Archives for September 2010

Growing in Life

Often I find myself reminding people that growing in God is a process, which is why it’s important to enjoy the journey of faith that God has us on…it seems at times b/c of our culture we are made to feel that we always need something else – the grass is greener on the other-side syndrome. As the result, believers in Christ can be made to feel like they need to arrive somewhere in God. When truthfully they’ve already arrived as they’re in Christ today, seated with Him in heavily places, complete, have been given everything pertaining to life and godliness the day they accepted Jesus into their life, and our sons and daughters of the King (Eph 2:6,Col 2:10, 2Pet1:3, 1Jn3:1).

This is why I find myself reminding people that the Christian life is not about trying harder, but learning to receive more…grace is what grows us, not self-effort, which is why only God can grow us, change us, and make us like His Son.

Watching baby J eat His meals is messy, due to the fact that he is learning how to eat. As for Samuel, who is four years older, there is a noticeable improvement. To me this models a lot of the Christan life, as we abide in Him and believe in Him, we grow in Him. We learn to eat without half of the food on our face, on the floor, and in our hair…growing in God is messy, life is messy, and if we are going to love His people we must become ok with mess.

People grow in the soil of grace, not in law…if we want to see people grow in God we better give them room to fail, take risk, and try to feed themselves. Fathering and mothering is what the generation to come will need to become the sons and daughter they’re made to be.

“For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” (1 Cor 4:15)

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Jesus Burgers

Tomorrow night around this time the “Gideon Army” will be giving out Jesus Burgers and sharing the redemptive love of Jesus with countless lives…please pray for us as we worship and pray from 8pm to about 10pm in the prayer shed, then hit the front to be greeted by hundreds of partiers.

Jesus’ love is the solution to the problems of IV, may His church demonstrate this tomorrow night.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)

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Family Pictures

Our awesome friend Liselle took some family photos of us last week…all 4 of our kids are in the picture, one in womb!  If you have not heard, Holly is pregnant – we found out Sunday morning!

“Just as you don’t know the path of wind and how bones are formed in the womb of a pregnant woman, so you don’t know the activity of God who makes all things.” (Ecc. 11:5)

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Our New Sunday Location

The end of this month will be the completion of our 8th year in IV as a church, and the beginning of our 9th year…in that time IVC has probably meet in about 25 locations throughout IV, including parks, beaches, backyards, houses, theaters, etc.

We have always been able to relate to the call of Abraham, as it says in Hebrews 11:8 that “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”

IV is our promised land, and like I am always telling the fellowship, church is not a day of the week, a building you are in, a meeting you go to, but it is a family you belong to…our mission is to see IV redeemed by the redemptive love of God, IVC is blessed to be apart of that.

This next year God is moving the IVC family to a church building located less than a 1/2 block from our home – literally you can easily see the steeple and the church from our house.

We are so thankful for this bigger location as we are rapidly outgrowing “The Sueno Tabernacle.” And due to the location of the church building, we will be able to maintain our dinners together, which is always a sweet time of fellowship afterward.

Ah, God is so good to us – faithful to the end! We believe this next year will be a significant year in the history of IV, as we are seeing a move of God arising in our city!

Be praying for IV and that believers would live radical lives of faith for Jesus and His kingdom – “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” (Jesus)

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Two years ago a beautiful sister in the Lord was introduced to Holly and I, along with the IVC family…she has graduated UCSB now, moved to Spain, and is still living an amazing life for Jesus.

She wrote a blog this week to different churches that she has been apart of, to the IVC family she wrote,

“When I went to college, I never though that I would find a place as satisfying as my church back home, but I found you (sadly 2 years in) because of a weird encounter in Greece with a certain armenian (who we all love) who became my spiritual sister and introduced me to all of you. And what a wonderful bunch you are. You showed me that it is ok to look weird, to let my hair down…basically to become God’s little hippy. I love being God’s little hippy. You taught me that no matter how much I stressed,(and no matter how scared I was to lead worship for you), that God speaks through those who are weak and who are willing. Thank you for teaching me to live the life of Jesus.”

We love you Tamara, missing your incredible love and generous heart in IV…thanks for all you sowed into us and for the life you’re living!

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Our Adopted Daughter

Well we have several college-age adopted daughters, Annalisa was the first one that God asked us to come alongside and provide family for about two years ago…this is a blog that she started, I hope you track with her b/c she is amazing and lives a radical life for the King of kings!

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By Grace Alone, Through Faith Alone

Excellent quote by Martin Luther, the man who initiated the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s:

‘The heart of man finds it difficult to believe that so great a treasure as the Holy Ghost is gotten by the mere hearing of faith. The hearer likes to reason like this: Forgiveness of sins, deliverance from death, the gift of the Holy Ghost, everlasting life are grand things. If you want to obtain these priceless benefits, you must engage in correspondingly great efforts. And the devil says, “Amen.”

We must learn that forgiveness of sins, Christ, and the Holy Ghost, are freely granted unto us at the preaching of faith, in spite of our sinfulness. We are not to waste time thinking how unworthy we are of the blessings of God. We are to know that it pleased God freely to give us His unspeakable gifts. If He offers His gifts free of charge, why not take them? Why worry about our lack of worthiness? Why not accept gifts with joy and thanksgiving?

“and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,” (Phil 3:9)

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Holy Spirit

From the book Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray:

If the church will return to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is her strength and her help, if it will return to surrender everything and wait upon God to be filled with the Spirit, her days of beauty and gladness will return and we will see the glory of God revealed among us. This is my message to every individual believer: Nothing will help you unless you understand you must live every day under the power of the Holy Spirit. God wants you to be a living vessel in whom the power of the Spirit is manifested every hour and every moment of your life, and God will enable you to be that.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:4)
“…be filled with the Spirit,” (Eph 5:18)

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Freedom in Christ

Today a brother came over that has been struggling with depression, along with other serious stuff for some time. After listening to him and asking God to visit us I began to pray over him; speaking not to my brother, but to the spirits that have been tormenting him. What happened afterward was amazing…he didn’t feel anything crazy happening in his body, as some people do when being prayed for in this way, rather he sensed God coming around Him and holding Him as a father would hold his son. It was powerful, and as this was happening, God filled him with incredible joy and hope! This was the first time he felt either one of these emotions in some time. We both stayed in my garage full of joy as we experienced the manifest presence of God together in our midst.

The Scriptures tell us it was for freedom that Christ set us free…Jesus paid too great a price for any of us to live under the hand of the enemy whose plan is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Jesus promised to give us life and life abundantly…thankful to see this firsthand tonight in my garage!

“The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 Jn 3:8)

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