CCA Hawaii Conference / Pastor Teachings

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Watchmen Over God's Flock: CCA Hawaii Conference

Story by Trinity Grau and Jim Culhane
Photos by Tom Price

“Don’t we love the old normal?"

CC Honolulu’s call to action was a stirring cry after almost two years of the new “normal” under COVID-19 conditions for churches. Pastor Bud Stonebraker, son of Pastor Bill Stonebraker, challenged Calvary pastors to be bold in their commitment to pastorship over their flocks in their August conference entitled “Watchmen Over God’s Flock." Bud is the senior pastor of South Shore Christian Fellowship (also known as The Ranch Church) in Waimanalo, HI. Bill Stonebraker is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Honolulu.
                  

Follow Calvary Chapel Magazine as we publish summaries of pastors’ teachings at the CCA Pastors, Leaders, & Church Workers Conference held at Calvary Chapel Honolulu, HI.

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Pastor Bill Stonebraker of Calvary Chapel Honolulu, HI, greets Pastor Steve Santos of CC Westside in Maui, HI, at the CCA Pastors, Leaders, & Church Workers Conference in August. The conference, with the theme of “Watchmen Over God’s Flock”, was held at CC Honolulu.

The CCA Pastors, Leaders, & Church Workers Conference was held at Calvary Chapel Honolulu, HI, August 20-21. It began almost 30 years ago under the leadership of Pastor Chuck Smith and has continued since then with Pastor Bill’s guidance. This year’s conference was especially close to Bill’s heart, given all that had happened to the church within the last year and a half. With almost 600 in-person attendees and many more online viewers, the conference drew many who hungered for advice on how to lead their churches in this new age.

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People from the Hawaiian Calvary Chapels eagerly greet conference guests and embrace fellowship, happy to see each other after the long COVID-19 season.

“We never closed,” Pastor Bill confided. “We’ve had some of the lowest instances of COVID but some of the strictest mandates. When they told us to stop singing, we kept on singing.” CC Honolulu respectfully sent letters to local government officials telling them that their first duty was to God and that they would continue with the work that the Lord had imparted to them. The August conference was an opportunity to share with attendees how that same obedience had been worked out in other congregations. Pastor Ron Hindt of Calvary Houston, TX, started off the conference on a strong note, pulling from 2 Timothy to remind his audience of the role of a good servant.

CC Honolulu intends to keep following the Lord’s call to reach God’s children and to help the lost. Bill exhorted, “What I want pastors to understand and take away from this conference is that we are fighting a spiritual battle. The culture has become significantly more secular. We have a bigger battle to fight and now is not the time to back down. As pastors, we are called to have courage for the Lord.”

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“Aloha!” Bill Stonebraker welcomes visitors from the mainland, the Hawaiian Islands, and other ministry outposts to the conference. Fellowship among the churches is joyful, as trips between the islands often require long flights.

In addition to Ron Hindt and Bud Stonebraker, conference speakers included Jeff Johnson, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Downey, CA; Dave Johnston, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Conejo Valley in Newbury Park, CA; Jack Abeelen, senior pastor of Morning Star Christian Chapel in Whittier, CA; Tony Clark, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Newport News, VA; Lloyd Pulley, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ; Bryan Parish, lead pastor of Mission Calvary in Mission Viejo, CA; Ed Taylor, senior pastor of Calvary Church in Aurora, CO; Don McClure and his wife Jean of Calvary Way ministry; and Karyn Johnson, wife of Pastor Jeff Johnson.

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Ron Hindt, pastor of Calvary Houston, TX, teaches the first session at the conference. He spoke on “The Signs of the Times”, based on 2 Timothy 3:1-15.

Ron Hindt, senior pastor of Calvary Houston, TX

Pastor Ron chose the subject of “The Signs of the Times” to teach on 2 Timothy 3:1-15. Ron played a short video clip of a sheep caught in a ditch, which was freed by people, and then ran away and fell into the same ditch further on. He remarked, “You pour your heart into the ministry. You’re there for the people. You feed them, you care for them, you nurture them, you pick them up, you clean them up, then they go right back to where they were.”

Ron stated that this last year and a half has been very challenging for pastors.

Referring to verses 1-9 as a “perilous departure”, Ron listed the many characteristics of the Last Days. He shared that the times are going to get worse. People are encouraged to be lovers of themselves, even by some pastors. We are already lovers of ourselves. We are lovers of money. Our children are taught to brag, exaggerate, be proud, blaspheme, lie about God, and be disobedient to authority including parents and police. Being unthankful, ungrateful, and feeling entitled has crept into the church.

Some people flaunt their unholiness, their separation from God. The world says to love yourself, but this leads to becoming unloving to others, unforgiving, and has many life-altering affects: wayward friendships, divorce, loss of friendships, and unforgiveness even between Christians. Satan is the father of lies, creating slander in our hearts. Some U.S. cities showed in 2020 how people became brute beasts who lacked self-control, taking advantage of others, and even murdering.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil. Isaiah 5:20

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Ron Hindt’s teaching is illuminated by a backdrop listing nine ways the leaders could be “watchmen on the walls” during our perilous times.

Ron mentioned the remaining moral defects described in the rest of the verses: headstrong, haughty, traitorous actions, being lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the form of godliness without power. People are bringing these traits into church. Paul told Timothy to turn away from people who have a form of godliness but deny its power. We have false teachers and fake Christians—some may be in the pulpit. But this will eventually work its way out when God judges.

                  

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Ron described verse 10 as a “precious example” concerning Timothy, who followed Paul’s example. Paul met Timothy on the first missionary journey and took him along on the second journey. Timothy led a virtuous Christian life and witnessed Paul’s sound teachings and doctrine. He saw the pattern of Paul’s life. Imagine being Timothy and seeing the faith in that guy, Paul! Our lives need to match our lips. Our witness needs to match our living.

Ron was thankful for pastors who have served for 40 or 50 years and whose lives match their teachings. Some pastors in his area shut down their churches immediately for COVID-19 when they didn’t have to. A lot of the sheep panicked, but Ron saw pastors panic too. God is faithful, trust the Lord. Have faith over fear. People need to see our trust in God. Paul added another element: longsuffering, meaning “long-fused”, not losing one’s temper. God wants us to remain firm when dealing with difficult situations and people. God loves with the agape love of unconditionally loving others.

If we’re to make an impact in these perilous times, we need to do the same thing Paul told Timothy to do. What was Paul’s passion? To know Christ and to make Him known. Our purpose should be to be a watchman, be people of faith.

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CC Honolulu Assistant Pastor Kerry Taylor (left) greets attendees as they arrive at the conference.

People need to see perseverance in their pastors and overseers. Paul shared the Gospel; he could have given up. Paul was persecuted from the time of his conversion until the end of his life. Timothy may have been beheaded a few weeks later. Ron advised, “Get ready. Perilous times are coming—that could be your life.” Paul had bad eyesight and a “thorn” in his side, suffered and was wounded from torture, but his eyes were on the prize. He wrote: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Current events have caused us to experience heightened alertness. “People living in other countries in far more horrible governments are just fine, and they’re going through worse things,” Ron stated. In Cuba, underground churches are thriving. Pray for Afghanistan. The Church at the time of Paul, under Roman domination, flourished. Ron counseled, “No matter what we’re going to face, we can do it with the help of God. My Savior is faithful. It might be [considered] hate language what I preach on Sunday mornings, then I’ll have a prison ministry. Going to prison is OK, rotate the pulpit.”

Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it.” Jeremiah 6:16

Pastor Ron listed nine things for us to do: teach the Word of God, live a godly life, tell people about Jesus, live by faith, be longsuffering, love others, persevere, be willing to receive affliction, and see that persecution is a reality. He shared, “Keep our eyes on the prize, and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

                  

Click for more information about Calvary Houston
                  

Follow Calvary Chapel Magazine as we publish summaries of pastors’ teachings at the CCA Pastors, Leaders, & Church Workers Conference held at Calvary Chapel Honolulu, HI.
                  

Mark your calendar for the 2022 CCA Hawaii Conference: August 19-21 at Calvary Chapel Honolulu.

                  

 

(To learn more about Calvary Chapel University, visit their website or read our past coverage on the school)

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All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2022 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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