A Message from Pastor Zac - 3.21.19

His Providence,

I hope you all are enjoying this sunshine, and that you’re as excited about all the Father is doing as I am.  As the Psalmist wrote (and the worship leaders of the ‘80’s sang): 

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!” 

I know these words can be more than a little cliche, but I want to encourage you to get a hold of the fact that even this very day has been hand-crafted by our Creator, for us to live rejoicing in, and for, His glory.

So, how about our youth last Sunday?  If you were in second service then you heard Pastor Will say something like, “Zac rested in the first service and then already got a word from the Lord in second...”.  Well, the truth is that just resting isn’t good enough, you have to rest in the Lord’s Presence—and the reason the Lord was moving so mightily and we were hearing Him so clearly, was because United’s worship band brought the house down in their welcoming of Him.  Resting our bodies is one thing, but if the Lord is allowed to start moving when we stop moving, that’s when the downloads begin.  —so “high-five” United, you guys killed it!

I wanted to take just a minute of your week (in addition to the several hours on Sunday...hahaha), and share something the Lord has been putting on my heart. Years ago, people would rarely replace things.  Instead, they would fix them.  When my wife’s great-aunt Shirley passed away, we were cleaning out her house and found a volume set of books dedicated entirely to building and fixing pretty much anything and everything you would ever need to fix.  From carpentry and electronics, to appliances, mechanics, plumbing, gardening, and upholstery...this encyclopedia set covers literally thousands of things you can do to repair your stuff.

Now, a necessary prerequisite for many of these projects is a basic understanding of hand tools and some simple power tools, not unlike how a cook book is written assuming its readers have a basic understanding of how to use standard kitchen appliances.  The skills required in both fields were taught at the time in pretty much every high school, and if one opted out of high school, they would likely learn these elementary operations from dads or uncles or the creepy guy across the street if you were really desperate.

My how the world has changed.

The thought of repairing something today is as foreign as the thought of just throwing it away would’ve been at the time those books were written.  And the biggest difference is not that we don’t have the capacity to fix it (although that is certainly part of the problem), it’s that these things today weren’t meant to be fixed.  They were meant to be tossed and replaced rather than repaired.  So after a few decades of this philosophy in production, the skills to repair well-built things were replaced with the skills to quickly purchase more poorly built things...and now hardly anybody knows how to fix anything. “Zac, it sounds like your heading for another right-wing soapbox...”

Ok, let me get to the point:  I think people, by and large, have adopted this same mindset for the human race. Think about it.  In the same way that things were valued, protected, and maintained—so too was life in general more meaningful to people.  Time, investment, and relationships were valued, protected, and maintained.  However, it seems that more and more, we are prone to simply throw out whatever no longer perfectly serves us, and replace it with another cheap one.  While this is bad enough with things, it’s absolutely devastating when the things become people.

I just want to remind us today that the Father is as old-school of a Craftsmen as they come—and He’s never made anything cheap, nor with the intent of it being replaced.  Even when He flooded the earth, the Lord desired to start over with Noah and his family, rather than create another Adam and Eve.  Interesting, huh? 

So what does all this mean for us?  It means that as bad as we want the Lord to just “start over” with us, and as many regrets as we might have in our lives, or ways we’ve been broken and no longer “function properly,” and with all the ways we see ourselves unable to serve our original purpose; we have to know this: 

The Lord does not replace—He repairs, and it’s called Redemption.

Even though people are no longer learning the skills of how to redeem people...the Holy Spirit is still teaching the “shop class” and “home economics.”  In the same way Christ has redeemed us, He seeks to educate and empower us to do the same.

Saints, because of the truth imparted to us from Heaven, we can take part in this incredible occupation of redeeming people.  

By the fruit of the Spirit, we can repair what formerly would’ve just been replaced, and in doing so, find out how well our Manufacturer really made us!

So love people this week, and do it like they’re gonna last forever...because we were all meant to.

Love you guys,
Pastor Zac

A Message from Pastor Zac - 3.6.19

Hey Everybody,

So I have this theory, and it was originally framed in the context of the local church, and originally birthed in reference to ours.  But today I think it’s for you.  It’s the idea that absolutely everything we need, to be who we’re supposed to be and do what we’re supposed to do, we have—right now.

With our 8th anniversary around the corner, I get nostalgic looking back on our early years (I mean, I guess we’re still in our ‘early’ years—we haven’t even hit double digits yet), and I remember being continually in awe of the people who were led to worship with us.

Not just the numbers, although that was fascinating too.  But more significantly, the caliber of people, the strengths and skills and burdens of people, the past experiences and future expectations of people (so often the latter is considered a stumbling block to many leaders, but I can’t help believing these expectations are rooted in each of our desires to see the Kingdom come; and thus are perhaps among our greatest of assets).

Over the years I would hear pastors and other leaders talk about needing a person to do such-and-such, or not being able to move forward without this or that role filled, and for the most part, I kept my mouth shut (don’t roll your eyes, Jesus and the NSA are watching you).  Because all I could ever seem to add to that conversation was: “yeah, somehow, every single person we need, we have.”

I meant it—and I still do.

I was never really into the big “vision” movement; you know, the whole, “cast a big vision and people will catch it and that’s how you lead” thing. 

And looking back, I’m so glad the Father gave us a foundation of focusing on the minute rather than the movement. Why?  Because when too much of our brain power and soul strength stays years, or even days, ahead of us, we almost always miss what we have—right now.

And what I’ve found is that infinitely more happens in the minute than in the movement. In fact, the movement doesn’t even exist without the minute, which in and of itself makes the minute more important...not just to us, but to the Lord as well.

But most importantly (to this email at least) is what we have in the minute. What the Father, in His omniscience, sovereignty, and providence, has seen fit to bestow upon us—right now.

You know that saying, “one in the hand is better than two in the bush”?  Well it must have been said by someone who never actually tried to catch even one bird out of a bush, let alone two...it’s impossible, and dumb to even compare the idea to the blessing of what’s already in your hand.

So I want to ask you today: “What’s in your hand?”

Not, “What’re your big plans?” Or “What’s your vision or dream?”  I don’t even care about your 5-year goals...I’ve lived long enough to know they’re gonna change 20 times between now and then! I want to know what’s in your hand.

I believe with my whole heart that the Father has already given us every single person, place, and thing that’s needed for us to be who we’re supposed to be and do what we’re supposed to do—right now.  Yet so often our prayer life is looking up at God and pointing to the 2 in the bush—I think He’s looking at us and pointing to the 1 in our hand.

If you’re struggling with what you don’t have, or what you’re waiting for today, I challenge you to pull your hands out of your pockets and see what’s already there...it’ll likely be what you really need—right now.

Love you guys, and I’m still in awe of how the Lord has brought us together, for such a time as this!

Pastor Zac

A Message from Pastor Zac - 3.1.19

Good Morning Saints,

Snow in March always seems like Winter’s last-ditch effort to make us believe it can last forever.  Well Saints, the Devil is a liar...and I’m not buying it.

I hope everybody’s having a great week, and that you’re enjoying the wonderful Presence of God, as He accompanies you in all you do.  It’s the Spirit of God within us that changes everything, and I would encourage you this week to take note of that as you carry-on about your day.

Isaiah 66 says this:
“Thus says the LORD, "Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? "For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being," declares the LORD. "But to this one I will look,
To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

‭‭This passage is obviously of special interest to His Providence right now, as we navigate all the Father has set before us concerning our next geographical location—and in that context, it’s a reminder that we could never build anything so great it would entice Him to come and fill it.

These words tell us that the Dove only settles on a Bride who is humble, contrite, and who fears His Word.

And for our corporate body, it's an encouragement to remain surrendered to His power and purpose through the transition of this season if we want to see the Lord continue moving with increasing intensity among us.

But I want to also point out the implications of this passage on the individual as well.  Perhaps the greatest lie the Enemy tells us is that we don’t have the Lord’s Presence in us, that we’re not worthy of His power, and that we certainly could never really be some place He would dwell.

Satan tells the world that God’s not big enough, but he tells the Church He’s too big. Watching others receive a word from the Lord or an answered prayer, while ours seem to go unnoticed, only compounds this lie that we’re ineligible for whatever it is God seems to be doing in everyone but us.

The truth is, God’s not just looking for one humble heart—He’s looking for EVERY humble heart.  

And it’s not just so He can make you feel better, He’s looking for these hearts because they are the most perfect thing on the earth, and thus become the prime real estate for His next house flip.

He wants a home, and it’s our humility that puts the “Welcome” mat out for Him.

The Lord is moving so mightily among us this season, and Satan is getting very concerned about how powerful a church would be if she really knew What she carried.

Saints, you have within you the Power of creation, redemption, and resurrection...and anything that says otherwise is nothing more than snow in March. And for the life of me I can’t think of a single year that Winter was ever able to keep Spring from coming.

I love you guys,
Pastor Zac

A Message From Pastor Zac - 2.14.19

His Providence,

I hope and pray your week is going well and that each day is reflecting the goodness and mercy that follow you through it.  The Father loves to show off all He has to offer, and He’s chosen each of you to be a window in which the Kingdom can be observed by this world—may all of His Shine, shine through you this week!

In thinking about Sunday, I wanted to drop a note and say “Thank You” to a church that just wants what the Lord wants.  I can’t tell you how much it means to know that so many of us are praying for His will to be done every time we gather—you’re not just settling for a few songs and a sermon; this is a church that desires the Heart of God.

If you were in first service then you might’ve missed the unpredictable “turn” things took in worship at the 10:30.  There was so much happening at the altar, and it required not only the surrender and obedience of all who came down, but also the patience and intercession of everyone else in the room as several dozen people responded to how the Lord was moving and speaking in their lives. But even after that, following the announcement about Macy’s, it seemed that things shifted in the spirit and we were suddenly drawn back into His glory.  

As it happened, the only message needed was one the Father spoke Himself: a message of His faithfulness, His providence, and His unfailing love.

In the parable of the Ten Virgins, we usually put a lot of emphasis on Christ (the Bridegroom) and the moment He shows up; but interestingly, when Jesus tells the story, His emphasis isn’t on the guy who plays Him, it’s on the one’s who’re waiting for Him—and how they’re waiting—and how they have to prepare and conduct themselves as they wait in order to be there with what’s required of them when the time comes.

I don’t think this parable is only in reference to the ultimate Second Coming.  When I read it, I sense the Lord speaking to me of all the days we spend waiting on Him, and tragically how many of us end-up giving-up before He shows-up. Sunday was a perfect example of how the posture of waiting pays off when something happens out of the ordinary—something we’ve been waiting for.

 And even though it might not have “registered high” on your spiritual Richter scale, I believe it blesses the Lord when we humble ourselves while others receive what they need in the time of His visitation.

A true body of believers will celebrate these moments together as incredible victories belonging to us all, when even one among us has that kind of encounter with the Holy Spirit.  Sunday, I believe many of us experienced something very special, something that happens when we all wait with oil in our lamps.

So may we stay filled and stay blessed as we wait upon the Lord.  And may the days in between these incredible moments of intimacy and proximity be lived out with wisdom, discernment, and intention—with our eyes on Heaven and our hearts already there.

I love you guys and I’m praying for you!
Pastor Zac

A Message from Pastor Zac - 2.9.19

Especially to those of you who came out on Wednesday night, 
I was so incredibly blessed to see so many of our His Providence family at the BCA prayer and worship night.  Wow!  What an awesome time in the Presence of God!

I’ve always called us “a worshipping church,” but so often churches that worship passionately in their own space on their Sunday morning services, never really recreate that atmosphere anywhere else.  Whether it’s about never getting the chance, or never being comfortable enough in any other environment… most Christians aren’t bringing the power of their corporate worship to the places that need it the most: which is pretty much anywhere beyond their church sanctuaries.  And it was that power and purpose of worship that we talked about as we gathered in BCA’s multipurpose room to join our hearts in song to the Lord.

You guys have all heard me rant about the “warfare” of worship, and how it should be our go-to strategy in not only our spiritual battles, but as we face any and all odds that mount against us.  But as we shared that night about Jehoshaphat and the epic story of the Lord telling him to send his worshippers ahead of the army into battle, I was reminded of how this “worship warfare” works.

It’s not because we play some secret chord that suddenly strikes fear into the heart of our enemy, nor is it (to the surprise of many) that we sound so bad our foe runs away covering his ears.  From the safety of my keyboard, I’ve seen people “angry-worship” before; as if it was their song itself that does the fighting… and this can just be painful to watch—I’m sure the Lord is trying to figure it out too.  But worship warfare isn’t actually any of those things.  In fact, battle worship is not different than any other worship in essence and purpose.

We all know the Lord is “enthroned in the praises of His people” (Psalm 22:3), but the connection we often fail to make, is that wherever the Lord is enthroned, He will win—and wherever He wins, we win.

So how do we fight our battles?  We put the Lord where He belongs: on His Throne.  And from that seat of authority, He commands the mighty armies of Heaven to go to war against every principality of darkness that wreaks havoc in this world.

And He always wins.

Some of us aren’t confident in the power of our praise, because we’re not confident in our praise.  But this isn’t about being a great singer or instrumentalist, it’s about knowing where the Lord belongs, and putting Him there in your heart, mind, and soul.

Saints, I don’t care if you have the musical prowess of a tone-deaf middle-school kid with a lisp and broken recorder that can barely toot Hot Cross Buns…

...when you go to war you’ve got every winged beast, golden chariot, and sword-wielding warrior angel fighting behind you for the one Kingdom that will last forever—And you can be sure of this: He always wins. 

So worshippers, be encouraged.
I love you and I can’t wait to do it again Sunday!
- Pastor Zac

A message from pastor zac - 2.1.19

“The Lord roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth tremble.  But the Lord is a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the sons of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain.  So Jerusalem will be holy, and strangers will pass through it no more.”

The last chapter of Joel prophecies a sharp contrast of the judgment a world without the Father’s favor receives, against the incredible blessing His people find under His covering.

His Providence, I want to draw your attention today to these 16th and 17th verses because I believe the Lord wants to remind us that while His voice and anger are only raised against a world that rejects the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus, His Church is exposed to this chastisement for a great purpose.  We aren’t the recipients of the mighty rebuke, but we are most certainly meant to be 3rd party witnesses to it—

“Then we will know that He is the Lord our God”

Most of us have had conversations with folks who can’t wrap their minds around all the terrible things that are happening in the world today...and some of you struggle with this yourselves.  And yeah, its difficult for our earthly logic to reconcile His grace and love with everything we see in the world around us; but reading here, we find that watching the fallout and aftermath of sin is meant to draw us closer to the Shelter we have from those things.

But it’s this last line that I think is so cool:

“...Strangers will pass through it no more.”

Why?  Not because all the ‘strangers’ have been blotted off the face of the earth... but rather because the indwelling of the Lord among all those who desire to know Him, has, in and of itself, removed the ‘stranger-ness’ from the land of the living. 

Great, so Zac, what does this mean for me?
Well it means that the parts of our lives that feel “strange,” or far from our relationship with God, aren’t really “strange to Him.  You see, His desire to dwell among us is based on the blood-covering of Jesus Christ, but it is most definitely not in ignorance to our proneness to wander or in denial of the “less-than-sanctified” pieces of our lives.

Let this be an encouragement that the Lord is working in the far-off prodigal parts of your heart, mind, and soul.  Because no matter how far you’ve wandered, or what you’ve done in that place, you’re never far from the Father’s heart, and you certainly aren’t strange to your Creator.

I love you guys, and I can’t wait to see you Sunday!

Pastor Zac

A Message from Pastor Zac - 1.25.19

His Providence,

Hey everybody, I’m praying for you guys this week; that the Lord would continue to prepare our hearts for constant regeneration, our minds for continued transformation, and our lives for His return. I just wanted to drop you a quick reminder to be praying for our girls this weekend. As Ashley said a few weeks ago, the registration filled up almost as soon as we made it available, which tells me two things:

1).  Our ladies have been super blessed by this over the past few years and know they’ll be blessed and refreshed again.

2).  There is a hunger stirring in the hearts of the Daughters of God; a desire for even ‘more’ of the Lord than we’ve tasted and seen.

If you’ve been in the loop for this year’s retreat, then you know that within the last 48 hours it took a pretty serious monkey-wrench to the gut.  On Wednesday we found out that because of the gas line issue in Newport, the hotel that has been booked since last October, had to cancel our reservations.

Of all the weekends…

After hours of talking with every hotel on this corner of the continent and turning up empty-handed every time...we found out that an old friend of ours recently acquired and renovated a hotel on the harbor in New Bedford—a hotel who’s conference room was built into a historic building that just so happens to be the very first oil-refinery in the world.  And now THAT’s where our daughters, mothers, and wives are meeting with the Lord this weekend.

Of all the places…

Anyone who’s been walking with the Lord for a while will agree that when our plans blow-up, it’s usually because the Lord is about to show-up, and that’s what I’m believing for our girls this weekend.

So this is a call to join me in prayer and intercession for the women of HPC; that they will each sense the covering of the Father, the healing of Jesus, and the intimacy of the Holy Spirit.  

Let’s believe together for fresh fire to ignite the lamps of those who’s oil is refined by the ‘Original’ Refiner.

Can’t wait to hear your stories, girls!  See you Sunday!

Pastor Zac

A Message from Pastor Zac - 1.18.19

Good Morning Saints!

I pray your season is full of the Glory of God, and that you’re receiving personal revelation as the Holy Spirit empowers His Word within you this week.

Can I just say, “Wow Holly!...just WOW!” You totally blew it up on Sunday.  What a powerful message on faithfulness in waiting...something our church really needs to take to heart in 2019.  And nothing blesses me more than seeing construction paper masking taped to people I love in front of several hundred other people I love.  It was like a personal party for me right there on the front row.

Just wanted to drop a quick line reminding us that HPC small groups are kicking back into gear over the next several weeks and if you haven’t been participating in ministry outside of Sunday mornings, this might be the best way to make it happen.  Over the last week or two, Ashley and I have had so many conversations with folks, both in our church family, and from others as well, who’ve been committed to meeting with same dozen-or-so people for quite a few years! Sometimes even after leaving churches and going through other significant life changes, these groups are the constant and stable faith force in our lives—which is something the Lord prescribes for every believer.

The atmosphere fostered in these environments creates intimacy, vulnerability, and accountability, all of which are crucial for Christians to be real Christians.

If you remember a few weeks ago I was talking about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and mentioned how, most often, in Scripture people received His power in groups...and even today, while people may have the actual experience in their private prayer time, it’s most likely because they are plugged into a Spirit-filled fellowship thats supporting them in their pursuit.

Well the point there was that the only thing the Lord loves more than using a “me,” is using an “us.”  And if for no other reason than that, I would encourage not only our attendance in a small group, but our wholehearted humble submission to the Body of Christ in that setting as well.

I’ve talked to so many believers who live on their own private spiritual island because they can’t seem to agree or get-along with anyone else.  There can only be one of two reasons for this:

Either you’re right and walking perpetually in the Spirit and everyone else you know and go to church with is totally whacked out in their standards, convictions, and expectations of you as a believer (which is obviously almost always the case).
 Ooooooor, you’re allowing some bitterness or past wound to give legal right to some bitter spirit that wants you isolated from real fellowship, out of fear that you may actually have to deal with whatever pride issue you’ve been feeding (this is very VERY rare, of course; but every once in a sliver of a while, it might just possibly have something to do with it.)

But either way, whether you’re the “messiah” or just the “mess,” there’s a small group at HPC that needs you, wants you, and is praying for you and what God wants to do in your life. 

So next time you’re in prayer, ask the Lord to speak to you when you hear about these groups over the next few weeks, and make an effort to find out where in the Body, your body, fits.

Love you guys, and I’m praying for our faithfulness in fellowship!
Pastor Zac