David Trujillo Teaches / LA Conference

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Remembering God’s Ways: Turning Trials into Trails

Story by Jim Culhane
Photos by Keith Durflinger

Earlier this year, many gathered at the Calvary Chapel Association's Los Angeles Pastors + Leaders Regional Conference at Calvary Chapel Downey, CA. The theme of the two-day event was “Strong & Courageous”, based on Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”


Here we present a summation of David Trujillo's teaching on Joshua 4, which highlights the importance of recalling what God has done in the past—through His Word and our life experiences—when we go through trials. David is senior pastor of Calvary Chapel South Los Angeles (SOLA), CA.


Now the people came up from the Jordan …, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Joshua 4:19-20

Pastor David focused on Joshua 4:19-24, talking about the memorial stones of Gilgal that were set up after Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry land. God uses “Jordan Rivers” in our lives to prepare us for what’s ahead. God [knew] that His people had to cross the Jordan to face the Jericho that [was] before them. “There’s a trial that He’s setting before them. God’s not going to give them a way out,” revealed David. “[He’s] going to give them instructions; and if they follow the instructions, they will come out of it successfully—matured and closer to God.”

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Pastor David Trujillo of Calvary Chapel SOLA, CA, teaches at the CCA Los Angeles Pastors + Leaders Regional Conference held earlier this year. The theme of the event, based on Joshua 1:9, was “Strong & Courageous”. His message, taken from Joshua 4:19-24, compared the Israelites crossing the Jordan River to trials in our lives. “There’s a trial that He’s setting before them. … [He’s] going to give them instructions; and if they follow the instructions, they will come out of it successfully—matured and closer to God,” he revealed.

As we walk with and serve God, we are making memories of His faithfulness. At some points, we need to revisit those memories, especially when we get discouraged, spiritually weakened, or start to doubt. When we begin to see trials and problems come our way, we start to doubt and get discouraged.

In ministry, some people are going to hurt you or get nasty—or question everything you do. It hurts a lot. You need to be encouraged in God’s Word and allow Him to turn the trials in your lives into trails. God wants you to know that if you allow Him to work through you, great things will take place.

God gives us instructions on how to run the ministry. If we compromise, water it down, or make it our way, sooner or later we will find ourselves no longer doing the work of God—so do it His way. Stick to the Bible to know what God wants. David’s pastor in South L.A. told him to always read 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. Stay qualified.

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Arturo Gutierrez, of The Gutierrez Brothers, leads the outdoor audience in worshipful praise to the Lord during the two-day event.

In Joshua 4:19, the people crossed the Jordan successfully and camped at Gilgal. “It was only appropriate for them to set up this memorial that [would] remind them of God’s great work and power as they prepare[d] for the next task,” explained David. You know how God is going to act in the future because you have seen how He acted in the past. You can trust the Lord.

Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4: 21-24

Every accomplished work through us is because of God and only Him. David declared, “Without Him working through His Word and His Spirit, [we’ve] got nothing and we’ll go nowhere.” Be obedient to the Word of God and watch God do the rest. In the Book of Acts, we learn that it was God who added people to the Church. 

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Pastor David Trujillo and his wife Sonia enthusiastically engage Pastor Chad Naaktgeboren during a live stream interview. “God wants us to be honest,” said David. “If you’re honest with the Lord, God will work in you in ways that will blow your mind away.”

It’s important to build memories with the Lord; to experience the power of God in your life; to have those memorials that bring you back to remembrance of the faithfulness of God. Many of us haven’t experienced God’s will because we chicken out. David asked, “Do you know how many times I left a situation feeling discouraged because I let God down, because I didn’t allow God to manifest His power through me?”

He related how he prayed for a crippled boy in Haiti but wouldn’t pray for his healing, though he had felt God telling him to do so. David then prayed, “God, forgive me.” He felt that God had already forgiven him but wanted him to know where he stood. “God wants us to be honest,” said David. “If you’re honest with the Lord, God will work in you in ways that will blow your mind away.”

But we need to walk in obedience. As we see God manifest His power, our faith will increase. God wants to take us on an adventure with Him. Every trial, every battle is an opportunity to see God work. One of the things David loves about Calvary Chapel was the Venture of Faith teaching by founder Chuck Smith. He watched the Harvest video and began to experience the Lord.


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Baily Arias (front, in black jacket), head cheer coach at Calvary Chapel Christian School in Downey, receives encouraging prayer from fellow believers at the conference.

David began to pray for people to be healed. He told the story of when he was asked by the parents to pray for a little girl in a children’s hospital. He felt the Lord saying to tell them that everything would be OK, and he did. The doctors said she wouldn’t make it, but as David was driving away he got a call that she had opened her eyes. Every few minutes, she was better. Finally, the little girl was breathing on her own. And later, the girl herself got on the phone to say, “I heard your voice. Thank you for praying for me.” David was excited.

It’s good to have a journal. Once when David was in Haiti, people asked him to pray for rain, and it came. When this happened a second time, David recorded a video. When he gets discouraged, he views the video. Memorials can be people that you invested your time in, seeing them mature and grow in their love for Jesus. Other peoples’ lives can inspire and encourage you. However, the surest reminder of God’s faithfulness is the Bible. If you don’t read the Old Testament stories, you’re missing out. David gets excited when he reads about Elijah. If you want to leave something for your congregation, the next generation, give them the Word of God.

In Joshua Chapter 4, those 12 men had heavy stones to carry, but they knew how important it was to create a memorial. It’s important for us today to carry the Word of God—not water it down. When we realize its value and how much we will need it in our future, we will carry it forward at any cost.

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Jose Trujillo (right) prays with a church leader at the CCA LA Regional Pastors + Leaders Conference at Calvary Chapel Downey. The theme of the conference, “Strong & Courageous”, as seen in the background, was a constant reminder for those in attendance.


Visit the website of Pastor David Trujillo's church: Calvary Chapel South Los Angeles
Watch David Trujillo's teaching on Joshua Chapter 4 in its entirety at: David Trujillo / CCA LA Conference 2022

Follow summaries of pastors' teachings at the 2022 LA Pastors + Leaders Conference:
Jeff Johnson, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Downey, CA
Art Reyes, teaching pastor at Calvary Chapel Downey, CA
Jerel Hagerman, senior pastor of Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel in Yucca Valley, CA
Ray Loo, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Santa Fe Springs, CA


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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.