Shining in every arena

”You are the light of the world… You are the salt of the earth.” Jesus wasn’t making suggestions when He spoke these truths to His disciples. In this dark world, Christians must make their presence known through their love for each other, love for the world, and love for the truth. I’ve been guilty at times of only shining in the arenas that I’m comfortable shining in. It’s comfortable for me to shine in the church, at home, and with my neighbors and friends. The place I’ve struggled the most to shine is in the political arena (honest confession). Somehow many of our minds have been conditioned to believe that Christ’s Kingdom work is disconnected from the realm of politics.

For me, I’ve never wanted to be guilty of trusting in politics and government more than Jesus, but recently God has convicted me that I should be doing more to honor Jesus by standing up for His truth in the face of political opposition. No, I don’t trust in government (chariots and horses). Nothing the government does or doesn’t do will stop the church or diminish my resolve to continue preaching the Word of God in its fullness. But, because I do trust in Jesus, I also need to believe that He can use the voice of His church in this democracy called the United States of America in which He has placed us. It is a loving thing to put laws and leaders in place that will honor God and benefit the society in which I live.

Proverbs 14:34 – Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.

Proverbs 29:2 – When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

AB 2943

I spent today at our state’s capital. Hundreds gathered for a day of action to show our opposition to AB 2943. This bill is a repressive law that will severely limit the counseling options that folks in the LGBT community can pursue to embrace and thrive in their God-given gender identity.

After some powerful messages by pastor Jack Hibbs (one of my former pastors), several other keynote speakers, and a series of moving testimonies from ex LGBT people whose lives have been radically transformed through Christ (check them out at oncegay.com), we walked into the capital to voice our opposition to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Over an hour later, the voices of opposition were still rolling in to express their concern. People came from every corner of California in solidarity and unity against this bill. One senator stated that he had never seen so many people come to voice opposition to a California bill over his entire political career.

The committee, mainly consisting of far left liberals, despite the respectful voice of the people, dismissed nearly all of the opposition and their arguments. If ever it was evident that there is a liberal and godless agenda in California politics, it was today. The senators reassured us that this bill wouldn’t ban the selling of Bibles or impact the free expression of religious beliefs, but they missed the bigger picture of why we are concerned. At its core, this bill hinders the ability of people who are confused and searching for answers regarding their sexuality to pay for and acquire whatever services they see fit to succeed in their journey. This includes faith-based programs or licensed Christian counseling services. We love homosexual people, God loves them, and we don’t want to see them without access to appropriate and faith-based support.

At its core, this bill hinders the ability of people who are confused and searching for answers regarding their sexuality to pay for and acquire whatever services they see fit to succeed in their journey.

Do some secular conversion therapies employ inappropriate or damaging methods in some instances? There’s no doubt. Personally, I am not opposed to a law that specifically targets those harmful practices. Unfortunately, this bill is intended to be more far-reaching. Its purpose is to make a legal declaration that the LGBT person doesn’t even need help to change because they are fine the way they are. This goes against the gospel, not just for those struggling with their sexuality, but for all people who are walking in sin and darkness and need the hope of Jesus for change.

The Committee voted to move the bill to the Senate floor. Unless the Lord sees fit to intervene (which He fully capable of doing), it should pass in short order. But none of this moves me. The enemy might win a political battle, but Jesus will win the war. Perhaps through this, the light and love of the church will be awakened to an even greater degree!

As for myself and our church, we will continue to welcome people struggling with issues of sexual identity to explore those issues from a biblical perspective. It’s my surest hope that they will find the help, love, and support they need to transform them into the image of Christ. No law or government can stop the infinite power and unfathomable love of Jesus.

Continue to pray for our elected officials, and use your voice in these times for righteousness. May your speech be with grace and your actions with love, but make sure you are utilizing both. Now is not a time for the church to be sleeping and walking in the dark!

-Pastor Josh

Romans 13:10-14 – 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now, our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Continuing in His Rest

Last Sunday we took an in-depth look at Hebrews chapter 4 and what it means to enter into God’s rest by faith. The seventh day, when God rested, was a picture of what God first intended for all people: a life at rest with God, ourselves, and others. Sin ruined that rest for humanity, but God’s rest remained. Israel rejected God’s invitation into His rest by not possessing the faith to enter into the promised land. Today, God extends the invitation into His rest through Christ and his finished work on the cross. To get the full context of the message, you can view it here.

There were a couple of other insights that time didn’t allow for on Sunday that I thought would be helpful to expand on.

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An Old Treasure

As I was studying in Hebrews chapter 3, I became mesmerized by the idea of, “considering Jesus.” It’s a theme of Hebrews. If Jesus is actually better and greater than everything else, we must consider Him, turn to Him, and fix our affection and attention wholly upon Him. The song, “Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus” came to mind. Most of you are familiar with the words:

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God at Work

What a great Sunday! I’m still processing the overwhelming and beautiful truths we dug into today from Hebrews chapter 2. Jesus has defeated the enemy and delivered us from the bondage of fear and death! Let’s walk in that truth this week!

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The Answer to Prayer (Poem)

This last week I was honored to share a short message on prayer with our men’s and women’s Bible studies. I wrote a short and simple poem that capped off the message. Several people asked if they could get a copy, so I thought I’d post it here. I hope it challenges and encourage you to prayer!

What if God is waiting, for a humble, faith-filled heart

To ask Him for the things, He desires to impart

What if God is longing, for His children to draw near

To communicate His vision, and make their vision clear

What if the Spirit is searching, for the one who will say, “Yes!”

To fill them with His power, the world through them to bless

What if Christ is praying, for those who will truly care

Will you allow your life, to be the answer to His prayer?

California laws and the Church

Update on Bill AB 2943: This bill passed overwhelmingly in California. The good news is that Jesus is still on the throne. My heart is broken, and at the same time, I know that God must have something amazing in store for His church! We will continue to preach the truth that sets people free! Church, don’t stop praying, don’t stop loving, and don’t be afraid!


UPDATE on AB 2943: The CA State Assembly has not yet voted on AB2943 and may not until this Thursday, April 19th. So let your Assembly member know where you stand today.


What a week it’s been! Watching the things going on in our world right is like watching the Bible come to life. US and allied forces confronting Syria, Russia and China on the other side (BTW, you should read Isaiah 17:1 and Jeremiah 49:24-27). In addition to real military action, there are agenda wars going on, and political games afoot. Who knows what or who to believe in it all. It almost feels as though someone has their finger on the hairline trigger of WW3. Thankfully, we as Christians know how it all ends, and Who’s really sovereign at the end of the day. In the middle of so much chaos, it’s comforting to know that God’s Word and its prophecy can be trusted!

Not only is the world scene heating up, right here in California there is a political agenda that is subversively targeting those of us who hold a Biblical worldview. Now let me say, I’m glad that we don’t live in the Roman empire. There’s no doubt that the Christ-less agendas and difficulties we are experiencing as 21st century western Christians pale in comparison to the injustice and persecution that the apostles and the early Christians had to endure (or even modern day Christians in other parts of the world). Things could get much worse for us, and if they do we as Christ followers are called to endure. Having said that, we also live in a country that has afforded us the legal right to be part of choosing the laws and lawmakers that set the moral tone and legal standards for life in the US, and in California.

Right now there are a total of 5 bills in the California state assembly that are reprehensible from the perspective of protecting the rights of American citizens and allowing Christians to practice their convictions under the Constitutional protections of free speech and the freedom of religion.

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Easter Week Recap

We know that for the Christian, every day is Resurrection Day. The life and power of Jesus are always available and always at work in and through us. Praise God that we can walk in His resurrection power and promises every single day! Having said that, there is something special about taking intentional time to reflect on the work of the cross and resurrection. Easter week is always a week where the Spirit of God works in people’s hearts in powerful ways through the message of Christ crucified and risen to life forevermore. It was no exception this last week here in Northern California! Here is a brief recap of some of the wonderful things God did among us.

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