Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is it ok to be addicted to baptisms?

Hey all. Just thought I would share this video from Bass Lake. Thanks again for all your prayers and support. Be encouraged, it is making a difference!

BASS LAKE 2009 BAPTISMS from Brian Holland on Vimeo.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jesus freaking us out at Elevate!

Hey all, thought I'd write a quick entry to cover what God's been doing lately with the high school ministry at Pomona First Baptist, where I've been serving as a volunteer/intern for the last four years. I don't know how much time I have left with this group, but I'm enjoying what God is allowing me to see and be a part of.

Of the last four years, this is really the most exciting time in our ministry. About 3 or 4 months ago, Brian Holland, the high school pastor, changed the vision/mission statement to "Insideout ministries exists to exalt Jesus as the greatest, one student at a time." Before the mission statement always had to do with creating community of disciples who love Jesus and serve Him, but the focus was on the community. Now we've changed the focus on exalting Jesus, and things are VERY different. We're now calling Wednesday nights "Elevate" as part of changing the vision.

Our time of worship singing has been explosive every single time. Brian's teaching out of this series on the sermon on the mount titled, "No perfect people allowed," and it's some in-your-face stuff. We're challenging students to bring their friends, and they've been doing it! When there have been opportunities for kids to respond to specific things in the message, they've been doing that as well. We've talked about some serious things like the importance of forgiveness, sexual purity, all stuff in the Sermon on the Mount. This last Wednesday, we talked about divorce and the pain that comes from that, and how it is not God's plan for marriages. Our numbers have been up way higher, and this last Wednesday night was an all-time high for us in the last four years, about 120 kids (not that we're about numbers, but usually during this time of year, our numbers are down because of summertime. But, this is clearly a sign that God is doing something incredible). We haven't changed our method, except for the fact that every Sunday and Wednesday, we're inviting students to surrender or recommitt to Jesus. And almost every single time, someone has stood up!

Here's a video of Brian sharing what happened.

Update: 08-13-09 from Brian Holland on Vimeo.

Here's a comment from one of our staff who was gone most of the summer serving Jesus directing a camp in Alaska. She hasn't been around to see what God's doing, so her perspective really brings it home.
“This is NOT the same youth group. I left a little over six weeks ago. It was amazing to be in Alaska working with kids, seeing God change lives as we learned about how to have a lifestyle of 24/7 worship. I was able to read about what was happening at Elevate, but being here and experiencing it in person was a thrill. God is doing great things and changing lives! It’s so good to be home.”

Here’s what high schoolers said about ELEVATE last Wendesday night:

“Every was just worshipping like nothing else mattered. And I was able to worship however I wanted without being judged.” - Mitchell

“Sam gave her life to Jesus and so many new people came!” - Tyler

“I could feel God’s presence strongly through both the message and worship.” - Nicole

“Jesus totally rocked my face off last night...! Well yeah!” - Aubree

“Sam was led to Christ!” - Brittany

“It was amazing because we all were focusing on God and not our friends. We all gave 100% last night. And someone gave their life to the Lord!” - Laura

“It’s amazing because we can see our community growing day by day, and we can see how God is moving everywhere through everyone!” - Cheyenne

“I thought it was awesome because you could totally see God working. No one was ashamed to show God their love for Him, and no one cared what the person next to them was doing. Our only reason for being there was to bring God glory, nothing else.” - Elise

“Jesus was so present.” - Hannah

“It was amazing because you could feel GOD there, and seeing the room just filled with people who wanted to exalt His name.” - Tabitha

“The worship was amazing. You could feel everyone seeking God and wanting to give him praise, and the message dealt with a difficult subject in a way that everyone could relate.” - Victoria

“It was amazing because Jesus was there.” - Shawn

“Last night at ELEVATE the Spirit of God was so present! It felt like the place was going to explode during worship! MAN IT WAS SOOO AWESOME!” - Rebecca

“I walk into ELEVATE expecting God, and the best part about it is I know he is going to show up and rock our faces off everytime!” - Kyle

“I was blown away by Sam committing her life to Jesus. Worship was crazy. It was cool!” - Matt

“...everyone was so on fire for Christ and I would sometimes just sit and listen to everyone worship and I was just thinking, “God, how awesome is this. You must be so happy right now!” - Cosmo

“Elevate was amazing last night because it was really obvious that God was there and because it’s so exciting to witness someone surrender to God!” - Megan

“Worship at ELEVATE was amazing! :) Very moving. I could feel the Lord in us all. Great message to everyone.” - Kinsey

“It totally rocked my face off, when we started the second set of songs... I got goosebumps.” - Josh

I get chills just reading those. I feel so blessed to be part of what God is doing. Thanks so much for your prayers for when I'm called to teach or serve in any way. I really wish more of you were nearby to actually see this, cause this is just friggin' awesome! I'm not writing this to boast or anything, please don't misunderstand me. But it's just so exciting, I can't help but share what's happening. Thanks again for your prayers, they are working! I don't know how much longer God will let me stay down here, but I'm enjoying seeing all this happen.

Bass Lake 2009

Thanks so much for all of you who were praying last week while I was at Bass Lake with PFB’s high school students. It was an amazing trip! We had about 95 kids and around 15 adults on this trip, and God did incredible things in the lives of our students there throughout the week. It was a wonderful week of relaxing, playing in the water, tubing, banana-boating, wakeboarding, volleyball, etc. But most importantly, I really believed that God spoke uniquely to our students there. Our theme for the week was “rescue,” and the first night I taught and spoke on the reality of “What it means to be rescued.” God led me to teach out of Mark 4:35-42 where Jesus calms the storms, and closing out with God’s promises of eternal and worldwide restoration and redemption in Isaiah 25:8-11 (I had previously blogged about God teaching me through that passage, here http://kerry-vanderberg.blogspot.com/2009/07/isaiah-25-speaks-to-without-trace.html). I got to play my djembe for percussion for many of our times of worship in singing, which I greatly enjoyed and hadn’t had the chance to do for awhile. Here’s a few pics to give you an idea of what our time looked like.

A couple of my small group guys, getting freaked out before the boat gets moving!

Us on the banana

Our time of worship singing together.

We had 20 people get baptized! I was particularly excited about this, because two of the guys that I’ve been mentoring in my small group in the last two years got baptized! And I got the chance to baptize them! It was one of the most incredible things to witness, and to participate in. I’m really proud of my guys, as I’ve seen them grow in their walk with Jesus, get ignited with passion, and have seen them step up and love God through serving and loving on people. They’re awesome! I really wish I could take credit, but I really can’t. I’m so grateful to God that He gave me the chance to see and participate in what He’s doing in their lives.

Chris getting baptized! The before shot . . .

And the after shot. Awesome!

Guillermo (aka Billy) getting baptized. Take a deep breath . . .

And back up! Jesus is amazing! (Billy tried pulling me down with him, but I didn’t go all the way in, hehe)

The first group that got baptized! After we did them, we opened it up for anyone else, more kept coming down, a couple in their full clothes (like long jeans)!

Us together later waiting for the banana. Dylan (all the way on the right) got baptized too.


On the last night of the week, Brian Holland the high school pastor gave the final invitation for students to surrender to Jesus for the first time, and for recommitments, and 11 or 12 kids stood up! It was getting dark, so we couldn’t quite make out who all stood, but it was still great! Finally, Brian called everyone to stand up if they are willing to commit to be used by God in exalting Jesus and continuing this mission that He’s called us on. The vast majority of our group stood up. Afterwards, we continued our time of singing in worship and sharing about what God was doing in our lives around a campfire. I always love those times, because it’s a chance to hear what God has been teaching these kids.

With all that said, I was really hoping that this trip would be something special, and it was. I felt that when I taught, God was definitely guiding my thoughts and the overall flow of the message. I started to pray for clarity for my own life, particularly for where God is moving me within the coming months. While I didn’t get any immediate answers, I felt like God has kept me at PFB for a whole year after I finished seminary so that I could see two of my small group guys get baptized, and to see how God is growing this group. So, that was some clarity for why God has kept me around for this last year. Where God is leading me now? Well, I’m still praying about that one and seeking, so I’d appreciate your continued prayers.

What's also been amazing about this trip is what is going on since we've gotten back. Worship on Sunday morning was AWESOME, and felt like what Wendesdays have been feeling like. And then Wendesday, HOLY COW, Jesus is working! I'll think I'll need to save it for another blog post, but I think what's going on is not just everyone coming back with the spiritual camp high. I think our time at Bass was an important step on this journey that God has for this ministry, and is just going to continue freaking us out. More on that later, but for now, thanks for your prayers and support, because Bass was AMAZING!