• Why I've Never Felt More Optimistic About God's Future For City Church

    In five years of ministry, I have never felt as optimistic as I do today about God's future for City Church. Some of you might be thinking... that's basically what you say every week in your e-blast. While there may be some truth to that...

    I really mean it! Question is: why?

    Let me answer that by saying that our staff just returned from the annual "Sticky Teams" conference at North Coast Church in North San Diego County (where I got saved at 13). This 2-day seminar was a great time for our leaders to get away and learn together. We had a blast!

    The reason I feel so optimistic about the future is because of the great leaders God has entrusted us with to steward His church.

    More than a "takeaway" that was gleaned from the conference or any "camp high" feeling, I left with a deep sense of how much our team loves Jesus and one another. That singular fact brings me a tremendous sense of hope and optimism for the future of our church. Believe it or not... we actually enjoy one another's company! More than any building or ministry plan, I know the Lord has good things in store for us because of the people I have the honor of serving alongside of. I am blown away by their commitment to Christ, to obedient lives, and to serving our church. I believe...

    If you want to know where you'll be in five years, look at the people you choose to surround yourself with. While I have big prayers, dreams, and aspirations for City Church, time will tell which of those are of God and which are not. One thing I am sure of though - we have a team that loves Jesus, loves one another, and is focused on their character as much as their (respective) crafts. Come what may, those are the kind of people I would want to model my life after - hands down!

    For the record, I don't just feel that way about our staff, I feel that way about all our leaders. Never in my life have I felt more loved, supported, and cheered on as a pastor. Thank you City Church for being the kind of place that stays committed to all God has. The future is bright! 


    Simplify Your Holiday Season - A Women's Conference

    Do you need help turning seasonal stress into holiday success? Learn how to soar through the holidays with tips to save time and money, enjoy the season, and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. Marcia Ramsland, The Organizing Pro, will inspire you to simplify your activities and learn practical tips to prepare your heart and home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    When is it? Saturday November 8, 2014 from 10:30am-1:30pm.

    Where is it? In the Community Center on City Church's campus at 701 W. Broadway.

    How much does it cost? The cost is $15 per person and it includes a book, food, and a fantastic speaker.

    How can I sign up? You can email lisa@lovehopecity.com right now, but you'll need to pay Sunday to secure your ticket.


    Christmas Eve Info Night

    Are you interested in participating in the creative madness and fun of Christmas Eve at City Church? If so, we are going to be having an info meeting this Sunday at 4:04pm in the church sanctuary.

    We hesitate to call anything "mandatory" around City Church because we want everything we do to be so much fun that you naturally desire to be there. With that said... if you want to serve (in any capacity) at Christmas Eve, we need you to be at this meeting.

    CLARIFICATION: This is more of an "info night" than an audition. Bottom line is: we'll find a place for anyone who wants to serve. Don't feel that you need to come with anything prepared, just show up if you're interested, let us know how you'd like to serve, and we'll do our best to get a plan going! SOUND GOOD?


  • It Shall Not Be So Among You.

    Leave it to a mom to put Jesus on the spot - this one did so in extraordinary fashion. She barrels her way up to Jesus and boldly asks him (with her two sons in front of the rest of Jesus' disciples) if they could sit at his right and left in his kingdom.

    Everyone knew what she meant. Mom wanted her sons be placed above all the others in the highest places of honor. Here's what I love about Jesus, he doesn't chastise the request. He doesn't say...

    "How dare you for asking that?!?"
    "Who do you think you are?!?"


    Instead, he just kindly redirects this mom and her sons saying "It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant" (Matt. 22:26).

    Jesus never chastises a desire for greatness, he simply offers a better path - that of a servant.

    Last week I challenged our entire church to the discipline of ongoing and regular service (at home, at church, and in everyday life). Today I want to challenge you to serve someone tangibly. Here are three easy ways you can walk God's path to greatness through service.

    1. Chick-Fil-A it. Have you ever noticed at Chick-Fil-A that every time you ask for something they say "My pleasure"? It's a great model of service. One huge way you can make a difference is by not grumbling or grimacing when your boss, coworker, or family member asks you to do something you don't enjoy.

    2. Give some "you time" away. Instead of zoning out to some TV tonight, catch up with a friend. Turn off the phone and eat an uninterrupted dinner with your family. Spend your lunch break writing a thank you card to someone just for being who they are (not because of anything they did or gave you).

    3. Smile in every conversation you have today. Do you think it's possible in every single conversation to smile? Imagine the difference you would experience through such a simple act. 


    Recovery-Focused Small Group Continues Tonight @7:07.

     

    City Church's brand new recovery group is happening again this Friday night at 7:07pm. This recovery-focused Bible study meets weekly on City Church's campus. If you have ever dealt with substance-related addiction (ex: alcohol abuse, drug addiction, pornography, etc.) or dependency/co-dependency issues of any kind, this group is for you. The group will be meeting in room 6 in the education wing of the campus. It is co-ed, but men and women will separate during discussion time. Don't be scared to come, all are welcome.

    Can I come unannounced? Absolutely. This is the ground floor of a brand new ministry. If you'd like to let us know you plan to come, feel free to email alyson@lovehopecity.com and she can answer any questions you might have. With that said, if you feel you need to come, just show up Friday night!


    Anaheim Halloween Parade @ Our Doorstep - Sat October 25th

    Ever since 1924, Anaheim has hosted a "Halloween Parade" that literally crosses right in front of our new campus on Broadway. The image on the right was taken from the parade last year with our campus as the backdrop.

    Mark your calendars. We are in the process of planning an opportunity for us as a church to give back to our community as they pass by. The parade will be in the evening. We are looking for people to pass out water, dress up in disco gear, or help as volunteer "parade marshals."

    Last year, 45,000 people watched the event. Let's rise up as a church to serve them. So... leave the day open and email alyson@lovehopecity.com today if you're interested in helping.


  • #PrayToEndEbola

    Dear City Church Friends and Family,

    Let me start out with a question: do you remember where you were on 9/11? If you were alive then (which is crazy to think some of you weren't), you remember where you were when it happened. Our nation watched as 3,000 people perished in one morning. That horrendous terrorist attack awakened our nation to the realities of a dark world that forever changed the United States as we know it. I do not bring up 9/11 to be dramatic; I bring it up because I still remember how it felt when the pit in my stomach dropped as I watched the events unfold. Odds are, you do too.

    As I watch the ebola crisis unfold, I feel that pit in my stomach dropping again in the same way. Without trying to sound alarmist, I think this is the greatest potential catastrophe our modern world has faced. As of Wednesday October 15th (this morning), there have been 4,033 confirmed ebola deaths since the outbreak began in April of this year (there are likely many more unconfirmed ebola deaths in rural parts where these numbers aren't accurately tracked).

    Here are two things we absolutely CAN'T do about this.

    1. We can't PANIC. God says in His word "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, and love and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7). Panicking will not help anyone or improve the situation.

    2. We can't PRETEND. First, as we have all see already, we can't pretend we are immune because of the continent we live on. Second, we can't pretend that it couldn't become nationwide in a heartbeat. This disease has already claimed many more lives than 9/11 and its potential devastation is unimaginable.

    Here is the two things all of us can do:

    1. We can PRAY! Friends, the greatest weapon we have against ebola is prayer. John Wesley once said "God does nothing except in response to believing prayer." Though there are clearly times when God initiates on His own apart from human prayer, Wesley's point is strong here. God is moved by the prayers of His people. I am asking every single one of you to commit to praying and even potentially fasting to ask God to stop the ebola crisis. Would you commit to do this with me? This Sunday at City Church, we'll take a moment to pray for this crisis together. I would encourage you two share this blog on your social media pages using the hashtag #PrayToEndEbola. There is a great website from SIM International (a missions organization) called praytoendebola.org. While their week of prayer has passed, the need is even more pressing today than it was then.

    2. We can PROCLAIM Christ to our friends/family. I guarantee you that your friends and family are nervous about this. You have a natural conversation starter right now to tell your friends and family about Christ. I remember the Sunday after 9/11 happened, churches were all packed! When people are confronted with the possibility/reality of their death, they flock to God. Ebola is an opportunity to remind our friends and family members that Christ is in control of this situation. He wasn't surprised by it when it started nor is He to blame for its occurrence. The reality is that we live in a fallen world. Whatever takes our lives, be it Ebola, a car crash, old age, or something else, no one can escape death. As you have conversations with coworkers who are concerned, consider that this is an invitation to invite them to church.

  • Your Input < 2 Min Of Your Time

    It is not every day that the pastor asks for the entire church's input on a topic. However, once per year or so I like to get a pulse on where people are at. Surveys don't reveal everything, but they are helpful for some things.

    So... I've crafted a simple survey that I would welcome your feedback on. Here's what you need to know...

    1. It's totally anonymous.
    2. It's about general issues (nothing controversial).
    3. It will help us plan our Christmas services.

    Our staff would covet your prayers for wisdom as we make decisions related to Christmas planning for this year! Being that this is the first year in our new facility, we believe there is a monumental opportunity to reach people for Christ this upcoming Christmas season.

    Please answer the survey here.




    Recovery-Focused Small Group Continues Tonight @7:07.

     

    City Church's brand new recovery group is happening again tonight at 7:07pm. This recovery-focused Bible study meets weekly on City Church's campus. If you have ever dealt with substance-related addiction (ex: alcohol abuse, drug addiction, pornography, etc.) or dependency/co-dependency issues of any kind, this group is for you. The group will be meeting in room 6 in the education wing of the campus. It is co-ed, but men and women will separate during discussion time. Don't be scared to come, all are welcome.

    Can I come unannounced? Absolutely. This is the ground floor of a brand new ministry. If you'd like to let us know you plan to come, feel free to email alyson@lovehopecity.com and she can answer any questions you might have. With that said, if you feel you need to come, just show up tonight!




    Anaheim Halloween Parade @ Our Doorstep - Sat October 25th

    Ever since 1924, Anaheim has hosted a "Halloween Parade" that literally crosses right in front of our new campus on Broadway. The image on the right was taken from the parade last year with our campus as the backdrop.

    Mark your calendars. We are in the process of planning an opportunity for us as a church to give back to our community as they pass by. The parade will be in the evening. We are looking for people to pass out water, dress up in disco gear, or help as volunteer "parade marshals."

    Last year, 45,000 people watched the event. Let's rise up as a church to serve them. So... leave the day open and email alyson@lovehopecity.com today if you're interested in helping.




     

  • The Grand Opening Month Is Finished... Now What?

    [Pastor breathes a deep sigh...]

    The Grand Opening season is now behind us. With three full months at our new church home under our belt, it's a good time to pause and take a breath. God has done great things among us.

    Here are just a few to reflect on...

    1. The campus is looking great.
    2. The Spirit is moving in the lives of the people.
    3. The community around us is noticing.
    4. People are bringing friends.

    Though there are always challenges out there, we have much to celebrate! But... NOW WHAT?

    Great question. The answer is that our #1 goal is to be the church Jesus wants us to be. Beyond that, we hope to continue to be the church you have grown to love. We will do our best to stay creative within biblical boundaries. We will continue to occasionally try things outside the box (even if they sound a little crazy to others). Mostly, we will always be a church where it's safe to bring a friend.

    How does that sound for a plan? Hope to see you this Sunday at 10:10am as we take communion. 


    Recovery-Focused Small Group Starts This Friday @7:07pm.

     

    Starting this upcoming Friday night at 7:07pm, Dave Shope will be starting a recovery-focused Bible study that meets weekly on City Church's campus. If you have ever dealt with substance-related addiction (ex: alcohol abuse, drug addiction, pornography, etc.) or dependency/co-dependency issues of any kind, this group is for you. The group will be meeting in the 4th-6th grade room in the education wing of the campus. It is co-ed, but men and women will separate during discussion time.

    Can I come unannounced? Absolutely. This is the ground floor of a brand new ministry. If you'd like to let us know you plan to come, feel free to email alyson@lovehopecity.com and she can answer any questions you might have. With that said, if you feel you need to come, just show up Friday night!


    Anaheim Halloween Parade @ Our Doorstep - Sat October 25th

    Ever since 1924, Anaheim has hosted a "Halloween Parade" that literally crosses right in front of our new campus on Broadway. The image on the right was taken from the parade last year with our campus as the backdrop.

    Mark your calendars. We are in the process of planning an opportunity for us as a church to give back to our community as they pass by. The parade will be in the evening.

    Last year, 45,000 people watched the event. Let's rise up as a church to serve them. So... leave the day open and email alyson@lovehopecity.com today if you're interested in helping.


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