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.









Monday, February 28, 2011

God Answers Prayer

On Sunday, Alice Statler (one of the career missionaries El Camino supports) approached me before the service. We exchanged greetings. I hadn't realized she was back from Senegal. She shared a little bit about why she was in the States and then asked for prayer. She was scheduled to return to Senegal on Wednesday but had lost her passport and it was looking doubtful that she would be able to replace it because all of her original birth certificates were back in Senegal. As a church, we prayed on Sunday. We received the following from Alice on Monday:

Dear Friends,
Tom and Judith were able to get my birth certificate in less than half an hour. They went straight to the post office and it is being 'overnighted' to me in Tucson. It should arrive by noon tomorrow. I went to the passport agency and they said to come in as soon as it arrives and they will expedite my passport. So….I should be on that plane heading back to Senegal on Wednesday morning! Praise the Lord! Thank you so much for all you have done by your prayers and your efforts and by giving to meet my needs! I am so humbled by your love and care and by the Lord's amazing power! Love, Alice

God answers prayer! In addition to that, the Sunday before we prayed for individuals who were in the need of a job. This was a bit disconcerting for some when I asked everyone to stand who had that need. After this Sunday's service, one individual came to me and expressed how they stood up when I ask but did so a bit reluctantly. However, they said on the Tuesday following the prayer time they received a job offer that they had been pursuing!!! I heard of two different people who received jobs that week.

God does answer prayer. He is so good. He will answer your prayers - wait on the Lord for He is good and His love is everlasting. He is concerned with all your needs and promises to meet them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

4' 33"

For anyone wondering about the title of this post it is "4 minutes 33 seconds". This is the title of a "song" by "musician" John Cage. It is a 3 movement piece where the orchestra sits silent for 4 minutes and 33 seconds and the audience is made to listen to the sounds around them...shuffling feet, people clearing the throat, the air conditioner in the theatre. You can watch this on Youtube in several different venues (and be bored to tears I might add).

You might be thinking, what a strange subject to write about. But I use this example to arrive at a quote of Mr. Cage's that I wanted to share with you:

"The highest purpose is to have no purpose at all. This puts one in accord with nature, in her manner of operation."

This is what the world wants us to believe. If we have no real purpose, then nothing matters and we can act however we want. Mr. Cage presupposes that by having no purpose, we will be like nature. But I beg to differ:

"The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands." - Psalm 19:1

"The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise." - Isaiah 43:21

It seems Mr. Cage is 100% wrong. Allow me to write my own quote:

"The highest purpose is to declare the glory of God. This puts one in accord with nature and, more importantly, into obedience of its Creator." - Hoss

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Around the World

This past Sunday I was blessed to be a part of the memorial service for Wanda Humble. In the short time I knew her I was always blessed by her love for the Lord. I was asked by Pastor Ron about live streaming the service, with Gregg Wright and Stephen Field we were able to stream the service "Around the World" friends from England, Belize, Indonesia, and here in the US were able to be a part of the service. What a blessing God has given us through technology to touch people here and "Around the World"

Pastor Dick

Friday, February 18, 2011

Right Here, Right Now

Wednesday I was invited to read in my friend's public school classroom for TUSD's Love of Reading Week. Being a former first grade teacher, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read to and interact with these little ones.

I took a Max Lucado storybook entitled You Are Special. It is a book about dignity and self worth. The characters in this sweet children's book are wooden people, made by the Carver. It eludes to the fact that our sense of value should be grounded in the opinion of our Maker, not that of the people around us.

I wanted to tell them that they have a Maker. I wanted to tell them that God created them, loves them so much, and wants to spend forever with them. I wanted to tell them that He loves them so much that He made a way for them to live forever in Heaven with Him. I wanted to tell them the amazing story of Jesus!

But I legally couldn't. School children during the day are not allowed to hear the name of Jesus being proclaimed in the classroom. Our personal statistics and those nationally collected show that 75%-80% of children have never heard the gospel. They don't even know who God really is. That is an astounding number!! As I looked into their attentive faces I knew that I held the key to their lifelong joy and everlasting life, and I couldn't share it. It broke my heart.

Afterward as I was driving back to church, I prayed and prayed that God would send us more workers so we could open a Good News Club at that school, just 2 miles from El Camino. THEN those little guys could legally hear about Jesus and have the opportunity for lifetime joy and everlasting life.

Not having enough people available to serve for God's glory isn't new. Even Jesus noticed the lack of workers over 2000 years ago. Luke 10:2 says, "He told them, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'"

Please pray with us for workers, so that every public school child can hear the name of Jesus and know what He did for them. Their eternal destiny is up for grabs. Let's grab it for Jesus!!

Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Let's obey this great commandment today!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Matthew 5

I have been re-reading Matthew during my morning devotions and I came across this passage from verse 48:

"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

That is one heavy command. But, think about the wording of that first phrase. We are to be perfect. He doesn't say we will be perfect. He doesn't say we can be perfect. If we were able to achieve perfection then we wouldn't have a need for our perfect Heavenly Father. God wants us to strive toward righteousness and holiness. If we are going to be a light to our world, will that be better accomplished sitting in the comfort of where we are spiritually or having a constant and burning desire for purity? Romans 6:18 has the answer:

"and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness."

Hoss

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Precious Passing

The grandma of my very close friend went to be with Jesus yesterday. My friend has mixed emotions. She is thrilled that her grandma is in heaven with Jesus. Here on earth, she already misses her so much. She was a special, precious part of my friend's life, and her family's life, every day. She was such a godly woman. Even at almost 99 years of age, she reflected Jesus so clearly to everyone who crossed her path.

In my devotional this morning, Beth Moore spoke of death. It was insightful and comforting. She said, "I have been with several people right around their times of death, and I was utterly amazed each time how quickly the body grew cold. In spiritual terms, the soul is what keeps a body warm. Physical death occurs when the soul (meaning the immaterial part of the person-soul and spirit) departs the body. At its exodus, the warmth of life departs as well. We can be comforted by the fresh realization that the spiritual life is in the soul, and the soul continues living. We talk about the finality of death, but it has relatively little finality to the believer." At the moment of death, our soul goes immediately to be with Jesus if we are a believer.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 says, "Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord--for we walk by faith, not by sight--we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."

What comfort. What reassurance.What joy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's been going on in Student Ministries

video

I thought I'd post this video slide show that I presented at the recent Business meeting in case you missed it. Enjoy!

Don't Fear - Watch God Fight for Us

In my devotions in Deuteronomy 3, I ran across this phrase in two places: "Don't fear...The Lord will fight for you." In the midst of warfare, whether it is national as in Deuteronomy or spiritual as in the life of Christians, we must not cower in the face of the enemy. To show fear is to admit that we have doubts about our ability to overcome our opponent. However, what have we to fear when doing God's will? Our God is greater than any enemy, any army, any power in the universe. We are the victors in all situations (cf. 1 Cor 15:57, 58). Our responsibility is to stand strong and watch God do the fighting. In Ephesians, it says, "Having done all to stand, STAND!" That is, having prepared to fight, we stand and the Lord fights. The battle is not ours but the Lord's.

We all face situations and circumstances in life. Some seem insurmountable or impossible to conquer. But we must remember the promise of God that we are not to fear, even though the enemy appears to be gigantic. Instead, we must remain confident in God, quiet in spirit, and patient as we watch God deliver.

Our God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, of love, and of self discipline (2 Tim. 1:7).

Elijah

I was looking over one of my favorite passages yesterday. In fact, I believe it's one that I've blogged about before. It comes from I Kings 19. God presents himself to Elijah not in a great wind, or a great fire or in a great earthquake...but in a still, small voice. But I have never spent time looking at the surrounding passages. Here's what I find:

1) Elijah experiences a spiritual (and I'm guessing emotional) peak. This is the miracle at Mount Carmel where he defeats all the prophets of Baal in the Battle Of Who-Can-Call-Down-Fire-From-Their-God. I Kings 18:20-40

2) Elijah experiences testing. Queen Jezebel basically sends him a message saying that her life mission will be to see him die. I Kings 19:1-3 Elijah responds by running away, wanting to curl up and die and taking pity on himself. I Kings 19:4-10 If you've been keeping track at home using Ron's 4 P's of Responding to Testing, Elijah just punted and pouted. But....

3) Elijah experiences God in a brand new way. Elijah spends time with God on the mountain. He saw His power and heard His voice. I Kings 19:11-18

4) Elijah begins his discipleship of Elisha. Now that Elijah has gone through all of these things, he is better equipped to train his replacement. I Kings 19:19-21 (Each one, teach one.)

How often does that happen in our life? We have a spiritual high of sorts. We are tested. Through the testing, we see God anew. It is then that our ministry is strengthened and we can be fruitful beyond what we thought possible.

Hoss

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Love of a Child

Last Sunday in Awana a young Asian girl prayed giving her life to Jesus. Although I had the honor and privilege of explaining the gospel to her and praying with her, it wasn't me that led her there.

Three weeks ago she came to Awana with her aunt who attends Friendship International, our ministry in which English is taught. Foreign language speakers come to El Camino to practice English, and are introduced to Jesus and God's Word in the process.

This young lady told me her friend at school told her that the god she worshiped wasn't real, that she needed to know the real God, and Jesus, His Son. I shared the gospel with her that week. Between having a slight language barrier and being introduced to all new concepts, she didn't quite understand, but was intrigued.

She returned to Awana two weeks later with her Awana book and the Bible we gave her, packed securely in a tote bag she had at home. This time we watched The Jesus Film together. She asked really good questions. At the end, she asked if she would go to Heaven and be with Jesus if she believed in her god. I explained that she needed to believe in Jesus, God the Son, who died to pay for her sins, in order to go to heaven. She said her mom told her she couldn't believe in Jesus, but that she does. That evening she gave her life to Him.

God tells us to love the Lord our God will all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). A little girl at school told her Asian friend about Jesus because she loves Jesus and loves her friend. That sent her friend searching for Truth.

Do we love our friends enough to tell them the Truth? They have everything to gain, and nothing to lose. Lord, please overflow us with your love so that the eternal destiny of our friends will mean more to us than the the fear we might offend them. Please give us boldness to share You faithfully, clearly, and with great joy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Isaiah 62

So my devotional on Monday was Isaiah 62. Let me share a couple of lines from verse 4 & 5:

For the Lord delights in you.

So your God will rejoice over you.

If you are feeling down in the dumps this week, remember that if you are following His Word in obedience then He is delighting in you. Imagine that...you are making a God of infinite power happy and proud of you!!!

Hoss