Justice and Peacemaking
Makers Church | November 2, 2021
A LETTER TO THE CHURCH Below are a list of resources that Pastor Glenn and Mark Jennings referenced. . .
Below are a list of resources that Pastor Glenn and Mark Jennings referenced in their June 2, 2020 "Testimony Tuesday" with Nadiyah Albee.
Messages on Racial Reconciliation
At Makers, we believe every human being is uniquely made in the image of God; we choose to be united by our commonalities rather than divided by our differences. Get a sense of how our team looks to practice Justice + Peacemaking. Additional messages can be found in resource library at the bottom of the page.
Message by Stephanie Mahan, given on January 19th, 2020
Message by Pastor Derrick Miller, given on August 18th, 2019
Trusted Voice: Bryan Stevenson
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama and trusted resource. Click the image below to watch one of his dynamic talks on social justice.
Just Mercy: Race and the Criminal Justice System
We Need to Talk About Injustice
Trusted Partner: Be the Bridge
Be the Bridge's Vision is that people and organizations are aware and responding to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. Their resources are recommended to equip you with the tools to be bridge-builders in racial healing.
Recommended Reading: From Global Immersion Project
Global Immersion Project is training people of faith to engage our divided world in restorative ways and have an extensive list of recommended books for you to learn to catalyze a peacemaking movement within your organization, church, and context.
- Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion And The Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith
- Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep us Apart by Christena Cleveland
- Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism by Curtiss DeYoung and Allan Boesak
- The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone
- Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness, and Justice by Brenda Salter McNeil
- America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis
- The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right by Lisa Sharon Harper
Recommended Listening for Families: Parent Cue Podcast
Take a listen to this podcast episode on Why You Need to Talk to Your Kids About Race.
Recommended Reading for Families: Parent Cue Blogs
Click the image below to read Parent Cue's blog on Teaching the Value of Everyone.
40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: For the Love of Money
Makers Church | March 29, 2021
Have you ever wondered how your life would change if you won the lottery? I used to believe that if. . .
Have you ever wondered how your life would change if you won the lottery? I used to believe that if I had more money, my life would be easier, happier. I’d pay off all my bills, buy a couple of homes, and put money away for the future. But does money really equate to happiness? Well I can tell you first hand that it doesn’t. Prior to marrying my husband, he came into a significant inheritance, I mean seriously significant. We used it to pay for our wedding, gifts for loved ones, rented and furnished a beautiful home; I saw it as a blessing to the start of our new life together. The truth is, the money was the catalyst for the demise of our marriage. Before his inheritance, my husband and I had in-depth conversations about life, religion, God. Everything. We attended church sporadically but still connected spiritually. I loved that he was well-versed in the Bible because he’d grown up in the church. It led to many conversations on how God had influenced and changed our lives. But...I lost him to the money...and substance abuse. My husband (soon to be ex) had a recreational substance habit turned full-time job once the money hit his account. He turned into a different person. To top it off, I was pregnant with our first child while hiding the misery of my life from my family and friends. He developed a “God-complex,” and was so far down the rabbit hole, I was at a loss as to how to get back to how we were. Conversations about God and our blessings became non-existent.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10
I watched this scripture play out in real time. With our earthly riches God took a back seat. When things went south, I had to be honest about my complicity in enjoying the money that was at our disposal. I too had lost sight of what was important - putting God first. I wound up piercing myself with grief. It’s easy to get caught up in money, especially when there’s so much of it. I don’t know...maybe I’d had a bit of “God complex” myself because I could buy anything I wanted. There’s an infusion of self-righteous power that comes with the knowledge that money is no object.
“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” - Matthew 16:26
There’s this inherent belief that you do gain the whole world when money is at your disposal. But there’s always a cost, especially when you lose sight of what’s truly important. He giveth and He taketh away, because, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24. The money had me lost in my earthly abundance and my husband in substance abuse. The cost was my relationship with God, our marriage and financial stability. His substance abuse put me and my son in danger, so I packed a bag, my 3 month old and left. I later found out he’d been withdrawing obscene amounts of money to feed his habit. The majority of it was gone. It hadn’t even been a year. To say that I questioned God about my circumstance was an understatement. But it was in Him, I found my salvation. Money and possessions didn’t matter when my life was crumbling right before my eyes. Hebrews 13:5 says, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" When the smoke cleared, I didn’t have money, but I had something infinitely more important - God back at the forefront of my life. I learned many lessons during those darkest days, but the most important one was to always keep God first. As long as we do that, He will bless us beyond all measure.
Written by Nadiyah Albee, Makers Kids Team Staff member
40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: Bringing God’s Flavor and Light to the World
Makers Church | March 24, 2021
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?. . .
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but during lockdown it’s surprisingly become something I’ve come to love and really look forward to. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy ordering takeout once or twice a week - but I’ve found cooking has become a way for me to turn off the noise of the day, take a deep breath, put on a podcast or music, and get my creative juices flowing. It’s become a fun, therapeutic choose-your-own adventure as I flip through my different cookbooks, challenging myself to try new recipes, using up what’s in the fridge and doing my best to make something nourishing and delicious for my husband and myself.
I change up the dishes depending on my mood and what’s in season, but I always find myself reaching for the same thing no matter what I make: salt. And not just any salt - Maldon Salt. It’s oh so fancy and worth every penny! This little flakey magical ingredient comes from a 140 year old family business in a tiny seaside town in Essex, England, and it is beloved by humble homecooks like me to top celebrity chefs around the world. It works with pretty much anything & everything - savory or sweet, from meat to ice cream, it’s versatile and packs a punch with just a pinch.
Maldon salt enhances the flavor of whatever I use it in, bringing out something different and unique in each dish. I thought about this as I was reading the passage above, where Jesus calls us the salt of the earth. I think Jesus also appreciated a good homecooked meal as he was consistently taking time to stop and enjoy food with friends and strangers alike.
In ancient times salt was an essential, powerful and versatile thing. The crowd Jesus was speaking to would have thought about how salt not only brought out the flavors in their food, but also preserved it. There was no refrigeration so it was the best way to keep things from going rotten. Jesus was essentially saying that being “salt of the earth” meant we have the ability to enhance the world around us and preserve what God has called good, and that includes people! He was reminding us as followers of Jesus we have the power to impact and influence everyone we meet.
These enhancing and preserving properties meant salt also had incredible value, it was sometimes even used as currency in exchange for silver! This is another reason why Jesus' words were so powerful because, by saying we are salt, he was declaring to every person there that they had inherent value. Jesus was affirming them as precious and worthy children of God, and he continues to speak that over us as we read his words today. He was not naming something we do, but it’s who we are.
The Old Testament even describes a "covenant of salt" between God and his people. "All the sacred gifts that the Israelites set aside for God I give to you, to your sons, and to the daughters that are with you, as a due for all time. It shall be an everlasting covenant of salt before God for you and for your offspring as well." Num. 18:19
Jewish commentaries suggest it’s a reference to salt’s preservative qualities and how they would salt their sacrificial offerings to God. It is a reminder that when we give our lives to Him we enter into a lasting covenant that will never deteriorate, a promise that will never be broken.
Jesus goes on to talk about how if salt loses its saltiness then it’s rendered useless and trampled underfoot. He’s saying as followers our lives should illustrate this covenantal promise, enhancing and exemplifying the love and goodness of God on this earth. Otherwise, if we are not living this way then we can lose our effectiveness and witness in the world. When too much salt is trampled into the soil it inhibits vegetation, it takes too much water from the root and the plant withers and dies. So our saltiness is a responsibility, we have the power to enhance life for ourselves and others, or in our unhealth we can also hinder and destroy growth.
The same can be said of our light! In that same passage Jesus also calls us the light of the world. If we let it our light shine brightly and boldly we illuminate the path for ourselves and fellow travelers along the way. However, if we attempt to hide it or extinguish our light we can darken our own path and the paths of others too.
A little bit of salt can bring a dish alive and make a big difference, just as one lamp can light up a whole room. As we follow the way of Jesus it should make a difference and enhance our relationships, our homes, workplace, churches and communities. I pray we continue to claim and embody our identity as salt of the earth and light to the world, remembering we are all made in the image of God with inherent value and worth. And may we boldly call out the salt and light in each other too.
Written by Lauren Wallis | Impact Director and Social Media Manager
Bonus! I love reading this passage in the MSG translation too. Are there any parts that stand out more as you read this version?
Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:13-16
40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: Praising God In All Things
Makers Church | March 22, 2021
I don’t know about you, but the past twelve months have made me want to do anything but praise. . .
I don’t know about you, but the past twelve months have made me want to do anything but praise God. Reflecting on all that has happened in our nation and in our world in this season has been such a mixed bag of emotions and in the darkest moments, I’ve had a really difficult time seeing the light, the good, or anything positive. It’s in those moments that I’ve had to rely on doing the hard thing of knowing that regardless of the mess that’s swirling around me, God was and still is, right in the midst of it.
Throughout the early months of the pandemic, I was participating in our Worship Wednesday weekly rhythm by going live on Instagram to sit at the piano and worship with many of you who tuned in week after week. Praise and worship has been such a huge part of my life since childhood, so one might think that in dark moments, I would run right to the piano and want to sing and play my heart out. But I’ve mostly just felt stuck and unmotivated to do anything resembling worship and praise. My hands would just sit on the keys and the words and notes felt stuck in my throat like a giant lump that I just couldn’t swallow. Some weeks, there were a handful of people tuning in, sometimes it was just my parents tuning in from the East Coast (thanks, Mom and Dad!), and other times it was many of you spending your lunch break or part of your evening to connect with myself and members of our worship team in such a special and unique way-- for those few moments we felt connected and at home with each other. There were several times where I didn’t feel emotionally ready or have the energy, but I kept showing up. Little by little, God was using this simple connection over social media to remind me that again, He was near.
My prayer for each of us is that no matter where we are in this season of Lent and reflection that we can find the hope and comfort in praising God. Psalm 68 says, “Blessed be the Lord- day after day He carries us along. He’s our Savior, our God, oh yes! He’s God-for-us, he’s God-who-saves-us. Sing praises to His name!” (MSG)
On the days where light, good and positivity seem a distant glimmer, may we feel the nearness of the One who deserves all of our praise.
Written by Martha Haines, Makers Worship Leader and Communications Staff Member
40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: Peacemaking
Makers Church | March 19, 2021
Peacemaking does not mean never rocking the boat. God is often a boat rocker. Many of His ways rock. . .
Peacemaking does not mean never rocking the boat.
God is often a boat rocker.
Many of His ways rock the culture of the day, then and now.
Many of Jesus’ parables rocked the boat and He was known to rock the boat Himself, from time to time.
But Jesus didn’t rock the boat just for the sake of rocking. He came to show us peace: peace between God and us and peace with each other.
2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us that “we are to be God’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” As God’s ambassadors, we will rock the boat on certain occasions.
Jesus’ great commission to his disciples is to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
As we work to fulfill our Great Commission as His ambassadors, we will rock a few boats, but remember the words of one of the greatest boat rockers of all time, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
We are not sent out on battleships with tools for war. We are sent out with tools for gardening to sow the seeds of The Kingdom. "Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness." James 3:18
Written by Janet Stewart, Makers Administrative Staff member
40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: Comforting Others
Makers Church | March 12, 2021
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) Your. . .
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
Your suffering is not for nothing. There are a number of ways God tells us why suffering can be for our benefit. For example, in the book of James we read:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." (James 1:2-3)
The Apostle Paul takes it a step further:
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Romans 5:3-4)
In all honesty, I have to admit I am not all that excited about these when I actually am in the middle of suffering. Isn’t there an easier way to improve in these areas?
However, in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we read something that does catch my attention in an extremely positive way. It has been my go-to, pick me up, help when I can’t see the forest for the trees passage when I am suffering. Let’s take a look:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." (2 Corinthians 1:3-11)
This passage is loaded with some amazing insights, but let me focus on these seven.
1. God cares about your suffering. Notice that God is the “Father of Compassion and the God of all comfort,” God loves you more than you love yourself and knows exactly what is going on in your life right now. Jesus comforted his anxious disciples by saying this: "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Luke 12:6-7)
2. God comforts us in all our troubles. Not just an occasional trouble. Nor just a minor trouble. But in all our troubles. God is that faithful.
Jumping down to the end of the passage, Paul tells of a time when he and some of the other disciples were convinced they were going to die. Literally. They had come to the point where they had lost confidence in anything they could have done on their own to escape. But we are told that this happened so they would rely on God, who has the power to raise the dead. The same is true for you and me today. Which brings us to…
3. God eagerly wants us to rely on him. As we do, he can and will transform even the bad things in our lives into something good.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."(Romans 8:28)
It is fascinating the multitude of ways God can do that.
4. Sometimes God works in supernatural ways, especially through prayer. Notice how much emphasis Paul gives to prayer, especially by others, as being a part of God’s deliverance. How that should motivate us to pray for others who are in need of comfort.
5. Oftentimes God uses people to deliver and comfort us. Make no mistake this is just as supernatural.
Later in 2 Corinthians we read: "For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever." (2 Corinthians 7:5-7)
I love this because not only did Titus comfort Paul, but the Corinthians had comforted Titus. God’s comfort was being transferred around like a virus, but in a positive way. Which brings us to the main point of the day...
6. God will use you to comfort others. Take a look at verses 3 and 4 again "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." This is an amazing promise from God that you need to let sink deep into your soul. Whatever you are going through, however you are suffering, even if it is due to making horrible choices in the past, God can redeem that by using you to minister comfort to others who are hurting.
First of all, God can do this by supernaturally bringing people into your life who are going through the same thing. I hate using myself as an example, but when I have been hurting in the past, I have experienced God’s comfort the most through people who had similarly suffered. When my wife died of cancer, I was bereft. I felt like my world had ended and grief was having its way with me like a cat toying with a lizard before it finally kills it. Many of you know exactly what I am talking about. During this time several things happened that not only kept me alive, but brought God’s comfort.
Within a week I received many phone calls from friends offering their condolences, and I thank God for all of them. However, three of them touched me in almost inexplicable ways. It wasn’t what they said, or even how they said it. It was their presence, even on the phone. All three of these people had recently lost a loved one to cancer. They knew. You know too when it comes to the areas you have and are currently suffering with. You have an earned PhD in that type of suffering.
However, and here is our wake-up moment of the day: Secondly, God will use you to supernaturally bring his comfort to people who are suffering in ways other than what you have personally experienced. Rivet your eyes on the word “any” in verse 4: "who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
When I was grieving, I first went to a grief support group recommended by the hospice that my wife had died at. They were nice people, but to be honest, it didn’t help much so I didn’t return. A short time after I was invited to a Christian support group for those who were grieving for any reason. Even though I didn’t have much in common with those attending, the love and comfort of God flowing through the people there was almost palatable. I can easily say it was a major point in my healing. And it demonstrated to me the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:3-11.
I absolutely believe that God is going to redeem your past suffering the days ahead by both comforting you and using you to comfort others. Sometimes that process is part of our healing. Therefore, I will close by quoting a scrap of paper I have had in my desk and stared at often for decades, which I am calling...
7. The boomerang effect Dr. Karl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, once gave a lecture on mental health and was answering questions from the audience. “What would you advise a person to do,” asked one man, “if that person felt a nervous breakdown coming on?”
Most people expected him to reply: “Consult a psychiatrist.”
To their astonishment, he replied: “Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person.”
Pastor Glenn Wade
Makers Church Pastor-at-Large
40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: Worry (Cast All Your Cares)
Makers Church | March 4, 2021
I never really considered myself much of a worrier. Growing up, it wasn’t written in my DNA. I. . .
I never really considered myself much of a worrier. Growing up, it wasn’t written in my DNA. I think it came from being the baby of the family and knowing everyone was looking out for me. I was the toddler who didn’t know how to swim, yet jumped in the deep end, knowing someone would make sure I made it out safe. All of that changed when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. I was a senior at Howard University in Washington D.C., and all I wanted to do was get home to be with my mom.
I flew home for her mastectomy, stayed a couple of weeks then flew back to school, but I was worried. Worried that the cancer would come back...and it did, so I made the hard decision to forgo the rest of my senior year to come home to take care of her. I prayed like a madwoman. At 18 I’d been blessed to feel the touch of God, so I KNEW that He would heal my mom. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I held onto that knowledge for dear life. God is with you, do not fear, was on repeat in my head. God has the power to infuse your spirit with so much strength if you only give in and lean on Him. Even though I knew this, fear and worry still lived in my heart. Cancer doesn’t discriminate. Deep down I knew it was only a matter of time before it came back.
The cancer returned in 2013 metastasizing to my mom’s brain, liver and lungs. Lost and filled with worry and fear, I joined North Park Baptist Church and the choir. It was only natural as my mom had been the Choir Director there since 2003, and in my darkest hour the love and support I received gave me what I’d been missing in my spiritual journey - fellowship. You see, my marriage fell apart the night my mom was fighting for her life after having a multitude of seizures, which later led to the knowledge that the cancer returned. I was overwhelmed with worry and fear about everything. My mom was in the hospital, I had a three month old baby, and had left the home I’d made with my husband. At NPB strangers approached and told me they were praying for my family. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” It was the love, kind words and prayers of my Christian brethren that got me through it all and continues to lift me up. Never underestimate the power of a kind word. It literally has the power to change the trajectory of someone’s day.
Since 2013 the cancer has returned seven times. God continues to bless my mom with the strength to endure and fight. Every day my family wakes up is a gift. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” - Matthew 6:34. Hindsight truly is 20/20 because I look back at the times I was there for my mom (when she had seizures, chemo and radiation appointments, holding her while we cried together, the times we’ve laughed and prayed together) and know that worrying was and is needless, because every single thing is His will, His way. Psalm 56:3-4 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.” Fear, worry, anxiety, they’re all part of the same family and can heavily impact our lives, but as long as we put our trust in Him, and live presently in each day we’re gifted, there’s no need to worry. Each day we wake up is a blessing and I believe we must do our best to never lose sight of that.
Written by Nadiyah Albee, Makers Kids Team Staff member
40 Days of Prayer and Fasting: Protection
Makers Church | March 3, 2021
“Keep me safe, LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways. . .
“Keep me safe, LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet.” Psalm 140:4
I think many times when we think about praying for others, or specifically for the protection of those we love, we may feel we are asking too much of God. So, I wanted to introduce two ideas about prayers for those we want to protect. One is that prayer involves an active participation, and second is that we need to have a support system to help us in our prayers. A story in the bible that really jumps out to me is that of Moses and the battle with the Amalekites. During this battle Moses goes to an adjacent mountain and raises his arms with his staff to protect his army below. However, he does get tired, and has to sit. Eventually he becomes more fatigued and Aaron and Hur must hold up his arms on either side. When his arms are raised, the Israelites are winning and when he drops his arms, they lose. I think this translates well into our prayers for those we wish to protect.
When we pray, it cannot be a passive conversation. It must be something we give time and effort to like any other task. What does that mean? This means having an investment in the words we are saying, as well as believing that what we ask for shall happen. How many times have we thrown a prayer into the wind halfheartedly, forgetting we prayed for it, or not giving it a follow up thought. When we do that, we belittle the power that Christ has to give answers to our plea. Saying our prayers for those we love with faith in our words and hope in our hearts that it will be answered is an active way to raise our arms to the Lord in our prayers.
Also, when it comes to prayer we need to know it is okay to be human, to grow weary. This past year especially we have grown tired; praying for the same things repeatedly and maybe losing some hope in the power of our prayers. This is when it is important to find your people, your tribe. We have this innate embarrassment to ask for help, it is no different in prayer. But we must be as Moses- asking his friends to help raise his arms in prayer so he can protect those he loves. Just as we find people who can relate and help with other parts of our lives- moms groups, homeschool groups, work colleagues, workout partners etc. we must do the same in finding our prayer support group. Maker’s would love to be that for you, all you have to do is ask!
Call to action
So today let’s do three simple things:
1. Write down the names of two people you want the Lord to look out for and protect
2. Find one group, set of friends or family that you want to be your prayer tribe
3. Send those two names to your tribe, and pray together each day for their protection, strength and awareness of God's grace
Written by Cat Rogers, Makers Digital Prayer Leader
Makers Church | December 24, 2020
As we move through the winter solstice and the darkest time of a difficult year, so many of us are. . .
As we move through the winter solstice and the darkest time of a difficult year, so many of us are entering the holidays feeling a sense of disconnection. There is a collective heartache, and a longing for shalom, for restoration, and for deeper connections with ourselves, God, and each other.
As I have been reflecting on the Christmas season, and what is most needed to draw us into deeper connection, I've been reminding myself to keep the 4G's in mind and heart and body (forgive the cheesy cell phone connection metaphor!)
Written by Lisa Kemble
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
RISE Therapy Center San Diego
A Letter to Our Church on Racial Justice & Healing
Makers Church | August 7, 2020
Dear Makers Church, Over the past few months, we have witnessed one tragic event after another;. . .
Dear Makers Church,
Over the past few months, we have witnessed one tragic event after another; these events have shaken our nation and our church to its core. The ongoing challenges of living through a global pandemic have been compounded by the unjust and tragic deaths of our black brothers and sisters at the hands of those sworn to protect us, and have newly awakened many to the longstanding inequity, injustice and systemic racism that exists in our country and communities. There are no words to adequately describe the personal and collective grief that we feel as a church and as a community. We must do better.
Makers Church has always believed in liberty and equality for all and that each and every person is created in the image of God and deserving of love. We see this as an essential cornerstone of the Gospel: "for Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all“ (2 Corinthians 5:14). This love of Christ and love for all compels us to look critically at the choices we have made at Makers Church. While we have always been a community that strives for diversity that truly reflects the kingdom of heaven, we recognize that we still have a long road ahead of us. We are committed to making progress and always moving forward.
Our mission is: to make on earth as it is in heaven. While we have not always lived out this value to its fullest extent, we have made significant steps in this direction most recently in our merge with North Park Baptist, a historically diverse church. This merge has allowed us to make changes in our Board, Elder team, and staff to include more folks of color. We have also invited a team of diverse congregants together to look closely at all layers of our church to help identify changes we can make to better live out our mission. We have always longed to be a diverse community and are more committed now than ever before to live this out at every level at Makers Church.
As a leadership team, we are dedicating our time to listening, learning, and educating ourselves, not only for our own growth and development but also to ensure that the structures and systems at Makers church reflect our commitment to diversity and racial healing. While the process of understanding our own privilege and biases, as well as inviting everyone to the table with us, is not a quick or easy one, we are committed to doing the hard work. This will be our primary focus for the Fall of 2020. We will be evaluating the current systems at Makers Church and restructuring where advised and needed. In addition to this restructuring, we are dedicating time to strategically reimagine what the future of Makers Church would look like in order to better reflect our mission. We invite you to join us on this journey.
We have provided additional resources to support further education and awareness of this movement. Please visit our website and Instagram page to review the various resources available. We are humbled and honored to lead this church into what we believe will be one of the most powerful and culturally shifting moments in our history. On behalf of the elders, board of directors and ministry team leaders at Makers Church, we want to thank you for trusting us to lead you in this work, as we diligently seek to follow the lead of Jesus by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We look forward to making important, meaningful and transformational progress with all of you.
Makers Church Pastoral Team
Additionally...We’d love to hear from you on how you’re growing in this area. Please tell us by participating in this survey. It will help our team to navigate our church more effectively. By providing your insight, perspectives, questions and concerns on race, justice and related topics, we'll be better equipped to live out this mission together.
TAKE FAITH & RACE SURVEY
Pursuing Racial Justice as a Family
Heather Rebekkah | July 13, 2020
I write this with a heavy, yet hopeful heart. I can only speak from my perspective: As a mother,. . .
I write this with a heavy, yet hopeful heart. I can only speak from my perspective: As a mother, and the only adult in my household, raising two white children.
I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to the experiences of others who don’t look like me. Those who know far more than I could ever imagine. I’m standing beside them and following their lead. The first step for me was learning, in order to be taught to learn.
Racism is real, and it’s rearing its ugly head in a way I’ve not been fully exposed to in my lifetime. I understand my responsibility as a white person, living in a society that allows us the privilege to bury our heads. We get to choose to wipe the sand out of our eyes, stand up, face the truth, and step into awareness & guided action.
Having black friends and family members does not exempt us from this work. It can’t be the only reason we continue to unlearn, learn, and grow. It’s a privilege to learn about it instead of experiencing it first hand, or even second hand. I have witnessed racial injustices right in front of me, sometimes oblivious to what was actually happening. I often sat silent, not knowing what to do.
I am still unlearning the reality I thought I was living in. It was my reality at the time, but now I can see it as ignorance, denial, and complacency. With the guidance of anti-racism educators, I’ve been facing the ways in which I have and continue to play a role in White Supremacy. I’m working on not centering my own voice in this narrative (yes, I’m aware of the irony of that statement in the vein of this blog post). I am continuing to support and invest in the laborers of love that surround us in order to grow our collective rising. I can no longer tolerate the current and long standing racial climate. WE can no longer sustain it’s damaging and deadly “norms“.
It is all around us, if we are willing to see it. To name it. To face it, especially within ourselves. We do it for humanity and what the Lord calls us into: Humble Unity.
My children and I have participated in a few protests over the past few weeks, and a few of them became violent after we left. I’ve been clear with them on our reason and intention for joining any activity - we want to aid change and serve our communities in the ways they need. We will not spew hate or participate in causing more harm (or at least we try not to), and pivot when needed. We march to let it be known that the devastation must end. We mourn the losses and celebrate the small victories. We won’t stop until there is true justice.
In this anti-racism work, I yield to those who have gone before me with experience & wisdom, and I follow their lead. And similar to parenting, I don’t get it all right any of the time. I keep learning and trying, even when I’m faced with resistance. That resistance comes from all angles, sometimes even within myself.
I ask them questions, listen to their answers, engage in the dialogue. When I don’t have the answers, I acknowledge it and we research together. I have asked friends to hold me accountable, call me out, and call me up. I am willing to admit that there is still so much I don’t know. I do know one thing for sure: We are all a work in progress and children of God!
I could give countless examples of dialogues with my kids, the conversations they are having amongst themselves, and most powerfully within their peer group. They have been able to absorb the gravity of our situation, and speak to their friends on a level they can understand and apply. I’d love to tell you all about it over coffee sometime (when it’s safe)! A personal favorite moment was on the way to a Children’s March for Justice, after we had participated in a peaceful protest and silent march earlier. My son asked “why do we have to do ANOTHER one? We’ve already done this.“ I didn’t even need to respond because my daughter chimed with, “because nothing has changed and people are still dying at the hands of those sworn to protect!!“
These children have taught ME so much in our chats for sure! As I unpack it WITH them, it forces me to continue to look deeper. Truly listening, empathetic understanding, firmly loving, and honestly talking through past & current events. The uncomfortable conversations have to continually happen for all of our communities, so we can continue to grow in grace, love and understanding.
In my opinion, our faith and love needs to be inclusive and expansive. As parents (and parent figures: aunts, uncles, framily) we have a great responsibility. Our direct and immediate ministry is in our homes & families. This is where we have the most impact on the future of the world and God’s kingdom. Continually checking our motives and heart posture, and adjusting when needed. Our children are the future and our legacy. However, our work does not stop there.
We must get involved with local organizations (and national if we are able) where we can contribute our gifts & resources. We, white people, do NOT need to start something new. This work has been going on long before it was trendy on social media. Let’s look for plans and programs already in place and see what help is needed! We need to register to vote, do our research, and then VOTE. We also need to make sure that the most marginalized also have access & ability to vote.
The fight must continue and making that commitment is extremely important. The change starts within your home - but in order for there to be a systemic change the laws have to change, the police department would have to change, and district lines would have to change.
Let’s stand together to fight injustice.
I am grateful for this opportunity to take a deeper look at my own motives and actions. I am open to talking through my experiences with anyone who is looking for more clarity. I will most likely point you in the direction of those who can speak to it more clearly, and have been living in this work far longer than me. We will no longer sit silently on the sidelines. We stand together or we all fall.
(This post was written in collaboration with Nadiyah Albee and Alexis Jacquett Young.)
Monday Meditation: Believe
Lisa Thrift-Blatnica | June 29, 2020
Failure does not disqualify us from our potential. We all fail, but we are not failures, even when. . .
Failure does not disqualify us from our potential. We all fail, but we are not failures, even when the enemy convinces us to define ourselves by that word.
Our failure is never more powerful than our God. Let this truth define you.
God is more than capable of taking what we messed up, turning it upside down, twisting it sideways and making it work for our good and His ultimate glory. But if we don’t believe what He says, we might completely miss out on seeing Him work in and through us. Not even my failure, no matter how great, can redirect God’s plan for me.
“The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken — who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?“ (Isaiah 14:27)
When the winds of failure cause you to drift, fan the fire of your faith and stand firmly on the truth. We don’t have the power to change His plans. But for those who follow Christ, nothing you have done or will do can keep you from being in the presence of God. Nothing you have done or will do, will ever erase the potential God sees in you.
You are worthwhile! “With God all things are possible“ (Matthew 19:26)
Choose to BELIEVE!
Enjoy this worship song by for KING & COUNTRY — Shoulders
Monday Meditation: Speak Life, NOT Death
Lisa Thrift-Blatnica | June 22, 2020
Our words have a profound impact upon our lives. According to the scriptures in Proverbs 18:21,. . .
Our words have a profound impact upon our lives. According to the scriptures in Proverbs 18:21, “There is power of life and death in our tongues“.
Language that’s infused with hope, patience and humor will positively affect how we move through our day. On the other hand, negative and defeatist words drag us down to their level and drain us of joy we could be finding in our life and work unto the Lord.
Wherever I go, I love to speak life into people. When I travel to one of my favorite vacation destinations, which is the Island of Maui, in the beautiful state of Hawaii, I have come to develop many long-term relationships simply by the words I have spoken to a staff person at our hotel, restaurant, on the beach, etc. I don’t do this to get anything, but the Lord does bless us in HUGE ways!
Today, make your mouth a fountain of life (Proverbs 10:11). Be a person whose mouth is full of life.
May I encourage you to Reflect & Respond on these things this week:
- Stay prayerful —By staying in communion with God.
- Bring your “A“ Game — We are mere stewards of the gifts, talents and resources God has generously given us. They aren’t ours to waste or hide away. Keep this in mind as you choose the words you speak to others (and yourself) about the work God has given you to do.
- Don’t let temporary emotions have the final say — Remember, feelings fluctuate like the Maui wind! God promises wisdom, not the “feelings“ of wisdom. It’s only natural to sometimes feel fed up or frustrated. But that’s what they are, feelings. Feelings and emotions do change, but we may say things we later regret and can’t take back or undo.
- Be slow to speak — THINK! (James 1:19)
- Say something affectionate to a loved one at an unexpected time. Seek to only speak words that are “Good for building up,“ that give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
Enjoy these lyrics and worship song from TobyMac, Speak Life.
Use your words to inspire!
Monday Meditation: Peace Be Still
Lisa Thrift-Blatnica | June 15, 2020
Below are a list of resources that Pastor Glenn and Mark Jennings referenced in their June 2, 2020. . .
Below are a list of resources that Pastor Glenn and Mark Jennings referenced in their June 2, 2020 "Testimony Tuesday" with Nadiyah Albee.
You may have recently said this to the Father, “it seems like the whole world is spinning out of control. Everything has changed, and it happened so quickly.“
It’s easy to worry about the future, about the health of those around you, about finances for the future, and more. You may feel like you don’t know what to do. Choose to look to the one who knows, JESUS!
We can trust that He is with us. I can trust that even on my worst day, you are there, and you care. You are working in this crisis and in my life—even if I can’t see it or don’t understand it.
I am reminded, Father, that when Jesus died on the Cross, to the disciples it seemed like the whole world had ended. And then they saw Jesus alive, and he said, “Peace be with you!“ (John 20:19).
Jesus, be my peace in this time of turmoil. Amen.
Enjoy this powerful worship song.
Peace be Still - The Belonging Co, featuring Lauren Daigle
Monday Meditation: See A Victory
Lisa Thrift-Blatnica | June 8, 2020
Below are a list of resources that Pastor Glenn and Mark Jennings referenced in their June 2, 2020. . .
Below are a list of resources that Pastor Glenn and Mark Jennings referenced in their June 2, 2020 "Testimony Tuesday" with Nadiyah Albee.
I think we’d all agree, that 2020 has been a challenge so far, and in a big way.
For me personally, the first month into the new year I lost my dear cousin Jackie, who was my age, only 55 years young. She was like a sister to me. Then came the horrible COVID-19 pandemic that has taken the precious lives of over 111,000 Americans and many thousands more in other countries. This doesn’t include deaths of those who have committed suicide from losing a loved one to the pandemic, being laid off from a job, or the added stresses of family life at this time. My sister-in law is now fighting the battle of being diagnosed with Covid-19.
And, to add to all of this, there’s another sad, evil and unfortunate incident that has reared its ugly head once again, racism. Mr. George Floyd should not have suffered the brutal murder in which he did and at the hands of those who take the very oath to serve and protect us—law enforcement.
I believe Mr. Floyd did not die in vain on national television. His death is now changing the world! It’s a pivotal time in our nation. God has allowed this for His good and for His glory. The heavenly Father says in Genesis, 50:20 “You take what the enemy meant for evil and turn it for good.“ He is turning things around. He’s working it out! The battle belongs to the Lord, and He will fight it on our behalf. Exodus 14:14
Racial tensions, conflict, and yes, unfortunately death—all call for social justice reforms and an understanding of cultural differences. Systemic racism, social bias and now the latest term being used—unconscious bias, have plagued this country for more than 400 years. Communities across our country and around the world are now starting serious and hopefully, long lasting and meaningful conversations about addressing the need for racial reconciliation and healing. The church, our local, state and national leaders must now fully engage and show true leadership for real and effective change to take place.
Racial barriers derive their power when people refuse to communicate, and instead, make assumptions based on negative stereotypes, media-driven narratives, upbringing, certain life experiences and more. This can be a very painful reality for black people.
The only way to begin easing the racial divide is to allow the love of God to be the bond that strengthens relationships. The local church can, and should, play a vital role in leading the way as Ambassadors of Reconciliation and Restoration. I’m grateful and thankful that Makers Church and our Pastors want to genuinely start this dialog. This is HUGE!
Even though conflict within human relationships is both universal and inevitable, how a person approaches and navigates through the hurt and misunderstandings is not only unique and individual, but also impacts the eventual outcome of the process. Sadly, a lot of painful things are said and done at home, in the workplace, and even at church—without much thought, care, concern or wisdom. Sometimes these hurts involve very complex issues—and at other times, they are over trivial and simple disputes.
The ability to apologize and forgive another’s faults and shortcomings is critical in building positive, healthy relationships. Apologizing is an important biblical concept and is often influenced by parental modeling.
Again, conflict is inevitable, but we can choose the route of harmony and brotherly love. Kindhearted and humble in spirit, not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead. Romans 12:17-21
Reflect & Respond
What are you teaching in your home and to your family? Ignoring this situation and hoping it just blows over like many other issues eventually do, is not an option. Jesus is a man of ACTION!
I challenge you this week to take a step towards change. It starts in your heart! Ask God to show you the areas that need a full remodeling and make-over. He will give you the desires of your heart Psalm 37:4
Enjoy this worship song that will soothe your soul as you meet with the Heavenly Father. Be blessed!
See A Victory by Elevation Worship
Racial Justice: Ways to Serve Our Community
Makers Church | June 6, 2020
There are actions all of us can take to fight against racism, hate, and prejudice in our daily. . .
There are actions all of us can take to fight against racism, hate, and prejudice in our daily lives. The battle for racial justice will continue long after this week or this month, and these things have to take root in our families, neighborhoods, and cities in order to see larger, systemic changes in our country and our world.
We invite you to take a few minutes to pause and reflect with us on how we can best serve our community right now:
Prayer alone is not enough, but prayer postures our hearts. It prepares us to listen to God speaking and creates space to process and meditate on our response. We are in a time of global crisis, and we desperately need guidance from the Spirit.
Prayer is not passive, it's powerful. If you're feeling angry, pray for the righteous anger of God that moves towards justice. If you find yourself skipping over the pain to talk about peace and unity, sit in the discomfort a little longer. Pray for those who are hurting and grieving. Pray for God to expand your world and your relationships, especially if you mainly interact with people who look, think, talk, or vote just like you. Pray for patience and wisdom with people who disagree with you. Pray for forgiveness from people we've wronged, and for those who have wronged us.
Pray that we as a church family step boldly and courageously into what God is speaking to us, to lament our blind spots and our ignorance, to faithfully stand in the gap and be a bridge of true reconciliation and peace in our community. Pray for guidance and courage to step boldly into what your role in that might be.
2. Listen & Learn
Read through this list (we'll continue to update it):
RACIAL RECONCILIATION RESOURCES
Commit to being a disciple of Jesus - a humble, lifelong learner. If you are not black, listen to the personal experiences of black brothers & sisters, and don't just listen to respond. Listen to learn.
Learn by reading through lists of resources, and decide TODAY - to purchase a book, watch a webinar, listen to a sermon, or a podcast that specifically talks about our collective responsibility as believers to fight racism. Lament the ways in which the Church and we as individuals have participated in perpetuating injustice and inequality. Stay curious and engage in these critical conversations with your friends & family.
3. Respond with Intention
Love is a verb. Love is intentional. Think about your strengths, your gifts, your circle of influence. How can you leverage your skills and passion for good? How can you amplify different voices, particularly black voices, with your platform? Ask God: what would you have me do?
- Donate to Equal Justice Initiative, Be the Bridge or another nonprofit fighting for racial justice.
- Organize a book club from the recommended reading lists
- Join a local protest, prayer vigil, or paddle out
- Sign petitions on behalf of the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and more: https://www.change.org/petitions
- Call and email our elected officials, especially here in San Diego, to demand our public servants and laws reflect our values for a more equitable justice system for every human being. www.sandiegansforjustice.com
- Create something with a message: make music, write poetry, design a graphic, film a video, paint, write...find a creative way to speak truth to power.
We have a long way to go on the road of racial reconciliation and we will make mistakes, but we won't give up. We will do better. We will keep leaning into our relationships, following where Jesus leads and partnering together with our communities to make on earth as it is in heaven.
If you are interested in helping lead more conversations around racial reconciliation in our Makers community, please email email@example.com and let us know.
The People’s Prayer
Marc Wallis | May 18, 2020
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth. . .
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven...
May we learn to make good of what we’re given rather than simply try to make sense of it.
May we be too busy risking, dreaming, doing, creating, loving, leading, innovating, pursuing bold ideas and showing a better way than to criticize others.
May we always value people above politics, policies, dogma or rigid ideology - or our own need to be right.
May we be a church that truly celebrates and cultivates diversity, equality, inclusion, and belonging - choosing unity over uniformity and solidarity over division.
May we learn to find liberation in limitations and disruptions, to say no to what is good so we can say yes to what is best.
May we be a people that run into the fray as first responders, not from it.
May our love always travel faster than our truth and farther than our fear.
May we have the maturity to embrace the mysteries of God, trusting the He is good even in the midst of uncertainty.
May we learn to choose joy, gratitude and happiness here and now, not waiting for circumstances to change.
May we have the courage to see that faith is not given, it’s grown...and that even struggles can produce perseverance, and perseverance character and character - hope.
May we be marked by radical forgiveness & generosity, recognizing that all good things are gifts from the Giver of Life.
May we never let fear masquerade as wisdom, or keep us from moving forward or stepping out onto the waters to follow where Jesus leads.
May we be a refuge and sanctuary for the vulnerable and hurting and skeptical, and whisper gently through our lives the possibility that they need not stay that way.
May our dreams and imaginations for the future be greater than the memories of our past, trusting that God’s mercies are new every morning and the best is yet to come.
May we grow daily in knowledge, wisdom, humility, grace, and intimacy with Jesus.
May we find and call out the light in others, knowing every human bears the fingerprints of God.
Like Jesus, may we loose the bonds of injustice, liberate the captives, amplify the voices of the unheard, be a father to the fatherless, mother to the motherless, an advocate for the poor, the tired, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, the depressed, the disenfranchised, the numb and the lonely, and even those wealthy in resources but poor in spirit - and be a messenger of mercy and a sweet song of hope.
May we remember that alone we can do nothing, but with Christ we are more than Conquerors.
Lord, may your kingdom come and your will be done in Our Lives as it is in Heaven.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever: Amen.
Psalm 23: In My Own Words
Makers Church | May 12, 2020
Pastor Chalese shared this beautiful version of Psalm 23 as a benediction to her talk on Sunday,. . .
Pastor Chalese shared this beautiful version of Psalm 23 as a benediction to her talk on Sunday, May 10, 2020.
God, my shepherd! My leader. My example. My guide through every season.
I don’t need a thing. You always provide. Always show up. Always bring me every thing at the right time. My great provider.
You make me lie down. Lie down in quiet, in rest. Lie down in solitude, in your grace and mercy. Lie down in this present moment...make me lie down.
You let me catch my breath. Remember what is most important. Bring life back into focus. Bring life back to my soul. Bring me life.
You restore to me what I had lost along the way.
Even when I find myself in the darkest valley, overwhelmed, consumed, surrounded on all sides...
I am not afraid. Because You...are with me.
You watch over me. You protect me. You guiding spirit comforts me. I can sense you all around and it makes me feel secure.
When I sit at my table, surrounded by my enemies: fear, doubt, worry, insecurity, and shame. You sit right beside me. You remind me I am chosen. You lift my wearied head.
You give me a purpose and a calling, a reason to get out of bed in the morning. And I am renewed.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I am with you forever. For the rest of my life, I will follow you.
You make me lie down, you restore my soul.
Reflections on Lamentations
Martha Haines | May 5, 2020
What a fantastic series going through Lamentations was! Chalese, Derrick and Marc did such a. . .
What a fantastic series going through Lamentations was! Chalese, Derrick and Marc did such a remarkable job with such a difficult book. Well done!!
Now that we hit the end of the book, you may be wondering, “What happened next?“ Our theme verse was, 'there may yet be hope.“(Lam. 3:29) Was that hope justified?
The answer is...absolutely! In fact, let me get ahead of myself and give you the ending right up front.
What happened next to the Israelites shows us that even when God allows the consequences of our sin to discipline us, He always does it in a way that results for our own good. In addition, when we find life taking us where we didn’t expect we would be going, who knows, this may be God’s plan to that will ultimately result in our good.
Here is the bottom line — we can have hope no matter what. If the Israelites can have hope in the midst of all of this, how much more can we. Let me tell you why.
Exile is what happened next. The people of Judah were carted off to Babylon. In fact, most of them were already there when Jeremiah was describing what he saw in the aftermath of the fall of Jerusalem.
Here is what has always mystified me about this whole event — God wanted the Israelites to go to Babylon and not stay in Jerusalem. To me it seems like the courageous and even holy thing for them to do would have been to resist exile and stay in Jerusalem. That was not the case.
Let’s take a giant step back.
The Old Covenant (or Testament) God made with Israel was a covenant of blessings and curses. If you obeyed the laws of the covenant (think Moses and the Ten Commandments as a start), God would bless you. If you disobeyed, God would curse you. A summary of these blessings and curses can be found in Deuteronomy 28-29 and would be beneficial for you to read. One thing they did to “cut“ this covenant was to literally cut a sacrificial animal in two, separate the two halves and then walk through between the two. As they did that, they declared that the same thing should happen to the person who breaks the covenant. YIKES!
As we know, they broke this covenant countless times in every way, especially breaking the first commandment and worshipping other gods. What was God to do?
God was gracious and merciful and forgave them over and over and over and yes, over again. But ultimately sin pays. So, two things happened because at this time Israel is divided into two kingdoms — the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah).
In 722 BC, Israel was conquered by the Assyrians. The way the Assyrians established their rule was to cart off half of the conquered people to exile, and then bring in their own people to replace them. The resulting intermingling and intermarriage would dilute the desire to resist their conquers. And that is exactly what happened here, with the Northern Kingdom Israelites becoming what the Southern Kingdom considered “half breeds.“ These half breeds ultimately became known as “the Samaritans“ who were despised in Jesus’ day.
Then over a century later, in 586 BC, the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar, laid siege to Jerusalem and totally destroyed it.
Now as this was unfolding God raised up prophets like Isaiah to warn people to repent of their sin. Then comes Jeremiah, saying the same thing. But interestingly, in addition to warning of the fall of the kingdom, Jeremiah starts speaking of a coming exile.
"For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, to this day, the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. And though the Lord persistently sent you all his servants the prophets, you have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear when they said, “Turn now, every one of you, from your evil way and wicked doings, and you will remain upon the land that the Lord has given to you and your ancestors from of old and forever; do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, and do not provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.“ Yet you did not listen to me, says the Lord, and so you have provoked me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm. Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, I am going to send for all the tribes of the north, says the Lord, even for King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these nations around; I will utterly destroy them, and make them an object of horror and of hissing, and an everlasting disgrace. And I will banish from them the sound of mirth and the sound of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years."
Now here is where it gets weird.
Over time, Jeremiah tells them this exile is part of God’s plan and it will ultimately result in their good. Going is good, and staying is bad.
Sure enough, those who went to Babylon ended up far better off than those who stayed in Jerusalem. Indeed, God worked powerfully in their midst while they were in Babylon. Remember Daniel in the lion’s den? Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace? Those miracles took place during the exile to Babylon.
Which brings us to my main point.
When the Israelites were carted away to Babylon, they were far from God and in bondage to all sorts of sin. When they returned to Jerusalem in 537 BC, they had been set free from that bondage and were back on track with God. A spiritual cleansing if you will. (We saw the results of that in our Rebuilding the Wall series Pastor Derrick just preached on.)
We read this in gotquestions.org- "The Babylonian captivity had one very significant impact on the nation of Israel when it returned to the land—it would never again be corrupted by the idolatry and false gods of the surrounding nations. A revival among Jews took place after the return of the Jews to Israel and the rebuilding of the temple. We see those accounts in Ezra and Nehemiah as the nation would once again return to the God who had delivered them from their enemies."
So, let me repeat what I said up front - Even when God allows the consequences of our sin to discipline us, he always does that in a way that it is for our own good. Especially now that we are under the New Covenant. In addition, when we find life taking us where we didn’t expect to be going, who knows, this may be God’s plan that will ultimately result in our good. As horrible as this may sound, God can even turn physical suffering into our own good by causing it to set us free from sin.
The Apostle Peter said this: "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin."
1 Peter 4:1
I have experienced this truth in my own life over the years.
Here is the bottom line — We can have hope no matter what. If the Israelites can have hope in the midst of all of this, how much more can we. Through faith in Jesus, we are adopted children of a gracious and merciful God, who loves us unconditionally. He will ultimately turn the bad things in your life into good (Romans 8:28).
Makers Church | April 30, 2020
Optimism and joy are woven in to my very nature. As a 7 on the enneagram and with positivity as my. . .
Optimism and joy are woven in to my very nature. As a 7 on the enneagram and with positivity as my #1 StrengthsFinder theme I constantly seek out joy and positivity. I crave it even. I create moments of joy and constantly plan for the next... It’s how I’m naturally wired.
At a young age, I made it my personal mission to make people laugh and guide others towards the light.I’ve always loved encouraging people and pointing out what’s good and beautiful in them. Even now in my “grown up“ phase of life, I use up all of my extra energy to lighten the mood and I chase the silver lining far more than I dig into the roots of my suffering.
But even with my positive, “its always sunny“ disposition, I am in no way averse to sorrow and pain. I may even feel it deeper than many. There are painful moments we all experience where joy feels distant and near impossible. When your light is dimmed, when you feel lonely, when you’re experiencing pain, loss, shame or anxiety, the very thought of joy may feel like a cruel joke.
"Joy has gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning." (Lamentations 5:15)
But if you find one small moment of joy and hope in a day full of darkness, that moment alone can keep you going. Happiness isn’t present in difficulty, but joy doesn’t need to smile in order to exist. We do, however need to choose to be joyful. So how do we find joy in sadness?
One thing I’ve learned over and over again is that gratitude is the best practice to nurture joy. When things are going well and we choose to rejoice, we build the capacity to be joyful when things are not going well. In the same breath, generosity is a seed of joy. Week by week, when we plant seeds of gratefulness and servanthood, we are strengthening our “joy muscles“.
If the only capacity for joy you can find in this season is to merely plant the seed— that’s enough. Let that be enough. God will use it.
Let Jesus be your joy-giver. When you find Jesus you find joy. When you know His love, you know joy. When you know his faithfulness and his forgiveness, you know joy. Joyfulness is found in His hopefulness. There is a reason we can feel sorrow one minute and burst into laughter the next. They go hand in hand— Jesus experienced both. There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.
While I am still not the best at letting myself stay in those hard moments and feel what I need to feel... I am really good at finding and embracing Joy. Here are some additional ideas to practice and foster joy:
Practice Gratitude. Gratitude is the root of joy. Giving thanks can make you happier. Practice a daily journal of gratitude. If you’re not disciplined enough (like me), speak it out loud. Tell someone what you’re grateful for today. Tell yourself what you’re grateful for.
Listen to Music. There’s a reason I majored in music in college, taught kinder music for 4 years and have found my home on the Makers worship team— fewer things feed my soul and lift my mood other than music. Find a playlist to play in the background, bust out the vinyl records, watch a live recording of your favorite band. Sing in the shower. Loudly.
LAUGH! Do a silly dance in the mirror. Try to make your family laugh with a funny voice or goofy face. Choose a comedy or a funny sitcom on movie night. Watch YouTube compilations of people falling. Initiate a tickle fight. Give your spouse, kids, roommate a big bear hug.
Play! Build a fort. Go camping outside. Give your babies, toddlers & pets daily nose “boops“. Run through the sprinklers. Play a family game of Candyland for the hundredth time. Have a living room dance party. Dust off that deck of cards. Google ice breaker questions and answer them as a family at the dinner table or on a zoom call.
Celebrate- Even the small things are worth celebrating. Your 5th grader finished another week of virtual learning? Celebrate. You purged your closet while also working, being mom and being teacher? Celebrate. You finally washed your hair after 4 days? Happy dance & celebrate. Your family is healthy- celebrate. Another day survived in quarantine certainly warrants a pizza party.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy. You’ve heard this before. But its important to lean into this truth again and again and again. During this Covid-19 quarantine, you are NOT expected to become a bread baking, content creating, quilt-making, body-building wizard with your “extra time“. Do what you can do and let that be enough. By the way, creativity does not need to be extravagant. Solving problems is creative, strategically balancing kid’s schedules is creative, reading a book and dreaming of the future is creative. In this season especially, we all fall short of the expectations we set for ourselves, especially if we compare our accomplishments and progress to everyone around us.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Change the background on your next zoom meeting. Own the shirt you’ve been wearing backwards all day. Do I wear Harry Potter socks with my polka dot garden shoes in and out of my home every day? Yes. Will I sport this look at Target this week?
I’m certainly down for the challenge. Laugh (at yourself), dance, play and consider it all joy my friends!
“Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.“ (Jeremiah 31:13).
Makers Church | April 23, 2020
When I chose the word rooted as my word for the year 2020, I think it’s safe to say I had no. . .
When I chose the word rooted as my word for the year 2020, I think it’s safe to say I had no idea that I would literally be rooted inside my small apartment, more specifically to the blue couch in my living room, for an undetermined amount of time.
For an extrovert (or as my mom lovingly refers to me, a social butterfly) that statement alone fills me with anxiety. I will be rooted, here, in my apartment, for an undetermined amount of time. No hugs, no high fives, no social gatherings. Again, the anxiety rises in me.
During this season of isolation and uncertainty, how can I grow and move forward? When being with others is what brings me joy and fills my soul, where can I find those things while I stay home in order to keep others safe?
When waves of anxiousness and loneliness begin to wash over me, I remind myself that I have permission to feel those feelings. They are normal and they are real. But I also remember that those feelings don’t get to control my life. I know that even in this season, rooted unexpectedly at home, God is working in me, in our community, and in the world.
I know that even in this season, rooted unexpectedly at home, God is working in me, in our community, and in the world.
So I take the time to feel, but I also take back control and turn to healthy outlets - I say a prayer, I pick up a paintbrush and turn on some worship music, I go for a run, I do something nice for someone, I have a living room karaoke dance party (cue “Into the Unknown“), I FaceTime my family, I have a Zoom party with my friends.
I’m learning that even here, rooted on this blue couch in my small apartment, there can be growth. There can be relationships and community. There can be moments of joy and laughter. And here, rooted in these spaces and in God, is where I will see my heart and this world begin to heal.
Caring from Home
Makers Church | April 17, 2020
I don't know about you, but when this all hit I felt a bit paralyzed. How was I going to lead the. . .
I don't know about you, but when this all hit I felt a bit paralyzed. How was I going to lead the Care team in loving our church family when we aren't supposed to see each other?
After a few days of letting everything sink in, we jumped back in to business as usual, just with some moderations. We are still busy sending cards, flowers, baby baskets and meals, just from the safety of our homes!
Last weekend, we decided to bless some of the older crowd at church by delivering Easter baskets. The baskets contained a devotional book, chocolate of course, some face masks, and supplies for partaking in communion. We were equipped with masks, gloves, and kept our distance. Pastor Glenn also included a note inviting them to call him and take communion together over the phone, if they were not able to join us online!
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This is definitely a crazy time of uncertainty, but it's also a time of new beauty and creativity. I have never felt closer or more bonded to my Care team! People need comfort more than ever, and we are able to comfort them with the comfort we have from Jesus and the encouragement we provide to each other.
Reach out to someone this week that is isolated or living alone!
If you need anything at all, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are so blessed to get to care for you!
- by Chelsea Knox, Makers Church Care Team Director
The Power of Invitation
Marc Wallis | April 7, 2020
Howdy Makers Church, This past week Lisa Thrift-Blatnica did something remarkable. She invited. . .
Howdy Makers Church,
This past week Lisa Thrift-Blatnica did something remarkable. She invited twenty-seven people in her relational world, what we also call "Oikos," to come to the Makers Church online service. And guess what? All twenty-seven people showed up!
The exciting thing about all of this is what Lisa did, every one of us can do. The silver lining to this Covid 19 virus and sheltering in place is it isn’t as scary to tune into church online and it isn’t as scary to ask people to do just that. This also shows the power of multiplication. One person just brought 27 people to virtual church to hear about the love of Jesus. All because of relationships and the power of the Holy Spirit. Imagine if everyone in Makers did this for Easter!
Here is what Lisa texted me in response: “I stand AMAZED how God moved!!!!! I have always been inspired to challenge people in their journey no matter where they are in their walk. I'm just a conduit and CHEERLEADER.“
Watch Lisa tell us how she did it, and challenge, inspire, and cheer us on to do the same.
Allowing the Interruption
Makers Church | March 31, 2020
BY SYDNEY EDEREROur world has gone through a whirl-wind of change in mere weeks with the COVID-19. . .
BY SYDNEY EDERER
Our world has gone through a whirl-wind of change in mere weeks with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In hopes of being transparent, I have to admit all the chaos and frenzy has affected me more than I would have anticipated. While I am easily prone to anxiety, mental and emotional distress (many of you may be able to relate), I also know I have a choice in how I react to situations like this.
I can allow the chaos to consume me and become a mental burden, or I can choose a more fulfilling alternative. I can't sit here and tell you all that I will be able to choose the fulfilling alternatives without fail. I have already proven that to be false these past 48 hours! However, I can make a promise to myself, the people I love, and to Jesus that I will do my very best and try again when I find myself off track.
This past week, I have been reminded that prayer is the first place I should turn. One night as I tried to fall asleep, I prayed that Jesus would show me how he reacts to illnesses like this Coronavirus outbreak. I know without a doubt our God is a God of healing, but I also wanted to try to better understand how He is present in all of this.
During this prayer, a story in the Book of Mark popped immediately came to mind. I am not typically gifted with a mind that serves as a biblical encyclopedia, but for some reason this story came to me so clearly.
Mark 5:21-43 details the story of Jesus being asked by a synagogue leader to come heal his dying daughter. Jesus immediately follows the leader to his home, but he gets interrupted by a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. He takes time to stop the rush to the leader’s house in order to acknowledge this woman’s faith in him, and affirm her healing in front of all who could hear. He goes on to heal the leader’s daughter as well, welcoming the interruption from the woman while simultaneously completing the task he initially set out for.
I asked Jesus to help me understand how he responds to illness, and I believe he reminded me of this story to show me one way he responds: by allowing the interruptions. Not only did he allow the interruption from the bleeding woman, but he invited her closer to him and used her story to teach lessons about healing, faith, and so much more to everyone around them.
If we can’t buy toilet paper, go to concerts, or publicly celebrate birthdays, let alone predict the next 24 hours, maybe the only thing we can do is allow the interruptions this pandemic is creating.
INTERRUPTIONS TURNED BLESSINGS
A few ways I've seen interruptions become blessings during this time:
FAMILY TIME. Schools are closed and many adults being asked to work from home, so families are being forced to spend all day, every day together! They are discovering new ways to learn and grow together, spending quality time that can easily get pushed aside during our normal busy lives. If you are “stuck“ in a home full of your family during this time, I pray you don't take it for granted. Maybe this family time is exactly what we all needed.
REST. Our lifestyles have become filled with busy, busy, and more busy. For the first time in who knows how long, most of us don't have a choice but to stay home. Hopefully, this results in more down time, fewer demands, and more sleep! I would encourage all of us to embrace it now, because as soon as this ends we might find ourselves right back into the fast-paced lifestyle that has become second nature. Take some time to draw, write, garden or simply binge watch all your favorite shows— and please, please, please, don’t forget we have a God who loves to spend restful time with you!
CARE FOR THE ELDERLY. Growing up, many of our parents drilled the phrase “respect your elders“ into us! I have seen so many posts on social media of younger generations offering their time to grocery shop for the elderly who are at a much higher risk than themselves. People are speaking up in compassion for those who are more susceptible to the negative repercussions of this virus. I am grateful for the way I have seen people come together during this time. Even when we can't physically join hands, at the very least we can witness how true compassion and real relationships don't end just because our social lives get put on hold.
RESPECT FOR FIRST RESPONDERS and everyone on the front lines of this outbreak! Unlike the rest of us who are able to remain in the safety of our homes, even if we do not want to, our first responders are the ones leaving their homes to serve our community during this time. In addition, cashiers, pharmacists, janitors, nurses and doctors are coming into direct contact with the pandemic by mere definition of their careers. If wildfires, terminal diseases, and long lines of cranky customers have not already deepened our respect for those mentioned above, then the Coronavirus serves as an incredible opportunity to thank these heroes for their sacrifice. They are the hands and feet of Jesus whether or not they are aware of it.
CHALLENGE FOR THIS WEEK
I'd like to challenge you to change your perspective the next time you scroll through social media. Look for the interruptions and allow them to show you where Jesus’ movement is spreading (even when it feels like the only thing spreading is COVID-19). I obviously have no idea how or when this chaos and frenzy will end, but I do know that if I end up left with no toilet paper, no physical contact with the ones I love, and no steady income - I will still be left with the One who promises healing and is worthy of my faithful heart.
We tend to be disgruntled by interruptions in our daily lives, but maybe interruptions aren’t such a bad thing after all! My prayer tonight is that I will follow Jesus’ pattern in Mark 5 by allowing the interruptions during this time of unknowns. Join me in asking yourself, “What is Jesus trying to interrupt me with?“
COVID-19: MAKERS UPDATES + LOCAL RESOURCES
Ash Wednesday: Holy Habits
Lauren Wallis | February 26, 2020
by Lauren Wallis For dust you are and to dust you will return. | Genesis 3:19Today is Ash. . .
by Lauren Wallis
For dust you are and to dust you will return. | Genesis 3:19
Today is Ash Wednesday. It marks the first day of Lent: a 40-day season dedicated to deeply reflecting on the death and resurrection of Jesus. It has been observed by Christians all over the world for centuries. As you walk around today you may notice how some people have a dark smudge on their foreheads. Many faith communities participate in Ash Wednesday through a time of communal worship, confession, prayer and receiving ash on their foreheads in the shape of a cross. The ash is traditionally made from the burning of palm branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday, and is meant to be an outward symbol of our inward reflection and repentance as we prepare our hearts for Easter.
The Book of Common Prayer describes Lent as, “a time of considering Christ’s sufferings and rethinking how we are called to take up our own crosses...it is a good season to reflect on how we live and to let some things go, or maybe even develop some new holy habits.“
These holy habits can look like fasting or giving up something like sugar, alcohol or tv -- which can definitely help disrupt our routines and refocus our relationship with Jesus. I also love the idea that developing holy habits can mean integrating something new into our lives as a way to recenter and connect with God in a fresh way. This may look like joining a community group, volunteering, exercising or carving out more time to pray. Whether we choose to give something up or add something in (or both), it is going to look different for every person. This is one of the most simple, yet powerful aspects of Lent. It's a communal reminder to get personal with God and challenge ourselves, as the creatures of comfort we are, to lean into surrender and reflection. It can be a time of great clarity and growth in our spiritual life if we allow it to be.
As a church, collectively and individually, one of the ways we are reflecting in this season is by asking the question, “God, what does it look like for ME to be HERE FOR GOOD?“ What would it look like for us to practice being “here,“ being present in our relationships, our workplace, our families, our neighborhoods? What does it mean to be a people “for good“? Do we leave others better and more hopeful than we found them? What does it look like to truly reflect the radical, sacrificial and unconditional love that Jesus showed for us through his death and resurrection?
Our prayer during Lent and beyond is to be Here for Good, to make on earth is it is in heaven. As we ask God to prepare our hearts and show us what this looks like -- we can’t think of a better way than to come together in prayer. Next month we are joining with churches all over San Diego for SEVEN, a one-week gathering to pray and fast for our city. We will be hosting one of the prayer nights at Makers Church on March 24th. Please join us and invite a friend, it’s going to be a powerful time of prayer and worship together!
We hope this Lenten season is filled with reflection, redemption and renewal between you and God. As staff and leaders we want to walk with you and support your spiritual journey with any tools that might be helpful, so here are a few resources I’ve found especially impactful during Lent. I hope they encourage you too:
- Book of Common Prayer (A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals)
- May It Be So (Forty Days with the Lord’s Prayer)
- The Mosaic Devotional Bible
3 Holiday Events: Giving Back To Our Community
Lauren Wallis | December 18, 2019
"We love because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:19Jesus modeled many things for us throughout. . .
"We love because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:19
Jesus modeled many things for us throughout scripture, but one character trait that always stands out is his practical example of how to serve others. I've always loved the verses that describe Jesus as being, "moved by compassion," (the translation is literally moved in his gut) when he saw people in need!
As followers of Jesus our lives should be marked by compassion and our willingness to sacrifice resources like time, energy and money to care for others. It's not about whether we have a lot or a little to give, it's all about the motivation and posture of our hearts.
At Makers, serving inside + outside our walls is something we are dedicated to pursuing and encouraging in creative ways. Pastor Derrick said it best, "Our desire is to MAKE on earth as it is in heaven — and we believe this begins with a work of God within us, flowing out into the work we do, the families we raise, the relationships we cultivate and the lives we lead."
One of the ways we do this is through community partnerships and impact events, especially during the holiday season! The generosity of our community allowed us to give back in so many different ways this year, but we especially wanted to highlight 3 holiday impact events that you made possible:
1. THANKSGIVING COMMUNITY MEAL
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. — Romans 12:13
We kicked off the holiday season by sharing a delicious Thanksgiving meal together in The Hall. We invited our surrounding community, our homeless neighbors, and anyone that didn’t have a place to go and fellowship on Thanksgiving Day!
It was pouring rain all day, but thankfully that didn't stop over 45 volunteers from coming to help set up, cook, drop off food, serve, pray, host tables, wash dishes and hand-deliver meals to the homeless on the streets who couldn't make it to the church.
It was beautiful to see the conversations happening around the tables as everyone shared a meal together. Jesus spent a lot of time breaking bread with people from all walks of life, making them feel seen, heard and loved in the simplest of ways. We pray our church continues to be a place where people can experience how much God loves them, and find warmth and connection all year round!
2. CHRISTMAS MARKET
On Dec 1st, our Impact + Hospitality ministries hosted an incredible Makers Christmas Market right after the gathering!
We headed to The Hall to enjoy hot cocoa and homemade desserts while shopping local + global vendors that give back to great causes! All of these amazing social good businesses either call Makers home, or have a personal connection to our community. Every product they make has a bigger purpose, so keep them in mind for friends and family gifts throughout the year!
Check out their websites below:
3. ANGEL TREE FOR BRIDGE OF HOPE
Freely you have received, freely give. - Matthew 10:8
Our annual Angel Tree was also a huge success! The Christmas tree was full of ornaments representing gifts for local families that receive services through our partner Bridge of Hope. The families are all in transition from either homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, recovery homes, or refugees relocating from around the world.
Every year Bridge of Hope hosts an annual Christmas Bazaar where the families can shop these brand new gifts to pick out and wrap for their kids. So many of you bought toys, games, blankets, soccer balls and more that we were able to deliver over 75 gifts from Makers! You have blessed families in San Diego and from all around the world with your love and generosity this Christmas.
Thank you for all the ways, seen and unseen, that you help us make a difference in our city + around the world! The holidays can be as challenging as they are wonderful for many people, so serving together is a reminder of what this season is really about. It connects us to a greater story: a story of love, hope, justice and renewal through the life of Jesus Christ. What a gift!
And Still, It Is Good
Makers Church | July 9, 2019
by Amy Siemens I grew up in a family that loved Jesus. The typical go to church every Sunday, pray. . .
by Amy Siemens
I grew up in a family that loved Jesus. The typical go to church every Sunday, pray before meals and bedtime type of family. For some families this can simply become routine, but my parents truly taught us kids to love Jesus well. My family always encouraged us to have our own relationship with Jesus and to take the decisions we made seriously, such as communion, tithing and baptism.
As the oldest sister of six children I had it in my mind that I should be the first one to partake in these sacred and special rituals and it started with communion. Finally, when I was sixteen I felt that I was old enough to fully understand the depth of partaking in communion. I remember being so nervous to go up there and dunk my piece of bread into the grape juice. Then, holding my hand carefully under the piece of dipped bread so the grape juice wouldn’t drip on the carpet. I was so excited to go back to my seat and share in this special moment. Until, I got back to the row our family was sitting in and my younger sister wasn’t there?! Where did she go? WAIT, she got to participate in communion the same day as me?! Are you kidding me?! This wasn’t how I pictured it, this wasn’t how I had imagined it going. I had had to wait a whole extra year than she did — what was fair about that —
This first practice of extending my faith did not go as planned. So, I was determined that the second important practice of proclaiming my faith publicly would be just how I’ve always dreamt of it.
I had this image in my head of how it was going to be. It would be up at our cabin in Lake of the Woods, Ontario in Canada. I would be surrounded by all of my friends and family. Every one of my siblings would be there. I had this fantasy in my head that I would be wearing a black shirt and then somehow come out of the water in white garments signifying that my sins had all been cleansed from me. Like how was this supposed to happen?! I have no idea, but this is the image that I had dreamt up in my head of the ideal baptism. Thinking I was in a place ready to publicly proclaim my faith, but could never commit because there was always an excuse “one sibling was missing“ or “I didn’t like the idea that they used a blow up pool“. I was so focused on having the right picture and the ideal circumstances of how it would look instead of focusing on the truth and the depth of what it means to be baptized in the name of Jesus.
Being in my twenties and not having been baptized yet, brought me a sense of shame and embarrassment. How could I call myself a Christian if I still had not done the one thing Jesus asks us as Christians to proclaim?! I was embarrassed of having to explain that the reason for me not having been baptized were because the logistics didn’t match my ideal situation. I was embarrassed that people younger than me had been bold enough to take this step in their faith and I was using excuses that because my family wasn’t present I couldn’t do it?!
In December of 2017, I was expressing all of my concerns, shame and idealizations about baptism and what it meant to me to a dear friend. She encouraged me to focus on what baptism truly meant for me. Not anyone else, because it is a declaration of love and commitment between me and God. It doesn't matter what that looks like or who is there to witness it. Speaking these fears and embarrassment out loud made me realize that I was ready for this next step. I realized it was not about me and my plans but was about the Jesus I loved and his plans for me. I learned I had to let go of the control I thought I had and let Jesus’ plan take precedence.
Although I couldn’t be with my entire family the day I was to be baptized, God gave me so much more than I could have ever hoped for. He surrounded me with the most supportive friends and community. They were there to cheer me on, pray over me and to be my family in Christ. Even though it wasn't how I had pictured it in my head all those years, it was still perfect. Completely perfect.
The enemy tried to keep me from this amazing experience by bringing shame & paralyzing me out of fear that the experience wouldn’t match my expectations. Once I let Jesus take control and followed his plan, things changed. Jesus can take that shame and embarrassment and use it for His good. Always. Life might not go how you thought, it may not seem fair, but it is good. It is oh so good.
Makers Church | March 13, 2019
by Gill Sotu If my recent birthday party was a popular, major, sporting event, let’s. . .
by Gill Sotu
If my recent birthday party was a popular, major, sporting event, let’s say—.cricket. And said sporting event had a highlight play of the game, I would definitely spotlight the moment I witnessed four African American fathers, all of them making living as being creatives, freely sharing the ups and downs of finding “The Balance.“ Oh, “The Balance“ is a tricky game we all play ladies and gentlemen, but I feel it gets particularly difficult when you make your living sharing to the world, through your art, all the feelings that come up for you. So you have to deal with them constantly. Stupid feelings.
Imagine that you are stuck in the middle of an ocean on a life raft with your family. So far, your heroic deeds have gotten you and your loved ones off the boat just in time. Your children are scared and crying and just need some good TLC to calm them down, but you need to come up with a way to get all of you to safety. Your wife, as wonderful as she is, as strong as she is, has one big heart, but only two hands. Did I mention she was pregnant? This was supposed to be a babymoon trip. So yes, she needs your support too. Every time you row towards shore, hoping you are going in the right direction, the children begin their heartbreaking wailing. They are petrified of what lies beneath the dark cold ocean. Every time you stop to comfort and calm them, they remind you of their hunger, they are tired of eating the same thing, one wants to go swimming and won’t take no for an answer. Your amazing wife is taking a much deserved nap, and you realize, in fulfilling your important role as daddy-husband, you haven’t moved anywhere for days.
This is the game of “The Balance“. Everyone plays it in their own way, and the rules seem to constantly change. And what is also hard is that often, even when you are winning, it feels like you are still grossly behind. This is the part where faith comes in. This is the part where God comes in...
“ 36-40 Jesus said all this, and then went into hiding. All these God-signs he had given them and they still didn’t get it, still wouldn’t trust him. This proved that the prophet Isaiah was right: God, who believed what we preached? Who recognized God’s arm, outstretched and ready to act? First they wouldn’t believe, then they couldn’t—again, just as Isaiah said: Their eyes are blinded, their hearts are hardened,
So that they wouldn’t see with their eyes, and perceive with their hearts—
44-46 Jesus summed it all up when he cried out, “Whoever believes in me, believes not just in me but in the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.“ John 12:37-50 (The Message - MSG)
This is when you look at your children with all their fingers, toes, and mounds of curiosity. This is the when you watch your wife sleeping, perhaps with a bit of drool down one side, and hair a tangled mess, but still radiant. Everyone is safe, dry and fed. You are all together. You have survived the sea for this long. These are the God-signs that have been provided for you. Do not ignore them. Your family is the evidence that miracles exist. Trust that if God can do all this, that HE can pull you forward. HE will help you find “The Balance“, but HE must be a part of that equation. Put your faith to action and row when you can, rest and comfort your family when you need to. And most important, forgive yourself for feeling like you have fallen short. Your survival will not be pretty. But it is necessary. What you do not realize is that about a mile back, there is another family who has also survived, looking at you, hoping, you know the way to safety.
Like Siri, But Better
Makers Church | March 6, 2019
by Lisa Alfaro From a very young age I’ve had the privilege of knowing the most amazing friend. . .
by Lisa Alfaro
From a very young age I’ve had the privilege of knowing the most amazing friend one could ever have. In all the stages of my life there were new and unexpected challenges-- Choosing a school, a career, a life partner, raising children, and now, retirement. But through each stage, I credit my friend’s influence for just about every good thing I have accomplished. He is quiet and gentle, yet firm. Throughout my lifetime he never forced or imposed his ways, he’s been there to give me peace when the days get difficult and I feel overwhelmed, brought me joy even in loss or sorrow, clarity and wisdom when I’ve felt confused. Consistently prompting me to love and forgive when I want to stay angry and hold a grudge. Over and over, he is the friend that brings out the very best in me.
Who is this friend?
I did not capitalize his pronoun because I didn’t want to give it away too soon—yes, this friend is the Holy Spirit! He came by invitation. When I accepted Jesus into my heart, the Holy Spirit came to dwell inside of me unlocking wonderful possibilities within me. If you have surrendered your life to Jesus and accepted Him, my wonderful friend lives inside of you as well!
Sometimes I wish I had lived in the time when Jesus was on this earth so that I could physically see Him and hear Him up close and personal, imagining myself His most faithful follower. But then I wonder if I would’ve been like one of those hardened and unbelieving Pharisees. And even if I had been one of His closest disciples, I might’ve been like Peter, denying Him when things got tough. Clearly, it’s anybody’s guess! Notice in John 7:38-39 Jesus said: “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.“ I’m so glad that now His Holy Spirit dwells inside of us so that we can call upon Him to help us live our very best life for God’s glory.
But so often hearing and understanding the Holy Spirit can feel like an overwhelming or illusive idea. We want it to be immediate or crystal clear, but like so many things in life, I’m not convinced that’s how God operates. So the question remains - How do we access the Holy Spirit?
Today’s technology has made resolving issues in our everyday life fairly immediate, just look at Siri or Alexa for example. There’s no need to meander through a neighborhood trying to find an address when we can voice activate Siri to help us find it! Likewise, in my own life prayer has been that that voice activation to petition what we need from God allowing His Holy Spirit to help us. There is no need to fail when we can pray asking His Holy Spirit to come alongside and journey with us. Don’t get me wrong, there is a listening and trust learning curve. Our busy minds can sometimes miss hearing that gentle instruction from the Holy Spirit. Sometimes our disobedient nature will override His nudging. He will be grieved but will never give up on us.
It reminds me of Siri, if we fail to follow her instructions to get to a destination and we make a wrong turn, she will say, “Reconfiguring“ and will give instructions on how to get back in the right direction. I have learned to rely on Him more and more through years of practice. Sadly, there were times when I did not activate that awesome power. I would plunge right into a situation thinking I could handle it on my own and failed miserably. In the end I had to come back and ask God to “reconfigure“ my situation and show me His way. His Spirit was there to make things right and I learned my lesson—Next time go straight to the Source of all wisdom and power first, listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and then act. We don’t have to go it alone, everyday and at every turn we can access the Holy Spirit living inside of us. “—When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.“ (John 16:13)
The Hard Work of Making Space
Makers Church | February 20, 2019
by Amanda Ortega My family and I came to Makers just about a year ago. It was so important for us. . .
by Amanda Ortega
My family and I came to Makers just about a year ago. It was so important for us to find a community where we could feel that we belonged and feel safe. You see, feeling safe was the furthest from what I felt for a big chunk of my life.
From being the target of my parents rage to enduring years of being raped, all before I was even 13 years old- I felt like there was no place to escape the horrors I was living. And when my mom dismissed my plea for help that’s when I lost all hope.
So I shut down and toughened up- that was the only way I thought I could protect myself.
For the last 12 years God has chipped away those walls I built in so many ways but the thing that has most impacted me is this question he asks me- and he asks it more often than I like to admit, and that is: Will you make space for me?
And by giving him space I’m not talking about just clearing an hour in the calendar; I mean trusting him to move within those dark messy bits that we prefer to keep hidden.
And believe me I know how hard it can be to even think of letting those things come to the surface, but I also know that deep inside we all really want to live a life beyond just surviving and trying to keep up. I’ll be the first to admit making space for him can really feel like a risk but it can also feel like an opportunity. It really is just a matter of how you choose to look at it.
And as I’ve taken those steps, he has honored each one; knowing how much it took for me to do so and bringing me healing I never thought I would ever feel; using my story to give others the hope to find healing also.
And while I’m certainly not perfect and I don’t have it all figured out, he meets me where I am and I know I can always trust God and that in his hands I am always safe.
He resurrected so much of what died in me so long ago and I don’t know what might feel like is dead in your life but I am a living testament that he can bring life and beauty from so much darkness.
I want to leave you with this verse from Psalms 143:8 that is a great reflection and reminder for me- it says:
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
My prayer is that you would seek out the safe spaces and safe people in your own life. That you would come to know the gift of community and the grace of our savior. That you would let the walls crumble and step into a life that is more than just surviving.
When You’re Out Of A Job And Going A Little Crazy
Makers Church | February 13, 2019
by Christian Alvarez I never thought that after 11 years in the Navy that I’d be in a position. . .
by Christian Alvarez
I never thought that after 11 years in the Navy that I’d be in a position that I wouldn’t have any sort of income to provide for my family. I was in a program that was supposed to link me with a job as soon as I got out of the Navy, but it just didn’t work out. It was really frightening and eye opening to see how much self worth I placed on my ability to financially provide for my family. In the process I found myself losing a daily battle to read scripture and in a vicious cycle of procrastination.
Last Wednesday it all changed. When I woke up, instead of reaching for my phone, I felt convicted to grab my actual Bible and read through Mark. It honestly was like have a cup of tea with a close friend or family member that I had been trying to make plans with but just kept flaking.
Then came this verse:
“In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house.“ - Mark“¬ “3:27“¬ “NIV“¬“¬
Reading this verse made me recognize that I had been mentally tied up, and any time I tried to untie the mess, the knot of stress and anxiety that had formed in my mind tightened. I realized that any time I had tried to take care of something that needed to get done or was past due everything else that also needed to be accomplished came rushing to mind and I would freeze. Since I couldn’t fix everything...I fixed nothing. In a nutshell, I felt trapped.
So after finishing chapter three, it felt as though Jesus was telling me that the only way I was going to untangle the knot of my mind was by starting with a single thread and following it until it was free, and maybe I’d free up some other threads along the way, but to focus on the one.
Three hours laters while at the bank with my wife Hannah I got a call...a job offer.
Today is only day four on the new job, but the effect of establishing routine again has already had a major impact on me. The past four days have been spent processing, training, and waiting for other people to sign forms that I need to actually start at the location I’ll be working at. I could be frustrated, I could start pulling on a thousand threads to get something done, but I’m not too worried about. I’m letting life unfold as it will, trusting God in the process. I’m determined to not let the waiting get the best of me, besides, I’ve got plenty of threads to follow in the meantime.
All Things New
Makers Church | February 6, 2019
by Hollyanne Simon Eight months ago I was in a season where all things were new. And believe me,. . .
by Hollyanne Simon
Eight months ago I was in a season where all things were new. And believe me, when I say all things I really do mean all things. My son was just six weeks old when I found myself looking for a new Church home, my husband had just left to go back out to sea with the Navy and I was diving head first into a new job in a new field. And here’s the thing, even though everything beneath me felt as though it was shifting I was in desperate need of a fresh community to call home. Trust me, I didn’t want to add one more new thing but I knew it was needed and it was time. Although I had the support of some great friends and family, I needed to find a place to call home and begin connecting with other Moms as soon as possible. Before my husband shipped out we came to Makers and instantly knew that this is where God had led us and He had a purpose and a plan. We went all in.
I signed up to join a Moms Community Group and I will never forget my first morning going. I am not the nervous type and although I am typically outgoing, it was difficult for me to walk into a new environment with new people on top of everything else new in my life. The moment I walked into the home filled with moms, babies and kids I felt a wave of relief. I knew I was at the right place and I began envisioning all the future friendships that would grow from my simple step of faith. My son and I were instantly welcomed, genuinely encouraged and thoughtfully cared for from the moment we arrived. The opportunity to hear from women that had already walked this new path of motherhood I found myself on, left me feeling abundantly blessed. No one was acting as though they had it all together and in that moment it clicked—I was not alone in this journey as a new mom and these women were my people.
His word tells us that He is making us new.
In the Message translation of the Bible Isaiah 18-19 reads, "Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out!“. New is exciting, yet difficult. New is inspiring, yet scary. New is opportunity, yet unknown. New takes faith in action and can sometimes leave us feeling lost. It is easy to be comfortable in what we already know. We must remember that just because it is comfortable doesn’t mean it is right. I was certainly comfortable before all the newness but in the same breath I knew I needed to move forward. God was making me new and I was growing in the process.
As many of you know, it is that time of the year where we launch our Community Groups at Makers. Not only am I thrilled to be connecting weekly with all the fabulous Moms at Makers, I am thrilled to be co-leading one of these groups. I look forward to more community, more growth and more new in this next season. My husband and I are expecting another son in July, there will be more time apart as a family, we choose orders in June for what and where is next for our family along with so much more that is unknown. I don’t know what’s next, none of us do. It’s terrifying and wonderful, and I suppose that’s just real life, right? I may not know what’s waiting around the next corner but what I do know is that in the newness I will choose hope and anticipation for all the good to come.
*To sign up for a Spring Community Group today, click here!
Made For It
Makers Church | January 30, 2019
by Carol Eliya Community is essential. We are made for it. I didn’t realize this until I moved. . .
by Carol Eliya
Community is essential. We are made for it. I didn’t realize this until I moved away from everyone and everything I knew and was alone in a new city. Up to that point, I thought I could do anything alone in my own strength. That theory was quickly proven false when everything I did to build a life in San Diego failed and I was trapped and lost in the misery of my burdens alone. But that’s when I finally realized God’s mercy and grace, and it shook me up. He changed my world.
Soon after, I discovered Maker’s church. It was my first experience at a young, “cool“, artsy church and I had no idea churches like that could even exist. I was amazed and intrigued and wanted to keep coming back for more, despite feeling slightly awkward showing up alone when it seemed like everyone else knew each other. I was encouraged by how friendly everyone was, but I still felt like I barely knew anyone. I craved some sort of gathering beyond Sunday church service.
That fall I saw the Makers emails for community groups sign ups. I was so excited when I saw the email that I decided I would go to every community group that I could. I worked nights in a restaurant, so my work schedule wasn’t consistent causing me to do a lot of community group hopping. I loved being open and vulnerable with people, but I still didn’t truly get to know people because of my inability to be consistent. Sometimes I felt disheartened because I was no longer the new girl at church, but I still didn’t fully feel like a part of the community. But I didn’t give up. When the next round of community groups opened I decided I was going to make it a priority to be consistent this time. I even adjusted my work schedule around them. At first, tt seemed a bit counter-intuitive to arrange my work around church and community groups- but it made an immense difference in my happiness, peace, stress-level, and overall relationship with God.
I made connections that went beyond just the Tuesday or Wednesday nights. Being consistent and intentional made a world of difference. I can now see how growing together with others in God is how He made us to be. We’re not meant to do it alone. Or just on Sundays. It’s not supposed to be an afterthought or a convenience — it should be a priority. We’re supposed to be others-focused but a lot of the time work and life simply gets in the way. But there’s a slippery slope of letting work and busyness be an excuse to skip out on community. God will not punish you for wanting to do less work to spend time in fellowship. Quite the contrary, He will actually bless you.
My women’s group supported my abrupt decision to uproot my amazing life in San Diego to go to Mexico to do a Discipleship Training School. It was an exciting, but also difficult decision to make that came with many obstacles, and without their encouragement and support, I don’t know if I’d be here now. When my own family didn’t support me, they did. This is the power and beauty of true community.
*To sign up for a Spring Community Group today, go to www.makerschurch.org/community-groups!
Room for Margin
Makers Church | December 19, 2018
by Rachel Cross One day last year, I noticed that I was constantly answering the question, "How are. . .
by Rachel Cross
One day last year, I noticed that I was constantly answering the question, "How are you?" with "Busy, so busy!" I was traveling for work and fun, hustling with a full project load for my clients, engaged in leading a community group, and keeping up the full social life my Enneagram Type 7 lives for. None of these things were bad or harmful. In fact, the activities were good and some even necessary. Still, I didn't like that answer I kept giving — "busy." It felt disconnected and disconcerting. It didn't leave margin for spiritual disciplines outside of a quick morning reading and prayer time. It stifled my ability to be spontaneous when needs suddenly arose with friends or family.
I knew that busyness was a choice in my case — not some circumstance out of my control. It's something our culture values though I myself don't find any real virtue in it. And I knew that my busyness made it harder to connect with the source of light and love and all good things — Jesus.
So I made a conscious decision to stop the madness, which required that I stop living that way. I took a purposeful six weeks off from travel, where I didn't even go away for the weekend. I limited after-work, social meetups to two times a week (down from four to five). I picked up new spiritual practices including meditation and solitude that forced me to pause.
The truth is that we make time for the things that are important to us.
Today, I still struggle with filling up my calendar with too much (especially during this busy holiday season), but I've learned to time block my days to make sure I check off the necessary things. It’s different on any given day but includes things like doing a daily study with friends who text what we’re learning each morning, contemplative writing, practicing yoga, or getting out into nature to marvel at God’s creation. I say no (more often) to things even if I will suffer major FOMO because I know, ultimately, slowing down benefits my body and my mind.
Really, truly resting in who Jesus is in a deep and meaningful way requires a setting of intention: a mindfulness to say no to good to make room for great. And like everything we practice, it will become a habit you can't live without.
Why I’m Ditching The Holiday Hustle
Makers Church | December 11, 2018
by Katie Balla My phone pings. I look down and notice another event added to our family calendar by. . .
by Katie Balla
My phone pings. I look down and notice another event added to our family calendar by my husband and I feel a little tension rise in my chest. It starts to bring up the list of things. I have to find another babysitter. I need to make another appetizer. I need to find cute dresses for the girls for Christmas Eve. I need to remind Declan to work from home on the day of the holiday performance. I need to buy gifts for the grandparents. Oh crap--don't forget about the teacher gifts--you must remember the teachers.
The list goes on.
The holiday is literally just beginning and I can already feel the hustle creeping in. We sing songs about Peace on Earth but most of us likely feel very little peace in a season with so much expectation, so much to do, so many extras on top of our already intense everyday lives.
The idea of Christmas for most people brings all the warm fuzzy thoughts, cozy fires, hot cocoa and cookies and watching ELF on repeat. It means spending time with your loved ones and candle-light services, parties and holiday concerts, and picking out that special gift you know someone will love. But the idea of it isn't always how it ends up feeling -you know what I'm saying?
Every year I tell myself to slow down, appreciate the season of Advent. That this will be the year I do it right, really teaching my children intentionally about it; the expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Jesus. But every year--without fail--the hustle gets us, and screws it all up.
So how do you enjoy and truly reflect on what Christmas means and not let busyness win? If you figure it out, let me know. But here is our plan:
- We took the girls out of extras this month. No gymnastics, fewer dance practices. (already taking a deep breath just thinking about it)
- We will be reading a family Advent Devotional together. Hold me to it.
- We will say no to obligations that don't bring us joy.
- We will be staying in town. Less travel=less stress (especially for a family of 5)
- No more extra gift giving to our family members. (Instead of exchanging gifts with all my siblings and their children, for example, we put the money we would have spent into a pot and do something good with it. Send some YoungLife kids to camp, maybe-or provide a few families in Haiti with chickens and goats as food sources.)
- We will not be hosting any formal events. (Sure, we may invite friends over for an impromptu night of pizza & The Grinch, or cookie decorating--but nothing formal, nothing stress-inducing.)
- One of our kids is getting surgery. (I know this sounds funny--but every time I think about our daughter getting her tonsils out 5 days before Christmas, I actually think it will be a hidden blessing. We can stay home and relax and have a very valid excuse to just cozy up and not do extra things!)
Ever heard the phrase, Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail? A little aggressive, perhaps--but I'm thinking since every year has been a bust in experiencing peace and rest in this holiday season, I figured having a plan this year may actually help. Besides, it doesn't hurt to try.
If you're sick of the holiday hustle-maybe you need a plan too?
We can step back from the fast pace.
Enjoy the people we love.
And be completely in awe that our Savior came to earth as a precious, vulnerable, tiny baby. The mingling of God + Humanity. Phew. That's good stuff, and I wanna be totally here for it.
People are the Movement
Makers Church | October 30, 2018
This week we had the chance to sit down with three of our incredible youth leaders and talk about. . .
This week we had the chance to sit down with three of our incredible youth leaders and talk about why they are investing their time in the next generation
Start With One
Behind the energetic and smiling faces of the Makers Church Youth leaders are a team of people with a deep-seated belief that the youth are our future. For most of us, we remember middle and high school with cringe like responses. No matter what your teenage years were like, chances are you can identify with this sometimes awkward, definitely odd, middle stage of life. I mean, who let us get those awful haircuts for crying out loud?! For many young people (terrible haircut or not), this season of life is when you step out of what was, and either boldly leap, or slump into the next stage.
The Makers Youth team is committed to creating a safe space for the youth of San Diego to engage in authentic and bold conversation around faith, fear and all things in between. Simply put, their goal is to help youth take the big leaps and soften the blow if they do end up slumping instead. This week we had the opportunity to sit down with some of our incredible youth leaders and get a deeper glimpse into why they volunteer their time to invest in the next generation.
What is your drive behind devoting time to youth?
“I started a Christian club myself at my Highschool when I was attending. And it honestly lit a fire to keep helping out students. After graduating, I’ve just had that desire to help out students. I’ve been in the shoes of the high school student and I know what it feels like to struggle. I do not want our students to struggle alone too“. -Oscar Garcia
“Going through teenagehood can be an awkward, adventurous and mildly bizarre. During my own high school days, when I felt like things were crumbling around me, it was through my youth leaders that I was redirected to who and where my worth came from. I show up to lead youth because having someone who cares and will listen makes a world of difference in knowing God’s love“ -Emily Bullen
What do you hope youth will take away from the time you invest in them?
“My hope is that they see God and Makers as a lighthouse where they can find direction. Middle school and High school are hard places to be, and my goal is to show them through the time and energy of all the leaders that we care and are there for them. We don’t have all the answers, but we will listen“. -Oscar Garcia
“My hope for these kids would be that they truly understand how God sees them. This way, regardless of the path their life takes, they always know exactly where they stand. That they are loved, valued and forgiven“. -Vaughn Triolio
What have you learned the most through volunteering with Makers Youth?
“God is reminding me of the importance of equipping our youth to actually know God. To know what it is like to live a sustainable life with Jesus beyond a Sunday morning.“ -Vaughn Triolo
“Community! A student honestly won’t really listen to you if you don’t know them. You can speak great words, but if a student doesn’t really know you, it only gets so far. No human was designed for isolation, and that especially applies to students“. -Oscar Garcia.
“If we merely greet our stunning youth on a Sunday, the vital element of mentorship in community is missing. The reason mentorship is so important in this stage of life is learning that you are not alone, and you are worthy of time and love.“ - Emily Bullen
What if we took a cue from our Youth Leaders and looked at the youth of today with bright eyes? What if we saw past the drama and attitude and bad wardrobe decisions to see the depth of love, strength, and compassion that each of our youth possesses? If we focus on listening, supporting and walking alongside them in life, the future of our world will transform for the better. The greatest hope our world has is those who will come after us; we cannot wish for a brighter tomorrow if we are not willing to invest in those who will be leading the charge. The good news is that big changes start with the soul and life of one individual being transformed. Just like the parable of the 1 missing sheep, Makers Youth Leaders are dedicated to fiercely supporting and loving our youth. May we all be brave enough to leave the 99 and chase after the 1.
Serving is Our Must
Makers Church | October 24, 2018
by Andrew Schulz That Is Enough "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others. . .
by Andrew Schulz
That Is Enough
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.“ - Matthew 20:28
Just before Jesus spoke these words, James and John had requested that they sit next to Jesus on his glorious throne, one on his right and one on his left.
"You don't know what you are asking!" Jesus replied. "Are you able to drink the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?"
I'll be totally honest... I'm probably more like James and John than I'd like to admit. I sometimes catch my mind in some grandiose revery, watching myself stand in front of people, spotlights gleaming... They walk up to me later and thank me for my impeccable words and deft wit. Wow. I cringe as I write this. The realization that James, John, and I fail to make is that our place is not on the throne, but in the trenches. To serve (or lead) is not to stand above others, but to take part in their suffering.
"But among you, it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave." - Matthew 20:26
As I was contemplating service, I was reminded of a recent, vivid dream I had. In this dream, I was wandering the desert. I had fallen to the ground, my bones heavy with hopelessness. It was becoming very clear that I could not go any further. There I would collapse and wither. As I felt my last breath escaping, a speck tore through the horizon and walked toward me. He stood over me as I lay there, shriveling. He offered his hand...
"I have nothing to give you in return“, I said.
His simple reply, "That is enough"
Just like James and John, we often believe Jesus is asking for something different or more than what he is actually asking. We think he asks us to wear a shiny facade. We think he asks us to “be ready.“ But maybe, just maybe, the only thing he asks us to do is surrender.
When I recognize this truth, the burden becomes so much lighter. I realize that what Jesus really desires is for me to show up. When it came to serving at Makers, I simply said yes to the little things that needed to be done. Need help with lights? Yes! Need help tearing down? Yes! At work, I try to serve my students by being present with them. I fail often, but I do my best to listen intently and let them know that I am with them in their joy and in their suffering. What if these small, yet profound, acts of service could change the world? I’m convinced more than ever that they do. So I will continue to show up. And, as God does, I will try to have mercy on myself when I fall short or feel scared.
Jesus was so powerful, and yet, humble. With his spirit, so are we! And through our small acts of love, we transform ourselves and the world around us. And that really is, enough.
Excellence is Our Method
Makers Church | October 17, 2018
by Kathryn Schuyler Jesus Doesn’t Grade On A Curve My mom’s minivan was coated in bumper. . .
by Kathryn Schuyler
Jesus Doesn’t Grade On A Curve
My mom’s minivan was coated in bumper stickers. And when I say this, I mean only the same bumper sticker, over and over again. “My child is an outstanding student at T.L. Waggoner,“ or something to that effect. Yeah, I was that kid. I came home with award after award: student of the month, citizen of the month, honor student in social studies and English and math, citizen of the year, junior high valedictorian, high school valedictorian. If you can’t tell that I, as the Enneagram politely says, have perfectionistic tendencies, you should probably reread that last sentence.
Achievement standards have always been a way that I have structured my world. They’ve brought an order of clarity to a complicated existence—to know I’m doing well I can confirm how much better I’m doing than everyone else. I’ve graded myself on a curve, doing whatever it takes to place my score on the highest percentile.
In my personal paradigm, excellence is the only method. The real battle was (is) letting the gospel recalibrate what excellence means. The metrics for success I hold onto—outperformance, efficiency, that covert sense of superiority—may be functional in a worldly sense, but they can actually ruin the kingdom God is bringing.
Jesus doesn’t grade on a curve and the Bible doesn’t lay out competitive metrics for fulfillment. In fact, when it comes to what it looks like to live a good life, the Bible is pointedly individual. The widow with the two coins is praised by Jesus for giving all that she had to give. Spiritual gifts are spread across a body with unique organs, not ranked on a power spectrum. We are called to do what we’re doing as it were unto the Lord, not to outdo each other.
For years, I’ve been working on rewiring myself to pursue God’s understanding of excellence. And oftentimes, this sense of excellence feels like a worldly failure. Jesus’s grace is so frequently at odds with my perfectionism. Self love and forgiveness are particularly challenging to swallow, but I’m chewing.
With a redefinition of excellence has come a whole new slew of goals. I want to be really good at my job, but I also want to be the kind of coworker who remembers to ask about how that thing went with your parents this weekend. I want to be an excellent magazine editor. And an excellent apologizer. I want to show up where I’m needed, not just for what I’m good at. And I want to forgive those who are having a hard time showing up.
But most of all, I am learning to forgive myself for everything I just can’t be. It’s taken a long time to learn that mimicking Jesus also means duplicating his love for me. I can bring everything I have to the table, and if that’s not enough, God fills in the gaps. And he fills in those gaps with all of you.
At Makers Church, excellence is our method because, together, we’re showing up. Growing up. Encouraging each other to give our very best without feeling any less than. Bravely trying new things and improving the old ones. Making room for achievement and for grace. Let’s put that on a bumper sticker.
Peace is Our Mandate
Makers Church | October 10, 2018
by Jayna Russel The Path In Between “Let me tell you a God story,“ Tom said to me as we sat. . .
by Jayna Russel
The Path In Between
“Let me tell you a God story,“ Tom said to me as we sat chatting together at Starbucks. “I was in Bucharest, Romania, working with an orthopedic team from Operation Smile. In Romania, there were whole hospitals full of children dying of AIDS, and suffering from horrible deformities because they had never left their cribs. We were in one of those hospitals.“
Tom is retired now, but he spent much of his adult life working as a nurse anesthetist, and volunteering his professional services in some of the most impoverished countries in the world.
“We had been operating on children all day,“ he continued. “It was about two o’clock in the afternoon, and I had been giving anesthesia since seven o’clock that morning. No one had given me lunch. I was hungry and thirsty, and I was irritated.
“Eventually someone brought me food. I went outside, and there were about five half-dead dogs lying around on the ground. My lunch was nothing but a little tomato, a crust of bread, and a little piece of cheese, and I was mad. But then I saw a little boy, who was wearing nothing but his pajama bottoms, and he was diving into the dumpster.
“God looked down at me in that moment, and He said, 'Tom, you are a selfish person. What is your problem?’“
It was a turning point in Tom’s life. “It was one of those moments,“ he said, “that wouldn’t have happened in La Jolla, or going to a football game, or hanging out at a bar. It could have only happened there.“
And Tom’s response was, I have to do more.
For the past two years, Tom has been volunteering for San Diego Refugee Tutoring, a non-profit organization that provides San Diego’s many refugee children with educational support through tutoring, school supplies, extra-curricular activities, and advocacy. His initial commitment began with a handful of tutoring sessions a month, and has since grown into so much more. Tom keeps showing up, and he keeps looking for ways that he can bring about change.
I’ve been thinking about my conversation with Tom ever since, and have found myself asking what it really means to call myself a Christian. And how, if at all, am I living out that calling?
If I’m honest, I have to admit that when I see poverty and desperation, I want to shut down. And I know that other people want to respond in anger, lashing out in a need to blame, punish, and avenge.
How do we make sense of such things? How do we face the truth of the world’s astounding pain? How do we operate as God’s instruments of peace?
I asked Tom what we can do in the face of the overwhelm that results from these questions, and he said simply this, “You have to really look inside yourself and at your own values, and remember your integrity. There’s an old saying that goes, 'The way you do anything is the way you do everything.’ Are you going to be a Christian and stop and help, or are you going to move on?’“
At the end of the day, Jesus’ mission of peace is not passivity; nor is it violence and aggression in the name of retribution. Peace is the third way, the path in between, wherein Jesus compels us to bring about healing and restoration. For Tom, in a world that is so broken and divided, he chooses a path of service as a way of bringing about God’s peace.
In the face of insurmountable odds, therefore, we choose to follow the example of Jesus because it is the right thing to do, and because our integrity compels us to do so. We don’t shut our eyes and turn away. We also don’t allow anger and bitterness to determine our choices. We choose peace. Because of Him.
So, if you are a Christian and are wondering how you are going to be an instrument of peace, here is what Tom has to say to you, “Be willing to get uncomfortable. The more uncomfortable situations you seek, the more you learn, and the more you will realize what you can do. We are here on this earth to help one another. And if each of us does our part, we can really change things.“
Wherever you choose to serve, know that you matter to God, and that you are here on this earth to make a difference. We choose Peace. For Him.
For more information on San Diego Refugee Tutoring, please check out their website at www.sdrefugeetutoring.com. They are always looking for donations of funds, school supplies, and the like, but the most important resource you can possibly give is your time. It is you, showing up and being available for a kid in need. Your time can make an immeasurable impact.
The Bible is Our Manuscript
Makers Church | October 3, 2018
by Marc Wallis An Infinite Invitation This past Sunday, I had the honor of speaking at. . .
by Marc Wallis
An Infinite Invitation
This past Sunday, I had the honor of speaking at Makers during our Manifesto Series on the topic: The Bible is Our Manuscript.
I have a deep love and reverence for the Scriptures so it was an exciting and humbling privilege. Sobering too since most of us bring baggage when it comes to the Bible, from all over the spectrum, and that’s not to be taken lightly.
Honestly though, throughout the process I kept wondering who was I to offer anything to this ancient and ongoing conversation on Scriptures. Countless generations of far wiser women and men have pondered and pontificated far more powerfully than I ever could. What have I to add? Maybe not much. But, as cliche as it might sound, I do have one vital addition - my story. And it’s the same thing we all have, for our stories are a part of this whole God-breathing process we are all called into. (God breathes into us and we breathe back with our words, our actions, our creativity, our worship, our lives).
My Sunday talk focused more on the overall nature, structure, and purposes of Scriptures. We touched on all kinds of things from Poems to Parables, Gardens to Whales (or Big Fish), Game of Thrones (duh) and even The Beatles. But here, instead, I'd like to share - just a bit - on what Scriptures means to me personally.
Because you see, I've always found it fascinating how Jesus often asked his followers, "Who do the people say I am?", then followed it with the infinitely more important question, "Who do you say I am?“.
Anyone can state that Jesus is Lord and Savior of the world. But is he your Lord and Savior? Is he mine? This is a question we must all answer, perhaps even daily.
Similarly, we can talk theory all day about what the Bible is or isn't, or what it does or doesn't or should or shouldn't mean. And that’s all good. It’s important. We are meant to search and study and wrestle with Scriptures, for authentic knowledge helps foster intimacy. But greater than hearing is doing, and greater than knowing is loving. So what matters most is how we each answer for ourselves - not merely with our minds, but with our hearts, souls and actions as well - “What do Scriptures mean to me, and what do I do with that?“.
For me, in this season, three words come to my mind...
I believe with every fiber and bone of my being that the Scriptures are sacred. There are many general arguments why...but for me, it’s because they led me to Jesus when I was 17 and transformed my life forever. I didn’t see it coming. Did not anticipate the moment or the effects. The words from and about this Jesus - this person who could not be contained by box or label or paradigm, who was a radically new example of love for me - ignited something in my soul. My “heart was burning within me“ as I read and hasn’t stopped burning since. Sure, there have been times when the fire dimmed - but it was then also that Scriptures became the fuel once more, and my bread, my sustenance, my guidance, my conviction, my comfort, my lifeline. I can think of several moments when its promises were the only thing that kept me hanging on. To me, that is sacred.
The Scriptures are endlessly intriguing to me. They’re mysterious, compelling, practical, powerful, unique, life-giving, trustworthy, inspired, authoritative, foundational, formational and more flavorful over time, like I suspect the wine Jesus made at Cana was :) So many aspects, from how they were written and compiled to the characters themselves, are unexpected - but I believe utterly intentional. God's love and intricate plan are written everywhere, in every nook and cranny and yet discovered place. I still have a sense of wonder when I read the Bible. Perhaps curiosity is a requisite for sensing the holy?...
I heard it said once that the Scriptures were not meant to end a conversation, but to start one. Which makes sense given how Jesus was always inviting people to step into something new - to “come and see“, to “get up and walk“ and to “follow me,“ I pray we never stop seeing the Bible as an invitation into something greater than ourselves - into a relationship with the Living God, and into a new future full of purpose and calling and hope.
The Holy Spirit is Our Means
Makers Church | September 26, 2018
by Cori Dunton Trust Me, I’m Not Lonely I grew up talking to myself. It became my thing as. . .
by Cori Dunton
Trust Me, I’m Not Lonely
I grew up talking to myself. It became my thing as a kid, that weirdo in the corner having a full on conversation with herself. My parents have video footage of me as a 5 year old jumping on the trampoline in the backyard, completely alone (other than the parents secretly filming me from the kitchen) munching on carrots and rambling on. It’s a miracle I didn’t choke ya’ll. And it’s not that I didn’t have anyone to talk to, I grew up with three sisters, so believe me, there was always a conversation happening somewhere in our house. But I prefered imaginary conversations just between me and the air.
Fast forward 23 years and I am still talking to myself. I live alone but you’d never know it based on how much I chat with my apartment walls. I ask my plants why they’re wilting, I apologize to the cups I keep accidentally breaking, I compliment the kettle on being yellow and wonder aloud if my neighbors can hear my blender at 7am. I don’t know why I narrate my daily tasks, they’re certainly not interesting enough for an audio book or anything. But I think it’s because on some level I’ve known from an early age that I’m not alone. I mean yes, technically I’m alone in my apartment, or at least I hope so (brb, checking the closets!), but I’m not alone in this life.
There is so much I can’t wrap my head around when it comes to the Holy Spirit, but what I do understand is that this Spirit walks with us. It’s a constant and faithful guide. And still, so much more than that. The Holy Spirit is personal. For me, it’s the wildflowers I find in unexpected places, it’s the last bit of sunlight on the back of my neck on a Sunday afternoon, it’s the palm leaves flapping in the wind. It’s all a beautiful symphony that I call magic. I know that word may conquer up a negative image for you, and if so, that’s okay. You don’t need to relate to the Spirit the way I do. That’s the glory in it, it will seep into your soul in it’s own particular way if you let it.
I believe deeply that we all have the ability to find the Holy Spirit in the everyday, to build a relationship with it in our own way. But first, we need to slow down, open our hearts a little wider and shift our eyes into a new perspective. We need to trust the still small voice, or the feeling in our gut or the magic outside our door. Trust that it all means more, that it all has value and significance and that if we pause long enough we just might find the Holy Spirit living in these spaces. So if you see me on the street talking to myself, know I’m not lonely. I’m just chatting with the spirit, finding the magic, and leaning into the mystery that is God.
Jesus Is Our Messiah
Makers Church | September 19, 2018
by Amanda Ortega The Flourishing of the Faithful How do you see the state of our country, of. . .
by Amanda Ortega
The Flourishing of the Faithful
How do you see the state of our country, of our world? Does it make you feel all the a’s- anxious, afraid, angry? Greater still, do you feel powerless against it?
I was definitely feeling all these things- entrapped by the conditions around me, unable to break free, ashamed of the things that stripped me of my innocence- so I just resigned. There was no one who would listen, no one who would care, so I had to do things for myself because no one else would. I came to terms that life was all about the survival of the fittest.
But is it, really?
That question that I had long buried in the depths of my heart would be answered one seemingly average day in June in 2008. The night before, some friends had invited my boyfriend and I to check out a church. Let me add in the minor detail that this invitation was made over several strong drinks and dancing the night away, per usual at the time.
There wasn’t any great curiosity I was feeling. I’d say it was more of a mild interest. Never before had I stepped into a church besides catholic weddings and baptisms. There was no expectation as I walked the concrete path that was leading me to the greatest encounter of my life. But gosh, to imagine the King of Heaven and Earth, the Lord seated to his right and all the angels waiting in anticipation of the great rejoicing that was about to take place. I was so clueless. Until that first song began to play. Everything changed in that one moment, the moment Jesus’ extraordinary act of love was revealed to me..
The things that were spoken that morning-feeling as though they were solely directed to me among an auditorium of thousands:
You are known.
You are worthy.
You are not alone.
You are loved.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
Now here before me was a Father telling me I was his all along- that I didn’t have to carry the weight any more and it began to lift and was replaced with hope that there really was someone who cared about this broken girl who felt so insignificant in this world. The one who sent his own son to sacrifice himself, though blameless, with no guarantee that I would believe- but took the risk, so that I could have the opportunity to be reconciled to my Father, the one who created me, and thats calls us his sons and daughters.
Turns out life is not about the survival of the fittest but about the flourishing of the faithful. For when we believe that Jesus not only died but resurrected so that even those who feel the most unworthy and broken can come alive in him, we begin to see ourselves as inheritors of great strength and power; conduits of love and hope that can not only bring us closer to our best selves but in that also bring out the best in others because of what he did for us.
To some the word Messiah can sound like some ancient word pulled out of an old book. But we must remember this:
It took the Prince of Heaven and thousands of years to recover what was lost in one moment of sin in Eden. [Henrietta Mears]
Let us not forget the great lengths, the patience, and the intentionality with which God took to come to us through Jesus.
Maybe you relate to 2008 me - feeling like you’re just trying to survive in a seemingly broken world. I’m here to tell you your story does not need to stay there. I believe that you are destined for a full and flourishing life, and I challenge you to take the first step (or the next step!) to embracing this new life Jesus has made available to each and every one of us, yep that’s you too. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Make a commitment to come to the gatherings on Sunday once more than usual this month.
- If you already consistently attend the gatherings: Join a community group by clicking here and make a connection with someone new this week.
- All signed up and showing up? Awesome! Then consider making your public statement of faith and sign up to be baptized click here.
- For those who’ve been walking with Jesus, take some time this week to reflect on how Jesus has been your Messiah and ask in prayer for the opportunity to share that with someone.
God is our Maker
Makers Church | September 12, 2018
by Tiffany Lambert I’m Not A Carbon Copy and Neither Are You “So God created mankind in. . .
by Tiffany Lambert
I’m Not A Carbon Copy and Neither Are You
“So God created mankind in his image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.“ Gen. 1:22
Each day during creation, God looked at all that He had made and saw that it was good. As he created man and woman in his own image, He saw that it was very good. There’s a difference there, between us and the rest of creation. While everything in creation sings God’s praises and points to the beauty and depth of the Creator of the universe- nothing does so in the way that mankind does. As men and women, sons and daughters of God we were made in his image and that means we are designed to carry his attributes. Being made in the image of God is not just a warm and fuzzy idea or something that’s nice to tell ourselves, although I think we’ve relegated it to that sometimes, it carries a weight of responsibility. It is the privilege of modeling Jesus to a hurt and broken world. As believers this should change everything about how we not only understand our own value but the value of those around us. Our lives should look different. They should testify of the extreme value we have for people, because they not only reflect the image of God, they are deeply loved by Him.
We are not meant to be carbon copies or a dull lifeless image of something, we are a living, breathing, dynamic representation of God.
The first thing we learn about God in the Scriptures is that He is Creator. By His word He spoke the very earth into existence. He created not only intricate ecosystems, beautiful mountains, wildflowers and wild animals, He created us! The second thing we learn, is that we were made in His image right? This means we are the form, the likeness, the resemblance of God here on earth. If God is the ultimate creative being and we are made in his image, that means we have creativity built right in. We have it given to us as a precious gift, because God lovingly created us to reflect Him. As we tap into that creativity and partner with Holy Spirit to create, our lives should be compelling, passionate and influential. Yet sadly, I’ve heard so many people tell me “Well I’m not creative, I’m not an artist.“ This breaks my heart! Creativity isn’t relegated to only dancers, painters, or poets. We all carry the gift of creativity, and you have a creativity to bring into all areas of life- your job, your friendships, your family and everything in between. My prayer is that especially as the Church, we would come alive in this identity, that we would come alive into our creativity: to make, to reflect, and to find the beauty in this life in order to point people towards the Father.
“To create is to reflect the image of God. To create is an act of worship.“
Makers Church | February 26, 2018
by Davis Jones I left my former job the first week of December. The moment I chose to leave,. . .
by Davis Jones
I left my former job the first week of December. The moment I chose to leave, however, was back in August, at my sister’s wedding, tucked in the golden pocket of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Separated from my weekly pace at home, I could finally measure just how anxious I had become over work. I had exhausted my mind over how to better my situation for months, but until then, I had not decided one way or another. I was full of options, and frozen by indecision.
During this Lenten season, and this transitory period of my life, I’ve thought about what keeps me from making decisions among many options, not simply a few. Just because we can give up any of our creature comforts for Lent (re: pizza, screen time, unannounced Amazon splurges, more pizza) doesn’t mean that we will. Just because we know it’s time to evolve into a new career doesn’t mean that we’ll step forward. What prevents our convictions from becoming choices?
Decision paralysis is one. A chronic fear of mine is that, out of many options, I’ll choose wrongly, dooming me to reckon with that wrong choice for the rest of my days. I was the child who would fold into a sobby mess at the public library after my mom told me I could check out one book, and I needed to bring home five. My most effective form of fear management, then, was to not choose at all.
But Scripture tells us that fear and agape love — God’s unconditional, sacrificial love, and the love we’re called to reflect — are incompatible. “Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment,“ the apostle John writes. “The one who fears is not made perfect in love.“ (1 John 4:18) How often do we withhold major decisions out of fear of punishment for the 'wrong’ choice, when its consequences are born from a terrified imagination?
Fear does not cancel out faith, but fear corrupts when it causes indecision. If Scripture ignored leaders who were afraid at crucial points in biblical history, the Old Testament would read more like Reader’s Digest, and the Gospels would feel more like pamphlets. Moses denied God’s affirmation of his fitness to guide the Israelites. Mary was consoled by an angel to take heart. Paul admitted his fumbling deficiencies as a public speaker. Even Jesus cried out to his Father in Gethsemane, tears welling, to “take this cup away from me.“ The difference between these names and the innumerable others called to God’s staggering campaign is that they chose to choose — to act— in the grip of crushing fear. They decided against indecision.
One more thing, and I’m learning this, too: The Lord can’t bless a decision you haven’t made yet. All of the options in the world are empty if we fear to step into choice and trust that, through life’s tributaries, His Spirit will see you through.
In a short story from writer Adam Johnson’s collection Fortune Smiles, we read of a New Orleans doctor who runs a halfway house in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. There’s a scene where she’s speaking to the story’s protagonist, a UPS driver who suddenly must watch after his young son from a previous relationship. “When it comes to things like [your] boy, you can’t ever bend,“ she says to him. “You have to choose him — then you have to be one hundred percent. Don’t think of it as making a choice, but obeying one. Determine what you want, and be obedient to that.“
May we lean into the courage of decision this Lenten season, one hundred percent.
We’ll Save You A Slice
Makers Church | February 15, 2018
by Kathryn Schulyer Last year for Lent, I capriciously decided to give up pizza. It was what I then. . .
by Kathryn Schulyer
Last year for Lent, I capriciously decided to give up pizza. It was what I then sized up to be a solid Lenten fast - I ate pizza almost every week but it wasn’t a cornerstone of my diet, it was semi-burdensome, it wouldn’t come up much in conversation, it was totally doable. That was until I went on a date with a guy who I’d butted heads with over faith, and he was hellbent on us getting pizza that breezy night in February.
Instead, we had BBQ.
If you’re not familiar, Lent is a long-standing practice in the Christian tradition of giving up something or taking on something extra during the forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It’s a practice of mourning and letting go, of pressing into what actually matters. The forty days mimic the fast of Jesus in the desert before he launched his ministry, and are meant to prepare us to seriously celebrate when Jesus kicks death in the booty and resurrects on Easter Sunday.
Last year, 40 days of a pizzaless existence certainly didn’t kill me, but I was actually stunned at the way God had used this little fast to put a monumental conversation in my path. I had to actually attempt to explain the value of this millennia-old practice of fasting to someone who put absolutely no stock in it. I had grown up in a liturgical tradition, where the waxing and waning of the church calendar determined the pattern of one’s days, but in modern culture at large, it’s hard to characterize Lent without it seeming anything but outdated and arbitrary.
So why do I do it? Why do we - Makers Church - a community of reinvention, continue to live into this practice of rigidity?
Oddly enough, it’s just that rigid continuity that gets me stoked on Lent. Lent is a beautiful time for us to embrace the connectedness of our faith, from the millions of people this year who are surrendering a little something to leave space for more Spirit, to the generations of believers that came before us, shedding the weight of all that worldly stuff as they went. And Lent is a solid time (with international accountability might I add) to commit to picking something up or letting something go and telling people about it. It’s taking your faith out of your head and letting it sink into your body. It’s letting Jesus put his handprints all over your routine and rearrange your priorities like Scrabble letters.
Lent is built into the church calendar as a season of sobriety, of quieting, of mourning. It assures those of us that jealously ache during a celebration that God never intended everything to be a party. That, as Ecclesiastes says, there are times to weep. Times to let go. Times to give up something you cherish at the feet of someone who cherishes you more.
And in that same acknowledgment of the seasons, Lent reminds us that hardship was never meant to last. These forty days of contemplation and solitude have the happiest imaginable ending - Lent sets us up for Jesus. Chowing down on that first slice of post-Easter Domino’s is just the tiniest taste of how glorious it feels to take part in resurrection. That’s the path Jesus cleared for us, the feast He’s setting out for us.
So if you’re ready to mix up your pattern of faith, give Lent a shot. Give up your favorite food. Volunteer once a week. Join a community group. Read a book. Ditch your Instagram. Go on a daily prayer walk. Consider things that it might be time to shelve, or time to incorporate. Take part in something big - like billions of people big - and watch for the big stuff God is putting in your way. We’ll save you a slice on the other side.
Join Makers Church this Sunday to celebrate the first Sunday Gathering of the Lenten Season!
Here And Now
Makers Church | January 4, 2018
by Cori Dunton I’m really good at getting things done. Ask my friends, they’ll tell you. I’m. . .
by Cori Dunton
I’m really good at getting things done. Ask my friends, they’ll tell you. I’m a to-do list kind of person. I’m always tackling a project, I’m always checking off a box, I’m constantly working to get “there“, wherever there may be. In other words, I’m always going. I blame my mom, she’s a powerhouse woman and growing up it seemed like she never needed rest. She was the problem solver, and I loved her (still love her) for it. So I became like my mom, a problem solver, a do-er. But so much doing eventually leads to rushing, and rushing leads to running out of breath. 2017 was a year of continually trying to catch my breath. I worked multiple jobs, finished my degree and tried my hardest to keep checking those boxes. I pushed myself to exhaustion because I didn’t want to appear unreliable (don’t worry ya’ll, I’m tackling this in therapy). I wanted to hold onto my title of do-er even as my knuckles started to bleed.
Slowly but surely I began to realize that I was missing the mark entirely. I was accomplishing so much yet appreciating so little. I was walking too fast, trampling the rose bush in the process. My ribs ached so badly from trying to catch my breath that I couldn’t even look up to see the good and simple life shaping around me. I was speeding through it. I was missing it. This past Sunday, Pastor Derrick spoke on the beauty and gift of being present. As he spoke about the power of staying in the here and now every bone in my body resonated with it. Because it is powerful, to really be in your life. To sit in all of it, every bit of pain and glory and not run.
And that’s the type of life I want to lead. A life that recognizes that this is it. This everyday, ordinary stuff is the “there“ I’ve been working towards. I’m already here and so are you. Our lives are unfolding in truly weird and wonderful ways; in conversations over coffee and impromptu drives to Sunset Cliffs and bonfires in the backyard. And I don’t want to miss anymore of it. So I’m practicing the pause, every chance I get. I’m thanking Jesus for the here and now, and believing it’s exactly where I’m meant to be. I’m clearing my lungs, I’m looking up, I’m taking things off my to-do list. I’m literally stopping to smell the roses and I hope you will too.
Watch Pastor Derrick’s talk “Presence“ now and share it with the ones in your life who need this powerful truth.
Shake-Weights, Headpals And #Giving
Makers Church | November 28, 2017
by Marc Wallis First there's Black Friday (which now starts on Thursday apparently). Then Cyber. . .
by Marc Wallis
First there's Black Friday (which now starts on Thursday apparently).
Then Cyber Monday (which lasts a full week it seems).
Then #GivingTuesday (which is, you may have guessed, today).
That's a lot of fancy sounding day-names. Perhaps you're still a bit delirious from all the Turkeyday tryptophan - but it can feel a little confusing. What does it all mean? What is #GivingTuesday? And more importantly, why?
The common thread between the three is that, on each, you are challenged to do something - something that will cost you.
On Friday and Monday it is to stop, shop and buy.
You are shown things you never wanted, but that you now need, simply because they're 90% off with free shipping and batteries included (I sound like a grumpy old man I know...just go with me here).
I went online yesterday to buy a few house supplies, yet somehow ended up purchasing a new FitBit (which will track the fact that I'm sitting on my butt buying crap online vs walking to an actual store), a Shake-Weight (maybe I'll strap the FitBit on that to get my steps in) a Hoverboard , Fire-Insurance for my new Hoverboard, a Candy Crush Scented Phone Case (I wish I was making that product up, but I'm not...and it probably smells like sadness...), an Amazon Echo (so that our computer-overloads can better track everything I say, do, buy and think) and this elegant marvel of modern engineering . Ok, maybe I exaggerated a little with my list...but I was very tempted to buy all those things.
See, this system (of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals) makes sense to us. It speaks to and facilitates our need to acquire, to collect, to consume - especially when it's at half the MSRP. Yet this constant pattern of searching for more often goes unnoticed. It becomes an assumed process. A given paradigm. An ubiquitous reality that is part of the fabric of our culture and collective DNA.
That said, I'm definitely not the first to ponder all this - or posit that maybe we love to shop, to buy and to consume because we're trying to fill a sometimes subtle sometimes screaming emptiness that is often hard to describe or name or notice, but that drives us nonetheless.
We think the new thing acquired - whatever it is - will bring us the satisfaction we seek. Sure, we know it won't last forever, but that hit of dopamine feels good...at least for a moment, which is better than nothing we reason. We can always buy the next thing, or eat the next thing, or drink the next thing, or date the next thing, or watch the next thing, or do the next thing, or take the next thing when the first feeling fades.
We may not say it aloud but our actions reveal our deep-seated belief...or maybe it's a misguided hope...that we can somehow buy happiness. That we can purchase purpose. That we can consume our way into a life worth living. It makes sense in a way, but countless generations of those who've gone before us cry out that it's a sham and a shackle. A marketing ploy and a prison. A simple Holiday Sales gimmick.
The truth is that we do not gain through consumption.
On the contrary, it is via the counter-intuitive course, the revolutionary road, the footpath of the seemingly foolish - the way of Jesus - which says to gain you must give.
To find yourself you must lose it first. To love is to lay it down, only to take up that which is better in the end. 'Tis more blessed to give than to receive said the Master himself.
So while Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday all ask us to give up some of our cold hard cash, I'd like to think #GivingTuesday - which was created to encourage people to donate to charities, nonprofits, churches and local leaders doing good work for others - represents a fundamentally different mindset.
One that suggests we need not be slaves to our money, but instead, can choose to use it to fuel goodness in this world rather than just feed our appetites.
There are real needs all around us. Real hurts. Real brokenness and real confusion. Chief among them is that we are alone and unloved. Makers Church seeks, through the brazenness of the Gospel, to conquer those lies with a more powerful truth that we are profoundly loved, and called into beautiful futures full of life, purpose, creativity and hope. And that the story of Christmas - the story of the God of the Universe stepping into human history to save us from ourselves and show us a better way - proves this.
When you give to Makers Church you help multiply that very mission, as well as help fund ministries for local refugees in City Heights, humanitarian projects in Mexico, clean water and school uniforms for kids in Africa, YoungLife activities in San Diego and so much more.
So on this #GivingTuesday, we ask you to consider moving more into freedom by giving rather than merely consuming. It doesn't even have to be to Makers! But we do challenge you to give somewhere good because we firmly believe that choosing generosity can change the giver just as much as the receiver, and sometimes maybe even more.
As this Holiday Season begins we challenge ourselves and our community to consider all we have as good gifts from God, and to step more and more toward a life of generosity and gratitude fueled by the goodness and grace of Jesus knowing that when we, together, give of ourselves, the world is made better.
Makers Church | August 16, 2017
by Tiffany Lambert When I heard about the picnic in the park for Syrian refugee families that. . .
by Tiffany Lambert
When I heard about the picnic in the park for Syrian refugee families that Makers Church was co-hosting, I knew I had to be there. The idea of making these families feel at home and valued in our community really resonated with me and I went into the event, excited to build relationships. We were expecting 200 people, but almost 500 Syrian moms, dads, and kids showed up to the picnic! Volunteers spent time serving food, handing out practical supplies such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, and diapers or playing soccer and doing crafts with the kids.
As a photographer, I wanted to use my gift to bless the families. I have seen the power of a photo, and I knew that many of these families were not able to bring pictures with them when they made the journey. So I packed up my portable printer and my camera and headed to the park. I met two women and some of their children and through translation help from one of the kids I offered to give them photos. As soon as people saw the printer I was surrounded by kids and families wanting their photo done. And for 3 hours, there I was. Up until my printer died I had a steady swarm of people, excitedly asking for their photo.
Afterward, a friend and I went to go sit with the first woman we met and she invited us to come visit her home! We hopped in the car and spent the rest of the afternoon sipping on Arabic coffee and tea. Google Translate became our best friend as it facilitated us to be able to talk about where we come from, our dreams and our families. I was also able to take family portraits of them in their home. After I plugged in my printer and handed over the photos, the oldest daughter ran over and lovingly placed them in their empty photo album. They invited us to come back and visit soon for some home cooked Syrian food, and we excitedly accepted!
There was so much beauty wrapped up in this event- people of different ages, cultures, and faith backgrounds coming together to build community. As I sat in their living room, I could not help but have a huge smile on my face, because these strangers were becoming like family.
*Interested in being a part of our Outreach Team? Sign up HERE.
Makers Church | August 2, 2017
by Kathryn Schuyler I remember as a kid having a constant desire to grow taller. It was a contest -. . .
by Kathryn Schuyler
I remember as a kid having a constant desire to grow taller. It was a contest - my grandma would line us up with a ruler on the crown of our heads, marking our heights carefully in pencil on her scuffed yellow wall. It wasn’t about who was the tallest (my older cousin had that one in the bag). It was about who had grown the fastest since the last Thanksgiving, last Easter.
When it comes to spiritual growth, measurement should happen pretty much the same way. It’s not about which community group member is the farthest along on their faith journey, or how our spiritual gift stats stack up against the rest of the church. At Makers, and in churches around the world, we’re working on our spiritual elasticity, to stretch the small versions of ourselves into someone deeper and more vast, and to snap closer to Jesus.
Paul teaches in Hebrews 5 about spiritual adulting - “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.“
By Paul’s definition, there are baby Christians who drink milk, there are grown-up Christians who eat solid food, and by extension, there are probably kiddo Christians who eat Cheetos and teenage Christians who eat Jack-N-The-Box tacos, but Paul didn’t feel the need to delve into that much detail. The point is, the Church, scripture, and Jesus meet everyone exactly where they’re at and grow from there. And that growth, the maturity Paul refers to, comes from “constant use“ of these resources. It comes from taking a bite of something you can’t chew and just chewing.
That’s the idea behind Grow Track at Makers. Regardless of your stage of spiritual development, or regardless of if you even know what that means, the leaders at Makers are here to meet you where you’re at. With stories from their own lives, with the living, breathing Word of God that transforms at the touch, with personality tests and reflective questions and discussion opportunities, we know this isn’t where your journey begins or ends. It’s where it continues.
Grow Track is a four-week, low-commitment practice of chewing. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to share your thoughts and questions with people you barely know when you’d rather be brunching. Let’s call those growing pains.
Because growth only comes when you press in, despite the pain it takes to feel your shin bones stretching—you will get taller. This time next year you will look back at your pencil mark on the wall and how far you’ve come, thinking I can’t believe all that I couldn’t see then, that I can see now. Your distance from Jesus will shrink. Your capacity to ask will expand. You will come ever closer to the person God made you to be from the beginning. And you won’t be able to wait for your next bite.
*Join us with Grow Track. Directly following the 10 AM gathering at Dana Middle School.
The Fight For Friendship
Makers Church | July 19, 2017
by Sarah Witmer photos: Evan Yamada I want to be around people. I really do. But when it comes to. . .
by Sarah Witmer
photos: Evan Yamada
I want to be around people. I really do. But when it comes to walking out the door to go to an event, I sometimes find myself dreading those same people whose company I crave.
Small talk exhausts me. There are always a few bumps and bruises, awkward moments along the way, especially in large groups, and sometimes I don’t have the energy to wade through a socially painful conversation. I just want to know everyone already, skipping the uncomfortable getting-to-know-you phase.
When I look at some of my closest friends, I can’t remember any of the small talk we had to lumber past in order to get to the good stuff. But we did. And you know where we met? Church events. Volleyball games, summer BBQs, and concerts in the park. Event by event, word by word, we chipped away at each other’s outer walls, earning the right to go deeper with one another.
My life has been transformed by these individuals who gave their time and energy to get to know me. Imagine if they just didn’t feel like it. What if they stuck to the people they already knew because it was easier?
I wouldn’t have met my husband through that girl who was brand new to church at the time. The two women I met at a community group wouldn’t have been my bridesmaids. We wouldn’t live in our house, which was handed down to us by a couple at Maker's. Our yard wouldn’t have been bursting at the seams this past Sunday as we announced that I’m 3 months pregnant with our first child.
This is true community. It takes time to build, and even more time to fight to keep it standing. To give. To show up when you don’t feel like it. To open yourself up to new people who want to belong as much as you do.
I have no doubt that I have yet to meet some of the people who will impact my life the most. My future best friend could be at the next summer event, dreading small talk as much as me. I hope we both push past it, seeking the life God has called us into - one where we get over our need for comfort and try our best to love others day by day.
To Know And Be Known
Makers Church | July 19, 2017
by Jayna Russel I didn’t grow up going to church. At least I should say I didn’t grow up going. . .
by Jayna Russel
I didn’t grow up going to church. At least I should say I didn’t grow up going to church regularly. Being a painfully shy kid, this meant that I was perpetually the new kid, always the odd man out sitting alone at the craft table while the other kids played. As a result, church was a strange experience for me, almost like the proverbial poor kid at Christmas time, peering through the shop windows at all the warmth and magic unfolding before my eyes. On the outside looking in, I couldn’t help but wonder what it might feel like to truly belong.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and I now have a child of my own. She’s a sweet little angel of a kid, with the Hungarian hot-temperedness of her dad and the introverted bookwormy-ness of her mom. Like any parent, I want many things for her. Things like riches, fame, and glory would be nice. Yet what I desire most for her is much more down-to-earth, mainly to be known, valued, and connected to a community that reflects God’s love back to her. I want her to grow and thrive among people who know her name and remind her of her worth, who engage richly in the love and work of God, and urge her on towards her own creative purpose on this earth.
Makers Church is a place where we can do that for each other, where we can know and be known, and where we can reflect God’s love back to one another. We can create a time and a place for engaging in God’s creative work together, and the quality of the community we create will be woven into the fabric of our children’s minds. Our love and respect and kindness will create the inner lining of their souls. And when they embark out into the world on their own, they will never have to doubt that they are known, they are treasured, and they are loved.
When we show up with our daughter on Sunday mornings, this is our hope and our prayer. And this is also our commitment to you and your kids. This is the commitment we make to one another, that we reflect God’s love to one another, and ensure that another generation of amazing kids will live to tell the tale and walk in the footsteps of our Maker.
*Take the next step in your family's journey at Makers Church and join us this Sunday for Child Dedications.
The Power of Showing Up
Makers Church | July 12, 2017
by Katie Balla Over two years ago, brand new to San Diego and knowing hardly a soul, my husband and. . .
by Katie Balla
Over two years ago, brand new to San Diego and knowing hardly a soul, my husband and I found ourselves intensely craving community and friendships. It was intimidating and terrifying to be starting completely over. We found Makers Church and each week we attended gatherings, put our children in Kid’s Ministry, met a few faces here and there, but still hadn’t really created any real relationships. I remember telling my husband that everyone here seemed to be at their “max“ on friendships and that there was no room for us.
In hindsight, I can see now that those were little lies and mistruths trying to take root in our heart—to rob us of the abundant community that was right there in front of us.
Thankfully, we kept pressing on despite that feeling. We got invited to a family picnic that some Makers Church people put together at a local park. Everything inside me told me not to go. It would be so awkward! We wouldn’t know anyone. We would totally look like the weird, new people. We’d have no one to talk to. Who would our kids play with? It’d be much easier to just stay home. - But we knew we had to just go. So we did.
I still remember every feeling from that day years later. We pulled up to a park where every family seemed to know one another except for us. We were clearly 'the new guys’ and although everyone was gracious and kind, there were many first-time conversations and all that awkward getting-to-know-you stuff. We didn’t leave that day with any instant-BFF's, but looking back now I can say with absolute certainty that we were beginning the foundation layer for friendships.
That year we just continued to show up. When there were events, gatherings, and opportunities to get to know people, we were there. And we went again and again. Relationships blossomed out of our faithfulness and you know what we discovered? Everyone’s friendship tank was not maxed out. In fact, there were many people just like us, a little bit on the fringes, needing that push to go fully all-in with the mess and beauty of sharing life with one another.
Just a few weeks ago we went back to that same park where it all started with many of the same people from two years ago. Except now, many of those friends feel like family. Our kids all love and play like cousins. My toddler sits on the laps of my friends. We feel safe to share the good, bad and ugly of our lives. And that day I left with a massive smile on my face and joy in my heart because of how far God brought us.
Showing up to summer events and church outings was undoubtedly the foundation for the life-giving friendships we now have and continue to make. A little bit of awkward small talk turned into the depth and beauty that we always prayed for.
My encouragement to you today is to just go. I know it can be awkward the first few times—but go. And show up. And then show up again and again because you are worthy to be seen and to know the depth of love an amazing community can bring. It takes some work but it is oh so worth it.
*Join us at a Summer Event this month and start connecting! Build life-giving friendships and dive deeper into a beautiful community. www.makerschurch.org/summer
Making Boundaries To Break Boundaries
Makers Church | June 28, 2017
Saying "No" to Good, Saying "Yes" to Best by Marc Wallis Many know the story of Martha & Mary,. . .
Saying "No" to Good, Saying "Yes" to Best
by Marc Wallis
Many know the story of Martha & Mary, or at least a version of it. It's a tale of two sisters who host Jesus and his followers for a meal.
Martha is busy cooking, cleaning, serving (basically being a good host) while Mary sits listening to Jesus.
Martha complains that Mary isn't pulling her weight and that Jesus should command her sister to help her in the kitchen.
But instead, Jesus gently rebukes Martha and commends Mary.
The typical takeaway is Martha's need for better work / life balance - to be more like Mary who's able to sit and relax and just be with Jesus.
Don't get me wrong - that's super important, but there's a deeper truth we often miss, hidden in the ancient context, that's incredibly powerful for us now...
Two crucial things to know...
1. Scriptures say that Mary... "sat at the Lord’s feet listening." In First Century Israel this was a weighty phrase. Every Jew knew it was reserved specifically to describe a "disciple." An honored student. An apprentice. One who would carry on the work of their Master. "To sit at the feet" of a Rabbi was a mark of honor, and a place, position and power reserved only for chosen followers and leaders-in-training.
2. First Century AD Women were not supposed to "sit at the feet" of Rabbi. Women were not allowed to be anyone's "disciples." In fact, women were not even supposed to be in the same room as men when a Rabbi was teaching.
So if you read Luke 10:38-42 with those two things in mind the narrative takes on a whole new meaning.
Martha isn't mad primarily because she's left alone to do the work - but because her sister is breaking the rules. Mary's not staying within the BOUNDARIES of culture and "good" society. She's not staying in her lane.
When Jesus responds to Martha's complaints he does not reprimand her for working hard or being a dedicated host. Instead he gently corrects her for being "worried and upset." Martha is worried about what people will say, about her sister breaking the rules, about being left out, about so many other things.
But Jesus says... "few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.“
Boom. Mic drop Jesus. Way to focus in on what's really important.
It reminds me of a Steve Jobs' quote that says, "People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not it at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas out there. You have to pick carefully...Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things."
Mary demonstrated this fact beautifully. She made healthy boundaries for herself so she could break unhealthy ones. She said NO to letting others’ opinions dictate her actions. NO to letting culture keep her from her Christ. NO to many good things so she could say YES to the best; to sitting at the feet Jesus. YES to pouring all of herself into her goal being a Disciple - to learning from the Master, to experiencing his presence and intimacy so she could grow and develop and do the work that was prepared for her.
In light of this historical context it is utterly fascinating to me, and, frankly, a little scandalous that Jesus did not rebuke Mary for being where she was not “allowed.“
In those days Jesus had the right, and likely the obligation, to correct Mary...to punish her presumptions, to chide her pride (rhyme boom), and make an example of her.
Yet he did none of those things. He did not embarrass, callout, correct, punish or belittle Mary...nor did he remind her that she was in a "man's" place. He didn’t Mansplain and he certainly did not tell her to stay in her lane.
Instead he commended her.
He declared to all present that Mary, the boundary-maker and the boundary-breaker, had chosen what was better, and that that would never be taken from her.
Crazy stuff! Jesus is so compelling to me. Calling him “Progressive“ just doesn’t do it justice and misses the point. He goes far beyond the imaginary boundaries we create...and calls us to follow.
I pray that God's Spirit gives us the courage and self-control to create healthy boundaries and say NO...not just to the bad, but to the mediocre - and even the good - so that we can say YES to what is truly important, to what is best - to sitting at the feet of the Master.
Makers Church | June 14, 2017
by Ozioma Enworom As a registered nurse working in the Emergency Department, I had the privilege of. . .
by Ozioma Enworom
As a registered nurse working in the Emergency Department, I had the privilege of joining a diverse team from Makers Church as we launched our first medical clinic in Punta Colonet, Mexico. The purpose of this clinic was to gather general information about the people living in the local community so that we can learn how to better serve them in the future. During our time there, we were able to administer a health survey to assess the medical needs and current resources available to the people in the community; perform a basic physical examination; and hand out vitamins and pain medication according to each individual’s needs. We were very fortunate to have team members and translators who spoke Spanish help us communicate with the native people. After the clinic, we were invited to the Mayor of Colonet’s home for a delicious meal. I am so humbled by the hospitality we received throughout our trip and the potential partnership opportunities for Makers Church in the future.
Outside of our time in the clinic, we worked on basic construction projects. The simple act of staining a door or sanding a staircase may seem trivial, but at the end of every day, each repetitive movement helped contribute to building a beautiful foundation for a future children’s day care center. My favorite part of the trip was getting to know the people from our Makers community. Whether it was sharing silly stories on the road, playing with estranged animals, or shrewdly building allies through the mysterious game of Mafia, we were able to connect with each other on a real level. Although the work we have to do as a movement is still unfinished, it is encouraging to see how God is using the Makers community to cross cultural and spiritual borders in order to make on earth as it is in heaven.
The Posture Of Our Hearts
Makers Church | May 23, 2017
by Makers Team Last Sunday, Pastor Derrick shared just a preview of what the Bible teaches about. . .
by Makers Team
Last Sunday, Pastor Derrick shared just a preview of what the Bible teaches about generosity related to money. The bottom line is that Jesus is way more concerned with the posture of our hearts than the amount of our financial giving (Matthew 6:21). He wants to increase our righteousness by releasing us from the grips of debt and the worship of money (Matthew 6:24).
Derrick also challenged all of us to test God in how generosity can transform our lives by giving for 90 days. As he said, we’re not testing God so that He will bless us with material things or more money. We are confronting our own control issues and asking God to set us free from all the baggage that the love of money brings.
Pastor Derrick asked us to start giving somewhere, to something worthy. But what he didn’t have time to go into is the idea that the most important entity you can give to is the local church.
Look, we get it — there is a lot of cynicism about giving to any religious organization, let alone a church. Our history isn’t perfect, but the God we serve is. And He has chosen to use the broken and imperfect church to do his greatest work in this world.
Giving somewhere is better than giving nowhere, because giving nowhere will never teach you how to share. - Pastor Derrick
If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Makers’ values, goals, and plans for the future, you can download the PDF here.
We have 26 new recurring givers since we started talking about giving a few weeks ago, resulting in over $6,000 in new gifts per month. Thank you so much to each of you who are supporting our mission with your finances.
So here’s the challenge: ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom about giving financially to a church. (If Makers isn't where you call home, it doesn't have to be here.) Be open to where you feel compelled to give, and then take a step of faith and give for 90 days.
We can’t wait to hear what God does in your life! (Be sure to share your story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Setup Recurring Giving
A Mother’s Kiss
Makers Church | May 16, 2017
by Gill Sotu Shhh... now don't tell nobody but I HEAR tell that a mama's kiss don't just die after. . .
by Gill Sotu
Shhh... now don't tell nobody
but I HEAR tell that a mama's kiss don't just die after it's left its mark on your skin
No sir, no ma'am...
I ain't no mama,
But I am told that a mother's kiss can exist years after it's initial creation
It becomes pure energy, building invisibly like Super Mario bricks
to help mothers see over the walls we build when we get a bit too much “TEEN-AGY“
A mother's kiss is verbal and nonverbal
it is physical and spiritual
It tattoos itself upon your being
Its ink becomes a part of your bones, your blood
That is why when you are about to step out of the boundaries of your character,
your mother's voice echoes thick inside of you
(I know ya’ll ignore it, but it’s there!)
Mama, we are ETERNALLY bound together
with rope only God can see
And according to you, none of MY MISTAKES can break
We are both BROKEN but you make the pieces come together beautifully
Like puzzles, of crosses, of a Savior,
washing the feet of those who felt like they didn't deserve it
I never deserved it
I HATED rubbing your feet when you were tired from spending your time protecting mine,
serving my happiness Mama the cook and the waiter/mama the soldier...
Mama the poet, Mama the judge and jury
Mama the silly, Mama the psychic
Mama the prayer warrior, Mama the quiet
Mama the single parent, Mama the lioness
Mama the life tamer, Mama the entrepreneur
Mama the soft strength through hard times
Mama the big smiles dealing with small people
Mama the love, mama the love,
I am SO HONORED to be awarded recipient of your love
A mother’s kiss means PROTECTION
A mother’s kiss means you are probably crying over something that is ultimately not that important,
but we will both PRETEND that it is
A mother's kiss means you have just MISSED the lesson that is SO IMPORTANT,
but we will both PRETEND you are STILL the BRIGHTEST bulb in the Vegas
Scientists are still trying to discover why a mother’s kiss heals an
injured SPIRIT or SCAB 77X faster than the leading brands
A mother’s kiss means there is SO MUCH I want to tell you
It means I want to INTIMATELY know ALL that you are,
From your DISNEY DREAMS to your BEDROOM BOOGEYMEN
A mother’s kiss means GOD will heal all things I can not
It means that it is not always easy,
but I am giving you over to HIM
I only want THE BEST for you—
I want to be MY BEST for you
My kiss is my magnet, bringing out the best IN YOU
Mama the chocolate thief, Mama the constant cuddler
Mama the baker and the candlestick maker
Mama the homework warden, Mama the fun police
Mama the party starter, Mama the embarrassing dancer
Mama the graceful, Mama the maker of feast from famine
Mama the biological, Mama the chosen
Mama the selfless, Mama the underrated
Mama— MY LOUDEST fan in the audience,
I can hear you over EVERYONE,
And I KNOW I am unabashedly yours
Mama the love, Mama the love,
Today I stand SO HONORED to be awarded recipient of your love