As I mentioned in passing last Sunday, I know for sure winter is just around the corner because things are sprouting once again from the floorboards of my Ford F-150.  If you have an older Ford, you understand.  If not, just smile and nod; “Whatever you say Josh” (smile and nod), “whatever you say…”

Days from now, thankfulness will be replaced by the wonderful glow of cheery lights on storefront windows… and covetousness.  Those lists your kids made in school, the “what I’m thankful for” lists, will be soundly ousted from their positions of power and prominence on your refrigerator doors and usurped by the insidious “wish list” (so named by parents desperate to distance themselves from making any promises).  Welcome to the season of giving!

But seriously, all cynicism aside ~ Christmas is a wonderful time of year, and this year I’m inviting you as part of The Outpost family to celebrate it as a family – a church family.  So allow me the chance to give you something; some good news, some fun news, some family news – a “sneak peek” into a couple great December events I hope you will choose to be a part of this Christmas season:

1) Christmas Party at Josh & Esther’s house ~ Friday, Dec. 19th

~ Times TBA, all will be welcome.  Think “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Christmas caroling, lots of good eats, and a chance to grow closer!

2) Christmas ‘Eve-Eve’ event at Neighborhood in Redding ~ Tuesday, Dec. 23rd

~ We don’t have to go as a group, but how fun would that be?  I’ve made arrangements to reserve a big section of seats, so sign ups will start on the 7th! Think “Field trip to ‘the Mother Ship!’”

With all my heart, I hope to see you there; It just won’t be the same Christmas without you! 

Surrounded By Grace,


I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there’s just no such thing as an “evergreen” tree.  I used to think there was, but now I know better.  Trees with “needles” and cones – the coniferous ones – they still turn brown, and one look at my back yard will tell you they fall too.  Even worse, they don’t just fall in Autumn like every other perfectly respectable tree (of the deciduous ilk) – they fall all the time! Not all at once, but gradually. Which to me is very, extremely, disturbingly, frustratingly, relentlessly annoying.  But effective – they consistently cover ground.

I was chatting with a visitor in the office the other day when we ‘stumbled’ onto the topic of prayer. It’s important to note this individual seems to have the gift of intercession… so I suppose it wasn’t too surprising we ended up talking about it (If you have that gift, or know someone who does, you’ll understand). Either way, he made a comment in passing that startled me. “Most people think,” he said, “that to be a real ‘prayer warrior,’ to be a legitimate intercessor, one has to spend hours before God on their knees in uninterrupted prayer.  And sometimes that’s true.  But for me,” he observed, “I found I had to start somewhere or I’d just never pray… so I started with ‘pine-needle prayers.’ Here a little, there a little, while I’m driving, while I’m walking, while I’m eating or falling asleep.  I just say short prayers when something comes to mind and move on.”  I was sitting very still, thoroughly enjoying the mental imagery of his analogy, when he hit me with the cherry on top.  “The thing of it is – I found that once you get into the habit of saying those pine needle prayers, they just have this odd tendency to gradually start blooming into longer times of prayer on their own… into ‘broad-leaf’ prayers!” I love it when God hijacks a conversation.

Does prayer intimidate you?  Have you been avoiding it because you think you have to have a special gift to do it, or because you’ve got some mental image of a guy with a shaved head and a burlap robe on his knees for hours on end in a dark room with a stone floor? Prayer is your life-line to God.  It’s your free instant messaging system.  Along with your Bible, prayer is what magnetizes the compass needle of your soul, realigning your life to the one ‘true North’ that is Jesus. Don’t get hung up about dropping to your knees -- just drop some pine needle prayers.  They’ll change not just you, but the world around you as well.

Surrounded By Grace,


JOSH "Dusty, you're a stubborn man."  

DUSTY "I'm not a stubborn man, I'm just practical!  I tell ya, they just don't accept humor like they used to... it's hard - It's a struggle, always trying to pacify the general public.  By the way, I ordered something for you and your family for Christmas."

JOSH "You didn't have to do that."

DUSTY "I know I didn't, but it's Christmas! I like giving things... don't ask me why.  I was always going without as a kid, so you'd think I'd be a greedy little bougger.  Hey, what are you writing?"

JOSH "Oh nothing, just our entire conversation..."

DUSTY "What! Well tell them that 'giving is important.'

JOSH "No, I'm not telling them anything now, 'cause now you know I'm writing down what you're saying, and the charm of it is gone.  

DUSTY "That's alright... I'm such a short topic anyways... I"m only 5' 6'' and 114 lbs... not a very big subject, is it...?"

If you see Dusty this week, give him a warm hello.  He's a diamond in the rough and he likes it that way; he's  a rare character, and always good for a laugh.  And besides all that, he's our brother in Christ! "Then he (Jesus) looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, 'Here are my brothers!  Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother'" (Mark 3:34,35). Oh, and he loves freshly baked cookies.  

Surrounded By Grace,


Bill will begin his sermon this Sunday reminding us about one of the first stories he covered in this series of messages, the story of Caleb -- who points to the toughest mountain on a weathered map with his gnarled, bony finger and says to Joshua “give me that mountain!” 

It didn’t matter to Caleb that the mountain held the cities with the highest walls, or the biggest warriors.  It didn’t even matter to Caleb that he was considering the launch and leading of a complicated and potentially exhausting military campaign, all while in his eighties.  His is an example of mature faith, an example of someone living from the inside out, from the strength and soundness of his in-vironment, rather than drawing hope or strength or support from events and people in the environment around him. He looked at his opponents on that mountain, knew that the One within him was greater, and said “Give me that mountain!”

This Sunday Bill will draw on that story, then make a wonderful statement. “Like old Caleb, we’ve pointed to that empty land next to our church building, and we’ve said, ‘Give me that mountain!’ We’re going to build the largest worship center our 18 or so acres can sustain, so we can reach the most people possible with the love of Christ.” Give me that mountain. 

What is our mountain? Do we have ‘our own’ or do we share Neighborhood’s? The answer to this question is easy: ‘yes,’ and ‘yes.’  Yes, we share Neighborhood Church’s mountain because we are part of Neighborhood Church.  So what is our part in this process of building a new ministry facility in Redding?  We in Weaverville have 2 ways we can contribute, but before I go over those, we need to keep repeating an important distinction: There is no obligation or guilt on The Outpost to financially support this building campaign, but The Outpost is free to take part, and anything we choose to do will be meaningful. Our options?

1) We can Pray. 

Everything we do is a waste of time without prayer.  To help Neighborhood ‘take the mountain’ through prayer, the church is asking everyone to take a small rock, write a prayer on it (like, ‘Lord, use your people and your resources to transform lives in Redding’), use the rock as a reminder to pray for what’s going on, and then bring the rock to a special celebration in Redding, where it will be collected and kept until the actual construction begins… at which point your “Grace Rock” will be added to the actual foundation of the new church.  Cool, huh? I’ll be bringing some rocks next Sunday (Nov. 23rd).

2) We can Give.

On the same weekend that I bring up the “Grace Rocks,” I’ll also bring up the completely optional and 100% guilt-free pledge cards.  Read them for more information if you decide to give.  Otherwise, just ignore them, but ~ please pray (If you want to know more, please stay after church this Sunday for a brief informational power point presentation).

And finally, Yes – The Outpost also has it’s own ‘mountain’ -- because we have our own unique calling.  So what is it?  What is our mountain? Our mountain is financial self-sufficiency by this coming June.  Our mountain is the growth to sustain it.  Our mountain is a facility of our own to hold the growth God will give.  And our mountain is positioning ourselves as a church to do all we can to reach the literally thousands of lost and un-churched in our County.  Are you ready for this? Are you with me?  Father, give us this mountain!” 

Surrounded By Grace,
*Grace induces faith & Grace is obligated to faith ~