Friday, December 31, 2010

Detailed Creativity

Genesis 1, the account of Creation, reveals God's detailed creativity. It shows how creative God was in creating everything that he put on the earth (not to mention everything that is in the universe) while also revealing his detailed nature in separating the expanse and creating light and dark, sun and moon (both have a purpose in governing day and night). It's an incredible reminder: God created the artist and the scientist because he is the ultimate of both. One is not greater than the other. Rather, both are of God to bring glory to God. Right brained. Left brained. Creative. Logical. All by God and for God to reveal and glorify God.

Prayer

I read this from "Morning and Evening" devotional by Charles Spurgeon. It absolutely blew my mind.

"Continue in prayer."
Colossians 4:2

It is interesting to remark how large a portion of Sacred Writ is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing promises. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, "Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord;" and just as we are about to close the volume, the "Amen" of an earnest supplication meets our ear. Instances are plentiful. Here we find a wrestling Jacob--there a Daniel who prayed three times a day--and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elias; in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises. What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer? We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in His Word, He intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If He has said much about prayer, it is because He knows we have much need of it. So deep are our necessities, that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray. Dost thou want nothing? Then, I fear thou dost not know thy poverty. Hast thou no mercy to ask of God? Then, may the Lord's mercy show thee thy misery! A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father's face, and live in thy Father's love. Pray that this year thou mayst be holy, humble, zealous, and patient; have closer communion with Christ, and enter oftener into the banqueting-house of His love. Pray that thou mayst be an example and a blessing unto others, and that thou mayst live more to the glory of thy Master. The motto for this year must be, 'Continue in prayer.'"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Update for Challenge 2011

Hey FLOOD Family,
I've been looking over the Bible reading plans on youversion.com and I believe that I'll be making one change. I'll still be doing "Morning and Evening," but instead of the Life Journal Reading Plan, I'm going to be committing to the ESV Study Bible Plan.

Just felt I should let you know. What are you committing to? Share it below in the comments.


Challenge for 2011

Hey Flood,
I know what you're thinking. Well actually, I have no clue what you're thinking, but here's my challenge for you.

Let's read through the Bible this year. Let's make a commitment to spend time in God's word every day. It is absolutely vital for us to hear God speak into our lives as much as possible.

This is a spiritual discipline that is brought up around this time ever year. Well, I'm joining the bandwagon on this one.

So you know that I'm not asking you to do anything that I'm not willing to do, I have signed up for two reading plans for 2011 on youversion.com.

1). Life Journal Reading Plan. This plan will take me through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in 2011.

2). Morning and Evening. This is a daily devotional from the thoughts and writings of Charles Spurgeon that I will read, one in the morning and one in the evening.

Again, I do not tell you what I will be doing to brag. In fact, this will be a struggle for me. I have never done well with a "reading plan" in the past but I feel the need to do this and to remain committed to it (and please check in with me to keep me accountable to this commitment). I share this with you to show that I am committing to do exactly what I am challenging you to do.

Will you do it? If so, go to youversion.com, set up an account and pick a reading plan (or use whatever you want to that keeps you committed to tis challenge). Then tell me in the space for comments below what plan you are committing to so that I can be praying for you as you start this life-changing experience.

I love you guys and am so thankful tht Jesus has called me to be your pastor.


What a ride,
BigBHolla

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peace for the Storm

Here's the verse that I read in "Christian Atheist" today that stopped me in my tracks and reminded me of God's goodness in the crisis:

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6,7; NLT

It does not say that by praying God will automatically take away every pain and trial. It says that his peace will guard our hearts and minds as we face the trial. This is huge. Reminds me that peace is not the absence of crisis but rather the presence of Christ (Clayton King).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Update and Prayer (12/27/2010)

Hi all,
Here's what's going on this week:

I am away hanging with family for Christmas.  It's a much needed break for us and are looking forward to it.

This weekend (12/31-1/2), I am speaking up in the San Jose area to the English speaking members of a Chinese congregation for their annual retreat.  I always enjoy this time and am looking forward to it.

That's it.  No FLOOD worship service in the worship center at PFB but instead we are going to take FLOOD out of the worship center and to those in need.

Thank you for praying.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Be Ready For Anything

"And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the art of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap." — Joshua 3:13, ESV


We see in Joshua 3:15 that the Jordan river at this time was at flood stage.  Yet, here is what God says that they are going to do.  They are going to cross it.  Every single person that was there with Joshua would be crossing the Jordan at the most dangerous time of year.

Here's what I wonder: what were the priests who carried the ark thinking? Honestly, to cross a river carrying a huge box seems like a physical challenge for Navy Seals.  Yet, this is exactly what they were told they were going to do.  But here's the difference: when their first toe touched the water, the river would be held back.  And so what did they do? They picked up the ark and walked into the river seeing the miraculous happen.

Understand this: the ark of the covenant was the representation of the presence of God for the people of Israel.  The priests walked with the representation of God's presence and the people saw the difference that God's presence made.  They saw the miraculous because God was with them.  He did for them what he had done for the ancestors at the Red Sea.  They got to see it first-hand instead of just hearing about it.

So here's the main thing that hit me as I read this passage: Be ready for anything.  Be ready for the crazy things that God will ask you to do WITH him.  He did not tell the Israelites to cross the Jordan by themselves.  Rather, he made it very clear to take the ark of the covenant and to send that ahead of the people to accomplish the miraculous before the people.  The priests that carried the ark had the best seats for the miraculous.  They saw the river completely stop as they walked with in God.  They experienced what no one else in that huge moving city of people got to experience.

So be ready for anything.  Since God can do the impossible, and we are walking with him, we will run into impossible situations.  And as scary as this can be, the best part about it is that we have the best view of the miraculous.  Be ready for anything.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My FLOOD Christmas Wish

"I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.  For we have heard how then LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites..." — Joshua 2:9-10a, ESV


Who is saying this? Who is this being said to? Rahab, the prostitute in Jericho, is saying this to the two spies that Joshua sent into Jericho to check out the land.  SIDE NOTE: Isn't that a crazy idea for the two spies to wind up in the home of a prostitute? It is, unless you think about how strangers would normally go into the home of a prostitute.  This would have been the perfect cover.  It's crazy to think of how creative God will get to protect his kids.

BACK TO THE PASSAGE:
Notice the two things that she said...

1).  She had heard about the miraculous that God had accomplished.  In fact, she wasn't the only one to hear about it.  She said, "...we have heard...", implying that the whole city had heard about it.  The account of God splitting the Red Sea when the Israelites left Egypt had made it across the Jordan to the ears of those in Jericho.

2).  She had heard about the victories of the Israelites.  She mentions how she had heard about all of the victories that the Israelites had experienced.

As I read through this passage, I thought about how I want this same reputation most for FLOOD.  I want everyone around us to hear about God accomplishing the miraculous in and through this ministry.  I want his reputation to be the first thing that comes to the minds of anyone who hears about FLOOD.  Secondly, I want everyone around to hear about the people that make up FLOOD and the victory that they are experiencing.  I am well aware of the fact that any victory that I have is because of God's work in me, but I also know that those who don't know Jesus will look at me to see if there is any difference in the fact that I know Jesus.  My life is the greatest testimony of God's power.  So I want myself, and everyone who is part of the FLOOD family, to be an incredible and powerful testimony of God's work.

This is my Christmas wish this year for FLOOD.  And looking at the people that God has already brought in, and the things that he is already doing, I believe my Christmas wish will come true in a way that is beyond what I had only imagined.  Get ready, FLOOD:  the best is truly yet to come.

Monday, December 20, 2010

6 More Months

Thank you all for praying for Kelley today.  The tests came back showing that the thyroid-globulin levels in Kelley are undetectable.  That means - no thyroid cancer cells in her body.  We are thanking Jesus.  The doctor did want Kelley to come back in six months for another ultrasound (and her regular six-month check) because of a couple spots that he saw that he's not sure of, but doesn't believe that they are anything to worry about.  We will call on Wednesday and talk to another doctor to see what he thinks about those spots.

So that's where we are at.  We are so thankful to Jesus for how he has brought us through and shown his sovereignty in this whole situation.  Thank you for your prayers.

Prayer Update For This Week

Here are the ways that you can be praying for me and my family this week:

1). This morning, Kelley and I are driving to USC Medical Center to get the results for Kelley's blood work to see if she is still clear of Thyroid Cancer.  Our desire: NO MORE!!!! :) As I'm typing this, I'm reminded of God's sovereignty and what he has done these past four years through this process.  So let me also give him thanks for all that he has done.  He truly is amazing.  I will post the results when we get them.  Our appointment is at 11:30 this morning.

2).  This Wednesday night I am finishing up our Christmas series at FLOOD called, "The Reason."  The topic for Wednesday night: PRINCE OF PEACE!!! I'm praying and trusting that it's going to be a powerful evening.  Join us at 7pm at PFB Church (601 N. Garey Ave, Pomona, 91767) or watch it live online if you can't join us in person (www.pfblive.tv).


If you want to catch up on this powerful series, click the links below to watch the messages online:
1).  Wonderful Counselor
2).  Mighty God
3).  Everlasting Father

Thank you for your prayers.  You are more of a blessing to me and mine than I can ever put into words.

My Reputation

"After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' assitant, 'Moses my servant is dead...'" — Joshua 1:1, ESV


What's my reputation? I know that as some read this they will say, "It doesn't matter what people think about you.  It all comes down to what Jesus thinks about you."  I agree, to an extent.  Look at the reputation that Moses had according to the writer of the book of Joshua: the servant of the LORD.  Then look at what God himself says about Moses: my servant.  The reputations lined up perfectly.  But just because they line up perfectly does not mean that I lived a life for Jesus.  If I claim Christ while being a jerk, both God and others will say that I was a jerk and in no way is that honoring to Jesus.

To God, Moses was his servant.  And when you look at Moses' life and leadership, he truly was a servant of God.  He lived his life in such a way that God knew that Moses was about him.  To the people, Moses was a servant of God.  The people saw Moses living in such a way that his service to God could not be separated from his person.  They lined up perfectly.  And I can only imagine that with 2 million people under Moses' leadership there were many that did not like him —always finding ways to critique every step that he took.  But nonetheless, no one could argue over the fact that Moses was God's man.

I pray that I would be able to live my life so that others know what I'm about, that God states it for ages to come that I was about him, and that I truly was a faithful disciple of Jesus.  Oh how I pray that they line up.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tyler "Claus"

Tyler played Santa in his 1st Grade Christmas Production on Tuesday night.  I never knew that he had it in him.  Enjoy.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

When's The Last Time You Asked?

"The LORD has an indictment against Judah and will punish Jacob according to his ways; he will repay him according to his deeds." — Hosea 12:2, ESV


When is the last time that you asked? It can become so easy to remember that I'm forgiven by Jesus that I neglect to ask this question of him on a regular basis.  What question?

What sin is in me that I have not confessed to you? Please reveal to me my rebellion so that I can repent from it.


As Christians, we need to be asking Jesus if there is anything in our lives that he does not like so that we can repent of them.  We need to ask him on a regular basis if there is anything in our lives that has control of us rather him.  I believe that I'm forgiven completely, because of Jesus.  However, I do not want anything to get in the way of my intimacy with my Savior.

You may say, "I'm a child of God.  I don't need to ask that anymore.  He loves me."  You are right about the last part of that statement.  In Hosea, God has an indictment that he brings against HIS PEOPLE.  Just because you have surrendered to Jesus does not mean that you are perfect.  You're in process (sanctification).  You haven't arrived.  If you're reading this and disagree with that statement, you are the one to be most pitied (read Romans 7:15-25 to be reminded of the battle that you still wage).

Christians: Ask Jesus today the question above.  Then sit quietly and wait for the answer.  He will reveal.  He will punish.  He will discipline.  But realize: he will only do this because he absolutely loves you and knows that the goal of sin is to completely destroy you.  We do have an amazing God that we follow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Update and Prayer (12/13/2010)

Good morning, all.

I first wanted to thank you for praying.  This past week has been ABSOLUTELY MIND-BLOWING!  On Wednesday night we saw four students come to Jesus.  On Sunday morning at the 11:11 service, we saw 3 people raise their hands to surrender to Jesus.  AWESOME!!! God is doing awesome things.  I'm so glad that you and I get to be part of it.  Thank you for how you've been praying.

Here's how you can pray for me this week:

1).  This Wednesday night I'm teaching part 3 of "The Reason" at FLOOD - "Everlasting Father."  This is going to be a powerful message.  The key point: God is faithful even when all hell breaks loose.  If you know of anyone who is going through some really tough stuff, pray for them.  Also, invite them to be part of FLOOD this Wednesday night at 7pm (either in person or to watch live online at www.pfblive.tv).  I am praying for HUGE LIFE CHANGE to happen.

2).  On Sunday morning I get to teach the most amazing high schoolers on the planet at PFB Church.  I absolutely love my time with them.

3).  This Sunday morning I am teaming up to teach at the 11:11 service at PFB with Andy Shoemaker and Pastor Glenn.  OH MY GOODNESS!!! I'm thinking we need to find a commercial contractor to get ready because I believe that Jesus is going to tear the roof off of that place.

Love you all.  Thank you for praying.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update from FLOOD... SALVATION CAME!!!


This is a quick update to thank you for praying last night.  GOD MOVED AND TORE US UP!!!! I called people to surrender to Jesus and four young ladies stood up to surrender to Jesus.  The amazing thing: all of these girls were brought by FLOOD members who have a heart to see people come to Jesus.  I was absolutely blown away.  Thank you for praying.  Heaven exploded last night with the sound of salvation.

"Love Came Down"

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Who am I? [Part 3]

Tychicus will tell you all about my activities.  He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. — Colossians 4:7


FELLOW SERVANT
I am a prideful man.  It is so easy for me to actually walk around with an attitude of superiority.  Think about it: I'm a pastor.  WOW! I mean, I am Jesus Jr in the flesh.  And that's a horrible place to think that I am.

In all honestly, God has to constantly humble and humiliate me to remind me that I'm JUST BRIAN (remember Paul's confession of this 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).  I'm not above anyone else.  I'm not superior to anyone else.  I am a fellow servant.  Here's what it means to me:

FELLOW - Just like everyone else.  I have a specific call on my life, given to me by Jesus.  The thing is this: so does every single Christian on the planet.  My call is no greater or less than anyone else's call.  The value of the call is not found in the activity that is connected to the call but rather the fact that I am called by Jesus for something.  The value of my call is found in the value of the one who calls me to it.  And the same can be said of every single follower of Jesus.

SERVANT - When it comes down to it, I'm a servant of Jesus.  I don't sit in some plush position with a sweet office and special perks that come with the gold membership.  I am a servant of the King of the universe.  Jesus is the one who is to be noticed.  Jesus is the one who is to be exalted.  Jesus is the one that people actually need to see.  My job: do whatever is necessary to give them a perfect view of the Son of God.  And honestly, the best way to give them the best view of Jesus is to get out of the way.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who am I? [Part 2]

Tychicus will tell you all about my activities.  He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. — Colossians 4:7, ESV


A FAITHFUL MINISTER
When Jesus called me and I surrendered my life to him, I became a son of God.  I became a member of God's family.  However, with that call to surrender to Jesus and become part of God's family, I have also received a call to be part of God's mission.  I have a specific purpose on this planet, which honestly gets me so jacked up.  I'm so pumped up about getting to do what I do.  However, the key to that call is Jesus.  I am called to be a faithful minister.  The key idea behind being faithful is this: I am called to be faithful to Jesus. It's his opinion that I am truly concerned about.  It's his view of me that actually should consume my mind.

It is easy to fall into the trap of being faithful according to every other person's expectations of me.  The only problem with that is this: I can't be truly faithful to Jesus if I'm trying to be faithful to everyone around me.  If I start with faithfulness toward others, I will ultimately fail someone else and fail Jesus.  However, if I start with faithfulness to Christ, I will ultimately fail someone else (because I will not be meeting their expectations perfectly) but I will be applauded by Jesus.  And that is the key for me.

I long to hear Jesus say to me one day, "Well done."  I LONG for that.  The price that I must be willing to pay in order to hear those words is to be willing to take the ridicule and critiques of others who don't like not having control of me.  It will cost me possessions and comfort.  It will cost me safety and complacency.  I will not be able to just sit and wait for heaven.  But think about how much different things would be if every Christian truly desired to live their lives in such a way to hear Jesus say, "Well done."  We'd be less focused on us and more on Jesus, resulting in being more focused on others.  My wife would be loved better.  My kids would be cared for better.  The broken, needy, oppressed, poor, etc... would be helped better.  The world would look so different if we really strived to be faithful to Jesus above all else.

Jesus - help me be faithful to you above all.

Monday, December 6, 2010

May I Please Be Like This at 91 Years Old

Prayer Update for This Week...

Well, Prayer Team - It's time time again.  Thank you in advance for praying for me this week.  Here are the opportunities that Jesus has given me to teach this week.


  1. Tonight I am speaking at the first ever Graduate Chapel at Azusa Pacific University.  It's a time set aside for students in the graduate program at APU to get away for about 30-minutes and worship Jesus.  I would appreciate your prayers tonight as I teach.
  2. I am speaking this Wednesday night at FLOOD.  It is week two of our Christmas series called, "THE REASON."  This message is going to be SO STINKIN' POWERFUL! Please pray for life-change to happen.
  3. Sunday morning I get to teach the high schoolers at PFB Church.  These students are unbelievable! Seriously, I think that they are some of the toughest people on  the planet.  Every week they come, we all get jacked up by the Bible and and then we go home.  The thing is this: THEY KEEP COMING BACK FOR MORE!!! I love these students so much.
  4. This Sunday morning I get to teach at the 11:11 service at PFB Church.  I'm praying for life-change to happen and for God to move in a way that he has NEVER MOVED BEFORE since the creation of time.
That's about it.  But, if you could also pray for our Christmas Outreach this weekend at PFB I would really appreciate it.  Thousands of people will come onto our campus and hear about Jesus this weekend.  

Thank you so much for praying.  I love you all.  

Who am I? [PART 1]

Tychicus will tell you all about my activities.  He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. — Colossians 4:7, ESV


A BELOVED BROTHER...
Before I am a pastor I am a brother.  The NIV translates it as, "He is a dear brother..."  Tychicus was loved.  He was not just a hired gun to go and do his work.  Rather, he was a dearly loved member of the family.  He belonged to a group that valued and loved him.

Isn't it crazy how we want so very much to belong.  We want to have a place where "everybody knows your name" (shout-out for all you "Cheers" fans).  Why? Because we want to feel valued.  We want to know that this world would actually be a lot different if we weren't here.  We want to be part of something greater than ourselves.

Understand this: if you're a follower of Jesus, you are a dearly loved member of the family.  I needed to be reminded this morning that I am first and foremost not a pastor but a brother.  I am first and foremost a member of God's family, not just a worker for his family.  And I am valuable.  How can I know this? The cross is God's evidence of the value that I have in his eyes.  The transaction of eternity was paid for with the precious blood of Jesus.  I am the beloved of God.  I am a dearly loved brother in God's family.

If you're wondering who you are, start with the fact that you are dearly loved.  Not only that, you're family.  Olive Garden ("When you're here, you're family") has nothing on the church when we actually live as if we're family.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A STORY OF LIFE CHANGE @ Flood Last Night

I had a young man come up to me last night after FLOOD to share with me that God had really spoken to him during the message.  I asked him to send me what happened so that you too could be blessed by what he experienced.  Keep on praying.

"I just want to say how awesome it was tonight how God used you to change my heart during your sermon of ways God speaks to us.  See, I haven't even had my ears really open at all to him for several weeks.  And I let my heart turn cold to other people and just went through the motions of my life.  I've been skipping going to church on Sundays, skipping going to the gym, and putting off important things that I should be doing and instead sticking to spending time pretty much doing nothing or meaningless activities.


"With a mindset and living like that of course I felt miserable and empty.  I wanted a quick fix from Jesus, however I still didn't really want to listen to what he wanted from me.  But tonight he decided to speak straight to me and told me through your message to listen to him and I immediately felt a warmth in my heart of God's love that felt like walking inside to a warm house from a cold winter night, and I remembered all of the things I was putting off and ignoring that God wanted me to do.  It's amazing how even though I pushed him away he still wants a relationship for me and will overcome my bitterness and laziness with his love."


I was so blessed by this.  I pray that you are as well.

Update from FLOOD... CAN YOU SAY BAPTISMS?

We started a new series last night called, "THE REASON."  The key verse for this four-week series is this:


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. — Isaiah 9:6, ESV)


Last night's topic: Wonderful Counselor.  The main point of the message: How to know when it is God that is speaking to you.

At the end of the message I called people to the following:
1).  Salvation
2).  Baptism

When I offered salvation, no one stood up so I moved on to inviting people to get baptized.  The thing is that we didn't have anyone scheduled to get baptized but we still make it available every month trusting that God will work.  As I went on to explain baptism, a high school girl stood up proclaiming to everyone there that she was surrendering to Jesus.  The place went nuts.  I was so excited.

After that, we went back into worship and I went and got ready for baptism.  Not sure how many would be coming (or if anyone would be coming up), I was excited to learn that four people were wanting to get baptized.  We had a mom and her two daughters come up for baptism.  And then, the high school girl who surrendered to Jesus came up and got baptized as well.

God is on the move at FLOOD.  Last night left me speechless.  It's during those times when I don't know what to say that I know that it was truly Jesus doing something.

Thank you for praying.  Keep it up.  God is on the move and it is blowing me away.

PS - When the baptism video is ready to show, I will post it here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Play A Part

"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.  See to it..." — Colossians 2:6-8a, ESV


I have received Christ.  He is a real part of my life.  Here's what follows receiving him, though.  WALK IN HIM.  It is not enough to "pray a prayer" and think that the simple recitation is all that is necessary for salvation.  The key to salvation is Christ.  First, his invitation.  Second, our response to that invitation.  And our response is this: complete and total abandon.  Galatians 2:20 says it this way:  "I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."  I cannot claim that I personally have a life to live.  I don't.  I gave that life up.  I am completely changed by Christ, and my identity is completely wrapped up in Christ.  I am called to live, but I'm called to live according to Christ, not try to live my life as if he doesn't exist.  And the life I live: it must be worthy of the high calling that I have received ("...so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord...", Col. 1:10).

But here's the part where you play a part.  Notice the last three words of the passage quoted above (Colossians 2:8a).  See to it...  This was Paul's way of saying, "Hey you, Christian, pay attention and beware."  And notice what the warning was:  "See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elementary spirits of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8, ESV).  This means that I am responsible to keep watch and pay attention.  I am responsible to spend time in God's word, both in order to spend time with him and to understand more about him and his ways.  There are tons of opinions out there.  There are tons of perspectives.  However, there must be a right one.  The Bible has proved true time and time again.  We as Christians need to be in the Bible as much as possible.  To claim to know Christ without spending time in that which he gave to us to describe him even more is ludicrous.  To be passive in this following of Christ rather than being proactive is a dangerous move.  I must strive to understand the core doctrines of the Christian faith.  I must strive to understand God and his character more and more every day.  I must be disciplined in my walk with Jesus.  I must SEE TO IT.

So remember (and apply this as needed): It is not the responsibility of my pastor to make sure that I'm growing in Christ.  It is not the responsibility of my parents to make sure that I know what I believe.  It is ALL MY RESPONSIBILITY to see to it that I do not fall away.  It is completely my responsibility to grow in my relationship with Christ.  It's mine.  I've been warned.  I must hang on and pull through.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Prayer Update for This Week...

TO: My unbelievable prayer team.

Here's what's going on this week that you can be praying for:

1).  On Wednesday morning, I am speaking to the junior highers of Crossroads Christian School in Corona.  I always love getting to go out and hang with these students.  Please pray for direction for the message and for God's anointing as I preach it.

2).  This Wednesday night I am teaching at FLOOD at PFB.  We are starting a four-week series called, "The Reason."  It is based on this verse in Isaiah when he spoke about the coming of Jesus:  "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6; ESV).  We will be looking at one "title" per week and unpacking what that means to us during this Christmas season.  Please join is in person (PFB Church - 601 N. Garey Ave, Pomona) or live online (www.pfblive.tv) this Wednesday night at 7pm.


Thank you for praying.  I love you guys.

Thankful to Suffer

"I want you to know how glad I am that it's me sitting here in this jail and not you.  There's a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world—the kind of suffering Christ takes on.  I welcome the chance to take my share in the church's part of that suffering.  When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God's way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth." (Colossians 1:24-26; THE MESSAGE)

I read this and had to ask myself this question: "Do I even know what suffering is?" I went on to write this in my journal:  "An inconvenience is not the same as suffering.  I don't even know if a 'trial' is the same as suffering.  In what way am I suffering, and if I am, do I rejoice? Am I others-centered in my suffering?" I think the truth is this: I don't suffer.  In fact, the first inclination that I have when suffering approaches in any form is to do whatever is necessary to alleviate it rather than grow through and serve with it.

In reality, I'm a selfish man.  This is one of the many vices that Jesus is having to work out of me.  I'm selfish.  But when struggles or trials hit, I see ME!!! I get even more self-centered.  Yet Paul sees it differently.  Because of God's Spirit living in him, he sees times of suffering as opportunities presented by Jesus for him to serve others.  Look at it again: "...I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God's way of helping me serve you,..."  To serve others.  Notice this:

Paul's perspective.  

Paul saw the suffering that he faced as a sheer gift from God.  How was Paul suffering? HE WAS IN PRISON BECAUSE HE LOVED JESUS!!! That's suffering, and yet he sees his time in the prison cell as a sheer gift from Jesus to serve the church at Colossae.  Jesus is the one who promised that we would have trouble and trials in this life.  "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33, ESV).  He has warned us.  But we also must remember that he we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to see suffering as opportunities to serve others rather than to get self-focused and bitter.

The only way this makes sense to me is this.  So often I have prayed for my family and asked Jesus, "Whatever pain/sickness is supposed to come to them, give it to me."  I've often walked into my boys' room and asked Jesus to give me any disease that they are going to have to face.  Why? I love my boys.  I love my family.  So often while my wife was going through thyroid cancer treatment I asked Jesus to let me take it.  Why? Because I love her.  I want those things that could hurt those that I love to come upon me because I don't want to see them hurt.

Here's the problem though: that's not natural to me for every suffering that comes up.  When I do face tough times, I become very self-focused rather than others-focused.

I've got a whole lot of room for growth in this area of my life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A MUST READ FOR MINISTRY LEADERS!!!

I was reading through some blogs to try to fall back to sleep (and I know that some of you ask why not just read your own to help with the insomnia), and I came across this one from Perry Noble.  I read it and it WOKE ME UP!!!! Totally defeated the purpose of me reading his blog.  It was absolutely incredible.  Some may say, "It's simple and I know all of that."  Maybe, but I definitely needed the reminder this morning.  Enjoy and be encouaged!!!

The Five Practices A Leader Must Be Willing To Pay by Perry Noble.

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prayer Update for This Week...

Hi Prayer Team,
Thank you so much for praying for me last night and today (click here to read, "I'm Feeling It").  I should have posted later on last night what transpired from that post.  I went for a run (yes, a run - my year of P90X has allowed me to be able to run the 2-mile loop around my neighborhood, and I usually hate to run).  I went for a run/vent session with Jesus and it was awesome.  I went off on how I was feeling and frustrations that I've had and needed to deal with.  As I turned the corner for the last half of a mile, here's the passage that the Holy Spirit reminded me of:

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31; ESV)


I'm not gonna lie: this is a pretty sweet passage to have pop in my mind as I'm finishing up my run.  Let's just say the pace on my last 100 yards was pretty ridiculous.  :)

Thank you for praying.

TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES THIS WEEK...
I have a much healthier schedule this week with teaching.

1).  Wednesday night at FLOOD, we are having a Thanksgiving Eve service.  Please pray as we come together to be very intentional about giving God thanks for all that he has done.  I'll be teaching at this service.  Please come and join us if you can (Wednesday night at 7:00pm).  If you can't join us in person, join us online (www.pfblive.tv).

2).  Sunday morning I get to teach the high schoolers at PFB Church.  This is always a highlight for me to get to teach this amazing group of young people (check out www.floodhighschool.com to see all that's going on with them).

Thank you again for praying.  I really appreciate it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm Just a Proud Daddy

I'm posting this just because I'm a proud dad.



And if I feel this proud of my boy (and Tyler, too, of course), think of how proud God feels about us as we continue to live for him.  Don't give up, friends.  Keep on.

I'm Feeling It

I am so stinking overwhelmed.  Seriously.  It just feels like everything is coming down on me at once.  From ministry at PFB, the teaching ministry that Jesus has called me to, and the nagging issue of selling and buying a home.  That's just to name a few of things.  I'm overwhelmed.  I'm tired.  I think what I'm feeling is the beginning of burnout - and honestly it scares me.  I know that Jesus has me, but that's not what I'm worried about.  I'm just tired.  I'm spent.  I know I must press on, but let's just say that my pace is starting to slow down.  There is light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel still seems pretty long.  And the worst part: I don't feel close to my Jesus.  Things need to change.  Jesus, help me hear what you have to say so that I'm living the life that you want me to live.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Teaching Update...

Prayer Team:

It's been a crazy few days.  I taught at Maranatha High School on Tuesday.  I went there with a specific passage in mind to preach, and Jesus totally changed it up when I got there.  When I showed up and heard about what everyone was going through and how God had been working over the earlier days, he put on my heart a totally different passage.  It was confirmed when after I was finished a young lady came up and shared with me, with tears streaming down her face, how that was exactly what she needed to hear and had been praying about.  That stopped me in my tracks.

On Wednesday night I spoke at FLOOD at PFB.  I taught out of Mark 5:1-20, looking at Jesus healing the man possessed by a demon.  The major theme in the passage was what does a person do when the crisis hits.  We have a choice: we can tell Jesus to go away or we can ask him if we can go with him.  It was a powerful night as about 10 people stood up and met in the prayer room with our prayer team to ask for prayer for healing from whatever they had been dealing with.

Yesterday, I spoke at Cal Poly for Campus Crusade for Christ.  The topic: JESUS IS RADICAL!!! I don't know if I have a more favorite topic to teach on.  It was a blast.  From there I went to APU and spoke to a classroom of graduate students about leadership and ministry.  It was an absolute blast.

Thank you so much for praying.  God is on the move.  I'm so glad I get to be part of it with you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Prayer Update for This Week...


Happy Monday, Prayer Team.

Here's my schedule for teaching this week.  Thank you in advance for praying:


  • Tomorrow morning (Tuesday), I am speaking at Maranatha High School.
  • Wednesday night I am speaking at FLOOD at PFB.  I am very excited about what God has been showing me from Mark 4-5 the past couple of weeks.  
  • Thursday afternoon I get the opportunity to speak at Campus Crusade on the Cal Poly Pomona campus.  I've never had this opportunity and am so excited to partner up with them.
  • Sunday morning I get to speak to the high schoolers at PFB Church.
That's it.  It's a pretty busy week.  Again, thank you.  Love you guys.

Friday, November 12, 2010

God Reminded Me of Something Through MEGAMIND


I took the boys out tonight to see MEGAMIND.  Honestly, I liked it.  It was pretty funny.  But the part that I loved the most was being with my boys.  Seriously: this was the best part of the whole night.  There we were, with our snacks and drinks, sitting together enjoying the movie.

I found myself smiling as we walked out because I was able to hang with my boys.  And the joy for me: they enjoyed hanging with me.  That blessed me more than I am able to explain in any blog.  And then it hit me: Is this how God feels every time we enjoy him? John Piper is known for this statement: "God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him."  It is when I enjoy God the most that he is most glorified in me.  But I would venture to say this: When I enjoy God the most is when I have truly blessed the heart of God.

What an incredible moment for me as a dad.  What an indescribable reminder to me as a child of God.

They Don't Look Very Cool!!!

I was reading Josh Husmann's blog this morning and came across this video.  Hillarious!!!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Update from FLOOD...

Hey all,
I just wanted to give you a quick update about what happened on Wednesday night.  IT WAS AWESOME!!! We started a new series called, "PUNCTUATION" (click here to see what it's about).  But here's the thing: God changed things up on me.  Last Friday, while I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight, I was reading Mark 4-5.  JESUS ROCKED MY WORLD!!! As I read through it I knew that I had to preach what Jesus had shown me for the next few weeks.  However, this didn't fit with my new series.  And that's when it hit me: When God wants to change things up, he gets the final say, not my series plans.  So, we went with it.  The result: two young ladies stood up to surrender to Jesus.  And the truth: THAT NEVER GETS OLD!!!

God is on the move.  Thank you for praying.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Real & Broken Preferred

"So they answered him, 'We do not know.'  And Jesus said unto them, 'Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.'" — Mark 11:33, ESV


Here's a guaranteed way to make sure that you never get another answer from Jesus: be fake.  I was reading Mark 11:27-33 today for my quiet time.  The context is this: the religious leaders were looking for a way to destroy Jesus.  He had just finished jacking up their "worship service" by turning tables over and creating havoc with a whip.  The people right before that had been proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah.  The people loved his teaching and were blown away by his miracles.  So the religious leaders came together to come up with a question to trap Jesus so that they might have a reason to kill him.

However, before Jesus would answer their question (the question was one of the dumbest things that can ever be asked of God by anyone: "By what authority are you doing these things?" Just so you know, God never has to answer this and we should never be asking it), he wanted them to answer one of his questions.  Their response to this question had to be well thought-out.  The only problem is that there was no good way to answer the question (kind of like, "Did you know you're stupid?" :).

This was the response of the religious leaders: "We do not know."  Jesus knew that they had an opinion.  He knew that they were thinking something specific about him, but that they were not willing to share their opinion.  That's why Jesus replied by saying, "Neither will I tell you..."  He could of said, "Then I don't know either."  But he didn't.  He said, "Neither will I tell you..."  If they weren't going to answer his questions honestly, he wasn't going to answer there's at all.

Here are two thoughts that came to my mind while I was reflecting on this passage:

1).  When I play the part rather than be the person, Jesus will reveal nothing new nor answer any questions.  It is so easy for me to jump into the position that I have rather than the person that God has made me to be. When I forget that I am person before I am pastor, my times with Jesus are stale.

2).  Jesus prefers real and broken over fake and religious.  Look at these verses:


  • Psalm 51:17 - The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
  • Isaiah 57:15 - For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
  • Isaiah 66:2 - All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD.  But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Jesus is not longing for people to play the part.  He's looking for people who have been broken apart and in need of healing.  Jesus prefers real and broken over fake and religious.

To that I say: thank you, Jesus!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Natural To Follow

And Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Rabbi, let me recover my sight."  And Jesus said to him, "Go your way, your faith has made you well."  And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. — Mark 10:51-52, ESV


Here's the first thought that popped into my mind as I read Mark 10 this morning:  "The natural response of those who are given sight is to follow the one who gave it to them."  The response of Bartimaeus was to follow Jesus.  He was not asked to do so by Jesus.  He wasn't encouraged by anyone else to go with him.  Rather, all that the passage says is that Bartimaeus went with him.  That's it.  But why? Because it's a natural response - or at least it should be.

But here's the thing that really stands out since it was Bartimaeus.  Picture it: Bartimaeus is blind at the beginning of the day.  He meets Jesus and his whole world is changed.  He no longer needed anyone to help him get from one place to the next.  He didn't have to shuffle along, hoping not to knock anything or anyone over.  He didn't have to worry about tripping over something (unless he was a klutz).  He was free.  And the joy in that freedom was this: he could follow Jesus all by himself.  He didn't need any help from anyone else.  He could see Jesus and he could follow him all by himself.

Here's the correlation for us.  For those of you who know Christ let me remind you of this: before you heard Christ's call and surrendered your life to him, you were blind (as was I).  You were unable to see anything.  In fact, Scripture teaches that you were once dead in your sins (Ephesians 2:1-3, ESV).  Dead means dead.  In the Greek language, dead means dead.  But, Jesus came and changed everything.  And the natural response for a person who has truly been changed by Jesus is to follow him.  Why? First, because we can see for ourselves who Jesus is and where he is going.  Secondly, because we are so grateful for the fact that he gave us life.

Remember: The natural response of those who are given sight is to follow the one who gave it to them.  And I can promise you this: Jesus loves the company.

Please pray...

Hey all,
I wanted to thank you again for praying for me while I was up at Gilead this past weekend.  It was truly an unbelievable experience.  I just got a message from one of the guys who was there.  Here's what he said:


"Mt Gilead was INSANE! God used you to rock my world!!!"


It was incredible!!! So thank you.  Here is what I'm asking for prayer for for this week:

1).  FLOOD this Wednesday night.  We are starting a new series called, "Punctuation" - click here for the details.  I've been studying this morning for the message and I have to say: I'M FLIPPIN' PUMPED!!! I haven't finished the message but I'm getting really excited about it.  Would love to see you join us at FLOOD.  If you can't be there in person, join us live online (www.pfblive.tv).

2).  This Sunday morning I get to teach the high schoolers at PFB Church.  

Thank you so much for how much you love me and support me by constantly praying for me.  I can't thank you enough.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Party's Over

Hi All,
Just wanted to give you a quick update that Jesus is awesome. :) The men's retreat is over and I'm sitting here in the aftermath of an amazing weekend. The theme was, "CONSUMED" and Jesus had some things to say. Thank you so much for praying. I'm blown away with what he said and how he said it. Here were some highlights:

1). Watched a young man with a physical disability singing with his hands raised, "It is Well With My Soul."

2). Listening to about 90 men singing praises to Jesus. Nothing is quite as awesome as hearing that.

3). The messages came up strong and to the point. The men were very receptive and open to this.

So thank you. I get on a plane tomorrow morning at 7am. I'll be back at PFB for morning worship services there. Thank you for praying.

Friday, November 5, 2010

KEEP PRAYING!!!!

Prayer Team:

OH MY GOODNESS!!! I can honestly say that I don't think that I have ever preached like I preached tonight.  Thank you so much for praying.  God is moving.  I'm left speechless tonight at the words that Jesus shared with me and the all the men up here.  Thank you.  I love you all.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You Are God's Masterpiece


REMEMBER: You are God's masterpiece.

The chiseling process may hurt at times,
but the end result is unbelievable.

God's first job in making you into a new creation is to destroy you.

What I Do All Day!!!! :)

Here's the stress that comes with my job.  HOLD ON!!! You'll never be the same. :)



What Does Brian Do All Day? from Brian Holland on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"...the God to whom I belong..."

...the God to whom I belong... — AWESOME!!!

Enjoy the truth of this statement: If you have surrendered your life to Christ, you belong to God.  You belong to him.  You are his possession.  And understand this: he sees you as precious.  Think about it: he paid for you with the precious blood of his Son.  You only pay top dollar for those things that are beyond value to you.

I read this phrase this morning and it blew me away.  I needed that reminder.  I needed to hear once again that I belong to God, that despite my shortcomings, doubts, and fears, I belong to God.

This truth: it should change everything.  If it doesn't, then it hasn't become part of you.  Oh how I pray that it does, because it definitely changes everything.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Prayer Update for this Week...

Hey all,
Here are is how you can be praying for me this week:

1).  I get to preach this Wednesday night at FLOOD.  We will be closing up our two-week series called, "COEXIST."  Again, I invite you to come out and be part of it (7pm in the worship center at PFB Church).  If you can't join us in person, watch it live at http://www.pfblive.tv/.

2).  On Friday I fly up to northern California to speak at a men's retreat.  I am very excited about this opportunity to hang with and teach a bunch of guys.  There's just something about being with the brothers.  I'll be teaching on Friday night and twice on Saturday.  I'll then fly back on Sunday morning to make it back in time for worship services at PFB Church.

3).  My sleep.  For some reason I am in a season of not sleeping well.  I've tried sleeping pills, changing pillows, breathing deep, counting sheep, praying, trash-talking the devil... I'm just not sleeping well.  I know that in the big scheme of things this is nothing.  However, Jesus is so willing to hear all about the little things and do the incredible when he sees fit.

Thank you for your constant prayers.  I am so blessed by you.  Take care.

I'm In A Funk

I'm in a funk.  And honestly - it sucks.  This morning I got up early to spend time in God's word.  I read through my "scheduled" reading for today (which honestly, has helped me so much in staying true to being in God's word on a regular basis).  At the end, nothing.  I long to experience God's presence.  An absence of that is discouraging.  And yet, as I type this I am caught with this thought: my goal is to follow and obey Christ, no matter what the experience.

I heard this statement a long time ago during a quiet time: "Sometimes God will take away the emotion to make sure that you'll be obedient."  I'm exhausted.  I'm still not sleeping well.  The responsibilities that I am facing right now are many (which I'm sure so many of you can relate with).  I understand that right now I am in a season, one of which will have an end at some point.  The only thing: I don't like what it is doing in my intimacy with Jesus.

The main point for this morning in writing this blog: to be honest.  I've made a commitment to be real in my blogs, thoughts, tweets, etc... I'm tired of seeing posts written by followers of Christ who constantly portray how great everything is, yet remaining silent in their blog when times of discouragement and doubt creep in.  All the while so many others wonder if they are the only ones struggling through things.  I'm in a funk.  I don't like it.  But one thing I've learned through times like this: remain obedient.  Be faithful.  As I remain obedient, regardless of emotional stimuli, God will bless me with the awareness of his presence that I so long to experience in his perfect time.

So, no matter what you're feeling, be faithful.  Remain faithful.  Be obedient.  We were called to Christ, not just an emotion that comes with following Christ.

"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible, I may attain the resurrection from the dead." — Philippians 3:7-11

This is the passage that came to mind as I was typing the stuff above.  I want to know Christ.  I want to know him in every way possible.  So I wonder if there is a necessity in the process of knowing Christ more deeply that I must experience what it's like to feel like he's not close by.  In that time of "distance", I must press on to remain obedient, as that is what one's pupil will do no matter where his teacher may be.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I PRESS ON to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do no consider that I have made it my own.  But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I PRESS ON toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 3:12-14

I feel like I'm in the midst of a lot of rambling.  I hope you don't mind my thinking out loud.  But honestly: this time of rambling has helped me get focused on what I want: Christ.  I want him.  I want everything about him.  I'm so thankful for times in the funk because they reveal the new heart's desires that Jesus has given to me.  Those desires of my new heart: my Savior.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My two little warriors

Here's a picture of my two little warriors. Had a great time walking them around to trick or treat.





Saturday, October 30, 2010

Masquerade

What are we hiding from? Who are we striving to be? Why are we pretending?

I can remember wearing different "masks" in high school so that I could be part of different worlds.  At home, I had a "mask".  At school I had a "mask".  At youth group I had a "mask".  Here are some of the problems that come with having so many masks.

1).  It's hard to remember who you really are.  As long as we continually strive to be the type of people that others expect us to be, we will never be the person that Christ created us to be.  That leads to my second...

2).  We don't live out the life we were blessed to live.  As long as my goal is to live my life in a way that keeps me in right standing with so many people around me, I will probably be disobeying Jesus at some point along the way.

3).  No one ever really gets to know you.  As long as I'm faking things along the way, I am never showing anyone around me the real me.  The problem with that: I never truly experience true friendship/fellowship with anyone around me because they never meet me.

"So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong." — 2 Corinthians 12:7-10


Here are some things that I think we need to do in order to get rid of our masks:
A).  Surrender everything to Christ.
B).  Understand and accept the fact that you are loved completely by Jesus, just as you are.
C).  Accept the truth that Jesus has a new life planned out for you.  The truth about this: it's a better life than you ever thought possible and probably looks a lot different than the one that you're living right now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prayer Update...

Hi there,

With regards to my teaching ministry, this is a much lighter week.  However, if you could please pray for the following I would really appreciate it.

1).  This Wednesday night, Pastor Glenn is speaking at FLOOD.  He is kicking off our new two-week series called, "COEXIST".

2).  This Friday night, our children's ministry is reaching out to thousands of people in our community here at PFB.  Please pray for Pastor Lois and her team as they head this up, and please pray for the movement of God on this evening so that children and their families surrender to Christ.

3).  This Sunday morning I am teaching our high school students at PFB.

Thank you so much for praying.  God is on the move.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Please Pray

Hi all,

Here's an update for prayer:

  • Tonight is IGNITE.  I am so stinking pumped up for this.  Please pray.  And if you can, come and join us at 5pm.  If you can't get away from the house, watch online (pfblive.tv)

  • Tomorrow afternoon I have the honor of performing the wedding ceremony of Josh Ebersole and Shannon Voigt.  One of the greatest thrills of being a pastor is to perform a wedding for a couple that loves Jesus with everything and are truly striving to honor him in everything.  I am so excited for this.


Thank you again for how you bless me by praying for me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What If Job Blogged?

Then Job spoke again: "If my sadness could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would be heavier than all the sands of the sea.  That is why I spoke so rashly.  For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows.  He has sent his poisoned arrows deep into my spirit.  All God's terrors are arrayed against me.  Don't I have a right to complain? Wild donkeys bray when they find no green grass, and oxen low when they have no food.  People complain when there is no salt in their food.  And how tasteless is the uncooked white of an egg! My appetite disappears when I look at it; I gag at the thought of eating it! 'O, that I might have my request, that God would grant my hope.  I wish he would crush me.  I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me.  At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One.'" — Job 6:1-10, NLT

How much of Scripture, if written today, would be considered a personal blog of someone? The only difference: the blogs of today don't usually read like the "blogs" of Scripture.  Here's what I mean.  It seems like the blogs and tweets of Christians today, and most of the time I'm included, are about how amazing life is and how wonderful everything is going.  And you know what, I don't doubt that things are great a lot of the time.  However, are we as quick to blog and tweet about the tough times in life as we are about the great times? Are we willing to be raw and honest like the people of Scripture along this path that God has us on so that others who follow can find encouragement or are we portraying a carefree stroll through life to heaven with not bumps along the way? The only problem with the latter: that's not life.

As I'm going through Job in my quiet times once again, I first jumped to the fact that I'm so thankful that I'm not Job.  He went through so much.  He faced so much adversity in his life.  But do you remember why? Because God knew he could handle it.  God is the one who mentioned Job to the devil.  God is the one who knew that Job would still be committed to him no matter what Job faced.  God knew that Job could take it.  So now I ask: if my life is always so perfect, is it because of God's blessing or God's caution, knowing that I can't handle it in such a way that will bring him glory in the end? I'm just thinking out loud.

I was convicted as I read this chapter in Job, realizing how thankful I am for frankness and bluntness of Scripture, because I cannot tell you how often I have been encouraged in my walk with Christ through the misery of those who have walked with Jesus before me.  I know that sounds morbid and somewhat horrible, but it's true.  And for those that can't believe that I would even think this way, may I ask you why? Do you struggle? Do you doubt? Have you ever? Have you ever blamed yourself for something that only God ultimately controls resulting in you condemning yourself for something you have no control over anyway? Do you take credit for things that God is accomplishing, finding yourself in direct competition with God as you try to steal his glory? Do you struggle with pride? Pain? Loss? Heartache? Guess what: it's all in Scripture.

However, you may be reading this and say, "I don't deal with any of that."  Do you remember Christ's call on those who want to be found worthy to be his disciples? DENY SELF.  PICK UP YOUR CROSS DAILY.  AND FOLLOW HIM! Christ's path lead to Calvary.  We must carry our own crosses to the place that he leads.  If you're not experiencing any pain in life, then you're probably not living your life in this reality.  Or, maybe you're just kidding yourself and lying until it's over.

So, bloggers and tweeters, as well as Facebook status updaters, I challenge you: be honest in what you share.  I worry how many people who have struggled in any huge way have been pushed away from Christianity because of the fact that many of Christ's kids, including myself, don't tell the truth about how they are really doing.  Let's be real.  Let's be honest.  As we are and as we do, true life-change will result.  Will you do it?

Here's a blog of someone that I adore who I believe is blogging in all honestly, resulting in impacting the lives of everyone who reads her thoughts.  She is an incredible follower and lover of Jesus.

www.lisahusmann.wordpress.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Prayer Requests...

Hi all,

I want to thank you again for all the times you bring me before Jesus as you pray for me and the ministry that Jesus has called us to.  Here's how you can pray for me this week:
  • Wednesday morning I am teaching in chapel at Crossroads Christian School to junior high and high school students.
  • Wednesday night I will be teaching at FLOOD at PFB Church.  I still would like to invite you to come and see for yourselves what Jesus is doing.  If you can't, you can watch it live (www.pfblive.tv).
  • Saturday night I am speaking at IGNITE (www.igniteusnow.com).  Ignite is a movement that God put on my heart last year to start.  It's a time of worship and teaching designed to encouraged, confront and ignite a generation to change their world for Christ.  Other churches have been invited.  I believe that this is the beginning of IGNITE.  Last year was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!! I invite you to come and be part of it.  Again, if you can't make it down to the church, you can watch it live online (www.pfblive.tv).
  • Sunday morning I am teaching the high schoolers of PFB Church.  I absolutely love my time with these students.  They are awesome.

Here is a video teaser of what IGNITE is all about.


Ignite 2010 Worship Conference from Pomona First Baptist on Vimeo.

If you could get the word out to others who may ant to come and be part of it, that would be so great.  Thank you again.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Unchanged Is Unreal

"For some days [Paul] was with the disciples at Damascus.  And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, 'He is the Son of God.'  And all who heard him were amazed and said, 'Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?' But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ." —Acts 9:19-23, ESV

The beginning of Acts 9 shows Saul on his way to Damascus from Jerusalem to arrest Christians.  Then he got knocked onto his tailend by Jesus.  Then after Ananias came and shared with Paul God's plans for him.  Paul believed and was baptized.  From that moment on, Paul was unstoppable for Christ and his kingdom.

Here's the thing that hit me: Paul was changed.  He was confronted and rocked by Jesus and he was CHANGED!!!  And as I keep spending time in Scripture, the idea keeps popping out that life-change is proof that a person has truly met Christ.  For someone to claim to have met Christ while seeing no life change proves that the initial meeting was not with Christ.  Talk is cheap when a person's life shouts something completely different than his mouth.

If you claim you've met Christ but have not experienced any change, chances are that you didn't meet Jesus in the first place.  I know we can claim that it's a process (and sanctification truly is a process), but conversion, being brought from death to life, happens at once.  There is not a slow process of moving from death to life.  It's in an instant.  At one moment you're dead.  The next: you're a live.  The process of becoming healthier is truly that, a process, but the initial meeting should change everything.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Grace In Action

This is grace at its finest. Joy at its purest.





Prayer Update...

Thank you so much for praying for me last week.  It was a long and busy weekend, but the weddings were absolutely beautiful.  Such a great honor for me to getting to officiate the weddings for Chris and Amy and for Rob and Bekah.  Here's how you could be praying for me this week.  Thank you in advance.

  1. This Wednesday I will be speaking two times to the senior class at Western Christian High School for something called, "Senior Renewal." The theme: Not Ashamed.

  2. Wednesday night I am teaching at FLOOD at PFB.  Please join us if you can at 7:00pm on Wednesday.

  3. Thursday I am speaking to the Christian Club at San Dimas High School.

  4. Sunday morning I get to teach the amazing high school students at PFB Church.


Thank you for praying.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Cousin Can PREACH!!!

I am so proud of my cousin.  Enjoy this message by Megan Fate.  My prayer: that Jesus rips your face off when he's done with you. :) This is the message that she taught last Wednesday night at FLOOD. Hold on!!! It's gonna get a little bumpy. :)

09/29/10 Flood - Megan Fate from Pomona First Baptist on Vimeo.

Update from Last Night at FLOOD

Did you hear heaven celebrating? If not, PAY ATTENTION!!!! :) Last night I spoke from John 8, the woman caught in the act of adultery.  We looked at how Christ showed compassion to the woman while then challenging and calling her to stop sinning.  It was a message to bring people to a surrendered life to Christ, whether for the first time or for Christians to live as citizens of heaven rather than as citizens of hell.

As I called people to surrender to Christ for the first time, two young ladies stood up.  The place went CRAZY!!! The thing that excited me most (after the fact that they now belong to Jesus) was that they were both brought by other people committed to Flood.  They put into practice the Oikos principle - striving to impact the 8-15 people that God has put into their sphere of influence to encourage them to follow Christ.

On top of the two people surrendering to Christ, four people professed their faith in and love for Jesus by being baptized.  Three were planned and one decided that night as she watched the example of her parents who were both baptized (and by the way, our next baptism service is Wednesday night, November 3rd).

Last night was explosive.  I met a good chunk of people who had come for the first time last night and are excited to make Flood a part of their lives.  I LOVE IT!!! Keep on praying. God is moving.  It's a stinking blast to be part of it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Somebody Push the Button

For the past two days we, the pastors at PFB, have been in planning and vision meetings.  This has been a great time.  Yesterday we went from 8:30am - 4:30pm, talking about what we think God is doing and where he is leading us next.  When it was finished, a group of us gathered our stuff and went to the elevator.  The doors opened.  It was empty.  About five of us got in.  As we got in we all just waited as the elevator started to move.  The only probably is this: no one on the elevator had pushed the button for the first floor.  Rather, we all just stood there talking.  The elevator went up to the third flood because someone up there pushed the button to call the elevator up there.  We all felt kind of stupid and someone finally pushed the button for the first floor.

Here's what hit me: leaders are the ones who need to be willing to push the button.  To have a group of people in one place who are there for a specific reason/purpose is one thing.  However, if the group is just meeting with itself without making a difference in any one else and not going any where, the group of leaders aren't leading.  A leader has to be willing to push the button.  Pull the trigger.  Whatever your favorite expression, the message is still the same: leaders lead.  If we are leading, we need to make sure that we are willing to make the decision and deal with the ramifications.  We pray for guidance.  We seek counsel.  We meet with others and work through the process.  But at the end of the day, we need to push the button if we are going to be going anywhere.  If we don't, someone else will and we will be where we were never supposed to be.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Update for This Week

Can you please pray for me for this next week?

  • Please pray for me as I teach this Wednesday night at Flood.  God did amazing things last week, bringing 4 people into a relationship with himself.  Also, this Wednesday is a baptism service.  I absolutely LOVE baptism services.

  • I have the honor or performing the wedding of Amy Floyd and Chris Baergen this Saturday.

  • This Sunday morning I get to teach the high school students at PFB Church.

  • I also have the honor of performing the wedding of Rebekah Tenney and Rob Schwandt on Sunday afternoon.


I'm so excited about this next week of teaching ministry.  Thank you for praying.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Updates and Requests for This Week

First off all, thank you for praying for me. I meant to get this update from last Wednesday's worship service to you last week, but it didn't happen. I'm so sorry. Here's why I wanted so badly to give you the update from last week:

Salvation came to Flood this past Wednesday night. We saw between 8-10 people stand to surrender to Christ during our Wednesday night worship service. When they stood up, the place went NUTS!!! It was awesome. Here's the thing: the message really didn't have anything to do with a call to Christ but rather a call for Christians to accept his missional call on their lives. Even still, I did call people to surrender to Christ. And they started standing.

Every salvation was exciting. What was even better about them is that every person that stood came because of someone who brought them to Flood. Most, if not all, were first-time visitors to PFB when they surrendered to Christ. AWESOME!!!

Here is how you pray for me this week:

1). Please pray for FLOOD (Wednesday night worship service). This week Megan Fate is teaching at Flood. She is used powerfully by Jesus to communicate his word to this next generation. Please be praying for her.

2). I will be teaching at a retreat for San Juan Capistrano Christian School from Wednesday through Friday up at Forest Home.

3). I will be teaching at the Christian Club at Glendora High School on Thursday.

4). I will be teaching this Sunday morning to the most amazing high schoolers on the planet at PFB Church.

Thank you so much for your prayers. Praising Jesus with you this week for what Jesus is up to.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

PSALM 145 - It's That Good!

"1 I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. 4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. 5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. 6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. 7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. 8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. 10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you! 11They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, 12 to make known to the children of man yourmighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.[The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.] 14 The LORDupholds all who are falling andraises up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. 16 You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The LORD isrighteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. 20 The LORDpreserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever." (ESV)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Prayer Update for this Week...

Here is how you can be praying for me:

  • Today, Wednesday, and Thursday, myself and the interview team are interviewing candidates for the lead high school and discipleship pastor position.  Please pray for God's guidance in this process.

  • Please pray for me as I finish up our vision series on Wednesday night.  God has been doing amazing things and I'm convinced that this vision is his working.  If you can join us, please do.

  • This Sunday morning I will be teaching the high schoolers at PFB Church.


Thank you.  I know that it's a quick update but I'm on my way to a meeting.  :) Thank you again for all that you do for me.  You're a blessing.

Have You Settled?

"And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison.  And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat above the seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon.  So Jehoiachin put off his prison garments.  And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king's table, and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, according to his daily needs, as long as he lived." — 2 Kings 25:27-30, ESV

This sounds like an incredible act of deliverance.  Imagine, at one moment you're king of Judah (or queen if you're a lady reading this).  Then next, you're a prisoner in the prisons of the nation that conquered you.  That's such a drastic change.  Not only that, while you're in prison, your whole nation has been taken captive and now lives under the rule of another.  You're in captivity.

Then one day, you're released by the king.  Evil-merodach.  His name may sound like the name of a character in a Star Wars movie, but it doesn't matter—you're free!!! He releases you from prison.  He gives you new clothes, probably pretty costly.  Of course, the quality of the clothes that you receive doesn't really matter since you've been wearing prison clothes for so long.  Anything else would be outstanding.  On top of that (getting new clothes), you also dine with the king daily at his table for dinner, which means you get the best of the best in fine cuisine.  On top of that, you get a regular allowance given by the king.  The lottery hasn't even been invented yet but you feel like you've won it.  It's the jackpot that everyone wants to hit.

All is well.  You may even thank God like a celebrity who doesn't really know him but only that he/she doesn't want to mess up the good luck that he/she is experiencing.  And you live out the rest of your days free.  Except for this fact: YOU'RE NOT FREE!!!! You're still in captivity.

Have you settled for the comfortable while never experiencing freedom? Have you enjoyed the "care" of sin and the Enemy so much so that true freedom is not even a desire anymore? As I read this passage a few days ago, I was so humbled.  As I read it again this morning I asked myself this question: "Is there anything in my life that shows that I have opted out of freedom in Christ for the comfortable world of complacency and pleasure?"

Have you exchanged the freedom that is found in a relationship with Christ for a level of comfort that keeps you fat and happy the rest of your life? In Christ, I'm free to NOT sin.  I'm free to serve Jesus.  I'm free to experience true life rather than settling for a facade.  I'm free to enjoy God and to be enjoyed by him.  I'm free to accept Christ's mission for my life.  I'm forgiven.  I'm free to bring glory to Jesus.  I'm free to laugh.  I'm free to play.  I'm free to serve others.  I'm free to be real and honest, raw in the realities of my life and the weaknesses of my soul.  I'm free to roam in this adventure that Christ invites me to join him on.  I'M FREE!!! And there are "dangers" and frustrations along the way, but I would rather be completely free to live, with opposition, rather than comfortable and dying.

Have you settled?