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Posts Tagged ‘Missional Community’

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Today I started a new course with CCEF called Biblical Interpretation. It’s a course that helps apply scripture to the everyday hustle and bustle of life. As I go through my counseling training with my church, I pray that this course will enrich my life with the Word as I apply it and help mentor others. I met Dr Mike Emlet at the CCEF national conference last year and I’m looking forward to having him as an instructor for this course. My Mission Community consists of many former Pastors who took the time to pray for me and encourage me as I begin this journey with my studies. I am thankful for the ministry of CCEF and how it has been a huge blessing to my life.

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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.

Newport

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I was chatting with my friends Mat and Lisa Weddle from my Missional Community and we were reminiscing on how exactly six years ago today (New Years Eve) we were boarding a plane with thirty other young adults to be a part of Passion in Atlanta. For them, it was where they first met and they are now married today. My friends Brian Wurzell and Promise and Steve Adame and Liz met on that trip and they too are married and doing amazing stuff for the Lord. For people like myself, Shauna and Amaris, it was the trip that God called us into cross-cultural missions. They both ended up serving on the field for some time. It was a pivotal trip for many of us from that amazing community that were led by Pastor Ron Merrell. I heard God speak through Francis Chan for the first time that year. Chris Tomlin’s version of “Fire Fall Down” reminded me of my broken life and how God was putting me back to together to do years of ministry following that trip. Ben Stuart’s message on singleness was the best message I have ever heard on how God can use us as single people. I used that message to start a group for newly divorced people and how God can use them at this time to do amazing things for Him. But the impactful part of that trip was Louie Giglio’s message on how heaven will be a party for the nations. That message blew me away and opened the door for me to engage with God’s heartbeat for the world.

Passion '07

Passion ’07

I had an amazing conversation today with my friend Amber at 8th Day Coffee and Culture. We were talking about our creative gifts and how God uses them for His purposes. She has been getting a lot of pressure to sign with a major record label. Her heart is just to share her music with the world and how God healed her from a difficult time. For me, I hope never to have to make money off of anything creative I do. I am blessed to have a job that provides more than enough for me to do life. I personally want to use my creative talents for the Kingdom and to share with others. We were talking about how easy it is to make our gifts about ourselves and not about the Lord.

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It’s New Years Eve and I am so thankful for where I am at in life. It’s been an incredible year for me and I feel focused for the first time in a few years. My friend and mentor described my year like this: He said I’m like a plant and God put me into a pot to grow and heal me for a little while because there were some things He needed to work on. The soil represents the healing power of God working in my life. But now he sees God taking me out of that pot and putting me back into world to allow me to continue to serve Him. I do feel that. I feel God is ready for me to begin to go back to work and be a light for Him. And honestly, I don’t know what that is and I love that. This is where my faith and trust in God comes in and allows me to stay on His path.

IMG_1462I do know that God is about to reveal some of His plan for me. Through teaching from amazing influential people and reading His word, God is syncing my heart to His heart for injustice and mercy. I’ve gone about this all wrong for some time. I saw trafficking firsthand in Cambodia for the first time in 2008 and God opened the door for me to learn more about it. Failed opportunities to go to Fiji and other chances to engage were due to me following my own wants and desires and making life about me. I’m done needing approval from other people for my sense of self-worth and being a one-man show trying to save the world so I can feel better about myself. Now God has put me back into a position to be a part of His plan for justice and I want to be attentive to just following His will. It’s about the gospel and the message of God redeeming a fallen world. God is aligning me to Him and I look forward to learning more about topics like slavery so I can be an effective tool for Him.

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Cambodia ’08 – my first exposure to human trafficking

I also was convicted by a passage in Luke 5 this week in which Simon Peter falls to knees in worship when Christ invites him to drop what he is doing and follow Him. When was the last time I dropped to my knees in worship to the Lord? I honestly don’t have an answer to that. I want to be in worship everyday with my Lord and Savior. I want Him to be my first priority in all I do. God has done so much for and hasn’t given up on me. I want my life to reflect on His grace and for others to see Jesus when they meet me.

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Sometimes before church we like to get together to be a family and a community. Coffee Bean has been a regular hang out for us before we listen to the Word.

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Our MC has really connected with the assisted living home at Elmcroft. We put on a worship service every month and now we are splitting up into teams and going over to help with games and other activities. It’s good for me to be stretched in this way because I have never had much of a heart for serving the elderly. So I am thankful God is changing my attitude and growing me. Today I was Bingo host and Michael and I had a good time connecting with some of the people there.

 

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Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Glory, glory, hallelujah!

His truth is marching on.

 – The Battle Hymn of the Republic

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Tonight we had an awesome prayer and worship night in our MC. We prayed over Dallas’ job situation, my uncle’s death and Mark’s casa kids. We also got to celebrate a new addition to our family – Silas. He was born to Mitch and Laura last week! Dallas led us in worship tonight. It was also a special night to me because my dad and step sister Shayna got to attend. I know spending a night in prayer with us impacted him – I love how God works!

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Tonight two our MCs (Misisonal Communities) from our church gathered together at the home of the Erik and Tina Henrikson. It gave us a chance to get to know each other and share stories of what God is doing in each of our communities. We joined with the Duran MC and ended up being about 15 adults and 6 kids total in the house. We ordered tons of pizza and spent time chatting and playing with the kids. After a time of sharing, we went around and shared individual prayer requests. We had this amazing time of prayer in which someone from one MC prayed for someone in another MC. I love being in community and fellowship with one another and blessed that God brought me here to do life with these people who I call family.

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PALM SUNDAY

Almighty God, we are unworthy to come into your presence, because of our any sins. We do not deserve any grace or mercy from you, if you dealt with us as we deserve. We have sinned against you, O Lord, and we have offended you. And yet, O Lord, as we acknowledge our sins and offenses, so also do we acknowledge you to be a merciful God, a loving and favorable Father, to all who turn to you. And so we humbly ask you, for the sake of Christ your son, to show mercy to us, and forgive us all our offenses. By your Spirit, O God, take possession of our hearts, so that, not only the actions of our life, but also the words of our mouths, and the smallest thought of our minds, may be guided and governed by you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

WEDNESDAY

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

MAUNDY THURSDAY

 PASSOVER SEDER MEAL

The Passover Seder is a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is conducted on the evenings of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, and on the 15th by traditionally observant Jews living outside Israel. This corresponds to late March or April in the Gregorian calendar.

The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This story is in the Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible. The Seder itself is based on the Biblical verse commanding Jews to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt: “You shall tell your child on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.'” (Exodus 13:8) Traditionally, families and friends gather in the evening to read the text of the Haggadah, an ancient work derived from the Mishnah. The Haggadah contains the narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt, special blessings and rituals, commentaries from the Talmud, and special Passover songs.

Seder customs include drinking four cups of wine, eating matzo, partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate, and reclining in celebration of freedom. The Seder is performed in much the same way by Jews all over the world. – wikipedia

Baby Judah

GOOD FRIDAY

“JESUS WEPT”

Why John 11? For the past several seasons of Lent, I have been meditating upon this account of three siblings: Martha, Mary and Lazarus of Bethany. In particular, John 11:35 has become a central passage for me to consider in self-reflection, because an artist learns very early that creativity demands boundaries and limits to thrive. When I began on my recent journey to illuminate the Four Holy Gospels for Crossway publishing’s celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, I needed to find a thematic boundary. I was so overwhelmed with the grand scale of the project that I chose this shortest passage in the Bible—“Jesus Wept”—and that decision has led to many discoveries along the way.

“Jesus Wept” is, to me, the most profound passage in the Bible. After I gave a recent lecture on this verse at Duke University, Richard Hays commented on my reflections: “The Incarnate Word of God stood wordless at Bethany.” Indeed, Jesus’ tears make no logical sense, as he came to Bethany with the specific mission to raise Lazarus from the grave. He told the disciples his mission (and why he intentionally delayed his arrival, knowing that Lazarus lay dying) and revealed to Martha that he was and is the “Resurrection and the Life.” So why did he, upon seeing the tears of Mary, waste his time weeping, when he could have shown his power as the Son of God by wiping away every tear, telling people like her, “Ye of little faith, believe in me!”?

In my reflections, this “irrational,” emotional response from Jesus became a central means to understand the role and even the necessity of art in the midst of suffering—what I have began to call our “Ground Zero” conditions. Art, like the tears of Christ, may seem useless, ephemeral and ultimately wasteful. But even though they evaporate into our atmosphere, the extravagant tears of God dropped on the hardened, dry soils of Bethany, or onto the ashes of our Ground Zero conditions, are still present with us. Because tears are ephemeral, they can be enduring and even permanent, as with “Jesus wept.” In the same way, perhaps our art can be so as well. What seems, at first, to be an irrational response to suffering may turn out, upon deep reflection, to be the most rational response of all.   –  Makoto Fujimura

Link – The Father’s Cup: The Crucifixion Narrative


Community

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.The Crucifixion of Jesus. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The Kingof the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they

Family

took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one foreach of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,“They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did. John 19:16-24

Confession

THE FOUR HOLY GOSPELS  

Charis – Kairos (The Tears of Christ)

Luke – Prodigal God

John – In the Beginning

Mark – Water Flames

Matthew – Consider the Lilies

SATURDAY

EASTER SUNDAY

HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

I heard a man say, “The importance of the Resurrection is that it gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death.” On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men, the difference being that in Christ’s case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought.

Something perfectly new in the history of the Universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost- survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion, Christ had had to assure them that He was not a ghost. The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new.

The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the universe. Something new had appeared in the universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into “ghost” and “corpse”. A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it?

– C.S. Lewis, “What are we to make of Jesus Christ?”

Sing it, o death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead, He’s alive, He’s alive

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.  

Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV

Adonai  Elohim   The stone has been lifted from the grave

CELEBRATION

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.

Proverbs 17:17  NLT

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

MONDAY REFLECTION

NAMES OF GOD

A faithful God who does no wrong

A forgiving God

A fortress of salvation

A glorious crown

A jealous and avenging God

A Master in heaven

A refuge for his people

A refuge for the needy in his distress

A refuge for the oppressed

A refuge for the poor

A sanctuary

A shade from the heat

A shelter from the storm

A source of strength

A stronghold in times of trouble

An ever present help in trouble

Architect and builder

Builder of everything

Commander of the Lord’s army

Creator of heaven and earth

Defender of widows

Eternal King

Father

Father of compassion

Father of our spirits

Father of the heavenly lights

Father to the fatherless

God

God Almighty (El Sabaoth)

God Almighty (El Shaddai)

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

God Most High

God my Maker

God my Rock

God my Savior

God my stronghold

God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

God of all comfort

God of glory

God of gods

God of grace

God of hope

God of love and peace

God of peace

God of retribution

God of the living

God of the spirits of all mankind

God of truth

God our Father

God our strength

God over all the kingdoms of the earth

God the Father

God who avenges me

God who gives endurance and encouragement

God who relents from sending calamity

Great and awesome God

Great and powerful God

Great, mighty and awesome God

He who blots out your transgressions

He who comforts you

He who forms the hearts of all

He who raised Christ from the dead

He who reveals his thoughts to man

Helper of the fatherless

Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine

Him who is able to keep you from falling

Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead

Holy Father

Holy One

Holy One among you

I AM

I AM WHO I AM

Jealous

Judge of all the earth

King of glory

King of heaven

Living and true God

Lord (Adonai)

Lord Almighty

Lord God Almighty

Lord is peace

Lord (Jehovah)

Lord most high

Lord my banner

Lord my rock

Lord of all the earth

Lord of heaven and earth

Lord of Kings

Lord our God

Lord our Maker

Lord our shield

Lord who heals you

Lord who is there

Lord who makes you holy

Lord who strikes the blow

Lord will provide

Love

Maker of all things

Maker of heaven and earth

Most High

My advocate

My comforter in sorrow

My confidence

My help

My helper

My hiding place

My hope

My light

My mighty rock

My refuge in the day of disaster

My refuge in times of trouble

My song

My strong deliverer

My support

One to be feared

Only wise God

Our dwelling place

Our judge

Our lawgiver

Our leader

Our Mighty One

Our redeemer

Our refuge and strength

Righteous Father

Righteous judge

Rock of our salvation

Shepherd

Sovereign Lord

The Almighty

The compassionate and gracious God

The eternal God

The consuming fire

The everlasting God

The exalted God

The faithful God

The gardener (husbandman)

The glorious Father

The glory of Israel

The God who saves me

The God who sees me

The great King above all gods

The just and mighty one

The living father

The majestic glory

The majesty in heaven

The one who sustains me

The only God

The potter

The rock in whom I take refuge

The spring of living water

The strength of my heart

The true God

You who hear prayer

You who judge righteously and test the heart and mind

You who keep your covenant of love with your servants

You who love the people

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