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Posts Tagged ‘Mission Community Church’

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Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  – Galatians 6:1-2

I’ve been through church crisis one too many times. The longtime head pastor of my church that I grew up in passed away due to cancer. Our popular youth pastor was fired abruptly because the new pastor that came in wanted a whole new staff in place. My good friend became an intern for our church (after just becoming a believer) and had an affair with one of the staff members. He took his life soon after. The accountant at my last church embezzled almost half a million dollars. My current pastor had to resign due to extramarital affairs. Yes… the church experiences death, scandals and affairs just like the real world. I must note that in most of these situations, the church handled them very poorly (something I’ve experienced personally as well).

But how are we doing as Christians in handling these situations? Do we deal with those caught in sin in a loving way? Do we restore them gently back to Christ with the truth of the gospel? Do we act Godly when the media tears into us or do we get defensive and attack back? All I know is Satan loves to attack the church when things are going well. All the situations I described above happened when the particular church I was at was at their peak and experiencing tremendous growth. We forget that when we became Christians that Christ warned us that we would face persecution. One of the things I know is that Christians today do not handle persecution well. Look at the Chick-fil-a and Duck Dynasty situations and see how defensive Christians get when our views are spoken against. I’ve been embarrassed how Christians have reacted in the media about gay marriage and other topics that go against our beliefs. Do we not trust that God will ultimately prevail?

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.  –  Acts 11:19-21

God works during times of despair. He redeems and restores and takes these situations and uses them for his glory. The church isn’t perfect and it isn’t about one man or a building. It’s a living organic body of messy believers that come to together to grow and worship our Lord. We treat Pastors like rock stars and put them on a pedestal so high they could never meet the expectations we put on them. Pastors are just messy people being used by God. But God isn’t going to let his church fall. He is still faithful even when we are unfaithful.

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”  –  Romans 3:3-4

I have been impressed with my current church and how they have handled our current crisis. They are doing it in a loving biblical way. My last two churches were clueless in dealing with people caught in sin and usually let them leave without any restoration. When I heard the news in church, the first thing I did was look at myself. I took this as a warning sign that I myself am a step away from falling into temptation and sin. I am thankful for my community and that I can come to them about anything that I may be struggling with. I am thankful for my church and that God called me to be here during this crisis so I can see firsthand his redeeming power at work. I remember when my last church was going through its scandal, I was quoted in the paper at that time by saying “God is bigger than this”. My viewpoint is still the same – God has got this and He will prevail.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world – John 16:33

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The government has asked the church to help out with the foster care/adoption crisis going on in the U.S. There are over 14,000 foster care kids in the foster care system in Arizona alone. Mission Community Church, Redemption Church and City of Grace Church have joined together to help solve this problem by spearheading a movement called Arizona 1.27 (based off James 1:17). Learn more on how you can be a part of abolishing this need.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27, ESV)

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WE ARE ALL IN IT TO END IT!

Today is Shine a Light on Slavery Day. This is the target day for End it Movement to reach the masses about the 27 million people being held in modern-day slavery and sex trafficking. This movement started in January at Passion 2013 and has made a lot of noise since. Everywhere college students and young adults are finding creative ways to talk about this issue. Many celebrities have jumped on board to use their star status to raise awareness. Awareness is doing the work and End It exists to help educate us about this injustice. We are the generation that can be a voice for those without one and put an end to slavery. Indifference is not an option. Draw a red X on your hand and talk to people about this. Go to EnditMovement.com and sign the pledge that says you are in it to END IT!

 

 

 

 

 

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END IT Sunday!

END IT Sunday!

Times Square IS IN IT TO END IT!

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The campus of Arizona State University is IN IT TO END IT!

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Ecce Homo, 1871- Antonio Ciseri

Growing up, this was one of my favorite paintings. It is of Jesus Christ on trial with Pontius Pilate and it is entitled Ecce Homo or Behold the Man. Today is Good Friday and I attended a beautiful tenebrae service (Latin for ‘darkness’). The symbolism of darkness represents Jesus’ death and the hopelessness of this world. We read from Mark 14 and 15 about the hours leading up to the crucifixion. We left in silence to ponder these events and the impact of Christ’s death on us. It was a powerful service and the message was clear:

God showed His love for us in this: Christ died for us

THANKS BE TO GOD

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 Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. 

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photo by Travis Chavez

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’” – Matthew 3

Lent is always a special time for me. I’ve done the coffee fasts, etc and always felt good about what I had accomplished during those times. But for some reason, this year I seem to be a little more in tune with the upcoming 46 days to Easter and what it is all about. I went to a beautiful service at Mission Community church tonight. Pastor Ed Gungor spoke a message from the above passage that helped explain was lent was all about while David Gungor led in worship with some beautiful songs of cleansing. Repentance is a key part of lent as we confess our sins to the Father. It gets us back on the path to God. Giving up something for lent is about moving aside the things we hold onto so we can make room for God. The ashes represent our human mortality and that we won’t live on this earth forever but that we will spend eternity in heaven. As Christians, we shouldn’t fear death. I was thinking about my Grandma who has been ill. She is such a Godly woman and yet despite her condition, she is ready to meet our Lord and Savior. She doesn’t fear death and is very thankful for her time here on earth. As I took my ashes, I heard the words of this verse in my head:

Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.
Genesis 3:19
Symbolism has always been a way for me to remember Jesus. It’s easy to get caught up with the legalistic/religious part of it if we are not careful. I didn’t quite understand the groups of people taking pictures with their ashes after service. But I guess when you have an Ash Wednesday service at a protestant church, it’s easy to get a little excited. Seeing the cross on my head and knowing my time isn’t long here puts things in perspective for me. Just as Advent was the time of anticipating our Lord and Savior, this time of lent will be a time for me to reflect on how Christ died on the cross for us.

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Andy Cherry

The Digital Age

The Digital Age

Tonight I went to a concert at Mission Community church with some friends. Mission’s worship leader, Andy Cherry opened up for the Digital Age. Andy was awesome as he played a lot of his songs that he has written including “Our God’s Alive”. The Digital Age is comprised of four members of the David Crowder Band. They just released their first EP “Rehearsals”. I love their new music and the direction God is taking them. It was a blessed night to get out and sing songs of praise to God.

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