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.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Psalm 17:15

So, I've been meaning to post this one for a while now. I recently recorded a new song, Psalm 17, with Katie and posted it on my blog www.hossmusic.blogspot.com. Lyrically, it is becoming one of my favorites. The last verse is the one that has spoken to me most over the past few weeks. The psalmist cries out for God to confront his enemies and the wicked that is surrounding him. For 6 verses, he is in despair but then, in the final verse of the psalm, he says:

As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

Katie and I talked about what this verse really meant. The thing that I kept coming back to was an analogy of a father and his child. When a little one has a nightmare and wakes up screaming and crying, seeing a father's face brings comfort. So, in the same way, when we are beset on all sides by the evil of this world, we can see our Father's face and be at peace knowing His righteousness.


What Are Your Thoughts?

Wednesday MikelAnn and I went on numerous home visits to invite unchurched Good News Club families to attend Camp E.D.G.E. I was amazed at how many people live within a mile of our church...and that was just south! A mail carrier once told me that in just the few apartment complexes within a 1 mile radius of El Camino there were 10,000+ apartments. Mind boggling. And that doesn't even count houses.

If we focused on reaching out to just those within arms reach of us, the impact could be huge! Our little piece of the world isn't little.

I wonder what effective outreach to our neighbors would look like. What are your ideas to help them know who Jesus is?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Living Lord's Supper Outreach

As I have reported to some groups, our presentation of "The Living Lord's Supper" had 1993 in attendance with 223 of them being on line. We had people viewing from South Korea, Hawaii, across the country to New York. What a blessing. Of those that attended locally we had 191 people that didn't list a church home. On Saturday May 14th we had 30 people from the church go out and visit 100 of those prospects. We found that some still had a church home but just didn't mark that box. We did find several that had no church connection and we continue to follow up. I would ask for your prayers that we would see a harvest from this outreach effort. Also, many thanks to those who came out to visit. You are greatly appreciated.

Pastor Dick

Monday, May 23, 2011

The World Didn't End

Well the prophecy was stated, “The World will end May 21.” May 21 has come and gone and the world is still here. According to the Old Testament, the ones who issued the prophesy should be stoned as false prophets. A true prophet’s words, since they are from God, will always come to past. There are many false prophets today broadcasting the end is near. Some are saying it will occur at the end of the Mayan calendar. False prophets come and false prophets go but God remains.

I do believe the end is near. I just don’t know “How near?” It could be today (Come Lord Jesus Come). It could be years, decades away. However, at the right moment, the trump shall sound and the saints will be gathered to be with Jesus. I honestly don’t get upset with all the “End is near” say-ers. God tells us that end is coming so that we will be prepared, ready for the time of His appearance. He has warned the unbelievers that He is coming in judgment. He has encouraged the believers that He is coming to reward.

When He comes, will He find me looking for Him? I prepare for His coming by living in obedience to the Word and telling others about the true God who died on the cross for their sins. In other words, I live as though He were coming today, even if He waits for years to come.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Six Hindrances to Becoming a Disciple Maker

Six Hindrances to Becoming a Disciple Maker

Skip Gray is a friend and mentor. Over the years, he has shared his faith and wisdom with many. In 1978 he published six things that keep people from becoming Reproducers – Disciple Makers. Our goal as a church this year is that each person at El Camino become a person who “Wins One and Teaches One.” In a nutshell that is Disciplemaking. Let me give you in summary form Skip’s reasons why people don’t become reproducers.

1. Laziness – A lazy Christian will never be used by the Spirit of God to be the foundation for spiritual generations. Provers 13:4 “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

2. Busyness – Individuals can often create the illusion of great accomplishments by appearing to be continually busy. But if you analyze their activities, you may realize that the significance and value of their busyness is minor. God's priority of life is to reproduce disciples. Busyness keeps one from doing what God has commanded to do.

3. Prayerlessness – Jesus when surrounded by pressures withdrew and prayed. When we are pressured, what is our response? Pressure should result in prayer and prayer results in power from God.

4. Shortsightedness – Esau sold his birthright for the sake of a quick meal. He was the founder of the “Now Generation.” We have a spiritual birthright. It is our privilege to be the foundation of many generations but too often many will forsake our spiritual birthright just to satisfy our own momentary pleasures.

5. Indecisiveness – If God is God, serve Him. If there is another god, serve him. Jesus will not let you be indecisive. No man can serve two masters. Serve God or the flesh. Choose whom you serve.

6. Unconfessed Sin – I see, I covet, I take, I hide. That is the pattern of sin throughout Scripture. 1 John 1:9 is the cure but if we don’t, it hinders our prayers and relationship with God and others. Psalm 66:18,19.

How tragic is the Christian who is hindered from his or her potential as a spiritual parent to produce generations of believers. Laziness, busyness, prayerlessness, shortsightedness, indecisiveness, and unconfessed sin can all be hindrances to the Christian. And yet, this need not be so, for God has provided power to overcome these barriers. As we seek His power, we can work toward fulfilling Jesus’ command of making disciples of all nations and become the foundation of generations of men and women. (Skip Gray)

Follow the Leader

As a child one of my favorite games was 'Follow the Leader.' I liked being part of a group, all doing the same thing at the same time, having fun together. There was no competition. Just camaraderie and fun. I loved belonging.

Interestingly though, I didn't like being the leader. There was too much pressure to make the game fun and exciting. I didn't want to ruin the fun or disappoint anyone. I simply liked participating.

I'm still that way. I much prefer following the leaders in my life. It is important to me that they be trustworthy, strong, wise, godly leaders. It is a pleasure to submit to their leadership, and to work hard alongside them to achieve the goals God has shown them we are to work towards, for His glory.

I especially love following God's direct lead. I love when He personally shows me what He wants in particular situations. A few months ago He impressed upon my heart the idea of having our Good News Club families over to El Camino for a Family Dinner and Game Night. He helped us be creative, provided everything we needed, and brought almost 3 dozen families, 2/3 who were unchurched.

It was exciting to watch it all unfold. It was also a little scary since it was our first time doing something like this, and we had no road map to guide us. It felt like playing Follow the Leader blindfolded, on the ledge of a winding, mountain road.

But God was as faithful as usual. The details were worked out, decisions made, and all went well. We learned a lot about how to make things even better next time. But all in all, it was a great event. Our guests appeared to enjoy themselves, and everyone heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know God will use His Word mightily in their lives!

Please pray that the seeds that were planted will grow fully. Like Jesus, we desire that no one would perish, that no one would be separated from God forever. Please pray that every single person who heard the gospel will continue to think about it, and will accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior if they didn't that night.

Isaiah 55:11
"...so is My Word that goes out from My mouth:
It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Born to Reproduce

One of the sermons (now available in booklet form) that has impacted my life the most was given by Dawson Trotman. He states in "Born to Reproduce" that every person is born to mature and reproduce themselves in the physical realm. There are only three things that keep a person from reproducing: 1) Lack of maturity - we don't expect a 6 year old to have babies; 2) Lack of a mate - it takes two to have a baby; 3) Lack of Health - a healthy body is needed but infertility and disease can prevent a body from reproducing.

In the spiritual realm, the same is true. Every person is born again with God's intent that they reproduce. Only three things keep a person from reproducing in the spiritual life: 1) Lack of maturity - they haven't grown spiritually; 2) Lack of a mate - they haven't develop an intimate relationship with their Savior, Jesus Christ, whose passion was to die for all men and see many come to faith and maturity; 3) Lack of Health - let's just call this sin.

Are we reproducing spiritually? If not, what is the reason and how do we correct it? God has called all of us to be winning others to Christ and bringing them to maturity so that they can reproduce as well.

2 Timothy 2:2 "The things thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

Holy Ground

Wednesday was our final Good News Club (GNC) for this school year. It has been a challenging yet rewarding year. 75% of our students were unchurched. Many of them accepted Jesus as their Savior. The clubbers came each week to learn more about God, His Word, Jesus; and as one little GNC girl put it, to learn about other people who knew and loved God too!

Our GNC staff gathers together to connect and pray before heading out to club each week. I was running late this time, and got there right as they were starting to pray. I walked into the room and was instantly overwhelmed with the presence of God. Have you ever had a moment when you knew, beyond a shadow of doubt, that you were standing on holy ground? This was one of those moments for me. As I sat there listening to these amazing saints pray, I was overwhelmed with God’s presence, protection, and pleasure. Week after week this dedicated group of selfless servants went back to the front lines to share God with His precious little children. It was not easy. It is the most difficult ministry I have personally ever experienced. Yet each week they diligently prepared, faithfully prayed, and selflessly served with excellence.

That morning in my quiet time with God, He kept saying to me, “If you have not love, you are nothing.” This group of servants is God’s love in the flesh. They are certainly 'something' for Him!!

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 says, “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” May God richly bless them beyond measure!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thank you for your prayers!

Many of you know that we have had our house on the market for over a year now and have watch as the price dropped with no buyers . . . until this month! We are set to close the sale of our current house on June 8th - bringing to an end a long road of learning about God's faithfulness and gentle leading.

I'm excited that we can close this chapter in the housing process and I'm eager to see what God has in store for me and my family in the coming days, weeks and months. We have a bid in on a house that is a short sale (meaning a lot of uncertainty and waiting. This has had the wonderful side effect of strengthening my prayer time with God - not just for the "right" house to be found, but really taking a day-by-day approach to His leading down an uncertain path in our lives.

In a strange way I am enjoying the adventure of where this journey will lead us. Thank you, God, for taking us down this road and promising never to leave us alone while we don't see at all what You have seen since before the foundations of the earth were laid.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Divine Appointments

A week ago we were busy getting ready for our Mother Daughter Garden Party. A coworker brought in a tub of scissors for the craft. In the tub were two pair of scissors that cut decorative edges. They belonged elsewhere and I was glad they had been found so I could put them in their proper place for easy retrieval.

That evening I was at the Dollar Store picking up a few table decorations. I heard a lady on her cell phone talking with her middle school daughter. She was looking for scissors that cut decorative edges. They were having quite the 'discussion.' The daughter had waited until the night before the project was due to work on it, and mom was trying to get her the needed supplies. "I don't want to go all the way over to Michael's. How about ..." and mom was naming options available at the Dollar Store, much to the disappointment and disapproval of her daughter. I walked over to her, excused my interruption, told her I worked at the church across the street, and if she wanted, she could borrow ours. I knew just where they were. She followed me over and got the scissors. I gave her our Summer ministries packet, and she shared with me their former 'church' story. Hopefully God will bring them to El Camino so we can help them grow in their relationship with Him since they are looking for a place to fit in.

A couple nights ago I was at an appointment. The single mom technician shared that she had a new(in their first year together), 14 year old adopted son. I asked if he had a Youth Group. They happen to attend the catholic church in the neighborhood of our church. She shared some of their struggles. I shared with her a great web site I recently learned about, The Center for Biblical Parenting. She immediately stopped what she was doing, and brought me paper to write it down on. She was quite interested in God's help as she learned to parent her new son.

There are a lot of people all around us with a lot of needs. If we remain available, God can and will use us to minister to His people as He directs. What an honor!

Galatians 6:2
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Psalm 17:6a

I am currently working on recording a song Psalm 17 (if you don't know about my "Song For Every Psalm" project, you can check out my music blog at www.hossmusic.blogspot.com) and I have been thinking a lot about the first part of verse 6. The psalmist says:

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me.

This became exceedingly relevant as it was National Day Of Prayer yesterday. Notice the verse doesn't say "for You might answer me" or "for You'll probably answer me". It says "for You WILL answer me". Not only can we be confident that God hears our every prayer but that He will answer our every prayer.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Aflame for Christ

As I have been studying in Scripture, I have been impressed with the need to be passionate for Christ. Different words come to mind when I think of what it means to be passionate in my relationship with Jesus - excited, burning, committed, inspired, consumed, and highest priority. But the one thought that keeps coming to mind is that if I am passionate for Christ I will be AFLAME for Him. I see this as encompassing at least two things.

First, when someone has caught fire and is aflame, they become a light in the midst of darkness. If I am aflame from Christ, my light will shine before men and they will glorify my Father who is in heaven.

Second, if a person gets to close to a flame, they catch fire as well. If I am aflame, then those with whom I come in contact will feel the heat and catch fire as well.

How do I know I am aflame? People will see Jesus and people catch the vision for passion for Him.

A Light to the World