Wow! I am amazed at the weather that we have been having here in the Big Horn Basin! We have had solid rain with very little break in the weather since the last time that I wrote about our weather back on May 22nd. The Big Horn River and canals are swelling with water. Yesterday a tornado touched down south of Worland near the little town of Kirby. Funnel clouds could be seen going in and out of the clouds behind the Wyoming Boys' School! Here is a picture of what one of the funnels looked like near here. I was told to be ready to evacuate the boys from my class if it got too bad! It got mighty dark, the wind was blowing, and then a down pour happened while we were in class! Caleb called me at work and was ready for me to come home from work. Wow! We sure look small compared to the Power of God and his creation! Thank you God that it wasn't real serious and no one got hurt!
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
1John 4:4 "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
One time I was walking along a street in Belfast, Northern Ireland, carrying shopping bags full of new clothes that I had just purchased for the road. I was already about two months into a short term missions trip with the Continental Singers, and the clothes that I needed for the tour were worn out after being washed over and over again.
As I was walking along with my bags, I got too close to a British Army armed vehicle.....and I will never forget. I heard the words, "Move along!" in a thick British accent and guns were pointed at me. I realized then that I may have looked suspicious with my shopping bags because of the uprisings that were still happening during that time in the 1980's in Ireland. Whew!!!!!
I think of that armored vehicle and the armor that those soldiers had on. They were pretty well protected, but were still on alert to the dangers that were around them in that very political time. Much like those soldiers on alert, I realize that I (we) need to be on alert and on guard against the devil's schemes and prowl! I am so thankful that I have the Lord as my protection. However, I'm still a sinner! Satan likes to throw his lies at us even when we're God's children.
Thank you Lord that we as Christians are of You! You guide us and overcome the evil one! Thank you that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. When Satan and his demons come against us, You are our Comforter and our Shield. I thank you that you have given us armor and protection!
Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
You give us the strength that we can say, "MOVE ALONG!" to the devil in the power of Your Spirit.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
We live in a nation that is becoming more and more corrupt. After taking part in our Memorial Day service, singing patriotic songs, and saying the Pledge of Allegiance, I keep thinking about how much our nation as a whole has changed even in my lifetime, running away from God. Our nation isn't recognizing our God like it once did. The Ten Commandments are being taken down from public places! People are lobbying to take GOD out of the Pledge of Allegiance!
I remember prayer being a big part of opening meetings and closing meetings in the public school. I remember being handed a Gideon's Bible in the classroom. Now Gideons are lucky if they are allowed to give them out across the street from the school! And....why did prayer have to be taken out of our schools??!
Christians! Let's pray for revival in The United States of America! Let's continue to teach our children about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! We need to keep teaching them that prayer is important regardless of what state our nation is in! Yes, we are proud to be Americans, but we serve our Lord first and foremost! Let's remember what the Lord has done for us on the cross!
Let's also remember that we need to pray for our nation to return to God. We need to pray for our president. We need to pray for our nation's leadership, and also for their true salvation. Pray for the future of our nation, especially in this time of war and elections. God Bless the U.S.A!
No matter what becomes of our nation, good or bad, we know that we have hope in the eternal life that Jesus Christ gives as a free gift for those who believe in Him. Share the Gospel! One thing is for certain.....One day.....every knee shall bow.......every tongue will confess....that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; [it is] the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
Wow! It has been pouring rain outside here in Worland! Boy....do we need it! We have lived in Worland for 6 years, and the whole time we have been in a drought. The snow and the rain that we have had in the past winter and now spring season has sure helped our land.
With the rain.... it brings life! Everything looks greener and brighter around here. I started to think of a newer song that we have been singing in worship at church, called "Grace Like Rain". God has poured his grace like rain on us, giving us His gift of eternal life, for those who believe by faith. It is by His grace through our faith in Him that we are saved! Wow! Saints....we have have life! Eternal life!
Lord...thank you for your life sustaining grace that you have poured upon us. Thank you for salvation! Lord...help us to have our faith built upon you and what you have for us, based on your promises in your word.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Michele Decker, as many of you know, is a very talented musician that has been such a tremendous part of our worship team at 1st Baptist, Worland. Her voice has added so much quality and depth to our worship style. Besides that, she is just an all around great gal to be around. The neatest thing is.........she loves the Lord and wants to do His will!
Well....Michele has many other talents, including architecture in which she majored in, in college. She has been hired with a firm in Colorado, and will be leaving us this week to pursue this new adventure along with her daughter. God has really opened a lot of doors for this young lady to do this! Let's keep her in our prayers as she follows where the Lord will lead. Pray that she finds a good church family while she is living down there. We also know that her family, the Crafts, are a wonderful support for her, and of course her 1st Baptist Church family is too.
Thank you Michele for all that you have done for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know He has more for you to do. He will sustain you! Thank you for what you have done for our church. We look forward to having you visit us again.......and of course share your talents when you can with us. May God bless you. We hope to have you back to visit soon!
May the Lord be your strength! Keep singing your songs as praise to Him!
Psalms 28:7 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him."
Monday, May 19, 2008
You know.....it is that time of year when ranchers are rounding up their cattle, cutting out the calves from the herd on horseback, and then firing up the brands, getting shots ready.........gearing up for branding. Well, that was my experience again this weekend on Saturday. It was a lot of fun working the calves with my family. It was especially fun to see the kids doing some roping!
After the branding was done, we had to put the cows into the chutes for shots and worming. When we released them from the chute to get back to their calves, a clear opened gate to the corral, many of them took a goofy wrong turn and had to be "persuaded" to get back on the right path and into the corral where they belong.
I was thinking about this yesterday. God often reveals Himself to us, giving us clear directions, and we often take goofy wrong turns, thinking we can do things on our own. Often times God has to get us back on the right path and into the "corral" that we belong. He reveals Himself a lot when we read His word! We just need to take the time to indulge in His Holy Scriptures. Yes, in our sinful nature, we are going to take wrong paths once in a while, but as we pursue the Lord and read his word, it should become less and less. I don't know about you, but I want to be in God's corral. He will even make us lie down in green pastures! Lord, thank you for your word!
Psalms 119:105 "Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Friday, May 16, 2008
You talk about people who genuinely care for and love people! Pastor Shaun and Jodi Matako are working so hard in His Spirit to share the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am proud to be able to work with these folks weekly, sharing the Gospel message. Their support has been truly incredible!
For instance, when I went to practice down at the church early last night, Pastor Shaun and Jodi were there and helped me set up for rehearsal. Jodi made practice CDs for hymns that are not in the digital hymnal! Shaun jumped in and helped me get sound going to let me rehearse early with my guitar before the rest of the team showed up to practice. They are truly modeling what a pastor and wife should be like in the ministry. We are so grateful to have them ministering at 1st Baptist Church in Worland. They have been so motivating to serve Christ for adults, teens, and children!
We are blessed to have the Matakos in Worland! We pray that we will have them for a very long time! They are actively involved in our community, Wyoming Boys' School ministry, children's ministry......the list goes on and on. In the words of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, "Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
We need to continue praying always for our pastor and his wife and that the name of Jesus Christ will be glorified in them.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I am so proud of my wife Sandra! She is such a hard working women! She takes care of all of us Garza boys! One of the things that she is doing is training to be a lifeguard and aide for the Worland School District. She has all kinds or requirements that she has to pass: Written tests, physical tests that include a 12 lap endurance time, CPR, etc.
Pray for her as she does this! She's a bit nervous about it. She already has the job, but has a short time to complete all of the tests. I admit it has been difficult for her to study, trying to be a wife and mom, and also being down at the school.
She was working as a Vet Tech ,which she loved, but bless her heart, she changed jobs for her family. She will have summers off and have the same schedule as our kids. I love her! God bless you, Sandra! The Lord will see you through. Remember Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I am so proud of the hard work that Wendy Compton and her fellow workers have done with our students in the Worland School District. Wendy is a great part of our worship ministries at 1st Baptist, but you also should see and hear what she does with our students. The kids performed in awesome fashion last night at the middle school auditorium. They sang, did choreography, played drums, played xylophones, and much much more! I am so thankful for what these people are doing for our children.
My son Jacob absolutely loves the music program. It is something he talks about all the time. I also observe several of our 1st Baptist kids involved with singing too! The neat thing about it is that these same students are building their confidence up and singing on the youth worship team too. Great job Wendy and the rest of the music team! Great job kids!!!! Also...congratulations to Jared Craft for receiving both the choral and jazz choir awards at last night's event! God bless you guys!!
Monday, May 12, 2008
My mother's name is Elizabeth Rose Westerfeld. She was just remarried last fall to a good man name Larry Westerfeld, after being a widow of my father, Oscar Garza, for many years. I'm really proud of her making good decisions over the last several years, moving to Idaho, purchasing a new home, marrying Larry who is a Christian man.
I just wanted to say that I love my mom. She has been so supportive over the many years, especially with all of my musical endeavors. Of course she was there with all the bumps, bruises, blood, etc. as I was growing up, but I remember most of all, the time of support with my music. Who helped me get music lessons? Mom. Who supported me and drove me everywhere for music concerts? Mom. Who allowed me to travel the country and England with music groups? Mom.
Mom, thank you for life, your love, your support, and care over the many years. The prayers for my family have been felt. Thank you. All of the support and prayers over the years have helped lead me to be able to minister for the Lord Jesus Christ as Worship Minister at First Baptist and in the community of Worland. God bless you and Larry, Mom!
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Ouch! My little son Josh, a second grader, broke his arm yesterday on the playground at school. He was very brave at the hospital! While he was there and calming down, he said two humorous things. 1) He said that he was glad it was before the Thermopolis 3-on-3 basketball tourney! 2) He blamed the broken arm on greasy chicken! I asked him what it had to do with greasy chicken. He said that he had greasy chicken for lunch in the cafeteria, didn't wash his hands and went straight for the monkey bars. With greasy hands, he slipped from the playground equipment......so it was the chicken's fault! Oh well......we are grateful to God that he is going to be alright and that the break was not a severe one. I guess we all need to be on the lookout of greasy chicken! It can be dangerous!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Isaiah 40: 31 "But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew [their] strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint."
What incredible words to read when you are feeling down......sometimes feeling down for the count. Recently I was feeling miserable in my walk with the Lord....just plain old exhausted. I felt downright attacked! Those of you who know what I mean have experienced it to the point that you just want to throw in the towel. By the grace of God...... and speaking with God, it is truly amazing how he answers with words like these from Isaiah 40:31.
When I think about the eagle.....cutting through the strong winds of Wyoming, and floating gracefully on gusts, what a perfect simile that scripture paints a picture with. The Lord lifts us up like the eagle! I am so glad that the Lord is TOTAL strength!
Thank you Lord for your renewal even when I have to be renewed daily! Lord forgive me when I blow it and forget that you put the wind under my wings. Lord God...help me to wait on you.
Monday, May 5, 2008
As I'm sitting here at the computer, I'm singing "Amazed", a new song that we are singing with our congregation on Sunday mornings now. I am truly amazed about God's faithfulness, his promises, and his truth.
Speaking of His promises and truth...... I am reminded that what Christ says in scripture will never pass away. He said in Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, buy My words will by no means pass away."
You know....we get spoiled by inventions around us that we depend on, like cars to get us to work or WASHING MACHINES to clean our clothes! Our washing machine broke down and flooded our laundry room Saturday night. Sandra and I might even have to buy a new one because the old one isn't "cost effective" to get fixed. The old one will probably go to the dump, get smashed, get rusty.........it's dead! It has passed away!
I am so glad that the truth that Jesus spoke will NEVER pass away! It will not get rusty! His truth does not get smashed! His truth will not pass away and go to the dump!
THE ENDURING WORD:
1 Peter 1:22-25 "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart. having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because All flesh is as grass, And all glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever."
Friday, May 2, 2008
I have just got to say that the people that we have on our Sunday Morning Worship Team at 1st Baptist are the best. I have thrown a lot of new songs at them in the last few months, and God has given them the talent to pick them up so quickly. I look forward to continuing with them in our efforts to build our worship song library in the coming months. Their patience with me has been outstanding! Our rotation of musicians has worked out well, and I think that everything has been settling in well with the two new services. Praise the Lord!
I just need to remember the words of Paul from Philippians 4:13, " I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Hey...without the guidance of His Spirit...where would we be in the ministry???
Thank you Ashley, Wendy, Michelle, Lloyd, Caleb, Kaleb, Nic, Ben, Kevin, Sally, Steve, and all the support crew for your willingness to serve our risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Also, a big thanks for Pastor Shaun and Jodi for their devotion to our church and support of Worship Ministries! A big thanks to Jess, Heather, and Becci too for all of their help and support! God bless you guys!
We have a lot of work to do....but it's worth it to help build God's Kingdom!
Thursday, May 1, 2008
I know that they are neck-and-neck in the National League Central with the Cardinals....but how about those Cubbies???!! They have had a great start. Now I know what you are going to say....."They're the Cubs!" Hey the Red Sox finally did it! I think the Cubbies are getting closer! I think with Lou as manager, Soriano, Zambrano, Pie, Wood, Theroit, etc. Could it be that the World Series is getting closer? Time will tell...there is still a lot of baseball! They're getting ready for the Cardinals in the next few days. But how about the 19-5 WIN over the Brewers!!! Awesome! GO CUBS!