Here is the first post in this series.
Anyone who knows me even a little, knows that I like to be prepared. I have been a first responder to people in traumatic medical situations over a half-dozen times. From choking to seizures to a horrific band-saw accident, I believe good training helps more than good intentions every time. At Desert Foursquare, we’ve made it a commitment to be prepared to people in their time of need.
Another kind of preparedness is making sure the church is being the church. To grow in my pastoring and leading, I spent two days in training at North Coast Church. The team at NCC really helped me to grow in our ability to facility small groups at Desert Foursquare Church. Small groups are coming to D4S in 2013.
Another kind of training happened when I volunteered to coach my daughter’s volleyball team. I love coaching & helping the girls to grow in many ways.
Our faith family at Desert Foursquare Church loves to eat together. We gathered for a post-service lunch together on several occasions this fall.
Our 17 year anniversary was October 14. Here are a few pictures from that wonderful time in our lives. Cheryl – I love you more today than ever.
I bought my jeep, got a job at Costco & had my first date with Cheryl all in the same week. Cheryl is the only one I kept, and the only one that really matters. 17 years later & she still likes me.
In October, Cheryl, Ryan Frederick and Selena Frederick and I went to a Foursquare Chaplaincy training for Disaster Response Teams. We learned critical skills for responding to the emotional and spiritual needs of people experiencing crisis. The night before our training in Anthem, Arizona, we went out for dinner to celebrate my statistical half-life. Don’t ask me how I found out, but sometime earlier this year, I looked at an actuary table that put my age expectancy at 77 years. October 25 of this year is the half way point. I expect to blow the curve, but it does give me reason to pause and reflect on my life.
The chaplaincy training was incredible. During our trip, I asked the Fredericks to consider becoming licensed Foursquare ministers. They’ve recently agreed to go through the process in 2013! Ryan is one of the most incredible worship leaders and Selena is an awesome discipler. They have incredible hearts to serve and love others.
During our training, superstorm Sandy pummeled the Eastern Seaboard. By Monday we received our first call to respond to a disaster. Although none of us could make the trip to New Jersey or New York to join the teams, it helped me to prepare for the next time disaster strikes.
We partnered with a church in New Jersey to send supplies.
Rooftop 519 is preparing to launch our online store. We decided to do a photos hoot in LA. Thanks to Ephemeral Youth and Fluxhzrd for the photos and hard work.
Our church hosted a couple of events in the fall. One of these was the Pumpkin Carving Party.
One of my favorite things to do in the desert is hiking the trails.
In mid-November I made another trip to Seattle. I got to spend a half-day with Doug Bursch, which was an incredible treat.
Wednesday of that week brought me on an all-day adventure with Artists Inspiring Action to meet with The Justice Conference founder Ken Wystma. We are creating a large mural at the 2013 Justice Conference in Philly.
On Friday of my trip, our Rooftop 519 board met for our anual retreat. We had an incredible time together, continuing to map our principles and strategy.
Our church hosted an event for international students at College of the Desert (COD) in our home. We had students from China, Belgium, France and more. After we tore into the three turkeys, nine pies and dozens of pounds of potatoes and jello, we played a game called box hockey. It was a blast. I’m very glad nobody got hurt. The highlight of this event for me was when we went around the table to share what we are thankful for. A young girl shared, “I am thankful for a church that accepts me and is welcoming to everyone”.
We did a family photo shoot with Cheval Photos to make our Christmas cards this year. These pictures make my pictures above look really bad.
Paradosi came back to Desert Foursquare recently to share with our community their Christmas program. It was incredible.
Our church supports the work of Younglife and Cru. In our partnership with Palm Desert Young Life, we have recently helped to arrange the YL students to meet at a store front that we use for Rooftop 519 storage. Last night I went to see the final club for 2012, which is their “Mr. Christmas Tree” contest. It was loud, crazy and five kinds of awesome.
I wish I could share every story. Every day is filled with truly incredible interactions with people. We had at least two dozen people live with us at some point this year (either passing through or staying for several months). Just today I’ve been able to disciple three people, two of whom are experiencing the most wonderful times of their lives and one who is living his most difficult life challenges.
This is an incredible year. I am deeply grateful to all who are partnering with us to minister. These stories would not exist without the financial support we receive, both through the church and through my salary at Rooftop 519. I am really grateful for all who are praying with us. I predict that 2013 will offer us an increase in opportunities to serve and impact people. Please pray with us.
Serving Christ in 2013,
P.S. – a bonus… I recently found this picture of my daughter at the Duris Farm. It fits chronologically into part 2, but here it is: