Saturday, August 5, 2017

3 Sunday Morning Habits For Pastors

There is no greater calling in the church then God calling specific Godly, gifted men and women to rightly divide the Word of God as we see in 2 Timothy 2:15.  It is both a scary and rewarding calling; scary because we are warned by God in James 3:1 that those who preach will be judged much strictly based on how we honor God with His Word, and rewarding because we get to see God's Word change lives.  For many Pastors, Sundays are some of the most painful and exciting times for their ministry.  That's true for me, and I want to share with you all 3 spiritual habits that has helped me to shepherd well on Sundays...

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. I could eat breakfast for each meal during the day, that's how much I love eggs, bacon, rice, french toast, you get my drift.  To me fasting is going without a daily life giving substance that causes me to be dependent on.  I'm dependent on breakfast, and it's my desire to use Sunday mornings to leverage my heart in being more dependent on God's Spirit rather than breakfast.  Psalms 63:1 say's "Lord, my soul thirsts for you."  This time allows me to draw close to Christ, and be dependent on His work through me on Sundays.

It was not till I was 18 years old that I have found great joy in reading, I believe it's because it was the year I was rescued by Christ, and he gave me a desire to learn more.  Every Sundays when I walk into my office before service I sit down and read my bible and a leadership development book.  Again this allows my heart to be filled with more of Christ and less of me.  Right now I'm reading through Philippians and The Pastor's Guide by O.S. Hawkins.  Facts state that reading expands the mind both in knowledge and creativity, and allows us to create healthy habits. Pslam 119:105

This is a sweet moment for me.  This is something I did not create as a habit, but rather what my associate, Kahu Marcus McBee, has created for me.  After our 8:45am production meeting with our worship and tech teams, a few of our men would stay behind after our meeting and lay hands on me.  This is the measure of a healthy church, a people who understands that PRAYER IS THE WORK, THEN GOD WORKS! Jeremiah 29:12

Lastly, if you are a Pastor like me and you fight the tensions of large attendance numbers, and then you are discouraged because you expected more to show up, here's something my Pastor friend from South Dakota once shared with me, he said "Zeke, the only people you have to look forward to seeing on Sundays are the ones that call you Pastor."  For a few of you, that statement may sound ungodly, and lacks compassion for the lost, and after sitting on that thought for a while, I now understand what he meant.  What he meant was that my biggest concern as a shepherd is to focus on my sheep, "the ones who call me pastor."  That does not mean, the others don't matter, it just gives distinctive on how we must be faithful to making disciples of those who submit, and are willing to grow in biblical discipline, which by the way is the hardest thing to do.  Thank God for the washing of His Word.

A hui hou,
Kahu Zeke

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

3 Reasons Christians Stop Going to Church

     Growing up on the beautiful Big Island of Hawai'i was filled with the CHURCH LIFE.  Daddy being a church planter of serval churches both locally and globally was a sight to see and experience; however one of the challenges were seeing Christians not stick or slip through what Larry Osbourne calls "The back door." Why are genuine followers of Jesus not seeing the need to gather together in biblical community?  I think this question has been answered by church leaders way smarter than me; however still a good question to still converse about. 
     My first ministry job was when I was 18 years old as a church intern for a new church plant in Vegas.  I just got saved, and this church had faith in the calling God placed on my life.  15 years later, I've learned some things that has helped me be better at sharing the need to be in Gospel Community.  Here are 3 reasons I believe Christians stop going to church?  I'm sure you can add more to this list, but this is my personal conviction.


American Christianity has been deceived by mysticism, which is an act of emotional out bursts and external expressions that can cause confusion on how one is truly saved.  Many of us would agree and say that the only way some one is saved is through Jesus; however since the early 1900's external practices took place in America that began a movement of mysticism that caused the Gospel to be more about how you feel at the moment vs. what does the Bible say about it.

Salvation must be clearly understood from a biblical view.  Here's how I would break it down...
  • Sinners must be drawn to Christ (John 6:44)
  • Sinners must hear the Gospel (Romans 10:14)
  • Sinners must be convicted of sin (Acts 2:37)
  • Sinners must repent form self/sin (2 Corinthians 7:10)
  • Sinners must embrace Christ (Eph 2:7-8)
The tension is that we have either shared a part of this message (probably just the embracing Christ part) or we present a cool emotional expressive worship service atmosphere and forsaken the true explicit gospel.  Then you have to wonder why "believers" are slipping away, because the message was not about Christ, it was about an emotional fix, which comes and goes.


Let's be honest, discipleship is HARD.  I tell our people all the time, there's a reason why Jesus had many followers, but only 12 he intentionally poured into.  Just like you and me, people come with baggage and when there is to much baggage to deal with, we EXPLODE.  The easiest way to not explode is by being passive with each other and go our separate ways quietly. But goes against so much of what God's Word teaches us (2 Corinthians 5)

As a Pastor, it's always easy to blame the individual you are mentoring, coaching, or discipling.  And that just shows marks of an unhealthy Pastor (Guilty).  Pastor's must learn to endure with the people he is shepherding.  When those you lead see you fighting for their relationship, they will catch on eventually and prayerfully be serious as well.

In the book of Titus (The island ministry book), Paul encourages brahdda Titus to put back into place that which accords with sound doctrine.  What was that?  Healthy leadership.  Are you healthy? both spiritually and physically?  Some times we can allow our education, experience, and position as Pastor to miss out on enduring with those God entrusted to us.  

People may not be sticking because you, the Pastor, aren't sticking.  Remain in the struggle.  Be faithful to the unfaithful.  Pursue the lost sheep.  Remember that redemption is a process, but is so rewarding.  Lead and love well Pastors!


If we read through out the New Testament, and through church history the church meetings on Sundays evolved into what we see today.  It was not always that way.  When the NT believers gathered, they did so through out the week, not just on Sundays (Acts 2:42-47).  The Jews made Saturday their Sabbath as well as their worship gathering, and many evangelical Christians have made Sundays their main gathering because of Easter when Christ rose from the dead.

Sundays in America for Christians have become more of a commitment than a need for community.  A close Pastor friend of mine said that many Christians on Sunday morning view church as something you attend verses some where you belong.  The book of Acts teaches us that the early Christians lived in gospel community because of a few reasons...

1. The Holy Spirit brought them together (Acts 2)
- We as baptist have blammed our Pentecostal family for being manipulative of the Holy Spirit, when we are also guilty of this very thing just in different ways.  We don't need more programs in the church, we need a fresh anointing blown through every believer in Christ to be together and to move onward together.  Everything else will take it's place as the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us.

2. The Holy Spirit used persecution to send them through out the world together (Acts 7)
- This is something we don't experience, therefore don't understand here in America.  Pastor, you want your people to be more desperate to gather instead of you complaining about it on Facebook? Pray for persecution.  I know that's harsh but it's the biblical truth, the church was beginning to multiply and go to the ends of the Earth through the avenue of persecution.  We are seeing that lived out today in Iran, Syria, Indonesia, and other persecuted areas.

For Ohana Church, we've realized that the only way we can move forward in Hilo where most families have other activities going on Sunday, is by providing groups in those areas that represent the church and the heart of Christ.  My son begins tackle football this fall, that will take him away from Church on Sunday; however we have a Deacon that will lead a small group of football players and their parents in the study of God's Word.  Now, I know this is taboo for a lot of Pastors and we can begin to fight and debate on Sunday worship formats and how it should all be done in a certain way; however if we are going to reach a lost nation like America (4th largest lost nation in the world), we have to get out of the walls and BE THE CHURCH!

My heart breaks when I see Pastors with master degrees, and PhDs in theology who live in our community and the extent of the church is what He does in his study during the week, and on Wednesday Nights and Sunday Mornings.  The Church must be people mobilize and sent out by the Holy Spirit to love people to the beauty of Jesus.  Here's a great principle I'm learning...

"Sundays are a reflection of Monday through Saturday"

A hui hou,
Kahu Zeke Tomaselli

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How Church Planting Made Us More Gospel Focused

Both my wife and I come from church planting families, and when God joined our hearts together he used church planting as an avenue to learn more about the gospel and how that is fleshed out in our plant in my home town of Hilo, Hawaii.  Here are three simple realities we have learned about the gospel in planting Ohana Church...

Though America is one of the largest lost nations in the world, it's heritage is filled with gospel roots and influences made up of hundreds of different denominations.  Now we are very proud and privileged to be a Southern Baptist Church plant; however we want the people that we reach know that the only name that matters is the name that is above every name, JESUS CHRIST! Our affiliation with our denomination is a cooperative kingdom partnership that allows us to make Christ known.

When we arrived back in Hawaii, after being gone for almost 12 years, it was considered to be 95% unchurched (Over a million people).  Starting a church from scratch puts you in a demand position to engage our city.  My past life in Hawaii was not Christ centered, so coming back forced me to face past issues that dealt with unchurched settings.  We knew the only way to see people come to Christ was to go in the areas they lived life in.  That was a little scary for me; however I had a strong woman of God to come along side me to learn and grow with me this time.  The things we would discover in these settings were simple, and that was that unchurched people longed for spiritual community, they just did not articulate it the way we Christians do.  Yes, a lot of junk spiritual views are connected in these groups, but it was the start of some healthy growing relationships that evolved to what we see today at Ohana Church.

My wife and I served in Las Vegas for several years, and then in her home state of Tennessee for a couple years, and now in my home state of Hawaii.  We've learned so much in these different contexts, and one thing that has been consistent has been the faithful hand of God upon our relationship.  Like many marriages in general, we have experienced the ups, the downs, the pretty, and the ugly parts of marriage; however it has ALL been a part of God's training for us.  The gospel has thought us one MAIN valuable lesson with each other, and that was to be 100% honest with one another.  Because of that we have been able to walk through some very dark times together.  Last year I came out of a heavy season of dark depression, and as I was transparent with my wife, my church, and my mentors, the gospel healed me.  Three years ago my wife and I came to Hawaii by ourselves.  Three years later we have added three new adopted boys (blood brothers), we have seen hundreds of lives changed, we have been a part of helping support additional new church plants, and we have seen Ohana Church become a reality from the simple call of God because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  What a Savior!

A hui hou (See you later)
Kahu Zeke Tomaselli

Tomaselli Ohana from Left to Right: Layne, Kainakoa, Kainalu, Kaimana (He's mad at me for scolding him before this pic, lol), and me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013



Today I celebrate Gods sovereign gift of earthly life and eternal life in Jesus Christ. 29yrs ago, I was born in Honolulu, Hi and 29yrs later I'm preparing to head back to my home state to plant a church that plants many churches.

I walked into my office today and my staff overwhelmingly blessed me with gifts, and encouraging words. As I received their blessings, one thing stood out to me, my personal relationship with them because of Christ.

As a young Pastor one thing I struggle with is my performance to God. That ultimately over flows into the way I view how the people I Pastor should be as well. I struggled with basing spiritual growth on how we are committed to church stuff and activities. This is a easy temptation to get influenced by; however God has not called me to my performance for Him, he has called me to be with Him and let Him press His life in and through me. Christianity is not about doing good things for God and others, it's about a genuine love relationship with God through Christ.

I served as a youth and worship Pastor in Tennessee for a little over 2 1/2 years. I got caught in the temptation of legalism. I would constantly preach on commitments and base our youths and adults spiritual growth on weather or not they were committed to the Lords work by their involvement, and if they weren't, I would throw a self righteous act of affliction on them. No different from the Pharisees of the bible. FORGIVE ME LORD!

Thank God for His Grace!

If I could go back in time and redo my ministry all over again in TN, I would teach my congregation on how to walk intimately with God. The main goal in the life of a believer is to KNOW GOD! Our daily goal is to SPEND TIME WITH HIM!

John 17:3 says "this is eternal life, that you may KNOW HIM, Jesus Christ, whom God has sent"

John 15:5 says "apart from me you can not do anything".

GOD CALLS US TO BE INTIMATE WITH HIM! He then presses His life out of us in such away, that the overflow is being connected in what He is doing through his church globally. Hear me correctly, GOD DOES THE WORK, NOT ZEKE. Our participation in His kingdom work is us living out of the overflow of our intimate love relationship with Him.

To my Pastor friends, encourage your people to walk in intimacy with Christ. Beware of the lie of thinking that their personal commitments to the church is the goal. Let Christ press His life in and out of them.

To my friends, don't let ministry commitments be your focus. If so, you will fail. Focus on walking with Jesus, and let Him mold you into the masterpiece He plans to make you (Phil 1:6).

6 months from now my wife and I will jump on a plane and move our lives to Hilo, Hi to start Ohana Church. It is my goal not to try and make a big church with a packed out room in Hilo. It's my desire to teach people how to walk with God intimately, through His word, in the powerful name of Jesus!

To Gods Glory ALONE!!!

Pastor Zeke

Wednesday, January 16, 2013



One of the words I have been introduced to since being back at Hope Church is the word "WIN".  Our team constantly asks each other "what are the huge wins in your ministry?"  By doing this, we are reminded about God's promise to us in the great commission, that he would be with us in every part of the journey on making disciples.

Here are a few WINS for Layne and I...

  • As of January 1, my father, Frank Tomaselli has accepted God's invitation to be a part of our launch team in Hilo as we prepare to plant Ohana Church.  My father led me to Christ as a young boy, and planted a church in the same area of Hilo 25yrs ago.  Praise God!
  • We have connected with a person of peace on the Big Island who is in connection with new Christ Followers from Osaka, Japan.  This nation has been on our hearts and we have been praying for them and a possible connection to begin church plants and reaching the 99% lostness in Japan.
  • Our sending church, Hope Church has already committed and planned out dates on when they will join us in Hilo to help us in mission work in 2014.  I love them!
  • We have had a few churches verbalize their financial partnership with OC.  This is huge!
  • We have had multiple small groups in our church adopt OC as a mission.  
  • We have over 300 people all over the world praying for Hawai'i, the Pacific, and the World.  Our prayer strategy has been life changing for us.  We thank God for our Prayer coordinator Kandy Smith for being sensitive to God's call in this area.  Thank you Kandy.
  • My wife and I were blessed to save enough money to travel to Hawai'i this April to do a vision tour.  We learned so much on stewardship through this few months of saving.  What a WIN!

Lastly, we are looking forward to our vision trip to Hawai'i and we would like to invite people to partner with us on this journey.  Our trip will cost us an extra $2000-$3000.  Our resources in the Islands are limited, so we are asking our partners to prayerfully consider giving towards this trip.  This would cover travel while we are on the Big Island, and Oahu.  It will also cover meals, room and board, and other related ministry opportunities.  We plan to prayer walk the islands, and connect with as much of people as we can.  Part of that cost will also cover OC handouts that communicates our vision.

If God is leading you to give, you can do it in two ways...
  1. Mail a check to Hope Church, Attn:  Pastor Zeke Tomaselli, Memo: Ohana Church, at 870 E. Cactus Rd. Las Vegas, NV. 89183
  2. Give online at
  • Go to link
  • Fill out your info
  • In PAYMENT INFORMATION: Go to Fund, scroll/click on Ohana Church.
  • Make payment

Just last May, God gave us a vision for church planting in Hilo and through out the world.  We are living it now.  God bless you all for your time, energy, and resources.  You all are a blessing to Layne and me.

Mahalo Nui Loa,

Pastor Zeke

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Who is ready to GO to Hawai'i?

That's the "Big Ask" who wants to spend life with Layne, myself, and the people of Hawai'i in making Christ known?

For 6 months now we have had hundreds of people from all around the world faithfully praying for our journey and the start of a new church in Hilo, Hi.  Since then the vision God has planted in our hearts has become so much clearer.  God has faithfully revealed to us a deeper desire and calling to reach the people in Hawai'i, the Pacific, and the World with the Gospel.

For some of you, God has made it clear to you through your time of prayer what the next step for you is.  Others need some extended info on what life in Hilo, Hi looks like.  It is my heart to be honest and upfront with you on the challenges church planters and fellow churches in general come against while living in the beautiful state Hawai'i.

What to expect...
::  Cost of living is very high
::  There is a shortage of jobs, so unemployment is high
::  95% of the people in Hilo are unchurched
::  The percentage of those living on Government assistance is higher than ever
::  2-3 generations of family members live together due to the high cost of living
::  There is a great need for foster care families
::  It’s a very dark place despite the beautiful tropical atmosphere it provides

But God is at work in Hilo…

::  A new network of church planting has just begun
::  We are seeing many come to faith in Christ
::  Many fellow churches from the mainland is in support of fellow local works
::  Hilo was not hit by the rescission
::  Jobs are beginning to raise
::  The Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Livestock industry has been a success for the people
::  The University of Hawai’i, Hilo is a mission field to students
::  The city is filled with community events, and local sports that allows Gospel living to take place

I am a native of Hilo and I have never been so passionate about my hometown than now.  If you sense God’s call to minister and live life with the people of Hawai’i starting in fall of 2013, go a head and contact me ( and we can begin to help you prepare for this new journey.

For some of you, God is calling you to just continue to Pray for us.  We encourage that.  Prayer is the work.  Others, God may stir within your heart to financially give to Ohana church, if so, go to the following link to begin the process

God is good, and he desires to see people in Hawai’i, the Pacific, and the World to come into an intimate love relationship with Him through Christ.  Christ will be made known through God's people!

Who is ready to GO to Hawai’i?

Pastor Zeke

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Developing Leaders

God has inspired me to work on my communication skills, and as I have prepared to grow in this area, I have made action steps to get counsel from other mentors.  One mentor encouraged me to use my church blog to encourage leaders, and focus on specific principles.

I am a living product of someone who believed in me, and put their money were their mouth was.  I am thankful for people like my father Frank Tomaselli, and mentors such as Vance Pitman, Jeff Riley, Mike Laughrun, Tim Frank, and Scott Nesbitt.  These men lived life with me, and thought me what it looks like to follow Christ, and lead people to Christ.

When developing leaders, the key is not to give them a lot of tasks, though that has been our down fall.  The key is to encourage them and identify their strengths first.   If a leader is not equipped to carry out a task, then the mission of the task is pointless.  One of my strengths as a young leader was in the form of a talent.  God blessed me with the ability to sing, and play instruments.  Each mentor God placed in my life used this musical ability as a platform, but that also allowed me to discover some new and potential leadership qualities that I did not know I had.  This is key.  Maximize from your strengths, not weakness.

From this development, I have grown with a desire to teach the bible, create and lead ministry teams, and God has specifically given my wife and I a vision to plant a new church in Hawai'i, that involves so many different areas of leadership competencies.  What an honor!

As leaders in an organization, we must also realize that with new leaders come new models of ministry.  Not every leader functions the same way.  So the organization may have a mission in place, but it may be fleshed out differently based on the new leaders personality, skill, experience, and personal conviction.

From a Christian view, let's develop leaders that lead from the talents and gifts that the Lord has blessed them with.  Let's be flexible to punt from past leadership/tradition, and move forward with the provision God gives us.  Let us look at change as a GIFT of God, and not opposition.

Let's develop healthy leaders!

Pastor Zeke