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What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Friday, October 13th, 2017

I’m sure many of you recognize that title from a famous song released in early 1980’s. The song says that, “Love is a second hand emotion.” No slam intended on the author who wrote it, but for the born again believer, love is not just a feeling or an emotion.

What’s love got to do with being a Christian?! EVERYTHING! We love because we were first loved by our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus. The Bible says, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. And of course most of us can quote:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

The God kind of love, Agape Love, is not a natural human love. It is not fickle, based on people’s actions, or on circumstances that present themselves. The Bible also tells us that the God kind of Love “never fails!”

Guess what, that same Agape Love resides in you, if you are a Christian!

“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5

The love of God is not in our heads, it is in our hearts! People around us don’t need our opinions or criticism, and certainly not our judgment. The world is full of hurting people who do not have a clue as to what is going on. We are bombarded constantly with bad news: hurricanes, floods, fires, and shootings. It could cause one to say, “What is going on?”  

You and I may not have all the answers for the tragedies happening around us, but we should not be ashamed to offer people the hope we have in our Lord Jesus. It is our joy, responsibility and privilege to reach out with the Love of God; and to give an answer as to why we have hope! God is Love and God is Good! That is the Gospel, which we preach! Love should motivate us to witness, serve and certainly pray. 

I encourage you to listen to the Featured Message on the Home page. It is part of a series I have been doing recently on Lord Teach Us To Pray. You may want to take time to listen or watch the whole sermon series online here and here

Identity

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

What is the first question you are asked when you check in for a flight, or want to make a large purchase? “May I see your identification?” In our society, you have to have the proper I.D. to get where you want to go or to buy what you want to buy. Isn’t it interesting that the thing we all need to function is also one of the most vulnerable to thieves?

Identity theft is a major problem in our world. According to an Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. citizens in 2016. That is a staggering amount of money! I am not sharing that information to promote fear, but to encourage vigilance and wisdom when it comes to protecting and keeping our personal information safe and secure. If we have to do that with our natural I.D., shouldn’t we be as vigilant to protect our identity in Christ?

The truth is, thieves try to steal our identities because they want what belongs to us. Sound familiar? The Bible tells us that satan is a thief that comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). He constantly tries to keep Believers from discovering their true identity, which is who they are and what they possess in Christ. Satan also loves to hold people bound by their past failures and mistakes.

Our value and worth should not be based on what we do or do not have, or what we have done or what has been done to us. Those things can and do change! Don’t live in your past live in His! As we approach the celebration of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Galatians 2:20 is a good reminder that not only was Christ crucified, but so was our old sin nature.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (NIV)

Our “old man” was crucified with Jesus. He made us a brand new creation with a completely new identification.

I love this quote by T. L . Osborn, “When I got born again, little I moved out and big Christ moved in!” Wouldn’t you agree it is time to let Christ live big in and through us?

Please take the time to listen to my featured message titled “Identity, Part 1” and watch the video page for more messages in this series. As you do, I believe you will begin to see a clearer picture of your true identity. You are AWESOME, AMAZING and WONDERFUL in Him!

Keeping the Ha-Ha Hallelujahs in the Holidays

Monday, December 19th, 2016

I love this time of year! Yeah, we are celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, but sometimes the busyness of the season can cause us to lose sight of why and Who we are celebrating! Amidst all the preparation, shopping, cooking and perhaps planning to leave on a trip, our peace and joy gauge can register on “E.”

Recently, the Lord spoke this phrase to my heart, “How to keep the ha-ha hallelujahs in your holidays!” I preached an entire message on this subject at our Church. Hallelujah is a universal word recognized around the world in every language. Of course it means, “Praise the Lord,” but I want to emphasize the first two letters “H-A.” Ha-Ha is a way we express joy or laughter.

Here is a quick list of some ways to keep the Ha-Ha Hallelujahs in your Holidays:

  • Take time to feed your spirit man.
  • Don’t have unrealistic expectations.
  • Fill your home with lots of laughter. (Turn seeming disasters into funny memories.)
  • Pray in the Spirit.
  • Look for ways to be a blessing to others.

This message was full of funny stories and great memories from my childhood such as the time our Christmas tree fell-under-the-power! I also quizzed the congregation on their knowledge of one of my favorite Christmas movies, “Elf.” Do you know this one? According to Buddy, elves eat from these 4 food groups_______? Guess you better listen to this message or watch the movie to find out the answer!

Seriously, I encourage you to take time to listen to this message here. I believe it will bring a smile to your face, joy to your heart and help you keep the “Ha-Ha Hallelujahs” in your holidays.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Angels – Assistance from Heaven

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Angels Series

Have you noticed the increasing interest in supernatural phenomena? It seems like the devil is trying to draw attention to himself. TV shows and movies highlight paranormal activity; seriously, a “Ghostbuster” movie again! People “ooh” and “awe” over a little demon moving furniture, rattling a window or shutting a door. That is low level devil stuff.

The angels of the Lord shake nations, shut the mouths of lions, open prison doors, destroy enemy armies and win battles! That is just a short list of their credentials!

There is a war raging in the spirit realm. The Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Light are clashing, but I’ll let you in on a secret. God’s Kingdom, the Kingdom of Light, wins! More are they that are with us!

More what? More angels – heavenly assistance! I recently discovered there are 273 references to angels in the Bible. That is worth paying attention to! Because of misinformation, or flaky teaching, many Christians have tended to shy away from anything to do with angels. I believe it is time for the Church to understand the role and function of angels and put them to work!

As we gain a Biblical understanding of angelic activity, I think you will readily agree that we are living in a time when we can expect an increase of their supernatural help.

“Are not the angels all ministering spirits (servants) sent out in the service [of God for the assistance] of those who are to inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition)

  • Angels are God’s assistants.
  • He sent them to minister FOR US.
  • One of their purposes is to heed God’s Word spoken through the Believer.

Do you want to learn how to activate the angels of the Lord on your behalf? I encourage you to take the time to listen to the featured message on my home page “Angels: Assistance From Heaven, Part 1 – More Are They That Are With Us.”

Please join me as I continue this series on Angels at Heart of the Bay Christian Center on Sunday Evenings at 6:30 pm from August 21st – September 4th at 24800 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545.

Do You Need a Jump-start?

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Have you ever had the unfortunate experience of your car battery being dead? It is never a good sign when you turn on your ignition and only hear that “grrrrrr” sound! Doesn’t it usually happen when you have to be at work or have a really important appointment?

There are different reasons for a dead battery. Sometimes it simply has nothing left to give and has to be replaced. But the most common cause of a dead battery is because we did something that drained it. Many cars today have automatic lights that go off on their own. However, way back when we actually had to manually turn them off it was easy to forget and the result was a DRAINED BATTERY!

If a battery gets drained what has to happen? It needs a re-charge or a jump-start. I will not go into a full explanation, but of course that requires jumper cables being properly connected to a charged battery in a running car.

Has your spiritual battery ever been drained? We just came through the holiday season, which can often leave us feeling as though we need a re-charge! Everywhere we look, we are confronted with adds and offers to help us jump-start our bodies and minds for the New Year. I am all for anything that helps, but the best way to jump-start the New Year is to do it God’s way!

I recently preached a message at our church which is the Featured Message on my website. In it I emphasize three ways that can give our spirit man a jump-start.

  1. Stay connected.
  2. Stay full of the Holy Ghost.
  3. Get under the anointing.

May you go into this New Year filled to overflowing with God’s goodness, peace and strength!

Real Summer Fun!

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Many equate summer time with kids out of school, days off from work, trips to visit family, vacationing at your favorite spot, walks on the beach, picnics in the park… the list of summer activities could go on and on! Summer is supposed to be fun, right? It is great to enjoy nice weather and spending time with family and friends. I personally loved the special “Grammy Time” I had these past few weeks with all three of my sweet granddaughters!

But I want to highlight some “Fun” events that take “Fun” to a new level. Fun that is out of this world! There is no greater joy than extending your hand to touch a life with the love of Jesus. I am so proud of our Church family at HBCC for participating in three major Outreaches this Summer.

In July, over fifty people from our Church joined hundreds of other Christians participating in San Francisco City Impact. What a blessing to minister to those living in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. Countless numbers of lives were touched with the love of God through prayer, receiving free food, hair cuts, manicures and pedicures, medical attention, games for the children and even grooming for their pets! What a joy to see God’s love in action! Now that is fun!

CITY IMPACT BLOG

We just finished two more outreaches this month. Our church always has a booth at the Zucchini Festival in Hayward, CA. This year we continued to let our light shine in our community and had the opportunity to pray the Salvation Prayer with 144 people. There is no entertainment or activity that compares to the joy of leading someone to Jesus; what fun!

Last weekend, we held our annual “Operation Outreach.” This event includes games and crafts for the children, a free hot dog lunch for all attending, bags of groceries for each adult and, the highlight of the day, every child gets a backpack filled with school supplies! Close to 200 backpacks were given out, 150 bags of groceries were distributed, and 145 adults and children received Jesus into their hearts! It is hard to describe the smiles and grateful hearts, but as they say, “A picture is worth a 1,000 words!” Some of the event was captured in the pictures below.

BLOG 2015 GAMES

BLOG 2015 BACKPACKS

Pastor Mark and I want to say a big thank you to all who made these outreaches possible! So many of you participated through your prayers, finances and giving of your time. May you never forget the impact your actions had on the lives touched, and may your heart be ever filled and flooded with His joy and goodness!

You are loved,

Pastor Brenda

Are We Safe?

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

“Safe” seems to be a buzzword today. Everyone has the need, and desire to feel safe. We all want to feel safe in our relationships, in our own homes, in our cars, on our jobs, at our schools, in our churches, at places of business, everywhere we go, and in all we are involved in! Can I get an “Amen?”

What does it mean to be safe? It means we are free from danger, damage, hurt or harm. It also means we are free from apprehension. In the world in which we live, it may seem like it is impossible to declare that, “We are Safe!” But when we know the promises of God concerning our protection then fear will not dominate us! We can be settled in unsettled times, and we can live in safety in unsafe times!

This passage in the Message Translation says it all:

“God is a safe place to hide,
ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,
courageous in sea storm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans,
the tremors that shift mountains.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.”
Psalm 46:1-3

How awesome is that? We are safe in Him! He gives us courage and makes us brave & fearless even in the midst of bad news or natural disasters!

Your heart will be lifted and your faith will be strengthened concerning your safety & protection as you listen to this two part series on, “Are We Safe.” Part one is currently the Featured Message on my website. If you are in the Bay Area, you can catch part two live at Heart of the Bay Christian Center this Sunday Night, July 19th at 6:30 PM. See you at the “Heart.”

Armloads of Blessings

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Have you ever been overwhelmed and overjoyed by an act of kindness or expression of love? Maybe at an event, or occurrence, where you were honored and your hard work recognized. Perhaps it was an unexpected gift or blessing from the Lord that left you at a loss for words, but a heart filled with thanksgiving and gratitude?

Our family was recently blessed by the birth of two new granddaughters born about three weeks apart. I have refrained from flooding my blog and ministry page with pictures and comments, but the time has come to share my joy!

Eden arrived on March 28th. She was welcomed by her delighted parents, James & Esther. I was not present the day she was born in Missouri but I arrived as soon as I could. The following picture (or picture below) is our first meeting when she was only a few days old. Pretty sure she was thinking, “Grammy you are Amazing!”

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Eden and I

And then, Lucy made her appearance in Southern California on April 22nd. Her parents, John & Lindy and, of course, her big sister Olivia, were all overjoyed the day she was born. I had the privilege of taking Olivia to the hospital to meet her baby sister for the first time. Her excitement and reaction were priceless! As she held little Lucy she looked up & said, “It isn’t a Dream, I’m really a big sister!” Check out the following photo( or photo below)..a picture is worth a thousand words!

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Olivia and Lucy

 

Have you ever had a dream in your heart that seemed impossible to be fulfilled, but God brought it to pass?! Hopefully you were as excited as Olivia and reacted with tons of joy, delight & thanksgiving!

When Olivia uttered those very passionate words it reminded me of this passage in Psalm 126:1-3. I particularly like it in The Message translation it reads:

“It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,/ when God returned Zion’s exiles./ We laughed, we sang,/ we couldn’t believe our good fortune./ We were the talk of the nations—/‘God was wonderful to them!’/ God was wonderful to us;/ we are one happy people.”

The birth of these two precious babies made me do all the above! I feel extremely blessed, happy and fortune. All I can say is God has been wonderful to me. I AM ONE HAPPY GRAMMY!

I trust you have had occasions in your life where a dream has been realized or a tremendous blessing overtook you to the degree that all you could utter was, “God has been wonderful to me!”

If you are in a season right now where you are standing, expecting and anticipating a breakthrough or a harvest on seeds you have sown, let me encourage you with the rest of this passage in Psalm 126:4-6:

“And now, God, do it again—/bring rains to our drought-stricken lives/ So those who planted their crops in despair/ will SHOUT HURRAHS AT THE HARVEST,/ So those who went off with heavy hearts/ will come home laughing, with ARMLOADS OF BLESSING!” (MSG/Emphasis Mine)

My arms are full of the blessings of the Lord!! May yours abound with the blessings you are believing for!

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Eden at 2 Months

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Lucy at 2 Months

Don’t Forget to Remember

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

283456_220834471296409_5035266_nHave you ever noticed how easy it is to remember things we should forget & forget things we should remember? Let me illustrate. Has someone ever given you the minuet details of how Uncle Joe or Aunt Emma did them wrong? The way they describe it you would think it happened yesterday but when you ask the question, “When did this occur?” You try not to act surprised when they say, “Ten years, ten months, & ten days ago!” What???

On the other hand, if you remind them of verses in the Bible on forgiveness their response is often, “Oh, I just can’t remember scriptures like that.” Hmm. Really? Remembering the Word comes through meditating & thinking upon it. Psalm 119:11 reads, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, /That I might not sin against You.” (NKJV)

Filling our hearts with the Word of God will push other things out that shouldn’t be there! Do you want to forget a painful experience from the past? Then replace those thoughts with how much Jesus loves you and all He has done for you!

As we celebrate Memorial Day, let’s not forget to remember and be thankful for the men & women who paid the ultimate sacrifice that we may enjoy liberty & freedom in this great Nation. Let’s also remember the one, our Lord Jesus Christ who bought and purchased our eternal freedom!

We will remember… FREEDOM isn’t FREE!

Blessing Or Bummer

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

If we are honest, I am sure we would all admit that there are people we know who are really a bummer to be around! We see them coming and immediately want to run or hide in the produce section at the grocery store until they are gone. Please do not ask me how I know that works!

It is not fun to be around a person who continually has a sad story to tell, is always down in the dumps, or depressed. Worse yet, it is not fun to be that person! Of course, we all face difficulties and will have days when we are not extremely cheerful, bubbly and overflowing with joy but those kinds of days should be occasional not a way of life.

We who are born again believers are part of a Kingdom, which is characterized by “JOY.” Romans 14:17 says, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Can you see that the level of peace and joy, which we enjoy, is connected to how full we stay of the Holy Spirit? So, if you want to be a blessing & not a bummer take time to pray in the Holy Spirit on a regular basis! Not only will it have a positive beneficial effect on our lives, but it also puts us in a position to be a blessing to others!

I love the phrase in this passage of scripture, “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, BUT ARE HELPERS OF YOUR JOY: for by faith ye stand” (II Corinthians 1:24; Emphasis mine).

We all need Faith Buddies. We also need Joy Buddies, and we want to be those buddies to others. I know that is my desire, and I hope this post and the Featured Message “Joy Helpers” will serve to brighten your day, put a smile on your face, and stir joy in your heart!