October 30, 2022
by Steve Sanchez

Alone With God & His Word

I pity believers who do not spend time with God first thing. They know not what they do…or rather what they don’t do.

For most, everything is more important than time spent with Jesus: sleeping 15 minutes longer, newsfeeds, breakfast, work, kids—like I said, everything! But oh, the satisfaction of hearing God’s voice from His Word! It will be just what you need.

This morning I was reminded of his great faithfulness:

 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. (Lamentation 3:22-23)

Perhaps it’s reassurance that He’s there; maybe a reminder that your sins are forgiven. Perchance, he may tell you of His eternal love for you. The bottom line? You just will not know unless you make time for Him.

We can sometimes forget that this book we have is indeed the Word of God. God spoke and it was written down. To live a life that is pleasing to the Lord we must read his Word.

The American Bible Society reported that “more than half of Americans think the Bible has too little influence on a culture they see in moral decline, yet only one in five Americans read the Bible on a regular basis.”

The average American household has 4.4 Bibles yet only 57% of Americans read their Bibles four times a year or less. Only 26% said they read their Bible four or more times a week. The conclusion? Almost a third of respondents said moral decline was a result of people not reading the Bible.”

No wonder one man called the Bible: “America’s favorite unopened text.”

How different from the Bible reading habits of yesteryear:

John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of our country, once stated: “So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year.”

William Booth (1829-1912), founder of the Salvation Army made this resolution: “I hereby vow to read no less than four chapters in God’s Word every day.” His wife Catherine read through the Bible eight times before she even turned 12 years old.

All these people loved, honored, and read the Bible. Do you?

This is what I counsel troubled believers to do: put God first. Seek first His Kingdom. His righteousness. Be a real Christian, one who makes Jesus your all in all.

A habit that I have cultivated over the years is this: I do not eat until I have read my Bible. In other words, “No Bible. No Breakfast.” “No read, no feed.” “Bible before belly.”

Not a morning person? My final offer: “No Bible. No Bed.”

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) said, “God desires that every servant of His would understand and perform this blessed practice, that His church would know how to train its children to recognize this high and holy privilege, and that every believer would realize the importance of making time for God alone. Oh, the thought of having God all alone to myself and knowing that God has me all alone.”

“O my soul, practice that solitude!” wrote George Matheson (1842-1946). “Practice dismissing the crowd! Practice the stillness of your heart! Practice the majestic song ‘God and I! God and I!’ Let no one come between you and your wrestling angel! You will receive conviction yet pardon, when you meet Jesus alone!”

Haddon Robinson said: “The Bible is like the ocean. You can wade in it, feed from it, live on it—or drown in it. But those who take the time to learn its truths and practice them will be changed forever.”

October 23, 2022
by Steve Sanchez

The Starfish

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

The young man replied, “The sun is up, and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!” Continue Reading

September 29, 2022
by Steve Sanchez

The Agony & the Ecstasy: 7 Years as Pastor of Community Church of the Hills

Sunday, August 30, marked the official 7-year anniversary of my being the pastor at Community Church of the Hills. When I first started, we had 81 people. Out of that original congregation, 12 still attend.

The first year was my honeymoon. It seemed everyone loved me. The second and third year, not so much. I learned that in a small church, in a small town, if you offend one person, the whole family and all their friends leave.I offended many during my first years’ learning curve.

Coming directly from a 1,500-member church in the beach cities of L.A. to a small country church in the middle of rural Texas didn’t translate well. I was not very gracious and was way too demanding. I over-emphasized evangelism and talked about Hell ad nauseum.

The first person to leave said it was because I didn’t teach out of the King James Bible. She had gone there 17 years. In that entire time, no one ever taught out of the King James Bible.

Another said that he wasn’t being fed. (Pastors, ever hear that one before?)

Still another complained that she “just wasn’t feeling it.”

Yet another left because someone put a hat on his wife’s chair.

One guy split because he didn’t like being told what to do and another bailed because I shook his hand the wrong way.

Oh! Did I mention that God prevented a church split in 2018? Or that a guy wrote a 4 page letter to the Elders trying to get me fired?

The bottom line? They didn’t love me as much as I thought.

Continue Reading