Friday, December 31, 2010

What is Ahead in 2011?

For most people I know, the Christmas season can get extremely busy. Once Christmas ends we begin looking toward a new year. This week I was able to get away for a few days with my family. We got to ride horses, play games,watch the snow fall, and reconnect before we embark on a new year together. I am thankful for such times. I praise God for what He did this past year. I was reflecting upon the faithfulness of the Lord in our lives. I am overwhelmed by His goodness and provision. 
As we come to 2011 I am excited to see what the Lord will do in a number of areas. With our family, ministry, and whatever else He has. I honestly don't know what to expect. I only know that I want to stay as close to the Lord as possible. I have a few desires. I would like to continue to grow in prayer. To become a better husband, father, and pastor. To continue to grow as a teacher of the Word. To continue to grow as a writer, as I have recently started a new book. The best way I know how to do these things is to keep doing what I have been doing. Love Jesus, love His Word, walk closely with Him. My resolution every year goes with my life verse....

Matthew 6:33 Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. 

I will continue to live by this verse and see where the Lord takes us in 2011. 
We sure love you guys and pray God's blessings upon you this coming year. 



picture of my dog Cali...we had some great walks together in the snow!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kindness and Love at Christmas

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Titus 3:5

If you are still uncertain what Christmas is about, here is one of the reasons for Christmas revealed in Scripture. Christmas is about the kindness and love of God our Savior. All of humanity was lost in sin. We were in need of someone to save us. We had no ability to save ourselves. We could not make ourselves worthy of saving. But the kindness and love of God defied our unworthiness, and our undeserving. Think about that for a moment, God our Savior, who is Jesus, showed us love and kindness. He came to this fallen world,suffered unjustly at the hands of sinful men so that we could be saved. The kindness and love of God was manifested in the person and work of Jesus. If you don't know it yet listen and read carefully, GOD LOVES YOU! God has shown you mercy and kindness. He has appeared, taken your place on the cross so that you could be saved. Oh blessed Christmas gift of salvation and eternal life, God with us Immanuel! It's my prayer that if you haven't received this gift of salvation, that you would. Unwrap the mercy and kindness and love of God for you. Be a wise man or women,and seek out this King.
Sometimes we assume that Christmas is only about presents under a tree, but more importantly it is about the "presence" of Jesus on a "tree", the tree of Calvary's Cross so that we could be saved. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twas the Night Before Jesus Came


T'was the night before Jesus came..."
...and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
in hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.
When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be The Day!
The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.
In the Book of Life which He held in his hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said, "It's not here" my head hung in shame.
The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were read He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.
I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.
In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Broadcast-Romans 10

Important Letters to Pastors

The Pastoral Epistles are some of my favorite books of the Bible. Probably because they were written with specific instructions for pastors. The Apostle Paul writes to two young men Timothy and Titus. Each of these men were stationed in different areas. They both were given the challenging task of leading Gods people. These books are filled with very practical information. Prerequisites for leadership are given. Clear warnings of various pitfalls in ministry that were to be avoided at all costs. These letters also have very pointed exhortations as to what these men were to be doing. For on thing they were to stay committed to teaching the Word of God. They were living and ministering at a time when many were turning from the purity of the scriptures to fables. Some had exchanged living for Jesus with becoming carnal. Both Titus and Timothy were likened to soldiers in battle. They had to stay alert and continue to fight the good fight of faith.
May God help us to apply the things that are written. Remaining faithful to Jesus!
Have a great day, lov u guys....PJ

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Joy of the Lord at a Sweater Party

As some of you may know, almost every Friday evening, my wife Michelle and I have the privilege of leading a home fellowship for the college age group. Some of our friends open up their home for these young people. The evening begins with a meal together, followed by a time of prayer for one another, then worship, and a time of interactive study of Gods Word. Pretty simple format. We have such a heart for these guys. The reason is, many of them once they get out of high school can easily fall through the cracks, or drift away from the Lord. the demands of college life and working a steady job brings many new challenges. We want to be there to consistently point them to Jesus. Furthermore there is so much potential with this group because they have the freedom to be, or to go, anywhere the Lord desires them too. The Lord called us into ministry early on in our lives, and we believe the Lord is using many of them now and in the future. 
Last night we had a great time together at our 2nd annual Christmas Sweater Party. There were some pretty amazing ensembles. It is such a joy to be able to have fun in Jesus. So many young people today are out in clubs, or bars, looking for fulfillment in things that are unfulfilling and leave you empty.  Yet to be filled with the joy of the Lord is so much better than anything this world could offer. We love these guys and pray for them that they go on to build their lives upon Jesus! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

God Is At Work

For such a time as this...

I completed the book of Esther this morning. The book serves as a testimony of the amazing, sovereign work of God in the lives of His people. To observe how Esther was supernaturally placed in a position to save her people from extinction. To read of Mordecai, sitting faithfully at the kings gate day after day, then raised up to be second in command. To consider the way the Lord had a plan all along to deliver His people, and to watch it unfold is an encouragement. The Book of Esther reminds me of the fact that God is always at work, even when I cannot see Him at work. That His plans and purposes will come to pass in my life,even if all the circumstances say the exact opposite. He is sovereign and in control. Lord let Your will come to pass in our lives today. Praying that you have a blessed day! PJ

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Married Life

Last night was a blessing. I got to drive up to Yucaipa and spend time with some married couples from Calvary Chapel Yucaipa. They have a great ministry there that hosts a series of events for married couples throughout the year. Last night was a married couples dinner. At first it was a little awkward because Michelle was unable to travel with me. So when I arrived I felt like a guy who goes to a dance without a date. I love my wife. Thankfully the pastor of the church and I got to sit together and talk about ministry and about Jesus. A few married couples, who were part of the ministry team, served the other couples a wonderful dinner. Following the desert we had a few songs of worship, and then I had a chance to share with the folks about Gods Plan For Marriage. We had a great time together, and I believe the Holy Spirit was working in the lives of those who attended. Keep CCY in your prayers as they are getting ready to break ground on their new facility. It is so exciting to see what God is doing there. It is also great when you can show up at a place and feel right at home with other believers who are of like mind. Thank You Jesus.

Last evening served as another good reminder that investing in our marriages has to be a priority. Spending time with our spouse helps strengthen and fortify the bond we have together. Being in fellowship with God's people, and reading God's Word; are key ingredients to a healthy married life. So thankful that God designed marriage, and that He left us with a plan for marriage. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Busy Time of Year

You know how some weekends are busier than others? Well this is one of those weekends. I remember one time I had a wedding, a funeral, and a baby dedication in one weekend. Needless to say there were many emotions that weekend.
Tomorrow I am heading up to Calvary Yucaipa to teach at a married couples Christmas dinner. Then my bride has a women's Christmas coffee that she is teaching at in the morning, followed by a wedding I Am performing in Pasadena that evening. Then back home for church services the next morning where the school of worship will be singing at church. I am really excited to see what the Lord will do this weekend. He is so faithful. It is a joy to serve the Lord. Prayers for strength and that Jesus would be glorified. Blessings guys...PJ

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Daily Walk Devotional: Radio Interview

Here is a recent radio interview with our friends at the Bridge FM talking about the new book
A Daily Walk.

A Wise King Became a Fool

And his wives turned away his heart after other gods....1 Kings 11:4 
As you read through the scriptures one thing that you will find is that they not only record victories of Gods people, but also their defeats. It records their steps of faith, and we are INSPIRED. And it records their steps into sin and we are WARNED. We see some of Gods servants starting out well, but not all of them finish well.
Sadly, Solomon serves as an example for us of a man that started out well, but he did not finish well.
The Lord had appeared to Solomon on two different occasions. The Lord had blessed him with unprecedented wisdom, wealth, and success. Yet over time, Solomon turned his back upon God's Word, and his heart followed. Solomon had warned others to "guard their hearts," yet he did not heed his own council.  May God help us to learn how to be victorious, and to avoid making decisions that will lead to our own demise. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Burden to Pray

that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, Nehemiah 1:6

When Nehemiah heard about the condition of his people,his heart began to break. The city lay in ruins, the gates burned with fire, and the people were a reproach. He was so many miles from them that it didn't seem like there was much he could do. No doors were open for him to leave his post in Persia. With a burden upon his heart and tears in his eyes Nehemiah begins to pray. Any significant work of God begins with a burden, that drives us to our knees. Nehemiah pleaded with God that a door would open for him to rebuild the walls that had been broken down. The desire became so great that Nehemiah prayed both day and night. Before he closed his eyes to go to sleep he prayed about the situation. When he awoke in the morning, he was praying for it again. You know the Lord has placed something upon your heart when you cannot shake the thought of it. Like Nehemiah it can consume your thoughts. It can rob you of your sleep. The burden only increases with time.
What are you and I to do? We must pray as Nehemiah did. Pray fervently, and pray faithfully for the Lord to answer. Pray for the doors to swing open wide so that you know it's the Lord calling you. Pray for the gift of faith to believe and trust in the promises of God's Word. Beseech the Lord for His strength and endurance,and wait expectantly for Him to move. Pray both day and night!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Word to Shepherds

Zechariah 10:2 They went their way as a flock, they were troubled because there was no shepherd. 

At a time when there was the need for leadership in Israel there wasn't any. The Lord had called specific men to stand in the gap for His people. They were to be like shepherds caring for a flock. A shepherd is faithful to care for the flock because he loves the sheep. He will defend the flock from predators seeking to harm the flock. He will feed the sheep in order that they would remain healthy. He will lead the flock to green pastures and still waters. When sheep are without a shepherd they are in an extremely vulnerable state. Without a shepherd they are prey to wolves. Bottom line, Sheep need a shepherd. 
In the scriptures our Lord is referred to as the Good Shepherd. The church is referred to as the sheep of His Hand. The Lord Jesus is a faithful shepherd, that loves the sheep. In fact He loved us so much that He laid down His life for us. The Bible also refers to pastors as "under shepherds" to the "Chief Shepherd." Pastors have a role in the body of Christ to care for God's people.
The Lord Jesus exhorted the Apostle Peter to feed, tend, and care for the flock. The Apostle Paul exhorted the elders of Ephesus to shepherd the flock of God which was among them. The Apostle Peter said that as pastors serve as shepherds, they are to to serve not out of obligation or restraint. They were to be examples to the flock of a godly life.

Yet reading through Zechariah this morning you can see what happens to the flock when the Shepherd is absent. First of all "they go their own way".  There is no direction for the flock. They go in all kinds of different directions. Going here, going there, starting this, starting that, with no real vision. It is a picture of wandering sheep, with every individual doing what is right in their own eyes. Second it says the sheep are "troubled".  Without a Shepherd attending to the flock, there will undoubtedly be trouble in the fold. Divisions occur,  jockeying for positions of authority, quickly individuals begin to tear down brick by brick what the Lord wants to build. It is an all around unhealthy situation. One other tragedy that occurs in a flock without a shepherd, "sheep begin to turn on one another." Zechariah 11:9 gives to us this picture, of a flock without a shepherd and the results..." Then I said, " I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each others flesh." 
Without a shepherd to feed, lead, and tend to the flock things begin to dry up and die spiritually. Because the sheep are not fed, they are starving. What happens when your starving? You will eat anything, you become desperate for nourishment, and turn on one another. 

As I read this passage this morning, it reminded me of how important it is to attend to the needs of the flock. To be a faithful shepherd and not a hireling. A hireling is one that attends to the sheep if the pay is good, or if it benefits him. Yet shepherd is one who loves the sheep, and loves the Chief shepherd, Jesus Christ. To all my pastoral friends may God help us to know the state of the flock. One way to know the state of the flock is to be with the sheep.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not Forsaken

Haggai 2:4 thus saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you.

The Lord gave His people a reminder that He was still with them. You see at this time they were attempting to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. The temple had been destroyed. Because of their rebellion against God the people had been carried away into Babylon for 70 yrs. Now they had been given the opportunity to return and rebuild. However this was not an easy task. There were many obstacles in the rebuilding process. For one thing, their enemies that surrounded them incited fear within their hearts. They were threatened to stop building or else. With all this difficulty and opposition one could easily begin to wonder,"Is the Lord truly in this? Is the Lord still with us? The day in and day out of building had begun to take it's toll, and the people grew faint. It was in that moment that the Lord spoke two things to His people.
The Lord said ,"Be strong,and I am with you! Oh how the people needed to hear those words. Perhaps today you need to hear it as well. Listen, the Lord is still with you. As things get more difficult it may seem like He isn't present, but He is. Make a note precious believer He said,"I will never leave you nor forsake you!" By the way,never means never!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

God Is On The Front Line

The LORD, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

In the presence of a great work or a great warfare, here is a text which should help us to buckle on our harness. If Jehovah Himself goes before us, it must be safe to follow. Who can obstruct our progress if the LORD Himself is in the van? Come, brother soldiers, let us make a prompt advance! Why do we hesitate to pass on to victory?

Nor is the LORD before us only; He is with us. Above, beneath, around, within is the omnipotent, omnipresent One. In all time, even to eternity, He will be with us even as He has been. How this should nerve our arm! Dash at it boldly, ye soldiers of the cross, for the LORD of hosts is with us!

Being before us and with us, He will never withdraw His help. He cannot fail in Himself, and He will not fail toward us. He will continue to help us according to our need, even to the end. As He cannot fail us, so He will not forsake us. He will always be both able and willing to grant us strength and succor till fighting days are gone.
Let us not fear nor be dismayed; for the LORD of hosts will go down to the battle with us, will bear the brunt of the fight, and give us the victory.



Charles Spurgeon-Faiths Checkbook
Sent from my iPad

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another step of faith at Calvary SJC

Today our fellowship took another step of faith, for the first time we had three Sunday morning services. We had a lot of time in prayer leading up to it. Saturday night I did not sleep well. Most of my family has been sick this last week. My wife was really sick over Thanksgiving and still was able to bless our family with an amazing meal. As Sunday was getting closer i started to feel some of the symptoms coming on. Then at about 3am Sunday morning I woke up with severe pain in my face around my cheek bones. Its sounds funny, but face hurt. It hurt to the point that I could no longer sleep. Apparently the virus was moving from my throat up to my sinus cavity. My wife was gracious enough at that hour to pray for me. I was able fall back asleep for about forty five minutes.
As I prayed I felt like this was spiritual warfare. When I arrived at church early this morning I did not have any more pain. Thank you Lord! Our services today were a blessing. It seemed very natural to have three services, it seems as though the Lord is leading us.

Its kind of cool because the church seems small again, and I feel as though I can connect with all our folks easier. And also it provides another chance for us to grow. It also gives others a chance to serve the Lord. I am excited to see what the Lord will do. I can remember only three years ago when the thought of 3 services was not a thought at all. The Lord is so faithful I long to see more people reached with the gospel. Thanks for all your support and prayers. Love you guys! PJ

Friday, November 26, 2010

Are You Running From God?

Jonah is a story in the Bible that many people are familiar with. There are many valuable lessons found within it. This morning I will mention a few. In Jonah 1:1 the Lord called Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and preach. Rather then obey Gods call, Jonah ran from God's call. In fact he ran in the complete opposite direction. God's call upon our lives is not something to run from, but to respond to. When we run from the call of God it indicates that we are not trusting God. We assume our plans are better than His. Yet God loves us deeply, and His plans are far better than anything we could come up with.
As Jonah began to run the Bible says he,"went down". He went down to the harbor found a ship to board. He then Went Down into that ship. He would eventually Go Down into the depths of the ocean. When a person runs from God it is always the way down. Sadly some only continue to go down. It's worth noting that when Jonah went to board a ship that he thought would solve His problems by taking him far away from God, a ship was available. The devil knows when a person is running from God. He will always have a vessel of death for you to board. For some it is the vessel of worldly pleasure. Always in search of a good time, good vibes,great experiences, just,"loving life", without really knowing where real life is found. A narcissistic way of living that keeps you inoculated to what reality is. For others it's the "love boat of relationships." No one wants to be alone we say, and under this premise, we search for someone to fill this aching loneliness we feel. Then you give more and more of yourself away until your all used up and broken. You see the interesting thing is it says,"Jonah paid the fare" Jonah 1:3. This is the thing that most people do not realize or consider. Running from Gods love and mercy and amazing plan for your life comes at a high price. Oh some may live there whole life unscathed from the pain of this world, yet the price they will pay for eternity is beyond devastating. May I encourage you today to realize Jesus already paid the fare for our salvation on Calvary's cross. His plans for you are good. He doesn't not want to ruin you, but bless you. Will you go His way or your own?

Blessings PJ

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mountains Turned To Plains

Mountains Turned to Plains

Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain; and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it
Zechariah 4:

At this hour a mountain of difficulty, distress, or necessity may be in our way, and natural reason sees no path over it, or through it, or round it. Let faith come in, and straightway the mountain disappears and becomes a plain. But faith must first hear the word of the LORD--"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." This grand truth is a prime necessity for meeting the insurmountable trials of life.

I see that I can do nothing and that all reliance on man is vanity. "Not by might." I see that no visible means can be relied on, but the force is in the invisible Spirit. God alone must work, and men and means must be nothing accounted of. If it be so that the Almighty God takes up the concerns of His people, then great mountains are nothing. He can remove worlds as boys toss balls about or drive them with their foot. This power He can lend to me. If the LORD bids me move an Alp I can do it through His name. It may be a great mountain, but even before my feebleness it shall become a plain; for the LORD hath said it. What can I be afraid of with God on my side?

Sent from the Faith's Checkbook Devotional, by Charles Spurgeon.



Sent from my iPad

Thanksliving

When it comes to being thankful where do you begin? There are not enough pages to write down the things I am grateful for. To begin I am above and beyond thankful for my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. To think of where I was when He found me, and where His grace has brought me, is overwhelming. I do not deserve the very least of His blessings. I have been given what i do not deserve. Salvation, grace,love, mercy, peace, provision.. And the list goes on and on. For my wife of almost 19yrs. Our four kids, our family and church family. I am so grateful this morning.
The Bible encourages us to be thankful. In everything give thanks. Not just one day out of the year, but every day we live. It is not simply "Thanksgiving"; the holiday, but "Thanksliving" the life. Praying you enjoy your day and don't get too stuffed! :o) Blessings PJ

Monday, November 22, 2010

Flourishing or Withering

Ezekiel 19:13 Now it is planted in the desert, in a dry and thirsty land. 14 Fire spread from one of its main branches and consumed its fruit. No strong branch is left on it fit for a ruler s scepter.

In Ezekiel chapter 19, the prophet is reflecting upon the nation of Israel's condition in the past. Formerly she was flourishing. At one time extremely fruitful in the land. The reason was due to her connection to God. As long as Israel chose to abide in the Lord she was blessed abundantly. At the same time, the Lord had warned the nation that if they turned away from Him, the consequences would be devastating. Sadly in time she forgot about her Savior and she turned away from the Lord to idols. What followed was a process of withering.
Now the prophet Ezekiel draws a comparison to what Israel was in the past and what she was at the present. Once planted in good soil,bearing fruit. Yet now in a dry and thirsty land. At one time she had branches that were sturdy bearing precious fruits. Now all the fruit had been consumed. The branches were so weak and brittle, that not even one could be used to make a rulers scepter. As you read this chapter it is a powerful warning to us. As long as we continue to abide in the Lord, and walk in obedience to His commands we will remain fruitful. Even during the seasons of life that are dry,we will not wither. At the same time what happened to the nation of Israel can happen to anyone who turns from the truth.
This is always the end result of life that turns from the Lord. At one time walking with the Lord, bearing spiritual fruit, now withered, bitter, and cynical. Perhaps you know people in this condition. Maybe your there yourself. It's not too late to once again sink your roots deep into the love of God. The Lord exhorted His people to turn and live. To come back to Him. And if they would respond they would be restored.

If you have time read John 15. Have a blessed day...PJ

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Praying for the Rain

James 5:17-18 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

The Lord had judged the nation of Israel for their continued rebellion. The judgment that came was a severe drought that lasted 31/2yrs. The prophet Elijah challenged King Ahab to a stand off with the false prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. During this confrontation both parties built altars to their God. They determined that the God that answered with fire would be the true God. When the false prophets of Baal had exhausted themselves with pointless praying to a false God that could not answer, Elijah prayed. When he prayed the one true God answered by fire. The people responded with shouts of praise that the God of Elijah was the one true God.
Then Elijah began to pray for rain. The land had withered physically, but the people were more than parched spiritually. Elijah got down on his knees and began to cry out to God. Meanwhile he had instructed his servant to keep his eyes on the horizon to look for rain clouds. The Bible records that 6 times Elijah prayed with no apparent result, yet he did not give up. Why? For one thing he had seen God miraculously sustain him over the last three years, as ravens brought him food, and a tiny brook supplied him with water in drought. Furthermore he had just seen the fire of God come down from heaven. He believed that God answers prayer.
Then it happened the 7th time he prayed, his servant came back with the word, " there is the cloud the size of a mans hand in the distance." Elijah gets off his knees declaring that there was an abundance of rain on it's way. I am so amazed when I read this. Not one single drop had fallen. What if the cloud blew away before it arrived? Elijah knew this was the Lord. He had an amazingly clear perspective that others did not have. He could see what others couldn't. I believe the reason was because he was a man of prayer.
What are your seeking God for at this moment? Perhaps you have prayed four times, or six months and there doesn't seem to be an answer. Don't stop praying. There is the sound of the abundance of rain in the distance, God is about to move powerfully.


Sent from my iPad

Friday, November 19, 2010

College Group

We finished the book of James in our college group tonight. What a blessing it is to gather with these young people on Friday nights and go through the Word of God. It is such a joy for Michelle and I to be able to spend time with them and pour into them the Love of Jesus.
The evening begins with dinner, then we have prayer, worship and a time in the Word. Its a great way to end a long day. Now to get ready for Sunday! Blessings PJ

Running a Race

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. (NLT)

In Hebrews chapter 12 we are to that the Christian life is likened to a race that we run. In order to run affectively we need endurance. The race we run is long distance. We are running to glory. There is a course mapped out for us by Jesus. There are things that will impede our progress. There are things that will cause us to stumble and fall. Sin is a sure way to not finish your race well. Compromise with the world is a definite hindrance to your spiritual stamina. Therefore the writer of Hebrews exhorts us to "strip off" anything that would slow us down.
The runners in ancient times would wear next to nothing in order that they could run faster. They would train vigorously in order to compete and win the victors crown. Imagine a long distance runner carrying a mountain hiking backpack as he attempted to run. He may be able to run for a short time but eventually he will have to stop.
Yet some today seek to run the race of life carrying all they can. Some will live in sin and seek to run the race for the Lord. They don't realize they are running the wrong direction and that they are not even on the right path. Then there are those who run with the weights of the world tied to them. They name the name Christ yet at the same time they are embracing and feeding upon many of the delicacies of the world that sap their endurance.
Let's ask ourselves the question this morning. Don't you want to finish well? Don't you want to run hard? Paul said "run to win". Due to the weights and sin we can carry we only run to run. Man, I want to finish well. I want to run the race faithfully. I want to hear my savior say" well done good and faithful servant."

Is there anything today that you need put aside that is hindering you from running your race?

Blessings. PJ

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Night at the Avo Theater

Tonight was my friend Joe Henschel's CD release party at the Avo Theater in Vista, CA. I met Joe for the first time many years ago when he was in jr. high, when I worked at Calvary Chapel Vista. Now he is grown up, married, and a great musician.  I had the privilege of writing one of the  songs with Joe on his latest CD.  Joe also collaborated with Evan Wickham,who played keys tonight. Also our dear friend Alison,  from our worship team, sang an incredible duet with Joe.
Singing tonight brought back a lot of great memories. There was a time in my life when I felt that music was the direction the Lord was taking me. I loved to write music, and play music. Yet there came a point when God changed my course slightly. Don't get me wrong, I still love to worship the Lord with all my heart, but its been some time since i have written and "performed" anything. All I can say is I was inspired tonight to pick my guitar back up and write some more. Who knows maybe one of these days I will get some music out there. I have been talking about it forever, and even seeking to make a few attempts here and there. 
Suffice it to say Joe has a New CD out and its awesome. 

If you would like to get a hold of Joe Henschel's Latest CD or about how to see him live, you can go to his website... night gang...PJ




Potters House

In the book of Jeremiah the Lord encouraged the prophet to go down to a potter's house and observe him working with the clay. Then the Lord said to Jeremiah, ""O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the LORD. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!" The Lord is the potter and Israel is the clay. Last night we had the privilege of observing a real life demonstration of this by Mike and Pam Rozell, of Pottersfield Ministries. 
Pastor Mike showed us how that the Lord is the potter and that He is molding and shaping our lives. The potter knows what He is making. The clay is unaware of the potters plan. The potter lovingly and consistently spins the clay and shapes it within his hands. The clay is to yield to the touch of the potter. We were reminded that we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus. The Lord started the work in us and He will be faithful to complete it. At one point in the presentation Mike began to take out the "gunk" within the pot. He and his wife Pam explained how this is the work that the Lord does within our hearts. Although I had seen the presentation before, the Lord ministered to me in a fresh way. He reminded me of His love for me. I understood that He is not done with me. It also reminded me of the power of God to change a life that is hardened by sin, and can be softened by the Word. If you ever get a chance to see Mike and Pam go, you will be radically blessed. I think they posted the video archive on our website. Also you can go to their website and get more information. 

Hey, if you are feeling today like you are spinning on the potter's wheel wondering what is taking place, rest assured the hands that are molding and shaping you are nail pierced hands. Which means they are hands of love.  Have a blessed day! PJ

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sharing With A Captive Audience

I am reading the book of Ezekiel at the present time, chapters 3-5. Ezekiel's ministry was not easy. The Lord called him to minister to those who had rebelled against the Lord. Because of this they were not all that excited to hear from the prophet who represented the Lord. Yet the Lord reassured His prophet that He had prepared Him for this work. The Lord said that He would make Ezekiel's forehead like flint. In order that Ezekiel could faithfully proclaim the truth in the face of opposition.
As Ezekiel went down to where the captives were stationed, the first thing that he did was sit with them. In sitting with them he got a clear perspective on what they were going through. That is always a good thing to do in order to have some idea of who you are ministering to. Sit with them, listen to them,see what is truly going on. Then you will be able to affectively assist them.
The house of Israel was dying. The leadership had faltered, as a result the people followed suite. It was a difficult situation. Yet in that hour, God raised up Ezekiel to minister to the captives. To speak to the remnant. To be a watchmen to warn the people.
Perhaps today the Lord may send us to those who are captives of sin. They are suffering the consequences of decisions that they have made. If God calls you, go to them, sit with them, speak to them Gods Word. Do not condemn them, love them with the love of Jesus.
Have a blessed day.PJ

Hey by the way if you ever want to send so e feedback you can drop me a line at adailywalk@gmail.com.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Never Alone

I am in the Sacramento area tonight filling in for a pastor friend of mine who is presently on a missions trip to Africa. It's exciting because my younger sister is also on that trip. Keep them in prayer. I am blessed to be back at this fellowship. It is the church of one of my favorite bible teachers and my former high school youth pastor. Would you lift me up in prayer tonight if you think about it. I want to represent our Lord humbly and faithfully. I desire to be a blessing to the congregation here. I don't want to simply teach another Bible study, I need the Lord Jesus to be here tonight. I need the anointing that only His Holy Spirit can provide. Speaking of the Holy Spirit while flying on the airplane I had a chance to do a little reading. I revisited a book I have read before. A book by R.A. Torrey on the work of the Holy Spirit.
In the first chapter he wrote that when a person begins to understand that the Holy Spirit is a person it has an amazing impact on their life. One thing that stood out to me today was the relationship we have with the Holy Spirit. He is always with us. When I comprehend His presence it is a great deterrent to sin. I love the Lord and therefore I would never want to do anything to jeopardize this love relationship. I also am blessed to know that i am not alone. It should bring tremendous joy to your heart today Christian to know that you are not alone. The Lord promised to be with us by His Holy Spirit even to the end of the age.

Thanks for your prayers!

PJ
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Surf

Open Doors

As I continue to prepare for our services tomorrow I read a marvelous quote. It was taken from the scripture that declares God opens the doors no man can shut and shuts the doors that no man can open..Rev.3
" God opens doors for ministry and ministers today. "I would like to bear witness that I have proved this Philadelphian promise of the open door through years of ministry and it has never failed. Promotion does not come from the south, east, or west, but from God; and if we commit our way unto Him and trust Him, He will bring it to pass . . . God's man is not dependent on religious talent scouts nor is his ministry in the hand of ecclesiastical officials. His headquarters is heaven and his itinerary is made up by the Lord of the Open Door." (Havner)

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Amazed Again

Amazed! I don't know why I am, I really shouldn't be. What am I amazed about you ask ? I am continually astounded at how the Lord works in ways that go beyond my ability to comprehend. Specifically, how He confirms His will and purposes for our lives when we seek Him.
I am blown away by the power of Gods Word. I am dumbfounded at the working of the Holy Spirit. At the present I am to stand in faith believing that what God has promised He is able to perform. Like Habakuk in the tower, I will wait for the word the Lord will speak, and the direction He will give. Like Ruth waiting for Boaz to fulfill His promise, I wait for my greater than Boaz to work on my behalf. Like Abraham and Sarah waiting for the arrival of Isaac, I wait upon my Lord. Like David dwelling in Hebron, serving in Judah I will wait for the fulfillment of Gods promise.
I want to say that it is good to be reminded today that the Lord is working. And that although time can go by, it is no cause to doubt that the Lord will do what He has said. It is encouraging to know that you are on the right track, and that the Lord remains faithful even when we are faithless. Keep believing as you walk by faith and not by sight.....P.J


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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Better Than Anything


Currently I am reading through the book of Hebrews devotionally. Wow, amazing!!! The writer of Hebrews emphasizes how great Jesus truly is. He does so by drawing comparisons. He points out that Jesus is "BETTER THAN".
Jesus is better than the angels. Although angels are Gods ministering spirits to assist the believer they are in no way on the same level with Jesus.
Jesus is better than the old sacrificial system. The sacrificial system opened up a way for man to approach God. Yet the sacrificial system was limited. For it could only cover sin, it could not remove sin. When Jesus came he was able to not only to cover our sins, but to remove our sins. Thus Jesus is SOOOO much better. Jesus is better than the former priesthood of the Old Covenant. The former high priest not only had to atone for sins of the people, but also for his own sins. As our High Priest, Jesus was without sin. He was not only the high priest offering up the sacrifice, but He is also the sacrifice. Mind boggling? i know... Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. What does all this mean?
It means because of what Jesus has done, our sins our forgiven. It means we have access to the throne room of grace. It means we have the glorious hope of heaven. I echo with a joyous cry of the writer of Hebrews, that "JESUS IS BETTER," HE IS BETTER THAN ANYTHING.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Letters to the 7 Churches


On Sundays we are studying the book of Revelation. Presently we are looking at the 7 letters to the churches in chapters 2-3. Jesus gave a specific word that each church needed to hear. It has been a radical time of study for me personally. As I look at each letter it gives me a chance to look at my own life. I believe that through the examination of these letters to the church the Lord has been moving in our own church by His Holy Spirit. It is a joy to see folks come with Bibles in hand ready to study Gods Word. The Lord tells in Revelation that there is a blessing attached to everyone who will hear, read and apply the book to their lives. It is my prayer that our church will continue to receive that blessing that has been promised. Have a good night.. PJ

Monday, November 8, 2010

Alive from the Dead



(not the actual photo of incident)

Last Thursday felt like a summer day. The sun was shining, and the ocean was glassy. Because our kids had a half day of school my wife took them to the beach. The children were having a great time being in the water in November. Then all of the sudden an older man, around the age of 52, came out of the water with surfboard in hand. He started to stumble, and then collapsed on the beach. He did not get up. A youth pastor and his wife ran to the mans aid. Then a young 20yr. old girl began to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation. the next person to arrive on the scene was my wife Michelle. Jay Campbell had a heart attack. Suddenly everyone went into action. There were many believers on the beach that day they started praying. Two surfers arrived taking turns with heart compressions to start Jay's unresponsive heart. For fifteen minutes they pressed upon Jays chest. Then two lifeguards arrived, who were Christians, working frantically to revive this man. Jay's body had turned blue, and his frame began to swell. Finally the paramedics arrived and found that there was no pulse, Jay was dead. They took out the defibrillator and charged his body three separate times, and established a weak pulse. Then they whisked him away to the hospital. As the ambulance pulled away a group of Christians gathered on the beach to pray for Jays life.
My wife assumed that Jay was dead. It was a traumatic experience, to say the least. Following the women's Bible study Friday morning, Michelle received a text from a friend who was on the beach with her, Jay was alive. A man who was formerly dead on the beach was brought back to life. We were overcome with amazement.
Following our services Sunday morning, Michelle and I went to see Jay in the ICU unit. He was sitting up. We met his wife and two daughters. It turns out Jay was also a Christian. My wife was able to recount the details on the day he died and how God had spared his life. We then had the privilege of praying with the family. My wife said that this experience, " has changed her life." I realize that life is short and God holds our very breath in His hands.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CCWLC 2010 In His Presence


This years worship leaders conference was a tremendous blessing. Tuesday night for me was a real highlight. In approaching the theme of "In His Presence" it is somewhat intimidating. The reason if that the Lord is omnipresent. He is everywhere at once. His is so incredibly vast. I felt led to speak upon accessing the presence of God through prayer.
Prayer is the doorway into the presence of the Lord. Jesus invites us to come before the throne of grace, and through prayer I enter into His courts praise and thanksgiving. I come before my King humbly yet confidently because of the finished work of Jesus on my behalf. Following our time in the Word of God we had a time of applying what we learned in worship and waiting on the Lord.
My friend Evan Wickham led in worship. During our time together we had a time of directed prayer. There was a time of praising the Lord for who He is. Then a time of confession and making things right with the Lord. Followed by an opportunity to pray for a fresh outpouring of Gods Spirit upon us. It was such a blessing. Times of refreshment truly came from the presence of the Lord that night. Thanks to all who prayed for us this week. Our prayers were answered. The Lord is faithful. Also we were able to make the new devotional book A Daily Walk available to all our friends. Love you guys.. PJ

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Accessing Gods Presence through Prayer


I am presently at the worship leaders conference. Worship was amazing last night. Pastor Brian Broderson shared a powerful message about the presence of the Lord. He taught that we need to have a desire for the presence of the Lord. That we should ask for the presence of the Lord. And that by faith we can expect God to meet with us. He also taught what we can find in the presence of the Lord. There is fullness of joy in the presence of the Lord. There are times of refreshing that come from the presence of the Lord. There is a proper perspective that we gain when coming into the presence of the Lord. It was a fantastic message.
Today starts another day. Bob Caldwell will be speaking, then later on Jack Hibbs. I will be sharing this evening. I believe I will be sharing on accessing the presence of God through prayer.
Pray that you are having a blessed day. I will let you know how things go..

Monday, November 1, 2010

New service,website, book release


Worship Conference: Good morning! Hope your Monday is starting off well. I am headed to the Worship Leaders conference today at Murrietta. I am excited to see what the Lord has for us. I will be teaching Tuesday night, I could use some prayer for that. I need to hear from Jesus on what to share. http://ccwlc.cccm.com/

3rd Service Also I wanted to let you know if you have not heard that we announced yesterday at church that we are adding a 3rd service on Sunday morning. We have had some issues with parking for a little while now. The leadership spent time in prayer and sensed the Lord leading us to take a step of faith. Starting November 28th, services will be held at 7:45am, 9:30am, 11:15am. please keep us in prayer. If you would like to help serve we could use it..

Website: I am pleased to announce CCSJC new website is up and running. I really like the new design. It makes it easier for us to keep the content updated. We still have live streaming and archiving, and all that we had before. This site is much easier for the staff to manage. I think it represents the church really well. I am especially excited about the missionary pages.

Book Release: After much effort the book is completed. A Daily Walk 180 day devotional will be offered starting Sunday Nov.14th, at CCSJC. Also we will have copies available at the worship leaders conference this week. The book will also be able to be purchased via our new updated website this week www.adailywalk.org. Also the book will be available for downloads via epub. meaning you can read it on your kindle, or other electronic readers ipad. Calvary Distribution will also be carrying the book and it can be ordered for your book store if you desire. All the proceeds of the book go right back into the ministry. Honestly a little intimidated to put a book out. My prayer is that Jesus would use it to touch peoples lives. I would appreciate your prayers on this as well.
(look for the website to be updated this week.) www.adailywalk.org

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Iron Man Dinner with David Rosales


Last night we had our monthly Iron Man Dinner. The Iron Man dinner consists of great food, wonderful fellowship, a time of worship, and a teaching from a guest Pastor. We were blessed to have Pastor David Rosales from Calvary Chapel Chino Valley join us. I have always been encouraged and blessed by Pastor Davids teaching. He has a tremendous gift of exhortation as he teaches God's Word. This gift of exhortation inspires me to live for Jesus. At times when I have listened to his messages I have experienced the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the need to examine my heart and see if I am where I need to be as a Christian man. Pastor David spoke from Philippians 1, where Paul speaks of having a walk worthy of the gospel. David pointed out that there are many today who are "doctrinally sound in their theology, but practically carnal in their daily living." This he made clear from the scriptures, was a inconsistency in the life of the believer. There should be something about the way I live my life that looks less like this world and more like Jesus. David also made mention of the importance of blooming where you are planted. Serving in your congregation that the Lord has placed you is important. Not simply sitting idly, but serving faithfully. For many this is a missing part of their Christianity. David shared a story of a women who visited his church and said," this is my first time here and I wanted to know what this church has to offer me?" David responded by saying," the question is what do you have to offer this church?"
The overall theme of Davids message was, the fruit of being a Christian will manifest itself in a changed life. What I say I believe will ultimately affect the way that I live. As I left the church last night my prayer was, " Jesus let your life be seen through my life. Let me decrease so You can increase."

Thanks Pastor David for Blessing the men of our church with a timely and much needed word.

Monday, October 25, 2010

school of worship getting armor on

video

Open Mic Night


As some of you may know I teach a class once a week at the School of Worship at Calvary Costa Mesa. The school of worship provides a place for worship leaders to be further equipped in their gifts. The school is a one year program that emphasizes musical development as well as biblical instruction. This year is somewhat of a special year for me because my eldest son attends the school.
Last night we traveled to a placed called the Galley. The Galley is a small little restaurant on the Harbor in Newport. When we arrived the students began showing up with guitars in hand and songs in their hearts. It was a blessing to listen to them sing the songs God had given them. Also it was a lot of fun because we got free milkshakes. It is a such a joy to be a small part of what God is doing in the lives of the students as they prepare for what the Lord has them in the future.

P J

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Staying Connected


Dear Friends

I wanted to take a moment and share with you some ways we are seeking to stay connected.

1. Calvary Chapel San Juan Capistrano is updating its website here in the next few days. The new site will give you a chance to get a better understanding of what goes on at the church, here and abroad. look for that soon at ccsanjuancapistrano.com.
There will also be a mobile site included

2. A Daily Walk-the book comes out the second week in November. The book is a 180 devotional that combines biblical truth with spiritual application. I wrote it for both the new believer as well as the seasoned saint. You will be able to purchase it from our website adailywalk.org, or here at the church or Calvary Distribution, etc.. We just want to get it into the hands of people. Any proceeds from the book go right back into ministry, I do not make anything from them.

3. New Web Site: A Daily Walk is launching a new website in the next few days as well.
www.adailywalk.org

4. Twitter Updates: In an effort to stay connected and be a blessing we are connecting to Twitter.
( once the book is released this is a connection that will send out daily quotes from the book as a source of encouragement to you)
(this is my personal account where I send out verses, prayer requests, and other random things :))
(this is a connection for ministry updates from Calvary Chapel San Juan Capistrano)

Friday, October 15, 2010

You Are Loved


I heard a story years ago about the great Theologian Karl Barth. Barth has been referred to as " the most outstanding and consistent evangelical theologian that the the world has seen in modern times." He wrote volume after massive volume on the meaning of life and faith. On one occasion a reporter once asked Dr. Barth if he could summarize what he had said in all those volumes. Dr. Barth thought for a moment and then said: "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so." How simple, and yet how profound.
The love of God is something that is found within God's very nature. We are told in 1 John 4:8 "God is love." Love is, who He is. God's love is unconditional. His love goes beyond human comprehension. "God loves the World," says John 3:16. Yet for all of the times in the scriptures where we read of God's love, there is the demonstration of His love that is the most astounding. For the Bible tells us, "that God demonstrates His love in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."Romans 5:8
While we were opposed to God. When we were as far away from God as we could possibly be, He loved us then. When we were dead in our trespasses and sins, and preparing ourselves for wrath, He loved us. It was because of His love that He came to save us. The Apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesian church would comprehend the "height, depth, length, width, of God's love for them. And that they would know the love of God that is past finding out." Ephesians 3:18-19 How does one know a love that is beyond knowing? I don't know! :0) Needless to say God loves you and me. He loves us enough not to leave us the way that we are. One final thought this morning concerning the love of God. The Apostle John said, "Beloved if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." 1 John 4:11. If we have had the love of God poured out upon us, we in return are to love God and love others.

have a blessed day!- PJ

Monday, October 11, 2010

Don't Leave Your First Love


Yet I have this one thing against you that you have left your first love. Rev. 2
The church in Ephesus was commended by Jesus for many things. For one thing they were and active church. They served the Lord faithfully in ministry. They were also a persevering church. In the midst of the darkness of the city, they were a bright light. Persevering through persecution they experienced. Furthermore they were a discerning church. As false doctrines swirled all around them, they stayed true to the Word of God. The church would neither harbor sin, nor give place to abhorrent doctrine. The church had been built on a solid foundation. Yet for all of praiseworthy things that were taking place Jesus said He had one thing against them. The church in Ephesus had left their first love. It does not say that they LOST IT, BUT LEFT IT. The distinction between leaving and losing is important. Something can be lost quite by accident, but leaving is a deliberate act, though it may not happen suddenly. Conversely, when we lose something we don’t know where to find it, but when we leave something, we know where to find it. The question is how did this happen, and how can this be avoided?
A process of subtle spiritual erosion had taken place. It was not their love for the ministry that was called into question,or not their dedication to service, but their heartfelt devotion to savior. Perhaps they took for granted their relationship with Jesus. They no longer possessed that, "spontaneous sparkle" of love for the Lord. It all became routine without romance. Maybe they elevated the blessings of the Lord to a place of idolatry in their lives. Whatever it was they had left their love for Jesus behind. Thankfully Jesus came them the solution to deal with this sin.
Jesus gave them four things that they need to do.

1. Remember: Remember from where they had fallen.
2. Repent: What they had done was sin and therefore they needed to repent.
3. Repeat: Go back and do the things that they were doing before.

The results would very depending on how they responded to the exhortation of Jesus.

Either they would return and receive the reward that Jesus promised. Or they would not return and continue the path they were traveling and miss out on the fruit that could have been theirs.

Don't Leave Your First Love!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lessons From The Thorns


I am not a person who has a green thumb. I can mow a lawn, pull some weeds, and even replace a sprinkler; but I am no expert. Today I spent some time picking weeds while listening to worship. I find it relaxing and refreshing, I know strange right? We have a few rose bushes on our patio. When they bloom they are beautiful to behold. The colors coupled with the fragrance are amazing. However I noticed today that in some of the bushes a number destructive things had occurred. Many of the leaves had holes in them. Some bugs ate their fill and in the process affected the roses. In addition to the bugs I noted some weeds that had grown around the bushes as well. Finally, and probably the most painful part, one of the weed like bushes that needed to be removed was full of thorns. Then it dawned on me. If the beauty of those flowers was going to come forth I was going to have to pull the weeds and prune the bushes.
I began the process, "note to self, next time wear a long sleeve shirt". As I reached down into the bushes to take hold of the thorny weeds, I found myself getting scratched in the process. I got a couple thorns stuck in my fingers as well. Honestly, you start to think, "is this really worth it, this hurts a little?... no I did not cry.. but i was grieved..:0).. anyway another thought occurred to me. For these flowers to be all that they were intended to be, for the beauty to come forth the hindrances had to be removed.
Sometimes in our own individual lives, our marriages, in the raising of our kids, we allow the weeds to overgrow the garden. We can easily neglect the garden that produces beauty, and the fragrance of Christ. Then when things are overgrown we say, "Oh whats the use, this is going to be painful to work through? I don't know thats its worth it? Who needs flowers? Besides the weeds are green?" You know what I am talking about? Have you allowed some weed like things to take over the garden? Is the beauty of your marriage, or your personal devotional time with Jesus being choked out? Its not too late to do some gardening. Put the gloves on and go for it. The result of daily tending the spiritual garden is fruit that remains for the glory of the Lord. (John 15)

Blessings.. PJ

We Need Each other


But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 1 Corinthians 12:20

The church in Corinth seemed to have all of the spiritual gifts in operation. Yet they were not using those gifts in unity. Some who had the more prominent gifts in the congregation were overestimating their gifts, and underestimating the need for other gifts. When this attitude begins to arise, it creates rivalries. It fosters an independent spirit that can lead to division from others. The Apostle Paul shared with the Corinthians that they were to function like a human body. With the understanding that each part is necessary to the entire body.
Just like a part of your physical body cannot say to another part of your physical body, " I don’t need you. Your not wanted here." To your arm you cannot say, " I have been dragging you around for years, I am turning you lose." If you did that you would be crippled in one sense. The Church becomes crippled when we operate this way as well. The truth is we need each other. When every person is doing there share great things are accomplished. When all the churches are preaching and teaching the Word of God, entire communities are transformed. No member, pastor, congregation is to be an island unto itself. We need Jesus and we need one another.

Bradley Wedding

videoWas a blessing being able to be a part of this wedding yesterday. PJ