You can almost see them at the table getting ready to eat... 

Jesus was there getting ready to wash the disciples feet. They were stunned. This was the man that they had followed and he was wiping their dirty feet clean. They would now begin to eat and have the famous discussion where Jesus shared with them...

Mark 14:22-26  (NIV)
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Many churches celebrate the Thursday before Easter as Maundy Thursday. Maundy comes from the latin word "mandatum" meaning command with a reference to the foot washing Jesus performed.

The idea is that Jesus gave the disciples a new command...

John 13:34 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

The Thursday before Good Friday always throws me off a little bit. I find myself reflecting on the timeline of Jesus in those hours before and after the last supper. After that the timeline of Jesus and the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane and then the trial, scourging and crucifixion. It is a lot to take in...

I encourage you to take it all in.

Don't let this time pass you by.

Remember the price Jesus paid willingly for your sin and mine.

AuthorAssad Saif

Friend, I don’t know you… but I like to start the conversation assuming we will be or could be friends. So I’ll say to you, friend, make some goals for 2018. Go do something this year!

I didn’t do this last year and was able to still have an awesome time doing amazing things in most of these areas.  This year I wanted to take some time and write out my goals so that I would be able to measure them against my efforts.

To be clear I operate on a “grace based” theology, meaning, I don’t believe I deserve anything I have. Everything is therefore a gift from God and I take it that way. This includes my drive to accomplish my goals and acquisition thereof.

Goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. that is,

1) Strategic

2) Measurable

3) Achievable

4) Realistic

5) Timely

Here are some great categories to outline your goals for this year. Take some time to write your goals and share them with others you trust. For a sample you can see mine at

  1. Faith

  2. Family

  3. Fitness

  4. Finance

  5. Friends

  6. Fun

  7. Profession


AuthorAssad Saif

A study was done in 2015 that showed 72 percent of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. However, many of them hardly ever pray, read the Bible, or attend church. They admit that they live to please themselves instead of God. In fact Today less than 20 percent of Americans actually in church. In other words, more than 80 percent of Americans are doing, well, something else. 


How do we make sense of that?  The problem is that we want heaven and we want to define on our own who is allowed in.  The first people of course is us.


This week to prove my point I asked a question on Facebook.  The question was “If you could let anyone into heaven, what would be the criteria, meaning, what would they have to do?”  Many of the people who answered simply said “love” or “love” and something else.  So my interpretation of that is that for them to let someone into heaven they narrowed the road down to heaven down to “love” but there is one caveat and that is, “love” by their definition.


The question this week is “Do all roads lead to heaven?”  That’s a tough question because if we say yes than that means we have to throw out all of our faiths and if we say no that means we all have loved ones, family and friends who we know probably aren’t there.  So the easy way to deal with that is to say pretend ignore the question.  But it’s there and in our face “Do all roads lead to heaven?”


If someone were to ask me this…  I’d ask “which heaven do you like best?” and “why do you want to go there?”  Because for me the only heaven that matters is the one where God the father lives, therefore I don’t care where that place is because I just want to be with God and to be with God you have to be perfect which means and our main point this morning is…


Main Point:  There can only be one way to heaven.



Only one way to heaven folks.  The logic is pretty simple though. 

You can only have one way because we believe:

1.     In absolute truth.

2.     There is a God.

3.     That God revealed himself in the bible

4.     The Bible tells us how to get from Escondido to heaven.


Now that is a church centered approach.  Maybe your listening and your thinking, well I don’t know if I follow that line of thinking because I don’t believe in God.  At that point then I’d say well if you don’t believe in God “who cares about heaven?”


You see your only having the conversation about all roads going to heaven with people that believe in a God who can make a heaven.  These are religious people, in fact these are the only religions in the world that have a heaven to go to:


Our of 4,200 organized religions on the face of the planet there are only 6 religions I could find that even claim to have some kind of heaven and they are:

1.     Judaism (Heaven)

2.     Zoroastrianism (Paradise)

3.     Christianity (Heaven)

4.     Islam (Paradise)

5.     Hinduism (Moksha)

6.     Buddhism (Nirvana)


This is why the bible is so important to us.  We believe what the bible says because we believe God revealed himself in it and we believe it to be true, tested, accurate, reliable and trustworthy and here is what the bible says about our question today…


John 14:5-7 (NIV)

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”



A couple things you need to know about heaven: 1) Jesus is the way. (vv. 5-7)


Jesus makes things very clear.  He doesn’t teach a good path he teaches people He is the path.  Done.  Drop the mic and go home.  Jesus is the way.  The implication for the disciples and for us then is to follow Him and worship him to the point that we deny our own lives, carry His cross and worship Him.


If you believe in God then you must believe that God has the ability to allow people into His presence.  If is pure then He must require purity in his midst, he can’t have impure people around him unless they have been cleansed.  Jesus teaches us that through His blood we have been made clean.  See with me in verse eight…


John 14:8-11 (NIV)

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 


If God is real and we believe in Him the next question is “How can we possibly know this God.?”  Jesus makes that really easy by letting people know that He is God and was sent by God.  And then he throws in a caveat by saying “or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.”  For us…


The second thing to know about Jesus being the only way to heaven is this:

To know Jesus is to know God Himself. (vv. 8-11)


Jesus makes it abundantly clear here for anyone looking for a path to heaven.  The only way to go to heaven is to know God Himself.  The only way then to know God is through Jesus because Jesus is God.


The miracles of Jesus were specifically designed to show us that He is God.  He demonstrated that truth over and over to the 12 disciples and now for us and those beyond us.  All can see that Jesus had the power of God.  That is the ability to do the miraculous on earth, the ability to forgive sin (imperfection) and the ability to raise the dead to life.  These things must cement in our minds that Jesus is Lord.


Without that we really can’t know God, we can’t enter heaven, we don’t know the way and we can’t know how to live a life with God.  Jesus must be God and therefore to know Jesus is to know God Himself.


To his point, Jesus was asking for his disciples then and us now to have faith.  We need faith because knowledge isn’t enough.  In fact…


Now is the time to ask yourself “Can I possibly learn all that I need to know about God in one lifetime and make a decision to trust Jesus or should I gamble and see what happens?”  I say that because to hear all that you’ve heard today and walk away from it questioning (if you already believe in a God) is to gamble with your life.  If you’re hear today and you’re not sure there is a God you’re not concerned with Heaven and it really doesn’t matter.


But if you do believe there is a God then I have to ask you to take a hard look at your life and ask yourself why you haven’t taken that step of faith.  The Bible which we believe is the word of God teaches us that Jesus wants to know us and He wants us to know God and He wants us to do the things He did so the world would see that Jesus is in fact God.  See with me in verse 12…


John 14:12-14 (NIV)

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.


Jesus desires that we know Him in a personal way so that we can know God in a personal way.  The goal always is that our life and our actions would bring glory or fame to the name of Jesus and lift Him up as the supreme being in all of the universe.  The challenge for us then is…


The Challenge: Get to know Jesus. (vv. 12-14)

AuthorAssad Saif


Simply put the problem: we all deal with regarding the bible is we just don’t know it well enough to speak to it’s truth. That means we’ve just not read it enough to be able to do defend those who doubt.  Sometimes it’s easy to doubt the bible is true.  We all deal with doubt when we don’t believe there is enough evidence. 


Friends, The Bible is true.


Last week we asked the question “Is God real?” and we landed on the answer “yes God is real!” If God is real then we believe something enlightens us to Him and that something is Holy Scriptures.  They are inspired by God.  God desires to communicate with the world the hope and salvation he has offered through Jesus Christ, and does so in the Holy Scriptures. God was directly involved in revealing himself through written words, by influencing the scriptural authors. 


Thought the scriptures may have been penned by human beings the influence was purely divine. (2 Peter 1:20-21).  There are many times in the scriptures where God told people to write down a specific message and in doing so these scriptures became God breathed meaning he in his transcendence inspired the authors of the text (2 Tim. 3:16).


Now there are those who question whether or not the Bible is truthful in its claims.  Yet, the scriptures undergo constant scrutiny and to date no biblical teaching has ever been found with fault.  The scriptures are true and allow believers to know God in truth. 


As I answer the question “Is the Bible real?” my hope is to help you see a few things regarding the bible to help you understand how logical, rational and secure it is.  See with me in Matthew chapter five…


Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV)

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.


Verse 18 teaches us the importance of the scriptures.  That each word will last forever and that is important because what we learn throughout history and the study of God’s word is that…


The Bible: Is consistent. (Mt. 5:17-20)



The message of the bible is consistent throughout the whole text.  From the beginning of the first book, which is Genesis to the last book which is Revelation, all 66 books of the bible are consistent in their message.  Our God is a loving God who created humanity and despite our sin He loved us enough to give us a way to be in a loving relationship with Him, or reconcile us to Him. Jesus is that way. 


This message is consistent even though:

It was written:

  • By 40 different authors who were inspired by God.

  • In three major languages being, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

  • Over the course of 1500 years.

  • It has been translated into currently636 languages.

  • There are more than 3,200 verses with fulfilled prophecies.


When something is so consistent over time it carves deep grooves in history and should settle in our mind that it is stable and trustworthy.  Meaning it is worthy of us depending on it as our truth.  The Bible says it this way in Psalm 19:7…


Psalm 19:7-9 (NIV)

7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.


This passage highlights the teaching of God to His people.  This is a call to those who believe in God to recognize that His Word, that is His teachings have integrity, they are reliable, upright, clean pure and this next point which is…


The Bible: Is trustworthy. (Ps. 19:7-9)



The word “Canon” means “measuring stick”.  That is important because here are OCC we believe cannon of scripture (or the measurement of truth that makes up bible integrity) to be a God inspired set of books that make up the Bible. 

They include:

  1. Thirty nine Old Testament books

  2. Twenty seven New Testament books, making up sixty six books in all. 

  3. Some books did not get in the canon. 

  4. The Apocryphal books are an example of literature that was not included. 


Therefore we can rest assured knowing God has been at work rightly preserving his relevant message to us.


At the Orchard we believe in the full inerrancy of the bible in it’s original manuscripts.  That means we believe there is no fault in the original writing in the Word of God.  Through the years copyist who translated the bible have had slight errors with regard to punctuation but minimally in translation.  This allows for the Bible to be regarded as truthful in its teachings, and accounts for the different observation techniques between biblical authors and the authors of today.


Put your trust in God and in the scriptures He has given us.  The bible says it this way in 2 Tim. 3:16-17…


2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


The Challenge for you and me is this:  If the Bible is true, trust it and let it guide you. ( 2 Tim. 3:16-17)


When you begin your relationship with God, your typical instinctual desires are to know him more, and obey his commands.  The scriptures are the words of God.  Now, God may not spell out everything he desires each individual to take part in, but …. he clearly communicates what he wishes we should not do.


If someone chooses to disobey the words of scripture, they disobey God.  God himself influenced the biblical authors to write down what he wished to communicate to his people (Jer. 1:9).  It is important for us to apply the scriptural truths as we become aware of them.



AuthorAssad Saif

Here you will find the points I’ve used to define my argument for the existence of God.  I’ve tried to give you my points, verses and arguments.  Let me know if you have any questions!


I began the message by making the point: Christians believe there is a God for a reason.


We see it here in…


Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV)

1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.


If God was at the beginning of time we see one of the roles Jesus plays here…


Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV)

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.


Therefore  we know there is a God because: Something holds the universe together. (Col. 1:16-17)


This leads us to the…


Cosmological argument or the argument from creation… It goes like this….


1.     The universe had a beginning.

2.     Anything that has begun must have been caused or initiated by something else.

3.     Something above creation, more powerful than anything created, must have created it.

4.     Christians believe that something to be God.


Scientific evidence strongly supports that our universe had definite beginning.  The prevailing or most held theory for the creation of the universe to date is the Big Bang theory. The theory states that about 13.7 billion years ago all the matter in the Universe was concentrated into a single incredibly tiny point.


Friends we believe something holds the universe together and that something is Jesus. 


Look at it here:


Colossians 1:15-17 (NIV)

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Can I just say that if Jesus can hold the universe together, He can hold you together as well.  You may think your life is a hot mess but let me tell you today… He holds the whole world in His hands.  He created and holds together the universe.


Lets see what the Bible says here in Isaiah chapter 40…


Isaiah 40:21-22 (NIV)

21 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.


He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth.  How would they know it was a circle?  This was written around 701bc-681bc, without getting into the Hebrew translation of the word circle which is the word (KHOOG)….  I’m just sayin… the point that we see is Ancient people of 2,000 or 1,000 BC did not have modern scientific knowledge. Yet they developed perceptions of the physical world based on observations. It was certainly not scientific but practical, based on what they could observe simply by looking at the earth and sky. What we learn is that even in the simplest and non technical study of the earth….


We know there is a God because: The universe is not random. (Isaiah 40:22; Job 26:10)


Teleological Argument or the Argument from the viewpoint of design.  Here is how the logic works.


1.     All designs imply a designer.

2.     There is a great design in the universe.

3.     Therefore there must be a great designer of the universe.


Just observing the earth and moon as spheres help us see how the perfect the design is.  It is because they are spheres spinning around the sun, another sphere that we have night and day.  There is a literal line that runs across the earth and the moon where the day ends and the night begins.  It’s called the terminator line.  Only because it’s a sphere.


In addition to that the Bible points to the earth hanging freely in space here in Job 26…


Job 26:7-10 (NIV)

7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
    he suspends the earth over nothing.
8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
    yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
9 He covers the face of the full moon,
    spreading his clouds over it.
10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
    for a boundary between light and darkness.


We move from design to recognition of power and being.  I mean to say we’ve tackled two major arguments so far, that is the argument from creation and from design now lets take a look at this next verse and see where it leads us..  Psalm 8…


Psalm 8:1-4 (NIV)

1 Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?[


Something caused the universe to begin, someone is the great designer of it all, this leads to the position that…


The creation and design of the world ask the question of designer therefore:  There must be a creator. (Psalm 8:3)


The argument here is from the standpoint of existence itself.  We exist and in our reality we measure things by virtue of perfection and imperfection.  This is called the Ontological Argument or the argument from the standpoint of being.  Here is how the logic works.


1.     If something is imperfect than something perfect must exist.

2.     Perfection can be attained by the One who is worth it. (necessary assignment).

3.     We must give that credit where credit is due. (Assign perfection to it’s source).


This verse says…


Romans 2:15 (NIV)

15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)


Friends you, me and everyone in the world knows:  Humanity has a moral fabric. (Romans 2:15)


When people do bad things, and get hurt there is an outcry because our human existence is dependent on our collective belief in human dignity.  This is why believers and non-believes agree on peace treaties and on the other side we warrant war on those who commit crimes against humanity.  We do all of this because the moral law of God has been written on our hearts.


The argument for God from the standpoint of morality is called the Axiological Argument (axios means judgement) or in our terms we can call it the Moral Argument.  The logic works like this…


1.     Humanity is conscious of an objective moral law.

2.     Moral laws imply a moral law giver.

3.     Therefore there must be a supreme law giver.


God our God is the supreme Law Giver.  He is the author and creator or morality and it is because of Him we have any standards at all in this world.  Our greatest desire is to know we have meaning and purpose in this life and that begins from the basis of a moral law that allows you to navigate life in a way that encourages you to love and show charity to your fellow human beings.  This my friends points not to the depravity or morality of the human heart but the virtues of grace, love and forgiveness God demonstrates for us by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  To die so that others may live.  This is the greatest example to date of what it means to have the highest moral value in all the land.


So my challenge to you….  If God exists you must worship Him.


AuthorAssad Saif

Last week I spoke on the message titled "Truth".  This message fits into an overall series our church is going through titled "The God Questions".  I opened our series with several verses I believe will help you on your journey toward discovering what the Bible says about truth.

Listen to the message here.

Here are some verses on Truth you can reflect on:

Deuteronomy 29:29 (NIV)

29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

Universal Revelation

 Psalm 19:1-6 (NIV)

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice[
b] goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5     It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

 Romans 2:11-16 (NIV)

11 For God does not show favoritism. 12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

 Romans 1:20 (NIV)

20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

 Special Revelation

Genesis 2:15-17 (NIV)

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Exodus 3:14 (NIV)

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

John 1:14 (NIV)

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Seeing Jesus as Truth:

John 14:6-7 (NIV)

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”


AuthorAssad Saif

Happy Father's Day!  

I've been thinking about this message for some time.  As a dad Father's day is an important day in the year for me.  It's a time for evaluation and, of course, celebration!

I don't know how you celebrate but I do know there are lots of different family systems among us. Having grown up with my parents divorced, Father's day meant spending the day with my dad at his work.  I absolutely loved being around him and to this day still do.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at a Father in the bible and learn from some of the ways he followed God.  I hope you'll be with me tomorrow at church!

If you need prayer always feel free to send me and email.  See you tomorrow.

God Bless You,
Assad Saif

AuthorAssad Saif

You are not a political pawn, you are a child of God, don’t forget that.

Today as the news about the election came out I knew there would be people in our church and personal relationship circles that would be hurt and lost and some that would be joyfully elated.  We have a diverse group of people in our church and that is what makes us the people of God.  It is what I value most about the Orchard. We as a group do not always think alike but we are willing to set aside our differences so that we can pursue Christ together.
The bible says it this way:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Whether you are feeling great or are having a hard time, my hope for you is that you would rest in Christ today.  Jesus says it like this, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
The best thing we can all do, always, for our country is pray. 
Ask God to: 
1.  Work in Donald Trump’s heart and mind as he leads. 
2.  Protect and strengthen those who are feeling weak. 
3.  Provoke Christians to champion issues of injustice. 
4.  Bring the Church back to the worship of Jesus Christ alone.

As your pastor, know that I care for you all.  I believe the Lord is in control and I am not fearful of tomorrow.  I am confident in the mission God has given me, the mission God has given our church and of the work we need to do.  Join me in praying for our church and country today and loving each other with respect and humility.

God Bless You,
Assad Saif

AuthorAssad Saif