Monday, June 30, 2008

Don't Miss This!

California Pizza Kitchen is officially coming to Albuquerque--a definite upgrade. This place will be the new hot spot for brick oven pizza and killer salads. Let me just say it's a great menu. CPK will open (slated for August) to very enthusiastic Heitzig family! We're all stoked!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer Snow

One of the striking features of summer in the Rio Grande Valley are the giant cottonwood trees. But these gnarly trunks and spacious branches yield a pleasant surprise--snow! Well not really, that's what it looks like to out on a walk or bike ride during the day. These cottonwood seeds dance in the summer sun and blow everywhere. Today as I was preparing the weekend message about heaven I thought of something Jesus said, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8). This verse comes alive when the cottonwood seeds are in the air. They swirl and swim in every direction indicating the presence of wind. You can see the wind's effect and hear it as it goes by. All these millions of tiny "growth possibilities" tell the world that the wind is on the move. I have been so grateful for the move of God's Holy Spirit lately: I've seen so many come to Christ in the last few weeks. I've seen and heard of God renewing His work deep into the hearts of several people I know who are no longer satisfied with a mediocre Christian experience. Thank-you, Lord for the fresh wind of Your Spirit blowing life in every direction!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Out of the mouth of babes..."

Right now Dave Row is standing over my shoulder as I write this with his arms folded and his cool glasses reflecting the bright outdoor light on a hot summer in New Mexico. We're talking about the "Kid's Games" which is taking place all this week on our church campus. Over 450 kids and 100 volunteers converge daily to play, to pray and have a blast. Dave thinks the unique aspect of these games is the many options for the kids. His son, Hudson is enrolled in a Karate course this week. Other kids play soccer or basketball. There is even a Kid's Olympics. I personally love all the noise these kids make when the worship--they make it FUN!

Great Summer Read

I met Sean McDowell a couple of years ago when I asked his dad, Josh McDowell to talk to the church about godly families. What a great evening to have Sean and his mom and dad share about life at the McDowell home and how Christian principles were infused there. I was especially impressed at how Sean could so clearly articulate truth principles. His passion, especially for his generation is remarkable and needful. This book "Ethix: Being Bold in a Whatever World" is targeted at youth and is designed to equip them in a world of moral relativism. I'm enjoying this read and learning a great deal from the next generation of McDowells! 

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mike MacIntosh

Mike has been a good friend for many, many years, offering encouragement and advice through several episodes of ministry. I've looked up to him as a big brother in the faith. His gift is unique, as he is "in the now"--a sort of prophetic gifting that speaks to the audience at that particular moment. He has taught me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading. His humble approach is a real example to me and his friendship is real. Mike retold the story of Ruth and how God can reach into any difficult, dysfunctional family and change it--perfect message for us tonight. Thanks, Mike!

Charlie Hall Brings the Joy

The men's rally at Calvary drew 3000 men to hear great music and a
poingnant message from Mike MacIntosh this evening. The weather started out looking like rain. I mean it blew in fast and furious and gave those guys who brought their vintage cars a heads up that He's really the One in charge of their shiny, waxed-up paint-jobs! I was a beautiful night--men reconnecting with each other, men praying together, confessing needs to each other and serving one another--fabulous! There is such life in this fellowship--abundant life. Charlie Hall shared with us in a very transparent way of how the last two years of his life were "a mess". He alluded to things that happened to him by others, things he didn't do directly but happened nonetheless--not sure what that was exactly but a lot of us can relate. Then he sang a sweet but powerful tune and had us sing it in anthem along with him; "Sweet Jesus Christ, my sanity! Sweet Jesus Christ, my clarity!" He said that those two thoughts translated into prayer helped sustain him through his boxing match with suffering. Great stuff.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I hate bowling...(or so I thought)

I never enjoyed bowling--ever! All the attempts to get me to like it have ended in failure. I even used to say, "I'd rather stay home and do laundry than go bowling!" Why the distaste for one of America's favorite pastimes? Perhaps it was the one really bad experience I had when I was younger, growing up in Southern California. One fine summer evening I arrived at the Victor Bowl with a few friends  for a night of bowling. I thought I'd give it a try, having never done it before with my family (we were all golfers). Out in the parking lot I noticed a Honda 550 in-line-four motorcycle and I thought at the time how nice and new it looked--very cool for the era. I then quickly found out that it belonged to Roy Rogers--yes THE Roy Rogers of television fame--he lived not far from me. But that's when the shock came. Inside the doors of the Bowling Alley lay my childhood hero, on the floor--in a drunken stupor! He rode his iron-horse to the local bowling alley saloon and had one too many drinks at the bar (and what bartender is going to say no to the guy who a drink named after him!?). I had to help get him off the floor and make sure he didn't try to start his motorcycle to ride it. Now, years later Roy was changed by the power of the gospel and he received Christ. But at the time neither Roy Rogers nor Skip Heitzig were saved! This did, however, have an emotionally jolting effect in my life--one which I will never forget. I decided bowling and I were not to be friends--EVER-er-er!!!!!!
That is until last night. Lenya and myself along with Nate (my son) and Janae (his fiance) all went to the local bowling alley, which was almost totally vacant. But I have to say  that I honestly loved it. It was probably because of the great company I was with and the fact that no one cared much about the score--it was just pure fun. So now my perspective has changed and I think I could love doing this more often. Oh, and yes, I still love Roy Rogers!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Marty Goetz--Modern Day Psalmist

Marty calls himself a "Psalm-Singer." He sings both in Hebrew and in English and has such a way as to moves one's soul. Marty's songs are almost always scriptures that are set to music and audiences everywhere are uplifted. This weekend at Calvary was no exception. Mary played for all four services at Calvary of Albuquerque and moved us all into the presence of God. Although filled with Hebraic flavor and ancient melody, even younger modern ears never fail to be delighted by his gift of song. Every year at the Cove (The Billy Graham Training Center) in Asheville, North Carolina, Marty plays his music for my teaching sessions and does an evening concert for a rapt audience. I've known Marty Goetz for over twenty years and have always enjoyed his songs, his humor, wit and insights into scripture. After church on this warm Father's Day, I barbecued some steaks for the family and Marty played for us on my piano, "Beauty and the Beast" redone in the way only Marty can do. 

Friday, June 13, 2008

27 Years Together!

Twenty Seven years ago, today, Lenya and I were married on a warm afternoon in Southern California. I was a nervous groom and my shoes were too small, almost cutting circulation to my feet. But Lenya's beauty overshadowed any negatives. She was just stunning. In ancient times at Jewish weddings, the groom and his party traveled to the house of the bride. When he arrived, he announced, "Ah, my beloved, you were set apart for me from the beginning of the world!" I have always felt (and still do) that Lenya was set apart for me by God. She has done more to enrich my life than any other human being alive. I am complete...and stoked!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Honor Your Father

I was thinking about Father's Day (coming up Sunday if you've forgotten!) and I was thinking about my own dad (yes that's he and mom on their wedding day a LONG time ago). I was thinking about what it means to honor mother and father. For me, both are gone now but as I reflect back on what I learned from them, I realize I CAN honor them still not just by a wistful memory but by an active application of the things they taught me. Dad, for example, passed down to me a good, honest work ethic--how that a job worth doing was worth doing well. He instilled in us boys the thought that God made us in His image as unique individuals and that we could do anything we set our minds to (in the will of God, of course). He gave me a love for communication and encouraged us to notice how well Billy Graham spoke (which eventually brought me to Christ). Dad's example and lessons still linger with me to this day and I appreciate them even now. I think Father's Day will be an excellent time for you to tell you dad SPECIFICALLY what you appreciate about him and how his life has made yours a better one. AS you honor your father here on earth, it will please your Father in heaven!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Jesus, Friend of Little Children

Yesterday I spoke out of Matt 19, how Jesus loved children and spoke of them in relationship to the Kingdom of Heaven. We've been doing a series called, "From the Edge of Eternity" and yesterday covered the issue of what happens to babies when they die. It was a day that brought healing to so many who'd lost babies either after birth or during pregnancy. I love how clear and concise the Scriptures are to give us light into all the darkened corners of our lives. The flock at Calvary Albuquerque is so responsive and energetic--they love the Word and thus it's sheer joy to minister to them.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I don't think Joey Belville is normally accident prone but yesterday he was. Riding his bicycle to the church to set up for Jimmy Needham's concert at "Sunday in the Park" he applied his front brake way too much. But Joey didn't seem to flinch; instead, he "took it on the chin."

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Boat Race

Finally the boats came--mostly kayaks and a few canoes. Not many rafts were included (unless they're just so slow that they'll follow in an hour or so). Epic weather and everyone in the boats donned a huge smile!

Winston' View

Lenya, Winston and I took a nice little walk in the clear Albuquerque sunlight to the Rio Grande River to scope out the boats that were slated to race from Alameda Bridge south a few miles. Beautiful morning! I was reading earlier of Jesus' conflict with the Pharisees who were always seeing something wrong with His ministry. His bold claim was, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life." (John 8:12). As you follow Jesus, the clearer will b the view!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Another year...a bright future

The 2008 Pastor's Conference for Calvary Chapels ends. One of the greatest things to experience at the conferences is the dynamic of new and exciting growth. All around the world, these pastors are marching forward to change communities and nations. With a simple trust in the veracity of scripture, a strong sense of calling from God and a reliance upon the Holy Spirit churches are being planted, missionaries sent out and the Kingdom of God expanded. One of the most encouraging signs of life are the number of young pastors in their twenties and thirties who are going out. I love sensing the thrill of adventure in so many of these men and these conferences serve to stoke the fires of those whose adventuresome obedience has waned a bit.

Here's a Thought from Andrew Murray

A friend of mine, Mike Finizio pastors in downtown New York City. He gave me a book at the conference by Andrew Murray, Holy in Christ. Here's an excerpt, 

"There is nothing that has such an attraction for God, that has such affinity for holiness, as a contrite and humble spirit. The reason is evident. There is no law in the natural and spiritual world more simple than that two bodies cannot at the same moment occupy the same space. Only so much as the new occupant can expel of what the space was filled with can it really possess.. In man, self has possession, and self-will the mastery, and there is no room for God. It is impossible for God to dwell or rule when self is on the throne. As long as through the blinding influence of sin and self-love,, even the believer is not truly conscious of the extent to which this self-will reigns, there can be no true contrition or humility." 

Great morning thoughts--to last through the day!


Conferences can be a two-edged sword. On one hand they can be an overload of information and speaking sessions. On the other hand they can be very encouraging with great fellowship, honest conversation and prayer from fellow spiritual-warriors. This conference is no exception to the above. The conference is a bit long (I'd prefer three days max rather than four).
Tonight we heard from Dr. Norm Geisler--EXCELLENT! I've love his books and I appreciate his clear, cogent and deeply biblical explanation of the emergent church. He was engaging and fun while presenting a very serious subject. Rather just an ad hominem attack on leaders, Norm dealt with core beliefs and doctrinal aberration. Loved it!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Young Padawan

Levi grew up in our church in Albuquerque. He was always a spiritual sponge, soaking up everything he could, greatly desiring to learn about the things of God. After serving as youth pastor both in Albuquerque and in California, he now lives in Montana where he pastors a growing flock. Levi brought devotions at the pastor's conference today. Excellent!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A pioneer

KP Yohannan has served his native India by training men and women in
Asia's largest seminary as well as numerous training centers. KP is a
good friend and confidant.

My father in the faith

Second day at our conference. Hangin' out with pastor Chuck Smith. I
love this man and his love for God. He has faithfully taught the
Scriptures for fifty years. He's a friend and mentor. What an

Monday, June 2, 2008

A nice ride

This is a 1942 Harley Davidson WLA flathead that a friend gave me several years ago and is now running like a champ! (Well, pretty much like a champ, but hey, it's old!) When I got the bike it looked great cosmetically but it had no engine or tranny guts. After a rebuild and constant TLC, it's roadworthy once again after 66 years! Its like going back in time to ride it around town. Thanks Paul, I often pray for you when I'm out on this baby.

Don is Out!

Don McLure is out of the institution for one day only! 

hanging with buds

Here is a random crew...but God uses the "foolish things!" Today is the first day of the Calvary Pastor's Conference in Murrieta Hot Springs in California. From far left: Bob Coy from Fort Lauderdale, Levi Lusko of Fresh Life Church in Kalispell, Montana, Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and next to me is Pedro Garcia from Miami Beach--great friends and co-laborers in the gospel!