Saving Lives

Pat Martin, AK Right to Life

JCC’s special guest speaker Pat Martin from Alaska Right to Life brought a stirring message Sunday morning about saving the lives of unborn babies. Click on the arrow to listen to the message.


Is God Trustworthy?

When things do work out as we would like them to, as we had hope they would, it is tempting to conclude that God is not faithful. After all, we prayed and hoped things would be different than the outcome we ended up with so what other explanation is there? Today’s devotional reposted from Rebecca Barlow Jordan’s blog draws our attention to a deeper question and offers a different conclusion.


“Okay, the first question is not the real issue, is it? The real question is, Do you really trust God? Do the two go together? Absolutely.

Most of us want to trust God for the “fix”–the answer that we’ve asked Him for. Claim the promise. Right? So we confess it, we act on it, and we nail it down! God said it, that’s that! Yes, I really trust God. And we wait to see the fix.

What Happens When…

Lost your job? You child is rebelling? Received a bad report from the doctor? It’s only a matter of time…until God will come through. Right? Right! Do you really trust God? Maybe….

Is God really trustworthy? Yes! What if? What if the fix doesn’t happen? Unemployment stretches on. Children don’t return. You don’t get well. Is God still trustworthy?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

That verse in Proverbs says to trust in the Lord with all your heart–not a part, not halfway, but all. Lean not to your own understanding. Don’t try to figure it out on your own. Refrain from dictating to God when or how something should happen. God is God; you are not. That’s where the problem lies with the “trust” issue.

In all your ways–that means all–acknowledge Him. Make His name known; put Him first; make Him “boss.” And He will (not maybe) direct your paths. It doesn’t say God will answer the way you want, but He will direct, lead, or prod you in the right direction, the “path” He has laid out for you (even if you don’t have a clue what to do). Another translation says He will make your way smooth. He will make your way bearable.

Trusting God Is a Challenge

Trusting God is a challenge for me. I bet it is for you, too. It’s easy to trust God for ___________ but when it comes to _______________. We’ll both just fill in the blanks, okay? God knows what our most difficult issues are.

Let’s test our “trust quotient.” How do you know if you’re trusting God? Here are four possible ways:

Real Trust Means:

1. No timetable

2. No fixes

3. No worry

4. No control (of mine)

Here’s another way of looking at it:

The ABC’s of Trusting:

1. A sking God’s help (Jeremiah 33:3; Psalm 46:1)

2. B elieving God is in control (Jeremiah 32:17, NLT)

3. C onfessing God’s faithfulness (Psalm 89:8, NLT; Deuteronomy 32:4, NLT)

4. L eaving the answer to God (even if He decides not to “fix” the problem). (Psalm 31:14, NLT; Romans 11:33, NLT).

Wait a minute! It’s that last one that tests us the most, would you agree? That’s the one that doesn’t fit our “alphabet order.” Because believing that God is trustworthy is believing that God will never act any other way than what will ultimately bring good. He is God; He is faithful; and He is good. And no lack of trust in Him will ever change the character of God.

The question is not, “Is God really trustworthy?” The question is, “Do you really trust God?” Only you–and God–can answer that. But there is a sweetness in the relationship when your faltering steps of faith turn to quiet rest and total dependence on One who will never disappoint you, never fail you, and who is always, 100% faithful.”

(c)2012 Rebecca Barlow Jordan Used with Permission Source:

Are You Listening?

Most all of us who are journeying along The Way want  – and need – to hear from God. The question is, are we listening. Often many of us tend to strike out on our own because we are unable sit still long enough for God to talk to us. Waiting is a difficult thing, but it is necessary if we want to hear what God has to say. Click on the arrow to listen to Sunday’s message by Pastor Marlan about listening to God.


© Oleksii Sergieiev | Dreamstime


The writer or the book of Proverbs in the Bible suggests that we can learn quite a bit from the lowly ant. When it comes to determination I think that’s accurate. No matter how many times I destroy ant beds outside our early 20th century farmhouse they just wave their tiny antenna and cry “we shall rebuild” and sooner than later they’ve created bigger and better ant hills and have made their way back into my house. Sunday’s message by Pastor Marlan is all about  that kind of determination. Click on the arrow to listen to this encouraging message.

Click on the Publications page to read September’s Newsletter.

The Perfect Beach Trip

Have you ever said that when X,Y,or Z happens, when all the planets align and everything is just right then I’ll… fill in the blank. Me, too. I think probably we all have. Today’s devotional gently nudges us forward to do that thing we’re still waiting to do; ready or not do it anyway.


He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.As you do not know what is the way of the wind,Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything. — Ecclesiastes 11:4-5

How many times have you had the “perfect” beach trip? (Hmmm… really, is there any other kind?)
 Well, there was that time it rained. Or the time you tried a new beach house and got lost for two hours trying to find it. Or the time your toddler got an ear infection the first full day you were there. Or the toilet in your rental didn’t work right. Or…

Okay, okay. So maybe at the point-by-point level, you’ve never had a perfect beach trip. So how did you deal with the bumps in the road? Did you manage to make readmore


Setting Down What Weighs us Down

It’s easy, when attempting to be prepared for any and every situation, to pack too much in your suitcase before a big trip. My husband rolls his eyes and reminds me that we’re not going to the middle of nowhere and that there are stores where I can purchase anything I may need. Oh, yeah; I knew that. Today’s devotional, reposted from Holley Gerth, offers a vital, timely lesson about traveling light in this life.


My parents still tell the story of how I, at six years old, marched right up to the airline counter and demanded the plane arrive soon because I was ready to go see my grandparents. I have no recollection of this audacity, only the memory of my hand wrapped around the handle of a small red suitcase. I don’t remember the contents, whether I packed dolls or tennis shoes, books or candy bars. But I must have traveled light because I carried it on the plane all by myself.

I think we, as children, start out this way. We don’t have much to weigh us down. Then the years go by and there’s life and hurt and responsibilities. Before we know it we no longer have a little red suitcase. We have the kind as wide as the side of a bus that gets a “heavy” sticker slapped on it.

Does it really have to be this way?

This is what I sat down with my friends Jennifer Watson and Suzie Eller to discuss in our latest More Than Small Talk Video. We said that we serve a Savior who tells us, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30). Then we asked each other, “How can we begin to set down what weighs us down? We talked through the three steps below as a starting place

It seems the first step is the courage to let go. We have a good reason for everything we’ve placed in our suitcase. We want to keep it safe. Or we think it proves our worth. We think we just can’t live without it. It takes guts to pause and ask, “What’s one thing I need to move forward without? When I answer this question it usually takes grit and tears and counseling. This is all bravery. 

Then we can look at what’s left and decide what’s not only appealing but essential. Perhaps we don’t need the ten pairs of sandals, although they’re all just so cute. We can review our crowded calendars, our long to-do lists, our honorable intentions. We can ask God, “What’s not just good but Your very best?” We can hold onto that and know we’re free to set aside the rest.

Finally, it’s also important to know where we’re going in this season of life. Alaska requires different attire than Hawaii. Raising toddlers takes different resources than transitioning into retirement. We can evaluate, “What might be wonderful for another destination but not for where I’m going right now in my life?” It’s okay for some things not to be in our suitcase. It’s just not their turn right now.


That day in the airport I eventually boarded the plane and sat in a row of fellow six year-olds {remember when children traveled alone like this?}. We were served a beverage of choice. My seatmates chose ginger ale, which I scandalously believed to contain alcohol. I virtuously chose Sprite.

The plane touched down and there, right at the end of the jetway {remember when you could greet planes right at the gate?}, were my grandparents. They reached out first for a hug. Then my Grandpa, so strong and good, took the suitcase from my hands.

This is our story too. “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you” {1 Peter 5:7}. This is the ultimate truth and life-changer: When life gets heavy, we can hand off our suitcase.

My Grandpa knew I would need my hands free for what was to come–eating salty waffle fries from my favorite restaurant, picking up shiny quarters from the bottom of the deep end of the pool, holding a flashlight so I could read under the covers at night.

Children seem to understand the less you carry the easier it is to grab on to joy.

I’m learning this all over again too.


Holley Gerth

(c) 2017 Holley Gerth Used with Permission Source:


We apologize for not having sermons posted the last few weeks. They should be back up and running this coming weekend. Don’t forget to visit the Publications page to read the weekly bulletins and the Events page to see what’s coming up next at JCC. If you live in the Anchorage area come on over Sunday mornings at 10:30 AM for a fantastic weekend worship service.