Hi Church, 

       This Sunday I'll be introducing a new song called "God of Miracles" by Chris McClarney. Pastor Assad and I recently had the opportunity to attend an event at which Chris led worship. It was abundantly clear to me from the start that he is both a gifted worship leader and songwriter. In particular, "God of Miracles" really "struck a chord"...(a little musical pun for you). It is a song that speaks to the supernatural power and love of the God we serve. It is a wonderful reminder that, as Jesus said, "...with God, all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded of that truth almost daily.  In one of the verses McClarney sings,

Let faith arise in spite of what I see, Lord I believe.
But help my unbelief.
I choose to trust You.
No matter what I feel, let faith arise.
 

       I love the apparent contradiction between his declaration of belief, followed quickly by a prayer for God's help to believe. It is indicative of the real life struggle we have as believers as we navigate this broken world. Our life circumstances can sometimes feel so overwhelming and it's easy for our faith to waver. However, we have peace in the storm because of our all-powerful and unfailing God. The character of God gives us confidence in the face of adversity. Regardless of how our circumstances make us feel, God's unfailing love helps us to say, "I choose to trust You."  

Below is a link to the song. I pray it blesses you. I look forward to being/singing with you on Sunday.

Until Sunday,
             Josh 


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AuthorJosh Boyd
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Hi Church, 

     Pastor Assad recently challenged me to create and sing more original music on Sunday mornings at OCC. Admittedly, I don't think to sing original songs very often. However, we are blessed to have multiple songwriters on our team. If you recall a couple months back, we sang a song called "The Hallelujah Song". That song was written by our own Deb Franklin and she did a wonderful job with it. My prayer is that God will continue to give us new songs that will bless the Church and bring glory to His name. 
     That said, this weekend I will be introducing a song that I co-wrote with my friend, Jimmy Robeson. As an aside, if you're not familiar with Jimmy, I encourage you to look him up. He's an incredibly gifted songwriter and worship leader and I'm confident you'll be blessed by his music.  
     The song we'll be singing is called "Abundant".  There is a lot that can be said regarding the circumstances behind the writing of the song, but the general theme of the song is one of desperation and desire for closeness with the Lord. The chorus is an acknowledgement that all of our deepest longings and desires are satisfied in the abundant life that is ours through Christ Jesus. I pray it blesses you. 

                                                                                  Until Sunday,
                                                                                        Josh  

Abundant

Verse 1
I am desperate for a glimpse of You
Only You can satisfy
All I need is to be close to You
You give me life, abundant life

Chorus   
Light a fire in my soul
Let it blaze out of control
I will live for You, I’m Yours alone
Bring passion for Your Name
And in Your arms I will remain
I will live for You, I’m Yours alone
I’m Yours alone

Verse 2     
You desire to be close to me
Because I am Your child
Remind me how it used to be
You give me life, abundant life

Bridge
You give me life, life, life, abundant life


Posted
AuthorJosh Boyd

   

Hi Church,

     Lord willing, we'll be singing a new song this weekend at Orchard. It's called Good Good Father. As the name implies, it's a song celebrating and affirming the goodness, tenderness, and the perfection of our heavenly Father. Additionally, it affirms our standing as His dearly loved children. It is a wonderful reminder of the following verse:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)

     My hope and prayer is that this song will bless you as we strive together to walk in the beauty of His love each day.  

                                                                                                   Until Sunday,
                                                                                                        Josh

    

Good Good Father

Story behind the song

     Lyrics

Oh, I've heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You're like
But I've heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You're pleased
And that I'm never alone

You're a good good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am

Oh, and I've seen many searching
For answers far and wide
But I know we're all searching
For answers only You provide
‘Cause You know just what we need
Before we say a word

Cause You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us

Oh, it's love so undeniable
I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I can hardly think

As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love, love, love


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AuthorJosh Boyd
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People are important.

The “C”hurch is more than a building, band or great message.  The Church is the people of God who gather together to worship God and love each other through prayer and sacrifice.  This concept is a difficult one for us in Southern California.

I don’t know about you but there was a time in my life early on in my ministry where I asked myself the question “why should I go to church?”  I had at that time experienced much pain and confusion in my relationship with God and the purpose of of gathering together with other believers had gotten lost, at least in my mind. 

I’ve been to house churches and did the whole “Sundays with my family is church” thing as well.  I asked God to reveal to me his purpose for the Sunday morning gathering as a church. What did I learn? I learned that a genuine relationship with God awakens our need for the Community of believers.

At some point we must recognize that we need people and they need us.  Together God uses us to show love, help those in need and prayerfully see the miraculous happen through changed lives.  I believe in a God that still works this way.  He works through His church and I look forward to sharing this message in full with you tomorrow.

See you soon,

Assad


Posted
AuthorAssad Saif

By Natalie Boyd

God calls each of His followers – those that put their trust in Him – to make disciples. We are called to know Him, and to help others know Him. Therefore, in Christ, we find great purpose. He calls us into His ministry, as we become disciple makers.

I’m reminded of the well-known passage found in Matthew 28:19-20.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NASB

The first part that stands out is Jesus’ command of "teaching them to observe all that I commanded." This is a call for us as Christ followers to make sure we are teaching those around us what God says in His Word. Not only do we want people to know what Scripture says, but we must urge them to practice it. We are to encourage them to live in such a way that glorifies our Creator and Redeemer. We are to speak God’s truth in love, because we are confident that Scripture is sufficient when teaching about life and godliness (2 Peter 1:2-3). This should also challenge us, for if we are urging others to live out the Word of God, we must be doing the same.

Second, Jesus gives us great hope in this passage. As we do His work and ministry, as we live in a hurting and broken world, we are not alone. His resurrection gives us hope because He is with us through every trial and joy. What a simple, but life-changing truth! 

I pray this encourages you, as Christ followers and disciple makers, to keep going. When conversations get tough and lives messy, may we be diligent in pointing people to the truth found in Scripture, and the hope Christ offers His people through His life, death, and resurrection. 

Posted
AuthorAssad Saif

Right around the Christmas season things begin to happen in a flurry.  Life seems to get faster and faster as we race toward the things we love most about December.  The time we have with our family, the songs we get to sing once a year, the holiday smells fill the air with aromas of vanilla, pine and sweet cinnamon.  Christmas time is an incredib­­­ly cheerful idea.

For others the season evokes a sense of instability.  Some if not most have suffered horrible memories and anguish throughout their lives and when they see the happy, joy filled memories depicted on television and their friends facebook pages they are forced to reflect on their painful past.

No matter which family tradition you come from or what your past experience is, all have need for the thing Christmas hopes to bring.  A faith in our fellow human being to be better towards each other, caring for those in need and aspiring toward a better future.  Love between people shared regardless of whatever is in their past.  A hope that causes us to wonder about the absolute way God can intervene in the world, a wonder that forces to dream of a world of possibility.  That is the hope we expect Christmas to bring.

God knew we would need this hope. He presented it to us in a baby named Jesus whom was born by a virgin in a stable because there was no room at the Inn. (Lk. 2:6-7).

About two miles away from the stable some shepherds were tending their flock.  The night the baby an angel went to the shepherds in the field and in the dark night which can easily represents our own darkest nights the a bright light surrounded them and darkness was turned to light.  In the sky the sound of heralding angel filled the void with the words “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Lk. 2:11).

Then the angles of Heaven break forth cutting the dark and silent night with glimpse of what it looks like to sing praises from hearts filled with the joy, the hope, the love and the faith that Jesus brought to earth that night.  They sang “Glory to God in the Highest” and they mentioned something else significant for the shepherds to hear and something significant for us to hear today.  They sang their song and told this to the angles “peace on earth and goodwill towards all people.”

This is the hope that Christmas brings.  That in the midst of the craziness of life and the consumerism that gets shoved in our faces and the keeping up with the jones’ mentality that we deal with… Peace on earth can be found…  Goodwill toward all people can be achieved.  This is not some fairy tale someone dreamed up but the truth that God came down and offered to us something significant.  He offered us wonder in the form a baby.  A peace offering in a turbulent time.  A sign that God is not done with us.  A truth that all heaven and earth rejoiced because Jesus touched down in Bethlehem and brought with Him the faith, love and hope we need.  Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and goodwill to every man, woman, boy, girl.

The peace on earth and goodwill toward all mankind was given to us through Jesus Christ.  He invites us to take an honest look at our lives in the mirror and when we see the parts where we all know we fail, where we see our own pride and selfishness to turn from it and turn toward the hope that came that night to the shepherds in the field.

Jesus came to us as a baby and took on the sin of the world when he willingly went to the cross.  He paid a heavy price for the sin of this dark world, yours and mine alike.  He proved he had the power and authority to forgive and over life and death when he raised from the dead on the third day.  When we put our trust in Jesus we are saying to ourselves and to him that we are willing to believe that he is God, that he can forgive us for not being perfect.

It all begins with a willingness to turn from our own selfishness and pride.  It begins in our hearts and for some of you tonight it is beginning right now.  You are beginning to believe that there is something more to the Christmas story than just a baby.  You like the shepherds are beginning to believe that Jesus is the Lord God come down to truly save us.

I invite you to join me and trust me when I say you can put your trust in Jesus tonight.  He came to bring you a peace that will blow your mind.  You won’t be able to explain it.  He came to show you a love that will break your heart because it in you begin to experience how far he is willing to go to forgive you.  He came to invite you to trust, to have faith and to find hope in him that will change your life forever. 

This happens in a relationship with Jesus and it can start right now if your willing to take a risk right now.  I want to invite you to in your own words talk to God, maybe for the first time.  Some time today or tomorrow I invite you to find a silent moment and tell the Lord that you are willing to trust Jesus, the baby, the savior, the king, the Lord.  Tell the Lord you are willing to turn from your self and turn toward him and ask him to help you trust him.

Posted
AuthorAssad Saif

Join us Sundays as we explore "The Wonder of Christmas".  Over the next four weeks we will uncover the four Wonders of Christmas in the first few chapters of the Gospel of Matthew.  We invite you to follow along by downloading our app and listening in on the podcast.

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AuthorAssad Saif

Update:

This past month OCC celebrated its first annual meeting.  The purpose was to begin to redevelop a core group of people who would be interested in helping OCC go from "where we are" to "where we sense the Lord calling us to go".  We changed our services around that morning from having an 9am & 10:30am service to having one service that went from 10am-11:30am. Following this we had a baptism, served lunch, and began our annual meeting at 12:30pm.  We had 150 people join us for our services, baptized three people, and had 75 people stay for the annual meeting.  It was amazing to hear the ministry leaders share the reports of their different ministries.  OCC has an emphasis on celebrating our volunteers and working to connect people.  Werner Jacobsen, chairman of  EFCC’s elder board,  shared an encouragement from EFCC to our OCC family.  Dave Hall, EFCC missions pastor,  then shared a prayer of blessing for our next year of ministry.

Prayer Requests – our needs: 

  1. To double the number of our children's ministry volunteers.  We currently have 26 different children's ministry partners and we need 52 so that we can be ready for growth in our children's ministry.
  2. To grow our junior high and high school programs in order to  minister to the young people who  call OCC their church home.
  3. For more people to be involved in all of our setup teams.
  4. That people continue to give generously so that we can become financially self-sustaining.

 

 

 

Orchard Community Church, www.orchardcc.org, 2200 Glenridge Rd, Escondido, CA 92027 (760) 781-2184

Posted
AuthorAssad Saif

Ambition in my experience has helped me grow as an individual, helping me to seek higher goals and set plans to accomplish them.  

Posted
AuthorAssad Saif

 I had the great opportunity to spend half a day learning and discovering some truths toward understanding how better to share the Gospel in the community that surrounds the church.  I learned several things as I spent time in prayer and heard from different speakers throughout this time.

Sharing the Gospel can be enigmatic or mysterious at times because as the world changes we have to change the ways we share our faith.  To make things a bit more clear I thought it would be important to start simply by explaining what the Gospel is.

The word Gospel is a transliterated word from the German word "Good-spell" that simply means good news.  When people reference the word Gospel they typically mean the good news that humanity can have hope.  This hope is that people can have a live a life in relationship with God.  This relationship with God is possible through a faith in Jesus.

Lots of people don't even know they need this kind of hope.  They live life day to day just trying to maintain or find a normal pattern of life often finding themselves running in an rat race.  When anyone is on a rat race it is hard to get their head up to see that hope is even possible.

The journey for those of us who have found hope in Christ to share this good news needs to begin with a heart to help expose people to the truth that they can find the hope they need and that all is possible in Christ.

 1)  The Christian Church in America lives in Exile.

Dr. Bruce Humphrey's from Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church shared on how the church in America is very different than it was in the post WWII or Boomer generation.  The challenge for church leaders today is to live an interact with the people in our cities as though we aren't the dominant voice.

2) God will take us to places we may not want to go.

The question then becomes "How will you respond to where God brings you?" Will you love the place God brings you?  Do you love the place you are? Too many times we either a) wait for where God is going to take us or b) don't realize that God wants us working where we live.  This is a good reminder that God wants His people to be His representatives wherever they are.

3)  God's Spirit is at still at work.

There are times we think it can be difficult to reach out and share our faith with people outside of our spheres of influence.  What we fail to remember is that God wants to reach people more than we do and has already began working in and around us in others to prepare them to hear the great Gospel we have.  Our job is to be ready to share our Gospel with our words and deeds.

4)  Do something in your community.

I've heard it said several times "showing up is half the battle".  One of the things that will help Christians share the Gospel will be to show up in the community that you live in and contribute in a meaningful way.  This may mean you give up more of your personal time on Facebook or watching premium cable but can have a significant ripple effect in your community.

5)  Be a positive force where you live.

It is so easy to get irritated and upset with the negative things that happen in our neighborhoods and cities.  Communities of people need to deal with the negative issues in order to create safe and healthy environments.  Communities also need to hear about the positive things that are happening as well.  The brain processes negative information more than twice as strong as positive information.  The need for positivity in our world is critical for the development of healthy communities which then create in roads towards sharing the Gospel.

6)  Learn about the resources your community offers.

There are many needs in the community you live in and some needs are greater than others.  In many cases there are organizations and people your community that are equipped to handle the easier and more difficult cases you will encounter.  Knowing the organizations that are equipped to help people in need will help embolden you towards sharing the great hope that comes with knowing Christ.

7)  Welcome people into your midst

It is easy to stay inside our own circles and informal clubs we build around ourselves.  We all too easily insulate ourselves from the world around us because... well life is easier that way.  The best way to share God's hope is to carry with us an attitude that welcomes other people rather than reaches out and keeps people out.  You have to exercise wisdom in all situations, let reemphasize that, you must exercise wisdom when sharing your faith.  You must also represent God's heart by being one who welcomes people into your midst.

8)  Figure out how to get involved with your city's recreation program.

One of the things we as Christians regularly need to overcome is the simple fact that because we so easily insulate we fail to develop relationships with those outside the church.  One of the easiest ways we can develop relationships with people is by plugging into the recreation programs your city offers and taking the opportunity to build authentic relationships as you interact with others through volunteering.

9)  Earn the right to be heard.

It is easy to assume that because you have good news that others want to hear it.  Sometimes when we take the approach that we must share good news with people it can fall on deaf ears as we've not yet earned the trust necessary to communicate it.  It is wise for us to take the time to build real relationships with people in a way where we earn the right to share the critical message of the Gospel of hope.

10) Pray.

Everything we do must be bathed in prayer.  The best way to share the Gospel is by talking to God and asking for his help.  Whatever we do we must always be wiling to talk to God and ask him for his help.

There are probably many more ways that would be helpful in sharing the Gospel but in my time listening and learning about a variety of ways of reaching the community these are the ones that stood out.  Feel free to comment below.

Posted
AuthorAssad Saif