Posts Tagged ‘ONE’

City Space Park in Phoenix

One of the most memorable moments I have ever experienced was exactly five years ago when I was with 20,000 other young adults unified as one body under the stars surrounding the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Chris Tomlin, David Crowder and Matt Redman led us all in a round of “Amazing Grace” as we all held candles and sang out in praise to our heavenly Father. Tonight I had a similar experience with a unified body of Christ under the stars right here in downtown Phoenix.

Unified as ONE body in Atlanta

I was just chilling at home when some friends of mine called me up and asked me if I wanted to go to PhoenixONE tonight. I decided to go thinking there might a good sermon preached that would speak to me. They decided to switch gears on us and have us all walk through downtown Phoenix Christmas caroling instead of a normal worship gathering. At first I was a little disappointed. But then I got into the spirit of things and started to enjoy meeting new people and singing as we walked through the streets. They had us go down to Civic Space Park – home of the “Her Secret is Patience” artwork (I think it looks like a floating mushroom). There Brian Wurzell, Ike Ndolo, and Brian Whitman were set up to lead worship. About three hundred of us were led in some Christmas songs. I’ve been zoned in on this season of advent and the coming of Christ’s birth and the hope it brings to this broken world. As we sang “Silent Night”, I was reminded of a Redeemer that came to restore this world. Then we sang “God of the City” with the beautiful skyline in the background followed by “Amazing Grace”. It was a good night for me to be among good friends and to give back in praise and worship for all the work that God has done in me and for all the blessings he has given. I am thankful for the body of Christ and moments like this when we can come together unified to glorify God.

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Central to the mission and vision of the “ONE” Network is the prayer that Jesus prayed for the church in John 17:23 when He prayed, “May they become perfectly ONE, so that the world will know that you sent me and love them even as much as you love me.”

The “ONE” Network is a unified movement of currently 4 local churches who sole mission is to reach young adults in Phoenix for Christ and connect them to a local faith community. Their mission is to be a unified movement of local churches coming together as “ONE” in order to reach young adults for Christ and connect them to a local faith community.

Lost Canyon

The dining hall

The ONE retreat took place in Williams, AZ at a place called Lost Canyon. The weather was beautiful The weekend consisted of different session of worship and a message.  We also had time to connect with our home churches. The worship was incredible. Ryan, Jason, Casey, Jarod & Sean are all friends of mine and they did an amazing job of leading us in songs of worship. Kent DelHousaye was the guest speaker and he spoke on us having freedom in Christ. That means that we have the freedom to grow in our walk in the Lord without having to be judged by others. His sermon was very impactful for me as is tied in a lot of what God has been saying to me lately.

The worship band

Kent Delhousaye

I enjoyed having fellowship with friends from Camber, but I also made many new friends. There were many churches represented and I was able to make friends from many of them. I’m looking forward to being a bigger part of Phoenix One and I just love having the opportunities to network and get to know more people. I met a lot of people already on the Phoenix One volunteer staff over the weekend and I look forward to serving alongside them. I’m just excited have some friends to move forward in life with to continue on with my journey to grow with and fellowship with. God has blessed me so much over the years with amazing people.

Hang-out time

Group time

Building a house with a deck of cards that will hold a stack of Bibles

In addition to many awesome conversations with people, I had some intimate time with God. He has revealed so much me to me these past few weeks and I have grown and learned so much. We had this evening of confession in which Kent invited us to find freedom of our past burdens that have been weighing us down. God has literally been stripping me of so many old habits that I have been able to find peace and calmness in myself that I haven’t had in so long. This weekend was another one of those moments that I just sat in silence and let the Holy Spirit work in me. I can’t believe how free I felt after that and found myself singing my heart out to the Lord and praising him for all he has done in me during an extended worship session. I love Jesus with all my heart and I am so thankful for who I am in Christ and my heart that just seeks him when I am down.

They had us break in groups later that night and I found myself in a group with a lot of young college guys. I have always felt God has allowed me to go through so much so I can relate and give back to young guys like this. I was actually impressed with these guys and their faith. It’s awesome to see young men following the Lord. I was able to come in humility and admit my struggles to them and allow them to see a real guy who make mistakes and let them know that it’s ok to not be perfect. But at the same time we are to turn to our Messiah to be free from those sins and find the courage and strength to grow and learn from them. I know my honesty to these guys about my real guy issues that I struggle like lust and anger was huge to them. It’s big because most guys struggle admitting their stuff because of the fear of being judged or condemned by others.

New friends

Last night bonfire

God is good and this was just another opportunity he has provided for me to get away from the trials of the world and draw closer to him. God always has something big in store for me when life doesn’t make sense and gets rough. This weekend was a reminder from him that he is with me and that he is providing what I need on my journey to grow more like Christ. I love you Jesus.. thank you for being there and for always providing.

Camber group

ONE church

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“…may they become perfectly ONE, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:23

Historic First Presbyterian

Tonight was the first ever launch of Phoenix ONE at Historic First Presbyterian in downtown Phoenix. Phoenix ONE is a citywide worship gathering of young professionals in their 20’s and 30’s connecting as one body in Christ. Their mission is to be a unified movement of local churches coming together as ONE to reach young professionals for Christ and connect them to a local faith community. Phoenix ONE’s executive director is Jeff Gokee.

Phoenix ONE director Jeff Gokee

I loved how the setting was in an old historic church. The director of Charlotte ONE, Dave Hickman talked about breathing life into these old churches. Charlotte ONE pioneered the CityONE Network and Phoenix is now following in their footsteps. The hope is that many more cities will follow. Dave really hit on the topic of the church reaching this world as ONE. He shared several scripture verses stating that Christ meant for us to work in unity (1 Corinthians 10:17, Ephesians 4:1-6) and that this is really the only effective way to evangalize this world.

I personally am excited to see where this ministry will head. I know tons of amazing people behind the scenes working to make this happen. My prayer is that we see the church look beyond its walls and work together to reach the greater Phoenix area. We are already too divided as a body and we need to come together to spread the good news of Christ to this generation as ONE.

Downtown Phoenix

The real job of every moral teacher is to keep bringing us back to simple principles which we’re so anxious not to see – C.S. Lewis

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“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:1-6

This idea of unity within the church has been on my mind lately. It’s very important for a church to function effectively as one body. Christ is very clear about this in scripture.

Because I’m volunteer staff at my church and not totally 100% involved, people like to tell me their problems. Most of their issues are related to someone else they have problems with. I actually find this quite humorous at times. But at times I find it sad. Because most of the stuff I hear is just back talk about another person… or gossip. I usually don’t comment when I hear this stuff and just smile and move on.

I have also noticed a lot of division within the church as well. People who aren’t talking to another person because they are angry or upset. I will tell you that this is going on with me as well. I have a couple of people who avoid me at church. I’ve tried to reach out, but have had no success. I really don’t get this. I’m kinda of quirky in a way that I can shrug those situations off until they are ready to talk. I’ve done what I can. I have a close relationship as well that went south and just hasn’t been the same. Its hurts. It still hurts today. Yet people seem to think that ignoring the situation and not owning up to their problems is the easy way out. It makes no sense to me. Its wrong.

Christ is so clear about fixing your problems with your brother before coming to church. He is so clear that the longer you let things linger, the harder it is to fix. The sad thing is all the situations mentioned above involve people who are leaders within the church. And believe me, I throw myself in this mix. I’m a firm believer in Proverbs 27:5-6. I’ve written some ’tough love’ emails in the past few months that have angered some people. I’m probably not the best communicator in opening up about how I feel about things.

I only bring this up for one reason. Unity. Christ calls for unity in His church. A church can’t function well with these problems. I will tell you that I find it hard to come to church because of my own issues going on. It has affected my own ministry. I feel very distracted at times. But then I remember that the church is made up of sinners. We are human. But we need to strive to do better. Cornerstone is an amazing church. It has an amazing body of believers. Yet we can’t let the enemy break us up and cause so much division. We need to support and encourage each other. We need to be like Christ and demonstrate love for one another.

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philppians 2:1-4

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