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Posts Tagged ‘Local Missions’

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Simon has been leading the Extreme Team since Second Saturdays started back in 2009 at Cornerstone. I was a year into being on the Mission board and the concept was to send teams out into the community to volunteer for a few hours on a Saturday. Even though Simon no longer attends there, he has always kept the Extreme Team going. He always has project and sends out Facebook invites to get some of us to help. I love his heart for the local community. Tonight he had a gathering for those of us that have helped out over the past year. But we pulled a surprise on him and honored him for his leadership to the Extreme Team. He was humbled of course. It was a fun night of food and fellowship and I look forward to many more opportunities to serve in 2013.

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Habitat for Humanity is a Christian-based organization that builds and repairs simple, decent and affordable homes for families in need. They have been serving Central Arizona since 1985. Habitat helps families of low and moderate incomes become homeowners by building and partnering in the creation of affordable housing. Today several of us from Mission church volunteered our time to help build a house for the Fuerte family. They have 2 daughters with a child on the way. But they also live in a small run-down two bedroom apartment. It was a blessing to work alongside my friends and be a blessing to this family in need.

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This song has always had special meaning to me. We sang it a lot on my first mission trip 6 years ago and every time I would hear it I would think of that particular trip and how God called me to be on mission. How I have interpreted what ‘being on mission’ looks like has changed so much over the years. Today my Pastor talked about being on mission and afterwards we sang this song. It was a moment I needed to just stand in the back and really listen to God what He was saying to me in that moment.

Chris spoke about his heart to be on mission to both the ASU and Tempe High campuses (funny – both schools I went to). I spend about 80% of my time in the surrounding community building relationships and serving people – it’s kinda how God wired me. I form relationships pretty easily and I attribute that gift to God.  I just formed a partnership with an amazing faith base coffee shop and was just offered an opportunity to teach english classes to international students in both Tempe and in China. These are just some of the ways God is calling me to be ‘on mission’ to the community and the world.

Even though these things are exciting and rewarding, I’m still a family man at heart. As I pack for vacation here, I am reminded of how much I love spending time with my boys and being there for them. I’m enjoying my time with my siblings and friends as well. First and foremost, being on mission for my family comes first. This is something I have confused many times in the past. It’s also a common mistake with Pastors who put their ministry above their families.

A few years back I was in a great relationship with an amazing girl and I began to withdraw from her as we got more serious. As I look back at that, my fear was I wouldn’t be able to do ‘big and great things’ for God if I married her. My heart and identity was wrapped up in a mega church that I was grossly over-volunteering for and a mediocre missions program that I was trying to inject life into. Being on mission meant that I was doing the noticeable things for God and I made sure ‘Facebook world’ knew about it. Now I look back and laugh at how arrogant and selfish I was back then. It wasn’t about God, it was about me. Who am I to interpret what ‘big things’ for God looks like?

I’m very thankful for the opportunities that God gives me to go out into the world and serve and for the serving opportunities here in the valley. They really do enrich and reward my life and it’s my heart and I love telling the stories of what God is doing (not me). But at the same time, I love being on mission for my family and watching my boys grow to be amazing men of God. God has really rewired my thinking and shown me what the Kingdom is all about. Jesus says over and over that the Kingdom of God is near and for me, that could just be chatting with the guy next to me in a coffee shop. Only Jesus can move mountains (the ‘big things”) and I am here to be His servant so He can use me to be that shining light to others. His will, not mine and I am thankful to be even just a small part of His plan for the world.

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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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Today I helped moved a friend and her husband to a new home with a group of people from Cornerstone for Second Saturday. It was great to get out and be a light in the community and to fellowship with some wonderful people. Just hearing Debbie’s story of how God brought her and husband back together after years of both of them struggling to be single parents on their own was encouraging. And now God has blessed them both with a new home to do life together in. I also enjoyed hearing the many stories of the group around me and how God is working all over the place in people’s lives. We had this amazing prayer session afterwards in which we prayed for people and blessed the new home. I love how a simple day of serving turns into a day in which we saw God glorified in people’s stories.

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“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…”  Hebrews 10:24

There is so much going on in the world and in our surrounding community. God turned my heart onto serving and loving others 5 ago and it has become a big part of my life and who I am. As I served, I realized I couldn’t do it all myself. I started to challenge others to do something bigger than themselves and join in with me in seeing these different ministries and charities. I would invite them to come serve in the community with me. I even started this blog site to do the same thing, challenge others to live an epic life. Not too long ago I met someone special who had the same heart as me. After surrendering her old life to Christ, she started a ministry called Contagious Hearts. Through inspirational videos, this website encourages those who watch them to join in the many great causes and organizations out there that are already doing amazing stuff in our surrounding community and in our world. I was blown away by her heart for people. I was even asked to partner with her and to join our hearts together to encourage others together. We were a force to be reckoned with and we wanted to allow God to use us as examples to others. I am sadden and disappointed that none of this came to fruition, but thought I’d still promote her site and let others visit it and to allow their hearts to be moved.

I was challenged awhile back to paint, so I thought I’d give it a try

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“Coffee with a Cause”. That’s the theme of this new coffeehouse in Chandler, AZ. Sozo Coffeehouse had their grand opening tonight. Sozo not only serves great coffee (roasted by Cartel coffee), but they donate a part of their proceeds to a local or international cause or organization that is seeking to improve the world in which we live. Sozo was started by some good friends of mine, Scott and Lori Morgan. Scott also holds church service (Missio Dei Community Church) at Sozo on Sundays as well. Just another amazing way of how God makes Himself known – through coffee.

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