Are You Praying More?
by Pastor Paul Brown

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42 - NASB95)

In last month's newsletter I challenged all of us to a greater commitment to prayer. Just this week I came across an alarming statistic that made that challenge even more critical:  only 31 percent of evangelicals say they set aside a substantial period of time each day to pray. It seems that American evangelicals believe they need to pray but they don't do it. To make matters worse, people born after 1960 pray significantly less than those born before 1960. Much like Martha we have become distracted by a lot of seemingly "good" things while we miss out on what is "necessary" and truly good.
Has your prayer life improved in the last month? Are you one of the people that spends a substantial period of time each day in prayer? If not, what can you do to prioritize and organize spending more time alone with the Lord in prayer?
Why is prayer so important? If we are going to accomplish anything of eternal significance as individuals or as a church, we need the Lord to move in mighty ways (see John 15:1-5 - apart from Him we can do nothing). We are facing a number of significant changes in the coming year and we need God's grace, wisdom, power, and provisions. Here are a few specific things that you can pray about as we move forward:
  • Bruce & Carol Groves and Thomas & Libby Herringshaw are moving to Idaho to launch a church. Ask God to give them wisdom in every detail. They will either work with an existing church as the core for a "relaunch" or they will build relationships to develop a core to launch a new church. This is a major "faith move" for them into an area that desperately needs evangelical churches.
  • Dave & Eryn Lee moving to Ripon, California to develop a Biblical Counseling Ministry in a church. Dave was hired full-time and begins September 1st. This is an exciting opportunity for Dave & Eryn to reproduce in Ripon what they sacrificially helped to develop here at TBBF.
  • Jimmy Augur & Joe Leinen directing the Youth Ministry. Pray for them as they work with their youth staff to reach, train, and send teens out to make more and better disciples. This is a vital ministry that needs much prayer and more volunteers.
  • Raul "Cruz" Maldonado and Xiomara Bueno directing the Children's Ministry. They are moving forward to unite our English and Hispanic children's ministries. We have been united on Wednesday night and look forward to being one on Sunday mornings when we move to a new schedule.
  • Replace Staff? With the departure of key pastoral staff, elders, and leaders, we need God's wisdom in organizing our existing workers and possibly hiring at least one more pastoral staff member. Right now we have a wonderful working relationship between our elders, pastoral staff, and administrative staff. We want the next staff member to enhance our teamwork and make us even better at serving the Lord, all of you, and the community.
  • Facility changes. There is a lot of work going on to develop a long-range plan for TBBF's facilities as well as specific short-range plans for the "E" and "I" buildings. We are working with PlainJoe Studios on design and with several contractors on the physical work. It is our desire to maximize our property to facilitate the carrying out of our mission as a church. We want God to continue to be glorified here until Jesus comes back!
  • New schedule. When the work is done in the E and I buildings we will be able to implement a new schedule. Pray for God's wisdom as we seek to enhance our unity, worship, fellowship, equipping, and outreach.
I know that  change is difficult for a lot of people. If you are one of those people, I have two practical suggestions: 1)  Pray. Ask the Lord to flood your heart with peace and give you the desire and energy to help us through the changes. 2)  Read. Read Hebrews 11 and see how people of faith trusted God in the midst of change. Also consider reading an encouraging little book called,  "Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work & in Your Life" by Spencer Johnson, M.D. It was written for secular businesses to help people thrive in changing times.
One final encouragement. As you spend time praying for all of these things please include time for  praise. God has blessed, He is leading, and He is going to continue to use this church to make disciples of all the nations. I am excited about the future and the privilege that is mine to serve our great God and Savior alongside all of you. Let's march forward on our knees wherever He leads!

Asbestos, Inspections, PlainJoe
by Pastor Randy Leinen

These three things describe the goings on of our remodeling projects for the "E" and "I" buildings. Those of you who have ever been involved in remodel projects know that things rarely go as planned. Our projects are no different.

Asbestos is a word that usually does not mean something good, especially when you find it underneath an old roof that is being replaced. Our roofers found this material as they were preparing to install a new roof on the "I" building. This means more cost and more delays as we wait for a special "asbestos" removal company to come out and remove it properly.

Inspection is a word that describes what the City of Los Angeles sends people to do to make sure that we are building things according to code. The good news is that we have passed three important inspections for the "E" building in the past week - electrical, plumbing, and framing. So we are now in the process of closing up walls. Progress!

Plain Joe is the name of the architectural design firm that we have hired to develop a master plan for our property. We have also hired them to create an interior design plan for the "E" and "I" buildings. This next week they will be sending out five people to work all week on our campus. They will be meeting with us to finalize these designs. At the end of the week, we hope to have something really exciting to show you!

Personally, I praise the Lord for the resources He has provided which allow us to do all of this work. Even when surprises and delays come, I can thank Him anyway. I hope you can too!

Until the next update, may God bless you and your family!

Fall Worship at The Bridge
 by Pastor Steve Lively

 I hope you have had a restful Summer and are ready for all the great things that God has in store for you as this Fall and as the new school year begin. I pray that our lives really would be used for God's purposes as our "spiritual service of WORSHIP!" (Romans 12:2)

I wanted to let you know of the things that will be happening here at TBBF this Fall in Worship Ministries. Of course, we will continue to gather each Sunday morning and worship God together. Please pray and prepare your own heart for the exciting new change to one worship service. There may be some bumps in the road at first, so pray for patience. There may even be someone sitting in "your seat" when you arrive at the new service the first week. Pray for kindness and flexibility. As always, let's remember that Sunday mornings are not about YOU, or ME, but are about honoring and worshiping God with humility and opening our hearts to hear the instruction from His Word.

First, we will be restarting our Youth Worship Choir, Lifted Up. Rehearsals will be at 5:15 p.m., in the Music Room, starting Wednesday, August 31. If you are a high school or college-aged person, or if you know one, please consider joining us. We will learn about being  better singers, learning more about music, and then serving God as we lift our voices together to worship Him. I look forward to seeing you there!

Then, for Thanksgiving, we will be having our first-ever Combined Thanksgiving Eve Service with our Hispanic Congregation. We will meet in the main Worship Center to praise, give thanks, and hear from God's Word together and then share a meal, prepared by our Hispanic brothers and sisters. What a glorious time it will be.

Finally, we will be presenting our annual Christmas Outreach Concerts, "At Last, Noel!" on Sunday evening, Dec. 11. There will be two presentations that evening and they will feature our newly-formed Bridge Chorale, our Drama ministry and testimonies.  Please consider now who you might invite to join you for this event. There will be a time of refreshments following each concert. Remember that these concerts will be in the EVENING, and starting  times will be 5:00 and 7:30 p.m. What a great opportunity to celebrate and proclaim the true meaning of Christmas.

We look forward to worshiping together in the coming months!
What's New in Bridge Youth?
by Jimmy Augur

I t has been an exciting summer here for the Bridge Youth. From ice cream troughs and lock-ins, to youth Olympics and Fear-Factor Night, this summer has been jam packed with exciting and memorable events that have bonded our youth closer together than ever before. In late June, Joe Leinen and I stepped in to lead Bridge Youth for Thomas Herringshaw as he obediently follows the Lord's call to pu rsue a senior pastor position. Joe had previously been involved with Bridge Youth as the middle school teacher and I had been very involved in serving and teaching in Breaking Ground, the college and young adult ministry. We have both joyfully accepted our new role in this ministry and are extremely excited about this opportunity the Lord has provided for us.

Over the past few months, we have made a strong effort to unify both the staff and students of Bridge Youth by creating an environment that the students are excited to be a part of and where they even want to bring their friends. We started the summer with an Olympic-themed game night, then we had a 12-hour lock-in at TBBF which included games like slip-n-slide kickball and glow in the dark dodgeball. Just last week, we had our Fear-Factor Night which included scary games involving cockroaches, giant crickets, and meal worms. Though these events have been fun and memorable, most importantly this summer, we have had an amazing time of learning from the truth of God's Word. On Wednesday nights we have been going through a series of answering tough questions, focusing on topics such as: "Is the Bible really true?," "What about Evolution?," "Why should I obey now?," and "What is biblical purity?" On Sunday mornings, we had a great time learning through a video series by David Platt called "Follow Me," which challenged each of us to think through the important questions of, "What does it truly mean to follow Christ?" and "What does a life lived for Jesus really look like?" It has been a very busy summer, but all the hard work and planning has been well worth it to see the excitement on the face of students all summer long. We have also been very blessed to have a committed and supportive staff that has been a huge part of planning, preparing, and helping us these first few months. We are excited about the fellowship that we get to have with each staff member on a regular basis.

As we move into the start of the school year, we hope to continue the momentum we started over the summer: to focus on building strong, personal relationships with each and every student. We desire to invest in each of the student's lives not only on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, but constantly throughout the week through text messages, phone calls, and supporting them in their school activities. We believe this is crucial to accomplishing our goal of building strong relationships with the students, ultimately leading towards growing and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ. This fall we will be starting two new study topics. On Sundays, we will be going through a series called "Heroes." Each Sunday we will take a look at a different "Hero" of the bible and identify what characteristic we can emulate from his or her life. On Wednesdays we will be studying through the book of James as well as spending a good amount of time in small groups, talking through our weeks and encouraging one another in prayer.

I am beyond blessed to have the opportunity to work with the Bridge Youth and am excited about where we are headed. It is only through the grace of God that Joe and I are able to lead this ministry. We greatly appreciate your prayers for us, the staff, the students, and the ministry as a whole.
© 2016 The Bridge Bible Fellowship
18644 Sherman Way, Reseda, CA 91335
phone: 818.776.1500 | fax: 818.881.0327