Tag: Preparation

Jesus Has Power Over Demons

Jesus Has Power Over Demons

How does Jesus have power over demons? This is one of my many stories how Jesus displayed His power through me. Grab a mug of tea and read this slowly. Just for starters, the beginning of my story is rather plain. Or so I thought.

Beginning my Spiritual Journey

The Lord Jesus Christ saved me from the ultimate penalty of my sins on August 16, 1992 (one month before my Senior year in High School began). I placed my trust in Him while asking questions about heaven and eternal life at Grace Community Church in Ramona, CA. I remembered the date because that was the first day I had ever owned a Bible of my own. The Youth Pastor had me write the date in it so I wouldn’t forget.

One year later, I graduated from High School, and attended San Diego State University. I was pursuing an up-and-coming career in opera there and had many opportunities for fame and success in the world’s eyes. I commuted 30 miles to college every day, Monday through Friday. During my first year there, my parents agreed for me to move out from my bedroom in their house into our attached garage. My dad converted it into where my older sister and brother had made their separate bedrooms before me. Since they both moved away from home the year before, I had the privilege to knock out the wall between the rooms and turn it into my own little studio apartment.

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Practicing Biblical Stewardship

Practicing Biblical Stewardship

“‘Well done, good and faithful servant… Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt 25:21 NIV) What’s in the middle of that verse? You know, the ellipsis (…)? Answering this question sums up the content of this post about practicing Biblical stewardship. It isn’t just about the cliché time, talents and treasure.

“You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”

Stewardship is honoring God and holding ourselves accountable for the human, financial and natural resources entrusted to our care.

God blesses us with authority in His future Kingdom when we are responsible stewards in this life.

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Pastoral Posture and Finding Your Voice

Pastoral Posture and Finding Your Voice

With such a curious title as “Pastoral Posture and Finding Your Voice,” you might ask yourself if I’m discussing a chiropractic lesson or a music performance lessons (hey, I WAS a vocal performance in opera major my first year in college!)

No, I don’t have a key insight into your back’s posture and why you might slouch while preaching a sermon. I COULD give voice lessons, but that’s not the focus of this blog. In fact, what HAS been the focus of this blog? If you’ve been following Church Leaders Campfire for about a year or more, you might find a smorgasbord of content here in the blog. That’s about to change.

I’ve been attending Michael Hyatt’s “Influence and Impact Summit” online and it HAS influenced me! Listening to @LysaTerKeurst, the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, who shared about how my audience receives my message best. This is what I’m calling “Pastoral Posture and Finding Your Voice.” 

Basically, there are three voices a communicator can use toward their audience: 
1. “I’m the Expert” – This is the voice that says “You Should…” which is basically a lecture on what to do.
2. “I’m the Front Door” – This is the voice that says “You Could…” this is when I share what I’ve done (usually past-tense) but I’m not really sharing my current experiences (or failures for that matter).
3. “Out in the Field” – This is the voice that says “I May Be Two Steps Ahead of You, But I’m WITH YOU!” This is where you’re putting your arms around your tribe, congregation or family, and make friends with them.

Which one do you use in your family? Which voice do you use with the church you serve? What voice do you use when helping others?

Me? I sense the Lord’s leading to change the tone of Church Leaders Campfire. I’m switching the pastoral posture from an “I’m the Expert” to “Out in the Field” because I’m a multi-vocational minister who seeks to leverage the power of the internet to build friendships and network alongside with other Godly men and women for the sake of His message through me. I’ve found my voice, which is “I may be two steps ahead of you, but I’m WITH YOU!” because I’m a ministry practitioner and fellow traveler in God’s kingdom. 

Will you join me? More clarity and re-branding to come…

Question: What’s your pastoral posture and voice?

Happy Birthday Neil

Happy Birthday Neil

Today is my 38th birthday. When my wife and five children sang me “Happy Birthday Neil” (“Daddy”) over our happy birthday doughnuts, I had these reflections flash in my head like lightning. But, you’ll have to wait until tonight when I can type them down for you church leaders. Today is important to me, and I want to share my happy birthday with you. My wife and kids are kidnapping me from my church office and taking me somewhere special. Funny, since I’m driving! See you tonight!
Ok, so here I am again. I’m watching and listening to the new Les Miserables movie at home while I type this. So far… wow. Here are my thoughts from earlier (it’s now 13 hours later!!):

Psalm 90:7-12 NET

“7 Yes, we are consumed by your anger; we are terrified by your wrath. 8 You are aware of our sins; you even know about our hidden sins. 9 Yes, throughout all our days we experience your raging fury; the years of our lives pass quickly, like a sigh. 10 The days of our lives add up to seventy years, or eighty, if one is especially strong. But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression. Yes, they pass quickly and we fly away. 11 Who can really fathom the intensity of your anger? Your raging fury causes people to fear you. 12 So teach us to consider our mortality, so that we might live wisely.”

Time is precious. And short. It’s the only commodity most of us still have. Happy birthday Neil! When I was 14 years old, I read that many famous 60’s and 70’s rock stars died at age 27 (Jim Morrison of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Mama Cass, etc.) as well as Kurt Cobain in the 90’s. Until I turned 28 years old, I had a fear I was going to die at that age too. Yeah. Happy Birthday Neil. I was a miserable sod every birthday since. This year though, I had these thoughts to guide me. To “number my days”–“consider my mortality”–“live wisely.” Here are some additional thoughts captured from a wise 90 year old.
 

44 Life Lessons, written by a 90 year old

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for things that matter.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye… But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose Life.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
32. Believe in miracles.
33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
34. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
35. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
36. Your children get only one childhood.
37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
40. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.
41. The best is yet to come…
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
43. Yield.
44. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Happy birthday Neil. Happy birthday to a faithful husband for 15+ years and never-tiring father of five small children who adore you. Thank you mom, for giving birth to me. Thank You, Lord Jesus for giving me another day to live know You better.

How to Get Into Ministry

How to Get Into Ministry

How to Get Into Ministry

I have spent the past nineteen years serving Jesus Christ in full-time ministry. While church planting, I served tri-vocationally. That’s right. I held three jobs. Not to mention I am married and have five children. I served as a church planter, owned a company, and joined the Air National Guard as a Chaplain. At the time of this writing, I am in my later-thirties and am staying resilient through all of the challenges and opportunities presented to me each day.

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Gates of Hell Evangelism

Gates of Hell Evangelism

Gates of Hell Evangelism

Gates of Hell EvangelismJesus talked about the Gates of Hell as something to be assaulted. Read about its misery, as described by Dante Alighieri:

“I am the way into the city of woe.
I am the way to a forsaken people.
I am the way to eternal sorrow.

Sacred justice moved my architect.
I was raised here by divine omnipotence,
Primordial love and ultimate intelligence.

Only those elements time cannot wear
Were made before me, and beyond time I stand.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”

Dante’s Inferno

Caesarea Philippi stood only twenty miles or so from the religious communities of Galilee. But their religious practices were light-years apart from those of the nearby Jewish towns.

In Old Testament times, the northeastern area of Israel became a center for Baal worship. In the nearby city of Dan, Israelite king Jeroboam built the high place that angered God and eventually led the Israelites to worship false gods (1 Kings 12:29-31). Eventually, fertility worship of the Baals was replaced with worship of Greek fertility gods.

Caesarea Philippi, which stood in a lush area near the Southern foot of Mount Hermon, became the religious center for worship of the Greek god, Pan. The Greeks named the city Panias in his honor.

Years later, when Romans conquered the territory, Herod Philip rebuilt the city and named it after himself. But Caesarea Philippi continued to focus on worship of Greek gods. In the cliff that stood above the city, local people built shrines and temples to Pan.

Interestingly, Jesus chose to deliver a motivational speech to his disciples at Caesarea Philippi. In that pagan setting, he encouraged his disciples to build a church that would overcome the worst evils.

Evangelism on the frontier of the Gates of Hell is just what Jesus had in mind.  If you need to overcome fear in evangelism, see my previous post.