Category Archives: Modern Miracles

Jon Ponder – Testimony

If you take 10, you can hear (and see) this amazing testimony of Jon Ponder (convicted of bank robbery) and the way Jesus Christ saved him to turn his life around. This was a video from the recent Republican National Convention. I was also blessed by the support of President Trump for this man and the organization that helps prisoners get a second chance at life through Jesus Christ (not ashamed). Don’t want to be a spoiler, but at the end of the video President Trump grants Jon a “Full Pardon.” Reminds me of what Jesus has done for those of us who place their faith in Him.

Ephesians 4:28 “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”

Honoring God

Eric Liddell

1 Samuel 2:30b, “…for those who honor Me I will honor.”

Have you ever heard of Eric Liddel? Many of us have seen his life-story on the big (or smaller) screen, as told in the Oscar winning film, “Chariots of Fire.”

In the 1924 Olympics in Paris, Eric was the favorite to win the gold medal in the 100-meter race, but under deep conviction, he withdrew his name, refusing to run on a Sunday, the day he had always given completely to the Lord.

Eric was criticized and pressured by many to run on Sunday, but he refused to compromise his deep convictions. As an alternative, Liddell registered to run in the 400-meter race, but he wasn’t expected to win. Just moments before the race, an American handed him a piece of paper on which was written this passage from 1 Samuel 2:30, “Those who honor Me I will honor.” Liddell ran the race with the verse in his hand and ended up winning Olympic Gold and setting a new world record with a time of 47.6 seconds!

Here’s the part that really got to me – when Eric described his strategy for the race, he said, “The secret of my success over the 400 meters is that I run the first 200 meters as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200 meters, with God’s help, I run faster.”

I’ve always loved that quote as a strategy to win my race and to finish well. In a day and age where many are compromising, falling away, and giving in to the criticism and pressures of the world, Eric Liddel is one of those guys in the Christian Hall of Faith, set there as an example for us to learn from.

My brothers and sisters, I beg you to hold to your Christian convictions without compromise, no matter what it costs, and regardless of the criticism and pressures of the world. By God’s grace – as time goes on – run harder, and stronger, and faster, in order that you might win the race and finish well. And last but not least, honor the Lord with all of your heart – if you do, as we’ve seen modeled through the lives of Eric Liddell and so many others, the Lord will honor you – yes, I promise you, you will be rewarded with that “Gold-Medal” given to you on that day, by God Himself.

In His love, your brother in Christ,

Manny

YOU CAN’T DENY THIS MIRACLE!

Toothpick

The other day, God reminded me of how personal He is.

In between services I was walking through the Sanctuary on a Sunday morning and I noticed a piece of trash on the ground. As I bent over to pick it up, I realized that it was actually a toothpick sealed in plastic, so I just put it in my pocket and pretty much forgot about it.

After the second service I was in the back office and my daughter came in – she looked troubled. She was, and she asked in a somewhat desperate tone of voice, “Dad, do you have any dental floss?” Now, I usually have dental floss in a little red box but she said, “Dad, I checked there – you’re all out!”

My heart went out to her. Apparently she had something really stuck in her teeth, but she couldn’t get it out, so she was bummed out, because I was all out of dental floss.

But then I remembered – wait a minute – earlier that morning I had found a toothpick on the ground, sealed in plastic! So I reached into my pocket, gave her the toothpick, she was able to clean between her teeth, smiled, and said “thanks dad,” and walked out of the office.

When she walked out, I bowed my head and worshipped. “Wow, God – You are so personal! You care enough to provide a toothpick like this, cause You knew that my daughter would be in this situation, hard for her to handle – You really do see, hear, and know, ALL about us!”

Later that day I asked the Lord why He didn’t simply have my daughter find the toothpick. And I sensed the Lord say to me, “Because you’re her dad, and as her dad I will give you what you need to give to her.”

Thank You Lord for being such a personal God! (Psalm 56:8; 139:1-6; Luke 12:7; 1 Peter 5:7).

CAMBODIA MISSION’S TRIP

Cambodia Schmitz Family

This was our 3rd time in Cambodia and it seems like each time it simply gets better and better! What a blessing to preach the gospel, to teach the Word, to visit orphans, to provide benevolence to the poor, to fellowship with absolutely amazing Christians, to encourage missionaries (and be encouraged), and to get “zapped” with God’s work through us, yes – but primarily in us!

You might not be called to GO as a long-term missionary, but you are called to SEND (Romans 10:13-15). And if you can’t go LONG-TERM, there’s no better way to be shaken out of your comfort zone, than leaving your time zone, find out what missions is all about, and go on a SHORT-TERM mission’s trip. Really pray about it!

Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”

(The 1st photo is of a group of Pastors, Teachers, Leaders, and their wives, I had the privilege of sharing with, in a remote village close to Vietnam. The 2nd photo is the Schmitz family, our dear missionaries in Cambodia – please remember them in your prayers!)

ANOTHER UNDENIABLE YET PERSONAL MIRACLE

Miracles

So we just pulled in and parked at Calvary Chapel Golden Springs. When I got out of the car, a brother happened to be walking through the parking lot and came up to me and told me that he had a gift card with my name on it, to use at the bookstore. Since funds were not necessarily “flowing” for us, this was joyfully received as a bountiful blessing from the Lord…it really helped us out! Prior to that, we were thinking about getting some really cheap gifts – but after that we were able to bless a few people, as we had been blessed.

Now, seriously, what are the odds of us parking at the same time this brother just happens to be walking through that portion of the parking lot with a gift card for me? Some might downplay it, some might doubt it – calling it a “coincidence,” but I know all-too-well, that it was the Lord once again reminding me that He knows EVERYTHING about us – our precise geography, our place financially…in all reality, He knows every need we have, every tear we cry, every thought we think, every we burden we bear, and in His gracious sovereignty, He will allow us to cross paths with people at just the right time, in order to accomplish His purposes.

Take heart, Christian, His eyes are always upon you!

The Ministry of Reconciliation

"Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of RECONCILIATION…" (2 Corinthians 5:18).

As Christian ministers (that's all of who are saved :-), it's so amazing to contemplate this whole concept of reconciliation. For one, we've been reconciled to God! How amazing is that?  But then secondly, we've been given this ministry of reconciliation. In this "ministry" we see others come to Christ, and we get to see others literally reconciled with others.

I have to share with you a little something that happened this week. There's a young man whose been coming to the fellowship for the past couple of months, who God is drawing out of the gang lifestyle. God had been moving his heart to find his father, but he didn't know where he was. It just so "happened" that he ran into a relative at the Harvest Crusade who was able to give him the information of his father's whereabouts.  This young man then wrote to his father and told him that he had been coming to church sercvices and that God was changing his life, little-by-little. To our amazement the father wrote back and said the same thing, he was now serving the Lord also! Wow! All along God was moving father and son towards Him, and in the process moving them towards eachother.

The other day, this young man's father called here at the church office, and they were able to talk over the phone. Both father and son were so happy and blessed beyond measure, after all, how can you measure the love between a father and son? Afterwards the young man told me he hadn't spoken to his father in 16 months.

Thank You Lord, for the ministry of RECONCILIATION. Please remember them in your prayers.

Cambodia – Day 2

IMG_1259_2

What a blessing today was. At 7am we embarked on a 2 1/2 hour journey to Prey Veng, to do a medical outreach. Simple things we take for granted like vitamins, aspirin, ointment, antibiotics…shoes – are things these people don't have. One missionary told me that the province of Prey Veng is the poorest place in Cambodia. What an absolute blessing and honor it was to serve these beautiful people! You've got to check out the photos (Cambodia – day 2).

One incident that stood out, was a little boy whose feet were infected; some of the team washed and treated the bottom of his feet, but then I noticed he went on his way, without shoes…it broke my heart. We've decided to bring shoes to the children when we return to Prey Veng on Wednesday.

The photo shown here is a young man named Rachna, he's 18 years old, and today he prayed to receive Christ as His Savior! Praise God!!!! The other young man is Steven, he is a missionary here, and a translator.

We ended the night with a time of worship and the study of the Word with the youth…what an absolute blessing it was…so many youth in the middle of this big-time Buddhist stronghold, learning of and worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for you prayers….and please, continue to pray!

Finally Finished – Choosing to See, by Mary Beth Chapman

Mary beth chapman choosing to SEE Although I don't read too many modern day auto-biographies, I must say, I really enjoyed this book, Choosing to See, by Mary Beth Chapman. Of course a huge contributor would be the fact that I am so appreciative of the music ministry of her husband, Steven Curtis Chapman. God has definitely used this brother in my life, to change my life and draw me closer to the Lord, as Steven has offered up his gifts for the glory of God and the good of the people (like me).

Some elements that made this book such a good read was the absolute and unhindered transparency of Mary Beth. Some might not like her transparency, or even disagree with some of the decisions in the lives of the Chapmans, but the rest of us sinners actually find it very refreshing, and remember, it's pretty important to know that even the best of men are men at best. The basis and backdrop of much of the book is the passing of their little girl Maria – and it was for that reason that I cried a lot in reading this book. It might sound weird, but I actually found myself laughing frequently as well (a good mix – don't you think?). Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." And so the question is, do you know? Do you know that all things work together for good? And are you the "called" – are you saved, are you a Christian? (This promise is to them/us).

In this book, I read about a modern-day-living-illustration of Romans 8:28. God has taken this tragedy, and through all the tears, trial, hurts and heartaches, He has transformed it into triumph. Does that eliminate the pain? Oh no – the pain is still deep and real and devastating – a 10 on the richter scale of pain; but what we learn is that there is great purpose for the pain, God is glorified, His little girl is home where she wanted to be, in God's big, big house, and one day, by the grace of God and the cross of Jesus Christ  - we will join her in the true and tangible Kingdom of God.

May God help us in our Choosing to See Him and His ways, in all of our life, and all of our days. (Let me know if you want to borrow the book 🙂

Breaking the Chains

This last Sunday we met with a brother named Steven Cass – founder of the ministry "Breaking Chains." We are praying about teaming up with Steven and using the house we're renovating in Rosarito, Mexico to shelter girls that they rescue from slavery and prostitution. It's so heartbreaking when you discover the epidemic of human trafficking in Latin America. Please pray for this ministry, and pray that the Lord will show us His will. If you are interested in serving in construction in one of our work trips, or just ministering to the girls, please contact us. For more information on Breaking Chains you can go to www.breakingchains.org.

The very next day I received this email from one of the brothers in the congregation – Sean: 

"Manny, I met this band at the two day evangelist training class. Today I recieved this email from them. If you click on the link you can watch a video of their new song about women and children trafficking and slavery. Wow what timing after hearing the brother share today about the same thing!" ~ Sean

Rosarito, Mexico – Outreach/Orphanage

This last Saturday we were blessed to go down to Rosarito, Mexico for a couple of reasons.
First off, we're praying about starting an orphanage. Some of the guys worked on the house and mapped out a plan.
The rest of the group served in an outreach at the park. We gave away food, clothing, toys and most important of all…the gospel. It was so cool to see the people respond and make professions of faith.
Please continue to keep all this in prayer!Rosarito, Mexico - Outreach/Orphanage