Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Church Planting

Church Planting 101: Pastor Brian Broderson of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa is doing a series ,on his "Back To Basics" web site about ministry.  He will bring in various pastors and leaders to discuss various topics. Today the topic was Church Planting. It was good to get a chance to sit down with my pastor and talk about planting churches. As I began to reflect upon planting a church almost 14 years ago a lot of memories came flooding back to my mind. I began to think about the faithfulness of God in our lives when we ventured out. The realization we came to that without the Lord we could accomplish absolutely nothing. Then to think about all that God did in those ten years in the South East of Florida was amazing. 

Then we began to discuss the process that the Lord took us through in moving back to Southern California. This too was mind boggling to think about. I shared with Brian that two of the most difficult decisions we have made so far in ministry was, 1.moving to Florida  to plant a church, 2.then moving back to take over a work, here in California. But in each case the Lord has shown Himself faithful. He has provided, He has worked, He has blessed. Because He alone is good. He alone deserves the glory and the credit. I have nothing to offer people in and of myself. I am still as in need of Jesus in the work of the ministry as I have ever been. 
And Praise the Lord He is still as powerful as ever to work in and through me if I will yield to Him. I am thankful for the journey the Lord has had me on thus far. And I am excited to see what He will continue to do.

Here is a Link to the Back to Basic Sight.
The Interview will be up in a week or so. But the resources on the site are a blessing: 

Pure Worship Conference

Last Years Conference
Well it is that time of year again, time for the annual Pure Worship Conference 2011. If you are currently leading worship at your church, or if you just enjoy time of worship you won't want to miss this years conference. Pure Worship combines Biblical Teaching with Practical workshops to further equip you to serve the Lord in the area of leading worship. 

Here are some of those who will be sharing at the conference:

Britt Merrick: Britt is the Pastor of Reality Church in Carpinteria California. I have known Britt for a few years now and his passion for Jesus and love for the Word are inspiring. Recently Britt and his wife have been trusting the Lord for a healing of their Daughter Daisy. In spite of all the battles they have faced as a family, Jesus is being glorified. Britt recently released a book entitled " BIG GOD". It is an amazing book about trusting God. A must read!

Brenton Brown:
 Brenton is a singer/songwriter from South Africa. I have had the privilege of getting to know Brenton over the last couple years. This guy is the real deal. He loves Jesus and he is a gifted musician. Brenton has written so many incredible songs such as,  Everlasting God, All who are Thirsty, Adoration, Hosanna, and many more. One of the things I love about Brenton is his humble attitude and approachability. Also I like his accent and that he and I share a passion for surfing. :0)

Mike Harris: Mike Pastors Calvary Chapel Beachside in Huntington Beach California. Mike has been a longtime friend and confidant to me. The Lord has used his friendship and support in my life, on several occasions over the years. Mike is a man who loves Jesus and is dedicated to call of God regardless of the struggle. He has been a great example for me. He is an excellent Bible teacher, pastor, and an even greater friend. 


Friday, March 18, 2011

Israel and the Last Days

Like many of you I have been seeking to stay updated on the ongoing crisis in Japan. I turned on CNN last night and watched an interview with the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Nentanyahu. I found it somewhat annoying that the reporter was consistently interrupting the Prime Minister when he was answering questions that he was being asked. Furthermore I found some of the insinuations by the reporter concerning Israel, rather ignorant. However it was still an amazing interview because it revealed much of what the Bible says will happen during the last days.  
REBIRTH OF A NATION: The Lord said in His Word, "I (God) will bless those who bless  you (Israel) and will curse those who curse you" Gen.12:3. The Bible reveals that the destiny of the world is linked to Israel and to Jerusalem. The Bible predicted that Israel would come back as a nation, though they were scattered for almost 2500yrs. In Isaiah 66:8 "Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?  Shall the Earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children."(Note: This prophecy was fulfilled in one day - on May 14, 1948) The question is, what has the world done with the fulfillment of this prophecy? Many have simply ignored it. 
NATIONS TURNING AGAINST ISRAEL: The Bible also talks about the nations of the world going against Israel.
 "Behold, I (God) will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling(anger, fear) unto ALL the people (nations) round about . ." (Zechariah 12:2) "And in that Day   (the "Day of the Lord" ... the coming "Apocalypse")I (God) will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for ALL people" (Zechariah12:3)

By the way, this is happening right now, at the present time. As I listened to Piers Morgan from CNN fire questions at the prime minster I was amazed at his comments when he said, " It is no longer about Israel and the Palestinians, but its about the whole region. The whole region is unstable and you have many battles to fight now." Morgan went on to say that IF Israel was willing to make even more concessions then the whole international community including America would be behind Israel.  Morgan even hinted at Israel being willing to give up East Jerusalem..outrageous! Then he said, "There's another way of looking at it. They're pushing Israel away. Isn't that worrying for you? What they're doing is isolating you and saying, if you don't do a deal here, and you're in a position to do this, well, OK, we're going to bypass you. That puts you in a more isolated position. Doesn't it?" Then the most amazing quote at the end of the interview: "The whole world is looking at Prime Minister Netanyahu to do something. They're looking to you to be the hero, not to be the villain. And I can't believe, given your love of history, given your position in Jewish history, that you don't want to be that guy that delivers what the world wants you to deliver."

Bottom line  this CNN reporter was in essence a spokesperson speaking the attitude of the world at this moment concerning Israel. The amazing thing is it is lining up with biblical prophecy.  What Piers Morgan and the rest of the "international community" don't have to face everyday is the threat of annihilation.  I wonder if Piers Morgan would be so willing to make the consesions he suggests Israel should  make if it took place in his beloved England. Think if the following statements were said about the United States, how would we respond.. 

“It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region.”—Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in January 2001
One bomb is enough to destroy Israel. . . . In due time the Islamic world will have a military nuclear device.” —Iranian president Rafsanjani in December 2001 

“Israel must be wiped off the map.” —Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on October 26, 2005 

“Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. . . . The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm . . . [because] its existence has harmed the dignity of Islamic nations.” —Ahmadinejad on April 14, 2006

GOD WILL DEFEND HIS PEOPLE: We know that when the nations of the world fight against Israel, and they will, that God will defend her. 


Great website to follow Joel Rosenburg

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shaking the Nations


With the massive earthquake and tsunami hitting Japan less than a month after the destructive quake in New Zealand, you have to begin to wonder: is it just a coincidence that these things seem to be happening with more and mor e frequen cy and intensity, or are we seeing a fulfillment of what the prophets said would precede the second coming of Christ?
I personally think it is the latter. Listen to the words of Haggai who prophesied around 520 BC.
For thus says the LORD of host: “Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations. …” (Haggai 2:6-7).
This prophecy seems to be being fulfilled both figuratively and literally right before our very eyes. We see the figurative fulfillment in the shaking up of the social structures of the nations, most notably across the Middle East; but we’ve also seen similar things across Europe and even in the U.S. as of late, i.e. the protests in Wisconsin, Indiana, New Jersey, etc.
The literal fulfillment is in the increased number and destructive nature of these catastrophes especially, but not exclusively earthquakes and tsunamis.
The following is a chronology of major earthquakes and tsunamis and their death tolls in recent years:
New Zealand: February 22, 2011, A powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand, killing at least 166 people.
China: April 14, 2010, A quake of between 6.9 and 7.1 magnitude killed at least 2,039 people and devastated rural homes in remote Yushu county, Qinghai province, 2,500km west of Beijing.
Chile: February 27, 2010, A magnitude 8.8 earthquake hits central Chile, about 91km north-east of the city of Concepcion and 317km south-west of the capital, Santiago, killing more than 400 people.
Haiti: January 12, 2010, A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hits the capital Port-au-Prince, demolishing buildings across the city, killing more than 200,000.
Sumatra, Indonesia: September 30, 2009, Magnitude 7.6 earthquake hits the city of Padang and surrounding areas, killing more than 1,100 people.
Samoan islands: September 29, 2009, A magnitude 8 to 8.3 quake hit between the islands of Samoa and American Samoa, triggering a powerful series of tsunamis. At least 186 people are killed.
Italy: April 6, 2009, A 6.3 magnitude quake struck the city of L'Aquila, in the mountainous Abruzzo region, east of Rome, killing at least 292 people.
China: May 12, 2008, More than 70,000 people were killed in Sichuan province after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region.
Pakistan: October 8, 2005, At least 73,000 people were killed by a 7.6 magnitude quake that struck about 95km northeast of Islamabad. The quake also rocked Indian-administered Kashmir, killing 1,244 people there.
Aceh, Indonesia: December 26, 2004, A massive 9.1 magnitude quake strikes off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering a series of deadly tsunamis that sweep across the Indian Ocean. Around 230,000 people are killed, with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand among the worst-hit countries.
Iran: December 26, 2003, A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the historic city of Bam, 1,000km southeast of Tehran. More than 30,000 were killed.
Algeria: May 21, 2003, A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Algiers and nearby towns to the east, killing 2,251 and injuring 10,243.
India: January 26, 2001, An earthquake of magnitude 7.7 struck the western state of Gujarat killing at least 19,700 people and causing damage in neighboring Pakistan. The quake affected 15.9 million people in 7,904 villages.
There were at least five other major quakes measuring around or above 7.0 that I omitted for purposes of space. That gives a number of around 20 major quakes since 2000. When you add up the death toll, the numbers are pretty staggering!
Notice the other part of the prophecy though. The shaking of the nations results in a coming to the “Desire of All Nations.” What does that mean? Some believe the Desire of All Nations is a reference to the Messiah, who we know to be Jesus Christ.
This is exactly what we have been seeing. As the nations are being shaken, people are turning to Christ by the droves. This was the case in Asia after the massive tsunami at the end of 2004. This has certainly been the case in Haiti, and I believe this will be the case in Japan as well. Not to mention the numbers of men and women in the Muslim world coming to Christ as they see their nations shaken by terrorism and by social and political unrest.
We ourselves should not necessarily expect things to get better socially, politically, economically, or even morally. Perhaps they will, but even if they don’t, we shouldn’t be dismayed because God does His greatest work in times of distress.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Israel Trip 2011

We are only a few weeks away from our trip to Israel. This will be my second visit. The first time was several years ago. But this time I am really excited because along with folks from our church, my wife will be with me. Going to Israel is a trip of a lifetime. Especially if you are Christian. To walk where Jesus walked, to go on a boat across the Sea of Galilee is unbelievable. It puts takes your Bible reading from black and white, into technicolor, or better yet, HD. By that I mean, when you read of a location  in scripture you can now see that spot in your mind. 
Our church will be going along with Pastor Raul Ries and Calvary Chapel Golden Springs. In all, there will be around 250 people or so. We will be gone for 10 days. Thankfully I will only be missing one Sunday Service. I hope to send some photos and get some blogging up if time permits. Anyway thanks for your prayers for traveling mercies as we prepare to depart. SHALOM OUT!....PJ

Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan and Other Parts of the World

This morning I had plans to meet some friends for an early morning surf. However when I arrived I was greeted by a frantic woman screaming at me to turn my car around, and that the beach was closed. Although I was a little shocked by the way she was acting, the badge she wore was enough to convince me I needed to turn around. As I began to drive away, I pulled up next to another car and asked a fellow surfer what the problem was. He informed me of the Tsunami that had just hit Japan due to a 8.9 earthquake.  I quickly drove home and turned on the news. The pictures of the fallout of the earthquake and Tsunami were devastating. The panic on the faces of the people and the early numbers of the death tole being broadcast broke my heart. Then to hear the CNN reporter say, "the pictures are apocalyptic", was unbelievable. In so many ways you feel helpless. You want to get on a plane and assist those people. These are human beings in desperate need. Yet where should we go first, Haiti, India, Africa, Iran, Egypt, Libya, or Japan. All over the world the signs of the times are increasing. 
Jesus said in Matthew 24 that there were various signs that would take place in the world revealing that we are in the last days.
Matthew 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 
All of those things that Jesus mentioned have always been with us. The world has always been at war, the world has always had famine, the world has always had disease and earthquakes. Although that is true, things have never been as intense around the world as they are right now. Look at Iran, China, Russia, and a host of other countries coming together just as the Bible predicted. This very Day  in the world Japan experienced the 4th largest earthquake in the history of the world. Please allow me to share some considerations and then exhortations, all of which are written with love.
Considerations: To the person reading this blog who doesn't have a personal relationship with the Jesus Christ.  First understand, God loves you. He created you to know Him. He sent His only son Jesus to die for you. To forgive you of your sins and offer you the hope of heaven. He is calling you to Himself, to turn from sin and repent and receive the gift of salvation. 
Considerations: To the person who is simply going through religious motions, but your,"Life in Christ "is a walking contradiction of hypocrisy. It is time to awaken from your sleep and turn back to Jesus. To no longer justify the lethargy and hide behind the mask of your own good works. To stop pointing your finger at the "hypocrites in the church" to justify your own life apart from Christ.  It is time to come out of the shadows of secrecy and get right with God.  God has a plan for you that you are missing ,as long as you continue to live in disobedience to what you know to be right.

Exhortation: To the believer in Jesus Christ, God has placed us here at this time in History to be a light. To love the lost, to minister to their need. To point them to Jesus.  To preach the gospel. The world is growing darker, but the light will shine brighter. The truth of the Word of God is what sets people free.

May our hearts be stirred to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Be Who You Are

In a recent radio broadcast interview I was asked the question about how I felt about unity within the church at large? The longer I serve the Lord in ministry, I realize a number of unchanging truths. For one thing, God doesn't need me to get His will accomplished on the earth. The Lord is perfectly capable with using anyone that He desires. I am in awe that the Lord would use me at all. Another thing I have learned is, God is using all different kinds of churches to minister to all different kinds of people. The work that God does through the church around the world is so much bigger than just one group.There is the need for unity. Granted, there are certain essential doctrines that one must never compromise on, with any group or denomination in order for unity to be achieved. I understand this perfectly well. I am speaking more about other issues that go on within the church today. Let me explain. 
One thing that has grown in popularity in recent days is the "Satellite Church." This is basically a church in a particular city that sends a video feed to another town, or sometimes even another state  where people can come attend a service watching it on a screen. They are an extension of the church that they are watching. Many today frown upon such endeavors. They sight the potential scenarios that can occur that may have a negative affect. Although  I personally do not feel called to do that, it doesn't mean that God isn't using that. There are places in the country where you cannot find solid Bible teaching and a satellite church, may be a tremendous blessing. Then there are churches where they put the scriptures up on the screen for the people to see. To the point where a person could come in and never have to open their Bible at all. Again I am personally not into that but I can rejoice if that place is giving people the Bible. Still others have varying forms of a worship experience. Some go so far to have smoke machines, and very darkened settings without complete lighting that will enhance the worship experience. We don't have any smoke machines, but if someone feels like the Lord is leading them to do that, thats between them and the Lord. There are certain teachers at the present time that have gained a tremendous amount of notoriety and following. Although I may not connect with them as some do, if they are preaching the Word of God and are not compromising it, I rejoice. 
I suppose what I am trying to say is what Paul said, "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. Phil.1:18" I am part of a movement of churches that has had an impact upon a generation, but we need to be careful lest we come to a place of saying as the Corinthians did, "Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ. 1 Cor.1:12" 
I had a conversation recently with a very well known respected Pastor. He is a seasoned veteran in ministry.  I asked him a number of questions about ministry. He said something that completely set me free. He said, "John just be who God made you to be." He went on to say, "teach the Word of God, love Gods people, serve Gods people and you will be fine." 
As the Lord is using all different kinds ministries, with different emphasis and presentation, it is so liberating to me, that I can be who Jesus made me to be.  I don't have to try and do what someone else is called to do. I don't have to feel pressure to get on board a particular bandwagon if its not where the Lord is leading. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. Don't place unneeded pressure upon yourself to be a what God hasn't called you to be, lest you be like David putting on Saul's armor, it didn't fit. Be who Jesus made You to be. 
If we are faithful to do what He has called us to do and not worrying about what someone else is doing we will be rewarded. Spend less time making sure the church down the street is doing what they need to be doing, and more time praying for and ministering to the church God has put you in. That will surely keep you busy enough.