Haven Fall Retreat 2014

We had an awesome and relaxing time at our fall retreat in Rio Del Mar. We stripped it down, removed all the agendas and just focused on community, fellowship and spending time with God. Check out some of our pictures from our Facebook gallery!

He is Risen!

We celebrated a big gathering at the Newhall Park in San Jose with our friends and neighbors. It was a great time of celebration and fun with the kids and getting to know our neighbors. Members of Haven live in the complex next to Newhall Park and thought it would be a great way to build community and meet their neighbors by hosting the Haven Easter Celebration at the park near their home.

It was our first time throwing a very largely advertised event. We had no idea who was coming and only 5 people had RSVPed on the Facebook event page though no one was required to RSVP. We weren’t sure how many eggs or snacks to buy. About 80 kids & parents showed up it was just enough for everyone. It echoed the message the Jesus love for us is enough. We had a great time with delicious snacks and good conversation. Can’t wait until the next one!

The big kids egg hunt. Waiting for the green light to attack!

Hunting!

The little kids egg hunt getting ready!

The young ones going for it!

Balloons were a big hit. So were new and old friends!

What Really Matters Today

A morning thought from one of our church members, Luanne.

This morning I was pondering about my aging body and life, the older I get the closer I come to eternity with Jesus. You know in reality, the things I worry about is far from these eternal matters. I think about stress at work, bills that needs to be paid, my kids, the pain in my arthritic knees, the adipose tissue around my body (that is fat in layman’s term) and what is on my plate for the day.
Then it struck me, What if God calls me home today? I mean home in eternity today? Am I ready? Will I go to Jesus with excitment ? Or will I be hanging onto unfinished business here on earth?

Jesus, I need to realign my thoughts to live in eternity. I need to be living my life in eternity. I want to walk into heaven as if it is the vacation I have been planning for all my life.Lord what do I do today that will invest in my future life in eternity?

These words that were written to Timothy by Paul were words of preparation to eternity. Paul’s letter to Timothy were words to say “here is the big picture, this is what really matters”:


17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1Timothy 6:17-19

Oh Heavenly Father,help me to live my life today with this mind set of living life that is truly life!
Luanne your daughter in Christ Jesus.

Dojo Session #3: Loving Others

Challenges for the month [explanations below]:

  • LISTEN – Show love by listening [and asking good questions]. Give your opinion ONLY when asked.
  • ENCOURAGE – Write at least 3 notes of encouragement to to 3 different people. 
  • WELCOME – Find 3 ways to welcome a stranger. 

Overview:

1. SURRENDER – For many of us, what’s holding us back from really experiencing God is a simple need to surrender. Surrendering has the connotation of “losing” – and in fact it is. It’s saying to God, “Your way is better than mine.” And sometimes we don’t see this until we’ve reach our “end”. If we’re wise, we won’t wait until then. The first thing that we surrender to [and rediscover over and over again] is that He really does love us. It’s no hoax. Check out the passage about the father and his young son in Luke 15:1-24. 

>> Additional challenge as you read this: would you pray right now… “Father, your way is better than mine.”?

2. LOVE OTHERS – The natural outflow of God’s love for us is a love for those around us [John 13:34-35]. Love always moves outward… doesn’t control, let’s go so it can give life to others. The Bible is loaded with verses that direct us to love one another. And each one gives a glimpse of what Jesus first did for us on the Cross. We focused in on 3 that are a lost art in our world of attention deficit and immediate/self gratification.

>> LISTEN

Galatians 6:2 – Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ [NIV].

There are many ways to carry each other’s burdens. But one way that crosses all cultural and gender boundaries is listening. We don’t know how to listen. In conversation, we wait for the moment we can get our own opinion across. We give trite solutions to complex problems – and we think we’re doing them a favor. But most of the time, we just need a listening ear. It’s an expression that we’re willing to sit with someone in their pain, without judging… it’s putting their needs above our own. It’s a huge way for us to bear one another’s burdens. It’s a glimpse of Jesus bearing our burdens on the Cross as well. 

CHALLENGE – Listen! In your regular conversations commit to NOT giving your opinion unless asked. Instead listening intently, reflect responses and ask good questions.

>> ENCOURAGE

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind [MES].

You ever have someone give you a compliment? For something you did or said? It felt good didn’t it? You felt alive, huh? One of the reasons it felt good was that we were recognized for the good that God has built in us. Someone recognized a small portion of our potential. We live in a world that is waiting to point out our faults, to highlight the areas we fall short. Let’s take advantage of the power of encouragement… and do what Jesus first did for us… give life and give it abundantly.

CHALLENGEWrite out 3 notes of encouragement to 3 different people. Point out things people do well, their heart, character… things that others may not notice. 

>> WELCOME

1 Peter 4:9 – Show hospitality to one another without grumbling [ESV].

The word hospitality has the connotation of “welcoming a stranger,” helping them feel like family. It’s not just heating up some bagel dogs for your buds while they’re watching the game. For those with homes, you can open a room to someone in need. For the rest of us who don’t own homes, how can we welcome someone and help them feel like family? How about:

Buying the new guy at work lunch?
Or a cup of coffee?
Giving someone a ride to work?
Including someone new into your weekly poker game?
Bringing over a pie to a new neighbor?

Be creative… you know how. It’s bringing someone from the outside into the safety of your own world. It’s sharing what you have and helping this Silicon Valley be a little less lonely. Yes, it’s a risk on your part… but Jesus did it for you… bringing you into his world, welcoming you when you didn’t deserve it. We can do the same for others. 

CHALLENGEFind 3 ways to welcome 3 different people; people you may not know as well, people on the margins, people that could use a gesture of welcome and embrace.

We will talk through all these the next time we meet… I’ve already been hearing good stories from people. Continue to just do what Jesus has done for you. Blessings to you this month as we go out and listen, encourage and welcome. Share your stories in the comments.

Don’t Forget… [Easter 2009]

It was a full and fruitful Easter weekend – each of our house communities celebrated Good Friday with a traditional Passover Seder dinner… the dinner many Jewish families traditionally celebrate during Passover and the last meal Jesus had with his disciples before he went to the Cross. We don’t have a lot of pictures because I think people were busy participating. But we learned how Jesus used the Passover Seder to foreshadow what he would do on the Cross… to bring freedom and hope to a dying world.

Easter Sunday was a full day starting with a sunrise worship hike at 6:30am @ Montgomery Hill in San Jose.

 

As we walked the trail, we recounted Jesus’ journey to the Cross and the moments after the resurrection. We realized though we celebrate Easter every year, we so easily forget the freedom, joy and victory that was achieved on the Cross and in the resurrection. That we no longer need to let the guilt, the shame, the anger, the fear hang over us anymore. It no longer separates us from God [because of what Jesus did] and we have the freedom/power to reconcile with others. That’s huge.

 

We were also reminded that we need to spread the life we were given in Jesus. We weren’t meant to keep it to ourselves, but to give it away as freely and often as possible: both the truth and the love. 

Afterwards, it was time for brunch at the Hom’s… and as always, it was time to feast… waffles, hash browns, enchiladas [I think], bacon and lots of other stuff. It’s taken time, but we’ve all grown to be family together… we’ve cried together, celebrated together, worked out issues together. And the fruit of all that was a simple pleasure we all shared as we sat, ate, laughed and reminisced. Lisa jumped in to make waffles, new girls-friends were made to feel at home, Alan taught Billy how to chop wood and we all took naps on the couch. Real family is hard to come by – and it was a blessing from God that morning.

   

We finished our Easter Sunday with lunch with our friends at the Victorians. The Victorians are boarding houses for many who are formerly homeless and have some form of mental illness. We’ve had a long relationship with our friends there and Billy and Leo took care of bringing buffalo wings and hot dogs to share. It has not always been easy when we’ve done this in the past. We’ve had to get over our own uncomfortableness; learn how to talk to people who are not like us [at all]. And learn to love by just showing up. 

After several years of sporadically spending time there, I think we can say that they are our friends [or more like they’re gracious to consider us their friends]. It’s true that they give us more than we give them. Sure we bring all the food, but they remind us that God loves them just as much as he loves us… just because we’re a little cleaner, have jobs, have gone to school doesn’t make us any more loved and them any less loved. They teach us about the Gospel every time we go. 

   

Thanks folks for a rich Easter season – until next time [though lunch with the Vic’s will happen again soon].

Dojo Session #2: Nurturing Our Spiritual Hunger

Challenge for the month:

>> 10 minutes EVERYDAY with God.
>> Share with 2 people what you believe and why you believe it.

Read on for more detail on this and what we covered.

OVERVIEW

  1. Everything Revolves Around the Gospel – As a continuation from last time, we discussed how everything revolves around Jesus’ life, death and resurrection [we call this “the Gospel” – the message that God sent his Son to take our place in paying the penalty for our sins and restoring us to new life through his resurrection].
  2. What Separates us from God – We often think it’s the endless things that we do wrong. But what separates us from God is that we replace him in our lives with either ourselves or “things”. This can be analogized with a husband who gives the love that belongs to his wife to another woman or even his career. Or a son who rebuffs the authority and embrace of his father and goes his own way.
  3. Who/What is Your Functional Savior? – If we’ve pushed God from his rightful place in our lives and replaced him with something else… what is it? One question that may help us discern, “What is the one thing that if you lost it, you’d find little hope to live?” That my be the thing.

NURTURING SPIRITUAL HUNGER – FEEDING OURSELVES

  1. AW Tozer – Your faith is never really real unless you encounter God alone.
  2. Spiritual Disciplines – It is often a battle of the wills… to sit and wait on God… instead of God waiting on you.
  3. Learn to Savor God’s Voice, Listening for Him, Enjoying Him – The goal is not just to have the Bible read or have spent enough time in prayer. It’s time spent with Father, with the one who loves you unconditionally.
  4. When you hear something, when God asks you to do something… DO IT.
  5. Nurturing Our Souls is Much Like FARMING – You plant the seed, water it, get up early the next day and do the same thing. You may not get much yield in the beginning. But as you faithfully plant and water and trim, you will yield a harvest.
  6. Simple Questions as You Read the Bible:
    >> What does this teach me about God/Jesus?
    >> What does this teach me about People/Myself?
    >> What am I supposed to do?

CHALLENGE

  1. 10 Minutes EVERYDAY
    Spend at least 10 minutes everyday with God… this would include reading through Scripture. This would also include days where you are stopping what you’re doing to be in silence, listening, conversing, interacting with God. 10 minutes every day. Begins now.

  2. Share What You Believe and Why You Believe It with 2
    Great sharing this past Sunday… keep it on, we’ll ask again next time.

Questions/comments? Throw them out in the comments… thanks folks.

Easter 2009

In case you were wondering what’s happening Easter weekend for us:

April 10th – Good Friday – Seder Dinner in House Communities

Each House Community will be doing their own Passover Seder dinner. It’s the dinner Jesus celebrated with his disciples before he went to die on the cross the next day. Invite friends – and if you’re not a part of a house community feel free to join up with any of them. Contact info@ihaven.org for more info.

April 12th – Sunrise Worship – Lunch w/the Victorians – Gardening w/the Girls

EDIT: Gardening w/Advent Girls is POSTPONED

>> Sunrise Worship [6:30am] @ Montgomery Hill Park, San Jose – Meet at the base where you can park your car @ 6:30am and we’ll hike up together. The parking lot is actually a shared parking lot with Evergreen Valley College. See link above for exact location.

After our sunrise worship to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we’ll split off to connect and serve two groups of people that we’ve been friends with for the past few years:

>> Lunch w/the Victorians [11:00am] - The Victorians are the three Victorian homes located next to LPT. They are boarding homes that house persons who were formerly homeless and with mental illness. We will bring lunch over and spend some time together with our friends there. Meet in front of LPT [72 North 5th St., San Jose] @ 11am. We need at least 6-8 people to help with this – contact info[at]ihaven.org.

>> Gardening w/Advent [POSTPONED to MAY] - We have been connecting with a group home for girls who have a history with drug/alcohol abuse. We’ll be going over to help plant a small flower/vegetable garden in the back yard with the girls. We need at least 3-4 people to help with this – if you’re interested with this contact info[at]ihaven.org and let us know that you’re coming and are interested. We need “RSVP’s” for this one.

Community Update

A few things to look out for:

SJSU Formula SAE Unveiling [THURS April 2nd – 5:30pm]
Our friend Ken is a part of the student chapter of the Society of Automative Engineers at SJSU and we recently hosted a small BBQ for the group a few weeks ago… feeding hungry students as they finish their project for their upcoming competition. They’ll be doing an unveiling on April 2nd @ Club Auto Sport [521 Charcot Avenue, SJ], 5:30-7:30pm. We got to see the beginnings, come check out the finished product. Contact Ken for more info [abigail_854[at]hotmail.com].

Learning Community: Healthy Marriages [SAT April 4th – 9am]
We will be restarting our quarterly learning community where we will  discuss having healthy marriages. Our heart is to equip couples to live well and nurture healthy family environments. Alan and Luanne Hom will be leading the discussion and childcare will be provided [RSVP w/Alan if kids are coming]. We’ll meet at the Hom home [3059 Silver Estates, San Jose] and begin at 9amwe will be having brunch afterwards. Engaged couples welcome! So bring your spouse, your questions and your appetite. Contact Alan for more info at alhom[at]sbcglobal.net.

DOJO Session #2 [SUN April 5th – 9:30am]
Check here for a summary of Dojo Session #1 and here for a summary of the Dojo. REMEMBER:

  • The entire Bible points towards Jesus;
  • The result of Jesus’ sacrifice – we become his SONs and DAUGHTERs;
  • Share Jesus and ‘Why you believe it’ with 2 people [Philemon 6].

Meet @ 9:30am at Dave and Rachel’s house [923 Alegre Place, San Jose, CA 95126].

EASTER?
Click HERE.

Summer Softball League
If you’re interested in being in a recreational softball league this summer, Alan is looking for some recruits. Ask your friends, co-workers and the retired pro-baseball player neighbor that you know. Contact Alan for more info [alhom[at]sbcglobal.net].