If Daniel had met Little Debbie….

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I had someone ask me, “Pastor, how do I know that I am doing the fast correctly?” Normally, I think before I speak, but at times I just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind…this was one of those times.

I said, “If fasting comes with some hardships then perhaps, we’re doing something right.” 

I’ve thought about that response since then and there’s no question I could have given a more robust, biblically-laden response. However, I do believe it’s true that pain in the offering means something is working.

I’ve been laser-focused on my personal health recently. I’m taking vitamins and eating smarter. I’ve dropped several pounds and I’m working my way toward my ultimate goal.

Now what has really helped me in these past few months is adding resistance training and weight lifting along with my running. It’s easy to say that now…but it wasn’t that long ago I was sore daily because of the exercises. My arms hurt, my legs hurt, my neck hurt. Everything hurt! My sweet wife told me, “Wes, that’s how you know it’s working; it’s hurting.”

Things that we strive for and reach for by their very nature stretch us. Often the more we reach and the bigger the goal the greater the struggle will be to achieve it. One thing I always say is that “If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it.” And I know that what you are doing in your fast is not easy. It’s hard. But it’s supposed to be hard. 

One thing that is hard during a fast is not being able to consume what you want when you want. I’m not going to lie… I want meat. RED MEAT! I want a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll…like really bad. I’m sure if Daniel had met Little Debbie, the struggle would have been real for him too. I know it’s not an earth-shattering need…BUT I would love a cup of black coffee too!

Let me give you some pointers that help me when I hear an Oatmeal Crème Pie calling my name: 

  1. I stop and pray. I remind my flesh that the purpose of the fast is to deny myself of things and replace them with things that honor God. It is truly remarkable what happens when you have a midnight sugar craving during a fast and instead of indulging the temptation, you get on your knees and pray.
  2. I remind myself that the craving is real. The struggle is REAL. And the desire to fulfill that craving will not control me. Determine in your mind and also in your heart that you will not break your commitment to God. I literally ask the Lord to fill me with His presence during difficult times of the fast.
  3. I drink lots of water. Water is very filling and you can trick your stomach into being full and satisfy that craving simply by consuming water.
  4. I focus on what I have instead of what I can’t have. If I simply focus on things I want but can’t have, then those thoughts will consume me. I start thinking things like… “Well, if Daniel had Oatmeal Crème Pies would he have eaten just one?” What I have learned though is to focus on what you CAN have INCLUDING the filling of the Spirit. Fasting is not about food. It’s about the heart. Surrender your wants and desires to the Lord.

Yes, the struggle is real, BUT the pain in the offering tells us that what we are doing is working. I don’t know when God will move in the situations you and I are trusting Him in. I don’t know when the goal will be met. However, I do know that God is glorified when we deny ourselves of earthly things and replace them with Heavenly things. And our Father will honor your sacrifice.

I will see you Sunday as we focus on young David and how God prepared his heart well-before he was promoted and established as King of Israel. Remember, it’s about the heart. 

Don’t Give Up! 

Pastor Wes

New Mobile App LIVE

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We are excited to share something with our Aloma Church family. We have released a BRAND NEW Aloma Church iPhone/iPad and Android App. 

We have been blessed to receive lots of great ideas and insights into what our members want most from an app and we have centered the app around these specific goals.

Members told us that they wanted an app that allowed them to find events faster, watch sermons, view sermon notes, give financially, and connect deeper with their Aloma Church family.

What you need to know:

  • If you previously had the Android version, you’ll need to download it again.
  • If you had the iOS version, you’ll simply need to update your existing app (backup anything you have written in the notepad within the app before doing so).

Our goal is to create a church that lives life together, and this app is meant to help us do that. In the coming months, stay tuned as we introduce new features, app-exclusive content, and showcases of lives changed by the power of Christ.

Download the App Now

 

Introducing Pushpay

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Church Family,

This Sunday, we are excited to announce an important update to giving at Aloma Church! As you know, your generosity and financial partnership with us is how we are able to help expand the Kingdom and see lives changed. We value our church family and want to make sure everyone at Aloma Church is aware of this exciting new giving platform, which allows for simple giving through a variety of ways, including mobile and online.

You can try it out before Sunday, and even set up an account, if you’d like!

To get started, you can:

Text ALOMACHURCH (as one word) to 77977

There are many ways to use this amazing platform and we’ll be explaining more this Sunday, so make sure you’re there! We’ll also have staff and volunteers ready to answer your questions after services.

See you Sunday,

Pastor Wes

Coming Soon – New Aloma Church App

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We hope you’re having a blessed Christmas season and wanted to provide you with some information regarding our current mobile app.

We’re working on a brand new Aloma Church mobile app that will be launching in within the next few weeks.

When the new app is ready, we will remove the current app from the iOS App Store and Google Play. If you have the iOS version, it should just update, but the android version will need to be downloaded again (for security reasons).

Stay tuned and as soon as we have more information, we’ll have it here on our blog.

See you on New Year’s Day!

Chris Carberg
Director of Communications

Spend Your Holidays with Us!

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Dear Aloma Church Family,

I am excited about what God is doing here at Aloma Church!

God is allowing us to see more and more lives changed every single year. We are coming off a record-setting month attendance-wise in both our kids and Student ministries. Celebrate Freedom, English Club, and many of our other community ministries are reaching countless people in our community. Additionally, God has opened an exciting door for us to reach the island of Cuba and we have already seen scores of people give their lives to the Lord.

It is a remarkable time to be a part of Aloma Church!

I wanted to remind you of our Christmas Holiday schedule. With Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on Sunday this year, we will be adjusting our normal times. We have enclosed a complete Holiday schedule for your convenience:

I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to an incredible New Year. As we conclude 2016 (the Year of Evangelism), we set our sights on the horizon of 2017, the Year of Community.

Thank you for doing whatever it takes so others may experience life change!

Blessed to be your Pastor,

Pastor Wes

What’s a Christian to do?

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What is a Christian to do?

I’m not a political analyst and I’m not a political pundit groupie either.

You could say I casually follow politics. I know the issues and the candidates. I’m up to speed on what some polls are telling us. I know the difference between Anderson Cooper and Bill O’Reilly.

I am a traditionalist and I refuse to vote early (not disparaging those who do vote early). I just like the nostalgia of Tuesday, Election Day voting. But that’s about the extent of my real political involvement.

With all that said, I will stay awake tonight, as many Americans will, and find out who will be the 45th President of the United States. Tonight, there will be drama, tears, excitement, and suspense. Every element that makes a great story will flood the News Talk channels this evening.

We will soon learn who the next leader of the free world will be.

Loud voices have told us this year is the MOST important election year in our history. I don’t like using and hearing superlatives like that. You’ve probably heard it in church:

  • “NOBODY likes that!”
  • “EVERYBODY likes that!”

Really? EVERYBODY prefers one thing?

I rarely bite when fed those lines because people are so different. If two people get together, they may be able to share many points of agreement. They would also have many differences of opinion.

I knew that God called me to be a conservative, evangelical pastor, but I wanted to attend a secular university (University of Tennessee…Go Vols) for an important reason. I desired to hear the different sides of the different stories.

I knew my side pretty well. I knew what I believed and for the most part why I believed it. So that left me with a couple options:

A. I could surround myself with people who thought exactly like me and close myself off to others and their opinions.

OR

B.I could learn what others believe and why they believe it. I came away from that experience with an even deeper conviction of my beliefs. But I also had an understanding of why others may not hold my views.

What’s different this time?

This election cycle has brought forth something different from previous campaigns. I understand the differences AND I appreciate those differences.

However, the spirit and actions of how these views are shared is deeply concerning to me.

Punching people and hurting people over politics is ridiculous. And our elected leaders must demonstrate self-control and lead with a steady hand. It feels as if our country could literally blow at any moment with the tension that has built up.

Let’s all take a step back and BREATHE.

If your candidate does not win, don’t go smash a window. Don’t go on a “sky is falling” social media tirade. Win graciously and lose graciously. Responding with violence or hateful speech means no one wins.

Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

MLK Jr’s words paint a beautiful picture of how to respond politically while maintaining one’s Christian beliefs. Be a light and display the love of Christ (John 13:35)!

As a Christian, we understand that God is our ultimate King. God is our Guide. God is our President. He is the one we give our ultimate allegiance to.

We do not understand His thoughts, His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). God is sovereign, and that means God is in control. We do not need to fear or be dismayed (Isaiah 41:10).

What can I do?

  1. Pray. Prayer is the most important thing a Christian can ever do.
  2. Vote. It is our civil responsibility to vote AND to vote our convictions. Do your research and know where politicians stand on the issues.
  3. Trust. Remember God is in control and nothing happens without His direction.
  4. Listen. The best way to learn is to listen. Listen to others and their opinions. Be respectful.
  5. Share. If we know anything about our faith, we know that it is meant to share. The Gospel is itself a stumbling block. There is zero sense in causing other things to become stumbling blocks.
  6. Act. Be a part of the solution instead of the problem. Find healthy ways to live out and talk about your convictions.

Blessed to be your Pastor,

baldwin_wesley sig #2[1] 12.02.51 PM

Pastor Wesley Baldwin
[email protected]

Standing Together Through the Storm

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A note from Pastor Wes to Aloma Church:

Church Family,

I wanted to take some time out today before the storm arrives to share some words of encouragement with you, as well as plans for moving forward after the storm passes.

While we locked up our facilities and closed down in preparation for the storm, I thought of how easy it is to see the church as a “place”, a location. But we are the church.

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? – 1 Corinthians 3:16

And the church stands together today, praying for protection and peace for fellow believers and for all mankind affected by this storm.

Storms are often the beginning of ministry.

Everything we do in ministry is focused on quelling the storms that surround us. Some of these storms are literal storms, some are personal battles, others oppression from the enemy. But let’s remember that every storm brings the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ.

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27

My family and I are preparing for the worst, hoping for the best. I am praying for you and with you during this time. Let all of us pray for our first responders as well.

A few things to note:

  • Get storm updates – To receive emergency updates, text FLPREPARES to 888-777.
  • Check in with us – Please keep checking our blog at alomachurch.org and on facebook for updates from our leadership team. You can visit these sites on your smartphone or by using a computer.
  • Sunday church is happening – Even if there is a power outage or something else, we invite you to come together with us to worship. Sunday will happen at our regular schedule unless you hear otherwise. Should there be unforeseen circumstances, we will update you on our blog or via facebook.
  • Pray for our first responders – There are lots of courageous men and women who will be patrolling the streets, looking to help people. We are grateful for our police, fire, military and all those who serve and protect.
  • Pray for revival – Pray that God uses this event to see lives changed and restored by Jesus Christ. He is one who quiets the storms of our lives with a word.

39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 -Mark 4:39

Blessed to be your Pastor,

Pastor Wes

Hurricane Matthew Update

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Aloma Church Family,

We are praying for our community as Hurricane Matthew moves closer. Join us in praying for safety and protection from this storm.

Event Updates:

  • Wednesday Night – All Activities will still happen
  • Friday – Parents Nights Out Cancelled

Please refer to the following websites for hurricane preparedness:

Aloma Church will follow the Orange County School Closures. 

Offices will close at Noon on Thursday and be closed on Friday.

Creation Sunday with Dr. Jason Lisle

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Join us on 8/28/16 as we welcome Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR).

Creation Sunday – 8/28/2016 – Schedule

Your Origins Matter – 9:30am & 11:00am

This presentation shows the central importance of the history in Genesis to major Christian doctrines, and shows how the decline in society is connected to the increasing rejection of biblical creation. The defense of a literal, historical Genesis is absolutely crucial to the success of the Church in its call to make disciples of all nations. Topics include the age of the Earth and the origin of death and suffering.

Astronomy Reveals Creation – 6pm

In this presentation, we explore the universe through “biblical glasses.” We see how the universe declares the glory of God and confirms the Bible throughout history and in modern science as well. Topics include the age of the universe, the design of the universe, and others. The presentation is geared for a general audience.

Introducing Dr. Jason Lisle

Dr. Jason Lisle is a Christian astrophysicist who writes and speaks on various topics relating to science and the defense of the Christian faith. He graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy and minored in mathematics. He then earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Dr. Lisle specialized in solar astrophysics and has made a number of scientific discoveries regarding the solar photosphere, including the detection of giant cell boundaries using the SOHO spacecraft. He also does theoretical research and has contributed to the field of general relativity.

Since completion of his research at the University of Colorado, Dr. Lisle began working in full-time apologetics ministry, specializing in the defense of Genesis. He has written a number of articles and books on the topic. His most well-known book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation, demonstrates that biblical creation is the only logical possibility for origins. Dr. Lisle wrote and directed the popular planetarium shows at the Creation Museum, including “The Created Cosmos.”

About Institute for Creation Research (ICR)

For over four decades, the Institute for Creation Research has equipped believers with evidence of the Bible’s accuracy and authority through scientific research, educational programs, and media presentations, all conducted within a thoroughly biblical framework.

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A Time of Healing

By | Bible, Church, Uncategorized | One Comment

The past two weeks have been a roller-coaster of emotions for me. Last week, a group from our church was in the Holy Land, walking where Jesus walked. While we were there, a terrorist attack occurred 20 miles from where we were staying. The aftermath of the attack in Tel Aviv jolted me. The following day Palestinians rejoiced in the streets over the fallen Jews. And the Jews the next day went on about their business, not allowing the terrorist attack to stop their activities.

I asked our Israeli Guide why the Jews went about their day like nothing had happened and she told me, “Pastor, what else are we to do? Are we to live in fear our whole life?”

The team and I were safe the whole time, however, it was a reminder of the fallen world that we live in. It was an amazing experience to be in Israel for 10 days but it felt good for our feet to touch American soil again. There was a security I felt when our plane touched down at JFK airport Friday morning.

It is so easy for us to think of senseless acts of terrorism as an “over-there” thing. However, for those of us who were alive on 9/11 we understand that evil can strike anywhere. When I awoke Sunday morning, only days removed from the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, I learned of another terrorist attack, which had happened earlier that morning – not in some far away country, but right here, in our own home. The purpose of these terrorists is to strike fear into the hearts of mankind.

However, I saw the response of the Israelis as a very powerful response in the wake of an act of terror. Do not be shaken. Do not be gripped with fear. The best response I can come up with in the face of these heinous crimes is to turn to the only real Answer we have, Jesus Christ.

Late Sunday, the Lord placed on my heart that Aloma Church was to lead out in an interdenominational prayer service, bringing our community and various Christian-faiths together for the purpose of turning to God.

So we invited many area pastors to join us and pray and seek the face of God, and we appreciate the contributions of Rev. Shawn Garvey, Rev. Mike Matzen, and Pastor Jeff Dixon. We had over a thousand people join us, either in our sanctuary or online, and I believe Heaven touched earth that night.

Something that rarely happens on this side of heaven was that men and women across the spectrum of Christianity, with myriads of theological beliefs, came together to call upon our God. We lifted up those immediately affected by the act of terrorism. We prayed for our community and our city. We asked the Lord to bring revival upon our land.

In the wake of terror, the Church has come together. Jesus said, “The gates of hell will not prevail against My church.”

May we look to the Lord in these dark days. May we look to Him and ask, “How can I reflect Your light and Your love, Oh God?” May we truly seek the Lord, asking that He would send revival. I am convinced that the only hope for Orlando, the only hope for America, the only hope for our world is a fresh movement of the Spirit of God through the churches that would then spread out into our communities.

“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” –2 Chronicles 7:14

Blessed to be your Pastor,

Wesley Baldwin

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