2017

Rom. 8:32 – Before I started my sermon, I expounded the thought that if the living holy and sinless God was willing to deliver His Son over to all the evil and suffering and finally taking our sin upon Himself that He did, then how much more will He give us spiritual gifts!?

INTRODUCTION – – Most of you know that a few months before my 20th birthday I rather abruptly moved from Knoxville, TN to San Jose, CA – desperate for change and breakthrough in my personal and spiritual life and journey with Christ. That first year in San Jose I devoured the Bible like never before; and then I believe in my second year met my wife – Anne, who through similar life circumstances and desperation for change was also becoming a beaver for the Bible. The combination of our daily quiet times and scripture memory, involvement in small group Bible studies, and attending a very strong Bible teaching church brought a much needed stability to our lives. Continue reading Our Journey Out of I Corinthians ch. 14

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This last Sunday my wife shared some thoughts before I preached – – both of us commenting on aspects of I Corinthians 14. Below is the gist of what she shared. Mine will follow.

Last week as Joshua preached on 1 Corinthians 14 he ended briefly addressing verses 34 and 35 “Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says. And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.” And I thought, I would like to say something about that, because if you are anything like me, initially it seems that this is restrictive and unequal. Continue reading Women & the Washing of the Word

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INTRODUCTION – God has revealed Himself, and Jesus especially revealed God as a God who is living and active and always working. This study is designed to both convince us of that and then show us what to do about it. Sadly while many of us would identify ourselves as evangelicals, in our daily experience and expectation we function more as Deists. That is – we say we believe in the God the Bible reveals, but we rarely expect to see Him working in our daily lives and circumstances. Much less do we regularly speak of His working in our lives and circumstances and spheres of influence. In these last days, the Holy Spirit is going to turn this around I do believe.

The occasion of or motivation to put this study together came last week when I had the opportunity to teach our elementary Children’s church class, and also when I had the opportunity to preach/teach at “The Gathering Place” in Morro Bay last Saturday night due to my pastor friend’s health challenges late in the week. Continue reading God at Work

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At first glance, “Dying to Know” might convey that there is some new or cutting edge field of knowledge that I am pursuing to enable me to be more effective. But in fact the opposite is true.

God by His grace in recent months has opened my eyes and helped me come to terms with the fact that my sense of the “need to know” has become an entanglement that has actually prevented me from effectively fulfilling my calling and ministry. Continue reading Dying to Know

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INTRODUCTION – In our ongoing series of sermons through the 16 chapter book of I Corinthians, we come this morning to the 13th chapter, affectionately known by many as “the love chapter”. Even some unbelievers, who know little of the treasures of the Bible, know this chapter exists because of usually having heard it spoken of at a wedding. I myself have chosen to speak from this chapter at some of the weddings I have done. Though I want to say this morning, its intended purpose was not for marriages as much as it was for congregations.

Because the 66 books of the Bible were written as whole units with great strategic purpose, every placement of a chapter or verse in a given book is strategic and intentionally placed. So that begs the question, Why did Paul choose to deal with the subject of loving one another after chapter 12 and before chapter 14, both of which deal specifically with the subject of the spiritual gifts that Jesus – the Head has given to His body? Continue reading The Primacy or Supremacy of Love – I Corinthians 13

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This is a study I began for our elder/leadership team, and then got distracted with other things. I thought if I posted it in its very unfinished form that might motivate me to finish it. 🙂

Perhaps I should convey at the outset that I believe apostles and prophets are offices and giftings still given today by Jesus Christ – the Head of the Church – and are still needed today. Sadly some studies on leadership leave them out. Continue reading A Survey of Church Leadership in the New Testament

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It is absolutely critical for we disciples of Jesus Christ to be grounded in the truth of both our sin nature and our new nature or identity in Christ. Only when we are regularly reminded of how we were before Christ saved us, will we appreciate the greatness of His salvation. Only when we are regularly reminded of who we are in the flesh in the present, will we appreciate the greatness of His grace, and cleansing blood, and impartation of the life of Christ by His Spirit. I’m hoping this will especially serve us all in having more meaningful times at the Lord’s table. The following chart is given to that end. It is not exhaustive by any means. I have confined this study to the New Testament. Continue reading A Primer on Our Sin Nature vs. our New Nature/Identity in Christ

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I handed out this primer yesterday in our service as a resource for those longing to experience Christ more at His table!

I. Communion Passages: Jesus – Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; John 6:53-56; Luke – Acts 2:42. 20:7; Paul – I Cor. 10:21; I Cor. 11:20-22; I Cor. 11:23-29; (see full passages under “resources”)

II. Names of in Scripture: Lord’s Supper – I Cor. 11:20; Table of the Lord – I Cor. 10:21; Breaking of Bread – Acts 2:42 & 20:7; Sacrament & Eucharist are not found in the New American Standard Bible

III. A Prayer Before Holy Communion from the Agbia: “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come under my roof because I am a sinner, but only say the word; “your sins are forgiven” and my soul will be healed. I am barren and empty of any goodness; I have nothing but Your compassion, mercy and love to mankind. You descended from Your Heavenly Glory to our humility and consented to be born in a manger. O’ Holy Savior, do not reject my humble and miserable soul which is waiting for Your glorified coming. As You did not refuse to enter the leper’s house to heal him, please Lord, come into my soul to cleanse it. As You did not stop the adulteress from kissing Your feet, please do not prevent me from coming near You to receive Your Holy Body and Your Sacred Blood. May this Holy Communion banish every corruption and mortify all my evil desires. Help me to obey Your commandments and heal my soul and my body from every sin. May Your Spirit dwell within me and make me united with You, so I may live for the Glory of Your Name. Amen.” (The Agbia is the prayer book of the Egyptian Coptic Church, which was started 2,000 years ago by the apostle Mark). Continue reading Primer for Coming to the Lord’s Table/Partaking of Communion

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Matt. 26:26-30 – – “While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom. After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

Mark 14:22-26 – – “While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mt. of Olives.” Continue reading Communion Passages in N.T.

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INTRODUCTION – One of the books I’m reading right now is the 2nd book written by Rosario Butterfield, entitled “Openness Unhindered.” Rosario became a Lesbian in her early college days, and then as she went on for her PhD and then into a very influential tenured teaching post at Syracuse University – she became a widely known and very vocal lesbian activist and apologist. Her first book is entitled “The Secret Thoughts of an unlikely convert”, and a highly unlikely convert she was. So unlikely that most believers who knew her or knew of her didn’t even try to help her come to know Jesus Christ. Most, if they dealt with her at all, sent her condemning letters of the judgment that awaited her – especially after she dared trash the Promise keepers movement in one of her columns in the late 90’s. Continue reading Freeing Up the Fragrance – – I Corinthians 9

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“I must take care above all that I cultivate communion with Christ, for though that can never be the basis of my peace – mark that – yet it will be the channel of it.” Charles H. Spurgeon

In my last blog post I shared about some of the lessons I was learning about the call to oneness with my wife. One of the major ways grace has been coming to us in this season in our marriage is by increasing our oneness and intimacy with Christ, and that, through the use of a variety of devotionals. (Devotionals are books or daily emails that were written for the express purpose of helping us go deeper in our walk with God). That’s what I want to share about in this post.

As the Holy Spirit has been unraveling some of the subtle sin patterns that have enabled me to be so busy in the kingdom, and yet lose my passion for the King, I have discovered anew the great value of devotionals in stimulating my passionate pursuit of the King of kings and Lover of all lovers. Continue reading A Rediscovery of Devotionals!

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July 16, 2017
INTRODUCTION – As we have been walking together through the pages of the apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, we have noted several times that the social context into which this church was planted was one of extreme sexual immorality, and thus significant relational damage. Sexual immorality always results in emotional and relational damage to all involved – whether in first century Corinth or in 21st Century Central Coast of CA communities.

Josh dealt with this when he preached on chapter 5. Elizabeth dealt with it last week in chapter six. And we are going to deal with it again today in chapter 7.

The good news of the kingdom of God – this wonderful supernatural realm that the risen Christ rules and that we all have begun to operate in and experience – is that there is a far superior way of living life and handling our sexual passions and needs, and walking out the marriage covenant with our spouse than that which the world system offers. Continue reading Marriage, Oneness & Sex – – I Cor. 7:1- 5

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So I’ve discovered again of late how “oneness challenged” I am in the flesh…..Jesus once in the context of a discussion about divorce reminded His hearers of what God’s original intention was regarding marriage. Quoting Moses in Gen. 2:24, Jesus “answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
One flesh speaks of sexual, emotional, spiritual, mental and relational oneness. Two very diverse people of opposite genders laying down their rights, their self focus, their independence, and pursuing together oneness, harmony and unity in every area of life. Continue reading Oneness Challenged

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June 18, 2017
My mother’s phone call – my files – Dave Barry on Fatherhood

Prayer for Holy Spirit power and revelation

INTRODUCTION – One of the disciplines the Holy Spirit led me to practice many years ago is daily praying through a portion of our church directory . So for instance this morning I prayed for all of our individuals or families whose last name starts with T-Z.

And one of the many things I pray for each of you every week is that you will grow in the joy of being a co laborer for the harvest with Jesus. One of the things Jesus promises to do in and through the life of every person who is born again by the Spirit of God is to make them what He calls a “fisher of men (or women)”. Continue reading Faith in The Power of God – I Cor. 2:1-5

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June 10, 2017

“I cannot imagine a greater motivation to pray than that God enjoys having me in His presence. He enjoys my company.” R.T. Kendall

The first time I ever remember hearing about the value or the practice of a daily quiet time with God was probably in my first or second year of high school. To play with one or more of the four sons of this godly couple down the street from me, I had to often interact with their mother. One day she gave me a booklet published by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship called “The Quiet Time”, and asked me to read it. Miraculously I did read it and then gave it back to her. She asked me what I thought. I replied it was great. She then said, well then now you need to practice it. For the next four years I rarely did. I had one foot still largely in the world at that time in my life, and the discipline of starting my day with God (or even ending it with Him) just never kicked in. Continue reading My Journey with Daily Quiet Times

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June 8, 2017

“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

One of the skills I developed early in life is that of judging others. Whether it was a friend or relative or neighbor or fellow student or teacher or coach or leader in our church or a leader in government, if they had a fault, I was sure to find it. I could even identify their motives and the state of their hearts – hidden as that was to the naked eye! And I especially specialized in making sure someone around me knew of my latest insights into someone else’s character (or lack of).
Sadly that skill (or vice actually) is at an all time fever pitch in our culture today. Our cable networks even pay people to do it daily as a profession. Few seem able or willing to grasp the seriousness of the poison they are spewing, much less the seriousness of the judgment they are bringing upon themselves as a result of their own unrighteous judgment. Continue reading Fleeing from Unrighteous Judgment

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Why should we make teaching in the local church a priority?

– Because Jesus’s consistent pattern of ministry was as follows: “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” Matthew 4:23

– Because Jesus commanded us to make disciples by “…baptizing them…and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) Continue reading The Importance of Teaching in the Church

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May 14, 2017

INTRODUCTION – Lucille Ball – one of the great female comediennes of my early years on this planet, and of all time really – said of wisdom, “In life, all good things come hard, but wisdom is the hardest to come by.”

One of the primary reasons true wisdom is so hard to come by is because Satan – the father of lies and the god of this world – has created a world system of belief and thought patterns and attitudes that operates on a false or corrupted sense of wisdom – a socially acceptable wisdom if you will. And he (that is Satan) has succeeded in getting most of our cultural influencers to embrace this worldly wisdom. The apostle James, who was never one to mince words, refers to this wisdom or way of seeing and doing life as earthy, natural and demonic in chapter 3 of his epistle as contrasted with divine or heavenly wisdom. (We will look at that passage later on) Continue reading The wisdom of God vs. the wisdom of man – I Cor. 1:10-25

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“Heavens” in the old and new testaments
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:9 Then God said, ” Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
Genesis 1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
Genesis 1:15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
Genesis 1:17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
Genesis 1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” Continue reading Heavens in the Old & New Testaments

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“Heaven” in the Old Testament

Genesis 1:8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Genesis 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.
Genesis 6:17 “Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.
Genesis 11:4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose topwill reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Continue reading Heaven in the Old & New Testaments

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I provide these passages especially for worship leaders, and other leaders of Christ’s church who want to worship Him in spirit and in truth. And who thus want to plumb the depths of the whole counsel of God on anything having to do with singing and music. May the Holy Spirit open your eyes and ears as you meditate on the following.

Sing in the Old and New Testaments
“Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and said, “I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.” Exodus 15:1

“Miraim answered them, “Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.” Exodus 15:21

“The Israel sang this song: Spring up, O well! Sing to it!” Numbers 21:17 Continue reading Sing, Singing, Sang, Sung, Sings, Music in the Old & New Testaments

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This study is designed to help us understand the importance and role of dreams, visions, revelations, etc., in the kingdom of God.

Dream in New Testament
Matthew 1:20 – angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream
Matthew 2:12 – warned by God in a dream
Matthew 2:13 – an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream
Matthew 2:19 – an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph
Matthew 2:22 – after being warned by God in a dream
Matthew 27:19 – last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him
Acts 2:17 – and your old men shall dream dreams Continue reading Dream, Dreams, Vision, Visions, Trance, Revelation, Revelations in N.T.

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INTRODUCTION – Around the end of April of 2015 – our son Joshua called Anne and I and asked if he could come over and sit down with us. That conversation started the ball rolling that eventually (after many hours of meetings with our elders) led us to install Joshua as lead pastor as of June 1st of 2015, and then send Anne and I off on a three month sabbatical for those summer months to get rested up and re – envisioned for the years ahead.

When I jumped back in the saddle in early September of that year – our elders began to process together over many hours the changes that the Holy Spirit — primarily through Joshua was wanting to bring about.
One of the questions we wrestled with in some of those meetings (and I believe Steve Sharp joined us in some of those discussions) was what tag line or motto would best characterize who we are becoming, and what we are most pursuing as a people. Our eventual choice was: “People encountering Jesus.” We knew there were safer more acceptable words to use rather than “encounter” – but we all eventually concluded this was the word that best summed up what God wanted us to pursue, and what God wanted us to expect of Him. Continue reading Encountering God – Only One Thing is Necessary

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INTRODUCTION – William Carey, the great missionary statesman and missionary to India, said of the promises of God, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.”

Indeed for the children of God, the future is bright because God has given us promises for every step of our journey with Him. Everything God has willed for us, He has paved the way with His promises. They are like stepping stones for all the fullness of Christ and all the fullness of the Holy Spirit to become ours.

So this study is designed to help us stand on God’s promises until His highest will and purposes for us are accomplished. May this simple outline aid in this pursuit. Continue reading Attaining God’s Highest by the Promises of God

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This morning after my time with the Lord, I checked my emails, the weather, and a smattering of news headlines from a few sources including charismanews.com. Therein was an article entitled, “16 Million Reasons People Are Leaving California by the Millions.” I suppose much of what Mr. Snyder wrote was true or possible (e.g. massive earthquake and tsunami coming some day), but I question the wisdom or purpose of such an article. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the potential additional sales of his latest book referred to in the article.

But my purpose of this blog post is not to criticize his article. It is rather to celebrate the Romans 11:4 reality that the living God has “…Kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” The context of that amazing revelation is God’s response to the prophet Elijah, who had lost all hope and faith in God’s ability to finish and preserve what He started with His chosen people Israel. Against all odds and so many attempts by evil governments and armies to wipe Israel out, they continue to thrive today physically; and their spiritual revival is soon to follow.

And the same can be said about the body of Christ in California. Yes our State is self destructing in many ways, and the worst may still come, but God in His amazing grace and power has called many thousands of His sons and daughters to dig our heels in and unite together to see “His glorious kingdom come and His will done” here in all its fullness before Jesus returns.

Last night Anne and I gathered with 33 others of our fellowship (most under age 35) (see pic above) at my son’s house for a night of worship and prayer. Every time when we thought their living room, dining room and kitchen were maxed out with people, someone else would walk in the door.

Extravagant praise filled the house with children wandering to and fro. Testimonies of God moving and working were shared at points; sometimes demonstrations of Him moving and working were evident in our midst. I know these kinds of gatherings are happening all over the world and are on the increase.

So to all of those who live in the cities of America or Israel or Nepal or Sumatra who know and walk with God, and who have discerned and submitted to His calling to dig your heels in and focus on what He is doing and saying in your city or State, rather than focusing on all the doomsday prophets – – I have one thing to say – “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” And I am very proud and thankful to be counted among you today.

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