Side by Side
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July 7, 2016, 2:04 PM

Side by Side -- John and Blanche Heidengren -- July-August 2016

A 747 airliner was halfway across the Atlantic when the captain got on the loud-speaker:  "Attention, passengers.  We have lost power in one of our engines, but we can certainly reach London with the three we have left.  Unfortunately, we will arrive an hour late as a result."

An hour later the captain made another announcement:  "Sorry, but we have lost power in another engine.  Still, we can travel on two.  I'm afraid we will now arrive two hours late."

Shortly thereafter, the passengers heard the captain's voice again: "Guess what, folks.  We just lost power in our third engine, but please be assured we can fly with only one.  We will now arrive in London three hours late."

At this point, one passenger became furious.  "For Pete's sake," he shouted.  "If we lose another engine, we'll be up here all night!"

Have you ever felt like you’ve lost power?  Maybe your car died while you were driving?  Maybe you’ve battled a cold or more serious illness and even simple tasks took all your energy?  Maybe you’ve struggled for years with an unwanted habit that you just can’t seem to conquer?

Read Acts Chapter 12. It tells the story of a time when the early Christians felt like they’d lost power.  More on this topic in the coming months but remember these three summary statements from the Scriptures:

  • God is powerful and wants to share his power with us
  • We act like we have no room for his power – we don’t expect much from God anymore
  • We need to make room for God’s power in our lives – it will change the way we live in so many better ways
  • More on Acts chapter 12 next issue!

- Pastor John

Are you feeling like you’re in the fire lately with trials and challenges at every turn? Well, I am here to encourage you that you are not alone, and through it all God is making something beautiful out of you and out of me. He is refining us to make us into "treasured gems," like even the most precious of gemstones: Diamonds! My new favorite song is called     >>>

“Diamonds Out Of Us,” by the Christian artist, Hawk Nelson. Yes, a lot of refining has to take place between mining the rock that a diamond comes from, and holding a shiny diamond ring in your hand. The fire is necessary and the pressure is what brings out the perfection of a glorious diamond. May we be encouraged today that God uses everything in our lives to make us more like His radiant Son, Jesus.   

Check out the link to this upbeat song:

Here are some of the lyrics:

“Here and now I'm in the fire, In above my head…, Being held under the pressure,
Don't know what'll be left, But it's here in the ashes, I'm finding treasure


Chorus: He's making diamonds, diamonds, Making diamonds out of dust, He is refining in his timing, He's making diamonds out of us.
I'll surrender to the power, Of being crushed by love, Till the beauty that was hidden, Isn't covered up,
Oh it's not what I hoped for, It's something much better. 



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May 27, 2016, 12:58 AM

Side by Side -- Blanche and John Heidengren -- June 2016

What does the Bible say about “rest”?  It’s summer and a good time to ask this question. The word “rest” means “peace” or “ease” or “refreshment”. The Bible speaks quite highly of “rest”. God rested after 6 days of creation. The 10 Commandments made resting on the Sabbath part of the Law. One day of rest in every seven days. God is very serious about rest.

God wants us to rest because it doesn’t come naturally to us. To rest, we have to trust that God will take care of things for us. From the beginning (Genesis 3), when we decided that we would start making all the decisions, mankind has become more tense and less able to relax.

For the Christian, the ultimate rest is found in Christ. He invites all who are “weary and burdened” to come to Him and cast our cares on Him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28) It is only in Him that we find our complete rest—from the cares of the world, from the sorrows that plague us, and from the need to work to make ourselves acceptable to Him.

This summer, don’t just take a vacation – build some “rest” into your weekly routine.

~ Pastor John


Need a breakthrough in your life? I recommend adding some time in your day to worship and sing praises to the Lord. A new friend shared this on her blog recently, “A few days ago, in the “about to wake up stage” of sleep, I heard the words “I am training you in your praise. Worship is your warfare! My people, MAGNIFY ME!!! Praise is your protection!!” (

She then shared Psalm 22: 3-5:  “Yet, I know You are most holy – it is indisputable. You are the Enthroned God, surrounded with songs, living among the shouted praises of Your princely people. Our father’s faith was in You, over and over they trusted in You, believing in You and You came through. Every time they cried to You in their despair, You were faithful to deliver them. You didn’t disappoint them.” (The Passion Translation).

Yes, God lives in the praises of His people! When we praise Him, He reveals Himself, speaking to us and giving us words of wisdom for our situation, and healing for our souls and bodies. He gives us His perspective and His grace for that moment and for the future. In Acts 16:25-26, Paul and Silas were in jail and since worship was already a habit for them, they broke out in hymns to the Lord even while they were chained to the wall! Their worship became a weapon against the enemy and God freed them by the power of a mighty earthquake. There’s a song that I just learned that goes, “Worship is my warfare, My praise is a weapon! C’mon and bless Him, C’mon and praise His name!”

May we use this weapon of praise that our heavenly Father gives us to lift up His holy name, to push back the gates of hell, and to usher in the atmosphere of heaven with wisdom and healing for our situations.

~ Blanche

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May 7, 2016, 4:49 PM

Side by Side -- May 2016

Side by Side – Pastor John and Blanche Heidengren

Graduation! It marks the end of a long season of hard work – by both the student and their parents! Our family has two graduations this month. Katie graduates on May 8 from Wheaton College (25 miles west of Chicago) with a major in Christian Education. She will join a study tour of the Holy Lands (Israel, Turkey, Greece and Rome) until late June, and then join our family reunion in upstate New York for a week. Nicholas graduates on May 27 from Rhema Christian School in Coraopolis and will begin 9th grade at Beaver County Christian School in the fall. He enjoyed playing basketball (conference champs!) and volleyball this year, as well as winning the school “top reader” for the third year in a row.

Graduation! It marks the end of a long season of hard work. But it doesn’t end the process of learning. The Bible expects us to be lifelong learners. The word “disciple” means “learner” and Jesus calls us to “follow Him” for the purpose of learning more and more how to live our Christian life. Whether we’re in a brick-and-mortar school working on a degree or in the “school of life” (or the “school of hard knocks”) working on serving God in the world, we are still learning.

Graduation! It marks the end of one season of learning, and the beginning of a new season of learning. Pray for my daughter and son as they transition to a new season of learning, and for yourself as you continue as His disciple! What are you learning today?                                                                                                                      ~ Pastor John


 I am so excited about how God is bringing revival all across the world! I watched (on the computer as did thousands of others all around the world) on April 9th the AzusaNow gathering where Lou Engle (The Call) brought together over 75,000 Christians from all over the world in the LA Memorial Coliseum to celebrate the 110 year anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angelis. They worshiped God and cried out to Him for Revival in our day.  It was amazing! I cried and laughed and was touched deeply by the love of the Lord for me, for you, and for the lost.


I want to share with you excerpts from an article on Revival written last week by Pastor Che Ahn of HRock Church in Pasadena, California, who has been praying for this for years:

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April 9, 2016, 5:25 PM

Side by Side -- April 20116

Side by Side – Pastor John and Blanche Heidengren

How is your Lenten discipline going? How have you been doing on your New Year’s Resolution? Do you struggle to stay disciplined in your desire to grow and change and attack those bad habits and stick with new habits?


If you struggle, then you’re normal! Failure to keep resolutions we make is part of our fallen nature and reminds us how much we need God in our life and His power in our daily living. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13) is not just a Bible verse but a true and powerful promise!


So do you want to get back on track with your intention to exercise more, or read the Bible each day, or spend more time with family, or pray more for our needy world, or whatever area of your life you’d like to see more discipline? Here are a few suggestions:


1] Unrealistic goals – if we set the bar too high we may give up too soon.  2] Do a few things wellif we take on too many areas at once we may get overwhelmed and give up.  3] Get support – we were made for community not isolation – share your goals with someone else who can pray for you and help you stick with it.  4] Ask God for helpGod desires to see us become more like Jesus and become healthier in every part of our life – just invite Him into your desire to give up an old habit and start a new habit.



April 1st is often called April Fool’s Day.  What is a fool according to the Bible?  In Psalm 14:1, David writes, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.’”  So, in the old Test-ament, a fool is one who put his trust in everything but in the one who created him and saved him.  A fool is seen as being unwise and not discerning.  So Christians definitely do not want to be considered this kind of fool.

In the New Testament, Jesus tells about a “fool who built his house on the sand.”  The rains came and the house fell down and washed away because it wasn’t built on the Rock, that is on the truth that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and is the only One who has the Words of Life.  The man who build his house on the Rock, who made Christ his foundation and put his trust in Him for salvation, is the wise man.

Interestingly in 1 Corinthians 4:10, the Apostle Paul writes that he and the other apostles are "fools for Christ's sake." What do you think he means here? Well, Paul tells us in the following verses that he is willing to be a fool: as someone who is weak and held in disrepute, as someone who is hungry, thirsty, and homeless because of being persecuted for his faith in Christ. He goes on in verse 16, to urge his readers to imitate him, to be seen as a "fool for Christ." May we be this kind of "fool," able to say as Paul in verse, 12, "when reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat; when seen as scum, we don't get offended." This is the kind of fool that by God's grace I want to be! How about you?

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February 2, 2016, 8:05 AM

Side by Side – Pastor John and Blanche Heidengren

Side by Side – Pastor John and Blanche Heidengren

I’ve gone through almost half my firewood pile already – which means it’s been cold for quite some time.

Winter is here, and as I sit in front of my fireplace trying to stay warm, most people I talk to can’t wait for winter to end. What is it about winter that we don’t like?

One blogger wrote: “Well the Groundhog saw his shadow, 6 more weeks of winter.  Interpretation:  more dry skin, chapped lips, endless days of grey skies and cold dreary weather.  The only good thing about winter, and I think we all agree, is a Snow Day!”

C.S. Lewis describes his fictitious world of Narnia before Aslan comes as “always winter and never Christmas”.

Winter can be a metaphor for death – nothing is growing in winter, it’s darker, it’s cold, and can be downright depressing.

But there’s hope – winter doesn’t last forever! Soon it will be Spring with new plants bursting forth, longer and warmer days, and brighter spirits.  It’s like a resurrection! It’s like life after death.

I pray for all us as we endure winter, that we will remember it won’t last forever. There will be joy when Spring arrives.  I also pray for all of us as we endure the challenges and hardships of life on this earth, that we remember these won’t last forever.  There will be joy when we arrive in heaven.

May our hope in what’s to come be contagious and strengthen others to keep their focus on the Lord.
~ Pastor John

February is the month we think about love as we celebrate Valentine's Day. Knowing we are loved by God who knows us inside and out is everything! May we take some time to thank Him and bask in His Presence, and then share His love with our biological families, our church family here at Prince of Peace, and to those He calls us to reach out to in our communities and in mission around the world. Here are a few of my favorite Bible verses that tell us about His great love:

 John 3:16 - "For God so loved 'the world (put your name in)' that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life."

Zephaniah 3:17 - "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you, (your name), with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."
1 John3:1a - "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!"

Romans 8:37-39 - "...we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

1 John 4:19 - "We love because He first loved us.”

Psalm 86:15 - "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness."

What are some of your favorite Bible verses on God’s love?



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