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