A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 6)

A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 6)

Humility “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”  (Micah 6:8) Throughout almost fifteen years of marriage, twelve years of parenting, and over a decade of pastoring, the invitation into humility has been abundantly offered to me. Humility is a lot like the way John in Revelation 10 described eating the scroll. In his mouth, it tasted like honey; however, when he swallowed it, it became bitter in his stomach. Isla Vista Church has ranged from about 25 people when I took the church over, to about 150 people in number. We have never been a big church; being in a college town, we are constantly gaining new people and losing people. In addition to this, Holly and I have had a difficult time finding people to run with because of the transient nature of the city and the age group we are made up of. In my early years, I was very ambitious to build something that would attract more people. Today, I have come to understand that the goal is not to build a church, but to build the people God sends our way. Today, I have come to understand that the goal is not to build a church, but to build the people… Click To Tweet It has taken a lot of years, and a lot of loss, to realize that the goal isn’t a bigger church. My pride and unholy ambition at times have gotten in the way of the gold that was in...
A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 5)

A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 5)

Servanthood In February of 2005, I stepped into the role of a pastor.  I was 25 years old and found myself as the house dad of a community home consisting of 20+ people located in Isla Vista. The house was an old frat house that the church used for lots of meetings, hosting people, and other random things. When Holly and I said yes to the home we didn’t fully understand what that meant. We just loved Jesus and wanted to do life with others in Christ. It was in these two years that God revealed the heart of leadership to me: serving others. Not as an identity, but as a role I played in the life of others to facilitate the purposes of God. I am not sure how long someone can walk with the Lord, especially in a leadership capacity, if they’re not willing to give up their life and rights to serve others. I know when I was 25 years old and saying yes to leadership I thought I was signing up for a throne and a crown. What I ended up receiving was a towel and a basin. I say that jokingly but I think many young people, including myself, don’t understand that being a leader really means being a servant. In the first week of living in this community house I walked into the bathroom to discover the greatest explosion I had ever seen. To spare you details, just picture a lot of water and and a lot of poop… on the floor and everywhere. The toilet had overflowed and, conveniently, whoever did it was long gone. I remember both in frustration and self-pity (woe is...
A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 4)

A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 4)

An Unoffendable Heart Every pastor has their own struggles, obstacles they must overcome to continue in the journey of faith and love in Christ. Some of those trials, tests, temptations are similar for all men, like Peter tells us, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you,” (1 Peter 4:12). However, other obstacles I believe are unique to the individual in the making of the man/woman of God. For me walking with an unoffendable heart has been the greatest test and trial I have experienced over the last ten years of being a pastor in Isla Vista. Jesus told all of us that offense would certainly come (Luke 17:1), which is why we shouldn’t be shocked when it actually happens. The real test is: what are we going to do once we are offended? Sad to say, but I have met many older believers that have chosen to swallow what I believe to be the serpent’s venom of offense. Instead of bringing it to Jesus and walking through it with Him, they’ve chosen to harbor resentment, which has left the root of bitterness still in them to this day. You can hear it when they talk about so and so, or their experience with church and life. Valid as the reason may be, the only true freedom from offense is to nail it to the only place that can completely absorb it: the cross of Christ. God gave me a revelation when living as the house dad in a community home of 20+ people for two...
A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 3)

A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 3)

Intimacy with Jesus If you told me at twenty years old that I would be a pastor one day, have five children, and be more in love with Jesus than anything else in life, I would have laughed at you…and told you that you obviously have the wrong guy. I got radically arrested by the love of God in 2001. It was an ambush from Above that flipped my whole life upside down. I was at a church college group one night, and during worship the Presence of God came over me where I literally felt pure love, joy, and peace for the first time. It was in this moment that I knew and was convinced that God was real and that life was made to be about Him. I got saved out of darkness and into love (“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,” Colossians 1:13). I got saved by a love encounter that brought me into a truth encounter where I heard God ask me, “Jason, what are you living for?” The good news for me was that I no longer needed to live for myself, but that God was freeing me to live the rest of my days for Him alone. In my early days with Jesus, I would spend hours with Him. I just wanted to know Him. I was not trying to become a pastor or have a ministry; I just wanted to know the man, Jesus. I have never been motivated in my walk with God by duty: things that Christians...
A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 2)

A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 2)

The Glory of God About 7 years ago, a bus load of over 40 students from IHOP (International House of Prayer) in Kansas City showed up at my house. They stayed with us for a handful of days to love and pray for our city, and ended up joining us for a conference on Identity that we hosted in my backyard. During one of the several prayer meetings that we held that week at the Isla Vista House of Prayer (which is strategically located behind the Jesus Burgers House), one of the students passionately told God that we want to make His name famous in our generation. Sometimes you can read or hear something that gives language to your heart’s cry. This is exactly what happened to me when I heard him utter this prayer of sincerity to God. In reflecting on over a decade of pastoring, I know I would’ve bowed out a long time ago if the fame of Jesus was not the highest reason for why I do what I do. All of us need to be reminded that we are alive for Him, and most alive when we are all about Him. Since saying yes to Jesus in 2001, I have purposed to live my life to make Jesus famous in the earth. It is my mission to lift His Name above all other names and remind the church family – and often myself – that life is way bigger than ourselves and what we are going through. That we really are not the main character in the story; and taking life personal will only result...
A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 1)

A DECADE OF PASTORING (PT 1)

In February of 2005, I stepped into a role as a pastor.  Then in 2007 I became the Lead Pastor of Isla Vista Church. It was then, and still is now, an honor, privilege, and a death sentence in the best way. I didn’t know exactly what I was saying yes to when I agreed to be the house dad of 25 other people in a community home in Isla Vista, at the ripe age of 25 years old. Often, in our youth, people can tend to strive for more authority and leadership in the church. And not even out of impure motives, mostly just a zeal for God and His kingdom. However, I think what most people don’t understand, until you’re deep in it, is that the more authority you’ve been given in God means the more feet you’ve been called to wash. Leadership and servanthood are synonymous in the kingdom of God. Jesus often reminded his boys that leadership was servanthood, and being a servant was what a real leader looked like. I believe if leadership was taught properly in the church we would have less disappointed people in leadership. They would understand that mess is normal, you can’t always expect a thank you, and the reason you’re in leadership is to lay your life down for others. Paul told the church at Philippi that he found joy in the place of pouring his life out for their faith, “But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you...
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