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, February 29, 2012

A New Heart

I partner with a wonderful person who at times drives me crazy. At one moment the person is happy, content, and easy to interact with. The next moment the person displays annoyance, frustration, and unhappiness-over the smallest of things. I find myself on eggshells trying not to provoke or incite those feelings and responses. It makes me uncomfortable and a little miserable. I'm distracted when that person is around, and find myself wishing I was elsewhere.

This morning in my quiet time, Ezekiel 36:25-27 really spoke to my heart concerning this issue. I can't change the other person's behaviors or personality, and I can't even seem to change my feelings. But I can pray for us both and let God perform heart surgery.

Ezekiel 36:25-27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.

Lord, please cleanse me from all my impurities, especially from my negative, unloving feelings toward this person. Please remove my cold, stone heart, and replace it with a heart that overflows with Your love for this person. Please increase the power of Your Spirit within me, and help me to love like You love!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weed Killer

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned in one of my sermons that my mother-in-law had given me a home made weed killer recipe. It contains no harsh chemicals and is safe to use around children and pets. If you get it on yourself, there is no emergency to run inside and wash quickly. This recipe works well on vegetation and is much less expensive than Roundup or harsh chemicals. I have had a number of people ask for that recipe again. So I thought I would post it on our blog.

The recipe is: 1 gallon of vinegar; 2 cups of table salt; and 1 cup of liquid dish soap (any kind will do and the cheaper the better). I personally mix the vinegar and salt in a separate container before putting it into my sprayer. The reason is so that I make sure all the salt is dissolved. That way it will not clog up the lines in the sprayer. The soap can be added anytime after the salt is dissolved.

I guess I should make a spiritual lesson out of this. How about, "It isn't expensive and it isn't dangerous to deal with the weeds of life." We just need to yield to the Spirit and not yield to the flesh. :) :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

We Can All Relate to One Another

I just returned from a trip to India. I had the wonderful experience of facilitating a course on leadership for 15 masters level students. It was exciting. In the process of getting to know the students and their culture, I asked a lot of questions. They did too! We learned from each other.

One thing I noted - they are the same as me. We all struggle with the same issues. We all have victories and we all face defeat. Their churches battle between contemporary and traditional worship. They individually need encouragement and challenge to maintain daily devotions and prayer. They love the Lord and get excited when they see answers to prayer. The Lord is faithful to them in the same manner that He is faithful to us.

As 1 Corinthians 10:13 explains, there is a commonality in the life of Christ for every person. Regardless of age, gender, race, or nationality, we all have the ability to stand with one another in struggle and victory, knowing that we all go through the same things. We may face our battles in different circumstances, but we have the same Jesus who is victorious over all.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

God Knew...Imagine That!

I know that in hard times our true character is revealed. Going through the illness and death of a parent qualifies as a hard time. But being personally attacked by friends over memorial decisions was even harder for me.

God chose for me three verses to focus on this year. Psalm 55:22b, "Cast your cares upon the LORD for He cares for you." I didn't do that. In my hurt and pain, I whined to humans. I didn't take it to God.

I spoke unkindly about those who hurt me, totally ignoring the second verse God gave me, 1 Timothy 3:11b, "...be a woman worthy of respect, not a malicious talker, but temperate and trustworthy in everything."

My third verse from God is 1 Timothy 4:7b, "...train yourself to be godly." Imagine that! God knew exactly what I needed to do to overcome these sins, faults and character flaws.

Thank you Lord for revealing to me how desperately I need to memorize the verses that You gave to me this year, and cling to them in hard times rather than choose a path of sin when I am weak. Please help me be faithful to memorize them and apply them in order to walk in godliness.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What ever happened to CLASS?

Yesterday I was watching the Superbowl (like so many of you) and was struck by a thought that seems to keep coming around inside my head. What has happened to class?

In case you missed it, during the halftime show performance by Madonna, one of her guest performers, who goes by the initials "M.I.A." spoke a swear word and flashed the middle finger to all of America. The censors tried to remove it before it aired, but it came across loud and clear nonetheless. So, what happened to class?

I see this same trend of declining or absent class and respect for others in our young people today. In fact, I would say that by and large, many of today's students (and their parents) have not been taught what class is. They are unaware of what respect for themselves and others is.

Scripture tells us in Ephesians 4.29 that, "no unwholesome words are to come out of our mouths." I think this includes gestures with the middle finger also. There was no call for this kind of display from "artist" M.I.A. - other than a total lack of class on her part and a total disregard for respecting viewers in living rooms around the world.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not surprised by yet another controversy over a Superbowl halftime show. I am just sad that we, as a culture, seem to be losing sight of what behaving with class and honor and respect look like in our most public venues.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Answered Prayer for a Godly Man

My father-in law went to be with the Lord yesterday. As we drove home, my husband shared how excited he was to realize that God answered all his prayers for his dad's passing.

He prayed that when God chose to take his dad home, He would take him gently, quickly and with dignity. God granted all three.

Dad’s passing out of this life was very gentle. He received great care at the hospice for his last days on this earth.

God took him quickly in the end. When it was time to go, he breathed a few calm breaths then just quietly slipped away from us to join his Lord.

God blessed him with great dignity up to the end of his earthly life. During his last days, he was mentally alert. He was able to recognize family and friends. He not only had conversations with us, but showed his great sense of humor. Many of his conversations were to comfort those he was leaving behind. He was also incredibly kind to all his caretakers.

He was so ready and excited to meet the Lord and go to Heaven. Up to his last breath he was still being dad. Not only did he teach us how to live well, how to live a life that honors God, but he was teaching us how to die well. He was a godly man who lived for Christ, and died reflecting His love and grace.

We will miss you Dad, but your godly legacy will live on for generations to come!

Joshua 24:15
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lessons from I Samuel

Katie and I have been reading through I Samuel for our devotions in the evenings. In chapter 5, the Philistines capture the ark of the covenant but some strange things start happening. They put it in the house of one of their gods and the statue of their god keeps falling down in front of the ark. Then the men of the town get stricken with tumors all of over their bodies. They decide to take the ark to another city but, there too, the men of the city are stricken with tumors. they decide to take it to a third city but the people of the town stop them saying that God is angry because they have the ark and they do not wish to face His wrath.

Unfortunately, this is not a story of redemption. One can assume that these people, even after seeing and recognizing God's power, went back to worshiping their different gods. How does this compare with our own lives? Even though billions of people see God's work everyday and many of those even acknowledge that power, their lives remain unchanged.

Do we know who will accept Christ when confronted with the Truth? Of course not. But we must continue to spread the Word of God to all who will listen. Do not be discouraged by those who hear it and still reject it. Rather, be encouraged by the lives of those who are changed by Almighty God.