Must See: A Calming Word from Joni During Coronavirus … and more!

A Calming Word from Joni During the Coronavirus

Hey TD!

It was great to “hangout” with you all during our first “Virtual TD” hangout last night. I particularly enjoyed the extra hour I got to personally spend with those who hung out for the post-TD discussion, almost half of you.

During this time of quarantine, we will be utilizing this blog more frequently to provide you encouraging, stimulating, and ENJOYable resources to strengthen and equip you to help turn this Coronavirus lemon into lemonade!

As Cassie shared last night, this is an opportunity for us put God back in His rightful place in our lives, and get our lives properly  realigned … because honestly, we’re all just too busy.  As I said last night, sure, the things we may be doing may be “good,” but good is the enemy of BEST.  Let’s use this to either get back to BEST practices or to learn BEST practices for living.

Please watch the VERY encouraging video above from our dear friend and hero, Joni Eareckson Tada, to begin the work of getting back to the right place in your heart and mind.

Looking forward to being with you all next Friday for our next Virtual TD meeting.

We’ll continue to work on making our time better, so if you have any suggestions, please let your small group leaders know!

In the meanwhile, here are a couple of fun V4V videos, one from V4V weekend and one from our visit with Joni in 2013 (the top V4V fund raisers).  You’ll see some current adults in their TD years (always a fun thing!):

2013 V4V Lunch with Joni

2020 V4V – Humming Worship

– Arthur

“Offerings 8” Pics & Videos



Hey TD!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families! Click on the link below to view pics and videos from A TD Thanksgiving feat. Offerings 8 and Sandra’s 60th birthday, courtesy of Peter. Thanks Peter! (apologies if your pic didn’t get in)

Offerings 8

TD Orientation This Fri. (Pre-TD Party @7:15)/Sights and Sounds of the TD Kick-Off

’17 – ’18 TD Kickoff – Hanging Out

’17 – ’18 TD Kickoff Worship

Hey TD!

What a great time we had at the TD Kick-Off! The energy was amazing as seen in the videos above! Daniel’s message to us, “Getting a Real Education,” (mp3) was “lights out” as one described it. Click to listen for yourself!

TD Kickoff

We aim to keep building on that energy this week as we’ll open TD’s doors and explore the nuts and bolts of TD’s various ministries and opportunities, and how you can experience life-change through them.  We’ll explore the engineering of TD, how we do what we do and why we do it the way we do.  You’ll not only hear our vision, but will have the chance to interact with it, as we have a meaningful Q & A time with various TD leaders.

But before the TD Orientation will be our Pre-TD Party at 7:15 in the TD room!  Come play games, hang out, and have some fun before TD starts!

Before you come to TD this Friday, get familiar with Daniel’s message above to put in the first building block of the year.

See you all Friday! – Arthur

September 2017

9/8 – TD Kick-Off at the Hsiehs’

9/15 – TD Orientation

9/22 – Small Groups

9/29 – TD Open House (aka Parent Nite)

9/30 – SOS Saturday

Make TD a priority this year and see God work in your life and world! – Arthur

Let’s Stop the “Christianese”!


Hey TD!

As I was reading Joshua 13 last week, my heart was gripped, my eyes riveted to the sentence, and my soul stunned when I reached the last verse.  This chapter is in the middle of God leading Israel’s conquering of lands, which He wants to give to them as an inheritance.  Here, He instructs Joshua, “Be sure to allocate this land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have instructed you, and divide it as an inheritance among the nine tribes and half of the tribe of Manasseh.”

The passage then proceeds to list in detail all the areas that God had given the other half of the tribe of Manasseh – “This is what Moses had given to the tribe of Gad … The territory of Jazer, all the towns of Gilead and half the Ammonite country as far as Aroer, near Rabbah; and from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpah and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir …. etc. (you get the point).  It keeps going on and on about which tribes got which lands.

And then the chapter ends with this, “But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.”  I’ve read this before, of course, but I didn’t see this coming this time.  I was stunned and  floored afresh.  They got no inheritance.  God was their inheritance.  Wow.

I’ve read this before, of course, but I didn’t see this coming this time.  I was stunned and  floored afresh.

As a worship leader at MBCLA since the ’80’s, I have poured through and sung decades’ worth of worship songs (formerly known as praise songs).  I have experienced their textual, musical, and stylistic evolution.  At any given time in a day, Sandra or I (sometimes Sandra AND I) will spontaneously break out some chorus of some song from the 5 decades of Christian worship music we’re familiar with.

One thing that I always wrestle with is this: Is this true?  In my life and in the lives of those I’m leading to sing these songs, is this true?  God warns us to let our yes be yes and our no be no, and that every word that proceeds from our mouths will be judged.  In dealing with the upstanding good church goers in His day, Jesus commented, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship Me in vain …” (Matt. 15) O, Lord, is this me?

So, when I sing certain lyrics, I begin to tighten up inside and cringe, struggling with whether I can actually and honestly sing these words:

“Rich or poor, God I want You more

Than anything that glitters in this world

Be my all, all consuming fire

You can have all my hands can hold

My heart, mind, strength and soul

Be my all, all consuming fire


We have all we need in You

And all we need is You

All we need is You”



“You are my strength when I am weak

You are the treasure that I seek

You are my All in all.”



“All of You is more than enough for

All of me, for every thirst and every need

You satisfy me with your love

And all I have in You is more than enough


More than all I want, more than all I need

You are more than enough for me”


If I’m going to sing these words, then I MUST honor them and live them out.  They MUST become reality in my heart, “for from the heart flow the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23)  They MUST for you too.  May it NOT be said of us, “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are (actually) far from me.”

Unfortunately, what all too often emerges, when we’ve gone to church for a long time without really letting God do the hard heart work in our lives, is that we end up developing a church culture of our own that we feel comfortable in – with church friends, doing “clean” things, etc.  We go to church together, go to fellowship and SS together, give the right answers, confess our struggles, share “honestly” and “vulnerably,” pray with one another, study Scripture together, and … sing worship songs together … songs that challenge, declare, and promise things to the Lord that most of us have never declared and promised in our regular speech; because we can’t.  We’d be lying.

It’s as if music changes our ethics and gives us permission to lie and make false promises

It’s as if music changes our ethics and gives us permission to lie and make false promises that we not only break immediately, but that we plan to break in a few hours.  And because our “good Christian friends” also do it, we rationalize that it’s ok, that we’re ok.  Or … we know it’s not ok, but we continue on anyway.  That’s what I call “churchianity.”  It’s playing church, speaking churchy language that I call “Christianese” – a language that has all the correct form, correct doctrine, and even correct biblical language … but is missing the creative, active, thoughtful, action-invoking life, timing, work,  integrity, and spirit of God.

Are You Ready to Take Action?

Are you fluent in speaking “Christianese”?  What do you think God hears from you when you sing

Christ is enough for me, Christ is enough for me

Everything I need is in You, Everything I need


I have decided to follow Jesus,

No turning back, no turning back”?

Is it a declaration that you will do everything in your power to bring your life in alignment with?  Or is it “Christianese”?  Will you surrender your dreams, desires, plans, and future to Him and give Him a chance to actually fulfill His dreams for you?  The reasons for which He made you?  Will you let your yes be yes?  Will you pledge to work with the Holy Spirit to do whatever it takes for Him to be your All in all? To begin the business of transferring full control over your life and future to Him?  And to take the necessary steps (as tough as they may be) to make that a reality?

Can you dare to dream with me?  What would your life look like if the Holy Spirit was in control of it?  How would it look different?  What if honoring Him was your actual desire and passion each moment of each day?  How would things change daily for you?

I encourage you to carve out some time to soberly and honestly weigh these questions out before God.  Everything depends on it.  Then take action and begin making the necessary adjustments in each area of your life to be consistent with the Truth.  I recommend asking a trusted mentor-type to come walk along side you in support and accountability.

“But to the tribe of Levi, Moses had given no inheritance; the LORD, the God of Israel, is their inheritance, as he promised them.”  Amen and amen. You are everything, Lord.

– Arthur


Andy’s Speech at Ignition ’15



Hey TD!

Here’s Andy’s Youth Speakers Tournament winning speech, “If God Knows Everything, Is Prayer Really Important?” before 1,500 students at the California Southern Baptist Youth conference, Ignition, in Sacramento (our state capital!).  It’s an important question that Andy addresses well.

Here’s Travis Ryan leading the audience in worshiping God with “Good Good Father.”

Megan’s Speech at Ignition ’15

Hey TD!

Greetings from Sacramento! Megan gave her Youth Speakers Tournament winning speech, “What 1 Peter 1:6-7 Means to Me,” this morning at the California So. Baptist Convention youth conference, Ignition, before 1,500 students.  It was terrific. Check it out!

Here’s a little bonus footage of Some of your TD interns worshipping our Lord in song:

A Sign of Hope For Our Country

Hey TD,

If you keep up with the news, there is much to get discouraged about, from the decline of public moral standards, to increasing evil both abroad and locally, to news from our government, to … war.  It has been said that no one really wins in war, because there is just so much loss, devastation, carnage, and … pain.

No matter your stance on geo-political affairs, you have to give a certain amount of respect and appreciation for our soldiers, who, every time they are deployed for duty, never know if they will be returning to their families.  Every mission could be their last.

That’s why my eyes watered and my heart swelled with solemnity and hope when I watched the following video last week of some of our Marines worshipping our God with vigor.  Maybe yours will too.  Please say a prayer for our troops and their families after watching. – Arthur

“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6