so you can continue to witness for Jesus long into your twilight years, please do not put it off until tomorrow. Start today. Several years ago, my youngest saw an advertisement on the side of Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant that said: “FREE CRABS TOMORROW!” Laurel was soooo excited that she couldn’t contain her enthusiasm and shouted, “Dad! Let’s come back tomorrow and get free crabs!” I burst her bubble by explaining that the sign would say the same thing tomorrow. And the tomorrow after. When it comes to working out, tomorrow never comes. There is always an excuse not to do it.

Continue Reading

January 13, 2019
by Steve Sanchez
1 Comment

2019 Will Be the Best Year Ever!

IF I WERE TO GO BACK IN HISTORY IN A TIME MACHINE, I would double check the settings to make sure that I would never have to experience 2018 again, because that darn year will rank as probably the worst year of my life. That’s why I am looking forward to 2019, and you should, too.

Continue Reading