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January 8, 2016
by Steve Sanchez
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The Great Divide

It’s 2016! Happy New Year!

But why? Do you know what happened 2,016 years ago?

year of LordOver the last several weeks I posed that question to various people in different locales, from Panda Express, to Costco, to Whole Foods Market. And only one person answered correctly.

What happened? Simply the most significant event ever….

It’s been 2,016 years since Jesus Christ was born, that babe in the manger. Every time you look at a coin, it’s a marker of time, a reminder that Jesus Christ came into this world to seek and to save people from their sin.

Someone once said: “He has turned aside the river of ages out of its course and lifted the centuries off its hinges.”

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We measure time as B.C., Before Christ, and A.D. Do you know what that means? Not “After Death.” No, A.D. stands for Anno Domini, “In the year of the Lord.” It has been changed now to “The Year of Our Lord.” The big question: Is he your Lord?

The wonderful irony of all this is that every book in the library, even those that hate God and Christianity, acknowledge that Jesus Christ was born by the dates contained within them. The former Soviet Union, an official atheistic government, has in its constitution that it was formed in 1917.

Interesting, huh?

At Whole Foods Market, one man argued that it wasn’t 2016 A.D. but 2016 C.E., which means “Common Era.” Yes, and there’s a time before that time abbreviated as “B.C.E.;” that is, “Before Common Era.”

The irreligious among us like that designation better because it eliminates all references to God, Jesus Christ and Christianity. Of course, in this Politically Correct era, we don’t want to offend those who do not see Jesus Christ as Lord, do we?

At some point in time, though, he will be their Lord and your Lord, whether they—or you—like it or not. The Bible says, “…that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

So whether a year’s designation is B.C./A.D. or B.C.E./C.E., the great divide is still the life and times of Jesus Christ.

With this being the year of our Lord, let’s make it real by living for him in this New Year.

*That’s this pastor’s point of view. Is it yours?

(Scripture reference: Philippians 2:10-11 NASB)

Images: Good News Unlimited; PinTerest

December 18, 2015
by Steve Sanchez
6 Comments

Love That Neighbor?

The hardest command in the Bible, (and there are a lot of them), has to be “Love your enemy.” Another tough one is “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

But what happens if your enemy and your neighbor are one and the same?

love_thy_neighbor-billboard1

My wife and I have experienced a lot of bad neighbors in our twenty years of marriage:

Our first apartment had a common court yard. The neighbors in the back sat on their second story porch literally and figuratively looking down on us mocking us whenever we went outside. I tried winning them over by talking with them and reasoning with them, but we ultimately had to move.

Our second place we lived had a drunk neighbor who lived in the front and he would leer at my beautiful wife regularly. In the back of us, one of our neighbors had a broom fight with one of her friends over their back fence. (Yes, we watched.) Another  neighbor behind refused to keep their pit bull locked up despite our concerns abut our newborns crawling around. (And they were just weird, too. The mom was a member of  The Le Leche League and had her 5-year-old suckling at her teet.)

We moved. Continue Reading

December 7, 2015
by Steve Sanchez
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Pearl Harbor Lead Bomber Becomes Christian by Reading a Gospel Tract

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 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.
Continue Reading

parade

December 6, 2015
by Steve Sanchez
18 Comments

The 12 Step Program for Parades

Here is a 12-step primer on how to evangelize at any parade. Try them all!

Step 1: Find a parade. Don’t laugh. Many have tried preaching to a line of elderly people on a walking tour, or to school kids getting off a bus thinking they had found a parade; those are organic congregations, not parades. Parades usually have a float or two, some dignitaries from the sanitation department and marching bands, lots of high school marching bands.

The 2008 Hollywood Santa Parade we went to had celebrities! Yes! Celebrities! Well, not real celebrities, but game show hosts and people who starred in ’60’s television series, or special guests from some long forgotten sci-fi movie.

I saw Fred Willard waving from a car and shouted, “Hey Fred! I loved ya in Wall-E!”
He grinned, acknowledged my greeting, and continued waving. There was another lady in the parade, Julie Nudie. I don’t know what she starred in, but it couldn’t have been good. Or wholesome.

Our evangelism team of 13 dubbed this parade, “The Who are These Guys?” Parade. There was Bob Baker and his Marionettes; we surmised that they couldn’t get Bob Barker. Lots of pre-teens from little watched cable shows did the Princess Di sideways wave. And there was the Scientology float. The Scientology float! Proudly displayed were many portraits of L. Ron Hubbard and the comic books he had written. We tried to stifle our boos. I failed.

Step 2: Get there about two hours early and go to the halfway point of the parade. The halfway point will buy you an extra half hour or so of time. Then hand out Gospel tracts, lots of Gospel tracts; we brought about 20,000. Divide your team up and hit both sides of the streets.

People will take them, read them, and if the tracts are really cool, like the million dollar bill or hundred dollar bill, people will ask for more.

Step 3: Finish witnessing before the parade starts. Make sure you hand out all your tracts and have all your conversations before the parade is in view. People will turn on you faster then a shaved Weimerheimer if you block their view by handing out those stupid tracts.

Step 4: Bring the kids! Put them to work! My kids cruise in and out of the crowd and get to the places where no one else can go. Take tracts and throw them into the crowd (this works great with the million dollar bills). Take a stack and hand one to a spectator and ask them to pass them on. They will. Everyone who goes out with our evangelism team must carry their cross, so make sure the family gets down to business.

Click here to read part 2 and to see actual parade preaching and why the LAPD put the kibosh on it…