loving on the neighborhood

In response to our Generosity Challenge, one of our house communities prayed and asked God what to do. And He began showing Mayra images of kids in the neighborhood that she used to live in. And how many of these kids have few positive influences and basically nothing to do the entire summer.

So the group began doing free bi-weekly BBQ’s in June – food, crafts and games for the kids and just hanging out with whomever wants to come out. It has been an incredible experience and we’re looking forward to how God will continue to lead us. A few highlights:

  • Indian, Asian, Latino kids all playing cricket together.
  • Meeting an African refugee family in the neighborhood.
  • Praying for people who need prayer.
  • Magic shows for the kids.
  • Over 200 hotdogs BBQ’d.
  • Hearing about the struggles of the neighborhood.
  • Listening to people’s stories and meeting people from over 8 different countries.

We’ve been doing every other Thursday and will be transitioning to weekends. We’ll be going again this Thursday [8/5], but contact us at info@ihaven.org for what day we’ll transition to. Come on out and share a dog, play some cricket and just be Jesus to a neighborhood.

This week:

August 5th – THURSDAY – 6:00-8:30p [come anytime]
Meeting in front of 2299 Pasetta Drive, Santa Clara

Some more photos HERE and HERE courtesy of Luis.

what he’s saying…

A question for you… when was the last time you heard God’s voice? Maybe it was just moments ago, maybe it’s been a while. But stop for a moment, quiet your soul, clear your mind and ask:

“Jesus, what do you want to say to me right now?”

And wait.

Repeat at lunch.
Right before your presentation.
During your coffee break.
Right before you talk to your boss.
What is he saying?

If you’re willing to share, put it in a comment below. Thanks folks.

Test of Fire

Thanks to Alan and Luanne for investing in our couples… I am more and more convinced of the critical need for whole and intact families – especially for our generation. We are experiencing the fall-out from the lack of whole families as we speak. Read this interesting article in TIME.

A short story from Alan about being a man for our wives and families… timely exhorting and very Alan-esque!

THE TEST OF FIRE

We were sitting around the other day with our adult children when the subject of future spouses came up. I mentioned how I would find the right man for my daughter. As the family braced themselves for another Gospel According to Al, I proceeded.

First, in the middle of nowhere, I would build a campfire. All men are attracted to fire, you know. Then I would find a place away from the fire to observe who it will attract.

  • Man #1 comes up to the fire, sits down and begins to warm himself and stay hunkered down. Not good…
  • Man #2 comes up to the fire, sits down for a bit. Then he gets up, goes out to gather more wood and come back to tend the fire. Better…
  • Man #3 comes up to the fire, sits down for a bit. Then he gets up, goes out into the wilderness. When he returns, he has one arm full of wood and the other arm full of meat…

That’s My Man!

My observations?

Man #1 is worthless. He comes into a nice situation, does nothing but fill his needs. He will either move on to another location when the fire dies or just freezes in the dark and die. I call him a sluggard to nth degree or worthless pile of pud.

Man #2 is better. He observes and takes the initiative to maintain the fire. He goes out to gather more fuel and tend to the fire making sure it does not get too big or too small. This one has potential.

Man #3 is a lot like Man #2, he observes the situation, assesses the needs of the future and goes out to fulfill those needs. He recognizes that there is more to life than just the fire and brings things in to maintain not only the fire but also the body. A Keeper!

Men, this is how our marriage relationships are. Your marriage/relationship could be like Man #1 – you just ease back after the wedding, not do anything and just let things happen around you without you doing anything about it. Your marriage/relationship will be like the fire and eventually it will burn out. You’ll either move on or just die.

Or like Man #2 – you work at your marriage and when things come up, you go fix it. Always steady, making sure things do not get out of hand where you cannot handle it. And if told to do something, it gets done.

But, Man #3 – not only do you work on your marriage, but you strive to make it better. You want to do more than just maintain. You want to begin building on it, feeding it, giving it strength and growth. You look far enough ahead to know what it takes to maintain the marriage/relationship now and in the future. You put forth the effort without having someone to tell you all the time. You share what God has given you into the marriage/relationship.

Want to keep that fire burning?
Want to keep that marriage hot?
BRING ON THE MEAT!!!!!

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].