Finding the Message Through the Mess With J.J. Vasquez

Finding the Message Through the Mess With J.J. Vasquez

He's a fiery Spanish Pentecostal preacher who started his church just over two years ago. Now, hundreds of Millennials flock to Journey Church, which meets in a suburban high school in Central Florida. J.J. Vasquez has an amazing testimony about finding God and pursuing intercession through heartache.

28 Minutes • 4 months ago

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

Guest: Pastor J.J. Vasquez

 

At first glance, there's nothing out of the ordinary that would lead you to believe J.J. Vasquez is a fiery charismatic preacher who will have you laughing with one sentence and filled with conviction the next.

 

But there is something special about Vasquez that has attracted young people hungry for Jesus to Journey Church Orlando. Pastor Vasquez recently joined host Jessilyn Lancaster for an episode of Charisma Connection on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

Introduction

Jessilyn Lancaster: I am so excited to have you here, pastor. The reason you came to our attention is we're based in Orlando. A couple of weeks ago, we actually saw you saw your story on the front page of the Orlando Sentinel. Can you tell us a little bit about your church and what attracted the local media to you guys?

 

Pastor J.J. Vasquez: Such crazy story. Our church launched about two years and four months ago, September 2016 in Winter Park and my family and I were pastors in Orlando just kind of serving in a church there. God called us to Winter Park. We didn't really know anybody, but it's been an exciting journey. The way the Sentinel kind just heard about it, it’s funny. Somebody was just bragging on their church, just loving their church. One of our church members was at a wedding, actually the wedding of Olympic Sprinter Justin Gatlin. They were just hanging out at the wedding table kind of talking about what was going on each other's lives and bragging about their church; kind of talking about what God is doing in her life and about her and her husband had been discussing some really cool transformation in their life, kind of a blessing to him. At that table sat a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel. She said it's so interesting that you say that because we've been wanting to do a story, especially on millennials, along with people who want to know millennials were so interested in this church. We have a strong millennial population at our church. And so, she got interested and she heard about the story. She came to visit and it was so cool. She actually loved the church so much she became a member. She became a member and brought her kids, brought her husband and became a fan. This was all after she wrote the story. She loved the church so much she decided to become a member, and she wrote the story that way. So, it really it all just came about because somebody loved their church so much that they decided to tell their friends about it.

 

We brought her in a staff meeting, brought her in a volunteer meeting. She interviewed my parents. She has interviewed people that have been coming for a long time, from the 20-year-olds to the 70-year-olds. It was really after the story was told that she was some moved about what God was doing in the community that she started to come be a part of it.

 

J.J. Vasquez’s Personal Story

Jessilyn Lancaster: That makes me really excited. And on a personal note, I also go to church in Winter Park. I'm like, maybe once we can go check this out. For our listeners, Orlando is Disney World. So, if you're ever here on vacation, that's a really easy place, you can stop by, celebrate the Lord and have fellowship with other believers. I'm sure they'd love to have you. Now, tell me a little bit about your personal story. We know that your father was raised in the Pentecostal church, but can you tell us a little bit about that, and how that affected you?

 

J.J. Vasquez: Yeah, so I grew up in church, too. And I think that just every young person kind of goes on that journey, but where you have to just discover religion on their own and kind of figure out if the reason why they believe what they believe is because they've been forced to or asked to, or, or told to, or if they genuinely kind of just believe this. Or, another way I like to put it, it's kind of like a pre-arranged marriage. I think for a lot of parents, we kind of want to set that up for our kids. And I'm a dad now, and I've got two boys. So I'm like, you're gonna love Jesus. You have a choice; you're gonna love Jesus because he died for you. There’s that part of me. But the reality is that you can't have second second-hand faith. That's just impossible. I remember reading in Genesis one time where Jacob you know, meets God when he’s the run from his brother, He meets God and God introduces himself. In the introduction He says I am the God of Abraham, and I'm the God of Isaac. What's interesting is that every time after that moment, when God introduces yourself to someone in the Bible, he's the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But at this point, God is honest enough to say, hey, I know your grandpa and I know your dad, but we haven't been properly introduced yet. Yeah, man. I love that God knows that faith isn't generational. Religion is, but faith isn't generational. Faith has to be encountered and discovered kind of on your own. So that's what I needed to do. I did, and I had that experience. I decided to choose the person I wanted love and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. But I also had to kind of reinterpret some things too because I am Pentecostal and I love my heritage. I come from New York, so like the Spanish Pentecostal church in New York, it's just a different thing. It's very, very charismatic and something that would maybe be off putting to a friend. I just remember inviting my friends to church and having to give disclaimers before church started. You know what I am talking about? If somebody hits somebody else, it's not a fight, it's prayer.  This is how we do things here. So, I'll never forget hearing Rick Warren one time say at a conference don't change who you are. He said the body of Christ needs it. He says, just explain it. Just explain it because it's beautiful. And it's unique. Just explain it. I love our expression of faith. I love our understanding of Scripture. I love everything about who God was introduced to me to be. But my goal is to explain it and make it in a way that it becomes accessible for people. First and foremost, that Jesus becomes accessible to people. And then after that, I would love for them to kind of experience the fullness of what we believe God has for them. So that was that was kind of my journey. Along that path led me to higher education, I studied and worked at Southeastern University as the head of the youth and families ministry department there for two years. That was a blessing. I also was a youth pastor in south Orlando. That was great; did that for five years. I didn't want to plant a church because planting churches was probably the last thing and my heart mind that I ever wanted to do. It just seems so hard. I kind of always saw myself in ministry but then taking over when our pastor was gone. But God began to deposit in my heart.

 

What’s Happening at Journey

Jessilyn Lancaster: What do you see happening in your church right now? Tell us some of the exciting things going on.

 

J.J. Vasquez: It's exciting. Attendance has been amazing. Every year, it’s been two and a half years … I'm careful with sharing numbers. Because I know that there are kind of ton of pastors who listen, we want to encourage and not discourage anybody. We've seen over 100 percent growth year after year. Year after year it just hasn't stopped. So that's really exciting. Moreso than just the attendance numbers, it is really the stories that we're getting from people who are being restored in their marriages have had addictions. I would say the most exciting thing that I think is happening this year, and I'm excited to share it because I think you're going to be getting a lot more of these testimonies as you begin to speak to a lot more pastors on this show. … I really feel like God is doing something in 2019 in the supernatural. We’ve begun to see healing this year already. We've been in our 21 days of prayer and fasting … bodily healing. We had one cool story, where we had a former Army vet who's been struggling with mental illness and was on the verge of quitting and throwing in the towel. We just began to pray for him, a couple people at our church, and we've been fasting and God did something so special. You know the testimony is real when it comes from the wife; she will tell you how it is. She was the one who reached out to me late at night to pray for him because she thought that she was going to lose him. Mental illness is a real thing. But if God can heal the blind and the deaf … We're big proponents of therapy we’re big proponent of medicine and all that; seek holistic healing. But we are also big proponents of prayer. God did something in in this young man's life and he just came to church. He has been to church these last couple weeks, I've never seen smile so big. His wife tells me he’s singing, he's laughing; she hasn't heard him laugh like this over the last four years. I think it's just really cool. I think that God is doing something in that sphere as well. So, I think it is hands over our city, too.

 

For the rest of the interview with Pastor J.J. Vasquez, visit cpnshows.com.

 

Connect with J.J. Vasquez

·         On Facebook

·         On Twitter

·         On Instagram

·         At jjvasquez.com

Episode Notes

Charisma Connection

Guest: Pastor J.J. Vasquez

 

At first glance, there's nothing out of the ordinary that would lead you to believe J.J. Vasquez is a fiery charismatic preacher who will have you laughing with one sentence and filled with conviction the next.

 

But there is something special about Vasquez that has attracted young people hungry for Jesus to Journey Church Orlando. Pastor Vasquez recently joined host Jessilyn Lancaster for an episode of Charisma Connection on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

Introduction

Jessilyn Lancaster: I am so excited to have you here, pastor. The reason you came to our attention is we're based in Orlando. A couple of weeks ago, we actually saw you saw your story on the front page of the Orlando Sentinel. Can you tell us a little bit about your church and what attracted the local media to you guys?

 

Pastor J.J. Vasquez: Such crazy story. Our church launched about two years and four months ago, September 2016 in Winter Park and my family and I were pastors in Orlando just kind of serving in a church there. God called us to Winter Park. We didn't really know anybody, but it's been an exciting journey. The way the Sentinel kind just heard about it, it’s funny. Somebody was just bragging on their church, just loving their church. One of our church members was at a wedding, actually the wedding of Olympic Sprinter Justin Gatlin. They were just hanging out at the wedding table kind of talking about what was going on each other's lives and bragging about their church; kind of talking about what God is doing in her life and about her and her husband had been discussing some really cool transformation in their life, kind of a blessing to him. At that table sat a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel. She said it's so interesting that you say that because we've been wanting to do a story, especially on millennials, along with people who want to know millennials were so interested in this church. We have a strong millennial population at our church. And so, she got interested and she heard about the story. She came to visit and it was so cool. She actually loved the church so much she became a member. She became a member and brought her kids, brought her husband and became a fan. This was all after she wrote the story. She loved the church so much she decided to become a member, and she wrote the story that way. So, it really it all just came about because somebody loved their church so much that they decided to tell their friends about it.

 

We brought her in a staff meeting, brought her in a volunteer meeting. She interviewed my parents. She has interviewed people that have been coming for a long time, from the 20-year-olds to the 70-year-olds. It was really after the story was told that she was some moved about what God was doing in the community that she started to come be a part of it.

 

J.J. Vasquez’s Personal Story

Jessilyn Lancaster: That makes me really excited. And on a personal note, I also go to church in Winter Park. I'm like, maybe once we can go check this out. For our listeners, Orlando is Disney World. So, if you're ever here on vacation, that's a really easy place, you can stop by, celebrate the Lord and have fellowship with other believers. I'm sure they'd love to have you. Now, tell me a little bit about your personal story. We know that your father was raised in the Pentecostal church, but can you tell us a little bit about that, and how that affected you?

 

J.J. Vasquez: Yeah, so I grew up in church, too. And I think that just every young person kind of goes on that journey, but where you have to just discover religion on their own and kind of figure out if the reason why they believe what they believe is because they've been forced to or asked to, or, or told to, or if they genuinely kind of just believe this. Or, another way I like to put it, it's kind of like a pre-arranged marriage. I think for a lot of parents, we kind of want to set that up for our kids. And I'm a dad now, and I've got two boys. So I'm like, you're gonna love Jesus. You have a choice; you're gonna love Jesus because he died for you. There’s that part of me. But the reality is that you can't have second second-hand faith. That's just impossible. I remember reading in Genesis one time where Jacob you know, meets God when he’s the run from his brother, He meets God and God introduces himself. In the introduction He says I am the God of Abraham, and I'm the God of Isaac. What's interesting is that every time after that moment, when God introduces yourself to someone in the Bible, he's the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But at this point, God is honest enough to say, hey, I know your grandpa and I know your dad, but we haven't been properly introduced yet. Yeah, man. I love that God knows that faith isn't generational. Religion is, but faith isn't generational. Faith has to be encountered and discovered kind of on your own. So that's what I needed to do. I did, and I had that experience. I decided to choose the person I wanted love and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. But I also had to kind of reinterpret some things too because I am Pentecostal and I love my heritage. I come from New York, so like the Spanish Pentecostal church in New York, it's just a different thing. It's very, very charismatic and something that would maybe be off putting to a friend. I just remember inviting my friends to church and having to give disclaimers before church started. You know what I am talking about? If somebody hits somebody else, it's not a fight, it's prayer.  This is how we do things here. So, I'll never forget hearing Rick Warren one time say at a conference don't change who you are. He said the body of Christ needs it. He says, just explain it. Just explain it because it's beautiful. And it's unique. Just explain it. I love our expression of faith. I love our understanding of Scripture. I love everything about who God was introduced to me to be. But my goal is to explain it and make it in a way that it becomes accessible for people. First and foremost, that Jesus becomes accessible to people. And then after that, I would love for them to kind of experience the fullness of what we believe God has for them. So that was that was kind of my journey. Along that path led me to higher education, I studied and worked at Southeastern University as the head of the youth and families ministry department there for two years. That was a blessing. I also was a youth pastor in south Orlando. That was great; did that for five years. I didn't want to plant a church because planting churches was probably the last thing and my heart mind that I ever wanted to do. It just seems so hard. I kind of always saw myself in ministry but then taking over when our pastor was gone. But God began to deposit in my heart.

 

What’s Happening at Journey

Jessilyn Lancaster: What do you see happening in your church right now? Tell us some of the exciting things going on.

 

J.J. Vasquez: It's exciting. Attendance has been amazing. Every year, it’s been two and a half years … I'm careful with sharing numbers. Because I know that there are kind of ton of pastors who listen, we want to encourage and not discourage anybody. We've seen over 100 percent growth year after year. Year after year it just hasn't stopped. So that's really exciting. Moreso than just the attendance numbers, it is really the stories that we're getting from people who are being restored in their marriages have had addictions. I would say the most exciting thing that I think is happening this year, and I'm excited to share it because I think you're going to be getting a lot more of these testimonies as you begin to speak to a lot more pastors on this show. … I really feel like God is doing something in 2019 in the supernatural. We’ve begun to see healing this year already. We've been in our 21 days of prayer and fasting … bodily healing. We had one cool story, where we had a former Army vet who's been struggling with mental illness and was on the verge of quitting and throwing in the towel. We just began to pray for him, a couple people at our church, and we've been fasting and God did something so special. You know the testimony is real when it comes from the wife; she will tell you how it is. She was the one who reached out to me late at night to pray for him because she thought that she was going to lose him. Mental illness is a real thing. But if God can heal the blind and the deaf … We're big proponents of therapy we’re big proponent of medicine and all that; seek holistic healing. But we are also big proponents of prayer. God did something in in this young man's life and he just came to church. He has been to church these last couple weeks, I've never seen smile so big. His wife tells me he’s singing, he's laughing; she hasn't heard him laugh like this over the last four years. I think it's just really cool. I think that God is doing something in that sphere as well. So, I think it is hands over our city, too.

 

For the rest of the interview with Pastor J.J. Vasquez, visit cpnshows.com.

 

Connect with J.J. Vasquez

·         On Facebook

·         On Twitter

·         On Instagram

·         At jjvasquez.com

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Finding the Message Through the Mess With J.J. Vasquez