Wednesday, April 5, 2017

FAMILY LIFE at Desert Springs - a place where we can share the heart of our church family; prayers, praises and important announcements.  Be sure to check-in often to see what is happening. If you have a prayer request or praise, please submit by contacting me, Laura Keener, Frontline Director at Desert Springs....760-568-3646 or lkeener@desertspringsfamily.org.


Laura’s Reflection: The Stones will Cry Out!

I’m reflecting on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, the beginning of Holy Week. It’s a day that I need to stop, to remember and to celebrate. The day Jesus entered into Jerusalem as Savior and King. As Jesus rode a donkey into the town of Jerusalem a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment. Then hundreds of people shouted "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

His last week on earth, how did he feel? We know Jesus allowed his followers to shout “Hosanna”, we know he wept over Jerusalem. We know he knew that prophecy was being fulfilled, right then, regarding his final week as man on this earth. He knew he would be nailed to the cross, and die for our sins. He knew in three days he would raise from the dead. He knew death had no hold on him! We know he loved us….

I pray the Bible verses listed below about Palm Sunday, both prophecy and actual event, will encourage you and inspire you to continue to live with Jesus as the King of your life and cry out “Hosanna, to the King!” If you don’t …“the stones will cry out.”

2 Kings 9:13

They quickly took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!”

Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Psalm 118:25-26

LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.

John 12:12-19

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! ” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

Matthew 21:1-11

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Luke 19:28-44

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Hosanna to Our King!


PRAYING FOR OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS IN CHRIST


Comfort, Health, Wisdom, Strength - 

"And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18


Lucy Brooks * Rick Diedrich *Dorothy Ferro* Mary Ireland * Chevelle Johnson * Fred Keener * Jim Marullo * Jordan Muchow * Neil Riordan * Walter & Joan Rohm * Violet O'Leary *Serena Williams son-in-law Steven*

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

FAMILY LIFE at Desert Springs - a place where we can share the heart of our church family; prayers, praises and important announcements.  Be sure to check-in often to see what is happening. If you have a prayer request or praise, please submit by contacting me, Laura Keener, Frontline Director at Desert Springs....760-568-3646 or lkeener@desertspringsfamily.org.



 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


Backpack. Check. Lunchbox. Check. Hat and gloves. Well, hat — good enough. I pulled out of the driveway in the still cold car and headed towards my son’s school.

We live on the edge of town so we enjoy all sorts of wildlife while still being just a few minutes away from most conveniences. As we wound our way down the hill we came upon a flock of wild turkeys casually crossing the road. There were around 25 of them, all ages and sizes, and I had no other choice but to stop the car to allow them to pass.

My son and I laughed at the sheer mass of them as we observed their awkwardness. Eventually, all of them crossed the road except for one small turkey that finally looked up and realized he wasn’t with his clan. Slowly, he began to meander toward the rest of the group. He did not take the direct route but instead, he went this way and that, pecking at the road, seemingly not in any kind of hurry. It was at that moment I realized that we had better get moving or my son would be late for school.

Without thinking I impatiently called out, “Hey, Turkey, God gave you wings, now use them!”

I paused for a moment as I heard my own words echo in my head. I had rarely seen a turkey fly, except when they were chased by one of my black labs or getting ready to roost in our trees. They can fly, in fact they can soar for short bursts up to 55 mph, but their tendency is to stay on the ground.

God gave them wings; He equipped them with what they need. But they don’t use them unless they have to.

Eventually, the little guy crossed the road but I found myself wondering what has God equipped me with that I am choosing not to use (or only using if I absolutely have to). So often I act just like that turkey: pecking away at one thing, distracted by another, and not feeling any real urgency to move forward.

I take the route that seems safest or most comfortable rather than trusting God to help me soar in the direction that He has prepared for me.

Even though He has already equipped me with gifts and talents (Romans 12:6-8), with His Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:5), and through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), sometimes I still hesitate, afraid to take a risk. Perhaps God used that awkward turkey on a cold Midwest morning to remind me of what I already have.

Maybe you find yourself struggling with purpose or fearful to take a step in the direction that you feel God nudging you towards. Remember that God has already equipped you to serve Him wherever you are right now.

He will give you the strength to use all you have been given, so get ready to fly!

Blog by Elizabeth Curry 

PRAYING FOR OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS IN CHRIST


Comfort, Health, Wisdom, Strength - 

"And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18


Lucy Brooks * Rick Diedrich *Dorothy Ferro* Jay & Vernessa Hartland* Alan Hurst * Mary Ireland * Chevelle Johnson * Fred Keener * Jordan Muchow * Neil Riordan * Walter & Joan Rohm * Violet O'Leary *Serena Williams son-in-law Steven*

Thursday, February 23, 2017

FAMILY LIFE at Desert Springs - a place where we can share the heart of our church family; prayers, praises and important announcements.  Be sure to check-in often to see what is happening. If you have a prayer request or praise, please submit by contacting me, Laura Keener, Frontline Director at Desert Springs....760-568-3646 or lkeener@desertspringsfamily.org.

In Memory of Jim Leonovich, our dear brother, missionary to the Ukraine and man of God. 
A Celebration of Life Service is scheduled for Saturday, February 25 at 1:00 PM. 
Please keep Annie, his beautiful wife and the love of his life, in your prayers. 




Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. . . We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.”

Feed the Angels...by Stephanie Bryant

In John’s day, prophets, evangelists, and teachers traveled to spread the Good News. John wrote this letter to Gaius, a man whom John discipled and loved as a spiritual child, to encourage him to continue to invite these Christian servant leaders into his home for a meal or to stay the night. The Greek for “brothers and sisters” in this verse is for believers in Jesus, who are part of God’s family.

These Good News teachers would not accept help from unbelievers, so no one could claim they were teaching about Jesus for personal gain. The church body was fully responsible for taking care of these missionaries’ needs.

John wrote to encourage those who were kind to others. We need to encourage those who take Jesus to parts of the world we aren’t called to serve — pray for them, listen to them, and help in any way we can.

We don’t want any part of Christ’s body to grow weary and stop serving in the calling God has for them.

How can you encourage someone in the body doing the work God has called them to? It could be your pastor, small group leader, or a missionary. Maybe God is nudging you to write a check that will answer the prayers of a much needed ministry. Or if God lays it on your heart to call or write a note, please do it today. He may already have brought someone to mind.

But the encouragement and hospitality may be to help support a different member of Jesus’ body. As believers we all need encouragement, praise, and humble hospitality.

You might need to encourage a stay at home mom struggling with a new baby or taking care of three very active kids. She knows this is what God has called her to and she willingly serves with joy, but, oh, man, a text or a small gift from you would mean the world to her. She needs to know that someone notices.

You might need to invite those college girls over for dinner one night. Spaghetti, real home life, with conversations about living for Jesus around your table, may be just what they are craving. Encourage them that they can keep God’s vision for their life as they select majors and make relationship choices.

Those on the path but still asking hard questions. Those hungry and depressed. Those without a home. Those who needed someone to tell them the truth, again. Those who were beat up by the enemy and questioning what this calling had gotten them into.

Whether a friend or a stranger, all need to know someone cares. All need courage infused into their spirit. All need to feel at home. All need a listening ear. All need not feel alone in their faith journey.

All need Jesus in the flesh to show up — that’s you.

As a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit produces the same character and confidence of Jesus in you. You can’t count on yourself or your own abilities to encourage and be hospitable, but you can rely on Jesus to empower you to do the good works He has prepared in advance for you to do.

Don’t be too busy to show hospitality. God tells us your soup could feed an angel or better yet, it’s like doing it unto Jesus.


PRAYING FOR OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS IN CHRIST


Comfort, Health, Wisdom, Strength - 

"And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18


Lucy Brooks * Marie Bryant * Rick & Kathy Diedrich *Dorothy Ferro* Barbara Groneck * Jay & Vernessa Hartland* Alan Hurst * Mary Ireland * Chevelle Johnson * Fred Keener * Mary Ireland *Neil Riordan * Walter & Joan Rohm * Violet O'Leary *Serena Williams son-in-law Steven



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

FAMILY LIFE at Desert Springs - a place where we can share the heart of our church family; prayers, praises and important announcements.  Be sure to check-in often to see what is happening. If you have a prayer request or praise, please submit by contacting me, Laura Keener, Frontline Director at Desert Springs....760-568-3646 or lkeener@desertspringsfamily.org.

In Memory of Jim Leonovich, our dear brother, missionary to the Ukraine and man of God. 

A Celebration of Life Service is scheduled for Saturday, February 25 at 1:00 PM. 

Please keep Annie, his beautiful wife and the love of his life, in your prayers. 


Your prayers were heard….
It’s hard to explain the peace and comfort Fred and I felt last Friday at our UC Irvine medical appointment. We know it was God’s grace, mercy and all your prayers for us.  We are deeply humbled, thank you.
 
From the moment we walked in the door we were treated with such kindness.  So, after all the tests, they feel (90%) that Fred does NOT have Ocular Myasthenia Gravis!!!! Praise God! They believe he had a RARE STROKE called Benedikt Syndrome
 
I believe that we are probably one of a handful of people who REJOICED over a stroke!  We felt such joy and relief. Fred said “This appointment could not have been better. It was filled with kindness, love, care and wisdom”… everything we prayed for. 
 
This long somewhat unknown journey has really been a test for both of us.  There were days we felt overwhelmed and consumed with “what ifs?” but even then God’s grace and your prayers carried us through. We had to hold on to the heart knowledge that God is in control and His will be done; rather than give in to fear and hopelessness.  I know that God does not always calm the waters, doesn’t always keep the floods from coming or put out all the fires. Yet He does promise this:
 
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”
Isaiah 43:2-3
 
Once again, I sit in tears because I do not know how to thank you enough for your prayers, concerns and now continued prayers. Please know that we too are here for you and will lift you in prayer as needed.

Under His Care!
Laura
Laura Keener
Frontline Director, Desert Springs Church
760-568-3646  


PRAYING FOR OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS IN CHRIST


Comfort, Health, Wisdom, Strength - 

"And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18


Tom Anderson * Ralph & Beverly Baughn * Marlene Black *  Lucy Brooks * Marie Bryant * Rick & Kathy Diedrich *Dorothy Ferro* Barbara Groneck * Jay & Vernessa Hartland* Mary Ireland * Chevelle Johnson * Fred Keener * Mary Ireland *Walter & Joan Rohm * Violet O'Leary *Serena Williams son-in-law Steven

Monday, January 30, 2017

FAMILY LIFE at Desert Springs - a place where we can share the heart of our church family; prayers, praises and important announcements.  Be sure to check-in often to see what is happening. If you have a prayer request or praise, please submit by contacting me, Laura Keener, Frontline Director at Desert Springs....760-568-3646 or lkeener@desertspringsfamily.org.

In Memory of Jim Leonovich, our dear brother, missionary to the Ukraine and man of God. 

A Celebration of Life Service is scheduled for Saturday, February 25 at 1:00 PM. 

Please keep Annie, his beautiful wife and the love of his life, in your prayers. 


Laura’s Reflection:  Trust or Truth

This Friday my husband Fred has his appointment with Dr. Mozaffer at the UC Irvine Research Department of Medicine for ALS & Neuromuscular Disease. Dr. Mozaffer is a leader in research and treatment and we’re so thankful we were able to get an appointment. Fred and I know that God helped us clear all the red tape and opened that door. But … now that we are just days away from this 7 month journey, here is what I am struggling with. Will I really TRUST, no matter what TRUTH we eventually find out about Fred’s disease, that I will be able to hold on to the TRUTH that GOD is in control and has everything in His hands? Will I be strong and stand firm in my faith that whatever road we go down, God will be with us?

If I’m brutally honest with you (as I normally am) I think because a friend died so suddenly and now his wife is left reeling with this reality it has brought out some new fears. I’m just being truthful with you. I know God understands my feeble human mind that seems to falter, allowing the “what ifs?” to pop in and out. Instead of pondering those thoughts I should be meditating on TRUTH “My HELP comes from the LORD, the MAKER of HEAVEN and EARTH” not the Doctors, not the tests, the medicine or prescriptions. Our HELP comes from the LORD.  And what do you think was in my devotional reading this very morning, Psalm 121.

PSALM 121:

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 

He will NOT let your foot slip; He who WATCHES over you will NOT slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over YOU, the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep YOU from all harm, He will watch over YOUR life;

The Lord will watch over YOUR coming and going both now and forevermore.

As I finish typing out this beautiful Psalm, I begin to weep. How can I NOT trust HIM? How can I allow fear to creep in again? Do I not believe the Lord watches over me, over my precious husband? Both now and forevermore? Lord, forgive me. My trust is in YOU, the author and finisher of my faith.

Under His Watch!
Laura
Laura Keener
Frontline Director, Desert Springs Church
760-568-3646  


PRAYING FOR OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS IN CHRIST


Comfort, Health, Wisdom, Strength - 

"And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18


Tom Anderson * Marlene Black * Bill Beers * Lucy Brooks * Marie Bryant * Rick & Kathy Diedrich *Dorothy Ferro* Barbara Groneck * Jay & Vernessa Hartland* Mary Ireland * Chevelle Johnson * Fred Keener * Mary Ireland *Walter & Joan Rohm * Violet O'Leary *Serena Williams son-in-law Steven

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

FAMILY LIFE at Desert Springs - a place where we can share the heart of our church family; prayers, praises and important announcements.  Be sure to check-in often to see what is happening. If you have a prayer request or praise, please submit by contacting me, Laura Keener, Frontline Director at Desert Springs....760-568-3646 or lkeener@desertspringsfamily.org.

Laura’s Reflection: Faithful Friends

Lately I have found myself reflecting on how important friendships are in my life. Long, enduring friendships.  Having the kind of friends that are with you in the good times and the ugly (ugly times you don’t even want to recall). When I have found myself in the hard seasons, my closest friends hear from God because they are praying for me and He enables them to meet whatever need I am facing.  They are encouragers and offer a place to unfurl without judgement.

Do you have friends who stood by you through an unexpected, painful divorce; cried with you over a wayward child; helped you through financial ruin or nursed you through sickness?  Remember, these kind of friends are rare and chosen for you; blessings in your life directly from GOD. He put them in your path, He guided them into your life. God did not create us to be lonely or to miss out on ALL the beauty of Christ community.

“And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken” Ecclesiastes 4:12

BUT, this doesn’t mean they won’t in love, in time, in Godly wisdom offer correction, training or even rebuking.  Only a holy God friend can do this with no agenda but to guide you back to God’s truths:
  • He is Faithful.
  • He forgives you.
  • He is your Father.
  • You are His child.

“My children listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me. I have given them eternal life, they shall never parish. No one can pluck them out of my hand.”  John 10:27-28

I pray you have friends like this in your life…if not, ask God to open your eyes and your heart to people around you.  You won’t be sorry, this I promise you.

Laura
Laura Keener
Frontline Director, Desert Springs Church
760-568-3646 

 PRAYING FOR OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS IN CHRIST


Health, Wisdom, Strength - 

"And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18


Tom Anderson * Marlene Black * Bill Beers*Lucy Brooks * Marie Bryant * Rick & Kathy Diedrich * Michael & Sherri Gagliardi* Barbara Groneck * Jay & Vernessa Hartland* Chevelle Johnson Fred Keener * Mary Ireland *Walter & Joan Rohm * Violet O'Leary *Serena Williams son-in-law Steven

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

FAMILY LIFE at Desert Springs - a place where we can share the heart of our church family; prayers, praises and important announcements.  Be sure to check-in often to see what is happening. If you have a prayer request or praise, please submit by contacting me, Laura Keener, Frontline Director at Desert Springs....760-568-3646 or lkeener@desertspringsfamily.org.

Laura’s Reflections: Chance or Chosen
Here’s the thing, what is the chance that three of my dearest friends (friends for over 25-50 years) are all going through tough severe cancers & treatments at the same time, while my husband is battling with his own disease? One friend lives near Seattle, the other two are in the Los Angeles area. Between all the doctor appointments, surgeries, radiation and treatments we can’t even manage to travel to see each.

To be honest, I was a bit upset about this; telling God (yes, I tell God – can you believe the nerve I have?) that this is not fair and too hard on all of us. We need to be with each other…for a hug, a cry, to remember fun times, share our fears and to hold on to each other as we pray. But for now, all I can do is chat on the phone, text, send a note and email. It’s not the same. And then, as I am advising God what I need, He sweetly whispers…”NO Laura, you NEED ME and that is enough.”

There are times as I look to the future the terror of the why’s drowns out my trust. If I believe God is with me, is with us—then the future isn’t something to fear, but something to celebrate. He has the plan in His hands.

So once again LAURA (speak truth to myself), it all boils down to this…

1. Live like we believe God is all we need. “My God will supply ALL your needs, according to HIS riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

2. Trust the Lord, He is for us. ”Trust the Lord with ALL your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 

3. Keep our hopes up and let go of worry. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6

4. Give God the glory for the things He has done and will continue to do. “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” Psalm 84:3

5. Recall His faithfulness. “So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.”             Isaiah 30:8

When I believe these truths in my heart, soul and mind I understand that it’s not “by chance” but that I “was chosen” for this time to be the care giver, encourager and prayer warrior for my precious husband and for my sweet friends. However I can and whenever I can. What an honor I have been bestowed; to pray and believe and hope for the loves of my life. I am CHOSEN by God for such a time as this. 


Thank you Lord.

Chosen by God,
    Laura
Laura Keener
Frontline Director, Desert Springs Church

PRAYING FOR OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS IN CHRIST


Health, Wisdom, Strength - 

"And pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18


Tom Anderson * Marlene Black * Lucy Brooks * Marie Bryant * Rick & Kathy Diedrich * Shirley French * Michael & Sherri Gagliardi* Barbara Groneck * Jay & Vernessa Hartland* Fred Keener * Mary Ireland *Violet O'Leary *Serena Williams son-in-law Steven