1. Amazing Volunteer Highlight
Do you love the fact that you are able to see the words to the songs on the screens during our worship service? Do you experience the benefit of seeing Pastor Paul’s notes and outlines on those screens? Are you grateful that you are able to watch the service over livestream when you have to stay home? Do you enjoy the privilege of watching previously recorded services from our website, even on your phone?
IF you answered “yes” to any of these questions, or to any of the many similar questions that I could have asked, then you NEED to express your sincere gratitude to our faithful brother, DAVE GRINNELL.
Dave has been providing his vast technical expertise in service to The Bridge for over two decades. You can always find him, Sunday after Sunday, in the back of the Worship Center at the video booth, a place that I think is like a second home to him. He has been so instrumental in setting up that video and projection system, and other systems around the campus, for the purpose of allowing ALL of us to enjoy the services and other gatherings at The Bridge. Even more impressive to me about Dave is the fact that he ALWAYS serves and contributes in these areas with a servant’s heart and a selfless attitude. I know that his motivation for all of this effort is his love for God and his love for US!
I know that Dave is probably mad at me for calling attention to him like this, so Dave, I kind of apologize for that. But… I want our whole church to know what a great impact God has made at The Bridge through YOU!
PS – I know that Dave can use more help. And I also know that he would love to train anyone who is willing to serve in the areas that he does!
2. Scripture Highlight: (Romans 4:17):
This past Sunday we had the privilege of hearing some great teaching from Dr. Randy Guliuzza. If you listened to all that he presented I would imagine that, like me, your knowledge and your faith were increased. Did you also wonder at how amazing God is, the One who created all that we see (and don’t see), by considering the incredible complexity that is built into all living things? I sure did.
And then I compared his words to a verse from my Bible reading last week – Romans 4:17. In this verse we see that Abraham’s belief in God which led to his being declared “righteous,” was largely based on the fact that God is the One who… “gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.” WOW! And even more amazing to me is that Paul, in describing Abraham’s faith, is referring back to the story in Genesis 15, where God proves that He can and will fulfill his promise to Abraham (giving him a son and many descendants), by showing him the stars! It was as if God said to Abraham, “Look at these stars that I called into existence out of nothing. If I can do that, believe me when I tell you that you WILL have a son and you WILL have such a large number of descendants, because I will make it happen!” And then we read, “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Was it in that moment that Abraham was saved?
How important it is for us to believe that God created everything from nothing, by simply speaking. That belief leads us to salvation as we also understand that this same God sent his Son Jesus Christ to die and redeem us. That belief is necessary for us as we seek to walk in the Spirit every day in the midst of all life’s tribulations and difficulties.
Because of this, I am grateful to Dr. Guliuzza for glorifying God and increasing our faith by showing us so many great things in God’s grand design of His creation, including us!
Challenge Question: How can seeing/recognizing God’s creation impact your faith in the day to day struggles of life?
3. Praise the Lord for His Abundant Provision (2023 Edition):
You should remember that in the December 2022 edition of my “Top 10” article, I praised the Lord with these words…
“I praise Him because even though we have plans for our church budget, and even though we are currently about $100K behind those plans, God is either going to use YOU to help us catch up, OR He will help us to know how to cut back. I praise Him because in either case God is going to use US, The Bridge, to expand His kingdom and bring glory to His great name!”
I was right to praise God in advance and He, in His unlimited generosity, through the generosity of many of you, allowed us to MORE than “catch up.” At the end of December not only were we NOT $100K behind in tithes and offerings, but we were actually $63K ahead!
So now we can praise the Lord again! He is so good to us, way beyond what we deserve! And… I speak on behalf of all the church leadership, expressing our sincere gratitude for the amazing generosity many of you showed, for the ministry you are enabling, and for the eternal rewards which you are storing up for yourself.
4. The Borchardts are Moving!
Don’t panic! They are not moving far away. In fact, they’re not even moving off the church’s property. They will be moving from their current tiny house on Yolanda (by the driveway), into our newly purchased house on Amigo. The house is a little bigger, a little nicer, but more than that, it has two bathrooms, as opposed to one! In a family of SEVEN you can imagine what a blessing that will be.
When will they be moving? As soon as we can get the home ready for move-in. There is still a fair amount of work to be done. Be on the lookout for requests from our deacon chairman, Gregg Mramor, asking for help from anyone who can aid in getting the house and the property ready for move-in.
5. New Assistant Pastor
There are some great things happening in our Hispanic congregation. Lots of new people and with that the need for more leadership help for Pastor Eddie. About a week ago he presented an option for the elders to consider – bringing on an associate pastor to help him in the ministry. The elders were unanimously in favor of Pastor Eddie’s request.
So, this Sunday, in the Hispanic worship service, Pastor Paul, Pastor Eddie, and I will be introducing Nelson Panameño as our new associate pastor, working directly with the Hispanic congregation. Many of you already know who Nelson is! He and his wife, Mandy, have been a key family within their congregation for many years. Nelson has often preached in their services and taught in their classes. He has a great knowledge of God’s Word and he has a servant’s heart. Those of you who attended our combined service on Christmas morning were able to hear the passion that Nelson has for life and for Christ in his public reading of God’s Word. But most of all, Nelson loves God and he loves people!
So please pray for Nelson as he moves into this official role, one that he has already been serving in for many years, but without the title. He will be serving on a part time basis while he still runs his own company as an electrician.
When you see Nelson, shake his hand or give him a big hug, and congratulate him on his new responsibilities.
6. Repent and each of you be _______________?
In Acts 2, after the people in Jerusalem heard Peter’s speech they were convicted of their sin, and they asked Peter, “What should we do? Peter answered, “Repent and each of you be BAPTIZED…” We are then told that 3,000 people responded in obedience to Peter’s exhortation and were baptized that day! Can you imagine what that would have been like to see 3,000 baptisms in the name of Jesus, the one whom the whole city, including the religious leaders, had just recently murdered only a month and a half before!
How brave and courageous those 3,000 people must have been. Their faith was on public display for all to see!
Question: If you have repented of your sin and have believed in Jesus Christ, have you also been obedient to him by being publicly baptized in His name? If not, what are you waiting for? We are having a Baptism Class to teach you what God says about baptism in His Word. Pastor Jeff will be teaching the class on Sunday, January 29th from 1:00-2:30pm, with free pizza for lunch! I don’t think Peter was able to offer that to the 3,000 in Acts 2! 🙂
Afterwards, we can schedule the actual baptism for you. If you are interested in attending, and being obedient to the Lord, please contact Diane Baker. (email@example.com)
7. CicLAvia Again!
CicLAvia is one of the largest open street events in the country where streets are transformed into safe spaces to explore by foot, bike and other non-motorized transport. CicLAvia will be held in the Valley on Sunday, February 26th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Sherman Way will be closed from Shoup (in Canoga Park) to Lindley (in Reseda), from 1:00 am to 5:00 pm on that date.
These are the only streets you can use to cross Sherman Way to get to The Bridge Bible Fellowship:
Topanga Canyon, Canoga Ave., De Soto Ave., Winnetka Ave., Tampa Ave., and Reseda Blvd. If you usually use Sherman Way, plan to use Vanowen as an alternative.
Refer HERE for more details and plan ahead!
Last time CicLAvia went down Sherman Way, some of our groups and our Outreach Team had a table right in front of our church passing out church fliers, water and snacks as a way to outreach to people as they walked/rode by. We’ll share more details as they come together for this outreach opportunity. Mark your calendar for now.
8. Staff Highlight
At our annual staff Christmas party Paul and I picked out a single word to describe something about each person, something that we were grateful for. For one person the word was “backbone.” A couple definitions I found for this word are “the part of something that provides strength and support” and then, “the most important part of something.”
Both of these definitions accurately describe the person I chose this word for: Diane Baker. Most of you know her personally because of her job as our Office Manager, and because of how good she is at her job! It is no exaggeration when I write that she has a hand in almost everything that happens at The Bridge. This is why I think she in many ways is “the most important part of something” (Backbone of The Bridge).
Diane is also a very dedicated worker, even taking work home with her in spite of her boss saying she shouldn’t. She stays longer than she should, whether she is paid for it or not. Why? Because she truly is “the part of something that provides strength or support,” our “backbone.”
All of us who know her well understand that she is like this because she loves Jesus and she loves people. She especially loves hurting people. It is impossible to count the number of people who have been impacted by her love, care and toil, when they have lost a loved one and need to do the really hard thing and plan a Memorial Service. There are literally countless families and family members who have a positive view of The Bridge because Diane has cared for them during the time of their greatest sorrow and need.
I could literally go on and on, but I’m sure she doesn’t want me to, especially since she had the task of helping me edit this article, not knowing I wrote a section about HER. :-):-):-):-) So… the last thing I will mention is this: Diane is a wonderful friend and a dear sister in Christ. I am truly blessed to be her boss.
So please express your heartfelt appreciation for all that Diane does for us, when you see her again.
9. Praise! Choir Will Continue
Tim Durand, a long-time member of our Worship Team and lead of our orchestra, has graciously offered to lead our choir as Pastor Steve takes retirement at the end of this month.
Whether you’ve been in our wonderful choir before, or are interested in finding out what it’s all about, Tim would love to have you join him for their first rehearsal on Thursday, January 26th at 6:45 pm in the Worship Center as they prepare for Easter.
10. Life Matters
What does that mean, “Life Matters?” Does it refer to the matters of life? Or does it refer to the importance of life, that life matters!?
The answer to this question is… YES.
Our beloved Pastor and friend, Tom Harcus is going to be preaching again this Sunday for part two of a four part series, titled “Life Matters.” The title is a great play on words as it describes two key aspects of this series. First, is that the series is dealing with matters of life that we all face and for which we all need help from God’s Word. Second, is this consistent theme in the Bible that Pastor Tom is using as motivation for us, as we consider each of these areas of life, that the way we live our life does really matter! Not only in this life does it matter, and it does, but also, the things we do in this life REALLY matter for the life that is to come.
So I hope that you are able to join us for the next three Sundays as Pastor Tom gives us some very encouraging and hopeful teaching from God’s Word.