Friends and Family,
God is so good that in His providence, He sometimes makes us to lie down in green pastures. Sometimes we would have kept walking through, and God sees a place of flourishing, next to still waters; and he makes us to lie down. In life sometimes, we think in terms of options and doors, as the captain of our own ship, master of our own souls, and determiner of our own destiny; this godless invictus perspective betrays the reality of a sovereign God who orders our steps, though we plan our way (Prov. 16:9). Our plans, though good, may not be God’s. As we tell him about our good plans that we have for our future and wellbeing (Jer. 29:11), I think with a hearty chuckle, he invites us to follow him, and makes us to lie down at moments where we want to get up and run.
Following what we had, which was a multicultural church in our city that was reaching people (everything we were praying for); and having that abruptly removed from us; I have thought quite a bit about a couple things.
- How proud I am of our team. They sold out to the vision laid in front of them in time, love, energy, and in some cases...mileage. They all wish by their logged miles that they drove vespas or prius’s for the mileage that some of them logged to be in a far more expensive area, doing the work of the gospel on a daily basis. I could not be more proud of them and their efforts.
- God did this. As much as the will of God is often carried out in providence through moments where we question the goodness of people; it is clear to me in the timing of it all, God has a people appointed for salvation that he has sovereignly directed us to (Gen. 50:20, Acts 18:10). I am realizing that nearly every relationship I have right now with those who don’t know the LORD is here, all in proximity, and I am believing that this redirect is for their salvation (2 Cor. 4:4-6).
- When He ‘makes us to lie down’ He does so in order to restore our souls (Ps. 23:3). This is the theme for us this Fall.
300 E. Pine Avenue, El Segundo, CA 90245
This fall for us is a season where God has placed us in a park, and a park clubhouse. It’s a beautiful park in the middle of the city, and many many young families just like our own play there. I’ve been frequenting that park for years, and now I see just how much of a 3rd space it is. God put us here through the open door. The city has kindly opened the door for us through the end of November; at which time we will revisit the relationship. I would imagine it is as a trial basis that they are renting to us for this short period, but it gives us the opportunity to meet portably in a space that is not too difficult for us to afford, and rebuild, restore, and rejuvenate our team. RE seems to be the theme of life right now: Redo’s aren’t the worst thing in the world. We are REgathering, and we are seeing Jesus meet us through the Psalms, the very green pastures where He restores our souls.
Restore, Restart, Rejoice
On Sunday 9/9, we will have our fall Restart, and we’ll focus upon the goodness of God in the psalms, and the joy that the LORD offers us in moments that need to be memorialized, even as the psalms write the soundtrack of our lives; heights, valleys, and all the rollercoaster of emotions that we can ride on through the bipolarity of life. Joy is not merely a byproduct of obedience, but a Christian pursuit called worship that we carries us through hard moments, and crescendo’s us upon mountain plateau’s with dancing in great moments.
*We’ll have free family pictures, a gift for each new guest, and some awesome coffee. We’ll do our best to utilize the park to reach out in love to the young families that gather.
Relationships Through This Season
I have been so encouraged by the relationships that God has given us, and through the partner churches who prioritize the Kingdom, and King above personal agenda. I believe this is how the first century church exploded; where there was no incentivized competition amongst churches, but only Kingdom and King; and networks of believers serving each other’s flourishing. The beauty of the heartbeat I see around LA is churches that realize reaching Los Angeles and saturating it with churches will take intertwined networks of selfless, Kingdom-minded churches, and people to continue to bring the gospel to this urban metropolis. I’m excited to play a small part.
- Salt and Light: Jody Faison, Byron Jung and team will be coming on Sunday 9/30 to share with us about missional communities, and the significance of the four types of missional communities. As my wife and I are living with our in-laws for this season, one of our greatest joys (hospitality, and hosting) is sort of off the table for now. This being said, missional community happens still in this sleepy beach city where relationships are priority when the rush of LA life ends for the day. We will be prayer walking after the sunday 9/30 gathering with Jody and Byron around the Redondo Beach area, as they pray over the community God has called them to.
- Men's Build Day with World Impact and OCF (see below): we are getting a build day set with our brothers from OCF to build our staging, and portability crates out. Peter Watts of World Impact has given us two beautiful portability crates for tech and children’s ministry, so we will probably be building another four crates on casters - if you would like to join us for this, let us know!
We are so grateful for the generosity of World Impact, located in West Adams (off the 110 and 10 freeways), doing an amazing work in Los Angeles. They are a model, and great example of urban church planting. If you’re near the West Adams neighborhood, don’t miss them.
- Oceanside Christian Fellowship: I will be sharing at OCF’s men’s Monday night bible study on 9/24, and then we will be working together to get those crates made thereafter (Details forthcoming!). OCF is an incredible church with the plurality/team ministry approach I have been preaching now for a few years. They have actually built a functioning plurality of elders: families in relationship, sharing the responsibility of leadership, and reaching into culture with many of the men working and ministering bivocationally (#goals).
- Speak Life LA: One of my close friends, Pastor Nelson Jackson had invited me (and our whole team) to come and share with His team last Sunday. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, worship, and serving my friends, and if you are in the area, I would encourage you to stop by and see this vibrant church plant.
In closing, I’m really excited for what God is bringing about this fall. Pray with us for people, places, and provision. As it was said to me this week, this church planting thing is about 1% hustle, and 99% grace paving our path, and answering in the eleventh hour with the faithfulness of God as He writes this story. He is our confidence, strength, and refuge.
For your Joy in Jesus,