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    New Life Pastor Steve Abraham: Essential Business— “I need an upgrade!”

    By Michael Hernandez

    OXNARD—“I need an upgrade this Pentecost Sunday,” said Pastor Steve Abraham to a re-opened New Life Community Church.  “Pentecost came 50 days after Passover” (the observance of the death angels sparing families in which blood had been placed on the doorpost). This is a new beginning. We haven’t had church in 10 weeks. We celebrate the person and power of the Holy Spirit. This is a new beginning for our church, for you, and your family.”

    <span> <span style=font family helvetica arial sans serif>Youth Pastor Ryan and Young Adults Pastor Josh welcome congregants back to church Photo Michael HernandezCitizensJournalus<span>

    Pastor Abraham opened the worship service by saying:  “Forty million Americans have lost their jobs. We have people in our church that have lost their jobs. Yet, we are still feeding a couple hundred people each Thursday.

    “These are volatile times. People have been sick because of this pandemic. Our county has been affected as well as other places in the state. My heart bleeds for the George Floyd family; for African Americans who have lost loved ones. I am bleeding for our country. We need Jesus.”

    <span> <span style=font family helvetica arial sans serif>New Life Pastor Steve Abraham Photo Michael HernandezCitizensJournalus<span>

    Pastor Abraham shared a two-point message:

    1. Our mission is impossible without the Holy Spirit: On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5).

    According to Pastor Abraham, there are three baptisms:

    • “We are all baptized into one body, one spirit, one church” (1 Cor. 12:13);
    • “We are baptized into water” (Matthew 28:19);
    • “We are baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-8);

    But there are two extremes within the church about the Holy Spirit:

    • The Holy Spirit is under-emphasized. “These people rarely talk about the Holy Spirit”; and
    •  The Holy Spirit is over-emphasized: “These people only talk about the Holy Spirit.

    “Most Christians fall under the first extreme and need an upgrade!”

    1. Our mission is to witness not to wonder:  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

    “Our mission to witness is in Oxnard, Ventura County, California and to the ends of the world.  It is cool to witness, to do witnessing but our mission is to be a witness to the return of Jesus. We have hope in Jesus as a witness. We are to go and be His witness. But this is impossible without the Holy Spirit.

    “We need the Holy Spirit. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit.”

    <span> <span style=font family helvetica arial sans serif>Exuberant worship fills the New Life sanctuary on Pentecost Sunday<span>

     


    Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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