Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Prayer for this Week...

Here's how you can be praying this week:

1. On Wednesday night we are continuing our "REPLAY" series. Last Wednesday night was unbelievable. The attendance was huge. And the best part: 3 people stood up to surrender to Christ. And then I received this following text from part of the FLOOD family:

"OH MY FRICKING GOOOOOOOSHHHH!!!! Can I just tell you..... There's this girl who I met at Bible study. The first night I met her, she told me that she didn't have a church. So God told me, GET HER! :) And each week, I invited her, and she randomly (or DIVINELY) didn't have to work tonight. So she came. She just sent me this text...... I'M ABOUT TO CRY TEARS OF JOY!!!!! 'Thanks for inviting me tonight! I really liked it and wish I could go more! I didn't stand up... But I felt in my heart that I was saved tonight and that wouldn't have happened without you <3 thanks for reaching out to me and including me tonight! :)' PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HE FREEKIN RULES MY LIFE!!!!!!!"

Thank you so much for praying. What God has been doing has blown me away. Thank you for being part of the miraculous that I'm getting to see happen.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What Dad Taught Me

I preached this short 7 minute message at PFB last Sunday morning (on Father's Day) as part of a worship service where other pastors shared something that their dads taught them. This is what my dad, along with many other things, has taught me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Prayer For This Week...

Here is what happened last week at Mt. Gilead:

  • We saw between 15-20 students surrender their lives to Jesus (and that's only the number that I know about).
  • We saw about 50 students come forward on Wednesday night to confess their brokenness and struggles, crying out to God asking for his intervention.
It was a powerful week of ministry. Thank you so much for praying.

  • This Wednesday night we are starting a new series at FLOOD called, "REPLAY" (read all about it here). This is a three-week series looking at God's grace and mercy toward us, giving us  second chances as we strive to walk with him.
  • This Sunday morning I get to teach the 20s-30s class at PFB Church. I've never had this opportunity to teach them. I'm really looking forward to it.
Thanks it for this week. Thank you so much.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

He's Still Getting it Done

I'm still up here at Mt. Gilead and I just have to say this: God is definitely now "showing up and showing off." On Tuesday night we saw 15 students come forward to make a decision for Jesus. Last night, I invited people to surrender to Christ and a high school girl stood up and surrendered in front of everyone. Everyone cheered for her as she stood there publicly professing her faith in Jesus.

Then after that invitation, I invited anyone at the camp (staff and campers) to come forward and kneel to declare to Jesus that they were broken and they were needing his help by the Holy Spirit. In all, between 45-55 people came forward confessing their brokenness. It was beautiful to watch the community of faith be a genuine and real community. They all prayed together and loved on each other, as the Holy Spirit did his work through each Christian there.

I am blown away by what I'm watching. It's been a wrestling match this week as I've preached to this group, but God has been faithful and reminded me of my call: preach the truth and let him handle the response.

New Series at FLOOD: "REPLAY"

"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities." — Psalm 103:8-10

We are taking three weeks at FLOOD to look at this topic of God and his second chances... and thirds, fourths, and on.

Do you have the past that would make it on a Sunday night special or a mini-drama on tv? Is it one of those that has left you scarred and ashamed, not knowing where to turn or what to do to overcome the guilt that plagues you? You'll want to be part of this series.

Do you have the past that would be too legalistic for Christian television? You came to Christ from a background of legalistic and arrogant religiosity, full of judgment and bitterness, all the while missing the love Christ. This series is for you.

Are you searching? Seeking? Trying to figure out what God is really like? Are you wondering how a perfect God could perfectly love you? This series is for you.

Have you been ambushed by God's grace? Have you come to the conclusion that God is great and his grace is indescribable? This series is for you.

And the thing is this: THE SERIES IS FOR EVERYONE! So, please help get the word out. Share this on Facebook. Tweet it on Twitter. +1 it on Google+. Take a picture of it and Instagram it. Text someone. Or, do it the old fashioned way and just walk up to someone and invite them to join you for it.

Start date: June 20th.

If you have any questions about this until then, please email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can (brian@bigbholla.com). You can also get all of the info from the FLOOD website or by contacting my assistant (Calli Dye-Schmidt: 909-629-5277, x3044; calli@floodnow.com).

So, here's how you can join us for this series:

  1. IN PERSON - Join us at PFB Church on Wednesday, June 20th (601 N. Garey Ave, Pomona, CA. 91767)
  2. LIVE ONLINE - Join us at www.floodnow.com on Wednesday, June 20th, to be part of our online FLOOD community.
I pray that this series brings you the freedom that Jesus so desires for you to have: peace with God and the peace of God.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Party is Raging

I've been up at Mt. Gilead since Sunday afternoon speaking to about 150 high school students. Tonight I got the opportunity to see Jesus bring 15 high school studies forward to make a decision for him, either surrendering for the first time or recommitting to their relationship with him. AWESOME!!!

Thank you, Jesus, for what you are doing. You are amazing. And I can only imagine the party that is going on in heaven right now.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Please Be Praying

Here's how you can be praying for me this week:

1).  This week I am up in Sebastopol, California at Mt. Gilead Christian Conference Center speaking to a camp of high school students. God has given me the opportunity to preach at Mt. Gilead for the best 12 years or so. In fact, this was one of the first camps that he allowed me to teach at. I always love my time up there.  Please be praying for me, that I would hear what the Holy Spirit wants me to share with these students and staff members, and then that he would give me the power and the anointing to preach his message so that eternity is impacted. I so want to see lives changed for eternity.

Also pray for me while I am there with regards to FLOOD. I will be up there preaching at the camp but also using it as a personal getaway to hear from God about what he wants from FLOOD for the future and what he wants myself and the FLOOD family to do now to see his future plans become a reality.

2). On Saturday I get the honor and privilege of officiating the wedding ceremony for Andrew Attalla and Nicole Thai. These two young adults, who are part of the FLOOD and PFB families, have become so dear to me. I am so blessed to get to be their pastor and I love them dearly.

Thank you so much for praying.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Shepherds Should Care... A Lot!

And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? — 2 Corinthians 11:28-29 (ESV)

If you're a pastor and you don't care, quit. Look at the list of things that Paul had gone through as he followed Jesus:

  • 5 times he was flogged
  • 3 times beaten with rods
  • 1 time he was stoned 
  • 3 times he was shipwrecked
  • Traveled frequently
  • In danger from rivers, robbers, his own people, Gentiles, the city, the wilderness, the sea, and false brothers
  • Worked hard and faced trials
  • Experienced sleepless nights
  • Experienced hunger and thirst, often going without food
  • Experienced the pain of the elements.
This is quite the list, and yet he is the same person who later says: "... I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV).

How does he do it? How does he boast in weakness, learning to be content in any and every situation (see Philippians 4:11-13)?

I believe that at the very heart of Paul is his love relationship with Jesus. As noted above in chapter 12, he boasted in all of the crisis and catastrophe that he had faced for the sake of Christ. He loved Jesus. And that is the key to everything. That love affair with the Creator and Sustainer of all things (see Colossians 1:15ff) is most definitely to be the priority of all in our lives, but that will result in our hearts breaking, hurting, celebrating, and rejoicing over the very same things that his does.

Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:28-29 how he faced the anxiety that came every day over the churches. He wanted to see the Christians that he was given the opportunity and privilege to minister to experience Christ's plan and not get tripped up by the sin around them. He worried over them because he wanted God's best for them. He was affected by their choices. He was not pastoring because of the next book deal or an opportunity to preach from a pulpit with thousands of adoring fans there to listen (and please understand that there is nothing wrong with writing books or preaching from pulpits). Rather, he pastored his flock because Jesus called him to the ministry in that way and gave him a pastor's heart after his very own. The reason behind his shepherding was Christ, and his heart was filled with love and concern for the flock that Jesus had called him to.

So, if you're a pastor and you don't care about your flock, quit. If you don't care about your flock then you are not a pastor anyway.

So hurt for them. Hurt with them. Be concerned and anxious over them because of the fact that you love them. And then constantly entrust them to Jesus to be transformed by him.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

6 More Months & So Thankful

Kelley (my wife for those who don't know) had her test results today concerning her thyroid cancer. Six more months and no cancer. He wants to see her again for her next check-up in six months. We are so thankful!!!

Thank you, Jesus, for how you have walked with us and helped us through all of this. You are definitely too good. I love you.

Satan's Favorite Target

"For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ." — 2 Corinthians 11:2-3

From the beginning, Satan has had a favorite target for his attack. We picture it being an all-out fierce battle, with fire and smoke and explosions and the like. However, he is much to cunning for that type of attack. In fact, most of his attack is not even a frontal attack. Like I just said, he is much to cunning and deceptive to just run straight at you with everything that he has. So, he goes a different route. He goes after that one thing in you that will affect every single thing that you will do in your life.

Your mind.

The serpent deceived Eve by playing with her thoughts. He does the same thing today. And do you know why? Because he's effective. This is why it is VITAL for all Christians to protect our minds so that we do not give the Enemy a foothold into our lives.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." — Romans 12:2, ESV

Transformation comes by the renewal of our minds. Without that, transformation doesn't happen.

Are you getting time alone with the Holy Spirit? Are you getting time with him in the Bible, listening to what he says rather than what you think? What are you filling your mind with? Because the truth of the matter is this: if you do not control your mind and the thoughts that come, then your mind will control you.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Prayer for this Week

Here's how you can be praying for me this week:

1). Tonight I have the opportunity share with the MBA students at Azusa Pacific University. It's a short gathering where I get to speak into their lives during their break. Please pray that God will give me the perfect words for this group of students.

2). Tomorrow night I am finishing up our Overwhelmed series at FLOOD. It's been a powerful series. Tomorrow night is also our baptism service and a celebration service, praising God for the 36 people who have surrendered to Jesus and/or been baptized since January.

Thank you for praying.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Opinions: Pointless

"We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,..." — 2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV

o-pin-ion (n)
a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

  • the beliefs or views of a large number or majority of people about a particular thing.
  • an estimation of the quality or worth of someone or something.
  • a formal statement of advice by an expert on a professional matter.

We are quick to listen to the opinions of experts on every area of life. We use them to back up our opinions of things. We read their articles. We study their books, trying to figure out how they think so that our opinions are strengthened, able to stand against any attack that may be thrown at us (listen to sports talk radio and see if this isn't the case).

However, after spending my time this morning with the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 10:5, I had to ask myself this question: do my opinions even matter? Does it matter what I believe about certain things or does it only matter what God believes about certain things?

The truth of the matter is this: I don't know everything (some are shocked to hear this, I know). I don't know everything. In fact, I am broken and unable to hold the correct truth on everything based upon my own limited knowledge, understanding, or abilities. It's impossible for me to hold the correct view on everything there is to know based upon my personal opinions.

Because of this, I must gain perspective and listen to the teachings of the one who has all truth on matters that pertain to life, death, and everything before, during, and after those events. And yes: this one that I am speaking of is God.

So, my responsibility is to destroy every argument and every lofty opinion that is raised against the knowledge of God — against what he has deemed as truth about himself and life. So I begin to look at "my" opinions and make them stand against the truthful revelation of God. Anything that does not agree with God's revelation of truth must go, because my broken opinions can never be more truthful than the one who holds all truth. I must start with Jesus and the truth that he is, has, and shares. 

So I take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Why? To win in a debate? No. In fact, the scary thing is that so many people take 2 Corinthians 10:5 as a verse to go and slap people around who have different opinions without first starting with themselves, applying every part of this verse personally. I must start with me and my thoughts, for I cannot take the thoughts of anyone else captive and make them obedient to Christ. I can only do that for myself. I start with me, submitting to Christ's Lordship and his omniscience in all things, destroying all opinions and arguments that are against God's truth, and taking every thought captive to make it obey Jesus. Then, I go and share the truths that God reveals to me with others with the desire to see them enter into a relationship with him through Jesus so that they too can learn and apply truth that he reveals to them.

Now some may read this and say, "You are starting with an opinion that Jesus is omniscient." To that, I am guilty, but only because I hold to the truth of Scripture — a source outside of myself. "So you have skipped a step here." And philosophically I'm sure that I have. But when I encountered Christ, everything changed (read Isaiah 6:1-8 and Job 42:5-6). So the revelation of truth does begin with the revelation of Christ. It comes back to a relationship with Christ, and this relationship changes everything.

But of course, this is my opinion. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Dream Come True

I was given the privilege and honor of being this young lady's youth pastor. Now, she is a young woman who absolutely radiates Christ's love. I'm so happy for you, Emily and Tim, and I am so excited to see the life that God has for the both of you together. This is a youth pastor's dream come true.