Beyond the Walls of Church

Beyond the Walls of Church

by Andrew Min The essential vice of man through history has been to please himself, to bring himself joy, to accomplish his own will, to receive his own glory. But when a person meets Jesus, everything changes; the Holy Spirit breathes a miracle into their soul, the curious reorientation of their entire life, turning it upside down. In the heart of a Christian, God plants a simple, small desire, a quiet Voice, that says, “I want to serve You, God. I want to do something meaningful for You. I want to do what makes my Father happy.” Your life is no longer about loving the things that that bring yourself pleasure, but to bring pleasure to the One you love. Surrender is no longer a reluctant yielding, but a joyful offering. It’s the upside down, backwards nature of true love, the beautiful foolishness of carrying the cross. It’s extraordinary. It’s silly. It’s divine. And the worldwide Kingdom revolution is going to begin with this holy desire. But I’m frustrated by the idolatry we practice as believers toward the position of pastor. I feel like a subtle lie persistently influences our church world, a thought that most of us would never explicitly agree with yet somehow continue to propagate: a person’s love for God is measured by their involvement in church. When you first start loving God, you become a greeter for Sunday service; and then when your love for God grows, you become a small group leader; and then if you’re really passionate about Jesus, you’ll be a volunteer staff to give announcements and plan events; and one day,...
Summer Testimonies

Summer Testimonies

We are entering into a new season! We are excited for what’s to come, but are also extremely grateful for what God did this past summer. We believe there is power in testimony! Testimonies not only give praise to God and highlight what He has done, but it also creates a sense of expectancy for Him to do it again and to do it even greater. That’s what it means when the Bible says that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10)! Testimonies prophesy into what He is able and willing to do in our lives. We overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11)! With that being said, here are some testimonies from the ministries we visited and partnered with in the summer of 2017. Thank you to these leaders for taking time to share with us, and to everyone who partnered with us in prayer! ALL GLORY TO GOD! “We were blessed to have Pastor Sam as our guest speaker for the summer retreat. He delivered God’s messages and His heart for our youth with clarity, profound insights, and affection. I didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t know him personally and had not heard his sermons prior to the retreat. But from the first message I could sense that God was speaking to me as well as our students. He tried to serve them as best as he could, and he really poured out his heart on our students as he spent time with them and talked during meals and free time....
Standing in Truth

Standing in Truth

Like most people in NYC, I have a go to spot for my daily needs. There’s the one coffee shop I go to every morning. There’s the nearby deli where I get all my sandwiches. And last but not least, there’s a small window storefront that I go to for my sodas. I can’t help it, but I am a soda addict. Anyways, I go there so much that the owner and I recognize one another instantly. He knows what I want before I even say a word. We usually have small talk here and there, but nothing beyond that. This is New York City after all. Everything is about quickness and efficiency. So most times we see each other, and without a word, he grabs a Diet Coke, and I put the money out, we say thanks and go on with our days. But this one afternoon, I came to the window and saw the owner moving some things around. He then looked at me and started sharing how he’s getting older and about his bad knees. He went on to share how he needed to get some work done on both knees, but couldn’t because no one would take care of his store. In that moment I wrestled with whether or not I should pray for him right there. But I didn’t. I told him I was sorry, and I walked away thinking maybe God will give me another opportunity at the right time. As I kept thinking about it, I felt discouraged and muttered to myself that I was nothing but a coward. Wait, what? Where...
The Father’s Heart

The Father’s Heart

Written by Brian Lee (originally posted here) From Aug 13th-16th, I had the opportunity to serve as leader at a youth church retreat. However, I want to share a story – a story of someone who will be called Mark. Upon getting on the bus to go to the retreat center, I knew Mark was different. Unlike the other kids who all gave up their phones, he refused to give up his. He also didn’t want anyone to sit next to him, regardless of the bus being full. I eventually forced myself into the seat beside him, exclaiming that by the end of the bus ride we would be best friends. He responded by saying he hated me; I don’t necessarily blame him. I probably freaked the kid out and was “extra” someway or another. Quickly, I found out we both shared lots of similarities. We both went to Murchison Middle School, we both watched Naruto, and we both liked sports. And then, he started to share more. Little did I know that Mark moved from place to place, school to school, difficulty to difficulty. Mark’s step-father was in the army, which caused his family to move often. Instead of going to one elementary school, Mark went to five. He described for 1.5 hours how he struggled with friends, loneliness, and an unstable family life. Later, I found out that Mark’s biological father passed away when Mark was starting elementary school. That night, we had our first worship service of the retreat. After a couple of songs, I looked to my side and I noticed Mark. I saw Mark...
Taking Fun Seriously

Taking Fun Seriously

by Natalie Walker Our wedding was in two days. It was ten o’clock at night, and we had a million things left to do on our checklist. Yet, my fiancé and I found ourselves standing in an aisle at Home Depot debating how much we should spend on a plastic tarp, dishwashing soap, and a garden hose. The need, of course, was urgent. We were picking up supplies to create a slip and slide at our rehearsal dinner. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely confident in our plan. The wedding funds had been spent, and the details for the weekend had all been arranged. My bride’s mind began to play out every worst-case scenario that could possibly go wrong: injuries, scrapes, scratches. I could picture myself walking down the aisle to my groom, only to be met with some kind of freak facial injury because we just had to have that slip and slide. Right about the time I was encouraging my future husband to drop the soap and make a beeline for the door, I stopped to remind myself why we were doing this in the first place. We knew that the ceremony would be sacred, and that the reception would be memorable. But, we also knew that this weekend was our first chance to make a statement about who we were, and who we wanted to be, as a married unit. And, we wanted to be fun. During our engagement, my husband and I came up with a list of five core values that we hoped to prioritize and embody, one of which was fun. It’s not...