The Ministry of Prayer
by Pastor Paul Brown

Recently we were blessed to have Reese Kauffman, President of Child Evangelism Fellowship, speak to our church on the topic of prayer. He emphasized that of all the things he does in his ministry the most important is praying for the ministry. Many of you said a hearty "Amen!" to that statement. You are seasoned prayer warriors and it is a habit of yours to spend a lot of time each day interceding on behalf of the people and ministries of our church. I cannot begin to express to you how vital your ministry of prayer is in all that we do. You clearly understand the importance of prayer and God is answering your prayers in powerful ways.
Over the years I have read a number of great quotes about the importance of prayer:
  • "Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees."
  • Luther wrote, "As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray."
  • Notice on a High School bulletin board: "In the event of nuclear attack, all bans on prayer on this campus will be lifted."
  • Samuel Chadwick said, "The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray."
  • Robert Murray McCheyne wrote, "What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more." It could be easily altered to say, "What a church is on its knees before God, that it is, and nothing more."
  • J. C. Ryle - "What is the reason that some believers are so much holier than others?  The difference in 19 cases out of 20 arises from different habits about private prayer.  Those who are not imminently holy pray little and those who are imminently holy pray much."
  • Charles Spurgeon said, "I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach."
  • Andrew Murray said, "The man who mobilizes the Christian church to pray will make the greatest contribution to world evangelization in history." 
It is my passionate desire that the coming year will find our church reaching more and more people in our community with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will utilize a lot of vehicles to do so (LIFE Groups, Adult Bible Classes, Children's Sunday School, Child Evangelism Fellowship on school campuses, campus outreaches on high school and college campuses, concerts, special events, a Thanksgiving Outreach to our community, etc.). But none of this will accomplish anything without prayer. One man said it well, "We must first talk to God about men, and then talk to men about God."
Would you begin praying that the Lord would do two things? 1. Raise up laborers who will go out into the harvest and proclaim the gospel. 2. Bring in a harvest of new souls. With reference to the first one, are YOU willing to be one of those laborers? Are you willing to be trained to be more effective in clearly communicating the message of the gospel? Would you like to help plan specific outreaches and/or train people for them? Let me know! With reference to the second one, are you building friendships with people who don't yet know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Are you praying for them by name? Are you inviting them to your home for a meal to get to know them better? Are you sharing your testimony with them? We want to cast a wide net to reach as many people as possible but it would be great to reach people you already know so you can follow up on them personally when they come to know Jesus.
The coming year is going to be an exciting, faith-stretching year at TBBF. There will be changes with our staff, our facilities, and our ministries. Every step needs to be bathed in prayer. It is our Lord's desire to do things that are "far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think" (Eph. 3:20). Will you join me in intercession for TBBF's people and ministries? Will you ask the Lord to make us bold evangelists? Will you cry out to God for the lost in our community? Will you commit to praying faithfully and fervently that our church will go forth in obedience to the Great Commission and make disciples?
Let's ALL get on our knees and pray to that end. Then let's all go out to be a part of God's answer to those prayers. To God be the glory, great things He will do!
A Camp To Remember
by Pastor Randy Leinen

Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Forrest, Kings River, Zumwalt Meadow, General Grant Tree, Tenmile Creek, Hume Lake...All awesome testimonies to God's creative beauty and majesty. These are the places that 35 college and young adults from TBBF, aka Breaking Ground, went to see over the 4 th of July long weekend. It was the 1st  Annual Breaking Ground Summer Camp and it was unforgettable!
The theme of the camp was "Relationship DNA." We took an extensive tour of what is referred to in the Bible as the "One Anothers." The greatest of all these one anothers is to love one another. Jesus said that the world will know that we are His disciples by the way we love one another. Love, biblical love, is an identifying feature of a genuine disciple of Jesus Christ. For five days we studied and learned together. We shared our own struggles with relationships. And...we bore one another's burdens.
It was a great weekend of building relationships. We walked together, hiked together, swam together, kayaked, rowed, fished, played volleyball, disc golf, and many other things together. We prayed, laughed, and got hurt together (even resulting in a late night trip to the ER). We cooked together, washed dishes together, ate burgers, fries and shakes together. We consumed large amounts of coffee. We took photos with each other (lots of them), we saw the incredible beauty of God's creation (the High Sierras), lakes, rivers, valleys, meadows, cliffs, and REALLY BIG trees! We swam in melted snow! And most exciting of all, we witnessed the baptism of Josh Romo in the Kings River!
I've been to Hume Lake a hundred times, but this trip was the best ever. And it ended in a way that was so amazing and inspiring. On the last morning, with all 35 of us sitting in a big circle on the deck of a small cabin, with the sun shining on us, I asked each person to share something that they learned or enjoyed about the weekend. I could not have expected what was about to take place. All 35 people shared and they all shared very significant and personal things that had happened to them over the course of 5 days and 4 nights. Many tears were shed and laughter was enjoyed. It took "only" three and a half hours for us to get around to everyone. Wow! It is amazing to see what God can do in only a few days. It is awesome to see God transform people's lives right before our very eyes.
Thank you to all who prayed for us. God answered those prayers in ways we could not imagine.

What's in it for ME?
 by Pastor Steve Lively

Usually, when we do anything or make any commitment that requires our time, energy and resources, we ask the questions, "What's in it for me?What do I get out of it?" We would like to weigh the cost vs. the benefit of anything into which we put our effort. That's not always a bad thing. Our time, money and energy are gifts from God over which we have been given stewardship. But, when it comes to worship, the Word of God says: 

Psalm 103:2
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting.

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
We are told that we can actually "Bless" our God. The Almighty Creator - who has need of nothing - lovingly receives and is "blessed" by our worship. That is an amazing revelation to reshape our thinking when it comes to how we worship.

I recently heard a pastor remind his congregation that the foundational thought and basis of the Christian life is: "It's not about you!" He is so right. We are told to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength" (Deut 6:5, Matt 12:37). When it says "all" here, it doesn't leave any room for us to say, "What do I get out of this?" This is especially true of our worship. Have you ever asked the question, "Lord how can I bless YOU today" when you are preparing to enter His presence on Sunday morning? This goes against everything in our "consumer" culture, but it is the exact attitude that we should have. Worship is called a "Sacrifice of praise." But so often our mindset is: "I hope the Lord speaks to me today" or "I hope the pastor isn't boring" or "I hope they sing the songs that I like." Where's the sacrifice in that?
When we are not in a worship service, we can continue to "bless" the Lord by practicing the second Great Commandment and "love our neighbors as we would love ourselves."
"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God" (Heb.13:16). When we realize that life is not about us - when we love and serve our spouses, co-workers, children, friends, fellow believers, the unlovely, etc., we are worshiping, as well. May we all find ways daily to "Bless the Lord at all times." Amen!
Search Update
by Pastor Thomas Herringshaw 

Hello TBBF Family,

I wanted to write to you briefly and provide an update regarding all that has transpired in our ministry search.

On Monday June 13, Bruce and I traveled down to Orange County for the EFCA West Church Planting Boot Camp held at BIOLA. It was a great week of training and we were encouraged to meet and be around others who desire to plant churches for the glory of God. When the Boot Camp ended on Friday June 17, we had a greater understanding of the details of church planting, and while we were partly intimidated by the enormity of the task, we also had a sense that this is what we should pursue rather than an existing church.

Prior to the EFCA Boot Camp, we had marked out three areas as possible locations for us to plant a new church: Richland, WA; Boise, ID; and Bend, OR.  Knowing that time was of the essence, we planned a trip to scout out those areas and on Monday June 20 th , Bruce, Libby and I flew from LAX to PDX (the airport in Portland, OR) to begin a week long road trip that would take us through each of those cities. At the end of the trip we had spent about a day and a half in each of those locations, driven almost 1,700 miles across some beautiful country and we had crossed Richland, WA off of our list, effectively narrowing down our possibilities for church planting to either Boise, ID, or Bend, OR. We arrived back home on Monday June 27 th , once again exhausted but encouraged by the possibilities that lay ahead of us.

On Monday July 11 th , Bruce and I began attending another church planting course on church planting called "Grace Advance." This training course is connected with The Master's Seminary and Grace Community Church and lasted for two weeks. The course ended this past Thursday and we stepped away from it feeling as if we had been trying to drink water from a fire hose. We received so much valuable information and so many insights from others who have planted churches that it will probably take another two weeks to thoughtfully sift through all of that information and formulate a step-by-step plan moving forward. At this time we are strongly leaning towards planting a church in the Boise area, but we are continuing to pray for the Lord's wisdom and direction.

As I reflect back upon all that I have learned from these last few weeks here are a few lessons that the Lord has taught me:
  • I need to grow downward in humility - My pride and attitude of self-sufficiency have been exposed in this process. God is far greater than I am and I am all too often dependent upon myself rather than upon Him.  I more clearly see my need to daily repent of my prideful tendencies and to acknowledge my own "self-deficiency" before a holy God.  
  • I need to grow upward in faith - As the great missionary Hudson Taylor said, "Without an element of risk in our exploits for God, there is no need for faith." I all too often do not have the faith that I should have in an infinite and omnipotent God. I must not only consider what I am capable of, but more importantly what God is capable of. I need to remind myself that God is able to provide for his people and for his work to be accomplished in the world.
  • I need to grow in patiently waiting upon the Lord - Churches are not built in a day and they are not built upon the talents, skills and abilities of one or two men. They are built upon Christ, the chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:19-20), who is the head of the church (Col. 1:18) and who guards and protects it so that it will not be overcome by any physical or spiritual power (Matt. 16:18).
  • There is a great need for more churches to be planted! - We are pretty familiar with the Great Commission, "to make disciples of all the nations" and we often think of that commission in terms of individual discipleship. That is not necessarily a bad thing, since every believer is to be involved in evangelism and discipleship. Yet we often emphasize the implications for individuals to the exclusion of the implications for the church at large. As the early church sought to carry out this disciple-making commission by Jesus, we see individuals scatter and proclaim the gospel (Acts 8:4), but we also see churches begin to send out gifted individuals to not just to proclaim the gospel (Acts 13:1-3), but to establish churches (Acts 14:21-23).    
Please pray for us as we prepare for the ministry that the Lord has for us in the future. We don't know all of the details yet, but we trust that as we continue to walk step by step in faith, he will reveal all that we need to know, at exactly the time we need to know it.
With a growing trust in our great God and Savior,
Thomas Herringshaw
© 2016 The Bridge Bible Fellowship
18644 Sherman Way, Reseda, CA 91335
phone: 818.776.1500 | fax: 818.881.0327