Thursday, December 23, 2010

A "Normal" Teenager.

I invested a good portion of the day today with a 15 year old guy. We went to the Westside, had lunch, then adventured around the mountain neighborhoods of El Paso, and walked around the UTEP campus. It was a great time. And for most of the time we talked about theology, church stuff, politics, etc. We also joked around about things and had lots of fun.

Then when I dropped him off at home, he said he wanted to help me at the Christmas Eve service tomorrow at Del Sol Church Northeast.

He has invested countless hours with me in doing ministry at the NE campus - from doing work on the grounds, to outreaches, to playing in the worship band on Sunday mornings. Interesting thing is, that's normal for him. It's normal for him to be at the church instead of at school or getting into trouble with friends on the weekends. I like that!

I like that he, as a teenager, considers it normal to be actively involved in ministry. He could easily spend all his time with girls, or playing video games, or doing anything else - but at his age, he enjoys serving the Lord by doing ministry stuff. And he's not alone; there are dozens of other teenagers at the church that also invest much of their free time - and even their time at school, for that matter - serving the Lord.

I hope that at Del Sol Church, we always make it more normal for teenagers to be actively involved in church ministry work and in missions work throughout the world.



What was considered normal behavior for teenagers when you were growing up?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas songs.

I love Christmas music. I'm a Christmas music junkie. Here are some of my favorite Christmas songs, and Christmas songs I cannot stand.

Some of my favorite songs:
"O Holy Night" is without a doubt my favorite Christmas song.
"I Celebrate The Day"
"Christmastime Is Here"
"Do You Hear What I Hear?'
"Joy to the World"
"Wonderful Christmastime"
"Happy Christmas"
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
"All I Want For Christmas Is You"
"Emmanuel"
"Christmas Canon"
"Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town", the Bruce Springsteen version

Least favorite songs:
"I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas"
"Santa Baby"
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
"Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"
"Grown Up Christmas List"
"The Christmas Shoes"



What are some of your favorite and least favorite Christmas songs?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

International Justice Mission

My favorite non-profit organization is, without a doubt, International Justice Mission. You should give them money, and lots of it because they're doing AMAZING things in the Name of Jesus. They're fighting injustice and I believe that through God's power, they're winning. 

I support them financially each month, and this is why:


BREAKING NEWS UPDATE
Location: Bangalore, India
Date: November 4, 2010
Result: 15 slaves freed
Dear Ariel,
Late last week, 15 forced laborers were brought to freedom from the brutal rock quarry where they had been held as slaves. In the quarry, they faced physical violence and verbal abuse — and several victims had not eaten for days at the time of the rescue operation.
Breaking News from Bangalore, India - Nov. 4, 2010
Now free, rescued laborers, accompanied by IJM staff, receive their official release certificates from local authorities.
 
The rescue operation posed significant challenges for IJM staff and our local government partners. The quarry was located on a dead-end dirt road — the final mile of which was impassible by vehicle.
Despite these obstacles, IJM and the local government and police were able to rescue all 15 slaves — each of whom received official Release Certificates, which entitle them to critical assistance from the government so they can rebuild their lives.
Three children who were living at the facility with their parents were also released and spared a future of slavery. These men, women and children are now back in their home villages, and are enrolled in IJM’s long-term aftercare program.
Thank you for your recent financial support. The freedom these 15 former slaves now know is just one example of how your giving has brought justice to victims of violent oppression.
Gratefully,
Laurie Hayes
Laurie Hayes
International Justice Mission

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One year.

On November 8th, 2009 - one year ago this Sunday - we held our first worship celebration services at Del Sol Church Northeast.

I vividly remember what it felt like that morning when I pulled into the parking lot. I remember what it felt like when we had finished rehearsing and prayed up and began to pace around, nervous as could be, wondering if anyone would even show up! I remember what it felt like at 9:29 am when it was one minute away from beginning our first service. I remember when I stood up for the first time and began to preach my first message there.

I can summarize in one word how I felt it all: TERRIFIED. 

And now, one year later, I can still summarize in one word how I feel: GRATEFUL. 

Seriously. 

A year later we've got a much better handle on things now programatically speaking. Our services run pretty smooth, for the most part. Our kids ministry team does a phenomenal job - where kids don't want to leave because they enjoy it so much. We've had GrowGroups start up and are seeing people really open up and began to experience true Biblical community. We've served the community like crazy! We have THE best weekly and once-a-month volunteers that you'll find in any church. And I'm very grateful for all of that.

But more than anything I'm mind-blowingly grateful that God would, for reasons I just don't understand, use me and work through me and allow me to lead as a part of His beautiful bride, the Church. I simply don't understand that. I think about all my faults and sins and don't understand why so many people would follow my lead and go along with me on this journey to Love God, Love People, and Serve the World in Northeast El Paso. I'm astounded.

I just don't understand it all, but it's very humbling, and I'm VERY grateful.



Thank You my wonderful Lord Jesus for everything You've done through Del Sol Church Northeast in this year since we began this crazy journey. Thank You for leading us. Thank You for giving us vision and direction. Thank You for sending people who are far from God to us so we can lead them back to You. And more than anything, thank You for using me. I am so far from perfect. I can be such a sinful idiot. And yet, You still choose to pick me up, dust me off, and work through me. Thank You, my God.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's been a long day ...

Today started at 5:30 am for me. I got up, showered, ate, and headed off to meet my dad at Providence hospital and sit with him while he was waiting for his procedure. We waited for about two hours before he was taken in to the surgical suite. 

I'll be honest - I was doing ok up until after they wheeled my dad away into surgery. When I sat down in the waiting room, surrounded by strangers, I fought to keep from crying. I didn't know if I would ever see my dad again. Thankfully I had brought my computer and some books with me so I was able to start working and take my mind off things. 

After being in the waiting room for awhile and texting friends and family to give them updates, I walked down the street about a block away to the Baptist Student Ministry building where I was able to do some more work using their free wifi. It was good to be out of the hospital setting and to just dive into my work. 

By 11:15 am it was time to go back and get an update on my dad. I went back to the waiting room and about 15 minutes later, the doctor came out to tell me the good news that everything went well, they were able to clean out the clogs in his legs, and he would most likely NOT need another surgery.

Not long after that they called me back to walk along as they wheeled my dad to his recovery room. That was pretty difficult too, seeing him asleep on the bed with all the tubes and such all over the place. I could hardly look at him. We got to the recovery room and since he was asleep, I was gonna just hold his arm and say  goodbye - but he woke up so I was able to tell him the outcome of the procedure, and that I love him. He'll be staying overnight in the hospital and I'll pick him up tomorrow, mid-day.

As I walked to my truck, I felt like for the first time in days I was able to breathe again. The stress and anxiety seemed to melt off my shoulders and I was able to relax. I went to the office for a meeting and for what I thought would be just a couple hours of work. I ended up being there til about 5 pm. Naturally, I was little more than a semi-functioning zombie by the time I left the office.

I got home, wanting to take a nap but seemed to be glued to the couch in which I had sat down on to watch TV. Around 5:45 I got up, staggered to my bed, and passed out for about an hour. Then I woke up, showered, and went to get some dinner. Then I gassed up Sam, my truck, and came home. And here I am. And I am SO ready for bed and SO VERY ready for my day off tomorrow.

It's been quite the day, and I hope it's the kind of day I never have to live through again for many years.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fear.

There are several things I fear in life. Some are irrational, trite, and small fears; some are significant, profound, and I think many would understand why I fear those things.

I'm very afraid of needles, snakes, and insects. Also, I'm a little afraid of heights. Falling off a roof and busting my knee last spring certainly didn't help with that one!


But there are some more significant things I fear.


- Cancer.
Honestly, this is something I fear tremendously. I've seen my grandpa die from this, I've seen many others battle it - some have won from an earthly perspective and were given more life on earth; others experienced true victory left this earth, going Home to be with out Lord. Honestly, cancer is something I really, truly fear - and I hope to never get that vile, wicked, stupid disease.

- My parents growing older.
Kind of going along with the cancer thing, sometimes I see my parents getting older and I fear what will happen if one of them gets cancer or some other debilitating disease. Or if from mere old age they become unable to care for themselves. I fear what will happen then; will I be able to care for them or not? What will we do when the time comes for my mom or dad to go Home to be with the Lord?

- Being disqualified from ministry.
Nobody is above being decimated by one stupid, sinful choice. Ministry leaders especially are prone to spiritual temptation and failure because of the intense nature of the job and because of increased spiritual attack that comes with the work. I hear of pastors who are in ministry for decades and decades, and I pray and hope and fear not a little bit that I will some day fall into the trap of sin, embarrass the Lord and His Church, and be disqualified from ministry.

When I fear, it can be intense. If I leave it unchecked, it can be overwhelming and disabling. In my younger years, I let fear steal away many of my days. So in order to conquer my fear through the power of God, I have memorized and constantly go back to this one amazing verse:


"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
- 1 John 4:18

Perfect love drives out fear. It casts out fear. It hurls it away from us like you would throw a rock across a room or projectile vomit several feet away. So just what
is perfect love? It's the love of God. I mean, what love could be more perfect than the love of God that compelled Him to do whatever it took and go to the most extreme lengths to bring us back to Him? If the cross of Jesus Christ doesn't give you tremendous confidence in our God, then I just don't know what will.

So when I fear, I remember that there is no fear in love. I remember that God's perfect love drives out my fear. I remember that fear is not from God; it's from stupid satan. I remember that God did not give me a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), that I can do everything through Him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13), and I remember that the same power then conquered the grave lives in me (Romans 8:11).


So when I take my focus off my fear and put it on the Word of God, fear loses it power over me and it just fades away into the past.


Like the old bumper sticker says: "No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace". It's cliche, but it's very true. Perfect love drives out fear.




What do you fear? How do you deal with your fear?

Monday, October 11, 2010

charity: water


Look at this infographic, then go to http://www.charitywater.org and get involved.

100% of any money you donate goes to providing clean water to the people in our world who don't have it. Yes, 100% of your money!

5 Months

That's about how long it's been since I last blogged. So much has gone on, I won't try to recap it. But I will try to begin to blog more regularly - at least once or twice a week.

So let's see what God will do with this thing! Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Because of them.

Because of them, I slept soundly last night without any fear of a foreign army invading my city.

Because of them, I went to the gym this morning without even thinking twice about it.

Because of them, I was able to mow my own lawn without fear of my piece of land being confiscated without recompense.

Because of them, I was able to paint my front door without worrying that it will ever be broken down by gestapos.

Because of them, I'm able to post this without fear of it being monitored by the government, censored by them, or taken down because they do not like the views I express here.

Because of them, our Constitution has been protected and still guarantees me many freedoms I take for granted.

Because of them, you and I say and do hundreds things every single day in freedom, without fear of the government or any foreign enemy.



Over one million men and women of every race and creed have given up their lives for the sake of freedom, for the sake of this great country, and for our sake. May we never, EVER forget their sacrifice.

To all who have ever sacrificed for our great country: thank you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I have a dream.

So we all know the most famous line from Martin Luther King Jr. - "I have a dream ..."

Do you?




Seriously. Do you have a dream? Mr. King had a dream, a dream that he died for. A dream that has mostly become a reality in the generation that came after him.


It's amazing how powerful a dream can be - powerful enough to cause someone to lay down their life for it.


I've had a dream for awhile. I don't know how to bring it to fruition, I don't know how much it'll cost, I don't know the details - I don't even know what the first step might be - but I know it's a dream that could be used to make a huge impact for God's Kingdom and could really help people in their time of need.


Here's the dream: a mobile help center.
Imagine with me; you have a crisis at your home, like a water pipe bursting and flooding your home, or a house fire or God forbid, a murder in your home. Or anything really that causes you to be in a crisis. You call 911 and the appropriate first responders show up but not long after them, another group shows up: the service team in their mobile help center.

This RV or trailer pulls up in front of your home with the people and resources ready to help solve your crisis as much as is humanly possible.


- If your home is flooded they bring shop vacs to clean up the water and vacuum our furniture, tools to remove ruined drywall, a fresh supply of groceries, a place to wash & dry clothes, etc.


- If there's a murder in your home, this team has all the equipment necessary to clean up the scene after the police are finished so that you don't have the clean up the spilled blood.


- If there's a fire - food, pillows & blankets, clothes, toiletries, toys for the kids, etc.


- It would be versatile enough that it could be used even when a crisis isn't occurring; it would also be used for blood drives, food drives, health fairs, service projects, etc.


Sure, other churches have done something similar to this. And the Red Cross offers some of these services. But I'm imagining a mobile help center, stored in a warehouse with a variety of supplies in stock, that is versatile enough to meet nearly every need a person might have and that can be there right away to help. It would also be used in months following a crisis to help people for the long haul - not just a few days or weeks.


And most importantly, this would all be done with the love of Jesus in the Name of Jesus.


This would probably cost a lot to start and maintain, and it would require some well-trained, committed team members who could be on call 24/7, but I think it's doable. This dream surely requires some fine tuning, but I think it's definitely doable.




What do you think - any thoughts?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Del Sol Church Northeast update, 03/17/10

Here's the latest update on Del Sol Northeast:


- Easter is coming soon so in preparation for that, last Sunday at Del Sol Northeast we started a message series called “A Place for Everyone” where we’re taking some time just to revisit what the heart of Jesus is for His Church, what our attitudes and actions need to be in order to make DSC NE be a church campus that pleases the Lord, and what God’s mission for Del Sol is.


- Also in preparation for Easter we are doing a mass mail out to the community surrounding the NE campus, and we’ll also be putting up posters at stores all around and handing out invite cards. We’ll also be leaving a small potted flower with an Easter invitation card at several hundred homes in the community. If you’ve been looking for an easy way to support our church's Northeast campus, this is it! You can help us walk down the streets and leave a flower at each home as a way to help us invite the community to our Easter worship celebration services. Come together as a GrowGroup, come with friends, make it a family service event - just come help us get the word out! If you’re interested in helping us with this, please let me know.


- We’ll be starting a new message series on Easter Sunday called “The Real Jesus”, which will start on Easter Sunday. In that series we will look at several different misperceptions and mischaracterizations of Jesus (Spooky Jesus, Best Buddy Jesus, etc.) and we will see who the Bible says Jesus really is.


- Thankfully God has provided people to lead worship through music at the NE campus since we kicked off in January, but we can’t go on forever having a different band and different leaders each week. So some other staff members and I have come up with a couple of ideas that should help us have some immediate regularity with out worship through music and be able to identify someone who can lead us in worship through music on a more permanent basis.


Here's how you can pray this week:

1. Pray for us as we approach some people about leading us in worship through music on a short-term basis as well as on a more permanent basis.


2. Ask the Lord to prepare the hearts and minds of those we will serve and who will receive invitations in the mail for Easter at Del Sol Northeast. Ask Him to send many from the community to DSC NE so that they can hear the life-changing message of the Gospel.


3. Keep asking the Lord to challenge those from Del Sol NE who are Christians to be proactive and intentional in inviting their friends, neighbors, and coworkers to Del Sol NE.


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


- Ariel Martinez | ariel@delsolchurch.com

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, March 3, 2010

Del Sol Northeast update - 03/03/10

Here's the latest update on Del Sol Northeast:


- A couple of weeks ago we started a message series called “aka God”, where we’re looking at a few of the Old Testament names of God to see what they mean and how they apply to our lives today. Last week we looked at the name Jehovah Tsidkenu (sid-keh-noo) which means God is our righteousness. It was a good week and a challenging message because I called the believers there to return to living righteously and the non-believers to begin a righteous relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We had a good response and I believe God was honored.


- On Sunday we have several first time guests – from what I can tell, one family and one couple come from a Christian background and the third family does not but was invited by someone from our East campus. We had a good crowd, which always brings a positive energy to the worship celebration service, and people seemed to be excited as they left. My hope each week is that everyone who comes to Del Sol Northeast will have a good experience with us and a genuine encounter with God. I believe that happened on Sunday.


- This coming Sunday we will finish up the “aka God” series by looking at the name Jehovah Nissi, which means “the Lord is my banner”. It should be interesting as we see how God goes before us and in the battle of life, is the banner we look to in order to be encouraged and to know where to go.


- As Easter nears, I’m talking with my directors about what we need to do on Easter Sunday itself and what needs to happen beforehand – outreaches, hospitality setup, etc. We’ll also be doing a mailout to the neighborhood around the campus to invite them to a series called “The Real Jesus”, which will start on Easter Sunday. In that series we will look at several different misperceptions and mischaracterizations of Jesus (Spooky Jesus, Best Buddy Jesus, etc.) and we will see who the Bible says Jesus really is.


Here's how you can pray this week:


1. Please continue to pray that God will soon raise someone up to lead our band and tech teams.


2. Ask the Lord to guide me and give me clarity as I think about and make goals for the long-term future of Del Sol NE. Ask Him to give me vision and show us what He wants us to look like 3 months from now and one year from now.


3. Keep asking the Lord to challenge those from Del Sol NE who are Christians to be proactive and intentional in inviting their friends, neighbors, and coworkers to Del Sol NE.


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


- Ariel Martinez | ariel@delsolchurch.com

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, February 24, 2010

Del Sol Northeast update - 02/24/2010

Here's the latest update on Del Sol Northeast:


- Two weeks ago we finished up our message series called “TXT”, where we looked at the Bible and saw what it took for us to have it, why it’s reliable and trustworthy, and how it is the ultimate love story. We then started up a GrowGroup on Tuesday nights where we’re looking at the Bible, specifically Philippians, to see what God would say to us as we do life together and as we study His Word. It’s been awhile since I’ve led a Bible study that’s not topical but simply going through a book of the Bible, so I’m especially excited about this group.


- Last Sunday we started a message series called “aka God”, where we’re looking at a few of the Old Testament names of God to see what they mean and how they apply to our lives today. Last week se looked at the name Jehovah Rohi (row-hee) and saw that God is our loving Good Shepherd; this coming Sunday we’ll look at Jehovah Tsidkenu (sid-keh-noo) which means God is our righteousness. I’ll be calling the believers there to return to living righteously and the non-believers to begin a righteous relationship with God through Jesus Christ.


- We’ve been meeting weekly for a month now and in this time, we’ve really been finding out who we are as a campus, finding out what works and what doesn’t, what our strengths and weaknesses are. I’m constantly reminding our team that Jesus said He would build His church so He surely won’t leave us hanging; we just need to be faithful and obedient workers.


- One of our biggest challenges has been that we don’t have a worship leader. I’m extremely grateful to the different bands from our East campus who have been coming on different Sundays to lead us in worship through music – but we are expectantly waiting on God and trusting Him in hope that He will soon raise someone up to lead our band and tech teams. Please be praying about this.


Here's how you can pray this week:


1. Ask the Lord to raise up whoever He has in mind to be our worship leader. While we work on his timetable, it would be a great relief if this happened sooner rather than later. =)


2. Ask the Lord to give my leaders and me wisdom, vision, and creativity as seek to Love God, Love People, and Serve the World in Northeast El Paso.


3. Ask the Lord to put it on the hearts of the Christians from Northeast El Paso who attend Del Sol NE to be proactive and intentional in inviting their friends, neighbors, and coworkers to Del Sol NE.


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


- Ariel Martinez | ariel@delsolchurch.com

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, February 10, 2010

Del Sol Northeast update - 02/10/10

Here's the latest update on Del Sol Northeast:


- We’ve been seeing some good things that God is doing at Del Sol Northeast. I’m especially proud of our volunteers who have really stepped up with tenacity, perseverance, creativity, and commitment. Del Sol Church – both campuses – could not work without such amazing, incredible, wonderful, selfless volunteers who commit so much of their time and heart into making Del Sol Church a community where people are lead into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. To all our volunteers at Del Sol Church – thanks SO much!


- On Sunday we continued a message series called “TXT” by scrutinizing the Bible to see whether or not it is credible and trustworthy. We asked some tough questions, we put the Bible to the test, and we saw that history & science, fulfilled prophecies, and the words of Jesus confirm that the Bible is the most reliable, credible, and trustworthy in all of history. It was exciting to explain why we as Christians put so much trust in the Bible and it was good to be reminded that the Word of God passes all tests with flying colors and will stand above all else, no matter what.


- We also had one of the youth bands from our East campus lead people into worship through music at our Northeast campus. Last week I said that I had never heard them play but I was amazed at how they really worked hard to facilitate a genuine, quality worship experience. A big thanks to our East Campus’ Youth & Young Adults Pastor Troy Sanchez for working so hard with them to help them be excellent lead worshippers.


- This Sunday we’ll finish the “TXT” message series by looking at the Bible as the ultimate love story. We’ll see what love really is according to God’s definition as found in the Bible and we’ll see how Jesus is the greatest example of true, genuine, selfless love.


- It’s been exciting to see first time guests and returning guests each week. The best part is when someone who was a first-timer the previous week returns the following week and brings someone with them. There are several people who have been coming every week since our launch and we’re looking at simple ways to get them connected in service – maybe through helping kids with crafts, greeting people in the parking lot, or handing out a bulletin.


- Del Sol Northeast is now on Facebook and Twitter! You can become our Facebook friend by searching for "Del Sol Church Northeast" and you can follow us on Twitter at "twitter.com/DelSolNortheast".


Here's how you can pray this week:


1. Pray for those who will be there this Sunday, that they will truly see and understand the great love of God for them and will respond to that love by committing their lives to Jesus as their Savior and Lord.


2. Pray for our volunteer ministry directors and I as we work together to get more people involved in Serving the World by serving at the NE campus.


3. Ask the Lord to give me wisdom, vision, and creativity for the future as we as a new campus work to find our footing and become established in Northeast El Paso.


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


- Ariel Martinez | ariel@delsolchurch.com

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, February 3, 2010

Del Sol Northeast update - 02/03/2010

Here's the latest update on Del Sol Northeast:


- This past Sunday was technically our first weekly worship celebration service. Meaning that it was the first time we met a week after the previous Sunday. Even though out kickoff was on January 24th, we hadn’t met for 2 weeks before then so this Sunday was really our first regular Sunday. We had a good crowd of people and LOTS of kids. Not everyone from the community that came the previous week returned on Sunday, but some did – which is a good thing. One family came back and brought their kids, and each of their kids brought an unchurched friend, so our kids’ ministry was definitely put to good use!


- We started a series called “TXT”, which is a 3 week series where we’ll examine the Bible to see why it is the Word of God, what incredible sacrifice it took for it to be passed down to us today, why it is the most reliable book in all of history, and why it is the ultimate love letter from God to us. These messages lean a bit more towards and informational type of message, so please pray that God will give me wisdom as I study & preach to pass on information but to also show how that information practically applies to life today.


- On Sunday we had one of the youth bands from our East campus, under the leadership of Lee & Angie Loper, come and lead us in worship through music. They were phenomenal!!! I know they honored the Lord and their parents have much to be proud about in them. This Sunday a different youth band from our East campus will lead us in worship through music. I’ve never heard them play, but I trust that they will also humbly lead us to God since they are under the capable leadership of some great people from our East.


- While we’re extremely grateful for our youth who are leading us in worship through music, they won’t be able to do it forever, so we’re actively praying and looking for the person that God has in store for us to be our worship director at the Northeast campus.


Here's how you can pray this week:

1. As I mentioned above, please pray that God will give me wisdom as I study & preach to pass on information but to also show how that information practically applies to life today. It’s important to know the history of the Bible and why it’s reliable, but what’s most important is to know the message of God’s love that the Bible conveys to us.


2. Ask the Lord to guide and unify the youth band that will be playing this Sunday at the NE campus – that He will enable them to lead us into a spirit of worship through music and that He will glorify Himself through them.


3. Ask the Lord to raise up in His wisdom and in His timing whoever He has in store to be the worship director at our Northeast campus.


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


- Ariel Martinez | ariel@delsolchurch.com

Del Sol Church - Northeast Campus Pastor

11501 Vista del Sol, El Paso, TX 79936

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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Del Sol Northeast prayer update - 01/28/10

Here's the latest update on Del Sol Northeast:


- Sunday was our kickoff into weekly worship celebration services at Del Sol Northeast! We had two public services at 9:30 & 11:00 am and had a good crowd from the community in attendance. Most everyone who attended our last preview service on the 10th came back, one of them brought someone with them, and 3 new couples & families showed up.


- We also had a pleasant surprise; KFOX 14 and KINT 26 both showed up to do stories on us. I was interviewed on KFOX and Grace Taylor was interviewed in Spanish on channel 26. Nobody seemed to know how those channels found out about Del Sol Northeast – not even the cameramen – but it was a big blessing and free publicity. I think that someone from our East campus probably told someone who knew someone in the local TV industry and that’s how the word got out. However it happened, it was a surprise and a great blessing. Here’s the link to video of the KFOX interview: http://vimeo.com/8970098


- The day before out kickoff on the 24th, our team got together to show God’s love in practical ways by doing two different service projects: some went to a laundromat to pay for people’s loads of wash and for the dryers and others went to a supermarket to hand our free coffee and donuts in the cold, blustery weather. Those of us who did the coffee & donuts served about 20 people and made some brief but good contacts. Those who went to the laundromat served a handful of people and had some extended conversations. I think the greatest impact of those outreaches was the impact we made on the owner of the laundromat and the staff of the supermarket.


- This Sunday we begin a new message series called “TXT” where we’ll look at the history of the Bible, why it’s reliable and trustworthy, and how it’s more than just a book but is really the ultimate love letter. I hope you’ll be praying for us about that this week.

Here's how you can pray this week:

1. Pray for me this Sunday and for the following two weeks as I speak about God’s Word and explain why we trust the Bible and why we sit under its authority.

2. Pray for our launch team, that they can find exactly where is best for them to serve at the NE campus, and that God would give me wisdom about how to feed and shepherd them in this crucial time.

3. Ask the Lord to continually refresh me, to give me vision for the future, and to do whatever He sees fit in me and through me.


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


- Ariel Martinez | ariel@delsolchurch.com

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, January 13, 2010

Del Sol Northeast update - 01/13/20X

Here's the latest update on Del Sol Northeast:


- Sunday the 10th was our third and final preview service at Del Sol Northeast. It was a great experience and was a booster shot of momentum for our launch team. We had 53 adults between the 9:30 volunteer service and the 11:00 public service, 11 kids, and 7 in the band and tech team. That’s a total of 71 people in attendance for the day. Since we’ve had 2 kids for both of the previous preview services, it was great to see so many kids there and their parents as well.


- Aside from our launch team (which is a mix of Del Sol people that live in the Northeast and that live on the Eastside), we had around 20 adults from the community show up for the public service. That really helped give the room a fuller feel and it helped create somewhat of a buzz about what’s going on at Del Sol NE. As I’ve followed up with the guests from Sunday, they’ve all seemed excited about their experience with us and seem to want to come back for our grand opening on the 24th.


- Most of the people from the community who showed up were people we had met through previous outreaches like our Fall Festival and other servant evangelism events we’ve done. A couple of them had been invited by people from Del Sol East and one family showed up because some of our launch team members had seen them stopped on the side of the road and pulled over to help them.


- On Saturday the 23rd, we’ll invest some time in outreach at a convenience store and a laundromat not too far from the NE campus. We’ll invest a couple of hours washing windows and mirrors for people at the convenience store and giving people tokens to pay for their laundry loads and detergent for them to use. As they do their loads, we’ll take time to talk with them and hear their stories, try to entertain their kids a bit, and will also have some coffee and donuts available – all of it will be free, no strings attached, just to show God’s love in a practical way and to invite them to the service the next day.


- So our grand opening will be Sunday the 24th at 9:30 and 11:00 am. I want you to know that you’re invited. We would love to have you come see what God is doing in Northeast El Paso through Del Sol NE. Also, on Thursday the 21st, we will have a time of worship through prayer and praise at the NE campus from 7 – 8:30 pm and you’re more than welcome to come then as well.


Here's how you can pray this week:


1. Ask God to bless our upcoming outreaches and the grand opening, making them fruitful and successful according to how He would define success. Ask Him to give us favor with those we are trying to reach, that they would see we have no other motive than to share God’s love with them.


2. Please continue asking the Lord to give me wisdom so that I can delegate what is appropriate to delegate and so that I can use my time wisely and efficiently, and in a way that honors Him.


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 | ariel@delsolchurch.com

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, January 3, 2010

Excusing vs. Confessing

A few days ago I wrote about a major lesson that was drilled into me last year - the difference between expectation and expectancy. Another major life lesson that God was teaching and reinforcing in me last year is the important difference between excusing and confessing.

Maybe you hadn't given much thought to the difference between expectation and expectancy, bit I think that if we were honest, we'd probably say that we're a bit more familiar with excusing vs. confessing. And if you're anything like me, you probably excuse your faults far more than than you confess them.

When you're excusing your faults, you say things like "I'm sorry I'm late, but ..." or "I know you said you didn't want me to do that, but ..." or "Yeah this is wrong, but ..." There's always a "but" and there's usually some remorse and sorrow - but it's usually remorse and sorrow for getting caught, not for erring. Excusing gets you off the hook in the short term, but in the long term it hurts relationships because people will eventually get tired of your big ol' but, will stop giving you the benefit of the doubt, and you'll lose credibility because people will stop trusting you. Keep it up and you'll become known as someone who always has an excuse, albeit usually a really lame one.

Confessing is different. Confessing is healthy and though it can occasionally hurt relationships in the short term, it actually strengthens and fortifies relationships in both the short and the long terms. Confessing is saying "I'm sorry." Did you get that? It's saying "I'm sorry - period." Not "I'm sorry, but ...", just I'm sorry. It's owning up to your mistakes and being willing to accept the consequences and hopefully the grace, mercy, and forgiveness that will come with your confession.

Funny thing is, in the Bible God doesn't mention much about excuses except to condemn them and show how people really mess up and look pretty lame when they make excuses. God does talk in Proverbs 28:13 and James 5:16 about the incredible power of grace and mercy that comes when you confess your sins.

I wasted too much time and squandered too much credibility in 2009 making excuses, so as 2009 came to an end I decided to stop excusing and start confessing. And now that 20X is off to a running start, I hope that you will choose with me to not waste any time excusing but to invest into our relationships by confessing our sins to each other so that we can find mercy and healing.