Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Praise Report on the Weekend

I wanted to just give a quick praise report on what the Lord did this last weekend. The Lord is so faithful. On Good Friday night, we had a time of worship that was a huge blessing. The School of Worship, from Calvary Costa Mesa, came out with Scott Cunningham and led us in a time of worship. Our church was overwhelmed with praise and thanksgiving for the finished work of Christ. We spent time in the Word looking at the detailed account of the crucifixion of Christ. Then we had a chance to partake of communion. Honestly i think it was the best Good Friday Service we have ever had. 

Then we prepared for our Sunrise Service on Sunday Morning at 6am. As I woke up around 345am to get ready to go. I noticed that it had rained the night before. I got a little nervous. Then as I was driving to the church it was definitely sprinkling on my car. As a pastor you immediately go into "plan B or C mode". Yet I kept driving and praying. When I arrived in San Juan it was more of a mist. We had a great turn out of people to help set up all the chairs. This year we moved our Sunrise out the parking lot at the back of the church. It worked out really well. As the sun was rising we were singing. Then we looked at that first easter morning. I had a chance to share about the two disciples on the road to Emmuas. They were two men who went from having broken hearts, to burning hearts. The difference was knowing that Jesus was alive and the scriptures being opened to them. Following Sunrise it was time to get ready for Easter in the Park. 

Easter in the Park 2011
Again I was a little concerned about the weather. It was cloudy with chance of sprinkles. We had a great turn out to set up the chairs and sound. Everyone really pitched in. We were so blessed. As we were about to start the service we prayed in the back for God to move mightily that day and hold back the rain. As the band began to lead us in worship we lifted our voices in praise. The band had planned on a number of songs. However into the 5th song it started to sprinkle on us. I quickly went up to the platform and they ended the song and people greeted one another. When I opened in prayer, i asked the Lord to part the clouds and let the sun shine on us. 
I was able to share the account of the resurrection and then gave people a chance to respond and give their lives to Jesus Christ. To accept Him as Lord and Savior. As people began to walk forward to pray in the front, the CLOUDS PARTED, and the sun came out. God is so faithful. Some of the stories of the people who gave their lives to Christ was so encouraging. God draws people to Himself. The power is in His Word. 
Following our Service we had a great BBQ and a Resurrection Easter Egg Hunt. What a great weekend. The Lord answered our prayers. Thanks to Everybody who helped serve this year and all who attended. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Life Begins at the Cross

Today is Good Friday. It is the day that we commemorate the death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. The day that Jesus hung upon the cross and took our sins. The day He was forsaken, that we would never have to be forsaken. The day that He was rejected so that we could be accepted. The question is, "what makes good friday good?" For the day that Jesus was crucified we would not have called it good. It was a day of injustice, a day of betrayal, treachery, and pain. There are a few things I would like you to consider this day. 

What makes Good Friday good....

1. Salvation was secured. Through the death of Jesus, as our substitute ,we can be saved from the wrath of God. Jesus took the wrath we deserved. 

2.Forgiveness of Sins was provided: All of the wicked things that we have done. All of the lies we have told, all the pain we have caused. All that we are ashamed of, Jesus took upon Himself and now our sins have been removed as far as the East is from the West. 

3.Reconciliation to God: We were destined to eternal separation from God for eternity because of our sin. But Jesus bridged the gap between unholy man and a holy God. 

4. The Hope of Heaven: Because of the death of Jesus the doorway to heaven has been opened to any person who will trust Christ. 

Oh what joy fills the heart that knows the savior. What love springs up in the soul of the redeemed. To know that God loves me so much that He would send His own Son to take my place. Words cannot describe both the humility and elation. I understand it was my sin that put Him there on that cross. He did not have to die for me, but HE did. Its coming to the cross of Christ where life truly begins. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Favorite Time of Year

Easter is probably one of my most favorite times of the year.  Having just returned from Israel I am even that much more excited about it. I wanted to give you an update on our services. I am hoping you can join us. The fact that Jesus is alive changes everything.

Good Friday Service at 7pm:  At our Good Friday Service we will be joined by Scott Cunningham and the School of Worship. There will be a time of praise and worship followed by a Message from Gods Word. Then a time of partaking of communion. 

Sunrise Service at 6am: Set your alarm, wake up early and join us for our Sunrise Service in the courtyard. Its an intimate time of worship and a teaching from Gods Word as the sun rises, just as it did that first Easter Morning. 

Easter in the Park at 10am: We will be combining our normal 3 services into one large service at the Historic Town Center Park Right down the street from the church. Our service in the park consists of worship, A Message from Gods Word, and a BBQ to follow. We also have a Resurrection Easter Egg Hunt with the children after lunch. It is a great time to be all together.  Dress Warm that day weather maybe a little overcast. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Back From Israel

Praying at the Wailing Wall
We returned from Israel last Saturday morning after traveling for 24hrs. I must admit I am still a little jet lagged, but for the most part doing great. Israel was amazing. This was my second time in the Holy Land, but my wife's first time. We traveled with Calvary Chapel Golden Springs and Pastor Raul Ries. Being in Israel takes your Bible from Black and White to Color. Every time you read of a certain place in your Bible you can now see it in your mind. You can take a vacation to many different places within the world. You can observe beautiful landscape, or score epic waves, but nothing compares to Israel. It is truly life changing. As the journey begins till the time it ends, it is filled with wonder.

There were many highlights for me on the trip. One of them was being on the Sea of Galilee. Waking up in our hotel room walking out on the patio and looking at the Sea of Galilee. Opening my Bible and reading of when Jesus calmed the storm. We got to take a boat out onto the Sea and had a Bible study. As we made our way across the glassy waters, I was reminded of the fact that the disciples ministry started right there. Galilee was the place where they heard Jesus say, "follow me" and they left all and followed after Jesus. Another memorable spot was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Do being in the garden where Jesus submitted to the will of His father. To think of the prayer He prayed, " not my will but Yours be done." While in the garden we had a chance to get alone with the Lord and take some time and pray. It was there in the garden that I said to the Lord, " Let Your will be done in my life. I don't want to tell you what You should do in my life. Lord You tell me what You want me to do. And give me the strength to surrender to Your plans." During the trip we had a free day in Jerusalem. The City of Jerusalem is like no other city in the world. I cannot explain it, but if you go there you will know what I mean. I had the chance to walk the wall of the city. I put on some worship music and began walking and praying on the walls of Jerusalem. At one point on my walk, I turned to the left and I saw Golgatha. The place where Jesus was crucified. Then I saw the Mt. of Olives and neared the East Gate..etc.. It was such a tremendous blessing. The trip was such a blessing that we are already beginning to plan another adventure Lord willing next year. Many in our church are now excited and have expressed and interest in going. With a year to plan that will give us time to save up. 
I must say I do miss being in Israel, however at the same time its great to be back, there is much work to do.

God bless you guys.. PJ