Who Has a Global Phokos (Focus)? An Interview with Phokos Founder Corey Fifield

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Global Phokos is a dynamic ministry that is unique, unlike almost any other ministry Podcast Seminary knows of. Not only does it lead ministries of evangelism and discipleship around the world, but it specifically provides housing to godly men who commit their time to doing evangelism and ministry. It’s a dynamic vision, and this is an interview you must hear. Then, after listening, take time to learn more about the ministry of Global Phokos and founder, Corey Fifield. Then, after listening to the podcast, like and learn about Corey’s vision on the Phokos Facebook page.



Click Play to Listen to Corey’s Interview


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Tom's Story

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WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
By the time I was 17 I had moved nineteen times. This pattern of inconsistency and uncertainty, coupled with mental illness, and without God had me living a life filled with everything the world said would complete me.
Four years in the U.S. Air Force followed by four years in a fraternity at San Diego State University led me down a road of self-destruction that should have killed me.
I accepted the Lord in 1989 and expected things to turn around. It didn’t. I can’t tell you why. It just wasn’t my time. God had other things in mind.
A brief stay in a mental hospital, followed by years of struggling to be normal was my life. It wasn’t until five years ago when I moved back to Irvine to take care of my Mom and Step-dad, that the light shined through and my understanding of life cleared.


WHAT BECAME THE TURNING POINT IN YOUR LIFE AS A DISCIPLE?
The most prolific event that happened was joining Saddleback church. I’ve been involved in some great churches but Pastor Rick Warren has built such a strong, solid church that ministers to a copious amount of ministries all across the world.
It was soon after joining I volunteered to be a leader at a junior-high camp. And the rest is history.
I’ve been four years with the same group of young men and my past has been something I share with these boys to put fear into them, but also to share that God has something much better for them, if obedient.
During these past five years, I’ve also written three books, which has been cathartic and exciting.


HOW MIGHT GOD USE PODCAST SEMINARY IN PEOPLE’S LIVES?
Three years ago, I met Freddy Cardoza at a Saddleback Church Men’s Retreat. We immediately hit it off and have become good friends.
His creation of Podcast Seminary has been nothing short of a miracle. Getting more of a behind the scenes view of this amazing site, I can say without a doubt that God is all over it. The amount of time he has given to creating something people would truly accept and use is humbling.
My hope is that people that are looking for an anchor in these trying times will use Podcast Seminary to help find their way.


Our thanks to Tom Bruner from Irvine, California for telling his story. Is God working in your life? Has Podcast Seminary challenged you to grow in your faith and relationship with God? If so, we encourage you to share your story with us as well! Simply email us!


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Visit BrunersBreak

– The Online Home of Tom Bruner
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Ron's Story: A "My Story" Feature (Blog)

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Ron’s Salvation Story

I was born in San Diego, and grew up as an only child in a Christian home. I attended private Christian school. My family attended a Baptist church. At 13 years of age, I prayed the ‘sinner’s prayer’ one day in church, but I did not tell anyone. I guess that I wasn’t ready yet to make him the Lord of my life, and I was fearful of what the neighborhood kids would say about me. Maybe they would laugh at me, make fun of me, or call me a Jesus freak After all, the idea that Jesus died and came back to life seemed very unlikely to me. How could I possibly defend this crazy sounding story? If it was true, I wanted to believe, but I just didn’t know how, and I was too afraid to ask.
For 27 years, I walked through life believing that there might be a God, but was unsure. I believed that I was a pretty good person and deserved to go to heaven if there was one. However, my belief had no basis other than I had heard this for a number of other people and it seemed logical to me. Also, I was told by a close friend in college that there are a lot of religions, as well as, ways to heaven. And, in addition, religions just try to explain what we do not know.
At nearly 40 years old, I was in the best physical shape of my life, and everything seemed great. However, starting with my 40th birthday, I began to experience pain in a number of areas of my life. First, I became very aware that my marriage relationship was not in a good place. Soon to follow, my athletic triathlete body started to hurt from age and injury. I surrendered. I let go. No longer did I believe that I was in control. I began to work on myself. I began searching for answers. Thankfully, God had put many people in my path that would help me find a life of significance and purpose.
During that same year, a friend put his hand on my shoulder in the parking lot of a hospital, and prayed for God to make himself known to me in a way that I could understand. Eleven days later, the prayer was answered when God revealed himself in a powerful way to me. It was on that day of September 15, 2011, that God became real to me.

Ron’s Thrills and Trials as a Disciple of Jesus

I have been a believer now for almost 6 years, and it is time for me to work at going deeper. I want to be able to grow my faith and take it to a greater depth. More specifically, I need discipleship help in the area of leadership. I am a father to three children and I desperately want them to know God. And, I want to be a better father to them. Also, there is a new believer at church that is asking me to meet with him weekly. I want to know how to disciple him in his new found faith.

Ron and Podcast Seminary

I have lead a couple of small groups, and both times they have dissolved after two or three years. If I was better at discipleship, I believe that those small groups might have remained intact and still be thriving to this day. It is my hope that Podcast Seminary can help me to meet my spiritual growth needs, and as a result, I can become a more effective discipler and follower of Christ.


Listen to Ron’s Interviews on Our Official Podcast! Part 1 and Part 2

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Your Turn

Do you have a story? We want to hear about it. People want to read it! We are even willing to consider featuring your story on PodcastSeminary.com/blog in a future post like this one.
Your StoryConnect with me through leaving a comment below or by going to the Contact page, and we’ll get started!

Album Covers of Our First 20 Podcast Seminary Episodes

Blog Header New 2017 July large logo40 transparency x 1140We’re excited about how well our 3-month old podcast has been received. This is a special thank you for the more than 6000 downloads our podcast has received in only the first 3 months.


Podcast Seminary Stats for First Three Months, 2017


Here you’ll see the covers of each of the first 20 episodes. You can click it and link to our new podcast page OR go below and see our new audio courses that we think are the cat’s meow. Thank you for your support of Podcast Seminary as we help people grow in their faith and relationship with God.
Not listened to our podcast? Ever?! You must!! Go there now and see what the fuss is about!


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Click to Visit Our Dazzling Podcast Home Page and Share or Listen to These Episodes OR check out our completed Audio Courses on Discipleship and Spiritual Formation!


What the Bible's Longest Chapter Teaches Us

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What the Bible's Longest Chapter Teaches


Psalm 119 has the honored status of being the Bible’s longest chapter.
Fittingly, it also happens to be ‘all about’ the Bible. It’s nearly 200 verses are packed with information about the Word of God and its importance.
In this Podcast Seminary episode, our Dean, Dr. Freddy Cardoza, unpacks a total of 24 principles learned from the Bible “about” the Bible.
You’ll learn:
12 Ways the Bible Describes Itself
12 Benefits of the Word of God
Listen in!


What Every Dad Ought to Know About Being Their Kids' Hero

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Special Father’s Day Devotion


You’re a great dad– or at least trying. 
Great! 
Now it’s time to begin thinking about upping your game, by setting your sights on the real prize: Winning Your Children’s “World’s Greatest Dad” Award OR AT LEAST the title of “Hero.” 
But what does it take to become our kids’ champion?
It’s probably not what you think.  Oh sure, “things” are nice. 
Kids always enjoy stuff, after all. … Another pair of Vans shoes.  A new A&F t-shirt.  The latest and greatest mobile phone. 
But then what?  What do we do after our kid’s survival (aka “hygiene”) needs are secured?  Easy.
Kids are Relatively Easy to Please
Most kids are surprisingly easy to please– much easier than other people in our lives (you know who I’m talking about!).  Kids, first and foremost, want YOU; not stuff you give them.  Now, that doesn’t mean that our kids don’t have moments of weakness.  They are, of course, susceptible to the occasional materialistic binge.  That’s understood.  But, when it all comes down to it, our kids want to believe– and to know with certainty– that we love them unconditionally.
And to them, unconditional love means having your time.  Relax– not “all” of it.  Nobody said that.  But SOME of it.  That’s reasonable, yes?   As someone rightly said, “Love” is spelled “T-I-M-E.”  So giving OURSELVES to our kids is the quickest way to be coronated as the Official “King” of Your Castle.  And failing to give time to our kids is a great way to slowly fall from the pedestal of paternal glory into irrelevant ignobility.  (Don’t know what ignobility is? Well, it ain’t good).
Read: “Distraction Free” Time
So kids want some of our time.  And they want it undistracted from whatever it is that distracts us.
You know, like… your preoccupation with work.  Or griping about cutthroat fast food drive-through workers and slow baristas.  Or that phone of yours. 
Now, I’m “as OR more” hyper-connected to technology as anybody.  But there are boundaries.  Like going to dinner tonight without my phone, so I could focus on my family. The fact is, we need these types of boundaries. We have to remember that Technology is a “Little G-god” that can command all of our thinking and time.  Not because we’re bad people, but because we need a distraction from the crushing weight of, you know, running the world– or whatever we do. 
The key to giving our kids “time” isn’t taking them to Dairy Queen and buying them a giant Dilly Bar to occupy their mouths, so we don’t have to talk to them about their day.  Sorry– just trying to keep it real.
So, to summarize, kids (wives, anyone?) want “focused-only-on-them” time; distraction free.  If you can do that, you’re half-way to Goal Line Glory, where you can spike the Father’s Day football for winning the day.
But then what?  Or, better, HOW exactly should we spend this distraction-free time with our kids?
Ahh.  Good question.
That’s a question I was discussing with a trusted friend just today.  A friend who, by the way, has had an ongoing and significant influence on the way I am building this ministry.

The Sure-Fire Way to Clinch Your Kid’s “Hero” Title

First, as I said, let’s assume that basic  survival/called “hygiene needs” are already met.  Now, if not, then let’s make that happen.  Without essentials being met, kids become insecure.  That that insecurity leads to fear.  Unresolved fear leads to bitterness and the embrace of someone or something who promises to provide the security that we can’t or won’t.  Don’t let that happen.
But on to the central issue here: Becoming Our Kid’s or Kids’ (for all you English majors out there) Hero.
I believe that there are 3 things better than mere material things (“stuff”) that will utterly excite and fascinate the imagination of your kids and draw them infinitely closer to you.  Here they are:

    1. Provide Memorable Experiences

Experiences can produce memories, but for life-changing experiences and riveting and unforgettable experiences, you’ll need to do more than just “show up.”  I suggest planning for memory-making… Otherwise the experience alone (and whatever happens to happen, planned or not) can dictate the content of the memory.
So my advice is to begin by creating a meaningful experience.  And what, exactly, constitutes this type of experience?
First, create an experience that is novel-different/utterly unique OR at least a different version of something familiar.
Second, make that novel experience multi-sensory.  Making experiences multi-sensory means deliberately thinking about how you can include the five senses.

Sense 1: Engage their Hearing or sound.  Try playing fave songs-radio or relying on the diverse sounds from the place or event or experience.

Sense 2: Engage their Sight or vision.  Think about visually -stimulating visuals, views, or perspectives.  Example: instead of just going to dinner, wait on a seat with a view of the vineyard (disclaimer: stock art, not my bottle of wine) or on the top floor, in the kitchen itself like at Buca de Peppo, or in the private dining room like the Pope Room, or wherever.

Sense 3: Engage their Sense of Taste.  Enhance the memory with a drink, food, or meal.  For example, a trip down to Balboa Island in Newport Beach isn’t complete without the added memory of a frozen banana. There’s about a million ways to enhance the experience in nearly any situation.

Sense 4: Engage their Sense of Smell.  Smell is perhaps the strongest sense and provides powerful memories.  It can be highlighted or remembered.  Imagine retelling the story where you say, “Kids, do you remember the overpowering salty smell of the foaming waves on our trip to La Jolla Beach on the afternoon we searched for new sea shells to decorate your bathroom?

Sense 5: Engage their Sense of Touch.  To touch is to experience and to know.  There is something about the tactile nature of things and the impression they make on us.

Sixth Sense: Then seal the deal and make it memorable with cheap or expensive, but most importantly “meaningful”  keepsakes, tokens, whatnots, photos, or photo albums (like chatbooks), or by adding meaningful discussions, prayers of remembrance, and so on.

You’ll find that a little planning can make it really unforgettable… Then your kids have tons of memories, all good, all shiny and polished, and experiences with you that can’t be forgotten… And those reduce the impact of material things– which (often though maybe not always) will be viewed as little more than useless trinkets when compared to these amazing experiences you provide your kids.

2. Spiritual Wisdom and Godly Advice

Add to those things providing your kids with “spiritual wisdom” or godly life advice.  Kids want AND need your wisdom.  You have experienced more life than they have.  You, of all people, can give your kids loving direction.  That doesn’t mean overdoing it.  Kids have a certain tolerance level for sage advice, even ours.  So it’s important to give life advice and wisdom to our kids, along with an open door and our encouragement to discuss “things that matter” to them at any time. One thing I’ve said over the years, particularly the last 11 years since my mom passed away, is that I wish I’d gotten more advice. It’s not so much that I didn’t figure some things out along the way, but experience is a cruel teacher. Life’s touch is not as soft as a loving mom’s or dad’s advice. For that reason, I give my own sons advice. And mostly I think they appreciate it and take it for what it is. Our kids need that, whether or not we think they need (or want) it. And they often do!

3. Inject Experiences With Adventure and Play

Finally, deliberately work to make events with your kids to be fun and ‘times of play,’ mingled with adventure.  If you do this, you’ll always win with your kids.


Make It Happen

We all want to be great dads.  We want to win the day.  That is a title that is earned.  And we can rightly take the Throne of our Family Fiefdom if we’ll give our kids and families these important things: memorable experiences, wisdom, and adventure.
Give these, all wrapped up in T.I.M.E., and you’ll quickly become their hero.  That’s something all the material things in the world can’t compete against.
Make Plans Now to Make This Father’s Day a special time with your amazing kids– and they’ll celebrate you as their amazing dad!


Happy Father’s Day, Dads!

Me with my Sons on a Special Recent Trip

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Is Jesus Really the Only Way? ("Can I Ask That?" Video Series)

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Can I Ask That? Series


Is Jesus Really the Only Way?

“Can I Ask That?” Video Series: Session 7 of 7

Is Jesus Really the Only Way?
As a Christian, I say “Yes” and for good reason. But the Bible makes it clear that not only “Christians” should believe in Jesus. Rather, God wants everyone to believe and follow Christ as Lord (boss). How can God make such an audacious ask? Well, for one thing– He’s God! But there’s more…
God makes claim on being the only way to eternal life because of a few logical facts: No other person in the history of humanity ever rose from the dead—except Jesus. What’s more, no other faith even has the audacity to teach such a thing— except Christianity. The Bible uses that central fact as the primary truth on which the entire Christian faith rises and falls.
Once Jesus rose from the dead, he stuck around the next 40 days to prove He had risen and defeated death, something documented to believers and skeptics alike. In doing so, this became the greatest attested miracle in history. The Resurrection of Jesus is the #1 Mic Drop of all time.
And through the Resurrection, Jesus demonstrated that He is all powerful, by personally overcoming death—after having lived the greatest moral life in history.


Listening Challenge: Learn More About How Christianity Contrasts with Other Faiths

LEARN ABOUT CHRISTIANITY


On the basis of who He was and is, Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh, the Son of God. He claimed that He was the one Way, the One Truth, and the One way to Eternal Life. Since Jesus lived a life of perfection that should be the model for all people—and because Jesus alone raised from the dead and since no one before or since has claimed or proven the same as Jesus, He has the sole right to make such an audacious claim.
But ironically, that’s not the major hurdle for people. Once they realize all this, you would think it would be impossible to object to Jesus being the One and Only Way. But that objection is just a smokescreen.
If God gave us 2 ways, instead of one way to God, people would remain unhappy. If God gave them 2 ways instead of 3, they’d be unhappy. Even if God said, you can have a million ways—we’d still want one more. You see, the problem with Jesus being the only way isn’t really Jesus. It’s that, as humans, we want COMPLETE AUTONOMY. We resist submitting because we want to be our own and only authority. But because Jesus lived a perfect life, unlike us, and died for our salvation, unlike us, and raised from the dead on His own power, unlike us or anyone else, Jesus is Lord of All, and insists that He and He only is the Only Way to God. It makes complete sense.



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What is a Study Bible? (Video)

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What is a Study Bible? Aren’t all Bibles just, well, Bibles?
Not exactly. There are five types of Bibles, as we have been learning in this seven-part series on the Podcast Seminary vlog on our YouTube Channel. View this video to learn more about the essentials of a Study Bible, then go view the entire series to learn all the details on the other Bible types. Then, if you like it– share it. And we’d appreciate your feedback or questions on the comments section below or on our YouTube Channel!



Have Questions?

If you have a spiritual question, a biblical or theological question, or discipleship question about God, drop us an email at dean@podcastseminary.com!

Is God a Violent Person? ("Can I Ask That?" Video Series)

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Can I Ask That? Series


Is God Really Violent?

“Can I Ask That?” Video Series: Session 6 of 7


Is God Really Violent?
One of the great tragedies of human life is that there is violence in the world. Most violence is caused by evil in the human heart and the strategic influence of Satan in the world. Most violence has nothing to do with God.
But there are occasions where some violence is either allowed by God or even enacted by God. We even see serious examples of that in scripture. So it’s clear that, though God is not a warmonger, neither is He a pacifist.
Here’s what’s important to understand: God is the only Supreme Being that exists. His brilliance is beyond our ability to understand, and His character is good—even inscrutable… meaning that His benevolence is beyond the ability to accuse Him of wrongdoing. God is perfectly balanced in all moral perfections. Sometimes God is oversimplified, and therefore misunderstood. Is God love? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that God is not also a divine warrior and a champion of good. God is love, but he is not ONLY love. He is the perfect temperament of all character qualities. He is also just. He is also merciful. He is also forgiving. He holds all those perfections in perfect balance. One never eclipses the other—they always stay in perfect harmony.
This is possible, because God is all knowing. And all powerful, and everywhere present. And changeless. So for this reason, he always does the right thing and cannot err—EVER.
So here’s how to understand violence: On those rare occasions there is divine violence (like God’s punishment, etc.), it is always legitimate and even necessary. God knows that to maintain His moral purity and to honor truth, justice, righteousness, love, and mercy—there needs to be a perfect balance of His judgment, even when He chooses to permit or enact violence.
We should remember that, even when it seems so out of control, in fact—because God is sovereign, every molecule, every piece of debris, every reaction, are all in His immediate awareness, control and sovereignty.
So when violence occurs, remember God isn’t responsible for much of it—it’s often evil human free will. Remember that God is morally perfect, knows everything actual and possible, and that He is in control. And the safest place for us to be is to be willfully submitted to Him and trusting completely in his good character.



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Click to Learn More About Joining a Live Study by Pastor Brandon Bathauer on Wednesdays, 6:30pm PST from April 26-June 7, 2017 at Saddleback Church (Irvine South Campus) 18842 Teller Avenue, Irvine, Calif