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Posts Tagged ‘Catalyst’

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Our awesome volunteer team!

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Not even two months after serving with Land of a Thousand Hills at the Justice conference in Philadelphia, I found myself once again volunteering with this amazing ministry. This time they set up camp at Catalyst West Coast at Mariners church in Irvine, California. Catalyst is a leadership conference that gathers influencers who are seeking to see change in this generation by passionately pursuing God. Land of a Thousand Hills has always had a presence at this conference by giving out coffee to the attendees as they walk in and out of the worship center. I met up with Bryan Farrar, the community relationship coordinator for Thousand Hills and he got our team ready for a fun day of serving and connecting with people about the story of community trade coffee.

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A few of us having a blast! (Photo from Catalyst photo stream)

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Serving coffee to the Catalyst crowd

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Bryan making sure everything is running smoothly

Bryan making sure everything is running smoothly

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What a great team of volunteers we had!! It was a fun few days of getting to know each other and working together as a team. It was amazing to see how easily we bonded together. Bryan did a great job of making sure we had everything we needed so our days went smoothly. The people of Catalyst loved having their morning coffee as well as hearing the story of Land of a Thousand Hills and what they are all about. I feel so blessed every time to play a small role in the getting the word out about Thousand Hills and how they are making a difference in the Rwandan and Haitian communities. I had a blast and I look forward to serving with Thousand Hills again someday. DRINK COFFEE, DO GOOD!

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Another solid time volunteering with the Thousand Hills team

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Mariners church in Irvine started back in the 60’s and moved into its current facility in 2005. It is the second largest church in Orange County behind Saddleback church hosting 12,000 people each Sunday. I sometimes joke around and call it Mariners resort because of how huge it is. But all kidding aside, it’s a beautiful church. Mariner’s hosted this year’s Catalyst West Coast (as they have for quite some time). I love coming here! It’s becoming a home away from home for me. It’s located in a beautiful part of California and only a minutes drive from Newport Beach. I had to get here early in the morning because this is my first time working behind the scenes at Catalyst and they wanted us here at 6am. They treated us well with Thousand Hills coffee and breakfast (lots of yummy Chick fil a breakfast sandwiches).

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Road trips are always a great way to process things. It gives you the opportunity to reflect and ponder life. This road trip in particular has been good for me because I’ve experienced so much recently and God has been working in my life as a result of these experiences. I’ve experienced the death of both my Grandmother and my uncle in the past two weeks. I had a wonderful Holy Week in which I was able to proclaim my faith in baptism. I’m doing life with some pretty amazing people and my family has bonded together in ways I haven’t seen in a long time. God is good and my Grandmother’s death has drawn me closer to Him. I’m headed out to Catalyst West Coast in Irvine, California. I first went to Catalyst in 2009 with a team of leaders from my previous church. I attended the year after as well and haven’t been back since. Now I find myself being called to these conferences to soak in some teaching and to learn from those that are leading the church today. God has been preparing my heart for some big plans recently and has been opening many doors for me already. I attended a conference for my counseling college in the Fall and started to pray to God about what He wanted me to do with the courses that I have been taking. Not too long later, God started to bring young men into my life in search of mentorship and now I am finding myself pouring into the lives of several men as of late. My spiritual life grew closer to God through worship and He has further shaped my heart to be a part of being a voice for this generation by seeking change in this world. This grew out of attending Passion in Atlanta. God further aligned my heart to His heart for justice in Philadelphia by the example of those that spearheaded the movement for justice before me. Now God is calling me back into leadership. I just completely eight weeks of leadership training, joined my church counseling team and started a missional community. Catalyst is a wonderful conference of teaching and equipping leaders in ministry and I’m excited He has called me to come back. I saw Brad Lomenick speak a couple of months back at PhoenixONE and it was confirmation that God wanted me to be back here in Irvine. I also have many friends from the many years I was in ministry that are going to be here and I’m excited to spend time with them. After arriving, I spent my first night in worship praising the Lord for how great He is on the beaches of Newport Beach watching the sun go down.

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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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Carlos Whittaker brought a lot of energy to PhoenixONE tonight. I love corporate worship and singing in unison with the body of Christ. I’ve seen Carlos many times at Catalyst and he has an amazing heart for the Lord. Justin Anderson taught a great message from Mark 8 about how Peter rebukes Jesus for mentioning his own death on the cross. Peter says this for his own personal gain and Jesus in turn rebukes him with the famous “Get behind me Satan” quote. He then says to him and the crowd “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Basically, what path will we take?

Justin brought up a study from a book called Soul Searching by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton that that surveys 3,000 teenagers. This landmark study on the faith lives of American teenagers reveals that while a majority identify with a religious congregation, many adolescents subscribe to a watered-down belief system that the authors call Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

  1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
  2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
  5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

Basically, people generally choose ‘the easy path’. We choose a path for our own personal happiness, not holiness. We invest ours lives in our own personal gain and our sense of entitlement. Jesus warns us of this life for ourselves and that there are consequences for not choosing this path for our righteousness. I thought Justin picked a great topic for this age group (and for this culture in general).

Afterwards they played this awesome video of a girl who found Christ on her own. In my Islam class, I have been studying about Muslims who have been finding Christ through their dreams. This makes me want to reach out more to people.

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