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

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!

God Showed Me Jamie Gates Through Pedro Enriquez

If you’re like me you want to know that you’re being directed by God when you actually ask God for direction. I’ve asked God to make it more clear. Readers of my blog know that I’ve seen God moving in my life more powerfully this year.

Check out my April posts if you want to see recent origins of what’s happening now. (Of course, you can trace this season of my life back to John Guenther, a lover of God from Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, recommending that I read The Cure by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol & John Lynch.)

Today I’ve had something very interesting happen to me. While some family and friends are out sharing Jesus with people in the streets, stores and malls, I’ve been home resting and letting the Lord minister to me. I took some time to lay down when I got away from the internet. I intended to actually sleep, but after a time of rest I felt God nudging me to get up.

Sometimes God is showing you something truly unexpected. I’m figuring out how to listen to him. We’re told in John 10:27-28 about Jesus’ sheep hearing his voice and receiving eternal life from him. I’m learning how to effectively hear his voice (though not in an audible way).

Again, if you’re a reader of my blog you know that one reason I started it is that God gave me a brand that I’m bringing to the world. I’m thinking about who I want to print my prototype shirt and I was asking God about it. I’ve wondered who he might want me to use if I actually care to ask him. He was getting my attention and I was asking him if it was really true that my sense was correct.

My sense was that God might be telling me that I shouldn’t use the place I visited the other day. The Lord knows I don’t know all about them, just that they’ve been around for decades. I wondered if I should try someone else in the same area or a guy I used to tutor with that I haven’t thought about recently.

Then the Lord put a face in my head. Pedro Enriquez is a man I know from my time tutoring at Reality Changers (RC) and we’re connected on Facebook. He used to be in charge of the Solana Beach section of RC. I know Pedro to be a faithful man of God, but I wasn’t sure about a connection to t-shirt printing.

Soon after arriving at his Facebook page I realized that God had something different than t-shirts in mind for me today. Holy Spirit has been reaching me powerfully through tears recently and this was no exception. I saw Pedro’s post of Jamie Gates speaking at TedX PLNU (Point Loma Nazarene University) and I felt that this video was what God wanted me to see even before I pressed play. I realize that some people might be skeptical of this situation, but as I believe I’ve heard Patricia King say:

“Your knower knows.”

In this process God also gave me a great post for Saturday, October 29, 2016. He gave me other stuff today, but that’s for another time. I strongly urge you to watch NOW and allow God to bless you by showing you something good and unexpected.

God loves you!

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

Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet

When I started this blog I mentioned faith songs that help me feel the presence of God. This morning my wife and I were together in worship for the first time in a while at our home church, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.

This song by Amy Grant (below) came to mind as we studied Psalm 119 (the longest Psalm) in worship. Our congregation read the whole Psalm together, sometimes following along and other times reading in unison.

Then our senior pastor, Mike McClenahan, preached the rest of his sermon. He had urged us to find words that stood out for us as we read and then taught us three main points.

The word, which was the Torah (the way) originally, is:

*profoundly good*

*intentionally heard*

*relationally followed*

You can hear the whole sermon with Mike’s finer points soon by visiting SolanaPres/audio.

Be Filled With Wonder!

Charlie