Easter 2017

Holy-Week-Meaning-and-TraditionsLast night was an amazing Good Friday service at Lompoc Foursquare. It was moving to consider deeply and to reflect upon the sacrifices Jesus made for each of us.

Easter: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Easter is here!  We have our first of four Easter services tonight at 6:00 pm with the next three tomorrow at 8, 9:30 and 10:45 am. We also have Live Stream (church online) amazing kids Hunt for Easter (more than just eggs and candy but a discovery of the Risen Jesus). Our hospitality team and greeters and those who volunteer to clean the grounds prior to arrivals…….The reason I cite this is the many amazing servants who make it all happen.  It is the heart of God at work. Thank you. I love my church!


Easter is here……and for some it is bunnies, chocolate, eggs, BBQs, dinners and of course peeps! For many it is the celebration of Jesus death and resurrection for the dead. Easter Sunday reminds us that God’s love and power came to our Earth, even to the point of the death of the Savior, Jesus and the power of His resurrection.

I firmly believe in the resurrection for many reasons, but here are a few:

1/ The empty tomb. The stone rolled away and the grave was empty. The women who first arrived there following the resurrection had been there just two days before. They knew the tomb and were amazed when they came to place spices on the body of Jesus that He was not there.  Later, John and Peter came and saw that Jesus was risen.

2/ The eyewitnesses. There were many who saw Jesus himself after her rose from the dead. No one was expecting a resurrection but then they saw Him. Most notable was Thomas, who refused to believe until he could touch Jesus and the marks from the cross on his hands and side. Jesus came to him, invited him to touch, and the famous response: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus was seen by over 500 people and many were still living when some of the New Testament was written.  They could have easily refuted the resurrection story if it was not true, but rather then collaborated it as each shared eyewitness accounts as they gathered to worship God in the early church. There is no way that ‘fake news’ of Jesus could have been told with that many witnesses of Jesus Himself after the resurrection.

3/ The growth of the church. Unless he was crucified and then bodily raised from the dead. How else do we account for the rapid growth of the church? Jesus said, “I will build my church” to a handful of people. Today, there are millions of churches of all shapes,m sizes and styles who believe in Jesus Christ and the story of Easter. Nearly one third of the world’s population is Christian. Many who helped build the early churches were persecuted and even martyred for their faith. Would anyone be willing to die for a hoax?

 4/ The conversion of Saul. Saul, who was renamed Paul, was of Jewish heritage, well-educated in and obedient to Jewish law, a Roman citizen, and was convinced Christianity was heresy. He was a zealot who persecuted those who followed Jesus Christ. We find him a few years later radically transformed and preaching Jesus as Messiah and proclaiming salvation only by faith and through the Cross of Christ and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  For a Jew the Cross was an object of curse, and for a Roman, the Cross was reserved for the worst of criminals. For Paul to be grateful for the death of Jesus on the cross and to proclaim its eternal value would be ridiculous, unless the crucified one rose from the dead, proving He was Messiah and Lord.

5/ Jesus’ resurrection means that death is defeated once and for all.  50 days after the first Easter, Peter proclaimed “God raised [Jesus] from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to its hold on him” (Acts 2:24) Death lost its grip on Jesus! But the resurrection means that Jesus not only defeated death for himself, but that he defeated it for us. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Corinthians 15: 20 – 22). Our faith in His death and resurrection guarantees ours.

What does this mean to us today? In one sense, Jesus Christ is still on trial. He’s on trial in the heart and mind of every person who has not yet acknowledged him as the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

What’s your verdict? You see, Easter really boils down to only two issues. One, is Jesus who he says he is? Is he God? Or is he a lunatic or a liar? And two, if he is who he says he is, when are you going to start following what he says to do with your life?

Today, you sit in judgment of Jesus Christ. Just as Pilate asked, “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called the Christ?” you also must decide whether he was who he said or not.

Are you willing to gamble your life that he was wrong?

He is Lord, He is Savior, He loves and desires to see you free, forgiven and alive in Him.

He is risen, risen indeed!






“It is up to you to determine if you will grow or not.”

A few years ago, I shared that statement with a younger leader and I could see the pain in his face. While he was living in community with others, and contending for God to do some amazing things in his life, he was missing the fact that spiritual growth was a true partnership between he and God.  It was as if he was waiting on God and others to do all the ‘heavy lifting’ to recognize real and meaningful growth in his life.

Pastor and author, John Ortberg,  (The Life You’ve Always Wanted) writes of a boat when discussing spiritual growth. I used this analogy this past Sunday in my talk on Growth.

Motorboat or Ski Boat

In a motorboat I’m in charge. I have full control – punch the gas when I feel like it and power my way into grater growth or at least activity. I determine how fast we’re going to go, and in what direction. Some people approach spiritual life that way. If I’m just aggressive enough, if I have enough quiet times, I can make transformation happen on my own. Usually that results in people becoming legalistic, then pride starts to creep in, and things get all messed up.

Some people have been burned by the Motorboat approach. So they go to the opposite extreme and will say, “I’m into grace.” It’s like they’re floating on a raft. If you ask them to do anything to further their growth, they’ll say, “Hey, no. I’m not into works. I’m into grace. Just kicking back and waiting for God and others to do something and until then, I am drifting…..You’re getting legalistic with me.” So they drift. There are way too many commands in Scripture for anybody to think that we’re called to be passive and drift.

On a sailboat, however, I don’t move if it’s not for the wind. My only hope of movement is the wind. I can’t control the wind. I don’t manufacture the wind. Jesus talks about the Spirit blowing like the wind.

John 3:8
The wind blows wherever it pleases.
You hear its sound, but you cannot tell
where it comes from or where it is going.
So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

Jesus talks about the Spirit blowing like the wind. But there is a role for me to play, and part of it has to do with what I need to discern.
A true follower of Christ will set their sails up.  They will be ready for the wind and the growth that comes from a partnership with Jesus. If your sails are down, and you have not done all you can to grow: pray, bible reading and devotions, worship, serving, keeping your thought life pure, moving away from temptations and the sins that so easily trip you up, you will not be ready when the Spirit moves.  Just do what you can do, have your life positioned for God’s ‘wind’ to blow and have your sails up – ‘Lord, here I am, use me, touch me, allow me to grow in you.”

A good sailor will discern, Where’s the wind at work? How should I set the sails? Spiritual growth and formation is like sailing.

Wise sailors know that their main task is being able to “read” the wind – to practice discernment. An experienced sailor can simply look at a lake and tell where the wind is blowing strongest, or look at the sky and give a weather forecast. A wise sailor knows when to raise and lower which sails to catch the wind most effectively.  Get to know the voice of God, the move of the wind, the anticipation of what God is up to in your life and in your family and in your community of friends and in our church. Be ready and move with Him.

Setting my sights on growth and my sails for the wind of God,


“The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort.
– John Ortberg

sail boat


“Don’t ever think spiritual growth is optional or marginal in the Christian life.”


The past several weeks at our church, I have been teaching a series called: “Pathways to Growth.”  Obedience is a major key to growing. Obedience is a central theme throughout Scripture. From the story of creation to the end of Revelation, it’s difficult to turn a page that doesn’t deal – directly or indirectly – with God’s call for obedience. Remember, Jesus not only said, “Believe me,” he also said, “Follow me.” God places a high premium on our obedience.

In our time, however, obeying God’s commands often is ignored, dismissed, or glossed over. Why? Because obedience slaps us in the face. It confronts our sin. It challenges our lives. It runs contrary to our unwritten mantra: Who are you to tell me what to do?


During my message on obedience, I used the props of a gallon of paint, a roller and paint tray and a paint brush. As I began, I lifted up color swatches and reminded people that often times the color on the swatch is not the same as the color in the can once applied to our walls, our lighting and introduced to our decor.  The key to the illustration is, the pain in the can has little value if never applied. Actually the can I had spoke of Preparation and Priming as the first step and Application as the second step. Without sounding ‘cheesy’ I simply said, our hearts need to be prepared and primed for the truth of God ( the Bible) to be applied to our lives. The teaching of Jesus and the rest of the bible have little value to us if they are only known and never applied.

Jesus taught to application and not simply to knowledge.

A read of the gospels reminds us that Jesus taught to application.


  • John 13:17
    You know these things, and God will bless you, if you do them.  (The Message)
  • Matthew 7: 24
    “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  (NIV)

Living out the truth found in the bible is based on two things: Trust and Love.

TRUST: When we trust God we want to obey Him since we realize He knows more than us and has our best interests in mind.  When Adam and Eve fell away from God in the Garden, it was not disobedience that moved them there first. It was that they did not trust God. They believed the serpent and themselves knew more. Their rationale may have been: “If God is really that good, how come we cannot have the last tree in the garden – why is He withholding from us?” It was a lack of trust that moved them to disobedience. After this rebellion and lack of trust, God waited until after He would deliver them from Egyptian bondage and have them miraculously cross the Red Sea in triumph before He would give them the Ten Commandments to obey. God put trust first. When we trust God we desire to obey God.

LOVE: When we love God we want to please Him by giving Him our allegiance. This love moves us to obedience.

  • 2 John 1:6
    Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. (NLT)
  • John 14:15
    “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (NIV)


  • John 13:17
    You know these things, and God will bless you, if you do them.  (The Message)


Could you imagine how different your life would be if you could fully trust God. No matter what. You know me, you are at work. Not that you lived in denial but you knew God was with you, and for you.

  • Romans 8:31
    What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (NIV)

What if we lived like that, all the time? Imagine waking up everyday with bullet proof trust in and love for God.

In the New Testament it is God establishing a trust relationship with all mankind through Jesus Christ. Salvation is based on faith and trust. Jesus never said, if you will be good – God will become trustworthy! He did not say if you will be good God will allow you to have access to Him. An amazing faith and trust and love will impact every facet of your life – If you trust God, it will impact your worries, your finances, the way you do business, how you work, and go to school and how you treat others and how you OBEY.


  • John 13:17
    You know these things, and God will bless you, if you do them.  (The Message)
  • Matthew 7: 24 & 25
    “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (NIV)

Jesus never promised that if we obey Him we would never experience storms, He promised that we would not crash!  It takes more planning and effort and discipline to build your life on the rock. It takes more dying to self and becoming alive to the Spirit of God. But when the storms come, you will be solid. Short cuts and the easy way out cause us to build our lives on the sand and for sure we will crash.

Be accountable to not just believe and not just know, but to obey.

Trust and Obey because there is not other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.


Prayer: Dear God , thank you for the bible you gave us and the teachings you provide. Thank you for those who have shown us the way by how they lived and applied your teachings, Jesus give us the courage to follow your way.  May our faith intersect with your faithfulness. Let us listen , learn and then may we apply your truth. In  Jesus Name,  Amen.





Try a little Gentleness


This past Sunday I had the honor of teaching on ‘Gentleness’ during our Pathway to Growth series. As I started the message I asked the following:

  • Think about a time when someone was gentle to you when they could have responded differently – how did that feel?

  • Recall a time when God was gentle to you and He could have responded with other than love and grace and mercy? – how did you live differently because of God’s gentleness?

Of all the fruit of the Spirit (or the unpacking and manifestation of love), Gentleness stands out as a key to better relationships, deeper and true worship and a growing heart for God. As time goes on, it is apparent to me that our hearts can become more and more calloused towards others. This impacts our relationships and our connection with God.

  • When was the last time you fought being hard or harsh and went for gentleness?
  • When was the last time you were open, real and raw before God in your prayer, bible reaching and worship?
  • When was the last time you were deeply gentle?  

Gentleness as a fruit of the Spirit is the result as the Holy Spirit filling and impacting you. It is not a ‘fruit of the flesh.’ The flesh is harsh, abrasive, vindictive and calloused. The Holy Spirit invites us to develop His fruits in our lives. Note the invitation to us at the end of this passage:

  • Galatians 5: 22 – 25
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (NIV)

What do you hear God saying to you about your flesh and how you should live? 

  •  Proverbs 15:1
    A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (NIV)

A heart that responds to people in a calm and mild way defuses difficult situations, much like a fan keeps a motor from overheating.  Gentleness creates room for wise and thoughtful response to conflict and aggression.

  • James 3:17 & 18

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (NIV)

I choose gentleness. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle, If I raise my voice may it only be in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself. – Max Lucado in ‘God Whispers your Name’

Gentleness is a humble and meek attitude that is patiently submissive in every offense, and at the same time being free of any desire for revenge. We all need to grow in our demonstration of an attitude and heart of gentleness and meekness. Gentleness is something worth striving for. We think of climbing ladders to success, financial advancement, educational pathways, but how about growing deeper in being gentle and kind? Instead of losing, the gentle gain. Instead of being ripped off and taken advantage of, the gentle come out ahead.

We struggle with gentleness if we do not understand what it is.

In our rough and rugged individualism, we think of gentleness as weakness—being soft and virtually spineless. Not so. Gentleness includes such enviable qualities as having strength under control, being calm and peaceful when surrounded by a heated atmosphere, emitting a soothing effect on those who may be angry or otherwise beside themselves, and possessing tact and gracious courtesy that causes others to retain their self-esteem and dignity. Instead of losing, the gentle gain; instead of being ripped off and taken advantage of, they come out ahead.
– Chuck Swindoll

Definition: Gentleness is power under control

The Greek word for gentleness comes from two words—prautēs and epieikēsprautēs means humility, to consider others, meekness. It usually refers to things, objects, or people—words that are gentle, soothing medicine, soothing actions, soothing feelings.

This word might refer to tame animals (lion, horses) or charitable and generous people. prautēs is something you expect from your friends.

epieikēs is a word used to express a balanced, intelligent, decent outlook on life—a good citizen, an admired person, a trusted individual—these all fall under the heading of epieikēs.

Plato called this the cement of society. So the Greeks defined gentleness as power under control, and their word picture was that of a horse that had been tamed. You see, gentleness was to them a powerful animal whose passion and power was fully and completely under control.

A disease out of control can destroy the body and even kill the individual. The same disease under control, however, can produce a vaccine that saves lives. Power under control.

  • The Greatest Example of Gentleness: Christ’s Example: Power under control.

True gentleness and meekness is best seen in Christ. He was submissive, never resisting or disputing the will of God. His absolute trust in the Father enabled Him to show compassion, courage, and self-sacrifice even in the most hostile situation.

The spirit of gentleness and meekness is the Spirit of Christ, who defended the glory of His Father, but gave Himself in sacrifice for others. Leaving us an example to follow,

  • I Peter 2: 21 – 23
    To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (NIV)


Jesus did not raise a finger or give a single reply in His own defense, though at any time He could have called legions of angels to His side.


Indeed force and harshness may bring short term gains, but ultimately destroy relationships. Gentleness, however earns respect and builds trust. If others know you are gentle, they will be freer to relate to you honestly and openly.  They will feel safe in trusting you…..and the Holy Spirit will be able to empower you all the more and use you in more meaningful ways.

Grateful for you,











Time with God and His Word

As we are moving fast into 2017, the resolutions have faded but hopefully the goals we set are still being pursued.

One goal that is key to our growth is a daily time with God and His Word – the Bible. Many of you already use the S.O.A.P. method of journaling that LFC has been doing for years since my good friend Pastor Wayne Cordeiro taught me how to do it some 25 years ago.  If you need help you could check out our guest services room on any given Sunday or contact our church office, it is our joy to assist you.  office@lompocfoursquare.com   If you already journal, than you know the value of doing so. Good for you!  If not, I strongly encourage you to begin right away.

S.O.A.P.  is an easy process to use as a devotional guide which helps you read, understand and apply what God is wanting to say to you, through His Word, the Bible. 

Scripture • Observation • Application • Prayer

S.O.A.P. Life JournalsUsing the Life Journal helps you to capture and catalog the lessons God is teaching you that will help you develop a healthy habit of spending time with the Lord. You can get your own Life Journal at our Guest Services room of use a simple notebook.

How to Use the Life Journal:

Step 1

Find the Scriptures for today in the Bible Reading Plan. (Reading plans are in the journals, and also free in our guest services room or church office. You can also grab them off our website.

You can download or view the  Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here!  

Or visit New Hope’s Bible Gateway page here It will take you right to the reading on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Step 2

Read the passages. Read with an open heart and ask God to speak to you, after all the words and stories you read are inspired by God and have been preserved for us.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (NLT)

God will give you words of encouragement, direction and correction. Underline, highlight words, phrases, or verses that are catching your attention and speaking to you in this season of your life.

Step 3

When God begins to reveal a life lesson to you as you read, begin to journal using S.O.A.P.

  • Write out the verse/s, phrases or words that you want to journal. (Scripture)
  • Write down what you observe  in the Scripture and want to remember. (Observation)
  • Write how you will be different because of what you have just read. This is a key to growth. Often times people read the bible and then check off their to-do list. But to grow deep and strong, take what you read and observed and write out a clear application for how you will live, grow and change. (Application)
  • Write out your prayer asking the Holy Spirit to help you apply what you’ve learned. (Prayer)

Step 4

Give your journal entry a title and write it at the top of the the page.

Step 5

Turn to the Table of Contents (or first pages in a notebook) and record the date, Scripture, title and page number.  This will help you in the future to go back and find the passage, the title and to remember what God showed you the last time you read the same passage but in a different season.

Step 6

Share with others what God is saying to you through His Word. This is a great way to start an organic small group, or to simply journal with your family members or friends. Take time to hear what others wrote down and received from the Lord. If you journal with others and share with them and listen to them, it multiplies your devotions exponentially.

Keep growing,



Thankful for those who Serve

thank-you-31Gratitude emerges where entitlement ends.

As a leader it is important that I keep praying, thinking, creating and moving our church forward.  Being pastor of a large church with community influence and impact requires forward focus. The problem is: when we are called to move forward it is easy to not stop long enough to personally thank people who give their time and talents as an investment into the life of the church (or any organization for that matter).

Leaders enjoy forward motion and the demands of meeting needs and pressing forward can quickly fog the view of those who are doing so much and contributing.

For me, I could not do what I do without our staff, but beyond our staff, we could not do what we do without a volunteer cleaning team and worship team, and bulletin folders and office help and those who care for the kids and our youth and the list goes on.

If you serve in any way at LFC – Thank You.  And not just a blanket ‘thank you,’ but a specific thank you. For getting to church early, to coming down during the week and doing things behind the scenes, to cleaning, to sitting with others in need, to praying with those who desire a touch of God with skin on it, to some of the most wonderful servants I have ever known anywhere – Thank You.

I apologize for the times that we are looking forward to what is ahead and not stopping long enough to tell you how amazing you are.

Gratitude generates generosity.  While I am at it, how generous are you with your gratitude towards others?

If we don’t say “Thank You”, people will tend to believe that we could have “done it all on our own.”

Well, I know I could not do what I do without you, so Thank You!

Oh and by the way, Thank You!


You are Valuable



You are valuable: each of you.  You can tell someone that they are valuable and yes, you can even tell yourself.   As we grow forward in 2017,  hear my heart to you: No matter what has set you back, no matter where you have tripped up along the way….you are valuable.

It is easy to get caught in a trap of looking for certain people to affirm us and doing all we can to acquire their attention like a child jumping up and down saying; ‘pick me, pick me.’ With all our efforts to be affirmed by a select few and never receiving that affirmation, we could miss the affirmation and love of those who are giving it to us and ultimately miss out on God’s love.  It is time we rise up with hope realizing our value and stop listening to the voices of our past, of toxic and unsafe people and people who have no clue to the depth of our pain or what we carry.

We have all heard voices of doubt and discouragement and sometimes the voices come from within us. We can tell ourselves that we will never make it, or we go through the motions but deep inside we have a defeated attitude.

Someone once said: ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.’ Well, I would surely like to meet them and tell them they were wrong. Actually sticks and stones are usually a momentary or a seasonal pain, while words can tear down in seconds what God has taken years to build.   You may have heard this (and I love it by they way):

Your value does not decrease just because someone
has an inability to acknowledge your worth.

The words that matter most are God’s words and God says: YOU are valuable.

 Read this out loud:

“God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life …. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began.” (1 Peter 1:18-20 NLT)

Something is as valuable as someone is willing to pay for it. Over the summer I attended the Mecum Car Auction in Monterey, California. It was amazing to watch the lights, hear the auctioneers and watch the prices of cars going up and up and up. My 30 dollar entry fee was all I was spending that day, but the entertainment and the amazing golf course full of cars for the four-day auction was worth the price. Since I like Camaros, I asked one of the car specialists there, what a certain Camaro would sell for. His reply was simply: “Whatever someone is willing to pay for it today.”  The value of something is truly based on what someone is willing to pay for it.


Can you imagine anyone really paying a higher price for anything?  That is what God did with and for you! Ultimately, something’s value is measured by how much another person will give up for it. If that’s the measurement, your value is out of this world. The creator of the universe gave his only Son, Jesus for you! Once you grasp the truth that God sent his Son to die for you, you should never again struggle with self-esteem. God himself has eternally declared your value.

You were worth dying for. You were worth going through all the pain of the cross. You were worth having nails driven into Jesus’ hands.  You are worth investing in. If no one ever tells you how valuable you are – hear me say it.  You are valuable!  You matter to God and to us at Lompoc Foursquare.

It does not matter what you’ve done or how long you have done it. God forgives and extends grace and you can grow and move on. He cares about your future and He goes with you.  God sees you as valuable and desires to be with you:

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV)

God says your life has value.God has more for you: He is not through with you…..so keep going and don’t give up….you are valuable. Did you hear me?

the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3 NLT)

God loves you and His love is not depleted it is everlasting and the God who loves you and sees you as valuable is faithful. The death of His son is proof!  His presence with you is proof!

Cheering you on,