Monday, December 13, 2010

Ceremony last Wednesday in Hollywood...

Last Wednesday was another indication of how powerfully God is moving in Hollywood. I attended a dedication ceremony of a new permanent housing facility for the chronically homeless in Hollywood. "Michael's House" is an old motel that has been renovated and will take 32 homeless people off the streets and into a place of their own - a place that will provide the physical and mental help that they need. While this in itself is great, what really shows the hand of God in all this is the Christian people who are involved in this at the foundational level. One lady in particular is on the "Hollywood HUB" team of which I am the coordinator - a team composed of ministry leaders from churches and organizations around Hollywood who are committed to work together in UNITY to see Hollywood changed for Jesus Christ. This lady spoke at the ceremony, and afterwards, she and I talked about how Christian volunteers from the Hollywood churches will be the instruments at these kinds of facilities who will really impact the homeless. The city is beginning to realize that Christians must be present and active in these initiatives, because we make up the large pool from which to draw volunteers (in case you haven't heard, California government is broke financially and can't pay for all the help it needs). It reminds me of stories in the Bible like Daniel, where people who honor God are put in places of prominence and given favor to accomplish the purposes of God. And here is this lady who is standing in such a position!

Please pray for our Hollywood HUB meeting coming up this Wednesday (15th), that we as a group would have wisdom to know how to continue to move forward in unifying the churches to impact the city of Hollywood for the Kingdom of God! Thanks!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Indiana for Thanksgiving...

Holly, Silas and I will be leaving for Indiana this Thursday for Thanksgiving and a few family gatherings. This is always an exciting and welcomed time of seeing family since we only see them twice a year. Please pray for safe travels and for a time of rest. Also, please continue to pray for God's plan to unfold for Stronghold Ministries in 2011! Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Working together...

Since 2007, unity among the churches in Hollywood has been a major focus and burden in my heart. And in the last couple of weeks, I am so encouraged by the relationships that continue to develop between pastors and ministry leaders here. And because the relationships are developing, pastors are gathering on their own volition to pray for each other; and because they're praying for each other, trust is developing; and because trust in developing, love is blossoming; and because love is blossoming, the churches are pulling together to do actual work in the community. What excites me is that this is not unity for unity's sake; this is unity in the body of Christ that literally changes the city as the world sees a love for each other that is unmatched with anything they've ever seen. "They will know we are Christians by our love." Thanks for your continued prayers for our discernment of God's direction for this ministry in the coming year!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Olympia a success!

What a powerful time we had at the 2010 Olympia bodybuilding and fitness weekend in Las Vegas! Stronghold Ministries ended up taking 7 professional bodybuilders and fitness athletes to the Sunrise Children's Hospital to visit those children stricken with sickness or injury. It was such an emotionally moving time for all involved. In fact, some of the athletes were moved to tears. We pray that each of these children receives the help they need to be healed! It is exciting to see people in this industry giving back to those who are less fortunate. We hope to do another event at the 2011 Arnold Classic in Columbus, OH.

The rest of the weekend was an amazing time of praying with athletes, holding a chapel service, visiting hotel rooms to read the Bible with people, and forming new relationship with various athletes, officials, and vendors. Many athletes came up to me that weekend and thanked the Stronghold team for impacting them in such a life-changing way. Hearing things like that encourage us to continue to bring the light of Jesus Christ to the wonderful people of this industry! Thank you for your prayers!

Also, please pray for this Wednesday as we hold another homeless feeding here in North Hollywood. Pray that people show up and are their lives are impacted by the love of Jesus! Thanks!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mr. Olympia 2010!

It's hard to believe that another Mr. Olympia bodybuilding and fitness competition is upon us! This is the "Super Bowl" of bodybuilding, so everyone in the industry will be there. It is an exciting and exhausting weekend where many prayers are prayed with athletes and officials and many Scriptures passages are read. There are new relationships formed and old ones maintained and furthered. God's power is always at work everywhere we look. It is truly an amazing weekend! This year, Andy & Deby Steiner, Fred Krause and myself will be ministering at the event. Please pray that the Holy Spirit guides each step we take, gives us the exact right words to say to each individual, and that lives are forever changed by the love of Jesus Christ! Thanks!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Amazing Homeless Feeding...

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day! Last Wednesday evening was an amazing night of feeding the homeless in the Studio City/North Hollywood area through our new church plant - Community of Hope. I have been spending quite a few hours just sitting and talking with the homeless during the day, developing relationships and just loving on them. So when it came time for our feeding last week, a man named James who is really excited about what we're doing, called together about 17 homeless people to meet in the park. When we pulled up and saw all these people here in one spot, it blew our minds! We got to sit and talk with each of them while they ate, and it was amazing! It really showed me and all of our people that the mission for our church is clear and will be powerful as we trust in God to continue to lead the way. We want to put our faith into action in our community and watch the power of God transform our city! Thanks for your continued prayers!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Church plant continues...

Back on July 14th, Community of Hope church began, with myself and Pastor Scott Blacquiere as pastors and Holly as worship leader. I've never planted a church from scratch, so I definitely feel overwhelmed at times, but I trust that God's will is going to be done. As with anything worthwhile, there are highs and lows, so I pray that God continues to encourage us as we remain faithful to Him. We desperately covet your prayers as the spiritual battle here is intense. We are confident that if God has called this church to be here in LA, then He will bring the fruit. We remain open to whatever His will is for our lives. Thanks for your support in this time!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Progress in Unity...

As many of you know, I spend quite a few hours working on bringing unity among the churches here in Los Angeles - Hollywood, Studio City, and North Hollywood specifically. There have been some amazing developments over the last couple of months which definitely encourage me to keep going strong in this area.

The "Hollywood HUB" is a team of 6 individuals representing various churches and organizations which serves the Hollywood churches as a sort of "steering committee" for the unity work that is taking place. I am on this team, serving as its coordinator. The area we have been uniting the church around is the issue of homelessness and how we can bring true life transformation through the power of Jesus Christ. Throughout this entire summer, we have been meeting as the HUB in order to form a firm structure for this committee, inviting key people on board who really have a heart for this area. It is our hope that this HUB is a vehicle that can serve the Hollywood community for many years to come. Please pray for wisdom as we continue to plan for this upcoming year....thanks!

Friday, August 6, 2010

2 Incredible Trips!

Sorry that I haven't posted in awhile, but I've been busy traveling 2 out of the last 3 weekends...and on top of that, we have now completed the first month of our new church plant in North Hollywood called "Community of Hope"!! I am just amazed at God's goodness - that He has blessed us with the privilege of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ around this country.

The Tampa Pro bodybuilding show was tremendous as it always is! I'm telling you, God has begun a revival among the local athletes in Tampa!! It has been one of the greatest blessings getting to know the believers there over the past year, seeing them step up in their faith and begin to minister to other athletes. In fact, some of them are actually coming to the Mr. Olympia in Vegas, not to compete, but to minister for Jesus! How cool!

This past weekend, Fred Krause and I ministered at the USA's (a top level amateur show). Once again, God moved in power - so much so that a woman even gave her life to Jesus! The prayer service we had the opening night was powerful as a number of athletes gathered just to hear the Word of God and pray for this industry. I could have never imagined back in 2002 when Andy Steiner and I started this ministry to the bodybuilding industry that God would be doing these amazing things in 2010!!

And last but certainly not least, the church plant is really taking root in this community. Each week, either Scott (the other pastor) or myself have been casting the vision that God has given us for this weekly gathering of believers to worship God. People have expressed alot of excitement as to what God wants to do through us in the North Hollywood/Studio City area. If you live in this area, please come join us every Wednesday evening at 7:30pm. The address is 11020 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601.

Thanks for your prayers and support!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Heading to Tampa, FL...

I am heading tonight on a red-eye flight to Tampa, FL to minister at the Tampa Pro Bodybuilding show. My good friend Tim Gardner is the promoter, so it will be a blessing to see him and his wife Brande again. There are also a wonderful group of believers in that community that I've had the privilege of getting to know over the last year. This will be a very encouraging trip and I'm really looking forward to what God does.

Pray for tonight here in Hollywood. Before I leave, I will be attending an AWESOME unity Prayer event at Hollywood Presbyterian Church. It's the first night of 2 nights dedicated to the churches coming together and crying out for our city to be changed for Jesus Christ! It is nothing short of a miracle that things like this are beginning to happen here. God is answering our prayers and drawing the church in Hollywood together in UNITY!! Praise God!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Family vacation...YEAH!!

I am so looking forward to going back "home" to Indiana to visit both my family and Holly's family!! Most of them haven't seen our son Silas yet, so I'm sure he'll get kissed, pinched, and squeezed more than he ever has! It will be a good break from the daily stresses here, as Holly and I both need some R&R.

I will be speaking at First Mennonite Church in Berne, IN on Wednesday, June 30th, at 7:00pm. If you live in the area, I would love to see you and for you to hear about what God doing through Stronghold.

Also, pray for Silas to have a good flight home. We've never traveled with him yet, so we pray that he is content the whole time.

Talk to you when I return! Thanks for your prayers....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Heading to Texas...

I'm heading to Texas this week to spend some time discipling an individual from the bodybuilding industry. He is going through alot right now but really has changed his life completely over the last few weeks, growing close to the Lord. Please pray that I am able to encourage him in the Lord and help strengthen his walk with Jesus. Also pray for safety for Holly and Silas while I'm gone...thanks!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Serving the Homeless in Studio City!

This past Saturday, our Thursday evening Bible Study group came together for our monthly "community serve" event, which this month consisted of feeding the homeless in our area (Studio City/North Hollywood). We were able to assemble and pass out 38 sack lunches and pray with numerous individuals. Each time we do these outreaches, we learn more about how to effectively reach the people in our neighborhood because we are out there physically seeing the needs. There is nothing quite like putting our faith into action!

Please continue to pray for me and Holly as we lead our group - wanting to challenge, encourage, and equip them in their faith. We always want to keep moving forward! Thanks...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Big faith-based meeting in LA...

On Tuesday, an amazing Faith-based collaborative meeting took place in down-town Los Angeles concerning the issue of homelessness in our city. Many city and national leaders came (including the keynote speaker from the Obama administration), and the call went out to the church to help the government with this growing problem in our nation's cities. Los Angeles is the homeless capital of the United States, so it was encouraging to see over 200 people from 50 organizations attend the event. I learned alot about homeless solutions, so it will be very beneficial information for me to put to use in leading the Hollywood homeless outreach that the Hollywood churches are pursuing right now. It is definitely exciting to see that God is moving in many believer's hearts on this issue. It will take all of us to help correct this problem...

Also pray this Saturday night for a meeting with a few people from our Bible Study. We will be discussing the direction that God has for our small group - whether it is to develop into something more formal or not. We desperately need God's direction in this.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Orlando great! Big prayer request...

The Orlando, FL trip was so powerful as God seemed to bring about divine encounter after divine encounter. I was able to have some really deep conversations about Jesus with a number of people, challenging them to grow in their faith. It was also great to spend time with my friend Jeff and his family. They are very dear to my heart, so being able to have quality time furthering our relationship was such an encouragement to me.

A big prayer request for Stronghold Ministries is that we are looking for a small office space/warehouse that can serve as a "hub" from which we can serve the community where God has placed us. Our Thursday evening Bible Study group really has a heart for reaching out to the poor and needy to help meet both their physical needs and their need for Jesus. To put it simply, our desire is to put our faith into action in our community. This office space would not only allow me to move my office out of our of apartment to an adequate space, but also provide storage space for food and clothing donations that can be dispersed to those in need. Please be praying that God shows us the right space at a price that we can afford. We are definitely stepping out in faith, but it is a step that God has commanded us to take. Thanks for your continued prayers!

Monday, April 12, 2010

In Orlando, FL this week...

I will be traveling to Orlando, FL this week - Tuesday through Sunday - to both speak at a men's luncheon and minister at the Europa Pro Bodybuilding Show. I will also be spending alot of time with my good friend Jeff (above). It will be my first trip away from home since our son Silas was born. It will be so hard to leave Holly and Silas, so pray not only for them as I'm gone, but also for me! May God move mightily in and through me this week! Thanks for your prayers...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bible Study resumes tonight!

After a month of break due to the birth of our son, we are again resuming Bible Study at our apartment here in Studio City. It has been exciting to watch the Bible Study grow in the weeks leading up to our break. Please pray for tonight, that God's Spirit would lead us and change our hearts to become more like the Jesus whom we serve. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hollywood Homeless Forum...

Over a week ago, there was what I believe to be a monumental meeting in Hollywood. It was a meeting which showed me that God has plans for His Church in Hollywood to be united together as one. For those of you who have followed Stronghold Ministries over the past couple of years, you know that God laid it on my heart to begin to gather Hollywood pastors and ministry leaders together each month for prayer. As we have done this, God has shown us how He wants us to begin to pursue this unity we all desire: by reaching out and meeting the needs of the poor and homeless in the community. So we developed a Hollywood Homeless Forum which brought together close to 50 people from 20 different churches, ministries, or organizations. It was exciting to be in the room and see everyone's passion to carry out the mission TOGETHER! How powerful it will be for the city of Hollywood to see the Body of Christ living out their faith in Jesus outside the walls of a building! Please be in prayer for God's plan to be carried out...thanks!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Awesome Arnold...

Thank you so much for your prayers regarding the time of ministry at the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic bodybuilding show in Columbus, OH. Andy & Deby Steiner and Fred Krause were used mightily of the Lord, and many people were moved by the Lord, even to tears. There were several stories of individuals who deepened their personal relationship with Jesus as well as some new seeds that were planted. One of the most exciting things was hearing that some of the Christian athletes are really taking a stand for Jesus in front of their peers. This is really an important step for believers to take in the industry, because it forces them to live a life worthy of the proclamation they are making. And when I made it known that I wasn't able to attend the event due to the birth of Silas, these athletes stepped up. They partnered with Andy, Deby, and Fred to make the weekend a resounding success. A big thank you goes out to the Steiners and Fred who not only represented Stronghold well, but more importantly, Jesus Christ!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Baby Silas!

I am proud to announce that Silas Christian entered the world on February 26th at 12:10pm. He weighed 6 lbs 14 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. Needless to say, the last couple of weeks have been a big time of adapting to a totally new life! But we really enjoy this new season and are excited to watch our son grow up into the man that God has called him to be. Please pray for wisdom, strength, patience, and love on our behalf as parents. We learn new things every day and greatly covet your prayers for us. Truly children are a gift from God!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Arnold Classic...

Next weekend (March 4-7) is the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic bodybuilding show in Columbus, OH, and we (Stronghold Ministries) will be sending 3 team members to minister at the show: Andy and Deby Steiner and Fred Krause. I will not be attending the event due to a circumstance that will require all of my focus, attention, and love: the birth of our baby boy on or around March 4th! The Arnold is the largest bodybuilding and fitness show in the world, as nearly 300,000-400,000 people will attend the events and expo over that weekend. Please pray for Andy, Deby, and Fred to be led by the Lord and to show the love of Jesus to all they come across. Pray for open doors to share the good news about Jesus with athletes and officials. Also pray for favor with whomever they speak. Holly and I anxiously await their stories of what God does in Columbus...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baby is close!

The arrival of our little baby boy is getting close! Anytime in the next 2-3 weeks, he should be here...Of course, Holly is a little bit uncomfortable at this point in the pregnancy to say the least. We are both so excited that the time will be soon and we will have our first child to bring up in this world! Please pray for a healthy baby and good delivery.

Yesterday was such an encouraging day from a ministry standpoint. I went with one of the ministry leaders that I know from the city to a homeless ministry up in Ventura county. The amazing thing about this ministry is the way that the churches in the city have come together. 18 different churches have pulled together in the name of Jesus to build a transitional housing facility to help poor and needy individuals get back on their feet and also develop a close personal relationship with Jesus. I have never seen anything like this, where churches have pulled together - not just for an event - but on a day-to-day basis. And the community has noticed! City officials are calling them asking how they can be of assistance! Truly, these believers are living out their faith in a very powerful way. I believe that LA churches are called to be in that kind of unity here. Please pray that God gives me and all who have this heart the strength and wisdom to make this vision a reality. We know it will only happen by the grace and power of our mighty God!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Community Trash Clean-up!

Members of our Bible Study have a heart for reaching out to our community and making a difference for Jesus Christ. They really desire to put their faith into action in a tangible way. So last Saturday, those who could make it embarked on picking up trash in a local park and underneath an freeway overpass. Policeman driving by were looking at us and various people stopped to thank us. It was amazing how something so small was noticed in such a big way. I know it encouraged all of us to be more active in serving those around us and doing it through the power of Jesus Christ who lives in us. And on top of all this, there's 9 less bags of trash laying around our streets!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Music Tour ministry...

Please pray for me as I travel on a small music tour with an artist who is a good friend of mine. I will be riding on the tour bus, so pray for divine opportunities to talk about Jesus and pray with individuals from the band. We leave Sunday for the first city and will be done Thursday evening.

Also pray today for our Hollywood Pastor's Unity Prayer meeting at 12 Noon PST. I have really been working hard with a few of the other pastors to begin working together in very practical and impactful ways to reach the Hollywood community. Pray that the Holy Spirit continues to lead us and that we don't get ahead of Him.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A new year!!

A NEW YEAR is upon us, and we are really excited about what lies ahead for our family and ministry. We resumed meeting again at our apartment for our Thursday evening Bible Study after a brief break for the holidays. This group is really an encouragement, as these young people are eager to play their part in reaching this city for Christ. As the leaders, pray that Holly and I are filled with the Holy Spirit and power to equip these believers in a way that makes the most of their individual giftings.

Also, our little baby will be coming the first part of March, and yesterday we spent 6 hours at a lamaze class! I guess there's a lot to learn about having a baby! The reality of having a child is really sinking in...I never thought 9 months could travel so fast!

With this coming new year, I want to thank all of you in advance for your continued prayers and support. Please pray for breakthrough with several projects that we are bringing before the Lord. Thanks!