Celebrate the Sabbath!

Hi SNC friends!
This past week we talked about the 4th commandment – “The Sabbath.” At the end of the sermon I invited you to join me on an experiment of observing the Sabbath for a month. The first step is to decide which day you will observe as the Sabbath. It needs to be a day you can stop working; slow down in life and take time to rest; get refreshed and be attentive to God. This is going to require preparation and trust. One of the first suggestions I made was to take time to think about what is truly restful for you. My suggestion was to make a graph on a piece of paper with two columns.  One column is labeled: “Restful activities;” the other column is labeled: “Not restful activities.” Then list activities in these columns – that you find yourself doing; that would fit into these categories. On your Sabbath day it might be advisable to do things that you find to be truly restful or refreshing for you.

Let me suggest that you join me this week in observing the Sabbath; and please make note of what kind of impact; if any at all; this practice has had for you. Was it difficult? What about it made this so? Was it restful for you? Not restful? Take time to make note of this and then let me know how it goes!

I have included a website with a few practical suggestions for how to approach Sabbath. May God bless you in your week ahead!


Pastor Ryan

2nd Look – Thinking Like Jesus

Hi everyone-
Welcome to 2nd look.  This last week we talked about thinking like Jesus; how we are meant to think more and more the way He does.  You may have noticed, this is a very intentional process.  We don’t really stumble upon it.  Certainly the Holy Spirit does a great deal of work in us to get us ready for this process of Christlike thinking; and then to help us throughout.  We may stumble upon truths because He leads us to them, but in the end, I truly believe our growth in our thought life has a great deal to do with our openness to it.  In my research last week I stumbled upon this short article in Charisma magazine about having the “Mind of Christ”.  I thought the author has some very insightful things to say and some great questions.  Let me invite you to read the article and sit with the questions she asks during your times with the Lord this week.

Have a great week everybody and may God’s will be done in our lives

Pastor Ryan

Christlike 2nd Look

Hello everyone,

How do I become more like Jesus?  If this world needs Jesus – and God’s plan is to use us to bring Jesus to the world by making us more like Him while sending us out; then this question becomes even more relevant. It takes on new life for us; new significance. This is always a difficult issue to give personal examples about because you may sound like you’re bragging. “This past year, I’ve become like Jesus. Check me out!  Here’s what I do and I’m sooooo like Jesus now!!!!”.  Blech! Yuck!

So at risk of  sounding like I’m tooting my own horn – here is one thing I’ll say – as a Christian these last 25 years – I’ve found this journey of pursuing Christ and seeking to live life the way He does – to know Him – to have my character slowly transformed by Him to become more like His – has been the best thing in my life!   It hasn’t been easy – as a matter of fact; the process of becoming more and more like Christ – involves parts of me having to die to be changed. That’s not easy; but it’s worth it.  Seeking to love my wife like Christ loves His church has impacted my marriage in huge ways that have helped contribute to making it more of a safe; loving and passionate environment. Yes, we have our problems – and have experienced significant moments of struggle in our relationship but through it – I’ve seen God powerfully show up to help me love her – to own my destructive choices, attitudes and other things that hurt us. Becoming more and more like Christ has changed my marriage.

This is one example; and please know I am nowhere near believing that I have arrived; that I am completely like Christ.  if there were a “like Christ”- O – Meter; a scale of 1-10; 1 being – “not like Christ”; 10 being – “like Christ”; I’d consider myself a 3 or a 4. I still have a long way to go.

But here’s a question – is it even possible? I came across an article written by a dearly departed friend. I call him dear because the things he has written have impacted my deeply. I call him departed because he has recently gone home to be with the Lord Jesus. I call him a friend, not because  we were friends personally – but because God has used him in such powerful ways in my life. My dearly departed friend is Dallas Willard; and his article is all about looking like Jesus. Now let me warn you – this guy packs a punch – he can be a bit wordy – but there is a great deal of insight.  So let me invite you to sit down with this article this week, break it into chunks and think about what he’s saying. there’s some powerful stuff here.

Finally, let me remind you. The best first step for becoming like Christ:  get to know Him.  Sometimes I’ve found in my journey with Jesus that I need to take time to get reacquainted with Him.  This usually drives me back to the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.  I truly hope your week is power-packed: filled by the Holy Spirit and that God uses you in wonderful ways to bring glory to His name.  Hope you enjoy the article – click here for the link.

Experiencing God

Pastor Ryan refers to this book as

“one of the top five most influential books I’ve ever read”

Experiencing God

Project Blessing Testimonies from 2011

Project Blessing

We were so blessed by flowers, meals, babysitting, kind words and emails of encouragement. This project really was used by God to make Sunland our home. It felt like home before but now even more so. Thank you for giving of yourselves to create a home here for us. It's strange to say-but blessing the school was a blessing to me. I learned how to surrender to the Lord. How He would want to do things-designing things-rally people to help-and not to move forward on how I thought would be best. Also watching how the Lord brought furniture, funds, hands that know how to restore, paint and sew together. I loved watching this church come and bless the teachers! His love is continually felt in that place.

–Alyssa Low

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to share the Lord's faithfulness with many in doctor's offices, business people, people calling on the phone (even telemarketers) and to see God's hand at work as a result of those who have prayed for my needs.                                                                     –Frankie Paslay


Pastor Duke has been a blessing with all his insight and practical examples, and his humor. Jeff Smith and the worship team are a blessing. Jeff is so into the music; gives his heart and soul. The music brings me to tears at times.


I help Ginger Clayton with her doctor appointments and medications. I also help in a small way with the loves and fishes ministry.


Being closer to family in Lodi and my mom is doing better.


I had to wait most of the year but I got a good job close to home, interesting program, good and talented people and I work within a maturing and gracious environment, how blessed am I. During this year I was blessed by a core group pf friends, who kept me inspired and blessed me with their support. How blessed I've been to have a such loving friends, and a number of people in the church showed me support and encouragement.


New job for my husband and a new house for my family.


  • I received food from a friend.
  • I helped lead a friend to Christ. Last month she accepted Christ as her Savior.
  • I shared food with a neighbor.
  • I gave my Starbucks card to a homeless man. He was sooo thankful!

My friends have blessed me. Kathy Storie has spent so much time with me helping me with my photo projects at home. Giving her time to me has helped me get organized.                             -Kristin Durkin

  • Over this past year God has blessed me by having my schedule allow me to minister to a family friend who is widowed. I can see how happy it makes her to see me. Just to know someone cares for her and prays for her. In turn that blesses me.
  • My brother and his prayer blessed me.
  • My wife and boys for their thoughtfulness toward me bless me.
  • Blessed by my mom's prayers for our family.

So many little ways Project Blessing took a hold of my life. Buying coffee for a friend; helping my kids with homework; telling a co-worker they are loved. Thank you for having the reminder of blessing. I also have a blessing given by a prayer accountability partner through the project.


  • I have been blessed by the love and support of some very special friends.
  • It always touches me to help others and I enjoyed doing a small part in the Sunland Elementary Teacher Lounge.
  • I also love being able to help less fortunate by sharing some of what God has blessed us with.

–Bonnie Pearson

God has blessed me with faith to stay the course over the last couple of years while there was doubt in our home! Now he has brought us here!


I am blessed to have Larry Hodges in my life, and I have become a better person.                  –Debbie Ruiz


  • Thankful that I didn't lose my Bible- it was found at church.
  • Thankful to be surrounded by Christian friends.
  • Thankful I have people that love me.
  • Thankful for family.
  • Thankful that I have two jobs.
  • Thankful for a loving husband.
  • Thankful for our health.

–Jennifer Knopp

God has used Lindsey's death in an amazing way. We have been totally blessed by the stories of lives being touched and changed, and the closeness of our church. If you want a story or two just call.

    -The Woodward Family

I volunteer teaching music at the World Impact School one day a week. The students are really enthusiastic and the staff is very appreciative of what I do. This year I had a lot of students asking for piano lessons. I now have a waiting list there and the students are doing well. The only downside to all this is the drive to L.A.

-Sue VanHeijzen

  • My son made me proud by using the guidance given to home and committing. He now has a job and waiting to be sent for Army Basic training in April.
  • My daughter continues to try hard.

I met a wonderful family; I help with their kids. Pick them up from school and stuff. I prayed for my pain to go away and it did!

                                                                                              –Teri Rangel

I'm so happy that I came to this church; I hope in the future I learn more English. Everyone here is very friendly and Pastor Duke is helping to take me to Los Angeles every Sunday. I am sure God blesses this church.                                                                                                                              –Pablo Martinez


I have been able to help out in my family with teenagers with prayer, notes, cards, calls and love to spread the word of the Lord and I pray they are blessed. Mostly I feel blessed to have Jesus by my side.


I have been blessed in finding this church and meeting some wonderful people. The prayers I have received have already brought many positive changes in my life. Thank You!


My Grandmother has been a blessing to me because I feel lucky to have this time with her. 3 years ago she was diagnosed with colon cancer and it has spread, and now it is terminal. I am glad to have her here.                                                                                              –Rebeca Hill


The unexpected blessing of my job allowing me to recycle old instruments that were otherwise going to be trashed, there is a financial blessing from this. Just being a blessing to other people.                                                             –Patrick Hill


God has brought many blessings these past few years while we struggle. Miracles through: love, help, family, neighbors, church, bible study, co-workers and even strangers.                            –Penny Blackwell


Sunland Neighborhood Church has been a blessing to my son Wesley and my family. The church's spiritual leaders and members have helped us all with our spiritual growth.                –The Deaver Family


I have a co-worker who is very fearful of her neighbors and activities in her neighborhood. I have given her many Joyce Meyers tapes on conquering fear and prayed with her. She constantly thanks me for helping her re-direct her thoughts to God's purpose for her life.


Debbi Fullington is a blessing to me. She set her alarm on her cell phone and she prays for me everyday at 7:00. She has been such an encouragement to me when I was diagnosed with a lung problem. Thank You! Thank You!                                                                                                                   –Sheri Wood


God has given me a job I love and has blessed me with awesome co-workers including one is a Christian.            –Mylene Grossnickle


Friday nights we take Helene (Charlie's step-mom) out to dinner, stay and visit with her for a few hours, since she no longer can drive and help her do things around the house.                  -Charlie & Twilia Perry


New job for my husband and a new house for my family.

Answered prayer

My prayers were answered and my daughter, got a job at Sport Chalet in La Canada!