Friday, July 15, 2011

Pandamania - Vacation Bible School!

Wow! What an exciting event occurred in our church! Several of our church members have been involved with putting on a Vacation Bible School for the children in our home town of Worland. Over 70 kids were taking part in worship, bible stories, crafts, snacks, games...all in the name of Jesus Christ! The wonderful thing about it, several kids accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior! And, on the last night, several parents of the kids came to see for themselves what was being taught about Jesus Christ!

I was amazed how our church was decorated with bamboo, leaves, etc. There was even a large whale in one of the classroom that was used in the telling of the story of Jonah. A lot of time and effort was put into VBS, and it showed!

A big thanks to Gail Carver and Wendy Compton for their leadership in this huge effort. They truly did an amazing job with this project. There were about 35 people in all that were involved, and the Lord truly blessed it! I know my wife, Sandra, really enjoyed being in charge of snacks. My son, Caleb, enjoyed working with his group of kids. I could tell all the other workers were just as excited about serving the Lord.

Super job everyone! I'm sure that the Lord is super pleased with your efforts of spreading the gospel message. With the involvement of the parents, I am praying that the families that were invited will return to First Baptist and will be fed by the Holy Spirit. We truly want to see lives changed in Jesus Christ.

I just loved the theme of VBS this year....God is WILD about you! Isn't that truly incredible? There is a special place in my heart for Vacation Bible School. I was saved at one! Amen!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer is here?

I know that it's not quite summer according to the calendar, which actually starts June, 21, 2011. It is beginning to look and feel like summer here in Worland, Wyoming. It never ceases to amaze me how weather changes so rapidly here. Over Memorial Day weekend, it was raining like crazy and even started to snow. Today, the temperature is in the 90's. Amazing!

School is out, and it's good to see some changes around the community of Worland. I'm seeing kids from First Baptist Church working summer jobs around town. Projects and contruction are being done to our church. Baseball and softball lights have been turned on allowing the games to be played in the evenings. Lot's of people are out and about walking and biking the trails. I love the changes in the seasons.

Here's what the Garza's are doing this summer (Lord willing). Sandra is helping the summer school program here in Worland in the office, classroom, and giving the swimming lessons to the kids. Caleb is working for the Washakie County School District #1 with grounds and maintenance. He is also wrapping up Shrine Bowl week for football and taking a college summer class. Jacob is working for his uncle Marc at the gym this summer, taking driver's ed. classes, and umpiring baseball games. Josh is playing baseball and being a kid. Me? I'm teaching summer school and leading worship at First Baptist. Busy summer.

Yes, I see that it may be a busy summer, but we hope to get some breaks from time to time. I hope to get some fishing in and of course, some camping done. Maybe I can catch up on some summer projects too?

Anyway, from the Garza's to you. We pray that you will have a safe and wonderful summer, enjoy family and friends. Don't forget to worship with us! We will see you this summer at Worland First Baptist Church!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jesus Was and Is, and Is to Come!

Many of us, as Americans, remember the fallen soldiers that have served our country on Memorial Day, and we are so thankful and blessed. Many of us remember loved ones that we cherished while they were with us in our lifetime, many that we hope to see in heaven some day. Still others get together for fun social gatherings on this occasion, even marking the beginning of summer vacation.

One that we should always remember is Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for us. He paid the penalty for our sins on that old rugged cross. Even more, He died and rose again! Remember, according to Acts 5:42, "the good news that Jesus is the Christ."

In my devotions today, the stress is on the word IS. Jesus IS the Christ! Of course we want to remember that Christ saved us, but we also need to remember that He IS working today in us, through us, and around us! He is alive and well!

In the Bible, in the New Testament, in the Book of Acts 5:42, the apostles were not holding back their faith, knowing that Jesus Christ was working! They risked their lives, "Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ."

We may not be risking our lives, but are we doing enough for Him? Let's continue to serve Him and see what He continues to do in our lives and the lives of others.

Another thing to remember is Jesus was and is, and is to come! Jesus is coming soon! He's the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last! Jesus is not through with us yet!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

End of the School Year!

Wow! I am amazed on how quickly this year went by! It just seems like the school year just got started. For you parents out there, you may be thinking the same thing.

In my family there are lots of "firsts" that are about to happen. My oldest son will be graduating this week in the Class of 2011. Congratulations graduating seniors! My middle son will be completing his freshman year, looking forward to being a sophomore and driving!!!! My youngest son will no longer be in elementary school, becoming a middle-schooler, leaving that chapter in his life behind!

I've got a lot to pray about with my own family. How about you? Let's pray for our kids as they wrap up their school year. Let's pray for those that are working summer jobs or playing sports. Overall, let's continue to pray for their safety as they start their summer out of school. I know that it's always a big adjustment for families too. Pray for our families.

Before you know it, it will be time to send them off to school again!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Lord's Direction

Proverbs 16:9 – "A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps."

Have you ever looked back on your life and think about the choices that you have made in your life? Were they good choices? Were they bad choices? Think about it....we should be praying for God's will in the choices that we make, because God is ultimately in control. Life can be a mystery of what God wants for us, at the same time, it is amazing when He does reveal to you what He wants you to do.

I often look at what the Lord is having me do right now, and I also look in my past of how God has taken my past experiences to use for Him today. For example...I used to be a music major...He is having me lead praise and worship at church and at the Wyoming Boys' School. I taught for 12 years in the public God is allowing me to teach the boys at the Wyoming Boys' School and also allowing us to minister to them by the Holy Spirit.

The point is...I'm not boasting on what God is doing with me, but what I'm trying to say is, just like the verse above, we may plan on what we want to do.....we make decisions, but GOD directs our steps. It is amazing how God can use our past experiences for His glory! We just need to pray and watch what the Lord does.

I also think of the story of Joseph, after he had been thrown into a pit by his brothers, after being sold into slavery, God finally put him into a position of great power in Egypt. Joseph had gone through all kinds of tough experiences, some that he had no choice in at all....but again, ultimately God is and was in control. The Lord directed His steps, and ultimately his people were blessed. Furthermore, look at the attitude that Joseph took, when his brothers that sold him into slavery were afraid for their lives when they found out that Joseph was still alive and an authority in the Pharaoh's courts...Quoting Joseph, Genesis 5:20 says, "But as for you, you meant evil against me; [but] God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as [it is] this day, to save many people alive." You see, God can make any situation into one that is good and glorifies Himself.

So what do we need to do? We need to continue to pray for God's will in our choices and decision making, and know that the Lord directs our steps. Here is an example of what I'm praying for right now:

My oldest son, Caleb, has just finished up registering for his fall college classes. He has made some decisions on what direction that he would like to take, planning his way. I pray that with all of the experiences that God has given him, including the ones that he has planned for college, that the Lord will direct his steps. I pray that God's will be done in his life for the Lord's glory. I am sure that God has plans for Caleb.

Let's continue to pray that the Lord would direct our steps, seeking Him each day, relying on His sovereignty. Let's continue to pray that the Lord will direct the steps of our children in the way that will be pleasing to Him. One thing that we don't have to worry about is the fact that God's will, will be done regardless. I don't know about you, but I want God in control of my life and the steps that I take.

Friday, April 8, 2011

God's Word is Truth!

1 Thessalonians 2:12-13- "that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe."

I'm sure you have read different accounts of newspaper articles. Each one seems to have it's own twist of the story, even embellishment. Why? Most likely, to make sure that the newspaper sells to it's readers.

Even today, I taught in my U.S. History class about the Great American Newspaper War that was happening during the 1898 Spanish- American War. The type of newspaper war that was raging was between Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst over the selling of newspapers, REALLY embellishing and stretching the truth about the Spanish-American War. This type of journalism was called "Yellow Journalism". Of course, the American people ate it up, many fanned on with smoldering anger favoring U.S. Military intervention in against Spain in Cuba. Why? because "truth" was not being completely kept. A lot of people didn't know what to believe. As a matter of fact, many historians believe that the newspapers actually caused the war to be worse then it would have been without the articles.

I thank God that His word is truth! It is not embellished. It is not twisted with lies. The word of God comes directly from Him and is of Him. As the verse in 1 Thessalonians above says, the word of God was "not welcomed as word of men.." The verse goes on to say that "it is in truth, the word of God".

I am also thankful for the last portion of the verse, knowing that the word of God works in us who believe! This is why it is so important that we read God's word each day. It is important that we learn more and more about His truths. His truth surely does set us free! The more that we learn about the truth of God, our faith will grow deeper and deeper in Him. The Holy Spirit will truly bless our lives.

Just think...when we accept Him, obey Him, and follow the truth of Him, we walk worthy of God who calls us into His own kingdom and glory!

Wow! How awesome that is!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pray for Our College Bound Kids!

Over the many years, I have watched many of our friends and family sending their kids off to college. In Wyoming, the reality is.....when you send your kids off to send them OFF to college. Even a community college can be several miles away!

Well...I guess it is our turn. Sandra and I are preparing to send our oldest son off to college in the fall, and it's not an easy ordeal. The writing for scholarships is crazy...The waiting for acceptance letters can be stressful....all of the roadtrips to visit different colleges. Whew! their enough money to cover ALL of the expenses???

All of the stress has one good thing about drives us as parents to our knees to pray and cling to the Lord. I have to remember that it is now Caleb's turn to be really tested in his faith. I pray that he will remember what we have taught him and what he has learned in his Christian walk. The verse, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6, keeps running through my head. The main thing that we are praying about is that Caleb will stick to his faith no matter what.

Let's all join together in prayer for our students that are getting ready to head off to college. Lord, please remind our students that they are to be in the world but not of the world. Strengthen them even in these early preparations before high school graduation to prepare them for their future. We pray that You will provide all their financial needs on and off campus. We pray that You will keep them safe. Most of all, Lord, we pray that you will bless them by the Holy Spirit to rely totally on you in everything that they do. In Jesus' Name- Amen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blessed are the Peacemakers....

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." - Matthew 5:9

We live in a dying and decaying world full of sin. Often times in society, people argue, fight, and even go to war. Sometimes we have differences with our peers and neighbors, even arguing that can cause pain, stress, and strife. You know, God loves a cheerful heart, and He doesn't like to see us hindering our worship of Him by having bitterness towards our brothers and sisters.

First of all....we can thank God that He brings peace and hope to our lives through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Second of all, God also sent His Son to live a sinless life as a model to us all.

Before we, "fly off the handle" at someone, allowing sin to reign free, let's seek godly wisdom, and seek how the Lord would handle the situation. God tells us in Matthew 5:9, that we are to be peacemakers, and that we will be blessed if we are. If we are peacemakers, we will be called His sons.

You may be thinking, well..."Nobody is perfect"....humanly are right, but God is perfect, and He draws us as Christians to Him, wanting us to be more like Him.

Dear Lord, when friction arises between ourselves and others, help us not to sin against You. Help us to pray. Help us to listen attentively to all parties in a heated situation. Lord, help us to always seek to be peacemakers as you would have us do. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Congratulations Worland Warriors!

I just wanted to write and say congratulations to the Worland Warrior basketball players! It was a fun season to watch this year. Both the boys and the girls team were able to qualify for the state tournament this year, with the boys only having one loss in the games, but allowing them to take 5th place over all in the state for 3A. The state tournament took place last Thursday through Saturday at Casper College.

Two of my sons played basketball this year. Jacob played on the freshman team, and Caleb played varsity for his senior year. Both tell me that they had a lot of fun this year. I'm excited that Jacob wants to play all four years of high school for the Warriors.

My youngest son, Josh, is still in elementary school, but loves to play basketball and can't wait until he is able to play for the Warriors!

Keep up the great work Worland basketball players and coaches. You have made our community proud of you! We hope that there will be many more exciting years to come for the sport!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Blessed are the pure in heart!

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." - Matthew 5:8

We are not called just to seek knowledge of what the Bible says. We are to seek to live a life of worship in which the Bible describes to us. The Lord is searching for our heart of worship, a pure heart that is seeking the ways of God. If we are worshiping the Lord with our heart, soul, mind, and strength we will be gaining more knowledge of Him, as we read His Word.

Knowledge is important but it doesn't take the place of a pure heart that worships our Lord Jesus Christ. I want to have knowledge of our God, but first, I want to have a pure worshipful heart for God, being humble before Him. Another verse that applies here is James 4:10- "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up." If we live a life that is pure in heart, we truly will see God.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blessed are the merciful!

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." – Matthew 5:7
When I see this verse I immediately think of the story of the Good Samaritan who nursed and cared for the down-trodden traveler that was left for dead by the side of the road, while others even crossed to the other side of the road to avoid the man that was so desperately in need.
We are all guilty of being busy that we tend to forget others that are in need. My prayer is that we....I...can be a lot more merciful toward others in need. I'm not just talking about writing a check to give to those in need, even though that can be good in and of itself.
I know there have been times where I should have given my neighbor food..or clothing. I should have written that card to encourage. I should have given that phone call, or made that visit to one in need.
Jesus calls us to be merciful to our fellow man. As Christians, he tells us that we too will be rewarded with mercy! After all....we all deserve death and separation from God, but because of His mercy, we have eternal life for those who believe in Him!
A lot of people talk about how our American culture has gotten so insensitive and self-centered. Can you imagine what a change we could make if we were a lot more merciful toward each other? Let's pray that we can be more loving and merciful with a pay-it-forward mentality. God bless you! Blessed are the merciful!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wow! What a quick football season!

What a fun football season it was this year! It always is for me.
I enjoy watching my youngest boy, Josh play "rec" league. The "Scouts" recreation league is well organized and will really improve Worland's football program in years to come. It's always fun to see these little guys knocking each other around on the gridiron!

I really enjoyed watching my middle boy, Jacob, play on his freshman football team this year. No longer in the middle school green this year, it was fun watching him play in the Worland orange and black. He really wants to lift weights early to get ready for next year's season.

Caleb finished off his senior regular season playing in the Worland orange and black. He is now looking forward to playing the Wyoming State Shrine Bowl coming up this year.

As for college football, I was able to catch a few great games. I love watching it too, but not nearly as much as I do watching my kids and NFL.

Speaking of the NFL, it was a disappointing season for my Dallas Cowboys. Every time they are picked to go to, or win the Super Bowl....they choke. I know....I know....a lot of you are thinking... that's okay... because you don't like the Dallas Cowboys...but when a majority of your family is from Texas and you are raised with the Dallas get the picture.

Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers! You played a great Super Bowl game. It was great to see Aaron Rodgers get the win as the new franchise quarterback! Favre...I believe is now in the past for Green Bay. What a good young team the Packers are. As for the Pittsburg Steelers...good season.'s tough to see football go for another season....can't wait for next fall!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness..

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." – Matthew 5:6

Have you ever felt so hungry that you thought you could eat a horse? Maybe you have craved a huge cheeseburger? Have you ever been so thirsty after working hard out on a ranch, or after a long mountain or desert hike in the wilderness that you want to drink a huge big gulp of water? These may be physical needs for food or water, but that is not what Jesus is talking about in this verse.
Jesus is talking about the spiritual hunger and thirst that we have inside. Only God can satisfy that hunger. First to overcome the spiritual hunger and thirst that every man lacks, we must come to Christ and believe in Him, being baptized by the Holy Spirit. As God allows us to grow in Him by praying each day, and by reading His word, He has the desire for us to seek His righteousness! We should have the hunger...the thirst..and desire for His righteousness too! He wants us to be more like Him as His children. As we hunger and thirst for His righteousness, we will be filled and satisfied.

In the world's eye view, people are hustling and bustling, hungering and thirsting for THINGS: money, power, prestige, fame, glory, success....passions, that ultimately won't satisfy.

How many of the world's most famous and wealthiest people have you come across, that are truly happy? It seems like they are always searching, searching for something or someone. There is a missing piece...a void in their lives. The missing piece that they are looking for is Jesus Christ and His righteousness. Christians, we will eventually receive all of His riches in glory when we are with Him. I know that He is building me a mansion in heaven!

I'm thinking of the old hymn, "I'd Rather Have Jesus". Here is just one verse that sums it up for me, "I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;I’d rather be His than have riches untold;I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

Refrain: Than to be the king of a vast domain, And be held in sin’s dread sway; I’d rather have Jesus than anything This world affords today.

Great words, huh? I don't know about you, but I don't want to be in sin's dread sway. I'd rather be filled by his righteousness.

Thank you Lord. Amen.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Blessed are the meek.

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." – Matthew 5:5
A lot of people would probably define meekness as weakness. This is not what the Bible is trying to say here in the beginnings of the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5:5. I learned from my devotions that meekness in this particular scripture means gentleness. I for one know that being gentle takes a lot of discipline!

Jesus tells us that His rule on His earth is to be a gentle one. Jesus teaches us that we are to show restraint over our own passions, stubbornness, anger, and all of the other ungodly actions that are in our sinful nature. If we can have this restraint and be gentle, showing the love of Jesus Christ, we can be rulers over much!

Lord, I pray that I can be faithful, and be more gentle towards others. It's not easy. I know that we, as Christians, are not of this world. Help us, oh God, to be gentle and show that Biblical meekness that you are talking about in Matthew 5:5.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blessed are those who mourn.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." – Matthew 5:4

After reading my devotions this morning, which dealt with the "Beatitudes" from the Sermon on the Mount, I learned and realized that mourning is not talked about much or even shown as much in our culture as it was in Jesus' time on earth.

Often times, in our culture, people think you need to be happy all of the time which is not always the case. Instead of avoiding pain or trying to cover it up, we need to cling to the Lord Jesus in our times of trials, which includes mourning loved ones. Death is a reality of life. Death is all around us...but we as Christians know that one day in heaven, there will be no tears, there will be no sorrow, there will be no sting of death. That is our hope in Christ. Those who may be facing these realities that we all face, please remember that Jesus is waiting to comfort us and strengthen us.

Just recently a friend of mine lost a little granddaughter, and she is handling her situation as well as she can, but as a follower of Christ. She is mourning her loss with her family. The one thing that I truly see in her is the fact that she is leaning on the everlasting arms of Christ to comfort and strengthen her. Even in mourning, what a powerful witness for Christ that can be. Please keep this lady and her family in prayer.

God bless you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We ALL need Jesus!

"And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." – Matthew 5:1-3

I recently learned more in a devotion, the truth about this passage. Especially in American culture...and even in children's programming, we are constantly being told, "You just need to believe in yourself! Pick yourself up by your own bootstraps....and get'r done!"

The truth is, we don't have what it takes, and Jesus reminds us that we need to be humble, poor in spirit, relying on Him if we are seeking the Kingdom of Heaven.

Being poor in spirit means that we need to be humble and go to Jesus in all things. Just like the old children's song says, "They are weak, but He is strong..." "They" meaning us, are His children....and we are weak vessels.

Yes, God has given us many different talents and abilities, but we are to rely on Him, to be used by Him, to give of ourselves to the best of our abilities for Him.

We must rely on Him for our every need.

Lord, in our weakness, you are strong. Help us to rely on you and seek you for everything. Lord, may we be your humble servants, allowing you to guide and direct our paths. May we truly seek and desire Your kingdom. - Amen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Random Thoughts! Again?

Every once in a while I get in the mood to just make a list of the things that are going through my head.....through the whirlwind of my life!

1) I am so thankful for the salvation of Jesus Lord...and my God!

2) I am extremely thankful for my wife...she has to put up with a lot with a house full of boys!

3) I am thankful for my boys...they're growing up quicker than I can handle! Lord please let me be patient and do a good job as a parent. I want my boys to grow up to be Christ like and have Christian homes as well.

4) Wow! What a fun rehearsal last night with the worship team. I am praying that God has many super things in store for the ministry this new year. Who knows what He has in store...but we are looking forward to it.

5) Wow! It is sure fun watching all the basketball games. Caleb is playing varsity his senior year. Jacob is on the freshman team, and Joshua is playing rec and traveling basketball! Fun..Fun...Fun......

6) Uhhh...gasoline is expensive.

7) I'm sure enjoying the sunny / winter days....with highs above 0 degrees! Thanks Lord!

8) Got to get a lot of work done in the barn. Lots of old alfalfa to get picked up...not to mention manure to get out of there.

9) Gotta get my tools back in order after working with my friend Rick on the Volkswagen bugs.

10) It's nice to be able to drive my baja bug around for the last couple of days without having to scrape the ice off the INSIDE of the windshield!!!

11) Dreaming about fishing without ice....coming sooner....rather than later?

12) Hoping that the Worland Basketball Warriors get wins against Evanston and Rock Springs this weekend! Go Warriors!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thanks!....and Happy New Year! We pray God has great things in store!

Wow! What a whirlwind of activity! Christmas is over and the New Year 2011 has begun.

First of all, I would like to thank all of those that were involved in the Christmas Eve service. You did a beautiful job! The kids did a super job singing under the direction of Vicki Ley. The costumes were perfect for the occasion of celebrating Christ's birth! The Christmas choir presentation with narration was beautifully done, sharing the clear gospel message, portraying why Jesus came to this earth. Hannah Compton did a fantastic job singing her solo. Tim McGee did a super job with the narration. Thanks to Jess Rollema and Rod Woodbury for covering sound. Thanks Wendy Compton, for helping with the risers...along with the rest of your family!Thanks Becci Kalfell for gluing it all together with media. Also, thanks to Pastor Jess Rollema for the Christmas message.

So, what do we have in store for FBC Worship Ministries now? We are praying that the Lord has wonderful things in store for First Baptist. Pray for us as we continue to learn new songs to praise Him, as we look for new venues to spread the gospel, but also, continue to pray for those ministries that are already in place. Please continue to pray for the team going into the Wyoming Boys' School. Also pray for the opportunities that we have had in community outreach like Praise in the Park and Celebrate Recovery this year.

Pray that the Lord will be pleased with our service. God bless you First Baptist, Worland.