AT AGE 19 I WANTED A CAREER IN RADIO so I enrolled in the now defunct KIIS Broadcasting Workshop in Hollywood.
I set my sights on being a DJ. At graduation I was told that I would qualify for a $5.00 an hour job in Horsebreath Montana. My radio career ended that day. I had to put that dream on hold.
Flash forward 35 years….
At the end of December I will have a 30 minute radio program on KDRP (KDRPLive.com), which will be heard all the way from Dripping Springs, Texas (where I live and am planting a church), to the greater Austin area starting Sunday, December 29 at 11AM.
If you ever heard the old “Haven of Rest” broadcast on Christian radio before it became “Haven Today,” you’ll know that they offered solid Biblical exposition interspersed with music.
I plan on borrowing that format by teaching for three to five minutes and then featuring a song from local Austin-based Christian bands. This fits well with the format of KDRP: They feature Americana music with an emphasis on local talent.
From this program I hope to build an audience as the fan base from the local musicians tune in. Perhaps I might even get a worship leader for my new church, Hope Chapel Hill Country. And, of course, people might even get saved as I will have a Gospel message of some sort on most programs. Maybe the listening audience, which is primarily secular (KDRP is not a Christian station), would even want to attend our new fellowship!
Below is a 2 minute video clip preview of the closing of the first show without music. The first two programs will be an exposition on John 3:16.
This is the incredible story of Mitsuo Fuchida, lead pilot of the December 7, 1941, raid on Pearl Harbor. Fuchida was the one who shouted the war cry, “Tora, Tora, Tora!”
Mitsuo Fuchida fought the United States throughout WWII and was intimately involved in the planning and leadership of the Japanese war effort as flight commander and later as a senior operations officer.
After the war, Fuchida was a defeated warrior in occupied Japan, farming to meet the needs of his family. He was also the only one to return to Japan after the bombing.
In 1950, Fuchida miraculously came to know Jesus Christ as Savior through a tract handed to him while exiting a train in Tokyo. The tract was entitled, “I Was a Prisoner of Japan,” written by Jacob DeShazer (read it here)who was one of the famous Doolittle Raiders. DeShazer trusted Christ as his Savior while held captive by Japan for 40 months. DeShazer went to Japan in 1948 as a missionary and preached to the nation who held him captive.
Fuchida faithfully served Jesus Christ as an evangelist until his death in 1976. “From Pearl Harbor to Golgotha” is Fuchida’s testimony of salvation. Here it is in his own words:
I must admit I was more excited than usual as I awoke that morning at 3:00 a.m., Hawaii time, four days past my thirty-ninth birthday. Our six aircraft carriers were positioned 230 miles north of Oahu Island. As general commander of the air squadron, I made last-minute checks on the intelligence information reports in the operations room before going to warm up my single-engine, three-seater “97-type” plane used for level bombing and torpedo flying.
The sunrise in the east was magnificent above the white clouds as I led 360 planes towards Hawaii at an altitude of 3,000 meters. I knew my objective: to surprise and cripple the American naval force in the Pacific. But I fretted about being thwarted should some of the U.S. battleships not be there. I gave no thought of the possibility of this attack breaking open a mortal confrontation with the United States. I was only concerned about making a military success. (more…)
My Pastor at Hope Chapel Hermosa Beach gave me a church plant challenge: “Get 3 yesses and 10 noes a day.” Translation: “Get out there and talk to people about your church and invite them to come.” So I did.
The best account occurred when I was in the Dripping Springs Library. I had already talked to several people in the check-out line, giving them gospel tracts, and invitations. Afterward, Justin stopped me to say that he had overheard me. “I want to learn to do what you do,” he pleaded.
We will be getting together later this week.
The point of all this?
I have been less than enthusiastic about my commitment to evangelize everyday since getting to Texas. I’ve been doing it for the most part, but it was just something I wanted to get out of the way. I was happy to hand out a simple Gospel tract, and if I’d forget, then it was no big deal. God in his wisdom provided the pick-me-up.
Now it’s thirteen. And they have to be conversations. Their is kingdom work to do. I must go into the highways and byways and gas stations and shops and let them know this one thing:
Unto you a child is born! A Savior.
And if you want to learn more, come to Hope Chapel Hill Country.
Several months ago WORLD Magazine reporter Sophia Lee joined me and our Hope Chapel evangelism team on the campus of El Camino College in Torrance, California to ask me about my thoughts on evangelism as well as observe my method. She also interviewed Tony Miano, and GULP!, Ruben Israel. Read the article and let me know if it was fair and balanced. (The photo below is at the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade from about five years ago. Yes, those are my two little distracted daughters.)
Here’s an excerpt:
LOS ANGELES—I am deeply conflicted about street evangelists. I’m a Christian, a missionary’s kid, a pastor’s daughter. I attend a church where the conclusion to every sermon emphasizes the need to evangelize. We have “Evangelism 101” seminars, mass street evangelism march-outs, mission groups, prayer sessions—anything to save more souls.
So I’m pro-evangelism—and yet, I cringe when I hear street evangelists blow horns, interrupt public events, thrust tracts into the hands of passersby, and yell, “Repent or go to hell!” In my multiethnic, church-peppered neighborhood in Los Angeles, a walk down to the supermarket means running a gauntlet of well-meaning evangelists shoving gospel tracts and CDs into shoppers’ hands.
What can be wrong with that?
People call Los Angeles many names, most of them tongue-in-cheek, with unmasked condescension: La-La Land, Tinseltown, a city “100 miles wide and 2 inches deep,” a city of commercialized sin and sinful commercialization. I respect sincere communities of Christians in this sinful, superficial city who are doing what they believe is God’s ultimate commission: to be Christ’s “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria … to the ends of the earth.”
This is the video (preview) that will introduce me to those who may attend Hope Chapel Hill Country in Dripping Springs, Texas. I’d love to hear what you think. (It may take a few minutes to fully download.) I’m very grateful that my friend, film-maker/storyteller Mark Jacobs, took the time to put me in the best light.
Tah-dah!!! Yep, here’s my new blog banner reflecting the change of direction my life has taken.
That’s me walking with God and hanging on with everything I have…or am I wrestling with him because of what he’s called me to do and I’m trying to change his mind…or am or furiously waiting on him impatiently? The new tag line is indeed: “Walking, waiting and wrestling with God.” Don’t you?
The continuing account of how I made my move to Texas, wrestled with God and ultimately trusted Him.
The story continues in Vietnam, as recounted in my journal from August 14, 2013: (Read the start of this saga in part 1 by clicking here, or read part 10 by clicking here.)
My heart is divided in three. One part is here in Vietnam, of course, the other at home, the third part concerns the future church plant. Can I do it? It’s too late to turn back now. I received an email stating that our home loan is formerly cleared for closing. That is, we are cleared for purchasing our new Texas home. Done deal.
I spoke to my wife on the phone and she cautioned me that the battle was not over. I needed to get home to sign the loan documents. I somehow had to get home a day earlier to do this because I was currently scheduled to arrive after the closing time of the contract for this loan, then everything would fall through.
I prayed with the men of the team for wisdom.
I found that I could sign in the Ho Chi Minh City consulate and have my signature notarized, then sent back. I refuse to worry. Still, I worry. But God spoke in his word from Psalm 35: 3-
“Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’ “
And that’s it, isn’t it Lord? Remind me again, make me aware of what’s truly important, what really matters, who’s really in control. I’m 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;
David wrote, “Restore to me the joy of my salvation.”
God doesn’t want my tri-forcated mind, he wants me to love him with all my mind; he’s given me a transformed mind. Thank you for your wonderful ordering of my priorities; thank you for the tests. I commit this new challenge to you , O Lord.
The next morning, Spurgeon confirmed this in his Morning and Evening devotional:
“Do you believe that your sins are forgiven and that Christ has made full atonement for them? Then what a joyful Christian you ought to be! How you should live above the common trials and troubles of the world! Since sin is forgiven, can it matter what happens to you now?”
Indeed, Lord, say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
I have now been in the Lone Star State for exactly four weeks. It’s time to tell “the rest of the story” of how I got here, what has happened and what I anticipate in the future. I’m not sure how many people still tune in to this blog anymore since I haven’t posted regularly in several months and have changed the name of this site from “Stone the Preacher” to “Not-By-Sight.” Regardless, these writings help me to remember how faithful God has been on this journey. My hope is that you will be encouraged to live for God by faith and not by sight more fully.
I left off in part 9 of this saga with my wife Karen flying to Texas for the third time to buy a home. Obviously, she got the house because we are living in it now—no surprise there—but there is an incredible back story on how all this transpired—and how it almost didn’t happen at all!
It starts in Vietnam where I went for a short-term mission trip while our California home was in Escrow.
My journal entry (slightly edited for clarification) initiates this story on August 13, 2013:
Vietnam. Seems like life is frozen for a season as I adjust to this environment. Sick again, right before I’m scheduled to preach [to a Vietnamese congregation]. As I lay in bed sick, Psalm 32 spoke to me:
“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped…”
I didn’t know what to confess, but then I realized what it might be: worry and fear. Not related to Vietnam but to home. When I get back from here, there is no home! Everything is fluid. Pastor Zac, my boss, told me not to think about it. He’s still right; in Vietnam I can do nothing.
I feel guilt that my wife Karen is left doing everything concerning the sale of the house, the moving of everything, but, perhaps, God is showing me how capable my wife really is. Yes, that’s it. Proverbs 31 says:
“Her husband has full confidence in her.”
Then God spoke again in Psalm 32:8—
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.”
The next morning I awoke to more fear. More troubles. Those early morning fears that get you in the just before waking moments of the mind. I rebuked those early morning fears. Ignored them. I will never give the enemy a foothold. In my morning devotionals, even in the heart of Vietnam, I read “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. This is what he said to me as I wrestled with my thoughts:
“When we are afraid, the least we can do is pray to God. O you of little faith! And what a sharp pain will go through us when we suddenly realize that we could have produced complete and utter joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, in spite of what we are facing. If we have been learning to worship God and to place our trust in Him, the crisis will reveal that we can go to the point of breaking, yet without breaking our confidence in Him.”
As I write this entry on my blog today, again I’m encouraged and strengthened from long-dead writers whose inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, as I reflect on new troubles and worries that face me. Again, I listen to their voices and am strengthened to press on, press on.
I will continue to recount this saga that lead me to move from the beach cities of California—where I have resided for over 54 years—to a place completely unfamiliar. My hope is that you would trust in the Lord more as you read this, relying completely on his guidance so that you may do more than our Lord Jesus did in His earthly ministry.
I thought it might be a good idea to post what my plan is for planting a church in Texas. I have a fifteen month strategy that I will be adhering to as I trust God to guide me with building his kingdom. Please pray for this endeavor as I am challenged in many ways right now.
I have now been in Texas two weeks. It’s a strange feeling to be in a new home, in a new state, without routine, not knowing where anything is in my house, outside my house, no church family, no office to go to and a church to build…I’m sure glad that Jesus is with me always, even to the very end of the age.
If you’d like to keep up with my day to day exploits in Dripping Springs, please go to my Wall on Facebook where I post from three to five times a day. (“Friend” me at Steve P. Sanchez)
Here’s my 5 month proposal:
1st Quarter: October, November, December 2013
After moving in I would like to acclimate to the area for a period of 30-90 days. This is what I will be doing during the first quarter:
Prayer – walk the entire community and pray for the neighborhoods.
Visit the area’s churches and meet with all the pastors to see who has a vision for the kingdom, i.e., will they be with me or against me.
I will also start meeting with local church planters from the Acts 29 Network for support and encouragement.
Begin first Wednesday Bible Study at my administrator’s (yes, that’s him below) home the first week of November.
Join civic groups – introduce myself to the community at large by involving myself with community organizations.
Establish an office.
Establish a website and contribute initial content consisting of an introductory video, sample sermons, “What We Believe” and a guestbook.
Door knocking: Initially, I plan on going door-to-door to ask people about their community. These friendly interviews will consist of these types of questions:
I would then ask if I could send them a thank you card to be sent within a week.
After that, a few weeks later or so, I would follow up with another note when a church location is established or regular Bible studies have been implemented.
A third follow-up card would announce our Grand Opening, our first official church service.
If the people are not home, I will leave a door hanger.
Scout out locations for the church building
2nd Quarter: January, February, March 2014
Establish a church location (temporary or permanent)
Meeting place (options)
Church building (lease)
Store front, etc.
Bank meeting rooms
I’d like to get a centralized location, from 500-750 square feet, to hold weekly Bible studies. Due to the rambling setting of the Hill Country, local homes may prove impractical due to varying distances, non-lighted streets and country roads.
Begin inviting/recruiting potential members
Begin Sunday services
Identify potential Home Group Leaders
Identify potential Worship Leader(s)
Establish after-school Bible studies at the middle and high schools
I am also looking into doing a possible radio program on the local station and would like to start the first week of January.
3rd Quarter: April May, June 2014
Develop home group leaders by offering “How-to” studies
Establish a minimum of four home groups
Continue worship team development
Revisit church location and make any necessary changes of venue
4th Quarter: July-December 2014
Minimum of 60-80 adults (tithers)
Full Sunday service established
Worship team established
5-8 Home Groups established (Sermon Studies only)
Children’s church and/or integrated service
***So there you have it. After 54 years a California beach guy, now a Texan. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do!
On my 1,425 mile drive to Texas I saw at least a hundred signs advertising THE THING! before I crossed over into New Mexico from Arizona. Apparently, there are 5,000 of these signs along Route 66 from Chicago to this tourist trap destination. By the time anyone gets there, they will just have to pull over, pay the buck and see THE THING!
When the exit came I could not resist, so I pulled off to see THE THING! I took a picture of it after I gave Giant Money tracts to a bus full of English tourists, then I preached a 2 minute Gospel message to the happy Brits.
Stay tuned for my picture of THE THING! (And my evangelistic road trip to Dripping Springs, Texas, my new home.
Finally, the time has arrived. I’m leaving Friday morning at 7:30am for Texas to plant a church. My goal is to hand out 1,000 Giant Hundred Dollar Bill Gospel Tracts along the way. (Friend me on Facebook to monitor my progress at Steve P. Sanchez)
The biggest dilemma has been trying to figure out which vehicle to drive.
This Salvation Sedan seems nice….
As does the Jesus van….Perhaps this might be the ticket. Lots of devils in the desert.
I was this close to hopping into this jazzy ride….
But I ultimately decided on something very practical and a little less overbearing. What do you think?
I will report back to you in a little while after I arrive. I have only been with my family a total of six days in the past seven weeks. I’ve got my priorities.
As promised a few weeks back, I’m changing the focus of this blog from evangelism-only, to a broader spectrum that concerns all aspects of Christianity as it pertains to my life. This was spurred on by the call God put on my life to move to Texas—Dripping Springs of all places—to plant a church. (If you have not yet read that account, then please click here to read how all this transpired.)
This is a complete act of faith on my part since I am not sure what awaits me in southwest Texas. I’m a real Pee Wee when it comes to stepping out like this.
Nevertheless, I’m fully committed to the move. My family moved out there a month ago and I am ready to leave this Thursday, September 26.
I have so busy closing up shop down here in Hermosa Beach and saying goodbye to everyone (I’ve lived here 54 years), it’s taken some time.
If you’d like to see a preview of my new church website, please click here. It’s still under construction but you will get a feel for what I’m about to do.
Thank you for all your support…and pray for my family as we embark on this great new adventure!
As I continue to transition my life from Southern California pastoring/street preaching to southwest Texas church planting, you may be wondering if I’ve fallen off the evangelistic bandwagon.
Perish the thought!
I’ve spent the majority of my time posting my evangelistic adventures on Facebook (Steve P. Sanchez), Instagram (stevepsanchez), and Twitter (@stevepsanchez). For the record, here’s what you missed:
I posted this image a week ago when I preached for the very last time with Ray Comfort and elicited a firestorm of controversy on Facebook.
Here was the caption: Should she preach? If she didn’t, the Gospel would not have been proclaimed, sinners wouldn’t hear, and many would have been deprived a fighting chance for Heaven in Newport Beach.
At present, this is my record-breaker at 253 comments.
Another post featured my debut/farewell on a gold plated preaching box presented to me at my going away party at Hope Chapel. I was able to tell others how they may enter into a city that is paved in gold.
Then I posted about the Mormons I met in Starbucks. Did you know that they don’t like to be photographed?
Here’s what happened, as I explained on Facebook: These Mormons made a quick exit when I challenged them “to show me in the Bible where it says that.” I disagreed with their belief that we are all children of God and that Jesus was the spirit brother of Lucifer, among other things. They said, “You have a contentious spirit.” I replied, “I am commanded to contend for the faith.” They left when I warned them that it would be better that a millstone be tied around their necks than to cause these little ones to stumble. But I said it in love.
So don’t worry, I’m out on the street. Evangelism is just not my main priority anymore, it’s now a normal way of life… as it should be for every Christian.
*If you want to find out what the photo below showing my new haircut and an Iranian man has to do with evangelism, you’ll just have to “Friend” me on Facebook!
I’m sad to leave our El Camino College evangelism ministry, but it’s been over five years of fruitful ministry. Yesterday, Thursday, September 12, was my final day. I will probably never set foot on this campus again. I’ll never be able to offer atheists Rich and Joeyreasonable arguments for why they need to trust Jesus. Sniff!
Yet I’m very happy that three godly men are taking over this fine outreach: Steve Liscom, Bob Johnson, and Chris Casella. Thanks guys! Don’t let the village atheists get you down!
Hey! Do you know what the most offensive question on earth is?
I was greatly honored to be asked to appear on the very first episode of Living Waters’ new show, “The Comfort Zone,” last Monday.
Though it was the first show filmed, it won’t be on TV for awhile because it’s a replacement for when the guys are out of town. The actual debut is on September 16! Still, we had a lot of fun and I was able to share a little about my upcoming church plant in Texas. Did you know that TBN has picked up “The Comfort Zone” as well? It’s going to be in over 100 markets!
And man, can these guys eat! (It’s very patriotic to evangelize by the way.)
So even though it’s the end of “On the Box,” it’s a new beginning in many ways… a new show, my new church! (My last time preaching with Ray will be this Saturday at the Huntington Pier. We will be down there by 1:30pm)
I gave my last sermon at Hope Chapel last Labor Day Weekend called “Not By Sight.” It summed up my tenure at Hope Chapel: how I got saved there, met my wife there, got hired there, dedicated my kids to the Lord there, and then later, baptized them there.
It’s been a wonderful ride.
I also go through the entire “Faith Chapter,” of Hebrews 11 in about 20 minutes and explain how God called me to Texas.
In essence, this a message on how I’ve learned to walk by faith.
You will be encouraged. If not, double your money back.
Lest you think that I don’t have anything more to say….
I’m in a huge transition in my life with my trust in God increasing like never before (except for the first year that I was saved).
Please don’t give up on this blog; it, too, is in transition. I just bought the domain name: www.Not-By-Sight.com. As mentioned a few months prior, this blog will be changing focus, from evangelism only (which had the potential of reaching about 2% of the Christian population), to a more broad-based approach. Basically, I will be writing about all facets of the Christian life as I experience it by being a Texas church planter.
Thanks for your support, all ten of you.
Please listen to the last sermon I preached at my church, Hope Chapel, called “Not By Sight.”
Due to the changes in my life, specifically, my move to Texas to plant a church, I will not be moderating The Everyday Club after this posting. Will I try to continue to share my faith every day? Of course. And so will you if you are committed to doing the work of an evangelist.
I spoke to one of our custodians here at Hope Chapel (we call them “Stewards”) after I preached my last sermon on Sunday. He told me that he has not missed a day handing out a tract since taking my evangelism class. I asked him how long it had been since graduating. “Three years!” he replied.
Did I mention that this man is deaf?
Thanks for your participation over the years! Continue to go into all the world…!
(And don’t forget to leave how you did in August in the comments below.)
Steve has been blogging here since 2006 and is currently planting a church near Austin, Texas called Hope Chapel Hill Country (HopeChapelHillCountry.org). Steve and his family live in Dripping Springs. It is his goal to share his faith everyday.