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I have a new Pentecostal friend who has proven to me that he walks with the Lord.

I met Amalio a few weeks ago when I was searching for a contractor to help put in new flooring in our church building due to a flood from a neighboring business. Also, I needed some minor remodeling done.

The first contractor I met gave me a quote of $12,000.00,  a bit more than I could afford. The second man surveyed the space, wrote down some figures but never got back to me. The third also had a quote that was too high.

Cost of house constructionI did not know what to do so I called a former congregant who was a handyman and he suggested Amalio. When I met him he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: He would provide me with two days’ free labor if I purchased the materials at Home Depot.

DEAL!

“But why would you do this, Amalio, you don’t even know me!”

He looked at the walls of Hope Chapel Hill Country, smiled, and said, “It’s for God’s Kingdom!”

“Let me pay you, though; what is your daily rate?”

“No, I can’t,” Amalio insisted, “I believe God wants me to do this for free.”

And he did. Top notch high quality work! I bought Amalio and his co-worker lunch each day and he could not stop talking about Jesus. His eyes would light up; he was enthusiastic; he had joy, joy, joy, joy, down in his heart—that bubbled up to his face.

Yes. Amalio was a Christian anomaly.

I instantly felt a bond with this brother and we spent so much time encouraging each other that week, I had to work extra hours on Saturday to get my sermon done for Sunday.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

He said he would pray for our little congregation, then asked, “Do you ever get dreams and visions?”

800px-Michael_Lukas_Leopold_Willmann_001“Not really,” I replied. “I hardly even remember my dreams. I believe God speaks primarily through his Word and I just try and obey what I read. I’m not opposed to dreams or visions, it’s just that God doesn’t work that way with me.”

He told me I should pray for a dream. I shrugged silently to myself.

That night I dreamt: I was at Hope Chapel Hill Country’s building, but it looked very different, you know how dreams can be. There were about forty or fifty people having a good time, some had guitars and were playing them; moms had happy babies, it was a mixed age group and everyone was joy-filled. My daughter DD was in our sound booth trying to get everyone to settle down so we could start worship. I was in front trying to get everyone’s attention so I could preach.

Then I awoke.

I was encouraged. I was hopeful. I so wanted this dream to be true.

But was this dream from God?

Only time will tell.

In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
(Acts 2:17)

Image: schoenbergconstruction.com

You’ve heard about the Challenge. People from all walks of life, from George Bush to Dolly Parton, from Donald Trump to Bill Gates in (a slow-mo reverse intro). Heck, even Tom Cruise and John Travolta broke away from their Scientology commitments to take it up! Sadly, President Obama couldn’t find the time between golf games, fund-raising parties and fighting terrorists to do it. (But wait! It appears that he did do it! Click here.

ice 3Though it’s for a good cause, I do have an issue with the ALS Foundation’s use of embryonic stem cells for its research, so I decided to do a very different type of Challenge. If you are a believer, perhaps you will challenge yourself!

I found this video to be very inspirational, encouraging and downright useful when challenging those who say we were never a Christian nation.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted this hilarious video.

I took a calculated risk at Hope Chapel Hill Country today by preaching on evangelism. It was a fun sermon, with videos, on how to share our faith by simply asking one question…then running away. It’s also a nice reminder on why using Gospel tracts are so important. Perhaps you will want to teach this at your church. Use anything you want. Videos are included as well. Enjoy.

                                       Sharing Your Faith w/One Question                                             
Mark 16:15

Mark 16:15: Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation.

Bill Bright: 2% of Christians share their faith.

Think about it: How many of you have had a born again Christian share with you about Jesus over two times in the past five years?

Paul wrote this in Philemon 6 (NIV ’84): “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”

The Living Bible: And I pray that as you share your faith with others it will grip their lives too, as they see the wealth of good things in you that come from Christ Jesus. (Explain)

I have found, after being an evangelism pastor for over 10 years at my other church, that people have many reasons for not sharing their faith.
Take a look at this video and see if you can relate to any of these?

While I’m sure that one of these eight reasons might be yours, I think we could narrow them down to just two: fear and not knowing what to say.

But what if I showed you a way this morning where you could share your faith by asking only one question and one question only? Do you think you might be able to do it?

As you know I’ve challenged you to invite people to church, but what if, at the same time, you asked this one question that would motivate people to actually come?

I’m not joking. All you have to do is ask one simple question…then run away.

But after you have asked this question, people would then understand God’s standard for getting to Heaven, the consequences if they fall short of His standard, and the solution through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection on their behalf. They may even thank you after you ask this question, too! (more…)

Yes. That’s right. I’ve been a Christian for nearly 24 years and a pastor for over 16, yet 9 years ago I became sober.

recover

Sober-minded.

Furthermore, six years ago I was an active member of A.A.

How could this be? Have I been the biggest hypocrite in the world? (more…)

10 Months and Counting

July 29th, 2014 | Posted by Steve Sanchez in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

TEN MONTHS AGO TODAY I arrived in Texas to plant Hope Chapel Hill Country.

I never thought I would move to Central Texas after living my entire life by the beaches of Southern California. And I never, never, ever, ever wanted to plant a church. Ever!

Has it been easy? Not at all. Am I learning to trust God like I never have before? Yep.

Step_of_faith
I was reminded of this Spurgeon quote:

“Cannot you trust God for temporal things? “Ah! I wish I could.” If you cannot trust God for temporal things, how dare you trust him for spiritual things? Can you trust him for your soul’s redemption, and not rely upon him for a few lesser mercies? Is not God enough for your need, or is his all-sufficiency too narrow for your wants? Do you want another eye beside that of him who sees every secret thing? Is his heart faint? Is his arm weary? If so, seek another God.”

If you haven’t yet read why I made this move, then click here: http://wp.me/p1GZWy-3Af

AN ATHEIST WROTE AN ARTICLE ABOUT ME entitled, “Steve Sanchez Thinks He Has the Right to Harass People About Jesus.”

His name is Bruce Gerencser and his blog bio says this: “For twenty-five years Bruce pastored Evangelical churches in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. In 2003 Bruce left the ministry and is now a secular humanist.”

adam1

I loooove when atheists criticize me then post my entire blog article on their websites, because, well, I usually write about our great Savior. This used to happen frequently when I lived in California, not so much now. He took issue with my witnessing to a witch in Walmart several months ago. Here’s an excerpt:

“Steve Sanchez is a fundamentalist Christian who thinks he has the right to witness, evangelize, proselytize, and preach to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

“You see, the Steve Sanchez’s of the world think that they are demonstrating love when they badger and harass people who have no interest in what they are selling. They are a special class of people who are not bound by the same social conventions as the rest of us. Treating others with decency and respect doesn’t apply to Steve Sanchez. He is willing to be an a——- for Jesus because his right to evangelize and preach supersedes any person’s right to personal space, even at work.”

For the most part, I agree with Bruce, except, I try to be exceedingly gracious and friendly when sharing my faith, and I shared with the Walmart witch during the time I was making a transaction with her.

adam2Bruce also gave his readers a  a call to action:

If Walmart does not have a policy in place to deal with people like Steve Sanchez then they need to implement one immediately. If they fail to do so, they run the risk of being sued by harassed workers like Courtney. Walmart has a legal obligation to provide their workers with a workplace free from egregious religious harassment.

If you would like to send Walmart and email about this, please go here. If you send Walmart an email, please mention this blog post. Also, you will need to choose a Walmart store. Search for stores in Dripping Springs, Texas and choose the first store. (it is in Austin)

Regardless of what Bruce wrote and his misinterpretation of events, the bottom line is this: Through his anti-evangelism/anti-Christian article, Christ is preached! (He posted a very evangelical cartoon by Adam Ford that accompanied my article.)

So, thank you atheists, once again!

Read Bruce’s blog account by clicking here.

Click here to see the worst witnessing encounter
I ever had with a guy named Ted the Atheist.
It was filmed and has been viewed
over a half million times.

Cartoon by Adam4D.com

Thankfully, this did not happen at the Seniors Center I have been attending. At the 47:45 mark, Mr. Shackelford tells the story of what happened at a Seniors Center that forbade prayer, worship and Bible study. It’s only five minutes long and a great encouragement that the law still protects religious freedom.

The All-In-One Pastor

July 11th, 2014 | Posted by Steve Sanchez in Texas Tales! - (0 Comments)

I was doing some paperwork while talking to a CPA.  He asked if I had a scanner so I could send him some documents. “Of course,” I replied, “I just don’t have it set up yet.”

“Shame on you,” he joked.

easy

I reminded him that I used to have a secretary, a book-keeper, a web guy, and people to clean up afterward when I was at my big church. Now, I’m it.

An All-In-One Pastor.

Not complaining. Just the new reality. I’m starting to realize that my “To-Do” list will never end and I’ll probably always be behind.

Oh, yeah…and I get to study, preach and meet with people, too!

Including construction guys.

Someday, I may even find the time to read.

I’ve been going to the Hill Country Senior Activities Center since arriving last year in Texas with the intention of getting to know the community by making acquaintances with the elders of Dripping Springs, as I serve them and pray for them. (Click here for part 1 of this story.)

buckFour new visitors came to Hope Chapel Hill Country last Sunday as a result of my efforts. One of them was at the Center today and I offered to pray for her, but she stopped me. “We better go outside,” she warned.

“Why?” I asked.

“I’ve been reading your blog.”

“How did you know about my blog?”

“It was on the back of the bulletin you gave us last Sunday; seems like you cause trouble everywhere you go,” she said with a smile. “Jesus caused trouble, too.”

Before I prayed for her, another woman stopped me to tell me how God healed her of a cancerous tumor after I prayed for her several weeks ago. “They were going to cut me open, but when the doctor checked me, he said everything was gone. I want to give God all the glory after you prayed for me.”

And how has it been going with the manager who seems to have been against me from the get-go? Well, a few weeks back she called me up front, handed me the microphone and asked me to pray before the meal.

I think I will continue to visit the Seniors Center.

(Image: Buck Hayden, part of the original family that settled and built up Dripping Springs in the late 1800s.)

With my church plant work here in the Austin area, Dripping Springs to be exact, I have not been posting at this blog regularly. Rest assured, I do try to share my faith everyday, mostly it’s with my church invitation/Gospel tract flyer. And since I live in a small town now, I have not preached in the open air…until the X Games were hosted in Austin.

I had not shared my faith in this way since standing “on the box” with Ray Comfort in Newport Beach way back in September, 2013. So how did it go?

Like falling off a horse. Or a preaching stool.

Those Dam Guys!

June 4th, 2014 | Posted by Steve Sanchez in E-vangie Tales - (0 Comments)

I took my first bike ride of the spring and noticed a bunch of construction workers busily repairing our little levee. I offered them each a raise in the form of a one trillion dollar bill gospel tract, then preached a 90 second Gospel message to this rough-hewn bunch.

The result?

DamThe foreman said: “We don’t want to be preached to while we’re working, especially here on the street.” His fellow laborers nodded, winked at each other and smiled mockingly.

“I’m working too; I’m a pastor.”

“It figures,” replied the foreman with disgust.

I then concluded my sermonette to the construction crew’s now-turned away backs: “I’m saying this to you because I love you. Consider what I’ve said. You’ve been warned. I’m Pastor Steve Sanchez and you’re all invited to Hope Chapel Hill Country in Dripping Springs.”

And with that, I pedaled away.

Think any will visit?

Courtney, the Walmart customer service lady, (looking down), kept answering “Summerland” when I asked if she’d go to Heaven or Hell when she died.

wiccan“Heaven or Hell?”

“Summerland.”

The only two choices I’m giving you are Heaven or Hell.”

“Summerland. I’m a Wiccan,” she declared.

Since she wouldn’t answer I had to go to Plan B: I  preached a one minute Gospel to her so she’d understand there is no Summerland, only Hell, because of her idolatry.

What did she do? Thanked me over and over again to get me to go away. “Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much.”

Yet I didn’t go away until she heard fully the full Gospel, thank you very much.

A co-worker walked behind her and gave me a Thumb’s Up.

Another co-worker, a Muslim, in full head covering, began her shift. I resisted giving her the Good News because too many people were lining up at the counter.

I know my limits.

The next day I received this comment on Facebook from an atheist: “I don’t understand why you bible thumpers just cant leave us the f*@k alone, funny how we, who choose alternative ideas, don’t push our thoughts/ideas on to you bible thumpers but you think its ok to bombard us with your thoughts and ideas.”

Here was my response: “I would have to be the most hateful person in the world to NOT share the Gospel with Courtney, or you for that matter. If I didn’t share, I would be overlooking the fact of your horrible future reality. So no. As a Bible Thumper, I love you too much not to speak.”

urselfn 1urself 2urself 3Comic by Adam Ford

I had the great privilege of being on Ray Comfort’s YouTube show, “The Comfort Zone” today and want to hear what you think.

ComfortAThis is my first trip back to California since moving to Texas in September. I got to talk a little about planting Hope Chapel Hill Country, the church I now pastor in Dripping Springs.

comfort bI know this much: My hair looks a lot grayer than I expected! I’m on for about ten minutes starting at the 15:00 minute mark.

IT WAS FATHER’S DAY at Hope Chapel Hill Country this morning as two visitors, a father and daughter, made professions of faith at the end of my message. Without looking at each other, after I made the invitation to turn to Jesus in repentance and trust, they raised their hands. I told them: “Remember this day as Father’s Day on Mother’s Day, the day you came to your Heavenly Father.”

handyThe young lady is a high school friend of my daughter DD. who brought her Dad. And, yes, I plan on meeting with him regularly and encouraged my daughter to do the same.

It’s called discipleship.

The biggest frustration and the greatest consolation is that Jesus is in control.

What do I mean by that?

I can do nothing else to make people come to Hope Chapel Hill Country. I pray for this church; I prepare the messages diligently; and I go out into the street and invite them in, but it’s only Christ who brings them in.

The hardest thing to do in planting a church is to wait when the future is uncertain.

Please read my article explaining why the numbers are so important, and please let me know if you disagree. Click here.

He is Risen Indeed!

April 20th, 2014 | Posted by Steve Sanchez in Special Days - (2 Comments)

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever!

I try to re-post this wonderful illustration of this wonderful day every year…

The story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life, positive or negative, and remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, “This is good!”

To which the king replied, “No, this is not good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.African_king_from_Catalan_Atlas_(1375)

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake.

As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend.

“You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “And so, I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.”

“No,” his friend replied, “This is good!”

“What do you mean, ‘This is good?’ How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?”

“If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you.”

*****

God was pleased to crush Jesus and put him under all that suffering knowing that we would be saved by His death. That’s real love. What truly seemed so horrible and tragic was really… very good!

Happy Good Friday!

Gustave_Doré_-_Crucifixion_of_Jesus

*****

Now read a not so good thing that happened to me on a Good Friday in 2007. It’s called “Murder at Peet’s.

The Titanic Evangelist

April 15th, 2014 | Posted by Steve Sanchez in HIStory | SUDDEN DEATH! - (14 Comments)

JOHN HARPER was an evangelist on the Titanic. On the anniversary of this tragedy, after 1,517 people perished in a watery grave, I want to remember a man of God who provided  hope for those who had little aboard the Titanic.

Here’s an excerpt from the Baptist Press on this great man:

When the Titanic hit the iceberg, Harper successfully led his daughter to a lifeboat. Being a widower he may have been allowed to join her but instead forsook his own rescue, choosing to provide the masses with one more chance to know Christ.

Der Untergang der TitanicHarper ran person to person, passionately telling others about Christ. As the water began to submerge the “unsinkable” ship, Harper was heard john harpershouting, “Women, children, and the unsaved into the lifeboats.” Rebuffed by a certain man at the offer of salvation Harper gave him his own life vest, saying, “You need this more than I do.” Up until the last moment on the ship Harper pleaded with people to give their lives to Jesus.

Four years after the tragedy at a Titanic survivor’s meeting in Ontario, Canada, one survivor recounted his interaction with Harper in the middle of the icy waters of the Atlantic. He testified he was clinging to ship debris when Harper swam up to him, twice challenging him with a biblical invitation to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” He rejected the offer once. Yet given the second chance and with miles of water beneath his feet, the man gave his life to Christ. Then as Harper succumbed to his watery grave, this new believer was rescued by a returning lifeboat. As he concluded his remarks at the Ontario meeting of survivors he simply stated, “I am the last convert of John Harper.” Read the whole article here.