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, September 30, 2011

Lessons Learned

Tomorrow marks my 9th anniversary serving in Children's Ministries here at El Camino. During that time, God has taught me so many things. Here are a few highlights.

1. God loves me and wants me to walk intimately with Him. He cares more about who I am IN Him, than what I do FOR Him.

2. As I abide, He will direct me. This is His ministry. He sees the big picture. As I listen to Him and follow Him, He will direct every step of the way.

3. Although there will be hard times, He is always there for me. He promises to never leave me nor forsake me. He molds me when I need molding, and comforts me when I need comforting.

4. He wants me to personally share His amazing gospel message with those He brings into my path, and He wants me to facilitate ministries in which other people are sharing the gospel as well.

There are so many more lessons to be learned. May You continue to mold me more and more into Your image Lord. Thank you for never giving up on me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Laborers

Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. What is the issue? We have lots of people in church who say they love and follow Jesus. But how many laborers do we have? From my own personal observation, I think less than 10% of all who claim to follow Jesus are truly laborers.

What is a laborer? Laborers are people who work for the Lord because they believe that God is able to do anything He desires, that there is nothing too hard for Him, and that are willing to let Him use them to accomplish His purposes. A key element of labor is work. It takes effort without thought of earthly reward. It involves diligence in doing that which God desires.

Become a laborer: men and women who believe Jesus and His promises, who have a vision to work, who are willing to take risks for the sake for the kingdom, who are willing to share the gospel, who are willing to disciple and serve others, who are willing to yield personal opinions, who are willing to step up and do the work. In my opinion, that is all that stands between us and exponential growth. Then, watch what God does in and through us. Borrowing from the Marines: Be one of the few, the proud, the laborers.

Answered Prayers

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, our staff and entire congregation have been challenged by Pastor Ron to pray specifically, daily, for the goals we believe God has called us to achieve this year. In review, they are: to share the gospel 5,200 times; for each one of us to reach 1, and each one of us to teach 1; and that the Lord would let us see 777 people come into a personal relationship with Him.

Last night, the children's prayer group was asked to put dots on the 'Sharing the Gospel' chart and hearts on the 'Salvations' chart. When they were done, they wanted to count. To date, God has blessed us with 317 of the 777 salvations! We are nearly half way there! And there are 4,150 of the 5,200 gospel presentations! We aren't charting the each 1 reach 1, each 1 teach 1, so I don't know how God is answering that prayer, but I trust He is just as bountifully!

In my quiet time this morning God reminded me from 1 John 5:14-15, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we have asked of Him."

God wants no one to perish. He wants everyone to come to Him. He calls us to make disciples. Because of these truths, we can be confident that He is going to answer our prayers with a resounding,"Yes!" Lord, please help us to be faithful to abide in You; to continue to pray for your help in sharing, recording and discipling those You bring to Yourself; and to be faithful to follow through as You guide, direct and place opportunities right before us!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Faith like the Widow of Zarephath

I am usually a go-getter. When God gives me clear direction, I usually run full force to accomplish that which He has assigned.

Today, I sit here immobilized. Two weeks ago God gave me very clear marching orders, yet I find myself unable to take the first step. I know what to do, but I haven't done it.

I feel overwhelmed. I feel incapable of moving forward. I lack faith that God will supply the minimal volunteers needed to accomplish the task. It looks larger than Goliath, when in reality, the to-do list is much more simple than most of our ministries. In my head I know I am making it bigger than it really is. Yet here I sit.

The past two days God has addressed this issue with me through His Word. Today in 1 Kings 17 and yesterday in Matthew 11.

In 1 Kings 17:9 God told Elijah that He commanded a widow to supply him with food once he got to Zarephath. In verse 13 Elijah told the widow what God said. Did she not hear God? Did she not realize Elijah was the guy she was to feed? Did she not recognize or trust the voice of God?

Daily the widow got to see God work a miracle as the flour and oil were never depleted. Yet it took a more personal miracle...God bringing her son back to life through Elijah, for her to finally believe. Verse 24 records, "Then the woman said to Elijah, 'Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is truth.'"

I cannot even count how many times I have seen God provide...mini miracle after mini miracle. I am confident that I know His voice. Yet my lack of initiative is proof that I doubt His power, His ability to provide. I love the quote, "Where God guides, He provides." Then why don't I budge?

Yesterday from Matthew 11:28-30 God clearly and affectionately said to me, "Come to Me, all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

I hear God saying to me, "The thing I am asking you to do with Me is achieved without great effort, without difficulty. The load I am asking you to carry is of little weight. It is a small amount."

I need to step out in faith. Lord, taking the first step of this assignment that I know will bring you great glory feels huge to me. Is it because I am not correctly connected to Your yoke? Please show me how to make what feels so huge, feel of little weight. Help me believe like the widow of Zarephath finally believed. Please help me move forward with You regardless of how I feel. Please increase my faith and quadruple my initiative. Please make me a go-getter for You!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pursue Peace

Hebrews 12:14a, "Pursue peace with all people." In the Book of Hebrews we are commanded to make peace with others a priority of life. In my estimation, people fall into one of three categories: Peacemakers, Troublemakers, and Bystanders.

Bystanders are "rubber-necks." They turn and look at a conflict but take no part in what is happening. Troublemakers are those who create dissension, discord, and distrust among others. God is not the author of confusion and dissension but peace. Peacemakers are those who try to mend fences between people. They may even be one of the parties involved in the conflict.

To obey God's command to seek out peace, it takes effort on our part. Peacemaking doesn't mean appeasement (give in to another to make them happy). Pursuing peace means doing what is right in God's eyes and helping others know what is right and doing it. This can be hard but it is what God desires. The Church should be filled with people pursuing peace. However, intuitively I think there are probably more troublemakers and bystanders than peacemakers.

Which am I? God says to be a healer, a resolver of conflict, a lover of others. I need to make peace making a priority of my life.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Come and See

In the Gospel of John, a simple phrase stands out - "Come and See." When Andrew, brother of Peter, first met the Lord, Jesus responded to his initial inquiry with a simple phrase "Come and See." Later Philip would respond to Nathaniel's questions with a simply "Come and See." The woman at the well would call the Samaritans to "Come and See" a man who told me all things I have ever done.

Sometimes in our efforts to share Jesus with other people we think that we must know the answers to all their questions. In the process, do we make sharing the gospel harder that it really is? Sometimes all our response to another needs to be is to "Come and See" Jesus. In so doing, we allow them to experience and see for themselves the living Lord Jesus Christ.

As sharers of the gospel, our responsibility is to introduce people to Jesus (not necessary answer every possible theological/Biblical question imaginable). Let's not be afraid nor ashamed to invited others to "Come and See" our marvelous and exalted Lord and Savior.