Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Prayer Update for this Week

Hey all,
First of all: thank you so much for praying for this past weekend with regards to the Rainbow Acres trip that we were on this past weekend.  It was an absolutely amazing weekend.  The work that the Holy Spirit does every year at Rainbow Acres is absolutely life-changing for everyone that goes.  To read all about how the weekend went, read the blog (click here).

Prayer for this week:
1).  Tonight I get the opportunity to speak at the graduation of Upland Christian Academy.  This is such a blessing for me as many of the students graduating from Upland Christian are part of our high school ministry here at PFB Church.

2).  Tomorrow night I get to teach at FLOOD.  It's baptism night so we also have a celebration going on.  Please pray as I prep, pray and preach this message, and praise Jesus with us as we see people get baptized.  These nights are so incredible.

3).  This Sunday I get to teach at our college/young adults community life group ("TOGETHER") at PFB Church.  I absolutely love my time with these young people.  God is doing some great things as he creates healthy community and takes us deeper in his word.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Make God Happy

"For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;..." - Psalm 149:4a, ESV

I couldn't believe it when I read it either. God takes pleasure in his people? Are you serious? And I am part of the people of God.

But doesn't he know what I'm like? Doesn't he understand how much I struggle and how often I fail? Doesn't he know that my motives are not always pure and my thoughts are not always right? Doesn't he know about my insecurities and my temper? Doesn't he remember the times when I've doubted my faith? Doesn't he know?

And the truth is this: he does. He knows.

"O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all of my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it." - Psalm 139:1-6, ESV

He knows everything about me and yet takes pleasure in me. I am beyond words. I am blown away by this. What an amazing truth this is that brings unexplainable peace to my soul.

Thank you, Jesus.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Having a Great Time at Rainbow Acres

This weekend I get to hang with the high school and junior high ministry in Arizona at Rainbow Acres, a ranch for the the developmentally disabled.  We are having an absolute blast and the students are doing a great job.  Below are couple of pictures of some young ladies in the ministry that have been working so hard.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Prayer Update for this Week

I wanted to let you know that last Wednesday night at FLOOD was POWERFUL!!! I called people to come forward if they needed to confess sin, admit their brokenness, or ask for prayer for help.  It was beautiful to see 30-40 people come walking forward to ask for prayer.  And then to see the FLOOD family come behind them and pray with them and over them was beautiful.  I was so blown away by it.

1).  Please pray for me as I pray, prep, and preach the message for FLOOD this Wednesday night.  The passage we are looking at is James 3:13-18, looking at the difference between godly wisdom and worldly wisdom.  We are promised that God gives wisdom to those who ask.

2).  Please pray for the Rainbow Acres team as we leave on Friday for the weekend to go and serve at Rainbow Acres in Arizona.

That's it for now.  Thank you so much for praying.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

FLOOD FAMILY: Props to You...

Hey all,
I just wanted to give a shout out to you all that were at FLOOD last night.  I met a young adult last night who came to FLOOD for the first time.  She absolutely loved it.  She is going to be coming back.  She is planning on joining us for TOGETHER this Sunday morning at 9:45.  But here's the reason you all are amazing: When I went up to say hi to her and to introduce myself, she said, "All the people here are so nice."  THAT'S IT, friends!!!! That's the community that I'm talking about.

You are doing an incredible job reaching out to people.  And for the first-time guest to say those words about you made me so stinkin' happy.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  I am so thankful for you.  Keep up the amazing work.  And remember: the best is yet to come.

HELL: We Can't Afford to Get It Wrong

This is an incredible video dealing with the tough topic of hell.  Great humility is needed as we approach God, his word, and his ways.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Prayer Update for this Week

Thank you for your prayers last week.  Here's the list for this week:

1).  Tonight I will be sharing for about 10 minutes to graduate students in the business school at Azusa Pacific University.  They have a weekly gathering where a chaplain from APU shares something from Scripture and then prays over them.  I get the opportunity to share this week.

2).  On Wednesday morning I am speaking to the junior highers of Crossroads middle school.  Please pray as I prep, pray over, and preach this message.

3).  On Wednesday night I am teaching on James 3:1-12 at FLOOD.  The topic: the tongue.  We can speak words of blessing or speak words that absolutely destroy someone.  The Bible says that no human being can tame the tongue (which is set on fire by hell), but I promise that there is hope.  Please pray as I prep, pray over, and preach this message.

PRAISE FROM LAST WEEK AT FLOOD: I wrote about it last week, but you can never share this enough.  We saw two young ladies stand up and surrender to Jesus last week at FLOOD.  It was an AWESOME night!!!

Read all about it here.

4).  On Thursday I am speaking at the Christian Club at Glendora High School.

5).  On Sunday morning I get to hang with and teach the college/young adults Sunday morning community life group at PFB.  I absolutely love this time being with them.  We are currently going through the book of Mark.

Thank you so much for praying for me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It Starts With the Laundry

It is so easy to be served, isn't it? I LOVE ROOM SERVICE (but I usually can't afford it so I don't usually get it).  But it is so easy for me to just sit back and let others serve me.  Here's the problem with that: I'm a Christian and I am called to live as Christ did, therefore living as a servant of others.

So tonight, Kelley comes walking into the family room with a pile of laundry.  And when I say pile, I mean that oxygen masks were required for those that dared to climb to the top of it.  As I sat there "busy" on my phone, catching up on social networking necessities (is there really such a thing as a social networking necessity?), I sensed the nudge of the Holy Spirit say, "Serve."  So, I plopped down on the floor with Kelley and we had an amazing date folding laundry.  And when we were finished with that mountain, she brought out the next.  And we kept folding.

When she first brought out the laundry, I wrote this as a caption on my picture: "I love to be served.  Jesus, turn me into a servant.  And it starts with the laundry."

It is popular and movie-worthy to go all over the world with the heart of a servant.  However, if a servant's heart does not start at home, then the servant's heart that shows up everywhere else really isn't about serving others but rather about promoting self.  It all starts at home - the mission field that Jesus has called each of us to.

Please make me a servant.  Please continue working in my heart so that I am truly serving others with a desire to reflect you rather than to promote me.

Friday, May 13, 2011


This past Wednesday night we saw two people surrender their lives to Jesus.  It was AWESOME!!! They just popped up and everyone went crazy.  I asked them if Jesus was their Lord.  They both replied yes.  I asked if they believed that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.  Again they said yes.  And we welcomed them into the family.

That makes 53 people that have surrendered to Jesus on a Wednesday night at FLOOD since January.  I am floored by what I am seeing happen.  I wish I could tell you what we're doing but I have no clue.  I am just thanking Jesus for allowing us to see that miracle happen once again.  It never gets old.

And finally, I wanted to share with you a quote by C.T. Studd that I shared with the FLOOD family on Wednesday night.  It is so powerful and describes exactly how I want to impact hell.  Yes, you read right.  I want my life to have an impact on hell.  Read it and you'll understand what I'm talking about:

"Let us not glide through this world and then slip quietly into heaven, without having blown the trumpet loud and long for our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  Let us see to it that the devil will hold a thanksgiving service in hell, when he gets the news of our departure from the field of battle."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

He Sees. He Knows.

"During those days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help.  Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God.  And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  God saw the people of Israel—and God knew." — Exodus 2:23-25, ESV

Alone. Solo. Forsaken. Friendless. Isolated. No one else. Hopeless. Confused. Broken. Hurting. Frustrated. 

These are words that accompany the pain that you and I face, and will face down the road.  Many times, the isolation that we feel is brought on by ourselves, not wanting to burden anyone with our problems or to show our weakness.  However, these feelings come and hit all of us at some point when the pain is real and in our faces.

But let me encourage you with these words:


It's true.

  • For the family who has to deal with death taking a loved one unannounced.
  • For the parents who watch their teenager be swept away by addiction.
  • For the child who is abused by someone who is supposed to love them.
  • For the married couple who long so much to have a baby, only to be met with the "—" sign on the pregnancy test month after month.
  • For the poverty-stricken.
  • For the sick.
  • For the broken.
  • For the suicidal.
  • For the unwelcomed.
  • For the lost.
  • For the confused.

For some, this truth makes you even more angry because you don't see God working according to what he knows.  But let me remind you of this: 

Exodus 2 closes with God seeing and God knowing.  Exodus 3 begins with the implementation of his plan of salvation.  The same is true for you.  Exodus 2:23-25 shows us that God knows what you're going through.  But maybe you're at the point in the salvation story of Jesus that fits between the last period of chapter 2 and the first capital letter of chapter 3.  You're in the waiting phase, that has a purpose no matter how pointless it may seem.  God's plan is in motion.  It has been since before you hit the painful situation that you're experiencing.  God knows.  God sees.

So remember: you're not alone.  Stand firm, by God's grace, as long as you can.  After that, stand firm.  And when you have nothing else to give, collapse into the arms of the Jesus who knows, sees, and brings about salvation out of impossible situations.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Be Afraid and Be Blessed: Part 2

Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! — Psalm 128:1, ESV

Yesterday we looked at the topic of fearing God.  And I know that it's a tough topic.  No one likes to admit that they are afraid of anything, but we have to drop that pride and be free to admit that we are afraid of God (and for those who say, "Well of course I'm afraid of the Old Testament God, but Jesus takes all of that fear away", go ahead and read Revelation 1 and notice John's reaction to this "tame" Jesus that you have created).

But look at what comes with this: blessing.  That Hebrew word for blessing is 'esher.  It means, "happiness, blessedness."  So we read that "[happy] is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!" To be afraid of God brings unbelievable happiness? Yes.  That's what the psalmist found to be true.    That's what Scripture teaches us.

But how can this be?

Here's how: that massive, holy, majestic, all-powerful/knowing being is entitled to our terror just because of who he is.  But, that massive, holy, majestic, all-powerful/knowing being is not against us.  He loves us beyond our ability to comprehend or explain in human terms.  John, in Revelation 1, fainted at the sight of Jesus.  However, notice Jesus' response to John's reaction:  "But [Jesus] laid his right hand on me, saying, 'Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one.  I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades'" (Revelation 1:17-18, ESV).  

So I am blessed when I:

  1. have a correct picture of who God is, responding correctly to his glorious splendor (fear).
  2. live out and obey what that holy God calls me to do.
It's not just about a correct view of God, but it's about the lifestyle that is worthy of the God who called me to himself through Jesus.  It's about obeying the one that I claim to fear.  It's about correct orthodoxy and proper orthopraxy.  It's about believing correctly and living appropriately.  It's about both.  In fact, tomorrow night at FLOOD I will be talking about this very thing, (join us at PFB Church at 7:00pm - 601 N. Garey Ave, Pomona, CA. 91767 or watch live online - www.pfblive.tv), faith and works (read James 2:14-26).

So, fear God and obey him.  The result, according to God himself: you will be blessed.  You will be happy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Be Afraid and Be Blessed: Part 1

"Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!" — Psalm 128:1, ESV

The first thing that people try to do when they see that word "fear" is to explain it away as being in awe of and reverence.  And the truth of the matter is this: they would be right.  However, they would be forgetting the whole definition of that Hebrew word:

fear - yare

  1. to fear, revere, be afraid
    1. (Qai)
      1. to fear, be afraid
      2. to stand in awe of, be awed
      3. to fear, reverence, honor, respect
    2. (Niphal)
      1. to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared
      2. to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe
      3. to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe
    3. (Piel) to make afraid, terrify
So here's what I'm suggesting with regards to that word fear: let's take the whole definition and apply it to our approach to God.  Should I be in awe and have extreme reverence for God? Absolutely.  But, let's not limit our approach and response to Jesus because of this prideful automatic reaction in us that tells us that "I'm not afraid of anything."  In fact, having a holy "fear" of God is what gives me freedom from being afraid of others.

Psalm 56:11 — In God I trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?

Psalm 118:6 — The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?

Hebrews 13:6 — So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

As you read those passages, the first thing in there that jumps out is, "I will not fear..."  I understand.  So, the response that is so easily accepted is to not be afraid of anything, including God.  However, when you read the many passages that talk about the fear of God being a blessing, the beginning of knowledge, the beginning of wisdom, you see the context of the fearlessness described above.  Because I know God, having a holy fear of him, I will not fear situations or other people.  Because I am in awe of who God is, it makes no sense to be afraid of those who are nothing in comparison to him (and I too am nothing when compared to his majestic splendor and glory).  

So, be TERRIFIED of Jesus.  Be absolutely in awe and afraid of his glory and splendor.  And then keep that in step with the fact that we have been invited into a relationship with that holy being who we can call him Father.  Even typing out those words once again leaves me in absolute and complete awe.  Be afraid and be blessed... (part 2 tomorrow).

Prayer Update for this Week

Thank you for being willing to pray for me every week.  Here's how you can be praying for me this week:

1).  This Wednesday, I have the honor of officiating the funeral for my grandpa.  God blessed us with him for 94 years and we are so thankful.  He will be greatly missed.  The impact that he had on others is immeasurable, the life that he lived is unparalleled, and the memories that we have of him are beyond value.  Thank you for your prayers as we get through this difficult time, but praise Jesus with us as we know that he is the presence of the King.

2).  This Wednesday night I am teaching at FLOOD (passage: James 2:14-26).  Last week was an absolute blast as we celebrated what Christ has done in and through FLOOD since January of this year (51 people have surrendered to Jesus, 48 people have been baptized).  This week we are looking at the topic of faith and works.  Please pray for me as I prep and preach this powerful message.  If you can join us to see for yourself what God is doing at FLOOD on Wednesday nights, please do (this Wednesday at 7:00pm).  If you can't join us in person, join us live online (www.pfblive.tv).

3).  This Thursday I will be speaking to the Christian Club at San Dimas High School.  Pray that God would reveal to me the specific message that he wants to share to those students.  Then pray for me as I share it with them.

There you have it.  Thanks again for praying.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Am So Thankful For You

I was reading out of Philippians this morning and came across this verse:

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.  For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.  And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." — Philippians 1:3-11, ESV

God put you all on my heart as I read this passage.  I am so thankful for you all.  I am absolutely blown away how God is using you and working in you all.  Think about it: we have seen 51 people surrender to Christ since January, while also seeing 43 people publicly proclaim their faith in Christ through baptism.

I am so blessed to be your pastor.  Thank you so much for that privilege: I don't take it for granted.  So, thank you.  Thank you for all that you do.  Thank you for being so faithful.  Thank you for your partnership in what God has called us to do.  And remember: the best is yet to come.

What a ride,

Monday, May 2, 2011

Prayer Update for this Week

Hey Prayer Team,
Thank you for praying for me last week.  It was a pretty busy week but God was faithful.  Thank you so much.  Here's how you can be praying for me this week:

1).  FLOOD this Wednesday night.  We are going to be taking a quick break from James to focus on Mark 2 (the story of Jesus healing the paralytic).  This Wednesday is our baptism service.  Also, we are going to be throwing a PARTY after the service to celebrate those who have surrendered to Christ and those who have gotten baptized since January (click here to read my thoughts on celebrating before Jesus and to read more about our party for this Wednesday night).  Please be praying for me as I prep and preach this message.  The message will be highly evangelistic.  Please pray that we see God move and that people surrender to him.

2).  On Sunday I get to teach the young adults at PFB for our Together class.  We just started the book of Mark on Sunday morning.  Please pray as I prep and teach that class.  It's a blast.

That's it.  Thank you so much for praying for me so regularly.  Take care.