Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Little Light

It's amazing what a little light can do. This morning I left early to pick up a kid from the airport so that he could join us on our mission trip (which if you want to follow click here). As I left I was trying to get the protective cover off of my phone. When I did, my hand jerked and the cover went flying. I pulled over to look for it (because I'm weird like that) but couldn't find it because I didn't have a lot of light to help with the search and rescue mission. So I drove on. A couple of hours later I stopped and waited for the student's plane to land. I figured I would look for it again. This time, however, the sunlight was pouring into my car. I opened the back door and there it was. I was all geared up to pull my car apart and there it was: just laying there kind of mocking me.

As I got back into my car I said outloud to myself (because that's how I am), "Its amazing what a little bit of light can accomplish."

Two things come to mind here:
1. Jesus will light up the dark places of your life to reveal things that need to change. Don't fight it. As hard as it is to face those things, don't fight it.

2. You are light to this dark world. If you know Jesus, your light should be speaking volumes to a hurting world that so desperately needs Jesus.

Remember: it's amazing the difference a little light can make.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just Ask

Today is my day to hang at home with my boys while Kelley teaches.  So, because it was time to make lunch, I took the boys to In-N-Out. :)  While we were eating, Dylan looked at me and kept asking me, "Dad, can I have a french fry?" Here's the thing: Dylan would eat french fries for every meal if he could, so we have to make sure that he eats the main stuff as well.  So, I make him have a few bites of the burger and then a french fry.  He knows the routine.  So he would take some bites and then, "Dad, can I have a french fry?" I would say yes.  Then back to the burger.  Then, "Dad, can I have a french fry?" I would say yes.  Then he asked, "Can you open my milk?" "Can I have some ketchup?" "Do all dads have beards?" —a little random but so fun.

As I listened to all of his questions it hit me: as much as I enjoy the questions from Dylan, our heavenly Father enjoys the questions from us.  But notice: Dylan asked before each step.  He didn't ask me after he had already done something.  Rather, he asked me before.  He asked me questions because he was interested as well as for "provision" (ketchup — does it really count as provision).

I'm convinced that God is inviting us to just ask.  We should get in the habit of asking before we make our own decisions so as to make sure that we are in-line with what God is doing and wants us to accomplish rather than asking God to bless a decision that we made without his blessing.  It really does come down to just asking.  It's that simple and yet it is so often forgotten.  So, before you move on to the next thing, just ask.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just Checking

Last night I was walking through the hallway.  I heard Dylan in the bathroom brushing his teeth.  I knew what he was doing.  I knew he was fine.  It's not a horribly difficult ordeal to brush his teeth.  It usually is just a one-person job.  But then I said it: "You doing okay, buddy?" He said, "Yeah."  And that was it.  But I knew he was fine.  I knew everything was okay so why did I ask him?

As I walked into the bedroom I started thinking about it.  Even though I knew everything was fine I still asked him if everything was fine.  Why? Here's the answer: I just like talking to him and hearing him talk to me.  That's it.  I just like the conversation no matter how short it is.  And then it hit me: our Heavenly Father is the same way.  We have access to him whenever we want, to bring concerns and praises to him (Hebrews 4:16).  He just likes talking to us and loves hearing us talk to him.

Today, be overwhelmed with the fact that the God of the universe loves hearing from you and loves speaking to you.  We truly have an amazing Father.  In fact, he's probably going to be checking in on you throughout the day just to check in.  Enjoy it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's A New Day

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  'The LORD is my portion, says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'  The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD." — Lamentations 3:22-26; ESV —

They are new every morning.  NEW EVERY MORNING! What are? God's mercies.  It seems like this walk with Jesus so very often becomes a crawl, leaving me exhausted and discouraged as I strive to live for Jesus.  It's overwhelming at times.  And then I fail.  I fall short.  When this happens, I am so very quick to pronounce my own condemnation over myself instead of living in the truth that God's mercies are NEW EVERY MORNING! It's s new day.  And it doesn't say that when I wake up that I am drawing from the left-overs of God's mercy.  Rather, they are NEW.  Brand new every single morning.  Because of this, it gives me hope to press on and fires me up to reach out to those who need to know that God desires to show mercy to them.  Because the truth of the matter is that it is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. Salvation is coming.  Hang in there.

What are you facing? What has you consumed with thoughts of condemnation, regret, bitterness, discouragement, etc...? Let me remind you of this: God's mercies are NEW for you today.  They will be NEW for you tomorrow.  Your response should be relief and gratefulness which causes you to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Jesus — Thank you for your new mercies every morning.  Thank you.  I needed this reminder so much today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stop Staring...

I was driving into Los Angeles tonight listening to a message on my iPhone.  As I sat at the stoplight, I was staring at all of the people walking in the crosswalk right in front of my car.  One guy caught my attention for some reason.  Why? He was staring at this other guy that was walking toward him.  I sat there and thought to myself, "Why is he staring at him? Dude, stop staring.  You seem a little weird to just be starting..." And then he proceeded to talk to the woman he was walking with as he shared his "observations" with her about this other guy.  And then it hit me: I WAS STARING!!! I was staring at this guy walking who was staring at another guy walking.

It stopped me.  It reminded me how easy it is to stare at each other, looking at the faults of others, rather than looking to Jesus.  As long as we keep walking around staring at each other, we cannot fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).  We stare at each other to make ourselves feel better about ourselves rather than staring at Jesus who will point out to us how much we truly need his mercy and grace every moment of every day, and who is also more than willing to extend that mercy and grace continuously.  So we have a choice: stare at each other and feel better or stare at Jesus and become better.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


That's all that I can say after the evening that I was a part of. Here are SOME of the highlights:

  • I received this messaged on my wall on Facebook before I even got home after worship: "Brian!!!! My friend Jackie accepted Christ tonight!!!!!! She is crazy excited and so am I — God is amazing:) "

  • As I was worshipping after the message, a high school girl named Liz came up to tell me that she surrendered to Christ tonight.

  • A girl who was invited by a staff member surrendered to Jesus tonight.

  • I was told after the worship service that two people who listen to the message in Spanish (through a translator) surrendered to Christ tonight.

  • Had a mom from Canada leave a message on Facebook to say that she watched the service online.

  • Had a mom from Glendora write the following: "Listening to the live broadcast right now.  He is doing a great job.  Hoping that this is available to watch again so I can have [my daughter] watch and save for all my kids. Great job!"

  • Got to pray with a girl who came up and confessed some things that she has been dealing with.

And the worship time: EXPLOSIVE!!! We had to extend the worship service because of what was going on.

This isn't a complete list of everything that happened but rather what I personally experienced tonight.  There are so many more stories.  Thanks.

SO FUNNY, and Convicting At the Same Time


Monday, May 17, 2010

Prayer for this week...


I wanted to give you a quick update on things that you could be praying for me for this week:

  • This Wednesday afternoon I will be officiating a memorial service.  I've never met anyone in this family who lost a loved one.  It's a huge opportunity for outreach.  Please pray as I share with so many people and as I minister to the family during this tough time. I'm not sure if they have a relationship with Jesus.

  • Pray for this Wednesday evening as we continue through the Song of Solomon at PFB Wednesday nights.  I'm so pumped up to see what happens this week.

  • Pray as I teach the high school students this Sunday morning at ELEVATE.  Still continuing through the book of Philippians.

That's the short of it.  Thank you so much for praying.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's All About Perspective

I've been taking care of some home maintenance the past couple of days.  One of the jobs was to replace the 2x4's on the top of the fence and to them paint them.  Mission was a success.  Honestly, I was pretty impressed because I am not very good at the home maintenance thing.  As I was finishing up the last of the painting, feeling pretty good about how quickly I had finished the job, my 6-year-old said, "Dad, you missed a spot." I asked him where and he pointed right above his head to a whole streak of un-painted wood.  I didn't even see it.  It was far below where I could naturally see.

This was a modern-day parable from Jesus to me.  It's all about perspective.  As a leader I am called to lead (I know - I am amazingly deep).  I am to be paying attention as to where God is leading this ministry.  However, I NEED the input of others who come at it from a totally different perspective.  I'm convinced that leaders who do not listen to the advice and perspectives of others are not good or effective leaders.  It does not mean that a leader must do everything that everyone suggests.  However, a leader will at least hear every perspective and then make a decision.  Leaders are not always right, but every leader will take the heat if something goes wrong.  Therefore, leaders must listen and then make wise decisions based on all of the information that he/she receives.

Huge lesson that my 6-year-old taught me that day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

So What's the Problem?

Now it happened... that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah.  And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem.  And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame.  The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire." - Nehemiah 1:1-3, ESV

Here was the problem: the people who had survived the exile were in great trouble.  They were not doing well.  They were shamed and broken.  They were oppressed and broken, defenseless because of the wall that had been destroyed.  Things were bad.

As I read through Nehemiah 1-2, it hit me: To ONLY have a heart for personal spiritual growth is to NOT have the heart of God.  How much of the Bible is filled with accounts of God coming to the rescue of his people by using another person? How often is it filled with someone responding to God's direction to impact the lives of others—individuals and multitudes alike? The whole Bible is filled with a problem being presented and a God with a solution to be carried out.

We see problem every day.  They are all around us.  But what are we doing to be part of the redemptive story? If my whole focus in walking with Jesus is "personal spiritual growth", I've missed it.  Now please understand me: when I say "personal spiritual growth", I am speaking about a desire to only focus on me, myself, and I with Jesus through personal devotions.  I'm convinced that my relationship with Christ will grow only as much as I am willing to APPLY that which he shows me in his word.  I am to take the things that he teaches me, and then I am follow the leading of his Spirit to be part of the rescue mission that he is carrying out.  I cannot grow in Christ if I am not willing to serve Christ.  The thing about serving Christ, though, is that it always has something to do with action.  If you don't like to do ministry then you've chosen the wrong Savior to follow after.

So, what's the problem that God has brought to your mind?


We kicked off our new series last night: "Love, Sex, and the Bible."  It's a 6 week journey through the Song of Solomon (yep, God's sexy book).  We had a ton of people there last night.  I was absolutely blown away.  A ton of new people.  There were a bunch of people that we hadn't seen for a while show up to be part of this series.  And then of course: the faithful who have been there from the beginning of what God has been doing on Wednesday nights were there.  We went through chapter one which talks about attraction, and how Godly attraction for someone else is not a sin.  It's part of the process.  However, attraction is not the foundation that we are to build a romantic relationship and marriage relationship on.  That attraction should lead to the priority of loving the person's character.  An incredible evening.  It was so much fun.

At the end, I invited people to surrender their lives to Jesus if they never had.  It blew my mind when I saw a hand go up from a young college-aged girl from the front row.  It was her first time ever at PFB and she gave her life to Jesus.  But here's what hit me when it happened: the whole message had to do with the beginnings of a dating relationship with another person.  And with that topic, she gave her life to Jesus.  It just proved to me that where the Holy Spirit is, he is calling people into a relationship with God through Christ.

Thank you for praying.  It is always amazing to see someone surrender to Jesus.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Butt-Kicking

"The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes by the way." [Ezra 8:31; ESV]


  • noun - a surprise attack by people lying in wait in a concealed position.

  • verb - make a surprise attack on (someone) from a concealed position.

Did you notice in the verse that God delivered them from the hand of the enemy and from ambushES? PLURAL! A guaranteed way for Christians to experience constant defeat is to deny the fact that there are ambushes in life set up to trip us up and take us out.  Safeguards are so necessary.  This doesn't mean that we live in a constant state of fear but rather in a state of caution.  Fear debilitates a person from moving forward.  Caution causes that same person to walk with a desire to stay in the fight as long as possible.  This is just smart.  A person who buries his head in the sand, pretending like nothing is going on around him, only leaves himself open to a major butt-kicking.

Christians: let's walk with an alert heart and mind, looking out for the ambushes of the enemy who so wants to destroy us and the impact that we can make, by the power of the Spirit, for the Kingdom.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Updates and Please Pray

Yesterday I taught in both the Duetts class at PFB (adult Sunday school class) and then to our high schoolers.  Wonderful time looking in God's word.  Thank you so much for your prayers.  If you were to ask how it went, I would say, "I was faithful."  That is the only gauge that I can give.  Ultimately, it all comes down to being faithful in preaching God's word and trusting that it will not return void, but will accomplish everything that God wants it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Please pray for the following:

  • This Wednesday I am speaking to staff and faculty of Azusa Pacific University about the Millenial Generation (our next generation of students).  I was asked to share what I perceive about them, what they are thinking and how they are perceiving the world around them.

  • Please pray for this Wednesday night at PFB.  We are starting a new series called, "Love, Sex, and the Bible".  It's a verse-by-verse study through the book of Song of Solomon.  I am really excited to see how God uses this series in the life of those who attend.

  • Sunday morning I'm teaching and hanging with the high schoolers.  I sure love those students.

Thank you so much for praying.  God bless you as he blesses me through your ministry of prayer.

Bartimaeus' Dad was Timaeus

But they came to Jericho.  And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. [Mark 10:46; ESV]

Isn't that information life-changing? Look at it: Timaeus was Bartimaeus' dad.  Hearing that information just changes your whole perspective on life and opens the mysteries of long ago.  Or, if you are like me, you have wondered why Mark even mentions Timaeus at all.  I know that a reason is to bring credibility to the story.  I'm sure that many people accept this as true and are satisfied with this as the main reason.  However, I don't think that is main reason.  Here is what I think it is: Timaeus is mentioned to remind us that Bartimaeus was a person.  The blind beggar, ignored by so many, was a person.  He was somebody's boy.  And he was ignored.  He was forgotten, until he screamed out for mercy from Jesus and was healed.

This made me stop in my tracks a couple of weeks when God opened up this passage to me.  It made me stop and think about how many sons and daughters I pass by on a regular basis, who are in desperate need of the touch of Jesus, because I'm so busy trying to hear what Jesus is saying rather than putting into practice the things that he has already said.  It is so easy to be one of those in the crowd that followed Jesus.  As he walked, Jesus would have taught, for that is what Rabbi's would do as they traveled with their disciples.  The people would have been running ahead to try to hear every word of Jesus.  The only problem is that there is the blind guy in the back just screaming at the top of his lungs, asking for Jesus to have mercy on him.  So I tell him to shut up because we're trying to have a Bible study, all the while missing the main reason that we have Bible study: to do the very things that Scripture teaches.  Jesus stopped the "parade" for the blind beggar because no one else would.  He stopped because he had to.  His disciples, and I'm speaking of the ones of today, should be the ones walking through the parade to find the ones who need to be touched by Jesus instead of running at the front of the parade only to hear him.  Because honestly: if I were dead and gone, and one of my boys was begging and screaming for mercy, I would be screaming from heaven for someone to reach out to him and help.

I know that someone out there will say that I am stating that hearing Jesus is not important.  That is not what I'm saying.  However, I am saying that to hear what Jesus says and then to fail to do what he says is a waste.  In fact, it's sin.  How often had these people seen Jesus heal people? How often had they seen him do the miraculous? And then when an opportunity to reach out to someone to be healed by Jesus comes a long, they tell the beggar to shut up so that they could hear what Jesus was saying.

Timaeus is a reminder to me that the people that so often go unnoticed by me are sons and daughters of someone.  They are people, not projects.  They are souls in need of a Savior.  They all have names  They are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of all things.  My prayer is that every time I begin to walk by someone that I normally wouldn't notice, that Timaeus would come to my mind as a reminder that they are a person with a name and a story.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Over the past week or so Jesus has been doing something in me that is pumping me up. There is a vision that is stirring in me and is getting me jacked up for him. I cannot put my finger on it, but it's very close. And when he does it, look out! But I am convinced of these things when it comes to following a vision:

1). A God-given vision is worth everything to follow and to see fulfilled.
2). Vision is not focused on what is but rather on what God is doing and going to accomplish.
3). Any vision that is achievable by human standards is not a vision from God, or one that is worth devoting my life to.

God is doing something. I'm so stinkin' fired up for what's about to come. I'll pass it on when I get the picture.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday Night Update

TO: My Prayer Team.

I just wanted to give you an update about tonight.  Tonight was great.  Wonderful crowd of people showed up to finish up our REVELATE series.  They brought it during praise and worship.  We talked about making sure that we are adaptive in the way that we reach people who don't know Jesus.  We looked at Joshua 5 and 6 for the message.  But I'll be honest: I didn't feel like I was very focused on the message tonight.  I even forgot to mention the passage for the last major point of the message.  That drove me crazy when I noticed that I had done that.  However, I do believe that truth was taught and, therefore, I must trust that God's word will not return void (Isaiah 55:10,11).

Please pray as I prepare to teach two times this Sunday morning at PFB.  Thank you so much for all that you do.  God bless you all.


"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." - (Joshua 1:9; ESV)

I'm convinced that it is high-time for Christians to actually apply this command given to Joshua as he took over the leadership role that Moses had.  Think about it: you're getting ready to take over leading hundreds of thousands of people wherever God leads you.  The thing is: Joshua didn't try to get out of it.  He didn't offer excuses as to why it wouldn't work.  He didn't tell God exactly what would happen if he obeyed him (contrast with Moses' reaction in Exodus 3).   Rather, Joshua obeyed.

There is something that should come over every Christian when he/she hears God say these words: "...and do not be dismayed, FOR the LORD your God is with you..." GOD IS WITH US!! That means that there is absolutely nothing to fear at all.  Jesus promised us that he would be with us.  Remember these things:

  • Those who walk in fear make no difference for the Kingdom.  Walk with Jesus in faith and the gates of hell will shake.  BRING IT!!!


  • Fear or faith: whichever one you live in shows Jesus what you really think of him.

  • Faith and fear cannot coexist.  It is impossible.  It's necessary to get rid of the one before you can live in the other.  What's your choice?

Don't get me wrong: fear creeps into my life just like everyone else.  However, I have a choice at that moment.  I can either feed the fear and ignore faith or I can "feed" faith and let fear die.  It's a choice.  What do you choose? What do I?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Teaching Updates for This Week...

TO: My prayer team.

Thank you so much for praying.  I spent this weekend with my family in Cathedral City speaking to some amazing young adults.  I am still blown away with how God spoke this weekend.  I preached passages that I have preached before, but I have never preached those passages that way before.  If you prayed that I would be able to preach with power, then Jesus heard you loud and clear and stepped up.  If you prayed that God would direct the messages, which one he wanted me to teach and when, he stepped up.  Seriously, absolutely incredible!

So now I ask you to keep it up for the following:

  • Please pray for Wednesday night.  I feel like I keep saying the same thing every week but it's so true.  This week we are finishing up our current series ("REVELATE").  It's been an amazing study.  And begin praying as we start teaching through the book of Song of Solomon for 6 weeks (starting next week).  It's an awesome study.

  • Sunday morning I am teaching at the Duetts class at PFB.  I would appreciate you prayers as I teach there.

  • Sunday morning I am teaching the High Schoolers at PFB.  We will pick up our walk through the book of Philippians.

Thank you so much.  I wish that I could put into words what God is doing while I'm teaching.  He is honoring your prayers.  Please keep them coming.  Thank you.