Monthly Archives: January 2014

January 30, 2014

Welcome to 2014

It is 7:30 am on a Misty Saturday morning at the Brea Civic Center in meeting room A&B. This is where Life Builder Seminars has gathered for over ten years. Today is the first seminar of 2014 and despite the hour there is an electrified buzz of excitement in the air. Chairs are aligned, tables set, and the first sound check is already in progress. There is purpose birthed in this place every month and hearts and lives will never be the same because of the God-driven vision of Pastor Cathy.

Right around eight thirty or the first four or five women arrive. They are beaming with excitement; they know there are good things in store this morning. It doesn’t take long for the sound in the room to grow. The sound of prayer and the atmosphere being set can be heard out the door and to the elevator. Pretty soon the echo of joyous greetings, laughter and good mornings fills the room. By 9:00 AM, the room is almost filled to capacity…200.
Every available chair is brought in to make sure that every woman has a seat. It’s a beautiful day the sun is beaming through the windows overlooking the courtyard to the Brea Civic Center, but the beauty of this day are the women filling the seats in meeting room A&B. They are the reason for this seminar. Suddenly, the voice that has opened every meeting for these ten plus years captures the attention of the women, “Good Morning everyone!” It’s Pastor Cathy, the founder of Life Builder Seminars. Last second cups of coffee are poured and the woman scramble to their seats, no one wants to miss a second of the life-rich keys they will be receiving this morning. The meeting has begun and it promises to be a great one!


Written by: Tina Cobian. If you would like to reach Tina, please send her an email at


January 23, 2014

Dive In

While planning my vacation I decided to do something I had never done before. I chose snorkeling. When my vacation finally arrived it was a spectacular day for a new adventure. I set sail along the Na Pali Coast for a day of sailing and snorkeling. Such beauty – wonderful, majestic mountains along this gloriously carved coastline that God created simply by speaking them into existence. The sun was shining bright; the water was the prettiest blue green. The dolphins were in abundance, jumping and playful. I even saw turtles and flying fish. It was the beginning of an awesome day.

About half way through the trip we dropped anchor to enjoy the water. The moment of truth arrives. It is time to go snorkeling. Now some of you may be thinking “No big deal. Just grab your gear, jump in the water, and enjoy.” This women-diving-into-the-poolis where it gets a bit sticky. You see, I do not like to get my face wet and do not really know how to swim, I could only doggy paddle. I got my courage up and admitted to the crew member my apprehension about not being able to swim well and he graciously responded, “No worries we can give you a boogie board.” I put my gear on and paddled out using the board to hold me afloat. There is no stopping me now. I got this.

I found a great spot to soak up the sun. Just as I was getting ready to dive in and explore the underwater treasures, fear and anxiety gripped me. I did not want to put my face in the water. My heart was racing. I was breathing faster and all I wanted to do was get back on the sail boat. Panic was setting in. I prayed and with the help of scripture I was able to calm down and I thought “it’s no big deal; I don’t really have to snorkel to see the beauty under the sea. The water is so clear I can see everything from here. I am floating on top of the water looking in.” I started to convince myself that watching the sea life without diving in was good enough. I had traveled far and waited months… and I was willing to settle because I was afraid. I was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there were not any friends, family, or saints around to encourage me or pray me through. I was surrounded by God’s beauty and majesty, and what I did have was His Word in my heart. I leaned on The Word of God that was already in me. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. With those verses I was able to calm down and be still. At that moment I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me “Merel, push past the fear. Trust me; you want to go under the water to see the true beauty that awaits you. You have been excited about this moment and it’s finally here. You can’t see it from the top of the water.” With that, I took a deep breath and plunged into the water. Needless to say this gal was blown away by the beauty of being in and under the water. The colors and clarity I experienced were much more vibrant than I saw from above the water or could have ever imagined.

During this time The Holy Spirit gently reminded me that sometimes I can be like this when He calls me to step out of my comfort zone and move into new areas. I sometimes respond “It’s ok Lord, I am good right here.” This was a defining moment for me. I now respond “yes Lord” and get out of the boat. To go deeper and experience all that He has for me. No more sitting on the sidelines.

Ladies, I encourage you: when God is drawing near and calling you out of the boat…go deeper, go closer and push past the fear of the unknown. Allow the Lord to take you where you have never been before. You will never be disappointed.

This blog was written by Merel Magill. If you’d like to contact Merel, you can do so by sending an email to


January 16, 2014

From Detour to Destination

Have you ever invited guests over and before you knew it, it was time for them to arrive, so you threw everything in a closet where no one could see it? The house looks great, yet behind the scenes there is a catastrophe that needs to be cleaned. Sure you plan to clean the closet once the guests leave, but, well, you know. Likewise, we can plan our lives and set goals, yet never get around to working towards these goals. We find ourselves on detours. When I graduated high school I planned to attend college and earn a degree. Fast forward a few years and that is not what happened. I struggled in school, I was distracted with dating, and I began taking fewer classes. Then I took a well-paying job as a recruiter. The money was great and I was enjoying my job so much that there was no reason to finish school, or so I thought. The great job that I had left school for became too stressful and I decided to quit and look for another position. Weeks, months, and years had passed. Soon my goal to finish school was only a wish with little hope of coming true. To add insult to injury, employers were beginning to seek recruiters with degrees. Imagine that! Somehow taking the easy street tends to lead us back to the starting line.young-woman-walking-on-path-in-city-park By this time too many years had passed and I certainly did not want to be the oldest person in class amongst the youngins. However I was determined to finish what I had started years ago and I enrolled in night school. After a couple of semesters, life happened and I found myself dropping classes once again. Having less money and spending hours studying was simply too much trouble. I gave up and went back to work. I landed a job that I loved and was eventually let go because the company started to require all recruiters to have a degree.  I could not continue to put my education on the back burner. After counting the cost, I knew that giving up was no longer an option. I was determined to finish what I had started twenty years ago. In July of 2012 I walked across the stage and received my associate’s degree. It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. After two decades and several detours, I had finally reached my destination. How many times have you been determined to make a change only to find yourself back where you started? The plan was to move forward, lose weight, make better choices, save money, be a better wife, or go back to school. You were doing well until something else became a priority. Sometimes the situation is so subtle- it creeps up on you like grey hair and one day you wake up and wonder how you got here. How do you get back on the road to destination? What helped me was to seek God. When God is the center of my life I receive His wisdom, strength, and guidance.  I also ask myself where did I go wrong and what was I feeling when the detour occurred. Once I have identified the detour, I list a few realistic goals and a plan to accomplish those goals. In order for me reach my goals I hold myself accountable to at least one person that I trust; a person who will speak truth into my life. Lastly I surround myself with people who have similar goals and values. We may find ourselves on detours however we can always ask God to lead us to our destination. Psalms 73:23-24 (NLT) Yet I still belong to You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.
Written by Jessica Meza.
If you would like to reach Jessica, you can email her at

January 9, 2014

Loving Father

“When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the Teacher is always quiet during the test.”

I saw this posted on Facebook the other day. Normally, I do not comment on things I do not agree with, mainly because so much can be misinterpreted via text and because it is annoying when you can’t post something without someone else coming along to offer correction, clarification or multiple contingencies on why your statement isn’t true in ALL cases. Not wanting to be THAT person, I paused as I read the sentence over again, understanding the lie it was communicating about my Jesus, but debating whether I would speak up. That statement, in its bland attempt to be mildly philosophical, was a fancy way of saying… “When life is at its most difficult, God won’t talk to you because He wants you to figure it out on your own.” It draws the picture of a sink-or-swim God, Someone who cares but makes you go through things on your own to see what you’re made of. What kind of God are we believing in, if we have to endure the hard stuff by ourselves and gamble with the chance of frequent human failure?

fatherhandsIf you’ve seen Taken, the movie that no doubt sent milliliters of adrenaline through the veins of every viewer (who can forget the gut-wrenching moment when Liam Neeson stoically says, “They’re going to take you”), it is easily apparent in the first 5 minutes of the movie that Neeson’s character loves his daughter. What really captures the audience in the following storyline is the passion this man has for his daughter and the lengths he will go to rescue her. By the end of the movie, you want to cry alongside Maggie Grace as she sobs into her father’s arms after she is rescued. Neeson memorably brought to life the image of a wonderful father. If God is known to me as The Almighty, Lord of Heaven and Earth, Ruler of All and every other prestigious accolade and title included in the Bible, but isn’t known to me as just Dad, I’ve bypassed something crucial to my understanding of His heart towards me. Knowing Him as Dad gives me access, anytime, to the greatest Father Who ever has been or will be, One Who has all the answers, my greatest Resource, Who understands me perfectly, Who sees me, Who accepts me, Who loves me, Who defends me and fights for me. He hides things sometimes, not be a drag, but to delight in my discovery of the things He has hidden for me to find at the perfect time (Proverbs 25:2 NLT). He always keeps His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9, MSG) and never leaves me or gives up on me, no matter what choices I make (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Each of us are faced with moments where we get the opportunity to choose what we believe about God. These choices usually come at the intersection of really hard things, when our experiences and emotions contradict Who God is. If we choose to believe what we FEEL is true, we mold and form God to fit into our circumstances and secretly say to ourselves, “God is good, but only sometimes.” But if we choose to believe ACTUAL TRUTH (i.e. The Word of God), He slowly, according to our daily choice, transforms our mind, will and emotions to Who He is (Romans 12:2) and in turn, He works out everything that concerns us, because He knows we love Him and desire to do things His way (the better way) (Romans 8:28). Regardless of religious teaching, or even the different facets of God’s character displayed throughout the Old and New Testament, He’s demonstrated over and over (Moses and the Israelites, Abraham and Lot, Hosea and Gomer, and, you know, JESUS) that there is no limit to His love and His persistence and pursuit of us as His kids. That is the unrelenting, passionate Father we have.

I ended up posting Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV) under the Facebook post, which says, “Call to me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and hidden things you have not known.” Now if only I would have known that “great and hidden things” probably included the answers to problem-solving math questions like, If there are two trains and one leaves the station going 23 mph…..Never could figure those out.

Written by: Ruth Sanchez. If you’d like to reach Ruth, please email her at

January 3, 2014

New Territory

I will never forget how relieved I was when the words penetrated my heart and thoughts-

“You have been on the operating table for a while now…” I remember laughing out loud and thinking “that is exactly how I feel!!” I have been in bondage over 40 years and I was OK with who I was. I thought I was given a bad deal in life and I accepted it. I had built a fortress, formed a hardened heart, lived in a tortured mind, and I was my own worst enemy for most of my life. God’s operating table would soon be made available to me. He would provide the experts and bandages for the procedures and aftercare I needed.

staring_out_windowI came to the Lord in 2009. God had already been tugging at my heart, but I had no idea what I was in for. I accepted His invitation in the fall, along with my husband. We thought we were set to go. Boy, were we in for a Big Surprise!! I remember trying to “FIT IN;” I was good at becoming a “MARTHA”. All the compulsive disorders I had developed due to the dysfunctional upbringing kicked in and wore me out.

Then came my crying-out to God “Lord, you know I am a mess and could you PLEASE send me some AMAZING WOMEN OF GOD to help me be who you created me to be??” I remember shortly after I said that prayer I thought “I don’t know why or where the “”WOMEN”” came from in that prayer”. You see, I was a Tom Boy and never really cared for women relationships. But God knew! The next day, an awesome woman I felt comfortable sharing with, Kim Gutierrez, invited me to this event called Life Builder Seminars. She smiled and said “I think you might enjoy it!”

I remember that day traveling to Brea, not knowing what to expect, but hungry to be healed. I don’t recall the topic but I do remember the twinkle in Pastor Cathy’s eye and the warm hug I received when introduced and I thought “She see’s something in me that I can’t see in myself!” Wondering what that something was, and hungry for more, I couldn’t wait for the Life Builder seminar. My heart was racing, mind overthinking…I knew I had found a treasure. A place I could go and feel safe and heal. A place where my past, pain, and shame wouldn’t be thrown in my face, instead I would be embraced.

The healing began. The operating table was set before me. The experts were instructed when to perform. Life Builder Seminars prepared me for my new journey.

God knew exactly what I needed when I cried out to Him. Just as the Word promises in Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. Jeremiah 33:3 says Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Preparing For A New Season. Entering New Territory.


Written By: Deborah Negroni

If you’d like to reach Deborah, you can reach her by contacting