Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Away From Home

So it's Christmas Eve right now, and I'm having a hard time lying about not being home sick. The truth is I am homesick because I have been very close to my immediate family throughout my upbringing and this is the very first Christmas that I had ever spent apart from them. It's a bit emotional on my part and I am positive that it may be on theirs as well.

One of the things we used to do together on Christmas Eve was wait up until midnight, itching to open up the gifts that our parents had gotten us.
I remember years ago getting a Nintendo 64 for Christmas and being so excited about it. I valued it so much because my parents were poor, and it was really rare that we got something so pricey. But better than the gifts, was the time we got to spend together as a family. As we have gotten older we valued that time more and more because we spend less and less time together and more time apart, I guess it's a part of growing up.

As of right now, Monica and I left the land that we have been used to, the land where our
awesome family is, and we left because we have some things that we had to do for Jesus, things
He had asked us to do far away from home. As I was grieved in my heart and shared what I was
feeling with the Lord, He spoke to me and reminded me that there was a couple He knew very well that had gone through something very similar to us.

We don't really know if they were really in love while they were engaged, all we know is that their marriage was arranged and they were set to be married soon. One day though to their surprise, Mary ended up pregnant, all this without Joseph laying a single hand on her. And so they were given the responsibility of doing something for Jesus, to raise Him and protect Him just as God had asked them to do. Part of what came with that package was to leave their home. They left their home, their family and all their loved ones and while Jesus was still in Mary's womb they took the long trip to Bethlehem, where the Messiah was to be born. In a way, I understand the emotions that they were feeling, having to part ways with their loving families and close friends, it's not an easy thing to do. But even then, they arrived in Bethlehem and Jesus was born.

And so how is it that my wife and I can relate to this couple? They spent their first Christmas as a couple away from their family and close friends because they were busy doing something for Jesus. It was not an easy thing for them to do just as it wasn't easy for us and it isn't easy now, but it is amazing to see the fruit out of their obedience to the Lord. Jesus, the child they raised, eventually died for the sins of the world so that we can be forgiven of our sins and go to heaven. As down as I feel I can't help but imagine what the Lord is going to do through us here in Montana. We can't see that far down the road and still don't fully understand what we're doing here, but we're going to have faith and hold on, because in the end we know it'll be worth it.

And so, even though we miss our families deeply, this step of faith did not go in vain. We know we're supposed to be here but just know fam, we do miss you very much. Remember though that it wasn't even easy for Mary and Joseph to spend time away from their families, their first Christmas was in a Manger full of animal poop and stinky animals!! But just know that if you hold on like they held on and let God do what He wants to do, amazing things will happen.

Thanks so much for your support and prayers, we miss you.

Merry Christmas/ Happy Birthday Jesus

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Why Be Obedient?

"And being assembled together with them, He (Jesus) commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, 'which,' He said, 'you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Acts 1:4-5

Before Jesus death and resurrection, His disciples were not commited or faithful when they were placed under pressure. When being told to pray in the Garden, the pressures of sleep got the best of them and instead of praying they shut their eyes and drifted into dreams. Even after Jesus had resurrected, on the Mountain of Galilee, He had given the disciples what we call, 'the Great Commision' of making disciples all around the world and baptising them. Instead, Peter influences some of the disciples to go fishing.

Jesus in this Scripture gives His disciples another command after failing to keep many of His commandments.

This time though, Peter and the disciples decided to carry out the order that Jesus had given. The order was to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And in carrying out this order, the world was turned completely upside down for the good. In their simple act of obidience, the Spirit came and made a huge impact to Jesus' disciples and to the Church.

Instead of struggling in the flesh, the usually disobient disciples were given power in place of their weaknesses to do a work for God.

The reason why Peter was waiting in Jerusalem may have been a mystery to him, all he knew was something about a 'Spirit'. But it was all clear to him when the Spirit came, it shows because he spoke about it in Acts 2. He was even able to address the questions that had grieved many of the believers at that time; why Jesus died, when Jesus resurrected, why Jesus did not establish His kingdom at that time and why He ascended instead of stayed.

When the Spirit came and used Peter to address these burdensome questions, the scriptures say many were 'cut to the heart' and asked, 'what should we do?'. Peter responded with what was never really clear to him before, but clearly understood now, and could explain perfectly. He responded by saying, "Repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."(Acts 2:38-39)

Something we can learn is that like Peter we need to finally decide to obey by faith, especially when we don't understand. In time the Lord will accomplish what He set out to do. In turn, we'll bless others as we share with full understanding what God has done. People will be cut to the heart, people will be blown away and people will be saved.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Ministry Lost, A Ministry Gained

“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.” Genesis 2:1

If we were to take a look outside, we would be able to see how much work it took to create the heavens, with all the planets in the universe and all the stars set in place. And in creating the earth it seems like it would have been a lot more work with all the unique plants and flowers, especially with all the unique living creatures of the earth and the sea. And even as we look in a mirror, we see that we have the same features in our face and body as any other human being yet at the same time we look totally different. Even looking at the snowflakes here in Kalispell blow me away, how they're the same yet they have a slightly different and unique design.

God put so much work into what we see, hear, touch, smell and taste yet after this He came to the conclusion that it was all ‘finished’. The ministry of creating a universe and everything in it was done, and even after all the hard work He put into it, He was willing to let it go.

One thing that I’ve learned over the years while doing the various work that God has given me the opportunity to do is that when you pour your heart into something and work hard at it, it is so hard to let it go. It is hard for us to be convinced that our part in a ministry is done because of all the time we had invested in it.

Like God, we just have to be sensitive to the fact that there will be a day that the Lord will show us that our time is up, and that we need to move on to what He has next for us. Sticking to what you were given when you’ve been called out of it is like running on a treadmill, the Lord can’t take you anywhere if you’re running on a belt, but the Lord will lead you places if you’re running on the Rock.

We see that after creation, God picked up another ministry. After He ceased from the ministry of creating, He moved on to a ministry that was greater, and that ministry was to love us.

All this just to say, if God is giving you the sense of an end, don’t fight it, just let it happen. Just let Him lead you to the new place He wants you.

And if you start to get scared, just remember that you’re running down the road that He’s already prepared for you, a road that will constantly have you meeting with Him as He goes before you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

God held a Place for Us

The only thought coming across my head right now? That my God is an awesome God.

I am just now thinking back to when Monica and I were first considering whether or
not we'd move out here. One of our biggest fears was ending up in a position where
we were outside of God's will. But God has constantly met us throughout the planning
of our move and the move itself.

One thing that was especially mind blowing to me was how the Lord brought us to the
apartment we are in now.

If you've been around me anytime I spoke about our searching for an apartment up
here, you know that it was a challenge. Many landlords discouraging us from moving
up here not willing to give us a chance.

I then one day came across one apartment listing on craigslist that Monica and I were
interested in. I spoke to the landlord and he asked about the reason why Monica and I
were moving here. We were up front with him, we told him that we wanted to attend
and serve at Fresh Life. We also told him that we did not have a job lined up and all.

Expecting another rejection, he went ahead and sent me an application to fill out. He
calls me a few days later and tells me that many have applied for the apartment, but
he felt compelled to give it over to Monica and I. And we went ahead and made the plan
to move into our place when we arrived, he promised that he'd hold the apartment for
us to arrive.

So the day we were suppose to arrive, we were running a little behind schedule. It was
kind of a bummer because we worried about having to find a hotel to go to on our first
night in Kalispell. Our landlord then decided that he was going to leave the door open
for us with the key on the counter, letting us stay in our apartment for the night without
having to sign a lease or make a payment at all. That was totally God!

And so the next day he arrives so that we would deal with all the paper work. He then
brings up the fact that we moved here for Fresh Life and says, 'I actually know Levi' (our pastor at Fresh Life). We were a bit surprised about that. Turns out that our landlord is a writer for the city's newspaper, and has met with Levi and has written on the church plenty of times.

Our landlord loves what Fresh Life does for the community, so I'm guessing this is the reason
why he decided to give the apartment over to us.

I just think it's amazing how God works. It seemed so impossible to find a place here yet God had a place all along.. and it only being a few blocks away from the church.. is just awesome.

And God just keeps providing financially here too, it's just insane.

I am beyond blessed!

I'm still trying to figure out exactly why we are here.. but time will tell. Kalispell is beautiful, and that makes us really excited to be here, but we really can't wait until the Lord raises us up to serve somewhere, I'm really itching to serve.

I've learned from the past though, don't jump into anything, let God raise you up. It's when I let God do the work that He's been able to do effective work through me, and I see that it's been the same case with anyone who has been used of God.

Anyway, this was sloppy I know.. but I figured I'd quickly update everyone on what's been going on.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Who do our battles belong to?

"And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said o Him, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?" So He said, "No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my Lord say to His servant?" Then the Commander of the LORD'S army said to Joshua, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so." Joshua 5:13-15

Joshua was about to fight his very first battle in order to take the land that was promised to God's people ever since the time of Abraham.

I imagine that even as Joshua was a great man of faith, he was probably a bit nervous (I know I would be!).

Yet before his very first battle, Jesus met with Joshua and told Joshua that He was the commander of the army of the LORD.

You know what this means? It means that Jesus would not only be commanding the army of the LORD in this war, but that Jesus would actually be right there with Joshua. Who better to have with you than Jesus?

I think sometimes we put a little too much pressure on ourselves when we fight our battles as believers. We take on too much responsibility rather than casting our cares at the feet of our Lord. What the Lord has shown me here is that while we as believers are in many battles, the battles belong to Him. He is the commander of our battles, He is with us and the upside to that is that God never loses.

Winning this battle looks impossible, but we've got a clever, strong, loving and all knowing Commander.
Should we then underestimate our God?

Monday, November 1, 2010

God knows what He's doing

This analogy has been used before and it will be used again: Life is a rollercoaster.
It's been used so much because it's the perfect way to explain life. You have that long
chain lift to the top that feels like forever, giving you enough time to think to yourself,
'What did I get myself into?' over and over again. You have the ups and the downs of
the ride that can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Though you've felt the fear and the joy of the ride, it's the end of the ride that's best. You reflect on the beast of a ride you just got on and are now exiting thinking to yourself, 'That was awesome.'

God's plans in our life are very much like that.

I was just talking to Monica about everything that has been going on lately, and we
thought back at the recent decisions that we have been making. They were out
of the ordinary, nothing like our typical, 'Lets just be safe' decisions that we have been
making for years and got us no where. With every crazy decision made, from getting
married on what started as a budget, but went on to 'Trusting in the Lord' as our budget
to not caring about the cost of our honeymoon, to now moving to Montana, it has all been
steps of faith. I think once we heard the Lord say, 'Go', we realized we needed to give Him
the freedom to do whatever He wants, no matter how crazy it felt to do what He was leading
us to do. And you know what? It's actually got us somewhere, actually it's gone beyond what
we had ever expected.

What I can't get over is the fact that whenever we took these steps of faith that He was
leading us to take, He was there, we felt Him there, we recognized that He was around and
we saw the things He was doing. It's been such an amazing thrill ride to the both of us
and we are just so overjoyed that we serve a God that is not only concerned about His will
being done, but also loves His children so much to the point of spoiling them when He sees

So no matter how crazy, how impossible the vision God has put in your heart, take the step of faith no matter the cost. Whether it'd be having to part ways with friends and family, whether it'd be putting money here instead of there, whether it'd be making friends with someone you are terrified of, whether it'd be standing on a trash can in a public place and preach the Gospel, do it. It may seem crazy, but remember that life is a rollercoaster, life is crazy, and when God puts crazy visions in your heart, He knows what He's doing. You'll come off the ride He's put you on looking back and you'll think to yourself, 'Wow, that was awesome'.

You'll be glad you took a chance on that ride.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Battle for the Steering Wheel

For the past week I've been insanely discouraged about the move Monica and I will be taking a month from today.

For about two months now I have been looking for a place for us to stay. In the past two weeks I've been more aggressive about looking, calling places with landlords that are making it impossible for us to be able to move into a place they are renting out. To make matters worse, the money that I had saved for us to move into a place is all gone, being sucked into the expenses of the wedding. It's looking nearly impossible and I've been starting to get discouraged.

The thing is, I know God spoke to both Monica and I, I know that we're suppose to go. I had received a vision, and so has she and it all lines up perfectly. So I couldn't help but ask myself what was going on.

A few days after I shared this with a friend, he sent me a text message encouraging me to read a chapter out of the Calvary Distinctives book called 'Having begun in the Spirit'. This chapter impacted me, pointing out the huge mistake that I have been making in my preparation to move.

The theme of the chapter pretty much centers in Galatians 3:3, "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect in the flesh?"

This has been my mistake. Here's the thing, again, I know for a fact that I heard from the Lord, that this vision to move to Montana came from God, that it was an idea and passion that had begun in the Spirit. MY biggest problem was that I was doing every thing that I could in my flesh to make it happen. I set my own standards stating where we should move, how we should move, how we would get there, the kind of place I want.. I just set these standards before God pretty much showing Him that I will only do what He wants me to do if He does it my way. And because I have done that, I've been hitting nothing but a bunch of brick walls. Reading that scripture and that chapter made me wonder, "Who am I to tell God how to do what He wants me to do?"

We think about how God got Paul to Rome, Paul had a desire for so long to get there but he didn't get there the way he expected, he got to Rome as a prisoner. We think about the Israelites being trapped at shore of the Red Sea, their best idea may have been to build a boat and float across to escape the Egyptians. Of course it wouldn't have worked out because they wouldn't have had enough time to build the boat, but what did God do? He parted the Red Sea for them.

God's ways are the best way, so why do we try so hard to finish our own way? Especially when God was the one who originally came up with the idea?

If it had begun in the Spirit, if it began with God, let it continue with God in the Spirit. I learned that when God starts something, we need to step aside and let Him steer, because if we try to reach for the steering wheel while He was meant to drive, we'll crash and the plan He had for us will fail.

So then, what about Montana? ... It was a vision that began in the Spirit, and my plan is to step aside and stop taking control. To let God do what He wants. Our plan is to plan, but to not make the mistake of ridding God of His freedom to do what He wants the way He wants to.

We know we're called to go, but He'll decide when we'll get there and how we'll get there.

God, do what you want.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The one who holds our heart

Do we have a relationship with Him or our desires? Do we seek to please Him or our desires?

When we're drawn away by Him we get the way, the truth and the life.
When we're drawn away by our desires we are enticed, give birth to sin and receive death.

If our heart's desire is for His will to be done, we conceive life with Him.
If our heart's desire is for our will to be done, we conceive death with our desires.

Is it Jesus that we've given our hearts to or have we given our heart to our desires?
Is it Jesus that holds our hearts in His hands or is our heart in the arms of our desires?

Love and trust Jesus and His ways. Take your heart from your desires and give it to Jesus.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Destroying Insecurities in your Relationship

For a single girl, Solomon was the type of guy a girl would melt over.

His future bride, the Shulamite, mentions a few of the many ways that Solomon would make her go boy crazy! His love, or ‘Dowd’ in the Hebrew, speaks about the butterfly feelings she felt whenever they would interact with one another. His fragrance, probably made her heart thump so many more times quicker than usual to the point where she could not stand. And then there was the mention of his name, bringing to remembrance not only his face and fragrance, but also the amazing character of a man that he appeared to be causing her to have to fall on her knees.

This was a deep crush, and her feelings were strong. Strong enough to the point where she yells ‘Draw me away’ and desires to be touched by him by way of a kiss.

Solomon made a huge impression on the Shulamite. The unfortunate thing according to her is that there were many other unmarried women that had been crushing over Solomon and so she found herself competing for his love. The Shulamite mentions that the Virgins love Solomon, or ‘Ahab’ in Hebrew, meaning that they desire after, or breathe after Solomon. And the Daughters of Jerusalem are in agreement with her yelling ‘We will run after you (Solomon)!’

I picture the Shulamite sighing as she says with a frown on her face, ‘Rightly do they love you’ because the topic of conversation quickly switches from the competition to have Solomon to her insecurities.

She begins to talk about her dark skin, indicating that she was a low class blue collar field worker. She felt that she didn’t have a chance with Solomon, a man with Pale skin, indicating that he was an upper class successful rich guy. I can imagine her asking herself. ‘Why would Solomon even consider choosing me as his bride? All the girls want him, even the nice pale ones, I don’t have a chance.’

But Solomon took notice in her. Solomon dug her just as much as she dug him. And the insecurities she felt about herself and whether or not she was good enough for him, he addresses it.

She was insecure about who she was and her dark looks, and he says, ‘O fairest among women!’. Basically saying, ‘You are the beauty of beauties!’

And so we begin to see the relationship blossom between Solomon and the Shulamite.

There will be many times in our relationships where our loved one will begin to feel insecure. Times where they will feel like they have to compete for YOUR heart and YOUR love. Competing against people or even competing against your priorities. It is extremely vital that we put those insecurities to death by reminding our loved one that they are our priority, and that we love them. That there will never be any other person or thing that will steal your heart away because you have already given them your heart.

One more thing worth mentioning is that not only did Solomon put to death the Shulamite’s insecurities by his words, but with his actions he made sure that those insecurities did not resuscitate. He did that by showing her so much love.

We ought to be sure to do the same thing, proving our love for the other by stirring up love not only with words but by action. Putting to death the insecurity of our loved one and doing our part to make sure that those insecurities stay dead.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Song of Songs

Ever read this book? It was written by King Solomon and you have a copy lying around somewhere if you've got a Bible lying around somewhere.

I've been reading and studying this book lately, I have to say that it's such a gem! Many have different interpretations of what this book is about, some say it's an allegory of God's relationship with Israel, some relate it to the Church's relationship with Christ. I personally believe that the book literally is talking about the relationship between a man and a woman who are head over heels in love with each other!

As you read this book, you see a relationship from its start to an eventual happily ever after. From the 'crush' stage, to the 'courtship', to the engagement, marriage, honeymoon, problem in marriage, make up sex, to an eventual happily ever after. Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm a sucker for romantic comedies, and this book is just that, minus the comedy :)

I would encourage anyone who is set to be married, or is married to go through this book and study it in deptly and prayerfully with their spouses. It's a bit explicit and NOT FOR KIDS that's for sure. But wow, what a book it is!

I decided that I wanted to write my own version of Song of Songs about mine and Monica's relationship over the years, and just as we go on in our relationship and eventual marriage.

Years ago I wrote her songs, at our 3 months, our 1 year anniversary and even wrote one and played it on my guitar when I asked her to marry me. I thought it'd be fun to do this just to be able to look back at where we've been and how things are moving.

Maybe you should consider doing the same? Give it a shot, it'll be fun!

Now, to dig up those old songs..

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Goodbye CCBC

So I'm sitting in front of the Chapel Cafe at Calvary Chapel Downey, the place that has been my home church for the past 5 years. Almost right next to the Cafe is the small classroom I have been spending my Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights in for the past 3 years. It's Downey's extension of the Calvary Bible College that's headquartered in Murrieta, CA.

It's crazy to think that when I started the Bible College, 6 or 7 students in a class was pretty typical. But 3 years later we are starting to outgrow this tiny room that seats about 15 people max. Some of the classes have had to be moved to our Fellowship Hall here, which is typically used as an overflow room which is meant for a few hundred. Not saying that the Fellowship Hall is full of students! But rather that we've needed a bigger room to accommodate a growing student body. A typical class can range to about 15 to 25 students now, and it isn't just Calvary Chapel Downey congregants attending these Classes, but also local Christians, some that don't even attend a Calvary Chapel. God is definitely moving in this ministry, and it bums me out a bit that I won't be able to stick around until I graduated like I had planned to. But hey, God's up to something and I can't stop that.

I thank the Lord for the opportunities I've had here. The many friendships that I have made, the growth in my knowledge of the Scriptures and in my heart Spiritually. The falling in love deeper with Jesus as I have seen His faithfulness in my life and in the life of my fellow classmates. I thank the Lord for awesome teachers who have had a tremendous impact on my life. Teachers like Bruce Baloian, Manny Coronilla, Joel Abel, Andrew Cochran and Jason Norton.

The world may see it as wasted time invested going to School because I won't finish with a degree, but I've learned plenty here and from what the Lord is showing me, my time is up here. This Bible College will always hold a special place in my heart, and I'm gonna miss it for sure.

With my Deans blessing, I've stepped down from my Internship to pursue what God has planned up ahead, and my prayer is that it is handed to someone who is sold out for Jesus. Who can't afford to pay for the Bible College but wants to be a serious student and wants the Lord to use their life.

Cheers CCBC, I'm definitely gonna miss ya!

... now, what's this I hear about no Calvary Chapel being within a 40 miles radius from Missoula? hmm... haha j/k j/k!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Let God Work!

Have you noticed that in the last chapter of Acts, there's a mention of Paul renting the house he was living in? He wasn't buying or didn't buy the house, but rather he was RENTING the house. What does that say to you?

It says to me that you shouldn't settle. That you shouldn't get comfortable where God has you now and that you should be willing and ready for Him to move you around. It says to me that you should be flexible, and that if Jesus says, 'Follow Me' you wouldn't say, 'Let me first bury my father.'

Don't get into routines, don't get comfortable, let God stretch you and be willing to let Him take you places you would have never imagined. Whether geographically or spiritually.

When is the last time you Let God Work?

Miracles will be a rarity in your life unless you take a step of faith.

Today, Let God Work!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kalispell, Montana

Cons: Cold weather, slippery roads in the winter, snow'd in occasionally, no In-n-Out or Chik-fil-a

Pros: Snowboarding, Dog Sledding, Snow Mobiles, Fresh Life Church, City Revival

Two years ago Monica and I attended the Harvest Crusade at Angel Stadium. Levi Lusko was MC-ing Saturday night's crusade. I was curious to find out who he was so I looked him up when I got home. Came to find out that he's a guy from Albuquerque, NM, who moved to So Cal to help out in youth groups, then eventually moved up to Kalispell, Montana to plant a church.

I gave his studies a shot and I was instantly hooked. His teaching style was a bit different than what I was used to and I liked it. What blew me away the most at the time was the fact that he was only 1 year older than me!

He started this church in early 2007 with only 14 people attending the first service. Since then, over 2,000 have joined this Church in the small town of Kalispell. With church attendance growing, there's only so much that the established leadership can handle, so of course there would be a need for laborers.

For two years now, I got to follow this church from here in Long Beach, California, praying for them constantly and watching the Lord doing amazing work along the way. From their small upper room they started in, to their move to the Strand Theater. From their regular Wednesday night studies, to the very risky and somewhat controversial switch to something they called, "Skull Church". Hundreds have come to the Lord through this ministry and what I loved the most is the fact that they do not compromise God's word. Sure, their methods of presenting the Word is totally different than what we are used to in Calvary, but their principals are very biblical. This is my kind of Church.

I never would have thought that God would have set up for Monica and I to make a move to Montana. But the invitation from a member of the congregation sparked a fire that God wanted to light apparently.

So anyway, there you go.. KALISPELL, MONTANA will be the town that we will be calling home.

We've already set up how we're gonna move, we've already looked into apartments and have been eyeing one particular one. Right now, we're just working on setting up the wedding and going through our things deciding what we're gonna leave behind.

We really don't know what to expect when we get there, we were never promised anything by anyone ministry wise. But we believe God wants us there, whether it'd be to teach kids or shovel snow, to teach adults or to scrub toilets. One thing's for sure, we just want the Lord to use us, and we're taking steps of faith to do what we believe He called us to do, to Follow Him with no excuses.

As far as a church plant would go, we still feel led to plant a church somewhere someday, and we'll let the Lord make that happen in His time. Who knows, Fresh Life could be another training ground. We've been so blessed at our involvement at CCDOWNEY and GBF Norwalk.. the Lord has taught us a lot through these churches. But we're looking ahead at what God has planned for us with the heart to Glorify God in all things, and encouraging others to do the same.

Who knows, the Lord may decide to close doors, but all the circumstances and signs the past few months have been point North, and we believe it's time.

Anyway, here's the website to our future home church:

And here's a short clip of our future Pastor doing a Q & A type thing at Skull Church:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We knew it was bound to happen someday.. pt.2

June 2010, I started getting this strong impression on my heart. This huge burden about moving out of state, more intense than before.

I shared this with Monica and so we decided to pray together. We prayed about where the Lord would have us move if He had planned on moving us soon. In my prayers I have asked the Lord to consider New Mexico. To this day I love that place very much so I wouldn't have minded moving there at all. But the Lord had other plans, and He was paving the way He wanted us to go.

We started getting this random request by a friend of ours, to try moving to the city he lives in. The church he is involved in is growing and he suggested that Monica and I would consider moving there to help out.

To be honest, I really didn't feel the desire to go there. Monica suggested that we pray about going to this place anyway, so we did. And this invitation really started to look and feel like a Macedonia call, it began to drive me insane!

We took a trip to visit Monica's brother and his wife. A few days before we left, he told us that the Lord had given him something to share with us. He talked about Abraham, leaving his country and going to another place foreign to him. Her brother told us he felt the Lord was telling him to tell us we need to leave the state. He also happen to randomly mention the state that we had been praying about going to, where we got the invitation! We didn't tell anyone about us praying about leaving or even the place we were considering, we just believed it truly was from the Lord.

We flew back to California, and I was still not fully convinced. We continued to pray on it and I just started giving the Lord a bunch of excuses. I told the Lord, "I cant, I have an internship with Bible college to finish, I was just given a 5th grade class to minister, my dad just lost his job, I dont have any money". The list went on..

Then, the Lord laid on my heart a story in the bible. He reminded me of the story where Jesus told a guy to "follow Him", and this guy says, "Let me first bury my father". This blew me away! Reason being? This guy's father wasn't dead yet, this guy was making an excuse to stick to what he was comfortable with and did not want to follow Jesus. I believe God was telling me that I was making excuses. He also reminded me that there would always be a reason why I shouldn't do something. If Jesus says 'Follow Me', we have to and should follow regardless of what may be pulling us back, we just have to trust Him.

I decided to listen to a bible study on this story in the bible, and the bible teacher spoke about how God was calling him to leave his city and go elsewhere to help a church. And so many of the bible studies that I listened to (all different teachers) spoke about the same exact topic.. leaving and going somewhere new.

And so, Monica and I decided to fast for 2 days to be SURE about this. We fasted, sure enough we just knew the Lord wanted us to go. And so we told the Lord, "Ok, we're going. We'll leave and go where You want us to. But you know that we don't have the funds, and we trust that you'll provide"

... We only had $400 in our savings, but at this point we were trusting God. That He would provide for our wedding and for our move. He did that very same weekend.
The Lord put it on the heart of someone very close to us to give us thousands of dollars. This person was totally unaware of our plans, but really felt that in their heart they were suppose to give us this money. We were blown away. We shared with this person what was going on, and how we were relying on the Lord to provide the funds. This person says, "I figured you would use this for something like that.

The next few weeks Monica and I were super excited. I spoke to 4 of my Pastors to get their perspective (including the ones that I work under in ministry) and they all totally see it and are encouraging it! Monica and I have spoken to our parents and siblings and they see it! We have their blessings and support as well!

So, we've been planning our wedding.. (EDIT: We are working on the date still!!) About a week later we will be moving to where God is calling us to go. We don't know what to expect, all we know at this point is that we're just suppose to show up and let the Lord do His work.

Awesome thing about this is that the Lord has been talking to us often about this plan He has for us, reassuring us and encouraging us when we have doubts or start to feel fearful.

We ask that you keep us in prayer about this and yes, we will miss you all!

So.. I bet you would like to know where we're moving right?

... I'll save that for the next blog :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We knew it was bound to happen someday.. pt.1

Remember the story where God had told Abram to leave his country and head somewhere totally foreign and new? I always think about how freaked out he had to have been to leave a place that he had been living in all his life. How freaked out he had to have been to leave behind his friends and close family members. And if he were anything like me, how freaked out he might have been thinking about the possibility that where he is going may not have all of his favorite foods!What would you think if God told you to 'Leave' the land that you're used to for a place that you've never been to? How would you feel? Today I am one of the many that can answer that question and give you a genuine answer: Terrified.

It all started in 2007
My fiance's brother was getting married. We lived in sunny California while him and his woman lived in Louisiana. I remember freaking out about the plane ride we would have to take in order to make it to their wedding. I did eventually get on that plane though, keeping all my nerves and anxieties to myself, constantly praying. We eventually made it and I fell in love with the place. The culture of the people was totally different than Cali, very friendly, easy going and their food was beyond amazing! The Pastor that married them found out that I was attending a Bible College and offered me an internship when I would finish. I never really thought about it but I would tease Monica about moving to Louisiana. She'd freak out, and it was really fun teasing her about it.

A Promise in 2007
I took my first trip to New Mexico with Monica and her family. Her parents bought a house out there to retire in and I totally fell in love with this place. The desert-like look, the adobe homes, the Food! Not to leave out the awesome church that they have in albuquerque led by Pastor Skip Heitzig!

I began to take more trips in 2007 to other states, one was Utah for a business trip my job sent me on. It was after I took all these trips that I began to wonder why it was that I was visiting so many states in so little amounts of times, when all my life I had never even left California. (Well, I had been to TJ, Mexico, but does that even count?).

As I was thinking about all this, asking the Lord about it, I felt a strong impression in my heart that I was so sure it was the Lord. He spoke to my heart and said that I will one day leave California for another state and plant a church. I was so blown away by this that I started bawling. Years before, within the first week that I got saved God had let me know that I was going to be a Pastor, I never would have thought that part of His plan was to plant a church through me.

And so I've held on to the promise of leaving California, waiting, praying, wondering for the past 3 years what God was going to do, when it was going to happen. I had eventually got to the point where I gave up on a dream I was so convinced God had given me.. especially lately. I eventually got to the point where I was ready to accept that I was never going to leave California.. that Monica and I would one day get married and raise our family here. I began to become content with being here.. but boy was my world rocked at this point.. man how I freaked out when God came and moved in major ways..