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Archive for the ‘Missional Community’ Category

Sometimes before church we like to get together to be a family and a community. Coffee Bean has been a regular hang out for us before we listen to the Word.

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Our MC has really connected with the assisted living home at Elmcroft. We put on a worship service every month and now we are splitting up into teams and going over to help with games and other activities. It’s good for me to be stretched in this way because I have never had much of a heart for serving the elderly. So I am thankful God is changing my attitude and growing me. Today I was Bingo host and Michael and I had a good time connecting with some of the people there.

 

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Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

His truth is marching on.

 – The Battle Hymn of the Republic

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Tonight we had an awesome prayer and worship night in our MC. We prayed over Dallas’ job situation, my uncle’s death and Mark’s casa kids. We also got to celebrate a new addition to our family – Silas. He was born to Mitch and Laura last week! Dallas led us in worship tonight. It was also a special night to me because my dad and step sister Shayna got to attend. I know spending a night in prayer with us impacted him – I love how God works!

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Tonight two our MCs (Misisonal Communities) from our church gathered together at the home of the Erik and Tina Henrikson. It gave us a chance to get to know each other and share stories of what God is doing in each of our communities. We joined with the Duran MC and ended up being about 15 adults and 6 kids total in the house. We ordered tons of pizza and spent time chatting and playing with the kids. After a time of sharing, we went around and shared individual prayer requests. We had this amazing time of prayer in which someone from one MC prayed for someone in another MC. I love being in community and fellowship with one another and blessed that God brought me here to do life with these people who I call family.

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My Missional Community held a garage sale and donated the proceeds to help out victims of sex trafficking at StreetLight. Each of donated stuff from our homes to sell. I personally was able to get rid of half of my wardrobe. Not only were we able to raise funds, but we were able to engage with the surrounding community. It was a great day!

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Community – life together

Tonight it sunk in that my missional community has really become my family. I still remember trying to get a feel for these people and having my own judgmental thoughts about them. I put all that to rest a few months back because all of them truly get the gospel and they have been so loving and accepting of me. The two little girls used to be so scared of me and tonight I spent most of the night playing with them and letting them climb all over me. God has really taught me so much about why community is so important for the gospel to work in our lives. I have many friends and friends are important to have. But a missional community is in your life and knows your deepest darkest crap. You literally grow in your relationship with God as you do life with them. I really can’t imagine living life without community while going through my walk with Jesus.

Gelato

Our tendency is to just want to apply the gospel to ourselves. We have learned in church the gospel is threefold – individual, community and the cosmos (God’s sovereignty). Being with my family has changed my life so much and I know they won’t ever let me falter if I ever veer off path again. I love the new format of our group for each month – a night of fun (social, games, etc), a night of worship and prayer, a night of community outreach and a night of teaching. We played board games tonight for social night and the girls won, so the guys had to buy them gelato.

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I only know a few people in this Experiencing God small group (I would hardly call 25 people small..) that I am in. But tonight I shared my testimony with them so they could get to know me. A lot of them go to Cornerstone and to meet someone who had Pastor Linn as a youth Pastor and then to also meet someone who was a part of the beginning days of the church was interesting to them. They of course had lots of questions for me. For me, it was a time of reflection of my roller coaster life. Not that it has been bad, but I can see where God has always been present and how he has always been calling me back to him all throughout my life.

This week’s study has been focused on joining God where he is working and to be a servant for him. For me, I have always interpreted that as a service project or an event, etc. I have had so many opportunities that have come my way lately that I could easily jump on board with. I have been very careful about not keeping myself too busy or ignore where I am at in life. So I just commit to pray about each opportunity and to make sure it is part of Gods plan. Other than be father to my kids, God keeps telling me to be still. He doesn’t mean to just sit and do nothing, but to really take the time and build my relationship with him. I know it is because he is molding me for something bigger and better in my life. I have experienced things the past six years that only I can attribute to God, but I truly feel he has something even bigger than my puny brain can ever come up with. My relationship with the Lord is so rich right now, I can’t ever imagine walking away from it.

God has taught me so much about his sovereignty and the power of prayer. I always find myself in situations where I want to control my environment. But I am in a place right now that I know praying is more than enough for God to do his work and I don’t have to anything more. It takes the power out of my hands and teaches me to trust God. Last year, I left my last church looking for community to apply the gospel to my life. At that church, my life was mainly about me and my accomplishments (not to say there wasn’t good things.. but this was my idolatry issue there). There are a lot of people who like to pat themselves on the back there and I got caught up with that. I have learned the importance of community at my current church and I now have that and it has become a big part of my life. But now God is teaching me another part of the gospel – the cosmic part of it. This is the part where we look at all creation and trust God is in charge and that he is at work. This is huge because we all want to do things our way because our faith and trust in God is weak. This is where in my Experiencing God study that I feel God is wanting me to look at and join with him.

At church today they nominated Mark Durban to be a deacon. You know, Mark has stuck to me like glue these past few months. I have had many great mentors (I can’t tell you how important having older wiser people in your life is for growth. You will never get that from younger people or people your age), but Mark seeks me out each week to see how I am doing. My last counselor was great and he helped me with a lot of things. But what I have learned is counseling is a process that process needs to keep going, even when things are great. Mark has been counseling me each week for the past few months with the material from CCEF. This stuff is so rich with the gospel and is truly material for life long change. I have taken some courses myself, but to have is applied has been amazing. I’m not going to lie to you, I fought God long and hard my first month of counseling. Our tendency is to finger-point, blame everyone for our problems and simply to avoid them all together (I hate it when I fall into this trap). It is such an exhausting way to live and one will simply carry those burdens their whole life and look to quick fixes to get by. True change doesn’t even begin until you have a desire to change first and that you are willing only to look at yourself and your own heart issues and not anyone elses. We spent a lot of time re-visiting my childhood and I did not like seeing myself as that scared little boy in the corner watching my parents fight and my father abusing me. Or being picked on in school or going through divorce. But after a few weeks, I finally gave in and repented my crap to God and I have experienced so much freedom since. I quit blaming all these people and circumstances for who I am today and remembered who I was in Christ. Just learning about the gospel and my need for a Savior has so enriched my life. I have never had this much peace in my heart and I feel the changes going on in me will be life long changes. I am so thankful for Mark, my church, my MC and the scores of support from friends for their commitment to me and the changes God is doing.

So today the plan is to be still and allow God to mold me. I’m growing, learning and I love my life! I am so thankful I am choosing to go through the fire and trusting God as I face my problems and not side-step or hide from them. God has something huge in store and I want to be ready for it. And the glory part of it comes with how he used this broken guy who loves Jesus for his purposes.

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Tonight I was being interviewed by a journalist after going to a cooking demonstration at Phoenix Public Market about what I like most about the local food and artist connection in downtown Phoenix. I told her I love the community that is going on down here.  We have so much to learn from these people. There is so much support for the local agriculture farmers with people buying and supporting each other and by owners using their products in their restaurants.

Mishkan House

I have been seeking what it is like to start living a modern-day Acts life. Our MC has been praying about heading that direction for this year and being more in each others’ lives. But I have also been seeking to find people already living this out as a model for myself. I met this guy Joshua who told me about a group of people in downtown Phoenix that are living out the book of Acts in a house called the Mishkan House (Hebrew for tabernacle). They are totally living in community with each other and sharing everything they have with each other. I went down there tonight for a potluck.

Apprenticeship to Jesus is one of a family of ministries that are part of Antioch Network, an international, interdenominational fellowship preparing the way for the Lord. These guys are living together, having dinner together and are in constant prayer each day together. They are seeking to reach the surrounding areas and to share the love of Christ to their fellow neighbors. I was really encouraged by what I saw and it showed me a lot about my own selfish life that I have been living. My prayer is for change in how I am with people and to learn to be more Christ-like and open to my fellow neighbors.

  • – From their website on what a shared life looks like:

Shared Life

We are a community committed to becoming the type of people who routinely act in and respond to the real demands and opportunities of life, such as relationships, work responsibility, family life, community needs, as Jesus did.  We see that He was a powerful help to those around Him and desire to increasingly act with His wisdom, humility, beauty, and power.  We believe this same beautiful life, the very life of Jesus, is available to us as we increasingly engage our body, will, thoughts and emotions with Him in His Kingdom. In order to go deep with Jesus, allowing Him to live in us, we make a decision to alter the daily patterns of our living.

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