The “time flies” glow

Sometimes it’s easy to know how far you have come. Sometimes it takes a little bit of reflection. Pardon me and my sappy post. I stumbled upon some pictures I forgot existed. I have the picture of those who were apart of Revive’s community group before we launched. I cherish it. I see it every day. I see where God has brought us and know He continues to move us forward. There are new faces, new things happening, new challenges and it is constant. We are humbled, excited, scared and can’t wait to see what’s next.

All of this is true. It’s been tried and its still true.

Tonight, I found pictures that reminded me of how we have grown in this journey so far. Pictures of what was Revive’s original group of littles. It’s in the faces of these. This was pre-launch.

This made me sappy. Bask in the “time flies” glow.

 

Outreaches and Anger Management

Easter is coming! Easter is coming!

Our church did an outreach on Saturday to get the word out. We did so with bottles of cold water and Easter baskets full of candy and of course, invite cards. The Easter baskets were door to door, the water bottles is what called for a blog post.

Stand at the corner of a really busy intersection, with free water signs, in Austin, and see what happens. It gets interesting, entertaining and kind of awesome.

People don’t like to look at people who are standing on the street corner. We decided to make them uncomfortable by yelling “free water” at anyone who would give us a glance.

We went through about 350 bottles of water in about two hours.

I realized somethings….

1. Some people don’t want free water (looking at you “there is lithium in that” guy).

2. Some people are curious.

3. Some are grateful

4. Some people have a huge stigma that the church is a group of people who just plain like to be offended (looking at you “we smoke pot everyday” guy and “we are on our way to a titty bar” jeep full of college students…who poured out the water to prove…I don’t know).

This is without even giving much mention to the fact that Starbucks hating marriage blew up my facebook feed for approximately 20min yesterday.

The stigma is we like to be mad.

Number 4 is the reason for this post. I shrugged my shoulders at weed boy and made sure all four guys had water. Every body needs water. Probably more so if you are smoking pot. I should have given them extra. Erica told titty bar chick “ok, drink water”. I’m sure there was some slight disappoint at our lack of look of dismay. I was only offended that they thought they were offending me. I didn’t even care that it was on purpose.

I’m not saying don’t have your convictions, standards and choose wisely where you spend your money (drink fair trade…woot). I am saying, if our stigma is “we like to be mad”, somewhere, we have seriously missed it.

 

 

New Year…New Post and the Thoughts That Swirl ‘Round My Brain…

I’ve been a bit of a blogging slacker. New Years Resolutions are supposed to fix this through at least mid February. I’ll blame a pretty significant change in work schedule (due to an answered prayer of a new job), the holidays and the fact that sitting down to write what is swirling in my head may not yet be blog material. Somethings are meant for personal journal writing….some questions are good for online…and some need much prayer before going public. I’m learning the difference.

The last month has been a whirlwind…

Our Christmas backpack and taco outreach was awesome. Not a single person left empty handed. For those wondering what was a huge hit…bus passes. We also had McDonald’s gift cards and backpacks. This year in comparison to last was night and day. Thanks to Mike Vogt, we were organized and were assembled and ready to roll within minutes of pulling into the parking lot. Conversations, kids passing out cookies,  warm smiles, full bellies, Tracy singing with a guy who brought his guitar…that all happened.

There is so much to be done. Let’s love our cities!

I just finished reading Undaunted by Christine Caine. If you need a shot in arm, kick in the face or a good, healthy dose of reality and the purpose of our faith. Read it! If a books intro is written by Max Lucado and says “our generation has a Paul, an Esther and a Mary and her name is Christine Caine”. You should probably see what its all about.

We just started our James bible study. Fact – Beth Moore is crazy and I want to be a little bit like her. We are in week 2 and loving it. Women, study the bible with other women. In fact, if you are in Austin…join us. We are only scary if you don’t appreciate crazy.

My grandmother is 98 and still possess the same stubborn streak I have always known her to have. With this information, I don’t allow certain arguments to happen in my house. My kids are stubborn and I want them to use it for things that matter. Jackets when it’s 30 degrees outside is not worth fighting for, so we don’t. It’s a healthy dose of perspective. Thanks Grandma.

Every time I watch The Avengers, I say “my favorite Avenger is Tony Stark (Iron Man), I’m not sure what this says about me”. Help me folks.

My husband and daughter are frighteningly similar at times. He is NOT dramatic, diva-esque and in love with Justin Bieber…but other than that…I look at them and they are kind of the same.

A real wrestling thought has been about churches in general. The camps we are in, what we are for, against and how it wrongly divides us. This has been on going for a little while. Forget one blog post on this one. It may take a book.

Why do people say “well, you can do that in Austin”? I’ve heard it since we said “we are planting a church in Austin”. Most of those questions have come from dear friends. This is not a jab. I want to know the difference. It makes me use words like “sub-culture”. Pray for me. LOL.

The purpose of the church is great. Something about a new year excites me…and this year has a whole new list of prayers, expectations and believing in what God is going to do.
While my list of thoughts is long, my heart is not troubled. It may be a tad uncomfortable but not troubled. I’m learning that it’s His kindness that leads to repentance. I’ll wrestle with the stirring and know that God is at work. I will not allow condemnation to lead to inactivity. Let’s do this church! 

Christmas Time is Here…

Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we.

Around this time a year ago, we decided to do a Christmas morning backpack outreach. We were going to go downtown with backpacks full of necessities and give them out to the homeless in our community. We also had quite a few breakfast tacos to go along with them.

December a year ago (Christmas Day), they lasted a whole five minutes. Read about that here.

Welcome to November/December 2012.

This year, we have a little bit more of a clue. We know first hand how huge the need is. We want to do more. We also want to last out there a whole lot longer than 5 minutes. We want to spend time.

This is where you come in!

Help us serve the homeless in Austin this Christmas.

We know that the need is huge. We will not be overwhelmed and back off. We will not cower in the face of great need (and a lot of people in a downtown parking lot). We will respond with action. We will respond to lives, faces of people who matter to God and matter to us. We will show love. We will love the Lord our God…and follow the next thing He said; we will love our neighbor as ourselves.

The average prepared backpack costs $20. Will you sponsor a backpack? One, two…maybe 10. When the need is a face, a life, a brother, sister, child…no contribution is too small. We get the opportunity to impact the lives of those we come into contact with.

We will be heading out with trucks, people, backpacks, an arsenal of breakfast tacos (cause there is no such thing as too many) and more prepared. We are prepared to do what Jesus commanded….to love our neighbor.

Join us. Partner with us.

We are better together.

To donate specifically for the backpack outreach. Go HERE

Click on quick give and on the drop down, choose Christmas Outreach 2012

We are better together! Thank you! 

Revive Church – Year Zero Part II

This has been the year that has changed everything.

This day a year ago, I didn’t know what was the more appropriate response to how I was feeling. The options felt like either crying or throwing up. I did neither but I had moments where I was sure there was going to be a mess.

September 18, 2011 was an incredible day. It was seeing the beginning of something that had begun long before that day and something that would continue on. It was just the beginning. A year later, I still feel that way. This is just the beginning and the best is yet to come.

We are not the same people that walked through those doors of McCallum High School a year ago. I can speak with confidence that our launch team feels the exact same way.

Planting a church is hard. It is living in the unexpected. It is believing that God has a plan and it is the Church. It’s believing in the vision He seared and that moment that you knew you could no longer just talk and pray. It was a call to action and to not move forward would be disobedience. I’ve learned more in this past year about who I am…and who I’m not (happy joy). I care about things I never cared about before and don’t care about things I used to care about. God so lovingly and graciously has stretched, challenged and broken us over this past year. I see purpose in things I never saw purpose in. I see a lot of things like I never saw them before.

I wouldn’t trade this past year for anything.

God is good. God is faithful.

Revive Church – I love you people!!!!! My heart is beyond full. Thank you! Let’s do this 🙂

 

If you are in the Austin area and looking for a home church, we have toned down a bit when we meet first time guests. Join us 🙂 Oh…and 5pm services are kinda awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

Revive Church – Year Zero Part 1

We are coming up on our one year mark as Revive Church.

Folks, this is a big deal! I’ve never had a year like this in my life. The year prior to launch is another story…this is the year zero story. It hasn’t looked like I thought it would.

For a year, every time I talked to my friend Anna she said the same thing…

but you’re doing it“.

My friend Addy just got her Master’s Degree from UT. She is crazy. She says something slightly different but true to many living life out on the limb. It goes like this…

I just keep showing up“.

To both of those profound statements I say this, “Yup“.

 

Over the next couple of days, I’ll share with you some thoughts and experiences on this last year. We now know why many church planters refer to the first year of a church plant as “year zero”. What an insane ride it has been! It was full of emotions, growth, change, a health scare, new friendships, brokenness and freshly broken hearts (hello 7 ladies), perspective and change of, tears out the wazoo, frustrations, joy, faithfulness, blessings and an enormous amount of grace I never expected. What I thought was important has really been brought to light and a good amount of what I thought was necessary, it’s not. This was a year of growth and learning curves unlike I have ever experienced in my life. This continues.

I will start and end with this…

God is good.

This is just the beginning! The best is yet to come.

We look forward to year 2 (or 1 if you do church planter math) with great expectations.

Its worth it.

If you have any questions regarding our personal experience, I’d love to answer them. Will answer any questions in a later post. Ask away! 🙂

Silencing List of Miracles…

Sometimes I read my bible and it makes me uncomfortable. I read things I have read over before and suddenly some thing hits new and hard. In this particular case, it made me a tad uncomfortable. Since I enjoy company in my discomfort, I thought I would invite you along for the ride.

***shout out to some amazing Revive Church women. I’m beyond grateful to wrestle in the Word and do life with you 🙂 I’m glad we are still friends***

I was doing a some bible reading on Sunday morning (hooray for Sunday evening services). I’ve read the new testament multiple times. I’ve read it straight through, in portions at a time, studied…you get the idea. I miss things all the time. If anything, this new little revelation can be seen as sad. Feel free to say “seriously, how did you miss this”. Regardless, here I am with a verse in the middle of a familiar chapter that I can’t seem to let go of.

Please, allow me to share my discomfort with you…

Matthew 11:4-6 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended by me.”

We could play a little game and I could make you guess which part jumped out at me…but that is mean.

My brain went something like this. “Ok, this is a list of miracles and Jesus is calling the following a sign that He is who He says He is.

Blind see – check

Lame walk – check

Lepers are cleansed and deaf hear – check and check

Dead are raised up (thats a big deal) – check

The poor have the gospel preached to themHOLD THE PHONE!

I’ve sat and thought about this for several days now. I don’t about you, but I have my idea of what a miracle looks like. This was never on that list. I always knew that it was important, have been convicted by this in the last few years more than ever before and it’s often over looked…but to call it a miracle. I think Jesus was on to something…

Something about it that screamed “you can witness all these things, but this…THIS is also a sign that I am who I say I am”.

Gulp. I have all kinds of thoughts swirling. I’ll keep some of them to myself for now. It’s best I think before I speak.

Thoughts?

Weekly Gratitude – Week 2/3

In my last post, I ended with #10 and I fully intend to pick up where I left off. While there is much swirling in my head, I’m determined not to get behind on a week of gratitude posts. We’ll ignore that I am already making up for last week. That pause and reflection is necessary and like I’ve said before, it points to something greater. Ann Voskamp is kind of a genius for recording hers and I intend to do the same…though she writes with a depth I can’t wrap my brain around. I start where I am. If that statement doesn’t sum up a good way to approach the future, then I don’t know what to tell you.

This will mostly be in photo form. I’m not a photographer. My camera is my iphone. Still, I love pictures. Sometimes they are indeed worth a thousand words.

*these are in no particular order…still using Ray’s computer. I suppose I should be thankful for having more than one. Pardon my first world problems.

#11 – Remembering babies

#12 – Freaking out when they are taller than you

#13 – Friendships that stand time change and distance

#14 – meeting new friends (thanks COTH)

#15 – The ones who you prayed for but couldn’t ask. The ones who came anyway 🙂

#16 – Three little words that won’t go away (another post all-together)

#17 – The couple that called themselves Roadies for Jesus. If they come to your church to help with setup/tear down…they mean business. What a blessing they were to us (Mary once said “oh I don’t listen to music that is post WWII”)

#18 – Preparations

#19 – a church family that defines “get-er done”…in a non-redneck kind of way. They are amazing!

#20 – A photo in a new church that was a long time coming 🙂

#21 – Silly faces who call rocks ‘bugs’

#22 – water babies…they do take after me!

#23 – Love is – you take the last one…

#23 – Pillow Notes

#24 – Divine appointments in a season I don’t understand

#25 – the smell of Hawaiian Tropics sunscreen

#26 – The abilities of others that make the world go around…and create children’s rooms and lovely women’s bathrooms.

#27 – stirrings of the heart that won’t go away

#28 – my babies in their pajamas

#29 – “Dad you are not gonna believe it. Mom bought syrup” – that my “bad mom” moments make them happier than it should.

I about drove myself mad trying to get these pictures on here. There are many that I am missing. I still can’t believe we are going into our third service in the gym…and all the hard work that was put into it. Tracy and Delaina were determined to make that bathroom a lovely place and they did! Erica does what she sees on pinterest, making our kids room amazing. I look forward to what this season holds.

What are you thankful for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Update

How to summarize a week that is not yet complete…

The weekend is still ahead of us. I get to hug one of my favorite families and enjoy best friend conversation. This does not happen often enough. I ask God why Alaska and Texas can’t be a little closer to each other. It’s something to do with Texas being awesome and saying everything is bigger in this grand state and Alaska getting mad that they became a state a little later in the game and not being able to coin the phrase first. Something like that. Alaska is bigger but it’s way colder. It’s also home to the Gerald’s (the Haggards and bunch of other AMAZING people) and the Addy Esco. That’s just the way it is.

Our first service at the new location is on the countdown…it’s THIS SUNDAY! 1006 W. Koenig. 5pm! If you are in the Austin area, join us! Having Matt, Jen, Bryce and Abby at this service makes me that much more excited.

Ray and I finally watched Machine Gun Preacher. If you have been a reader of this blog or a friend, you know why this is significant. Around the end of October last year, Ray and I were supposed to go and see it. I was really struggling (all those books, prayers, tweets about serving the poor and those in need…geez!) during that time and was what some would call “emotionally unstable”. I was frustrated with all this stuff going on in my head and my heart and no clue where to start. I was a basket case! Sometimes, I can’t be explained. Prior to leaving I was laying on my son’s bed crying. Ray suggested seeing that movie may be a bad idea at that time. He was right. We got coffee and went and sat by the lake instead. Watching a movie about a man who goes from abusive addict, to man building an orphanage in a war zone would have made me flat out ridiculous.

This movie finally comes out on Red Box! I find the emotional stability (though you may find me questionable) and we watch it. We both cry. What a story! Life isn’t PG and this man’s life was no exception. It wasn’t a pretty story with a guaranteed happy ending. It was raw. I told Katie that if she saw it, Brandn was done for. To which he said, it was too late for that 🙂 The kids in that movie will rip your heart out. I thought it was necessary to document my progress.

I’ve decided that everyone should keep some kind of gratitude list/journal/phone app…whatever. I loved adding this this week. Beauty can be found in the unexpected and when I write it down, I’m reminded of much more. That’s just me…

A few things that make my heart smile this week…

I’ve decided to make this gratitude post mostly in photo form. Not all things can be captured but I love the things that can be 🙂

#1 – His name is Cephas. He is a super hero and a rock star.

 

#2 – The Addy Esco reached a massive goal this week. A text that made me cry.

 

#3 – a sweet wedding celebrated with friends (the ceremony ended and the wind whipped in)

#4 – Ray would say he is grateful for not being asked to be in the picture. He gladly took it 🙂

#5 – the years in youth ministry that brought us to that wedding…and all of the people in that picture.

#6 – Grateful for those crazy teenagers who grew up and now do life and ministry with us.

#7 – 10 birthdays celebrated together

#8 – The Moore’s for introducing us to sushi.

#9 – the amazing surprise that followed dinner! Our team put Ray’s new office area together! Best team ever!!!

 

#10- a coffee cup with a story. It still serves the same reminder that it did when it was given to me over 5yrs ago. Turns out even coffee cups can remind us of how faithful God is. This one does.

 

I’ve argued on a 4 and 6yr old level. Been frustrated, let laundry pile up, nothing is as clean as I would like it to be and for right now, that is ok. It will face me in the morning. I’ve snuggled and read with my kids, timed their swim races and stopped Wii fights.

I’ll leave you with this for today. I must! That laundry is starting to give me the stink eye. It has powers.

What are you grateful for this week? If you had to play a little game of high/low…what would you say?

 

 

 

Writing, Gratitude and First World Problems…

With the untimely passing of my Dell laptop battery (hope that is all that’s wrong), my posting has been minimal. I have grandiose ideas folks and not having access to my own beloved laptop is somewhat of a downer (and a first world problem…mock me if you must).

I’ve decided that keeping on keeping on is a must. So, until my laptop is brought back to life, I will do my best to work through my first world grief and use my husband’s Mac whenever possible. He has a weird keypad cover that looks cool but drives me crazy. This is a labor of love people (and laced with all kinds of sarcasm).

My next attempt will be at uploading pics to my blog on a computer that is not my own.  Gasp!

I have a purpose in what I write and a purpose in this post. I promise, I’m getting there.

I wanted to add a new weekly post. I’m adding a little game of high/low. Come on, who needs to be reminded that they are not alone when they spent time during the week arguing on a 4yr old level? Or even better…a 6yr old level. To clarify, my 6yr olds level. It’s kind of impressive. On a very high note, my friends will be in town from Wrangell, Alaska this week! I’m thrilled to no end! Each week will not be complete without a 1000 Gifts challenge. In life we all need the pauses and gratitude does such a thing. It points to God, the Father, the Creator. Those moments are reminders and like much of life, it points to something greater than us yet something we are invited in to. I’m taking my cue from Ann Voskamp. Read her book, and watch life slow down a bit, gratitude increase and see God in unexpected places. I failed to mention how reading that book challenged my writing and creativity. Perspective man…perspective! It’s amazing.

I would love feedback as this gets going. This specific kind of post will go up every Friday. So get ready to share!

This week is full!!!! We have our first service in our new location (those friends I mentioned will be there), at our new service time on Sunday. The renovations are looking great! Our team has been busting their booty to get everything done. We are meeting at 5pm, across the street from where we have been meeting since day 1. Oh yeah, that’s right….5PM. We are excited about the changes! We are praying and dreaming…more praying…you get the idea. We are excited about the future of Revive Church. We love this city and still can’t believe that God would lead us back for this purpose. Would love to have you join us! 1006 W. Koenig Ln.

Until we meet again (Friday at the latest), I pray your week is full of the beautifully unexpected. It’s raining in Austin, TX…we are already enjoying the unexpected 🙂