Musings from the Foursquare National Convention.

At the encouragement of our church council at Desert Foursquare Church, my wife and I attended the national convention in Phoenix. I’m so grateful for a council that saw the value in having us join the 3500 or so Foursquare brothers and sisters who traveled from all over the world to be there.

Headliners included Wayne Cordiero, David Kinnaman, Chris Hodges and Ed Stetzer. We had the privilege of three nights of worship with Matt Redman. The energy was incredible and the teaching was phenomenal.

My wife walked away with two big take-aways. One, a greater understanding of forgiveness, and two, a deepening love for the people of the Coachella Valley. I’m grateful for such a wonderful woman.

I had a difficult time processing everything I heard and experienced, but here are a few of my thoughts.

1. The face of our nation is changing rapidly. With an influx of people from other nations, and a growing hispanic population in our Coachella Valley, I have a growing passion for blending cultures. I’m keeping my eyes open for an hispanic brother or sister who is called to minister to our valley. We could potentially start a church at Palm Desert H.S. next week if we had the right person with the right anointing.

2. We have an incredible opportunity to reach the young people (high school/college age) in our desert. In many ways, they are the poor and the least among us. My personal commitment to the students in our church is deeper than ever. I am resolved to bridge the generation gap.

3. The church is changing (thank God!) to be more focused on service and less on the service. Sundays are important, but the church is 24/7. We’ve been living this at Desert Foursquare, but this week was a reminder to me to keep living in ecclesia and being the church.

4. Modern media and technology are here to stay. Old and young are all engaging in social networking, videos, twitter and more.

5. Preaching is becoming more conversational. I had a conversation with Pastor Ryan Oddo in which he described how his Sunday preaching was always a catalyst to a deeper conversation. That’s not a novel idea, but the level of execution is. 63% of The Bridge attends a home group where they dig into knowledge and wisdom through relationships every week.

6. The church exists for the poor, the hungry, the widow & the orphan FIRST. This ties into pt. 2, but service in general is for everyone. I’ve been working through James 1 & 2, and the thought I can’t get out of my head is how much emphasis is put on what we DO. The evidence of salvation and a spirit-filled life is serving, loving, caring, helping, forgiving… doing the things we would not do if left to our own will.

Thanks to our church for supporting us to attend this week. I am so grateful for you, and I look forward to seeing you all soon.


The Doug Bursch Show

My thanks to Doug for having me on his show tonight. For those people who hear the show and find my blog, welcome! Please subscribe – I’d love to share our stories with you.

We started Rooftop 519 in order to help the church be the church. Our goal was to make hosting kids like Exodus, Jhonnatan and Astrid easy. Our mission is, “Healing the sickest kids in the world in the name of Christ.”

Since we started doing this, I’ve been ruined for normal. It’s ruined a lot of people, my good friend and board chair, Megan Hawkes, has had her life turned upside-down too. We can’t all be missionaries to other countries, but we can all be missionaries within our own communities. Some of us can be missionaries in our own homes.

We are young, but we have a really experienced volunteer staff. The Medical Advisory Committee alone has well over a hundred years of medical and psychological experience. Our Medical Director has helped over 180 patients receive inbound medical care.

My thanks to all who are a part of our team. Over 140 volunteers are currently actively working to make this happen. From people on the ground who identify patients, to our medical professionals, donors, host families, churches, office staff (our primary office is in California, but we are incorporated in Washington), our board of directors and many more… we are blessed to have the incredible talent that are helping Rooftop 519 patients get the healing they need.

Check us out on Facebook, and follow Rooftop 519 and me on Twitter. Through the Roof!



Christmas Adventure

We hosted about 30 people at our home for our Christmas Eve service for Desert Foursquare Church. At 5:15 p.m., we carolled around our neighborhood, giving songs, cards and warm smiles to our little community in La Quinta. One woman remarked, “I’ve never had such a wonderful Christmas surprise.” We sang to people of every age. It helped that the Helms family had their five boys with them, as they always bring incredible fun & energy to everything they do. People in the Lagos neighborhood were truly blessed. None more than me.

After a short devotional and a very traditional Costco pizza Christmas Eve dinner, my family loaded our little Prius for a trip to Puyallup. Google maps will tell you that this is a 20 hour trip. My clock told me that we shaved about three hours off the Google estimate. It helped us significantly that my very determined wife drove for six hours through the night at top speed. I now know that it is possible to get a sub-30 mpg average in our hybrid.

We have a few Christmas Day traditions at the Duris Farm (our family farm in Puyallup). One, we arrive at my wife’s parents home late-morning for custom omelets. There’s always a mess of cousins, siblings, calories and smiles. Two, as though we haven’t sufficiently been stuffed to the gills, we have a late-lunch gathering of extended family. Prime rib and deserts galore.

Undetected and unexpected, our Prius pulled into the Andrew’s driveway around 12:50 p.m. We tapped into their wifi; I skyped them in their home, and we told them that we left early (they anticipated us coming into town on Tuesday). My mother-in-law’s emotions went from joy (she likes it when we Skype) to excitement (when she realized we were driving out earlier) to absolute, over-the top “I just won the lottery” pandemonium when they all realized that we were in the driveway. I haven’t seen so many people crying at once since the Seahawks lost the Superbowl. Happy tears, followed by my father-in-law’s greeting, “Let me fix you an omelet.”

I feel very blessed to have so many people who love us. It feels even better to love, and to give the gift of love in unexpected ways. From our church family to our blood, I recognize that I am uniquely blessed. Thank you Jesus for our many Christmas blessings.

My Hotest Summer

We have nearly survived our first summer in the Coachella Valley. The hottest temps I saw were pushing 120. I even wore pants on a day it hit 110. The craziest part was standing on burning concrete… while it was raining.

My apologies for not blogging more. I have a lot to say, and this blog has created some great conversations, but I’ve just been too focused on other priorities. I’ve poured a ton of work into studying and preparing for our church launch at Desert Foursquare Church, Rooftop 519 and more. Juggling family, devotions and physical health needs means I run 90 mph for about 90 hours per week. T.V. was never much a part of my life, but now it’s gone the way of the dodo bird. Other luxuries are gone. If it’s not necessary, I don’t do it.

The church is incredibly exciting. We are watching people come to know Jesus in a personal way. Each person has a story, and I’m humbled by the amazing work God is doing in our church plant. We are meeting in our home right now (and the neighbors still like us OK), and we have lunch after service each week. Our Bible study on Sunday is an opportunity for everyone to engage & ask questions. One guy told me that he only comes because we feed him. I think he’s serious… can’t tell yet.

I visited Palm Desert H.S. on Friday to see how our transition into the new facility will work. It is an amazing campus, and we have an incredible relationship with this school. I thank God for his favor here. I’ve never heard of a church plant that is as welcomed on campus as Desert Foursquare is at PDHS. We will most likely be meeting at PDHS beginning in late October, with a full church launch in late January or February in the performing arts center.

If you’re reading this, take a moment to pray for us. The Manly family is in great need of support, as we are emptying ourselves in order that the Lord will fill us with his purpose. I’m on my way to do a night hike right now with three young college age men in the desert… excited to share my life with those young in the faith, and get some exercise at the same time.

Kudos to the Southwest Foursquare District

I’ve been exceptionally busy as of late; traveling since June 21 & longing for a respite. One of my journeys took me to the Southwest Foursquare District office in Anaheim, CA. The land of Disneyland, I saw no mouse ears on my visit.

For a moderately-intense two days, I spent time with 11 other pastors and our district leadership team (who are also licensed or ordained ministers), getting to know the ins and outs of the Foursquare Church. I was impressed from the first minute to the last.

We were a uniquely diverse group. Four married couples, two married guys without their brides, and one single male pastor in his 70’s, I realized within minutes that this was a group of unique backgrounds. I believe I was the only U.S.-born person in the group (other than several of the district leadership team who joined us intermittently). There were pastors from Brazil, Guatemala, Canada, Mexico, Romania and more. Each with an amazing story and great passion for the church.

It is hard to describe how excited I am to work with this team, supported by their work and empowered through their vision. Kimberly’s top two values are unity and honor, and I watched how diligently she lives by what she says.

We are going through the process of planting a church, and I am in the process of being licensed as a senior pastor. This is an intense period of study for me. For the glory of God, for the cause of Christ, and for the purpose he has in my life, I will dedicate myself to this call. Many thanks to all who have supported Desert Foursquare Church. We launch this fall. We are meeting in my home until that time, Sundays at 10 a.m. All are welcome.

One final thought; I watched “Bonhoeffer” recently. I’d give it a solid two-thumbs up. Dietrich’s commitment to the church is utterly amazing.