Saturday, December 29, 2012

A New Year

Happy New Year
We had a wonderful Christmas Season this year. At Calvary Chapel our services were truly a blessing. The Lord did some amazing things to which we give Him all glory. As a family we enjoyed the return of our oldest son from Bible College. It was so wonderful to be a family again. Now that Christmas is over, I always start off with a time of reflection. I look back and I am reminded of what the Lord has done, and what He has brought us through. I am so thankful for the Lords continued faithfulness. Over the last year there have been some difficult things that have happened. Like everyone else, I also face challenges. As a Christian Pastor I am certainly not exempt from pain. There are things this last year that have tested my faith and caused me to grow. But I will tell you this, I praise God for them. There have also been some incredible opportunities and blessings that I am grateful for. Now coming into 2013 I am looking to Jesus once again to lead me and guide me into what He has. There are prayer requests that I have brought before the Lord, and trust that His will is going to be done. I have an expectation of coming good this year. I have hope in the faithfulness of my Lord. 

Every new year many people make resolutions, and mine remains consistently the same. To walk closer with the Lord, to love my family, and to enter into all that the Lord has for me this year with faith. I pray that your year will be a blessing as you continue to seek the Lord for His direction. Also the Lord has impressed upon me the thought of Contentment. Learning to be thankful for what the Lord has provided. To be content with Jesus. For to have Jesus is more than anything else I could ever desire in this world. And if that weren't enough, God in His loving grace, has blessed me beyond what I deserve.  Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Willing

Genesis 22:12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only [son], from Me."

The promise that the Lord had made came to pass. Abraham had waited his whole life for a son, and he finally arrived. Isaac was the joy of Abraham and Sarah's life. However there came a time when Abraham's faith was tested. The Lord called Abraham to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice. Obediently, Abraham went to Mt. Moriah to carry out the command. Yet right before he was going to follow through with it, the Lord stopped him. For the Lord knew that Abraham would not hold anything back from Him.  Abraham had passed the test. 

Perhaps you have been tested by the Lord in your own life. I know that I have. Even in recent months, the Lord has caused my faith to grow, and be refined through circumstances that were beyond my control. The Lord brought me to the place where I was willing to do what He asked. I even took steps of faith in a particular direction. Then when I had come to the definitive moment, the Lord directed me a different way. There is the temptation when God redirects you to think, "Did I even hear from the Lord to begin with? Was that striving in the flesh, or the leading of the Spirit?" For me, this was a test of faith. A test to trust God when He tells me to go forward, and a test to trust God when He tells me to stop. Ultimately it all comes down to trusting in God. To believe that He has my best interest in mind. Someone said that both the "Steps and Stops" of a good man are ordered by the Lord. I am thankful that the Lord Jesus is in control of my life. My good Shepherd promises to lead me, and He will lead you as well. 

Don't be discouraged when God redirects you, He knows what He is doing. 


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sheep Without A Shepherd


But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.-Matthew 9:36

When Jesus saw the people, He saw them as sheep without a shepherd. This sight caused the heart of Jesus to be moved with compassion. In the deepest place that human emotion could be felt, Jesus hurt for the people. Sheep without a shepherd is a frightening sight. Without a shepherd sheep are in danger of predators. They are not sure what to eat in order to stay healthy. They have trouble finding still waters in order to have there thirst quenched. Without a shepherd sheep will wander without direction. Jesus came to be a shepherd to the to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Later on He instructed His disciples to feed the sheep, to care for them, and to serve them. Today the job of a shepherd has been passed on to pastors. The pastor is called to care for the flock of  God. They are called to teach the flock, and to serve the flock. The sheep do not exist for the pastor, but the pastor exists for the sheep. The Bible also makes a distinction between a hireling and a shepherd. The shepherd loves the sheep, but the hireling does not. A shepherd invests his life into the care of the sheep, whereas the hireling has ulterior motives of his own. I am so thankful for the example of Jesus. He not only cared for the sheep He laid down His life for them. 



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tis the Season

With Thanksgiving approaching this week, it would seem that the time has arrived, and the Christmas season is upon us. It feels like is came quickly this year.  I pray that as you gather with your friends and family you will be blessed. I encouraged our congregation this weekend that when they sit down to a meal with family and friends that they suggest that everyone share what they are thankful for. And when it comes there time to share, take the opportunity to express how thankful you are for Jesus and what He did for you on the cross. You can mention how he rose again and is coming again. Then give an altar call...well... you get the idea. 
I am thankful for my wife and my kids, and my family. And I am also extremely grateful for my church family and the work that the Lord is doing. May the Lord bless you and keep you this season and you celebrate Jesus!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Worshipping the Lord

Often times within the history of the Nation of Israel the Lord would exhort them to remember the things that He had done for them in the past. Stones of remembrance were set up in key locations as a constant reminder and a memorial of the faithfulness of God. 
At our church last night we were reminded of the faithfulness of God through an amazing evening of worship and the Word with Pastor Chuck Smith and the Tommy Coombs praise band. As our church gathered there was a great anticipation in my heart of a moving of the Holy Spirit. It was also such a joy to have my pastor back here at our church. I don't know that we will have that opportunity again so it was something that was extremely precious. 
As the music began and we all began to sing you could sense the presence of the Lord in such a tangible way. When Pastor Chuck shared from the Book of Habakkuk it was an amazing message of hope in the midst of dark days that we are living in. At one point during the evening Tommy shared a touching story about the song Seek Ye First. Seek Ye First is taken from Matthew 6:33 which happens to be my life verse. As we started to sing that song, the tears began to flow from my eyes as I considered how faithful the Lord has been to me. 
The Lord is the same yesterday today and forever. Although everything around us may be changing, our Lord remains constant. And last night was a marvelous reminder, Praise the LORD. 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Victory


Now thanks be unto God who always leads us into triumph. 2 Corinthians 2:14

There is a grateful confidence that Paul expressed for the victory God provides. The victory he experienced was consistent for he says, "who Always leads us in triumph". The implication is that Paul was following Jesus closely. Therefore because Jesus is a conqueror Paul knew he would not be led into defeat. Paul was more than a conqueror through Him who loved him and gave Himself for him. 

Prayer: Lord my life before You rescued me was a defeated life. Defeated by sin, held captive by the devil, with no way out. But Jesus You came and lifted me out of my sin, set me free, and now I am free indeed. I pray that I would continue to walk closely with You, and be continually led in Your victory. AMEN!

Friday, October 19, 2012

At Your Service!

At your service! 2 Samuel 9:2

These words, "At your service", were the response to a request from King David by his servant. Without hesitation the servant of the king puts himself at his disposal. With those three words he implies that the kings agenda is his agenda. In essence whatever the king wants him to do he is ready and willing to do. He has placed himself in submission to the king, and is prepared to serve the king. 
As I meditated upon those words "At your service", I realized that is to be my response to my King Jesus. My life is His. When I wake up in the morning, I am at His service. As I go throughout my day I am at His service. I am to be open and willing to do whatever and to go wherever he sends me. I am servant of the King of Kings, not because He has forced me. No, I am His servant because He has saved me. I am servant by choice. It is because of His great love for me that I choose to serve Him. I have found that there is no greater joy than to serve my King. I echo the words of the psalmist when he said, "For a day in Your courts [is] better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness." Psalm 84:10

PRAYER: Lord today I choose to place myself at your service. To serve you with all that is within me. To do my best, being empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve faithfully and wholeheartedly. Use me where You will. In Jesus Name Amen. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Never Get too Busy

Many exciting things have been happening around here at Calvary Chapel SJC. God has been opening up some wonderful doors of ministry. We have also made some additions to our staff, which has been a huge blessing. We have had some missionary outreaches in the community and in Mexico and another coming up in Uganda.  And a whole lot more. However it has not been without warfare. Some of our staff has gotten sick, some had surgery, another threw out their back. I even went into the hospital one day with a Kidney Stone. (Crazy Pain wow!) Yet in the midst of it all,  God has been moving, doors have been opening, lives have been changing. 
In light of all that the Lord has put in front of us, I was exhorting our team to make sure and stay in the Word of God. It's our source of strength, our lifeline, and our sword in this battle. That we would be careful to not let ministering FOR the Lord take the place of ministering TO the Lord. I never want to be too busy for time with Jesus. Because I have found that the ability to serve Jesus affectively, comes from being with Him personally. If your too busy to spend time with Jesus, then your too busy. God bless you and thanks for your prayers! PJ


Monday, September 24, 2012

Inadequate

Have you ever felt inadequate? Your not alone. Many of God's chosen vessels did not feel up to the task to which they were called. One example is that of Moses. God appeared to Moses after forty years of dwelling in the desert. He had no idea what the Lord would call him to do. The Lord revealed to Moses that He was calling him to go back to Egypt and deliver the nation of Israel from bondage. Moses' initial excuse for not going was, " Who am I that I should go?"(Ex.3:11). The Lord responded with, "I will be with you" vs.12. Moses was still reluctant, he had already tried forty years ago to stand up for the Israelites and he failed miserably. However this time it would be different the Lord would be with him. The truth is Moses felt completely inadequate, and incapable to do anything for God. 

I read a story of a celebrated violinist named Paganini. On one occasion he was playing his violin during a concert, and had broken three out of four strings on his instrument. For some reason he had brought no replacements with him. So he continued to play on one string, and although obviously restricted, he was still able to produce magnificent music. 
Inadequate people may feel like the violin with only one string. Yet in the hands of the Master, there is still possibility of fruitful service. In fact it is far better to be like the violin with one string played by Paganini, than like a four stringed instrument in other hands. So the question is not, "How adequate am I?"but "Am I completely in the Masters hands?"1

Affective ministry is not dependent upon my own sufficiency. My sufficiency is found in Jesus, He alone is all that I need. 





1 Perils of Leadership, Kenneth Prior 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Feeling Forty

I guess in one sense, turning 40 is another mile marker for me on the road of life. I am thankful to my Savior who has walked with me every step of the way and blessed to know that He will continue to walk with me. 
I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to my church family for their amazing demonstration of love last night.  For all the hugs, cards, letters, prayers, encouraging words, and friendship. I am so thankful to be at CCSJC. I have grown a lot over the last 5 years at our church, and I am still growing. The Lord isn't done with me yet, but thankfully He is committed to the task. He also promised to complete it. I am humbled that the Lord would use someone like me, and I am grateful to my Lord. Again my deepest thanks. I love you guys.. PJ

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Challenge to Love

LOVE is a word that gets used quite a bit in this world. In music for example, the word love is used millions of times. It was estimated that the Beatles used the word love 613 times in their songs. Many book titles contain the word love as well. The Bible has a lot to say about love. I believe that is because God is love. I have found however in life, its a lot easier to sing about love, or even read about it then it is to walk in it. 
Jesus gave a command to His followers concerning love when He said,  "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." (Jn.13:34).
Jesus also spoke about the challenges of love, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?"(Mt.5:44-46)

Jesus pointed out that it is much easier to love people that love you. In fact He said that it really wasn't that big of a challenge to love those that love you. No, the real challenge is loving those people that do not love you. The challenge of love is loving someone when they curse you, or say spiteful things about you. What are you to do under those circumstances? You can become bitter and resentful. You can react in the flesh, and do the same thing to them in response.  Or you can follow the example of Jesus. Jesus gives us a pattern to follow. 

First He says to LOVE them. This is a choice that we have to be willing to make. No matter what is said or what is done, you have to make a conscious decision to love. 
Secondly Jesus said to BLESS them. Don't try and overcome evil with evil. Don't do what they are doing. Don't try and defend yourself. Don't try and call every person that they have spoken to. Simply make a choice to bless them. 
Finally Jesus said, PRAY for them. Pray for God to continue His work in and through their lives. Pray that the Lords will would be done. Take it to Jesus. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Blessed Delay

I was almost completely asleep. I had already been traveling for 12 hours from Tel Aviv to Philadelphia. We made our connecting flight and were about to take off when suddenly I felt a strong jolt that awakened me. It felt like we ran over something. It turned out someone outside the plane did something wrong which caused damaged to the plane. We ended up sitting for an hour. This meant that  our arrival to Phoenix airport would be over an hour late. It now seemed almost impossible for us to make our connection. Needless to say I was a little bummed and ready to get home. Yet in those situations there is nothing you can do. Complaining never helps, it only makes things worse. finally we were airborne. 
Our plane was now scheduled to land at about 10:05am our next plane to Orange County left at 10:15am. Fortunately on our flight we had WiFi. I was able to talk to my wife and tell her about my dilemma. She informed me that our son, who was on his way to Bible College was transferring from Phoenix also. I looked at a map of the airport from the plane and it turned out that his gate was only two down from where we were landing. There was a chance I would be able to see him one last time before he left. being that I was in Israel I wasn't there for his last day. Suddenly I didn't care as much if I missed my connecting flight, I would get to say goodbye to my son who won't be back till December. 
As the plane landed everyone was pushing and shoving to get off the aircraft. Right when I came off the plane there was my son to greet me. We ran to his gate said goodbye and then I sprinted to my gate which was on the complete other side of the airport. My lungs were hurting, my calves were in pain, because of all the walking in Jerusalem in flip flops the day before. I was sweating. I turned the final corner and I heard over the loud speaker the last call for the Orange County flight. My friend Mike and I were the last ones on the plane, we made it. 
Sometimes delays can be a blessing.... you never know what Gods plan is. I am thankful for that bump in the road that allowed me to see my son. Unexpected blessing.. 

Return from the Holy Land

Teaching the Israeli Youth
It was early Monday Morning at 6:00am that I boarded a plane for Israel with my long time friend Pastor Mike Harris from Calvary Chapel Beachside. We were also joined by my long time friend Pastor Pete Nelson. It was hard to believe that I was heading back to Israel, having just toured there this April.   We had been asked by an organization called the Joshua Fund to come and participate in a Youth Conference held on the Sea of Galilee. When touring Israel, the Sea of Galilee has always been one of my favorite stops. 
When we arrived we went to the sight of the conference. It was located right on the shore of the Galilee. Now there is a reason why most churches do not tour Israel in August, it is blazing hot. At times it felt like it was over a hundred degrees. Even in the shade you could not escape the sun. We began to prepare for the conference with the Jewish Youth Leaders who hold conferences for Israeli youth from all over. They had hired a company to come and put up a stage with a sound system. As well as lighting and place of shade throughout the camp sight. After the sight was set up, the youth began rolling in on buses from all over Israel. There were over 300 young people, ranging from ages 15-21 that came from different parts of Israel. They were all messianic Jews. Meaning that they believe that Jesus is their Messiah. What a joy to be around Jewish believers. So many of these young people are ostracized in their schools for their faith. 
The conference was called Walking on Water. And the emphasis was upon living by faith. What a great title. Here we were on the Sea of Galilee where Peter and Jesus had walked on water. Amazing...
Team Galilee
What made this conference unique was this was the first time that American pastors were joined together with Hebrew pastors teaching the Word of God. Also we had Scott Cunningham and his band fly over from the UK to share in music. There were also Hebrew Worship teams as well. It was our prayer that we could be a blessing to our brothers and sisters there. To come alongside of them and support the work they are doing. 
Sunrise on Galilee
Relationships were built with the young people and the staff by serving them and ministering to them. We also had the chance to teach the Word. For me personally, I taught a workshop on "The Person God  Uses". On Friday Night I taught the main session on Matthew 15: the feeding of the four thousand. Teaching through a translator can be challenging. You want everything to come out right and be understandable to those listening. My translator was an amazing young lady who knew Hebrew and Greek and English. I felt like Friday night my prayers were answered as I was able to connect with the young people from Gods Word. After the session I had some great opportunities to pray and minister. 
The conference turned out to be a blessing. The young people were encouraged and strengthened in their faith. The Jewish staff who put the conference on were also encouraged and knew that they were loved and supported. 
Sunset on the Mt. of Olives
Sunset over the Holy City of Jerusalem
One of several highlights for me was waking up early on the Sea of Galilee with my Bible. The Sun rises coming up over the Sea. Also Teaching Gods Word. Also we had one free day in the city of Jerusalem, where we went and toured as much as we could, ending the evening on the Mt. of Olives as the sunset over the city.  


Monday, August 6, 2012

It Never Gets Old


















Yesterday we had our beach baptism at Doheny State Beach. It was such a joy to see so many folks show up to be baptized. Also to see others who showed up to support those who were being baptized. As I watched the people come out into the water I was so blessed to know so many of their stories. To watch an entire family be baptized together. To see a husband and wife go into the water together as a couple. To see friends joined hand in hand boldly proclaiming their faith to the world. It brings tears to your eyes. Their lives had been changed by the power of the Gospel. And now they were taking the next step of identifying with Jesus in His death and His resurrection. That is what Baptism is. As you go into the water, your old person before Christ is symbolically being buried with Him, and your new person in Christ is being resurrected with Him. When you think about it, in the New Testament, when a person got saved the next step was into the water. The reason was because it was the outward sign of the inward work. Praise the Lord for the He did yesterday. As an added bonus at the end of the night we gathered around a fire pit and had a time of worship. What an amazing day. I am truly humbled that I had the privilege of being apart of what the Lord is doing. To God be the glory, great things HE has done.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Revelation of the Heart

Deuteronomy 8:2 And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you [and] test you, to know what [was] in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

As the next generation prepared to go into the promise land, Moses revealed some of the reasons for the wilderness wanderings. He pointed out that it was through the wilderness that the Lord allowed the nation of Israel to be humbled. On more than one occasion, Israel had been referred to as a "stiff necked" people. Being stiff necked does not mean you slept on your pillow wrong, it refers to a stubbornness in the heart. It is a picture of one who is unwilling to bow their head in submission. It is an illustration of one who is proud. Yet it was in the wilderness that the people were brought to a place of humility. They had to be completely dependent upon God for everything. They looked to God for direction. They looked to God for protection from their enemies. They looked to God for daily provision. All of these experiences were humbling. 
Moses went on to say that the wilderness also allowed the people to be tested. The wilderness would reveal what was truly in their hearts. It was a one question test they were about to take. The question was, "would they obey the word of the Lord or not?" Now, God knows everything. He knew whether they would choose to obey or not. He knew what was in their hearts. However the nation didn't know what was in their heart, until they went into the wilderness. And all that was inside them began to come out of them. A time of revelation occurred in the wilderness.

In many ways the wilderness represents a time of testing and humbling in the life of Christian. It is a season we enter into that shows us what we are really made of. The wilderness provides many opportunities to learn to trust God. It offers many lessons in humility, as well as countless revelations of what is in our hearts. We do not always know what is in our hearts until we are tested. Then what is inside comes out and we see the changes that need to be made. We see the pride that we had overlooked. We observe a lack of faith that we were unaware of. This revelation in turn drives us to Jesus and to the work of His Holy Spirit in our lives. Our prayer in the wilderness becomes, "Okay Lord, do what you must do. Have your way in me Lord. Teach me what I need to know." Although the wilderness is not always looked upon as something favorable, it is a season that is necessary. It is through the wilderness that we learn, "man shall not live by bread alone but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." 

Father when you allow us to enter into a time of testing, a time of refining, help us to keep our eyes upon You. If the things in our hearts need to be repented of, we repent. We choose to humble ourselves before You. Thank You for Your faithfulness in every season of life. In Jesus name.. AMEN

Friday, August 3, 2012

Entering In

Deuteronomy 1:27 Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; and you complained in your tents..

Forty years had now come and gone. The former generation had passed away in the wilderness. It was now time for the second generation to be given the opportunity to go into the promise land. As the nation of Israel was preparing to move forward, Moses began to recount the failures of the former generation that did not allow them to enter the land. God had promised to take the people into the land. He had promised to fight their battles. Israel had already observed the power of God in destroying the nation of Egypt for their deliverance. This was to serve as a sign to them that the Lord would surely defeat any foe in the future. 
Moses pointed out that rebellion was the first reason they missed out on going into the land. The people were not willing to believe God's Word. They did not obey God's Word. When it says they rebelled, it is a indication that they were not submitted to God's Word. Rebellion can be a very subtle sin within the heart. It is something that we can quickly justify as righteous indignation. We can come up with our reasons, even sometimes "biblical reasons" we feel justified. We can easily blame others. Yet as I allow the Holy Spirit to search me I come to realize that rebellion is an issue of the heart, and it's an indicator of a lack of brokeness in an area of my life. If I am not submitted to God I will have a difficulty submitting to anyone else. Yet to rebel against  God's will for my life is to miss out on what God wants to do. Another Old Testament example of this was King Saul. Saul was a man whose life was marked by rebellion. For the Lord said to Saul at one point, "to obey is better than sacrifice." The rebellion of the people led to complaining. 
Many of us are not aware of this, but complaining is a sin. I remember the first time someone told me that, I was shocked! Like rebellion, complaining is also very subtle. We complain so much we don't realize how much we do it. Moses pointed out that their complaining took place in their tents. It was behind closed doors, it was in the privacy of their own home.  But when you look at the record of the nation, you find that the complaining didn't stay in their tents very long. For as the story unfolds that complaining made it's way outside the tent. They complained against Moses, they complained against Aaron, they complained against God. They complained about everything. This was another reason that they did not enter into the land. The complaining gave way to questioning God's plan and motives. The people even went so far to accuse God of seeking to ruin their lives. Consequently everyone around them was also discouraged. 
Moses' warning was to serve as a valuable lesson to the next generation of what not to do. I realize in my own life I need to be sure I am submitted to the will of God. If there is any root of rebellion I need ask the Lord to uproot it. If I ask Him, He will do just that. The process can be painful, but the truth is, we need to be broken. Also I realize how easy it is for me to complain instead of be content. Rather than complain I need to be thankful for all that the Lord has done and continues to do. The fact that I have been given salvation is more than I will ever deserve. 

Father today we ask that you would forgive us when we rebel against Your will for our lives. Today we choose to enter into all that You have for us. Lord forgive us when we complain. May we learn in whatever state we are in to be thankful and content. In Jesus Name Amen. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

On The Jersey Shore

We were so thrilled to be invited back to this years Bridgefest held in Ocean Grove New Jersey. For those of you who don't know the event is put on by the BridgeFm radio station. Our radio program " A Daily Walk" is heard Monday-Friday at 6:30 am. The event begins on a Friday night with a concert in the Great Auditorium. During the concert the Gospel message is shared and those in attendance have a chance to come forward and receive Christ. There were close to two thousand people in attendance. I had the opportunity this year to MC the event. I introduced Pastor Jack Hibbs as he shared his testimony of how he came to Christ. Also Pastor Pancho Juerez, who shared the gospel message and gave the invitation. Phil Wickham and his band were there playing music. It was an amazing night seeing so many come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 
The following day the events move to the beach. A large stage is placed on the beach. Throughout the day bands play and pastors share from the scriptures. Also this year I was joined by my sons, and we assisted the Christian surfers in their surf clinic. Before each class I had the privilege to share the gospel presentation. At the end of the day we have a baptism. The final gospel presentation was shared by Pastor Rodney Finch, and again many responded. We then go down to the shore and have a baptism. This year was one of the most well attended Bridgefests on record, PRAISE THE LORD! Sunday morning we went to Calvary Chapel Coastlands where my son and I led the worship for the two services and then I was blessed to be able to share from Gods Word. It was an amazing weekend and we are very thankful we were able to come along side of the Bridge family and serve.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Watch This!


"Now You will see.."Exodus 6:1

EXODUS 6:1 Then the Lord said to Moses now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh, for with strong hand he will et them go and with a strong hand he will drive then out of his land.

For the last forty years Moses had been dwelling in the desert tending and leading a flock of sheep. Yet one day the Lord revealed himself to Moses through a burning bush. When Moses turned aside to see the bush he heard a voice speaking, telling him to take his sandals off because he was on Holy ground.
            The Lord then revealed to Moses that he had a special calling upon his life to go back to Egypt and deliver the nation of Israel from their bondage. Moses came up with multiple reasons why he couldn’t go. He didn’t feel equipped, and he couldn’t speak very well. Besides that, he had tried forty years earlier to start an uprising that failed. Yet although he was reluctant to go, the Lord convinced Moses to go.
So Moses then traveled down to Egypt and had his first confrontation with Pharaoh, who refused to let the nation of Israel go free. In fact the Pharaoh was so upset that he made the bondage of the Israelites even worse. Now Moses was really troubled and in essence said to the Lord “I told you this would happen, and why did you bring me down here anyway…” Then the Lord spoke to Moses and said, “NOW YOU WILL SEE WHAT I WILL DO..”
Sometimes we attempt things for the Lord and we feel like we completely bombed, And like Moses we come back to the Lord saying I already tried that. Yet now we have an opportunity to see what the Lord can do. The Lord was going to do what Moses could have never done. He would deliver that nation of Israel and all that Moses had to do was trust God. I want to see what the LORD WILL DO. I want to watch him move and see things accomplished that only He could possibly get the glory for. I would rather attempt something of the Lord and fail, then to never attempt anything at all. 

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Perseverance

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Genesis 50:20 "But as for you, you meant evil against me; [but] God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as [it is] this day, to save many people alive.


Now that Jacob had passed away, Josephs brothers became greatly concerned that Joseph would seek to get even with them for all the evil things they had done to him. 
It was F.B. Meyer who said concerning the brothers concern, Josephs brethren judged him by their own dark and implacable hearts, they could not believe in the sincerity and genuineness of forgiveness. Joseph had always known what his brothers intentions were, yet he also came to know what the intentions of God were, and that made all the difference in the World.  Although there were at least 17 years of Josephs life that he could never get back, Joseph saw the hand of God in it all. The suffering that he had endured was for a greater purpose then even he initially understood. 
It is no surprise that we live in a  fallen world, and therefore there is suffering in this life. There are many things that our enemy intends for evil in our lives. Yet God in His wisdom can use even the most painful circumstances in life for good. It was through his suffering that Joseph remained humble before the Lord. He also was completely dependent upon God. Furthermore it was through perseverance that Josephs character was more fully developed. 
There are things that the enemy would seek to you to bring you down, but the Lord is able to use it for good. 



Saturday, June 16, 2012

Choose to Love

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John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.


God in His nature is love.(1 John4:8). The Bible says that,"God so loved the world that He gave his only son that whosoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."(John3:16) Jesus said that love was the evidence to the world that we are His disciples. And here we read a moment ago that love is also a command. 
As a believer, I have experienced the love of God in my life. And now I have been commanded to love others. The question arises, "who am I to love?" The answer, "I am to love the Lord with all that is within me. Next I am to love my brothers and sisters in Christ, and third to love the lost in this world." In other words, I am to love everybody. 
Now, some people are easier to love than others. In fact, there maybe some that you have no love for at all, and your reasons may vary. Perhaps they hurt you, they said unkind words about you, or they have shown bitter resentment towards you. What are you to do then? 
Jesus said, ""For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?"(Mt.5:46) In other words, its easier to love those who love you. But then Jesus took it a step further when he said, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,"(Mt.5:44)
Love is a choice. I can choose to love, or I can choose to hate. We have been given an opportunity to identify with Jesus. To learn what it is to love as He loved. The bible says the greatest gift is love, and that love is a fruit of the work of Gods Holy Spirit in my life.(Gal.5:22) Oh I am not saying its easy, or that I have it figured out, but it is possible with Gods help. Choose to love. For it is the same choice that Jesus made when came to die for our sins. For the Bible says, "We love Him because He first loved us."(1Jn.4:19)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Overwhelmed

AUDIO VERSION


All these things are against me. Genesis 42:36


These words were spoken by Jacob in a moment of despair. He was still grieving over the loss of his son Joseph. Then he receives word that  his son Simeon is in prison, in the land of Egypt. And he also is told that if he wants any more food during this famine he will have to let his youngest son Benjamin go to Egypt.  In that moment everything seemed to be caving in around him, it seemed from every angle nothing was working out, that indeed, "ALL WAS AGAINST HIM." 
However Jacob had no idea what God was about to do in his life. He didn't know that the Lord was using the famine  to ultimately preserve his posterity. He didn't know that Joseph was still alive. In only a short amount of time Jacobs sorrow would be turned to Joy. His mourning would be turned to laughter. The son whom he had grieved over all these years, he would embrace once again. 

The bible tells us that we are MORE than conquerors through him who loves us. And although at this moment, it may appear that all things are against you, the LORD declares in His Word that He is for you! So if God be for you, who can be against you? Furthermore the Bible says that God is working ALL things together for your good. God is on your side. If you are overwhelmed today remember the prayer of the Psalmist when he said, "From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2


Monday, June 11, 2012

He Never Forgets

He Never Forgets about You, NEVER!
Audio Version


Yet the chief butler did not remember Joseph, but forgot him. Genesis 40:23


Joseph had a specific calling upon his life. God had given him dreams about his future. Joseph made the mistake of sharing those dreams with his brothers. They became envious of him and hated him. They even put him in a pit to get rid of him.  Josephs brothers came up with a plan to sell him into slavery. Joseph was then taken away to Egypt as a slave. Yet while serving as a slave the Lord was with him, and blessed the work of his hands. But not long after, he was falsely accused by his masters wife and thrown into a prison. While in prison the Lord gave Joseph favor and promoted him to a position of authority. One day, while serving in the prison, Joseph had a "divine appointment" with two of the Pharaohs officers who were incarcerated. He met a butler and a baker. Turns out they both had dreams, and Joseph was able to interpret their dreams. The butlers dream had a happy ending restoring him to his position in the palace. When Josephs interpretation came to pass he asked the butler to remember him. He was hoping the butler would put in a good word for him in order that he could be released. AS the butler left the cell, you can only imagine that Joseph was anticipating his freedom any day. However the scriptures tell us "he did not remember Joseph but forgot about him.
How discouraging this must have been for Joseph. He had been faithful everywhere he had gone. God had been with him, but it seemed that not only had the butler forgotten him, but perhaps the Lord had forgotten him as well. For the next two years Joseph stayed behind bars without a hope of ever being released. But what Joseph did not know is that the Lord had not forgotten about him. In fact unbeknownst to Joseph the Lord was setting the stage for his deliverance. Not only would Joseph be delivered but he would be promoted to be the second most powerful ruler in Egypt. 

Perhaps you feel abandoned today. Maybe you think that the Lord has forgotten about you. Listen you and I, we don't know what tomorrow holds. We don't  know the mind of the Lord. God is working even when we cannot see Him working. He is doing things in our lives, and in the lives of others around us. God never forgets about you. I have found great comfort in the following Old Testament passage, 
Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.See, I have inscribed you on the palms [of My hands]; Your walls [are] continually before Me. Isaiah 49:15-16

Saturday, June 9, 2012

2012 Senior Pastors Conference

"His Grace is Sufficient for Me."
The Calvary Chapel Senior Pastors Conference was held at the Murrieta Bible College Conference Center. This year the conference was centered on the book of 2 Corinthians. 2 Corinthians is one of my favorite epistles. For me, the conference is a highlight of my year. It is such a joy to get together with all my friends who are serving Jesus all over the world., To have four days to catch up is priceless. As a pastor, to be able to sit and listen to teaching from Gods Word by some of your favorite Bible teachers is refreshing. Damien Kyle's message on "Don't Loose Heart" was incredible. Also my friend Bobby Hargraves from Yonkers, New York gave an amazing devotional. Levi Lusko gave a message entitled "The Deadliest Catch", which inspired us to keep throwing the net of the gospel out to lost people. Pedro Garcia's message on Elements that are Found in a church where God is moving called us to examine the work we are doing. We don't want to have any elements missing. Also there was a Q&A led by Greg Laurie, Bob Coy, and Brian Broderson that was a truly a highlight. They answered some really important questions and provided tremendous clarity.
Fellowship
As many of you are probably aware, Pastor Chuck is battling cancer. However he was at the conference all week. He has set an example for the rest of us to serve Jesus to the end. On the last night of the  conference, Pastor Chuck taught through 2 Cor. 12-13. To hear him read the passage, "Gods grace is sufficient and that in my weakness He is strong", was overwhelming, for he is living what is preaching. God is continuing to sustain him. The times of worship in song were also a great blessing. The last night Scott Cunningham and the School of Worship led us in worship. It was phenomenal.
School of Worship
It is always difficult to leave the conference, because you know you are going to have to wait a whole  year to see everyone again. But I am encouraged and refueled to serve Jesus with all that is within me. May Jesus continue to be glorified through the lives of all the pastors all over the world. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

On The Way

Audio Version


Genesis 24:27 As for me, being on the way, the LORD led me...


Abraham had a great concern for his son Isaacs future. Abraham called his servant and asked him to go and search for a bride for Isaac. Abrahams servant had some genuine concerns. How was he supposed to find the right girl? What if the girl he found was unwilling to come with him? The fact that Abraham was unwilling to let Isaac travel with the servant made things even more complex. Abraham assured his servant that the Lord would lead and direct him right where he was supposed to go. By faith  Abraham's servant set out on his journey. As the chapter unfolds we find the servant being led by the Lord directly to Rebekah. It wasn't by chance or coincidence, it was God. When the servant found Isaacs bride and the Lord confirmed that she was the one, he declared, "As for me, being on the way the Lord led me." 
That is so often how the Lord directs us as well. As we are simply walking by faith and trusting God to direct our lives, He leads us right where we are supposed to go. Divine appointments are divine. So often we don't realize the way God is leading us until we get there, and it dawns on us, "that was the Lord." The Bible tells us there is a time to "be still and know that the Lord is God." However there is also a time when we are to be about our Fathers business trusting in His direction for our lives. It is much easier to direct someone who is already moving, than someone who is unwilling to budge. Sometimes we are more inclined to be "In the Way", instead of, "On the Way." 

Prayer: Heavenly Father I ask that You would continue to lead us and guide us where You want us to go. Thank you for the surprises in life. Thank you for leading us naturally. Help us to remain open to your leading in the future. In Jesus name.. AMEN!