Endings & Beginnings

As I look back over this past year, I’m asking the Lord to reveal to me what I did right so I can keep on doing it and show me my failures so that I can learn and not repeat them.  


I find that there are many things I’m grateful for:

  • I’m grateful for my heavenly Father who planned from before the foundations of the world to save me from my sin.
  • I’m grateful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who willingly laid down His life to pay the penalty for my sin, so that could be forgiven of my sins and be made righteous by the precious blood of the Lamb.  
  • I’m grateful that my hope and promise of an eternity spent in heaven is not based on my worth or righteousness, but on the fact that I am in Christ and I’m a new creation.
  • I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit who lives within me.  That He helps me to grow through the study of God’s word and prayer.  That He restrains me, because like Paul this side of heaven sometimes I do the things I don’t want to do and don’t do the things I should do.
  • I’m grateful to have the Word of God to read for myself.
  • I’m grateful for the resources that are available today to help me know God’s word, from Bible website, Bible studies that are available online, and bloggers who share what they are learning on their faith journey.
  • I’m grateful for prayer, to be able to come before the throne of God in confidence and present my requests to God.  To be able to intercede on behalf of others.  To have friends and family be in prayer for me when I’m going through a trial.  

  • I’m grateful for Kindred Community Church and our pastors and teachers including Pastor Philip De Courcy, Doug McAllister, Mark Bundy, Dave Dunn and Dave Doyle and the many others who dedicate themselves to the study of God’s word so they can faithfully teach each week.  I’m grateful that through the power of God they persevere through trials and depend upon God to be their Shield and Defender.  
  • I’m grateful for Community Bible Study and our teacher Patty Bivens, a woman called and gifted by God to teach the word.  She is faithful to study each week so that she can share and accurately handle the word of God.  I’m grateful for her humility and willingness to be open and transparent.  I’m grateful for my discussion leader Hap Brandon who encourages me as I study each week.  As she leads our group she calls on all the women to share what they learned from the study.  There are times I learn as much from the discussion as I do from studying the passage myself.

  • I’m grateful for my husband Chris.  I remember all too well living life alone for many, many years.  It’s wonderful to have good man who is loving and caring, hardworking and giving.  He is strong when I am weak.  He helps make life fun and brings a balance and perspective that I never had before.
  • I’m grateful for friends and family who care and are there for us and sharing their own lives with us.  
Trip to Louisiana


  • I’m grateful for our vacations that we took this year including a trip to Louisiana to see my sister-in-love Carol and brother-in-love Ron.  They made our trip so special and we got to see amazing sites in their state.  I still love looking at the pictures from our trip to Louisiana.  We had a wonderful trip as we drove up the coast to central California and stayed in a lovely place called the Back Bay Inn.  We saw the amazing beauty of God’s creation.
Trip to the California Central Coast


  • I’m grateful for our kitty cats Rudy and Junior; they make life a little sweeter and warmer.

  • I’m grateful that each day is new and fresh and allows me a new beginning.
  • I’m grateful for the home God has provided us with.  This year when I was off work for back surgery I especially enjoyed it.  I was able to sit in the backyard for my prayer time and watch the birds coming to eat at our feeders and drink from the bird bath and dripper.


  • I’m grateful that both Chris and I are gainfully employed for companies that are stable.  I don’t want to take that for grated these days in light of how many people have lost their job in this stinky economy.  I don’t want to be presumptuous and think that because I have a job today, that I will have one tomorrow.  That causes me to be mindful its God who provides and be dependent upon Him.
  • I’m grateful for Valerie Sinex and the staff at Wild Birds Unlimited in Yorba Linda.  It’s a treat going to the store and visit.  Valerie is so sweet, loving and caring to both people and birds alike.  
  • I’m thankful for the sermons and conference messages that I hear, online or via podcast, including John MacArthur, Joel Rosenberg, Kay Arthur, Anne Graham Lotz,  John Piper, Voddie Baucham, Dave Rolph, Beth Moore, Family Life Today, Family Talk and Focus on the Family
  • I’m grateful for a warm bed to sleep in each night and hot and cold running water.  In reality that is a huge thing that is so easy to take for granted. 
  • I’m grateful for God’s daily provisions.
  • I’m grateful to be able to participate in Blogging for Books, Book Sneeze and Tyndale Blog Network; to be able to read new books and give a review.  It’s both fun and a challenge.



Those are just a few of the things I’m grateful for as I reflect on this past year.  I pray that I will have a grateful heart in 2012 and live each day through the grace and power of God.


Happy New Year to you and your family.  

Giving Thanks…Faithful Preachers

To those who know me…it’s no surprise that my top list of things I’m thankful for relate to God and His word.  Continuing on in that same vein I thank God for pastors, teachers and churches that are committed and faithful to preach and teach the full counsel of God’s word.

I have been abundantly blessed by God to sit under pastors who have been gifted by God.  Pastors who diligently study God’s word so they can feed and care for the flock.  They strive to present the bride of Christ, the church, as holy and blameless, sanctified and set apart, holy and dedicated unto Him. 

Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.  For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. – Acts 20:26-27

Pastor Philip De Courcy

Pastor Chuck Obremski

Pastor John MacArthur

Pastor John Piper

Oneplace.com


A Beacon on a Hill

Their little church
Became a beacon on a hill
A shinning light
Bidding all who want to follow Jesus
Come…follow Him
From humble beginnings
A group of people
Who loved God’s word
Studied the scriptures diligently
That they might accurately divide the word of Truth
Though their shepherd was struck
They kept their eyes on Christ
Called out to God
That He might bring another pastor
Faithful to preach the full counsel of God’s word
In His perfect timing
God brought His servant
A man ready to preach
In season and out of season
Teaching sound doctrine to equip the saints
God continues to bring them
From far and wide
Those who are unwilling to have their ears tickled
But would rather be reproved, corrected and instructed
So they might be thoroughly equipped for every good work
God is growing His church daily
Knitting each one perfectly into the body of Christ
The saints are not ashamed of the Gospel
For they know personally, it is the power of salvation
For all who believe
By Susan Bunts Wachtel
January 4, 2010

Concurrently Providential

When I see you,
I can perfectly see God’s presence in my life.

His mercy and grace,
Poured out in abundance to one so undeserving.

His sovereign plan,
That brought us together…in His perfect timing.

How He spent a lifetime,
Fitting us and forming two broken pieces for one another.

Yet…He left surprises,
In which we can delight and discover as we grow together.

I see His providence,
Because He went before me and prepared me for you.

I can testify to His concurrence,
As He worked a “good bad” in order to bring me to you.

Before you…He brought men into my life,
That made me desire…even long for a good man who loves the Lord.

Yet…He has given even more,
Deep blue eyes and warm smile…that melt my heart.

Chris…until “That Day”…and beyond,
May He continually, concurrently, providentially work His sovereign plan in us!

By Susan Bunts
May 21, 2008

Dedicated to Chris…the one I love

This poem was inspired by a sermon by Pastor Philip De Courcy that taught us about the sovereignty of God through His providence and concurrence in our lives. That sermon was providentially timed and has caused me to reflect and appreciate even more what God is doing in Chris and my life…and in our relationship.

Costly Sin

It has been my privilege to participate in Bible Study Fellowship for nearly nine years. I thank God for BSF because it provides me the study and discipline that I would not achieve on my own.

I learn from the answers the other ladies on our group share. I learn from our Teaching Leader Terri de la Vega…who has a real heart for God and people. She is uncompromising in teaching the word of God and doesn’t duck when it comes to sharing hard truths.

I also learn when answering the question for our study each week. Some questions are straight forward and direct. Some cause me to think and mull over the question. In this week’s lesson we are studying Matthew 18 and the questions that really got me to thinking were about sin in the life of a Christian and how it effects the church. How sin reflects on Christ and the Gospel message.

Be it me or another Christian…sin infects the body of Christ and the church.

It’s all too easy to laugh at sin…especially as portrayed on sitcoms and movies. Shows that make sin and doing what God has declared sinful, the norm and common place. Thing like sex outside of marriage…both for singles and married people. What about homosexuality. Most shows depict homosexuals in a humorous way. To lie, cheat and steal is normal…and fails to shock people these days. Even when it comes from a respected leader.

The church in America today has become so influenced by our godless culture that we fail to see sin as sin…and declare it as such. When that happens…we are not effective instruments to share the Gospel. When I take it in stride when my friend is living with someone outside of marriage I will fail to confront them. There will be no reason to let them know that what they are doing is against God’s word…after all, “They aren’t hurting anyone, are they?”. Wrong! In fact they are. They are lost in their sin…perishing and will go to hell if they don’t accept God’s one and only acceptable sin offering…Jesus Christ and his atoning death on the cross. Part of accepting Christ is recognizing that I’m a sinner, repenting and turning away from my sin.

When a Christian steps across that line…when a Christian sins…we fail to be a useful and effective instrument in the hands of God. We buy into the lies of the enemy…who will later condemn us as a hypocrite.

As Pastor Philip De Courcy warned a couple of weeks ago, yes it is, “Once saved, always saved”. But he admonished… “Once saved, always saved…if you are truly saved.” If I say I’m a Christian, but can walk in sin, make excuses for it and not repent…I need to ask myself if I’m truly saved.

Below are some thoughts about the cost of sin to a Christian, the body of Christ and Christ Jesus my Lord.

  • I’m saying Jesus Christ saves me…but can’t deliver me from my sins.
  • That Jesus Christ is my Savior…but not my Lord and Master.
  • I put myself above God as I seek which pleases me, even when God has strictly prohibited it in scripture.
  • I don’t care that I give the body of Christ a black eye and bad reputation…and that my tainted sin casts a pall over every Christian.
  • I want my cake…and eat it too. To sin and enjoy it for a season…but not pay the price and consequences for my sin.
  • I don’t care if my sin causes another one to stumble, sin and go to destruction.
  • I’m saying to hell with you unbeliever who rejects the Gospel of Jesus Christ because you see me as just another hypocrite professing Christ but not walking in obedience.
  • I’m saying Jesus…let me let me drive another nail in Your hand. Let me add more of my sin upon You. Sin that You willingly, in obedience to the Father, took upon Yourself.
  • I’m believing the one who was a liar from the beginning. Taking him at his word and doubting God and His word.
  • I’m saying I want to belong to God…but not serve Him.
  • I stop seeing what God has declared wrong as sinful.
  • When I don’t see someone without Christ as dead in their sins…I won’t share the Gospel message.
  • When I’m sinning…I will be less likely to confront another Christian who is in sin. I feel guilty and don’t want to be confronted about my own sin.

Warning Signs of the Me Gospel

On Sunday morning before heading off to church or Saturday evening while cleaning…I’ll frequently turn on TBN our religious broadcast station. While there are some solid Bible teachers…all too often I find pastors and ministries going astray from teaching the word of God.

One of the sure signs that I will hear man’s word and not God’s…is when I see the pastor preaching but there is no Bible to be found. On occasion…the pastor will be carrying a Bible, but he never opens it, nor refers to it. I am appalled when I see props on a stage as opposed to a pastor, his Bible and the pulpit. When our pastors are resorting to make their messages sexier and appealing to better compete with the secular world…we have gone over the edge.

As angry as I feel when I see such shenanigans…more than that I pity those pastors. I feel sad for them that they don’t know the power…the dynamite…of God’s word. The power to transform lives…take people who were dead in their sins and make them alive in Christ. If they had any clue what they were dealing with…they would treasure God’s word…guard it carefully and feed the hungry flock with the only food that will satisfy and last.

When I see such antics by men…and women…who claim to know Christ…I have to wonder if they truly know Christ as their Lord and Savior? All evidence to the contrary. God’s word warns us of such times and teachers. More and more…today’s pastors give evidence that we are in the days in which men will seek teaching which tickle their ears…instead of good, solid Bible teaching.

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. – 2 Timothy 4:2-4

With a born again Christian and a Mormon running for President there is more and more of a focus on religion in the media. As a result…I see interviews with pastors that the media consider to be religious leaders. One of “leaders” is Joel Osteen. I was left speechless after hearing an interview in which Joel was asked if Mormons are Christians. Joel had the perfect opportunity and platform to say to a world that is confused, lost and dead in their sins…that indeed there is a difference between the Christian faith in the Bible and what Mormons believe. He could have expanded on those differences and given the Gospel message. But instead Joel Osteen said he didn’t want to judge and that if Mitt says he believes in Christ then they have a common bond.

How is it that a pastor that has one of the largest churches in America not know that there is a difference between Biblical Christianity and the Mormon faith? That the Mormons have an additional text they consider as doctrine. It teaches about a different Jesus…not the same Jesus as the Bible.

But worse than not knowing that there is a difference between Biblical Christianity and Mormonism is the fact that Joel was reluctant or worse refused to address those differences. There is world of people that are dead in their sins and headed for hell unless they receive God only way of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Joel had platform to speak to millions of people who may have never heard the Gospel…or know that there is a difference between Mormonism and Christianity…but he remained silent.

Jesus command is clear. “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” – Mark 16:15.

When I listen to these ministries…I see some patterns. Below is list of some of the things I see from pastors and ministries who do not peach God’s word.

  • No Bible is present…or frankly necessary because they are not preaching from the Word of God.
  • Don’t teach from the word of God
  • It’s all about me and how I feel.
  • God is only as good as what He can do for me.
  • It’s about what I do…not about being broken in my sin and repentant.
  • No conviction…I leave feeling good.
  • No recognition that I am a sinner saved by grace.
  • I don’t hear anything about me being a sinner
  • The message is meant to make me feel good.
  • There are props on stage
  • It’s a stage not a pulpit
  • A few verses are thrown in just for good measure
  • Casual…no suit or tie…the approach to the word of God is casual and laid back.
  • No conviction of sin
  • Illustrations from movies or personal experience…not from the Bible
  • They make Jesus cool…not holy and they don’t revere Him as God.
  • No talk of sin…which left me dead and condemned.
  • When I don’t know I’m a sinner…I don’t need a Savior.
  • Jesus is someone who came to show us how to live…not pay the penalty for my sin.
  • It’s about what I do…not what He did.
  • We’re all sons and daughters of God…they don’t define what makes one a son and daughter of God.
  • No prayer for those who don’t know Christ, who are dead in their sins to accept God’s plan of salvation and forgiveness through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • No awe and reverence for God.
  • The pastor tells me what I ought to do…but doesn’t share that I can not do it on my own power and strength…but only through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within me.

When Kindred Community Church was searching for a Pastor it took almost two years. During that time I was left to contemplate what would I do if we got a man who did not preach the word of God. What would I do? I love the body of Christ at my church…but I knew I had to seek God and His word first. I praise God that each week…in church and in Bible studies that I hear the full counsel of the word of God. I praise God and thank Him for bringing us Pastor Philip De Courcy…who teaches from the Bible. There is many a Sunday when I leave not feeling really good about myself because I’m being convicted of sin. But then I know that in no way will God reject or cast out a repentant sinner…and that I am forgiven. Sometimes I’m comforted by God’s merciful and loving word. But I’m always being fed God’s word.

I thank God for His hand of protection upon Kindred Community Church and allowing us to hear the full counsel of the word of God. We need to be mindful, to whom much is given, much is required. But praise God…where He calls, He equips.

With All the Many Miracles

God gave the bold command
To cross the Jordan and take the land
Not to worry about the giants they would face
But when the spies returned
To tell the others what they had learned
They said, “For us to win, there’s just no way.”

Still two of them trusted God,
Caleb and Joshua
They said, “Children, don’t believe what you have heard.
We know we’re out manned by far,
They’re much bigger than we are.
But let’s not forget just Who it is we serve.”

With all the many miracles
Why don’t you think it’s possible?
With all the many things we’ve seen
Why do you think it’s just a dream?
With all the things He’s done for us
Don’t you think it’s time we trust?
Remember what is possible
With all the many miracles.

Like when we were about to die,
Manna fell from the sky.
Then water came from a dry old dusty rock.
And back when Pharaoh was closing in,
God closed the sea again,
But not before we all had safely crossed.

So here you are my friend,
You face a battle you cannot win
You tell yourself, “There just no need to try”
Consider how good God’s been,
He’s been faithful time and again,
You must believe and here’s the reason why.

With all the many miracles
Why don’t you think it’s possible?
With all the many things we’ve seen
Why do you think it’s just a dream?
With all the things He’s done for us
Don’t you think it’s time we trust?
Remember what is possible
With all the many miracles.

With all the things He’s done for us
Don’t you think it’s time we trust?
Remember what is possible
With all the many miracles.

By Rodney Griffin, Greater Vision

Anybody in need of a miracle today? Anybody being challenged to keep the faith in the midst of difficult circumstances and dark days? I for one raise my hand high and say, “Yes Jesus, I believe help me with my unbelief. Please God bless me.”

Terry and David…I’m dedicating this song to both of you. You both share a love for the music of Greater Vision. When I listen to their music…my faith is built up. It’s so Biblically based and taken straight from scripture. I pray that the Lord touches your feelings and reminds you that He loves you and is at work in your circumstances. May we be ever mindful that He is faithful. Love you two…and stay strong in the Lord!.

The above song is by the Gospel trio Greater Vision…my favorite Gospel group. I first heard them when listening to Charles Stanley’s In Touch program. Greater Vision is one of their frequent guests. Usually I’ll watch the program on Saturday evening or Sunday morning before church.

Rodney Griffin is their songwriter. He writes most of their music…and it is the best. Gerald Wolfe and Jason Waldrop join Rodney to make up this wonderful Gospel trio. It is my prayer that one day…I will get to see them sing in person.

“With All the Many Miracles” is the song that has most touched me both when I first heard and even today…when I need an infusion of faith and courage to trust God even before I see His work in my circumstances…I’ll listen to this song.

When I first heard “With All the Many Miracles”…it was around the time our Bible Study Kindred Fellowship was soon to become a church, Kindred Community Church. It was a time of uncertainty. We knew God was leading and at work…but we didn’t know how He was going to work things out.

But our God is faithful…and likes to do things in a big way. He faithfully lead our church and provided what we needed according to His prefect plan and timing. Praise Him. So when my beloved Pastor Chuck Obremski was battling cancer and eventually called home to be with his Lord, this song kept me focused on God and His ability to act and move in our situation. When we were without a Pastor for two years…this song reminded me that God was at work…and that we would one day see the outworking of His plan. Which we saw when He called Pastor Philip De Courcy to the pulpit at Kindred.

Today…when I see my life, not as I had imagined or hope, I once again listen to this song…to bring me hope and knowledge that He is faithful and will provide what is needed according to His plan and in His perfect timing.

God’s timing is usually different than mine. But it is in retrospect that I see just how right His timing and plan was. So Jesus…tonight…I put my trust and hope in You to work in my life. I’ve cried out to you so many times…at this point I’m nagging. But like the woman who came to Jesus and begged for her daughter’s deliverance…I too will persist until Jesus tells me, “Susan, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”