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Conversations

CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Esteban Valenzuela

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CONVERSATIONS | Church Planter Esteban Valenzuela - Madrid, Spain

In 2010, God called Esteban and his wife Tifiny to plant a church in Madrid, Spain. It would be five years before they would embark on their mission. The years of preparation were difficult ones, but their vision did not waiver. In 2015, they left for Spain. The vision is that “in time, God will plant a church that will be like a hub, a place where other leaders and pastors get trained and equipped and launched out to plant churches in other places.” What does it look like to be on mission? For the most part, the normal activities of daily life are the same as for any family. Being on mission is a heart issue. “If the scope and the scale of God’s word is real, then eternity is hanging in the balance for everyone around us.” Having a heart to engage people with the gospel and building bridges to connect with your community is what being on mission is all about. How do you know the calling God has for you in your life? We are all called as believers to serve God with our lives. As you step out by faith to serve Him and focus on Him, to really love others, He will lead you in the way He wants you to go. Some practical steps to take in doing what God has called us to do: trust God to provide for your needs, come to Him in submission and surrender—out of faith. Ask Him: What do you have for me, God? Then stay focused on that through the encouragement and accountability of likeminded people who are serving God as well. Stay in God’s word. Let Him reveal Himself and your own heart to you. The role of the Holy Spirit is essential in being on mission. There is no other way to do it. It is God’s work, both in our hearts and in the world around us. We need His Spirit to feed our souls, to empower us. The benefit of living a surrendered life is in knowing you are where God wants you to be, doing what God wants you to do. There is nothing else like it. “When you step out in faith, God meets you there. He sustains you…Jesus in the prize. If we’re focused on Jesus, our source of joy is going to be sure. Let the gaze of your heart be set upon the Savior.” Stay connected with the Valenzuelas at vtribe4jesus.com. Let them know you’re praying for them. They’d love to hear that.


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CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Chuck Lind

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Pastor Daniel talks with his pastor and mentor, Chuck Lind, who is now retired as senior pastor from Calvary Chapel in Olympia, Washington. Retirement for Chuck is probably not what you’re thinking! Currently Chuck is leading a weekly Bible study for seniors, a bi-weekly study for younger guys, one for older guys, preaching on an as-needed basis for Calvary Chapel pastors all over Washington state, mentoring a group of young professional men in his home, and volunteering at a local elementary school. How do you pursue and proclaim Jesus in retirement? What does the Bible tell us about retirement and what we should be doing? Chuck describes a key to the transition from a full-time vocation to retirement. Your identity is not what you do, it is your relationship with the Lord. “My identity is that I’m a follower of Jesus, and so I can do that anywhere.” Though you may not have the energy you used to have, you have access. Most of us have grandchildren. Chuck does a weekly Bible study with his grandsons where they go through the Bible and just talk about it. He answers their questions. “I get to spend time with them, telling them stuff that I’ve learned over the years.”  As a retired person, you have the ability to spend time in prayer for other people. You can go visit people in nursing homes. There is a great need in this area. What about pouring into the younger generation? Chuck talks about ways to make an impact. It can be challenging reaching the younger generation because sometimes they just don’t want to listen. See if there’s a place you can help with the youth group in your church, where you can invest in a small group of young people. The Bible values the wisdom of the older generation. Do you have any advice for the younger generation? Chuck suggests finding an older man or woman to talk with. Even once a month, talk with them about what you’re going through. Ask them about their life and the things they experienced and the lessons they have learned. What advice would Chuck give to his younger self, from his vantage point now as an older person? “I would listen more to what people had to say…Maybe not thinking I knew what was what best for everybody instead of just steering them to the Lord. Being patient with people and just love them.” What about some final advice for those in retirement? “Ask the Lord to show you places you can be used. Even if you have to sit and wait for awhile.” Try things and see if they work. We are supposed to be busy. We were created to be busy. Basically, we’re just looking for opportunities where people can see our good works and glorify God. And it’s way better than sitting home watching TV. 


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CONVERSATIONS | with Jason Sanchez

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Pastor Daniel talks with longtime friend and fellow Washingtonian, Jason Sanchez, Director of House of Blessing Orphanage in Bachiniva, Mexico about parenting. Jason and his wife (and co-director of the orphanage) Jackie are parents of a seven year-old daughter, Ayantu. Jason shares about his own experience, both being parented and now parenting. How do we pursue and proclaim Jesus in raising up our children? What does the Bible say about parenting? “The Bible is very clear about parenting. We are to raise our children in the ways of the Lord.” The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, in speaking of the ways of the Lord, says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise…You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:7-8) That pretty much covers every area of life. How is that accomplished? What does this look like practically, in daily living? Ayantu loves to memorize scripture, so that is one way Jason and Jackie have taught her the ways of God. Children have a great capacity to memorize, and this is a natural way to plant God’s word in their heart. Consistently going to church together is another way. After church, talking about what they have heard and what they learned from it. Communication is essential, both talking and listening. What is the role of grace in parenting? Obviously it is not just about memorizing rules. Jason shares the importance in each situation of “knowing their strengths and weaknesses and thinking it through, asking, ‘What is really going to teach them?’” Each child is unique and it is our responsibility as parents to know them and learn how they think, who they are as a person. It is critical to demonstrate a balance between the law (their obedience) and grace and mercy, a balance which Jesus modeled perfectly. “Sometimes He would just say it: Do it this way. Other times He would talk it through: Why are you acting this way? What is in your heart? One of the greatest benefits of parenting is seeing God’s grace from a different perspective. “Seeing your child go through grief, or any difficult situation, and wanting to do anything to take that away. That’s how much God cares for us.” God knows and we can absolutely trust that God intends this pain for something greater. What are some things that have helped you as a parent? Mostly, for Jason and Jackie, it has been time (and the experience that comes with practice) and talking together as parents. The powerful alliance of husband and wife in parenting is a great gift and benefit God has provided through the family. What are some  things you appreciate now, as an adult, that you learned from your parents as a child? Jason was raised in a Christian family and went to church each week—not going was not an option. At the time it may have seemed grievous, but it establishes a habit of life that is priceless. Also, a good work ethic. “You want something, you work for it.” Plain and simple. Final thoughts? “Parenting is hard. It’s challenging. You cannot do it in your own strength. You must be seeking the Lord. It’s a huge responsibility. Don’t take it lightly.” Well said.


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CONVERSATIONS with Pastor Cameron Barber

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Pastor Daniel talks with fellow church planter Pastor Cameron Barber from Calvary South Sound in Lakewood, Washington about the nature of work as worship. What is it like being a bi-vocational pastor? Cameron talks about working as an auto mechanic, landscaper, armored truck driver and courier, among other jobs he has held while also working as a pastor in the ministry. How does he see work as something of value? What does the Bible tell us about work? “The Bible tells us that, from the beginning, Adam was working. He was naming and categorizing animals…he had responsibilities before the Fall.” The idea that work is a result of the Fall is not true. “God designed us to work. Work is not a curse.” Work has suffered as a result of the curse, but God has redeemed it for us. “It is our job to go back into that marketplace and to love people right where they are. God has redeemed work.” Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” How is seeing work as worship valuable? What exactly is the value God brings when He says you can worship Him through work? Cameron shares his view of the aesthetics of work, that work is inherently beautiful because God has made it so. It’s a transformational concept that Pastor Daniel really likes a lot! Cameron says, “I will always be a bi-vocational pastor because I see the fruit of it. But I’m a pastor. The gospel is always going to come out.” Through natural interactions in the workplace, conversations happen in which Jesus and the gospel are reasonable. Because you are putting it back out there for people to hear. Paul did this all through the book of Acts. He was the first bi-vocational pastor. He made tents for a living. “God opens doors everywhere. And it is probably the most effective tool for the gospel, for missions, on the planet.” What are the effects of approaching work as worship, God using us where He has placed us in the marketplace? Pastor Cameron shares his heart for the mission field of America. “In reality the greatest mission field is here at home. And it is accessible through work.” What are some practical tips for approaching work as worship? Understand that your purpose in life is to glorify God in all you do. Be the best employee you can be. Realize people are broken. Listen to them. Tell people you work with that you love Jesus and live for Him. Be open to the opportunities God puts in front of you. “It is amazing the number of times you can connect what people are sharing with you to the gospel. That’s God. I don’t do that. It’s Him.” Some people won’t want to hear it, but it’s not our job to look at the result. It’s our job to plant the seeds of the gospel. Be encouraged by this great message as you go to work this week, or even today, May you do it for God’s glory.


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CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Ben Courson

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Pastor Daniel has a fired-up conversation with the founder and director of Hope Generation, Ben Courson. With an international ministry including television, radio, podcast, YouTube and Instagram, Ben is a man with a passion to share the message of hope God has given him. Ben shares his own history of lost hope and depression and how God showed him the way through it, with Biblical hope. “Biblical hope is the absolute expectation of coming good; the looking forward to the future saving acts of God, predicated on the foundation of the salvation that God has already wrought in the past.” “He’s been faithful in the past, so I’m going to be faith-filled about the future and fulfilled today.” How is this message of hope changing lives? People who are being reached are those who aren’t interested in “religion.” Everyone needs hope. People who are suicidal are receiving hope! That is the best part of the message, that it comes from God and is being received directly in the hearts of hopeless people. “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4) The Bible is brimming with the message of hope! So what can a person do to bring hope into their everyday life? Ben lists three things: 1) Get rid of stinking thinking. Outlook determines outcome. 2) Have a check-up from the neck-up. Take time to think about what you’re thinking about. 3) Have an attitude of gratitude. “…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Ben’s energetic and joyful message of hope will encourage you and get you pumped up. Because hope is dope. Just ask Ben.


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CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Joe Williams

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Pastor Daniel talks about evangelism with his dad, Pastor Joe Williams from Calvary Chapel in Tacoma, Washington. Evangelism isn’t just something that pastors do; every Christian is called to evangelize. But what is it? And what are we supposed to do? “If you’re a Christian, you have something to say,” says Pastor Joe. “You have a testimony. Tell people what Christ has done for you. Wherever you are, you are representing Christ. People need to know what you know!” Someone told you the good news about Jesus. Now it’s your turn to tell someone else. Don’t assume that people know what the Bible says. Many people have never heard what the Bible says or read a verse. “People may not read the Bible, but they read us. The Bible does not tell them to come to us, it tells us to go to them.” The gospel is the power of God for salvation, we are told in Romans 1:16. It is the power of God at work when we share the gospel. Don’t be intimidated. Use your own personality. God will work through you. There are many ways of doing it. Just keep at it. What did Jesus do? “Jesus went where the people were. He went to the Samaritan woman at the well. (John 4) Go for the one. Win people to Christ one at a time.” These are great words of encouragement and wisdom from a man who has made it his life’s mission to share the gospel with one person every day. “Ask God to give you compassion for the lost. Look for opportunities. Pray for boldness.” Amen to that.


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CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Casey Cleveland

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Pastor Daniel talks with his friend and fellow local pastor Casey Cleveland from The Avenue Church in Delray Beach, sharing what it means to serve and love the city of Delray Beach and the encouragement they are to each other as they plough and labor together with their church communities to impact the city for Jesus. Casey describes his approach in the words of another Christian leader, Dr. Paul Tripp: “Love, Know, Speak, Do.” These are the four key steps in reaching the people where God has sent you. “What are the hopes and the hurts and the wishes of your city?” Loving your community begins by being a faithful presence in good times and bad, getting to know personally who these people are, sharing the gospel in a way that is relevant to them and inviting them to be a part of God’s family. Why is it important to love the city where you live? What does it look like and how do we take practical steps to make this a part of our lives? Take a listen.


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CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Robby Christmas

In Matthew 28, Jesus gave his followers his final instructions: Go and make disciples. What did he mean? Maybe it’s not what some of us have thought. Robby Christmas talks with Pastor Daniel about making disciples as a way of life. “Jesus was saying, ‘Go and do what I’ve been doing with you.’ What was that? He invited them into his life and invited them to follow him.” It starts with sharing the gospel with people who have not heard it and inviting them to follow Jesus alongside you. It takes a commitment of your time. It takes patience as we allow people into our lives. It takes knowing how to share the gospel in a culture where people probably haven’t heard it. Using tools like The 3Circles is a way to start a gospel conversation. “We live in an area that is highly unchurched. We need a movement of multiplying disciples…Take off on the journey. See where God takes you.” - Robby Christmas


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CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Lewis Williams


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CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Joe Williams

Pastor Daniel talks in depth with his dad, Pastor Joe Williams, about spiritual warfare, what it is and how it affects the daily lives of every Christian on earth. What does the Bible say about demonic activity? “The devil is real. Whatever you do for the kingdom of God, he is going to try to stop you.” Every person who lives for God is going to face opposition. But Satan is a defeated foe. God has given us the tools to fight to defeat him. Christians are a threat to Satan’s kingdom on earth and he will use everything in his power. But the power of God is greater. As Christians, we need to learn to use the weapons of spiritual warfare that God has given us. Knowing the word of God, spending time in prayer with Him, and gathering together with other believers to stand united against the enemy. “Don’t walk in fear of the devil. Fight spiritual warfare in the power of the Spirit and the word of God.” Pastor Joe gives us a great encouragement to walk in the power of the name of Jesus Christ. You’ll be blessed!


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