Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Are Women Called to Be Pastors?

One of the questions that has come up in recent days is, "What does the Bible say about women being pastors within the church?" For some people, the question alone raises some deep seated emotions, and gives way to a highly contested debate. Let me say that is not my intention. I simply want to give "a biblical perspective" on the subject and clear up some confusion and maybe even provide some council. 

The Issue at Hand: First of all let me begin by saying that this discussion is not about men verses women.  Nor is it about discrimination against a particular gender over another.  It has nothing to do with the value or worth of the individual. Rather it is a matter of biblical interpretation, and what the Bible says on the subject. 

The Blessing of Women's Ministry in the Church: Throughout the Bible we read of women taking an active role within the church. During His earthly ministry, there were many wonderful, godly women who served alongside of Jesus and the Apostles. The first person entrusted with the good news of the Resurrected Savior was a woman name Mary Magdalene.(John20)  In his epistle to the Romans Paul identified sixteen co-laborers in the ministry, and ten of them were women.(Romans16:1-16)  One of the women was named Phoebe and she is referred to as a servant. The word servant is the same word used for Deacon. Paul started the church in Philippi in the home of a prominent women named Lydia.(Acts16). In 1 Corinthians 1:11 Paul was sent a letter by a women named Chloe that informed him of some of the problems within the church that met at her house. The women in the bible played an important role within the ministry of the church. The truth is not much has changed. Much of the ministry in churches today would cease to exist if it wasn't for the  participation of godly women. 

The Parameters and Structure: The Bible does not restrict women from public praying or prophesying. (1 Cor.11:5) In the book of Acts we read of a man named Philip who had four daughters that prophesied.(Acts 21:9)  Nor does the Bible prohibit women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit.(1 Cor.12) Like men, women are called to follow after Jesus. They are encouraged to share the gospel with the lost world. But the Bible does make a distinction within the church concerning women being pastors. 

The Biblical Text: 
If you were to read briefly through the New Testament  on passages concerning the church you would discover a few things. For one thing, there is no mention of any female pastors  at all in the New Testament. Also none of the instructions that are given for the order of the church include instructions for female pastors. However when you come to the book of 1 Timothy the Apostle Paul gives an order for the church which includes a restriction.  In the book of 1 Timothy 2:11-12 Let a women learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. The word for silence is defined as "quietness, or a peaceful disposition". It doesn't mean that women cannot speak within the church. 
What Paul did say was that women were not to teach or have authority over the men. Greek scholars have pointed out that this passage in its context of church order is stating that, "the kind of teacher Paul is referring to is the one spoken of in 1Corinthians 12:28-28, Ephesians 4:11, that is God-called, and God-equipped teachers, recognized by the church as having authority in the Church matters of doctrine and interpretation." (Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Wuest pg.2 Vol.2). This calling is one that God has given to men within the church. This was God's plan, this was His design, and His order for the body of Christ. When Paul laid out the qualifications for the bishops, which is a word used for pastor, shepherd, overseer, or elder; he referred to them as being the Husband of one wife. In other words they were men. (1Timothy3) In writing to Titus Paul gave similar instructions. He informed Titus that he was left in Crete to set things in order and appoint elders, then Paul said, "if a MAN be blameless, husband of one wife etc." (Titus 1:5-6) This prohibition of teaching doesn't mean women cannot teach other women. The bible says that in Titus 2 that the older women are to instruct the younger women. Nor does the Bible suggest that women cannot teach children in Sunday School, but it does prohibit women from being pastors. 

ORDER AND DESIGN: Thankfully our God is a God of order. We see this revealed throughout the Bible  in many different ways. One example is in the area of God's design seen in Creation. Another area would be God's plan for the family. Within the family God gave different roles and responsablities to men and women. Men are called to be husbands, and women  are called to be wives. A wife is not less valuable than her husband because her role is different within the family. Yet if a wife seeks to take the role of the husband, or the husband is not the leader God has called him to be, it would create real problems within the family. So too within the church. It isn't a matter of inferiority, but of function according to Gods design. 
Can a women be a CEO of a company? Can a women be a highly decorated officer within any branch of the military? Can a women be a professor at a university? How about a surgeon? What about the  President of a Country? The answer to all of those questions is an absolute YES!. Can a women take the role of an, elder, overseer, or bishop? Can she be a pastor within the church? The Bible says No. 

REAL TIME: Today we find pastors ordaining their wives to the ministry. They have them serving  alongside of them in a pastoral role. The people in their congregations refer to them as a pastor. Some pastors have their wife teach their congregations, and handle all their weekend services.  The truth is, some of them, are great teachers. Some, may even be better than their husbands. Nevertheless I believe according to the Word of God that the position, the role, the calling, of a pastor was given to men within the church in the same way men are called to be husbands in the family.

Granted there may be several objections that people make concerning this stance. But I would suggest that those who have disagreements read what the Bible says. The Bible says that a woman has a different roll and calling than a man within the ministry of the church. 



















Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pastors Part 4: Steadfast

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore my beloved brethren be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. 

The word steadfast speaks metaphorically of one who is fixed in purpose. It means to be sedentary  and unmovable. When the apostle Paul was taking his final journey back to Jerusalem he called upon the Ephesian Elders for a farewell visit. The Elders of Ephesus were worried about the danger Paul would encounter in Jerusalem, and begged him not to go. In response to their pleas, Paul declared, "none of these things move me"(Acts20:28). In writing to the Thessalonians Paul encouraged the believers not to be shaken or moved when he said, "no one should be shaken by these afflictions for you yourselves know that we were appointed unto this." (1Thess.3:3) 
In pastoral ministry there are many things that could seek to move you from where God has placed you. This never becomes so clear as when you are planting a church. In our first church plant in the South East, it seemed as though there was something daily that sought to move us from continuing. At times in came in the form of lack of resources, lack of help, or lack of opportunity. However in those seasons there is only one thing to do, and that is to remain steadfast. I have found that the ability to stay the course and remain steadfast is strengthened when I am anchored by the Word of God. It is the Word of God that increases my faith, encourages my heart, and keeps me strong. It reminds me of who God is and what God has said. 

Are you facing some challenges that have the potential to shake your confidence in the Lord and His calling? Remain steadfast, stay in the Word, and keep on abounding the work of the Lord knowing your labor is not in vain. 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pastors: Part 3 When Sheep Wander

Matthew 18:12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 


The Bible says that all we like sheep have gone astray. We are all prone to wander off the right path. As a pastor of a congregation, what do you do when you receive word that someone in the congregation has gone astray? How do you respond when you are told that someone has gone back to world? Are you supposed to contact them, or let them be? 
There isn't really any easy answer. We know that the heart of the  Great Shepherd is to seek and save those who are lost. I believe we should have that same heart. We are encouraged from scripture that if we see a brother straying from the truth, to go to them in a spirit of gentleness and seek to restore them. At the same time you don't always have that opportunity. A person may not want to be contacted. They don't want to hear from you. I do believe we should make the effort to reach out, to warn, to exhort, and even at times rebuke in love. Yet I also realize that this will not always be received. In those times when a person cannot be reached, or doesn't want to be reached, it is best to intercede for them in prayer. Ask Jesus to go after the one that is lost. Pray that they will come to the end of themselves. If they are in sin, pray that they will hate it and want to return. If they have gone into a relationship that has taken them away from Jesus and are living in sexual immorality, pray that the LORD will convict them. Pray that they will be miserable in their sin, and desire to come back to Jesus. 
If a person has gotten out of fellowship, and their relationship with the Lord is now something they are apart of only when it is convenient, pray that they will sense the need for fellowship. Pray that God will show them they have left there first love, and that they will return to it.  If they leave your church bitter for reasons you are aware of or are not aware of, pray that the Lord will speak to them.. if they have left your church,  pray that they find one that they can be apart of and grow in. These situations are never easy. As a pastor, these are the things that can keep you up at night. Because you are to have a deep concern and love for Gods people as a shepherd you can feel, and carry the weight of the sheep on your heart. The Lord often brings people to your mind and you  in turn bring them before the throne of grace in prayer trusting that the Lord is working even though you cannot see Him working. 

As a pastor you do the best you can, and trust the Lord with the rest. And remember if that person returns, love them and seek to restore them. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pastors Part 2: Servant

Shepherd the flock of God that is among you…."Serving as Overseer": 1 Peter 5:1

A flock of sheep have many different needs such as: good pasture in which to graze. Also they need protective fencing that provides a safe boundary that protects them from predators. Fresh water is  an absolute must, a  average sheep drinks several gallons of water a day.  All of the needs of the flock provide multiple opportunities for the shepherd to serve. Shepherds exist for the purpose of  serving the sheep.  Jesus informed His disciples that the greatest in the kingdom was the servant of all. When Jesus washed the feet of His disciples He gave them an example to follow. 
I was raised in an environment of ministry where it was made clear to us that if we felt called to pastor, we were being called to serve. We were not there to have people cater to our needs. Nor  were we to get caught up in our title, or ordination certificates; but to be servants. There are some areas of service that are more enjoyable than others. Nevertheless we should never think that we are above even the most menial tasks. No matter where we serve, we are always to do so as unto the Lord Jesus. 
It's also important to consider the motivation for serving. The reason we serve is not for the applause of the people, or that our names will become famous. The reason we serve is because of love for Jesus, and for His glory. In our service we are not to take the bows for what God has allowed us to do. Rather we should point people to the one who gave us the opportunity to serve. 
When I was a janitor at Calvary in Costa Mesa we had a sign over the janitorial closet door that read, "You will know that you are a servant by the way you act when you are treated like one." Even though I did not always like to read it,  it was a great reminder.  
As we faithfully serve our Lord and His people, one day we will hear Him say, "well done good and faithful servant enter into the joy of the Lord." What a day that will be!

Are you a shepherd or a hireling? Are you a servant or a tyrant? Are you above the people or under them? Are you motivated by love for your master, or by the recognition of men? Why do you do what it is that you do? 

These are all questions that I have had to prayerfully ask myself before the Lord Jesus. 


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pastors: Part 1

Shepherd the flock of God which is among… 1 Peter 5:1 

The bible draws a comparison between the people of God being like sheep. Sheep are not the most intelligent animals in the animal kingdom. They are prone to wonder. They can easily eat things that are hazardous to their health. What you come to realize is sheep need a shepherd. Thankfully Jesus is the "Best" Shepherd there is. He not only loves and cares for His sheep, but He also died for His sheep. 

The bible tells us that the Lord has called some in the church to be "under" shepherds to the "Chief" Shepherd. Pastors are placed among the congregation to do their best to care for the needs of the sheep. The care that is provided goes far beyond simply getting up and giving a sermon on a weekly basis. Although that is an important part of the job, its not the only part of the job. When you really think about it, the shepherds life is about the sheep. That is why he exists. The sheep do not exist for the shepherd, the shepherd exists for the sheep. 

The pastors ministry is about people. I heard someone once say, "I love the ministry accept for the people." How sad that statement was, especially when ministry is about people. If we loose sight of that it will have a devastating impact on the flock. I am often reminded in my own life and ministry concerning this truth about the importance of caring for Gods people. Recently I got to spend a little time with a brother and who has ALS. We also went to the hospital someone in the congregation had a heart attack. The same day we saw a sister who has a mass on her brain. Again went to the hospital to see someone who was going in for a surgical procedure. Another evening ministered to a young lady coming off of drugs and in need of salvation. I say all this to point out that the shepherds life is about ministering to and caring for the sheep. Its about people. Long after people forget the sermons you preached, or the blogs you post, or the conferences you share at, they will remember the time you spoke to them. The times you stopped what you were doing and came to their side. The moments you were available to listen. Granted, a shepherd can't minister to every need, but he should try to minister to as many as He can. 

The church doesn't need entertainers to amaze the sheep, nor does flock of God need activities directors to put together social gatherings, it needs shepherds. Shepherds that have a heart for the flock of God. Shepherds that will feed, tend, and care for  God's people whom He purchased with His own blood. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Keep Looking Up

I saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lifted up… Isaiah 1:1

The King of Israel had died. This was a very difficult time for everyone, including the prophet Isaiah. Nevertheless, in the midst of this national tragedy Isaiah looked up, and when He did he saw the Lord. The Lord was seated upon His throne. The Lord was still in control. How important it is to keep our eyes upon Jesus. To stay focused on Him in every situation. Once Isaiah got a clear picture of the Lord he was prepared to go wherever  the Lord would send him. Isaiah was available. I read a quote that said, "I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Stirring it Up

And let us stir one another up to love and good works. Hebrews 10:24

The writer or Hebrews exhorted the church to "stir" each other up. The word for stir is the greek word (paroxusmos) and it literally means to sharpen. Figuratively the word speaks of the sharpening of the mind with incitement to action. The last thing that the church wanted to do was to become stagnate. No one debates today that the physical body needs to have a solid diet. However if you are only well fed without exercise, you become lethargic, apathetic,and unhealthy. What you have taken in, is for the purpose of working it out. I can see this happening in the church. 
Sometimes we can simply sit and receive a solid diet of the Word of God without ever having to apply it. But the Lord wants us to receive, in order that we can give. He doesn't want us to be idle but active. I found in my life that there are times when the Lord will stir things up so I don't get stagnate. The Lord may present new challenges and new opportunities in order to help you grow. 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Exact Opposite

On the day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred in that the Jews themselves overpowered those who hated them. Esther 9:1 

Queen Esther had risked her life on behalf of her people. She went before the king and entreated his favor and informed him of an evil plan to annihilate the Jews. When the king heard the news he had the instigator executed. But there was still a viable threat from the enemy for a decree for the Jews destruction had been signed and put in motion. To counteract the coming attack the king wrote a new decree which gave the Jews the freedom to fight the enemy. On the day the decrees were to be fulfilled the enemy came anticipating victory. Nevertheless the OPPOSITE occurred and the enemy was overpowered and  defeated.
The Christian has a real enemy his name is satan. He has written his decrees with a desire to destroy the faith of the believer. He seeks to discourage and oppress the child of God in hope of their ultimate destruction. But thankfully today another decree has been written in the blood of a Jesus. And this decree gives freedom and power to overcome the enemy and be victorious in battle. Perhaps today you are anticipating a real struggle, and it would seem that you are outnumbered and about to be defeated. Yet The Lord will be your strength, He will defend you so that the OPPOSITE may occur.

Dear Lord may the opposite occur. Let what the enemy intends for evil be turned to good in our lives. Let the curse be changed into a blessing, let potential defeat be turned into desicive victory. In Jesus name..Amen

Friday, July 25, 2014

Overwhelmed?

2 Chronicles 14:11 And Asa cried out to the Lord His God and said, "Lord it is nothing for you to help either with many, or those who have no power, help us, O Lord our God for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord You are our God, do not let man prevail against You

Asa was a good and godly king, however he was not except from attack. An Ethiopian Army mounted an assault and came against Asa. The King turned to the Lord in prayer and he acknowledge the greatness of God. Asa realized that the Lord did not need a large army to defeat the enemy. Nor did He depend upon the power of man. The Lord was able to deliver His people. The Lord was looking for someone to trust Him and take Him at His Word. Asa looked to the Lord and placed all His faith and trust in Him. The Lord delivered Asa and the Kingdom from the enemy. 

Perhaps this day you are under spiritual attack. The thoughts on your mind are like an oppressive cloud that seems to hover and block the sunlight of Gods precious promises. You cannot seem to get yourself out of it. Like Asa, turn to God in prayer, acknowledge His power, turn Your thoughts toward the Lord, and then rest in Him. He will come through, He always does. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Times We Are Living In

A number of things have been brought to my attention in the last several days that have reminded me once again of the times in which we are living. 

ISRAEL AT WAR: The State of Israel has launched a counter attack against Hamas, calling up thousands of reserves to put an end to the bombing of its citizens. "Operation Protective Edge" continues to move forward as innocent people are affected on both sides and the world looks on praying for peace to come to that land. 

EXECUTIVE ORDER SIGNED: The President of the United States signs an executive order that will bar federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The President ignored requests from faith leaders asking for an exemption for religious organizations. Will this be a launching pad for lawsuits against Christian organizations that disagree with the Presidents order? 



RUSSIA: As Russia continues to flex its global muscles as the news reported an airplane being shot down by separatists who are supported by Russia and killing 298 civilians. How will the world respond? 



FAITH AND VALUES: Last week in the Orange County Register the article in the "Faith and Values" section read in bold print, "Some Evangelical Christians, Are Rethinking The Bible". The article went on to sight growing numbers of people calling for a less literal interpretation of Scripture.  Saying that there isn't a literal place called hell. 


As I consider all of these things and more going on in the world I believe that the LORD is still in control. In churches around the world Gods people are praying for revival. There is a unified cry for the Lord to pour out His Holy Spirit. The things that are unfolding at the present time, may be the very things that the LORD will use to bring us to a place of desperation. The Lord said, "if my people will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways…" 
In the History of the Nation of Israel the Bible records how the Lord used difficult times to bring the people back to Himself. As all of these things unfold we begin to recognize our need for God. The Lord has a purpose for us at this time in church history. I am encouraged and excited about what the Lord may do in the future. But we must be empty before we can be filled, humbled for we can be exalted, broken before we can be whole, and weak so that we might experience Gods strength. 

Do your work Lord in these days! Lord fulfill with Your hand what you have spoken through Your word! 


Monday, July 21, 2014

The Power of Prayer

In recent days at Calvary San Juan we have seen the Lord do a deeper work in our fellowship through prayer. You always here it said that, "there is power in prayer", and "prayer changes things". We are finding that it is true. It has been such a boost to our faith to see lives being changed, people being saved, and even some being healed. Another blessing we have been discovering through prayer is the atmosphere in our church is changing. There is a greater desire for more of Jesus and an expectation of a work of His Holy Spirit in our lives. As we observe what is going on in the world, and even in some places in the church it can be discouraging. Yet we have a ongoing and growing desire to see The Lord work in these last days. People in this world are looking for hope, and we have the hope and that is Jesus.
Another thing we are seeing is an increase in spiritual attack. It has come in many different forms. The enemy is greatly bothered when Gods people begin to pray. He begins to use different tactics to try and undermine the work of The Lord. We can feel tired and suddenly find all kinds of reasons why we don't need to gather for prayer. Also the enemy tries to cause division or confusion amidst Gods people. Nevertheless this causes us to pray more earnestly to our Lord. With all the bad things you hear about every day I wanted to testify that God still works through prayer. And if revival is gonna come in these last days it's gonna start with Gods people on their knees. Church don't stop praying!!!!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Would You Pray With Us For the Next Step?

In the middle of August we will have completed our 7th year of ministry here at Calvary Chapel SJC. We are so thankful for what the Lord has done these last 7 years and we are excited to see what He will do in the future. I wanted to take a moment and ask you to join us in prayer as we go forward as a church. We have outgrown our current location in SJC and have been praying about what to do next. Land is expensive, and buildings are hard to come by around here in SJC. We are trusting the Lord for His provision. If you come across anything that you know is available,  be it a church, or land, or something along those lines, would you call our church office at 949-443-2572? Ideally we want to stay here in the SJC, San Clemente, Dana Point Area, but we are open to whatever the Lord has. I felt like if I put it out there people would pray with us, and maybe someone may even have a lead for us to look into. God is faithful He has always provided for us. I'll let you know if anything comes up. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pastors and Alcohol

Questions: Should Pastors Drink Alcohol?:  

This question has seemed to come up quite a bit lately. People want to know if there is a standard for Pastoral leadership within the church that would include abstinence from alcohol. It is not my intention to look at the first miracle of Jesus in turning water into wine, and build a case for the water to wine ratio or anything like that. Also I am not attempting to look at every angle of this matter.  I simply want to take a practical look at the subject and give a perspective on it. I am also not saying that every person has to agree with my perspective, but I am hopeful that it may encourage someone in pastoral ministry to think about the decisions they make and how it could potentially affect others. With that preface lets consider what the Word of God says on the issue. 

Drunkenness: There is absolutely no doubt that Bible forbids drunkenness. For information read the following passages just to name a few.(Isa.5:11, Prov.23:20, Rom.13:13, Gal.5:19, Eph.5:18)  My question is how do you know if your actually inebriated and crossed the line?   I love what I heard Pastor Greg Laurie say one time, "you'll never have to be concerned about falling into the sin of drunkenness if you never have a drink."  Why take the chance?

In the Old Testament you find that there were those who would take a Nazarite vow. During the  time of their vow they would refrain from wine according to Numbers 6. Also we find the priests refraining from wine in ministering in Leviticus 10:9. When they were ministering in the tabernacle  the Lord did not want their judgment to be clouded in any way.  In fact the prophet Amos rebuked the nation when he said, "I raised up some of your sons as prophets, and some of your young men as Nazarites. Is it not so O you children of Israel, says the Lord? But you gave the Nazarites wine to drink, and commanded the prophets saying, "Do not prophesy." Amos 2:11-12. How tragic that these young men had a calling upon their lives and yet they were encouraged to drink wine and it hindered them in their calling to prophecy. 

In the New Testament some of the debate over pastoral liberties has come from the meaning of the Apostle Paul's reference in 1 Timothy 3 where he lists the qualifications for a Bishop (overseer, elder, pastor). Paul writes that a man should be blameless or above reproach in the way that he lives his life. Then Paul states in 1 Timothy 3:3 a bishop is not to be given to wine. When you look up the original greek it is the word paroinos. As you examine the word you then could read various scholars and commentators on the subject splitting the grammatical hairs of what it means and does not mean. But the question is then raised, "Was Paul saying we should abstain completely, or was he saying a pastor has liberty as long as he is not given over to it?" Again, I am not one to debate the finer points of the greek language, but rather share why I believe it could be a danger and a hinderance to the pastors ministry, and thus why I choose personally to refrain from the consumption of alcohol. 

The Old Life: To me when I think of alcohol, it represents the old life before I knew Jesus. Whether that was one drink or multiple ones. When I came to Jesus that is not when I started drinking, that is when I put it away. The reason is because it was representative of the old man, or who I used to be. Why would I want to go back? I don't. 

The Observation of Devastation: In all of the years that I have been pastoring I can tell you that I have never once seen anything good come from alcohol. But I have seen violence, divorce, loss, devastation, drug abuse, abortions, unwed mothers, tragic accidents, death, all as the result of alcohol. A recent survey I read stated that 1 out of 7 people who drink become alcoholics. At some point it started with one drink, which led to the next. Most people that I have counseled with, who are given over to alcohol never thought they would end up where they are at. They never expected when they took that first drink it would lead to a divorce, child support, rehab, D.U.I.'s and more. 
Let me ask you, "Would you keep a dog in your house that severely bit 1 out of 7 people that came into your house?"  Did you know that 1700 college students die every year because of over drinking? I am certain that most of them thought they could handle it. 1700 college students is the equivalent to 4 full jumbo jets of people, and they all die. It kind of puts it into perspective.

The Potential to Stumble Others: I realize, as a Pastor, that the calling I have has a great amount of influence within peoples lives. That responsibility is something that I take very seriously, and seek to walk in the fear of the Lord over how I live my life before my God and before people. For example, "If I were a social drinker, and say 7 people decided to follow my example and 1 of the 7 becomes a alcoholic and end their life in total destruction, is that a risk I am willing to take?!. NO WAY! Also I find it troubling today that the phrase that is being used so often to justify, even for pastors, is the phrase, "in the privacy of your own home." As long as its in the "privacy of your own home" its okay. But how far do I carry that reasoning? What else could potentially fall under that category? Also I realize First of all, that its not my home, its Jesus' home. Furthermore being a father I have always considered my children within our home. Forget for the moment I am a pastor, I am also a husband and father. I don't want to go down the road of justifying what I do at home, verses what I do when I'm outside the home. I know me, I could easily do that….

Not Legalism but Wisdom: There are undoubtedly people that are on the other side of this discussion who may even go so far to call me the "weaker brother, or the legalist". That is something I am willing to live with. As I personally weigh out the consequences of a decision, "for me" it is clear, that I don't want alcohol, and a lot of other things, to be apart of my life and ministry. Furthermore at "Calvary Chapel in SJC" I encourage all our young men in leadership who have a desire to be pastors to take that same stand.  I even encourage our congregation in the same way, that although they may have the liberty, to be very careful that the liberty does not become a cloak for sin. Its a little leaven that will  potentially spoil the whole lump. Or worse yet that we would stumble someone with our liberty, whether in the privacy of your own home, or the public outside your home.

Galatians 5:13 For you brethren have been called to liberty, only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Throwing Stones

He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her….John 8:7
Of all the things that I am most thankful for in my life, Salvation is at the top of the list. If it weren't for Jesus and His finished work on the cross I would be eternally lost. His blood was shed and I am cleansed. The chains of sin have been broken and I am free. When Jesus saved me, all of my past mistakes were forgiven. All the things that I had done were as if they had never happened. Yes I lived with some of the consequences and the memories of my sin, but Jesus had forgiven me and never brought it up again. 
The religious leaders of Jesus day were extremely proud of their outward righteousness. They prided themselves on the things that they did and did not do. However Jesus pointed out that their righteousness was only an outward show. They had forgotten the weightier  matters of the law, such as mercy, and grace. At one point the religious leaders brought a women caught in the very act of adultery and laid her at Jesus feet condemned. They were prepared to put her to death on the spot. At that moment Jesus began to write in the dirt. The bible does not say what He wrote, but when He had finished He looked up and said, "he who is without sin let him cast the first stone…" some suggest He was saying, "he who is without the same sin.." 
It is unfortunate today even in the church how quick we are to forget what we were saved from when we look at others who are still lost. Or when we look at those who have also come to Christ, but we still judge them based upon what they used to be rather then who they are. 
As a minister I have learned that when people come and tell me of their struggles, or the way that they have fallen, that I am very careful how I minister to them. For one thing I know in many cased that I have been where they have been. And for another thing, I know that if it wasn't for Jesus I would still be there. 
The only person who could have condemned the women brought to the feet of Jesus that day was Jesus, and He forgave her. What about us? How do we judge others… Do you judge them based on who they were before, or who they are now? In the book of James 2:13 it says, "For judgement is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment." 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Not a Popular Subject

The word Judgment is not a word that we like to think about. The reality of divine retribution is not something we like to talk about. As a pastor there are many topics that I personally love to teach on. I love to teach on Gods Grace. I am so overwhelmed by it because it has changed my life. I delight in sharing about the love of God. The love that God is and the love that He has demonstrated by sending His son to die in my place is simply amazing. Yet as a pastor when you teach through the whole Bible you will undoubtedly come to passages of scripture that are more difficult to teach on. You will have to address subjects that are not popular with people. The subject of Gods coming Judgment on a Christ rejecting world would fit in that category. 
Teaching the congregation through the book of Isaiah can be challenging. Isaiah had been called by God to proclaim a message that was not received. He was hated and despised. What Isaiah saw coming in the future broke his heart. He could see Babylon coming before they were ever a world dominating power. He knew what was going to happen and he was overwhelmed. However he still proclaimed the message without apology. 
Last night we reached Isaiah 24, the prophet looked beyond Israel, Assyria and Babylon, to a coming judgment upon the entire world. He described the world being shaken. He saw the earth staggering like a drunken man, and men being scorched by he heat of the sun. In the midst of the judgment when God was calling for repentance, the people were calling for celebration. They were unwilling to repent. The went on with life in unbelief and willful ignorance. 
What Isaiah saw and prophesied will one day come to pass. God will one day judge the earth, that is what the Bible teaches. The great tribulation described in Revelation is staggering to read. I realize as difficult as it is to proclaim that part of the truth of Gods Word it must be proclaimed lest we be found guilty of not giving people the whole council of Gods Word. When you consider the coming judgment upon a Christ rejecting world it awakens you in a way that we need to be awakened. Many of us today are content with our own salvation without thinking about those without it. I confess at times I am grieved by my own coldness of heart to lost people. The church needs to be broken for the lost, pray for the lost, weep over the lost, and preach Jesus to the lost. There is a way of escape. There is a rescue from wrath. It is found in JESUS. He took the wrath that we deserve. He died so we would never have to experience the judgment of God. His mercy has triumphed over judgement. Yet if a person chooses to reject the provision for salvation what else can God do? God is loving and He is also just. He cannot be one without the other. May God break our hearts for those who need Jesus. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

2014 East Coast Pastors Conference

I recently returned from the Calvary Chapel East Coast Pastors Conference. I was so blessed by attending last year and was excited to get back. For the last several months we have been receiving emails to be praying for God to pour out His Spirit. As I returned this year I went with a sense of expectation. The Lord did not disappoint. The messages were a blessing, the panels were great, but for me, Tuesday evening was my favorite time. After the Word was shared we went into a time of worship and waiting upon the Lord. It seemed like the entire room of 1200 men were in one united cry for God to pour out His Spirit upon us. 
I can honestly say that I have attended many conferences over the years that have blessed my life. But on that Tuesday evening I witnessed, and was blessed to be part of, a great outpouring of Gods Spirit. If you have ever been in a a setting like that you know that words are inadequate to describe what takes place. All I can say is, thank you Lord. I am excited to see how the Lord will answer our prayers from this conference as all the men return back to their churches to serve the Lord. Ministering on the West Coast I felt a great unity and likemindedness with the men who serve the Lord on the East Coast. I am now praying for our upcoming conference here in Southern California, that the men here would experience a greater work of Gods Spirit as well. We need it in these last days. 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Trust

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion which cannot be moved but abides forever.  
Psalms 125:1


The word for TRUST is the Hebrew word, batach. It is a word that is defined as, to trust in, to have confidence, to be bold, or to be secure. As we place our confidence and trust in the Lord we are assured that we will not be moved. This means we will not be overthrown or toppled. As we trust in the Lord He promises to keep us and hold us up. We tend to trust people who are faithful. We have a greater confidence in those who are consistent. There is no one who is as faithful as the Lord. He is trustworthy, and He does not change. Maybe today you feel a little shaky, or unstable. Things in your life are beginning to move. Trust in the Lord. Rest on the promise that He has made in His Word, that you will not be moved but abide forever. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Above and Beyond


King Solomon gave to the Queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked much more than she had brought to the king. 2 Chronicles 9:12 



King Solomon was one of the wisest men that ever lived. It was because of his God given wisdom that people came from far and wide to meet with him. The Queen of Sheba came to see Solomon. While she spent time with him she was amazed at the splendor of his kingdom. She was astounded at the answers he gave to her difficult questions. She marveled at the provisions and work of his servants. In fact the queen was so dumbfounded that she declared that "the half of the greatness of Solomon's kingdom had not been told to her." The queen also brought gifts to present to Solomon, of which he used within his kingdom. Yet in return King Solomon gave her more than she had brought to him. I see a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus in this encounter between a king and queen. 
When we come to the Lord and see Him for who He is our lives are never the same. We marvel at His grace and mercy that He bestows upon His servants. The love that He has clearly demonstrated on the cross of Calvary. The wisdom and direction that He provides through His Word for our lives. So often we feel like only the "half has been told to us." Even more wonderful is we have received from our KING above and beyond what we could ever give to Him. Oh the joy of being a servant of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. What a glorious day it will be when we dwell in His kingdom forever. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Does Anything Last Forever?

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 
1 John 2:17 

When John writes that the world is passing away it means that the world is going out of existence it won't last forever. The psalmist made a similar statement in Psalms 144:4 "Man is like a breathe and his days are like a passing shadow." The world is a like a parade that is passing by, but one day the parade ends. Yet even though the world is passing away and will not last there is something that lasts forever. Those who seek to do the will of God abide forever. Doing the will of God implies a habit of life. It does not mean that we are perfect but our direction in life is following after Jesus and living for Jesus. Jesus said, "For what profit is it to a man if he gain the whole world and loose his own soul, or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matt.16:26 What a promise to hold onto today that if we live for the will of God we will abide forever.

Take the world, but give me Jesus
All the earths joys are but in name
But His love abides forever
Through eternal years the same.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wisdom Needed, Wisdom Provided

Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours? 2 Chronicles 1:10

After King David had died his son Solomon was anointed to be the next King of Israel. What an overwhelming task that must have been for Solomon. David was such a strong leader and warrior, how could Solomon ever think of taking David's place? In addition to being King, Solomon was also given the blueprints to build the temple for the Lord. When Solomon came to the throne he made a wise decision, he sought the Lord. He gathered all of the leaders and elders and they offered sacrifices to the Lord. He worshipped God, consecrated his life and kingdom to God. That night as Solomon slept the Lord appeared to him and asked him what he desired. Solomon did not ask for gold, or for fame. He did not ask for greater conquest, he asked for wisdom. Solomon's request for wisdom showed a dependence upon God. He knew there was no way that he could lead this kingdom without God's help. In response to his request the Lord gave Solomon wisdom along with an understanding heart. 

Life presents many challenges and obstacles that require wisdom from the Lord. The Bible says if any of you lacks wisdom ask of God, and He will grant wisdom liberally.(James 1:5

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Praise Reports from PJ

Hey Friends 
I wanted to give you an update on how things have been. I realized I have not written anything since I have been back from Israel. It seems like right after we got back we went into another gear leading up to our Easter Weekend Alive. 

ALIVE 2014: 
This year we moved our ALIVE event from Saddleback College to J. Serra High School. Although having it at Saddleback last year was a blessing J. Serra had more room and was far more convenient. We were blessed this year to have CRYSTAL LEWIS with us on Good Friday.  We have always loved her voice, but more than her voice, we love her heart for Jesus. She and her daughter Izzy Ray and band led us in worship. We reflected on the cross and the finished work of JESUS. Then Saturday and Sunday we had SHANE AND SHANE with us. I have been listening to these two guys with the same name for years, but this was the first time we got to meet them. How refreshing it is to meet people who not only sing about Jesus, but also they are living for Jesus.  I can't say enough about those two men and how they honored the Lord and ministered powerfully. 

The greatest highlight is seeing people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus. The Lord exceeded our expectations this year. It was amazing to see how the gospel affects all demographics.  Also there were so many from our church family that gave of their time to serve. Without all the volunteers we couldn't have done it. Thanks to everyone. 

TIME OFF: After ALIVE was over we were able to get away as a family and rest a little bit. It was a refreshing time for everyone. 
BAPTISM: We had a baptism this last Sunday that was so sweet. Everyone who came into the water had a story of how they had been changed by Jesus. God is so good. 

We are excited that summer is around the corner… YEAHHH…. Looking forward to what the Lord will do through VBS, Jr. High/Sr. High camps, Women's Conference, Mexico Outreach and especially excited about our LOCAL OUTREACH we call "Church in the Park"!!!!!

READING: Started reading a couple new books that have been very challenging, reaffirming, and convicting all at the same time. One is titled the "The Work of the Pastor" by William Still, and "Dangerous Calling" by Paul Tripp. Both have been excellent. If you have a heart for pastoral ministry these are great reads. 


Thanks again for all your prayers and look to be getting back to consistent blogging in the days ahead. 
In Him, 
PJ


Monday, March 17, 2014

Return from the Holy Land

There is no place like Israel in all the world. You could travel to many wonderful places in the world but I feel as though none can compare to the Holy Land. The most important event in Human History occurred there. The birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Savior of the world.   When you see these places with your own eyes, you never look at the Bible the same way again. This year we took 34 people. We were all on one bus, which makes it easier to get around. This was my 5th trip but it was unlike other trips in the past. The weather was challenging at times. We went from wearing shorts in the Judean Wilderness, to wearing beanies and scarfs in Jerusalem. At one point we even got stuck in a small hail storm. But it was such a blessing. 
One of my favorite highlights this year was being on the Sea of Galilee. Galilee is always one of my favorite spots. This year when we were on the water, the sea was calm. I taught about the story of the storm and how Jesus came walking on the water. When I finished my Bible study the weather suddenly changed. The waves began to rise and the rain began to fall. Its like we were living the actual story. The people had so much fun they were cheering and singing. It was a blessing. 
The other thing that was a blessing on this trip was watching how the Lord led us every step of the way. There were times when we had to be flexible in arrangements, but everything worked out. Prayerfully we will be able to return to the land again next year with another group of people from the church to experience the blessing of Israel. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

How Important Is Valentines Day?


Is Valentines day really that important? Apparently it is. Last year it was estimated that 233 million roses where purchased on Valentines day. The National Retail Foundation said that half of the gift givers this year will give chocolate and the other half flowers, spending 1.6 billion dollars. Men will spend an average of $175, and women will spend $88 dollars. With those astonishing statistics it seems clear that people feel there is a price to pay to demonstrate your love. Whether you have a valentine or not, one thing you need to know today is that YOU ARE LOVED. The Bible says, that "God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:8. The bible declares that God loves your perfectly, unconditionally, infinitely. 
God demonstrated His love, not by sending you a gift of flowers, but by laying down His life. Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13. Whatever your status is today, be it single, married, or have even gone through a difficult breakup, GOD LOVES YOU. There is nothing that you could do today to make God love you more than He does right now. He values you, He rejoices over you Isa.62:5, He prays for you Rom.8:34, He is coming again to receive you unto Himself that you may one day be with Him forever John 14:3. 

If you are doubting TRUE LOVE, LOOK TO THE CROSS!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Think Before You Ink


As I sat in front of close to three hundred young men, I quickly glanced over the stack of papers filled with questions for the Q&A session. In my opening remarks I let everyone know that I did not have all the answers. In fact, I informed them that I too, have many questions about life that have not been answered yet. With that I assured them I would do my best to answer all the questions I was given from a  biblical perspective. One of the questions that came up had to do with tattoos. "Is it wrong for a Christian to get a tattoo?" 
When I was growing up tattoos were certainly not as popular as they are today. Nor were people as talented with the artistic designs as they are nowadays. Growing up I never thought about getting one. It seemed in my generation, only bikers and sailors had them. But now you see not only young people and athletes getting tattoos, but even grandmas are getting some fresh ink on their feet or wrists. 
There are some who feel strongly that is biblically wrong to get a tattoo. The proof text that they turn to is found in Leviticus 19:28 You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you, I am the Lord. In the context Moses was referring to a pagan marking of your body for the dead not tattoos as we have them today. So let me give you my perspective. 

1. Personally I do not have any tattoos, nor do I plan on ever getting any. I choose not to get one, NOT because I think I am more spiritual in any way, nor do I feel that it is sinful to have one. I have no problem with tattoos on other people. I know many amazing believers and even pastors who have scriptures,crosses,pictures, greek words, hebrew letters, that mean something to them. I minister to people regularly who have tattoos and I don't look at them any differently, I honestly don't even think about it, until I was asked this question at the Q&;A. But for me, I exercise my liberty not to get a tattoo. 

2. Now listen, if you are young person living in your parents home, and your folks tell you not to get one, then it is important that you "honor your father and mother" and refrain from getting one. If you feel later on life when your on your own, that you want to do that, that is between you and the Lord. 

But let me share a few considerations before you put on that permanent marking in order that you may be confident in what you decide to do. 

First of all there were many things as a younger man I thought were really cool, but so many of those same things I do not think are cool any longer. And for that matter neither  does anyone else. ;-)
Its a funny thing getting older, your perspective changes. But not only does your perspective change, but your body WILL CHANGE. 
I have known guys that got a barbwire tattoo around their bicep when they were lifting weights 15 years ago, but the barbwire doesn't look as awesome now because they are not able to put up the big iron any more. You may get tweedy bird tattooed on yourself early in life, but as you grow in different areas and change, it looks like "Big Bird".  Having said all of that let me end with this word. Before you put that permanent, unremovable mark, that will be with you till death or Jesus comes again, take some time to pray. Ask the Lord what He thinks. And if He gives you the green light then get the green ink. If you don't have peace about it, then wait. 

Remember this, "THINK BEFORE YOU INK." 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A CAMP AND A VISION

A real quick note on what a blessing it was for my wife and I to be apart of a high school youth camp up in Green Valley. A camp that was built by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa over 20 years ago. We actually attended the very first camp ever held there. Pastor Chuck's Vision was to have a place where young people could go up into the Mountains away from all the distractions and get to know their Creator who loves them so deeply. 
This weekend was my first time being up there since Pastor Chuck's passing. I was reminiscing about the first time we were at the camp even before the chapel was built. It was during the summer and the theme was the book of Revelation. My oldest son was 9months old. Fifteen years later at that same camp my son committed His life to Jesus. In addition to my own children being ministered to,  I thought about how many lives of young people have been forever changed over the years because of that property. What an amazing investment for the Kingdom. Chuck had a vision that he hoped would impact future generations, well he was right.  I pray that the camp will continue to be a blessing to many generations to come. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Put Out the Fires

It was on a Sunday as I was making my way home from church that I saw smoke rising from my neighborhood. This was no BBQ, or chimney burning but an actual fire. As I followed the smoke it was only a few blocks away from my house. I saw neighbors running and fire trucks pulling up. Inside a neighbors garage something had caught fire. Huge billows of smoke flowed out of the garage. We all stood by and observed the brave fire men rush in to put out the fire. 
In the Christian life I have seen smoke rise. There are times when our enemy seeks to start fires around us. Usually they ignite right after a great victory or spiritual blessing. They can cause us to loose our focus and get easily distracted. The best way to handle them is not to overreact, or become fearful, but rather run to Jesus. I found that my God is able to put out any potential threat. The Lord can even use the enemies arson fires for good, because it causes me to immediately turn to my savior. Put out enemy fires with the water of the Word, the power of the Holy Spirit, and prayer. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Review of our Week of Prayer

This week we have set aside 5 days as a church to seek the Lord in prayer. On Monday evening we began with Confession. We looked at a number of things that we needed to repent of ranging from prayerlessness, complaining, gossip and everything in between. Although it was painful to look at things that we can easily overlook, it was a blessing to turn from them in repentance and to experience the times of refreshing that followed.
Then on Tuesday night we moved to a time of Adoration. We considered the attributes of God as revealed in scripture and simply worshipped the Lord for who He is. So much of our times of prayer are spent bringing our requests before the Lord which is a tremendous blessing. However it also important in prayer to worship God for who He is. On Wednesday we began to pray for Revival by asking the Lord to provide a Renewal in our hearts personally, a revival in the church locally, and also an awakening globally. Thursday night we turned our attention toward Missions. We  began to pray over our own Jerusalem and the ministry we do in our community. Then we moved to Judea, and interceded over the ministries we partner with. Following Jerusalem and Judea we prayed over the uttermost parts of the earth, which included the persecuted church. What a humbling thing it is to consider how great the need truly is in the world to hear the gospel.  This evening we will conclude our time of pray by crying out to God over the next generation. 
I am excited to see how the Lord is going to answer our prayers in the days ahead. There is power in prayer. I am reminded of the words of one man concerning prayer. 

"There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer." A.T. Pierson

Monday, January 13, 2014

Good News

Mark 1:1-2 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the Prophets:

In Genesis we read, "In the BEGINNING God created the heavens and the earth." In John we are told, "In the BEGINNING was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." Here in Mark we read "the BEGINNING of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." 
The word Gospel means good news. 
The good news is that although man was formerly separated from God, Jesus died on the cross bridging the gap so we could be reconciled to God. Because of His sacrifice there is atonement for the sins of mankind. Our sins can be erased and forgiven. There is freedom from guilt and shame. There is a glorious liberty found in responding to this gospel. There is a personal relationship provided with the living God. We can have the hope of heaven. We are given the assurance that when we die we will be with the Lord Jesus. There is a hope beyond the grave. The gospel message is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. 
Have you responded to the good news of the gospel? Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

If ever there was a time when we needed good news its now.