Justice Does

At the end of this month, I have the very rare privilege of co-leading a team of artists and dreamers in one of the largest installations ever created. This mural will be constructed at the third Justice Conference in Philly on February 22 & 23. It is large in size (30′ x 24′), scope (art inspired by multiple themes of justice), and participation (we are hoping to equip over 5,000 people to participate in the mural’s creation).

One year ago, Rooftop 519 was preparing to participate in the 2012 Justice Conference. This is our birthplace. Our first patient, Exodus, went home to Liberia just days after the conference in Portland, Oregon. When our team of volunteers showed up, we were overwhelmed with the incredible response the conference leaders and attendees gave us. We were inspired to action, and we experienced an awakening of our theology of justice.

Artists Inspiring Action was there too. They experienced a similar sense of awakening.

Jacob Herring from Artists Inspiring Action creating "stretcher art" for Rooftop 519.

Jacob Herring from Artists Inspiring Action creating “stretcher art” for Rooftop 519.

While I was at the conference, I began dreaming about a way to engage people in the beautiful and inspirational art we created together. The founder of Artists Inspiring Action, Shane Kalai, was struck with the idea. We had to wonder, “Would the Justice Conference leaders be crazy enough to support this artistic act of worship?”

Ken Wytsma and Erin Lytle are the brains behind this growing collective of dreamers and Jesus-activists. When we set out to share this idea, I never made any assumption that they would give us anything other than their blessing. They have exceeded nearly every hope, even giving us the largest space in the center of the conference.

A video that explains the #justicedoes project is on our indiegogo page. I would love your help in spreading the word. Please consider making a gift to support this mammoth effort. We need your help to do this.

Here is a sneak peek of the touch card featuring art from Jacob Herring andPope St. Victor. I hope to see you in Philly!

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Word of the Year

Two nights ago we had a gathering of our Desert Foursquare leaders and church council. This is a recap of our time together.

We are nearing our one-year anniversary, which we will celebrate on Sunday, February 17. Our word of the year for 2012 was, “Open Hearts, Shared Lives”. The culture-push for our church was to be the church , not “do” church. Being the church is not an event. It’s a lifestyle and calling that requires of us that we open ourselves to what God asks of us.

Two nights ago, I shared what the Lord had laid upon my heart for 2013. I started by reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, Chapter 4, in which Francis points out that, “None of us is good soil”. God does his work in us to make us his, only after we accept that we are his. The specific word we have at Desert Foursquare for 2013 is, “Belong to God”.

John 8:47: “He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

We don’t make ourselves good, but when we submit ourselves to God, he makes something good through us. Everyone wants to belong to something, but that longing comes from a deeper need we have to belong to God first.

I recently saw Les Mis. This epic story follows Jean Valjean as he lives a life in service to God, having been redeemed by a Bishop Myriel who saves Jean from certain punishment. Grace was extended and Jean’s life course is changed. Jean realizes he belongs to God. The real story though, for me, is in Bishop Myriel’s life. A man humbly living in service to God, demonstrating the grace of God and knowing the heart of God.

The Bishop realized who he belonged to. Equally important was an understanding of who is his brother. I love that picture of belonging to God. Oh! That we would have a true sense that the slave is our brother.

There were three things I shared with our leadership team that accents the culture of belonging we desire to reinforce. They are:

1. Prayer. Pray for people, with people and around people. When someone shares their pain, ask them if you can pray for them. In a conversation, ask if you can pray for them. Inquire of everyone how you might lift them up to our Lord.

2. Presence. Be in the moment. Society continues to accelerate, but we have to brake. Slow down & listen. Love. Laugh. I just wrote it, but it bears repeating. LISTEN. Can you remember what someone just told you? Saying that you’re bad at remembering names is another way to say you suck at listening.

3. Patience. We’re nearly one year old, with a congregation of about 75 people. That’s average, which is three times our number exactly one year ago. Based on that and several other metrics (finances, accountability, etc.), we are doing really well. It would be easy think that we need to grow. Fast. More. Bigger. Better. I sincerely believe that God will bring us the growth he desires in his time.

I remember hearing Mark Driscoll talk about Mars Hill’s meteoric growth in the first five years. After five years, not one of the people who launched was still around. Growth should never come at the expense of burning out your team. When you belong to God, he won’t crucify you. That bill has already been settled. But if that’s true, why are so many church altars littered with the remains of burnt out pastors and leaders? There must be a balance of patience.

I see the breath of God stirring the hearts of those who are a part of Desert Foursquare. I’m excited for the opportunity to dig into what it really means to belong to God.

The Long View

I just put an appointment on my Google calendar for March 1, 2023. That’s the furthest I’ve ever planned anything. It is my 10,000 day anniversary. I don’t know why I looked it up, but it sounds like a reason to celebrate (thanks interwebs – your calculators are great!).

The older I get, the longer I see into the future. People in their teens rarely look past tomorrow (except for vacations, birthdays and graduation). People in their twenties usually see the next several years. At 38, I’m wondering what kind of grandparents my kids will be.

In October of this year I celebrated my statistical half life. Events like these help me to think about planning and vision, as well as success and achievement. Although we can never count on tomorrow, we should be able to count the success of tomorrow, should God grace us with one more day.

Some things that excite me about 2013:

  • I have the privilege of being in Portland in a few weeks with some of the most gifted minds in Christian stewardship.
  • February will bring the Justice Conference. There are some truly ground-breaking things happening here.
  • Keep an eye out for Ryan and Selena Frederick’s blog, Fierce Marriage. I’m so grateful to minister with these two people.
  • Desert Foursquare is hosting Nations Films in Palm Desert four a premier of their newest movie.
  • August may find me doing a multi-country tour for Rooftop 519.

To all who allow me to share in life’s adventures, my sincerest thanks for a great 2012. Thank you for everything.

Shawn

2012 Review Part 3 of 3

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.

CPR and First Aid training for our Desert Foursquare Church volunteers.

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.

Small group training with the great people of North Coast Church.

Small group training with the great people of North Coast Church.

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.

Hailey's volleyball team celebrating over ice cream after a dominating performance.

Hailey’s volleyball team celebrating over ice cream after a dominating performance. For the record, the  blonde girl is wearing her fancy wig for fun.

Our faith family at Desert Foursquare Church loves to eat together. We gathered for a post-service lunch together on several occasions this fall.

After-service lunch. I love our church family!

After-service lunch. I love our church family!

We can work the chow line!

We can work the chow line!

Our kids are super-cute.

Our kids are super-cute.

Not all of our kids can make it through the whole party. That's ok because we have lots of awesome kids' helpers.

Not all of our kids can make it through the whole party. That’s ok because we have lots of awesome kids’ helpers.

These are some of our awesome kids' leaders. The mustaches are fake, but the smiles are real.

These are some of our awesome kids’ leaders. The mustaches are fake, but the smiles are real.

Love these young ladies of Desert Foursquare Church.

Love these young ladies of Desert Foursquare Church.

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.

A photo of the wedding invitations we sent out in the summer of 1995.

A photo of the wedding invitations we sent out in the summer of 1995.

Here's the inside of the invitation. It means more today than ever.

Here’s the inside of the invitation. It means more today than ever.

Two kids who are still crazy for each other.

Two kids who are still crazy for each other.

These pictures are evidence of my wife's vicious chubby bunny marshmallow attack when we were dating. I think this was my 20th birthday party.

These pictures are evidence of my wife’s vicious chubby bunny marshmallow attack when we were dating. I think this was my 20th birthday party.

My 1953 Willys. I would love to have another Jeep someday.

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.

A recent picture in front of Desert Foursquare at Palm Desert High School.

A recent picture in front of Desert Foursquare at Palm Desert High School.

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.

Celebrating my statistical half-life with my wife & the Fredericks.

Celebrating my statistical half-life with my wife & the Fredericks.

Ryan and Selena Frederick are both going to become licensed Foursquare minsters in 2013!

Ryan and Selena Frederick are both going to become licensed Foursquare minsters in 2013!

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.

Ryan Frederick is preaching at Desert Foursquare Church. He is an amazing man of God.

Ryan Frederick is preaching at Desert Foursquare Church. He is an amazing man of God.

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.

Some of the blankets, clothes and batteries that we shipped to the victims of Sandy.

Some of the blankets, clothes and batteries that we shipped to the victims of Sandy.

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.

Photo shoot on Venice Beach.

Photo shoot on Venice Beach.

Our church hosted a couple of events in the fall. One of these was the Pumpkin Carving Party.

Many pumpkins lost their lives that night.

Many pumpkins lost their lives that night.

The crazy pumpkin carving party.

The crazy pumpkin carving party. There were pumpkin guts EVERYWHERE.

We have a really artistically talented group.

We have a really artistically talented group.

Many pumpkins died that night.

The  carving skills were amazing.

One of my favorite things to do in the desert is hiking the trails.

A night hike with my favorite 13 year-old girl. I love you Hailey!

A night hike with my favorite 13 year-old girl. I love you Hailey!

A recent hike with my wife on a day off. She found out that hiking is hard work.

A recent hike with my wife on a day off. She found out that hiking is hard work.

In mid-November I made another trip to Seattle. I got to spend a half-day with Doug Bursch, which was an incredible treat.

On air with Doug Bursch in Seattle.

On air with Doug Bursch in Seattle.

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.

Rooftop 519 board members Ryan Hart and Dr. Chuck Power during our lunch break.

Rooftop 519 board members Ryan Hart and Dr. Chuck Power during our lunch break.

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”.

international dinner

Our team prepares Thanksgiving dinner for College of the Desert Students.

Our team prepares Thanksgiving dinner for College of the Desert Students.

Students played box hockey until they'd burned more calories than they consumed.

Students played box hockey until they’d burned more calories than they consumed.

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.

Getting ready for Christmas cards.

Getting ready for Christmas cards.

With my little girly.

With my little girly.

And my big girly.

And my big girly.

And my young man.

And my young man.

The finished product.

The finished product.

Paradosi came back to Desert Foursquare recently to share with our community their Christmas program. It was incredible.

The Paradosi dancers sharing the story of Christ in "Commissioned".

The Paradosi dancers sharing the story of Christ in “Commissioned”.

Mary and Joseph putting Jesus in the manger.

Mary and Joseph putting Jesus in the manger.

The best baby Jesus ever, backstage getting ready for the performance.

The best baby Jesus ever, backstage getting ready for the performance.

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.

Young Life students singing, playing and eating at the Mr. Christmas Tree contest.

Young Life students singing, playing and eating at the Mr. Christmas Tree contest.

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,

Shawn

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:

Hailey working at the Duris Cucumber Farm this summer. She represents the 5th generation to farm this land.

Hailey working at the Duris Cucumber Farm this summer. She represents the 5th generation to farm this land.

2012 Review Part 2 of 3

Here is the first part of this series.

The second third of 2012 (May-Aug) was one long, magical adventure. May brought Andy’s graduation, a trip to a comic signing and a trip for Cheryl and me to the Foursquare National Convention.

Andy graduates 8th grade. We have our first high schooler.

Andy graduates 8th grade. We have our first high schooler.

This is how he celebrates... 4:30 a.m. drive to a comic signing.

This is how he celebrates moving up to 9th grade… 4:30 a.m. drive to a comic signing.

I like his take on Superman.

I like his photoshop-drawn  take on Superman.

His color pencil drawings are pretty good too.

His color pencil drawings are pretty good too.

Cheryl and I traveled with one of our volunteers to Phoenix for the Foursquare Convention. This was our first time participating in this anual event, and it was amazing. We hope to go to Orlando for the 2013 gathering.

Thousands gather in Phoenix for the Foursquare National Convention.

Thousands gather in Phoenix for the Foursquare National Convention.

We hosted our first Desert Foursquare outdoor movie night (a part of our regular Family Night get-togethers). Who would have thought it would hit 60 degrees in the desert at night!

Outdoor movie night with the Desert Foursquare family.

(Very Cold) Outdoor movie night with the Desert Foursquare family.

Lounging at Family Night. Redvines, Costco pizza and all kinds of junk food.

Lounging at Family Night. Redvines, Costco pizza and all kinds of junk food.

In June, Cheryl and I got away to the Foursquare Center for Spiritual Renewal. We were renewed! The CSR West is located in a 100 year-old home in Hollywood. Robby and Bonita Booth are the hosts, and we really enjoyed their warmth and hospitality. We ate at the Nickel Diner and a street taco place where I tried beef tongue for the first time. I didn’t realize there was that much fat in a tongue.

At the Foursquare CSR West.

At the Foursquare CSR West.

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I love this sign about 3 blocks from the CSR West. Design by committee much?

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Cheryl refused the beef tongue tacos. Yes, she’s in her jammies. That’s how we vacation!

At the end of June, we moved into a new place.

Checking out our (newer, bigger and better) home in La Quinta.

Checking out our (newer, bigger and better) home in La Quinta with our awesome real estate agent, Cynthia Wolter (yes, that was a plug. Call Cynthia – she’s awesome).

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The home needed a big hug. We painted the ceiling, living room, dining room and kitchen.

Church in the desert in the summer is very different than most places. Because the snowbirds are gone, and the 120-degree temps chase away a lot of the year-rounders, only the hearty will join us on a Sunday morning. We did manage to gather about 30 people in our new home for a surprise birthday party for Selena Frederick, one of our church members & wife of Ryan Frederick.

The crew waiting to shock Selena on her birthday!

The crew waiting to shock Selena on her birthday!

She had no idea. I really love how our church family loves to party.

She had no idea. She was coming over to check out our new house for the first time. I really love how our church family loves to party.

Our intern Danny and his girlfriend Kaleigh. Two of my favorite people.

Danny and his girlfriend Kaleigh don’t let the heat stop them from doing what they like. Two of my favorite people.

In July we took Hailey to the Foursquare camp in Big Bear. She met some great people & had a lot of fun.

Hailey with friends at Camp Crestview.

Hailey with friends at Camp Crestview.

Our two patients from Ecuador made their way home in June. Jhonnatan received skin grafts and dental work to help repair the 3rd degree burns he experienced as a 3 year-old boy. Astrid was fitted with prosthetic limbs. Shriner’s Hospital in Portland did incredible work.

Astrid with Jhonnatan's host sister, riding the ferry in Washington.

Astrid with Jhonnatan’s host sister, riding the ferry in Washington.

Astrid riding a pony while wearing her newly-fitted prosthesis.

Astrid riding a pony while wearing her newly-fitted prosthesis.

Jhonnatan with his compression mask. They told him he looked like Spiderman.
Jhonnatan with his compression mask. They told him he looked like Spiderman.

Jhonnatan is reunited with his papa.

Jhonnatan is reunited with his papa.

Astrid back with her family in Ecuador.
Astrid back with her family in Ecuador.
Host mom Melody prepares to say goodbye to Astrid in Ecuador.

Host mom Melody prepares to say goodbye to Astrid in Ecuador.

Late July found us in Colorado on a family vacation. The highlight was getting five generations together under one roof. Cheryl’s grandpa is 90 years old, and the great-great grandkids loved meeting their much-older family member for the first time.

Five generations!

Five generations!

Fun at Grandpa's house.

Here is Cheryl asserting her dominance.

We make cute kids in our family.

We make cute kids in our family. Andy is as big as his great-grandpa.

My father-in-law's favorite pastime.

My father-in-law’s favorite pastime.

We golfed, we laughed, we cried. (I won).

We golfed, we laughed, we cried. (I won).

Bumper cars in Estes Park was Hailey's favorite part of the whole trip.

Bumper cars in Estes Park were Hailey’s favorite part of the whole trip.

We couldn't catch much in the river, so Grandpa splurged for a trip to the trout pond.

We couldn’t catch much in the river, so Grandpa splurged for a trip to the trout pond.

A buck-an-inch is so worth it when you've been skunked for a couple of days straight.

A buck-an-inch is so worth it when you’ve been skunked for a couple of days straight.

It was a strange ending to our vacation. Cheryl and the kids hopped on a plane for Seattle, while I drove our Prius from Estes, Colorado to La Quinta, California. I did the 18 hour trip in one day, trying to make sure I had a couple of days to prepare for my trip to Nicaragua with International Medical Alliance. They invited us to join them on their mobile hospital trip to select patients for Rooftop 519.

Ryan Frederick and I near the hotel where most of the team stayed in Jinotega.

Ryan Frederick and I near the hotel where most of the team stayed in Jinotega.

An unexpected bonus - Ryan and I meet up with Mauricio Rodriguez, a good brother who lives in Anaheim. Mauricio was visiting friends in a city several hours away & made the drive to Jinotega to see us.

Ryan Frederick, Mauricio Rodriguez & Me.

The Rotarians of Jinotega were critical to our success. Amazing hospitality and love.
The Rotarians of Jinotega were critical to our success. Amazing hospitality and love.
At the Cafe Hotel with the team.

At the Cafe Hotel with the team.

We spent hours with doctors and nurses in some of the worst conditions you can imagine. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere. We found a man who rode a bus for 9 hour with his daughter, to a city where they didn’t know anyone, with very little money. She has a deformed foot and leg. Walking is very difficult. I had a come-to-Jesus moment when I looked him in the eyes and asked him to trust us to take his daughter to the U.S. for treatment. He would do anything to help her, and we are paving the way for her to come to Loma Linda Hospital for extensive surgery.

Pictured shortly after screening Freschan for treatment.

Pictured shortly after screening Freschan for treatment.

I came back to a quiet home. Cheryl and the kids were still in Washington, working on the family-owned Duris Cucumber Farm. Their frequent facebook posts of strawberries, fresh veggies and family made me a bit jealous.

Our bananas didn’t survive being left on the counter for three weeks.

"Grandma" getting the Duris Farm stand ready for the day.
“Grandma” getting the Duris Farm stand ready for the day.

In August we were preparing for the Exodus Experience, a three-hour music & art festival that celebrated the story of our first patient, Exodus Vah.

Best party in Puyallup.

Best party in Puyallup.

New hats for the ExEx!

New hats for the ExEx! (photo by Ben Rood)

Artists Inspiring Action's Jacob Herring, posing by the stretchers he has painted.

Artists Inspiring Action’s Jacob Herring, posing by the stretchers he has painted.

Spreading the word to everyone in Puyallup (and beyond).

Spreading the word to everyone in Puyallup (and beyond).

Our intern Danny took his first flight ever to come to the ExEx from La Quinta! He is still glowing from being over 30,000 feet above the ground for the first time.

Our intern Danny took his first flight ever to come to the ExEx from La Quinta! He is still glowing from being over 30,000 feet above the ground for the first time.

No trip to Puyallup is complete without a stop by Anthem Coffee.

No trip to Puyallup is complete without a stop by Anthem Coffee.

Our host mom Glory & our board chair Megan. It takes an amazing team of people to do what we do.

Our host mom Glory & our board chair Megan. It takes an amazing team of people to do what we do.

Five bands plus one solo act. Pioneer Park has never sounded so good.

Five bands plus one solo act. Pioneer Park has never sounded so good.

Dr. Denny Frederick and Ryan Hart (Medical Advisory Committee member and board member), preparing for the celebration.

Dr. Denny Frederick and Ryan Hart (Medical Advisory Committee member and board member), preparing for the celebration.

The Exodus Experience was everything we hoped. 600+ people joined us that night, many who were deeply touched by the stories of Exodus, Jhonnatan and Astrid. I am so grateful for our many talented volunteers who brought this vision to a reality.

Up next: church growth, family pictures, thrift store & more.