I have just returned from my sabbatical. A sabbatical is a time away to refresh and regenerate. Here at Horizon, pastors are given a sabbatical every seven years of service. I had a great time being with my family and traveling. I went to a number of very good churches while I was gone and enjoyed them all thoroughly. However, coming back to Horizon, the church where I have now been the lead pastor for over 21 years, felt great this last week. This is where I want to be, this is where I have “planted” myself and my family.
The bible says in Psalm 92:13-14:
13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing… (NKJV)
Catch this awesome truth from God’s word. His true Church is an awesome place that He has given as a gift to help us and our families.
I love God’s Church! It has gotten a bad rap lately in America, but the Church where Jesus truly resides is a loving, embracing, compassionate, caring, inclusive place that, at the same time, shares the truth of God’s word, the bible. The bible says in John 1:14 that Jesus was “full of grace and truth.” His church should be too. When it works right, the church leads people to the love of Jesus, helps them find a personal relationship with Him and encourages them to follow Him with their whole heart. As a result of following Jesus this way, people find peace, joy and eternal life in heaven. The bible says about Jesus in John 3:17-18: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (NIV)
I saw the church make a difference in my family’s life in an amazing way when I was young. We were a family that didn’t go to church when I was a young child, but when I was about eight years old, we all finally gave our hearts to Jesus and then my dad made sure we were planted in a church. Every time the doors were open we were there. A body of believers at Harbor Light Gospel Church in Santa Cruz, California, gathered around us and loved us, helped us overcome our weaknesses and even gave to us when we were having financial difficulty. That was the beginning of great blessing that would follow our family. I thank God for that church and every church like it.
The reason we all need to plant ourselves in the Church of Jesus, is that the true Church of Jesus is an awesome place for people and families to be and when we go there we will be blessed, built up and encouraged. Honestly, everything will start getting better from day one if you will plant yourself in the house of the Lord and commit to regularly participating in what God is doing there.
Consider these scriptures in the bible:

Hebrews 10:25 You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming. (NCV)
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (NKJV)
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not make your children angry, but raise them with the training and teaching of the Lord. (NCV)
Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (NLT)

We see in the bible that Jesus was in the temple regularly on the Sabbath and more. He is our example, right? Also, Paul, who wrote about two thirds of the New Testament, said it was his “custom” to be in the synagogue on the Sabbath.
So, I want to encourage you to plant yourself, and if you do, I firmly believe that your family will be refreshed, and that it will flourish and bear fruit just as Psalm 92:13-14 says:
13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing… (NKJV)
Grace and Truth,
Pastor Stan