Monday, December 28, 2009

Expectation vs. Expectancy

There are a couple of major life lessons that God's been teaching and reinforcing in me over and over this year. I'll write about the other one later but the biggest lesson I've been learning is the difference between expectation and expectancy.

Honestly, this is something I've never really thought about before - and I would venture to say that you probably haven't either - but it's a powerful thought. Do you know what the difference is between expectation and expectancy?

Expectation is saying I want something from you; expectancy is saying I want to be with you. Expectation causes one to get upset when you're late; expectancy causes one to just be so glad when you get there - no matter what time it is.

Expectation is hard and cruel master. It's totally performance based and rather selfish; if you don't do what I want you to do, I become disappointed, disenchanted, frustrated, and upset. Expectation doesn't build up a relationships but rather, it strains relationships. It puts a burden on one person and gives power to the other. It turns a relationship into a situation where there are winners and losers - and that's not how relationships should be. It is more suitable for business contracts than for human relationships. Expectation is something we have to deal with, so it would be wise for us to clearly make our expectations known to each other instead of keeping them unspoken and harming our relationships by doing so.

Expectancy on the other hand, is simply wonderful. It's life giving, hope building, and relationship strengthening. Expectancy is behind the saying "absence makes the heart grow stronger". It is not selfish but selfless. It actually takes off the burden that expectation puts on us and replaces it with a sense of joyful anticipation. It's what causes a mother to work so hard to make her son or daughter's favorite food when they come home to visit from college. It's what causes a dad to drive home fast after a business trip and move briskly to the door so that he can see his wife and kids even just a second sooner. It's what causes kids to want to stay up late so they can be with grandma and grandpa. Expectancy is what fuels relationships because it is a mark of God's love and promise to return one day and take His children Home with Him.

This year, I've seen both the ugly face of expectation and the beautiful face of expectancy in different relationships of mine. I've seen a friend get angry at me because I didn't fulfill their expectation (which I didn't know they had until I had failed to meet it), and I've seen friends bear with me and extend much grace to me when I was late or had a short fuse or was impatient. Thankfully, the amount expectancy from those I love has far outweighed the amount of expectation.

And the expectancy I experience from those I love is a soothing balm for the harsh lashes that expectation leaves on my soul. It lets me know I am loved, helps me move closer to believing I am wanted, and shows me in a tangible way what God's grace is like. I believe that God is more a God of expectancy than expectation.

So I hope that this year, you have experienced expectancy far more than you have expectation. And I hope that next year, you will not be a person of expectation, but will be a person of expectancy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Moon, Old Lie.

I came across this review from Dare2Share shortly after the new Twilight movie came out and thought it was interesting. Enjoy!

- Ariel

// // // // //

So it turned out pretty much as expected. A massive opening night with millions of Twittering Twi-Hards clutching their preordered tickets and finally embracing the ├╝ber-anticipated sequel, The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

To sum the movie up - one girl…two guys…cool vampire (literally)…hot wolf (here boy!)…and, like, danger-lust-romance-mystery…OMG!!!

Picture the rival gangs in Grease, only with superpowers, much better stylists and costume designers.

In my mind, the siren call of this movie to the tweens and teens of this generation could be summed up in one word -


Wouldn’t you agree? Behind all the fangs and fur is a syrupy sweet repetition of “I love you, but I’m a vampire, and I can’t protect you,” and “I love you, but I’m a werewolf, and I can’t protect you.”

Don’t misread me here, I’m not a Twilight hater. The idea of the movie is interesting and the effects are cool, but what is not cool is the picture of love being portrayed here. The normal moviegoer might conclude that relationships as consistently, codependently fiery and passionate as Edward’s and Bella’s are normal and should be desired in life. As one writer put it:

Twilight and New Moon are essentially uncritical celebrations of that overwrought, obsessive passion that is the hallmark of immaturity - passion that wholly subordinates all sense of one’s own identity and elevates the beloved to summum bonum (highest good), or even the sole good…” *

But that kind of love relationship isn’t healthy, nor does it portray what real love is really like. In other words, enjoy the movie, but don’t buy the love lie. Romance is awesome and an amazing part of life, but trust me, it can only come from a proper understanding of love.

Which then begs the question… what is love? Well, before you answer with “baby don’t hurt me!”, perhaps we should consult the Person who invented love in the first place?

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:12-13).

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Are you seeing the glaring difference here? Twilight tells us to look at love as an emotionally driven rollercoaster ride that is greatly impacted by circumstances, appearances, and expectations being met. It’s a flame that builds when the winds of passion are present, but it can grow cold with a mere unkind word or unfaithful action.

Yep, that’s pretty much our culture…but there is a better way. There’s a love that stays as constant and burning as the North Star, because the fire is fueled from the inside out. It’s a love that says, “I’m committed to you no matter what. If the emotions are there, great, but if not, you are still the object of my dedication.”

This is the kind of love that “never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

This is also the love that drives people to “lay down their life for their friends.”

And did you know that you are already the object of that kind of love?

Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:7-8).

God loved you before you were born. He loved you when you were unlovable. He still loves you when you doubt and disbelieve.

He loves you so much that He gave His only Son to die rather than live in eternity without you!

That’s the kind of love that lasts, and when a relationship is built on that kind of foundation, there is passion and romance that no book or film will ever come close to portraying. And when we are consumed with the love of God for us, earthly love will fall into its correct place on our list of priorities and desires.

And speaking of “laying down your life for your friends”… have you lately? Do their needs come before yours? And most importantly, have you put your coolness on the line by sharing the good news of the love of Jesus with them? That’s real love - a love that this cold world desperately needs.

* "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" Review by Steven D. Greydanus

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday night mind purge

- This week has been crazy and busy and awesome and inspiring and depressing and an all around thrill ride roller coaster.

- Last Sunday, the 13th, was our second preview service at Del Sol Northeast. It was very interesting, lots of lessons learned, lots of technological problems - but in the end, it was blessed and I believe that God was honored.

- Monday was a really unproductive day. I served at Wayside at lunch time, then went to work doing some stuff at the NE campus, then worked at Carl's Jr. for awhile before meeting Walter at Costco to help him bring a purchase home with him that he needed a truck for. After that, I spent the evening at home working on some stuff, looking for a truck, and resting.

- Tuesday was a busy day spent mostly at the office. I had a good workout session at the gym, then showered up and went in to the office until about 4 pm. Then I had about an hour to go downtown, deliver 4,700 CD's to a mailing house, pickup a sign from a vendor, and then buy some fabric. It was a big rush but I was able to get it all done in an hour. Thankfully we postponed our NE campus launch team meeting until Thursday so I was able to enjoy a $2.99 country fried steak meal at Grandy's and then go see a friend's choir concert that evening. turned out to be a lovely evening.

- After the gym on Wednesday, I cleaned up and spent most of the rest of day at the office. During my time there I had a great, energizing, exciting meeting with Troy, Ed Romo, and Stephen Meyer as we talked and dreamed about the future of the new worship venue at Del Sol's East campus.

- And at the end of my week, which is Thursday, I spent it in the morning at the office, having a very encouraging meeting with Walter, then spent the afternoon working at Corner Bakery. Thank God for free WiFi! I was able to get quite a bit of work done, started to get to know some of the staff there, and had a good lunch.

- Then Thursday evening, we had a great celebration and launch team meeting at the NE campus. We had a good ol' fashioned Baptist pot luck dinner, then spent the evening preparing for an outreach on Saturday and just spending time in God's Word, remembering His goodness and remembering that this life is not the end - that one day we will be glorious and without pain and will be perfect in Heaven. God will be our God, and we will be His people. And that's what I can barely wait for!

- Friday was my day off, so I slept in, lounged around home, finally hit up the gym, had lunch, then went to look at a couple of possible trucks to buy. I also had new speakers put into my current truck. So the trucks I looked at turned out to be bad deals and I ended up coming home pretty discouraged and frustrated and just spent the evening sulking, then finally went to bed.

- Saturday morning was pretty great! Del Sol Northeast spent the morning and a bit of the early afternoon serving the Northeast community by wrapping gifts for free - no strings attached - at Kmart on Dyer. We wrapped close to 100 presents and served about 40 people in our few hours there. We had some great interactions, made some great contacts, and had some very deep, meaningful connections with two or three people who were really seeking something new, a fresh start. I hope they do come to our next service on January 10th and begin their new journey with God.

- And this morning was bittersweet at Del Sol East. I love worshiping with my Del Sol Church family and I'm very excited about what God is doing at Del Sol Northeast and I'm ready to get things going full speed ahead - BUT's gonna be incredibly difficult to leave the campus I've known literally the majority of my life and not be there every week like I have for nearly the past 14 years. I have three more Sundays at Del Sol East and honestly, I'm really struggling with that. It's gonna be hard, but it's gonna be so worth it when we see the first person come to faith, the first person get baptized, the first person become a member of Del Sol Church.

- Thankfully I had a great lunch meeting after our worship celebration services with the Romo
family. Man I just love those people so much and I'm so excited about what God is gonna use them for. I'm honored to be a part of their development as leaders in the Lord's precious Church.

- And as I think back on this week and this year, I can confidently say that it will be worth it all when we go Home to Heaven.

Dear Grandma Martinez,

Today is 19 years since you died. I was only 4 when you passed away. I only have one memory of you but from what I hear about you from my family, you were a great woman.

I wish I could have known you.

I wish I would have been older, or that you would have lived longer, or something. I understand that you did become a Christian in your later years, so I really look forward to getting to know you when I go Home to Heaven.

Grandma, I didn't really know you - but I love you, I miss you, and I'm thinking of you today.

- Your grandson, Ariel.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

A winter greeting.

To my Democrat friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

Additionally, I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 20
10 , but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wish.

Furthermore, should you be a person who does not celebrate anything, or should you prefer to celebrate another season of the year, please accept my sincerest apologies for having offended by sending you this greeting.

To my Republican friends:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Del Sol Northeast prayer update - 12/17/09

Here's the latest update on Del Sol Northeast:

- This past Sunday, December 13th, we had our second preview service at the Northeast campus. All things considered, it was good. We learned a lot of lessons since the first preview service, so we were much better organized this time around. We also learned some frustrating lessons, mostly related to technology, on the spot that morning. Funny how something works perfectly fine on Saturday but doesn’t work so well less than 24 hour later. Despite some small obstacles, I’m REALLY proud of our NE campus launch team for stepping it up and working together to put on a good, God-honoring worship celebration.

- We had a few new people from the community show up for this second preview service, which was very exciting for everyone. When a new family drove into the parking lot, one of our host team members came to me all excited and practically shouted out “New people are here!!!”, then regained her composure and told everyone “New people are here, but let’s not overwhelm them. Spread out.” I was very proud of how she handled that situation.

- So we’ve made some more contacts in the community and will keep working hard to do so – one person, one family at a time. We’ll keep serving, keep advertising, keep inviting, and most importantly, we’ll keep praying and thanking God for everyone He sends our way. All throughout this journey to beginning this new work in the Northeast, we’ve seen over and over how God has given and taken away. His fingerprints have been all over this thing and there’s just no way we could manufacture or fake what He has done. I truly believe that He has great things in store for Del Sol Northeast!

- If you’re a part of the Del Sol Church family, you’ve probably heard that opening up a second worship venue at our East campus is in the works. One of the unexpected blessings of being on this journey to launch Del Sol Northeast this year is that I’m able to consult with the venue team and help them avoid mistakes I’ve made as they prepare to launch the second venue at the East campus. Being able to help them and bless them in that way has made all the frustrations and hard lessons I’ve learned at the NE campus worthwhile. I’m very excited about what God has in store for both campuses of Del Sol!!!

- We have one more preview service at DSC NE – Sunday, January 10th, 2010. If you’d like to come, you’re more than welcome to. You can either come to our volunteer worship celebration service at 9:30 am or to our public worship celebration service at 11:00 am. Two weeks after that service, we will have our grand opening when we will launch into weekly worship celebration services. That date for the grand opening is January 24th, 2010, and it’s coming soon!

- As I mentioned in my last update, one of the major tasks I’m working on for our grand opening in January is making sure each ministry area (Follow-up, Outreach, Host, Parking/Grounds, Music/Tech, Kids, and Prayer) has a director, a co-director, and team members and that everyone knows what is expected of them and what they’re supposed to be doing. Please keep praying for me as I work on making sure all our bases are covered and that we will be fully prepared for those whom the Lord will send to us.

- We’re also trying to finish up work at the Northeast Campus property itself – getting flooring finished, getting trim put on, getting the exterior painted, getting a new roof put on the auditorium, etc. Please pray that we can get it all done by January 24th.

Here's how you can pray this week:

1. Thank God for sending those from the community whom He sent to our second preview service and ask Him to send even more for our third preview service on January 10th. It’s not about numbers – it’s about telling people the Gospel and leading them into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, so we want to do that for as many people as we can.

2. Ask the Lord to be with me as I work on the projects I mentioned above (covering all our bases, finishing up work on the NE campus property, etc.) – that I will use my time wisely and efficiently, and in a way that honors the Lord.

3. Ask the Lord to continually encourage our volunteer launch team members - that they would know that their work is tremendously valuable and that God will honor them as they honor Him. Ask the Lord to show me how I can constantly encourage them in and equip them for ministry.

Thanks for your prayers - I truly believe they make a big difference.

- Ariel Martinez |
Sol Church - Northeast Campus Pastor
11501 Vista del Sol, El Paso, TX 79936
Office: (915) 855-3798 ext. 231 | Cell: (915) 449-0552

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Del Sol Northeast prayer update - 12/02/09

I apologize that it’s been nearly a month since I sent out the last update on the Northeast campus. Here's the latest update on Del Sol Northeast:

- Throughout the Thanksgiving season, we have been working hard to Serve the World and show God’s love in practical ways by serving the community around the Northeast campus. We’ve done that by giving people boxes of stuffing with a sticker that has our contact info on it, saying we want them to get stuff on use – no strings attached. We distributed 10 Thanksgiving food baskets, which included a turkey and all the trimmings to make a full Thanksgiving meal, to people in the Northeast that we found had needs – no strings attached. We also spent some time on a recent Saturday at a convenience store picking up the parking lot and offering to clean people’s windows, headlights, and tail lights for them – again, no strings attached.

- One of the major lessons we’ve learned working in the community around the Northeast campus is that the phrases “Free” and “No strings attached” are golden. We’ve found that when we’ve offered to serve people, they’re suspicious. They think we want money from them or want to proselytize them or force something on them. So we quickly learned that smiling faces speaking the word “free” and especially the phrase “no strings attached” is what really opened up doors for us to begin to get to know people and for them to allow us the privilege of serving them.

- We’ve also been preparing for our second preview service at the Northeast Campus, which will be on Sunday, December 13th. If you’d like to come, you’re more than welcome to. You can either come to our volunteer worship celebration service at 9:30 am or to our public worship celebration service at 11:00 am.

- One of the major tasks I’m working on for our grand opening in January is making sure each ministry area (Follow-up, Outreach, Host, Parking/Grounds, Music/Tech, Kids, and Prayer) has a director, a co-director, and team members. This will be crucial or else we’ll have balls being dropped, people not being ministered to, and we won’t be prepared to receive those that the Lord will send us. Please pray for me as I work on making sure all our bases are covered and that we will be fully prepared for those whom the Lord will send to us.

- In addition to working with people and preparing my sermon, I’m also coordinating finishing up renovation work at the Northeast Campus property itself – things like getting flooring finished, getting trim put on, getting the exterior painted, getting a new roof put on the auditorium, etc. I’ve got quite a bit on my plate with all of that, but I know that it’s just for a time and that it won’t be this way forever.

Here's how you can pray this week:

1. Continue praying for our Launch Team as we prepare for the second preview service, do more outreach into the community, and as we work together so that everyone can find exactly where their place is at Del Sol Northeast.

2. Ask the Lord to help those in the community to be open to us as we seek to serve them, to receive us well, and not suspect any ulterior motives. Please ask the Lord to give us open doors in the community.

3. Pray that many more from the community will come to our second preview service on the 13th and that God will lead to Himself those who will be at that service.

Thanks for your prayers - I truly believe they make a big difference.

- Ariel Martinez |

Del Sol Church - Northeast Campus Pastor

11501 Vista del Sol, El Paso, TX 79936

Office: (915) 855-3798 ext. 231 | Cell: (915) 449-0552

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Del Sol Northeast prayer update - 11/11/09

Here's the latest update on the Northeast location:

- This past Sunday, the 8th, was our first preview service at Del Sol Northeast. A preview service is like the soft opening of a business, intended to give people a preview of what things will look like at the grand opening, and to allow us to work out the kinks in our systems, equipment, and setup so that everything should go smoothly for the grand opening on Sunday, January 24th.

- For the first preview service, we had a handful of people from the community and about 25 or 30 from the East campus join us at 11:00 am, so the room felt pretty full, which is a good thing. We also had a smaller volunteer service at 9:30 so that those who would be serving during the 11:00 am service could worship before serving. We’re still in the process of evaluating our first preview service and while there are many things we need to work on for the second preview service on December 13th, I think this Sunday was a good start for Del Sol Northeast and showed everyone involved that God has a bright future, full of possibilities for our Northeast campus.

- I’m very grateful to those of you from Del Sol East that came out to join us on Sunday, and I’m VERY proud of our volunteers who gave up a good portion of their Sunday morning to serve at the Northeast campus. Thanks to all who prayed for, attended, and served at our first preview service this past Sunday.

- On the 31st of October, we had a free Fall Festival at the NE campus. Thanks to Grace Taylor and Kim Loya, it was so well organized and looked really good. We had almost 50 volunteers from the East campus serving, and we had just over 60 people from the Northeast community come out to the festival. Just like the preview service, there’s a lot we learned for next time, but I think that this event was also a success. We were able to make some good contacts with those who did come out and we were able to have a lot of face time with them, which we wouldn’t have been able to do if there had been a bigger crowd show up.

- Preparing for the Fall Festival and then for our first preview service was a major endeavor that required countless hours of work [and countless fast food meals on my part =)], but now that we are on the finished end of those events, we can take time to breathe, rest, be refreshed, and prepare for doing more outreach into the community and to prepare for the next preview service. December 13th seems so far away, but like your passenger side mirror on your car pretty much says - “things are closer than they appear.”

Here's how you can pray this week:

1. Continue praying for our Launch Team as we prepare for the next preview service, do more outreach into the community, and as we work together so that everyone can find exactly where their place is at Del Sol Northeast. Our team is pretty unified but satan loves to bring division, so please ask God to bind us together and to ward off anything that might bring disunity.

2. There are a lot of details to work through for our next preview service. Also, I’m preparing to preach at the East campus on Sunday, November 29th and then again at the Northeast campus on December 13th, and I have many other responsibilities as a staff member of Del Sol. Please pray for me to be well rested, to be closely connected to the Lord, to turn away from temptation, and to be wise in building up my relationships.

3. Ask God continue to work in the community around the Northeast campus, that He would send many more from the community to our second preview service and that He would give us favor with them as we show them God’s love in practical ways by serving them in coming weeks.

Thanks for your prayers - I truly believe they make a big difference.

- Ariel Martinez |
Del Sol Church - Northeast Campus Pastor
11501 Vista del Sol, El Paso, TX 79936
Office: (915) 855-3798 ext. 231 | Cell: (915) 449-0552

Friday, November 6, 2009

Del Sol Northeast prayer update, 11/06/09

Hey prayer team!

I apologize that it's been a couple of weeks - 3 weeks, actually - since I sent out my last prayer update. So much has gone on, and so many of you have been a part of it, that I simply haven't had time to send out an update.

Hopefully next Wednesday I can get back on track with sending you regular updates but until then, this is how you can pray:

This Sunday, November 8th, at 11:00 am is our first Sunday morning worship celebration at Del Sol Northeast!!! Please pray that God will lead our worship time and will make his presence known to everyone there. Pray that God will speak through me as I preach, and pray that as His Gospel message is preached, He will draw many to repentance and to a new life in Christ.

Pray for me to really internalize the message He's given me and to speak it boldly and humbly. Also, since I will give out everything I am on Sunday, ask Him to strengthen me and that after Sunday, I can rest and recover and again be filled with Him.

Pray for those from the community who will be there on Sunday, that they will be open to us and will be favorably disposed towards us so that we can truly make good connections with them and can discover how we can Serve the World by serving them.

Thanks SO much for your prayers - they are truly making a difference, especially in this intense time as we really gear up to launch Del Sol Church - Northeast campus.

- Ariel Martinez |
Del Sol Church - Northeast Campus Pastor
11501 Vista del Sol, El Paso, TX 79936
Office: (915) 855-3798 ext. 231 | Cell: (915) 449-0552

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Night Mind Purge, 10/18/09

- Woah, what a loooong day Monday was. I went to the gym, went to the office for a couple of hours, then went with some youth to spend the rest of the day trying to finish painting the inside of the NE campus - what with it being the Columbus Day holiday and all. We weren't able to finish it all, but got like 95% of it done. A few of us will go back this Thursday to finish some areas that need touching up, finish painting a new wall that was added, and do some major cleaning and organizing (hopefully).

- On Tuesday morning, I overworked my knee at the gym so I spent the rest of the week in quite a bit of pain. Thankfully I didn't have to walk too much in the day because I spent most of it working at the office, in staff meeting, and then doing more work. I left the office around 4:30, ran a couple of errands, scarfed down dinner, then met some peeps at the East campus to carpool to the Northeast campus.

- We started the "How to BE Rich" group study on Tuesday night and though we had a much smaller group, we had some REALLY good, honest discussion. I think God really used the Scriptures and the message from Andy Stanley to refine and convict us. This week we're doing an outreach so we won't do another session of the study again until next week. I'm REALLY looking forward to that.

- Wednesday was one of the longest days I've had in a long time. After hitting up the gym, I went in to the office and stayed there 'til nearly 8 pm working on a rough draft of a brochure for Vision 10.10.80 to give to our graphics designer. Aside from that main project, I worked on a plethora of other stuff related specifically to the NE campus and globally to Del Sol as a whole. A long, but very productive day, it was.

- Thursday was an interesting day because until about 2 pm, we didn't have power on at the offices. Thankfully, it was a planned outage while they replaced a main power line that had burned out the previous week in an unplanned outage. So I had a quick meeting with our graphic designer in the cafe of the worship center, then ran some errands I needed to run, went to The Bagel Shop in the Northeast to work for awhile, then spent the rest of the afternoon looking at carpet options and getting estimates over the phone. Hopefully we can get something set this week and get the new carpet installed in the next couple of weeks.

- I also set up an appointment with an exterminator to take care of a wasp nest there and with some guys from the church to paint the exterior of the NE campus this week. Hopefully I can meet with a landscaper this week so we can get all the trees and bushes trimmed too.

- So by the time Friday came, I was really ready to relax and have a day off. I slept in, had a good, relaxed time at the gym, had a quick lunch and then spent pretty much the rest of the day with my parents, looking at different models of cars at several dealerships. We sure drove a lot, but I felt pretty relaxed because I was with people I love, NOT thinking about work.

- I woke up really early Saturday so I could be at the NE campus at a little around 8:45 am to meet up with some others and go clean up part of Dyer street as part of Keep El Paso Beautiful's El Paso Pride Day. The 4 of us were able to clean a whole city block in about 3 hours! We piled up about 20 big bags of trash and a truckload of miscellaneous stuff like lots of wood, a shopping cart, tires, and other random stuff that didn't go in the bags. I was very proud of the others 3 who gave up their Saturday morning to help clean up part of our great city, and I felt like we - along with those from our East campus who cleaned up a lot on the Eastside - really contributed to making our city a better place to live.

- And through that experience, I determined that the "Don't Mess With Texas" slogan is something we should ALL take to heart. Littering is just not cool - period.

- After that I came home, met my parents, and spent some more time looking for cars. Then we came home, I had some dinner, and then spent the rest of the day relaxing and resting.

- Oh and also, the insurance company took my CRV and my mom's car on Saturday afternoon. Sigh ...I miss my CRV.

- Today I was running really late to our Sunday morning worship celebrations for some reason. I sat in a different spot than usual, which gave me a very different perspective of the whole worship celebration. Then after greeting people for the second service, I read some, then played with a couple of kids after the service was over, and then had lunch with the Pryors and my parents.

- Afterwards I went to look at some trailers just outside Horizon City and had fun taking the truck off the asphalt onto the dirt. I'm sure the truck enjoyed just being a truck. Somehow I haven't been able to get a Sunday afternoon nap in over a month. I really need to try to break that trend next Sunday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Del Sol Northeast Prayer Update - 10/15/09

Here's the latest update on the Northeast location:

- This weekend we kicked off Vision 10.10.80 at Del Sol East. If you don’t remember, Vision 10.10.80 is an exciting new giving emphasis over and above the regular giving of our Del Sol Church family. The “10.10.80” means that 10% of the total amount given will go to expand our World Missions activities, another 10% will go towards our Northeast location to help us grow and become established as another location of Del Sol Church, and the remaining 80% will go towards paying off the balance for construction of the Children’s Ministry Center at our East campus so that we can continue to use our budget to fund ministry, rather than having to use it to pay off a mortgage.

- Getting ready for Vision 10.10.80 while getting ready for the launch of Del Sol Northeast has kept me pretty busy. On Monday, I spent most of the day painting at Del Sol Northeast with some great youth from Del Sol East. I’m very grateful because with their help, we’re nearly finished painting the inside of the NE campus. A couple of men from the East campus – Butch Villarreal and Wayne Webb – will be painting the outside of the NE campus next week and I’m working on getting a landscaper, exterminator, and carpet man out there soon so that we can have the property all finished by the end of the month.

- This week we started a new study at our Tuesday night group at the Northeast campus: Andy Stanley’s “How to BE Rich”. We did the first 2 sessions on Tuesday because next week we’ll be going out into the community to serve, and they were both eye opening, convicting sessions for our group. We had some good discussion about the study and about the Scripture related to the study, and spent some good time praying for each other. On Tuesday the 27th, we’ll spend some time going prayer-walking in the community. Know that you’re welcome to join us on Tuesday nights, so please let me know if you’re interested.

- On Saturday, October 31st from 2 – 5 pm, we’ll have our first big community outreach at the Northeast campus: a free Fall Festival! We’ll provide free games, candy, food, and prizes – all as a way to both serve the Northeast community and to let people know that we’ll soon be launching out Northeast campus. There are several opportunities to serve at this Fall Festival (security/parking, running a booth, serving food, setup, tear down, etc.) so if you’re interested in serving, even for just an hour, please let me know right away and I’ll give you the details.

- On Sunday, November 8th, we’re preparing to have our first monthly preview service at the Northeast campus. It’ll be a full-blown preview of what things will look like when we start meeting weekly, so we’ll have worship through music, prayer, preaching, and kids’ ministry. We’ll have another one in December and in January, and then launch into weekly gatherings at the end of January/beginning of February.

- We’re still nailing down the details, but I’m very excited about this upcoming first preview service!!! We’ll use the Fall Festival on the 31st as one way to promote this preview service, and I believe that God will honor all the prayer and community service we’re doing and will send us many people who we can tell the Gospel to on this Sunday.

Here's how you can pray this week:

1. Pray for our Tuesday night group as we go out into the community and serve this coming Tuesday, the 20th. I truly hope we make a big impact in people’s lives as we show up ready to serve, not wanting anything in return but simply wanting to bless them in the Name of Jesus Christ.

2. Ask God to lead and guide us, giving us direction as we prepare for the Fall Festival and for our first preview service on November 8th. There are a lot of decisions to be made and details to be done, and I especially need God’s wisdom as I oversee those decisions and details.

3. Ask God to even now open the hearts and minds of those in the community to us as we do this Fall Festival and preview service, giving us favor with them. It has to be the Holy Spirit who gives us favor in the community and opens doors for us to speak the Gospel and show the Gospel by serving people in practical ways.

Thanks for your prayers - I truly believe they make a big difference.

- Ariel Martinez |

Del Sol Church - Northeast Campus Pastor

11501 Vista del Sol, El Paso, TX 79936

Office: (915) 855-3798 ext. 231 | Cell: (915) 449-0552

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Night Mind Purge, 10/11/09

- It's been another whirlwind week this past week!

- Monday was a really hard day, and I can only describe it as being God's grace and strength that got me through it. I had been sick the previous week and had just started feeling better that weekend, but then I woke up on Monday and felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck. I felt SO weak and tired, had a fever, was all congested, and had a nasty cough. It was terrible. I wanted to just go home and sleep but I had a couple of deadlines to meet, and ended up staying at the office 'til about 5 pm because my computer was giving me problems and was running so slow.

- I finally went home and just slept for about an hour, then got up, had dinner, watched some TV, then went to bed again around 9:30 pm.

- Even though it was a HORRIBLE day on Monday and I was extremely frustrated with my computer, I'm so glad that I stayed and worked on Monday because a power line fried at the East campus, so we were without power there 'til nearly 2 pm (which was past the deadlines I had to submit some files). We celebrated Troy and April's soon to arrive second child at staff meeting, then after our meeting, I did some more work at the office, went home to rest for a little bit since I was still sick, then met my NE campus peeps at the East campus to carpool to the NE for an outreach night.

- We spent most of the evening walking the streets around the NE campus, knocking on doors, offering to serve people by doing minor maintenance and cleaning at their homes. We also gave them some home made bread and offered to pray for them, if they were comfortable with us doing so. Afterwards, we met back at the NE campus to share stories, celebrate wins, and pray. It was great! I really sensed that God has been honoring our prayers all this year and is opening up doors for us in that neighborhood.

- I spent Wednesday at the office all day, working on some more important projects - mainly getting ready for our upcoming harvest party at the NE campus and putting together a brochure for Vision 10.10.80, a generosity emphasis that kicked off this morning, that we need to mail out pretty soon. That evening was First Wednesday, which was just a blessed time of worship through music and prayer. It was good and right to spend the evening in focused prayer for Juarez.

- Thursday was a crazy day. I had wanted to take the day off to rest and try to get the upper hand on my sickness and get fully well, but instead I had to work. I spent some time at the office, but also had a couple of meetings and a hospital visit in the afternoon. Thankfully I was able to get it all in - I had those two very productive meetings, made the hospital visit, and got some major work done on projects that I needed to get done.

- On Friday, I was finally able to sleep in and rest. A good friend of mine had a birthday party that evening, but I stayed home because I REALLY needed the rest. So rest is what I did most of Friday, after a relaxed lunch at Souper Salad and spending a little bit of time looking at cars.

- Thankfully I was able to sleep in a little bit again on Saturday morning, then spent the day working on stuff for the NE campus. I took Rick and met Josh & Nicki out there and we looked at the sound & light equipment that we have and figured out what we need to buy, then went to lunch together, then Rick and I spent the rest of the afternoon buying some supplies that we need for the NE location.

- As I mentioned above, we kicked off Vision 10.10.80 this morning at Del Sol Church's East campus. I love hearing Walter talk about vision and the future of our church. I'm always just totally blown away at how good God is to us and how He is blessing us in a really incredible way. We live in a time where out denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, is in serious decline and where churches across our nation and city are losing influence and momentum and are dying - and to His glory, God is blessing and growing us at Del Sol and we are bucking the trends of most churches these days. While some of it is because of our willingness to risk and because of our humble, Kingdom-minded leadership, all the credit definitely belongs to the Lord and not to us.

- It's SUCH an honor and privilege to be in the game with what God's doing at Del Sol these days.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Del Sol Northeast prayer update - 10/07/09

Here's the latest update on the Northeast location:

- Things have been so busy – in very good ways, as you’ll see below – that once again it’s been two weeks since I sent out the last update. Thanks for bearing with me about that.

- As a church, we’re just about to start Vision 10.10.80, an exciting new giving emphasis over and above the regular giving of our Del Sol Church family. The “10.10.80” means that 10% of the total amount given will go to expand our World Missions activities, another 10% will go towards our Northeast location to help us grow and become established as another location of Del Sol Church, and the remaining 80% will go towards paying off the balance for construction of the Children's Ministry Center at our East campus so that we can continue to use our budget to fund ministry, rather than having to use it to pay off a mortgage.

- I’ve been working with Walter to prepare for Vision 10.10.80, and we’ve had some short deadlines to meet, so I’ve had to focus a lot on that the past couple of weeks.

- On Saturday, we had another workday at the NE location and thankfully, we were able to probably about 85% of the painting done that needed to be done. For the rest, we’ll be going out at 1 pm this Monday, October 12th, to hopefully finish up. If you’re interested in helping us finish painting, please email or call me and I’ll give you more info.

- We’ve continued to meet on Tuesday nights at the NE location, praying, worshipping through music, doing a Bible study, and preparing to serve the community. Last night, we spent the bulk of our time going down a few streets in the community, letting people know that in two weeks, we’ll be back ready to serve them - no strings attached - by doing minor house cleaning and maintenance (changing smoke alarm batteries, vacuuming carpets, washing windows, polishing mirrors, etc).

- A couple of ladies on our launch team took it upon themselves to bake some small loaves of blueberry bread to give to people as we went door to door, so we also gave those away to many people, with a card on it that basically said the bread was a free gift in the name of Christ and to contact us if there was any other way we could serve them. We also offered to pray for people if they wanted us too.

- Afterwards, we came back together, shared stories and prayer requests, and talked about what the next step is to keep Serving the World by serving the community around the NE location. For the most part, we were well received by the people whose doors we knocked on; we had responses ranging from fear of not knowing why we were there, to shock and disbelief that we would want to serve a stranger with no strings attached, to excitement about the NE location opening up.

- One lady we talked to said that her daughter had been telling her mom that she wanted to go to church, so the mom was very excited that we’d be meeting right by her house and said she’d be there whenever we start meeting.

- Based on the general openness and excitement from the community, I believe that God has hearing your prayers and has been going before us, preparing that community to receive us well as we step in to tell them about the Gospel and to create environments where they can Love God, Love People, and Serve the World.

Here's how you can pray this week:

1. God is working in our Tuesday night gatherings, building up momentum and giving people a vision for the Northeast location. Please continue to ask God to work in us and through us on the launch team as we prepare to launch this Northeast location.

2. Along the same lines, ask the Lord to send us more volunteers to join our launch team. Ask Him to speak to people at our East campus about whether He wants them to be involved in launching the NE location.

3. Pray for those in the community that we met last night. Ask the Spirit of God to work in the hearts of all the people we met last night, that they would understand that we want to serve them with no strings attached, that they would be open to us and to the Gospel, and that they would spread the word and create a buzz about the Northeast location among their friends, family, and neighbors.

Thanks for your prayers - I truly believe they make a big difference.

- Ariel Martinez |
Del Sol Church - Northeast Campus Pastor
11501 Vista del Sol, El Paso, TX 79936
Office: (915) 855-3798 ext. 231 | Cell: (915) 449-0552

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday night mind purge, 10-04-09

- Wow, I can barely believe it's already October. This year seems to have flown by far faster than any years in recent memory. I'm already in next year in my mind!

- This week was crazy busy. I don't know how I survived it all. By the grace of God, I suppose.

- Monday was a busy day, and I woke up stressed because I knew I had some deadlines that I had to meet by midweek. I didn't think I'd meet them, but with God I was able to and felt much more relaxed and at ease by Monday night since by then, I saw that I'd be fine.

- On Tuesday, I was at the office all day finishing up some projects, working on some stuff for our upcoming Vision 10.10.80 giving emphasis, and prepping for our Tuesday evening gathering at the NE campus. We had a good meeting out there and made plans to take this Tuesday evening and get involved in the community, asking how we can help meet some needs and show God's love in a practical way. It was a really long day, but really good. I'm always so encouraged and refreshed by being around my Del Sol Church family.

- Wednesday was a crazy busy day. I started it out with an early visit to the gym, spent most of the day at the office, then went off to the NE campus with Rick at 4 pm to finish putting primer up in the portable building out there. We were there 'til nearly 10 pm, getting it ready to be painted on Saturday at our workday.

- Also, on Wednesday, this man walked in off the street (he was waiting for a bus at the bus stop right in front of the East campus) and asked for help. At first, I thought he was wanting money but he said that wasn't what he needed. After about 2 hours of talking, he finally crossed over the line of faith and prayed to commit his life to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. That was pretty awesome, especially since that morning I had asked God to give me an opportunity to tell someone about Him. I was riding high all day after that.

- Then on Thursday, we started our 10th month of 2009, and it was yet another super busy day for me. I worked until about 6:30 pm, then had a meeting at 7 pm, and was finally able to start to unwind at 7:45 pm by having dinner at Chick-fil-A with Rick & Kristin.

- I slept in 'til about 11 am on Friday, and for the first time in weeks, actually felt kind of refreshed and like I had actually gotten some sleep that night. I ended up having to spend about half the day running errands to get ready for the workday on Saturday, but finally got to rest and relax some on Friday afternoon and evening. I was wanting to go to the homecoming game at Hanks High School, but I decided to stay at home and rest instead. I'm glad I did that because Hanks lost, and it's never fun or relaxing to go to a game, sit for hours on hard bleachers, and then lose a game.

- So then on Saturday, I headed over first thing to the NE campus to meet a bunch of other people and FINALLY start painting the auditorium and kids portable out there. I was so excited that I made sure I got to apply the first roller of paint on the walls. I'm VERY grateful for everyone who went out there to work, and I'm so glad we got as much done as we did. This is a sneak preview of what the auditorium will look like:

- After we finished up and I finally left around 4 pm, it was dark and rainy, so I spent a couple of hours driving around, looking at cars in case the insurance company declares my CRV to be a total loss from the hail damage. It was kind of fun and relaxing, but I was glad to get home and finally have a shower, change into some relaxed clothing, and go to bed. I barely slept though because so many things were running through my mind that night.

- Naturally, I woke up totally exhausted this morning. And because I was physically & mentally tired, I had to really fight to get up and going and felt so discouraged and down as I drove to the East campus for our worship celebrations. I asked God to encourage me as I spent time with my church family, and for the sun to break through the clouds at lunchtime. Thankfully, He did both. I had a great lunch with some of the Pryors, ran over to the NE campus to pick something up that I left on Saturday, then had a nice nap before heading back to the East campus for the wedding vow renewal ceremony. That was cool.

- And now, it's bedtime for bonzo. Good night!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Night Mind Purge

- Man it's been a crazy week, and this new week is gonna be intense and crazy and busy and rushed! I've got several important deadlines to meet for some print publications in order to have them ready by Sunday, so if you would, please ask God to help me focus and get things done well and in time.

- On Monday I took a half day off and slept in since I wasn't able to take a day off the week before, so I woke up, cleaned up, and went to volunteer at Wayside for lunchtime. Afterwards I had to go meet the gas company people at Del Sol's Northeast campus to get the gas turned on, then went to work for a bit at The Bagel Shop, then did some reading at Starbucks for awhile before coming home around 7 pm after a long day in the Northeast. Thankfully I had a good conversation with someone at The Bagel Shop and started to get to know a manager at Bux. I hope that those relationships develop in coming weeks.

- Then on Tuesday, I spent some time in the office, we had a good staff meeting, and then I had a great meeting with John MacKay, one of our church's elders, then met some peeps to carpool out to the Northeast campus for a casual, low-key time of worship through prayer, music, and Bible study. I asked the people there for ideas about how we can reach out into the community and show God's love in practical ways and got some great feedback. I'm excited for what God's got in store for the future of Del Sol Northeast!

- On Wednesday morning, I met Isidro Contreras, our East campus' property manager out at the NE campus to talk about what work needs to be done and so that he could see what we needed to get some new, sturdier industrial locks put in. I like Isidro - he's got a good vision for property and how to do things well. He provided some great feedback and I'm very grateful that he took the time to meet me out there.

- After working all day on Wednesday, I met Rick and Kristin for dinner at Chick-fil-A. I love CFA, especially with good company like them.

- Honestly, I can't remember off hand what I did on Thursday. I do remember meeting with Jeremy and then Walter in the afternoon, but that's really all I remember.

- Friday was a strange day. I woke up with pretty much every muscle in my body tensed up and all my joints were cracking as I moved. It was very painful and uncomfortable but thankfully I was able to get stretched out and get going, but that didn't prove for a very restful day at all.

- Thankfully on Saturday, I was feeling better when I woke up so I went to the gym for awhile and got a good workout in, then went to a birthday party at the park for a couple of friends and spent most of the afternoon there. After that I came home, relaxed for awhile, then had to run to Walmart to get dog food and a couple of other things. That was kind of a bummer because it was like 9 pm, but I was able to get home in time to get to bed around 10:30 pm.

- I didn't fall asleep til well into Sunday morning though because I could not seem to make my mind stop running. I did get some good ideas that I took note of, so I guess it wasn't totally a waste. While I was up, I watched some of the British version of The Office, which is not nearly as funny as the American version of The Office, with Michael Scott, Jim, Dwight, Pam, Stanley, Phyllis, Stanley, and the rest.

- Today was my dad's birthday so after our church gatherings today, we had the Pryors over for a brisket lunch and just enjoyed time together, celebrating him. I love my dad, I'm glad he's been around for 64 years, and I hope we have him for many, many more years.

The land of miracles.

Today I finished reading a book by Thom Rainer called "Surprising Insights From the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them." It's a big book with lots of research, so it took me about 3 months to finally finish it, but I'm so glad I took all that time to read it and really soak it in and think on it.

This book takes an interesting approach in surveying the unchurched; most research on the unchurched is based on conversations and interviews with people who are still unchurched - that is, they're still not attending a local church. Rainer, though, interviews the formerly unchurched - that is, those who are new Christians or are new to church, those who have just recently made the move from not attending church to regularly attending church. In this book, he interviews the formerly unchurched about what it was that drew them to the church, and he interviews pastors of churches that are successfully reaching the unchurched and non-Christians, asking them about themselves and their churches.

So because of that twist on the research, and mostly because my good friend Josh recommended the book to me, I took the time to read it. And I'm SO glad I did.

At the end of the last chapter, there's a line that really resonated with me, that really touched me in the deepest part of my heart. You need to know that I have a greatly broken heart for those who don't know Jesus, and I have a deep-seated passion for Christ's Bride, the Church.

So as Rainer wrote about reaching those who don't know Jesus Christ, and about how many churches in our country (and ESPECIALLY in my denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention) are in serious, dangerous decline, he found hope at the end of his research - even in the midst of the serious anemia in the American Church, overall. He saw that there are churches and pastors that are reaching the lost in droves, and that are focused on God's Kingdom, and that are "making hell a less crowded place" as Perry Noble from NewSpring Church likes to say.

After thinking on churches that are making a difference for God, this is what Rainer wrote on page 234:
"I have entered the land of miracles, and I do not wish to return. Too much is at stake. Too many lives hang in the balance. Let us storm the gates of hell. And let us see, in God's power, more of the unchurched become the formerly unchurched. To God be the glory!"

He's seen the land of miracles and doesn't want to return. I agree. I hear so many self-professed prophets talk about how the church is dying and how churches that grow and are seeker friendly only water down the Gospel to tickle people's ears, as if the choices are either be friendly or be antagonistic to seekers!

NO! I refuse to throw in the towel, I refuse to raise the white flag, I refuse to give up, shut up, or stop. I'll freakin storm hell with a half-empty water pistol, and do it alone, if I have to!!!

Like Rainer said, I've seen the land of miracles, and I don't want to go back to ordinary. I've seen the Gospel transform lives and I don't want to be anything but a part of that. I've seen people who were ready to take their own life, and then Jesus saved them both spiritually and physically. I've seen people who once were living in chains, in bondage to drugs or sex or alcohol or rage or a myriad of other things find those chains fall off and find healing in community. I've seen people so in love with Jesus Christ and so committed to the cause of Christ that they would choose to sacrifice immense amounts of money, time, and even their own lives because of Him.

So just like Rainer, I've seen the land of miracles in my 9 years of being in ministry, and I don't want to return to a regular, ordinary life.

And now, I'm gonna go fill up my water pistol halfway with water and then I'm headed off in the direction of hell. Feel free to join me if you'd like - but even if you don't, it's going down son ...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Del Sol northeast prayer update - 09/23/09

Here's the latest update on the Northeast campus:

- A lot has gone on since my last update 2 weeks ago, so in order to keep this update brief, I’ll try to fill you in on the major things that have happened.

- Last Wednesday, the 16th, I went out to the NE campus with a couple of men from the East campus who posses the know-how about contracting and construction, and we looked at what our options are for the kids ministry area and what we need to do as far as minor repairs and renovations to the facilities there. I really appreciate Jim Hetzel and Butch Villarreal for taking the time to go out there and give me their input, because that really helped clarify some things for me.

- During that week, we also worked to get all the utilities turned on for our workday on Saturday the 19th. Much thanks to our financial secretary, Nancy Contreras, for helping us with that!

- On Saturday, we had a workday at the Northeast campus. We were there from 9 am ‘til 3 pm, and spent a lot of time cleaning the buildings, doing yard work, and starting to prime the walls so that we can paint them soon. I invited our youth, my GrowGroup, and several adults from the East campus, so we ended up having 21 people come to work, most of them staying to work the whole time. We got a LOT done, and I’m very grateful to everyone who showed up.

- There’s still more work to be done, so we’ll have another workday out there on Saturday, October 3rd from 9 am – 3 pm. If you’re interested in coming out to work with us on that day, please let me know right away. The more, the merrier.

- Yesterday evening we had our first gathering out at the NE campus, and 14 people showed up and brought great attitudes and great ideas for outreach. I think we started to “build the mo!” (build up some momentum) with last night’s gathering. So, we’ll meet every Tuesday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 pm to bring together anyone and everyone interested in helping launch the NE campus. It’s a casual, low-key time to worship through music, prayer, and Bible study, to prepare to launch Sunday worship celebrations, and to reach out and show God’s love in practical ways to the community. If you’d like to be a part of these gatherings, please let me know. Those of us who live on the Eastside will meet at the East campus at 6 pm sharp to carpool to and from the Northeast campus on Tuesday evenings.

Here's how you can pray this week:

1. Ask God to help us build momentum through the Tuesday night gatherings, and to show us how we can get more people from the community involved to help us build up momentum so that we can really make a big impact for the Lord in the Northeast community.

2. Pray for those who have committed to help Del Sol Northeast launch, that God will bless and honor them for taking a risk and being obedient to Him by joining our launch team. And as Luke 10:2 says, ask the Lord to send out more workers into the field to help us reach Northeast El Paso for Him.

3. As we meet on Tuesday nights and as we prepare to reach out into the community, ask the Lord to work on hearts, giving us favor and open doors with the people in the neighborhoods around the NE campus so that we can really make inroads there for the Gospel.

Thanks for your prayers - I truly believe they make a big difference.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday night mind purge, 09/13/09

Ahhh, what a week!

- Monday was nice. It was Labor Day weekend so I didn't have to go into the office or do work. I ended up sleeping in, hitting up the gym, spending most of the afternoon doing yard work, and then doing some reading and watching TV to round out the evening.

- I get tremendous amounts of satisfaction, pride, and happiness from doing my yard and having a well-trimmed lawn.

- Funny thing about holidays though is that while you get a day off, work tends to pile up afterwards so that you need a holiday from your holiday!

- So I spent most of Tuesday at the office, trying to catch up on some stuff I was already behind on from the previous week and getting ready for my GrowGroup that evening. Interestingly enough, nobody showed up for the group, so I took Becky and Alexa MacKay (who host the group at their home) out to the future NE campus property to show them the facilities and get their input about what reasonable updates and renovations we might need to do. So that was fun and it redeemed the evening.

- Wednesday was a CRAZY day - it was LITERALLY one meeting after another after another. First thing in the morning I had a breakfast meeting, followed by a drop-in meeting at the office, then a lunchtime meeting, then about an hour or two break between another meeting. It was a good day though, with a lot of relational stuff accomplished. We sure have some good, good people in our community of El Paso, Texas.

- Thursday was another long day at the office. After working there in the morning, I had three meetings, one after another, and ended up staying for awhile at the office to get some work done (since I had meetings pretty much all week!) and then rushed off to City Hall to pickup a copy of the blueprints for the Angora Loop property where the NE campus will be meeting. After that I hit the gym for a bit and then cleaned up and met Rick for dinner at CFA. All in all, it was a good day.

- Friday was hard. Not only was it the 8th anniversary of one of the most horrible days in our great country's history, but that morning also held the funeral of Bruce Bannon, a very good, Godly, irreplaceable man from the church. He's one of those people whom nobody can ever seem to speak against and whom you can't seem to speak highly enough of. It was a hard morning. He was only a few years older than my parents. Those sorts of things, combined with my parents' declining health ...they're just ...hard. I don't know how to explain it, but it's just hard watching my parents grow older. It's just really, really hard.

- Thankfully, Friday was also the birthdays of two friends of mine, so I was able to celebrate that and tried to rest the remainder of the day.

- I had wanted to get more done yesterday than I did, but I ended up spending a couple of hours at the gym getting a good workout in, then doing some reading, going into the office for a few hours to get ready for the Leadership Summit this weekend, then went to Starbucks to read for a little while before going home and heading off to bed.

- This morning, Walter really brought it in his message on sex, straight from what God says in the Bible in Song of Songs. I think he did a really good job of handling the topic in a very blatant, honest way but not in an inappropriate or sensationalist manner. I'm very proud of how he handled such a precarious topic, and I believe that there were some people there who began to rethink their perspective on sex and that those who have impure sexual backgrounds hopefully began the journey towards healing and wholeness that only Jesus Christ can bring.

- After both worship celebration services, I was up by the stage to pray with anyone who might come up, as I'll be doing more frequently on Sunday mornings. Nobody came up to me for prayer at the first service but after the second service, I had a couple come right up to me as soon as the gathering was over and ask for prayer. I was so honored that they would trust me enough to share part of their life with me and to ask me for prayer. I count it a privilege to be able to pray for people in times of need.

- Afterwards I rushed home, made myself a quick lunch, went to get my haircut at Supercuts

- There are SO many details to be worked out regarding the NE campus, and I have SO much to do this week, but I'm really excited about what God is doing and how He's leading. I just wanna stay humble, obedient, and submitted to Him.
(and had a good conversation with the stylist), then came home, showered up, and went to our bi-annual Leadership Summit. I REALLY enjoy anytime that we get to be together with so many of our volunteers. I led a breakout session for the NE campus where we talked about a bunch of the details and answered some questions.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Del Sol Northeast prayer update, 09/10/09

Here's the latest update on the Northeast campus:

- Yesterday was a day with literally one meeting after another after another from first thing in the morning to late night. I didn’t end up getting home ‘til nearly 10 pm, so needless to say, I didn’t have much time to write up and send out this update yesterday. Yesterday was very busy, but also quite productive.

- On Tuesday, my GrowGroup grew from 5 people to 3: the hosts and myself. So, rather than doing our study this week, I took them out to see the NE campus facilities and listen to their perspective about what we might could do there. It’s always kind of a bummer when nobody shows up for something you’ve planned, but I think God redeemed the time through our “field trip” out to the Angora Loop property. I think it helped those two that went with me see the actual facility and catch a little more of the vision for a Del Sol Church location in their part of the community.

- Yesterday afternoon, I took some ladies from the church and met my parents at the facilities where we’ll meet for Del Sol Northeast. It’s a property 2 miles north of the Loop 375 & Railroad Dr. intersection, at 6815 Angora Loop S. I wanted them all to be there to look at it from a different perspective than mine, to look at the property with some fresh eyes and to brainstorm some ideas as to how we can do some freshening up and modernizing of the property. We made some good progress, talking about pain colors and about some other options of what we need to do there.

- Afterwards, I talked with Troy, our Youth & Young Adults Pastor here at Del Sol East and we set a work day for next Saturday, September 19th to go and start priming the walls, cleaning up weeds & overgrown grass, etc. in order to begin getting it ready for us to meet there soon. It feels SO good, after nearly a year of planning, to finally stop talking and actually take action, and to be getting so close to actually launching the location!

- If we’re able to get things in order there and get our supplies in time, it really looks like we’ll be able to have our first monthly worship service there (called a “preview service”) in November! This isn’t written in stone, but right now I don’t anticipate coming across any reason why we wouldn’t be able to do so.

- This Sunday afternoon is our bi-annual Leadership Summit at Del Sol. Pastor Walter will talk about where we’ve been this year and where we’re going this fall and next year, and after a large group sessions, we’ll have ministry-specific breakout sessions. I’ve invited most everyone who has expressed interest in the Northeast location to come. If you’re part of the Del Sol Church family and I haven’t yet contacted you to invite you, please know that you're invited to come to the summit this Sunday, September 13th, from 4 – 7 pm and to come to the Northeast location breakout session after the main session so that you can learn more about Del Sol Northeast and how you can be a part of it, if you so choose.

Here's how you can pray this week:

Keep asking God to prepare the way for the Northeast campus by opening doors for conversation with people in the Northeast community and by preparing the hearts of people in the Northeast so that they’ll be open to invitations to come to Del Sol Northeast.

2. Ask God to lead me as I lead the Northeast GrowGroup, to bring the people He knows should be there, and to help us be a presence, make an impact, and gain momentum in the Northeast as we prepare to launch the NE location.

3. Pray that God will lead myself and my team members as we work out all the details for what needs to happen to prepare the Angora Loop property for DSC NE (paint, landscaping, renovations, equipment orders, etc.) and as we organize and mobilize people for workdays there. Also, ask God to lead people at Del Sol East to be eager to help us prepare the facilities by working at the upcoming workdays.

Thanks for your prayers - I truly believe they make a big difference.