Welcome to the El Camino Baptist Church blog. We wanted a place where our ministry leaders could share things that God has laid on their hearts. Please feel free to comment and join in the discussion as we share how God is moving through His church.Other places to find us on the web are our website, Youtube, and Facebook. You can also check out Hoss' music blog at hosshughes.com.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

With a Grateful Heart

Candy and I would like to express our thanks and appreciation for all of the cards and gifts we have received during this Christmas Season. You as a church family have blessed us during this season and throughout the year. It is a joy to serve with all of you and we pray for God's continued blessings on all of us as we enter this new year of service.

Dick and Candy Dillender

Hoss' Music Blog

Hello all,

I'm on vacation this week (going to Disneyland for New Year's Eve...cool huh?) but I thought I would drop a line about my new blog. It's at http://www.hossmusic.blogspot.com. I started writing praise and worship songs a couple of years ago with the purpose of adding them to our Contemporary worship service music line-up and have been going ever since. I hope you enjoy and have a Happy New Year everybody.


Thursday, December 23, 2010


Today I had the most amazing day! For nearly 4 hours I got to tell children the Christmas story and why Jesus actually came. I got to tell them what He did for them by dying on the cross. I was just lying in bed trying to sleep, but their great questions, attentiveness to the Truth, and innocent comments are keeping me awake. Today truly was one of the very best days of my life! I can't imagine Christmas feeling more meaningful. What Jesus did for us truly was amazing!

Incredible Needs

This Christmas at church we provided gifts for at least 10 families who needed to spend their money on basic needs, not extras. Tonight my husband and I ran to a tree lot across town that was giving away 900 trees to people in need. We got there 2 hours after they started giving them away, and they were out. The reality that there were that many people without a tree 3 days before Christmas didn’t feel real to me, but why would people take a tree if they already had one?

A car full of people, really full, pulled up as I was walking back to our truck. They asked me where the trees were. I explained that they were all gone. The little boy mushed in the back seat said, “That’s ok, right mom? We don’t need a tree to celebrate Christmas, right!?” She smiled and said, “That’s right son! Merry Christmas!” And they drove off, all smiles. Then a man in a fairly nice truck wearing a dress shirt drove up and asked me the same question. I gave the same answer. He stared past me for a moment, thinking, and then sadly said, “Oh. Ok.” And drove off.

In our economy there are so many people who are not even able to meet their basic daily living needs, let alone anything extra. Times are hard. My Bible dictionary defines needs as 'Something I must have. The basic human needs are food, clothing, shelter, love, and spiritual salvation.'

Let’s help meet people’s physical needs and at the same time help meet their spiritual needs. Let’s work together to glorify God in this economy. What are your ideas in this area? I bet they're great!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

O Holy Night

My very favorite Christmas carol is O Holy Night. In fact, I love it so much I count it as one of my favorite songs of all time. There is something about it that brings me into a spirit of worship every time I hear it, no matter where I am and even no matter what time of year it is. I was looking at the lyrics for it this morning and, though most people are very familiar with verses 1 & 3, it was something from verse 2 that struck me.

The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger.

A few weeks ago in staff prayer we were talking about what makes Christianity different from world religions. One of the things we came up with was that God came to earth in human form. In most religions, gods sit high above the people, ruling them from afar. But God took on a flawed and imperfect physical body to save the world...one that was susceptible to pain and suffering...one that would feel the beatings, feel the thorns in His head and the nails in His hands and feet.

And it all began with the babe in the manger.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. - Vaclav Havel

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. - Hebrews 11:1

I do not know Mr. Havel's spiritual stance but I do find his comment very parallel to Hebrews 11:1. As Christians we are able to truly hope. Not because our lives are perfectly happy and we get everything we desire, but because we know that God is in control. We may go through times of struggle, we may experience loss, but we never have to face a world controlled by chance and chaos. We hope because God is holding everything in the palm of His hand.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Matthew 21 & Psalm 8

So Katie and I were reading Matthew 21 this morning when we came upon verse 16 where Jesus asks the chief priests if they have never read "From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth Your praise." I got really excited because I knew where that was found in the Old Testament. Usually I don't even know what book it is from when Jesus points back to OT Scripture without looking at the margin references. But I have been going through the book of Psalms and writing a song for each Psalm and I recognized that verse from Psalm 8.

I began writing this blogpost thinking that I would just share that fun little coincidence (God seems to love doing that from time to time to spark us). But then I remembered what Sunday is. During our services our Young People's Choir is going to be sharing their Christmas musical. Hmmm...children will be calling forth God's praise....where have I heard that before?


Thursday, December 2, 2010

God answers Prayers

I have been thinking about El Camino this last week. We have prayed Romans 12:1-2 for the church all year long. I asked myself - How has the church been transformed? Firmly believing that God answers prayer, I looked for ways in which we have been changed for the better, more like Jesus. I asked several different groups if they had noticed any change or transformation in the church. It is interesting the answers I have received. People have noticed that God is at work in our lives both individually and collectively as a church. We have seen a number of individuals taking personal interest in sharing the gospel. We have seen a shift of attitudes. We have seen God at work at El Camino. We know that we are not perfect but it is encouraging to know that we are progressing for the better.

I have prayed Romans 12:1-2 for myself as well. I have noticed that God has been working in my heart and soul. I have seen Him give me great peace and calmness. I have seen Him strengthen my resolve to follow Him. I have seen God at work in my life as well.

As the new year begins to approach, ask yourself - What has God done in me this year? Praise Him for that. Then ask yourself - What has God done at El Camino this year? Praise Him for what He has done. Share your observations of the way God has worked in you and in the church with others. I think this will encourage each of us as we see and hear that God still answers prayer.

The Value of People

Monday I went to the grocery store. My cashier was an attractive young man in his mid twenties named Stephen. The customer he was ringing up was about 4 feet tall and she looked just like the trolls in The Three Billy Goats Gruff storybook. She was hunched over and it looked like she hadn’t shaved her chin whiskers in a week. She even sounded like I imagined a troll sounded.

Stephen would scan an item, she’d gruffly snap, “How much is that?” Each time he kindly answered, and she either snapped, “I don’t want it. Put it back!” or with resignation in her voice say, “OK. I’ll take it.” I watched his face as this went on item after item. There wasn’t even a hint of irritation or frustration in his face, eyes or voice. At least ten minutes later he assisted her with her payment card and offered her help taking her groceries out. Then he turned and greeted me with a smile. I told him he was wonderful with her. He smiled into my eyes and said, “For those 10 minutes, she was the most important person in the world. She deserves excellent attention and care. It was my pleasure to offer her the best service I could.” I was taken aback. I was expecting him to say something about how he had learned to be patient with difficult customers or something along those lines. Turns out he didn’t need my encouragement. His joy was in serving.

The next day was a busy one for me at work, packed with meetings and decisions and details. I was struggling emotionally with an issue I didn’t know how to resolve. I went into Pastor Ron's office for guidance. He turned away from his computer, leaned forward toward me with a smile on his face, and listened with the same kind, patient, loving, ‘you are the most important person in the world to me’ look on his face even though I know I interrupted his important work and that he had at least a dozen very pressing things he needed to attend to. But at that moment, his joy was in serving me.

Wednesday in my quiet time with God, I had a lot on my heart. I needed God’s guidance. I needed His reassurance. I needed Him to take care of things I just didn’t know how to handle. As I sat there, I pictured Stephen and Pastor Ron’s faces and smiles. I pictured God turning in His throne to lean towards me and listen to me and guide me and offer comfort. At that moment I felt I was the most important person in the world to Him.

God used these two men to show me that I need to value people more, and to show me how much He values me. Pastor Ron keeps saying, “Ministry is relationship.” This troll thinks she is finally starting to get it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Blessed to Serve

Recently our Sunday sermons have been teaching us about serving and being a servant. Christ came to serve, not to be served (Matt. 20:26-28). We are blessed to be able to spend our lives serving God (Psalm 100). There is no higher calling or greater use of our time.

Last weekend God blessed our Children's Ministry department with the opportunity to serve both Him and our country. A branch of the Armed Services called and asked us to care for their children while they ministered to the parents.

God provided blessing upon blessing. The children were delightful. We had everything we needed to serve them. Children were well cared for, taught about God and Jesus, and two accepted Him as their Savior! One family even took The Jesus Film home to watch. Our prayer is that God will use that film and the witness of their child who accepted Christ last weekend to lead the entire family into a personal relationship with Jesus. Please pray that along with us.

" Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Praise and Thanksgiving

In Children's Prayer Meeting we talked about taking the time to specifically thank God and how thanking God is different from praising God.

When we praise God we celebrate Him for who He is. We take the time to tell Him how wonderful, great and awesome He is. We focus on His attributes and tell Him how much we appreciate who He is.

When we thank God, we express our gratitude and appreciation for what He does. Because God is Sovereign, we can be thankful when things are good in our lives, and even when things don't seem to be going our way.

Psalm 9:1-2 says,"I will praise You O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praises to Your name; O Most High."

1 Chronicles 16:8 says, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done.”

God cherishes our praises and prayers of thanksgiving. He also wants us to share them with others. How fun and uplifting it would be if this was a part of our everyday conversation with one another. What a simple way to share God with our unbelieving friends and family members.

What a great God You are! Please help us brag about You more openly!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Biblical Fellowship

I was meditating on the issue of Biblical fellowship - What is it and How do I do it? I know that true fellowship involves time with Christians as we share the Word of God with one another. But what is the result? I read Hebrews 10:23-25 in my devotions last week and it prompted a thought. The end result of Biblical fellowship is that it stimulates us to: 1) Love and 2) to do good works. If love and good works do not result from our time with fellow Christians as we share the Word then we haven't really engaged in Biblical Fellowship. If that is the case, then all we have done is socialize. That is not bad in and of itself but it falls well short of God's intent for believers. So ask yourself, "What have I done that has promoted love in the life of another Christian this week?" Ask yourself, "What have I done this week that has encouraged or excited another Christian to do something for the honor and glory of God?" Only then will you be able to say that you have with all honesty and sincerity particiapted in true Biblical Fellowship.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Matthew 1

Katie and I decided we wanted to start reading through the New Testament together and if you'll remember the book of Matthew starts off with Jesus' lineage. There are a lot of this guy begat that guys and so-and-so begat so-and-so, but I was reminded of the women mentioned. Matthew only alludes to 5 women in the lineage of Jesus. A quick reminder of who those women were:

Tamar - a victim of incest
Rahab - a harlot
Ruth - a begging widow
Bathsheba - an adulteress
Mary - a single pregnant woman

What is the common thread among these women? All of them would have been shunned by the general public at the time. But God chose each of them, despite their pasts and despite what people thought of them to do His work. Here's another way to view these women:

Tamar - Judah recognizes that she is more righteous than he is (Genesis 38:26)
Rahab - helped spies in Jericho and had her family preserved because of it (Joshua 2 & 6)
Ruth - has an entire book of the Bible devoted to the love she showed to her mother-in-law and finding the love of a husband
Bathsheba - secured the throne for Solomon who succeeded King David (I Kings 1)
Mary - the mother of Jesus

God can and will use anyone He chooses to accomplish His purposes.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Isaiah 43

I have been going through the book of Isaiah in my morning devotions recently. I have to admit, there are some rather dry parts in it but I woke up this morning and read chapter 43 and was bowled over by how awesome God's Word is. Allow me to share a couple of examples:

Isaiah 43:18-19 "Do not call to mind the former things or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert."

Isaiah 43:25 "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins."

But my favorite this morning was from Isaiah 43:21, "The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise." Think about how complete that verse is. It tells us 3 things:
1) "The people whom I formed" We were created by God,
2) "whom I formed for Myself" God created us for Himself and His purposes,
3) "will declare My praise." Our purpose is to declare God's glory and give Him praise.

Doesn't get much better than that, does it?


My Prayers for You

Luke 11:9-10 NIV

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

One broad prayer I pray for my family, our staff, our church body and now I include you, our blogging friends is this:

*That God would give each of us a passion to live our lives fully surrendered to Him
*That God would give each of us an insatiable desire to spend time regularly in His Word and in prayer
*That God would give each of us His clear vision for our lives
*And that God would bless each of us with opportunities to serve Him, and in that service, bless us by letting us see Him at work in us and through us.

I would love to hear how God is answering these prayers for you. Please know I'll continue praying them for you!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Humbly & Boldly

I was thinking the other day about the seeming contradiction of coming into the presence of God humbly and boldly. When we approach God, we are approaching our Maker...Almighty and Holy. We always need to remember this and never take it lightly. Psalm 2:11 tells us to "Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling."

But we can also approach Him boldly. Hebrews 10 says "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil...Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith." Tyrants and dictators do not want a relationship with their subjects because they know it will compromise their power, but God's power cannot be compromised. He wants to have a relationship with us. We are His children...children who can come to their Father with boldness.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

How have I influenced others?

What difference have you made in the life of another person? This week a friend that I made 36 years ago while in the military stopped by while on his way through Tucson. At the time I first met him, he was a 19 year old airman and a brand new Christian assigned to my unit. I was his OIC (Officer in Charge). I promptly got him involved in a Navigator Bible Study and had one of the key enlisted men in the Bible Study mentor him. At the church prayer meeting last night, he shared on an impromptu basis some of the ways that God had used me to impact his life. His voice broke at one point and he couldn't finish all he started to say. It touched my heart to know how much he valued the love I had shared with him and the opportunity God had taken to use me in his life. Moments like this cause me to reflect back on my original question. What difference has my life made in the life of another? One of God's major desires for each of us is to become a laborer, a person who is able to share the gospel and nurture others to maturity (i.e. to impact the lives of others). We all need to ask ourselves the question, "Who am I mentoring?" We may not know in this life the extent to which we help and encourage others, but we can purpose to impact lives by helping them become disciples and laborers themselves.

Our Mighty God!

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

Last week in Good News Club, I didn’t obey God. He was leading me to pull a little girl aside and make sure the message of salvation was clear to her. She comes from a home that follows Hinduism. I LOVE sharing the Gospel and giving children the opportunity to respond, asking Jesus to forgive them of their sins and be Lord of their lives. As I shared in my last blog entitled Brokenness, I procrastinated. The task at hand-helping keep the class under control so the teacher could teach the Bible lesson, seemed more urgent to me. I felt I had time for both, so my agenda won out.

When her grown up came to get her, she repeatedly said we shouldn’t be teaching religion in school, and that this would be the little girl’s last day in Good News Club. I was devastated. No wonder God was prompting me to share the Gospel with her that day. Being all-knowing, He knew it was her last week. I thought I had all the time in the world.

All week long I prayed hard. I asked you, our blogging friends to pray; I asked my family, prayer groups and our staff to pray. I know the Gospel is shared in Good News Club, but counseling with a child one on one is so important. It helps surface their misconceptions and provides the opportunity to clarify with them and invite them to personally pray. I wanted an opportunity to counsel with her, as God had lead.

I couldn’t wait to get to Good News Club yesterday. The dismissal bell rang and our students began filing in to our class. In she walked!!! Immediately I drew her aside. I shared the Gospel, and praise God, she responded. Not reluctantly or with any confusion at all. Enthusiastically she prayed asking Jesus to be her Savior.

Please pray for our little friend. A few weeks ago we gave each child a Bible. Hers disappeared from her home. After she prayed she asked me for another one. I explained that her family didn’t want one in their home, but I gave her another one, put her name in it, and told her she could have it back each week to use in Club. She said she wanted to read it at home in her room. Again I said I understood and that God wanted her to read it, but God also says to honor our parents, so it would have to stay here. All during Club she rotated between reading portions out of her Bible and clutching it lovingly to her chest. Watching her reminded me just how precious God’s Word is. In my sheltered world we have full access to the Bible. She reminded me that people all over the world, and evidently even here in America, have limited or no access.

I am praying that she will retain her hunger and thirst to know God and His Word her entire life. I am praying that God will continue to allow her to attend Good News Club. And I am praying that God will use her mightily for His glory in the Hindu community in which she is being raised. Please add her to your prayer list as well. Who would have thought a little girl of the Hindu faith would attend a Bible club and give her life to Jesus? What a privilege to be God’s voice to this dying world. What a mighty God we serve!

Friday, October 29, 2010

All The Poor And Powerless

Good morning all,

Last Sunday in Contemporary we did a new song called "All The Poor And Powerless" by a band called Brothers and Sisters. I urge you to watch the video and think about the lyrics. A day is coming when all will see God for who He is. A day is coming when all will bend their knee before Him. And on that day we will all cry out Hallelujah to Him and give Him the praise that he deserves.



In December Pastor Ron has each staff member choose a Bible verse for the year. Everyone on staff prays that verse for the person throughout the year. In December we share how God has worked in our hearts and lives through that Scripture. This year mine is Psalm 139:23 & 24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Tuesday I realized I neglected to complete and turn something in that I am assigned to do each month at work. I’m usually pretty faithful, so I was surprised that the reaction was that I was being rebellious. I felt I was just busy and in my busy-ness, I forgot. I completed it and moved on, having justified my lack of timely compliance to myself so I didn’t feel bad. It wasn’t that big of a deal, right? A little late, but I got it done.

Wednesday I was again busy, really busy! Plus, I had a goal in mind that I knew God would want achieved. Three times during a particular activity I heard the still, small voice of God prompting me a different direction, to do something else. Each time I acknowledged that it was important, and that I would get to it, in a minute. After the activity ended, God showed me why He was prompting me to do it when He wanted it done. Now it was too late. The opportunity was lost.

I am heartbroken. I blew it big time. I missed an opportunity to lead a little child to Him because I felt my agenda was more important. In my mind I wasn’t being outwardly disobedient or rebellious. I was going to do what He asked when I had a moment. Again, I justified my rebelliousness and disobedience.

Obedience can be defined as ‘doing what I am asked to do immediately, completely and willingly; following instructions.’ No ifs, ands or buts. I was disobedient. God tried to show me my heart and the offensive way in me in a situation where the stakes were low, and I justified it away. Then He showed me my rebellious and disobedient heart in a situation where the stakes couldn’t be higher. I feel absolutely awful about the missed opportunity. But I am thankful that God loved me enough to show me my sin so I can repent and grow in godliness.

I thank you Lord for showing me this sin in my life, and for placing people in my life who care enough to point out my sin when I choose to be blind toward it. Please help me to obey You and the authorities You place in my life immediately, completely and with a joyful heart. And PLEASE give me another opportunity to share You with that precious child. Please!?!?!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


As we get ready to skip past Oct 31st and before you know it Thanksgiving will be here. I wanted to let you know about three exciting opportunities for you to invite family and friends.

December 5th "Go Light Your World" (Dessert Concert) Seating limited to 250 per service. We will have a 3 and 6 p.m. service.

December 12th "Christmas in Reverse" Young People's Choir
8:30 and 10:30 a.m.

December 24th "Christmas Eve Service"

Dick Dillender

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Little Levity On A Friday

Here is Christian comedian Tim Hawkins talking about parenting. He will actually be coming to Tucson on November 5th so talk to Kristin Wright if you are interested in going. She is getting some group rate tickets.


What is My Goal?

I have a fear of heights. I get woozy and feel faint on tall bridges and on the ledges of winding mountain roads.

Tuesday I attempted to tackle a High Ropes Course at camp. I didn’t fear the height because I was safely harnessed to a rope that was being held by a strong young man belaying me. Yet I felt extreme anxiety over the fact that my old body might not have the physical strength to accomplish the task.

This morning I looked up self-confidence in the dictionary. It said that self-confidence wasn’t just a belief in one’s ability to succeed. It also included an acceptance of the consequences or outcomes of the situation, be they good or bad. Self-confidence is the ability to cope with and accept whatever outcome may arise. It is about enjoying the process, and accepting the outcome. In order to do that, I need to refocus my goal. My goal needs to be on the process, not winning.

As a Christian, God calls me to attempt things I do not feel capable of accomplishing. At those times I sit at the crossroads, like I did at camp. Do I want to try, enjoy the process, and trust that whether I succeed in the task or not, God has me there doing it for His good purpose? Is my goal to serve where and when He calls me, or just where I can guarantee a perfect and successful program or ministry each and every time with absolute expertise? Do I want to miss the blessing of the process because I have no guarantee I can succeed? No guarantee that I will have all the answers or skills? No guarantee of perfection?!?

I wonder if people say no to serving in one of our children’s ministries because they fear not being successful, fear not having all the answers or skills, fear not being perfect.

Although I am physically sore from the High Ropes Course, and although it took me at least twice as long as it took my peers, and although I didn’t catch the trapeze at the end, I enjoyed the process. I am not discouraged that I didn’t conquer the course. My goal was to try, one step at a time. I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure!

Lord, please help all of us to look at the adventures you offer us in ministry, focus on the process you have set before us, and attempt great things with You!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Sovereignty of God

Yesterday was a day off for the school children in our Good News Clubs. We invited them to El Camino for a Fall Fun Day. We believed God was leading us to provide an extended period of time discipling them and developing deeper relationships with them.

Two of our students brought a family member; a cousin in middle school and a sister in high school. When the gospel was presented, these two girls were riveted on the presentation. I didn't get a chance to speak with the high schooler yet, but the middle schooler, who said she had heard the gospel once before, understood it this time and prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior.

This clueless servant is so thankful and feels incredibly blessed that God is Sovereign. We meant the day for discipleship. He meant, at least part of the day, for the salvation of at least one very precious soul, maybe more. We will continue to provide opportunities for outreach and discipleship as God leads. Thank you Lord for using these times for Your Glory! Thank you that You know everything and that You engineer situations to accomplish Your will. And thank You that You let us see a bit of what You are doing. What a gift and a blessing!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Glorious Future

Hey all,

It's been a couple of weeks since I've been on. There is lots and lots going on but I definitely wanted to take the time to share with you. It seems like so much is happening at church during these past couple of months and I think we, as a Ministry Leadership Team, have especially been feeling overwhelmed with thinking about where we are headed as a church. While this is very important, I wanted to share with you from my devotional today.

It was Isaiah 32. I read out of the New American Standard and the subtitle for the chapter was "A Glorious Future". The verse that really stuck to me throughout today was verse 8: "But the noble man devises noble plans; and by noble plans he stands." If we are following God, we don't have to worry about our future because it will be a glorious one. God WILL be glorified. I'll say that again....God WILL be glorified. If we don't do it then the rocks and the trees will. We can stand assured on any God-centered plan knowing that the future of this church will result in the glory of our God.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Quick as a Wink

My family went to the Pacific Northwest for nine days of rest, recuperation, and reconnecting. I wasn’t worried about all the work that was piling up while I was gone. I knew it would be patiently waiting for me when I returned. It was.

On Monday we realized children weren’t contacted about attending camp this weekend. Mondays we have limited staff, and I didn’t have time to make calls and recruit campers during the day, so I sent up a quick prayer asking God to help me get the campers lined up that evening from home. We needed their commitments by Wednesday morning. At 5:00pm I started calling families. Within 2 hours God provided 11 of the 12 children we were allotted to take, AND a top notch bus monitor for the trip! I know God is mighty. I KNOW that. But when He shows me His mightiness so clearly and quickly, I am awed. What a mighty God we serve!!

Yesterday there was a hurting person in our midst. This weekend I’m extra busy attending a mission’s planning retreat Friday night and all day Saturday. I knew this woman would be on my mind and heart, so I prayed and asked God to have our paths cross before she left for the day so we could talk. Literally one heartbeat later, she walked into the room I was in, where I rarely am. We got to have a healing talk. His provision was immediate, loving and much appreciated.

In John 14:13, Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Jesus delights in working in and through us to bring glory to His Father. Lord, please help me be more faithful in the asking. You are certainly faithful in the answering!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Change and Progress

We are presenting three separate proposals to the congregation on Sunday October 10. One was developed as a result of the worship survey we took a while back. The other two are the result of trying to implement the vision of the church which was approved several years ago. Anytime these things come up we jump back because it means change. I understand that change does not necessarily mean progresss. But many times we cannot progress if we are unwilling to change. Let us all examine our own hearts to make sure that we are willing to follow God's will, even if it make us uncomfortable. God did not call us to comfort but to expand His kingdom through evangelism and discipleship.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Proposed Changes Unveiled October 10

At El Camino we want to be what God has called us to be and to do what God would desire us to do. For that reason, we assess what we are doing and consider how to do it better. We are willing to change what we are doing in order to improve our ability to minister to the believers and reach out to the lost. We conducted a survey recently and received good input. From the results of this survey and from our vision planning, we are proposing three changes to the format and direction of El Camino and its services. These changes will be revealed during ABF time on October 10. So please come on that day and give your input. Additionally, we will discuss these things at our business meeting on October 24 and get the pulse of the congregation as to when and if we implement them.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Voter Registration

Our ministry team attended a seminar featuring Dr. Wayne Grudem that was jointly sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), and Phoenix Seminary. During the event, it was stated that 40% of Christians are not registered to vote. This amazed me. As Christians it is our responsibility to be salt and light in our nation and to the world. How can we influence and impact if we as Christians don't even make an effort to vote? That is the very least thing we can do.

If you are not registered to vote, you have until October 4 to vote in this election. You get the entire process started via your cell phone. Just dial 510-771-7972 then put in your email address and zip code.

Voting is both a right and a privilege. We need to use that right to elect people who represent the morals and values that we hold. I would encourage everyone to get out and vote and to vote from a biblical worldview - that is, voting for those people who best represent the values which represent the Bible's stated points of view. Voter guides will be available in the foyer to help everyone evaluate the candidates values, opinions, and positions.

Persecution of the American Church

When we think of persecution of the church our minds immediately jump to countries like China and North Korea...places where your very life and well-being are threatened for bowing your head and praying. But you don't have to look halfway around the globe to see the persecution of the church.

Yesterday our Ministry Leadership Team went to a seminar on Politics and the Church put on in part by the Alliance Defense Fund, a team of Christian attornies that fight to protect our civil liberties. They gave several examples of the church being persecuted litigiously but the one that struck me most was one involving a Bible study. A pastor held a private Bible study with a few other people in his home and when the city found out about it they started fining him. Once the ADF stepped in and assisted they got the whole thing overturned but the point remains.

There may come a time, sooner rather than later, when the government takes action against your civil religious liberties. If that happens, what will you do? Will you hide your lamp under a bushel or continue to shine as Christ has called you to?


Silence in Worship

I continue to read a book by Matt Redman entitled "Facedown" I want to share with you today about an aspect of worship we seldom see in our services. We at times are so concerned about loud and energy that we forget to be "Still" before God. Here is an portion of this book and I encourage each of us to think about being still before God. "There is a time for every kind of sound when we gather together to worship God through music-a time for majestic anthems and a time to quietly whisper His praise, a time for dancing in abandoned celebration and a time for stately chords that speak of His holy splendor. Yet there is also a time when the most appropriate response is simply to be still-and in that stillness know that He is God." I hope that sometime each day we will take time to be still before God.

Pastor Dick

Friday, September 17, 2010


Wednesday evening in Children's Prayer meeting we talked about how uniquely God created each of them. It was a table full of bright, gifted, and talented children. I explained that they were going to be good at whatever they set their minds to in life.

I challenged them to decide right now, while they are young, that no matter how successful they were capable of becoming in this world, that they would choose to serve God first and foremost, with their whole hearts and complete devotion.

God created us to know Him and make Him known. Life is that simple. Is everything we do aimed at those goals? Yes, we need to pay rent and eat. But how many decisions do we make that are taking us away from these goals as opposed to freeing us to pursue them? And are we pursuing them in the midst of those activities?

While at work, are we focused on working in such a way that people see us as extraordinary, and want to be our friend? And then do we take the next step and have them over to our home and share with them why we are the way we are?

I tell children that God puts them in the classroom, on the sports team, in the dance class that they are in because there are children in that same place who don't know Him yet. I tell them that God placed them there because He trusts them with His very important message of salvation. I challenge them to be trustworthy and faithful to share God's great message with their friends. What an honor!!

Am I trustworthy and faithful? Are you? Let's pray that we'll grow in this area.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

1000 Hearts for Jesus

One of our goals at El Camino this year is to ask God to use us to lead 1,000 people to Jesus. Over the last week, I know of 9 hearts that have been placed on the board up front, representing 9 decisions to trust Jesus. Diane Yeager had 5 children pray with her at Good News Clubs. Shar Rushing prayed with 2 at Good News Clubs. I had the privilege of meeting with a young couple and both prayed with me as I gave them the "sinner's prayer." How exciting it is to see people begin to experience new life in Christ. We have over 120 hearts on the board, representing over 120 decision to follow Christ. Continue to pray for the salvation of all the people whose names have been placed in the basket up front. Our passion must be to share the good news of Jesus with others. It our joy and responsibility to share His message with the world. Why not ask God to allow you to have the privilege of leading someone to a saving faith in our Lord?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Bride Of Christ

I have been thinking lately about being the bride of Christ, especially preparing myself for His return. I stumbled on this blog post* and thought I would share it with you:

The Jewish wedding ceremony took place in 3 parts. Each part is symbolic of a much greater wedding. It began with the “Betrothal” which was preceded by intense bargaining between the father of the bride and the father of the groom. The “Bride Price” was very steep. The price was comparable to what would be the price of a new house today. Then, when the bride was paid, there was a ceremony in which the couple was betrothed. The price Jesus paid for us was also very steep. It was not silver or gold, but His own precious blood. If we have put our trust in that blood, there is a ring on our finger. We are betrothed. In the days of Jesus, this part of the ceremony symbolized a permanent commitment. It is the same with our relationship with Jesus.

Next, the groom went away in order to add a room to his father’s house. It usually took about a year, but the actual time was determined by the father. It was when the father said that things were ready when the groom would surprise his bride and bring her back with a great processional. In John 14 Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

During this time of separation, the bride would prepare her gown. It involved much time and patience and had much intricate detail. As we anticipate our “GREAT WEDDING DAY” we, as Christians are preparing our wedding gown. Rather than fine linen, our wedding gown is the purity of our character. Our character is developed as we clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone who has the hope of Jesus returning is in this process of sanctification. We are a work in progress. We eagerly anticipate what we will become.



Friday, September 10, 2010

Jesus' Precious Sacrifice

I just read Hoss' blog from a couple days ago. It reminded me of a situation that occurred in Good News Club this week. I had the honor of sharing the Gospel message with a delightful group of first graders who are mostly unchurched and new to the things of God.

When I talked about Jesus dying to pay for our sins because He loved us so much and wanted to live with us forever, a little guy in the front row got big crocodile tears in his eyes. I have never noticed anyone I have shared the gospel with ever respond that way before. It reminded me that Jesus' sacrifice was so incredible! I always appreciate it, but I tend to take it for granted at times.

Thank you little guy for reminding me how precious the shed blood of Jesus is!! Thank you Jesus for loving us so much! Like Pastor Ron mentioned in his blog, Lord, please help us live our lives fully surrendered to You as our love gift back to you!

How do you keep the remembrance of His sacrifice fresh in your life?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Commitment versus Surrender

Just finished reading an email sent by Loren Dorlig. It included an article by Bob Butler. The central question posed by the article is whether we are committed to Christ or surrendered to Christ. He makes a big difference between the two. When we are committed, we are still the one in control. We make the decisions and we decide how far we will go. Surrender means that we have no control. It all belongs to Jesus. Our responsibility in surrender is to follow Him where He leads, to do what He says, and to be what He wants us to be. It is an interesting concept that challenged my thinking. I will try to put it in the Torch over the next month or so.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


This past Sunday in the Contemporary Service I did the song "Jesus' Blood" as an offertory. I wanted some images to go along with the lyrics so I took some bits and pieces from the movie "The Passion Of The Christ". It had been quite a while since I had seen the movie and I was reminded of one of the scenes. Jesus is carrying the cross through the streets, bloodied and battered. He falls to his knees and Mary comes to his aid. "See, Mother" He says. "I make all things new."

Did this actually happen? No...at least it is not presented that it did in the Gospels. Mel Gibson, the director, actually took the line from Revelation 21:5 and applied it to the scene. But, it did get me thinking about the feelings Mary must have had when watching her child die. She had been miraculously blessed with child as a virgin. She watched Jesus grow from a boy into a man and do wondrous miracles and lead tens of thousands of people.

God hasn't chosen to bless Katie and I with children yet so I can't even imagine the utter despair that Mary must have felt as she watched Jesus during His final hours. Helpless is the only word that comes to mind. This would be the only way that her baby boy could be the Savior of the world. It was His blood alone that could make all things new.


Saturday, September 4, 2010


A Christian friend asked me to pray for his ailing family member. I asked if she was a Christian. He wasn't sure. I asked if she had ever heard the gospel message. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Of course she has! She lives in America. There is a church on every corner, church on TV and even on the radio. Of course she has heard the gospel!" How many of us actually believe we don't need to share the gospel with those God brings into our lives because they must have already heard it? After all, we live in America!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sanctuary Choir Begins

This past Wednesday evening we began the new season of our Sanctuary Choir. This choir sings each Sunday for our Classical service. Beyond that we present a Christmas program at El Camino and Fellowship Square and our Easter program, "The Living Lord's Supper" With many of our regulars returning we also had 3 new members join us for this season. Now is a great time to come and join with us as we minister through music. We meet Wednesday evenings at 7p.m. on the backstage of the Worship Center. I hope to see "you" next Wednesday evening.

Dick Dillender

Spend Time In Peaceful Wonder

The past couple of weeks I have felt like noise has enveloped me. I am constantly around people, dealing with issues, making decisions. I usually have my quiet time with God in the mornings but many times I get distracted by what I have to do that day.

So last night around 8pm I took my Bible, my devotional journal and my new little kitten Milo out on the back patio. It was already quite dark and the stars were out. I spent some time reading from Isaiah and then just looked at the stars...and was quiet. I watched as Milo gnawed at the chair I was sitting in. I prayed for our church for all the events coming up and for our leaders. I sang "God Of Wonders". And that was it. It was simple. It was serene.

In I Kings 19:11-12, Elijah finds out that God wasn't in the wind, in the earthquake or in the fire. He was in the still, small voice...the one that we have to stop our busyness and listen for.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A new book on Bonhoeffer recently came out written by Eric Metaxas. I was asked to read it. The book has startled me by the amazing similarities between the rise of Hitler and the Nazi agenda and the current political condition in the United States as they relate to the Church and God. One great historian said, "The only thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history." If the USA is not careful, we will find that the church will be facing the same sort of conditions that it faced with the rise of Hitler. Do we follow the government's clear anti-God agenda or do we stand for truth and get slaughtered? The church needs to rise up, pray, and step forward in action. Pray for revival. Without it, I believe we are in deep trouble.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Today is my day off. I love days off. It has been a wonderful week, extra busy, but wonderful!

Tomorrow we have our Back 2 School Volunteer Rally. It is going to be a great weekend! Today after I take some missionary friends to the airport, I have a few details to attend to for the training. Then I have the rest of the afternoon and evening free. I can spend it any way I choose. Therein lies the dilemma quietly, gently nagging at my heart.

My husband and I have been praying diligently for our next door neighbors, some family members, and a few specific friends. They do not have a personal relationship with Jesus…yet. We love them dearly and want them to spend eternity with Him. But, how will they know unless someone tells them?(Romans 10:14) We have been praying for them since at least January, and for many of these people, much longer, yet have made no conscious effort to share the life giving gospel with them.

It is so easy to justify our lack of follow through. We are legitimately busy people, serving God in many ways, and still periodically investing in the lives of our growing children and aging parents. Plus, we are thoroughly enjoying this new stage of freedom in our marriage of having grown children. It is so easy to make pleasurable choices with our discretionary time. And that is exactly what we tend to choose.

“Lord, You have placed these people in our lives because You trust us to share Your plan of salvation with them. Please give us Your heart for these precious, perishing people. Burden us with thoughts of what their eternity apart from You will be like. Help us to care more about their eternal destiny than our momentary pleasures. Remove our laziness. Motivate us to take the initiative to get together with them, to enthusiastically invest in their lives in meaningful ways, to purpose to share you directly, clearly, boldly, lovingly…soon. “

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Worship Ministry Season

September for me is the beginning of a new season. The summer events are done and most everyone is back home and settling in for the next nine months. With the start of the new season it always means Choir is back in session. Last season we had a great time of ministry as we shared most Sunday mornings in the Classical service and then at Christmas and Easter. I'm always looking for new people to sing with us and this is your invitation to join us September 1st at 7:00 p.m. on the Backstage of the Worship Center. Choir is a unique group as it allows a variety of people with many different vocal skill levels to come together in singing praise to the Lord and to enjoy great fellowship. I'm looking forward to a wonderful season of singing with the Sanctuary Choir, come join us.

Dick Dillender

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mud Bowl Ministry

Last week we had over 100 kids invovled in our two mud bowls - most of them were ECBC kids and the friends they brought. Why did we get muddy? Well, it's a lot of fun to play in the mud, but more importantly, this event was designed specifically to draw in kids at the start of the school year - both new and old kids - which it did (Praise God)!

The hard work now starts: to get the kids who came to the mud bowls to regularly come to our groups and grow in their walk with God - Please join me in prayer to this end as we continue to reach out into the community around ECBC!


Regret is an appalling waste of energy. You can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in. - Katherine Mansfield

On Tuesday nights, members of the Believers Living In Truth ABF meet for a time of study and accountaibility. We are currently going through the "Crazy Love" book and DVD series and last night's chapter talked at length about regret. If we were to die tomorrow, what would be our greatest regret in life?

I struggle with this question because I don't believe regret comes from God. I think we regret two things in life:

1) SIN: If we sin, we should of course be repentant and ensure that behavior is not repeated, but we shouldn't be consumed by it. We need the forgiveness that only comes from Christ but then we need to lay the burden of sin at His feet. Guilt is for the unrepentant; freedom is for the forgiven.

2) UNFULFILLED EXPECTATIONS: How often do we wish that we had done something differently to gain a more beneficial outcome for ourselves? But isn't God's plan for our lives perfect? We are growing and maturing as believers as we live our lives...the lives that God has designed for us.

Regret has no place in a Christian's life so cast all your cares upon Him and trust that He has a plan for you.


Seek to Set Heaven Rejoicing

We now have over 108 hearts on the board, signifying decisions made to follow Jesus Christ. Scripture shares that the heavens rejoice when one person comes to faith. The heavens have had that opportunity to rejoice over the poeple who have choosen to follow Jesus as you have shared the gospel with them. I ask God to give me opportunities to share my faith. Others have joined me in praying the same thing. Even though we may not always recognize those divine appointment when they occur, we can rejoice when we grab them and run with the gospel. Even when those appointments may be hard and draining, we still need to seek them out and rejoice when God gives them. Let us be like the Apostle Paul, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation; to the Jew first and also to the Greek."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Praise God For Your Trials

Every day the El Camino staff meets at 11:30 a.m. to have a time of prayer for each other and for our church. I lead the prayer time on Thursday mornings and yesterday we did one of my favorite things to pray...giving praise to God for the things we are struggling with in our lives.

I say it's one of my favorites but it's also the hardest. Most days when we open it up for prayer requests or praises, everyone is quick to participate. But every time I lead this kind of prayer, it's always a little more difficult for those present to open up, including myself. It's very easy for us all to pray for trials in our life or to praise God for our blessings, but shouldn't it be just as easy to praise Him for our trials too? Everything that comes from God is good and perfect and, therefore, praiseworthy. Think about the trials that you've experienced in your life. Once you get through them, don't you always see what God's plan was? How He was testing you? Changing you? Molding you into a better likeness of Himself?

We don't find out a lot about ourselves when we are feeling blessed and life is going swell. But when God tests and tries us, we are given the opportunity to prove our faith, our love and our trust in Him. Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Recognizing Servants

True servants don't need recognition. They serve because they feel the call to serve and their joy comes from helping others. However, it is also an encouragment when others recognize the sacrifice of service and give thanks. Last week I mentioned that we should all go up to a deaconess and give them a word of thanks for their service. How about making giving others a word of encouragement a habit of life? It develops a spirit of appreciation and the skill of building up others. This week I have on my mind a group of men who get very little public recognition. They call themselves the "Weed and Seed" group. This is a group of men who spend time each week caring for plants, picking up trash, cleaning and maintaining the property, and trying to develop a family friendly atmosphere on the campus that God has entrusted to El Camino Baptist Church. You don't know who they are? Ask people like Jim Stark, Steve Smith, and Jerry Rosser who some of these guys are so that you can personally thank them for their diligent work which is regularly volunteered.

Friday, August 13, 2010

School Supplies

Buying school supplies each year is a rite of passage. We trade our flip flops and swim suits for yellow pencils with orange erasers and reams of notebook paper. A box of pencils for $.09 and a 24 pack of Crayola crayons for a quarter just can’t be beat! I no longer have children in school, but I stock up our children’s ministries cupboards with enough supplies to last us throughout the year. I saved us over $400 this year. Shopping sales is so rewarding!

On this particular day, I approached the school supply aisle and it was packed. There was no way I was getting my shopping cart in there, and I’d be lucky if I could fit. As I surveyed my options, a thought struck my mind. If 75% of the school children who attend our Good News Clubs are unchurched and don’t know Jesus, then I bet 75% of the children crammed into that school supply aisle don’t either.

Looking at those beautiful, precious children with huge smiles on their faces, excitedly loading up their arms and carts with new school supplies, broke my heart. They are so happy right now, but will they be for eternity? Do they know Jesus died to pay for their sins so they could live forever with Him in Heaven? How many of them will have an opportunity to hear the Good News before it is too late?

At El Camino we sponsor Good News Clubs in neighboring public schools. We go in on Wednesday afternoons from about 1:00-2:30 and teach a club similar to Sunday School. The children are little sponges and they respond so readily to God’s Truth and the Gospel of Salvation. We have a tremendous mission field literally in our front yard. We are fasting and praying that God will lead hearts to join us on this mission field, ripe for the harvesting.

Will you join us in prayer and possibly by serving on a three person ministry team? School starts next week and clubs start early next month. The harvest is plentiful! I guarantee that this is even more rewarding than saving $400, and it is an investment that will last for eternity!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Exciting things happening at El Camino

So my main purpose in putting together this blog was to give a chance for our Ministry Leadership Team to share their heart and give an outlet to tell the people of El Camino the exciting things that are happening within our church.

Let me just tell you all that God is moving right now and it is fun to see.

A lot of new things are happening in the next 2 months. Our After School program gets started next week with its new full week schedule. September 11th we have our Leadership Summit. September 18th we have the Beth Moore Simulcast. Dick and I are in the midst of planning a Praise In The Park event (an outdoor worship night at Udall) for early October plus we have our All-Church Work Day on Oct. 23rd.

Now this isn't meant as another avenue of advertising events...we already have enough of those (bulletins, slides, e-mail, Facebook/Twitter, etc.). What I want to do is encourage you to be excited!!! Be excited that we can come together as a church!!! Be excited that we can use these events as ways to reach others for Christ!!! Be excited that God is using the people and ministries of El Camino for His Glory!!!



I am starting a new sermon series this week entitled "Called to Serve." Prayerfully it will challenge all of us to become better servants. As an example of service, I would like to call attention to Deanna House and all the ladies who help at memorial services. This last week many of them spent 3 days at the church preparing and serving these families during their time of grief. These women have had such wonderful attitudes and expended such effort. Thank you ladies for your service. I also want to thank all the deaconesses for their behind the scenes efforts! Hey let's start something! Why don't we each go up to one of our deaconesses and personally thank them for all that they do?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Genuine Love

Love is having the other person’s best interest at heart. Based on that definition, it sounds easy to love. Just do what’s best for the other person. But wait. What if what’s best for the other person puts you in a lesser light in their eyes? Do you still do what’s best for them, even at the risk that they might think less of you afterward? Even if it means it might injure your relationship with the person?

How many times do I opt for silence over speaking the truth in love, simply because I don’t want the other person to be upset with me? I can justify it and say, “I’m not the Holy Spirit. God will show them.” When in reality if I truly loved them more than I loved myself, I’d have their best interest at heart and not my own, and speak up.

Over the past six years I have watched and experienced the depths of this type of love, God’s love, through our Senior Pastor. He isn’t just a sound Bible teacher, he is a true shepherd. He cares about every aspect of our lives. He rejoices when someone in our body rejoices. He grieves when one of us grieves. He is encouraging and challenging. And he says the hard things when they need to be said for our good.

When Jesus lived on earth, many people in his country raised sheep. The sheep slept in a pen with only one opening, with no gate. At night the shepherd would lie in the opening to keep the sheep safe. The sheep were safe because their shepherd stood between them and any lurking danger. And he dealt with that danger head on if it got too close.

I’ve seen our pastor do this time and time again when we fail to see the danger we’re in. He gets between us and sin, and calls it sin to bring it to the light, because when sin is revealed for what it is, it loses its power in our lives. When we see it, we can deal with it. And conquering sin is in our best interest. It doesn’t feel immediately good to be on the receiving end of having light shone on sin, but the final product is a right relationship with God and others, and there is nothing better in life.

I want to love that sacrificially. I want to care more about others than my own comfort. I want to shepherd my little piece of God’s flock with equal care. Lord, please increase my love for others. Make me more like You!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Have Fun Praising God

So the Contemporary praise team has it's practice on Monday nights and we are learning a new song together, Lincoln Brewster's "Salvation Is Here". While we all knew the melody, there's a very big difference between that and being able to play it cohesively as a group of different instruments and voices. It's a really upbeat song with lots of drums, bass and distorted guitar and those songs can be somewhat difficult to get the timing down right. But once we started playing, we kind of forgot about a lot of the technical stuff and just had a great time praising God as a group of believers.

IT'S FUN TO GIVE GOD PRAISE!!!!!!! We felt blessed to be able to do that as a close-knit team and I hope that on Sunday morning, people are able to join us in the exuberance of doing exactly what we were created to do...give God glory!!


Things Reserved for God Alone

In my devotion today I'm reading the book by Matt Redman entitled "Face Down". In the chapter today he talks about things we do and say that could or should be reserved for the worship of God only. Our word awesome is so over used today when in reality the only one that is truly worthy of our awe is God.


Dick Dillender

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Truth or Error

NKJ 1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

We are commanded to test the spirits to see if they are of God. How do we recognize the spirit of truth from the spirit of error? The first thing I do is to evaluate it in light of God's Word. God never contradicts Himself. Therefore, if what is said is not consistent with God's Word, it is not true but is the spirit of error.

What are some other things you do to know truth from error?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Youth Ministries - More than games?

I always have to laugh a little when I'm out buying supplies for our weekly youth group meetings and my list includes items like pantyhose, squirt-guns, pool noodles, and water balloons. Hearing a list like that might give the impressions that all we do in Youth Minsitries is play games and have fun.

In reality, while a big part of working with youth involves games and fun, these things are only tools to be used to reach individual students with the truth of God's Word. The games are mearly a vehicle we use to draw in students so that we have the opportunity to invest in their lives in a meaningful way. In actual practice, fun and games play only a small part of the overall goings on in youth work.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Enemy Attacks

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. We all know that the Christian's enemy is the devil. One of his favorite tactics is to go after the leadership in a church. It can take many forms. It can be enticement to ungodly behavior. It can be an attack on their family. It can also be in the form of distraction and disunity. Satan loves to start factions, rumors, lies, and gossip. In so doing, he can undermine confidence in leadership. If he takes out the leadership, he can take out the entire church. We really need to pray for our pastors, elders, and leaders in the church.

What are some other methods have you seen that Satan uses to get at leaders?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jesus' Blood Never Fails Me

I'm always keeping my ears open for new songs to do in the Contemporary service. Frequently, I will find one and get so attached to the lyrics and the music that I have to listen to it over and over again (this happened with You're Beautiful which I discussed earlier). Well, I have a new one for you this week...Jesus' Blood by Delirious? If you'd like to watch a video with the lyrics you can click this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-1cEWKr5us.

In this world, nothing and no one is for certain. If we trust in people or objects or ideas with our whole hearts, we will be let down every time. But...we can put our faith in knowing that Jesus' blood never fails us. Amen.


Friday, July 23, 2010

The Back Up

As the Director of Children’s Ministries here at El Camino, it is an honor to serve God by providing what we hope are quality programs for children and their families. We believe that we are here to support families as they “bring their children up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Being the ‘back up’ was so apparent to me this Wednesday evening in Children’s Prayer Meeting.

Three year old Elias wanted to pray for his mommy, daddy and Sunday school teacher. He turned to me and said, “I can pray without saying the words with my mouth because God can hear them in my mind.” I smiled and agreed. He then immediately bowed his head, folded his hands, and his facial features got very serious. At that moment I knew he had been taught a worshipful prayer posture and a comfort for talking to God by his parents. There was no hesitation, no arguing, no questioning. He simply bowed and got busy praying.

This encounter with Elias reminded me that his parents are the first and foremost nurturers in his spiritual journey. God blesses me and the rest of the staff and volunteers on our Children’s Ministry team with the incredible privilege of joining Him and each parent in the spiritual discipleship of their children, helping them become fully devoted followers of Jesus. I pray we never take this responsibility lightly, or the blessing for granted.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Learning to Love

I have just returned from 2 weeks of vacation which included visiting family and friends. Relationships are so important. As I reflect, I know that I have had wonderful relationships with some people over my 61 years. Yet there have been others with whom I have no desire to see again. It makes me ask myself a question. Why do I love certain people and not others? Scripture mandates we love others. Its the mark of Christianity to the unbelieving world (John 8:31,32). Yet I still find it hard to love some people. How do I learn to love those who irritate me, confront me, or don't give me the attention/respect that I think I deserve? I must love them because my God loves them. How do we learn to love others?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

God's Perfect Plan

I have been thinking a lot the past couple of days about God's perfect plan. Sometimes I think that I could have done things differently and, if I had done so, I would be a better and happier person. That is regret and that is wrong. No aspect of my life has gone unnoticed by God. He has designed experiences for me so that I can grow in my faith in Him. So that the work that He started within me can progress to completion.

Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it. - Isaiah 46:9-11

It's encouraging to know that even when I might feel lost, I am exactly where God wants me and He's taking care of things.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You're Beautiful

I wanted to share some lyrics with you today. It's from a song called "You're Beautiful" by Phil Wickham and we are going to be singing it in Contemporary Service in the upcoming weeks. I've been listening to this song on a daily basis for the past couple of weeks and I can't help but think about the beauty of God's creation, the beauty of His gift of life for us and the beauty of the promise that we will see Him face to face:

I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
You're beautiful

I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It's all proclaiming who You are
You're beautiful, You're beautiful

I see you there hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now You are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
You're beautiful, You're beautiful

When we arrive at eternity's shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We'll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we'll sing
You're beautiful, You're beautiful, You're beautiful


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Prayer Engine

So we are going to be adding a new feature to the website in a week or two and wanted to tell you all so you could get excited about it. It is called the Prayer Engine and it is an online prayer wall. If you have a prayer request you can post it on the wall (either with your name or anonymously). This request would be visable to the site's visitors so they can pray for you but the best part is you will be notified when someone is praying for you.

Imagine the peace, comfort and courage that comes from knowing a congregation is praying for you! Then imagine the excitement that can be shared with others when God answers that prayer! So be on the lookout for this exciting new tool.


Friday, July 2, 2010

This 4th of July

Not much of a post today...just wanted to share some things with you this 4th of July weekend:

You may trod us into the very dirt but, like dust, we'll rise.

Gettysburg Address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvA0J_2ZpIQ

The galleries are full of critics. They play no ball, they fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down in the arena are the doers. They make mistakes because they try many things. The man who makes no mistakes lacks boldness and the spirit of adventure. He is the one who never tries anything...And yet it cannot be truly said he makes no mistakes, because his mistake is the very fact that he tries nothing, does nothing, except criticize those who do things.

I Have A Dream: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbUtL_0vAJk&feature=related

I pray God's blessings on our men and women in uniform and thank them for their dedication. I pray that we as Americans do not take for granted what we have...freedom and liberty. May God bless you this 4th of July as He has blessed this country.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Face Down Worship

I would like to share with everyone a quote from I small book I've been reading entitled, "Face Down" by Matt Redman.
"Every posture in worship says something of both the worshipper and the One being gloried in.
The raising of hands tells of a soul stretched out high in praise and the worth of the One being exalted. Joyful dancing interprets a grateful heart and points in adoration to the source of that joy. When it comes to expressing our worship, what we do on the outside is a key reflection of what's taking place on the inside." It may be standing or sitting in quiet reverence, or a wonderful smile, or hands lifted high but however God leads us to worship him we should do so with our whole heart, mind, soul & body.

Dick Dillender

Monday, June 21, 2010

We Can Know God

I was doing my devotional this morning and came across Jeremiah 44: 2-3:

"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, 'You yourselves have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are in ruins and no one lives in them, because of their wickedness which they committed so as to provoke Me to anger by continuing to burn sacrifices and to serve other gods whom they had not known, neither they, you, nor your fathers."

A few interesting things in there but the thing that jumped out at me was the very last phrase. God was angered by people serving "other gods whom they had not known". Even as Almighty Creator, God not only allows us to know Him but desires it. I know this sounds odd but wouldn't you be furious if you were in God's shoes? He wants us to know him in a personal way and we, like Judah, continue to turn from Him to gods (money, objects, power, etc.) which we can never know.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fourth of July Celebration

On the Fourth of July, we will only have one combined service at 9:30 a.m. followed by churchwide picnic and fun time. The service will feature patriotic music, a honor guard, special music, and a message from God's Word regarding what being free truly means. What are your thoughts about doing something like this occasionally? Let me hear from you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Simple Happiness

Last week I had the pleasure of being up at Camp EDGE on Mt. Lemmon with the 4th-8th graders. We had great food, played games, ate some more, did some hiking, some more eating (I had forgotten how many times you eat at camp).

We also had some very special chapel times. I was fortunate to lead the kids in worship times. We sang a lot of the same songs we sing in our Contemporary service but added motions so they were easier to remember. It was great to hear the kids singing these songs outside of the chapel time too.

The thing that struck me most was during the message time. Lynne Hooge did a wonderful job of sharing the gospel and when the kids responded during question times, you could see how happy they were that Jesus loved them.

It's so simple but yet it means so much. Jesus loves us and we are His forever. It's easy to get lost in the complex issues of worship, theology, doctrine, etc. It's impossible to get lost in the simplicity of knowing a loving God died for us and will never let us go. Something to be truly happy about.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

We Need "Duh" Moments

So I was reading Jeremiah 32 last night when I stumbled upon verse 17:

"Ah Lord God! Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and Thine outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for Thee."

Two things hit me:

1) I had no idea where the song had come from before
2) I love the "Duh" moment that Jeremiah uses at the end.

After detailing that God is so powerful that He made the heavens and earth, he finishes by saying nothing is too difficult for God to accomplish. Well of course not!!! Duh!!! But don't we think like that all the time? We always acknowledge that God is Almighty, Creator, All-Powerful, Omniscient, etc. but many times we don't seek His help with our problems because we don't want to burden God with something really difficult.


If He created the heavens and earth, I'm pretty sure anything I throw His way is going to be pretty easy.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What Is God Revealing To You?

Every day at El Camino, the staff gets together for a time of sharing and prayer. Pastor Ron leads on Tuesdays and this month we have been discussing what God has shown us through His Word.

I'm currently going through the book of Jeremiah and this morning I read Jeremiah 28. It talks about Hananiah, a prophet and his interaction with Jeremiah. I won't go into the details of the story but suffice it to say, God punishes those who speak falsely. Because of his lies, Hananiah dies the very same year and Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, is given even more power.

The Word of God IS TRUTH. When we manipulate it to suit our needs, we bring punishment both on ourselves and those around us.

What is God showing you this week from His Word?


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Priorities of Life

Matthew 6:33 says to seek FIRST His Kingdom and righteousness. What does that mean? My intial thoughts are the highest priorities of life should be seeking God, expanding His kingdom, and living Biblical righteousness. Do we actualy believe this? In many ways, I seriously doubt that most believers in the USA (even among many at El Camino) make God a priority of life. I think most people seek God only when they have a need or its fun. Few really discipline themselves to make God the highest priority of life and activities. If God was the highest priority of our life, wouldn't we be consistent in daily devotions and prayer? If His kingdom is our desire, wouldn't ministry at church be a priority? What are your thoughts on this subject? How can we at El Camino seek God first?

God Has The Power Not Man

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that Pastor Ron had gotten a book of quotes. Another one that I found very interesting was by Orville Thompson.

"Who are "they" that hold so much power over our lives?

I think back to a message that Bruce Johnson gave a while back when Pastor Ron was out of town. The main point was that we need to be seeking the approval of God not man. A man only has power when other men give it to him. One of the ways we give power to men is by seeking their approval. But God's power does not hinge on man seeking His approval. God is powerful regardless if man acknowledges that power.

The people Thompson refers to ("they") look rather insignificant when compared to our God of infinite power.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Random Thoughts With Stu

This past week I have made a sad, but too often true, observation: When God does amazing things in my life, I am quick to be thankful but I am also quick to forget.

What I’ve noticed is that the everyday busyness of life (work, family, kids, friends, house work) has a way of drowning out the incredible things God is doing in my life. My focus is constantly being drawn away from God's movement in my life. The result is that my mind begins to think, "God is not working in my life." The reality is that God is working, but I am allowing the everyday things to push the remembrance of God's great love out of my mind.

My response is that daily I need to carve out (and protect) time away and alone with God so I can be reminded of the special gifts He is constantly giving that, with a hectic pace, often go unnoticed.

I invite you to let me know what you think.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Worship Styles or Preferences

For years churches have debated what style of singing we should have in our church. Notice I didn't say "what style of Worship" As most would agree the whole time together is Worship. Reading God's Word, singing, praying, giving an offering, fellowship, & hearing the Word of God shared from our Pastor.

So why the debate, is Amazing Grace from the hymnal really better than Amazing Grace ( My Chains are Gone) or is it just what we prefer.

Also, what do you think makes a service Classical, Blended or Contemporary.

Dick Dillender
Worship Pastor

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Presence of God

So how did this week's message and devotional strike me?

I know that, no matter my perspective on how my life is going at any given time, God is present. I think it's easy to feel His presence when things are great. It's easy to appreciate the blessings we have...it's easy to be in His word and in prayer...it's easy to "be with God".

But what about when things aren't great? What about when I'm stressed at work? When I'm having a disagreement with my wife? The worse times for me are when I'm not having consistent quiet time with Him. I feel lonely, depressed...I feel distant from God.

I'll give you a little peek at this Sunday's message...God Is Changeless. If I feel joy because of the wonderful family I've been given, God is there. If I feel sadness because of the loss of a loved one, God is there. If I feel anger because of the state of our nation and decisions being made, God is there. If I feel peace knowing that He is in control, God is there.

God's presence doesn't change...it's only my view of it that changes. His arms will always be open to me.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Hey, I am new to this blogging thing. So what do we blog about? What were your impressions of the sermon on Sunday? I have had some very positive and some very negative feedback. What do you think?

Just Do It

I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

Pastor Ron recently purchased a book of very interesting and thought-provoking quotes and had the Ministry Leadership Team read through it. One of the first ones I wrote down from the book was the quote above from Pablo Picasso. In a brief research of Picasso, I found nothing to suggest that he was a believer of Christ Jesus. He was convinced though that he could achieve anything, through his own strength, by neglecting the limitations he placed on himself.

How should we as Christians view this? We have an Almighty God on our side, yet we constantly put restrictions on our gifts and talents. We try something once and if we get nervous or stumble in the slightest, we write ourselves off that God can't use us.

I'm guessing that the first sermon Pastor Ron gave straight out of seminary was not that great. I'm guessing that the first time Diane and Stu were in front of young people they got nervous. I'm guessing that Dick's first worship service was less than stellar. But I praise God that He gave these people a desire and a passion to continue, to persevere. To learn HOW to do it. They felt that God was calling them to be leaders and so they followed His calling and now can tell you countless stories about the people that they have helped bring to an understanding of our Lord.

We have all been commanded to tell others about Jesus. Will we all do it in the same way? No. But we MUST ALL DO IT. We learn by doing...even by doing the things we cannot do.