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Archive for the ‘PhoenixONE’ Category

All Sons & Daughters

All Sons & Daughters

I love mid-week worship nights. It’s just so easy to get caught up with a busy week and forget to invite God into the hustle and bustle of life. How less stressful life is when God is centered and leading the way. All Sons & Daughters did a long worship set tonight at PhoenixONE and I loved every minute of it. I gave God the time He had been desiring from me in worship and prayer. Wow – He has been so amazing  this year and I love what God has done in my life thus far. Jeff’s message was dead on – Abide in Christ and find rest in Him. Stop with all the methodology of how to draw close to Jesus and just run and cling to Him. Tonight was a fitting way to end the PhoenixONE season – I love that they are back in donwtown Phoenix in the heart of the city. What a great year it has been!

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

Psalms 13

Axtell

This is just a quick plug for my good friend Ryan Axtell – worship leader at Cornerstone Chandler. He opened the evening with an acoustic set and I had a good time catching up with him afterwards. His new album The Beauty Becoming comes out this week and you can grab it on iTunes. He has a heart for songwriting and his songs have such powerful lyrics. Check it out and buy it!

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I enjoyed PhoenixONE tonight. I got to worship with all my friends under the stars. I also got to catch up with some dear friends that I have made over the years while on mission in other countries. I met Pastor Joseph “Jojo” while in Kenya at an orphanage. He was brought to the orphanage at a young age and is now the Pastor there. I got to hang with him a couple of times this week and we had some great talks. I also chatted with Suresh Kumar from Harvest India for a little while. He gave a special prayer over us and I’ve always appreciated the role he has played in my life. I have had many great God moments with Suresh over the years. Jeff Gokee interviewed some friends of mine that recently got married – Johnny and Criselda Sweet. They have a great testimony and it’s awesome to see a couple that is sticking it out and doing marriage right. My good friend Ryan Axtell led worship and Jeff gave a pretty awesome message on relationships. After years of working under him in 5th/6th grade student ministries, I have never heard him speak on dating and was pretty impressed with his talk. He was pretty hard on both the guys and the girls, but I felt he did it in love and it was a sermon many of us here needed to hear. Ryan and Sara Senters gave their testimony of having foster kids afterwards and I enjoyed them sharing their heart. It was a beautiful night and a blessing to spend with good friends!

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Pastor Jojo

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Suresh praying for us

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Ryan Axtell leads worship

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Jeff Gokee interviews the Sweets

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Ryan and Sara Senters

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Photo by Vintage Blush Photography

Photo by Vintage Blush Photography

A few of my friends shared their testimony in this video. I’m excited to see how PhoenixONE helped them get connected in the church community. One of the things I am loving that PhoenixONE is doing is promoting some of the wonderful organizations out there. I have always felt this is the generation to make a difference in the world. Christian Family Care is an organization that provides adoption/foster care/counseling to kids in crisis. It’s a wonderful organization and lately there has been a growing movement within the local churches to abolish the number of kids in the foster care system (over 12,000).

Ladouceur

Ladouceur

Another awesome organization that has been doing great stuff for many years is Compassion International. Robbie Seay Band led worship tonight and Robbie talked about what they are all about. Compassion provides child sponsorships to the many orphans around the world. For as little as $38 a month, you can make a difference in the life of a child by sponsoring them monthly. It provides food and clothing for the an entire month. I started sponsoring my child Ladouceur from Haiti back in 2006 when he was about five. He is close to teenage years now and I love getting letters from him. Tonight close to 40 children were sponsored by the PhoenixONE community. It’s funny that Compassion was brought up tonight because I have been praying about going to Haiti to visit my sponsored child. Tonight was also special for me as Aaron McRae from Hillside Community church was the guest speaker. He was a Pastor from my previous church and it was great catching up with him and Brian Wurzell – who is now going to be leading worship there.

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End it Movement contacted me earlier this week to let me know that their road team would be swinging by Phoenix. End it Movement is a movement that was launched after Passion 2013 that is raising awareness for the 27 million being held in modern-day slavery. The road team is traveling state to state hitting churches and universities to challenge young adults and students to be a part of the movement. Tonight they set up shop at PhoenixONE – a worship gathering of young adults from all over the valley to promote unity of the church. I met up with Kyle and David – the guys driving the red and black End It vehicle all over the U.S. Seriously – great guys with a huge passion for this. I felt like I have known them forever with how welcoming they were. I helped run their table and tell the people of PhoenixONE what End it Movement was all about. It was awesome to see all the people who pledged to be a part of a generation that is in it to End It. We also had a ton of accessories and gear that we gave out to help promote this cause.

It was a special night for me as well as Jason and Jessica Williams of Session Nine photography led worship. They are long time friends of mine and I loved being here to hear them lead worship. Jeff Gokee gave an awesome message on Jehovah Rapha – one of the wonderful names of God that means the God of healing and restoring. His message was centered on how we as Christians rarely go to God first when we go through pain and trials. Tonight was a blessing and I’m thankful God used me to be a voice here in my own backyard for justice.

God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds

Psalms 147:2

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Photo by Anna Dufek

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Tonight was a pretty fun night for me at PhoenixONE. I had my own booth set up and was able to connect with lots of people from different churches. I ran into my old buddy Malachi and chatted with lots of friends that I have made over the years. I then looked across and saw that my friend Heidi from Food for the Hungry had her booth set up across from me. She was fresh off her trip to Bangladesh with the FH bloggers. She was there to get people to sign up for the FH Empower Women 5k walk.

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Brian Wurzell and Ryan Axtell

It’s always a blessing to have my long time friends and worship leaders Brian Wurzell and Ryan Axtell lead worship for PhoenixONE. Brian always picks a song to get us moving around in our seats and tonight it was Hillsong’s “Break Free”. Tonight’s speaker was Brad Lomenick of Catalyst. I’m a huge fan of Catalyst and have been to a couple of their West Coast conferences in Orange county. Brad helps raise up leaders and Catalyst is a movement that helps equip them through amazing speakers and teachers.

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Brad Lomenick

Brad’s talk was about the four keys to being a change maker (the theme of the Catalyst conference this year). My notes:

1. Understanding your calling

– Our talents and passions should intersect

– Salvation and Vocation

Write down your three greatest strengths and then your three greatest passions

2. Create a legacy

– Your 20’s will establish your 70’s – start creating your legacy now.

– Be Kingdom entrepreneurs – both business and the Bible.

– Own a vision bigger than what is in front of you. Perseverance is important.

3. Excellence – be the best in the world.

– Set a standard of excellence.

– Be good at everything you do – father, co-worker, etc. Work hard and be a good finisher. The world will notice.

4. Be more like Jesus.

– Passionately pursue Him. There are too many average Christians.

– His grace leads to our passion of worship which leads to joy in our lives.

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“Break Free”

I sat with my friend Heidi during the service. She was up next to talk about Food for the Hungry‘s International Women’s Day. The Walk to Empower Women 5k walk at Indian Steele Park is in March. This is a walk to raise awareness of the women around the globe that face violence, discrimination, lack of basic rights, lack of education. Heidi has a huge heart for this and God has taught me a lot about partnerships. Heidi has put a lot of time and effort into this and I’m thankful be a voice to help raise awareness for her. Plus I have the utmost respect for Food for the Hungry and always blessed to be a part of what they are doing in to world.

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Heidi Hatch

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Advent – Day 17

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Tonight was the last PhoenixONE for the year and they had a special Christmas concert put on by Ike Ndolo. Jeff Gokee, Brian Wurzell and Kim Sherman took time to talk about the history and future of PhoenixONE and how we can continue to support the ministry. They are now meeting at North Phoenix Baptist church. I can’t believe it has been two years since we met at the Buttes in Tempe to discuss the beginning of this ministry. They gave us time to do prayer walks around the campus to pray for unity among the churches, the growing movement of PhoenixONE and the city of Phoenix as a whole. A group of us spent time praying for these things and for each other. We prayed for continued strength in our walks with the Lord and to be accountable for each other. I’m really thankful for the people in my life. Afterwards was a time to fellowship and to eat. This was a great time to reflect on Christ and what He is doing with the growing young adult movement.

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I love nights like tonight at PhoenixONE. They had inspirational speakers come and talk about their organizations and how God is working around the world. I have always felt the college/ young adult age can make a huge difference in our world. David Wright from Youth for Christ International spoke about what God is doing with the youth. They work all around the world mobilizing these young people to be leaders and share the love of Christ. Below is a video of what they are doing in Rwanda and in the high schools in the U.S.

Youth for Christ reaches young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ and commitment to social involvement.

 

I’ve always been a fan of Venture Expeditions. I have friends that have served in Czechoslovakia through Venture. Paul Hurckman spoke about Venture and how they mobilize people through cycling and other humanitarian projects. They have partnered with all types of organizations like International Justice Missions and music artists to make Jesus’ name famous. This was an encouraging night and I hope to see more young adults make radical decisions to spread the love Jesus.

The Venture Expeditions community empowers people to benefit the world and discover their souls through adventure-driven humanitarian efforts.

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Josh Riebock

Life is a field. You aren’t alone.

I won’t forget tonight. Not only was it Election night, it was PhoenixONE and they had a special treat for us. Josh Riebock is a writer. He wrote a book called Heroes and Monsters and I had the chance to read it over the summer. The book tore me up. It’s a story about Josh’s relationship with his dad who was his hero. Despite the fact that his dad was his hero, he had a dark side to him. His dad was an alcoholic and Josh writes a book on how he couldn’t comprehend knowing who this guy was when he started drinking. His dad was his hero and yet he was a monster to him. It’s a great book on how the events of our lives and how they shape us. It’s about how we can be loving people and then switch and be the ugliest people in the world. It’s about the struggle inside us and how we can find hope in Christ through our trials and pain.

Josh talked about how God wants to take us to the depths of pain so we can learn and heal from it. We like to hide and stuff our junk and God wants to release us from it. He wants to give us freedom from the things we are scared of. I’m so thankful Josh came tonight and thankful to my former Pastor Ron for recommending his book to me. I had been corresponding with Josh before he came and he gave me a big hug when I introduced myself to him afterwards. I loved that I felt like an buddy of his and how welcoming he was. I’m a huge fan of transparent real guys and Josh’s story has been a blessing to me as I have experienced the same father pains as he has.

Andy Cherry led worship and I was able to bring a bunch of my friends with me. We were all impacted by Josh’s talk. But most of all, tonight was special because I got to bring my son. And for him him to hear a talk about father/son relationship while sitting with me was special. He got to hang out with me and my friends afterwards and I even let him stay up a little late even though he had school the next day. I am so thankful to the Lord for this special night for getting a chance to meet Josh and hang out with my son.

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With my bros and my son

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PhoenixONE had an amazing kick-off night that I won’t forget. It started off when I walked in I saw this amazing sunset outside Phoenix Historic Presbyterian First right before the event started. I felt God telling me to prepare my heart because tonight was going to be a big night. Downtown Devil captured the event in this article.

The guest speaker wasn’t announce for tonight’s kickoff beforehand. After worship was provided by Brian Wurzell and Ryan Axtell, Francis Chan of Cornerstone Simi Valley came out to our surprise as the guest speaker for the evening. Francis Chan is known for writing popular Christian book Crazy Love. I first heard him speak at a Passion conference back in 2007. Ironically I went with my friend Shauna who was also happened to be with me at Passion ’07. This was an awesome way to kickoff a new season of PhoenxONE. The audio of Francis’ talk can be heard here.

Here are my notes from tonight’s talk:

Take Courage

  • We are sons and daughters of God and we represent Him.
  • The world will believe when they see a fearless church.
  • Live in a manner worthy of the gospel.

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

– 2 Timothy 1:7

  • The enemy gives us a spirit of fear.
  • God puts the Holy Spirit in us. God Almighty is with us.
  • We honor God’s word when we believe in it.
  • Do you believe he gives you not a spirit of fear, but of power?
  • Something in us changes when the Spirit enters us.
  • God gives us a spirit of power, love and self-control.
  • Some Christians will say they don’t sense Jesus with them.
  • Are you out sharing your faith with others?
  • In Matthew 28, Jesus says He will be with us when we go out and make disciples.

 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

– Acts 1:8

  • We all long for the spirit of love. We need to practice it in our local church.
  • Imagine if the world saw that life of unity in our churches.
  • With the spirit of self-control, we have the power over sin. We can overcome it!
  • God promises He will never let you be tempted beyond what you can handle.
  • When we gather, we are supposed to enCOURAGE one another.
  • Even Paul asked for prayer.

“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”

– Acts 4:29-31

THE PHOTOS BELOW ARE BY SUREFIRE PHOTOGRAPHY

(Photos from Facebook event)

Shauna

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Tonight was a special night for me. My friend Sarah had never been to Phoenix One and asked me if I’d go with her. While having dinner with her, we caught up with what was going in our lives. It was cool because she needed a friend she could trust and we have always been that for each other. I was able to just love on her as a Christian brother. I told her I get how judgemental and self-righteous the Christian community can get and how we just need people to love more and I was happy to do that for her. God’s a God of love and of second chances and showing that to each other is the start of healing.

She ran into a friend while waiting outside Historic First and I was able to catch up with several people myself. My friend CJ has been a rock in my life and someone who has shown me that unconditional love that I got to show Sarah tonight. As we walked in I saw Alina. I love that girl and I was glad to get a little time to give her a big hug. Then Jaimie and Allison found me and we were able to put a large group of us together up in the front to enjoy the worship. It was a powerful moment to be in corporate worship with several of my amazing friends. God’s done so much for me and I just wanted to give back to him and thank him for being so awesome.

Jeff Gokee brought up Suresh from Harvest India to speak about the lepers. It brought tears to me to see their faces on the screen. I remember every face from when I was in India giving my testimony in front of over a hundred of them. Then my friend and Pastor of New City Church Brian Kruckenberg gave this amazing message from James 1:13-17 on how God is good.

Alina!!

Suresh and Jeff Gokee

Brian Whitman

God is good, all the time.

Satan tempts us because we don’t believe this. If we did, we wouldn’t struggle with our temptation that eventually leads to sin and then to death. He lures us in by our own desires (our desires from within). The word own comes from the from the greek word IDIOS which is where we get the word idiot. So the tempter shows how good the pleasure looks, but not the consequences. (great example from Brian – a sneeze feels good, but like sin, it gets everywhere). So like any idol, when we glorify something more than God (like people), it can’t possibility stand the test. Our heart idols will let us down everytime. We have to believe God is good and live that. That’s why he’s not only good, but he also came down to show us (James 1:12).

“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” C.S. Lewis

Brian Kruckenberg

I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me John 17:23

It was such a powerful message and I was happy to hear that it spoke into my friend Sarah. I was able to hang out and catch up with friends afterwards. Johnny and Criselda (who just got engaged) came up to me and told me how they ran into my friend Candace in San Francisco last weekend and didn’t even know her. Somehow my name came up and they ended up putting two and two together and got into a long conversation. I thought that was really cool. Then CJ, Karla, Jaimie and a bunch of us walked to the The Stand for some late night dinner and fellowship. Karla is an artist and a photographer and we talked about doing a fun adventurous photo shoot. We want to make it Indy and Lara Croft – but with cameras. I enjoyed hearing her testimony. I made a bunch of new friends tonight and just had an all around blessed night. Thank you Jesus.

Hanging at the The Strand

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