Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hamilton Parent Graduation

On Wednesday, December 9th 23 parents graduated from the Parent Institute for Quality Education at Hamilton Middle School. Parents learned how to prepare their children for college readiness by attending an eight week program. They were all Spanish speaking parents. Everything had to be translated. It was wild! Along with Principal Downing and Leticia, I was proud of the parents because of their courage to learn for the betterment of their children! I was proud that they would do this for their children and the next generation. I was just honored to be there to represent Kingdom Causes and meet the parents. It was a privilege for Kingdom Causes to be a part of the celebration by providing snacks. Thank you to the parents, Hamilton Middle School, Parent Institute for Quality Education, and California State University, Long Beach for their commitment to youth education and development.

Hamilton has another thing to celebrate! Hamilton and CSULB received a $900,000 grant from US Department of Health, Human Services for their project called "Youth, Empowerment for Success! (YES!) Si Se Puede!" They will provide academic mentoring, digital media skills, career development, college preparation, and physical fitness activities to promote health and success among local Latino Middle School Youth. The three year grant was one of just 12 community projects awarded nationwide! Congratulations Hamilton!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving at Hamilton

Principal Downing with parent volunteers


On Monday, November 23, 12 families received Thanksgiving boxes. Kingdom Causes Long Beach coordinated the donation of 12 turkeys and sides to identified families at Hamilton Middle School. Parent volunteers decorated cardboard boxes and assembled the meals. We are truly thankful to those who contributed to blessing these 12 families in North Long Beach!
To view more pictures visit our Facebook Page.

Applying Community Development

Within the past year there has been many happenings in community development in Long Beach, so here are just a few highlights that Kingdom Causes Long Beach has been involved in. I was able to work in Linden Avenue between Market and South Street as an AmeriCorps worker. Through the Atlantic Corridor Project, I trained two interns from Victory Outreach and St. Athanasius Church in Asset Based Community Development. Together we surveyed the neighborhood to find out the top concerns of the neighborhood. At the first neighborhood meeting we reported back the neighbors and placed in their hands what they would like to do about things. The neighbors decided to attract more neighbors to the meetings by hosting a neighborhood clean up. The eighth district, Rae Gaeblich's, office sponsored the neighborhood clean up. Several neighbors donated their time, treasure, touch, and talent into the clean up. The clean up started at eight o'clock and by 9:30 AM the industrial sized dumpster was filled to the top. It was encouraging to see neighbors come together for the betterment of their neighborhood.


In Downtown Long Beach, Somatra (another AmeriCorps worker) has been convening a group of neighbors along 9th Street between Atlantic Avenue and Martin L. King Jr Street. Neighbors met, many for the first time, during barbecues at a local church parking lot. From there the neighbors starting a neighborhood meeting. Together they decided to work on neighborhood safety and wanted to become a registered neighborhood watch block. First they had their local beat police officer share about the neighborhood. Just recently, Lisa, coordinator of neighborhood watch for Long Beach, orientated the neighbors on neighborhood watch. The neighborhood is finally an official registered neighborhood watch block!

These are just a few stories from the two neighborhood Somatra and I are working in. There are so many more stories of individuals and relationships developing through our involvement with these neighborhoods. Community development is difficult work. There is no set structure, hours, or boundaries because you work where you live. It takes lots of time, commitment and love. But it is so rewarding! The relationships that I have built with my neighbors is irreplaceable. The growth within my neighbors is encouraging to witness. I get to share life with them and see them take responsibility and ownership of their neighborhood. They have great commitment and care for the community. Sadly my time with AmeriCorps is coming to an end, but my time within my community is just beginning.

Kingdom Causes Long Beach is looking for an individual who would like to work with a neighborhood in North Long Beach as an AmeriCorps worker. If you have a heart for community development, bringing neighbors together to work toward a better community, then please contact us! To learn more please see the job description at the Kingdom Causes Long Beach website.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"You've Got Mail!" - Thank You Notes for Hamilton Middle School Staff

We spent the afternoon today serving all 104 staff members at Hamilton Middle School with a piece of "fan mail". Once the staff member got over the initial shock of being interrupted in what they were doing at the time and the fact they they did not recognize the person doing the interrupting they were thrilled to be getting a letter of thanks. If you can imagine because of the difficult economic season that we are in, the principal had warned us that there might be some initial suspicion when getting a note handed to them from a complete stranger. Perfect scenario for us! Our goal was to sow into their lives in the opposite way by giving them a personalized and hand written note of thanks from a member of a local congregation that was grateful for the hard work that they are doing.
The "we" mentioned above represents individuals from a number of the local congregations that are on board with our Local Congregation/School adoption effort here at Hamilton Middle School. Big shout out to Fountain of Life, Light & Life West and Church One! While there were more local congregations present for the delivery, these are the three that took the time to write all of the "fan mail" in the weeks prior to delivery.

Because of a partnership with Staples, Kingdom Causes was also able to include a gift certificate in the "fan mail" for all of the teaching staff! We know many of them leverage their personal finances for classroom resources and we wanted to stand with them this way as well. "Thank You" and here are some dollars to help support your important work.

The love for Hamilton Middle School's staff and students continues!

Are you interested in partnering with your local neighborhood school!? Call us and we'd love to have the people we have working on this city wide effort help you get connected. To see more pictures from FanMail please visit our Facebook Page.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Homeless Hospitality Teams Forming

Our desire to see the local cause of Homelessness have a united 'Church of the City' front took another huge step last night! It was great to see a couple handfuls of local congregations represented at our Homeless Hospitality Team information meeting. To all of you - thanks for your willingness to explore this incredible possibility of being a key part of a individuals transition off of the streets! Your passion to make a tangible difference in someones life was contagious and there was great shared energy in the room. We hope to help turn a bare apartment into a furnished home for the next identified person here in the next couple weeks through the LB Connections effort. And then again. And then again. And then again!

In a season where the Lord particularly stirs the heart of His Church for those who are under-resourced here in our city, we need to be working together as local congregations. Wouldn't you agree? Is it fair to say that duplication of efforts (at "best") and haphazard random efforts (at "worst") seem to not really be getting the job done. In fact, things like congregations continuing to serve meals in the parks (which is actually illegal and is definitely not winning us any friends or partners here in the city...even on Thanksgiving!) or having multiple congregations calling us and asking if we know who they can give their "currently being collected baskets of food for needy families" to are for us confirmation that this might just be a case of best intentions that are needing just a little more coordination and focus.

(Got that off my chest. Whew. Off my soap box now. Brad)

This is where Kingdom Causes and our congregational Homeless Hospitality Teams come in! Please don't misunderstand, we are actually excited that people want to make a difference but we just want to make sure that things are done with people's actual empowerment and long term solutions in mind! There are a lot of great organizations and efforts already in motion and there is much more that can be done! The reality is that our homeless (and the almost homeless!) neighbors are facing a year round challenge right here in our city. There are many parts to this puzzle and there might be a specific role for each of us to be playing. Kingdom Causes Long Beach is here to help connect and focus our individual and city wide organizational efforts so that Kingdom resources can be maximized in the areas of serving our homeless neighbors!

For those that are still interested and were not able to make this meeting be sure to contact us if you want to learn more about how you, your small group, your business or your local congregation might get involved too! You can check out the list of needed items at the Kingdom Causes Long Beach website on the Homelessness page. Stay tuned for the next specific update about this exciting LB Connections project!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Early morning public worship and prayer

I meet with a group of people to pray over our city. We were called together by a young man named Joshua who lives in Rialto. Thus, I call us the Joshua prayer group for the sake of simplicity. We have met on a semi-regular basis since August of this year. Anyone is welcome if you have a desire to see God's Kingdom established in Long Beach and would like to join with others to pray that further into being.

Following what we believe to be our direction from God to worship publicly in the city, we, the Joshua prayer group, met for a pre-event prayer time to prepare the ground on Friday, the 23rd. We began to pray and get direction to prepare the Park for the next morning's worship time. We felt like we were raising a tent of worship and prayer covering over the park and that we were to start out facing each direction and pray into that direction, starting with the north, the east, the south and the west. We prayed both what we knew and what we felt the Lord revealed concerning each direction into the City.

October 24, 7am at Bixby Park

Intercessors from at least 5 congregations in the Southland, 2 pastors and people from Love HOP met to publicly worship our King and Lord. We believe this is the way the Lord has instructed us to wage warfare. We spoke His praise and worship, we sang to Him, and our hearts were to glorify and please Him and to make His name famous in this city. We also prayed over the two pastors who were present, David and Paul, as representatives for the pastors in the city. Pastor Paul, who spearheads the WOW jam and connects with pastors from all over the city, prayed for the city and the pastors in it when we finished praying for him. Pastor David had had a picture of a white car all rusted representing a picture of the Church as we stand, and then a picture of a white car all clean and shining, representing the Church as He intends us to be.
It turns out that one of the people that came from Whittier leads a weekly Bible study and brought them down to Bixby Park to pray before the Gay Pride parade one year. I keep hearing of people who come from afar to pray over our city.
I know many people are praying now and have prayed in the past. I would love to have a means to connect with the past in order to more effectively pray into the present.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Thanks for the support at our 2009 Golf Marathon!

To all our 2009 KC Golf Marathon support team (including those who were not able to help out this year)...Thank you!!!

We did it! We survived playing 100 holes of golf in a single day on Monday. By the 10th hole we were thinking that we really should get out more and work on our 'game'. By the 90th hole our sore back, shoulders and hands were trying to convince our brains that playing this 100 holes would be sufficient until our 6th annual marathon next October!

It actually was not really about golf. For those that were able, know that we greatly appreciate the investment of your resources in us, the organization that we work for and the numerous lives of people who we serve on a daily basis here in Long Beach. We wake up every morning knowing that we get to be part of a team that makes a tangible difference in the lives of people - and we love it! In a challenging season for so many people, where we too have had to lay off some of our staff and each personally take a pay cut for the remainder of the year, we honestly can say that we couldn't continue to do all that we do without key support from people like you - as a part of our yearly golf marathon! Every little bit helps. Thanks!

Here is a picture of most of the 26 golfers who spent the day raising money for a great cause! These people represent Kingdom Causes varioud city staff, board members, key volunteers and other friends - 1/2 of which will not pick up a club for another 12 months :)

Church Leader Prayer - Nov 2009

video

Pastor Wayne Chaney
Antioch Church

white ELEPHANTS!

Leticia with her parent volunteers at Hamilton's new Parent Center

Leticia, Student Intervention Specialist for LBUSD and Youth Education Task Force Leader for KCLB, recently told me a great story that I can't wait to share. As one of her many projects for Hamilton, Leticia started a White Elephant gift exchange for the parents at Hamilton Middle School to encourage parents to continue to participate in their children's education. Jim Plante came along side Leticia and asked his neighbors to donate any items they are currently not using in their homes including kitchenware, toys, books, and laptops. One neighbor wanted to give Jim $50 dollars. Jim explained that he did not want to receive any monetary donations but household items. The neighbor insisted and Jim accepted the donation. As Jim delivered the White Elephant gifts, Leticia told him how she would like to wrap the gifts but did not have the funds to buy wrapping paper. Jim pulled out the fifty dollars his neighbor donated. A parent volunteered to purchase cellophane paper at LA in several colors! Isn't it great to hear how God provides even in the little things?!

After filter through the donated gifts, she had over forty White Elephant gifts and donated the leftovers to Goodwill. During the orientation for sixth graders, Leticia raffled off 27 gifts to families. Families met at the school's auditorium and Leticia told them that she will be raffling off gifts at the Parent Center. So a river of 200 families made their way to the new Parent Center. There were so many people Leticia had to raffle the gifts outside of the Parent Center. She made the families walk through the Parent Center first so that they would be familiar with the Parent Center. The rest of the White Elephant gifts are raffled at parent meetings in the Parent Center to encourage the parents to continue meeting. Currently the parents are transitioning from HUPA (Hamilton's United Parents in Action) to a PTSA. Please pray for this transition as the parents step into more ownership, leadership, and responsibility. Thank you, Jim Plante and his neighbors, for blessing Hamilton parents and encouraging them to care for their children's education.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

CCDA 2009 Cincinnati



"You can't rescue, save, develop everyone, but you can LOVE everyone" is one of the encouragements I am taking away from the Christian Community Development Association conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Along several other Kingdom Causes Staff members, I attended my second CCDA conference. The mission of CCDA is to inspire, train, and connect Christians who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God by reclaiming and restoring under-resourced communities. I was so encouraged and inspired by my first conference in Miami, Florida, I returned again this year to gain more understanding and build greater relationships with those involved in community development. It is always encouraging to be in a room surrounded by like minded people who are pursuing God's kingdom. My favorite times were worshiping with Foster and morning bible study with John Perkins (pictured above). Perkins has the ability to rebuke and affirm with a Grandfather's love. He lives out Christ's love and I am encourage by his life as he continues to pursue God's transformation in communities. Workshops were a great time to connect with others in community development and to learn best practices. Kingdom Causes led several workshops within the week. One of my favorite speakers was Bart Campolo. He shared the real stories of community development that only the doers could connect with. Although he shared the harsh reality of communities, I saw the hope of Christ within it. We are sent to love our neighbors and it is God who changes them. I felt a release of responsibility and was humbled that God is truly the only one in control who can rescue, save, and develop people. I still have a lot to chew on and digest before I could figure out next steps within my own community. It was a refreshing time of building and spurring me on to continue within Long Beach. I will miss the beautiful fall colors of the leaves in Cincinnati.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Shift in Leadership in Long Beach

We were so excited to be a part of the celebration of Wayne Chaney being put into leadership of the Ministerial Alliance on Sunday October 25th. Many pastors, civic leaders and congregations joined to celebrate this momentous occasion. Deputy Chief Luna, LBUSD representatives, and Fire Department presented awards to Pastor Wayne as a sign of their appreciation and support. Pray for Pastor Wayne as he begins to walk this new level of leadership in our city. If you are in church leadership please join us as we pray for Pastor Wayne Chaney November 4th.

Father Bill Thompson became ordained as the first Bishop Bill Thompson of the Diocese of Western Anglicans at a ceremony held at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach on October 31st. Many leaders from parishes around the country were in attendance to witness this historic event including leaders from Uganda and Canada. Bishop Thompson said his “greatest challenge as Bishop will be to expand the Kingdom of God through evangelism and church planting. This is vital for the diocese and for those in Southern California who do not know the Lord.” Bishop Thompson will continue as Rector of All Saints’ Anglican Church in Long Beach in addition to being Bishop of the Diocese of Western Anglicans.
To view pictures from the ceremony click below

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

FORE Kingdom Causes Long Beach

I arrived at the Little Recreation Golf Course at 7 AM with my orange and blue plaid shorts on dressed as a golfer to compensate my lack of golfing skills. I find out I am teamed with two well-experienced golfers Jim Schorr and Frank Fry. I get even more nervous and embarrassed ,but soon those emotions were replaced with excitement. I had my own golf cart. It was my first time driving one. In a perfect world we would all drive around in golf carts. They are so smooth and quiet. I think I worked out more my legs because the parking break was hard to lock and unlock. We started at hole number five, it was a par 4 (one of the more difficult holes out of the nine holes). It was hard to distinguish the flag because it was so far away. All I knew was to hit it straight. I didn’t do as bad as I imagined. Frank Fry said that I actually had a good swing. The only bad thing for me was my contact with the ball. I would always hit the top of the ball. We hit five balls at one time and selected the best ball and lined up our ball next to it. I learned how to chip the ball onto the green with a wedge. Half way through the golf course I got tired and my arms started to get all noodlely. We were thirty holes in out of our 100 holes. But I pushed through. On our second time around the course I started to hit my stride. I was making lovely drives across the fairway that impressed me, my team, and Somatra (who joined me at the hole number one). I even out drove Jim at one hole. One of my balls hit the green and rolled off on the first shot! I made a few pars but mainly averaged around five shots per hole better than the ten shots I imagined I would do. It was finally time to take eat lunch and we were at 82 holes. Some of the golfers were already done! After lunch we push through to the last 18 holes, by that time I was already done with golf. We finished at golf hole number three where last year Jim Howell made a hole in one. He passed away this year so in honor of him we had a sign marking where someone hit the green closest to the hole on his or her first shot. No one had a hole in one but a few were a few inches from it.

Overall, I love my team. They were patient and encouraging. Golfing 100 holes is possible and I could do it! I wouldn’t mind doing it again. It was very encouraging for me personally to see so many people support Kingdom Causes Long Beach and me.

Many thanks,

Susana


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Driving Rage... Range!

Last Wednesday I went to the driving range for the first time. I am practicing for the 5th Annual Kingdom Causes Golf Marathon on Monday, October 12. I didn't realize how difficult golf was. I came away with sore muscle I never knew I had (my elbow pits were sore) and a bruise on my shin. Yes my own golf ball ricochet off the side gate and into my shin. It is a lovely neon yellow and green. I am excited and nervous about the golf marathon. Excited to be raising money for Kingdom Causes Long Beach to fund our ongoing works and nervous about injuring myself and especially others. My suggestion is for everyone to stay out of my way! FORE!

If you would like to sponsor me or any other golfer please visit the Kingdom Causes homepage at www.kingdomcauses.org

Thursday, October 01, 2009

IMPACTS at Hamilton


[from left to right: a local volunteer, Pastor John Teter and his daughter, Principal David Downing, and David Leonard] [Hamilton students delivering backpacks]

IMPACTS, [Individuals Motivating People And Communities Towards Schools] led by David Leonard, has set its focus on Hamilton Middle School. IMPACTS grew out of Church-School Partnerships where local churches committed to the success of Hamilton. Several churches including Fountain of Life and One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism Church have blessed the school and its students in very tangible ways. Just recently Pastor John Teter [and his daughter] help deliver 150 backpacks to students!

Results thus far for Hamilton: 150 filled backpacks of school supplies delivered (as part of a larger city wide effort that raised over 1300 for local schools!), a hosting of a teacher appreciation luncheon, revitalization of the parent center, gift cards donated by Staples and soon-to-be-given to the teachers (shhhh!) and a letter writing campaign that is under way that will send an "encouragement/thank you/we're praying for you" note to every single staff member at the school written by congregation members from various local congregations. And we've only just begun!


KCLB Board Member Profile Highlights: Tom Virtue

Tom Virtue has worked with college students with Campus Crusade for Christ for the past 37 years after coming to Christ in college his Sophomore year at Western Illinois University. Tom grew up on a farm in northwestern Illinois, and eventually he and Karen found themselves serving students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. While there they often discussed how they never wanted to move south of Ventura to avoid the Los Angeles area, but then when the opportunity came they chose to move to Long Beach.

That move to Long Beach was 30 years ago and they see it as one of the best decisions of their life. Through their kids going to schools throughout the city and working with several inner city college campuses a love grew for Long Beach in particular and cities in general! That has led to getting to spend time and work on campuses in some of the great cities of the US and around the world.

One of Tom & Karen’s favorite things in life is relating to their three grown kids and spouses who live in the area, all of whom they really like! On top of that they have the great joy of being grandparents to 2 of the most incredible kids in the world!

Galatians 2:20-21 has been a significant and powerful scripture from those early days as a college student until now… “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.”

Long Beach Leadership Prayer Breakfast this morning

(Pastor Brian Apodaca praying at prayer breakfast)

What a great morning spent praying for and inspiring leaders of all types here in our great city! If you have not yet been to one of these you really should give it a try. If you have been in the past and haven't been in a while you should revisit it. It is one of the key times of the year that many Christian leaders from various spheres of influence (Church, Business, Political, Medical, etc...) are all in the same room together. It is quite a visible encouragement to see and be part of.

Dr Townsend, our guest speaker for the morning, talked to a mixed faith, but still predominately Christian audience, about the skills needed for any quality leader for challenging times such as these:

1. They need to have 2 teams around them - a technical/craft team and a do-life with team
2. They invest in themselves as an asset - personal and professional development
3. They resolve catastrophic thinking - help people with anxiety by remaining calm
4. They pick the 'low hanging fruit' - provide hope!
5. They remember/revisit their vision often
6. They be the leader that people need them to be.

What a great encouragement for all in attendance. What a great way to intersect how Biblical truths totally gel with with everyday leadership environments and situations. Imagine that! We are fortunate that in our city/county we have a great number of people who consider Godly wisdom and daily Holy Spirit direction something of great worth and value.

Good job to all who worked hard to put this together! Glad that we could help too. Well done.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pastors Doug & Val Richardson of LB Christian Fellowship pass the baton


The picture you see above is from last Sunday's service at Long Beach Christian Fellowship. (sorry for the poor quality - all I had with me was my phone) It was a great privilege for me to take part in the service by sharing as one who knows firsthand the influence these leaders have had on the broader 'Church of the City' and in our city itself. As pastors Doug and Val have now completed their assignment of founding and serving this congregation faithfully for the past 26 years, it was quite a celebration - balloons and all!

In my brief sharing piece I talked about how when we look at impact from God's eternal perspective that each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have come before and how faithfully God's redemptive plans continue to unfold. What I forgot to mention (because I actually started to choke up) was that what Doug heard from the Lord about a united Body of Christ here locally, which he sowed into greatly here in the city, has been shared with other "faithful people who will pass it along to others as well" (Similar to Paul sharing with Timothy in 2 Tim 2:2). I know that this past 26 year window of time will be one that I pass on (Lord willing) to my gandkids one day as I share with them the passion I have for what I do!

If you want to learn more about what they will be doing now you can check out www.reinventministries.org. They have moved now to Northern CA.

Pastor Brandon Cook (and his lovely wife Rebecca) will be taking over as the new senior leader of LBCF after the past year or so of a smooth leadership transition. He is an amazing guy with a great heart or the Lord and I/we look forward to partnering with him and LBCF as they begin to write the next chapter of their congregational story.

(Brad)

Praying with the Love HOP on Signal Hill

Last night, (which just happened to be the beginning of Yom Kippur) Love HOP kicked off their 40 days of prayer and fasting for the City of Long Beach. They’re praying for 24 hour prayer to be released and the Spirit of Love to be poured out over the City.
I have a confession to make – when I first heard of the Love HOP, I noticed it and pretty much dismissed it, thinking it was a bunch of kids and would burn out their enthusiasm quickly. Please forgive me, I was so wrong. I have had opportunity to pray in several venues with several of the young people involved with this movement and they love the Lord with all their hearts and are passionate to see Him move in this City. They are grounded in Him and rooted in His Word. And they are committed to prayer. If you want your faith stirred and revived, come pray with these kids as they enter the throne-rooms of heaven!

Last night began with acoustic worship, simple and profound, and went into confession and repentance: personal, identificational, generational, racial and gender specific. We confessed for ourselves, we confessed on behalf of that portion of society we represent and blessed and forgave one another. The Lord convicted us of sin and provided the way for us “to confess our sins to one another”. For me personally, there was reconnection with a very special young man I had lost touch with through neglect on my part.

There was a “sound” released calling out for the Presence of Jesus in our midst. I think that if you listen closely, you’ll hear the sound stirring in your belly. “How blessed are the people who hear joyful sound.” Ps.89:15 – it is a reference to the shout of the people to the Lord or the sound of the shofar blowing at the feasts of Israel

I have been attending a church called The Light on Signal Hill where I have been touched by the Lord every week. Kingdom Causes has a monthly prayer meeting on Second Saturdays in Signal Hill. There is a group praying and prayer-walking the City that meets on some Fridays in the Kingdom Causes offices on Signal Hill. That group is putting together a grass-roots worship happening in Bixby Park on October 24 at 7am. And then there is Love HOP meeting in our upstairs offices, again, on Signal Hill.

There is a common thread and as I attend each one I see them woven together in prayer over the City. There are common themes and I see prayers prayed in one venue and answered in another. There are connections being made between pray-ers who have been praying alone for a long time and now are praying in community. From our watchtower on Signal, we are praying blessing over the city of Long Beach and for connection between believers from every walk of life. Is this what Jesus prayed in John 17?

Last night was a convergence of old and young, many ethnicities, many congregations, many “unchurched”, male and female, many of whom had never prayed together before. And the Spirit of the Living God showed up and inhabited the praises of His people and tabernacled among us. Blessings to you from Signal Hill!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In the Courtrooms of Heaven

Each month Second Saturday prayer reaches new levels of faith and excitement. Each month I wonder why I’m getting up in the dark to drive for 30 minutes with the possibility that no one will show up and it will be in vain. I believe, help my unbelief! This morning as I came up the dark stairs there were already 2 people ahead of me and one had walked to get there. As we sat down it was with a heightened sense of anticipation as we heard footsteps on the stairs and saw who would walk in the door. It’s always exciting to see new faces, and to see friends we haven’t seen for awhile. There were at least 5 congregations represented with students from CSULB and the Love HOP. One of the ladies there is starting a Bible study for lawyers and judges in City Hall and we supported her in prayer as well as her heart for mentors for at-risk youth. We heard from a new church plant called The Garden and blessed and interceded for them. We are laying the groundwork for next years WOW Jam and are excited to see what God will do, especially in light of the report from the sheriff about the sharp decrease in crime immediately following this year’s Jam. We also began interceding for next year’s Gospel Fest that the City asked Pastor Wayne Chaney to spearhead this year. There was personal prayer ministry and prayer over city congregations as well as honor and worship of our Lord. Each of us came away knowing we had been invited into the throne room of heaven to meet personally with our Creator and Saviour. To see people of all ages, races, streams and walks of life come together in unity on behalf of our City is to touch the heart of God. Watching the Spirit of God touch people to transform them from sleep-deprived humans into energized, faith-filled saints is so much fun!!! When we were finished, I waited for people to begin to make their way out the door, but no one moved; they wanted to stay together and connect and share. I love Second Saturdays!!!!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

"Church of the City" Pastors

video

Monthly Church Leader Prayer Gathering - Pastor Brian Apodaca (Victory Outreach & member of KC LB local advisory board)

Almost every month of the year Kingdom Causes hosts a gathering of local church leaders. We move around each month to a different host location in the city and have a time of worship/praise together, hear a first hand accounting of the local victories/challenges and then pray for that local church leader, their congregation, each other and the city as a whole. While we spend our days in many meetings of all kinds all around the city, this one remains one of the most special times each month. It is fun to see these "family relationships" of the "Church of the City" being genuinely nurtured. We create this intentional space for these leaders knowing that there are very few other ways for them to connect like this. Many have actually meet each other for the first time at one of these gatherings!

We have been doing this for over 4 years now! It has provided a great context for our city pastors to gather, build relationships and support/pray for each other. Over the years there has been some truly amazing times together - in good seasons and bad ones. Many incredible relationships of trust have been established. We believe that this ongoing work is bearing much foundational Kingdom fruit in these critical days! We can longer afford to simply operate in our ministry silos and rely only what at times seems like a "shot gun" approach to the opportunities and challenges our city and her residents are facing. It starts by simply being in relationship with one another. Don't you agree? (Does your pastor(s) attend these? Ask him/her! We'd love to have them join us.)

We realize that many leaders are unable to make these meetings and/or have not yet attended. We also realize that many other people would be blessed by hearing the hearts of these leaders who represent congregations other than the one that they attend. Each time we walk out the gathering we shake our heads and say "we wish everyone could have heard what we just did. God is too good to us in this city. if they just heard that it would change how they drive down this street forever!"

Good news!! We are now interviewing the host pastor each time and will be posting them up on our web site for the encouragement of all. You will find them on our KC LB Blog page in the right hand column or catalogued monthly here. Pastors that can't make it out can now still be in the loop. Other Christians around the city too can now get a glimpse of all of the amazing work that IS being done in and through local congregations. By having these videos online you can join with us and these pastors as we together pray for God's Kingdom to Come and His will to be done in LONG BEACH as it is in heaven!

Note: While the videos are for anyone, this monthly gathering is open ONLY to church leadership from across our city. We'd love to have your pastor join us if they don't already!

Join KC at the LB Leadership Prayer Breakfast on Oct 1st

One of the key areas that we focus on locally is prayer for our city - for all of our leaders, all of our neighborhoods, all of our local congregations, all of our residents and so much more!

One event that we have been actively involved with for the past few years is the Greater Long Beach Leadership Prayer Breakfast. This gathering is held each year and is driven by local Christian marketplace leaders. The primary purpose of the gathering is to pray for and offer inspiration to our city leaders and those serving in critical service roles of all kinds in our city/county/country.

One twist this year (that, frankly, we are excited about) is that it will be focusing on ethical leadership in our city. After all, it is a leadership prayer breakfast! We will be giving out awards that will be recognizing both an emerging leader and a broad community leader. The message and theme of the day will reflect this new focus of the LB Leadership Prayer Breakfast committee.

Please consider joining us this year! You might even consider inviting others from your local congregation to be a part of the broad city wide effort to pray for God's best to be realized! Make sure you come say hi to us if so. We will have many of our KC Long Beach advisory board members there as well at our table and we'd love to have you meet them!

Here are the details:

When: October 1st, 2009, 7:00 am
Where: Hyatt Regency (200 South Pine Ave)
Cost: $35/person, $350 for a table of 10

Register HERE

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Redigging the wells in Long Beach


When things seem to be falling apart, God steps in to demonstrate His gentle sovereignty. When you've prayed the last prayer you have in you....that's a really good thing. I met a young man who felt called to pray in Long Beach. He lives in Rialto and brought 30+ intercessors with him to pray in Bixby Park one morning. Four of us from Kingdom Causes connections were there. Since then we have met regularly for prayer to see what our Father has in mind for our City. Our little group has grown to include other pastors and intercessors who have a church-of-the-city focus. The most important person who shows up every time we meet is the One Who called us together in the first place. He is developing in us a deference to one another. We have felt that worship, authentic worship, is our key strategy and our primary form of spiritual warfare. Yesterday one of the women asked what each of us meant when we use that term. As we went around the room there was much agreement - and there were some differences. Our consensus was to honor and respect our differences and adopt a respectful, learning posture with one another. Our group is made up of several streams of prayer and several different congregations and our great desire is that there would be a greater city-wide representation of people who have a heart to see His Kingdom come in Long Beach. Personally, this seems like at least partial answer to a prayer of mine that's been hanging out there since the mid-80's and I'm excited to watch God at work!
We have set a tentative date to meet once again in the Park, this time to worship the Living God in public. Each time we meet, we come away with another piece of the puzzle and feel like we have prayed "in one accord" with God's heart and with each other for our City.
If this excites you and stirs your heart email me at judyw@kingdomcauses.org
May the Lord inhabit the praises of His people!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"WOW"zers!

The third WOW Jam in Long Beach took place in three different locations! Poly High School, Houghton Park, and they added Admiral Kid Park. Over 13,000 community members participated in singing auditions, makeovers, family photos, and more. Many local churches came together to bless their neighbors. Even our very own Leticia Espinoza, Youth Education Task Force Leader, got a lovely haircut. Over 1,300 people were saved. Over 200 people were baptized and even more people approached the baptism celebration and committed their life to Christ. God has truly anointed WOW Jam and Long Beach. Angels are celebrating in heaven for God's expanding family! Thank you for Paul and Bonnie Thiemens for their commitment to Long Beach!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Revamped Parent Center @ Hamilton Middle School

















The LBUSD Superintendent was impressed with the revamped parent center @ Hamilton MS. Good work team! Plans continue to develop for a successful 2009 start of the school year - especially at Hamilton now!  
 


Friday, June 05, 2009

All for one, one for Hamilton


Principal David Downing Presenting to Church-School Partnerships Meeting

Thank you, to all those who participated in the first Church-School Partnership meeting at Hamilton Middle School.  Kingdom Causes was blessed to see the support of the local church for a local school.  It was a great witness to the city leaders (Monica Daley, Hughes Principal; Linda Ivers and Janet Surber, City Council field representatives; Dan Pressburg and Carina Cristiano Leoni, community leaders) who attend the meeting to see the Church come along side schools for the success of the students.  David Downing, Principal of Hamilton Middle School, presented current ways organizations, businesses, and churches are partnering with Hamilton and new opportunities to support Hamilton.  Participating in the Church-School Partnerships meeting was the first step.

Since the first Church-School Partnerships meeting, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism Christian Church partnered with Hamilton for their Teacher Appreciation Day on May 7th.  Teachers were happy and blessed due to many groups coming together to show how special the teachers are in Hamilton.  The Hamilton PTA contributed flowers to decorate the library tables.  Hamilton United Parents in Action (HUPA) decorated and cleaned the teacher lounges, main office, and the new parent center.  Students from the Student Council and Gear Up program made banners celebrating the teachers that were displayed around the campus.  One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism Church provided a wonderful continental breakfast including
 beverages, muffins, bagels, and plastic-ware for the teachers' staff meeting.  Leticia Espinoza was the connecting point that brought all these groups together.  Cindy Mendez, Hamilton staff member, praised Leticia a
nd Teacher appreciation day by saying, "Teachers were commenting all day about how nice the lounges looked and smelled!... Our teachers were happy about this treat!" 

 Kingdom Causes along with Hamilton would like to thank those who made Teacher Appreciation Day really special.



One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism Church also
received an award for helping Hamilton

Here are some possible ways to Partner with Hamilton and other local schools:

    * Back to School Drive
    * Campus Beautification (Serve Days, benches, barriers, waste containers/sweeper)
    * On-campus clubs and sponsorship
    * Intramural
    * Career Awareness
    * Assistance in establishing business partnerships
    * Student incentives
    * Student store
    * Books for Accelerated Reader
    * Promotion Ceremony set up (chairs)
    * Sports Banquet
    * Mentoring

Please contact Leticia Espinoza-Vopyan to get connected at Lespinozavopyan@lbusd.k12.ca.us or (562) 619-1434

Kingdom Causes is excited to keep you updated and share other stories of partnership!

 
"Having everyone making this possible gives us a sense of communit
y. I am so thrilled to  say that it was so much fun for everyone participating. Our partnership with the church is a wonderful experience that has benefited all of the Hamilton community.  Thanks!!!" -Leticia Espinoza-Vopyan

Monday, April 13, 2009

House of prayer on Signal Hill

I never know how God will show up at our Second Saturday prayer meetings. This Saturday, just two of our regulars showed up and....two students from CSULB. For about a year I was privileged to join with the Christian Club leaders on campus for prayer. It was a wonderful experience that I'll never forget. And for the last 2 years I have been unable to get there and have felt the loss. So guess what...2 of the student leaders showed up at 6am Saturday morning. They have a vision for a house of prayer on Signal Hill. The plan is to launch on the National Day of Prayer, May 7, at 7 pm. As of this moment they don't know the place and are walking in faith that Abba will show them. They asked for the blessing of the people who were there and have been coming so faithfully for so long and in turn we asked for theirs. That particular morning I had had a hard time getting my body out of bed and would have been just as happy to be not there - and then God showed up in this encouraging way. He encouraged us older ones with the enthusiasm and faith of the younger generation and let us see a peek into His plans. There has been much prayer offered from Signal Hill from so many believers in the City and I want to support this effort by letting you know what's going on.
They have a web-site for you to sign up for a time-slot - go to www.wejoinin.com/sheets/jvoyg and you can commit to pray for Long Beach with them...

An excerpt from the email I got stating their vision...
"Our vision is that it would be a place used to heal our broken generation. Our vision is that the workers who are heavy laden would find themselves restored in their first love with Him..and we pray that it would be used to sustain the revival that God wants to pour out in Long Beach...."

God is moving on the campus and in the hearts of the students He is bringing there. I pray His continued blessing and stirring in the hearts of His Church on that campus...join us will you in praying for/and with them?

Church Building Rental Opportunity

Pastor Brian Apodaca is the pastor of Victory Outreach in North Long Beach. He has asked me to help him by letting you know of their desire to rent their building. I've been there and it's really nice....and...they've filled it with the invited presence of God. If you need a place to meet - this could be just the opportunity you've been praying for. Below is his e-mail to me...with his contact information

Hi Judy... Good Morning.
Here is the info. for our church building rental.

15,00 sq. ft.
air conditioned newly remodeled sanctuary
4 classrooms
fellowship hall accommodates 60
kitchen, green room
available Tue. Wed. Thurs. Sat. (6:00 PM- 10:00PM)
Sun. (1:00PM-4:00PM)
$1750.00
for more info. call 562-533-1730

Thank you very much for your help Judy.

Sincerely,
Pastor Brian
Victory Outreach Long Beach

Thursday, April 09, 2009

LBUSD Math Madness and English Extravaganza

Congratulations to all the winners from LBUSD Math Madness and English Extravaganza! Thank you for all who participated in providing and assembling snack packs for this event.  The students were blessed by you.

Here is a letter of appreciation from Assistant Superintendent, Gwen Mathews, Ph.D

March 24, 2009

Dear Kingdom Causes,

I wanted to take a moment to express my deep gratitude to you for helping to make our District-wide Middle School Math Madness and English Extravaganza competitions a tremendous success.  Thanks in large part to your efforts, our students were treated to a first-class event to recognize their hard work in the classroom.  By providing valuable volunteer services, as well as nutritious snacks for this memorable day, your time, talent and treasures provided the foundation for an unforgettable academic competition for over 800 students and their families.

By all accounts, this year's academic competitions exceeded everyone's expectations.  Countless family members joined students, staff and community members to cheer-on our students.  While we have been fortunate to enjoy this high level of enthusiasm and participation for athletic events, I know you will agree that it is inspiring to see this type of support and encouragement for students who are determined to be champions in the classroom as well.

Thank you again for being an integral part of our District-wide Middle School Math Madness and English Extravaganza Competitions.  This wonderful event simply could not have come together without the determination of dedicated community partners, such as Kingdom Causes.  I am quite confident that the smiles on students' and families' faces, and the sense of pride that comes from participating in such a unique event, will remain with us all for a very long time to come.  We look forward to working with your organization again, as we continue to provide world-class education for every student, every day.

Sincerely,
Gwendolyn H. Mathews, Ph.D
Assistant Superintendent

Saturday, February 14, 2009

2nd Saturday Prayer

"Wow! I've really missed this!" "Being here I realize how much I need this." These comments are among the many we heard this morning after our 2nd Saturday prayer meeting. I had to miss last month because I was in traffic school...my second ticket in 49 years of driving...And it was so good to be back in corporate prayer with others who love it too. We had 5 churches represented and one person from Corona Del Mar and one from Laguna Beach and two regulars were sick with the flu. As I looked around the table I realized that God is really happy with us coming together with such diverse backgrounds to join Him in His throne room to ask for the Kingdom to come in Long Beach as it is in heaven. People come in rubbing sleep from their eyes, they come in hurting or sick, they come not knowing quite why they're there and sometimes wishing they weren't, and always go away refreshed and energized and "re-faithed." We can't be in His presence and not be changed and there's just something about corporate prayer that is different than private prayer - maybe it's His pleasure in His kids being together!!??? We prayed, we repented, we invited His Holy Spirit, we worshiped His holiness, we prayed for churches and organizations in the City, and in particular the church going out to hand out Valentines with words of encouragement to people on the street. We laughed and we cried, we joked and we sought our Father's face on behalf of His people. So many different ways of praying, some louder, some quiet, some vocal, some with tears and all in love with the same Jesus...what a wonderful way to begin a week-end. As you can tell, I'm excited and can't wait until our next second Saturday meeting...who knows, you might like it too!
xoxox...judy

Friday, February 13, 2009

The world of policy governance and boards

They say that one way to not get old is to keep learning new languages. I became an official senior citizen in November, 2008 and I'm learning a new language that's as foreign to me as Japanese! It's called "Policy Governance" and "Board Formation". My previous 65 years have been spent studiously avoiding mysterious and unnecessary rules and regulations and I perceive them to be hampering, binding and stifling. Enter Brad Fieldhouse into my world and Kingdom Causes. As KC has grown and our visibility has increased and people want to connect with us, we have realized we didn't have the capacity to receive them in any kind of structured way. (that may not be quite the accurate word) We began to work with a consultant and develop a document that embodied our heart and gave structure and language in places we didn't have any. While much of it is still a mystery to me, it has been so valuable and opened my mind in a way I never even wanted it opened! It has provided our cities and our staff with guidelines for growth and daily business that we really need - and I'm learning how to do "monitoring reports". I'm the one who wants to talk with you and pray and invite God to come - not do reports!...and in seeing their value, my resistance is dwindling, thankfully. God at work, His wonders to perform!
As I began to look at the New Testament from a Jewish viewpoint, I discovered that our word for the old testament is law, and from theirs it's guardian. Big difference in how we relate to the same words. Same thing here. I'm seeing that policy governance isn't a bunch of rules and regulations to snuff the life out of Kingdom Causes, rather, it's a guideline for helping us to "achieve appropriate results for appropriate persons at an appropriate cost and avoids unacceptable actions and situations."
On to the world of boards...Brad has gathered such a wonderful group of people to serve on our Long Beach KC board. Seeing God at work in and through these people who love Him and our city makes my heart happy. We had our first official board meeting the first week of the month and hearing from each of them just is such a total faith builder in God's sovereignty. We have people in ministry, business, the pastorate, prayer and even a lawyer and all of them have joined us to help us best serve the City of Long Beach. Most of my life has been spent in prayer rooms and in local congregations and seeing this broader picture is causing me to stretch my heart and mind to receive more of Him and His body.
My mantra for this year of 2009 is "God is good, God is sovereign and I am grateful for whatever is in my life as His good provision." - even policy governance!!!!
Blessings to you all...judy

Thursday, January 08, 2009

and counting...

"Everyone Counts"
2009 Homeless Count

On Thursday, January 29, 2009 volunteers will be counting people who are experiencing homelessness in Long Beach for the U.S. Department of Housing.  The homeless count happens every two years.  Long Beach is divided into 47 map segments.  Volunteers will be in teams of three people represented by a community volunteer, service provider, and homeless or formerly homeless person.  "Everyone Counts" is a great opportunity to meet our homeless neighbors and to be an asset to the city.  For more information call Susan Price, Homeless Service Officer, at (562) 570-4003 or see the flyer.