Wednesday, December 30, 2009




(1 Cor 3:3) for you are still carnal...

Everybody loves a new baby. Everything they do is cute (okay...almost everything!) Their little sounds and their ever changing faces, and how they look like little angels when they sleep. But what would you say of a grown up who is still acting like a baby? You would probably say, "Grow up!" because that's exactly what they need to do. In other words you hold them accountable for their age and give them no excuse for their actions.

That's what Paul was saying to the Corinthians. They were believers who were carnal. They were acting fleshly and worldly and not their age. Paul had trained them well but they were still acting like spiritual infants. They were struggling with factions in the church as well as immorality. They were going to court against each other, stumbling each other, and being selfish at the communion celebrations. They abused spiritual gifts and just needed to learn about God's agape love that takes into consideration other people's feelings. It was a tough letter to write because they were so carnal!

Receiving newborn Christians in the church is something we are all thrilled about. Their new-found faith is an inspiration to us all. It adds a spark to a church that sometimes is needed as older Christians can lose their fire. They are so hungry for the Lord and they are at every Bible study, prayer meeting, and Christian event. (1 Pet 2:2) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby. As time goes on they move out of that new convert state and enter into real Christian growth through trials and tribulations and the everyday things of life. The goal of the Christian life is maturity and being conformed into the image of Christ. (Eph 4:15) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ. But we know that as we grow that fire for Jesus should always stay alive if even in a developed way.

It's okay to be a baby Christian...but it's not okay to be a Christian baby! That's why Paul wrote 1 Corinthians and that is why we must be careful of spiritual immaturity in our lives. After that fire cools of first receiving the Lord there is that tendency to cool off into lukewarmness. We start going back into the worldly things and interests. What we rejected as worldly before we now make excuses such as how it's not good to be so overly zealous or we shouldn't go so overboard. Perhaps we cave into what people are saying about us, that we are too fervent, or that old saying, "he's so heavenly minded that he's no earthly good." No one likes to be a freak and stand out. We want to be cool with others and therefore start to blend back into the culture. But our desire for cool might really be direction of compromise.

Sometimes there's even pressure from other carnal Christians to lighten up. You see, that on-fire Christian can make a carnal Christian look bad. The "sold out for Christ" believer just wants to love and serve the Lord. The compromised Christian is threatened by that and will many times seek to extinguish that flame if even by a subtle put down and teasing (which is really mocking).

Why do Christians revert back to that carnal state? Because the writer of Hebrews says they want the milk and not the meat! (Heb 5:12) For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. They just don't want to grow up! The Christian life becomes too hard and they want the toys of childhood.

Are you a Christian baby? Then it's time for you to grow up! Give the baby Christians something to aspire to!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Pastor Chuck Smith suffered a ‘minor stroke’ and is ‘doing well’

by Dan Wooding — ANS


COSTA MESA, CA — Pastor Chuck Smith, 82, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California, and the father of the “Jesus People” phenomenon in Southern California, has suffered a “minor stroke” and is in a local hospital.

“I have just been to visit him today in the hospital and he is doing well,” said Brian Brodersen, who serves as associate pastor to Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and is married to Cheryl, one of Chuck and Kay Smith’s daughters.

“Pastor Chuck suffered a minor stroke at his home and a medical person staying there called ‘911’ and he was taken to the hospital.”

Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, Riverside, California, said on his blog, “Last night, Pastor Chuck Smith was taken to the hospital and had what was described by his doctor as a ‘mini-stroke.’ His doctor expects him to make a full recovery.”

Laurie, who runs the massive Harvest Crusades around the world, added, “Let’s remember this beloved man of God in prayer, that the Lord would touch, bless, and heal him.”

Like Greg Laurie, Mike MacIntosh, senior pastor of Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego was also discipled by Chuck Smith.

Mike told ANS, “Pastor Chuck Smith is strong and will recover from this physical ailment. It is difficult to see someone you love be in the hospital.

“Our prayers should be for their children, Jan, Jeff, Cheryl and Chuck Jr., and their many grandchildren. We must not forget Kay who has adored Chuck for 50 plus years of marriage.”

Monday, December 28, 2009




(Job 42:10) And the LORD restored Job's losses…the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Well, here we come to an end of a new year and you know what? I’m so glad!! If you know what I’ve gone through this past year then you know what I’m saying. People talk about having a bad day, but what about a bad year or even a difficult season of life?

Job got hit hard. And it was one blow after another. You could almost hear him say, “not again!” He suffered so many losses, one right after another. He was stripped down to the ground and all he had left basically was his faith. Boom, boom, boom. But he stayed in the boxing ring and just took it. He was knocked down but not knocked out! When he was floored he just looked up to the Lord and praised Him…anyway!

Have you had a series of losses in your life? You’re in good company. But suffering a loss doesn’t mean you have to be a loser! Because that might make you a boozer…or a snoozer! And you don’t want to mask your pain or sleep it away. Don’t check out…check in with the One who can get you going again.

Jesus said this: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain." (John 12:24) Maybe you’re that seed that has been placed in the earth. Not fun under there is it? It’s dark and cold but soon you’re going to be breaking ground and pushing up to where you’re going to be doing more than pushing daises. You see, you have to die before you can be productive. That’s the Lord’s economy of things. Don’t fight it, don’t bite it, don’t even fright it. Get excited for mass production.

Jesus also said: "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2) Are you being pruned in your life? Doesn’t feel good does it? Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Heb 12:11)

You know, when I thought about the title of this devotional I was thinking about the phrase we so often use when things continually go wrong…“not again!” But then I saw in my mind’s eye the word "again" separate into "a gain". What you go through, even by a series of losses, is really a gain. You’re going to get something out of it. So the next time you are tempted to say "not again", separate it into "a gain". Separate yourself from that self-defeating attitude you are leaning towards and find the good because God is good and He must have a purpose!


Saturday, December 26, 2009


At the Christmas Eve service the children were the evangelists sharing the gospel through a dramatic presentation of the Christmas story. The house was full of people and praises and I noticed many visitors were in the crowd. Our prayer was for many to put their trust in the Lord. Now let's all GO! and tell somebody about Jesus!

"Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child." (Luke 2:17)


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Today (TUES) we went out to get Irish fry for breakfast. This plate consists of soda bread, potato farl, mushrooms, baked beans, a fried egg, a pancake, bangers (sausage) and rashers (bacon, Canadian style), and black pudding. Don't kquite know what all that is? Me either but it sure tasted good!

(1 Tim 4:4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.



We then drove to the north coast of Ireland which is a famous spot for sightseeing. We first drove over to Port Elizabeth...a quaint city overlooking the Irish Sea. Then we drove over to see Dunluce castle dating back centuries.



Giant's Causeway is N. Ireland's number tourist attraction. It has these rock formations formed by a volcano long ago. It reminded me of how creative God is and how He has left His wonders for us to behold and enjoy.

(Psa 96:3) Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.



Rick and Cindy were so much fun to be around for a week and were great hosts! Cindy is a great cook and their house is real cozy. This picture should be an advertisement for missions and defys the serious and stuffy characterization of missionaries of the past.

(Psa 100:2) Serve the LORD with gladness...


After touring Giant's Causeway we drove over to the city of Ballycastle and had fish and chips. Here is a beautiful historical church in town. It's the state Church of Ireland which is associated with Anglicanism, the predominant Protestant church of the United Kingdom. Let's pray for Ireland to know the difference between religion and relationship with Jesus!

(Rev 3:20) "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.


Lindsay and I had a great time together. What a blessing to be able to come over for her graduation and then to travel together to visit ur GO! missionaries in N. Ireland.

Well, we fly out tomorrow from Belfast and will be home tomorrow night. Thanks for following Lindsay and I on our trip and thank you for your prayers. Looking forward to seeing your at the Christmas Eve service! As they say in Ireland...HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!


Monday, December 21, 2009


Today Rick and I spent some time together while Lindsay and Cindy went to a woman's prayer meeting and then did some shopping together. We stopped by this Moravian church and met this female pastor named Jan. The Moravians were one of the first missionaries and were an inspiration to John Wesley to bring him to the Lord. She showed us the church which is 250 years old and has an active congregation and private school.
Rick then took me by the future location of the church. In just three weeks Harvest will take on a lease in this former Curves building. The running joke is that the believers will really be getting into shape here at this church!
(1 Tim 4:8) For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.


Rick and I then drove into Belfast and took a tour of the shipping yard where the Titanic was built. Here you see the dry dock area and the facility behind it that was the basis for the operations. We learned so much about it's history and fate. I couldn't help but think that this "unsinkable" ship is so much like the pride in our lives! A few scriptures came to mind:
(Prov 16:18) Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
(1 Cor 10:12) Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.


We then hooked up with Lindsay and Cindy and drove out to a couple's house for fellowship. It was an intimate gathering where we ate some goodies and talked and got to know each other. We then worshipped the Lord and sang some songs we did and didn't know. The music was provided by pastor William and his wife Rebecca.

At the end of the worship time we had a lively time watching Rebecca play the celtic fiddle!

This is pastor William and Steph signing the lease on the new church facility. What a great chapter in the life and history of this church.


We really hit the "craik" (pronounced "crack") tonight as they say in Ireland. That means we had a great time of being together and enjoying each other's company.


One more full day in Ireland and then home we go for Christmas! Thank you all for your continued prayers. We love and miss you and will see you soon!


Sunday, December 20, 2009


Today (Sunday) was the Christmas service for Harvest church which meets upstairs. It started at 4pm. There was much to be done in preparation and it kept us all busy for the day.

(Mark 14:15) "Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us."


Here is pastor William clearing a path in the snow for service. I yelled out to him to give a wave for the saints in Norco. ,: )

(Mark 9:35) ..."If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."


The service was a combination of music, special readings (see Lindsay above), and exhortations from pastor William. Food followed and a lot of love shared in Christ.

(1 Tim 4:13) Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.


There was such a warm glow of the Spirit in the room matching the idyllic scenery that lay outside.

(Eccl 4:11) ... But how can one be warm alone?


(Psa 129:8) ..."The blessing of the LORD be upon you; We bless you in the name of the LORD!"


Now our Irish brethren are ready for Christmas!

Dear flock in Norco...our time will be Christmas Eve this Thursday at 6pm at CCN. See you there!!



We woke up to this snow on the ground outside Rick and Cindy's house. It's Sunday and the special Christmas church service is at 4pm. Everyone's excited to have a white Christmas!

(Job 37:6) For He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth'; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.


Saturday, December 19, 2009




(James 1:2-4) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, {3} knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. {4} But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

I like stretching things. Whether it’s a rubber band or a bungee cord or whatever…it’ fun to see how far you can stretch it and what it can do. That’s like the Christian life! How far can you stretch and what can you do? You never know until God stretches you. Then you find out a lot of things about yourself you never knew before.

James said that that God allows testings to come into our lives so that our patience will grow. We are not naturally patient people so maybe that’s why we have so many tests of our faith! But then James said that we should let patience have its perfect work so we can be mature and complete not lacking anymore in the patience department. Maybe if I realized that, I wouldn’t try to squirm out of my problems so quickly. I would be more “willing to yield” (James 3:17) with the working of God in my life through that stretching experience. God knows when I’ve had enough and my patience is at a level of maturity and growth that He finds useful.

God wants to make my life purposeful. As we mature and are stretched through trials we gain a greater capacity for service. Let’s go back to the rubber band analogy. If you stretch it a little it will probably be wide enough to hold a handful of pencils together. But if you keep stretching it then it now has a greater capacity for service. Like when I go out and get my newspaper in the morning and see that it’s held together by a rubber band. You see, that rubber band was stretched and it’s utility value increased for greater things.

I think that’s why James says to count it all joy when we fall into various trials. There is a purpose for that stretching experience so we might as well agree with God and the process of his broadening us for His kingdom. Otherwise we would see our troubles as useless annoyances and unwelcomed hindrances and we would just try and shake them off the best we could.

Cheryl and I still talk about a Gary Lawson “The Far Side” cartoon we saw a long time ago. It was Gumby on the stretch rack. He was tied down and being tortured but there was a big smile on his face. He was unfazed. Why? He allowed himself to be stretched. How does the old saying go? “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken.” The more you fight the process the more you will feel like snapping and breaking. When we let go then we just roll with things and trust God that He is allowing us to grow up! (Eph 4:15) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ.

I think of Joseph being stretched as he received notice that he and Mary had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be taxed. Who would want to travel all that way to be taxed, adding on the fact that Mary was pregnant? What purpose could come out of this experience? (I’ll let you answer that one.) How about the Joseph of the Old Testament? In Genesis he was thrown into prison completely innocent. What good could come out of this? Well…Pharaoh had a dream and in one day Joseph went from the pit to the palace. Soon all Israel was spared the famine. Both Josephs were stretched and both times immense good came out of it. And if you think about it…God can take any ole “Joe” and stretch him and use him.

The next time your patience is tried…think of James and Joe. Oh…and don’t forget Gumby on the stretch rack!



Today we spent more time with the missionaries just hanging out and encouraging each other in the Lord. That's most of what we do on mission trips. Our little saying about GO! Ministries is that we are "missionary encouragers."
(1 John 1:3) ...that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
Lindsay and I had the afternoon together and we drove to Belfast and walked around the historical/shopping district. This picture is the center hub. That building is city hall. Behind the Christmas tree is the International Food Market that sells food from many countries. You basically want something from every booth!
Tonight we went to a Christmas concert at a Presbyterian church. It was the Balleymena Chamber orchestra accompanied by a choir. They did some selections from Handel's Messiah, some other classics, and mixed in some carols. From what I've heart Pastor William's wife Rebeccah organized this orchestra and is a well-trained musician. (She's on the far left). We then came home and ate some dinner and fellowshpped some more in the Lord. What a great day!
(Neh 8:10) Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our LORD. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."



Friday, December 18, 2009




This is the night before we left York, England. Okay, so...Lindsay said I had to try sticky toffee pudding. I told her the name didn't sound good to me so how could it taste good? She kept insisted I try it so I did and it is amazingly good! It's like a hot muffin or cupcake with this custard sauce. Why was I so skeptical?
(Psa 34:8) Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!




Last night we arrived at the Belfast airport and rented a car to drive out to Balleymena where our GO! missionaries, Rick and Cindy Johnston serve the Lord. They are great hosts and come out of Refuge Calvary Chapel in Huntington Beach. People ask them why they left sunny southern California for N. Ireland and they get a chance to share their testimony in reply!

(Psa 84:11) For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.


This is pastor William Olphert of Harvest Balleymena church, a Calvary Chapel affiliate. He came over today to the Johnston's house and we heard his story of how the Lord called him to pastor here. We also met some other members of the church and had a great time of fellowship in the Lord. Cindy made dinner with help from Lindsay in the kitchen. We are excited for the rest of the week and what God has in store. Thanks for your prayers! We are praying for you too!!
(Prov 25:25) As cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a far country.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009




Lindsay graduated from Calvary Chapel Bible College York, England last night. I am so proud of her. I was able by God's grace and provision to fly over to attend her graduation and I'm so glad I did. The graduation really glorified the Lord. The graduates are all praying about their futures and where God wants them to be to serve Him.


(Jer 29:11) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.




Friday, December 11, 2009




(Luke 1:37) "For with God nothing will be impossible."

Looking up words in the dictionary has always been a fun excursion for me. I love to learn and discover. And as I’m looking up a certain word I tend to investigate other words I stumble upon. But as you know there is a frustration in trying to find a word when you don’t really know how to spell it. You search over and over again and then get kind of stressed out. Then you wonder if it’s even in there but then you tell yourself it’s a common word and it must be in there. Then voila! . . . you find it.

In a sense there is a missing word in God’s dictionary. It’s the word “impossible”. You see, Mary was a little bit confused. The angel told her she would bring forth the Messiah. Wow . . . did she have questions! But it was assured her that it would be a work of the Holy Spirit and she need not worry. She was also told that her relative Elizabeth was with child. This really boosted Mary’s faith because Elizabeth had been barren up to her old age. So in a sense Mary was looking up the word “impossible” and just couldn’t find it! In fact she got a print-out from heaven that read like this: "For with God nothing will be impossible." (Luke 1:37)

What are you facing in your life right now that looks “impossible?” Scan God’s dictionary as you may but you will not find the word there. But you will find the word “possible” and it will be defined like this:

(Mat 19:26) But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

(Phil 4:13) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Don’t worry. The Holy Spirit is with you and will work it all out. Let your faith be built up by others who are being touched by God. The Lord is no respecter of persons. What He has done for others He will do for you! He loves you . . . believe it! He’s going to come through for you . . . because of the missing word.



Here is a pic of the Corona/Norco pastor's prayer group that meets weekly to pray for revival!
" ...O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the year! wrath remember mercy!" (Hab 3:2)

Friday, December 4, 2009


Last night's midweek service was very special. Cesar Rodriguez was in from Sayluita, Mexico and led worship with the McKee sisters (Sarah and Rachel). Then Sharon Porterfield shared her video of her ministry in Thailand to the Karen refugees. Afterwards she fielded questions from the audience about the plight of the Karen and how we can pray and act. Then we had open prayer for Sharon and many supplications went up to the Lord on her behalf. Following we had a special time of communion and worship, singing song after song. The mingling after service concluded continued on and we finally had to just close up the church!

The Spirit is moving in our midst. The Lord is doing a great work.

The message from the Word prior to the Lord's table was from Galatians 6:2..."Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." From there we turned to Isaiah 53:3-6 and shared how the Lord bore our burden of sin on the cross. The theme from the Lord seemed to be that Jesus bore our sins on the cross and now we are free from that heavy load. As a result we can bear one another's burdens in His law of love. Praise the Lord!

Here is a video of Cesar and Sarah and Rachel McKee leading us in worship last night.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009




(1 Pet 5:8-9) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith...

"December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy". (President Franklin D. Roosevelt)

Early in the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese submarines and aircraft carrier-based planes attacked the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. Eight American battleships and 13 other naval vessels were sunk or badly damaged, almost 200 American aircraft were destroyed, and approximately 3,000 naval and military personnel were killed or wounded, with additional civilian tolls. In comparison the Japanese suffered a loss of 29 aircraft, a large submarine, and 5 midget submarines in the attack. The attack marked the entrance of Japan into World War II (1939-1945) on the side of Germany and Italy, and the entrance of the United States on the Allied side.

What a vivid recollection I have of the time my family and I visited the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. They take you out in a boat to the site of the sunken vessel and the tour guide talks you through that day of the attacks. I'll never forget the lump in my throat as the boat took us back. The whole group of visitors were quiet and sobered. All I could think about was the bravery of these soldiers and for all who fought in that war (including my dad).

Satan attacks you at times when you least expect it. He is our enemy. He is no purring kitten to lick you. He's a roaring lion who seeks to devour you. He walks all around the earth in opposition to God's redemptive plan through Christ. He roams the earth to find a devoted follower of Jesus and have him or her for lunch. (Job 1:7) And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

What's a soldier of Christ to do? Be ready! Be watchful!! Don't be lulled into that vacation mentality. Life is a warzone for the believer. The war is the fiercest it's ever been because we're towards the end. Things are amping up! (1 Pet 4:7) But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. There's not much time left to gain ground for the Lord. (Rev 12:12) ...Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Get out of bed and get dressed for the battle! (Rom 13:11-12) And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Daniel was in the lion's den for a night and the Lord protected him completely. (Dan 6) For the Christian, the whole world is a lion's den! And we will be until the battle's over and the Lord takes us home. Until then we must resist Satan steadfast in our faith. Don't be afraid of Satan. He's a defeated foe!! The Lord has you covered! (Phil 1:28) and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.

The enemy was defeated in WWII. But it took an attack for the U.S. to jump in the war and to fight until victory. Get up on your feet before you are defeated. (Rom 8:31) ...If God is for us, who can be against us? Let this be a day of victory...not infamy!