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..