Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Picture it: the room is packed with high schoolers. There had to have been 150 high school students in there. The message is over. John 3:16-21 is explained. The Holy Spirit is called upon and SALVATION IS HERE!!! That's right. We saw 4 high school students surrender their lives to Jesus Christ last night. I also prayed with a young lady who came up and said, "I want to recommit my life to Jesus." It was so awesome. We asked students to walk forward and meet two of our staff members for prayer if they wanted to surrender to Jesus. When the worship team starting playing the first song, a young man walked over and surrendered to Jesus. The place went crazy. Right then, another young lady went up and surrendered to Jesus. Again - SHOUTING AND CELEBRATING (we were trying to sound like Heaven - Read Luke 15). And then every person in the room brought some MAJOR PRAISE to Jesus.
When it was all over, a high school student closed in prayer. As she prayed I just felt like Jesus wasn't done yet. So when she finished praying I asked if there were any others who wanted to surrender to Jesus. Right then, a young lady raised her hand followed by a young man. Students & staff members started running toward them, hugging them, congratulating them, and praying with them.
Thank you for praying. God was honored and glorified as he allowed us to see the most amazing and precious miracles that could ever occur happen four times in our presence. AWESOME!!!
I'm not getting very far through Matthew 23 because God keeps stopping me on it. He's confronting me and causing me to ask some tough questions. Here's one:
What is the motivation that is driving me to "serve" Christ?
The audience that I am to be striving to please is Jesus. Just One. I cannot get into trying to make sure that people get to see how amazing I am. When I do that, it is not Christ that I am serving but rather myself that I am promoting. I must strive to live my life for the applause of heaven, nothing else.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
This was the first few verses that came up in my quiet time this afternoon. OH MY!!! This short passage made me stop and ask the following questions:
1). Is that what Jesus would tell those that I teach?
2). Does my life reflect Jesus as much as the words that I preach?
I am so passionate about teaching the truth of Scripture. I want so much to reveal truth to others as God is revealing it to me. However, am I more passionate in life-change — looking like Jesus more and more every day—or am I a preacher? Am I striving for holiness more than improving in hermeneutics?
"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their faith and imitate their faith." - Hebrews 13:7, [ESV] - ( I can honestly say that the weight of being a pastor/teacher is definitely hitting me as I read and write). This reminds me of the question that I heard once: If everyone at your church had the same kind of faith that you do, what would your church look like?
Jesus did not come into the world, die on the cross and raise from the dead so that I could have a ministry/mission. Rather, he came, died and rose from the dead so that I could enjoy a relationship with God. When I get those out of order is when I am in some major trouble.
God had to stop me today and ask the question: "Are you about me or my work? Are you more concerned with your role as a pastor or your role as my son?" Quite a humbling time today, but I am so thankful for it.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I would appreciate your prayers. This week is turning out to be pretty crazy. Here is what is coming up:
1). Teach at ELEVATE Wednesday night.
2). Teach at Crossroads Junior High (Thursday)
3). Perform/Officiate Memorial Service and Graveside service (Friday at 1pm; NEW!)
4). High School retreat this weekend.
I'm honestly starting to feeling a little overloaded and overwhelmed. I would appreciate your prayers. Thank you so much.
"When traveling by ship from England to Australia, these people came round me and said, 'We want to know if you will join us in an entertainment.' So I had to go quietly to the Lord and ask, 'Can I?' I had the sweetest rest about it being all right.
"So I said, 'Yes, I will be in the entertainment.' They said, 'What can you do?' 'I can sing,' I said. Then they said to me, 'Well, we have a very large program and would like to put you down to sing a song.' 'Oh,' I said, 'my song will be given just before I sing. So you cannot put it down until I am to sing.'
"They said, 'We are very anxious to know what place you would like to be put in the entertainment.' 'Well, how are you going to finish up?' I asked. 'We're going to finish with a dance,' they replied. 'Put me down just before the dance,' I said.
My turn came. A woman, half-dressed, no sleeves, no skirts, came to play for me. I gave her the music. 'Oh,' she said, 'I never, never could play that kind of music.' 'Don't you be troubled now,' I said. 'I have music and words.' I sang:
If I could only tell it as I know it,
My Redeemer who has done so much for me;
If I could only tell you how much He loves you,
I am sure that you would make Him yours today.
Could I tell it? Could I tell it?
"I never could tell it. The people were weeping all over. The dance was put off. They couldn't have a dance. But we had lots of prayer meetings. We had some fine young men give themselves to Jesus."
This happened on a cruise. Can you imagine? A cruise ship breaking out in revival for Jesus. It boggles my mind that something like this could happen on a cruise ship while so many Christians attend a worship service every week experiencing little change. It's not right! As we come together to worship, may we be so bold as to long to see the moving and the working of the Holy Spirit. The problem: when we do, he will show up and he will not leave us the same. Get ready!
Monday, February 22, 2010
It's going to be one of those weeks that I can say that I will definitely need your prayers (as if that's not every week but you know what I mean). Here are the events for the week:
Wednesday night @ ELEVATE. This Wednesday night is a huge outreach night for our high school ministry as we continue in our series called, "Brand New", a verse-by-verse study through John 3. This week: John 3:16 is the beginning of the passage. Please pray for life-change to happen - for the Holy Spirit to call students and for those students to respond to his call. We want to see people get saved. It always pumps us up.
Thursday @ Crossroads Junior High School. I'm heading back to Crossroads Junior High School this Thursday. Please pray as I prepare and share with them. The last time I was there I had some hecklers in the crowd. Praying for a good time with students this time.
High School Retreat. On Friday we are taking about 70-80 people, high school students and staff members, up to Crestline for our annual high school retreat. I'm not teaching for the weekend but I still ask for you to pray for HUGE things to happen. My good friend, Chris Simning, will be speaking. He is an incredible communicator for Jesus with a life that reflects Christ in so many ways.
Possible Funeral on Friday. It's possible that I'll be performing a funeral service on Friday at 1pm but the details have not been worked out yet for that.
That's about it. Thank you so much for praying. I'm expecting to see God-sized things happen this week. Thanks so much for being part of it.
Friday, February 19, 2010
"Just letting you know, Lyndsey, that I just finished praying for you that you would be blown away by the fact that you are a daughter of The King!!!"
Here is a small part of the following conversation:
LYNDSEY: "Thanks so much Brian. That really means a lot to me! "
ME:" I pray that encourages you beyond imagination. He's nuts about you."
LYNDSEY: "It does. It's insane. I've felt so different lately about him and I love it. I rededicated my life to God a week ago."
I read that last part and went crazy. I didn't even know that this happened. In fact, a week ago was a night that I felt like I failed as a preacher. I was numb as i read her text because I was so excited!
I lectured her about not sharing that exciting news with me and then got back to the celebration.
I was reminded of something today: all that we are called to do is plant and water. Plant the seed. Water the seed. In the end, God causes the growth. God was working when I thought I was failing. God was changing lives when I was too focused on my own. God truly is the Savior. He does not need me, but I am so glad that he let's me play with him.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
It was a great time. I enjoyed being on the panel of youth workers trying to give direction to the intrigue of these teenagers.
"Did God want or allow the earthquake in Haiti? Katrina?..." "Why are there times when God doesn't answer me when I pray?" "How can I know that I am right with God?" These were a few.
In all, I loved teaching the truth about the Gospel. That was my favorite part. I pray that seeds were planted.
TO: MY PRAYER TEAM - You all Rock!!!
This is my prayer every time that I teach now. I prayed this last night at ELEVATE as we sang the song, "You'll Come." OH MY WORD! Did you know that God takes that prayer very seriously?
After the message I invited students to come and pray with staff members or to take some friends to the cross with them and pray, and they did. One young man broke down and wept in front of the cross while being surrounded by about five guys who were laying hands on him and praying. They stayed there with the Holy Spirit for about 20 minutes. AWESOME!!!
I prayed with a few people as well. One young lady was coming back to Jesus being the priority in her life.
Worship was powerful and passionate as students and adults cried out to Jesus in a way that showed that they actually believe that they are praising Jesus. I absolutely love watching people praise Jesus when they truly believe that Jesus is the audience.
Please pray for me today. I'm going over to Glendora Christian Club to be part of a group of pastors who answer questions sent in my students at Glendora that cause them to doubt the validity of Christianity. I'm really excited, especially because one person said that they are giving us one chance to "enlighten" her or she will "know that God is a lie." I like these types of challenges that people make when they don't know the One that they are challenging.
You are all so wonderful. May you experience God's best for your life today.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I am convinced: God knows how to provide. He takes care of his kids. Some read that and say, "Then why are there so many people around the world who are starving and going without?" The thing is, I believe that God is asking us that exact same question. How often do I pray for God to meet someone's needs without first asking God if I am the answer to their prayer for provision? Does it seem right that I pray for God's provision for someone else when he has blessed me so that I can be used by him to meet needs? This doesn't make sense.
God does take care of needs. And honestly, there are times when he will go to some pretty serious extremes in order to prove it. To pay the temple tax, Jesus sent Simon fishing. When he pulled the fish in, there were the two coins necessary to pay for the temple tax.
If you have, you are called to give. If you are receiving, accept in order that one day you can give back to others who are in need. It's amazing how things would look if we actually just took care of each other. Ultimately, it's about God meeting needs, no matter what he has to do to make it happen. Just beware: he may be crazy enough to use you.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
We are starting a new series tomorrow at ELEVATE at PFB. It's called, "BRAND NEW" - a verse-by-verse look at John 3. It is going to be an explosive study as we strive to understand the new life that Jesus invites us to.
Monday, February 15, 2010
[caption id="attachment_188" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="An attempt to captue what Jesus did."][/caption]
TO: MY PRAYER WARRIORS!!!
Yesterday I finished up Disciple Now by attempting to share with the parents of the students who attended Disciple Now what God did in our short time together. Honestly: I failed miserably at trying to describe the weekend because words seem to fail the occasion. Let me try with you:
Friday night: 7-8 students surrendered to Jesus for the first time. A youth worker from Foothill Church brought a group of students. He came up to me and told me that he had been praying all week for two girls in his ministry. He didn't know why - until that night. Those two girls raised their hands to surrender to Jesus.
Along with those 7-8 students, another 7-8 stood up to confess that they had been living away from God and wanted to come home. It was incredible.
Saturday: OH MY!!! Saturday night was one of the most powerful nights of ministry that I have ever seen. Remember my prayer for the weekend (if not, click here). Well, the Holy Spirit did some stuff and it left everyone in the room speechless. I called students forward if they needed to confess things and make things right with Jesus. I invited them to bring a friend up with them to pray with them if they wanted. After I invited, staff members came forward waiting to pray with students. And then it began: about 30 students came forward for prayer. It was incredible! But then it kept going. As we broke into praise and worship, students came forward and began to praise Jesus. 180 students or so packed out that little worship center. Two-thirds of them were as close to the stage as they could be. The others were by their seats. Some students in the room grouped together and prayed together. Some were crying with each other as they prayed. Worship continued. And then hands were up. How many? At least 95% of the students raised their hands in worship and BROUGHT IT for Jesus.
Even as I type this I am blown away once again.
Thank you so much for praying. God answered and honored the prayers of his saints. I guess the Bible proves itself faithful: that the prayers of a righteous person accomplishes much. Thank you so much.
PLEASE PRAY: I ask you to please pray again for me this week. Lighter speaking schedule this week. I get to focus on Wednesday night's message as we begin a new series titled, "Brand New" - a three week journey through John 3. I would appreciate your prayers as I sit and listen to what God's message is, first for myself and then for our students. Thank you. I love you all.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thank you to those of you who prayed. HEAVEN IS CELEBRATING TONIGHT!!! We saw about 7-9 students surrender to Jesus for the very first time as well as about 8 students stand up to come back to Jesus after spending time away from him. It was such a powerful evening. I NEVER GET USED TO PEOPLE COMING TO JESUS!!!
More updates to come as God continues to work this weekend.
I have decided I have resolved
To wait upon You Lord
My rock and redeemer shall not be moved
I'll wait upon You Lord
As surely as the sun will rise
You'll come to us
As certain as the dawn appears
You'll come let your glory fall
As you respond to us
Spirit reign flood into our thirsty hearts again
With holy fire again
We are not shaken we are not moved
We wait upon You Lord
Our mighty deliverer my triumph and truth
I'll wait upon You L0rd
Chains be broken
Lives be healed
Eye's be opened
Christ is revealed.
Oh my goodness. This is my prayer for this weekend. This is my prayer every time I teach.
Listen and watch this if you never have. ENJOY!!! It will rock your face off.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I would appreciate your prayers as I speak this weekend for a junior high/high school discipleship weekend at Cornerstone Bible Church in Glendora (the first church that God called me to minister at). It will be like a homecoming weekend for me. I'm very excited.
On Sunday morning, I am teaching the high schoolers at PFB as well, so it will be a long weekend.
I would appreciate your prayers for the following:
-The anointing of the Holy Spirit to preach with power so that lives are changed and souls surrendered to Jesus.
-Open hearts of the students that will be part of the weekend, both at Cornerstone and PFB.
-For God to accomplish the most amazing things ever so that we all leave that place in awe of Jesus.
Thank you so much. I love you all. Take care.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
A couple of nights ago, my oldest boy woke up with croup. He has had croup a lot, but most of the time we are able to take care of it at home with some home remedies that others have passed down to us. However, this croup would have nothing to do with it. After about 20 minutes of trying everything that we need to do, it was obvious that Tyler needed to go to the emergency room.
While we were trying some of the home remedies, he got really scared. This is completely understandable because of the fact the croup makes it very difficult for the little one to breathe. So while he sat on my wife's lap, and his breathing wasn't becoming any easier, he freaked out. The problem with freaking out when you have croup is that it makes it even harder to breathe than before. So when he, or my other little boy, start to freak out, I merely lean over and begin to whisper into his ear, "Relax, buddy. You have to relax. Just listen to my voice and start to relax." I said these words to Tyler a couple of nights ago and he began to do just that: relax. His focus was not on the fact that he had a hard time breathing but rather on the voice of the dad who loves him.
It is so natural for us to freak out when the scary things happen. We get loud, agitated, and just plain scared. However, it is during those times that God is trying to meet us in quiet places. He is not coming in the fire, or in the earthquake, or in the whirlwind. He is coming in a still and quiet whisper because the whisper is the only thing that will calm you down when you're in the storm. The fire and the earthquake and the whirlwind may all be more impressive but they usually bring more fear. However, when a father was to comfort his kids, he will speak gently and calmly in order that his children can relax and trust that their dad has it all under control.
Listen for the still small voice of God. I bet you would be amazed at the things that he is saying to you.
Monday, February 8, 2010
This week brings about new teaching opportunities. Would you please be in prayer for the following:
Wednesday night at Elevate. We will be finishing up our study of the Lord's prayer. It was so exciting to see a student surrender his life to Jesus last week, but I am asking that you pray this week for the same thing. The students who were there last week were fired up when I told them that salvation had invaded our worship time.
This weekend at Cornerstone. I'll be speaking to junior high and high school students over this coming weekend at my old church for their winter camp that they call, "Disciple Now." I'll be speaking Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night, and Sunday morning. I so desire to speak with the anointing of the Holy Spirit so that lives are changed for Jesus.
Sunday morning. Please pray for me as I speak to the high school students at Pomona First Baptist. I'll be coming straight from the "Disciple Now" event at Cornerstone, so it will be a busy morning. Please pray. I so desire for every time that I teach to be anointed by the Holy Spirit and led by his promptings, so that lives are changed and souls surrendered to a life with Jesus.
Thank you so much for praying. I cannot tell you what it means. I know that I say it often, but it is so true. I love you all.
What a Ride,
Can you imagine the range of emotions that the disciples experienced in one day, especially Peter, James, and John? The three aforementioned experienced a night of prayer on the mountain with Jesus that they would never forget, where they saw him transfigured, chatting with Moses and Elijah, and having the cloud that they had heard of so very often while growing up -- that cloud that was the very representation of the very presence of God when Moses would meet with God in the tent of meeting -- descended upon them and God spoke to them from the cloud. This was the night that they would never forget -- a night that absolutely terrified them, leaving them in awe Jesus once again.
Then, they come down from the mountain to see a father pleading with Jesus to heal his boy of the demon that was torturing his son. The father had asked Jesus'disciples to drive out the demon but they were unable to do so. The man then pleaded with Jesus, and Jesus fulfilled his request.
The disciples had to be on a high -- a spiritual high that would leave them only wanting more. It's like one of those "camp highs" that we get when we get away for a weekend in a retreat center. When we come down the mountain, we are ready to take on the world. But right after Jesus is transfigured before the three disciples, and after he heals the boy, he tells them the news that he is going to be killed, but on the third day he would rise from the dead. This had to be hard for the disciples to hear, because it would make no sense that Jesus, the powerful Jesus that they just witnessed again, could become the victim of anyone. There was no way that this could be true. The only problem is, it was true. Jesus came to die on a cross, and to rise from the dead. This did not make sense to the disciples, for they did not understand the true will of God.
Have you ever experienced this? Have you ever had an amazing thing happened, something so amazing that the only way to describe it is an encounter with the God of the universe? And then all of a sudden, it seems like everything breaks apart. You get the bad news. The unimaginable happens. You are broken. You are hurting. And the first thing that you ask is, "How could this be?" May this passage remind us all that God has a will and that his will so very often is misunderstood. It is hard to get the bad news after the miraculous happens, but know that there is a God who totally understands how you feel when it does happen. Trust. He knows what he's doing.
"We pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God's point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God's purpose only. Are we prepared for God to do in us all that he separated us for? And then after his work is done in this, are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did? "For their sakes I sanctify myself." The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God's standpoint. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us.
"Are we prepared to be caught up into the swing of this prayer of the apostle Paul's? Are we prepared to say -"Lord, make me as holy as you can make a sinner saved by grace"? Jesus has prayed that we might be one with him as he is one with the Father. The one and only characteristic of the Holy Ghost in a man is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, and freedom from everything that is unlike him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit's ministrations in us?"
Saturday, February 6, 2010
"In the future, as a steward," the Lord said, "you will not have the right even to give without My permission. And not a penny of My money will be spent except on essentials.". Explaining what He meant by this, the Lord asked him, "If you had a family of children who were without food or clothing, would you spend a penny on a daily paper, or on any non-essential?" "No." "Well, the world is My parish, and while there is one person needing the necessities of life you will not spend a penny on anything else."
What have I made essential to life at the expense of the necessities of so many being overlooked and neglected? I do not write this as a blanket statement of conviction. Rather, I share this as a time to make sure that we all are submitted to God's will in every part of our lives--starting here in our finances.
I've spent this weekend reading about the life of Rees Howells, being confronted with the fact that the Holy Spirit has so much more to work out in me. Just when I thought I was doing well, I'm reminded that the journey has just begun. If you were to ask if that frustrates me or if I'm bummed out in any way, I would say boldly, "Absolutely not. What a ride it truly is."
Friday, February 5, 2010
ARE YOU READY TO BE OFFERED?
Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all. -- Philippians 2:17
Are you willing to be offered for the work of the faithful-to pour out your lifeblood is a libation on the sacrifice of the faith of others? Or do you say-"I am not going to be offered up just yet, I do not want God to choose my work. I want to choose the scenery of my own sacrifice; I want to have the right kind of people watching and saying, 'Well done.'"
It is one thing to go on the lonely way with dignified heroism, but quite another thing if the line mapped out for you by God means being a doormat under the other people's feet. Suppose God wants to teach you to say, "I know how to be abased"-are you ready to be offered up like that? Are you ready to be not so much as a drop in a bucket-to be so hopelessly insignificant that you are never thought of again in connection with the life you served? Are you willing to spend and be spent; not seeking to be ministered unto, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work and remain saints because it is beneath their dignity.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I'm excited. I'm eager. Please be praying for me as I teach this weekend. I want to be open to what it is that God wants to show and share with all of us that are up there. I will give an update when I get back.
Thank you so much for how you constantly pray for me. I cannot tell you, or put into words, how appreciative I am that you love me in this way and support me and my ministry in this way. God bless you. Have a great weekend.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
After I finished preaching the message, I went over and stood by the wall during closing worship. While there, a young man named Pei came up to me and asked if we could talk. The first thing that I did when he asked me that question was ask him if he had a personal relationship with Jesus. He said that he didn't. I asked if he wanted to give his life to Jesus. He said yes.
As I told the high schoolers that he became a Christian that night, they went crazy! During the closing worship, many of the students left their seats to go and congratulate their new brother in Christ.
Thank you for praying. For two weeks in a row, the Holy Spirit has answered my request from Monday night -- to do the impossible and incredible so that when we all left, we left with jaws wide open because all of us were humbled before God
Thank you so much for praying. I am so thankful for you. Now let the party begin.
This is one of those passages that is so easy for us Christians to look at and agree so heartily and passionately with and yet never see it happen in our lives. And for some reason, we are okay with it. It's weird: I've read that passage over and over and wondered why others just didn't live up to the idea having "mustard seed faith" while thinking the whole while I was moving mountains. But am I? Am I seeing the impossible becoming very possible because of my faith. Are you? Are we settling for a faith that keeps us comfortable while making no difference for the Kingdom of Heaven? Are we okay with the idea that every time we take a breath a child somewhere in the world dies because he/she doesn't have enough food? Are we okay with the lost living and dying without a saving knowledge of Jesus? Are we okay with this? But now I'm asking if we're okay with this because actually start wondering, "But what can I do?" Do we really believe that He is able?
The thing is this: WE CAN MOVE STINKIN' MOUNTAINS INTO THE SEA with the faith the size of a mustard seed. The impossible becomes possible when our trust is in the God who makes the impossible possible (Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37). If you're the kind of person whose first response to something new is, "It won't work", then don't expect to see the impossible occur. You've become very content with how things are and what you see going on around you. How can I say this? Because I've been there (and if I'm really honest, I still visit there often). However, is it really possible for a disciple of Jesus to be okay with the status quo if the One that we follow never seemed to be okay with it when he walked the earth?
I confess: I love change, but I like safety. The only thing: those don't always go together. If I want to see God do the impossible, then I have to follow when he leads me into impossible situations so that I can see him accomplish the miracle that he promises.
Monday, February 1, 2010
I just wanted to ask for prayer for this week as I prepare for teaching. Here are my teaching opportunities:
1). ELEVATE this Wednesday night. We will be continuing, as far as I can see, our study through The Lord's Prayer. We saw the Holy Spirit move in such an obvious and powerful way last Wednesday night. Please pray for the same thing. Also pray for me as I prepare and study this week for Wednesday.
2). I'm speaking this weekend for Ryan Hall's college group up in Crestline, CA. If you don't know who Ryan Hall is, OH MY GOODNESS!!!! :) Anyway, i just want to make sure that I speak exactly the things that God wants me to speak. Please pray that the Holy Spirit helps me hear his leading and to follow. Thanks.