Thursday, September 24, 2020

Coastline Staff Values

About two years ago I began working on staff values for Coastline. In a normal situation I wouldn't post them online, it would remain and internal document. But with all the changes happening in the church world right now it seemed like the right time to post them.

Now, I can't take full credit for these. First, I started a list but needed help processing my thoughts. I'm grateful for my friend Rob Hall who shared a similar document with me and I borrowed from him. After talking these through with trusted ministry partners I brought them to our staff. I knew that our team would do an infinitely better job on these together than I could alone. In other words, these wouldn't be what they are without the staff of Coastline Bible Church. Thanks for the help! 

Coastline Staff Values

1) Leadership Matters- As leaders we must first lead ourselves. In doing so we will earn the right to lead others. We work hard at leading ourselves and developing leaders for the future. It might take longer to develop a leader, but in the long run this is what we are called to.

2) We give our best- We will do the best with the resources we have to advance the kingdom. Never settle for mediocrity knowing we serve a great God. We regularly strive to get 1% better every week.

3) We greet each other- We believe that everyone wants to be known and loved. When you walk into a room, greet those in the room. It is important to our mission to acknowledge each other and be known as we seek to advance the Kingdom.

4) Intimacy with God- Our work and mission happen when we pursue God. We are not professional but servants of The Lord. We make our relationship with God a high priority. We focus on a growing walk with Jesus

5) Health Matters- Unity is vital to our mission. A healthy staff culture will not magically happen, knowing that we will work hard to create a healthy staff culture. We will work hard to build a team that trusts, honors, and respects each other. We will engage in healthy conflict as needed and work hard for a health team.

6) Over Communicate- Make sure to listen to others and not just hear them. Don’t enter a conversation and simply wait for a person to stop talking so you can prove your point. Also make sure to say the last 10% when appropriate.

7) Risk is part of the job- Life is a lesson, learn from it. Take appropriate risks for Kingdom expansion. In most cases failure is not detrimental. When we make mistakes it can be our greatest learning lesson. Learn from your mistakes and allow them to teach you & others that you lead.

8) Family First- We will never ask, or expect, you to sacrifice your family on the altar of ministry. Your personal health flows from a healthy you. If you are single we want you to have space for friendships, community & safe places. If you have a family we want your family to love you and where you work. When those closest to us feel loved, valued, and important we will have our greatest moments of ministry.

9) Be a shepherd- We are called to care for people and it’s a high responsibility. People trust us with their most important moments of life. Don’t take the attitude of a hireling and bail at critical moments. Don’t use people to complete projects but pastor people for our common mission & vision. Strive to help them grow in their personal walk with Jesus and empower the saints for the ministry. 

10) Have Fun- We take God serious and not ourselves. Fun is a vital part of the workplace. We work hard, honor others, and have fun while doing so. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Judges 3 Small Group Questions

Our church is doing a twelve-week sermon series through the book of Judges called: "Flawed Heroes." We are studying the Old Testament book for a couple reasons. One is that Judges is a book of flawed heroes and none of us are perfect. The book reminds us that God is the divine hero of the story. Judges is a period of transition for Israel, a transition from God as their leader to a monarchy. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: The First Three ::: Judges 3

The firs two chapters of Judges served as an introduction to the entire book. They gave us an overview of how Israel would act, why they would turn away from the Lord, and what the result of their disobedience would be. In Judges 3 we read of the first three judges in Israel who proceeded Joshua. Each of their stories are different but the theme is the same in each story: God is the Hero. As you study the questions take special notice of how God acted on behalf of His people. Then, keep in mind that no human is able to save us. The book of Judges points us to our need for Jesus to save us. The book of Judges points us to our true Savior. 

1) Doug shared a story about traveling to France and getting stuck in a roundabout. Think about a time in your life that you felt stuck. It could be physically stuck (like Doug was), emotionally, or spiritually stuck. What was it like? 

2) Read Judges 3:7-11. Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord so that God sold them into slavery. But when they cried out to God He acted on their behalf. Share about a time when you cried to God and He acted on your behalf. 

3) Doug taught us about the cycle of defeat: sin —> suffering —> supplication —> salvation. When you think about this cycle of defeat is there something in your life that sticks out to you? Is there something that is winning over you right now?  

4) Read Judges 3:12-30. Ehud was a left-handed leader in Israel. This allowed him to sneak in a small dagger to kill the king of Moab with. When you read about Ehud, what sticks about his story? What is unique? 

5) Israel called on the name of the Lord (read Judges 1:2, 2:4-5, 3:9, 3:15). Read Romans 10:9-13. What does Scripture teach us about the Lordship of Jesus Christ and calling on His name?  

6) Scripture of full of people who called on the name of the Lord. Read Jonah 2:2, Matthew 14:28-33, Luke 23:39-43, and Acts 9:1-6. Each of these men called out to the Lord and He saved them. What do you need God to save you from today?  

7) A trait of people who follow Jesus is a life of thankfulness (read Hebrews 12:28-29, 1 Corinthians 15:57, Colossians 3:15, and Philippians 4:6). Israel didn’t seem to be grateful when God saved them. What are you thankful for today? 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline this week 


Monday, September 14, 2020

Vision Sunday 2020 Small Group Questions

Our church took a break from our Judges sermon series to put the vision of Coastline back in front of us. I think the last six months have created a great opportunity for the Church to refocus on the mission Jesus gave the Church. We need to use this time to recalibrate ourselves back on what matters most. For this sermon I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Vision Sunday 2020 ::: Acts 3 & 4

One year ago Coastline cast a new vision for our church. The vision will take us to the 100 year anniversary of Coastline serving Ventura, the county, and reaching the world. This vision is a God-sized goal that will require all of us stacking hands to unite on. There is no better time to refocus our lives. Today is the day to recalibrate ourselves back to the holy truth of God. COVID-19 has provided the Church an opportunity to seek the Lord in a new way. This season has given us the chance to examine how we are living on mission for Jesus. Our vision is to reach 800 people, baptize 50 people, and have 35 small groups by Easter 2022.

1) Neal shared about being a young boy and learning a short song about the church. He reminded us that the church was never intended to be a building but the holy people of God. How does this resonate with you? 

2) Read Acts 3. Take notice of verse 6 where Peter addresses the power in Jesus’ name. Then in verses 11-24, Peter shares the greatness of God’s plan. When you share your faith how do you like to engage people for Jesus? 

3) As a part of our vision, we are writing down the names of five people to pray for every day. Share the names of the five people you are praying for. Did you set a reminder at 5pm to pray for them every day?   

4) Read Acts 4:8-13. The passage starts with Peter being filled with the Holy Spirit. Read John 14:15-17, Acts 2:4, Acts 9:17, and Ephesians 5:18. What changes in a person when they are filled with the Holy Spirit?  

5) One aspect of our vision is to baptize 50 people. Read these passages and talk about the importance of baptism: Matthew 3:13-17, Matthew 28:18-20, and Titus 3:4-5. What is our responsibility, as believers, in baptism? 

6) Read Acts 2:42-47 and Hebrews 10:24-25. What does Scripture teach us about gathering together? Is God asking your small group to multiply? Is God tugging on your heart to launch a small group to reach people who need Jesus?  

7) Talk about how this small group, or another group, helped you walk through a tough time in your life. Think about how being involved in community impacted your spiritual development. Who do you know that needs something like that? 

Close your time in prayer. Pray for the vision God has given Coastline. 


Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Judges 2 Small Group Questions


Our church is doing a twelve-week sermon series through the book of Judges called: "Flawed Heroes." We are studying the Old Testament book for a couple reasons. One is that Judges is a book of flawed heroes and none of us are perfect. The book reminds us that God is the divine hero of the story. Judges is a period of transition for Israel, a transition from God as their leader to a monarchy. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: A Lesson in Obedience ::: Judges 2

The book of Judges is the seventh book in the Old Testament. It is thought to have been written by Samuel as a transition from Joshua to the Monarch of Israel. Judges 2 has many similarities to Judges 1. Most scholars consider both chapters to be a paralleled introduction to the book (notice the reference to Joshua in Judges 1:1 and 2:6). Both chapters teach us of Israel’s half-hearted faith and failure to fully receive the Promised Land from the Lord. The book of Judges teaches us this major theme: God relentlessly offers His grace to a group of people who don’t deserve it, ask for it, or seek it! Study Judges 2 and learn about a lesson in obedience from the text. 

1) Neal shared a story about how a pearl is formed. Through great pressure a small grain of sand enters the oyster shell. What has caused great pressure in your life that later formed a beautiful pearl? 

2) Read Judges 2:1-3. The angel of the Lord makes a couple promises to God’s people about enjoying the Promised Land. But the Israelites will be trapped by foreign gods who will distract them from the Lord. What distracts you from following Jesus? 

3) Read Judges 2:1-5. The Israelites wept over the depth of their painful decisions. Read Romans 3:23, Psalm 51:1-4, and 2 Corinthians 7:10. Use these verses as an opportunity to share about a time you messed up and repentance lead you to Jesus.  

4) Think about a person who has discipled you, served as a spiritual role model, or mentored you. What did they encourage you do to? How did they encourage you to live? How did their example help you grow in your faith? 

5) The New Testament teaches us about making disciples. Read Judges 2:6-10. What did Israel fail to do? Read Matthew 28:18-20. What does Jesus call us to do? Discuss ideas of who you will invest your life as a way to follow Jesus’ call to make disciples here on earth. (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Timothy 2:2 if time allows). 

6) Part of making disciples is having spiritual conversations with others. Read Luke 21:4, Acts 18:11, and 3 John 1:14. What do these three verses teach us about helping others grow in their faith? 

7) Read Judges 2:20-23. We read the personal nature of our faith and how our decisions can impact the community. What does it look like for you to walk in the ways of the Lord at this stage in your life?  

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 


Saturday, September 05, 2020

REI good & used


Have you ever found something so amazing that you wanted to keep it to yourself but you knew you had to share it? This is what I'm talking about with the REI good & used site.

About a year ago I stumbled on this portion of their website. I wish I could remember how because it would make that portion of the story that much more epic... but I have three kids, work full-time, and am constantly tired. I have been an REI member for about 18 years now so I think I'm kinda in the loop on REI.

Let me get to the story. I was prepping to hike Half Dome and needed a new pair of shoes. I was looking all over the REI site and couldn't find a pair I was stoked on. Time was ticking on the trip and I needed to act quickly. I found the good & used portion of the website and it started to click. I found a pair that was my size and in excellent condition. I have to be honest that I was a bit nervous at first but am an avid REI garage sale fan so I knew it would be good.

The shoes arrived and I think they were brand new. Read that sentence again; brand new! So new looking that I put my nose into them and took a huge wiffffff. I was convinced they were brand new. I just got brand new shoes for like 33% off. They were so comfortable and brought me to the top of Half Dome with no issues.

This is where the story continues.

At the beginning of this year I made a commitment to try to buy as much used gear, clothes, bikes, kids toys, and basically anything I could. I want to do my part to make sure the earth is a safe place for my kids to grow up in. I know there are finite resources on our planet and if we keep throwing things in the land fills it's a sad future. This is one reason that I love the REI good & used site. They are giving gear, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, jackets, shoes, trekking poles, and more a second chance in life. Maybe their first owner had a bad hike and didn't want to keep participating. Maybe a family had a bummer camping trip and gave up. This is where we come in. We find that gear and give it a second chance to live it's life in the outdoors.

Just last month we picked up:
REI duffel bag
Brand new chaco shoes
Rash guard for my daughter
40 oz HydroFlask
Patagonia sweater for my daughter

All of this gear was a great deal.
All of this gear was in great shape.
All of this gear will get a second chance.

Now when I buy gear, I've primarily stuck to excellent condition items. That has been a personal choice.

The HydroFlask was basically perfect.
The Patagonia sweater looks brand new.

As a dad, I get it. You buy your kid something and then a week later it doesn't fit. You return it to REI. REI doesn't put it in the landfill!
Now my kid gets to wear it.
Now I get to take those shoes to Half Dome.
Now my daughter has a HydroFlask for when she volunteers at the ranch she rides at.

As bad as I want to keep the REI good & used gear site to myself, I just can't. There are too many great deals on there right now! Maybe you will follow my lead. Maybe you will take it for a test run and find yourself looking to purchase pre-owned before brand new. Imagine the possibilities.

* I get no commission from REI for writing this post. Just trying to help out. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Judges 1 Small Group Questions


Our church is doing a twelve-week sermon series through the book of Judges called: "Flawed Heroes." We are studying the Old Testament book for a couple reasons. One is that Judges is a book of flawed heroes and none of us are perfect. The book reminds us that God is the divine hero of the story. Judges is a period of transition for Israel, a transition from God as their leader to a monarchy. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Take the Land ::: Judges 1

The book of Judges is thought to have been written by Samuel the prophet. It is an account of the Israelites settling in the Promised Land. They settled in two different ways. First, they began to live in the land flowing with milk and honey that God promised to them. Secondly, the settled by not driving out the inhabitants of the land. We will see that the occupants of the land will prove to be a snare to them and lead them to worshipping false gods. Chapter one serves as an introduction to the entire book. We must look back to see that Joshua led the people after Moses brought to the edge of the Promised land. One theme will arise in the book: God wants Lordship over all areas of our lives, not just some areas

1) Neal started the sermon with the story of the conquistador Hernando Cort├ęs and his fascinating leadership decision to burn their ships. Share about a time when you made a brave move that required 100% commitment. 

2) The book of Judges begins with the life of Joshua. Joshua and Caleb were the only two men born in Egypt that entered the Promised Land. Read Numbers 13 and discuss their faith. Discuss how they viewed things versus the other ten spies. 

3) Read Judges 1:1-3. Israel wanted to hear the voice of the Lord. Read 1 Samuel 3:1-12 and Psalm 46:10. How do you go about learning to hear God’s voice?

4) Read Judges 1:12-18. We read about Aksah and her brave faith. The Bible is filled with stories of brave faith. Read Matthew 14:22-36. We see Peter express his trust in Jesus with action. Where is God asking you to be brave in your faith today?  

5) In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us about asking God for our needs (read Matthew 7:7-12). Share a story about a time when you asked God for something and He came through with meeting your needs. Now share something you are currently asking God for with bold faith. 

6) Look at Judges 1:19-36. Much of the final half of this chapter is an example of Israel having faithless faith. That is not the entirety of the Old Testament. Look at Hebrews 11, as a small group, and talk about the examples of faith we read in Scripture. 

7) The failure of Israel to fully take the land reminds us of the times we experience heart-hearted discipleship. Neal encouraged us to not stop short of what the Lord wants to give you. What one thing can you do this week to grow in your faith? 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Miss the worship gathering? Check it out here

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thoughts on the current state of our country


It’s no secret that I dropped out of high school. I don’t know a ton about US history or politics. I’ve voted for people and regretted it later (maybe you have too). Some years I totally forgot to vote because I was so tired from changing diapers the night before. But this is a big year for our nation and I don’t have any diapers to change.

As we move into the election I want to share some thoughts that are swirling in my head:

1. The Constitution. 

Right on top of the document it says: “We the People.” We means it speaks to more than one political party. The is a descriptive word. People is us. People who surf. People who hike. People who play tennis. People who watch baseball and people who don’t. People who BBQ and Vegans. The constitution was written by the people and for the people. 


2. It’s a voting year.

You might not like the way I vote but it doesn’t mean we have to hate each other. Your neighbor might have a sticker on their car that upsets you, but you can still talk to them. As adults we can have civilized conversation. We can actually disagree on things and still be friends. 



We had a guy leave our church one day and we got a coffee to chat. He pulled a list out of his pocket and shared a couple things he didn’t like about my leadership. He shared how my teaching was surface and I tell too many stories. I kindly listened. At the end of the conversation I said: “You know, we have more in common than you think.” I could see a change in his eyes. The couple things that bothered him were a drop in the bucket in the big picture. 


3. Christ followers. 

Let me speak to those who follow Jesus. I need you to act like a Christian. You might want to blast someone on social media. You might want to comment on something because your fingers are itching for the keyboard strokes. You might want to speak up in a situation. I’m not saying don’t. I just don’t know any one who ever came to Jesus because someone blasted their political view. We are called to love others (John 13:34-35). We are called to be selfless (Philippians 2:3). We are called to the be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Unboxing my first Carin Box

My first box!

Just got my first box from Carin! Super stoked to open it with you. You get to see my first glimpse at the box and what is inside.

Let me tell you, I am satisfied with this box! I think they say that items will be worth $30-$50. I’d say we are in that range for this box (package).

I got this box with Cairn, a subscription service that delivers curated outdoor gear once a month based on my subscription. I think you'd really enjoy it as well, so here's a referral code to get $10 off your first Collection.
Referral Link: https://www.getcairn.com/collections/subscribe?ref=wgb7ps

Here’s a link to the humangear FlexiBowl Convertible Silicone Eating Bowl (24oz), Blue
https://amzn.to/3hHPYjX

Here’s a link to the humangear GoBites Quattro Parent
https://amzn.to/3hubpEJ

I did get a FREE CotoPaxi backpack for signing up!

You can get this pack on Amazon right now:
https://amzn.to/2EiwfZm

Remember, they are ONE OF A KIND! Each Del Dia product is made proudly in the Philippines by an employee who has total creative control over the pack's colorway. No two are the same!

Filmed on my GoPro Hero 8
https://amzn.to/31rMMmv


Monday, August 17, 2020

The value of children


In the gospel of Mark we read about this encounter that Jesus has with some children (read Mark 10:13-16). Put yourself in the scene with me today; use your imagination. Children are swarming to be around Jesus, they long to be in His presence. This was completely unexpected and contrary to cultural norms. A Rabi wouldn’t allow children to touch Him, but Jesus had them sit on His lap and blessed them. In the ancient world children were considered to be of lesser value than livestock. Many children weren’t given a name until the age of 5. The child mortality rate, at this point in history, was about 50%. At a time when children had such little value, we see Jesus place such a high value on them.

In the middle of the gospel we read that Jesus was with the children. Jesus showed them value. I like to think of Jesus playing duck duck goose with the kids. Maybe a kid brought out a jump role and they are laughing while jumping rope. What if Jesus did the old pull a quarter from your ear trick on one of the little kids? The unspoken blessing here was invaluable for these children who might have felt unwanted. For Jesus to show these children this much attention would have been a cultural norm breaker. It was one of those things that sticks out in your mind because it is so unordinary.

You might be wondering why I’m talking about Jesus spending time with children in a sermon about abortion. I need us to see how much Jesus valued kids. Of everything that Jesus did, Mark thought it was important enough to write this in his gospel account of the life of Jesus. Of all the miracles, the healings, the teachings, the feeding of thousands of people, Jesus spent time with children. It was important for Jesus to invest His time into them.

Before I trusted Jesus I thought abortions were fine. In my mind, they were a solution to a problem for careless behavior. Most of the friends I knew who had an abortion was because they were careless in their sexual activity. Abortion was another form of birth control to solve a mistake. When I look to my past and see my old way of thinking I’m convicted on how I viewed life. I didn’t view life through the eyes of Jesus. Through the eyes of Jesus there is value in all people. Jesus sees the world from a better perspective than I see it.

Early in our marriage, Charity worked at a crisis pregnancy center. I’m not sure if this is still what they are called, but it was a place for women to learn about their pregnancy before making a life or death decision. It was a group of people who loved the Lord and wanted women to know they weren’t alone in their pregnancy. It was a resource to ladies of all ages who might have been confused about their pregnancy and what to do. Conversations about ultrasounds and abortion became the norm at our kitchen table. I learned about the developmental stages of a baby inside the womb. I learned that some women feel ill-prepared to be a mother. Some women who have an abortion are pressured. A study shows that 88% of women were encouraged to get an abortion and others never wanted a child. Many fear the financial cost is too much and think abortion is the only choice.

What if God is asking us to be like Jesus and show how valuable children are? Is God asking you to come alongside a pregnant woman and help her through the rollercoaster of emotions of an unwanted pregnancy? Maybe your small group would throw a woman a baby shower? We have a ministry here that does this. It’s called My Baby’s First Teacher and people from Coastline walk alongside mothers during their pregnancy. The class ends with a baby shower. If this is something you want to be apart of, reach out to the church office and we will get your connected. In my mind it’s one of the best things we do as a church body.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The cost of substance abuse


It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in January 1961. A father and his oldest daughter were driving home. Imagine the conversation as a dad listens to his chatty fifteen year old daughter. She might have told him about the dress she wants to wear to prom next year. Maybe she shared about what she was learning in school that semester. She might have been looking at the floor board, with red cheeks, as she told her dad about the boy she had a crush on. They playfully laughed the entire drive and cherished the moments they were able to spend together.

In an instant the laughter ceased. The car was t-boned by a driver who didn’t see them coming. The glass shattered, the metal twisted, and headlights broke. It was the father’s worst nightmare. When the horror of the accident ceased it was evident that that at-fault driver had been drinking. Alcohol evaporated off of his breath; he slurred his words. The ambulance came and transported his little princess to the nearest hospital. The drunk driver was just fine but heart-broken at his actions. Rosemary lay in a hospital bed. For days her family prayed for a miracle. Her mother called the priest. Her little sister begged God to heal her.

But it didn’t work, Rosemary died on January 21, 1961 at the age of 15.

How many of you have been impacted by someone who has a drug or alcohol problem?

Studies show us that one in every eight Americans have an alcohol problem.
That is 12% of the US adult population.
Each year, an estimated 88,000 people—62,000 men and 26,000 women—die from alcohol-related causes. This makes alcohol abuse the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This is one death every 50 minutes.

Rosemary was my mom’s sister. Technically she is my aunt. My aunt who I never met because he life was taken. The man who killed her was driving drunk after a day of skiing. His actions led to such a deep pain in my grandparents lives. His actions took away my mom’s only sibling. I never my aunt. I’m not trying to guilt or shame anyone right now, I’m trying to show the true effects of what can happen. If you are struggling with a substance abuse problem today you are not alone. Reach out to someone. Place your trust in Jesus and find hope!  

Monday, August 03, 2020

Lament


For the last couple months I’ve felt emotions that I don’t always feel.
I’m generally the eternal optimist. I think that pretty much everything will work out for the best. Then March hit… Things seemed dark and confusing. Our kids stopped in-person school. Our church stopped gathering in-person. My favorite restaurants weren’t open. Laws changed. Social distancing was a new word. Zoom fatigue became a real thing. I could keep going, but you get the picture.

While on vacation this word came to mind over and over again: Lament.

I thought about the loss and grief that I’ve experienced over the last couple months (we’ve all experienced loss). Here are some things that I’m lamenting or have lamented over the last couple months:

+ Hanging out with people I love

+ Going to summer camp

+ Taking my wife on a date every week

+ Going out to Slurpee’s with my kids

+ Canceled camping trips

+ Missing our church family

+ Canceled weddings

+ Doing premarital counseling only on Zoom

+ Seeing people walk away from the church

+ Reading about increased depression and suicide rates

+ Not being able to go to the Dominican Republic to start a new partnership with Coastline

What have you lamented or are currently lamenting?

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Racism isn't Biblical


On Sunday June 28, I preached against racism. At the bottom of this post I'll share the entire worship gathering. This post isn't about that sermon but about resources that we all need to read to understand the deep seated racism happening in our world. Not just our world, but our nation. Not just our nation, but our cities. Not just our cities but our churches. Some people have allowed subtle and overt racism to take place in their life and we need to actively work to stop that.

Sunday June 28 follow up email

Hi Coastline,

This morning we kicked off a brand new sermon series. At the end of our worship gathering I shared that I would send an email with follow up resources. We want to engage our mind so we can apply what God asks of us in our actions.

Here are some links/ideas to books, videos, and resources to help us have a Biblical view of the harm of racism.

Scripture to read
Genesis 1:26-27
Galatians 3:28-29
Romans 10:12
Micah 6:8
John 3:16
Colossians 3:11

Books to consider 
Not all the books on my list are from Christian authors. Most are, but some are not. That means there might be language or stories told that you might not agree with. My hope has always been to read far and wide. Please note that not all thoughts represented in these books are the belief(s) of Coastline but are the authors own thoughts. We are seeking to grow and learn during this time from others. If you are curious about a certain book, reply to this email and let's talk about it.

Divided by Faith

Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation

Woke Church

Just Mercy 

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Small Great Things: A Novel 

A Movie to watch 
Just Mercy (Currently free for Amazon Prime customers)
https://amzn.to/3hYJfCA

For Families
ARTICLE: Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Talking to Your Kids About Racism

Sermon:

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

A Prayer For Marriages


About two months ago I read an article explaining how marriages are struggling during the pandemic. Having grown up in a divorced home, I was interested and kept reading. The author went on to share that domestic violence is increasing, child abuse is on the rise, and marriages that were struggling are splitting apart at the seams. The article shared that the pandemic would cause an increase in divorce rates around the world. I stopped and thought about how much pain would be felt from this. I hurt for the kids who see their parents fighting. My heart sinks for the spouses who have to move out. I thought about the divide that might happen because of this. Then it hit me; we need Jesus.

I started thinking about what Paul said to the church in Ephesus:
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

As I think back on life, no one told me that my marriage would be easy. But people did tell me that marriage would be worth it!

We are living in a time where the word of God is diminished and devalued.

We are living in a stress-filled time.

We are leading in uncharted waters.

We are living in a time where non-believers are looking for believers to lead the way.

Paul goes on in Ephesians 5 to talk about the value and importance of marriage (I encourage you to read it). Marriage doesn’t have to be bad. Marriages can be healed by our Lord. It requires both parties to submit to Jesus and live a selfless, Spirit-filled life.

Prayer Points:
Today, will you join me in praying for marriages in your neighborhood, your family, and across the world? Let’s get on our knees and ask God to heal broken hearts. Let’s ask God to help us to love our spouse in the way He has asked us. Let’s pray for God to heal marriages so that families can serve the Lord together!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Three Father's Days without you


Today is a reminder to me that my dad is dead. I'm not trying to be morbid in that opening line. I'm not trying to skirt around the feelings either. I'm being open and honest in this post and I hope that is ok with you.

Three years ago we moved to Ventura. It was such a joy for our family to be closer to family. Just weeks before our move things went from joyful to painful. My stepdad was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer and my dad's health declined. We moved to Ventura and my dad's health went into rapid decline.

My first elders meeting I got a text that my dad had 24-48 hours to live. I immediately drove to the hospital and I knew it was bad. My sister and I cried together. The next day I brought my whole family to say goodbye to gramps. It was a Wednesday and it was the most aware I saw him in his final week of life. It was a true joy. My dad spoke kind words over our family. My dad told me how much he loved me. He expressed his deep love for my wife and her support. He told my kids how much he loved them. It was a real joy. Two days later my dad died.

We took our family to Disneyland on Friday June 23, 2017. It was a great day. We laughed more than we had in weeks. The stress of moving, getting into a new home, starting a new leadership role, and more was tough. We rode rides, ate cotton candy, and just enjoyed the day. We were getting read to leave when my phone rang... it was my sister and I knew what the call was about. I began to cry in the large Disneyland store on the California Adventure side. I tried to hide it from my kids to not ruin the day.

We got in the car and while on the freeway we shared the news with our kids. The whole car erupted in tears. I lost my dad. My kids lost their grandpa. There was a loss in our family. I was able to see my dad more than I would have been if we didn't move. As I look back on our situation, I'm so grateful that we moved and had this time with my dad.

This post is mostly for me to share a remembrance. As I knew this date was approaching I could sense some grief in my life.

I'm reminded that it's good to grieve.
It's ok to miss those who've passed away.
It's good to look at pictures and enjoy the memories.

Miss you dad!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Jonah 4 Small Group Questions


Our church is doing a four-week sermon series through the book of Jonah called: "Running to God." We are studying the life of the prophet Jonah and what it looks like to run to God even when we don't want to. The book of Jonah is small in size but deep in theology. We read about the unending, gracious, merciful love of God. We see that God is unwilling to give up on anyone and longs for all people to know Him. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone

Small Group Questions ::: A God who cares ::: Jonah 4

The book of Jonah is small in words but deep in theological truth of the love of God. It begins with Jonah fleeing from the Lord and turning to obedience to God. The book concludes with a melancholy prophet seemingly focused on selfish desires. Many times the book of Jonah isn’t read through chapter 4, but we must discuss the emotional state of Jonah as he relates to the great compassion of God. Jonah leaves the city of Nineveh and watches the great city. At this point God asks two questions of Jonah and provides an object lesson to help Jonah see the great love of God. The book ends rather abruptly as Jonah has no response to the great love of God.

1) Neal shared a couple of stories where his kids learned to do the right thing with his guidance and then began to act on their own. How have you learned to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord?

2) Jonah confesses that he knew the character of God (read Jonah 4:1-3). Jonah knew that God was gracious and compassionate (Exodus 34:6, Nehemiah 9:17, & Psalm 145:8). Share about how you’ve seen God’s character in this manner.

3) Some scholars think that Jonah was setting up a location to watch Nineveh burn. Read Genesis 19:1-29 to learn about Sodom and Gomorrah. Discuss how one city was destroyed and one city was spared in different time periods.

4) Read Jonah 4:4-8. Jonah appears to be angry at God for acting in compassion. Compare the state of Jonah here with Peter in John 21. Peter was restored to ministry after denying Jesus. Do you relate more with Jonah or with Peter?

5) The Bible calls believers to invest themselves into growing others believers (read Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 16:1-5, Ephesians 4:2-24, & 1 Thessalonians 1:5). Who are you intentionally investing your life in to help them grow in the Lord?

6) As the book of Jonah nears the end we see God’s great concern for this Nation (read Jonah 4:9-11). What is something in our world that you are concerned for (It might be a people group, an organization, or a personal calling)?

7) It is evident form our text that God has a desire for all people to know Him (read John 3:16, Acts 20:1-6, & 2 Peter 3:9). What role are you currently playing in to help more people know about the great love of God?

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Jonah 3 Small Group Questions



Our church is doing a four-week sermon series through the book of Jonah called: "Running to God." We are studying the life of the prophet Jonah and what it looks like to run to God even when we don't want to. The book of Jonah is small in size but deep in theology. We read about the unending, gracious, merciful love of God. We see that God is unwilling to give up on anyone and longs for all people to know Him. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: A God who speaks ::: Jonah 3

The book of Jonah is small in size but great in impact. Jonah is one of thirteen minor prophets. Jonah received a call from the Lord to speak to the great city of Nineveh but ran the opposite direction. Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a large fish. He spent three days in the belly of the fish before being spit on to dry ground. Jonah then makes the journey to Nineveh and preaches the word of the Lord. The people heard the message and repented of their sin. The message was so urgent that the king ordered everyone to fast and give up their evil ways. A great spiritual awakening took place in the pagan land. Study Jonah 3. 

1) Neal opened the sermon by sharing about a TV show he watched about people who lived alone in the wilderness. What has God taught you in the times you’ve been intentional to spend alone time with him?  

2) Read Jonah 3:1-4. God gives Jonah a second chance to preach the message to the great city of Nineveh. Not everyone gets a second chance (read Numbers 20:1-13). Share about a time when God gave you a second chance. 

3) The man in Jonah 3 is starkly different than the man in Jonah 1 (although Jonah is the same man). In Jonah 3 we see immediate obedience to God. When have you obeyed God and how did it turn out?  (see: 1 Samuel 15:22, Micah 6:8 & John 8:51) 

4) Jonah shared with a group of people who were far from God (read Jonah 3:4-5). Read Acts 13:48-49 and 14:1-7. What do you see about the effort given to spread the Gospel message? Where is God asking you to share the Good News of Jesus? 

5) The King of Nineveh leads the Nation in a time of repentance (read Jonah 3:6-9). Share of a time where you realized the depth of your sin & the action that followed.   

6) The people of Nineveh participated in evil behavior. Another prophet spoke against the evil taking place (Habakkuk 1:12-13). What evil is happening in our world now? Where do you think God is asking you to speak against evil? 

7) A personal commitment to repentance of sin is a regular part of following Jesus. Take the time to read through Psalm 51. Talk about the aspects of repentance and how you can have a clean heart before God. 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday. 

Let's Keep Praying


For the last couple weeks I've been praying more for our world.
The brokenness is bubbling over.
The sin has been exposed.
The time has come for the church to stand for what is right.

Charity and I led a time of prayer for Coastline on Tuesday night. Here are some of the verses we read and prayed through as a church family.

I am so proud of our church engaging Scripture during these uncertain times. I'm so thrilled to see God's people seek God's word to bring hope to a hurting world.

Prayer for our Nation 

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2–3

Prayer for Identity 

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

Prayer of repentance 

Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:13-14

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Prayer for wisdom 

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
 and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  Proverbs 9:10

Closing Prayer

Monday, June 01, 2020

Jonah 2 Small Group Questions



Our church is doing a four-week sermon series through the book of Jonah called: "Running to God."
We are studying the life of the prophet Jonah and what it looks like to run to God even when we don't want to. The book of Jonah is small in size but deep in theology. We read about the unending, gracious, merciful love of God. We see that God is unwilling to give up on anyone and longs for all people to know Him. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: A God who hears ::: Jonah 2

Jonah was a prophet in Israel who God asked to visit the city of Nineveh. Instead of heading North to Nineveh, Jonah boarded a boat and headed in the opposite direction. Jonah caused a great deal of harm to the sailors around him and was eventually thrown into the sea where he was swallowed by a whale. In Jonah 2 we find Jonah in the third location of the story: the belly of a large fish. While inside the fish, Jonah takes the time to call out to God, repent of his sin, and speak of the greatness of God. For three days Jonah is in the belly of the fish. During this time he ponders his situation and his disobedience to the Lord. Finally the fish spits him out on dry land. At this point in our story we see that the fish has been more obedient than Jonah. 

1) Early in the sermon Ryan asked: “How many of us have needed help?” Share about a time in your life that you needed help and how help came. 

2) Read Jonah 2:1-2. In his distress Jonah called to the Lord. Who do you call to in your distress? Read Psalm 4:1, 18:6, 102:2, and 120:1. What does Scripture teach us about reaching out to God in our distress? 

3) While in the belly of the fish Jonah knew he needed to look to the Temple of God (read Jonah 2:3-7). In Jewish culture, the temple was the place to meet with God. What is your favorite place to spend time with God? 

4) Jonah has been willfully disobedient to God. The three days in the belly of the fish transformed Jonah’s hard heart (read Proverbs 4:23, Ezekiel 36:26, 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, and Romans 12:1-2). Where is God working in your heart today? 

5) Jonah repents of the idols that he followed after (Jonah 2:8). We often think of idols as metal or wooden images and they can be, but idols can also be personal comforts, luxuries, material possessions. What idols have you clung to that have hindered your walk with Jesus (Exodus 20:4-6, Micah 5:13, and Acts 17:16)? 

6) Ryan encouraged us to focus more on worshipping God and praying. Share with your group what some of your favorite ways to worship the Lord are. Then share where you’re growing in prayer or where you want to grow in your prayer life. 

7) Must of Jonah’s plight could have been resolved with obedience to the Lord. Read  Psalm 119:34, John 14:23-24 & 1 John 2:5. Talk about obedience to God. 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Jonah 1 Small Group Questions


Our church is doing a four-week sermon series through the book of Jonah called: "Running to God."
We are studying the life of the prophet Jonah and what it looks like to run to God even when we don't want to. The book of Jonah is small in size but deep in theology. We read about the unending, gracious, merciful love of God. We see that God is unwilling to give up on anyone and longs for all people to know Him. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: A God who speaks ::: Jonah 1

The book of Jonah is small in size but great in impact. Jonah is one of thirteen minor prophets. Titled “Minor” based on size of the book, not of effectiveness of ministry. Jonah was a prophet in Israel who was asked to preach to a pagan nation (2 Kings 14:25). Jonah refused to obey the word of the Lord to preach against Nineveh and instead went the other direction to Tarshish. It is unique to see Jonah take a boat to flee from the Lord because the Israelites are known to be people of the land and not of the sea. Some scholars think that Jonah might have sold his personal possessions to amass enough money to pay the far to sail some 2000 miles from Israel. Study Jonah 1 to see what you can learn about running to God.

1) Neal started the sermon by sharing about his call to move to Vegas and help serve at a growing church. Share about a time you followed the voice of the Lord.

2) Read Jonah 1:1-3. Jonah chooses to go in the opposite direction that God called him to go. Read Acts 9:1-19. Compare Jonah running from God to Ananias obeying God. What history of God’s goodness do you have to move forward and trust Him?

3) We read that God sent a great wind and violent storm on the sea (Jonah 1:4-5). Scripture teaches us that God has dominion over every aspect of His creation. Read Matthew 8:23-27 and talk about the greatness of God.

4) While the storm was raging, Jonah slept in the boat. Jonah was never out of God’s sight. Read Psalm 139 and talk about the omniscience (God sees all things) and omnipresence (God is present in all things) of God.

5) Genesis 12:1-5 is an account of Abraham’s calling to follow the Lord. Scripture  teaches us that God desires for all mankind to know Him (1 Timothy 2:3-4). Where is God growing you in a compassion for those who are far from the Lord?

6) Neal shared about the grace of the sailors in Jonah 1:11-16. They responded with empathy to Jonah. Read to story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Where is God asking you to step out of your comfort zone to help others know Him?

7) Ultimately Jonah was swallowed by a large fish (read Jonah 1:17). Even in his disobedience God was unwilling to let Jonah die. Share about a time where God stepped in and saved your life.

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

You can view the entire worship gathering here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Isaiah 6 Small Group Questions



Our church is doing a four-week sermon series called: "Questions from God." We are looking at times in the Old Testament where God asked questions from His people. The questions pertain to different subjects and situations (kind of like our lives). They take place in different time periods showing that questions from God are always relevant. In this series we are learning how to hear God's voice and follow His leading. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Questions from the Throne ::: Isaiah 6

In 742 B.C. Isaiah was in the Temple of the Lord. The king had passed away and Israel was looking for leadership. They had looked to a human king when God wanted them to Him as their eternal King. Isaiah chapter 6 looks like a good introduction to the life of the prophet. The book of Isaiah is about the faithfulness of God to an unfaithful people. Isaiah is a priest ministering in the Temple when he finds himself in the presence of our Holy God. The temple, in Jerusalem, is filled with the glory of the Lord. Some scholars think that Isaiah was in the company of the priests, meaning he wasn’t the only priest who experienced this interaction with God. But Isaiah is the only one who volunteers to go for the Lord. Open your Bible to Isaiah 6 and study God’s word in community.

1) Neal introduced the sermon and talked about volunteering. He volunteered to go to Africa in 2006 and it radically changed his life. What is something you have volunteered for that has changed you?

2) Read Isaiah 6:1-5. We read about Seraphim praising the Lord. Read Psalm 8, Psalm 19, and Romans 1:20. Discuss what these verses teach us about the glory of God.

3) In the presence of God is where Isaiah sees the depth of his sinfulness and the sinfulness of Israel. Read Matthew 8:5-13. Talk about the power of being in the presence of God.

4) Read Isaiah 6:7-9. Isaiah hears the voice of God and responds to the question. Read 1 Samuel 3. How can we learn to hear the voice of God in our daily life?

5) The call of Isaiah teaches us about the doctrine of: The priesthood of all believers. God has called all of us into ministry roles in the place we find ourselves. Read 1 Peter 2:5-9, Acts 2:1-4, & 1 Timothy 2:1-4. How can you live as a minister this week?

6) Isaiah knows that ministry can be a difficult calling (read Isaiah 6:10-13). Read Hebrews 6:4, 10:24-25, and 1 Samuel 30:6. How do you stay encouraged as a servant of the Lord?

7) Coastline has a core value of being outreach focused (read John 1:41-42, Acts 2:47, 17:16-34, and Luke 15:1). Talk about what is holding you back from your sharing your faith in Jesus. How can you step out in faith this week?

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Mother's Day ::: Small Group Questions


Coastline took a break from our regular sermon series to bless mothers this Mother's Day. Mother's Day brings different emotions for everyone. Some women love this day. For other’s it’s a reminder of a broken relationship with their mom. Some are reminded that their mom is no longer with them. Some women are longing to be mother’s. Others are thrilled to celebrate all. For this sermon I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

How to Bless Mothers ||| Various Passages 

In the beginning God created mankind in His image. Genesis 1 tells us that mankind was created in the imagine of God. Once a year, at Coastline, we focus our attention to appreciate, bless, and encourage mothers. Mother’s Day is a time to reflect on the spiritual influence that mothers have on their children. It’s a time to be reminded of the great investment that woman have done to raise another generation of children who are influenced but the Word of the Lord. It’s not only biological mother’s who are raising the next spiritual generation. Spiritual mothers have stayed up late, gone on camps, and spent their money to invest into the lives of younger believers. Take some time to work through these questions and learn what Scripture teaches and investing into others. 

1) Neal and Charity started out sharing two very different memories. Can you think of a time that you totally blew it on Mother’s Day or a Mother’s Day that was a blessing?  

2) Read Genesis 16. In this dark time in Hagar’s life we read that God was close to her. Share about a time where you thought God was far from you but realized that He was near you every step of the way. (see Deuteronomy 4:7 & Hebrews 13:5) 

3) Choosing to trust God in difficult times might not be your natural reaction. Read Psalm 20 and Proverbs 3:5-6. Talk about the reasons you have to trust in the Lord. Share about God’s faithfulness in your past. (see 1 Corinthians 1:9 & Hebrews 11) 

4) Neal shared the story of Samson’s parents (Judges 13). What do these parents teach us about allowing God to shape our parenting? You might not be a parent, what do you want to take away for potentially being a parent in the future?  

5) Charity read Deuteronomy 6:5-7. How have you applied this to your parenting? How do you want to apply this to your parenting style as your move forward?   

6) In our world it is easy to delegate the task of parenting to others. Read these verses and talk about the great responsibility of raising children in the love and instruction of the Lord: Psalm 78:1-7, Proverbs 3:1-12, Colossians 3:21, & 2 Timothy 3:15. 

7) Scripture reminds us of people who devoted their life to teaching others about the goodness of the Lord. Who are you investing your life? (see: Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 16:1-2, Acts 16:11-15 and 2 Timothy 2:2) 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline on Sunday.

Here is the entire worship gathering if you'd like to watch it

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Job 38- Small Group Questions


Our church is doing a four-week sermon series called: "Questions from God." We are looking at times in the Old Testament where God asked questions from His people. The questions pertain to different subjects and situations (kind of like our lives). They take place in different time periods showing that questions from God are always relevant. In this series we are learning how to hear God's voice and follow His leading. For this sermon we had Joey Ross as a guest speaker. A big "thanks" to Joey for writing these questions. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Questions from the Storm ::: Job 38

The book of Job is written like a play, There is action in two stages.  There is what happens on earth and what happens in heaven.  While the reader/audience knows what’s happening in both settings, the characters on earth do not.  Job cannot see, he cannot hear, and in the end he never finds out even why its all happening.  But far more important than knowing the whole story, Job discovers who God is and


1) What did you find most memorable about this weekends message regarding Job struggles?

2) Share one things you're learning about God through this pandemic/ or something you learned about God during another storm in your life?

3) Read Job 1:1-5 and 1:20-22
What kind of person was Job and how was he perceived by the people of Uz?
What is Job reaction when calamity strikes?

4) Read Job 2:4-5; 10
What is the main question Satan is challenging to God?
What happened to Job and how is his reaction different this time?

5) Read Job 38:2-7 and 42:12-15
How does God respond to Job question of why is he suffering?
What does God’s answer communicate to Job (and to us)?
How does Job respond?

6) During the early part of Job’s story, the amount of blessing that Job experiences is mistakenly seen as being proportional to the amount of ;obedience he offers to God.  How does this belief influence the way that you approach your own life?

7) Job has an experience of Orientation-Disorientation-Reorientation with God.  Have you had similar experiences where you believed something about God or Christianity and then your life experience / new learning of God force you to reevaluate?

Close in a time of prayer

You can watch the entire worship gathering and find the sermon here