Tonight as a group we wanted to branch out and do something different. Felix (find out about him here and here) has been a sort of an inspiration to our Gospel community the last week, unknowingly teaching us about service and humility, so we thought we would have Bible study with him and help him sell newspapers.
What an adventure!
We danced, we sang, we begged, we fell on the ground and pretended to die – all in the name of Jesus! Felix was so grateful: “Oh man you guys! Man Jesus is good.” He’d never had twenty teens running around all four corners of the intersection pressuring defenseless drivers to purchase his newspapers before, and he was very excited about it! Over and over again he would thank God and Jesus out loud. It was great.
I was a tad worried that all our efforts hadn’t really been that fruitful as people started to leave for their homes before we had read any scripture or worshiped, but those fears were soon put to rest when only a couple of us remained. Felix kept telling us how amazed he was at how God was working in his life.
He knew he was gonna tithe some since God had been so good to him but he wasn’t exactly sure how much was good. After a little consideration he finally said:
Ahh! It’s only money. I’ll just give what I need to give. I don’t need to worry about that 10% stuff.
What a blessing serving Felix was tonight. I’m positive our presence not only encouraged Felix, but made an impact on the thousands of people that drove by, and softened all the hearts of those who helped out. God is good.
Today was awesome. I was able to experience the final town hall meeting and city council hearing concerning the local tent city.
Several months ago the zoning committee found it illegal to have a shelter in an area zoned as “heavy industrial”. The conclusion was repealed and brought before the city council who, in turn, did much research, met with many people, and put much thought into the pressing issue. Today’s final meeting was the only one I attended (I even skipped school) throughout the whole process and it was a delightful experience!
Six believers from my school, Felix (from last week!), and I met at 6:30 for breakfast at a small Mexican restaurant to enjoy some wonderful breakfast burritos and pancakes. We made it to city hall a few minutes late and had to sit in a small room and watch the meeting occur on a projector because there were so many people expressing their concern over the fate of tent city!
After many speeches, many questions, several recesses, and some rest at Grace’s, we found ourselves at city hall one last time. The crowds had thinned out by 1:30, and we were finally able to sit in the large room where the discussion actually took place. One of the council members was gone for a funeral, so it would take all six members present to overturn the zoning committee’s conclusion and allow tent city to continue. Everyone had to vote the same way!
Well that wasn’t really a problem. All morning powerful speeches had been made that affirmed the public’s obvious stance on the issue: tent city is a valuable resource available for the homeless and should continue to be a source of security, community, and progress.
The whole room erupted in clapping a cheers, followed by a mass exodus. Now that the tent city conflict was resolved and righteousness was preserved, nobody wanted to stay for the rest of the boring agenda.
Bible study was pretty good. The burgers were good, the worship was good, the lesson was good, and the fellowship was good. It was a little awkward, however. Grace graced us with a lesson on God’s use of our weaknesses and how he has a plan even when we only see chaos. It was good, but what came afterward was great.
A few friends and I somehow met up with each other and went to see this man who sells newspapers every Sunday named Felix. Rachel has been visiting with him every week for a while now, and the evidence of her impact on him is enormous! He finds so much joy and hope in her consistency and faith!
Anyways, there were about six of us all sitting there chatting with him. He told us about how a man had bought him out of newspapers (41 I think), which allowed Felix to break the corner record of newspapers sold by reaching 100 papers! He told us a little about his life and his church background – turns out he grew up in the same church that three of the guys with us currently attend!
I’m not really sure what God is trying to tell me by allowing Bible study to be a little dry tonight but by allowing our talk with Felix to be so real. Could it be that our Gospel community’s purpose reaches past the walls of our high school? I’m sure we’ll all find out soon! Whatever it is God has planned – it’s gonna be big!
So instead of meeting like we have at a person’s house and studying there we all decided to go see the movie Courageous instead. If you haven’t heard, it’s a great movie. Whereas most Christian movies have horrible acting, low budgets, and silly dialogue, this one was made very well.
Though I would have preferred to read scripture and worship at someone’s house, this wasn’t a bad choice. The movie was touching to all of us, covering a wide array of issues and struggles. It was good.
A few of my fellow believers from Coronado and I were planning on going to the corn maze this Saturday evening, but it seems God had other plans. We ended up back at Ellen’s house, after eating pizza, baking cookies, and playing ping pong, watching a very inspiring documentary: Beware of Christians
It’s basically about four college students who decide to give up on Christianity as a religion and pursue Jesus the way it was meant to be by traveling to Europe and examining everything they were told in America. Instead of Christianity being the norm, they were faced with all sorts of disbelief, immorality, and spiritual misconceptions, allowing them to look back at American Christianity without being right in the middle of it.
I think all five of us were inspired to take our Coronado Church to the next level of relationship with God.
This evening, 24 people in the name of Jesus gathered to have fellowship, worship, and glorify God in immense ways. Christian, a real servant, arrived much earlier than everyone else to grill sausage, chicken, hamburgers, steak, and pork chops, allowing for an intensely big and filling meal! Woo!
After indulging in conversation we began to worship. I told everyone to take 30 seconds to thank God for our gathering and to prepare their hearts for tonight. We sang three powerful songs, each person actually singing! We had some issues with insecurities while singing in the past, but tonight everyone was more excited to worship. It was weird: I was having trouble hitting the high notes all week, but when it came time to belt them out I had no problem whatsoever! It was definitely the Holy Spirit giving me a little boost. My confidence encouraged the others to sing loudly and with much of that insecurity out of the way we were able to sing to God more fully and excitedly.
Machenzee’s lesson was more of a discussion topic. She played a video of an atheist talking about how a Christian talked with him for a few minutes and ended up giving him a Bible. He was surprised because it seemed like the Christian actually cared about him. He kept mentioning how the Christian was very encouraging, how he looked at his eyes like he legitimately cared, and how his general demeanor was joyful.
He then began to wonder how much you have to hate a person not to tell them the Gospel. He related it to someone being hit by a truck: how could you sit there, knowing a truck was on its way, and not do everything possible to move the person. Though he’s still an atheist, he had some good wisdom.
Wow long post…
We then began discussing how big God is, and how dumb we are to think He won’t come through if we trust Him – He created the universe for goodness sakes! We touched on fear, insecurity, and finally decided that God is so good, we should be terribly excited to be in His presence all the time. Hunter then proceeded to lead us in the song ‘Undignified’ and Rachel screamed every word at the top of her lungs. It was good – 2.5 hours well spent!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: God has massive plans for Coronado!
Taquitos, barbeque weenies, and chips and salsa were planned for dinner tonight. Yum! After enjoying each other’s presence over dinner we briefly looked at what scripture had to say about patience, anger, trust, and got to hear Rachel’s testimony. Someday I’ll post it – it’s an amazing story!!
We then learned that the same day Rachel had been taken to a mental hospital (like I said – it’s a great story!), the brother of another girl present was taken to rehab. These two people live across the street from each other, were involved in similar troubles, and went to get help on the same day! Things like that don’t just happen! So we all wrote encouragement letters to him on notecards and prayed for him, even though several people had never met him! I’m sure he’ll be so excited to read them all!
We then were brainstorming and thought up an interesting way to serve some of the people around our town. How awesome would it be to have a line of cars drive up to a person who sells newspapers every Sunday and each car buy a newspaper and offer them something like food or a drink or a jacket or a prayer?? Wicked sweet awesome! I think we’re gonna do that next week.
Lastly, we devised a buddy system. Two names would be drawn at random (or three if there was an odd number) and those people would be supposed to encourage each other throughout the week, pray for each other, and go to lunch. I think it’ll be a great way to get to know people.
God has some awesome plans and already this year He’s come through so many times! Our numbers have grown (19 this week), our worship has become more intimate, and a community is forming that I never thought I would see! Wows!!
A few friends and I have gotten into the habit of randomly calling each other and asking if that person (or group of people) would like to go to a park or a house and pray. It’s odd, because I’ve never done anything like spontaneous prayer until this year, but it’s just a fantastic way to meet in the name of Jesus.
Last night as three friends and I gathered to go to a park and pray we began discussing God’s grace and how it worked into the Law of the Old Testament. We eventually moved on and shared our thoughts and read scripture on topics as clear as God’s grace and as vague as demonic forces. Pretty soon it was two hours later and we had never left the house to go pray!
Even without our original mission being completed, the four of us grew immensely together. Even though some of us were experienced Christians and some were relatively new, every person benefited spiritually. Not only were we all blessed with greater understanding of God and his characteristics, but we bonded extremely well, securing our friendships and defining them by God’s glory.
Spontaneous prayer – try it sometime!
We met on a Friday this week because many people had already made plans for Sunday. Our numbers doubled too! Eighteen people all gathered to worship the Lord and have fellowship – what a wonderful event! Machenzee offered up her home once again and cooked the wonderful dinner of Cajun chicken pasta, salad, garlic bread, and brownies! It was just splendid!
We worshiped for several solid minutes, voices loud and hearts open. It’s often uncommon to have people singing loud, finding melodies, and harmonizing, but all those were present. We actually sounded pretty good!
After a quick prayer I began our quick study on the first church in Acts (2:42-47, 4:32-35). We discussed the importance and influence of the church, how they treated one another, their joy, the seriousness in which they met, their heavy reliance on prayer. It was magnificent! I stressed that our gathering wasn’t something to make us feel good become better people, but that it was to grow spiritually and give God glory.
Greater things are still to be done in this city – Chris Tomlin