To Be Like Him
            by Pastor Paul Brown

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
(Rom. 8:28-29)

There are words we hear spoken in Christian circles, but sometimes I feel like saying, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." I'm sure you can think of a lot of them but the one that primarily comes to my mind right now is the word "Christ-like." Perhaps we say it, "He/she is so Christ-like," or "godly" or "like Jesus." There are certainly a myriad of character qualities we may be referring to when we make that analogy (kind, loving, just, compassionate, forgiving, etc.). And we can plainly see in the verse in Romans 8 above that it is God's goal to conform us to the image of Jesus. But recently I have thought of one primary characteristic of Jesus that I pray will become true of all of us... His zeal for evangelism.

Jesus said of Himself in Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." We see this lived out in the Gospels as He reached out to multitudes of people with the good news of salvation. He spoke to Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles; young and old; rich and poor; educated and uneducated; male and female. He told one and all that they needed to "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt. 4:17). He told them of God's standard of perfection that they failed to meet, and how He had come to meet it for them.

Jesus was an evangelist. And when He called people to follow Him, He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Mt. 4:19). And that is exactly what He did! He taught them how to evangelize, He modeled for them how to evangelize, He sent them out to evangelize, and He helped them improve in evangelism. After His resurrection, He commanded them to evangelize (Mt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:45-49; John 20:21). Then, after He ascended, He sent His Holy Spirit to empower them to evangelize (Acts 1:8) to the remotest parts of the earth.
All of the true Apostles went out evangelizing and making disciples. The Apostle Paul followed Jesus closely, and became like Him. He said to the Corinthian believers, "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). Paul was a devoted evangelist and kept on proclaiming the gospel to people with his dying breath. But before he died, he challenged his protégé Timothy to be a godly pastor, a faithful preacher of the Word, and to "do the work of an evangelist"(2 Tim. 4:5).
I must admit that this is very convicting for me and I'm pretty sure I share the gospel with people more than most. According to recent statistics, over 80% of professing Christians in America will go to their grave without ever sharing the gospel with one person. If that is true in "America," I certainly don't want it to be true at The Bridge Bible Fellowship! I want every professing follower of Jesus in our church to be obediently engaged in being like Jesus Christ by seeking lost people and proclaiming to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The above verses and statistics have caused me to ponder some extremely challenging statements I have heard in the past and I have said myself. Please ponder them with me:

"If you aren't fishing, you aren't following" (Mt. 4:19).
"If you aren't evangelizing, you aren't fully Christ-like" (Lk. 19:10).
These ponderings have motivated me to be bolder in telling as many people as possible about Jesus. That was the focal point of our Breaking Ground Summer Camp up at Hume Lake recently. We studied the Book of Acts and challenged the students to go out and make disciples. On Wednesday of that week at camp, we went down into Kings Canyon and gave out tracts to people we met along the way. For some of the students this was the first time they had done something like this. For some they simply watched as others did it. This carried over into the remaining days of the camp and on the trip home (giving out tracts at In-N-Out Burger in Bakersfield). I have now heard reports that many of the people shared the gospel with friends and passed out tracts on the day after we got home. They want to be "doers" of the Word.
While we were gone, a man named Mark Spence gave a challenging and encouraging message to our church entitled, "Can You Handle The Truth?" You can watch or listen to that message on our church website. He admitted that he is unbelievably SHY but he obediently shares the gospel anyway. If he can do it, we can do it!
How about you? Are you following Jesus? Are you fishing for men and women? Are you Christ-like? It is my prayer for all of us at The Bridge to grow strong as evangelists this year. It is my passion for all of us to be like Him.
by Pastor Randy Le inen

As Paul mentioned  on Sunday  we had a fantastic Summer Camp with Breaking Ground (our College and Young Adult Group). I came up with the theme of the camp after reading through the book of Acts a couple of times. I was struck by the very last word of the book, "unhindered." It just so happens to also be the last word in the Greek NT as well: "akolutos." This is the only occurrence of this word in the NT. It is a very inspiring word for a couple of reasons.

First, the word structure is inspiring: "a" meaning "not", and "koluo" meaning "prevented" or "forbidden." The reason this is so great is because the book of Acts is filled with people and powers who attempted to prevent or forbid others from doing what Jesus commanded in Acts 1:8 - to be witnesses of the Gospel. However, no matter how hard they tried to prevent the spread of the Gospel, it moved unhindered throughout the world. The book ends rather abruptly without explaining what happens to Paul or the rest of the church. Luke simply states that Paul was preaching and teaching about Jesus "unhindered!" Clearly the attempt to stop the Gospel in the 1st century failed, and it has continued to fail for the past 2,000 years!

Second, it is inspiring not only because of the impact that the unhindered gospel had on people throughout the book of Acts, but also due to the impact it has had on the young people in Breaking Ground this summer. Imagine 30+ young people, many of whom used to be fearful of sharing their faith, who are now boldly passing out Gospel tracts and sharing the Word of God with friends, family and even strangers! Watch out, people of Reseda and the San Fernando Valley! Breaking Ground is coming after you with the Good News of Jesus Christ! Why? Because they know in Whom they believe and they know why they are still here! And they are filled with the Holy Spirit!

What about you? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you share the Gospel regularly? The reason you know the Gospel is because it has been spreading unhindered for 2,000 years. The question is not whether it will continue to spread, but rather, will it spread by means of us or someone else?

By the way, if you need help sharing your faith, talk to one of the Breaking Ground young adults. They can help you!

The Greatest Characteristic of 
a Worshiper
by Pastor Steve Lively

It was so great having the privilege of preaching a few weeks ago. Thank you all for your kind and encouraging words. It was a blessing to know that what the Lord taught us through that passage had an effect on you and me. We talked at the end of the message about the issue of our attitude. As a reminder, Romans 12:2 says that we should be "transformed by the renewing of our mind." Our attitude shows the degree to which we have been transformed. I believe that the greatest characteristic of a true worshiper's transformed mind is humility. The apostle Paul would later describe true worship, using a Greek word that means "rendering respectful spiritual service" (Phil. 3:3). Our greatest blueprint for this kind of humble spiritual service is our Lord Jesus Christ himself. Paul reminds us  of this in Philippians 2:5-11: 

5 Have this attitude  in yourselves which was also in  Christ Jesus,6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Interestingly, the passage starts in verse 5 by saying that we are to have the same "attitude" or "mind" of Christ. Those two words are interchangeable in our English translations of the Bible. So it would seem that if we are to transform our minds, we must begin with the same humility of Christ. I really believe the key to Christ's simple humility was outlined in verse 7: "but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant." He willingly set aside all of His rights and "entitlements." Our human nature tends to seek those things out, often demanding them of people. And yet, the one Person who had every right and entitlement in creation, laid them down at the feet of His Father to bring glory to Him and provide salvation to us. May we constantly seek to worship and serve God with our lives by following Christ's example of humility.
Greetings from Bridge Youth! 

We have had an amazing month! Every Wednesday,  the youth have had the privilege of hearing some great speakers. I even had the opportunity to teach on July 5th! Last Wednesday the youth were challenged in regards to evangelism and I'm excited for the next few speakers that we have coming up as well. On Sundays, we've also had a number of different guest speakers teaching the group. Steve Lively, Zach Volker, and Jonathan Duarte have taught so far, and Randy Leinen and Paul Brown will be teaching the youth in the weeks to come. It has been great for the students to hear a wide variety of people teaching on a wide variety of topics. Please pray that the students would not only learn all of this information, but that it would lead to transformation in their lives.

On  July 26th, we will have our annual Lock-In. From  9 PM to 7 AM the students will be engaged in an awesome night filled with games, worship, fun, and relationship-building. Please pray that God brings many new people to our group that night and grows our group as a result. Thank you for your prayers!
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phone: 818.776.1500 | fax: 818.881.0327