Mike McClenahan Touchdown!

( Alternate title: *Support Your Local Pastor* )

Each of us has our own idea of what we like to hear in a speaker. To be fair, Mike McClenahan is one of my favorite traditional church preachers. I’m not just saying that because he’s my senior pastor. Once in a great while I will hear what I consider a bad sermon, but NEVER from Mike.

In fact, about two or three times a year I hear a sermon from him to which I consider the only appropriate response to be for us to leave the church in worshipful silence. (But…that’s not how the Presbyterian church does things.)

In my fantasy backyard I have a deluxe hammock and re-listen to Mike’s sermon while relaxing there. This week I’ll listen to yesterday’s sermon at home sans hammock.

If you’re a real stickler you may disagree with me. You might even say you have to go to baseball for a proper metaphor. IF we switch to baseball instead of football I would say this sermon is at least a triple, but I believe it would be more fair to call it a home run, maybe even a grand slam.

However, since I’m the one writing I believe we’ll just stick with touchdown. There definitely will be more touchdowns to come. One great thing about preachers is they almost all get better as the years go by. With football players they might get better for a while, but eventually they just get older as Charger (and Green Bay and all other) fans are well aware.

While we all get older, Mike McClenahan is getting better every year. You’re welcome to come see him preach at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church at 8:30 or 10:15 on Sundays. As for me, I’ve seen him preach for about a decade and a half and I hope get to hear Mike preach until he’s real old, like 105 or 110. That would be cool.

Who needs retirement anyway?

SBPC Sermon January 15, 2017

Advertisements

We Encourage When We Share

Most mornings I wake up with a song in my head. I truly enjoy music and during the last six months or so I’ve been listening to a lot more worship music. (I think I even mentioned this in an earlier blog post.)

Here’s how I think it works for me and I believe that means it can work for you as well.

Because I’ve been sincerely seeking to know God better through semi-regular worship and creating a study with two like-minded friends from church, I’ve been led/gone down a different (or deeper) path.

When I was 24 and my mom died of lung cancer I didn’t try hard enough to find help through people of faith. I remember reaching a point where people were telling me that maybe I needed to go to a professional (or semi-professional student counselor at SDSU, in my case) counselor to discuss my grief.

It is not my intention to sound harsh, but maybe what I should have done is found other believers who were willing to meet with me and pray with me (and counsel me) AND if I couldn’t find those believers at MY CHURCH, I should have looked at other churches for believers who would help.

That doesn’t necessarily mean leaving that church, but if that’s what I had to do then that’s what I should have done. As believers we have to take responsibility for our faith. (Check out Galatians 6:5-15 at BibleStudyTools.com which covers a great deal in this area.)

Today my wife and I attend Solana Pres in Solana Beach, California. I started attending a little over two decades ago. We also attend The Fire & Glory Outpouring Revival which is currently hosted at Summit Church in San Marcos, California. This doesn’t mean we are switching churches.

Tonight at 7:00 I expect that we will worship revival-style and tomorrow morning at 8:30 we will worship passionate-Presbyterian (or as close as Presbyterians get to passionate worship?) style.

When I started this blog I hoped to share my journey with Jesus honestly and assumed that a good number of readers would support me when I launch my brand.

What I’m finding is that by worshiping more frequently and continuing to meet regularly with good christian friends I can trust I’m more open to what God is calling me to do.

Evangelism is one of those things. I tell strangers that God loves them and I’m more open to conversations with them about what they want to talk about. Surprisingly, lots of people are open to someone who is sharing enthusiastically about their faith and many of those people are open to me praying for them. Sometimes that means right there on the spot.

If people support my brand when I launch, that’s wonderful. But, there is more to this blog than supporting me in what I do. Who’s supporting you?

Here’s Crowder with that song in my head when I woke up this morning.

God bless you!

Citizens Of Heaven

What a wonderful New Year’s Day (and New Year’s Eve) we had! I’ll share about that another time, except to say that my wife and I attended The Fire & Glory Outpouring both nights and two regular worship services Sunday morning. If we include Saturday morning and afternoon I went to five worship services and my honey went to six in two days!

Last January I would have thought you were crazy (Though I PROBABLY wouldn’t have said it out LOUD!) if you told me I would participate in real congregational worship this often. Yet here I am. I encourage you to worship God more often in Spirit and in Truth. I believe I’m experiencing real effects in my life and in my intimacy with Jesus. This has everything to do with God and I deserve no credit except possibly for CHOOSING to seek intimacy with Holy Spirit.

Quite a long time ago I heard a verse that promises if you truly seek God you will find him. Because of my experience in personal development I remember realizing that what many people are seeking is fulfillment and that’s not necessarily the same as seeking God. In fact, I probably starting thinking about personal development in this way because of a wonderful and highly intelligent woman who was our senior pastor for a while at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Roberta Hestenes. I asked people from time to time and don’t remember ever getting what I considered the right verse in response. (To be fair, I don’t think I ever asked Roberta Hestenes or our current senior pastor, Mike McClenahan.) I believe I found it with the help of Google and Bible Gateway.

Personally I have found The Message very helpful in understanding through modern language. Even if you normally read from a certain translation I highly recommend that you also read The Message for clarity. I’ve experience the Psalms and Epistles really coming alive for me recently when I’ve read The Message translation, which I believe is technically a paraphrase.

I’ve included two translations of the relevant verses. Also remember what I mentioned in the New Year’s Day post – Try New Things In This New Year!

Take hold of this promise!

***
But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.
Deuteronomy 4:29 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

But even there, if you seek God, your God, you’ll be able to find him if you’re serious, looking for him with your whole heart and soul. When troubles come and all these awful things happen to you, in future days you will come back to God, your God, and listen obediently to what he says. God, your God, is above all a compassionate God. In the end he will not abandon you, he won’t bring you to ruin, he won’t forget the covenant with your ancestors which he swore to them.
Deuteronomy 4:29-31 The Message (MSG)
***

My birthday is coming up on February 28th and if you could give me a present I guess I would first choose for you to actually attend The Fire & Glory Outpouring in San Marcos, California which I think is going through 2017. (Of course, Jerame & Miranda Nelson listen to Holy Spirit for direction so who can know the mind of God in advance?)

A very close second place gift would be for you to get The Message and read it often to help you receive God’s message in language that’s pretty easy to understand. I have The Message on my Kindle and computer, but I think today or tomorrow I’m going order or go and get a hard copy so I can read it when my internet connection is funky. Hopefully you are already watching The Fire & Glory Outpouring on Youtube. Don’t forget to watch old “episodes” (as I like to call them) in addition to watching LIVE on Youtube while worship is going on.

Today I’m leaving you with verses I read this morning during what many call quiet time. I have a friend who has said quite often that he’s a citizen of heaven and I believe that’s important to keep in mind. It’s helpful to remember where our authority comes from in relation to our identity as believers.

***
But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.
Philippians 3:20-21 The Message (MSG)
***

God loves you!

Unusual And Amazing 2016

For many Americans, the biggest thing about 2016 was our election and many people were surprised and disappointed.

As my wife and I have been involved with charismatic and prophetic worship since April I have met many who were expecting Donald Trump to win. I don’t mean to suggest that everyone in this “movement” or slice of Christianity voted for Trump. I didn’t. Until recently I mostly had political discussions with other Democrats as too many Republicans had seemed angry and unreasonable to me.

About six weeks out from the election I shared my belief that it would take God’s intervention for Donald Trump to win. Of course, that’s what many people believe happened. I even prayed for what are called “faithless electors” to abandon Trump and make John Kasich president through the electoral college.

My intention is not to start any sort of debate. I’m just being real. I was saddened and disappointed for America on election night and at times afterwards.

Because my wife and I have been so heavily (for us) involved in worship during this time I believe it has been easier because we are learning to trust God more.
God has been healing me as I have been learning how to have deeper intimacy with Holy Spirit. I realized that I hadn’t trusted God as much since my mom died of cancer in 1987 and Holy Spirit helped me give up that lack of trust this year. That era of my life is over. This year was a new beginning for me.

My sense is that frequent worship is part of what many refer to as “Pressing In” with God – that is, achieving more intimacy and understanding of his will for you.

By practicing listening to and communicating with Holy Spirit each of us can get better at it. A friend who is much more experienced tells me that Holy Spirit tells him that I am becoming more discerning as I am practicing pretty much daily.
It might almost seem too simple that we can practice “Pressing In” just as we would practice playing soccer, playing an instrument, learning Spanish or a whole host of other skills.

Just yesterday as we were leaving morning worship (Yes, on a Friday! Right now is Fresh Awakening and there will be another in late January.) I felt what I call a “nudge” from Holy Spirit about two women who were sitting a few rows back from us.

Soon I felt another “nudge” as we were walking out. By speaking with my wife as we were leaving the building I knew that she wanted to leave, so I asked her if I might go back in while she went to the car. She agreed so I went back in and introduced myself to the two women who were still sitting on the end of their row. When I asked if they needed prayer for anything they said they did because a friend of theirs had died of cancer very recently. So I asked if they were open to me praying for them and the woman’s family and they were ready for me to pray and that’s what I did.

Before April I wouldn’t have been sensitive enough to “hear” God nudging me. I’m practicing other ways of “Pressing In” as well. I even asked God to help me with this blog post. Who’d have thunk it!?

I am wondering what’s going to happen with our world and our country with a new and unusual president. I’m thanking God for Barack and Michelle Obama as well as Joe & Jill Biden and even Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom here in California.

I’m trusting God to get us through in 2017 and beyond.

Tonight we’re going to worship to hear Charlie Robinson from Canada at The Fire & Glory Outpouring – December Fresh Awakening. I highly recommend it. We still attend our home church, Solana Beach Presbyterian, and I recommend that you attend or find yours. Revival is extra, but it’s probably some of the extra we need right now.

I have always wondered what it would be like to worship God with a group of believers to ring in the new year. Tonight I’m going to find out!

God bless you and Happy New Year!

Now What? Worship God!

Today is the day after Christmas, 2016.

Are you ready to move ahead or will you wait until January 2, 2017? (There’s all that football and maybe family and MAYBE recovering from the night before on New Year’s Day.)

Will you move ahead while keeping that Christmas Spirit all year long?

We have access to the TRUE Spirit of Christmas if we want it.

Of course, I’m talking about Holy Spirit.

Do you want more of the Holy Spirit in your life, that is, more INTIMACY with Holy Spirit? You CAN have that greater intimacy.

I have a strong suggestion.

Worship God more. In Spirit and in Truth.

This year has been quite a year with Almighty God for me and my family. Things REALLY picked up in April. After Power & Love in Pasadena I shared songs that encouraged my faith.

What I’ve found throughout the year is that I’m learning to love NEW songs that I hear in worship and on the radio (Thanks, Air1!).

Through worshiping God at the Fire & Glory Outpouring AND my home church (Solana Pres) and even watching worship on Youtube I have been stretched by God in my capacity for worship. I asked God to stretch me when I first entered this revival back when it took place in Rancho Bernardo.

Since I asked God to stretch me in worship what I’m about to say may not come as a big surprise, but maybe you’ve never thought of it before. I know I have.

I have wondered over the years what it would be like to bring in the new year worshiping with other believers. That’s what my wife and I will do this year.

Join us and Jerame & Miranda Nelson and a special guest or two at Fresh Awakening at Summit Church (that’s where Fire & Glory Outpouring moved months ago after Rancho Bernardo).

Of course, if you can’t make it to Summit Church in San Marcos you can watch on Youtube!

Again, I urge you to worship God in Spirit and Truth more often.

One way is through music and singing. (Yes, I do listen to more than just Crowder.)

Here’s a gifted helper, Lauren Daigle, to assist you in worshiping God.

And Twice On Sunday!

My habits have been changing recently.

If you had told me in January that within months I would be attending our wonderfully welcoming Solana Beach Presbyterian Church (SBPC) in addition to worship services at another site on a regular basis, I wouldn’t have believed you.

If you told me that those other services were sometimes over 3 1/2 hours long I might have laughed and said, “Riiiight.”

If you had prophesied it, well, I would have thought you were a little crazy.

Counting the added bonus of the near-monthly Fresh Awakening, I’ve attended the Fire & Glory Outpouring 22(!) times by my count and most of that in August and September.

Last week I attended our 70th anniversary celebration at SBPC and sat in our mini-park under a tree planted in faith several decades ago. Our gifted and bilingual senior pastor, Mike McClenahan, preached and led us in many exclamations of “Praise the Lord!”

I truly wish we could have services like that on a semi-regular basis. (Semi-regular so people won’t become so used to worship outdoors that they see it as “old hat”.)

During fellowship I got to recount my recent faith journey with several people including our hispanic pastor, Juan Daniel Espitia. I believe people are noticing that something IS going on with me and that that something is due to Holy Spirit.

After some afternoon rest Marianne and I, along with some family members(!), worshiped at Summit Church with Miranda Nelson preaching and for me it was the most visibly powerful move of the Holy Spirit that I can recall.

Having family worship with us is an added bonus I’ll share about in a future post.

Watch the 70th(!) anniversary video or audio from SBPC in the first link below.

Watch Jerame Nelson introduce his wife, Miranda, and get some flavor of her preaching as well as the aforementioned move of the Holy Spirit by starting at 1:53:45. Watch until around 2:20:00 to see a whole segment. Or continue watching to the end of the service or start at the very beginning of worship and watch to 3:46:49. Your choice!

I urge you to watch worship services from SBPC, The Fire & Glory Outpouring, and Summit Church online and come participate in person!

God Bless You!

Sept. 4 Solana Beach Presbyterian Church 70th Anniversary

Sept. 4 Fire & Glory Outpouring Night #192 – Summit Church San Marcos

Good Things Are Happening

On the 4th of July I saw my cousin Debi at her brother Kevin’s house in Vista where some of our family went to see the fireworks display from blocks away. She asked me if I am still blogging.

Yes! The drought or writer’s block or whatever is now over!

Last night I went to the Fire & Glory Outpouring for the third time. This is pretty special and I urge you to attend at least three times before it moves on.

This revival started in January when they began with the intention to do four nights of revival. Last night was night #150 – give or take. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY nights so far! If you’ve never been to a revival, this is a wonderful place to start. One of the main speakers, Jerame Nelson, is careful to let people know that this is about God’s Love and commmunion (my word – NOT meaning the sacrament here) with the Holy Spirit.

These worship sessions are also NOT designed to get you to switch churches. Your church is your church. If you have no church, I’d be willing to venture that the Heart of God Church in Rancho Bernardo welcomes you. As a disclaimer I’ll let you know that I’m a member of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church in Solana Beach, California. (We’ll welcome you as well.)

My wife has been getting a lot out of participating in these worship/revival sessions and she’s been there in the neighborhood of 15 or 20 times. (She even speaks in tongues now, but I’ll share about that another time!) I visited for the third time last night and it is really something to have your idea of worship stretched and to leave your comfort zone of what you’re currently doing.

Last night was about 3 1/2 hours which started with worshipful singing & praise for about an hour and 20 minutes and then Jerame preached for what I’m pretty sure was about the same length of time. Then we had some more praise and singing with many of us coming up front and standing.

Why do I urge you to attend at least three times?

Since I was in the Pasadena healing conference a few months ago I’ve been coming to understand more about “practicing” connecting (again, my word) with the Holy Spirit. I love that we can give ourselves the grace to practice even though we might sometimes be incorrect in our understanding of what’s going on in a particular situation. As I see it, that’s freedom. God intends for us to have that freedom as we learn.

My first two times in Rancho Bernardo I was getting used to how these sessions go. Last night I was more familiar and more ready. Maybe you will be ready on day one. With decades in the Presbyterian Church I was not used to these long sessions, but I was and am open to these new (to me) experiences of worshiping God.

I’ve been meeting with a couple men from my church to study and pray for about 20 months and one of the questions I’ve asked is this:

If we are utterly convinced that God would never send us (or anyone) on a trip or mission to Poland (or Vancouver or Las Vegas or Pasadena or Cameroon or Pakistan or Brazil or Ghana, etc…), then how can God ever move us to do that or go there? If it’s part of our basic belief system that God would never call us to leave California, then HOW does he get through to us when he wants us to move to Vancouver, British Columbia?

I believe most of us can see a problem with an assumption that God would NEVER have us do a certain task as described above.

What if you believe that God would never have YOU speak in tongues? I am open to it, yet I haven’t done it. My wife was definitely open to it and now she does. But this post isn’t about speaking in tongues.

What if you believe something like this?

“What extra good could possibly come from a worship service that takes three or four hours or more?”
“What’s the point in having a service that long?”
“What’s wrong with my 75 minute service?”
“It’s just not necessary to have the service go that long!”
“I couldn’t possibly be in worship that long.”

Well, if you believe that you should never attend a service that takes this long, is it possible that you’re missing out?

If you know that it’s about God’s love and interacting (my word) with the Holy Spirit and no one is trying to get you to switch churches, why not stretch your comfort zone and come participate?

Last night (my third time) I felt God help me worship him and he gave me more joy and laughter in the process.

What if I had just stayed home and watched TV?

Check out Jerame’s Youtube Channel. I expect them to have last night’s session up soon, but July 9th is up already and you can see my wife, Marianne, walk up to the front at the 2:46 (two hours and forty-six minutes) mark. You can watch that below:

You can also watch these sessions live over the internet as they happen if you can’t attend or are convinced that you shouldn’t attend or if you live far away.

God Bless You!