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Thursday, May 31, 2007

A girl named Emma and a teacher named Joseph


Yesterday, I was invited to speak at a Christian Club at John Burroughs High School in Burbank, California. When I accepted this invitation, I did NOT know what to expect, but I was anxious to speak to a group of students standing for Christ in the midst of a secular environment.

When I arrived, it was such a powerful lesson of Shepherd's influence here in the valley. Sometimes when you preach week after week, you fail to realize how much a difference the Lord is making in people's lives.

Emma is a high school senior who helps to spearhead the Christian Club at Burroughs High School. She had invited me to come speak to their group. This group of 20 to 25 students meet once a week over the lunch hour, and they usually have a guest speaker. Emma is a member of our Church and had also gone with us to Japan several years ago on our missions trip. I just wasn't aware of the fact that this young lady is making this kind of difference in her school.

How many high school students do YOU know here in L.A. that are leading a Christian Bible study at a public high school? I was rather impressed with Emma's leadership and commitment as she lead this gathering. How pleased God must be that Emma would be willing to lead and organize a Christian Club in the midst of 2700 students in a public school environment!!!

I was soooooooooooooooooo blessed when I walked in and was actually able to preach God's word in a public high school.

I did not know that in order to have a Christian Club in a public high school, there must be a teacher who is willing to host this club. Surprise!!! When I walked into this particular classroom, GUESS WHO the teacher is that is willing to host this class?
Lo and behold, it is a man by the name of Joseph Hadaya. And GUESS what church Mr. Joseph Hadaya attends? Yep, you guessed correctly... Shepherd of the Hills Church.

I have seen Joseph many times in church (he is an USHER on Saturday nights), but I never knew what he did for a living. I didn't know he was a Math teacher in a public school.

Let me tell you... I went to that school thinking I wouldn't know a soul, and as I walked the halls and went into the classrooms, there were several students who came up to me and said, "Hello Pastor Dudley." One boy named Aaron actually had me sign his yearbook! I'm sitting at this desk, signing a year book and REJOICING at how God is using Shepherd to make a difference in so many lives.... And then I started thinking that this is just ONE high school. We probably have teachers and students in EVERY school in this valley that love the Lord and have joined us in making a difference for Jesus in this Valley...

So... I just want to thank Emma and Joseph for standing up for Christ, and I want to thank ALL OF YOU who do the same each and every day. May God continue to bless and anoint HIS church so that the world might believe.

In love,

Dudley

Monday, May 28, 2007

Apples


I have a VERY good friend named Dean Bradshaw, who was formerly the head basketball coach at Simi Valley. Several years ago, he became a Christian and from time to time, he forwards emails to me that just touch the heart.

The following email was one such email. I thought it was fitting because of the sermon series we've been in and because of our theme for the year. This article spoke to my heart, and I hope it speaks to yours, too...

As you read this, think about what you would do!

A few years ago, a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner.

In their rush through the terminal, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE !!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain that he would be taking a later flight.

Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he did. The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time, helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table, and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did".

"Are you okay?" She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly." As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?" He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?"

Do people mistake you for Jesus? That's our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life, and grace. If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk, and act as He would.

Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day. You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Please share this post. Sometimes we just take things for granted, when we really need to be sharing the things that we know...

Thanks and God Bless.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

CallOnJesus.com


Resources to encourage you in your walk with the Lord!
Sermon video, audio, and live webcasts of Shepherd of the Hills Church services
Articles
Testimonies
Book, CDs, DVDs, Sermon Series, T-shirts and more!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A little about a LOT


Just want you to know that today is the day that the LORD has made.. Let us be GLAD and rojoice!!!

Hope everyone is having a good day today.... I was in Tuscon over the weekend with my son's AAU basketball team, and there were 32 of the top teams in the country there. I think 25 of the top 100 players in the nation were at the tourney, and we played 7 games in 3 days. We made it to the Final Four. It was a LOT of fun... I enjoyed being on the road with my son, but I truly missed all of you.

I am anxious to be back at Church this weekend, and I think I'm scheduled to be here for the next 6 weeks. I know that this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and traditionally, a LOT of people tend to miss church, but I hope that you'll do your best to be present this weekend. If you are OUT of town, make sure you visit a local church in whatever city you are in, OR watch us live at www.callonjesus.com

We are about to conclude our series on using our talents... and I don't know about you, but I've enjoyed the series. We've had a LOT of positive feedback on the series, and I'm looking forward to preaching on Sampson this coming weekend.

I heard that the ministry fair was a success and that a LOT of people walked through and found a particular place to serve. We will do it all again this weekend. We really need you to find a place to serve and use your gifts to the glory of God.

Don't know about you, but I just see God working in so many ways in so many different people's lives. We have sooooooooooooooooooo much, or shall I say a LOT to be thankful for.

May God bless each of you today, and if you don't know it.... please know that the LORD LOVES YOU A LOT !!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Is it a Job or is it a Ministry?


Some people have a JOB in the church, others involve themselves in a MINISTRY. What is the difference?

If your concern is success, it is a JOB. If your concern is faithfulness, it is a ministry.

An average church is filled with people doing a JOB. A great church is filled with people who are involved in MINISTRY.

If you quit because no one ever praised you or thanked you, it was a job. If you stay with it even though no one notices, it is MINISTRY.

If you will do it only as long as it doesn’t interfere with your activities, it is a JOB. If you are committed to staying with it even when it means letting go of other things, it is MINISTRY.

If you quit because someone criticized you, it was a JOB. If you kept serving, it was a MINISTRY.

If you are doing it well enough to get by, it is a JOB. If you are doing it to the best of your ability, it is a MINISTRY.

If you are doing it because no one else will, it is a JOB. If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it is a MINISTRY.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Larry Kern - Song of God's Love

I have a VERY dear friend in the church by the name of Larry Kern. Larry leads the worship in the Family Life Center on Sunday mornings at 8:30 am. I grew up singing the Hymns of old, and these are the songs that Larry leads in the FLC. I recently came across this video of Larry singing at an event out in Thousand Oaks, and I wanted you to hear him sing. This is a powerful song. Although the quality is a little blurred, you will see HOW WONDERFUL LARRY CAN SING. If you enjoy this video, why not start joining Larry on Sunday mornings at 8:30 am in the FLC?

Thank you, Larry, for being a friend and a MAN OF GOD and for using your gifts for the Lord here at Shepherd.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Joshua Weaver


Many of you have asked about our good friend, Joshua Weaver. Joshua is a dear man of God, who at one time was our lead worship pastor here at Shepherd of the Hills Church. He has battled cancer and other health issues, and continues to fight on. I recently went over to his home and watched one of the Laker playoff games. I'm not sure, but Joshua might be the number one Laker fan in Los Angeles. It was an honor to spend some time with Joshua because of his sweet spirit and his love for the Lord.

Those of you who are new to our church have missed the incredible gift of worship leading that Joshua brings to the table. He came to our church during a critical time and carried the mantle of leadership with class and dignity. His mark remains in our church because the standard to lead and sing carries with it a high responsibility, and he instilled this standard into our worship teams. Joshua continues to be a man of God, and although he is not currently leading any of our worship services, we are praying that one day in the future, God will restore his health fully and completely.

I want you to know that Joshua has completely conquered the cancer that once had its grip on him, and because of that, we REJOICE. He does, however, continue to have other health issues, and I hope you will join me in praying for him. Joshua has the most positive spirit, and we are convinced that God has great plans for him during the next years of his life. Even though there are a few hurdles, Joshua KNOWS that all things work for the GOOD for those who love the Lord.

Please continue to lift up this MAN of GOD in your prayers, and if you've never heard him lead worship, you can pick up his C.D. entitled, "We Come to Praise Him," at the Praises bookstore.
You will then understand the incredible gift of music that God has placed within him, and you will understand my statement when I tell you... you don't know what you're missing... by not knowing this dear brother in the Lord.

Joshua..... we love you......

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Herod's Tomb and Archaeology


Archaeologists continue to discover things that give proof to the authenticity of the Bible. Hopefully, in the spring of '08, I hope to make another trip to the Holy Land to see some of these discoveries...

Here is another example found in an article that I read this morning about the possibility that King Herod's tomb may have been found. It comes from STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writer, Tuesday, May 8, 8:38 AM ET:


An Israeli archaeologist on Tuesday said he has found remnants of the tomb of King Herod, the legendary builder of ancient Jerusalem, on a flattened hilltop in the Judean Desert where the biblical monarch built a palace.
Hebrew University archaeologist Ehud Netzer said the tomb was found at Herodium, a site where he has been exploring since the 1970s.
Netzer said a team of researchers found pieces of a limestone sarcophagus believed to belong to the ancient king. Although there were no bones in the container, he said the sarcophagus' location and ornate appearance indicated it is Herod's.
"It's a sarcophagus we don't just see anywhere," Netzer said at a news conference. "It is something very special."
Netzer led the team, although he said he was not on the site when the sarcophagus was found.
Stephen Pfann, an expert in the Second Temple period at the University of the Holy Land, called the find a "major discovery by all means," but cautioned further research is needed.
He said all signs indicate the tomb belongs to Herod, but said ruins with an inscription on it were needed for full verification.
"We're moving in the right direction. It will be clinched once we have an inscription that bears his name," said Pfann, a textual scholar who did not participate in Netzer's dig.
The fragments of carved limestone found at the sandy site are decorated with floral motives, but do not include any inscriptions.
Herod became the ruler of the Holy Land under the Romans around 40 B.C. The wall he built around the Old City of Jerusalem during the time of the Jewish Second Temple is the one that can be seen today. He also undertook massive construction projects in Caesaria, Jericho, the hilltop fortress of Massada and other locations.
It has long been assumed that Herod was buried at Herodium, but decades of excavations failed to turn up the site until now. The first century historian Josephus Flavius described the tomb and Herod's funeral procession.
Herodium was one of the last strong points held by Jewish rebels fighting against the Romans, and it was conquered and destroyed by Roman forces in A.D. 71, a year after they destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Hebrew University had hoped to keep the find a secret until Netzer's news conference on Tuesday. But the university announced the find in a brief statement late Monday after the Haaretz daily found out about the discovery and published an article on its Web site.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Toto, Kansas, and Tornadoes


Whenever I am asked where I'm from, I usually tell people, "Me and Toto are from Kansas." You remember Toto, don't you?? The cute little dog that belongs to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. You have to understand that if you grew up in Kansas, it's part of the fiber of that state to watch that movie. I always liked the Tin Man for various reasons, and I recall watching that movie as a young boy on television. When I saw that tornado for the very first time, I can still remember my realization of the fear and destruction that they can cause.


There were MANY times growing up in Wichita, Kansas that we would hear the sirens and head for shelter. Oftentimes the sirens were only precautionary, and we felt like we were hiding in the basement for no good reason.


This week in Greensburg, Kansas, a small community in the southwest corner of the state, the sirens were for real. One of the largest tornadoes ever recorded completely destroyed this city, and after looking at the picture above, the amazing thing is that only eight people were killed. I do not take lightly any of the deaths of the eight, but when one looks at the photograph above, it seems to me that thousands could have died.


The explanation for this is that MANY people who had heard these sirens MANY times before, perhaps a thousand times before, still decided to go to their shelters, basements, and underground bunkers JUST IN CASE a tornado actually did hit, and SURPRISE.... IT ACTUALLY DID HIT, with such force and power that the devastation was overwhelming.


Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, please pray for the people who lost everything. Pray for those whose family members died. Pray for those unsaved, that perhaps they will turn to God during these trying times, and pray for all who will have to rebuild and start over again. Unlike Toto and the Tin Man, this is NOT a make believe story. This is reality.


And for us???? We need to realize that even though we've heard the warning a thousand times before, one day the Lord Jesus Christ will, indeed, return, and the only ones that are going to be saved are those that are hiding in the shelter of His love. Will you not heed the warnings that we read about over and over again in the Word of God that Jesus is the Lord of Lords, and that one day EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus is, indeed, Lord of All?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

National Day of Prayer


Thursday, May 3rd, is the National Day of Prayer. In the past few years, our church has hosted this event for the San Fernando Valley. This year, Church on the Way, in Van Nuys, will be the host church. The event is scheduled to begin at 7:00 a.m. on the East Campus at 14300 Sherman Way. If you are able to take a couple of hours off before work, I would love to see you there tomorrow morning. John Tesh will be leading worship, and as always, we will be joining together with other believers in praying for our city, our families, our churches, and our nation!

Tickets are $10.00 per person or $80.00 per table. To order, call 818 779-8450.

Dean Jones will be the emcee, and the plan is to be finished by 9:00 am.

I will be looking forward to seeing you there.....