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I voted…

I voted…

I voted… and I think you probably should too.

But I think long lasting cultural revolution only happens if we together work at raising kids with character, ethics and morals. We transform the next generation of leaders and change, by being a current generation of kindness and integrity. And I’m convinced that following the way of Jesus is the best way to start.

a church that looks like the world to come

a church that looks like the world to come

Some folks wonder what church leaders spend their time talking about: If you could be a fly on the wall you’d hear our elders discussing how to be a community as described in this picture (from a book we’ve been talking through over the last months).

God has called Christians to be about following Christ when it’s so easy to become polarized by the million tribal markers that we apply to ourselves and others. But we’re working, thinking and praying at how to be a “fellowship of the differents”, a “church that looks like the world to come.” And we haven’t perfected it, but we’re working at leading in that direction.

set your hope

set your hope

You might not be able to tell this from social media, but the fundamental mindset of Christians should be hope. God’s future kindness (e.g. future hope) outshines present darkness. What Jesus will do should shape what we do now.

(And we’re not good at this, so 1 Peter tells Christians to be alert – actively pursue a mindset… on hope – an active command.)

How to Pray for Kids in School

How to Pray for Kids in School

Ashley gives a master class on how to pray for kids in school (with some help from her friends at Moms in Prayer)

Scripture Prayers to Pray for Students, Teachers, School Administrators, and School Support Staff
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

Denominational Life

Denominational Life

Non-denominational churches are getting all of the press these days. They tend to be more creative, more flexible – with far more of an independent entrepreneur, leader-driven culture.

This week I’m at a meeting of the CRCNA. I’m convinced that denominational churches are more stable and less prone to scandal. We tend to put a lot more effort into slow-moving, deliberative boundaries, policies and guidelines. We have a Book of Order (not kidding) with hundreds of pages of thought-out scenarios. Pastors and local leaders are both given direction deliberated by a long process over time by the collective bi-national church (Councils, Classes, Synods, Overtures, Appeals, etc) AND we are all held accountable to a wider group of people than just a local church.

Frankly, it’s a little boring and slow. BUT organizations that build for the long term, and are built on ideas instead of popular, charismatic leaders are better off in the long run. And I’m increasingly convinced over time that Christians are better off connecting with traditions than trends.

A church for Spanish-speakers in Orange County

A church for Spanish-speakers in Orange County

This time last year I had gotten good at pointing out impossible problems. – Our county is 20% Latino and we have hardly any Spanish-speaking-churches. There are lot of people who need faith, community, and connection – but have challenged because of language. – I got a lot of practice at thinking about the obstacles related to planting a church headed into our church district meeting in early October 2021.

This year – we celebrated God’s work with our first joint-worship service with our newly-planted Spanish-speaking church. (And installed Pastor Gilbert as it’s pastor) https://IglesiaHispanaGoshen.org launched Easter of 2022. Pastor Gilbert moved here last October and did so much ground-breaking work… And now – God has been so kind – We have a church body of nearly 50 people worshiping each Sunday in Spanish on our church campus. It’s been a lot of work by lots of people but I’m thankful to see God at work around us. (check out the video below for a glimpse of a backyard baptism service from this day)

the ultimate measure of a man

the ultimate measure of a man

our 3 year old reacts to monuments.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Visits to a Nursing Home

Visits to a Nursing Home

This week I was able to spend some time catching up with folks who haven’t seen in church in a while – church family who have been in nursing homes or stuck at home due to sickness or injury.

It’s one of my favorite things to do. I shouldn’t be surprised that godly faithful Christians who are suffering are grateful, content and thankful for God’s blessing. But when I visit someone going through an awful lonely season and they talk about how thankful they are for their Faith, for our supportive church community and… I think everyone I visited this week mentioned that they pray for me and our church leaders daily. I can’t help but leave more encouraged than when I got there.

I’m also thankful – we’ve been praying a lot for them and so many of them have had really really hard seasons. It’s been Psalm 23’s “valley of the shadows of death”. But they aren’t afraid – and they seem well… because their Shepherd is with them.

Some things are just easier when you’re young and healthy – But, sprinting is easy… it’s the runners that finish the race well that get the prize.

Happy Birthday Ashley

Happy Birthday Ashley

She invests most of her time and energy in our little family – loving each of us, caring for each need, adjusting to every mini-crises as the kids conquer each hurtle. Today we celebrate Ashley. Her gifts, talents, time – spent on things that matter. She loves and is loved in big ways. (Even if Jude thinks he’s too cool to smile in family pictures).

Christ Health Care Ministries

Christ Health Care Ministries

Sometimes I forget about how cool this is. In a time when being uninsured means it’s really hard to get medical care, and when so many people are struggling, ignoring symptoms and getting much much worse. – Our church has partnered with Christ Health Care to host a Free Health Clinic to provide primary care to people without health insurance.

This is a big deal. It means that people with no where else to go can come to our church basement, get treated by an M.D./R.Ns – we have rooms setup with medical equipment, basic labs, medicines, etc. And they can get the help they need because of the generosity of funding and time by people who care. Our practitioners are volunteers who are able to make a difference outside of their normal jobs. We’re able to host local medical students who are happy to learn and help. And our local church planter will pray and encourage people spiritually and emotionally.

Basement Health Clinic at https://Goshen.Church

The Bible says that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows [the most vulnerable] in their distress.” (James 1:27) And I’m thankful that I’m a part of a church community that prioritizes doing just that.

Tomorrow we’re taking an offering to support this ministry – you can donate at www.Goshen.Church/Give (select Christ Health Care Ministry)