LA Conference / Jeff Johnson Teaches

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Strong & Courageous: CCA Los Angeles Conference Exhorts Pastors to Boldness

Story by Trinity Grau and Jim Culhane
Photos by Keith Durflinger

“We fight in the spiritual plane, and we have victory!” exclaimed Jeff Johnson, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Downey, CA, to the those gathered at the CCA Los Angeles Pastors + Leaders Regional Conference in February 2022. The conference was hosted by CC Downey and led by Jeff and Calvary Chapel South Los Angeles (SOLA) Senior Pastor David Trujillo.

The messages shared during the two-day event exhorted church leaders and the body of Christ to take a stand in the face of a world that is growing increasingly hostile to the Gospel. Numerous guest speakers presented at the conference, with a focus on the importance of courage in coming years.


Here we present a summation of Jeff Johnson's opening teaching from Joshua Chapter 1. Look for more teachings in upcoming online stories.

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Pastor Matt Garcia leads worship at the CCA Los Angeles Pastors + Leaders Regional Conference in February.

Jeff Johnson Teaches: Joshua Chapter 1
Jeff Johnson is senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Downey, CA, and host of LA Conference 2022.

The Book of Joshua is about occupying until He [Jesus] comes—but it’s more than that. Joshua is about a new day, a new way. Pastor Jeff loves the verse in 1 Chronicles 12:32, which states how the sons of the tribe of Issachar understood the times.

We know the signs of His coming and they’re here, the End Days. Jeff read from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22, which lists what Christians are to do: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophecies, test all things and hold fast to what is good, abstain from every form of evil.

What we’re going to be looking at in the Book of Joshua is what’s happening today with us. It’s exciting because God is moving. There is great spiritual warfare—look at what is happening these days in our nation. In Ephesians 6, Paul makes sure we can fight spiritual warfare by putting on the whole armor of God to stand against the wiles of the devil.


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Jeff Johnson, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Downey, CA, welcomes pastors and leaders to the February conference. The theme of the event was “Strong & Courageous,” based on teachings from the Book of Joshua.


Joshua is about winning. Our commission is to follow Jesus and be about our Father’s business. Joshua is the soldier who beat the Amalekites, Israel’s ancient enemy who represents a type of the flesh. The first battle that needs to be dealt with is our own flesh. Joshua’s first lesson in warfare was learning that the battle is the Lord’s: We can, [with] eyes on Jesus, [experience] victorious Christian living. Moses brought the Law, which reveals sin. Thank God for the Law; without the Law I would never understand sin. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But the Law cannot give victory over sin. The Law is a revealer, not a redeemer. We have a sweet Redeemer, Jesus.

Moses had died, and God gave the leader's authority to Joshua. God prepared Joshua, who is a type of Jesus Christ. The Redeemer represents the cross, the blood, the resurrection, deliverance, salvation, victory over our enemy—and that’s what we need to hear today. We need to be like soldiers who are gathering to get pumped up and continue the fight.

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Hailey Garcia holds her 1-year-old daughter, Capri, as they enjoy watching their husband and father, Matt Garcia, lead worship.

Jesus is our rest, our place of overcoming the flesh. Many Christians fall short; it’s a struggle. When we receive Jesus, we receive all spiritual blessings, everything we need, with not one thing lacking. In following Jesus, it is just simple things you do. You get spiritually stronger and stronger.

In Numbers 32, we see that 2½ tribes stayed on one side of the Jordan, although they did cross the river to help the rest of Israel fight for the land. By Jesus’ time in Mark Chapter 5, Jesus and His disciples crossed to that side. The people there were settling for second best and raising pigs, which are unclean for Jews to eat. As application, Christian women who want to marry non-Christian men are settling for second best. We settle for second best so many times. When the people in that village came out, they told Jesus to get out. Settling for second best comes back to bite you—you could be sending your Savior away.

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Pastor Jeff Johnson (left) and his wife Karyn speak with Gilbert Urrea after the conference.

Pastor Jeff advised, “Don’t ever leave the Holy Spirit out of your life’s journey.” In Acts 19:2a, Paul asks, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  It’s time to enter the Holy Spirit-filled life of victory. First Corinthians 16:9 talks about many adversaries. We have them everywhere, trying to hit us from every position. But 1 John 4:4b declares, He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. Yes, there are dangers, toils and snares, stuff we never thought about that pop up. It’s not easy to be a Christian in a non-Christian world, but God gives us everything [we need] to do that. 

When there was sin in Israel’s camp, God totally removed it—and then there was victory. Joshua’s final exhortation to us in Joshua 1:8 is to be men and women of the Word. Speak It, meditate on It, obey It, get in It, and you’ll have great success. Ephesians 5:18 exhorts us not to be drunk with wine but rather filled with the Spirit. Jesus says that the words He speaks are Spirit and life. There’s nothing else we need.

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Men and women enjoy sweet times of worship at the CCA conference.

There’s been a lot of fear going around these last few years—people were frozen with fear. Joshua 1:9 says, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” We need to think on these things today more than ever. God’s love casts out all fear and He’s with us; the Holy Spirit comforts us. Jeff stated, “Our hope is victory through faith, just as Joshua [experienced]. We get set free from sin so that others can get set free. If you don’t have your mind set on that, you’re not going to see great things. … You’re going to be caught up in the world. You’re going to be a Christian who has enough of Jesus to be miserable instead of joyful in what you’re seeing God do in these Last Days.”

It all goes back to the Holy Spirit: If you’re lacking love or power, the answer is the Holy Spirit. If you’re fighting against the flesh, the world, and the devil, you’re going to be weary all your life. Jeff concluded, “We fight in the spiritual plane, and we have victory.”

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Jeff Johnson prepares, taking notes before speaking to the pastors and leaders. He started the conference, teaching from Joshua Chapter 1. Jeff exhorted the group to not be frozen by fear, citing Joshua 1:9:  “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” He reminded them that God’s love casts out all fear, He’s with us, and the Holy Spirit comforts us. “Our hope is victory through faith,” he stated.


Visit the website of Pastor Jeff Johnson's church at Calvary Chapel Downey
Watch Jeff Johnson's teaching on Joshua Chapter 1 in its entirety at: Jeff Johnson / CCA LA Conference 2022

Read more coverage of the conference in upcoming stories.


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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.