Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Three R's

At FIRE Church, a large percentage of our body is out 'on the field' expanding the Kingdom of God to the farthest points of the world. It's always a joy whenever these folks come to the area b/c i get to hear all sorts of awesome stories of what God is doing.

About 2 years or so ago, one of the missionaries, Clint Garsee, who is currently serving in Thailand, spoke at our schools chapel service. Much of what he spoke about was what He sees as far as FIRE's future and their goal. He said he felt the Holy Spirit spoke '3 R's' as far as FIRE goes. He said "FIRE was birthed out of a REVIVAL, our job is RESTORATION and our destiny is REVOLUTION." I know for myself as a minister, you just sometimes never know how your effecting someone's life. You sometimes never know how your speaking things and/or doing things to influence someone.

FIRE was in fact birthed out of a revival. This revival took place in Pensacola, Florida from 1995 until about 2000. Some may dispute the actual ending date, and my goal in this is not to stir up controversy, it's simply to put this out there. But on Father's Day of 1995, Evangelist Steve Hill was invited to preach at Brownsville Assembly of God. In short, the presence of God came down upon that church in such a way that millions were touched and changed.

In any case, in January of 2000, the Lord birthed FIRE out of an existing school there. They stayed in Pensacola for a few more years until they felt led of God to move to Charlotte, NC. FIRE truly was birthed out of a FIRE for God and to see His Holy Kingdom be expanded to every corner of the Earth.

Our goal most certainly is for restoration. We, as an extension of the Body of Christ, have a desire to see peoples relationship with the Lord restored. There are countless lives out there that have been hurt from life. I know its my goal to see people come into right relationship with Jesus and be released into their destiny that the Lord has purposed for them. As a minister of the gospel, i love to pray with people for the things that are on their heart and see them step out and take initiative and set forth to bring the kingdom of God to where they are. i love to minister to people and later on down the road hear that they're serving the Lord to date and loving Jesus and people.

But perhaps you've come from a rough situation. Perhaps abuse of some kind... I want to encourage you to give your heart to Jesus and allow Him to love on you and see you set free from the bondage that satan may have you in. You may say "Well Shawn, i just don't think I can forgive them for what they did to me. You don't know what they did to me!" Your right, i don't know. I don't know the pain that you may have been caused. But God does! Let Him deal with it. Give it up to Him. He already knows it. let Him heal you.

FIRE School has a very specific purpose. It says its a "training center for the Jesus Revolution." Mind informing me what the Jesus Revolution is exactly? A definition I personally use is is we as the Body of Christ coming into maturity in the Spirit and living as we should. I believe healings, salvations and the like be common place in society. Not to belittle them in any way! But one of my favorite quick references for scripture is where the shadows of the disciples were healing people! I mean, come on! We won't even have to lay our hands on them. But just the life of Christ will be coming off of us. Demons will flee just because we walk into a room! The atheist will get on their knees acknowledging the presence of God! I can remember looking as a picture of one of the fathers of the faith, and just his eyes were piercing! I was like "ok, thats kinda creepy.."

I keep telling people that one of the things i love about where i live, a number of the churches here in the community always get together to do things together! I love it! I'll hear of a big event happening at a particular church, i'll go to it and see people from all sorts of different churchs. In the book of Acts, the church was called 'The Way'. (Side note: the first time the term 'Christians' was used was in a derogatory fashion. It wasn't a good thing.) I don't mind new churches springing up. Sometimes i wonder how necessary it is... (i intend on planting a church in the future. Don't know what it will look like, but oh well.) but is the church started out of some stupid split that was caused by pride or some stupid doctrinal difference. I don't agree necessarily w/ every little doctrinal issue of my church. but who cares. no reason to cause all sorts of division over something.

In any case, i really appreciate FIRE for the mandate it carries. I appreciate the fact that they tackle the tough issues and aren't afraid to reprimand you if need be. I appreciate the fact that they're not preaching some seeker sensitive stuff that just ends up hurting instead of helping. But we get into the presence of God and dig deep.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oasis Youth Retreat

This past weekend, 9/21/07, I was priviledged to be able to head up to Pennsylvania to minister at a youth retreat w/ my home church, Oasis Fellowship. I had been asked sometime ago if i'd be able to, and after working my schedule around and getting a few guys to go w/, we headed North.

Now, this whole time i was praying and asking God and putting things down on paper of things that i would like to think about. And going up, i did have something, and i used some of it. But for anyone who's ever done any preaching, can anyone tell me how many times they actually use 100% of their notes? I mean, for me, it was 8:30 am on the morning i'm to minister, and the Lord puts something somewhat different together for me. I'm wanting to preach a good strong message about the Jesus Revolution. A good "come on, lets jump on the wagon here and really go for it.." type of message. Well, that morning, after talking w/ a few people, the Lord puts John 15 on my heart. So i did a quick reading of the chapter. I majored on sonship, having your identity in God and intimacy. Which its in the intimacy w/ the Lord that you realize who you are as a son of His. So i preached on John 15 for the most part. And i think it went decent. We prayed for people that morning. And then we also prayed for people that evening as well. That night we baptized a number of youth in the Holy Spirit and they were starting to pray in tongues! I mean, come on! Praise God. I encouraged them to keep praying and building themselves up in their faith and relationship w/ Jesus. I'm anxious to see the fruit of it now.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Christianity and Homosexuality

This evening at church was interesting. Dr. Brown had an open forum to discuss "Can You Be Gay and Be a Christian?" they invited pro-gay ministers in the area to come and be apart of it, of which none came. They also had Stephen Bennett, who was a former practicing homosexual, and Frank Turek, who is a gifted apologetist. Dr. Brown and Mr. Bennett and Mr. Turek did a fine job i thought.

They gave a time for questions and answers and one young gentleman stood up and gave his brief testimony. He is a currently practicing homosexual. he came out of a certain mainline denomination and, in short, has been hurt a lot by the church.

Let me say this: I do not approve of homosexuality or any sin for that matter. Jesus died on the cross for everything! he bore our sins. I consider homosexuality to be a sin. Right there with lying and stealing and getting drunk... there is no lesser or greater sin to God. Sin is sin. When you are truly converted, meaning when you truly turn your life over to Jesus, your a new person. Your old self is done for. Because when you truly give your heart to Jesus, He bears the sin for you. He gave you a way out.

So when you truly get converted, your past life is just that, the past. yes, you'll face temptations, but God provides a way out. So if your wanting to continue to live in that sin but profess to be a Christian, i'd have to say that you really need to get saved. A Christian (devoted follower of Jesus) bears fruit. But you can't go walking into a church and say i'm going to be a gay Christian. isn't possible.

Other than all of this, its an interesting topic. Some would say that you should gather all the fags and queers into the same area and starve them out. I say you show them the love of Jesus and love them out of it. I want to give these sinners a way out like Jesus gave me a way out. All the church is is forgiven sinners who are now sons and daughters of God. God hates the sin of a person, but He loves the person enough to give Jesus as the ransom for many. Thats where you have to be careful. So often we combine those two. he loves you, just hates your sin... your wicked lifestyle.

Well, this has been fun. I'll talk to you all later.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Our country tis of thee...

I just received this in an email, and coming from the source it came from... i'm honestly surprised and grateful. It's amazing that someone can mention the name of God or Jesus in the public square, and all sorts of people bash them using the false pretense of 'separation of church and state'. But someone sits there and bashes the name of Jesus and everyone laughs and says "hey, we have freedom of speech here.." I say its time to quit listening to those who hate the country and start praying for our leaders. I've heard enough presidential bashing from people, i'm frankly tired of it. Everyone wants to arm chair criticize, but no one wants to pray for our leaders. Well grow up! If you don't like this nation, then get out. If we could put Bush in for another term, i'd vote for him again if God told me to. I don't agree w/ him 100%, but oh well. The world doesn't revolve around me.. or you. This is one great nation Under God. I listen to differing view points and welcome a healthy discussion. But to those who sit there and criticize everything our leaders do, let me ask you this: Do you pray for them or do you just verbally trash them? Especially if your Christian... also, could you do a better job given the circumstances? hmm...? but who knows, maybe i'm just young and naiive. I've only been out of the country 5 or 6 times in my life, on short term trips. What do i know?

I really enjoyed the following email about Jay Leno.

If you're not a Jay Leno fan read what he wrote anyway. My respect and esteem for him has really increased.

"The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What we are so unhappy about?''

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes , an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have , and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks?

The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad?

Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the "Media" told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go.

They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells , and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way......Insane!

Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

We are among the most blessed peoples on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative."

"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, "Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Jay Leno

Lord Jesus, right now, i invoke Your presence Holy Spirit upon our nation and our leaders. I may not like everything they do 100%, but Jesus, you died for our leaders. Jesus, i plead your blood over my sins and the sins of our nation. God, end abortion and send revival. Jesus, may your name be proclaimed from every roof top and in every hall in Congress and every governmental office in our nation. As our forefathers cut covenant w/ you in the past, may be not renig on that, but may what they payed such a great price for, may we honor that and honor you in the process. As new people come to this great nation every day, may they be given the chance to choose you and choose life. In Your precious name, AMEN!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gasoline Facts

Ok, now for a lighter side of life: Gas. Gasoline that is... I've learned some new things about gasoline and want to pass them onto the world. Granted, i'm taking this email for what its worth. I didn't bother to research it, so if its wrong, please inform me of it. I am blindly believing it.


I've been in petroleum pipeline business for about 31 years, currently working for the Kinder-Morgan Pipeline here in San Jose, CA. We deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period from the pipe line; one day it's diesel, the next day it's jet fuel and gasoline. We have 34 storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons. Here are some tricks to help you get your money's worth.

1. Fill up your car or truck in the morning when the temperature is still cool.
Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground;
and the colder the ground, the denser the gasoline. When it gets warmer gasoline expands, so if you're filling up in the afternoon or in the evening, what should be a gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and temperature of the fuel (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products) are significant. Every truckload that we load is temperature-compensated so that the indicated gallonage is actually the amount pumped. A one-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for businesses, but service stations don't have temperature compensation at their pumps.

2. If a tanker truck is filling the station's tank at the time you want to buy gas, do not fill up; most likely dirt and sludge in the tank is being stirred up when gas is being delivered, and you might be transferring that dirt from the bottom of their tank into your car's tank.

3. Fill up when your gas tank is half-full (or half-empty), because the more gas you have in your tank the less air there is and gasoline evaporates rapidly, especially when it's warm. (Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating 'roof' membrane to act as a barrier between the gas and the atmosphere, thereby minimizing evaporation.)

4. If you look at the trigger you'll see that it has three delivery settings: slow, medium and high. When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to the high setting. You should be pumping at the slow setting, thereby minimizing vapors created while you are pumping. Hoses at the pump are corrugated; the corrugations act as a return path for vapor recovery from gas that already has been metered. If you are pumping at the high setting, the agitated gasoline contains more vapor, which is being sucked back into the underground tank so you're getting less gas for your money .

Abortion Pictures

Parental Warning: Parents, if you have small children nearby, I highly advise you about the following pictures. I Just received them in an email, and I have a hard time looking at them. I have a tough stomach and have seen a lot in my day. But I want to forewarn you. The following pictures are graphic.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Old Testament Reading

I'm currently reading 1 Samuel. I'm working on making it cover to cover. I remarked to someone at work the other day that i'm working on doing a cover to cover as well and they mentioned that they have a hard time getting through Leviticus and some of the books like that. I can imagine why. Some of the books aren't exactly easy to get through. Because some of the stuff is just like "what the world.. why is this in here? What does 'don't boil a hefer in its mother's milk got to do w/ anything today?" I know i've asked stuff like that before.

Often times i'm reading it and i read it like a story. Whether i can think of relevance today, i just read it nonetheless. Also, there has to be a grace for it. Right now, there just seems to be a grace to read through the Bible for me. Perhaps because if nothing else, i'll at least have it in my head and when people ask about it or need a reference, i'll have an answer... making me sound like really good and cool and like i learned something.

How can i say all this? Because I've asked the questions of what the world is the Bible saying? It also depends on your purpose for reading it, or at least i think so. for instance, the NASB isn't really a good one to do memory verses off. For that, i might recommend the NIV or NKJV... something that flows better. The NASB is better for word for word translation. That might be a better study one. I've never read "The Message" Bible yet. Don't know if i ever will. That version is better if your wanting to read it more for story book form. But definitely not good for studying. For true studying, try learning the original languages of Hebrew/Aramaic (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). It will take time and dedication. I have yet to learn the original languages.

All in all, i've wrestled with a lot of issues like this. There are times where it SEEMS that the Bible is contradicting itself. But when you truly read it, its just confirming everything it says. I just ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me about this stuff and chew on it, meditate on it... seek the Father's heart for what He's saying through it all. Remember that this is a book that has withstood the test of time. We're talking milleniums here. Written over almost 1,500 years, by 25+ scribes, many of whom have never met one another, yet the message is still the same: Jesus reigns!

I can understand frustrations with reading the Bible. As i've mentioned before, i've wrestled w/ many of these frustrations, struggles, problems, feelings. Just when you think your all alone, you realize that when you turn on the light and are honest with yourself and with others, the room is crowded with others who have the same problem.

Enjoy the read.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Underground Reality: Vietnam

I think i might have mentioned something about this in a previous blog, but here goes again.

Sometime ago, i ordered a video from Voice of the Martyr's entitled "Underground Reality: Vietname." VOM took 8 teenagers from here in the states and sent them over to Vietnam to experience what its like over there. Its reality tv worth watching for me. its the American gospel vs. the truth of the reality. you put your money where your mouth is. i was watching it and just watching these teens get there world rocked. just about all of them had no idea what they were getting themselves into. i mean, they're coming from a society where everyone is supposedly Christian. but where its just like nothing really important to a society where you could die for being called a Christian. makes me think how easy we got it over here. we have no idea what we got over here. we think we've done God a favor by attending some sort of religious service on a sunday morning, shook a few hands, said we're doing fine a couple thousand times (and probably lied about it, but who really cares?) and then attended some sort of mid week either service and/or home group meeting. meanwhile, half the world spirals into the utter abyss of hell... but hey, at least you were at church this past week... what ever happened to the power of God?

over here, we hide in the corner behind our nice theology and think we've got it all together. meanwhile, we have ministries that give wheelchairs out to the cripples. hey, here's an idea: instead of giving wheelchairs out, get your hands on them and heal them. just a thought. i know, that might offend someone if we do that. so, better to just cater to everyone elses needs than to offend someone in their false thinking.

in other parts of the world, you die for mentioning Jesus. you get in trouble for having a public worship service. i have numerous different copies of the Bible here in my room. in other parts of the world, i could die for that! i'm blessed to have soo many copies and allow them to gather dust on the bookshelf. in Vietnam, your lucky if you have a bible, much less be able to read it.

I like watching things like this that challenge me. it wakes me up out of my slumber and says "ok, Bible school grad... you have a nice theology... now heal that person over there!" you can't hide behind theology. when don't have what you say you have, u just admit it and get on with life. makes you think, doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

When I Grow Up....

When i grow up, I wanna be like Mr. Brayden! This picture is me (i'm the bigger guy in the grey coat) and my little buddy from Southern Chase, where i used to live, the one, the only, THE Mr. Brayden Lambert. This little guy is one of the coolest guys you could ever meet. This guy helped me mow my yard at least once and then he let me swim with him in his pool! I mean, you don't get cooler than that. So, Mr. B, this ones for you.

Law of Grace

Well, since February, i've been doing a cover to cover reading of the Bible. It's been hard at times... just sometimes i feel like i'm just reading and not paying attention. but there seems to be a real grace for it for the time being. Because at least i'm getting this stuff into my mind and later on able to somewhat recollect it.

I've heard more sermons in the past few years than what i can even remotely remember. I've discovered that i don't actually remember most of them unless if there was some kinda point of rememberance. And once i have that point, i can pretty much remember a good portion of what was said and done. It's funny though to hear peoples responses to different things. So often people say "oh, well, i'm under grace so therefore..." when we forget that the Law of Grace holds us to a higher standard than the Law of Moses (Ten Commandments). Ten Commandments says to not commit adultery (no affairs). Law of Grace says if you've looked at a woman w/ a perverted sexual thought, you've already commited the act in your heart. thats rough. here's the kicker: Jesus died for all our sins. His blood makes up for my sins and your sins. so your probably thinking "so i can just keep sinning and Jesus covers me..?" well, thats not exactly the idea.

think of it this way: you've done something nice for a cop and he gives you a "get out of a ticket for free" card. (I don't think they actually do this, but run w/ me here). So, your sitting on this card, just waiting to use it. you can use it if your ever stopped for speeding and the officer is giving you a ticket, or something of that nature. now, do you just go flying down the road and wait for the cop to pull you over, at which time you'll give them the card? or, do you wait until you really need it and didn't have the intention of doing something wrong and then pull the card out? I'd probably wait until you really need it. Hebrews 10:26 states that there is no atonement for those who have knowingly sinned and just waiting for the blood to cover you.

in other words: don't abuse the cross and the blood of Jesus and use it for stupid purposes. I mean, if you mess up then of course, the blood covers you. but don't knowingly sin and just exscuse yourself by saying that Jesus has paid the price for you. it doesn't work like that. Use the blood for worth while purposes. Leading a true sinner to the Cross is good. That's what Jesus died for. His blood covers the heart of a truly repentant person. when you truly repent, you begin a new life. You begin a new friendship with Jesus. and friends don't like it when you do something that hurts them. So don't be stupid and misuse the blood of Jesus.

Don't just come to Christ for what you can get out of the deal. thats wrong. when you truly come to Christ, you turn from your wickedness and don't wanna do things anymore that Jesus wouldn't want you to do. Be smart.