Sunday, December 30, 2012

Spiritual Hunger Around the World

Spiritual Hunger is what propels us on toward connecting with God. It's that motivation that makes us step into church if we have been open our Bibles, to get down on our knees and pray AND to search the Internet to find Bible Studies. Did that last one surprise you? Well, in the analytics provided by this blog we found that our Bible Studies on Hydesville Life Groups are being picked up by individuals in other countries. Specifically, Russia, Germany, Slovenia, France, China, Israel, Canada, the United Kingdom and Latvia.  In fact the interest from Russia was about one-third that of the United States!  That is a lot of spiritual hunger from way across the world.

How we rejoice that brothers and sisters of Christ  - from all nationalities can share in our common faith and we can grow together in Christ.  Hydesville may be a little place, but God's Word is enormous in spectrum and the study of it worth our time and effort to satisfy that "spiritual hunger" and changed lives can help feed many!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Grief Share in the New Year

Just an "FYI" when we consider what we would like to do in the New Year.  We would like to offer a new group (and updated curriculum) of Grief Share at Hydesville Church.  Grief Share is a special weekly seminar and support group for people who are grieving the death of someone close to them.  If you are interested in either attending, or being a part of the team to present this on a weekly basis, please let Penny know - 768-3767. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Group Link Event!

Coming up after the New Year's celebration:  GroupLink!!  Our GroupLink event will take place January 13th after second service (around 12:15 PM).  We will enjoy lunch together and join this fun and unique way to join community Life Groups for the New Year!  If you are currently not connected into a Life Group, or you would like more people to join your Life Group, this is for you!  This is also for ALL Life Group leaders and facilitators!  Get your New Year's off to a great start! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Save the Date for GroupLink!

On Sunday, January 13th after the second service (12:15 PM) at Hydesville Church, we are putting together a Life Group connection time called GroupLink.  As we gather together for lunch we will watch a short video from Andy Stanley, get to know others in a comforable and casual atmosphere and then and establish some community groups to meet for the next eight weeks, and maybe even beyond.  Please join us!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Coming in the New Year: GroupLink!

GROUPLINK: Early in the New Year we will be having an event called GroupLink to launch new Life Groups. Initially, after the GroupLink event, new groups will meet for eight weeks. Then the group members can decide to continue on with their group, or dissolve to find another group.

WHY: Why consider a Life Group? Here’s a quote from Andy Stanley’s church that is said very well: “We believe that significant life change best takes place in the context of intentional relationships. Life groups are the place where real life and real issues are discussed. This is the environment to celebrate the successes and good times of life, as well as comfort one another in the tough and disappoing times. It’s a place to be encouraged, equipped, and challenged to group in our relationship with Jesus Christ.”

WHAT DOES A LIFE GROUP LOOK LIKE? Life Groups are small groups of approximately six married couples or six to eight individuals of the same gender.

WHY “SAME GENDER?” We have seen these “same gender” groups work well in both the Men’s and Women’s Ministries and Celebrate Recovery. Why? “The relational dynamics created by a mixed environment limit the accountability that’s possible or appropriate.” We have found that these same gender groups have a higher level of community and accountability that is not possible, nor appropriate in a mixed-gender single group.
Be looking for more information on the new GROUPLINK through the month of December in the bulletin and other church communications.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

HCC Life Group Finder

Do you want to join a Life Group at Hydesville Community Church?  Here is a link to our current groups and connection information to get you started!  For more information contact the church at (707)768-3767 or visit

The Hydesville Church Life Group Finder:

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Murdered My Grandmother This Morning (The Art of Listening)

Part of being president of the United States is having happy confident facial expressions at social gatherings and enduring tedious things such as long reception lines.  At one of these gatherings, it is said that Franklin Roosevelt decided to try a listening experiment.  To each person in line he murmured “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”  What was the response from guests?  They said things like:  “Marvelous!”  “Keep up the good work!”  “We are proud of you!”  “God bless you sir!”  Finally at the end of the line was a good listener – the ambassador from Bolivia.  Not skipping a beat the ambassador leaned over and said, “I’m sure she had it coming.”

Good listeners are in short supply.  Our busy schedules diminish our ability to take time to listen.  Sometimes, like the guests in the reception line, our minds are on other matters - we are not “in listening mode.”  Our basic human inclination to focus on ourselves rather than others causes a limited capacity to be a good listener.  If we are brutally honest we have to admit that most of us would rather talk and be listened to, rather than discipline ourselves listen patiently to someone else.  Being a good listener is not passive, it is active.  It is a concentrated unselfish effort to focus on the other person.   So, why is important to be an active listener? 

  1. We are to become imitators of Christ, and He makes listening a priority.  God makes Himself available to us at any time, always ready to listen.  Jesus listened attentively to those who sought Him.  When people came to Him for healing or on behalf of another Jesus listened to their pleas.  Did Jesus know the information already?  Yes, of course.  But in listening to those who came to Him, He showed visible care and compassion.  He could have identified the person and said, “yes, I know what the problem is,” snap His fingers and perform the miracle.  But He didn’t…he chose to listen to each person’s story before responding.
  2. If we really want to help other people, we’d better be alert when they speak.  James 1:19b says, “ But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”  If we want to show care and compassion for those around us, we need to comprehend their feelings and their mind set.  This is accomplished best through intently listening to what the person is saying.  Sometimes it involves a couple of thoughtful questions, but the majority of information gathering and understanding is done through really hearing the other person’s words and observing their body language.
  3. Active Listening communicates to the other person that they are important.   Romans 15:2 says, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” Animated conversation is fun, and there are plenty of times for give and take. But if we want to grow in our listening skills, we need to make a conscious decision to refrain from our quick comebacks or saying things that draw attention right back to ourselves.  If we have a desire to communicate that the other person is important,  we focus exclusively on the other person!  We make a decision to not to top the other person’s story, not to have the last word, and not share everything we think we know about that particular subject.  We give up our notion that we are authoritative on that topic and we acknowledge the other person’s feelings for what they are without elaborate commentary.  Our eye contact, our posture, our facial expressions all contribute to expressing to that other person that what they are saying is important.  With our countenance we communicate whether we are interested in what the other person has to say.  We also communicate importance by respecting the other person’s time frame.  If it’s evident they are finished sharing, we don’t pry.  We take our cues from the other person and reflect their mood.  Obvious respect in the area of listening communicates that we value that other person.  
Our motivation for developing our listening skills comes from a desire to honor others as Christ commanded.   Philippians 2:3-4 in the Message gives us a great perspective.  “Don’t push your way to the front;  don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.  Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.  Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.  Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”  (or an ear!)

Monday, November 5, 2012


It was an uncharacteristically warm summer morning as I was preparing for my work day.  I stepped out on the back porch to catch some fresh air before finishing my make-up.  I glanced over at a camellia bush that had most obviously turned a corner.  It had been struggling through the summer, but now I could tell it was dead.  I sighed.  We had babied that plant through many summers on the North Coast but didn’t water as much as we should have in the last few rainless months, mostly because the Fortuna water bills tend to be high.  But I was discouraged that the plant didn’t make it through after all these years – probably fifteen summers of “babying” since we planted the little tender shoot.   I thought about the old Victorian home we used to own.  The grounds of that home had a rather stately look and mature camellias that surrounded a wide shady porch as well as many other beautiful plants in the yard.  Funny, I thought - we never had to water those camellias during the summer… they were such old, mature and beautiful specimens.   Their root system and plant girth was so deep and wide that the water provided during the many rainy months and the early morning dew was enough to sustain these magnificent plants.  We don’t have to water the redwood forest – these mature trees are able to receive what they need from the rich environment provided from our Heavenly Father.

Then came the ah-ha moment.  Lord, I want to have the spiritual maturity that is represented by the old mature camellias that adorned our old home.  I want my relationship so rooted and so deep and totally constant in You that I am not affected by a dry spell here and there.  Lord may my encouragement and sustaining power come directly from You as I continue to commit to our relationship through daily times of study and prayer.  I so desire to attain that kind of spiritual growth, stability and maturity.

The Scriptures tell us, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to Him.  Let your roots grow down into Him and draw nourishment from Him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught.  Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done.”  Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT)
Our Christian “walk” goes through many phases.  When we are that new believer – that “tender shoot,” there is much watering and protecting that needs to take place through our Christian brothers and sisters in the Church.  An experienced gardener once told me as we were purchasing some new plants that they would need “to be babied” at first with gentle watering every day.   We are called upon, as believers in Christ, to “disciple” one another in the faith.  If we are “older” in the faith, we are admonished to care for the “younger” (Titus 2:4-5).  The principle is not so much chronological age, but time spent walking with Jesus.  When we grow to the point of having our own daily “quiet time” of regular, consistent Bible study and prayer (that influences the way we live), our spiritual life and relationship with God takes a big leap.  It makes sense.  A relationship improves in quality and depth as there is significant time devoted and invested in the relationship.  Time spent in worship with other believers is incomparable.  In the working out of relationships in our spiritual family, we grow in Christian virtues of understanding, patience and most importantly, forgiveness. 

There are many opportunities presented by the body of Christ here at Hydesville Church that are specifically designed to aide spiritual growth.  However, nothing takes the place of that personal commitment to relationship and growth between the living Lord and oneself. 
We want to be a church that is characterized by that picture of many beautiful stately mature camellias that adorn the gardens and provide shade and protection to the “tender shoots” that the Lord entrusts to this congregation.  May we encourage each other and grow together in this new season.    

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why Join?

An encounter with God should change the way we live.  The decision to choose to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who was born, lived and walked this earth, was crucified and then raised to life again cannot but help to change the way we live.  Or does it?  Sadly many will point to Christians they know and suggest that there is no difference. 

As Jesus prayed, as recorded in John 17, "I am praying not only for these disciples, but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony.  My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one.  Father - that just as you are in me, and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me."  (John 17:20-21 (NLT).

That difference in the way we treat others is what is to set us apart.  So how do we keep from looking and acting like the rest of our culture?  How do we become such 'Christ followers' that the people we know are impacted because they see a difference in the way we love others in our everyday ordinary lives?

While most would suscribe to the vital spiritual disciplines of prayer and Bible study, many contemporary believers don't believe that a continous commitment to a local church is needed for their own spiritual journey nor do they believe that their participation makes all that much of a difference to others.  These beliefs, that are more grounded in culture rather than the Bible, are in direct contrast to what the Bible teaches about the local church and the communities, such as Life Groups, that are established within. 

Consider the Apostle Paul's words to the Romans in chapter 1.  "For I long to visit you so I can share a spiritual blessing with you that will help you grow strong in the Lord.  I'm eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.  In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other."  Romans 1:11-12. 

Paul labored long and hard to establish many churches.  Believers then, as they do now, need the continual encouragement of others in the body of Christ.  Life Groups provide avenues for Bible Study, fellowship and the encouragement that each of us need.  If we want to stand apart from the culture, participation in Life Groups are a vital choice in our own personal walk with Christ and a way to be a tremendous blessing in the lives of others.  We encourage you to join a Life Group here through Hydesville Church.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Life Groups Summer 2012

After Easter we had a wave of new Life Groups start in response to '40 Days in the Word.'  In these six weeks together we gained a greater hunger for the God's Word as we listened to Pastor Rick Warren share various methods of Bible Study.  This also birthed a great variety of 'Micah 6:8 Projects - acts and projects of compassion in our community and beyond.  The ripples from that wave continues as groups continue to reach out and impact our community for Christ. 

While some groups meet during the summer, most take a vacation break and gear up in the Fall.  There will be Life Groups open in September - mixed groups, men's groups and women's groups.  In addition we have started a Celebrate Recovery and anticipate various Life Groups as individuals tackle many life issues together.  We look forward to that time that echos the verse in Acts 2:43, 46 & 47, "A deep sense of awe came over them all,...they worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity - all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.  And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved."   

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Spending Crisis

Deuteronomy 28

1. On the posts of facebook, a popular website lists the number one hit song on the day you were born. It’s fun to take a walk down history lane and hear what songs were popular at that time. What was a popular song that you remember from your high school days?

2. History is a good teacher. Experience is a hard teacher. With experience it is said that the exam comes first, and then the lesson. How much more painless and practical it is to study the lesson first, and then take the exam! But we, as human beings, are prone to forget those valuable history lessons, even in our own lives. Read Psalm 105:1-5. What are several things we are instructed to do in this Psalm? What specifically are we told to do in verse 5?

3. Read I Corinthians 11:23-26. In observing the Lord’s Supper, what significance does the act of remembering hold?

4. God wants us to remember Him in all things. Read Deuteronomy 28:1-14. What is the essence of this section? What does God want us to do, and what are the consequences of these actions?

5. Much of the blessing described in Deuteronomy describes prosperity. We are at a unique point in American history, although many draw parallels between what we are experiencing economically today with people’s experience during the Great Depression. Do you know anyone (or are you someone) that lived during this era in our country? Who?

6. From a website there is an article entitled, “4 Personal Finance Principles That Would Make Your Grandfather Proud.” Part of the article reads: “Our grandfather’s generation wasn’t perfect. They had their own set of flaws and weaknesses. But they got a lot of things right. And one of those things is how to handle your finances. Grandpa learned his financial lessons from the school of hard knocks. He lived through the Great Depression, which taught him to live leanly, to save, and to be grateful for what he had. And he lived in a time where staying out of debt was a matter of independence, pride, and self-reliance, something he believed reflected on a man’s most precious resource–his character.”

7. Biblical principles work whether a person recognizes they are from the Bible or not. Truth is truth. Some lessons (not all) from the Great Depression were certainly founded on Biblical truth. What verses or sections of Scripture can you point to for the following financial principles:

• Living “leanly”

• Being grateful for what we have

• the importance of character

• a healthy work ethic

• saving

8. Deuteronomy 18:15-68 is a great contrast to the first part of the chapter. This entails the curses of disobedience. Read II Peter 3:9. What is the desire of God’s heart?

9. Read Hebrews 12:4-11. What is the intention of God’s discipline in our lives?

10. Can you think of a time in your life in which you, in retrospect, were financially undisciplined? Share one word to describe the consequence of that time.

11. Now, can you share a time in which you consciously made a disciplined financial decision and use one word to describe the benefit that came to you.

12. How big is the circle that benefits when you make wise financial decisions?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Declaration of Dependence

II Chronicles 6

I have virtually no sense of direction. I’m not sure what causes that or if that can ever be changed. I compensate for this weakness by making sure I have detailed maps, have purchased a GPS that works intermittently, and I often have the benefit of the shotgun to point me in the right direction. When I leave a store in the mall I often have to REALLY consider which way I was going before I entered the store, so as to not backtrack. I have hopped in the wrong parked cars thinking they were mine and I have been terribly lost in so many geographic locations. The rushing freeways in major metropolitan cities are the worst. Make a wrong turn, and let me tell you from experience, you may be lost a LONG TIME.

1. How is your sense of direction? Do you have a funny story about getting lost or about someone close to you that has this same malfunction that my brain exhibits?

The term ‘repentance’ means to turn – and specifically in the New Testament it means to turn from sin. When life is easy and rosy, the thought of turning from sin might seem hard to comprehend. We may even argue about what constitutes sin and what does that have to do with me, etc. etc. But when tragedy strikes, we know exactly what sin is because we tend to run straight to God and start asking forgiveness for all the things we know down deep in our hearts are wrong. Then we begin to plead with God to help us with our problems. Funny, how clearly we understand what sin is, when we are in trouble.

2. Consider points in our National history when we, as a nation, knew we were in trouble. How did the country respond? Consider the beginning of World War II and 911 for discussion starters.

3. Read II Chronicles 6. At this point in history, Solomon was a wise leader. He did the ultimate wise act as a person in authority and that is to humbly acknowledge God as the supreme ruler of the universe. What words did Solomon use to describe God’s authority?

4. In II Chronicles 6:22-31 what reasons does Solomon give for the bad things that happened to the nation of Israel? Solomon pleads with God to do something. For what does he plead?

5. Say II Chronicles 6:36-39 briefly, in your own words. What is the essence of what Solomon is saying?

6. Read II Chronicles 7:14-15. Who are God’s people?

7. What is humble about the act of praying?

8. Can you think of an example in the Bible of someone praying who was not being humble? What did Jesus think?

9. What does God promise for those who humble themselves, pray and repent from their wrongdoing?

10. How can this group pray for you today?

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Credibility Factor

1. This time of year is all about diets and exercise. The extra pounds accumulated over the holidays causes many of us to get to the point of surrender when it comes to becoming disciplined about taking care of our bodies. Many crazy diet fads have gained popularity over the years. Do you occasionally “diet”? And, what is the most ‘wakadoodle’ diet that you have ever decided to embark upon? Did it work?

2. Read Nehemiah 1:1-4. When Nehemiah heard about his people, the Jews, and Jerusalem, Nehemiah not only “dieted,” he fasted. What else did Nehemiah do? What was the news he heard and what was his reaction?

3. Read Nehemiah 1:5-11 carefully. Describe Nehemiah’s prayer. What does this prayer tell of God’s character? How did Nehemiah represent his own people? What does this prayer tell us about Nehemiah’s character?

4. As Nehemiah led the efforts to rebuild the wall around the city of Jerusalem, the workers were met with great opposition by their enemies. Read Nehemiah 4:1-3:7-8:10-12. What kinds of fears did the enemies of the Jews incite?

5. What wise leadership strategies did Nehemiah bring about in Nehemiah 4:14-23? After reading Nehemiah 5:6-19, why do you think the people listened to Nehemiah?

6. In Nehemiah 5:15 what reason did Nehemiah give for not acting like the former governors?

7. Think of someone for whom you have a high degree of respect. What qualities does that person have that causes you to hold them in high regard?

8. Think of a field in which you are knowledgeable. Perhaps it is the kind of work you do, perhaps it is your role in your family, or perhaps it is an area of study or a hobby. What gives you credibility in this given subject? What kinds of actions on your part could hurt your credibility in this area?

9. Now, contrast your answers in question number 8 with the idea of moral authority. What kinds of actions could hurt the moral authority you have in an area, and what could be the consequences?

10. The governors that preceded Nehemiah acted in an expected way. Nehemiah chose to act differently and because he did, he gained the credibility - the moral authority needed to become a great leader and help the Jewish people out of a terrible dilemma. What did you learn from Nehemiah that can help you to raise the bar in the area of credibility?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spiritual Star Wars

Were you ever a Star Wars fan? Do you have a favorite character and why?

1. The whole Star Wars popularity was built on science fiction fantasy. However, there is a real war going on in the heavenlies over our souls. There is a battle of good versus evil that rages.

Read Romans 7:17-18. How would you describe our “sinful nature or what some translations call ‘the flesh’”?

2. Read Jeremiah 17:9-10. Is it shocking to hear point blank how the Bible describes the deceitfulness of the human heart? The NLT version says in verse 10 “But I know! I the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. This alludes to the idea that as human we often have hidden agendas, and sometimes they are even hidden to ourselves! What, do you think, would help a person bring to the surface all the motives hidden in one’s heart? Put another way, what could help us from being self-deceived?

3. One of the ways in which we humans deceive ourselves is in the area of pride. In the workbook, Seeking Him, the authors give some contrasts to proud people and humble people. This list is for personal reflection in quiet time between you and the Lord. Here are a few statements for self-evaluation:

Proud People:
Focus on the failures of others

Have a critical fault-finding spirit; look at everyone else’s faults with a microscope but their own faults with a telescope

Have an independent self-sufficient spirit

Are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation

Desire to make a name for themselves

Keep others at arms’ length

Are quick to blame others

Want to be sure that no one finds out when they have sinned; their instinct is to cover up

Have a hard time saying, “I was wrong; will you forgive me?”

Are concerned about the consequences of their sin

However, Humble People:

Are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need

Are compassionate; can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven

Have a dependent spirit; recognize their need for others

Are self-denying

Are motivated to be faithful and make others a success

Are willing to risk getting close to others and to take risks of loving intimately

Accept personal responsibility and can see where they are wrong in a situation

Once broken, don’t care who knows or who finds out; are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose
Are quick to admit failure and seek forgiveness when necessary.

Are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin

Did the Lord speak to your heart as you carefully went over these statements? Can you share with the group something that you learned as a result of going through these statements?

8. Read I John 1:9 together as a group. Discuss why this gives the Christian great hope.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Speck

Matthew 7:1-5
Sermon: Recovery Road part 1

1. Have your ever seen the T.V. show “Judge Judy?” What do you think of her quick decisive judgments?

2. Read Matthew 7:1-5. In this Scripture passage and in the sermon series, Recovery Road, we are going to be learning about attitude – which is our own personal responsibility. Specifically, we are going to talk about our propensity to judge others before we judge ourselves. Why do you think, as human beings, we are prone to do this?

3. How does Matthew 23:12 and I Corinthians 11:31 give us direction in this area?

4. Our culture would tell us that self-exaltation and self-gratification are o.k. and we should build ourselves up. There is a lot of emphasis on “self-esteem.” But the Bible speaks very differently on these subjects. Read Luke 6:41-42. What is Jesus directing us to do?

5. Commentator Matthew Henry shares the insight that while we are not to judge, some in the body of Christ are to “reprove,” which is somewhat different. A good contemporary word would be to “admonish”. defines “admonish” as to reprove gently but earnestly or to counsel (another) against something to be avoided; caution. What, in your opinion is the difference between “judging” and “admonishing?”

6. According to Jeremiah 17:9-10 and Mark 7:20-23, what is the true condition of the human heart?

7. What does Luke 9:23-24 say in regards to the way Christians are to deal with ourselves?

8. Human nature is such that there is a constant temptation to self-centeredness. The outgrowth of a self-centered mindset will result in thoughts, words and actions that re hurtful to one’s own walk with the Lord, and then to others around us including one’s church family, friends, church family and other believers.

According to Proverbs 28:13, what are we to do to guard against self-centeredness and the inclination to judge others unfairly?

9. This is a personal question for reflection and self-examination this week. Think through a recent situation in which you were upset. In the quietness of your heart read II Corinthians 5:9; Colossians 1:10; Colossians 3:2 and 3:17 and then determine whether you were seeking to please God or please yourself in this situation?

10. Another question for your own quiet devotion time: Human beings tend to judge the sins of others on a scale. There are sins as big as “logs” and sins that seem as insignificant and minor as “specks.” Yet, when a speck is in our own eye, it is incredibly painful! All of our sins – no matter what size we think they are stand between us and a Holy God. That is why we need a Savior – to forgive us of our sins. As a personal exercise, list the things for which God has forgiven you recently. Include thoughts, words and actions. Look up I John 1:9 and write the words of this verse over your list.

How does looking through the filter of forgiveness change the way we view the shortcomings, faults and outright sins of others?