FROM OUR PASTOR
Messages from the Lead Pastor of COD

April 18, 2018

Dear COD Family,

It’s so encouraging to witness the scope of ministry that God has entrusted to the family of Church of the Open Door. Thank you for taking this “journey of ministry” with us right here at home and around the world.  We are excited about:

     A thriving student ministry currently going through the Love, Sex and Dating series – our youth leadership team’s goal is to come           alongside youth and parents in these important discussions.

     Men pouring into the lives of other men during a weeknight prayer time and Sunday morning class.

     Tanzania, where we have church planters who showed The Jesus Film to over 60 Muslims. 

     France, where we have a missionary family building relationships with African refugees in order to share the grace of Jesus Christ           with them.

In addition, we’re greatly encouraged that as we have begun boldly asking our Father to retire the Worship Center mortgage by 2025, amazing things are happening! Inspired by the faith of the Women of Grace class, who have regularly held bake sales to raise funds to pay off the mortgage, a faithful couple has pledged a matching gift of up to $200,000 this year to help accomplish this goal!

This means that every dollar given specifically to the principal of our mortgage this year will be doubled (we are calling it The Principal Project). God’s hand is so evident in this unexpected and thrilling provision!

I deeply appreciate partners like you who invest in making disciples of all the nations – both kids and adults – here in the San Gabriel Valley and around the world.

Now it seems He is stretching and growing our faith here in our own backyard. We are currently living week to week with our operating budget. This week we trusted God’s provision for our missionary salaries. Next week we are trusting God’s supply for our staff salaries, and after that we need His resources for the regular mortgage payment.

God is giving us the opportunity to see huge chunks come off our mortgage principal. At the same time, we’re asking  you to pray for God’s provision for our urgent general budget needs this week.

As you consider your gift, I speak on behalf of the elders and the staff in saying a sincere thank you for your faithful partnership in this work of making disciples in our community and around the world. It is my joy to serve with you all.

Sincerely,

David Anderson                                                                                                                                                                                              Lead Pastor

P.S.  As your shepherds, we are trusting with you that our “God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19-20) . . . and more than anything, we greatly appreciate your support in prayer.

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March 21, 2018

Dear Church of the Open Door family,

There are a lot of things clamoring for attention and space in our hearts. I know this is my experience, and I’m assuming it’s yours too.  

Today you might be wrestling with some pressing questions that are bearing down on your life:
 
          What is the doctor going to say about my blood work? 
          How are the bills going to get paid this month?
          Is this relationship going to survive?
          Am I always going to feel this way?
 
The Apostle Paul says there is one thing that deserves the title of first importance. Even in the uncertainty of this week, there is one thing that is so earth-shaking and glorious, it must be allowed to occupy the center of our existence. This truth must be preeminent.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 declares the only One and the only Event that must be of first importance:

3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received– that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.
 
We will arrive at Good Friday and Easter in a few days. It’s the time when we are vividly reminded once again about what is of first importance. Those who experienced the death and resurrection 2000 years ago believed and were transformed. They were infused with the Spirit and with His hope and courage and they went out to change the world.
 
We too have believed and been transformed, and God has entrusted us with His Spirit, hope and courage to share the message of Jesus’ cross and victorious resurrection!
 
This Easter season we are asking our church family to be open to how the resurrected Christ would choose to use us. He is risen! Who will you tell?

Would you pray about this and take the step to invite one person to our Easter Sunday celebration?
 
Below are a number of tools that may be helpful in this process:

  • Pick up an invite card or two in the Worship Center lobby or at the table out front on Sunday. 
  • Use our Social Media Invite to reach out to your friends online. 
  • Download an Easter screensaver to help focus your thoughts on this special season.

I can’t wait to worship with you on Easter weekend and I can’t wait to rejoice with you in all that He has done!
 
Much love,
 
David Anderson
 
P.S. Join us this Sunday, Palm Sunday, for a message from Associate Pastor Ed Underwood about seeing the majesty of Jesus, and special worship songs presented by our CODkids choir. 

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February 14, 2018

Was I the only one who was anxious around Valentine’s Day growing up?
 
I distinctly remember worrying about whether my Scooby Doo Valentine’s Cards would be well received and whether I made the list to get something back from my classmates. Valentine’s Day can be awkward and often is filled with unmet and irrational expectations.
 
As this day approaches, my prayer for us is that instead of dwelling on the unsettling emotions which often accompany this holiday, we can instead focus on the length, width, height and depth of God’s unfailing love. 

Here are three verses to help us do just that – three of the best Valentine’s Day sentiments we could ever hope to receive:

     
     1. John says in I John 4:10: In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins.
 
     2. … that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:17-19)
 
     3. I Cor. 13:4-8 states: Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends
 

Christ loves us with a love that has no strings attached and no hidden agendas. Christ’s love is all about giving, not getting; there is no score keeping. 
 
We received the most; we gave the least.
 
We brought nothing to the table; He brought everything.
 
Unfortunately, we are score keepers by nature. Resentment and bitterness poison our hearts against one another and relationships become a contract of meeting needs and negotiation of terms (you do this…I will do that). This is the furthest from the heart of Christ.
 
The gift that Christ wants to give us not only for February 14, but for every day of the year, is the supernatural capacity to love those in our life in a way that resembles His love for us. Christ is calling us to love one another, even if it is not returned or returned in the way that we think it should be.
 
Our love looks the most like Christ’s love when we get nothing back. A love that gives to give, and not to get.

Much love,

David Anderson

 
P.S. Do you know someone who needs to be reminded today of God’s love? Consider sending him or her one of these verses, or this letter, with your personal Valentine’s Day wishes.

 
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December 5, 2017

Dear Church of the Open Door family,

This is the time of the year where my kids start giving Nancy and me hints about what type of gift would make their Christmas dreams come true. Each year what’s on their hearts seems to vary.
 
This year, one of my daughters wants her own purple beach-cruiser bicycle. One of my sons wants the newest shoes for his basketball season.  Another son wants to have his own personal refrigerator and entertainment center in his bedroom (that’s not going to happen).
 
What is on your list this year?
 
Many folks all around us are facing desperate family, financial and health issues and the Christmas season is often used as a way to placate or escape these painful realities.
 
The story of Christmas is a story of joy. Two thousand years ago Jesus came in a manger and then on a cross so that His “joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11) The joy of Jesus is such a stark contrast to the shaky, shallow and circumstantial human experience of this season.
 
This Christmas season we are inviting you to share this joy with others. On the nights of December 15, 16 and 17 we are presenting a Living Nativity. It is an outreach that enables us to introduce people we love to the joy of Jesus Christ in a disarming, relational setting.  
 
Would you ask the One who came to complete your joy for an opportunity to share it with someone this year?
 

We’ve prepared some tools that may be helpful in this process:

     *  Pick up Living Nativity invitation cards in the lobby of the Worship Center or in the church office.

     *  Visit our website for some great Nativity e-invites to share on social media.

     *  Be sure to take a look at our downloadable Advent resources as well!

I can’t wait to see His provision this glorious Christmas season!
 
In His love,
 
David Anderson

 
P.S.  I recently received this message from one of our newer families: COD has been an incredible blessing and answer to years of prayer for our family. Thank you for welcoming and loving us this last year. We are so thankful for our new family!

Friends, this is why we do what we do! Thank you for your part in making that possible here in our church family! And Nancy and I are so thankful for your partnership in continuing to ask the Lord to help us reach many in the San Gabriel Valley and around the world who are in need of the Savior.  

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October 12, 2017

Dear COD family,

As a new lead pastor I’m daily amazed that every single cent of our ministry here at Church of the Open Door is from the sacrificial and loving stewardship of the people in this church family. Not a single dime comes from the government or a grant or some other entity or group; it all comes from you and every gift has profound spiritual implications.

 
     Recently a family told us,  “COD has been an incredible blessing and answer to years of prayers for our family. Thank you for welcoming and   
    loving us this last year. We are so thankful for our new community!”
 
     A new addition to our church family shared, “Since my baptism, in any kind of struggle or confusion that I might feel or go through, it’s that moment
     I’m always able to recall and know that everything is going to be ok and know where to put my faith . . . and, to give my pain and frustration
     to God and know that through Him, I will make it.” 
 
     Rob and Karen Kimmons, one of our missionary families, send weekly stories of how our generosity allows them to continue to share  the gospel with
     displaced refugees, migrants and students in Nantes, France.

The elder and staff families are so grateful for your financial commitment to the proclamation of the gospel both here and around the world!                                                                                        

As I write this to you, our financial accounts are critically low and we want to make sure that you know how much we are depending on your faithful giving in these last three months of the year.

We as a leadership team are praying that God would give us $200,000 in our account by January 1, 2018. This would allow us to continue to provide for our staff, missionaries and ministries during the lean months of 2018.

As the year comes to a close, Nancy and I are asking what part we can give to this $200,000 and we are asking for you to pray about the part you and your family can have too. We claim God’s great promise to us as we trust Him with everything He has given us: And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.  (2 Corinthians 9:8)

I can’t wait to see what He does and I thank you for being faithful partners as the gospel of grace moves forward!

Thank you,

David Anderson

P.S. Any amount given is appreciated and will be used by God to further the outreach of our church! As we head into the winter, we are excited about the return of our Living Nativity (December 15-17) and the chance to invite many from the San Gabriel Valley to experience the story of Jesus’ birth in a meaningful way.

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September 21, 2017
 
Dear Church of the Open Door family,
 
Are one of these desires at the forefront of your thought life today?
 
I need money. I need a certain level of income. Once I receive this amount we can get on with our lives. We can get the things that will make our life complete. We can finally be the family I always envisioned.
 
I need my health to work out. Once I feel better, once I’m back to “normal”, my life can turn the corner.
 
I need to know that my family will be okay, that they stay safe. I need to know that my children will make wise decisions and not do something that they will be paying for the rest of their lives.
 
I need success or at least the feeling of significance. Once I receive the promotion that I need, I will get the respect I deserve and my ideas will finally prevail.
 
Many, including us Christians, can readily identify with these needs and desires, but for the disciple of Jesus Christ, satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness arrive in very paradoxical, counter-intuitive forms. In the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17), Jesus defines satisfaction, fulfillment,and happiness in radical terms for His disciples.
 
This month we are beginning a new sub-series in the book of John that we have entitled: The Heart of Jesus: Lessons from the Upper Room.  During our time together in John 13-17, we want to answer these questions:
 
What is the unfolding plan of Jesus?
How do we play our role well as we trust His love?
How do we give our life away to others for Christ’s sake?
 
The Apostle John’s declaration at the beginning of John 13 that Jesus “loved his own to the very end” is the perfect opening to this discussion. John describes what supreme love looks like in action.
 
This series unpacks the unbridled love of our Savior as He launches us into the high calling as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I invite you to pray and prepare your hearts as we seek the heart of our Savior.
 
In His love,
 
David Anderson
Lead Pastor
 
P.S. Starting Sunday, September 24, we are offering a class called COD 101 . It’s a series of seven classes to get to know our heart as a church and give us a chance to hear yours too. If you are ready to take another step in getting to know us, please come. Meet at 9:00am on the back patio of the Worship Center. One of our teachers will be there to welcome you.

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July 13, 2017

 
Dear Church of the Open Door family,
 
God has given our church family four distinct and eternally significant assignments. He has called each and every one of us to trust Him as we:
 
  Teach God’s unchanging Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Heb. 4:12, Ps. 119:89)

 Trust grace in community (Gal. 6:1-2, Eph. 4:1-3, Heb. 10:24-25)

 Move forward through bold prayer (Heb. 4:15-16, John 16:24, Matt. 7:11)

 Make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20, 2 Tim. 2:2, Col. 1:27-29)

 
What we have discovered as we shepherd our people is that one of the most difficult steps in the Christian life is to trust grace in community — to be known, to trust and to allow imperfect Christians to love us with Jesus’ perfect love.

For most of us, this is risky and loaded with possibilities of pain and disappointment. 

As the Gospel heals our brokenness, discipleship (Christian mentoring — take a look at our Discipleship Survey below) allows God an opportunity to shower us with His grace as He heals our failures through His protective love and the love of others. 

Discipleship relationships allow a few people to know you well, to love you, and to pray for you and encourage you in areas that your soul longs for.

Ed Underwood, our Assistant Pastor who oversees discipleship and community development, shares the following about the impact of a grace community on his life:    

Risking trusting grace in community has made all the difference in my own spiritual journey, because it saved me from me. When grace is expressed in the love that tells you the truth and accepts you on your worst day and with all of your weaknesses and hang-ups, it releases you to your destiny in Christ, protected by love. Not only has this process protected me from me, it’s protected those I love the most from me.   

We are enamored by the grace of God that privileges us to be a part of each other’s lives in this way, and we want to invite you into this life changing opportunity!

Much love,  

David Anderson

Lead Pastor
 
P.S. Ed Underwood has created a Discipleship Survey  to help us better understand how we can do this process well. Please take 45 seconds and fill it out (I’ve timed it!). He would love to hear from you and help you take the next step.