Essential Light

Today’s ReadingGenesis 5; Matthew 5; Ezra 5; Acts 5

Genesis 5: When God created man and woman he blessed them and created them in the likeness of him. Verse 1-2 reminds me how God has purposefully created and blessed us all. Take time to see his beauty in all people today.

Matthew 5: Supreme Blessedness = Beatitudes

God blesses us.  Every day and in every way he has provided a framework and blueprint of a way to live our lives. He is our shepherd, our father, and sent his son for us to provide an example how we should live our lives. Much of my physical life I’ve tried to be my own architect, how much more meaningful when you follow his design.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 teaches us blessed are:

Poor in spirit = For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Those who mourn = They shall be comforted.

Meek = They shall inherit the earth.

Hunger/thirst for righteousness = They shall be satisfied.

Merciful = They shall receive mercy.

Pure in heart = They shall see God.

Peacemakers = They shall be called sons of God.

Persecuted for righteousness = Kingdom in heaven.

Persecute you on his account = Reward is great in heaven.

Grace filled love traits for us all  

He goes on to remind us we are the salt of the world the light of the world – let us shine everyday in in all we do. God has our back! Jesus was sent not to abolish the law but provide us an example of being a “doer and a teacher”. Often we do one or the other. When we are doing both for his glory our light shines so bright we encourage others.

We are reminded to avoid anger, lust, divorce, oaths, and retaliation. God tells us to show and give sincere love to our enemies… How hard is that for you? Think about those who have shown us love when we didn’t deserve it. God sent his own son for you and me. Through God- all things are possible!

Dear God, Break our society handcuffs that keep us from sharing the words of this “Life”. Help “our attitudes” with the beatitudes. Teach us to be courageous like Peter & John in Acts 5 and obey God rather than men. Help us to not cease teaching and preaching that our Christ is Jesus and you are all we need.  Amen

Have a blessed day!



January 4, 2016


Today’s reading link: Genesis 4; Matthew 4; Ezra 4; Acts 4

What does sacrifice mean to me? Every thing belongs to God, even our pride. How do I put all that on the alter? How do I make my life a living sacrifice?

Why is the history of man about the struggle to give to God what is God’s?

Cain wanted God’s approval for his sacrifice. He wanted it so bad he killed his own brother in the rage of his disappointment. How could God favor Abel’s sacrifice more than his?

We all face the temptation to seek our glory over God’s. Even Jesus, as God among us, dwelling in the flesh, faced this very temptation in the desert.

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” (Matthew 4: 8-10).

We are not meant to serve ourselves; for we belong to God, and any gifts or possessions we might claim, are all from God.

I am often reminded that everything I am and all I have is God’s. The sooner I am able to return these gifts to the rightful owner, the sooner God is able to bless them to his service.

The words, “it’s not about us” are so simple, so true, and yet very hard to live by, especially in our own power. It seems, we always get in some sort of trouble, when we forget that everything belongs to God, especially all glory, and praise, and reverence.

We were made to build God’s Kingdom, not ours!  What are you building?


Time Checking the Time Urgency Waiting Watch Deadline Wristwatch

Today’s reading: Genesis 3; Matthew 3; Ezra 3; Acts 3

Seven months after returning from captivity to build the temple, the Children of Israel built an altar. At this time, the foundation for the temple was not yet laid.  It wasn’t until two years and two months after their return that the Children of Israel got around to defining roles and finally beginning to work on the temple structure.  We know from Ezra 2 that a ton of people returned from captivity.  A lot had to be done to settle and re-assimilate to their homeland.  But two years from the start seems like a long time to finally get started on the task for which you came!  Contrasting this to the seven-day account of creation we read over the last two days, I personally expect this should have happened a lot faster.

Today, we also read the account of The Fall in Genesis 3. How familiar this story sounded.  The serpent capitalized on Eve’s desire for wisdom, she brought Adam along to eat with her.  When questioned by God, Adam tried to shift the blame to anyone but himself.  “It wasn’t me, it was the woman you gave to me”, he said.  In other words…”not my fault God”!

Now back to Ezra 3. I can only imagine how much of this “blame shifting” was going on as the Children of Israel all moved back, settled and began to organize to make progress on the task at hand.  These folks were all sinners just like me.  I am positive they were grumbling, fighting and trying to be better than / gain a better position than their neighbors. But God still worked with each of their in adequacies and selfish desires to move them to accomplish his work.

Bottom line, God’s timing is perfect. I often forget this and lose sight of the goal.  God’s goal in Ezra 3 was not really about getting the temple built.  His objective in this passage is the same as it is in every other passage, relationship with the people he created.  Always using a variety of means, including the circumstances at hand, to help shape our hearts to look like his.

Cut to the Heart

 Genesis 2; Matthew 2; Ezra 2; Acts 2

Pocket Sermon from Peter
Peter gives us what I refer to as a “pocket sermon” (something to keep closely with us for reuse at any given moment) and summarizes the Gospels in Acts 2:22-24.

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

The Gospel summary:

  1. God endorses Jesus through his ability to perform miracles
  2. Jesus is crucified
  3. Jesus conquers death, thus proving his deity

These are the kind of verses that succinctly tell the story of Jesus as the messiah from his earthly miracles through death, burial, and resurrection.  Memorizing verses like this are a great way to be ready to share Biblical truth with those who do not yet believe, as well as a great reminder as to why we follow this man Jesus, God in the flesh.

After Peter’s sermon, we’re told that those who heard it were “cut to the heart” and they asked “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Why were they cut to the heart? Because that’s what God’s word does:

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

When we hear the word of God through the Bible something supernatural occurs and God is literally speaking to us.  How great it is that our creator cares enough to communicate with us today!

As for Peter’s audience and me as well, sin deems us “guilty” for crucifying Jesus. What shall we do then?

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

Would you consider praying for an opportunity to share the Gospel story with someone today so that they too may be forgiven, and their souls saved for an eternity?

Connected With God

I cannot believe that it is already here.  Today, is the first day of a new year and the first day for this fun project.  Thank you, for joining us!

Today’s reading link:

Family: Genesis 1; Matthew 1. Secret: Ezra 1; Acts 1.


God created this world with an amazing amount of intentionality. When I simply consider the broad strokes that God painted in Genesis 1, I naturally gloss over it. But, taking a closer look, it becomes clearer. What did he do? He created the scene and established the boundaries for us to live our lives. Then, he simply says, “be fruitful and multiply.” He intends to let us do it. There is no step-by-step plan, but an incredibly complex venue for us to live our lives. He has provided all of the raw materials. What we do with them and how we do it, is left up to us. Some might call it “free will.”

For me, perhaps the most striking part of this conversation comes in verse 28. You see, as humans, we are “blessed.” For whatever reason, God created us differently than the plants, birds and animals. When I consider that we God’s blessing on us, I realize that he intended more for us simple survival. According to Merriam-Webster, to be blessed means that we “have a sacred nature,” and are “connected with God.” This reminder is one reason that I appreciate the creation story so much. It is so easy to get bogged down in all the details and rules of religion. Today, remember that we have been given everything that we need.  We have a divine blessing. We choose to embrace it, or not. Furthermore, the way we use it is a direct reflection of our own relationship with God.


A Testimony from our founder: 

Several years ago, I found myself wanting more from God and more for God. While I could not pinpoint what this looked like, I fearlessly committed to taking a first step toward living my life more fully for Him. In short, I determined that I needed to know him personally and intimately. For too long, I had relied on the wisdom and words of others to tell me about His greatness and I realized the need to personalize His word. Sadly, for a period of time, I resisted the urges and longings that the Holy Spirit had placed in my heart. These were nudges toward a deeper commitment that would require my devotion of time and energy toward knowing him. Occasionally, I would find myself submitting to the Holy Spirit. However, as I often do with physical exercise, my time was characterized by “fits and starts.” This random and careless approach contributed to my mediocrity and left me luke-warm, always knowing that I was missing something.

Thankfully, the Lord is persistent. Rather than give up on me, He provided me with additional tools in which to pursue his word. Most notably was a one-year Bible reading program. The premise is simple. Read a little bit everyday and, over time, you will have read the entire Bible. Of course, my commitment did not come without a fight. I resisted, utilizing the usual excuses about not having time and followed with other, more complicated justifications, ranging from intelligence to worthiness. Despite my defiance, I committed to reading everyday, for one year. I would read the entire Bible.

Needless to day, that year was filled days of extreme difficulty and days of extreme joy. This is true of any worthwhile endeavor.   I was not, however, prepared for the life changes that would unfold. While I could go into these details, I think far more important are the implications a similar commitment might have on your own life. I do know that God has big plans for your life, as he does mine. I also know that this American life prevents us from fully discovering the life worth living that he promises. If you are feeling the pull of the Holy Spirit, inviting you to discover the freedom and abundance of a Christ-following life, join me on a one-year journey. Choose today, to set aside excuses and ask Him if this is the right choice for you.

~ BJ Armstrong, Elder at Eastview Christian Church.



To present everyone mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28)


6,000 Christ-followers who interact with and experience God, daily, through his living and active word


  • God’s word is infallible
  • God’s word is living, active and transformative (Romans 12:2, Heb 4:12)
  • God provided us his word (2 Timothy 3:16)
  • The Word reveals who God is and his character
  • God’s word is worthy (Phil 4:8)
  • The Heart’s joy and delight (Jer 15:16)
  • Essential for salvation (1 Peter 1:23)