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!