Posts Tagged ‘Camber Young Adults’

I’m loving being on campus at my alma mater. I have so many fond memories at ASU. Today was special because I had lunch with a friend of mine who is a full-time student. I first got to know Alina at Forest Home camp back in 2006. She needed help getting around in her wheelchair and many of us guys stepped up to make sure she had a good experience that weekend. We have been great friends since. She really has humbled my heart and showed me a lot about myself and my attitude toward those with special needs. I love cooking breakfast, having coffee and playing dice games with her. She is amazing woman of God and I love seeing her door greet at PhoenixONE. Below is a video of her testimony.

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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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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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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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Well.. today I am 35. My first reaction to that is .. I’m old! But it is no longer about a number to me anymore. I feel like I’m 25 and I’m loving life! Funny thing is that I feel like I’ve experienced the life experiences of someone in their 70’s with all that I’ve been through. Yet God continues to use me in ways I can’t explain. I’m so blessed for the friends and family he continues to bring into my life.
So what’s on the agenda? I hit one of my favorite places to eat yesterday.. Cornish Pasty. Love that place! It’s a hole, but the food is great. Hung with my mens’ group last night and then went to Kazimierz last night for some late night jazz with Shane. Hit the slots at AZ casino on the way home and then worked out. Today I’m having lunch with a friend followed by some fun with the kiddos. We might catch Clone Wars. The Mine starts tonight as well. Pastor Royce is covering the book of James. I am super stoked for that. One of my favorite books of the Bible. So a laid back relaxing day.
Last week I started volunteering for our 5th/6th grade program. I have eleven kids in my group. I can’t wait to plug into these kids. God is definitely going to stretch me this year as some of them are pretty wild. But I’m up for the challenge. I attended a youth ministry leadership conference on Saturday called Calibrate. It was very well put together and reaffirmed me that this is where God wants me as well as the mission board. God has been speaking to me a lot lately about maintaining a balance in my schedule. In fact, my Bible college class was canceled yesterday. I don’t know why the timing on this.. but I’m putting my faith and trust in God that he knows why he doesn’t want me in school right now.
Lastly, I’m excited for our new singles ministry for late 20’s/early 30’s at Cornerstone. Its called Rhythm (formally Generation 8). Our new singles pastor, James Patterson has a big vision for this group and I’m excited to be a part of it. But it will mean that I will have to leave Camber as it is going to Thursdays night. Camber was a huge part of my life. Especially after going though divorce. I love plugging into that age group. But it is time for me to move on. God always seems to bring new opportunities to learn and grow in my life. I love the people in Rhythm and I can’t wait fellowship with them.
Last, I heard a message from Pastor Justin about how churches need older people be there for the younger people of the church. Praxis’ average age is 23. I don’t my role at that church, but I know there is a reason I go there here and there. I made a lot of mistakes and age 23 and I love sharing my testimony to guys at that age. And at 35, I still feel I can hang with that age group. God has a plan and I need to obey if that is the path he wants me to take. I’m just excited to be a part of it!

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The more and more I engage in conversation with people, the more and more I try and be conscientious of what and where the person is coming from. I work very hard at not being judgemental. We all have a story. We all have a past. I try to put myself in other people’s shoes. I want to know why they believe the things they believe. I want to know where they are coming from.

It’s really how I witness. I used to be a terrible listener. Probably because I never cared much for what other people had to say. But now I do. The more I care and want to help, the better I have become at listening. But I want to do away with asking myself ‘how can they be that way?’ or ‘why would they ever believe that?’. We all come from different backgrounds. We have been exposed to different things. We all worship different things. I just know that the more I understand who I am talking to, the more I will know how to direct my conversation.

It’s funny that this had become a big deal to me. Camber is doing a series on Worldview. Because I am generally busy running cameras or something, I haven’t paid much attention to it. Then I happened to catch a podcast of one of the sermons. I couldn’t believe they were speaking on the very topic I have been working on personally. So now I’m playing catch up…

Today at work, I had a lady ask me about the missions trips I go on. She is single, never married, in her 50’s and doesn’t believe in God. I have never spokem about Christ to her. Yet I show my excitement of living a life for Christ to her. She told me today that I look very happy. I told her that I feel for once in my life I feel my potential is being used… that my life is very rewarding. She mentioned how different I have been since my divorce. She then asked me if I would ever become a minister someday. My answer was that only if I’m called to do so. I left the conversation at that. But I enjoyed having that talk with her because she generally is very private and doesn’t open up to anyone. I went home and prayed for her.

God is good.

Today, I signed up for a Bible class through Southwestern college. Old Testament (Genesis through Song of Solomon). I’m excited to study the Old Testament. There are some amazing stories of faith in the OT. I have also decided to start memorizing scripture. I have too many favorite passages that I can never remember where they are located. Think I’m going to start carrying flashcards…

I’m meeting and sharing my heart to a bunch of guys that have been through divorce tonight. I pray that they will take it upon themselves to better themselves as men and take what they have been through and use it for HIS glory.

Awesome week for missions as we are giving a presentation this week to 200+ people who signed up to know more about what Cornerstone has store for missions in 2009 this Wednesday. Not sure of my role, but I can’t to share my passion to these people. May they see how God has transformed my life and given me this heart to share the gospel to the nations.

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San Diego has become my home away from home. I know the city very well. We did frequent trips there growing up. It’s only a quick 5 hrs away to the beach. This was my last full week with the boys before they go back to school. So we decided to stay there for the week and beat the heat. There was a lot going on in San Diego this week that kept us busy.

We pulled in on Tuesday and checked into our hotel. We immediately hit the beach. Coronado island is always one of our favorite spots. So we spent some time in front of the Del relaxing from our drive. Then a stop at one of our favorite pizza places, Pizza Nova. Of course we got looks because of our beach attire. But the pizza was worth it. That night we saw a late showing of the “Dark Knight”. Batman was my favorite comic book hero growing up and I really enjoyed this lastest installment. Heath Ledger was amazing as the joker.

Wednesday was a day at the Zoo. We had been there many times before. But I love the walk around the park. Its definetly one of the best zoos in the country. Ty is a huge animal lover and really enjoyed his time there. Jake is kinda outgrowing it and let that be known to me. Best part is the polar bear plunge. We stood there for some time. I ended getting sick that day and spent the evening in bed.

We hung at Balboa park the next day. A visit to the Air and Space museum was on the agenda. Checking out the old World War I & II aircrafts was fun.  They had a traveling Star Trek exhibit that brought back some memories of my trekkie days. We then headed downtown to Petco park. There wasn’t a game, so we toured the ballpark. They took us in the locker room and into the dugout. My baseball fanatic days are behind me as well, but I really enjoyed being a kid again.

David Crowder and Mercy Me played a show at San Diego state university that night. My friend Kris joined us that night. It was a good show. I believe it was my kid’s first concert. It was good to get a little worship into the middle of the week.

Our fourth day ended up being a crazy day at the largest gathering of comic book fans.. ComicCon. We’re talking 100,000+ fans. It was nuts! There were so many people dressed up in outfits. The day we went on was Star Wars day. Lots of Stormtroopers walking around. I couldn’t resist taking pictures. We also obtained lots of free stuff. ComicCon is one of San Diego’s biggest events of the year. We had fun, but the crowds got to us and we left.

Camber, our young adult group came up late that night. We hooked up with them and stayed at a local church that night. We spent the evening at Pacific beach and then Mission beach the next day. I spent a lot of time doing nothing. It was nice. We then had a bonfire and a BBQ the last night before wrapping up the week. This was a fun last week of the summer for the boys and I before school starts.

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