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Archive for the ‘Camber Young Adults’ Category

I was chatting with my friends Mat and Lisa Weddle from my Missional Community and we were reminiscing on how exactly six years ago today (New Years Eve) we were boarding a plane with thirty other young adults to be a part of Passion in Atlanta. For them, it was where they first met and they are now married today. My friends Brian Wurzell and Promise and Steve Adame and Liz met on that trip and they too are married and doing amazing stuff for the Lord. For people like myself, Shauna and Amaris, it was the trip that God called us into cross-cultural missions. They both ended up serving on the field for some time. It was a pivotal trip for many of us from that amazing community that were led by Pastor Ron Merrell. I heard God speak through Francis Chan for the first time that year. Chris Tomlin’s version of “Fire Fall Down” reminded me of my broken life and how God was putting me back to together to do years of ministry following that trip. Ben Stuart’s message on singleness was the best message I have ever heard on how God can use us as single people. I used that message to start a group for newly divorced people and how God can use them at this time to do amazing things for Him. But the impactful part of that trip was Louie Giglio’s message on how heaven will be a party for the nations. That message blew me away and opened the door for me to engage with God’s heartbeat for the world.

Passion '07

Passion ’07

I had an amazing conversation today with my friend Amber at 8th Day Coffee and Culture. We were talking about our creative gifts and how God uses them for His purposes. She has been getting a lot of pressure to sign with a major record label. Her heart is just to share her music with the world and how God healed her from a difficult time. For me, I hope never to have to make money off of anything creative I do. I am blessed to have a job that provides more than enough for me to do life. I personally want to use my creative talents for the Kingdom and to share with others. We were talking about how easy it is to make our gifts about ourselves and not about the Lord.

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It’s New Years Eve and I am so thankful for where I am at in life. It’s been an incredible year for me and I feel focused for the first time in a few years. My friend and mentor described my year like this: He said I’m like a plant and God put me into a pot to grow and heal me for a little while because there were some things He needed to work on. The soil represents the healing power of God working in my life. But now he sees God taking me out of that pot and putting me back into world to allow me to continue to serve Him. I do feel that. I feel God is ready for me to begin to go back to work and be a light for Him. And honestly, I don’t know what that is and I love that. This is where my faith and trust in God comes in and allows me to stay on His path.

IMG_1462I do know that God is about to reveal some of His plan for me. Through teaching from amazing influential people and reading His word, God is syncing my heart to His heart for injustice and mercy. I’ve gone about this all wrong for some time. I saw trafficking firsthand in Cambodia for the first time in 2008 and God opened the door for me to learn more about it. Failed opportunities to go to Fiji and other chances to engage were due to me following my own wants and desires and making life about me. I’m done needing approval from other people for my sense of self-worth and being a one-man show trying to save the world so I can feel better about myself. Now God has put me back into a position to be a part of His plan for justice and I want to be attentive to just following His will. It’s about the gospel and the message of God redeeming a fallen world. God is aligning me to Him and I look forward to learning more about topics like slavery so I can be an effective tool for Him.

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Cambodia ’08 – my first exposure to human trafficking

I also was convicted by a passage in Luke 5 this week in which Simon Peter falls to knees in worship when Christ invites him to drop what he is doing and follow Him. When was the last time I dropped to my knees in worship to the Lord? I honestly don’t have an answer to that. I want to be in worship everyday with my Lord and Savior. I want Him to be my first priority in all I do. God has done so much for and hasn’t given up on me. I want my life to reflect on His grace and for others to see Jesus when they meet me.

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With summer winding down, I have been praying for direction. School starts up for the boys and I again soon here, but also Fall is bringing some exciting new changes in our lives. I love what God is doing right now in my life and the opportunities ahead. Today I had coffee with one of the leaders from Camber (young adult program) and he approached me about sharing my testimony to the guys one night. After spending a year in counseling learning about myself and all my experiences, I’m ready to start giving back and helping younger guys not make mistakes. It’s been awhile since I have played a mentorship role (other than my kids), but I am thankful to be given the opportunity. God has done some pretty amazing stuff in my life and I want it to be an open book for others to learn from.

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Amaris is in town and I had an opportunity to catch up with her at lunch. I love that I keep running into old friends that I have served in ministry with. Amaris is without a doubt one of my top 10 favorite people in the world. She has this amazing genuine pure heart for the Lord that I have never seen in a woman before. Just an incredible servant for God with a passion for younger women and missions. Her and I served on the mission board together at Cornerstone years ago. We were also part of this core group of leaders that served on the Camber staff under Ron Merrell back in ’06-’07. I love this picture of Julie, Alex and Amaris because we were all part of that group. I’ll never forget going to College Briefing at Forest Home and Passion in Atlanta with these amazing ladies and 20 other Camber leaders back in 2006. Those trips were my starting point of getting into ministry and missions. It was such a unique group and we were all living our lives for the Lord in community together. I love that I have found that all over again with the group of friends that I just went down to Mexico recently with. There is something about a loving caring body of Christ followers that are living in community together that forms a bond that can’t be broken. When I see these girls and others from those days, I always think back to the days of doing life together at Camber and how God brought us all together to fellowship with one another.

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Central to the mission and vision of the “ONE” Network is the prayer that Jesus prayed for the church in John 17:23 when He prayed, “May they become perfectly ONE, so that the world will know that you sent me and love them even as much as you love me.”

The “ONE” Network is a unified movement of currently 4 local churches who sole mission is to reach young adults in Phoenix for Christ and connect them to a local faith community. Their mission is to be a unified movement of local churches coming together as “ONE” in order to reach young adults for Christ and connect them to a local faith community.

Lost Canyon

The dining hall

The ONE retreat took place in Williams, AZ at a place called Lost Canyon. The weather was beautiful The weekend consisted of different session of worship and a message.  We also had time to connect with our home churches. The worship was incredible. Ryan, Jason, Casey, Jarod & Sean are all friends of mine and they did an amazing job of leading us in songs of worship. Kent DelHousaye was the guest speaker and he spoke on us having freedom in Christ. That means that we have the freedom to grow in our walk in the Lord without having to be judged by others. His sermon was very impactful for me as is tied in a lot of what God has been saying to me lately.

The worship band

Kent Delhousaye

I enjoyed having fellowship with friends from Camber, but I also made many new friends. There were many churches represented and I was able to make friends from many of them. I’m looking forward to being a bigger part of Phoenix One and I just love having the opportunities to network and get to know more people. I met a lot of people already on the Phoenix One volunteer staff over the weekend and I look forward to serving alongside them. I’m just excited have some friends to move forward in life with to continue on with my journey to grow with and fellowship with. God has blessed me so much over the years with amazing people.

Hang-out time

Group time

Building a house with a deck of cards that will hold a stack of Bibles

In addition to many awesome conversations with people, I had some intimate time with God. He has revealed so much me to me these past few weeks and I have grown and learned so much. We had this evening of confession in which Kent invited us to find freedom of our past burdens that have been weighing us down. God has literally been stripping me of so many old habits that I have been able to find peace and calmness in myself that I haven’t had in so long. This weekend was another one of those moments that I just sat in silence and let the Holy Spirit work in me. I can’t believe how free I felt after that and found myself singing my heart out to the Lord and praising him for all he has done in me during an extended worship session. I love Jesus with all my heart and I am so thankful for who I am in Christ and my heart that just seeks him when I am down.

They had us break in groups later that night and I found myself in a group with a lot of young college guys. I have always felt God has allowed me to go through so much so I can relate and give back to young guys like this. I was actually impressed with these guys and their faith. It’s awesome to see young men following the Lord. I was able to come in humility and admit my struggles to them and allow them to see a real guy who make mistakes and let them know that it’s ok to not be perfect. But at the same time we are to turn to our Messiah to be free from those sins and find the courage and strength to grow and learn from them. I know my honesty to these guys about my real guy issues that I struggle like lust and anger was huge to them. It’s big because most guys struggle admitting their stuff because of the fear of being judged or condemned by others.

New friends

Last night bonfire

God is good and this was just another opportunity he has provided for me to get away from the trials of the world and draw closer to him. God always has something big in store for me when life doesn’t make sense and gets rough. This weekend was a reminder from him that he is with me and that he is providing what I need on my journey to grow more like Christ. I love you Jesus.. thank you for being there and for always providing.

Camber group

ONE church

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Freedom is liberation

– Jesus came to free us physically and spiritually from sin  Gal 5:1

– Satan weighs us down with our burdens. Jesus came to take those burdens off.  Matt 11:28-30

Legalism – adherence to unnecessary rules – it robs us of what Jesus came to give us

– Tradition (man-made) vs Doctrine (God-made)

You are given the freedom to fight for your freedom. Paul says to stand up and fight against the slavery of legalism

How to fight against legalism  Col 2:16-23

– Let no one pass judgement on you. Judgement belongs to God. There is a divine accountability with you and Jesus

– Let no one disqualify you or say you don’t belong. We are all screwed up and trying to get better

– Assertive vs Hedonism – virtue is in the middle

– Do not submit to man-made rules. Scrutinize it and take it scripture

Why not just tolerate legalism

– The gospel depends on it

– Legalism undermines the power of the gospel. It stunts Christian growth and takes the joy out of it

– Legalism encompasses the credibility of the gospel. It makes the Christian life dull and boring and it looks like a list of rules

Martin Luther said God’s bondservant is the freest man of all

Live boldly and courageous. Be free in Christ! Peace, hope, life and freedom!

Freedom is not what about what your free to, but what you are free from

Where you go the Spirit goes and there is freedom  2 Cor 3:17

How can you be a servant of God and be the freest person on the earth?

Freedom is not a license

– Not an opportunity for the flesh. We have a battle with our sin nature going on.

Freedom is what you are free from

– living under the law

– free from sin

Freedom is liberation from the wrong kind of rules (man-made rules)

One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control  Gal 5:22

– The Holy Spirit is our teacher and we learn from him

Maturity doesn’t come with age but with acceptance of responsiblity

Live in freedom in holiness and honor 1 Thess 4:3-6

You don’t need a list of do’s and dont’s, just ask the Holy Spirit what is right

Freedom is not your right, it is a privilege  Gal 5:14

Serve one another

– Take care if this ‘right’ of your and don’t cause your brother to stumble 1 Cor 8:9-13

– If we sin against a brother/sister, you are sinning against Christ. Jesus looks out for us

Law of the love. Love your neighbor as yourself. Make choices on how it affects others Matt 22-37-38

Put others needs above your own Phil 2:3-4

What are you willing to give up in your freedom for your brothers and sisters?

– Paul was willing to give up his salvation Romans 9:3

We tend to fend for ourselves because others don’t take care of us. We need to see this in the church Romans 14:21

Ask yourself if this is profitable for the body of Christ. Look out for your brothers and sisters

If you are free, live responsibly. Live as a servant of God and others  1 Peter 2:16

Do you have irrational fears (ex:death)? Rational fears are justified

Know the truth (Jesus) and it will set you free John 8:31-32

– Jesus said I am the truth John 14:6

– Jesus frees us from punishment and condemnation Romans 8:1-2

– Sin and death Romans 5:12; 6:23

We will be free from fear and be free to live everyday John 8:36

Is it possible to be free but not live free? We are conditioned from the chains of our past. We say we are free yet we stay in captivity. We need to step out in faith and live free to move forward by the power of the Spirit in Christ

Not to survive, but to thrive

Jesus wants us to have an abundant life and have nothing to fear anymore John 10:10

Fear has to do with punishment. If we are perfected in love, we don’t have to fear anything 1 John 4:18

– Are you perfected in love?

We get abundant life through Christ John 14:6

Start believing the things you believe. That means no more fear of the things that weigh you down.

– My notes from sermon from Kent DelHousaye

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Mat Weddle sings songs off his new CD

When I was thinking of writing this blog about Obadiah Parker’s show, it was just going to be a short blog about my friend Mat Weddle and his new CD that just came out. Mat had given me the CD not too long ago and I really enjoy it (Mat is an extremely talented musician and I love seeing him play). Tonight was his CD release concert at Winfield’s cafe at First Baptist of Scottsdale and I was totally in for another great show by him. But what I wasn’t ready for was to be really moved by lyrics and the stories that Mat shared about each song. You see, Mat and I share a lot of the same struggles as men in this world and over the years we have become accountability partners for each other. So hearing the stories behind these songs all of a sudden made this album very special to me. I now truly view it as a gift from a friend that God provided to go on this crazy battle against our addiction with. The Siren and the Saint is our story.

I met Mat at Camber (a young adult group at our church) in 2006. Of course what drew me to him was the big red beard, but he quickly became a good friend. One of my earliest memories is a night after Camber where we and Ryan Axtell sucked down about 7 or 8 strawberry lemonades each. Our waitress was not happy with having to blend those up for us. I got to know both him and his wife Lisa pretty well at Passion ’07 in Atlanta (which is where they met). I would then spend the months following that attending his band Obadiah Parker’s shows at various venues here in the valley. Later that summer, Mat shared his testimony about his sex and porn addiction at Camber during their “We will not Talk” series. I was absolutely blown away that someone would get on stage and admit this in front of a large crowd – especially someone as well-known here in the valley as Mat.

That following winter, God brought me face to face with my own lust and sex addiction issues. I was so embarrassed and ashamed that I went into hiding. I avoided my friends and church for a whole month. Then in January of 2008, I returned to Camber and they had a guest speaker by the name of Keith Page speaking. Keith was a Pastor of a large church in California called Rock Harbor church. After planting that church and serving as head Pastor, he was asked to step down after his own struggles with lust came to the surface. It was a situation which almost cost him his marriage. But in the mist of hitting ‘rock bottom’, Keith discovered God was redefining him and using this issue for something more that would eventually humble him and free him from this deadly sin. And now Keith travels the country sharing his story of strength and hope to others. He talked of our need for brothers and sisters in Christ that will refrain from judgment to do this journey with together to find freedom and wholeness together in confidence. The hope is to share experiences of success in the Lord and learn from each other’s failures.

God brought some amazing men into my life following that night and through their trust, honesty and accountabilty, I have been able to find much success with my own struggles with lust that I have dealt with for so many years. I am so blessed and thankful to have real guys like Mat to do this journey with so that we may become not only be better men in our relationships, but be better men of God. I want to encourage you to check out The Siren and the Saint and be prepared to be inspired by our story of healing and restoration over this addiction that almost every man in this world battles with on a daily basis.

During his CD release week, Mat gave out this knitted red beard to a lucky twitter follower – so awesome!

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The band from the One Faith Gathering retreat got together for one night of worship at Somanorth. For me, it was the perfect time for me as I’m leaving for India in a few days. The “One” network is a gathering of young adults from several churches coming together for Christ. Their mission statement is birth from John 17:23 in which Jesus prayed for the church.

“May they become perfectly ONE, so that the world will know that you sent me and love them even as much as you love me.”


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