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, March 24, 2011

Are We Ready to Do God's Will

What if an angel of the Lord appeared before you right now? Would you hit the ground in wonder and awe? Suppose the angel said, "God wants you to do this certain thing." Would you jump up and do it? Would you doubt and debate doing it? Would you refuse to do it? The folly of it all is that when God speaks our only response is to obey - not debate nor doubt.

In truth, God has spoken directly to each of us through the Word of God - the living Lord Jesus Christ. He has said, "Go and make disciples through all the world." Every Christian, young or old; frail or vigorous; skilled or untrained, is to individually become a laborer in the harvest of the world. The harvest is plentiful the laborers are few.

God hasn't called us all to go to Borneo to do this. He has called each of us to share the good news of Jesus with our family, friends, and acquaintances. We don't have to go to Borneo to become laborers. We become laborers right where we are. Our harvest field is the group of people we are around on a daily basis. We don't need to go out looking for people to share with. We just need to share with the people we are with. Every person has an circle of influence.

If each person at El Camino would share the gospel with 10 people in their area of influence this year, we could easily surpass 5,200 presentations (520 members times 10) of the good news of Jesus. This is easily attainable if everyone would see sharing the gospel as their responsibility and boldly tell others about Him. We could easily see 777 people in that group come to saving faith in Jesus.

God has spoken to each of us. We are to be His laborers. Let us boldly and unashamedly tell people about Jesus. It is our individual responsibility to do this. Jesus has appeared and declared to those who follow Him to become laborers in the harvest. It is not the responsibility of someone else. It is mine. It is each of ours individually to share the good news of Jesus. I am to be a laborer!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

God's Big Story

I just returned from a national Children's Ministry Leaders' conference. After 8 years of serving as the Director of Children's Ministries here, it has finally all come together for me! I now understand how what we do fits together with God's big plan! I now understand how to help churched and unchurched children understand their role in God's big story!

In every single session at the conference God addressed something specifically with me. He spoke clearly and directly to me about things I need to improve, discontinue or do differently. He even brought people into my path to affirm all that He has recently called me to do!

I can't wait to get to work. It is going to be an amazing year!!!

Psalm 25:4-5
Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reaching Others

While I was at a pastor's event this week, I was reminded of a very important principle. Several people were talking about having the event again next year and how to get more people on board. The man leading the group said, "It is not the event that is important. It is the change in our lives that we can share that will bring more people."

In terms of growing El Camino, we need to remember that our purpose is not merely to get others to come to church (the event). What is important is getting them to share in the life change that we are experiencing. Whether we are evangelizing or introducing another to the opportunities available at El Camino, we are more prone to impact their lives if we share our excitement and our changed lives. As we do that with our group of family, friends, and acquaintances, we infect them with excitement and expectancy.

This has more far reaching influence with people than by publications and advertising. We will reach more people for Christ and see more people coming to El Camino as we share the excitement and joy we have from believing in Him and as we share the way God is using God's church at El Camino to change and encourage me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

God's Youngest Learners

video

Puggles is our Awana Club for two year olds. Their curriculum is very simple. They learn that God is our Creator, that He is to be praised and that He loves them. Through active play times, simple Bible lessons with accompanying big picture cards and Biblically-based songs, our youngest clubbers learn God's most basic Truths.

Experts around the world in the fields of education, psychology and brain development concur that what a child learns before the age of twelve stays with him/her throughout life. Twelve years is a short period of time. Let's not waste a moment that we could be teaching children about our Lord.

Our God is so good! Let's continue to impart that Truth to young and old alike!

God's Greatest Task in Life

I was talking with Arny Humble this week and he made a comment that struck me like a harpoon in the heart. He mentioned that in some ways his children had felt like his life and ministry had been put on hold for the last seven years as he cared for Wanda after her stroke. He then looked at me and said, "That is not true. I have just completed the greatest task God has given me in this life." He expressed that the most important thing he has done in life for the Lord was to love and care for his wife. No other accomplishment in life meant more to him than treating Wanda as his primary ministry. His life wasn't on hold for seven years as he cared for her after her stroke. His life was being lived for the fullest for God as he loved and ministered to her.

As Arny shared I was moved by his words. How we all need to be reminded that the most significant thing we can accomplish in life is to love and care for our mates and children. How easy it is to think that the important things of life are money, job, recognition by others, or even public ministry. That is not God's viewpoint. He places importance on fulfilling the responsibilities He has given us for our family.

May each of us consider our Biblical responsibilites as a mate and be able to say with confidence and pride, "I am finishing the greatest calling in my life as I care for my mate and children."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

God Knows Our Deepest Desires

Just a word of encouragement to anyone out there that might be experiencing some struggles.

I've been discovering lately that God has given me exactly what I have asked for. It has not been in the way that I expected, the way that I planned or the way that I desired. But He has been faithful to me and He will continue to bless me with what I need. It may not come in the neat little package that I've asked Him for, but it WILL come. Thank You Lord.

Hoss

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hope in the Midst of Marriage Turbulence

A young wife at church is struggling with remaining married to what she defines as a selfish, unmotivated, weak husband. In my marriage, it took 20 years before my husband was ready to be the godly husband God created him to be. I was drowning. A Christian counselor told me to get a godly mentor. Here are the most important lessons I learned in the nine years with my mentor.


Meet regularly with your mentor.
She worked with me for 9 of the 20 years we greatly struggled in our marriage. It was hard but so good for me. One time my hubby was being extremely difficult. When we met that week I shared with her our latest dilemma. She kept nodding her head in agreement, wrote down a few notes, and was so attentive. When I finished recounting the painful episode, she breathed and said, "Wow. You are really hurting!" I was. The fact that he was being 'extremely difficult’ is putting it mildly. I will never forget what she said next. It made me so angry, but once I processed it, it changed me forever. She said,

"He has really, really hurt you again.
#1. You need to forgive him. I hear a lot of hurt, anger and bitterness. I don't hear any forgiveness. God has called you to forgive.
#2. You need to focus on how you are going to show him love. I am sure with the anger and bitterness I'm hearing, that you haven't been very loving toward him. God has called you to love your husband.
#3. You need to pray more regularly and more faithfully for him. He needs a lot of prayer. It sounds like you are spending your energy reciting the ways he has wronged you instead of praying for him. Redirect that energy to prayer."

I was in utter shock. Here HE was being extremely difficult, and I was the one who AGAIN needed to be godly and loving!?! I was angry and even more hurt. She was supposed to be on my side. And she was. She was right. I needed to do what God called me to do, regardless of my circumstances.

Grow your personal relationship with Christ.
By doing so, it made it so that Christ met all my needs. When my hubby did surprise me by being unselfish, kind or loving, it was icing on the cake, not the cake. I did this through uncompromised time in His Word, prayer, meditation of scripture, verse memorization, reading Christian magazine articles, listening to Christian radio programs, etc. It was a process, but I kept at it.

NEVER entertain the idea of divorce. It isn't an option, so don't let your mind go there. My Pastor says that once you are married, he or she IS the right person. I promised God for better or worse, till death do us part. Hopefully this would be the worst, and our marriage would only get better. Once you let yourself think of divorce as an option, you are doomed. Of course if there is physical abuse or sexual infidelity you need to get to a safe place, but divorce should still not be the first thought.

Unconditional love is giving 100%, no matter what we feel we get in return. God will meet our needs, and will continue to work on our spouse. We need to be faithful to God and what He has called us to do. It is that simple. Our hope lies in knowing that God is in control, and will work all things out for our good, in His time.

If I hadn't gone through the rough years in my marriage, I might not have the intimate relationship with God I enjoy so much today. I am so thankful God is Sovereign. I would not have chosen that pain and disappointment. But I would never trade the relationship I have with Christ now for anything!

And my marriage? We just celebrated our 30th anniversary. God has turned it into the beautiful, sacred union He originally designed it to be. We still have our ups and downs. We are two imperfect, sinful humans. But now we are both surrendered to what God wants, and we both work at being forgiving, loving and praying spouses. I am thankful God brought me a mentor who kept me from jumping ship. God designed marriage for life. Trust His design and hang in there. It is worth it!

Psalm 16

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Integrity

Some of you might know that I am a huge sports fan, especially when it comes to college basketball. On Sunday, Pastor Ron taught about maintaining integrity. He used several sporting examples of a lack of integrity (Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, NBA ref Tim Donaghy). I wanted to share a story about the BYU basketball program. Now I know that the people involved believe some very different things than I do, but I still think we can learn a lesson.

For those that don't follow college basketball, BYU has a very good team this year. They whooped up on the U of A when they played early in the season, they have a national player of the year candidate in Jimmer Fredette and recently reached #3 in the rankings. But a couple of days ago, they dismissed their leading rebounder for violation of the school's honor code. It was just announced today that it was because the player had premarital sex with his girlfriend. You see, BYU makes every student, athlete or not, sign a covenant stating they will be abstinent (students are also not allowed to do drugs, drink alcohol or caffeine among other things). The student owned up to it, apologized to his teammates and is not appealing any action by the school at this point.

The thing that struck me was the school's response to this whole ordeal. They immediately removed the player from the team...a player that could be argued was their second most important...no questions asked...in the middle of a national championship caliber season. The landscape of college basketball and sports in general currently is to kowtow to the athletes. DUIs, drug charges and domestic abuse occur frequently and teams continue to let their players play so their team's record is not affected. A college baseball player was recently allowed to continue his run at the consecutive game hit streak record even though he has rape charges currently in the Bahamas (I'm happy to say, he fell 2 games short).

What set BYU apart from all of this? It was Pastor Ron's second point in his conclusion. True integrity is not influenced by circumstances. Many other schools would have kept it internal and withheld disciplinary action or at least waited until season's end. But they didn't. They did the right thing even when it truly hurt. How do we apply that? Psalm 15:4b says that one of the criteria for those worthy to live in God's sanctuary is to keep his oath even when it hurts. It's easy to have integrity on a sunny day, but it means so much more when we maintain it through the storm.

Hoss