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.

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.