Why They Chose Coast (some thoughts from one of our members)

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This is an original post from Brandon & Jamie on their Facebook and it quickly became popular, received hundreds of likes and numerous shares. We felt that since it struck a chord with so many people there, we should share it here for others to read (with permission from the author of course).

Maybe you’ve asked the question, “why would someone go to a new, small church when they could go to a big one that has better music, programs, and is more polished/professional?” We don’t have all the answers to that but here is an answer from one of our members who had the same question.

Hey FB this is Brandon. You know I don’t get on here unless there is a story to be told and this one will be a little long but I believe it’s worth the read. (otherwise I wouldn’t have taken the time to write it... twice) SO let’s just jump right in

 

Most everyone who knows me knows that I grew up at First Pentecostal Church in Pensacola, FL. FPC is a fairly large church so naturally as the Navy moved Jamie and I around the country we looked for churches that were like what we grew up in. The one thing they all had in common (Besides being UPC).  Size. 

 

When we got stationed here in California we visited the churches that would typically fit us. We soon found out that search was futile, but I’ll get to that later.  As we went from church to church we just didn’t get the feeling like we belonged anywhere. It wasn’t because the Holy Ghost wasn’t present or that the people were unfriendly, because we went to some really nice places that we thought could be it.  It was more like we got the feeling that GOD was just saying… Nah… This ain’t it. Keep looking.

 

So keep looking we did and during our search we came across Coast Church.  Sunday comes and we punch in the address, but when we get there it looks like it’s in an abandoned warehouse. I’m getting ready to keep on driving because, let’s be serious I’m not trying to become someone’s blood sacrifice at some cult service in a warehouse. But Jamie, being the ever adventurous one, was like “Well, we drove all the way over here might as well check it out”.  So I huff loudly as I back into a spot close to an exit just in case we have to make a quick escape. Check my CCW pistol… Locked and loaded… Take a deep breath… think to myself remember the details on the way in so you know how to get out!

 

We walk inside and the music was instantly recognizable as was the worship.  So with that putting me at ease we walked into the sanctuary. It was really nice and the praise was so powerful you could feel it. But we there was a “small” problem.  It was well… Small (pun intended). There were all of 10 adults there including us. So Im thinking to myself kinda telling GOD… You see GOD, Jamie and I just aren’t comfortable in a small church. Both of us have always been part of larger assemblies so “small" just isn’t going to work for us ok? Soooo we are gonna keep looking.  Except during the next week neither one of us could shake the feeling like GOD was saying NOPE… Sorry guys, this is it.  This is where you are supposed to be.  So after a little struggle and a lot of prayer we decided to make Coast our home away from home. 

 

Some of you may be aware that the cost of living out here in California is a little ridiculous. To put it into perspective. Single wide mobile homes on a lot in a park START OUT at $200K. So it should be no surprise to find out a church with just a few members was sharing a building with another church.  This other church however was Trinitarian and while for the most part they were friendly, we did have things we didn’t really agree on.  One Sunday we came in to all kinds of pictures and art put up all over the sanctuary and it didn’t exactly jive with the Apostolic doctrine. So asking if we could cover it or take it down for our services coupled with a few other small disagreements started a rift that culminated in them asking us to find a new place to worship by the 1st of the year.  The only problem with that is, it was already Thanksgiving which left us basically a month to figure something out. That service we sang a song of faith called Made a Way.  The lyrics say “when our backs were against the wall and it looked as if it was over.  You made a way.”

 

Well we started looking for other buildings but everything kept falling through. Jan. 1 came and we were basically on the street. Bouncing around from one community center to the next and watching the attendance seemingly drop to nothing. It was honestly starting to look as if it really were over. That’s when a store front opened up. I mean it’s right next to a laundry mat and a liquor store. Not exactly an ideal location for a church but hey it’s a place and it would be our own.

 

Now that we have our building we run into a new problem.  We have to turn a store into a church.  It requires an entire renovation on the inside that was going to cost almost everything the church had and not only that we would still have to furnish it.  Now I don’t know if I mentioned it or not but we are a small church.  How in the world are we even going to do all this?  Spoiler alert… WE aren’t. We have to let go and let GOD.

 

Now with the time difference between Pensacola and Ventura I can still live stream most of the FPC services. While watching one night I got to wondering what happened to the chairs that used to be in the choir loft at FPC. So I asked my dad to talk to Pastor Kinsey and see if maybe they had them in a closet or storage somewhere and if so maybe he would be willing donate them. Because just the choir loft chairs would be plenty enough for our church. Pastor Kinsey instead of donating some old used equipment responded a few weeks later with a check that completely covered our renovation costs. Our Coast family was blown away and SO very grateful for the generosity of a church that was 2000 miles away on the complete other side of the country. A church I have been proud to call home since birth. By the grace of GOD, it wasn’t just FPC but people from all over started donating. Some people who were not even Christians but saw what we were doing and said they just felt compelled to give. Words just cannot express how big a move of GOD this was nor how thankful we are to everyone.

 

Now remember I said I would come back to the folly that is finding a church to fit you? That’s is probably one of the biggest mistakes we run into.  You see, you need to fit where GOD wants you, not the other way around. When you try to do it your way it will only end up in failure.  For us it was an exercise in growth. There is a certain amount of comfort that comes with being part of a large church.  You know when they say "Hey we need a someone to lead the choir” someone else will step up and do it.  Or “We need a Sunday school teacher” someone else will step up. Or “Hey we need to move all this stuff for the church” someone else will DEFINITELY step up for that one.  In a large church I don’t really need to do much of anything and I can be comfortable because someone else will do it. Up until this point I could live with the excuse that someone else will do it. There is this thing with small churches though… Surprise, surprise, there is no one else.  If you don’t help, then there really isn’t anyone else. Almost as if GOD purposely pulled us out of our comfort zone and said “Now if not you then who?”

 

Easter Sunday was set as the day we wanted to have our first service in our new building. So last Saturday morning we meet down at the church to hand out fliers and invite as many people as possible to the service. Jamie and I spent a couple of hours doing that and I could count on my fingers how many times I have done that before… if I had no fingers. Afterward we stayed until 10pm hanging lights, door knobs, shelves, installing towel holders and soap dispensers. All these things that typically "someone else” would have done. 

 

We started our first service at our new location in the same manner we ended with at our last location.  Singing “YOU MADE A WAY! When our backs were against the wall and it looked as if it was over, YOU made a way, and we’re standing here only because you made a way!!!” Make a way he did, Easter Sunday was a massive success. We had 40+ people at each service and then again this week we had over 50.  But the thing is most of them were new people who just came for Easter service.  Suddenly it turns out the same spot I thought was far less than ideal to us to put a church…  GOD says… “Nah, see that’s EXACTLY where I wanted it.” The amount of people who walk past then stop and ask about it is amazing.  I’ve never heard so many people say “I’m really glad a church is going in here”. So after all the doubts and reservations I had now I’m really starting to believe that anything is possible.  Now I’m just waiting for the person walking to the Liquor store who is empty inside going to try to fill the void with Fireball liquor to stop here first and get filled instead with the Holy Ghost and fire. I BELIEVE THAT IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN!

 

I know this was really long (thanks for staying with me!) but I really felt like it needed to be told in its entirety. There are two very important lessons I learned along the way that I would like to impart with everyone.  The first is be ever vigilant of complacency.  It’s the #1 Killer in Naval Aviation. Every day our maintenance control warns us about the dangers of it and to keep your head on a swivel. Complacency KILLS! But wouldn’t you know it the Bible also warns us that it’s just as dangerous in the church house. We are warned by the attitude of the church of Laodicea. Never let complacency set in, otherwise you may find yourself just going through the motions and thus spewed out of his mouth. Or even worse rocks may just cry out in your place.

 

The second is a message that Pastor Kinsey preached a little while ago about Shamgar and his oxgoad. The lesson is simply to start now where you are, use what you have, do what you can, and with GOD it WILL WITHOUT FAIL be enough. Coast Church is living proof of that.  Pastor Scott (the pastor here at CC) talked about intimacy with GOD and his blessings this morning. Which made me realize every time I turn around he is blessing us, so much so I literally can’t remember all the blessings. So keep the prayers for us, the city of Ventura, and the nation as a whole coming. Because while churches all over the country are closing their doors, I can’t help but believe that Coast Church in Ventura is just getting warmed up.  I know FPC feels the same way!

 

FINAL THING I said twice in the beginning because I spent a couple of hours typing this up only to have the FB app force close as I tried to post it and erase the whole thing.  But you know what…  as aggravated as it made me I had time to write it again… SO NOT TODAY DEVIL!!!

The NEW Coast House in Montalvo

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Well, if you haven't been following us on Instagram (you totally should, here) you've been missing out on all the updates about what God is doing through Coast Church. Earlier this month we received the keys to our new storefront location in Bristol Center, located in the Montalvo neighborhood of Ventura. We've been doing some remodeling (huge thank you to everyone who has been donating financially and with their time to make this a possibility) and getting the building ready for our GRAND OPENING APRIL 1st, RESURRECTION SUNDAY. 

It has been a trying time for us at Coast since the Thomas Fire in Ventura and then losing our lease at the previous location...BUT GOD has opened up an incredible door for us to serve our community here in Montalvo. It is clearly evident that God wants a vibrant, life-giving, multicultural, generous, Spirit filled/led, multigenerational, and creative church here in Ventura. We aim to be that church and we strive to be a place where people BELONG. BELIEVE. BECOME. 

From fresh texture, new fixtures, a sparkling coat of paint, and refinished epoxy floors...our volunteer team has been making the new Coast House beautiful and inviting. We will also have a brand new Coast Kids room ready for our children to learn all about God's great love in Sunday School. As we move into the new location we're looking forward to resuming our Current Youth Nights (middle and high school student gatherings with music, preaching, prayer, and a lot of fun), launching an after school program, substance abuse/recovery classes, Bible studies, music and creative workshops, leadership sessions, and more.

Can you do us a huge favor? Help spread the word, share this blogpost on your social, text a friend and invite them. We want everyone to know about Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit that is changing lives in our community. See you on Resurrection Sunday for TWO GATHERINGS at 10:00am and 1:00pm 

How Do I Know If I'm Saved and Going to Heaven?

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From Genesis to Revelation, the main theme of the Bible is God's plan to redeem humanity from sin and for fill his original creative purpose. From the beginning God planned the Incarnation and the Atonement.

While there have been various ages or dispensations and God's dealings with humans, these ages do not represent different plans of salvation, but they progressively unfold in reveal God's eternal plan. In the Church Age we see the fullness of individual restoration, in the millennium we will see the fullness of corporate restoration.

In every age the basis of salvation is the same (Romans 3:24–25, Ephesians 2:8–9, Hebrews 9–10). The source of salvation is always divine grace: the unmerited gift of God to us, the free work of God in us.

The ground of justification is the blood of Christ through Christ's sacrifice on the cross, God provides salvation consistent with his principles of justice. The Blood, the Cross, and the Atonement all referred to the sacrificial death of Christ for us. Since Christ Resurrection was necessary to make his death effective, to turn defeat into victory, the ground of salvation is specifically the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). 

The means of salvation is faith or trust in God. We receive salvation and apply it to our lives through faith, which today specifically faith in Jesus. Biblical faith is more than intellectual acceptance or verbal agreement. It always includes a response or application, namely, the obedience of faith (Romans 1:5).

To summarize in every age salvation has come by grace through faith based on the blood of Christ, and faith is always expressed by obedience to God's Word. Old testament believers look forward to the Cross without fully knowing God's plan, while New Testament believers look back to the Cross.

Romans 8:29–30 describes God's eternal plan for the church: "for whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, then he also called: and whom he called, then he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorifies."

  1. Foreknowledge. Before God created humans, He knew they would fall into sin and therefore planned the cross (1 Peter 1:18–20). He foresaw that some would respond to His call and therefore established a plan for the church.
  2. Predestination. God predestined for His church to be molded into the likeness of His Son. To predestine means to foreordain, to determine in advance, to plan unalterably. Predestination applies to God's plan, not to each person's faith. God predestined the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Church, and the ultimate salvation of the Church. By God's grace, everyone has the freedom to choose whether to be in the church (Titus 2:12.)  Our salvation is not merely a wish or a possibility. It is a certain event if we will remain in the church. Moreover, salvation consist of transformation into the image of God. We will not become God, but we will ultimately receive a sinless nature in an immortal body like that of Christ. God did not intend for the sun to be the only human to conquer sin and death. God came in the flesh to have many sons and daughters. The man Christ is the first in God's spiritual family, but God intends for the Son to have many younger siblings who enter the family after him.  Christ is our brother (Hebrews 2:17). We are to follow Him and become coheirs with Him Romans 8:17. If we trust in Him, we will one day truly become like Him (1 John 3:2). When our faults and failures cause discouragement, we must not give up, for if we will remain in God's plan we have the guarantee of ultimate, total, and permanent victory. 
  3. Calling. Based on his plan, God calls people to respond. The offer of salvation extends to everyone, but only those who respond in faith are chosen (Matthew 20:16, Revelation 22:17). This passage speaks of an effectual calling. Only those who respond to God's grace are called out of soon.
  4. Justification. God justifies those he calls out of sand he declares them to be righteous. Their sins are washed away, and they receive Christ righteousness (Acts 2:38, 1 Corinthians 6:11). 
  5. Glorification. The final step in our salvation is glorification, which is the combination of the process of sanctification, or walking in holiness. Ultimately, justified believers will receive glorified, sunless bodies and will live forever in glory with the Lord. This passage speaks of glorification in the past tense. In God's mind, glorification is as good as done. God has already provided for us; we are simply waiting to receive it publicly. We are already God's sons and daughters, Kings, and priests; we are just awaiting the revelation of our status (Romans 8:19). If we will remain in God's plan, we will surely inherit eternal glory with Jesus Christ.       Source:  David K Bernard, General Superintendent/UPCI

Ventura Kids Art Camp

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This year is our FIRST EVER Ventura Kids Art Camp and we are so excited about it! We want our kids to enjoy the process of CREATING art projects, being inspired by God's creativity on earth, and making new friends at art camp. TWO DAYS only and ages 4-12 are welcome. 

You could call this a VBS (Vacation Bible School) but we're a little different at Coast Church Ventura so we like to just call it Art Camp. To sign up text 805-215-3558. The camp is FREE to all kids in Ventura County. 

Projects include: stencil art, slime, street art for kids, t-shirt making, etc. 

Cinnamon Rolls and Coffee...

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During these cold winter nights there is NOTHING better than a warm cinnamon roll and a hot cup of fresh-roasted organic coffee in your hand!  Coast Church is selling fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls and fresh-roasted coffee to raise funds to purchase a van for youth outreach in our community.  All proceeds go to the purchase of a new youth van.  You can place your order by texting your name and order information to 805-215-3558.  Thank you!  

-9 cinnamon rolls + 12oz. bag of Christmas blend coffee for $21.99

-9 cinnamon rolls for $11.99

-16oz. bag of fresh-roasted, Christmas blend organic coffee $14.99

COMING UP: Christmas at Coast |||||| the STORY of Christmas

Talented musicians, young people singing Christmas songs, skits, creative media, and special guest: Peter Bingley...you won't want to miss Christmas at Coast this year.  Invite a friend, bring your family, and enjoy a Sunday of celebrating Christmas.

P.S.  Those of you who would like to join us, we are going Christmas caroling on Friday 12/16 at a few convalescent and retirement homes, then we'll be downtown Ventura.  Email/contact for more info.  

WHEN: SUNDAY, 12/18/16, 1:00pm

WHERE: Coast Church - 2734 Johnson Dr. Ventura, CA Suite A

WHO: Open to everyone and FREE to attend.  

Who were the "wise men" and why did they come so far?  How did Joseph feel about his virgin fiancee becoming pregnant?  Why was nobody "that important" there for the birth of the most important man ever born?  

These are some of the things that we will talking about as we read the STORY OF JESUS in an intimate setting on Christmas Eve Eve Eve (better known as the Thursday before Christmas).  Instead of our Coast Groups (small groups Bible study) in Ventura, Oxnard, and Calabasas we will gather at the church to take time and hear the STORY...like we've never heard it before!  

Let Christ come alive this Christmas, hear the STORY, and be inspired by the MIRACLE that was Jesus' birth in a manger 2000 years ago.  

WHEN: 12/22 at 7:00pm

WHERE: Coast Church Ventura - 2734 Johnson Dr. Ventura Suite A

WHO:  Open to all, bring your friends and family. 

Current Youth Nights

November marked another one of our monthly Current Youth Nights at Coast Church in Ventura, CA.  We had some first time guests, some friends from other local churches, food, fun, and an inspiring word from our friend Dave Ceja from Angeles Church in Glendale, CA.  

God is moving in the lives of young people and a movement is being born in Ventura County that wants to put Jesus first in their lives.  We love seeing young people excited about Christ, actively engaging in their communities and schools.  If you know any middle or high school students in Ventura County that are looking for a great place to gather for monthly youth services, we know a place...Current Youth Nights.  

Next Current Youth Night is Friday night, December 2nd at 7:00pm at our Ventura church location: 2734 Johnson Dr. Suite A.  805-215-3558 for more information.  This upcoming Youth Night will be a movie night where we will view the film, "Woodlawn" and have a special discussion on racism, prejudice, and how we can overcome it in our generation.  You don't want to miss it!  

The God Questions

We've had some tremendous response from our God Questions Series and will be posting the full videos next week after we wrap up with our third and final session this Sunday.  

This Sunday also happens to be our Friends and Family Day at Coast Church Ventura and we want you to be there!  We'll have an inspiring, encouraging time of worship and the Word, then some fun stuff and tacos afterwards.  Join us at 1:00pm 2734 Johnson Dr. Suite A. Ventura, CA. 

Current Youth Nights || LAUNCH

We love our middle school and high school students from all around Ventura, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Carpinteria, Ojai, Camarillo, Calabasas, and beyond Ventura County.  This FREE youth event is for them to have a safe, positive place to hang out on the weekend, a chance to win some awesome giveaways (Herschel backpacks, Neff backpacks, gift cards, Curren Caples Flip skateboard, etc.), and hear an inspiring message that can radically change their lives and make an impact in their world for Jesus.  

We believe there is more than just another youth group being formed here in Ventura, we believe there is a MOVEMENT of youth who want to see their world impacted by the Gospel.  Join us and help spread the word.  

Is "Going to Church" Still Important?

We live busier lives than ever before.  Sundays can be our only time to "catch up" and shop for groceries...that is if we don't have a baseball/football/soccer tournament or if we're not invited to a party somewhere or headed out to Ventura's beautiful beaches.  So why can't I just check the podcast, re-watch the livestream, or do church once a month?  That's good enough right?  

We found an insightful article that helps us understand the VALUE in gathering as "the church."  At Coast we teach emphatically that "the church is not a building, you are the church" but that doesn't diminish the importance of gathering together.  We see a greater impact in our communities, in our cities, and in our world when we "Christian" together.  In an increasingly divided world, I believe that God is calling His people to COME TOGETHER to see justice, to see change, and to spark a revival in the world!  -Pastor Scott

<article from Churchleaders.com>

A few weeks ago an online post from a major ministry struck a nerve when it stated the necessity of church attendance for your growth as a believer in Christ.

It’s surprising to me how many Christians struggle with the idea of church attendance. We are at a crossroads in our nation on the importance of going to church. According to research, church attendance has remained virtually the same percent of our national population for the past 70 years, however, this still means there are a huge number of American Christians who are not active in a local church—in the tens of millions.

Of course, this isn’t a new problem. Since the beginning of Christianity, the early leaders had to challenge this mindset, saying, “Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

A popular Christian social media catch-phrase is, “You don’t go to church, you are the church.” While I get the sentiment in some ways, this is an unhealthy view, pitting “being the church” and “going to church” against each other. If we are truly “the church,” then we will surely get together with other believers regularly. We cannot “be” the church, if we don’t “go” to church. Not fully anyways.

The “church” never connotes a single, individual, lone ranger Christian just going about his Christian duties and never gathering together to worship with other believers. The “church” by its very nature means multiple believers: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20).

This is both the biblical and historical pattern set forth for us by the first followers of Jesus. They would get together weekly to worship God together, and at times even daily. They would also share community together in each other’s homes. Paul and the other Apostle’s letters were actually sent to these church communities that gathered in various cities to be read aloud together. Church means getting together with other believers to worship Jesus Christ, and hear the Scriptures together, and encourage one another in the faith.

Craig Groeschel shared recently, “There is something better. To worship God together and be committed to worship Him together, to hear His Word together. Do not reduce church to listening to a podcast. It’s so much more than that. It’s community. It’s worshiping with other, praying for others, hurting with others, serving others, being involved in the lives of others.

“Don’t let excuses stand in the way of what you know God is calling you to do.”

And here’s the reality of the biblical call to gather with other believers. There are many options for going to church for each of us. You can look for a church that is right for you. I’m not telling you to go to a certain style, type or denomination of church—I’m simply challenging you to gather with other believers regularly to worship and hear the Scriptures.

The biblical pattern for church is this:

  • Every Christian should gather together to hear the Scriptures and worship Jesus together with other believers weekly (see Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Acts 2:42; Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Romans 16:5; Acts 20:20; James 2:2; Psalm 84:4; Psalm 37:17; Psalm 92:13).
  • It is also good to meet for smaller groups of Christian community in each other’s homes regularly (see Acts 2:46).
  • It’s good to have leaders overseeing the work and needs of each local church—this is the biblical pattern—not all of us are called to church leadership, and so we should submit to and serve whoever God has called to lead at the place we find ourselves (see Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Philippians 1:1b; Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2; Acts 20:17).
  • If there are believers who are unable for physical reasons to attend a church weekly, they should find a church or believers who will gather together with them regularly for worship in their own home (see James 5:14; James 1:27).

Here are four powerful reasons why you should attend church weekly, and why church attendance can change your life:

1. God Said So

God tells us in His Word to “not give up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25).

The Bible even goes so far as to call the church the “Bride of Christ.” If you love Jesus, you will love the things that He loves, and there is no one a good man loves more than His bride. The church is this important to God, so it should be ever-important to us.

God didn’t call us to gather and worship to burden us, but to bless us. Church attendance can become one of the greatest blessings in you and your family’s life!

2. Worshipping Jesus Together Is Powerful

Jesus lives inside of us by His Spirit when we believe in Him—this is a profoundly incredible truth!

But there is also something biblically powerful about gathering together with other believers to worship. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). So He not only lives in us by His Spirit, but He is in the “midst” of us when we gather to worship Him.

3. We Need Christian Community

All of us long for community and connection with others. God has given us this gift in gathering together for church, and in smaller groups in each other’s homes. It fulfills something inside of us to do life with others, encourage each other and be authentically involved in each other’s lives.

Christian TV, podcasts, books and conferences are wonderful additions to our spiritual lives, but nothing can take the place of consistent Christian community through the local church.

4. We Grow More Together Than Alone

It can be messy when we step into each other’s lives. We are all human, and no one is perfect. So it requires effort and intentionality and grace from God to do life together, even as believers.

Gathering regularly with other believers becomes a refining process whereby we help each other, pray for each other and encourage each other to want to follow Christ more wholeheartedly. It is a truly beautiful thing.

Don’t let excuses stand in the way of what you know God is calling you to do. God will strengthen you and empower you to do what He has called you to do. I am praying for you—if you have encountered past wounds from leaders or from church members—that God will bring healing and grace to you, as you seek to follow Him, and love His Churchl

 

Article written by Matt Brown.

In Ventura As it is in Heaven - 40 Days of Prayer/Fasting/Giving/Serving

Starting in September we will be entering into a special season of prayer for our city, the spiritual/Biblical practice of fasting, sacrificial giving of our time/talent/treasure, and serving others.  We truly believe that God has positioned Coast Church, a new church in the Ventura, CA area, as a strategic faith community.  We know that God wants to unite believers in a movement of Spirit-led, Spirit-filled people who are making a difference in their world.  Join us for this exciting season of spiritual renewal, growth, and commitment.  

Impact Your Community

We need your help as we raise funds to purchase a van for Current Youth and Coast Kids.  Thank you for taking the time to consider partnering with us to reach our goal of $15,000 to purchase a safe, reliable van and insurance to continue reaching students in our communities.  Every gift helps! 

The quickest and easiest way to give is via PayPal, but we do accept checks and cash. All donations are tax-deductible as we are a recognized 501c3 charity organization. Please share.

Click: http://www.coastchurch.com/give/  (preferred giving option)

or

visit our GoFundMe page

We are also seeking local (and national) businesses and brands that would like to partner with us as sponsors.  Each sponsor will have a vinyl decal as advertisement on the van for one year.  Contact Coast Church if you'd like to partner with us as a business partner coastchurchventura@gmail.com or 805-215-3558.  

The Question Every Christian Should Be Asking When it Comes to Injustice

How do you respond to something that is so tragic, so terrible, so littered with injustice that it makes your blood boil?  We see injustices multiple times per day in our social media feeds, on the news, and we talk about it in our circles of friends.  We’ve almost become immune to them.  Am I the only one who has caught themselves scanning past a photo of dead bodies and acting like “that’s normal” when it is really not?  

What in the world is happening?  How do we respond to EVERY injustice with equality?  Do we choose one cause and fight for it or do we spend our lives chasing the wind of every injustice upon this earth?  I believe Jesus gave us answers with His life and teaching that resonate so loudly still today.  Our generation is wanting to make a difference, we want to fight for justice…but we simply can’t find the answer no matter how hard we try.  It could be that the reason for that is because we are asking the wrong question?  

Can I do something to make a change?  So we act in rage.  We cuss.  We destroy things.  We pit race against race.  We make it one-sided.  We fight eye-for-eye.  We face violence with violence, murder with murder.  And in the midst of all of this we overlook what’s really happening…DIVISION.  We are being divided into categories and groups, not united behind causes and purpose.  We are divided into fighting for one injustice that the media makes into a headline while we overlook multiple injustices i.e.. the bloodshed in Chicago’s streets, ISIS rampage in Iraq this past week, political scandals, freedoms being taken away from us left and right, etc. (some of which may even have greater implications than the injustice we are fighting for).

Since the Garden of Eden, the devil’s tactic has always been “divide and conquer.”  Don’t fall into his games.  Know his subtle ways of attack.  He knows and understands that a UNITED group of Christ followers is the most powerful form that he will ever face.  He knows he can’t take our power (1 John 4:4 (KJV) - Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.), but if he divides us up into so many little fractions we will become weak.  

Jesus didn’t go to a cross, die a horrible death, rise again after three days, and pour out His Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost for white people.  He didn’t do it for black people either.  He didn’t do it for a single, particular group of people…it was for ALL PEOPLE.  He died for ALL, that ALL might come to find life and purpose in Christ!  When we unite our power becomes synergistic.   

So the question we should be asking is this, WHAT CAN WE DO TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER?  Jesus showed us that when we simply address the “temporary symptom” and not the “eternal cause” we will fail every single time.  If you’re a Christ follower, if you believe your Bible, if you call yourself a Christian then you will understand that violence, hatred, malice, name-calling, keyboard fighting on Facebook, etc. will never address the root cause of injustice.  

Jesus led like this: 

-1 Peter 2:21-25 (NLT)  “21For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 22He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.  23He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered.  He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.  24He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  By his wounds you are healed. 25Once you were like sheep who wandered away.  But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls".

Have you ever heard of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was arrested?  He asked his friends to pray with Him that night (guys like Peter, James, John, etc. who actually wrote books of our Bible) and they fell asleep while Jesus prayed such fervent prayers that He actually began to bleed (this is an actual medical condition called “hematidrosis”).  When they woke up Jesus was arrested and the Roman soldiers took Him away.  As they did so, Peter grabs a sword and chops off the ear of one of the Roman soldiers.  Immediately Jesus goes to the ground, picks up the ear and replaces it with a supernatural healing touch on the guard…just like new.  

What can we learn from this when we flail at our attempts to correct injustice?  Was Jesus perfect?  Yes.  Was Jesus guilty of the charges against Him?  No.  In our society and culture we would be cheering on Peter right?  We would be hailing him as a hero who fought against the racism (yes, that was happening against Jewish people long before the Holocaust) of the Roman Empire, the injustice of the corrupt ruling government, and we would put his name in lights for starting a revolution…except Jesus didn’t do that.  He actually REBUKED Peter and called him “Satan” (the name of the devil).  Wow!  What?  Was Jesus actually on the side of the evil government?  Is this some big conspiracy shrouded beyond the curtain of the Illuminati?  No and no!  

JESUS SHOWED US A BETTER WAY (actually, before the church was called the “church” and before we were called “Christians” we were called “the way”).  Jesus addressed the cause of the injustice: THE CONDITION of the HUMAN SOUL.  Which in turn, was the same reason that Peter acted out of rage against the Roman soldier.  Peter was acting out of insecurity.  Peter knew that he failed miserably by falling asleep in the prayer meeting so he tried to take matters into his own hands.  Jesus rebuked him so hard for this that nobody who reads it forgets His words.  

Christians: stop acting like hatred for hatred, violence for violence, rage for rage, eye for an eye, etc. actually works.  We should know better.  Stop trying to cover up our “PRAYERLESNESS” with an act of “social justice.”  Stop acting like what you’re doing is working.  It’s not.  You’re not making a difference with your outrage on Facebook.  You’re not changing the world when you change your profile photo.  Your hashtags are not changing anything.  Can we just have an honest moment as Christians in 2016?  We are failing miserably at “Christianing” and that is why we are not seeing injustice answered with justice.

Do you really want to know how JUSTICE IS SERVED?  Do you really want to see radical change?  Can we go back to Acts and look at the example that Christ left for us (the original church) to follow in His footsteps?  Because they SAW JUSTICE!  They were actually accused of TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN (Acts 17:6).  Our actions of insecurity that mask our inability to “Christian” are not doing what these humble, powerful people did in the first century.      

How did they do it?  There were TWO THINGS that the Christians were known for that absolutely flew in the face of injustice in their day:  SUPERNATURAL PRAYER and COUNTERCULTURAL LIFESTYLES.

The early church would pray in the name of Jesus and they would see supernatural miracles.  They would pray and sometimes they wouldn’t see miracles (Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8), but they still trusted in God’s WAYS above their ways.  You cannot call yourself a Christian and take things “out of God’s hand” and “into your own hands.”  That is precisely what FAITH is all about.  Even when it doesn’t make sense (Jesus being arrested), even when the party is completely innocent (Jesus on the cross), even when there is no evidence (Jesus being pardoned by Pontius Pilate)…we STILL TRUST IN HIS WAYS above our ways.    

Professional skateboarder Steven Caballero dabbled in Buddhism and even atheism but he found fulfillment in Christ and he said this, “being a Christian is the most punk-rock thing you can do in our modern society, it is totally against the culture.”  Christians in Acts were noticed because they lived counter-culturally.  Is part of our outrage against injustice due to the guilt that we feel from being “too much like everyone else?”  I’m not saying these early Christians were perfect, but they were different.  In a day and age where “anything goes” with Christians are we really making an impact against injustice?  

The Acts church saw babies being deposited in the trash on the streets and they saw those babies being picked up by pimps who turned them into child sex-slaves, so what did they do?  Did they march on Rome?  Did they hashtag until their thumbs were bruised?  No they were led by the Holy Spirt and they adopted these orphans.  What happened next was that people in their community took notice of their LOVE (not hate for hate) and they became Christians.  Then guess what?  They started doing the same thing!  

The early church saw orphans living in the streets (modern day answer for this in America is kids who have two parents working that are never at home) and they saw widows who were starving and couldn’t make ends meet (modern day answer for this is the single mom trying to make it work on one income) and what did the Christians do?  Did they start blaming the tax-collectors who were corrupt?  Did they start campaigning for a particular candidate to become the new emperor?  Did they spew vitriol and hatred from their mouths?  NO, they ACTED in GENEROSITY that could only flow from the Holy Spirit living inside of them.  They gave generously to others, to the cause, to the Way. They actually sold their belongings to give to others.  They trusted in God’s way of doing things above what “made sense.”

I sum things up with some probing questions for those of you who have been impacted by these words:  Does your Christianity resemble that of the early church in Acts or does your Christianity resemble something you’ve made up in your mind, influenced by culture?  Are you doing anything to UNITE or are you saying things to DIVIDE?  I ask all of you who are reading this and call yourselves “CHRISTIANS” or even if you want to start calling yourself a Christian, to take a deep look at the Scripture (our guide) and make sure you’re living a life that mirrors the Word and not the culture.  

My deepest hope is that these words don’t offend you, but that they inspire you to truly see JUSTICE and to fight for something greater than the temporary.  We don’t need another temporary fix, we need an eternal answer and that is only found in God’s justice.  

Practical Application:

I always try to offer some practical things that Christians can do when I speak or write, so here you go:  A Christian response to tragic injustices.  

  1. Organize a prayer march (it doesn’t have to be a huge, city-wide campaign, it can be just you and some friends).  Go to neighborhood that has a different ethnic makeup and pray prayers of unity, understanding, hope, faith, and love.  Some of you may be saying, “really, prayer, that’s the answer?”  If you don’t believe int he power of prayer, don’t call yourself a “believer.”  Prayer is more powerful than violence.  Prayer breaks down more strongholds than hatred ever can, even if the hate is warranted.  Prayer is our greatest weapon, use it.  
  2. Invest in communities affected by injustice.  Whether it be in Africa, Cambodia, India, in your neighborhood or in a neighboring community you can find ways to invest in areas that are underserved, overlooked and blighted by the system.  Remember, God is greater than the system and He wants to use you to prove it!  Start a Bible club for kids.  Volunteer to coach a little league team.  Organize a park clean-up day. 
  3. Build relationships with people who are different than you.  We act in rage against the things/people that we don’t understand.  Intentionally building relationships with others who are not like you (upbringing, skin color, etc.) will help you understand the struggle of being in someone else’s shoes.   

Much love to all, Pastor Scott A. Shoemake, Coast Church Ventura

Happy Independence Day Ventura County!

From the Coast Church Family to yours, we wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Independence Day here in America.  We're thankful for freedom to worship, to be involved in our communities and to live for Jesus Christ!  

Ventura Beach Clean-up X Coast Church

DO SOMETHING! Join us for beach clean-up over the holiday weekend (4th of July). We'll be going out in the mornings and evenings on several days to keep the trash out of our oceans. Sign up below in the comments section, email us or tex to 805-215-3558 and let us know what day/time you'd like to join us. More info forthcoming. 

 

 

 

STORIES from the Coast

 Juan H. teaching the Current Youth Movement in Oxnard, CA.&nbsp;

Juan H. teaching the Current Youth Movement in Oxnard, CA. 

As a new church in Ventura, CA (a church plant started in early 2015) we have intentionally focused on STORIES.  In particular, we are focusing on seeing Jesus write incredible stories for people who may not have been writing the best chapters previously.  

Juan is one such story (you can see him teaching our Current Youth in the photo above).  We started teaching Juan our Starting Point Bible studies before we even had our first Sunday gathering.  Without going into all of the details, Juan had been through some tough pages of life and he was wanting to rebound in a big way.  He was at a place of going "ALL IN" for Christ.  I'll never forget the afternoon when we baptized Juan in the Pacific Ocean in Ventura.  I'll never forget the night he received the Holy Spirit.  It's been so cool to see the pages unfold in a life when the pen is handed over to the Author. 

In the fall of 2015 Juan felt to start a Bible study at his apartment complex in north Oxnard so we discussed some ways of going about this.  We had an open house, meet and greet night and a bunch of young people showed up.  It was pretty obvious that there was an open door to reach the youth in the area so we started having a weekly Bible study there in Oxnard, CA.  The STORY is still unfolding but we've seen these young people touched by the Scripture, we've seen them learn how to pray, how to read their Bibles, and even how to share their faith with others.  

What started with one man wanting to turn his life around has turned into a group of 15-20 young people meeting every Wednesday evening to learn about Jesus Christ and now they are turning their lives around.  The STORY is where it counts and we value every STORY that God is working in.  

 

P.S.  If you feel moved to partner with us financially, we are currently raising funds to purchase a van to transport youth and the disabled to Sunday gatherings, special events, etc.  You can read more information just a few blogposts down and you can always click the "GIVE" option up top.  Thank you and God bless you, Pastor Scott 

Mother's Day at Coast

One of the best things you can do for Mom (wether she's with you or not) is to be at church. Living a life of purpose and fulfillment will make any mother beam with joy! We are going to celebrate our MOMs this Sunday with a special gathering at our new location and new time. We look forward to seeing you there! #‎mothersday #‎mothersdayventura #‎coastchurch #‎ccventura #‎belongbelievebecome #‎weloveventura #‎jesuslovesventura #‎mom #‎moms #‎momlife #‎christianmoms #‎faithhopelove #‎ventura #‎vta #805 #‎805community

BIG NEWS!!!

Two HUGE announcements happened yesterday at Coast (we hope you didn't miss it).  Starting May 8th, we will no longer be holding our Sunday Gathering at 4:00pm and we will no longer be meeting at 4300 Telegraph Rd. Ventura, CA.  We will be meeting at a new location and a new time.  Coast Church is getting ready for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we have been praying about and we're ready to see Jesus touch broken lives and put them back together.  If you're looking for purpose, a place to BELONG, BELIEVE, and BECOME...join us at our new location and let the future of your story begin.  Onward, upward.