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Posts Tagged ‘Missio Dei’

I only know a few people in this Experiencing God small group (I would hardly call 25 people small..) that I am in. But tonight I shared my testimony with them so they could get to know me. A lot of them go to Cornerstone and to meet someone who had Pastor Linn as a youth Pastor and then to also meet someone who was a part of the beginning days of the church was interesting to them. They of course had lots of questions for me. For me, it was a time of reflection of my roller coaster life. Not that it has been bad, but I can see where God has always been present and how he has always been calling me back to him all throughout my life.

This week’s study has been focused on joining God where he is working and to be a servant for him. For me, I have always interpreted that as a service project or an event, etc. I have had so many opportunities that have come my way lately that I could easily jump on board with. I have been very careful about not keeping myself too busy or ignore where I am at in life. So I just commit to pray about each opportunity and to make sure it is part of Gods plan. Other than be father to my kids, God keeps telling me to be still. He doesn’t mean to just sit and do nothing, but to really take the time and build my relationship with him. I know it is because he is molding me for something bigger and better in my life. I have experienced things the past six years that only I can attribute to God, but I truly feel he has something even bigger than my puny brain can ever come up with. My relationship with the Lord is so rich right now, I can’t ever imagine walking away from it.

God has taught me so much about his sovereignty and the power of prayer. I always find myself in situations where I want to control my environment. But I am in a place right now that I know praying is more than enough for God to do his work and I don’t have to anything more. It takes the power out of my hands and teaches me to trust God. Last year, I left my last church looking for community to apply the gospel to my life. At that church, my life was mainly about me and my accomplishments (not to say there wasn’t good things.. but this was my idolatry issue there). There are a lot of people who like to pat themselves on the back there and I got caught up with that. I have learned the importance of community at my current church and I now have that and it has become a big part of my life. But now God is teaching me another part of the gospel – the cosmic part of it. This is the part where we look at all creation and trust God is in charge and that he is at work. This is huge because we all want to do things our way because our faith and trust in God is weak. This is where in my Experiencing God study that I feel God is wanting me to look at and join with him.

At church today they nominated Mark Durban to be a deacon. You know, Mark has stuck to me like glue these past few months. I have had many great mentors (I can’t tell you how important having older wiser people in your life is for growth. You will never get that from younger people or people your age), but Mark seeks me out each week to see how I am doing. My last counselor was great and he helped me with a lot of things. But what I have learned is counseling is a process that process needs to keep going, even when things are great. Mark has been counseling me each week for the past few months with the material from CCEF. This stuff is so rich with the gospel and is truly material for life long change. I have taken some courses myself, but to have is applied has been amazing. I’m not going to lie to you, I fought God long and hard my first month of counseling. Our tendency is to finger-point, blame everyone for our problems and simply to avoid them all together (I hate it when I fall into this trap). It is such an exhausting way to live and one will simply carry those burdens their whole life and look to quick fixes to get by. True change doesn’t even begin until you have a desire to change first and that you are willing only to look at yourself and your own heart issues and not anyone elses. We spent a lot of time re-visiting my childhood and I did not like seeing myself as that scared little boy in the corner watching my parents fight and my father abusing me. Or being picked on in school or going through divorce. But after a few weeks, I finally gave in and repented my crap to God and I have experienced so much freedom since. I quit blaming all these people and circumstances for who I am today and remembered who I was in Christ. Just learning about the gospel and my need for a Savior has so enriched my life. I have never had this much peace in my heart and I feel the changes going on in me will be life long changes. I am so thankful for Mark, my church, my MC and the scores of support from friends for their commitment to me and the changes God is doing.

So today the plan is to be still and allow God to mold me. I’m growing, learning and I love my life! I am so thankful I am choosing to go through the fire and trusting God as I face my problems and not side-step or hide from them. God has something huge in store and I want to be ready for it. And the glory part of it comes with how he used this broken guy who loves Jesus for his purposes.

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“Cities are the center of culture. Often, they are the intersection of art, politics, and business. New City exists to engage culture where it’s created, weaving the story of God into the story of Phoenix.” 

I love Brain Kruckenburg. He has really helped bring a vision to the local art scene in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Whether that be with New City Studio on First Friday’s or with the aaa program (action, advocacy, arts) at ASU’s College of Public Program, he has used God’s gift of creativity as a witness tool to the community. I was invited to attend New City Church this morning by some friends and I have always been encouraged by Brian’s support of what I got going on in my life. I love this church! Right now, Missio Dei is where God wants me and it’s my home and where I need to be to grow in my walk. But NCC taps right into my heart for the arts and photography. I try to stop in when I get a chance to say hi to good friends and to stay in touch with some of the local community events that they do. I’m looking forward to their next First Friday as they are displaying work from behind the scenes of local films.

Brian talked about us being humble leaders and how we need to keep advancing forward. This is done through both mission and vision. We need to always know our mission and stick to it. Vision is inside the mission and sometimes it can change and that is ok. Vision is both biblical and timely and the strategy is us. I sometimes find myself getting caught up my visions and forget the overall mission. I love to dream and God has blessed me with lots of passion and talents in different areas. Even now, God has opened up the door with the arts, photography, cooking and missions in several different areas of my life. But I want to make sure I follow the Spirit’s guidance and only follow the visions that lie within my own personal mission – which is to live a life that reflects the Kingdom.

I finished reading Erasing Hell by Francis Chan on the light rail today. There was an excerpt in the back of the book from a chapter of Forgotten God on the Holy Spirit that hit me:

I think we can all agree that living “according to our sinful flesh” is not what is intended for us as children of God. Yet even so, we often choose to face life’s issues and circumstances in exactly the same way as someone without the Spirit of God. We worry, strive, and grieve no differently than unbelievers. While it is true that we are humans like anyone else, it is also true that we are humans with the Spirit of God dwelling in us. Yet, whether consciously or not, we essentially say to God, “I know You raised Christ from the dead; but the fact is my problems are just too much for You and I need to deal with them myself.”

This has been the story of my life many times over. I can tell you countless of stories of when I was filled by the Spirit and God used me in amazing ways. But then, there are many times life was ‘too hard’ for me to handle and I ended up dealing with it on my own and the result was failure. You see this in the life of Peter. He denied Christ and made all sorts of irrational decisions during Christ’s crucifixion, yet he was filled by the Spirit and spoke a message that saved the lives of thousands of people not too long after that. This is why we have an amazing God who gives us grace. Our mission can only succeed with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. My life has changed so much because of grace and I have so much peace and direction because the Spirit is alive in me.

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Story of the Bible

This weekend, my church Missio Dei Communities held this cool weekend in which we went through the story of the Bible. We spent 10+ hours on a Friday night and Saturday morning tearing apart the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. There were two houses that hosted this and about 40 people at each one. My good friend Shauna and her roommate Rachel hosted the one I went to and Pastor Kyle facilitated. We had lasagna, salad and humus for dinner and bagels and coffee for breakfast. I love the family environments that Missio provides for these types of events. I was with the younger crowd and I was impressed on how insightful they were. We started with creation and the fall and went all the way to the crucifixion and the return of Christ. It was a great reminder for me of who God is and how much He loves us despite our shortcomings. I think weekends like this are so important for us as Christians as we tend to forget what God has done for us. I also enjoyed getting to know many of the people from the church.

Afterwards, we talked about two different churches. The one in Corinth adjusted to the world and its ways and the one in Acts stayed true to who God is and broke bread together and shared everything. I love being at a loving and caring church like Missio Dei. This family showed this love during my knee surgery with phone calls, cards and bringing over meals for me while I was laid out. I hope I get chances to be a blessing to others as they have been for me. I am thankful for opportunities to learn about the gospel and how Christ is our Redeemer.

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Pastor Chris talked yesterday about Jonah and how he ran away from God. Eventually he gave in and preached to Nineveh and many lives were saved. God blessed Jonah by saving him from the whale and used him to be a blessing to others. God has used many people in my church to be a blessing to me by enriching my life with the gospel. One of the ways God has blessed me is with a home. So tonight I offered to host our missional community by cooking up some appetizers and helping lead Bible study. I am thankful this Thanksgiving week for friends, family, a car and a home and thankful I can be a blessing to others.

This passage inspired me tonight in our study – Romans 6:20-23

Appetizers for my MC

Appetizers for my MC

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Every Monday night Christin and I meet with our missional community. A missional community is basically a group of people meeting and doing life together (below is a video from Jeff Vanderstelt from the Acts 29 network describing what a missional community is). We are not only growing together in our walk with Christ, but we meet in each other’s home to have dinner and fellowship. Tonight was our turn to host. I made a delicious chicken chili loaded with vegetables and Christin made a great salad and cornbread. It was both a light and healthy meal for our group. It was a great night for us to have people in our home as all five couples in our group made it to tonight as well as our Pastor from Missio Dei Communities. We talked vision and direction of our group in addition to having dinner together. Nothing like blending great food with community.

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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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