PASTOR'S BLOG

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The Company We Keep

The Company We Keep
There comes a point in time, for every one of us, where we need to make the painful choice to separate ourselves from hurtful people. You would think that it was easy because they are causing us pain and discomfort. Yet, it never is. Why? Often these are some of the closest friends, classmates, confidants and sometimes even family. We do see clearly and know they are going in a direction with their time, energy and attitude that is not in line with our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We think we can handle it, but we suffer after we are led off course by the pervasive winds of influence which come into our lives through these individuals. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”  Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God....
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A Faithful Friend

A Faithful Friend
As we seek to grow daily in our personal relationships with God, we can all suffer from a critical blindness of sorts.  It is not the “blind leading the blind into a ditch” kind of darkness, but rather an inability to clearly perceive and navigate how we are actually doing in our lives spiritually, emotionally, physically and relationally with God and with others. We quite often are under the delusion that we’re at the center of our personal universe. We could call this attitude “a blind spot” of sorts. Now to be completely transparent, at any given time we are lost among a plethora of “blind spots." We, each of us, are formulating new directions and making life choices as we live our lives. Unfortunately most of the time, we are in complete ignorance of the vortices of destruction that would gladly swallow us whole and bring us to complete...
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Bullets & Band-Aids

Bullets & Band-Aids
There is nothing we can ever address that will bring healing and help to the wounded soul until we are “born again”. Years of counseling and the reading of endless books could be likened to placing a band-aid on a bullet wound. Yes, the band-aid is something covering the wound, but it actually accomplishes nothing. I fear countless lost souls fill churches and bible studies, week after week for decades, looking for someone passing out band-aids and not a real relationship with Jesus, and may still die in their sins and be separated from our Gracious God forever. Jesus declared, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done...
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Inexhaustible

Inexhaustible
Have you ever been so exhausted you could no longer stay awake? I was. It was a Wednesday night service in June 1991. I was still quite young in my walk with God, but was so hungry for God’s Word I never wanted to miss out on Bible Study. My heart had been touched powerfully by the simple teaching and applicable principles found in my Bible. My life had become a constant and wondrous state of flux as holy truth began to do its deep, permanent work. At 5:00am that morning, I started my on-air shift at the church’s radio station. I made the choice to stay at the church to catch up on the radio’s accounting work until that evening instead of riding my bike home and then back again. There I was, right in the front row that night, ready to hear the Word of God. The room...
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Perils of Pride

Perils of Pride
Psychologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, pastors, teachers and parents all recognize there is something basically flawed with each one of us. We are all broken from birth. We find this flaw working its way into every area of life, fighting us against all our best intentions. When we take the time necessary to look closely at our lives in the proverbial mirror, we soon discover we are predisposed to pompous, presumptuous, elaborate and lavish acts of self-centered pride which have no regard to pain or cost to anyone else. Pride is basically a sin of attitude and it dwells in the comfort and ease of the sinful human heart and spirit. “ A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.” (Proverbs 21:4). The book of Ecclesiastes 7:8,9 reads, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the...
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Fight Until Our Last Breath

Fight Until Our Last Breath
Does it seem as if the whole of mankind has lost its collective mind or is it just me? Men and women of every generation have begun chasing after evil like it’s the last scrap of food after the apocalypse. Everyone is seeking his or her own pleasure and satisfaction without considering the consequences to themselves or others around them. Like junkies coming down from the high of their last hit, they’re groping around looking for the next fix of personal pleasure without regard for the cost to be paid in suffering. They hide in the dark, enjoying their momentary bliss, completely oblivious that life is slipping out of their hands with every breath. Why is this happening? The hearts and minds of lost generations everywhere, if they are still putting fog on a mirror, love to be satisfied with evil. The Prophet Isaiah wrote to his generation, “Their feet...
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  1982 Hits

Blindness in the Dark

Blindness in the Dark
How important is confession? We as individual believers, and corporately as the church, have been walking on the edge and have begun to lose our footing and may soon be crashing down the steep slope of biblical negligence in our preaching and teaching. We love to talk of God’s glorious grace, but what has happened to the teaching of confession and repentance? When Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the Wittenberg chapel door on October 31, 1517, it began with this statement, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent”, he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” “ From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mathew 4:17) We all must have lifelong active contrition and penitence in our lives here on earth. If you and I are not sure if we...
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Are We Insane?

Are We Insane?
So what kind of crazy does a person need to be to choose deliberately to be an enemy of God?  Personally, I think they need to be absolutely, certifiably, and institutionally nuts. Now to all my friends who are psychologists and others in that field, I know those are not the right terms we use, yet I hope you get my point.  To choose to be an enemy of God is just a little cuckoo. What a truly absurd decision to make when any possibility of victory against the Almighty God is 0%. Does somebody just wake up one day and decide to tell God, “That’s it, I am through with you?”  I wish I could say I've never seen people act with hostility against the God of heaven like that, but I have.  I would say that type of overt action is rare and that 99% of people who...
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Bondservant

Bondservant
Do we believe there is a practical side of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ? James, the leader of the church in Jerusalem (See Acts 15) and the Lord’s Brother, was writing to Jewish believers around 45-48 AD and it may be one of the oldest letters in the new testament, but its age does not make its content out-of-date or unable to speak or relate to new generations. Having a living, active, and mature faith is the subject matter pouring out from the heart of this blessed servant of God as the Holy Spirit moves upon him to write. He describes a faith that goes beyond "saving faith". He writes of a "living faith" and what it should look like. As we explore this letter, we start to see the everyday, practical side of the Christian faith. He starts the letter with a typical greeting for his day, “James,...
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  1995 Hits

Help is Available

Help is Available
Many of us have discovered, whether as a mentor or parent, it takes much longer to accomplish any task when you're taking the time to instruct someone on the how’s and why’s needed to accomplish the job they are doing. As a son of a very talented, intelligent man, who was a contractor as well as a mechanic, I am sure I frustrated my father beyond measurable earthly comparisons on countless occasions. The worst of those times, of course, was when I lost a tool or didn’t put it away correctly. As a dad myself, the shoe is now on the other foot. I have spent countless hours looking for missing tools, all the while thinking I should call my dad and apologize for all the hours he spent doing the same thing. Now, I enjoy working with my boys. For one thing, I’m not getting any younger and they’re...
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  1866 Hits

Jumping In

Jumping In
Growing up in SoCal afforded my family countless opportunities to play in the surf of Newport Beach. As a young father, my dad wanted to make absolutely sure his 5 year old son could swim before he would let me out in to the open surf with my new body board. In order to do this, I was given swimming lessons at the local pool just a few blocks from my home. Yet dad wasn’t going to be satisfied until he saw me in action. On a Friday afternoon, he checked me out of school early and took me to the pool. I was so excited to spend some time with my dad, with the pool almost all to ourselves. After getting ready, we left the locker room and to my horror, we turned to the left and not the right. My fear grew as I followed my father’s wet...
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  1964 Hits

Surrendering to the Will of God

Surrendering to the Will of God
How can we discern the will of God for our lives?  I dare say 90% of our problem when we want to know God’s will is we’re looking for the easy way instead of His way . The first thing we need to do is get our plans - our own will - completely out of the way. We need to seek, from the beginning of any venture of faith, to get our hearts into such a place as to have no personal agenda of our own in regard to the direction we’re choosing.      Consider the words of our Savior in the garden, “…saying, Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.” (Luke 22:42-43) Do you see the order in which things happened? Jesus expressed His desire...
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  2005 Hits

Real Integrity

Real Integrity
It is of utmost importance that men and women of the church, today more than ever in history, would live to please God, work to be fruitful in this life we have been gifted to live, and engage the generations and their different and unique cultures around us for Christ Jesus our Lord. How do we do this? God tells us though the prophet Micah, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) Let’s all start by committing to live our lives with unwavering personal integrity and character. Characteristics like sincerity, accountability, honesty, responsibility, faithfulness and justice. I was once told character is who we are when no one is watching. The hard truth is, God knows what kind of person we really are because...
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  1947 Hits

Reality of Mortality

Reality of Mortality
I am sure Death is planning on meeting up with each of us in the future, yet we have a coming Savior who could change those plans by taking us out of this sinful and broken existence to be with Himself forever.  Jesus promised , “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to  Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) When we consider our end, we must remember that our redemption is coming closer every day! It could be in death or the rapture and we are all guaranteed an end to this life. The question...
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1st Things 1st

1st Things 1st
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Jesus commands us to seek first the kingdom of God. So do we? Do we really seek the things of the kingdom first and above all else? How many times have we been asked this question directly or indirectly: “How is your devotional life?” How many times have we given a not so clear and honest answer? We do it all the time, attempting to take the pressure off a now exposed and raw nerve. Why does this question bother us so much? It may be because our spirit is starving for intimacy with God and screaming out in agony to our conscience which has become hard of hearing. If someone calling us out or challenging us about the priority we place on our personal devotional time makes us...
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Get Mercy | Find Grace

Get Mercy | Find Grace
Have you ever taken a nose dive in your relationship with God? I’m referring to a meltdown of epic proportions in our walk with God. Carnage as far as the eye can see! Onlookers stare at the burning wreckages of our foolish choices, gasping in horror, unable to help!  A monumental blunder, giving birth to brutal consequences. Yep, we’ve all been there, broken and damaged, at least once.   If you are self-deceived enough to think you won’t ever crash and burn, your day will come. Without question, you will know when it arrives. If we think we’ll escape those things that only happen to “other types of people”, we are all out of our minds, for King Solomon wrote, “Pride goes before the destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.”...
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Not Our Home

Not Our Home
Why are we so surprised when life takes a crazy turn for the worse? Why do we panic? No matter what precautions we take, no matter how well we have put together and managed to have a good life, no matter how hard you and I have worked to be healthy, have financial security, be comfortable with friends and family, and successful with our careers — something will inevitably ruin it. I know that sounds incredibly pessimistic, but that's just reality. It is truly unfortunate that it’s also a reality we cannot change, no matter how hard we try to isolate ourselves from life. I'm personally an optimistic person. I'm always looking for the good in every situation, no matter how dark or difficult. I loathe the word “can’t”, don’t believe in the “no-win scenario” because I serve a God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that...
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You Are Being Watched

You Are Being Watched
Some of us may be under the false assumption that our actions only affect us, yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Okay, to be fair, many times our choices may be made in private, but the consequences are quite often public. The effects of our private choices will eventually affect those around us. Of all the great decisions we will ever make, the most important is when we choose to, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31) Yes, this choice is a personal one, but not one we make and keep in the dark.  Jesus said, “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8-9) The world...
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Choose to Change

Choose to Change
It is biblically, emotionally, and I dare say philosophically dishonest to say, “We love God,” and refuse, in any way, to keep His commandments. When we hear from the Spirit empowered Word and choose to disobey, we can be guaranteed problems. Lots of them. It should cause us to call into question our relationship with God. Yes, you did just read that correctly. Jesus said, “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” (John 8:47) Ouch! It is disheartening to see the lack of response to the teaching and preaching of God’s Word in the current church culture. We have become a broken culture of, we came, we sang, we listened, we forgot. We lie to ourselves,  saying, “I’ve got this, I’m good.” Remember what Solomon wrote to his sons, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before...
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Join the Resistance

Join the Resistance
Taking the appropriate time to be circumspect as a follower of Jesus is liberating. Being suffocated by the endless weight of worry is tragic, and by the way, also sinful. Being destroyed by the natural outcome of careless sins and willful transgressions is devastating. Sin is destructive.  Since its inception, sin has been and will continue to be, a destructive force upon the lives of humanity and all creation until it is done away with for good. Until that realization of future victory, we need to join the resistance and be on guard over our souls. Resisting sin is a choice. It is a thoughtful and concise engagement of our will to use every resource at our disposal to strike at the heart of our thinking and decision making processes. Faulty thinking normally leads to inappropriate behavior because of the alluring nature of sin to the fallen soul. Our sinful...
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