Category Archives: Uncategorized

Israel 2016

 

April 3, 2016

“Oh, taste and SEE that the LORD is good…” (Psalm 34:8)

So…I’ve been in Israel for the past 4 days and WOW – what an absolutely awesome experience it’s been! There are no words to describe the way BEING HERE completely changes the way you see the Bible!

I’ve been reading about these historical places and events for over 27 years, but now something different has happened, the Bible’s come to life! It’s in color, it’s 3D to actually see the land and locations I’ve been reading about all these years.

So many things have been stamped on my heart – such as, the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus taught His disciples (I can truly visualize it now), the Valley of Megiddo where earth’s final battle will take place (stunning); the Port of Joppa, so much history; Mt. Carmel, where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal; Antipatris where Paul spent the night protected; Mt. Hermon (where the dew from above falls down), the figs, the olives, and of course the people – but the Sea of Galilee, just broke me, I prayed and cried, a life-moment I’ll never forget.

If you ever get the chance to come to Israel, I pray you’d seize the opportunity. I do believe God will use it, to not only give life to the Bible, but to give life to you. I believe God can use it so that not only will you walk WHERE Jesus walked, but by His grace you will be blessed and empowered to walk LIKE Jesus walked. That’s what I pray I’d get out of this pilgrimage, after all, God did say in Psalm 84:5, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.”

Shalom, from Israel!

Your brother in Christ,
Manny

On the Plane

Took off to Cambodia today – there’s 9 of us in flight, meeting up with Eleazar in Singapore. Our first layover will be in Tokyo, then Singapore, then we arrive in Phnom Penh, where we’ll be for a couple of days – but most of our time will be in the Province of Takeo.
The flight (11 hours to Tokyo) has been very nice – I highly recommend Singapore Air.

I did some Bible reading and was super-blessed to not only have an aisle seat, but to sit next to Alex. He has an amazing testimony. God has been intensively working in his life the last 1 ½ years especially – drawing him close to Christ, making it deep, real, and personal. The Lord has used personal trials, the church, the Young Adults Ministry, and especially Carlos to minister to him. I’m overwhelmingly blessed with the fire and Spiritual maturity he has already developed in a short time and at such a young age.

Thank You Lord for all You’ve already done – from El Monte to Cambodia, in every place, province, and person who allows You to work deep in their lives! Please keep working in and through Your people. You promised to do just that and we praise You in advance, giving to You all the glory and honor due to Your holy name.

Praying for my family, the flock, for Cambodia, and praying for my own heart – big time!

The Nation of Israel

Prime Minister of Israel – Benjamin Netanyahu

 

 Genesis 12:2-3, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

On Tuesday, March 3, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United States Congress in historic fashion. It was history for at least three reasons.

For one, Prime Minister Netanyahu became only the second man to address congress three times (the other was Winston Churchill). Secondly, the Israeli leader was invited to speak to Congress by Congress, not President Obama (not unprecedented, but significant). And thirdly, and most importantly, the content of his speech was of great Biblical, prophetical, and therefore historical proportions.

It’s almost embarrassing to read some of the articles in major newspapers and magazines that tend to focus on the Prime Minister’s personal motives, or downplay his speech to the use of mere scare tactics. We’ve tragically come to a time in our society where most of the so-called “educated” are not only Biblically ignorant, but they’re politically foolish.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited – agreed to come – and I believe was even called by God to shed light on the terrible deal with Iran that the current administration is concocting. Many Americans weren’t even aware that these things were in the works; Netanyahu’s speech brought it to the homes and hearts of many – all around the world. As far as being “scared,” let’s just say there’s much to be concerned and even alarmed about. Iran is clearly anti-Israel and has threatened Israel on numerous occasions. Iran funds terrorism and has the funds to do so (even under sanctions, they export 1 million barrels of oil a day)! The clincher however, is that Iran maintains the Islamic motivation to justify the use of nuclear weapons, and they will continue to work towards that goal – the truth is this, agreement doesn’t prevent them, it paves the way for them to do so.

In ISIS we’ve see that men will cross so-called lines of sanity in the name of bad religion. Haven’t we realized this yet?

One of the things I appreciated most about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech is the Biblical reality of it. We must not forget the roots of a nation. Iran (formally known as Persia) has attempted to destroy Israel before (read the book of Esther). As a matter of fact, the enemy (Satan) has attempted to destroy Israel on numerous occasions, including the slaughter of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. According to the Scriptures, in the last days, Iran, along with Russia, will attack Israel (read Ezekiel 38), and isn’t it ironic that Russia and Iran have recently signed a military agreement? (click here for more information on that).

Netanyahu’s speech ended with declarations of God blessing both Israel and America. That’s my prayer as well, and that those blessings will lead to blessings all around the world, but certain blessings are conditional.

God will bless Israel in the last days (read Romans 11), but regarding promises to the rest of the world, Genesis 12:2-3 clearly teaches that God will bless those who bless Israel. Up to this point God has blessed the United States of America because we’ve had Israel’s back. The question is, will we now turn our backs on them, or will we support them? Thank you congress for your 39 applauses, 23 standing ovations accounting for over 27% of Israeli’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recent speech. There is hope – but it’s still hard to tell exactly where this nation stands.

God help us to watch and pray!

Your brother in Christ,
Manny

Senior Pastor’s Conference 2014

Forward Motion

The theme of this year’s Pastor’s Conference was, “Forward Motion” – hence the picture 🙂

This was the first year without Pastor Chuck Smith who has finished his race and is home in glory. I’m so happy for Pastor Chuck, but I must admit, I miss him dearly.

The conference was an absolute blessing, as God spoke many things into my heart, and I truly believe there is a Spiritual stirring-up taking place within me. I pray for the grace to be able to make intentions become actions. And although there is so much I could mention, I believe the opening session and passage summed up a lot of how we find ourselves as a movement:

Isaiah 6:1, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.”

As soon as the study becomes available I’ll insert the link for you to hear for yourself the power message that Pastor Damian Kyle delivered – but for now, if you just reflect on the passage, it’s pretty simple to see the way it applies. Pastor Chuck has passed – what will happen to Calvary Chapel? Pastor Chuck, like Uzziah, was chosen, appointed, anointed, blessed beyond measure; he was the human leader of this movement, a man of great integrity, steady, gifted with humble authority…so what will we do without him, what will happen to Calvary Chapel? The answer to that question lies in the passage at hand. We need eyes like Isaiah. It’s not enough to simply know that the Lord is on the throne, will we see Him on the throne, high and lifted up, in all of His glory? That’s the key – if we – fix our eyes on Jesus and see the Leader who’s always been there upholding our human leader and humble ourselves with heart’s to obey. I pray that my eyes would stay firmly focused with a fresh vision of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – seated on the throne. I pray that what has begun in the Spirit, will continue in the Spirit. I pray our “Forward Motion” would take us to places that only please the Lord.

The terrible alternative? I’ll let you read 2 Chronicles 24:2, 17-22 for yourselves.

RESURRECTION CELEBRATION!

Resurrection Day

What an absolute blessing we had at the El Monte Community Center, in celebration of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! 

God, in HIs grace, is so faithful to honor His name – and every year I’m just blown away with the love of the congregation, the worship, the testimonies, and the lives that are touched and saved.

I’m so grateful to God, who gets ALL the glory, and I’m so humbled and thankful for my co-laborers in Christ at Calvary Chapel El Monte, who labor so hard to ensure that everything would come together in such a beautiful way.

For all of you who truly trust Jesus, aren’t you grateful for His words spoken in John 14:19, “Because I live, you will live also.”

Thank you Lord, I look forward to that next leap in life! Until then, there’s so much work to do, but I’m so blessed that I’m not alone; I have You – and my cups runs over with brothers and sisters!

A QUICK WORD FROM CAMBODIA

6a00e553b8627a883301761572dd69970c-580wi

Thank you so much for your prayers! Tons going on here in Cambodia. Construction projects, teaching times, evangelizing, and even though we’re not worthy, God has allowed us to come alongside and encourage the brethren, missionaries and pastors here in Cambodia (which has been very mutual as well). Words cannot express the way my heart is absolutely blessed to come with Jesus’ love, to speak His name to such humble and hungry people! If you ever have a chance to go —- GO on a missions trip for Jesus, even to the ends of the earth! It has the potential to change lives forever, especially your own 🙂

JEREMY LIN

IMG_0546I was really blessed to read these words attributed to Jeremy Lin. They’re not necessarily words that are new, but they definitely are – words that are true. Paul penned similar words in Galatians 1:10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” 

All of us have to make that choice and stick to our guns. Who will we live to please? Will it be he, will it be she, will it be me? It can be so overwhelmingly difficult to overcome the temptation to please others, especially when you attempt to please all others. But I’ve learned that I shouldn’t try to please ANY other than God. As a matter of fact, if I try to please any other person above God, I will inevitably fail in pleasing the Lord – for no man can have 2 masters (Mark 6:24). 

Proverbs 29:25 reveals that “The fear of man brings a snare…” Be so careful you don’t get trapped – or even tripped up in trying to please man. When that becomes your aim – you will be the most frustrated failure you can be. Blessed are those who understand that God calls us to the freedom of pleasing Him, and Him alone. Chances are, when you please the Lord, there will be others who are blessed along with you – others who claim the same aim.

Like Jeremy Lin, I encourage you to work hard, practice day in and day out; and always, always, in all ways keep in mind that the audience of One is more than sufficient.

P.s. – just in case you’re interested, the song, “Please Only You,” by Steven Curtis Chapman is a great reinforcement. The song is ‘different’ but the lyrics are perfect, download it from iTunes 🙂

Another Amazing Day

IMG_1735 Today we had a service/outreach at a church on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. I not only felt, but I am, so unworthy to share the gospel with these people. Thank God for His amazing grace! People came to Christ at the outreach, "after" the outreach, and our hearts were full. And then, as if that weren't enough, we went to visit a woman whose husband just died, leaving her with 14 children – our hearts went out to her, and once again, God did a miracle in front of our eyes, and she prayed to receive Christ as well.

I'm so blessed to have come on this mission's trip. I have to confess, I missed my family, I missed my comforts of California, and the great country of America, but the investment pays great dividends – people's lives are changed forever – here on the other side of the planet – and here in the deepest recesses of my heart, Lord, how I long for my "religion" to be pure and undefiled! (James 1:27).

 

We made it to Singapore!!!

We're at the airport in Singapore, so blessed! In 5 hours we take our final plane which lands in Cambodia! 1 hour flight – God, please do a great work – "What I don't know, teach me; what I don't have, give me; what I am not, make me." May we not come home EVEN the same, closer to the Lord, used by, and spent for Jesus! On the plane I worked through 5 chapters of Warren Wiersbe's new book, "On Being a Leader for God" – great book! Saw a study by Alistair Begg, and did some other reading and fellowshipping… "Lord, prepare my heart, may I have an overflowing love."