Tag Archives: discipleship

Spoken Word

Francisco ‘ENUF’ Garcia

Here is the Spoken Word by a young man from Phoenix, AZ currently enrolled in the West Coast UTC which he dedicated to us as we left Los Angeles to pastor the Victory Outreach Church in Bridgeport, CT.

The Call of Abram

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” – Genesis 12: 1

Da Cross Cultural Pastor— dutch and indonesian— migrated to a foreign country and region—

Prepared in and out of season,… many years of directing UTC —discipling and teaching.

You’ve traveled far like the 7 seas man…

No matter the cost or famine/ God provided you with heavenly manna.

God held you close in His hands/ The Word you examined scribed in your heart—  like the 10 commandments.//.

God called you, and you were ready// to do Gods will and be a missionary//

In America! Man, that’s scary//… He was your strength when the Cross was heavy.

Answering the call to the East Coast, is better than honey and sweet toast.

A Rotterdam immigrant bringing the flavor like cinammon.

An X-militant, now a soldier for Christ the most infinite.

Discipling all nations the great commission.

He’ not Tom Cruise, but he’s down for the mission.

It had to take many sacrifices/

You sold out to Christ, and that my friend was priceless./

We are young people lost in a dessert and you an ice chest//

Your children will be blessed in this land.

Cindy joined this godly man… to follow His will and all the plans.

9 years of raising UTC, and Victory Outreach leaders. To impact the ball game like Derek Jeter.

If you don’t like the Yankees well pray in the name of Jesus.

Now is the time to hit Bridgeport, Connecticut streetses. God bless you and your family, keep on preaching…


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Where will you be 5 years from today?

I love coffee, and every time I walk into a Starbucks (SB) to get a Tall Skinny Vanilla Latte, I have to take a look at their non-coffee merchandize. You never know what kind of deals you find, like those nice coffee mugs for half the price. I guess those are the Dutch genes in me; we like to hunt for cheap deals, and we have the unexplainable habit to collect. This particular time I visited my local SB at the University Village in Los Angeles, opposite of the USC campus, and I noticed a certain book. Actually it was the question on the cover of the book; “Where will you be five years from today?” that caught my attention.

While waiting in line I opened the book to get a better look at it. The first question on the cover had me already thinking, but on the following page I read challenging words. Right there and then, it seemed like those words were spoken to me personally.

This is your life, your one-and-only life. Over the next five years, what do you really want to do? What do you really want to have? What do you really want to be? Where do you really want to go? There are no rules here. This is not a work book, it’s a play book. This is not a “here’s how” book, it’s a “why not?” book. So be daring, be bold and true to yourself!

“This is a perfect book for Robert”, was my second thought (Robert is a young man that I have known now for over 6 years, he is on fire for Jesus, and intentional in serving God for the rest of his life). With my regular order of TSVL, I bought a book for him, and of course one copy for myself. The next few weeks I drove to several SB locations to pick up an additional 5 copies to give away to men that play a very instrumental role in my personal life. If you find something good, make sure you share it.

This book has become my ‘play book’, I read it together with the Bible as a devotional ‘side kick’. I put notes, quotes, thoughts, pictures, dreams, and promises in it. But the most important thing I put on the first pages was Matthew 6:33; “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” and Proverbs 16:3; “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

I want my life to be a journey, that turns into an adventure, which will become a mission; I desire to reach my full potential, to live a life of significance, to reach my destiny, to become all God wants me to be.

I hope you find yourself a copy and get one or more for those special people within your live, God Bless and Bon Voyage for the next 5 years of the rest of your life…

Note! This is a revised version from my blog ‘Where will you be 5 years from today?’ (December 30, 2008)

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“…this happens to be my seat!”

A few centuries ago when Christians came together to worship, people would stand during the service. The pews came later, and were either rented or purchased by church members. Pews were considered private property, and some people enclosed them in so-called pew boxes, or they created pews that looked different from the other pew sections in the church building. The purchase or rental of pews created an atmosphere of exclusiveness, even causing a conflict within the Methodist Episcopal Church, as in the case of B. T. Roberts.

It is funny to see how territorial we still can get when it comes to the seating in our local churches. Some people claim ownership by putting their Bible, jacket, purse, pamphlet, or any other available item on a seat, whereby others actually think that an invisible sign marks the chair to show that this is their ‘place of honor’. We get requests from the habitual latecomer to save them a seat, or we are sitting comfortable in a pew, and someone tells us nicely, but firm; “…this happens to be my seat!”

I understand that going back to seat less services is not an option, and that most of us are not familiar with the pew deeds as they were in the 1800’s. However at times it’s good to hear that the P.E.W.S. are not just there so we can sit as comfortable as possible, but that they are a reminder of the true reasons we meet as the Church.

  • Prayer; We come together to pray for others, each other, ourself, and to pursue our relationship with God (Matthew 6:9-13).
  • Evangelism; We come together to hear The Great Commission, and our responsibility as the Church towards this world (Matthew 28:19, 20).
  • Sacrificial Love; We come together be reminded that we are called to love each other as He commanded us, and to put it into practice (1 John 3:11-24).

Let’s say more often“…this happens to be your seat.”


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10 reasons why to stay away from a vampire

Tales with vampires have always been popular among us mortals. We see this through the countless stories, novels, theater plays, TV series, and movies that have been dedicated towards this charismatic villain. Just think about the recent successes of the Twilight (series); over 85 million copies have been sold worldwide, and the books have been translated into 37 different languages. But regardless the popularity of Edward Cullen and many others, we all know that these blood thirsting creatures do not exist. At least I hope you do! The question may arise, why devote a blog on a folkloric being? Simply because I want to make you aware of certain individuals you might encounter (even in your local church) who have similar characteristics as vampires, and 10 reasons to stay away from them;

1. They are manipulative, and have the ability, in an almost hypnotizing way, to obtain their personal goals at the expense of other people, by using them. These individuals don’t act according moral values, a greater good, let alone godly convictions, but are…

2. Undead, meaning they are beings that are deceased yet behave as if alive. They do not have a purpose to life, nor a cause to die for, but they have an unsatisfying hunger.

3. A hunger that is fighting for its life, they are being Led by an urge, which is the motivating factor of their existence. They do whatever it takes to reach their goal, but when they don’t achieve what they desire, they snap…

4. and display a Lack of self control, and their true identity is revealed. They can become extremely angry, throw a tantrum, cry uncontrollably, or they can tell you for hours their so called problem over and over and over…

5. They suck the life out of you, and that’s how you feel after spending quite some time with them. You feel drained every time you interact with them because…

6. They don’t change, years go by and they still have the same problems, mindset, attitude, heart condition, they never grow up. Like our 104 year old Twilight friend Edward…

Isabella Swan: How old are you?
Edward Cullen: Seventeen.
Isabella Swan: How long have you been seventeen?
Edward Cullen: A while.

7. They have no reflection, and therefor they lack the ability to evaluate themselves, and to make the necessary adjustments in order to experience a radical transformation. All though their character seems unchangeable, they are excellent…

8. Shape shifters, and seem to be able to change form or identity at will. Their appearance, behavior changes like a chameleon changes its color. Their conduct shifts according to the environment, and company they find themselves in. They are actors, and in the New Testament they called them Hupokrites (hypocrite).

9. They can’t stand the Light, and avoid all situations where the possibility lingers to be exposed, or confronted. Their comfort is in the confinement of their self made ‘coffin’.

10. but the most frightening thing is that they can turn you into one of them, if you are not careful.

Unlike in the movies of Hollywood featuring this urban legend, there is no use in sprinkling these poor souls with holy water, putting garlic in their mouth, or even to drive a wooden stake through the heart. When it comes to these individuals you need a dose of patience and a lot of prayer.

Ephesians 5:1-14 (The Message)


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What To Do Now!?!

Did you ever find yourself in a place where you ask yourself this question over and over; “What to do now!?!” An ongoing mental condition, where that particular question is continuously repeating itself in your confused mind, not knowing what to do next. I have been in this state of mind a couple of times; tossing and turning during the night, and throughout the day the worries would faithfully continue. It is like being stuck in a room full with doors, and every door you open takes you to another room with doors. Uncertainty became that uninvited friend who would keep me company, showing me all my Options and the Opportunities I had, but never giving me the answer to that troublesome question: “What to do now!?!” Does this sound familiar to you, do you recognize yourself in it? Well, if you do, I have five tips that might help you when you suffer the above mentioned symptoms in seasons like this;

  1. Don’t Panic: I got this fortune cookie message in my wallet, which says; don’t panic. Not that I am the kind of person that looks for guidance in fortune cookies, but this one I have to admit was kinda special. Special enough to put in my wallet as a reminder, for moments when fear tries to take control of me, and temps me to make dumb decisions. You become like a person that is drowning, and in his panic no longer aware of his surroundings, even the help that is close by. It takes the life-guard to knock the person out to safe both of their lives, and I’m not waiting to be knocked out period!
  2. Pray: We can read the advise of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4: 6, 7; Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. You might feel that you lost control of the situation, even of the direction that your life is heading, but remember this; God Is In Control! Never lose sight of this absolute; He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The place were you find yourself in, might not be ideal, but with the peace of God it becomes easier to cope with, and it protects both the condition of the heart and the state of mind. Prayer puts you under the protection of God, and you prevent to ‘Three Five-ing It‘ which means to lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
  3. Call your Pastor: With this I refer not only to pastors, but also to godly people that are able to give you godly advise. Proverbs 12:15; The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. The reason I talk to my pastor is because, he is were I want to be, and he has been were I am at. The talks I have with him, really help me out a lot, they give me understanding, offer me insight, it makes me realize that I am not the only one experiencing this, and that I am not crazy. Take my advise in moments like these not to isolate yourself, and stay far away from people who can’t help you, or worst, join you in a panic attack!
  4. Write down the Promises: What are the promises God has given you? During times that I wonder what the future will bring, I take a piece of paper and write down all the promise scriptures God has given me so far. I look at them, read them over and over, and simply meditate on His promises for my life. Psalm 145:13 states The Lord is faithful to all His promises. I honesty can say that some of the promises I wrote down surely have come to pass, others will come to pass in His time. Seeing God’s faithfulness gives me the confidence that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). His promises are pieces of a puzzle, and putting them together gives you a glimpse of the future He has for you (Habakkuk 2:2, 3)
  5. Stick to the Principles: When you experience a time of uncertainty, it might seem logical just to take a shot in the dark. However, when the light goes on after shooting in the dark, you will notice that you added more damage to the situation, than that you actually solved it. In situations like these learn from Galatians 6:9; Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Just stick to the basics, keep on doing the things you are certain of that they are the right things to do, and you’ll be just fine.

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The Misery of Ministry

Luke 10:38-42

I love to disciple and train people in, and for the ministry. In doing so, an intentional habit is to impart valuable lessons I’ve learned through the years. Ministry has been extremely fun, challenging, adventurous and fulfilling for me, but I can also recall seasons where ministry seemed to be the cause of my agony. To be honest, at a certain moment I had to realize and to admit that it was my perspective and not so much the ministry that caused the misery. The truth was that I got distracted while doing the Lords work, I considered myself close to His purpose, not realizing how far I was from His presence.We might be able to keep the appearance for a while, but in the course of time we will suffer a severe burnout, and we should be able recognizing it before it is too late.

The Misery of Ministry becomes evident as we get distracted in doing ministry and we start to display 3 symptoms;

Complaining: This symptom occurs when we worry so much and are to busy looking at the problems; excitement becomes anxiety, worship becomes work and desire becomes duty. This is the part where our time, energy and even our finances are being used to fuel the drive to express our grief, pain, or discontent. We become so unpleasant to be around that slowly but surely even the closest people start distancing themselves from us.

If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it. – Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book

Comparing: When people start avoiding us, and involve themselves in activities other then those that occupy us, our reaction is to get upset. We become so caught up with ourselves, that I and what I do become the object of importance, and everything -and everybody else is subject to it. We compare everybody in our surrounding with ourself, and expect them to become exactly like us; a hot tempered task oriented sourpuss!

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself – Max Ehrman

Controlling: In order to gain control we start to manipulate the authority which is placed over us and try to make them part of our team. We expect from our leaders, even from God  to make our urgency their priority. Our way of thinking has become; “It’s not what can I do for God, but what should God do for me.” We operate in a mode of despair, emergency to the point of panic, and we loose control of ourself.

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. – Brian Tracy

When I start to recognize these symptoms within my own live, or when others make me aware of them, then it’s time for me to ‘step on the brake‘ and adjust my priorities. Always keep in mind, we can let ministry wait, but Jesus we should not! Ministry is servanthood and it was a servant’s work to attend the feet. Return to the feet of Jesus, to listen to what He says. There is so much that asks our attention and so many things required to be done, but only one thing is needed. We should chose what is better, and which can not be taken away from us. Ministry will always be there…

It is one of the ironies of the ministry that the very man who works in God’s name is often hardest to find time for God. The parents of Jesus lost Him at Church, and they were not the last ones to lose Him there. – Vance Havner, baptist preacher


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The A.C.T.S. of a Disciple


Discipleship with Jesus started with two simple words “Follow Me.” Those two words would not only change the twelve men that responded to the call, but generations of believers to come.

Discipleship is not just a Church event or program, it is a lifestyle; Jesus and the disciples where living it 24/7. Looking at this blueprint of discipleship I will use the acronym A.C.T.S. to share the four principles that helped me for the last 16 years in being a disciple of Christ. Let’s take a look at the A.C.T.S. of a disciple;

A stands for being available. For a disciple it is important to be available, cause you never know what’s going to happen or when opportunity will knock at your door.
It is like the money on your bank account. Just look at your bank statement for a minute. If you look you will see a section saying; available balance. That money is available, whether you use it or not. I don’t think you would be thrilled if the money decided to go elsewhere just because you don’t use it. I know a handful of people that decided to leave their post just because they were not being used right away or the way they wanted to. Being available will also test and develop your patience, which is very important because discipleship takes time, Jesus spend about three years to prepare His disciples for the work of the ministry.

C stands for connected. Connecting is crucial for the disciple, for it creates a lifeline. Through this lifeline we will be able to ‘catch the heart’ of our leader. Being connected improves the relationship, it builds a mutual trust. When we connect, we start to understand our leader and know what makes him or her ‘tick’. Getting to know somebody takes time it does not happen overnight, it is hard work and takes commitment. It is not enough to be just around a person. We can be around people for years and still don’t really know them. One thing that really helped me to get connected with my leader is; don’t be afraid to asking questions, and that brings me to my next point.

T stands for teachable. Disciple means pupil we need to be students always maintaining a learning posture. Somebody ones said; “You can not learn from what comes out of your own mouth”. It is okay for a season to be ignorant, but when we think we arrived and know it all, we become arrogant. Looking at the way Jesus taught His disciples you can see a few things; He modeled what he taught, He had them put into practice the lesson, He corrected them and finally He released them.

S stands for servanthood we can never stay away from the true motive of discipleship: Servanthood. Jesus made it very clear to the disciples, to be great does not mean to be served, but to serve. As a disciple it is important to develop a sensitivity for the need; see the need, feel the need and meet the need. When we step away from meeting the need of others and making others meet our needs, we disciple to self and conform to the worlds system of servanthood. Servanthood Jesus’ way, goes hand in hand with sacrifice and suffering, it is never easy or comfortable, but it is worth it, and so is discipleship.

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” – 2 Timothy 2: 2


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