Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Marina, California



This Sunday Jaimee and I were privileged to have service in Marina, Ca with the Lozadas. Though the Lozadas have only been in Marina for a few short years, there is no doubt that they are there in the perfect will of God. My wife commented to me between the services that she was quite impressed by the young congregation’s maturity. Pastor Lozada told me later that this was a direct result of a great discipleship course he has been using that Brother Coon put out. In our traveling from church to church, it is extremely evident that the churches which are implementing some form of a discipleship course are having the healthiest growth. It is hard for me to express in a few words how important discipleship courses are and what a difference they make. To some, its only drawback- if you want to call it that- is that it takes a lot of patience and deviation from any structured dogmas that are commonly accustomed to.
Pastor Lozada worked with his family for several years in Gustine,Ca and established nothing short of a good solid church. His son, Flyod Lozada Jr., has now taken the pastorate and is doing a great job. I have preached several times in Gustine both under Pastor Lozada Sr. and Jr. If anything should be said about this family is that they are all hard-working people who will do what ever it takes to get the work of God done. I always feel challenged in the company of the Lozadas to do more.
On Sunday morning, we arrived a few minutes late to service. We accidently walked in the back door only to find ourselves face to face with the congregation and behind the praise singers. It is moments like this that I cherish. Even as I sit here typing, I can’t help laughing. We quickly found our seats on the front row. At this point, I just wanted to find a chair- any chair. The service was in full swing. Though we were in a home missions setting, no one seemed bothered and worshiped God with liberty. Being that my wife and I have our roots in home missions, there is a resonating warmth in our hearts for services just like these.
It was not long before the service was handed over to me. I shared what I felt God laid on my heart. By the time it was all said and done, we had one visitor receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The day before, Bro. Maderas in an effort to bring a visitor to service went to Wal-mart and passed out flyers. He met a man named Albert with whom he struck up a conversation. Albert said that he would visit the church that Sunday morning. Albert arrived bright and early on Sunday. Albert was not shy or inhibited and at the end of the service he came to the front and worshiped God. It was not long before God filled him with the Holy Ghost as he spoke with other tongues. Albert liked what he felt so much that he returned that night and brought his stepson, Jerry.
The service was great! My wife played and was able to help out with the praise and worship. I preached and felt good about the direction I took. During the altar call, both Albert and his stepson Jerry were among the first to come to the front. Just a few minutes had passed and when I looked over, I saw Jerry with both hands lifted high and being filled with the Holy Ghost. No experience in life can surpass this one. It is so moving to be in the presence of a person who is passing through this moment in life. The praise and worship carried on for some time. They worshipped God appropriately ready to bring in the new year thanking God that made both a new year and new life possible.

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