5 Year Anniversary Service

November 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

Come join us this Sunday, November 24th, as we celebrate our 5 year anniversary. God has faithfully seen us through 5 years together as a church family. During service we will take some time to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness to us, looking back on where we began, praising God for where the Spirit has led us, and anticipating what’s still in store.

The Cost & the Life

April 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Pulse

This week’s pulse comes from Becky Luoh, Convergence Women’s Ministry Leader and Greek IV Director at Cal:

As a church we’ve begun this journey of studying the book of Romans. I’ve been looking forward to this as this particular book of the Bible is a meaty one– a delicious meat that’s even better shared with a group of people. The last two weeks of hearing sermons on Sunday and then talking with my life group about the same passages has felt a lot like a satisfying meal: special meals, one where you laugh and share stories but also manage to learn something and have newfound appreciation for something that wasn’t previously there before. Upon further reflection, this may be how my dad got me to appreciate red wine…

This week in particular, I was struck by our life group’s discussion around Paul’s fervor and passion for the Good News of Jesus Christ, and how that produces a deep love and sense of obligation for his fellow man. It got me thinking: does my own faith in the Gospel produce a kind of love for others that cannot be contained?

I think one of the hardest things is admitting that I don’t like to love on anyone’s terms but my own. It’s far easier to choose my friends, to show someone I care when I feel like it, to be in control. When I love on my own terms, I can protect myself from hurt and there’s no messiness involved.

But Paul is willing to get into the mess. He embodies the Good News he’s sharing by living his life for the sake of others– he loves on God’s terms instead of his own. His love comes from truly understanding Jesus’ faithfulness on the cross. His letter to the Roman church helps me realize that it’s in both the joy of relationship and all the mess and brokenness that comes with it that Jesus’ resurrection power comes to life, and in that we experience the depth and width of His love over ours.

Perhaps that’s why studying Scripture with life group and church community has been so rich as of late. Over the past few years of committing to this group of friends, we’ve seen a lot together (marriages, new & lost jobs, scary moments of unknown, growing families, disagreements, discernment about calling, and all the little things in between). Though it’s been incredibly uncomfortable at times: feeling like the only extravert in a room of introverts, or just thinking that our differences in communication, lifestyle, and values just won’t mesh, even entertaining thoughts about leaving for an “easier” church where it just won’t be so “hard”, or just plain not liking someone– this life group and church has been one of the deepest places of growth and maturity for me. By staying in the messiness, I’ve grown to appreciate and love beyond myself, beyond my limited selfish terms. A sense of obligation to my church family and the larger community has grown by the power of Jesus, because I couldn’t do it on my own terms. In a place of fear and death of being hurt and being uncomfortable, I’ve tasted how resurrection power brings life to a place we so easily give up on. It is in the lives of those around us– not just those we choose, but even those that God chooses for us– that the Good News comes to life.

Becky

A Call to Remembrance

March 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Pulse

This week’s Pulse is from Pastor Dominique Gilliard

As we’ve been exploring what it means to exist in the wilderness this Lenten season, I’ve continuously found myself reflecting on our propensity to be coerced into seeing ourselves, our neighbor, and God in distorted ways in the midst of the wilderness. When this occurs our vision becomes blurred; we become people who see ourselves as unworthy of love, who see our neighbors as exploitable means to our own personal gain, and who see God as an unloving Father whose love is not only conditional like our own, but also becomes prone to abandon us in our deepest times of despair.

In reflecting on this, I’m even more convinced of our necessity to be immersed within the Word of God and deeply invested in Christian community! We are a people, as the hymn Come Thou Fount says, who are “Prone to wander…Prone to leave the God we love”. Because of this, we need to be anchored in Scripture and surrounded by faithful friends who are sold out for God. These two foundational pillars of the Christian life will serve as crucial reminders to us concerning God’s faithfulness, even in the midst of our own unfaithfulness. These two sources of support will serve as essential accountability measures for us, constantly and intentionally reminding us of God’s presence with us, reminding us of who and whose we are, and what we are ultimately called to be.

These reflections remind me of the imperative role that remembrance plays throughout the biblical narrative, and in light of this, I think that it’s no coincidence that Lent’s observance coincides with the commemoration of both Women & Black History Months. These two months, in part, represent what is known as the “unholy trinity”: sexism, racism, and classism. These social stratifications are evidence of our distorted thirst. When we see the world and each other with blurred vision that’s distorted by Satan and the ways of this world, we dehumanize others and this infringes upon the biblical truth of the Imago Dei, that all humanity is equally endowed with the Image of God. As a consequence of these transgressions, the “isms” of the “unholy trinity” have become societal norms. The entrenched presence of these social stratifications are an indictment upon the Church. This harsh reality should summon us into a time of reflection and lament this Lenten season. We should spend time at the foot of the cross asking for revelation concerning our culpability in either attributing value to and detracting value from people based off their embodiment (physical appearance). This is not of God, it is not how God sees us, nor is it how we are supposed to see or respond to each other. The truth is that it’s sinful, but it is also a frequent, yet unacknowledged component of our daily lives.

Let us become a people who are increasingly intentional and cognizant about turning to God in humility and repentance concerning the ways we live into social norms, both consciously and unconsciously. Let us also find encouragement in knowing that this is not a new phenomenon; we even see biblical figures struggling with this in numerous places in both the Old and New Testament, specifically in Numbers 12, and Acts 6, just to name two occurrences. In both of situations, its only through intentionally turning to God in repentance and prayer that people were able to find the strength needed to resists the urge to continue to conform to their social norms of demarcating individuals based upon issues of embodiment. We have to be intentional as a people of God today about probing our hearts, minds, and souls to explore where we may have given into the temptation of abiding by societal norms. In a world where discrimination is normative, we are called to be maladjusted to the status quo. In a society where the realities of the “unholy trinity” are so deeply rooted that we even find its remnants in the life of the Church, we must become even more intentional about relying on the promises of God. Scripture assures us that God has defeated once and for all the powers and the principalities of this world, so we know that sin now only has the power that we afford it. We are now a free people who have the choice to live by the Spirit, to follow the road less traveled, following the path carved out by Jesus, the second Adam, as opposed to the first fleshly Adam.

Pastor Dominique