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Posts Tagged ‘Praxis’

Well.. today I am 35. My first reaction to that is .. I’m old! But it is no longer about a number to me anymore. I feel like I’m 25 and I’m loving life! Funny thing is that I feel like I’ve experienced the life experiences of someone in their 70’s with all that I’ve been through. Yet God continues to use me in ways I can’t explain. I’m so blessed for the friends and family he continues to bring into my life.
So what’s on the agenda? I hit one of my favorite places to eat yesterday.. Cornish Pasty. Love that place! It’s a hole, but the food is great. Hung with my mens’ group last night and then went to Kazimierz last night for some late night jazz with Shane. Hit the slots at AZ casino on the way home and then worked out. Today I’m having lunch with a friend followed by some fun with the kiddos. We might catch Clone Wars. The Mine starts tonight as well. Pastor Royce is covering the book of James. I am super stoked for that. One of my favorite books of the Bible. So a laid back relaxing day.
Last week I started volunteering for our 5th/6th grade program. I have eleven kids in my group. I can’t wait to plug into these kids. God is definitely going to stretch me this year as some of them are pretty wild. But I’m up for the challenge. I attended a youth ministry leadership conference on Saturday called Calibrate. It was very well put together and reaffirmed me that this is where God wants me as well as the mission board. God has been speaking to me a lot lately about maintaining a balance in my schedule. In fact, my Bible college class was canceled yesterday. I don’t know why the timing on this.. but I’m putting my faith and trust in God that he knows why he doesn’t want me in school right now.
Lastly, I’m excited for our new singles ministry for late 20’s/early 30’s at Cornerstone. Its called Rhythm (formally Generation 8). Our new singles pastor, James Patterson has a big vision for this group and I’m excited to be a part of it. But it will mean that I will have to leave Camber as it is going to Thursdays night. Camber was a huge part of my life. Especially after going though divorce. I love plugging into that age group. But it is time for me to move on. God always seems to bring new opportunities to learn and grow in my life. I love the people in Rhythm and I can’t wait fellowship with them.
Last, I heard a message from Pastor Justin about how churches need older people be there for the younger people of the church. Praxis’ average age is 23. I don’t my role at that church, but I know there is a reason I go there here and there. I made a lot of mistakes and age 23 and I love sharing my testimony to guys at that age. And at 35, I still feel I can hang with that age group. God has a plan and I need to obey if that is the path he wants me to take. I’m just excited to be a part of it!

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I spent like 10 hours at church yesterday. But what a day it was! We had a mission board meeting and we took time to pray for all the missionaries we have sent out from Cornerstone. In the past, we have always adopted missionaries already out there and supported them. But now, we are having more and more people in our own church step and say, ‘I want to go’. Its been awesome to see. I love reading their blog pages and seeing what God is doing in their lives.

We also started mapping out what 2009 is going to look like. It was hard for me to contain myself because I have a huge hard for many of the countries we are going to. But I’m sure God will direct me in where he wants to be. I’m just excited for Cornerstone to be a part of God’s plan for the nations. We are building some amazing relationships with people out there that need to hear the love of Jesus Christ.. October 19 is missions Sunday at the church and we have some amazing stuff planned.

I hit the 5pm service at Cornerstone after my board meeting and loved the guest speaker. I think we have had guest speakers the past 6-8 Sundays with Pastor Linn being gone. But I loved the message on all of us are a part of this unique body of believers and we all play a part in it. And that the Holy Spirt gives us these gifts and talents that we are to use for his glory.

Speaking of the Spirit. I’m enjoying my own personal study of the Spirit. As I left Cornestone to attend a late night service at Praxis, I listened to a sermon on the way on the Spirit. It was a simple message that basically stated we are to repent, be filled with the Spirit and to be baptized. Sounds simple, yet we make it complicated. We asked the question, ‘do we have to be baptized?’. Or ‘when did the Spirit come in me?’ It doesn’t matter.. In 1 Peter is says that not even the prophets didn’t fully inderstand God’s power. Its very clear in scripture what we are to do. Salvation is more than a get out of jail free card, it’s about living our Christian lives to its full potential.

Then I heard a message at Praxis on discipleship. Its funny how all three of the messages I heard all tied togther. God has a funny way of doing that. We are great as churches in bringing people in and bringing them to Jesus, yet we suck at training them to be disciples. We as believers need to strive at being more Christ-like.We are to be full of the Spirit and demonstrates God’ love to others. I love this.

So I got off to a good start of my week with all of this. But I did get some sad news today. Last summer, a young kid named Michael (early 20’s) was brought in to see me and Jude. He had made some bad choices and was just released from jail. He was looking for a life change. We tried to get him to come to Camber. I told him of my past dealing with drugs/alcohol and my time in the can. I wanted him to know how God’s grace changed me. I could tell he wanted that. But he just couldn’t bring himself to allow God’s love to comsume him. He would leave church halfway through the service and go hang with his friends. I tried calling him several times. But I eventually lost contact with him. Michael was found dead this week of an overdose.

Here are my thoughts on this. It is NEVER too late to start living a life for Christ. I didn’t get Christianity until my 30’s. God will use you at any point of your life. Also, he can use ANYONE. Don’t believe that… then let me tell you my life story. Hear about all the crap I have been involved in and then see my life now. God’s grace changes us. But you have to accept that gift. This is why I hang around young adults. Life is too precious to give up on it. Experience God’s love and let it consume you!

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My crazy had passed and my life is settling back to normal for the time being.

Said bye to Ron, Anna and the fam Sunday. Harder than I thought it would be… Then said bye to Shauna and Keira as they head to Africa to do some mission work. Love those two and their passion for ministry… And I just want to give a shout out to my friends and family going to Kenya as well this week.. I will be praying for you guys!

I caught up with the guys of my men’s group this week… missed them. Ready to dive into some deep scripture reading.

Awesome meeting with Pastor Jeff Gokee the other day. He presented an amazing ministry oppportunity for me. He challenged me in my walk as well.. love that!

Counseling with da ex went well yesterday.. that’s always good.. makin progress.

Glad to have both Candace n Nancy back. Two of my favorite people. Call me

Back at work this week.. Work is… well…. work..

Lookin to catch up with Jamin this week before he leaves. I’m hearing some sushi with Axtell. That’s always quite the show…

Looking to have some fun with the boys on the 4th. Have no clue what we are doing.

Rock climbing is on the agenda with Missy. Go easy on me … I’m fragile

I miss Praxis. Might have to miss AGAIN this week. I’m hearin someone floated me some Mercy Me tickets Sunday night.

Leading Bible study tonight and givin a presentation on Belize. Gotta recruit some people on our annual Fall trip.

I think I covered everything for the week. God is good!!

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Change

“All things work together for the good of those who love Christ.”  Romans 8:28

A weird night for me. But one of those nights that I needed. God revealed a lot to me tonight. It put a lot of my own self doubt to rest for now. It involves one thing that I time struggle with time to time. That is change.

I guess I can get a little comfortable with life. I’m a native of Arizona and I’m still here. Same job for 8 years. I’ve been at the same church for 10+ years. I do get bored with life sometimes. But life has forced changes on me and I’ve had to learn to adapt. My parents divorce, my divorce, health choices, etc.

As I look back at my life, I have had so many people in and out of my life. It’s crazy how many people I have known in my life. It’s crazy how many people I have had close relationships and intimate moments with people who are no longer in my life. Its been tough letting people go. And I’m so relational that its hard for me to let people go without closure.

But my real focus here is changes that I have seen in ministry. In my time at Cornerstone, I have seen so many come and go in that church. But most importantly I have seen God change so many lives there. I have seen new believers after a few years make that leap of faith and commit to full-time ministry. It’s awesome to see.

But as excited I am for them, it’s hard to lose those brothers and sisters in Christ. Having these people around has been so instrumental in my own personal growth. Yet I’m learning that all that matters is that we are all serving Christ, no matter where we are. God has a plan and he will bring in others to fill those gaps.

Since surrendering my life to Christ a couple of years ago, I really dived into ministry. And until this month, I have mostly been involved with pretty much the same ministries. After much prayer, I decided a little while back to change things up on my own. Starting in June, my life in ministry will look a little different. I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve spent the past few months just taking care of some of my own personal life. But now that is mostly behind me, I’m ready to dive back into what God has planned for me.

I just want to make sure this time around that I make time for family and friends. Somewhere in the past months I quit doing that. But I’m really learning that I need those good people in my life. I don’t where I would be without them. I want to make sure the boys are a priority as well again. I really regret losing focus on them recently. I guess its easy to get caught up with things.

Between Cornerstone and Praxis, I have some amazing opportunities ahead of me to grow in my faith. I have also came up with a schedule that will give me my time with my kids and still be able to serve and learn ministry. My only question mark is Bible college and where to fit that in if I get accepted. But I’m sure God will make that clear to me as long as I stay in prayer about it. I’m really looking forward to the summer months to relax, but at the same time take on some new challenges in my life.

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A pretty God-filled week for me. God continues to reassure me in all I do. He blesses me so much with my Bible studies and the people he puts in my life. He continues to provide for me.
I had a fun week with the boys. Its been great having things back to normal with them. We saw Iron Man. I’m a huge sucker for summer action movies. Its fun when you have boys to go see them. They are wrapping up school and I’m now in the process of planning out my summer with them. We have lots of camping trips and California trips in the works.
We started to read Daniel in my men’s group. Its been great so far. I love reading about the faith that Daniel and his companions have in God. So encouraging. We have it made when it comes to persecution for our faith compared to back then. Pastor Royce gave a message on spiritual warefare the next night. It was an amazing message. I am sad that the Mine is ending for a break soon. I started a study on Discovering God’s Will in my Lifegroup. I’m very excited for it! Then I heard a message from Ron Habermas the following night. Probably one of the top Christian theologians of our time.
I did some volunteer work at Liberty House Saturday for our Second Saturday event. I love the heart of the people that come out for this. Crossroads Youth Intervention is such an amazing ministry. They take in intercity kids from the surrounding neighborhood (very dark and violent) and give them a safe place to hang out. They tutor them and share the love of Jesus at the same time. They even take them on camping trips over the summer as well. My good friend Mike Bhatti has been doing amaing stuff there as an intern.
I took my mom out for breakfast Sunday morning for mother’s day. My mom has been good to me. She lets me vent when I need to and helps me finanially during tough times when I need it. She has helped a lot in helping me raise my kids when I need a night off. She kept me in church as a child. It was that planted seed that brought me back to Christ recently. I appreciate her.
World Vision was at the church later that day. I’m a huge supporter of them. World Vision is making a difference in the world. I have been supporting their ministry in Uganda for some time. My heart goes out to the people who work for them and what God is doing in the world through them.
My very good friend Rob got baptized Sunday as well. Love that guy. A man who admits his struggles and just has a heart and passion for Christ. He got baptized with his sister. Just an all around encouraging moment for me.
I started a new group outside of church for some men at church that afternoon. Its just a purity group for men who have been through divorce. My hope is that some of these guys will take their situations and become better men of God through it. I had a good turn out for it and I look forward to meeting these guys every month.
That evening was my last Sunday teaching 4th grade Sunday school. I’ve been blessed to do that for 2 years now. It was the first ministry I signed up for after turning my life over to Christ. I will miss those kids. I am apppreciative of the staff for believing in me and allowing me to do that. It has given me the passion to share the word to others.
I capped off my long attending Praxis church that evening. I’m really loving that church. I leave spiritually filled everytime. Pastor Justin is so passionate about the word. We just finished a series on 1 John. A pretty straight forward message to Christians on the Christian walk. I’m considering taking them up on their leadership program this summer.
So that’s what is up with me right now. Counseling sessions with da ex and da boyz this week. Praying to God that was right decsion on my part. But for the most part just going to relax and enjoy my week some friends. Hit me up…

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My Pastor has always told me that I do ‘messy’ ministry. Basically he is referring to the fact that even though I don’t have a seminary education, I have a heart to serve and I love to minister to others from my heart. The fact that even though I’m not sent by the church to reach others, I do it regardless because I know God has called me to do this. I would love a seminary background someday, but that is not going to stop me from sharing what God has done in my life.

I was hesitant to write this blog because I’m about to reveal a ministry that I’m involved with that I really don’t discuss. It’s something I do because I have a heart for this age group of people and i like to keep it to myself. This involves campus ministries.

A couple of years ago I received a call out of the blue from a guy named Aaron. I don’t how he got my number, but he mentioned someone told him about me and my heart to serve. He wanted to meet me. So I met him at Chipotle and we talked. He was starting a ministry called Athletes in Action. He was a former football player at U of A and was looking to minister to the athletes at ASU. He wanted my help. At the time I was still going through the tough part of my divorce and really felt I didn’t have much to offer. So we parted and I told him I would pray for his ministry.

I attend Camber at Cornerstone. It’s a young adult program that services a lot of students. One of the things I like about going is that I can meet students and share my life with them. I feel the late teens/early 20’s age group is such a huge age for decision-making. The decisions made at that age will affect the rest of your life. Believe me I know, I still feel the effects of some of my poor decisions I made back in those days. I love meeting some of the people at Camber for coffee on the side and telling them my life story.

I was at a ASU football game last year and walked by the student section. I once had season tickets there. I know what goes on there. Believe me, I snuck in my fair share of alcohol. I was observing the behavior of the students. Hundreds upon hundreds of drunk students acting inappropriately. I asked myself the question .. ‘God, how do we reach these people?’ This started making me want to expand more out my own church and into the college campuses.

I love the Passion movement. It’s a movement that reaches college students and teaches them to think globally. It’s a huge movement that has done some amazing things. It has always been an inspiration to me.

I started to plug into worship groups on the various campuses. But I felt I could do more. Then I ran into Aaron at church one day. I hadn’t seen him in some time. I asked him about his ministry and told him about my passion for students. He invited me to attend a leadership meeting that brings leaders from almost every college ministry on campus. Anywhere from Young Life to Campus Crusade to international students were there. I represented Cornerstone with Pastor Ron’s approval. I was able to connect with several ministries there. I was able to be a voice in those meetings and be a part of what God is doing at ASU. My meeting with Aaron two years ago was no accident.

I was also attending Chandler-Gilbert community college last year. I had always wondered if there was a faith-based group that met on that campus. It is a small campus and different from a big university. On my last day of class, I saw a flier on the wall that said ‘Christians meet every Wednesday night!’ So I contacted Christians in Action and attended one of their worship nights recently. It was led by a couple really cool young guys that attended the college. They were doing amazing things there. I met with about 25 amazing students that were doing awesome stuff for the Kingdom on that campus. I was able to stay late that night and talk individually with many of the people there and share my own faith with them. It was so encouraging to listen to the hearts of most of these young 18- 22 year olds. I encouraged them to keep doing what they were doing.

I at times attend Praxis church. Many of the congregation there are ASU students. I really enjoy Pastor Justin’s speaking and have gotten to know him recently. I have just started to meet with his staff on the side. Not sure what God is stirring up with that, but I am listening to him.

Today I was at my campus meeting. I stay late to talk with Ben Sanders.. the guys who leads the meetings. I was able to share my story with him. He called me a connector. He mentioned I’m someone who is not afraid to go in groups outside my own church and share the good news about Jesus. He told me he needed more people to connect many of these ministries together and promote unity in the body of Christ. Because I had already plugged in with so many of the college ministries, I offered to help in the best way I could. He gave me a great book called ‘The Externally Focused Church’. Basically a book about helping your own church confront and cooperate with the surrounding community agencies. It’s a book for people open to building new relationships. I am very excited to read it.

I love outreach. God gave me an amazing gift to connect with others. I feel so blessed he can use me in this way. It makes me understand why I went through so many painful trials early in my life. God is good.

So how can we reach those students? One at a time. And only God can make that possible.

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