Posts Tagged ‘Acts’

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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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Prayer has been at the top of the list for our missional community this year. Prayer for direction, prayer for each other, prayer for everything. Us guys got together to lay out the direction for our MC this year. We rebuked the American way of doing things (living for ourselves, making money, etc) and pledged to live out a radical way of life like those in Acts. Our big push is to be out in the community more (my heart) in addition to breaking bread with each other and learning the gospel. But we also dreamed of someday living closer together as a family as the biggest hurdle for us has always been geography. With the housing market so great and the blessings God has been giving me financially, buying a home sometime early next year is becoming a reality for me. How cool would that be to live within minutes of the community God has blessed me with! We prayed for wisdom and direction and to take the first steps in accordance to God’s will.

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I’ve hosted my missional community on a number of occasions. I enjoyed spending my day making a spaghetti dinner with turkey meatballs in a zesty paprika sauce. I love hosting and being a blessing to others in my home. Our group has grown to 12 people not including kids. But tonight our MC was a little more deep for me. Our study really sunk in with me and the fact that we were doing ‘church’ in my home. I couldn’t help but think about how church was held in homes in Acts eating and being in fellowship with each other.

We read out of John 13 and how Jesus washed the disciple’s feet. We were talking about how we can serve each other more and others. I really am a part of a great MC and there is so much love for each other in it. This group has been a huge part of my healing process and teaching me about the gospel. I have grown so much since embracing all of them. We talked about being more open to bringing in newcomers and non-believers. We also want to be better about praying for each other and for the people in our own lives that we are on mission with. We spent most of the night praying for the Spirit’s guidance and direction for this coming year.

Tonight we also sang worship songs for the first time in a while and for the first time in my home. While we were singing, tears came to my eyes. We were singing “It is well with my soul” and I was remembering the story behind the lyrics. Horatio Spafford wrote the song after going through some tough trials in his life. I have seen a lot of joy and laughter in my home, but I have also seen a lot of hurt and pain. While singing, I looked up at the cross hanging over my door. It was a reminder that God is sovereign and that he is a God of healing and restoration. It was an amazing moment to look around at everyone and seeing all of us as one unified body lifting each other up and praising our Lord and Savior.

  • – From Wikipedia

This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871 at the age of four, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone . . .”. Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

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But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11 (NIV)

My good friend Jeff Gokee ended his sermon with this passage at PhoenixOne tonight. He was asking us if we were going to be like the young rich ruler or Zacchaeus during this season of advent. We are a wealthy country and many of us choose not to give sacrificially. The rich young man walked away in sadness, but Zacchaeus gave his life to Christ. For me, God has me in this wonderful place of humility that I just want to give to others. So I see this passage as more than just money. I do have a tendency to be selfish in some areas of my ‘stuff’ and I justify that by the fact that I give money to many charities and organizations. So I can be picky and choosy of what I give. But lately, I have found myself giving of my time and my services to others. I have met so many young people lately through my church and many of them have expressed interest in getting to know me. I love sharing my life to them. I have also been better at inviting people to my home or making time for them at coffee shops or restaurants. Just being a part of a gospel centered family church and how we can be a blessing to each other has really transformed my heart. I am so appreciative of what others have done for me that I want to be the same blessing to them. This process of dying to my old self has been a difficult process for me, but to live a vicariously life for Christ has brought great joy to my life and shown me a better way of living. The key for me is to be led by the Spirit in repentence day in and day out and that’s where I’m thankful to God for community.

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I had a bittersweet moment the other night at Camber. I have been attending Camber since March of 2006. But now there is a group called Rhythm that is starting in a couple of weeks that is running opposite Camber on Thursday nights. It’s more geered to my age group now that Camber is officially a place for college age people. But I can’t forgot what Camber has been to me these past couple of years. I’ve made many friends and I have so many memories. It’s where I started out my single life. It’s where I’ve grown so much in my faith at.
I attended Camber this past Thursday knowing it was going to be my last night there. Yet.. I couldn’t sit through it. I just felt this sense of knowing that I don’t belong there anymore and that is was time to move on. I didn’t like that feeling because of what Camber had meant to me. But at the same time I anxious to see what James Patterson has in store with Rhythm. I’ve already made some new friends there. He has got such a great vision for that group. I think it’s going to be huge.
So I thought I conjure up a list of my top 10 favorite Camber moments. There are so many, but here it goes..
10. Art night. Camber is so blessed with so much talent. Music, art, photography, dance, poetry, etc. We did two of these nights where members of Camber were able to display and express their art, pictures and music talents. God gave us the freedom to put on display his glory through music and paintings. I was blown away. We also gave those that just showed up a chance to express their feelings with a blank banner and some paint brushes. I really enjoyed this.
9. Acts series. Ron did a series that spanned the whole book of Acts. It may have seemed long and drawn out, but I really enjoyed it. I love reading about the early church and the early days of the disciples. Acts is one of my favorite books of the Bible and I would love to do a study again on it.
8. Camber Christmas concert. Last year was absolutely amazing. Ryan and company did a great job of putting this together. It was very well put together and really got the crowd in the Christmas spirit. I don’t know how they are going to top last year, but I’m already looking forward to it.
7. Baptism night at the Liston’s. Incredible night! Ron invited anyone to head over to the Liston’s house to be baptized in their pool after Camber one night. I believe over 20 people were baptized that night. The cool thing is that 100+ people from Camber showed to support those that were being baptized. We must of been there till 1am.
6. Serving on the Camber staff. Ron assembled about 30 of us one day at Dave Sweet’s business to talk about serving on the Camber staff. We went through all the service opportunities and put together an amazing team to run Camber. I felt very blessed to be a part of this.
5. We will not talk series. The summer series that just blew the roof off of Camber. We discussed various topics that many churches refuse to talk about. Homosexuality, eating disorders, cutting, drugs, porn, etc. On top of that we had members of Camber that have struggled with these issues share their testimonies. It was an amazing summer.
4. College Briefing at Forest Home. A huge group of us traveled to California to to spend Labor Day weekend with several other college groups at Forest Home. Our very own Brayline provided the worship for the weekend. We played volleyball, had milkshakes and hung out. Ron got our group together and we had an incredible time of sharing one night. This particular weekend was when I really started to make amazing friendships at Camber.
3. Worship. What can I say.. Cornerstone is blessed with incredible music talent. Ryan, Jason and the band just bring it every Thursday night. Not a Thursday goes by that I feel God’s presence through the incredible music that is being played.
2. The speaking. Ron Merrill was the heart and soul of Camber. He brought a huge vision to that group. Yet God spoke through him with love and compassion toward the people of Camber. The topics and series were amazing. The guest speakers were incredible. It brought my faith and knowledge of the Bible to a whole new level.
1. Passion Atlanta. Can’t say enough about this trip. It changed my life. About 40 of us from Camber traveled to Atlanta on New Years Eve to this 4 day conference. 20,000+ gathered to hear Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, John Piper and Beth Moore speak about living your life radically for God. Chris Tomlin and David Crowder provided the music. This was the trip that turned me on to missions. Going through the Do Something Now booths and talking to missionaries just opened awareness to me. And then being able to hang out and fellowship with other Christians from around the world was so moving. The week was capped off with all 20,000 of us surrounding the Georgia dome and singing “Amazing Grace” while holding candles. One of the highlights of my Christian walk that I will never forget.
There are several more stories I could write about.. Point South Mountain, Sunday BBQs, Camber beach trip, etc.. but these are my favorites. I won’t forget what being a part of Camber did for me. I could write a long list of people that have touched my life during this time as well. I will miss Ron, Ryan, Chris and the gang. But at the same time I will be next door plugging into Rhythm. I’m excited to see what God has in store for this next phase of my life.

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Tonight was David Crowder Band night. He really got the crowd fired up with “Here is our King” and “There is none like you”. Louie Giglio spoke from Acts 1 & 2 and from Psalms 86. He talked about how heaven is going to be a huge party consisting of people from all the nations. And it’s our job to make sure everyone gets invited to the party. I sat with Ron Merrell and Chris Simning – two guys that have really inspired me and have become an encouragement in my life. I was also with Ryan, Chad, Annette, Mat, Amaris, Liz and Alex. We ended up ditching our community groups that night and hanging out at Landmark. It was good to fellowship with people from my church. We rarely had time to see each other all week.

Two heroes of mine - Ron Merrell and Chris Simning

Two heroes of mine – Ron Merrell and Chris Simning

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