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Posts Tagged ‘Downtown Phoenix’

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Erwin McManus was the guest speaker for tonight’s worship night at Hillsong Phoenix. He just wrote a new book called the The Last Arrow after his recent bout with cancer and was promoting it. Erwin is a long-time friend of Hillsong church and gave an amazing message about living a fearless life with no regrets before you die. His message comes from 2 Kings 13:10–24 when the king doesn’t make use of all the arrows in his quiver. When you reach the end of your days, will your quiver be full of arrows because you never launched them or will it be empty because you weren’t afraid to risk it all for God? I was able to purchase the book and meet Erwin afterwards. I’m looking forward to reading the book and doing a study of it in our young professionals group next year.

And he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.”

2 Kings 13:18-19

Save Nothing For The Next Life

When you come to the end of your days, you will not measure your life based on success and failures. All of those will eventually blur together into a single memory called “life.” What will give you solace is a life with nothing left undone. One that’s been lived with relentless ambition, a heart on fire, and with no regrets. On the other hand, what will haunt you until your final breath is who you could have been but never became and what you could have done but never did.   * – from website

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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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Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action

1 John 3:18

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About thirty of us headed down to downtown Phoenix to be a part of Feed my Starving Children’s One Million Meals campaign. FMSC is expanding and they held this 24 hour event that was trying to pack one million meals and raise one million dollars for the expansion. I serve with FMSC every six months and love being a part of a team of people who bonds together to make a difference in the world. FMSC is a food packing ministry that uses volunteers to pack food that is shipped all over the world to poverty striken areas to feed children that suffer from malnourishment. This event was held at the Phoenix convention center and they had time slots that you could sign up for over the weekend. Our group took the call and did the 3am to 5am slot. We were tired, but in the end our group packed 72360 meals – enough to feed 198 kids for a year. Overall in the 24 hours, 2,966 volunteers packed 1,023,408 meals (enough to feed 2804 children for a full year)! They also raised over $500,000 for the expansion. It was a blessing to be a part of this and a blessing to serve alongside my amazing friends.

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I've become an accomplished photobomber

I’ve become an accomplished photobomber

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A year ago while checking out the Phoenix ministry Apprenticeship to Jesus, I took a photo of this art work on their fence. Little did I know that I would get to know Steve Malakowsky of Hope thru Art not more than a year later. Steve organizes all the wonderful art work at 8th Day Coffee & Culture – a coffee shop in downtown Phoenix that serves up community-trade coffee from Rwanda. He is well known in the local art community and works with many of the homeless people here by promoting their art work. Hope Thru Art’s motto – no politics. no religion. simply art with a message. Steve passed away last weekend. I got the message while in Philly at the Justice Conference and was blown away. Tonight at the First Friday art walk, 8th Day honored Steve Malakowsky. He had a beautiful memorial service and it was touching to see all the people come out to share how his art touched their lives. God Bless you Steve.

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Late last year, God led me to this little coffee shop in Phoenix. It has been amazing to see how he has used this little community in downtown Phoenix to change my life. Anywhere from taking pictures to being an advocate for Food for the Hungry and Land of a Thousand Hills or just drinking great coffee with an amazing community of people deep in the heart of the art district all came from hanging out at 8th Day Coffee & Culture. God is working here! He is bridging a community of faith through the local art scene and the story of community-trade coffee in Rwanda. It’s just amazing to see and be a part of! And how awesome that they are located right dead center in the heart of downtown Phoenix – a place city busting with a growing urban and arts community.

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“Eternal Sunshine of Bird City”

Just recently, Joseph Sentrock Perez painted this on the outside wall of 8th Day. It’s an amazing mural called Eternal Sunshine of Bird City. Sentrock moved here from Chicago and has become quite a well-known artist here in the local Phoenix art scene. Here is Sentrock describing his inspiration behind painting this:

I painted this on 8th day cafe, a coffee spot in downtown Phx. The phrase 8th day represented eternity. That’s why I wrote Eternal Sunshine of Bird City, a play off of the movie. I wanted it to signify an eternal blessing on the city Phoenix. Sharing our art and expression will forever bless the city of Phoenix aka Bird City. 

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Art work displayed on the walls of 8th Day

A lot of the amazing art work displayed on the walls of 8th Day is organized by Steve Malakowsky (Hope thru Art). He is an amazing artist and has a huge connection with the local art scene. One of things I love is his project to display art from the homeless population here in Phoenix. The funds made go back into helping them out. He’s a great guy and I love his heart for art and people. Tonight, the Food for the Hungry artists displayed their art for the First Friday art walk and were able to showcase God’s heart for the less fortunate through their pictures and paintings.

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I had to voice my excitement!

So one of the most amazing God stories to come out of this place is the story of Juliana and Daniel. I met Juliana while teaching refugees last summer. God has used her in so many ways in my life that I can’t even write it all. She’s an amazing talented woman and I am so thankful for her friendship. In fact, I found out about 8th Day through her. Daniel is the manager of 8th Day and has become a dear friend and brother. They met at 8th Day and have recently got engaged here. I love this story and was in tears when I heard about this. I am so happy for them! Pastor Shane of St. George’s Anglican Community was on hand to bless them and I pray for a long and happy marriage for them! God is good and He is working everywhere!

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Juliana and Daniel with Pastor Shane

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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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In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

Acts 6:1-6

In this passage of scripture, we see this voting of the seven deacons. We are blessed to live in a country that we have a right to vote. In the Bible, we see that we are to take time pray about our decision and not make a haste choice. It’s not about who wins or loses, ultimately God is Lord of all and He will have the final say in the end.

Dear Father, I do not take lightly what You have done in our nation. I appreciate not only the right but the privilege I have to vote. I pray that I, as well as others, will use that privilege wisely, seeking your will as we consider the qualifications of those for whom we are too vote.

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I just wanted to give a little shout out to someone I’ve been getting to know recently. Amber Hunter has been an encourgament to me and for what the Lord is doing in me. She recently just had her first album Freedom Steps funded on Kickstarter.  This weekend she is playing a fundraiser show at 8th Day Coffee & Culture that showcases several artists in the local Phoenix area. She is an amazing woman and I just love her faith and how God is using her through her music.

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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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