Monday, September 28, 2009
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.
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
Thursday, September 03, 2009
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!
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