March 16, 2014
INTRODUCTION – My word on Friday afternoon from Jer. 31:3??
Beachhead – a secure initial position that has been gained and can be used for further advancement; foothold:

Why do we believe RTB is going to be a Beachhead in our greater region? Powerful gospel proclamation to many people in a short period of time; the church praying and working together like never before; the church developing more effective ways to shepherd and disciple new believers; increased faith that we can do great things by working together and for the greater good. Continue reading Lessons from Antioch; Beachhead via RTB – Acts 11:19-30

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(this was an address to our men at a men’s dinner)
Feb. 27 2014
INTRODUCTION – Based on 20 years and two months of prayer, watching and observation of what God is doing and trying to listen to what He is saying to and about our region; and what He is saying about what He wants to do in our region – – I believe we are on the precipice of a very significant move of God in this coastal area, and on the Central Coast. You and I could have the privilege in the not too distant future of being a part of something we have never seen in the history of this region.

I say “could have the privilege” because it is not guaranteed. And one of the things that could hinder some of us men from being in the forefront of what He is planning to do is our attitude towards and treatment of women. Continue reading On Thinking Towards & Relating to Women as Christ Would

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February 23, 2014

INTRODUCTION – There are 2.18 billion Christians around the world, up from about 600 million in 1910, according to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly, from an estimated 1.8 billion in 1910 to 6.9 billion in 2010. 7.3 billion today. As a result, Christians make up about the same portion of the world’s population today (32%) as they did a century ago (35%).

What about in our region? 5%?

How are we going to reach all these people? Typically we only think of individuals reaching individuals. And when we look through that lens – – reaching the world for Christ looks pretty bleak. Continue reading Peter & Cornelius – Acts 10:1-48

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January 12, 2014

INTRODUCTION – Cat lovers love to opine that “cats rule and dogs drool”. As we continue in our series in the book of Acts, and start our New Year in Christ together, I want to suggest this morning that Disciples rule and Christians often merely drool.

The church in our 3 coastal town region has some wonderful opportunities this year with all of the mobilization leading up to our Reach the Beach evangelistic outreach in April and our ladies retreat in May and our men’s retreat some time in October and who knows what else. Whether we seize those opportunities and make the most of them – will depend on whether we settle for being Christians, or whether we push forward together to live and walk and reign with Christ as disciples.

I find it interesting as I survey the book of Acts that the author – Dr. Luke – uses the word “disciple” 5 x’s and the word “disciples” 25 x’s, but only uses the word Christian once; and in that instance he merely states that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. (acts 11:26) In fact that is the only verse in the Bible where the word “Christian” can be found. Continue reading The Difference a Disciple Makes – Acts 9:10-19

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December 2, 2013

INTRODUCTION – Our role as witnesses and dot connectors. As weak as we are, God wants to use each of us more than we could ask or think.

But our limitation as converters – – we can persuade and explain and exhort; but we cannot convert. We cannot stop someone in their tracks and take their breath away, and cause their whole life to pass before their eyes. Only Jesus can do that. And the good news is He continues to do that. Continue reading Jesus – the Great Converter Acts 9:1-19

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INTRODUCTION – Last week we learned some lessons from Philip’s life and ministry regarding what it means to be a witness – noting that of the 20 or so references to the word witness or concept of witnessing in the N.T. – only one is in the form of a verb. In other words – the overwhelming emphasis in the N.T. when discussing the concept of believers witnessing or being witnesses of Jesus and His kingdom is being, not doing. We are witnesses – once we are born again and come into a relationship with the living God. The challenge is learning to be an effective one.

To help us all in that challenge I want to propose a new synonym for witness, and a new handle on our identity in Christ = Dot connectors. You and I are called to be dot connectors for the lost folk in our spheres of influence. Continue reading Wanted! Dot Connectors! Acts 8:26-40

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INTRODUCTION – One of the things we know about the triune living God of the Bible is that to Him “a thousand years is as one day and a day is as a thousand years.” (II Peter 3:8). He is not bound by time. He in fact created time. And thus when He first created man however many thousands of years ago, He could see into the 2nd century and the 10th century and the 16th century and even into the 21st century.
Seeing what He could see, and knowing what He knew – – He decided early on to produce – through the fingers of men – a collection of historical accounts and letters and songs and prayers and prophecies that we today call the Bible. While this – one of a kind collection was penned by 40 different men over a period of 1,500 years, we know from Peter’s second epistle or letter (1:16, 20, 21) and Paul’s second letter to Timothy (3:16) – – – that it has only one author; and that author is the living God. The clearest statement to this effect is II Tim. 3:16, which says, “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness – – so that the man (or woman) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” God inspired every word of it; and every word of it is necessary and useful to make us into the kind of people He can use to accomplish His purposes in the earth. Continue reading The Kingdom Advances in Samaria Acts 8:4-24

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August 18, 2013
INTRODUCTION – I’ve had discussions with enough of you regarding last Sunday’s service to know that lots of light bulbs were going on, and lots of questions were raised from all that we discussed. This morning we need to revisit some of those things and tie up some other things I sought to convey to you..
Before we discuss some of the subject matter – I want to set the record straight – – I do not have any Harry Potter books by my bedside. But I did win one once at Baywood Elementary – not by design…We were attending Caroline’s open house. And I think I won a door prize. I believe my wife sold it at a used bookstore a few days after I won it, so even if I had wanted to read it, my window for such was very short.

I want to review a few of the truths or principles we discussed last week. What got us going down this path in the first place was what happened in our service two Sundays ago. I felt right before that service – that the Holy Spirit led me to start the service off by reading Matthew 16:13-19. This may be one of the most tragically neglected passages in scripture. So let’s read that now for context:
“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven’ and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Continue reading A Biblical Theology of Music & Singing II

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August 11, 2013
INTRODUCTION – Jesus Christ – during His earthly ministry had an intriguing conversation with a Samaritan woman about worship (among other things). In that conversation He revealed that those who want their worship to be accepting and pleasing in the sight of the living God must worship Him “in spirit and in truth.” He repeats that phrase again to make sure she and we get it. You can read about it in John chapter 4.

One of the ways we have sought to apply this principle in our worship services is that we try to provide an environment wherein truth in all of its breadth and depth is valued and sought – usually in the form of a thoroughly prepared sermon or teaching; and we also try to provide an environment wherein revelation from the Holy Spirit is valued – usually in the form of a spontaneous prophetic word, scripture reading, tongue with interpretation, spiritual song, exhortation, testimony, etc. And we try to cover our worship gatherings in prayer in the days leading up to it. Continue reading A Biblical Theology of Music and Singing – part I

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July 28, 2013
INTRODUCTION – One of the things the Jews around the Jerusalem area in the first century were very proud about was the fact (in their minds) that they were sons and daughters of Abraham. Last week we focused our attention on how Stephen helped to bring clarity to the way they saw Abraham’s life and faith and calling as seen in vs. 2-8a of Acts chapter 7.

Whether we are talking about Jews or those who call themselves Christians – many in both camps tend to put their faith and identity in the wrong places. Their perception of what is required to please God and be in good standing with Him – or even who He is – is often not grounded in reality or truth, but is passed down from generation to generation – – and rather blindly and passively accepted as true.
An effective fisher of men or laborer for the harvest will discern in time – where the person or persons they are dealing with or relating to – have put their trust and security, who they really worship, and they will by God’s grace and power – bring these things to light. Most people – whatever faith they claim to belong to – have a really warped concept of God, don’t have a clue what grace is all about, and don’t yet see why it was so absolutely necessary for Jesus Christ to shed His blood on the cross of Calvary. Continue reading The Twelve Patriarchs Acts 7:8b-18

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July 21, 2013

INTRODUCTION – Last week we saw how desperately the world needs the church to produce men like Stephen, who not only are committed to serve the needy and the local church, but who also walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and the fullness of Christ. We also saw that only when the church’s leaders stick to their priorities of devotion to prayer and the ministry of the word – – and only when the congregations devote themselves to prayer and encourage their leaders to stick to their priorities- – and also gladly serve to take some of the load off the shoulders of their leaders – – will these kind of Spirit filled men be produced. Man centered churches and church programs will never produce men (or women) who are full of the Holy Spirit, full of wisdom, full of faith and full of grace., and who can thus be God’s instrument for transformation in their cities.

And can I add here that ministries that only focus on meeting physical/material needs, and do not pursue the fullness of the Holy Spirit in their own personal lives – – these ministries or ministers will short change our communities, and will not accurately represent the God who loves and longs to invade our cities with His power and transforming grace. Any ministry done in the name of Christ must have people full of Christ doing the ministry. At least we should all be striving for that fullness.
Well today as we jump into chapter 7 we are going to take a good long look at this remarkable sermon or defense that Stephen gave, but before we do – I want to make sure you understand who the defense is being given to and why. Continue reading Stephen’s Sermon & Response Acts 7:1-60

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July 14, 2013

INTRODUCTION – One of the patterns starting to develop in our journey together through the book of Acts is occasional progress reports or snapshots of the health and fruitfulness and impact of the early church
5 Progress Reports – Snapshots of the Health/Fruitfulness Assessments

Acts 1:14 “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

Acts 2:42-47 – They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Continue reading How to Multiply Disciples – Acts 6:1-15

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INTRODUCTION – Not surprisingly, media outlets like the Atlantic Monthly in their June issue – – perhaps hoping to influence the Supreme Court’s any day decision re: marriage – – for sure trying to influence popular culture re: their view of marriage – – these media outlets of late – – have been predicting and proclaiming the inevitable demise or death of traditional marriage as we have known it.

In Liza Mundy’s cover article “The Gay Guide to Wedded Bliss” several facts are stated in her introduction to substantiate her claims or conclusions or solutions – such as: 1. Americans are waiting longer to get married or are putting marriage off longer than ever before. The median age of a person’s first marriage is 28 for men and 26 for women, up from 23 and 20, respectively, in 1950. 2. Rates of cohabitation ……. or couples living together without getting married have risen swiftly and sharply, …… and more people than ever are living single. 3. Most Americans still marry at some point, but many of those marriages end in divorce. 4. Having children before you marry – if you marry at all is becoming more common. Continue reading Why children and young people can look forward to a happy harmonious heterosexual marriage!

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INTRODUCTION – Progress reports or assessments of the early church = 2:42-27; 4:32-37; 5:12-16. 7 things from this passage, though really only 6 of them are signs or marks of a healthy church that concern us.

Signs and wonders at hands of apostles – vs. 12

Unity among the church – vs. 12b

Healthy reticence to want to join this group – vs. 13a

Esteemed highly or healthy respect by watching world – vs. 13b

Constant growth of new believers being added to the church – vs. 14

Peter’s anointing for healing was being especially sought out – vs. 15

People from cities around Jerusalem coming for healing and “all” getting healed – vs. 16
Continue reading THE PATH TO CHURCH GROWTH AND HEALTH – Acts 5:12-16

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June 2, 2013

INTRODUCTION – Review of Last week – the early church in Jerusalem walked in a very full measure of purity, signs, wonders, unity, healings to the point where multitudes of men and women were constantly being added to the church and people from surrounding cities were bringing the sick and demonized to be healed and delivered. Even those who were unwilling to bow the knee to Jesus and join this fast growing powerful church respected them from afar.

Transition: Whenever a church begins to walk and minister in the power of God, the enemy rises up in fear and jealousy, and interestingly enough – opposition and persecution often comes through religious not secular leaders.

As we finish chapter five today – we are going to read about two back to back arrests of the apostles by the religious authorities. I believe the Holy Spirit led Luke to record these accounts so we could learn some things about how God defends His church, and how His church must respond when opposition and persecution breaks out. Continue reading The Church’s Defender! Acts 5:17-42

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This was an address I gave at a regional retreat of our association of churches a few years back.

My journey:
– Born and raised in a So. Bapt Church – no significant mention of H.S. that I can remember for 19 + yrs
– Navs – 3 yrs.; Bible church in San Jose for 4 yrs. – – minimal emphasis
– Dallas Seminary – there for 6 yrs; Attended a Chinese non/anti charismatic church for 1st 2 yrs; Then an Evangelical Non charism. Church for the last 4 years. Minimal emphasis on positives; warning of negatives re: Holy Spirit
– Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand 3 week vacation in missionary place Continue reading Knowing God the Holy Spirit

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April 7th, 2013

INTRODUCTION – Thursday morning at 1:30 fumbling to find my cell phone…. finally had to turn my little bedside lamp on to find it at which point I was greatly relieved somehow– but my poor wife sat straight up in bed and …..

Sometimes when the light of Christ invades the darkness of people who do not yet know the Lord it jolts and shakes them. Sometimes they greatly resent it, but without this precious light – individuals are at the mercy of the Destroyer, and by the way he has no mercy. Without this light – families crumble; communities are torn apart by all the things darkness specializes in like crime and addictions and greed and exploitation of the weak and vulnerable. Without the light of Christ there is no hope that anything can ever be different than it presently is. Continue reading Brightening Our Light – Acts 4:1-37

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March 2013
This morning – for the first time in my 20 Easters here at LOCF – we are going to have an easter egg hunt – right here in our sanctuary. We have hidden a number of eggs inside our building; and each egg has both something delicious to eat; and something for us to chew on as to why we have come together in the first place. To be more specific – inside each egg we are going to find some clues to some answers to two questions re: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. First – did it really happen? And second, if it did, what does that mean for you and me? Why does it matter?

So to answer those questions – we need to find some eggs – and to find those eggs I need some egg finders. Could all of the children in the sixth grade and under come down here and sit with me on the floor? Continue reading The Resurrected and Ruling – Jesus Christ – Easter Sunday

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INTRODUCTION – We began last week a series on the topic of justice for a variety of reasons.
1. Because I’ve never had a course on it. Never read a whole book just on that subject. Never heard a sermon preached on it except for clips from some Martin Luther King sermons. And yet I keep coming across the words, “Just”, Justice and injustice in the scriptures as I read them day after day.

2. I am on a task force for the Statesmen’s group, which is an international group that Dennis Peacocke leads – – and our particular task force has been given the assignment to produce a biblical theology on the main topics in scripture that bear on city reaching or city transformation. And in our discussions in Dallas back in September I was given the assignment to produce some papers on the theme of justice in scripture since no city is going to be transformed unless justice is taken seriously and executed faithfully and courageously, and everyone in our group admitted along with me that they had never done justice to the subject of justice, and no one else seemed inclined to do justice to the subject of justice. Continue reading Becoming a People of Justice – Part II

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INTRODUCTION – Why a series (2 or 3 Sundays) on justice?

1. Because – like marriage – the concept of justice has been corrupted and twisted by those who claim to represent God, but in fact do not know Him. Some who speak of justice today do not claim to represent God, but do claim to have a corner on the truth regarding justice. One of the more recent local examples of this is the letter written to the editor of the Tribune a few months ago re: the Boy Scouts. One of the primary reasons letters and positions like this are allowed to be stated and proclaimed with little response or rebuttal is because the church, which is supposed to be the pillar and support of the truth has not – by and large – taught on the topic of justice, and discipled its people to carry it out as a lifestyle. We need to band together and do our part to turn this around.

2. One of my assignments for the task force I became a member of in the conference in Dallas on City Transformation back in September was to present a biblical theology on the topic of justice (along with the unity of the church and a biblical theology of cities). I’ve already sent off the unity and cities papers. But I just started the justice ones this week, and so it seemed appropriate to share some of these truths with you. Continue reading Becoming a People of Justice – Part I –

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September 16, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Dr. Albert Mohler – the president of one of the largest graduate level theological schools in our nation; and surely one of the greatest scholars and thinkers of our time, wrote concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “The bodily resurrection of Jesus is so absolutely fundamental and necessary to Biblical Christianity – and to the gospel – that its abandonment would mean the end of Christianity as revealed in the New Testament. Jesus would be just one more Palestinian rebel; one more wisdom teacher with rag-tag disciples.”

There are many reputable and well documented books on the evidence of the bodily resurrection of Christ; so if you really want to go in depth – I’ll be glad to point you to one or more of those. But this morning – I want to briefly introduce you to the evidence from Matthew chps. 27 & 28 and then talk with you about the ramifications of it for those of us sitting in this room. Continue reading Jesus – Risen, Ruling & Recruiting! – Matthew 27:62-28:20

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September 9, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Today we continue our journey through the passion or suffering of Jesus Christ that started in ch. 26. I would like for you to turn in your Bibles to Matthew 27; and we are going to start with vs. 33 first looking at Jesus’s refusal to drink the spiked wine.

I. vs. 33,34 Jesus’s refusal of the spiked wine
By this point, Jesus had experienced multiple interrogations/trials, beatings, and that unspeakable flesh tearing scourging, all without any meals or water breaks in between. He had lost lots of blood, especially after the 39 lashes; and had to be in terrible pain, extremely thirsty and hungry, though eating was probably the least of His concerns. This by the way is why they had to enlist Simon to carry His cross (vs. 32).
So when Jesus arrived to the place called Golgotha, they offered Him wine mixed with gall. The question is why? And what was the purpose of mixing the gall with the wine? Continue reading The Passion IV – Matthew 27:33-66

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August 26, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Length or extent of coverage given; and yet we tend to skip over it or speed read it. Never heard anyone say their favorite verse in the Bible was out of these chapters.
And yet we are clearly commanded in the N.T. to “Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Continue reading The Passion of Christ – Matthew 27:1-32

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Aug. 19, 2012
Jesus’ Prophecy re: the Disciples’ falling away & Peter’s denial vs. 31-35
Prayer and slumber in the garden of Gethsemane – vs. 36-46
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus – vs. 47-56
The High Priest tried before the High Priest – vs. 57-68
Peter’s Denials of Christ – vs. 69-75

I. Jesus’s prophecy re: the Disciples’ falling away & Peter’s denial vs. 31-35 four observations:
A. God often prepared Jesus for what was to come through the O.T. scriptures. Very likely that Jesus didn’t know this until He meditated on that scripture in Zechariah 13:7, and then the Father revealed to Him that all of His 12 disciples would flee when Jesus was arrested and tried. Continue reading Passion of Jesus III – Matthew 26:31-75

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July 24, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Last week we began our journey through chapters 26 & 27 of matthew which are focused on the suffering or the passion of Christ – culminating with His burial in the tomb of a man named Joseph. For various reasons the four gospel writers often did not all write about some of the things Jesus said and did, but when it comes to the Passion of Christ – – they all four wrote in great detail – – which tells us that we dare not make light of this crucial part of His life.

One cannot understand or know or follow Jesus Christ if he does not understand the significance of His suffering and death.

Latest 5 p’s from this passage: “Prudent pondering of the passion produces piety” Continue reading The Passion of Christ II – Matthew 26:17-35

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