March 1

Yesterday I was talking with Craig and Zach in the office. We were having this deep theological conversation about… cereal. I had seen a poll on social media giving people a chance to rank their favorite cereal and I was amazed that no one in the poll had selected Lucky Charms as their favorite. I remembered the first time I ever tried this delicious, limited nutritional value, breakfast treat. I was a student attending a Christ in Youth Conference. These week long camps were and are (mostly) still held on college campuses. Consequently you dined in the college’s cafeteria. One breakfast I decided to try one of the cereal options and it was this delicious combination of oat cereal and artificially colored marshmallows! Reflecting on that moment I thought, how can anyone deny the superiority of this cereal in an online cereal poll!

I’m certain that sugary cereals are not the best method of satisfying our hunger, but I also know that when you take one bite of that treat you are likely to take another. I read this week in an article about the revival at Asbury College in Kentucky that true revival begins with a hunger for God. I pondered that for a while and I thought, “can we create a hunger for God’s Word in our lives?“ It is an interesting question. I think we can stir up the hunger each of us has to be in relationship with our creator by “snacking” on His Word. The ONE KC initiative that we are participating in right now unites churches across the KC metro with other cities and churches around the world in the study of the gospel. We are preaching through some of the parables in the Gospel of Luke together, we are watching and studying other events in the life of Jesus recorded in Luke during our small groups, we are worshipping and serving and even trading preachers with some of these churches and all of that is awesome! But the single greatest thing you can do to create a hunger for God in your life is to begin consuming His Word! Please, if you haven’t yet, jump on board with the ONE KC reading and listening plan. You can find a link to the plan at wallula.org/one-kc. I’m praying that when you take one bite God’s Word it will make you hungry for more!

We can also wet our appetite for God by serving our community. We have an exciting opportunity to serve others alongside other churches in Leavenworth County on Saturday, March 25th. I know Saturdays can get busy quickly. I’ve marked this date off on my calendar, setting aside college baseball and softball game I would love to attend so I can serve with you. We have a couple of meaningful servant projects planned for this Saturday morning. We’ll meet at Wallula at 9:30 am and divide into teams to tackle these projects. You can let us know you plan to serve by registering on the church center app or at wallula.org.

- Lance

I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

              - Jesus, John 6:35


How exciting was that football game? If you were a Chiefs fan you were probably pretty nervous as time was running off the clock in a tied game and the home team was punting the ball back to the opponent that had beaten your team by three points in each of their last three meetings. You were most likely thinking, “will there be time left for the Chiefs to score after Cincinnati kicks a field goal?” Especially given the physical condition of the Kansas City squad. The quarterback was hobbled, the star tight end was dealing with a bad back, three of their starting wide receivers were all out of the game with injuries. Oh and by the way, when the Bengals did punt the ball back to the Chiefs, Kansas City had a player who lost their job as punt returner in that same role, late in a championship game, because of injuries to others. Maybe that is why this game was so exciting; every single member of that 46 person roster was necessary and involved in the victory.

Just like every player on the Chiefs’ roster knew the goal going into the AFC championship game and every player, working together, was necessary to reach that goal, the Church knows the goal Jesus has for His body. He tells us to go into the world and to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and to teach them everything that Jesus teaches us through His word. That is a God sized goal and it requires every part of His team, working together, to achieve!

Once again, this year Wallula will be participating in One KC. This is a cooperative event with other churches around the KC metro area and the world to saturate our communities with the word of God. We will be partnering, especially, with several churches in Leavenworth County to share the love of Jesus in this season leading up to Easter. First we will all be preaching through the parables in the Gospel of Luke together. This series, Storyteller, will begin on February 19. We will be reaching across denominational, racial and other lines to hear from preachers of other congregations during this series (like we did last year). Second, we’ll be reading through the Gospels together as we prepare to celebrate Easter. Third, we will be partnering with other churches for a service day in March to share Jesus’ love with our community. Fourth, many of our small groups will be focusing on the Gospel of Luke together during the Storyteller series and finally I’m looking forward to a special night of worship and prayer on February 26th at Sunflower Missionary Baptist Church.

I want to encourage everyone to get involved as much as you can during this special time of cooperation with churches from around the world. The Church needs you! Never forget the Church is the hope of the world!

- Lance

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

- Hebrews 10:24-25

January 4

A few weeks ago when temperatures were sub zero and everyone was in Christmas break mode our family found ourselves spending a bunch of time indoors. My daughter, Lacey, announced that her new favorite game was “Skip-Bo.”  According to Wikipedia, “Skip-Bo is a commercial version of the card game Spite and Malice, a derivative of Russian Bank (also known as Crapette or Tunj), which in turn originates from Double Klondike (also called Double Solitaire).” While the origin of the game is complex the actual playing of the game is pretty simple. You simply build on several stacks of cards in numeric order (1-12) until your cards are gone. It is not a challenging game and there really isn’t any skill involved, so you can’t get too competitive because the results are pretty random, so why did I play more hands of Skip-Bo over those few days than I ever have before? I guess the short answer is that I wanted to be around the other people playing the game.

Have you ever done something you wouldn’t normally do, just because of the people involved? Did you ever have to face the intense parental questioning, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” I remember when I was a Youth Pastor and we were signing students up for camp or a retreat, one of the first questions kids would ask was, “who else is going?” It used to really bug me. I mean it shouldn’t matter who else is going, I would think, be your own person, make up your own mind. When you stop and think about it though, what matters more? Relationships are paramount! People matter!

If you were watching Monday Night Football this week you were reminded of what matters most. Early in the game Damar Hamlin tackled another player, stood up after the collision and then fell to the ground again. After being resuscitated on the field he was taken to an area hospital where he remains in critical condition. The game was postponed, players prayed on the field, a sports commentator prayed on national television, the most important thing was this young man and his well being. I don’t want to sound too much like a preacher, but this kind of situation happens everyday all around us. There is a diagnosis, a car accident, some kind of health issue that changes everything, that makes what is really important clear! There is nothing more important than our relationship with Jesus and with those around us.

This year, at Wallula, we will be studying the Book of Hebrews together. The central theme of this letter is the supremacy of Jesus. He is more than enough for all the things we face in this life. Together we will fix our eyes on Jesus as we love one another well in 2023.

- Lance

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

- Hebrews 12:1-2

December 7

“Infamous; having an extremely bad reputation.” It must be difficult to be famous. Can you imagine, though, being famous for the wrong reasons? Growing up I remember televangelists like Jim Bakker who raised excessive amounts of money for his TV “ministry” and then was removed because of accounting fraud and an affair with a staff member (and probably other things). Still today the church suffers from leaders falling to moral failures. Pop culture has always been littered with celebrities who were more famous for their poor choices than for their talent. People from Bill Cosby to Josh Duggar to very recently Kanye West come to mind when I think of very famous people who we now remember less for their contributions to society and more for their mistakes.

The Christmas story has its share of infamous characters as well. Most notably is King Herod, a deranged, abusive, paranoid leader who ordered the murder of all the baby boys in Bethlehem in an effort to protect his throne. There is another infamous participant in that first Christmas, though. He is famous. He is thought about every year at Christmas. He has been portrayed by, I suppose, thousands of actors in thousands and thousands of productions. We never learn his name. In fact, everything we know about him is learned from one verse in the second chapter of Luke’s Gospel. To be really honest, he most likely never existed, at least not in the way he is portrayed in those thousands of Christmas pageants. The infamous inn keeper who slams the door in the faces of Joseph and Mary proclaiming; “There is no room for you in the inn!” Probably wasn’t running Bethlehem’s Motel Six. He was most likely a relative of Joseph who had to break it to the young couple in their time of need that his home was already full of guests. We don’t really know what the birth place of Jesus looked like. Some say it was most likely a cave, our decorations depict it as a barn, some claim that homes in this time period intermingled human occupants with livestock guests. What we do know is that Mary laid her new born son, the Messiah, the King of Kings, in a manger for His first nap on that first Christmas.

If we know so little about this infamous inn keeper, if we think no such person even existed, why do we remember him every year? Why does he keep making appearances in our Christmas plays? Why do we continue to reference him in our sermons every Advent? I think it is because we all relate so much to him. We’ve all, in one way or another, at some time or another, slammed the door on Jesus. We’ve each, failed to make room for Jesus in our lives, even our celebrations of Christmas. This year I’m praying you will make a careful effort to make Him room. I’m praying you will set aside some time on a consistent basis to be in His word and to hear from Jesus daily. I urge you to make worship on a weekly basis with His family a priority this season. Grab hold of the opportunities He provides to you to be generous and to serve others. Let’s make Him room this Christmas!

- Lance

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

- Luke 2:7