Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Are You Kidding Me?

Here is a quick update of what Jesus has done the last couple of days:

  • Last night I spoke on the need for Christians to truly be Christians rather than people who have "prayed a prayer" and live nothing like Jesus. I called people to surrender to Jesus and about 10 people stood up to surrender to Jesus.

  • This morning I spoke on the crucifixion of Christ, explaining in detail what Jesus went through on the cross. I called people to surrender to Jesus and we saw about 10-15 people stand up. When they stood up, their team members jumped up and celebrated with them while the rest of the camp celebrated. Then about 10-15 more people stood to recommit to Jesus. Their team members surrounded them and prayed over them.

Big things are happening. God is on the move. Are you kidding me? AWESOME!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's Just The Beginning

God has opened the door for me to speak to over 1,000 people this week in Mexico. This is my tenth year coming down with APU to speak. This is my one-year anniversary of having a prayer team praying for me as I teach. So far on this trip we have seen the following:

SATURDAY NIGHT: This is the first night of chapels. I felt like the Lord said to offer salvation at every chapel. So, I did. Tonight we saw four high schoolers stand up to surrender to Jesus. People started cheering. Team members from their churches starting hugging them. AWESOME!!!

SUNDAY MORNING: This morning I preached out of Matthew 5, teaching on the difference between being in the crowd and being a disciple of Jesus. We saw two students stand up in front of everyone to surrender their lives to Jesus. The celebration began again. AWESOME!!!

SUNDAY NIGHT: I preached out of Matthew 21, the passage showing Jesus' triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. We looked at the word, "Hosanna" (which means "save now"). We saw between 10-15 students stand to surrender to Jesus. Then I called people to stand if they were needing to cry out, "Hosanna" to Jesus. I can't even count how many people stood up to confess their need for Jesus to help. Again, people surrounded those who stood up and began to pray over them.

One young lady ran up to me after chapel and told me that tonight's message was EXACTLY what she needed to hear, hitting her exactly where she is at.  This just proves that the Holy Spirit knows how to speak to each person through one message exactly where they are at.

God is on the move, and it's only Sunday night. It's just the beginning. Keep praying. God is on the move.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thoughts From Wednesday Night!

OH MY!!! Here's a quick breakdown of last night:

  • We continued in our series titled, "Live 2 Die", a five week study of the passion week of Jesus.  Last night's message was, "During the Trials."  We looked at Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, applying principles from Jesus' agony in the garden to help us during the trials and tough times that we face.  It was an absolutely incredible and powerful time in God's word and in praise and worship.

  • We saw about 30 people come forward for prayer because of something difficult that they are going through.

I seriously cannot believe what I am watching on Wednesday nights.  I have been involved in ministry for the past 16 years, and never have I been a part of something like this.  If you can't be part of the worship service on Wednesday nights at PFB, you can watch the worship service live online (CLICK HERE for the link to watch online).  However, if you've got some time on Wednesday nights at 7pm, PLEASE COME AND BE PART OF WHAT'S HAPPENING!!!

If you know someone who is going through a tough time, click here and listen to the message titled, "During the Trials."  I pray that it is a huge encouragement to them.

If you do not see the message titled, "During the Trials", wait a day or two until it is uploaded.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Do You Think of Non-Christians?

This is the question that I was asked at San Dimas after I finished speaking at Christian club.  I spoke out of Mark 14 and what worship is - the fact that worship is every single thing that we do for Jesus.  After I finished teaching, I was walking out and had a student stop me.  She said, "Can I ask you a question?" I said, "Absolutely."  She then said, "What do you think about non-Christians?" Honestly, I have never been asked that question by a non-Christian before.  I looked at her and said this: "I love non-Christians.  They are so great, and as a Christian I'm supposed to tell as many non-Christians as possible about Jesus and what he has done and wants to do in their lives.  Non-Christians are great.  In fact, when Jesus was walking on the earth, he got more irritated with the religious people than he did with the 'non-Christians.'"  I invited her to come to PFB and hear more about Jesus and what he offers.  She wasn't quite sure that she wanted to but at least she heard about Jesus.

I walked out wondering if my answer was the same type of answer that Jesus would give.  How would you answer that question? Remember, the question is not what does Jesus think about non-Christians.  Rather, it is about what you think about non-Christians.  What would you say?

Monday, March 22, 2010

When There's Pain in the Plan

"But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples left him and fled. (Matthew 26:56; ESV)

Two times in this passage, the phrase "the Scriptures fulfilled" is mentioned by Jesus.  Jesus came to fulfill the Scriptures, not to replace them.  It seems popular today to live like Jesus but to ignore the very words that he came to fulfill.  But why? I think it's mainly because, if we are completely honest, there are parts in the Bible that we just don't like.  Even if you're a Christian, you have to admit that there are some parts of the Bible that are hard to swallow and to do because it goes against everything that is natural to you.  And that's the point. When I begin to believe that everything that comes naturally to me is automatically the will of God, I have a problem.  When I automatically think that my likes are God's likes, and my dislikes are his dislikes, I've elevated myself much too high.  Christianity was not created for me.  Rather, I was created for Christ.  Isn't that what Paul reminds us of in Colossians 1:16?

Scripture is what God has given to reveal his will to us.  I do believe that God speaks personally to us as individuals, but we have the Bible to test every single thought and motive that comes our way.  To deny Scripture is to deny God's expressed will for our lives.

In Matthew 26:47-56, "the Scriptures fulfilled" is mentioned two times.  However, these two times point to the bad that was coming.  The fact that Jesus would be betrayed by a friend, handed over to be crucified.  The fact that his own disciples would all desert him in his greatest time of need.  These things were in Scripture and fulfilled in Christ, thus showing us that Christ's suffering was part of the will of God.  That suffering brought about reconciliation between us and God.  So who's to say that I personally will not, by the will of God, face difficulties for the greater good of the Kingdom of God? Philippians 1:29 tells is: "For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,..." It has been GRANTED to suffer for Jesus.  Granted. James picks up on this topic: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:3-4; ESV). Paul also reminded the church at Rome of this concept:  "...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:3-5; ESV).

However, this should not discourage or upset you but rather encourage you.  It gives purpose to your suffering.  To my suffering.  As hard as it is, and believe me when I say that I too have faced difficult times, there is a God who has it all under control.  Some suffering occurs because of stupid people being stupid (and let's be honest and admit that we too have been those stupid people).  Many pains and hurts come because of sinful people sinning (again, guilty).  To go against God's expressed will is sin.  This sin affects others negatively in one way or another.  My sinning is not part of the will of God but rather against it.  However, there are times when God actually wants me to face a tough time in order that his greater good is accomplished through my struggles.  Remember: God's purpose for our lives is not that we would be happy but rather that we would be holy.  This is not to say that we will constantly be in a state of depression as we continue to work out our salvation.  We will experience joy in the midst of the tough times.  Joy is lasting; happiness is temporal and completely dependent upon circumstances.  Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, who is constant and true no matter the circumstances.

William Barclay words it this way:  "If we can call God father everything becomes bearable. Time and again we will not understand, but always we will be certain that, ' The Father's hand will never cause his child a needless tear.'"

So when there's pain in the plan, hang in there.  There is a purpose to it all.  But even better, there is a God who can send more than 72,000 angels to deliver me at any moment (see Matthew 26:53).  He has it.  Don't worry.  He's been doing this for a long time.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Prayer Is Personal...

"And going a little farther [Jesus] fell on his face and prayed, saying,'My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.'" (Matthew 26:39; ESV)

It's not even the content of Jesus' prayer that hit me tonight as I read Matthew 26:36-46.  Rather, it was the fact that Jesus prayed.  Here's what I mean.  Jesus had taken his disciples to the garden of Gethsemane.  Luke and John both tell us that it was a spot that Jesus went to regularly.  When they all got to a certain point, Jesus stopped them and had the disciples stay put.  However, he did choose Peter, James, and John to continue on with him a little farther.  Then Jesus stopped the three and told them to stay alert and keep watch him.  But then Jesus went a little farther.  He then fell on his face and started to pray.

I can ask people to pray with me and for me.  That is a fantastic thing.  However, I must remember that I am invited into the depths of prayer on a personal level where I am allowed to commune with God.  To rely on the "prayers of others" while not engaging and communicating with God on my own through prayer, is to miss the opportunity to grow closer to the heart of God, getting to him better and better every time we talk.  I can only take my "prayer team" so far.  At some point, as they are praying for me, I must enter into the presence of Christ and pray on my own.  The joy: in that place with Jesus is where I can be raw and honest, sharing my fears and frustrations, worries and concerns.  It is there that I can plead my case and then proclaim God's will no matter what, strengthen by his grace to carry it out no matter what.

There is something that happens when I enter into prayer: I hear God and that makes things much better, no matter what answer God gives me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Difference a Whisper Can Make

Tonight I walked into my boys' bedroom after they had fallen asleep. I do this every night. As I stood in their room, I whispered this to each one of them, "I love you, buddy. Do you know that?" Of course they didn't answer. I honestly didn't expect them to. But then it happened. I sensed that God whispered the exact same thing to me. "I love you, buddy. Do you know that?" I said, "Yes" and then walked out smiling. I was reminded again that my Father in heaven loves me.

I pray that you have heard this very same reminder.

Update About Wednesday Night...

Last night was pretty intense.  We saw a bunch of people show up to worship.  And they brought it.  Passionate worship included with some sweet teaching by Pastor Josh made for a pretty crazy night.  He spoke on the passage where Jesus enters the temple and overthrows the tables of the moneychangers, calling people to not just go through the motions of "Christianity" but to walk into the passionate and intimate relationship that Jesus invites us into.  He even flipped a table off the stage.  HE'S SO STRONG!!!!

At the end of his message he had people get into prayer groups and just start praying for each other.  So powerful to watch so many people in prayer, and then thinking about the fact that every single person had God's undivided attention.  A powerful night that only leaves me excited and pumped up for next week as we continue through our new series titled, "Live 2 Die", looking at Jesus' time praying in the garden of Gethsemane.

If you can make it, join us on Wednesday night, 7pm at PFB Church.

Nothing But Dirt

Psalm 103:13-14 — As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.  For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. (ESV)

As I was reading out of Matthew 26:26-35 this morning, the passage out of the Psalms came to mind.  Here's why: Jesus was instituting "communion".  As he broke the bread, he told the disciples, "Take, eat; this my body."  When he passed the cup he said, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." This would have been such a holy moment.

As I read out of Matthew, the phrase "he gave it" stood out to me.  He gave the bread.  He gave the cup.  It reminded me of how he would give his body and pour out his own blood for the world in order that mankind could be forgiven and in a relationship with God.

After this holy moment, Jesus then told the disciples that they would all fall away from him that night on account of him.  Peter protested this prediction, saying, "Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away" (Matthew 26:33). Jesus had to inform Peter that not only would he deny him, but that he would deny him three times - more than all of the others.  Peter disagreed.  The other disciples disagreed as well.

Here's what hit me: Jesus shared the holy moment of communion with the same guys that he knew would deny even knowing him only hours later.  He shared.  He gave.  He offered himself for those very people who would deny even knowing who he was.

I am so thankful that Jesus is as patient as he is.  I'm so thankful that he is compassionate with us, understanding that we are but dust.  I'm so thankful that he knows my heart even if my actions don't follow.  He knows.  For some this is a scary idea: the fact that Jesus knows every single way that I will mess up.  On the contrary, I find so much comfort in this.  He knows that I will mess up more than I think I will (Brennan Manning).  He knows and yet he still share.  He still gives.  He still offers to me intimacy.  I'm nothing but dirt but Jesus sees differently.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We Have No Excuse

And as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." (Matthew 26:21, ESV)

Jesus knew that he would be betrayed.  He knew it, and he knew who would betray him.  So how did he do it? How did he walk with Judas for three years? How did he continue to teach and disciple Judas, his betrayer?

This shows the patient hope that Jesus has.  His betrayer was one of the key 12 that Jesus poured his life into.  He knew it, and yet he kept discipling him.  I personally have never been betrayed to the point of death by a friend (it's pretty obvious since I'M NOT DEAD).  I've been hurt and taken advantage of, but never truly betrayed.  But in those times of being hurt or taken advantage of, I have justified why I am okay no longer having to minister to that person.  It seems like Jesus ministered to Judas up to the very last moment.  How quickly do I give up at the first sign of difficulty or "danger"?

Now realize: Jesus did not let Judas off the hook.  Look at his warning: "The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born" (Matthew 26:24, ESV). However, Jesus gave him that as a warning of what he was about to do.

So what excuse do I have? What excuse do you have? If it is not more than being betrayed to a cross for death by one of your closest friends, our excuses mean nothing.  May we strive to minister to others like Jesus did (and still does).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Please Pray (3/16/2010)

TO: My Prayer Team

I would appreciate you praying for the ministry that I'm involved in.  Here we go:

1.  Wednesday night. Our Wednesday worship service is ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!! Please pray that the Holy Spirit continues to do this week what he has been doing.
2.  Sunday morning. I'm going through the book of Philippians verse-by-verse with the high schoolers on Sunday mornings.  Please pray as I prep and preach the message.

Thank you so much.

Monday, March 15, 2010

He's Impressed

Matthew 26:6-13

There's a party going on.  THE OCCASION: Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (see John 12).  I'm not sure if you know the proper etiquette behind the throwing of a party for a person who raises someone from the dead.  If not, let me tell you: it's accepted worldwide that anyone who raises someone else from the dead should be honored with a party.  Just remember that.

Jesus had just brought Lazarus back to life.  Mary, as an act of worship, brings in an alabastar jar of perfume (nard), breaks the jar and pours the perfume on Jesus' head.  The book of Mark tells us that this perfume that she poured out on Jesus was worth a year's wage.  The whole party stops as the fragrance of the perfume swept over the room.  And then the disciples start murmuring their anger at this (actually, if you read John 12 you see that Judas Iscariot starts this).  They say, "Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to them poor" (Matthew 26:8, ESV).  WHY THIS WASTE? Stop and think about how those three words pricked the heart of the Savior who in just days would face the wrath of God and take on the sin of the world in order to bring salvation to mankind.

So as the crowd starts to get upset with her, Jesus steps in and comes to her rescue: "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble the woman?" (Matthew 26:10; Mark 14:6).  I don't picture Jesus saying this quietly, so as not to hurt feelings.  I picture him getting loud and proud.  But then notice these next few words: "For she has done a beautiful thing to me." Did you catch that? Her gift of pouring perfume on Jesus was considered beautiful by Jesus.  Was it impressive? Did it take great technical ability? Was it only achievable by the few talented enough to pour perfume? No. It was an ordinary act that came across as an extraordinary gesture because it was brought about by a heart of worship.

Do you need to hear that today? How much of your life is spent trying to impress God, only feeling like you're messing up more than achieving anything of lasting value? Hear it today: whatever you do for Jesus as an act of worship of him he considers BEAUTIFUL! When he do it, he looks at you and says, "You have done a beautiful thing to me."  Understanding and believing this brings about freedom in your relationship with Christ.  It's beautiful.  Not pretty good.  Not nice.  It's beautiful.  In order to consider something beautiful, one must be impressed.  And Jesus is.

He honors Mary for her gift.  How? "Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her" (Matthew 26:13, ESV).  Jesus brags about her and has continued to do so across the whole world.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

You Just Never Know

Jumped on the freeway today to go and see a bunch of high school students from my ministry in a musical. Of course I left early to meet anyone who wanted to join me at In-N-Out.

I was driving along until I saw brakelights on the freeway. Traffic. My first thought was to get of the freeway to get aroun it. So I did. When I was about to turn left I saw that the traffic was moving again right after the next onramp do I jumped back on.

As I got back on the freeway I saw the emergency vehicles and personnel tending to the victims of the accident.  As I sat and waited, an ambulance passed by me on the right, cut across the traffic and parked behind the fire truck, out of sight.  As I crept up, I saw what the problem was.  A Ford Excursion had rolled (unsure of how many times) but was sitting on all four tires.  Inside was a woman in the front that firemen were working to free from the wreckage.

And then I drove off.

My mind was still on what I had just seen.  And then my focus switched to something else.  I noticed cars and motorcycles getting on the freeway on the following on-ramps.  As I watched them get on to "cruising speed" it hit me: "they have no idea what is behind them."  They had no clue that about a mile back lives had been hurt.  It made me stop and think.

How often do I run my life without thinking about what has happened behind me? I'm not talking about remembering my own past, because I'm supposed to forget about that and strain for what's ahead (Philippians 3:12-14, ESV).  Rather, I'm talking about approaching people and showing them grace as if their past is filled with wreckage and pain.  Too often I react to people rather than respond to people out of grace.

Jesus - Please help me love people as you do.  You know how our pasts affect our present.  Because of that, you continue to show grace.  Help me do the same.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It Never Gets Old

I know the routine. I've done it for the past five years. What is it? Putting the boys to bed. We have it down. Get pajamas on. Go brush teeth. Read two stories. Lay down with boys for a few minutes (which turns into many minutes because I always fall asleep during this part). Tell them I love them. And then say, "Goodnight."

And then it happened. Dylan said, "Hey, dad." I thought he would be asking me for a drink of water. I answered him. In a whisper he said, "I love you." My heart melted inside of my chest as I said, "I love you too, bud." A dad never gets tired of hearing that.

I can guarantee that our Heavenly Father feels the same way. Tell him that you love him and bless him today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Are You Feeding Jesus?

And the King will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." (Matthew 15:40; ESV)

Read the whole passage before continuing on (Matthew 15:31-46)

Can you imagine? Can you picture it? You're driving along and then you see a person on the side of the road with a sign that says, "I'm hungry."  As you get closer you notice something: it's Jesus.  There is no way that we would allow Jesus to go hungry.  We would slam on the breaks, get him in the car, and provide everything for him so that he was taken care of.  Why? Because we love him so much.  But here's the thing: how often have we failed to help Jesus because we have neglected the poor around us? How often have I missed an opportunity to love Jesus by providing for the needs of "one of the least of these" his brothers or sisters?

It's kind of humbling.  There are so many needs.  There are so many people that are broken and hurting around the world.  How do we "fix" it? We can't.  We can only do our part and watch God handle it from there.  But how do I know who I am supposed to help? Honestly, I'm convinced that that comes down to the Holy Spirit moving in your heart.  He guides.  He convicts.  He leads.  He teaches.  He is constantly with us.  We need to learn to decipher his voice in order that we can follow through with his instructions.

Jesus - Make me sensitive to your will and plans when I see the broken, hurting, and needy in my path.  May I see them as if I see you.  May I feed them as if I were feeding you.  Welcome them.  Clothe them.  Give them something to drink.  Visit them... May I never be "okay" seeing you in need.  Help me take this passage to heart and live it out in my life.

God Is On The Move...


You NEED to come out to a Wednesday night and experience what God is doing at our Next Gen worship service.  It is absolutely incredible! Last night we started a new series called, "Live 2 Die".  It's a look at 5 key passages during the passion week of Christ.  Last night we looked at the Triumphal Entry out of Matthew 21.  The message was called, "When Jesus Shows Up".  Here are the 5 key things that God showed me while studying this passage that I thought that I already knew.

1.  Jesus calls you to a mission (Matthew 21:1)
2.  Jesus gives you instruction (Matthew 21:2-3)
3.  Jesus brings assurance (Matthew 21:4-5)
4.  Jesus brings hope (Matthew 21:6-9)
5.  Jesus stirs up interest (Matthew 21:10-11)

At the end of the message, I called people to come forward if they wanted to surrender their lives to Jesus.  We saw about 4 people come forward to surrender their lives to Christ.  When they walked forward, the place went absolutely nuts.  It was so much fun.  After that, I called people to come forward if they needed to release something to the Lord and to ask him to deliver them from it.  I was blown away when about 30-40 people came forward, knelt at the steps in the worship center and cried out for God to work.  As they were at the steps, people came up behind them, laid hands on them and began to pray for them.  It was absolutely incredible.

God is on the move.  I honestly feel so bad every time that I try to tell you about it because I honestly feel like I fall way short of being able to put into words what I see happening.

If you're free any Wednesday night at 7pm, come visit and see how God is honoring your prayers.  It's absolutely unbelievable!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Are You Good At Multiplication?

Matthew 25:14-30 (you really should read this first)

Do you remember the multiplications tables that you had to make and memorize in elementary school to help you in math? OH MY GOODNESS!!! I'm the husband of a math teacher, so I have so much more respect for math teachers because I know what she goes through to teach math, but I have to admit: I GOT SO TIRED OF THOSE THINGS!!! There.  I feel much better.

Here's the thing though: Jesus expects multiplication.  He expects his followers to work to see others come to him.  He expects every Christian to multiply him/herself.  To sit around "lazily" wait for Jesus to return brings about this response from him:  "You wicked and slothful servant!" Not exactly what someone should long to hear from Jesus.

I can imagine that some of you are getting a little nervous after reading the passage above.  But let me point out something.  Look at this:  "For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.  To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability" (Matthew 25:14-15, ESV).  God is not out to trick us.  He is not out to see us fail.  Rather, he has called and gifted us to a mission that is beyond ourselves.  And the thing is this: he will call us to do those things that he has enabled us to do.  So honestly, when we are faithful, we can't lose.  I'm not saying that our salvation is based on what we do.  I would never go there (Ephesians 2:8-10).  However, even though we do not work for heaven, our lives will show that we have heaven.

What am I waiting for? What are you waiting for? Time to dust off those multiplication tables again and get to work.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"I Wasn't Ready..."

I can remember playing baseball with friends and using the excuse, "I wasn't ready" when I was at bat.  It seems easier to use that excuse than it is to confess the fact that I horribly missed the ball.  Most of the time, it would be a do-over.  And then I would strike out.  :)  Or to ask for a "mulligan" on the golf course when I would slice my drive off the tee.

I'm noticing a theme in the last few days of my time in the Bible.  BE READY! "Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:42, ESV).  In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus continues with this (click on the link to read the passage).  Again, Jesus is emphasizing the need to be ready.

As I finished reading Matthew 25:1-13, this thought came to my mind:  "'I wasn't ready' will not be a valid excuse when Jess comes back."  I won't be able to ask for a do-over or a mulligan.  I've been warned.  I've been reminded.  Jesus has told me to stay alert and awake.  He has given everyone notice that he is coming back one day.  It seems that we as Christians live with the belief in our minds that Jesus could come back at any moment, but I wonder if we truly believe it.  If I knew Jesus was coming back in 1 week, I would live my life differently and make sure things were in order the closer that it got.  However, he has warned that it could be at any moment.  Am I living my life in a way that shows that I'm truly convinced of that? Are you?

I can remember playing baseball with friends and using the excuse, "I wasn't ready" when I was at bat.  It seems easier to use that excuse than it is to confess the fact that I horribly missed the ball.  Most of the time, it would be a do-over.  And then I would strike out.  :)  Or to ask for a "mulligan" on the golf course when I would slice my drive off the tee.I'm noticing a theme in the last few days of my time in the Bible.  BE READY! "Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:42, ESV).  In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus continues with this (click on the link to read the passage).  Again, Jesus is emphasizing the need to be ready.As I finished reading Matthew 25:1-13, this thought came to my mind:  "'I wasn't ready' will not be a valid excuse when Jess comes back."  I won't be able to ask for a do-over or a mulligan.  I've been warned.  I've been reminded.  Jesus has told me to stay alert and awake.  He has given everyone notice that he is coming back one day.  It seems that we as Christians live with the belief in our minds that Jesus could come back at any moment, but I wonder if we truly believe it.  If I knew Jesus was coming back in 1 week, I would live my life differently and make sure things were in order the closer that it got.  However, he has warned that it could be at any moment.  Am I living my life in a way that shows that I'm truly convinced of that? Are you?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Prayer time

TO: My faithful prayer team

Here are the things going on this week.  Thank you in advance for praying.

1.  Wednesday Night. This Wednesday night we have our PFB worship service in the worship center.  I'm still on a spiritual rush of what I saw the Holy Spirit do last week.  Please pray that God would invade our worship service again.  I spoke with a number of students at Western Christian last Thursday who are going to come and check out the Wednesday night worship service this week at PFB.  So pumped up!!!

2.  Tuesday night at APU. This Tuesday night I get a chance to share with some grad students at Azusa Pacific University.  It's a short devotional time but I have really grown to love these times.  Not everyone who attends the grad program at APU is a Chrisitan, so this is a perfect opportunity for the Holy Spirit to do some work and get some people saved.

3.  Sunday morning. I'll be teaching this Sunday morning to our high school students.  We just started the book of Philippians yesterday and will be going verse-by-verse through this book.  I would appreciate your prayers as I prepare to teach through the "book of joy".


a.  Chains be broken
b.  Lives be healed
c.  Eyes be opened
d.  Christ be revealed

Thank you so much.  Love you guys.

Are You Excited?

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. - Matthew 24:42 (ESV)

As I read Matthew 24:32-51 this morning, I didn't freak out.  Believe it or not I am SO PUMPED UP for Jesus to come back.  It's not because I hate my life - I absolutely LOVE my life.  It's not because I'm scared of something that I have to face.  I'm just really excited to get to see Jesus.  I just really want to see him.

I can remember in high school "wanting" to see Jesus so long as he came back after I got married.  And then after I got married, it was after I had some kids.  But it hit me, and still does hit me: How would I feel if my friends kept putting off wanting to see me because they wanted others things first? What if, those people that said they adored me and loved me so much kept telling me why they couldn't or didn't want to meet up with me? Of course, now I'm married and have kids so it easy for people to say, "Of course you would be ready."  To them I say: there is a whole lot more of life that comes after getting married and having some kids, and I can say with all honesty that I cannot wait to see Jesus.  I don't want anything more than to see Jesus.

Is there an excited anticipation that fills your heart and mind when you think of the second coming of Jesus? I hope so.  Because I'm convinced that to look at the return of Christ with disappointment or terror reveals the true heart of that disciple.  We should be so pumped up for his return.  But until he comes back, we've got work to do.  No more excuses.  We need to STAY AWAKE and BRING IT!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baptisms: 3/3/2010

Baptisms at our Next Generation Worship Service on Wednesday, March 3, 2010

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.4950565&w=425&h=350&fv=]
more about "Baptisms: 3/3/2010", posted with vodpod

More Celebrating!!!


Today I spoke at Western Christian. The whole way there I was asking God what he wanted to share with the students. No response. I got there a little early and kept asking. No response. I went in and thought of a preachable passage and thought it would work. The ASB chaplains met me and started praying for me and for the chapel time together. And then God spoke. He let me know his message. I spoke on the need to "BRING IT" for Jesus. It is so easy at a Christian school (and I speak from experience) to lose sight of Jesus, to lack passion for him and for his mission. So God had me speak on the need to LIVE in him, not just believe about him. Here is what Jesus did:


  • About 40 students stood up to confess that they had been doggin' it for Jesus on their campus and were wanting to see change happen.


I met some students after chapel was over who said the message was exactly what the school needed to hear.

After it was over, I had a great chat with a young lady who asked me, with tears in her eyes, "Is it wrong to doubt my faith?". I pointed her to Matthew 11 where John the Baptist doubted and worked through that with her.

As I type this out, I'm blown away and in awe of how God does what he does. He got the perfect message out to the right students, and he gave me about 10 minutes notice. He rocks my face off!!!

Thank you for praying.


ep*ic - heroic; majestic; impressively great.

Last night was the big move.  Elevate moved over to join the midweek worship service and IT WAS EPIC!!! Why? Passionate worshippers! People came ready to BRING IT for Jesus.  But here's the best part:

  • 3 people WALKED FORWARD to surrender to Jesus.  The place went nuts as they came forward.  People were screaming and yelling.  It was awesome.

  • 14 people proclaimed their commitment to Jesus by being baptized, most of them deciding last night to take that step - they went home in wet clothes.

I was so pumped up after it was over.  I just kept saying, "OH MY GOODNESS!!!" I didn't know what else to say.  I wandered around trying to figure out what happened and couldn't figure it out, except that the Holy Spirit did some pretty sweet stuff.  Here's what others said about the evening:

  • "It was cool." - Hunter

  • "Amazing! My friends came and were blown away.  They said they will make sure to be back next week." - Kyle

  • "Elevaters brought a carefree and selfless spirit and renewed energy to The Rising last night.  I'm blown away by God and his presence." - Becca (aka "Blueberry")

  • "Last night was exciting and fresh! Lots of people and explosive worship! I think God is going to use variety between Brian and Josh's messages and Ryan and Jarret as worship leaders, to reach as many as he can! It's growing!" - Courtney

  • "It was great to have all the relationships from camp! It's refreshing and encouraging to see the Lord moving in the lives of students!" - Josh

  • "Simply righteous, with people going forward and the baptisms. Awesome!" - Ken

  • "Filled with joy :)" - Cosmo

  • "It was fantastic! One of the best worship [services] yet! I loved being able to meet new people that were older than me and the baptisms were the best!" - Laura

  • "Pretty fun" - Kyle

Here are some updates I found on Facebook about last night's worship service:

  • "God truly brought me to tears.  His glory, His holiness, His peace and His love has no match! We serve an awesome God :)" - Nicole

  • " I loved tonight.  I want to feel God come alive in my life and I know being around all of you I can find that." - Michael

  • "What an awesome night!! WOW!" - Steven

  • "I love seeing people surrender to Jesus and get baptized!!!!" - Megan

  • "YEAH!!! Tonight was awesome:)" - Christina

  • "Tonight God worked!!!!" - Rebecca

  • "What an amazing night!!!!" - Victoria

  • "Awesome night!" - Bryan Walker

  • "Tonight was out of this world!!! There are no words for the epic service God blessed us with!! Praise Him! God is good... All the time!!!" - Jenn

Keep on praying! God is on the move.  It both freaks me out and gets me pumped about what's next!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Please Pray...

TO: My prayer team

Just wanted you to pray for the following things this week:

1).  MIDWEEK WORSHIP SERVICE. This week we are moving the high school worship service into the main worship center with the Wednesday worship service at PFB.

2).  TEACHING AT WESTERN CHRISTIAN. On Thursday, I will be teaching at Western Christian for chapel.

3).  SUNDAY MORNING. This will be the high school worship service at PFB Church.

Thank you so much for praying.

CATALYST - It Really Was!!!


cat*a*lyst - a person or thing that precipitates an event or change.

Please believe me when I tell you this: this year's high school retreat was the most explosive and Spirit-filled/driven/exploded retreat I have ever been a part of in 16 years of youth ministry.  Here are the basics:

Speaker: Chris Simning.  A good friend of mine that God is using in absolutely incredible ways for His kingdom.  He was our speaker for the year's winter retreat and BROUGHT IT! One of the key things that he mentioned I later found on the Facebook status of a student who attended the retreat: "The baggage in your life is what makes you, but it doesn't have to define you."  Powerful weekend where many students were freedom from brokenness, find healing in confession, friendship, and worship.

Worship team: Our very own Ryan Hall led worship for the retreat.  Ryan Hall is one of the best worship leaders that I have ever heard, ANYWHERE!!!! Our students respond to him so well and he leads us into God's presence in a way that shows that he is taking us where he already is.

Adult Crew & Student Leaders: These people are the backbone of the retreat.  They did EVERYTHING.  First of all, the retreat was planned from top to bottom by the student leaders.  They planned, organized, and ran the retreat.  They did an amazing job.  The volunteer team steps up every year and takes ownership, truly shepherding the students that they get to hang with for the weekend.

We saw students stand in surrender to Jesus.  We saw students stand confessing their need for change and/or the fact that God had done a change in them over the weekend.  During praise and worship, students knelt, stood, raised hands, prayed, cried, clapped, shouted, etc...

As I write this, Acts 2:43 comes to mind: "And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done..." There were times during chapel on Saturday night when I looked over at staff members, with tears in all of our eyes, with shoulders shrugged and hands up, as if we were saying, "I have no clue what is going on, but JESUS IS AWESOME!" Seriously: words fail me.  It is my prayer that my inability to share with you in words what God did this weekend will only encourage you in the ability that Jesus has in changing lives.

Like I said before: in 16 years, I have never seen what I saw over this weekend.  Thank you so much for praying.  And please keep it up, because I'm convinced that this past weekend is merely a catalyst to what God is getting ready to do.