Dear Family,

About 20 years ago, we were involved in a marriage group at Foothill Community Church. This group started small, but six weeks later, the group had grown to twenty couples. In one of the early meetings, Craig Dickson made a statement. The statement was simple yet profound and has stuck with me for 20 years.

The statement was, “Satan is the master of subtly.” When Craig first shared the statement, I did not appreciate the depth of it. As the years of life went on, the depth of his statement became more profound. We all can lose sight of our need for Jesus as we become more self-reliant. We skip bible study; we are absent on Sundays. We no longer have relationships in accountability. The slow fade into the world is very subtle. Pastor Dave Mattson often said from the pulpit we are all four weeks away from trouble. Pastor Dave was referring to when we skip church four weeks in a row and do not even notice it is Sunday, and we are missing church; we are in trouble.

This past week, I read that only three people in scripture had direct contact with Satan—Job, Eve, and Jesus. The tactics that Satan deploys are so subtle” “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” then, even more subtly, when he makes this statement, “But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”

This attack was no direct assault of evil. It was just a tiny twisting of words asked as a question. Eve was confronted with three things—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. After Jesus is baptized, he is led into the desert for forty days only to be tempted with the very same things Eve was.

What does Jesus say to Satan? What weapon does Jesus use to fight off this attack? He uses three simple words: “It is written.” Then, Jesus proceeds to quote scripture. As a young boy growing up in Israel, Jesus would have memorized the Old Testament. Jesus was armed to fight off this subtle attack that destroyed the Garden of Eden and led to the fall of man. Are you armed?

Did you know we have many people at Vine & Branch who are ready to do one-to-one discipleship with you? If you want this, please call so we can arrange this for you. The other opportunity is to read the bible for a year. This is overwhelming if you are like me, but I have good news.

Carah and I have found a fantastic study from the Bible Project that is easy to follow and offers 150 videos over the year to help you understand what you are reading. This plan will also allow your phone to read the scripture to you as you work through the hard-to-read passages with all the problematic names that make many of us stumble and give up reading.

To sign up, go to and come to a meeting after church this Sunday for all the details, and we will help you get your phone all ready for day one. Our goal is to arm you for the subtle attacks of Satan. See you Sunday at 9:30.

In Him,
Pastor Chris