A Heart To Give

Oftentimes, pastors are reluctant to talk about giving because of the way culture has taught us to think about money. Culture talks about giving in manipulative, coercive, and guilt-laying ways. But as many of you know, at Skyline we don’t shy away from hard topics. We’re dedicated to teaching the relevance of Scripture in truth and love.

What does the Bible have to say about giving?

So then, what does the Bible have to say about giving? Let’s throw out the sales pitches and talk simply about what the Bible says about giving and how we view your gifts at Skyline Church

Perhaps one of the most popular verses known in the Christian faith is John 3:16. “God so love the world that He gave…” God GAVE His one and only Son for YOU and for me. There has been no greater act of giving than when Jesus went to the cross for all of mankind. And did you know the words “give, gave, and giving” are used over 1,500 times in the Bible? Giving is mentioned more than faith! If we leave out talking about giving we have left out a HUGE portion of the Bible.

Do you know why it is mentioned so often in the Bible? Because you can say you have faith all you want, but if you don’t give, you’re not growing in faith. It’s that simple. Skyline wants to produce followers of Christ that are growing in faith seven days a week. Growing people change. That includes how you view your finances. 2 Corinthians 8:7 is just one verse that teaches us that eventually our faith will be stretched in the area of giving, “But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

A Heart To Give

Giving is always an opportunity. God wants us to grow in giving because that means we’re growing in faith. I remember meeting a visitor at Seven Church (now Skyline Lakeside) years ago that approached me after one of our services. He shared how he went to church three times throughout the year at three different churches, and every time the church was talking about giving. He was fuming and he accused churches of always talking about money. And now he was at our church and guess what we were talking about? Giving. I looked him right in the eye and said, “I think God is trying to tell you something.”

If you get frustrated when a church talks about giving, that’s a tell-tale sign that God is trying to work on that area of your life. And I’ll tell you the same thing I told that man … don’t give. Maybe that’s the first time you heard a pastor tell you not to give but I mean it. God is more interested in your heart than your money. Giving with a reluctant or resentful heart is someone who is giving in vain (2 Corinthians 9:7). God doesn’t want your money if He doesn’t have your life. 
Maybe you’ve been excelling in the knowledge of Scripture, serving, and doing all the “Christian things” you think you ought to like 2 Corinthians 8:7 talks about. But there’s going to come a time where God is going to stretch you in the grace of giving because giving reveals where your heart is. Giving allows us to express appreciation for what He has done in the past. It also allows us to check our heart and our priorities in the present, but most of all, giving allows us to grow in faith in the future. 

Why I Give

Giving allows me to evaluate my priorities and motivations. By nature, we have a tendency to make things all about ourselves. Think of the self-centered man in Luke 12. The wealthy man wondered what he should do with all his excess wealth. He decided that he should figure out how to hold on to more of it. So, he tore down his barns to build bigger ones. He kept all his wealth to himself, only to pass away and never spend the earnings he stored up on Earth. 
I remember the first time this idea of “giving” hit me. I heard a message from David Jeremiah at Shadow Mountain Community Church, and he challenged me. He said if you want to know where your heart is look at your checkbook. Sure enough, he was right. God owns everything. We’re called to be good stewards of all that He has put in our lives… And my spending was all about my interests, not God, not the church, not any kind of generosity. I had to decide if I was willing to live with a heart that only thought of myself.

My wife and I are giving to the 101010 Campaign and making a commitment like we’ve never done before because we want to grow in our faith!  And I know, he who gives little, gets little (2 Corinthians 9:6). This is no small aspiration for us as a church and it requires no small act of giving on our part. But we WANT to GROW in faith as a church!

10/10/10 Campaign

Skyline’s goal of the 101010 Campaign is to see more and more people give their lives to Christ. Truly, we want to light up the scoreboard in Heaven. We want more and more souls to one day call Heaven home. We have an incredible opportunity in front of us.

My goal is to influence as many people as I can to experience Jesus. You have 8-15 people in your Oikos (relational network) right now who don’t know Christ, but they will within the next 10 years! That’s what it’s all about. A church of our size is committed to being a model church in our community. That means stewarding your giving well, devoting ourselves to growth, and teaching the relevance of Scripture. I have no business telling you how much you should give, but I do believe in teaching you about sacrificial giving. Whether you give $5, $500, or 5 Million,  I want to encourage you to ask God what you should do. If you’re wrestling through how to steward your finances, I want to invite you to watch your 10/10/10 series on the idea of giving on the Skyline YouTube page. 

With all of us ALL IN, we will absolutely be able to light up the scoreboard in Heaven!!

School Options

I want to make sure you know, as a parent, that there are options for you as you consider taking your kids out of public school. A website I’ve mentioned at church is www.publicschoolexit.com. This website gives you the steps, resources, and other options whether you’re considering or already have taken your kids out of public school. 

It’s no secret our public-school systems are failing us as parents. The reality is when we turn the education of our kids over to the Government, this is what we get. The curriculum is total Anti-God, Anti-Church, Anti- Male and Female, Anti-American, and Anti-Human Being. It is straight socialism. Not just a hint of socialism, but an all-out assault on foundational American values.

At Skyline Church we have many Christians that are teachers and administrators in the public school system. They are on the frontlines fighting the good fight and trying to be lights in dark places. However, this latest wave of CRT and Transgender curriculum is pushing these and other teachers and administrators over the edge. We want you to know, as a public-school teacher or administrator, we are praying for you. I know many of you are trying to decide what to do at this point.  

As parents, if you are wondering what to do and what your options are, we are having a meeting at Skyline Church Rancho San Diego, Wednesday night November 3 beginning at 6:30PM in the auditorium to discuss your options.  

Legal counsel, Pacific Justice Institute will be there to give you information on your legal options. We will have a panel of experts, parents, and school administrators taking questions. You will be given resources to equip you to make the best decision in the best interests of your family.  

We continue to explore all options when it comes to a future Skyline Academy where our church can be the epicenter of strong Christian and American education! 

See you tomorrow night at 6:30pm at the Skyline Church Auditorium in Rancho San Diego. 11330 Campo Rd. La Mesa, CA. 91941.  

Remember, we truly believe, if you win the kids, you win the community. If you lose the kids, you’ve lost the future. We’re going to do everything we can to win the kids! 

Keep fighting the good fight!

4 Common Questions from Skyline Visitors

As a Pastor, I get A LOT of questions. And they are all good ones (well, most of them), so keep them coming. You can fill out a Connection Card, catch me in the lobby in-between services, or comment below and I’d be happy to answer that question you’ve been itching to ask!

You may have heard that our word of the year at Skyline Church is THRIVE––as we head into the final stretch of the year….man have we thrived as a church body over the past nine months. We recently had another Baptism and Membership Dinner.  Every week we are growing and reaching more and more people for Jesus Christ. It’s truly incredible. Which is why I wanted to touch base with you about some questions that I’ve received recently that include 10/10/10, Baptisms, Bible Translations, Vaccine Exemptions, and can a Raider fan get into heaven? (well most of these are addressed).

10/10/10

Q: I’ve been hearing about 10/10/10 what is it?

A: This weekend on October 10 we will be kicking off our Fall Campaign called 10/10/10. As part of this kickoff, we have a ton of fun planned for your kids this Sunday. It’s a huge celebration event this weekend as we embark on the vision for our church over the next 10 years. I’m excited to share the vision over the next six Sundays and I can’t wait to tell you all God has put on my heart for the future of Skyline Church as we embark on something that is so much bigger than ourselves. When Jesus said, “I have come to seek and save the lost….” He meant it…and so do we. 10/10/10 is all about the strategic plan to “Light up the Scoreboard in Heaven.

Baptism

Q: Should I get baptized if I was sprinkled as a baby?

A: If you’ve wondered about this as well, you are not alone. Did you know that about 30% of Skyline Church has a Catholic background? It’s important to know though, that sprinkling a baby is not a biblical baptism. It could be considered a child dedication, but it is not a baptism. The Bible tells us to “Believe and be baptized…” That means when someone actually knows what they are doing, they are to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in obedience and be baptized.

I also was sprinkled as a baby. But, I did not know what it was or what it meant and I certainly did not believe at that time. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home or even a religious environment –superstitious maybe, but not spiritual. Yet, after accepting the Lord as a young adult there came a time where I had to put on the team colors of Jesus Christ and say, “This is my team, this is who I play for!” A biblical baptism means that you made the conscious decision to choose Jesus as your Lord and Savior. 

Side note: With our Child Dedications coming just around the corner, I want to be clear that we do dedicate infants and children at Skyline twice a year (in the spring and fall). But this is not a decision made for the child, it is not a sprinkling, and it is definitely not a baptism. This is an opportunity for the parents to come before the church and make a public decision to raise up their child to know Jesus. This also gives the church an opportunity to see your family, pray for you, and acknowledge that as the body of Christ, we too are dedicated to helping you raise your child in the faith.

This year we have had the honor of baptizing over 235 people. Some of you have already started to sign up for our next baptism.  If you have any other questions about baptism and whether or not it’s the next step for you, we’d be happy to answer any of your questions.

And yes, if you’re a Raider fan, I will hold you under the water a little bit longer to ensure you’re washed clean of all sin and unrighteousness. The score from Monday Night in case you missed it:  (Chargers 28, Raiders 14) just sayin’. 

Translations

Q: What Bible translation do you use?

A:  You’ll notice on the sermon notes we pass out on Sundays that I may use several Bible translations. Typically, we use the New Living Translation, New International Version, Message Paraphrase, and New American Standard Bible among others. These give a good mix of Dynamic, Formal, and Paraphrase translations to help anyone at any level of their faith journey grasp the Word of God.

One of the reasons for this is because when I first started reading the Bible I was on the road with the St. Louis Cardinals in Georgia. A teammate of mine recommended that I start reading the Bible. The only Bible available to me was the one sitting on the nightstand in my hotel room. I picked up a King James version and was instantly turned away by the formal language. It was not a language that I spoke so I thought the Bible wasn’t for me. I never want that to be the case for a new person at Skyline. 

Did you know that the average reading level in San Diego is 4th grade? To use a translation that is too formal for the context of which it is being spoken is pastoral malpractice. Jesus always spoke in the Lingua Franca which was the “language of the day” or “bridge language.” As a pastor, I want to build bridges to help people grasp the Word of God and I want to make sure I’m communicating clearly and accurately to those who are listening to the Word of God. The Bible was not originally written in English. So I’m always looking for clear lingua franca translations of verses I’m using, without losing accuracy, so that it can be quickly applied to the listener’s lives.

Religious Vaccine Exemptions

Q: Is Skyline giving information on Vaccine exemptions?

A: Yes. At Skyline Church, we talk about hard topics because the Bible talks about hard topics. Every week, I am getting calls and messages from people in our church that are facing pressure for various reasons to get the COVID Vaccine. As I’ve already written about in previous blogs, the choice should be yours. Not the governments, not your employer, yours and yours alone. Many of you have followed up with us to let us know that your exemption has been approved! We have legal counsel in support of our stance and we are fighting the good fight for so many people who are being unlawfully threatened with the loss of their jobs. For those of you who are still going through the process, please let us know so we can be praying for you. If you’re needing additional information about Religious Vaccine Exemptions, you can call our offices at (619) 660-5000. 

So thankful for you! Let’s continue to light up the scoreboard in Heaven together!

Does Jesus Care?

If the tabloids, paparazzi and media were following Jesus around today, headlines would read Jesus Doesn’t Care.” And that’s your cue to gasp! When it comes to media, it’s all about shock headlines, not necessarily the truth. On the surface, in John 11 it may seem as if Jesus did not care when one of His closest friends was deathly ill. But if we dig a little deeper, we can experience that aha moment that scripture has to offer. 

Before we jump into John 11, I want to remind us all of Isaiah 55:8-9. This verse really sets the framework of how we should adjust our perspective when we read a headline or a verse that doesn’t quite seem right at face value. It’s also been a huge reminder for me as I look at the condition of our state and continue to pray for our country. I don’t like what is happening in our state nor in our country, and it’s easy to wonder, “Jesus, do you care?!” The result of the recall effort here in California was a good reminder to lean in and trust even when we don’t understand it.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,   
neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,   
so are my ways higher than your ways   
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

In John 11 we read about Jesus’ dear friend Lazarus who was dying. When Jesus received the news, it took him a couple days before deciding to visit His friend. However, by the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus passed away. Many people had come to console Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha. At face value, it appears as if there was a crisis that Jesus neglected, resulting in a seemingly avoidable death. GASP! To the crowd, clearly Jesus didn’t care.

Too Slow To Care

In John 11:21-22, we see Martha’s broken heart for her brother as she confronts Jesus, “If only you’d been here, my brother would not have died … “

Notice, she’s blaming Jesus. In her grief, anger, and disappointment, she is blaming the Lord for being too slow to respond. 

We see this sort of raw emotion all throughout the Psalms, especially from King David. And I bet Martha was familiar with the Psalms from attending synagogue––she’d read about David crying out to God in raw disappointment. And when we’re disappointed, the Lord is exactly where we should go! The problem some people come across when they express their raw feelings with God is that they stay in their disappointment. They get bitter and angry and turn away from God. But in this story, take notice of what Martha does next. She acknowledges who she is talking to and what He is capable of. She trusts that even after Lazarus’ death, Jesus can do anything (John 11:22).

Unanswered Prayers

I think all of us have felt a prayer request go unheard at some point or another. 
“He/she wouldn’t have left if you had been quicker to respond.”
 “I wouldn’t have lost my job if you cared more.”
 “I wouldn’t be addicted if you’d responded sooner.”

Often, we may feel that His pace is too slow. We urgently ask, “Jesus, don’t you care?” We forget that Jesus doesn’t operate on our time schedule. He has a reason why there’s a delay. You can’t stop trusting because He didn’t meet your deadline. Whenever we put a timeframe to it, we disqualify our trust in Him. When there is a delay, it always comes down to trust. We must trust the pace of Jesus’ walk.  As Martha and Mary found out, a delay is not a denial. 

A Godless State

As I look at the condition of our state, I am incredibly frustrated. Over 40,000 businesses closed this last year. Over half the homeless population in the entire world resides in California and the funds to help this situation are being misappropriated. More abortions happen in California than in any other place in the world. Drug overdose deaths far outpaced Covid deaths. I could go on and on. We pay the highest amount of taxes, we pay the highest amount for gasoline. The cost of living in California is simply out of control (hence the increased homeless situation). There is a good argument that due to our moving farther and farther away from God we are being judged. There is much scriptural precedent where God judges his people. He allows a leader that does not acknowledge Him or follow any of his principals to be in charge and make it hard for the people.  The evil that has existed and increased in California cannot be ignored by God forever. He will judge it and perhaps that time is now. 

What Is Your Prayer?

The reality is, we cannot control this situation but we can pray and ask Jesus to intervene on our behalf. Just as our Lord did for Martha and Mary, perhaps even now, Christ will come and heal our state and nation.

Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds me to keep praying for the people of California and yes, we are to pray for the governor of California. Just as we’ve seen in scripture time and time again, God can change the hearts of people in an instant. 

Martha’s desperate and urgent prayer was for her brother to be healed. I believe there is a deep desire in every one of us for “something” to happen in our lives. We all have an urgent prayer. If not now, we will soon. 
What is your urgent and perhaps desperate prayer?  What I want to encourage you to do today, is write down your urgent prayer. Put words to the raw emotions you’re experiencing. I’d even love to be praying with you if you feel comfortable filling out a prayer request online

Know this … even when we’re in our darkest time, there’s a light that shines. God will bring good out of a bad situation (Romans 8:28). We can believe and trust that God cares. We must not get tired of doing good (Galatians 6:9).

Enough Is Enough

National Surveys show that only 20% of church attendees VOTE. Too many Christians just sit back and say, “whatever” when it comes to voting. THAT.MUST.STOP. As a Believer, it is of utmost importance that we obey the Bible and “show honor where honor is due.” Voting is one of the primary ways we can honor those who serve our country. Too many men and women have died for our freedom for 80% of the church to be so flippant and careless about exercising our freedom to vote. 

If you are as disturbed as I am by the direction of our country, state, and county you have an opportunity to let your voice be heard, VOTE because Enough is Enough.

I shared on Sunday about the upcoming vote to Recall Governor Gavin Newsom here in California; click here, We Must Vote  (it’s in the first part of the video). The frustration in our country and state is at an all-time high. The President continues to hurt this country with his lack of leadership and his constant acquiescing to foreign terrorists like the Taliban and bioterrorists and human rights criminals like China. 

In California specifically, we have a leader who has completely trampled on the Constitution of both the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of California. It is mind blowing to think of the number of crimes (that’s right, crimes) that he has committed based primarily on his use of the executive order privilege he refuses to give up. Enough is Enough.

In California, we have a chance to change the leadership that has been continuously running, not walking, toward all out socialism. Make no mistake, this vote is about the Elites versus the People, it is about Freedom versus Fascism. Remember the French Laundry Restaurant Scandal ? That’s just one example of the Governor actually getting caught. He sees you and I as mere peasants in his kingdom. It’s time to show him that he works for the people not the other way around.

Remember when he promised to take a 10% pay cut  because so many people had lost their jobs? Yet, he did not take that cut. However, he made sure every other Governmental worker did take at least a 10% cut. 

I could go on and on about the hypocrisy coming from Sacramento but let’s make sure our voices are heard on September 14th because Enough is Enough.

The choice is simple; if you are fine with mask mandates, closed schools, closed gyms, closed playgrounds, closed small businesses (except for Strip Clubs), silencing of voices, no debate allowed, no voice of your own, no opinion of your own and no real actual science allowed to back any claim you may have, then Newsom should stay in office. If you value faith, freedom, your family and the right to question, debate, and peaceable assemble among many other reasons, then their needs to be a new voice leading this state. 

We cannot forget that even though Dr. Fauci and the science stated that masks do not prevent Covid we were forced to wear one longer than any other state.

The Governor forced lockdowns, mask mandates, and overall hopelessness spread faster than the virus and caused the suicide rates to climb. Suicide ideation skyrocketed to a 600% increase and suicide hotline calls ballooned to an 8,000% increase (see my previous blogs with citations on this subject or do a simple duck duck go search). Violent crime, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse is at an all-time high in California. Overdose deaths outpaced Covid deaths  throughout California but especially in Newsom’s hometown of San Francisco. Enough is Enough.

We must do our research, pray, and VOTE. Too many men and women have died for our freedom for us to not take the time to do our research and vote. If we do not, we are liable for the leadership of our state and eventually our country. 

With so many concerns about election integrity, we are receiving ballots at church this Sunday (Sept. 12, 2021) to deliver for you. Our Salt and Light team will be available to answer your questions and receive your ballots. 

Remember, there are two issues you are voting on.
1. Should the Governor be recalled.
2. Who do you vote for to replace him. If you’d like information on the various candidates please visit www.biblicalvoter.com to learn more. 

Vote, Vote, because Enough is Enough!