Episode 26 of 'Talking Element' Elder Take Over. Element Elders Answer Your Job Questions.

by Element Christian Church

Questions Discussed:

- Job…Blameless and upright?

- I know there are many times throughout the Bible when we clearly see God's wrath like in Sodom and Gomorrah or on the whole Earth when He flooded the earth.  In those instances, the Bible says there were no righteous people.  It was just.  But, most of the time, it seems like God plays more of a passive role in our lives meaning that He allows bad things to happen in our lives rather than making or causing these things to happen.  With Job, it feels like bad things were happening and God actively plays a part in Satan's actions against Job.  "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?"  God even acknowledges to Satan that Job was a "blameless and upright man".  How is this just?  Are we possibly missing a piece of the story that would offer more context or is it simply a cultural difference?

- When you said God is in complete control and Satan can only do what God permits Satan to do… how are we to reconcile that statement of God’s control/sovereignty with God not being the source or author or cause of evil (which James 1:13-14 and 1 John 1:5 are clear to present)? This seems tough to reconcile given our lesson in Job where God’s decision to permit Satan to touch Job’s possessions and family resulted in the death of servants and Job’s children (and presumably friends at the party, etc)…

“It still doesn’t answer why God allowed Satan to have his way with Job’s kids and life, but no harm will be done with him.”

- Why, since God had the ability to create us and allow us to live in heaven, did he instead create us and allow us to live on earth, knowing there would be pain and suffering and hurt and heartache? All of that could have been avoided if this step was skipped.

- Is there more scripture on God allowing Satan having his way like he does with Job?

 

Watch This Week's Livestream Here

One For the Bereaved

by Michelle Gee

Early in the pandemic and initial shutdown, I heard a story on NPR about a teacher that ran a marathon in his backyard for charity. It was fun and inspirational enough to remind me of the resilience of human beings, the incredible stamina of the human spirit. I read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (a Nazi concentration camp survivor) shortly after and felt a renewed hope in the ability to cope and overcome adversity. While the pandemic introduced new stressors, there was a novelty in learning to adapt that was, I daresay, exciting. It was enough to propel me forward on exhausting, challenging days, as I looked forward to the return of normalcy.

Now, a year later, I couldn’t feel farther from that mindset. The fatigue from this prolonged season of adaptation feels all too much.

During this season, I’ve struggled to recognize what is left of my faith since much of the trappings have been stripped away. While I’ve always been taught that faith in Jesus is larger than Sunday morning gatherings, a beloved church building, or any other act in itself, I’ve come to realize just how much these rituals meant to me. Scripture encourages us to gather, sing, confess, and pray together for a reason—these corporate acts cannot save us, but they certainly bolster our walk with God. The redeemed life is not without its ongoing challenges.

I have been blessed in that I have not had to go through this Covid-19 journey alone. There is still community, for sure, and there is still access to Scripture, worship songs, and other resources for encouragement—all reasons to be thankful. However, the loss of nearness is a tangible loss I have continued to process.

I am grieving.
I imagine you might be, too.

I find myself less interested, these days, in triumphant stories about mere humans overcoming the struggles of living in a pandemic. I’m less interested in cute anecdotes when I’m ready to scream from overstimulation in my own home, where the walls feel as if they’re closing in on me each day. In addition to the pandemic, we’ve witnessed bitter division that has left me reeling with grief over the state of the American Church.

I sat on a beach with my husband one recent Sunday morning and these thoughts, and accompanying tears, came pouring out of me. We were enjoying a brief respite from the usual, crazed pace of our lives, and the stillness was enough to allow these uncomfortable thoughts to surface. I felt such pain and embarrassment as I confessed that these days, I sometimes question whether Jesus is as real as I had thought, whether the Gospel truly offers a hope that can sustain me, if I even have faith at all.

It is hard to share these things in print (on the internet, of all places), until I remember that at its core, the Church is a family—broken and dysfunctional, but at its best, loving, accepting, and honest. In the midst of such upheaval, we need to create the space for such hard truths to be expressed. I am here to remind you (and myself) that these feelings do not disqualify you from experiencing relationship with Jesus.

On the beach that morning, after I was out of tears and all I could admit was, “I am trying to trust that Jesus has me,” I was reminded of a story that felt especially compelling.

There is one verse in Genesis 3 that, in my experience, is often overlooked. It follows Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God and the resulting curses He delivers to Adam, Eve, and the serpent. Before they are cast out of the garden forever, Scripture tells us, “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21, ESV).

As this verse interrupted my grief that morning, I reflected on how Adam and Eve must have felt immediately after the fall. For them, any notion of nearness was gone in an instant; in one singular act, they had done away with the most intimate, harmonious relationship they had ever known, and not even for just themselves—for all of mankind. I thought of how broken they must have felt, how alone and ashamed…left reeling from the trauma of death and separation from their God, and the newfound distance within their own marriage.

And then…God clothes them—not with leaves or synthetic fabric, but with the skins of a slain animal, a beloved creation named by Adam himself. In a beautiful place that had not known death, a place now tainted by the disobedience of humans, God got His hands dirty for the sake of the very people that wronged Him. He knew they couldn’t bear their own shame, so He embraced the ugliness of death to ensure they would be clothed.

I can’t express how much relief the reminder of that provision brought me in that moment. I was reminded of how God moves toward the brokenhearted, how these feelings of distance have been present since the very first humans rejected God, and how the story of God has persisted in spite of Adam and Eve feeling so very far from Him. When my faith felt so small and so faltering, God met me with the compelling beauty of who He is—who He has always been.

I am still becoming acquainted with this little faith of mine, disentangled from the things I must go without, that I miss dearly. I feel less sure-footed without the rituals that have been so encouraging to me over the years. In moments of doubt, however, God shines through my own insecurity and reveals He is the author and perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2).

In a similar season of doubt during my college years, a dear friend introduced me to R. S. Thomas, a Welsh poet that also happened to be an Anglican priest. To this day, he is one of my favorite writers due to his stark honesty; he demonstrates a faith that was rocky and yet beautifully anchored by a trust in Jesus, even when it felt grim.

I leave this poem with you today, hoping that wherever you are, even if you are feeling so far from God, you would know you are not alone. As we progress through Lent together, and make sense of what is left when so much is stripped away, I dare you to press in to Jesus with your discomfort and doubt, to let Him meet you in that very space.

The Absence by R. S. Thomas

It is this great absence
that is like a presence, that compels
me to address it without hope
of a reply. It is a room I enter

from which someone has just
gone, the vestibule for the arrival
of one who has not yet come.
I modernise the anachronis

of my language, but he is no more here
than before. Genes and molecules
have no more power to call
him up than the incense of the Hebrews

at their altars. My equations fail
as my words do. What resources have I
other than the emptiness without him of my whole
being, a vacuum he may not abhor?

 

Is it the Gospel?

by Kelly Borjas

I got off the phone with a friend today, burdened by the call. We discussed the impact and wreckage of 2020 in so many areas. If I take a step back, many circumstances and conversations in this past week have circulated around this topic: marriages struggling, businesses floundering, friendships changing, political division, racial tensions. It seems like this past year has been a bomb that exploded, exposing hurts, disappointments, and disillusionments. My husband and I have faced our own challenges in this past week in managing a conflict—one that would have been significantly easier without the barriers imposed by our COVID world.

It makes me think: how do we respond? As I prayed about how to respond to a particular situation, I was reminded of one thing: to focus on the Gospel. So this blog…is about the gospel, written as a reminder for myself; a reminder to seek Truth.

Our world is so complicated with frustrations heightened in this tense climate. People are using the name of God to justify certain actions. Political views are branded, labeled, and claimed in the name of God. If you do or don’t speak up/post on social media/attend a specific event, etc. you’re either for or against certain ideologies. In some cases we are told we are not even Christians if we do not make a statement on any given particular topic (or forward a Facebook post to all of our “friends.”).  How do we, as Christians, engage in this type of environment? I believe the answer is to start with the Gospel and try to approach each situation with that as our foundation.

So I circle back to the Gospel:

  • The Gospel is not a political stance.
  • The Gospel is not a social movement.
  • The Gospel is not the prosperity of a nation
  • The Gospel is not the success of a person
  • The Gospel does not require others to meet OUR expectations.

To be fair, a true relationship with Jesus can and should propel us to act in certain ways, to live our lives reflecting God. But now, more than ever, I believe it is crucial to know, define, and understand what the gospel is. If we are not careful and discerning, we could easily get swept into something “in the name of Christianity” that is not the gospel at all.  Even as someone who has been a Christian for much of my life, I have struggled to be able to define the gospel. In fact, for a while I was trying to find a passage of Scripture that explained the Gospel so I could tangibly wrap my mind around it. So again, as I write, it’s an effort to remind myself where to start.

What is the gospel? It is simple and beautiful. It is summarized in Acts 10: 38-43 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

To put it more simply, the Gospel is the belief that Jesus is God. He was crucified to pay the cost of our sins, but God raised him to life, and everyone who believes in Him is forgiven of their sins and restored to relationship with God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 summarizes as well: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

It is so easy to get swept up in emotion and events or conflicts surrounding us, but as we try to navigate, it is important to first remember what the Gospel is (and is not). Then, when we look at each situation, we can pray for discernment and ask our fellow believers to keep us in check so we can be sure our focus is on the Gospel and not some other narrative. We should ask ourselves: are our actions or beliefs reflective of God’s good news, or is there a different agenda?

In past years, it’s been easy to be complacent about seeking biblical responses to issues (certainly true for me). I’ve so often relied on the sermon at church, a Bible study, etc., to inform my belief system or response to what’s going on around me. However, now that many of our normal ways to engage with other believers are taken away, we must know for ourselves what we believe and why.

My heart is no less burdened by all of the carnage around, but I do take hope in the fact Jesus has overcome sin and offers eternal hope. My hope is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not immediate reconciliation of issues around me. I pray we all first let the Gospel permeate our minds, hearts, and souls, and then use that as our frame of reference for engaging with the world around us.

 

Episode 18 of 'Talking Element' – 3rd Wheel Week 8: Walk in the Spirit Part 2 With Jeff and Steve Pruett

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael sits down with Jeff and Steve to 3rd Wheel Week 8: Walk in the Spirit, Part 2

Questions Discussed: 

- How have you come to understand Walking in the Spirit?
- Do you have a specific time you rested in God’s work instead of your own, and how did that look practically?
- Discussion “yielding to God’s will.”

Watch 3rd Wheel Week 8's Livestream Here

Episode 19 of 'Talking Element' – TGSErT 01: Community; with Donald Weiting

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sit down with Donald to discuss The Greatest Story Ever Retold, week 1: Community:

Questions Discussed: 

- Aaron’s goal for this new series.
- What deeper understanding of community can we learn?
- Family and Gospel Community. Irrational commitments.
- We need to be known in order to belong – why don’t we want to be known?
- How can Element be better at being a place for the lonely?

Watch This Week's Livestream Here

Episode 16 of 'Talking Element' – 3rd Wheel Week 6: Jesus and the Spirit With Guest: Mike Harman

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sits down with Mike Harman to discuss 3rd Wheel Week 6: Jesus and the Spirit

Questions Discussed: 

- Mike’s journey of growing and understanding the Spirit
- Abiding presence and expecting the Holy Spirit to work
- What would help us to be more expectant?
- What personal areas could we be more expectant with?
- What types of sources of power do we as people rely on, other than the Holy Spirit?
- What does a life dependent on the Holy Spirit’s power look like?

Watch 3rd Wheel Week 6's Livestream Here

Episode 17 of 'Talking Element' – 3rd Wheel Week 7: Walk in the Spirit With Jeff and Steve Pruett

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael sits down with Jeff and Steve to 3rd Wheel Week 7: Walk in the Spirit, Part 1

Questions Discussed: 

- Have you ever found yourself begging or bargaining with God for some spiritual change in your life?
- Have you ever worked hard in order to please God so that He’d give in to your request?
- Discussion on “my best doesn’t work.”
- Discussion on freedom of slavery.
- Are conflicts a good indication of we are walking in the Spirit.

Watch 3rd Wheel Week 7's Livestream Here

Christmas Eve Invite 2020

by Element Christian Church

You are invited to our outdoor Christmas Eve Service from 6-8pm at Element Property. We will be gathering on campus for socially distanced Traditional Christmas Carol Sing-a-long, a light display walk around the property, photo station with gift, and Crave Food Truck (subject to change). We are planning a safe environment. Kids are welcome. Please dress warm and bring your own lawn chairs/blankets as needed.

Join us Christmas Eve, 6pm

Even with all of the shut down orders for Southern California in place now, Churches are still allowed to gather outside for services with all appropriate social distancing and preparations.

We hope to see you there!
- Element

Episode 14 of 'Talking Element' – 3rd Wheel Week 4: Filled with the Spirit Pt. 2 With guest: Sarah McCool

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sits down with Sarah McCool to discuss 3rd Wheel Week 4: Filled with the Spirit Part 2

Questions Discussed: 

- Sarah shares her experience with a more charismatic church growing up.
- Describe in more detail the “means” of the Spirit.
- How have you seen others search for that “spiritual connection’ knowing that they were made for ‘more?’
- How do we discern between valid and invalid spiritual experiences?
- What advice do you give to someone who wants to read the Scriptures but doesn’t know where to begin and or is overwhelmed by it?

Watch 3rd Wheel Week 4's Livestream Here

Episode 15 of 'Talking Element' – 3rd Wheel Week 5: Mission of the Spirit With Special Guest

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sits down with Hillary to discuss 3rd Wheel Week 5: Mission of the Spirit

Questions Discussed: 

- Introduction to Hillary
- How has the Spirit of God dealt with you in conviction?
- Conviction of sin, Christ’s Provision and Judgment
- Reshaping of our Identity: how can we trust Jesus’ in our new identity?
- Does the thought of Jesus dying on the cross so thrill you…?
- How has the Holy Spirit invited you join His mission?

Watch 3rd Wheel Week 5's Livestream Here

Episode 12 of 'Talking Element' – 3rd Wheel Week 2: Who is the Spirit? With guest: Kelly Borjas

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sits down with Kelly Borjas to discuss 3rd Wheel Week 2: Who is the Spirit?

Questions Discussed: 

- Why is a series on The Spirit so important?
- Do you see the Holy Spirit present and active in the middle of your life?
- What has changed in your life knowing He is present all the time?
- Was there a time your heart fought the Holy Spirit’s conviction?
- How do discern if it the Spirit prompting/speaking or yourself?
- Clarification of the Holy Spirit being an advocate here on earth for us.
- Advice for those who don’t hear/feel the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

Watch 3rd Wheel Week 2's Livestream Here

Episode 13 of 'Talking Element' – 3rd Wheel Week 3: Week Three: Filled with the Spirit Pt. 1 With guests: Mike & Carrie Foster

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sits down with Mike and Carrie Foster to discuss 3rd Wheel Week 3: Filled with the Spirit Part 1

Questions Discussed: 

- What has your understanding of the Spirit been, and how has it changed over the years?
- What comes to mind when you hear, “Being filled with the Holy Spirit?”
- Thoughts on the 3 points: Life of Excess, Life of Stimulation, Life filled with Joy.

Watch 3rd Wheel Week 3's Livestream Here

Help us put together 100 Delta Christmas Baskets

by Element Christian Church

Delta Basket Drive

Last year we did the holiday Christmas store for the students of Delta High School. With Covid that is something we cannot do this year...BUT…we have an alternative! We are working to provide gift baskets filled with the most popular items from the store last year. The students loved the basics like blankets, towels, and toiletries. We are asking Element to jump in and help us provide 100 gift baskets!  You can put a gift basket together (or more than one…I know one family who made 20!) and drop it off at Element by Sunday, December 6th. 

Please provide a bin of some kind and put these items inside:  a blanket, a towel, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.  Please also include an encouraging Christmas note.  You are also welcome to donate money for us to put more baskets together. Please let us know if you are able to help so we can get a count.  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Close up on baskets

Episode 10 of 'Talking Element' - Acts wk 43: Where Did Paul Go From Here with guest: Sandy Stewart

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sits down with Sandy Stewart to discuss Acts week 43.

Questions Discussed: 

- How does Sandy view raising a family align with living sent-ly?
- Ending Acts2, did it go where you thought it would?
- What things in our life are we heralds of (other than Christ?)
- Why is it easier to share our excitement about these things than the Gospel?
- How do you explain the Gospel vs the implications of the Gospel?
- What do you hope for your ‘Acts 29’ life to look like?

Watch Acts Week 43's Livestream Here.

Episode 11 of 'Talking Element' – 3rd Wheel Week 1: Spirit. With guest: Jon Gee

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sits down with Jon Gee to discuss 3rd Wheel Week 1: Spirit .

Questions Discussed: 

- Aaron’s hopes for this new series for Element
- How do you explain spirit and Holy Spirit?
- What are some teachings that the conservative side focus on or don’t focus on when discussing the Holy Spirit?
- What if we don’t see evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit?
- How can we grow in worship of/to the Holy Spirit?
- Homework in growing in understanding and worship of the Holy Spirit

Watch 3rd Wheel Week 1's Livestream Here

Episode 8 of 'Talking Element' - Acts wk 41: Encouraging One Another with guest: Michelle Gee

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sits down with Jeff to discuss Acts week 41.

Questions Discussed: 

- What practices do you do individual, daily lives to have proper knowledge of God?
- What were the words that were spoken to you when you first believed in Jesus? What was explained to you?
- How, and in what ways do we reframe things?
- How do we re-narrate things in our lives?

Watch Acts Week 41's Livestream Here.

Episode 9 of 'Talking Element' - Acts wk 42: Where Ever We Are with guests: Jennifer & Jonathan W.

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sits down with Jennifer and Jonathan Whitaker to discuss Acts week 42.

Questions Discussed: 

- When was the last time someone asked you what was different in your life? Has anyone?
- How can we be bolder in careers that prohibit sharing faith.
- Life on display doesn’t mean it’s perfect, but how do we respond.
- How do we live “with all boldness and without hindrance?” - Thoughts on being live sent on mission.

Watch Acts Week 42's Livestream Here.

Modified Pumpkin Killing 2020

by Element Christian Church

You're invited to Element's Pumpkin Killing October 25th from 12-3pm at Element, 4890 Bethany Lane. 

There will be Free pumpkins and activities, while supplies last. There will also be food trucks available for you to purchase and enjoy lunch or shaved ice. Take your pumpkins and food to go or enjoy one of our socially distanced family stations with all the supplies needed to paint and carve on site. Kids in costumes will also receive a free treat*. Hand sanitizing stations available, however no public restroom access.  

You're invited to Element's Pumpkin Killing October 25th from 12-3pm at Element, 4890 Bethany Lane.

Episode 7 of 'Talking Element' - Acts wk 40: Encouraging One Another with guest: Michelle Gee

by Element Christian Church

This week Michael and Aaron sits down with Michelle to discuss Acts week 40.

Questions Discussed: 

- Michelle’s song selection for services
- Where are we headed after Acts2 is over in a few weeks
- When was the last time you came alongside someone else and encouraged them by walking with them through troubled times, and vice versa? How did that make you feel?
- Michelle, Aaron and Michael spend a few minutes encouraging/building each other up.

Watch Acts Week 40's Livestream Here.