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.

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!