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Posts Tagged ‘New City Church’

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For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 

Romans 8:5

The Daniel Fast is a biblically-based partial fast – meaning that some foods are eaten and others are restricted. The fast is typically 21 consecutive days after the New Year and is similar to a vegan eating plan with more restrictions and only water as a beverage. This is based out of Daniel 10 in which Daniel the Prophet ate no meat, bread or wine for 21 days. The purpose is to have a quiet time with the Lord during this period so your faith and intimacy with him will grow. I was first introduced to the Daniel Fast when I briefly attended New City Church. My current church Hillsong Phoenix is doing a corporate fast as a church to start off 2018. I haven’t decided to what extent I’m going to fast but I feel this will be a good thing for me to do with my church.

On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God.

Nehemiah 9:1-3 (NIV)

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Bruce Herman (currently Lothlorien Distinguished Chair in Fine Arts at Gordon College) is an American painter who lectures widely and has had his work published in many books and journals. His artwork has been exhibited in several exhibitions in major cities and all over the world (including the Vatican Museum of Modern Religious Art in Rome). For the First Friday art walk, New City Church brought in Bruce and his amazing paintings Magnificat. I love how New City is bridging the world of faith and art. Last year they brought in Makoto Fujimura for Good Friday (how ironic that both Bruce and Makoto have collaborated on projects). In fact I was just in the IAM studios last month in New York chatting with the staff about Bruce coming to Phoenix. Magnificat (Anima Mea Dominum) offers a glimpse into not only the story of Mary and Everywoman, but humanity and the beauty that can sometimes be found in imperfection. The Magnificat paintings are enormous. They are in the traditional form of two large altarpieces and constitute a sustained reflection on the life of the Virgin Mary from the time of her “Yes” to God at the Annunciation to the fulfillment of this “sword that will pierce your soul” at her Son’s Crucifixion. A group of us headed down to New City to be a part of the exhibition. I loved the paintings and enjoyed meeting Bruce Herman.

Herman2

Miriam, Virgin Mother: Via Activa
oil and alkyd resin with 23kt gold leaf on three wood panels
dimensions: 102″ h x 160″ w

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Herman3

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Bruce Herman gives a talk

Bruce Herman gives a talk

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Fun night with good friends

Me with Bruce Herman

Me with Bruce Herman

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I attended Food for the Hungry’s Hope & Courage conference today with a few friends. Food for the Hungry partners and walks with churches and leaders in overcoming poverty in various countries. I’m a huge fan of what they do and have enjoyed a long relationship with the organization.

The first session was led by Os Guinness – founder of the Trinity Forum and renowned speaker and writer. Os talked about how our faith has become diluted and that we need to get back to the gospel. He identified three big tasks: repairing the global south, winning back the west and contributing to the human future. The church has gotten worldly and has spread out to areas that aren’t influential. We need leaders and we need to let the Spirit lead like in Acts. We live in an upside down Kingdom where the least is not the greatest. We give money to get and we have an American worldview of how to care for people. But despite all that has gone on, the gospel still underlines this world and has shaped it. Accomplishing these tasks would give to rise and caring (humanity, gratitude) and Christ needs to the one to lead the movement.

I was looking forward to the next speaker. Laurent Mbanda is the bishop of the Shyira Diocese for the Anglican church of Rwanda. Laurent shared a little about his story of leaving Rwanda after the genocide and then returning. He noted that as thousands were being killed in the churches, the leaders did nothing. But today there is a lot of aid with poverty as a result of the church’s partnership with the community. He talked a lot about partnerships with existing organizations, training and working together. Today he is noticing many changes in Rwanda and he credits that to many leaders becoming Christians. He stressed areas of importance to the poor, children, education, women and health.

Bob Moffitt of Harvest Foundation spoke on poverty from scripture. Poverty is defined more than a lack of materialism. Jesus was poor and was in bad living conditions, yet he had enough. He became all God wanted Him to be without having an abundance of stuff. (He then gave the example of Japan – very materialistic and wealthy, yet the highest suicide rate). There are two types of poverty – voluntary (ex: Jesus, Mother Theresa) and involuntary (as a result of sin). He stressed scripture more than projects and that we need to respond – Personal lifestyle (humility, worship – 2 Cron 7:14, Is 58:1-6), Corporate (the church-Eph 3:10) and Transformation (our success is based on obedience, not numbers).

Hope – hope in His promises when we are obedient and then we will be courageous

Courage – like  in the book of Joshua. Be strong and courageous

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Laurent Mbanda

“The church always goes forward best when it goes backwards first.” – Os Guinness

“If you’re going to change a community, you have to focus on children” – Bishop Laurent Mbanda

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DO JUSTICE. LOVE MERCY. WALK HUMBLY.

“all too many have been more cautious than courageous and remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows.” -MLK

Today was a pretty memorable day for me. It is Martin Luther King, Jr day. I started my day off fasting and praying by partaking in the Daniel Fast. I’m doing this 10 day fast with members of New City Church. It’s a fast that was done by Daniel in the Old Testament that included a diet of fruits, nuts and water. I do this fast for spiritual cleansing and to draw nearer to my heavenly Father so I can stay in tune with His will. I went and saw the movie Lincoln again earlier this week. It’s an incredible movie about how President Abraham Lincoln fought to pass the 13th amendment in 1865 after signing the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery. I am always encouraged by those who fought so hard for our freedom today. Today I celebrate the life of a man who stood up to injustice and changed the world today because he had the courage to be a voice. How ironic that today is the Inauguration of our President (who happens to be African-American) and that it is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the MLK march in Washington. Yet today we are still dealing with the topic of slavery. Just a couple of weeks ago, I stood with 60,000 young adults in Atlanta to shine a light on the 27 million held in modern-day slavery. We launched End it Movement, a cause to raise awareness on slavery and to help fund the organizations that are putting an end to it. I am thankful to call myself a child of God and to lend my voice to this injustice because of the grace He has bestowed on me. I pray that all the efforts of those who stood up to injustice in the past will continued to be carried out by this generation and by future generations to come.

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Shining a light on Modern-day Slavery

My amazing African-American friend and sister-in-Christ Candace sent this to me today. These are some excerpts from a letter that Martin Luther King wrote while sitting in a jail cell in Birmingham.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice..”

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

“We will have to repent in the generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

“So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime — the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr – Birmingham Jail, 1963

THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

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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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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

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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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