4th through 6th grade summer camp at UCYC
Malachi Summary by Eugene Peterson - Preoccupied
We are so excited to announce our church rebrand is complete! You have probably already seen our new logo, a copper saguaro. We have intentionally spent a lot of time, energy, and thought on the meaning of our new logo. We chose a saguaro for a few reasons. First, they are very durable, enduring plants that grow slowly and steadily, surviving droughts and extreme weather. Additionally, saguaros are a safe place for desert animals to find water and shelter. Our hope is to be a similar, life-giving refuge to those people who might be hurting.
Aside from being beautiful, copper is significant in Arizona as it is one of our primary mining resources. In the human body, it plays a vital role in cell functions, particularly in wound healing. Just as copper plays a major healing function in the human body, Desert City Church provides a place for spiritual and emotional healing by the power of the Holy Spirit. While these images of beauty, strength and healing are small in comparison to the work that is ahead of us, every time we look at them we can remember why we exist as a church.
We are Desert City Church. We are a community following Jesus, loving people, experiencing life that is truly life. Let's share this refuge with others in our community.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. –Lamentations 3:21-23
As we consider this New Year, 2017, this verse resonates. It speaks of 1) hope centered in the Lord’s great love and compassion. I spent much of 2016 placing my hope, worth, and even sanity in fleeting things. Much of my weariness and anxiety in 2016 comes from misplaced hope. It speaks of 2) the newness of each day. God’s mercy and compassion are offered every day, a clean slate, a blank canvas, a new year. Redemption and transformation are possibilities because of God’s mercy. 2017 is loaded with potential and I am excited. Finally it speaks of 3) the faithfulness of God. God’s mercies are new and yet old at the same time. His faithfulness is historic and venerable. The faithfulness of God is a stabilizing force in my quickly changing world. Because of this, we are not consumed. May you call these things to mind as you start the New Year: hope, love, compassion, newness, and the faithfulness of God. Blessings.
As if it is some strange thing! Do you really like all-night lock-ins, late night phone calls, weeklong camps, and High School sporting events? Truth is, I actually do love those things, but that is not why I do youth ministry. I read this quote by a guy named Cameron Cole, and I think he nailed it better than I ever could, he says:
“We long to see God heal, redeem, and free young people as they trust Jesus personally, and we long to see God birth something beautiful and redemptive in this broken world through their lives as they bear witness to their Savior.”
I ache when I take a look at the lives of many of the young people I know, the loneliness, self-doubt, awkwardness, and brokenness so many of them experience. Each student is wildly unique, and nothing is more satisfying than watching the transformation of a student who comes to know the real and living God in Jesus. To see young people find Hope and then offer that Hope to the hopeless around them, that is why I love youth ministry. So to every student I’ve known, or someday will meet I pray Ephesians 3:17-19 for you.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
“For worship to be as glorious as it should be, for it to lift people out of their mundane cares and fill them with adoration and praise, for it to be the life-changing and life-defining experience it was designed to be, it must be inspired by a vision so great and glorious that what we call worship will be transformed from a routine gathering into a transcendent meeting with the living God. When that happens, then we will be caught up in our spirits to join the heavenly choirs of saints and angels who even now are gathered around the throne of God. Thereafter, our hearts and minds will be filled with the hope of glory so that we may truly love and serve the Lord in this life.”
-Allen Ross, Recalling the Hope of Glory
I can’t think of anything I’d rather do with my life than to inspire people to participate in a transcendent meeting with the living God. These past few weeks as we’ve learned about how God speaks to us, I can’t help but feel like worship should be our response to His voice, His movement, His provision, and His perfect love in our lives.
Not only do we experience God’s presence in worship, but a powerful, sin crushing love that satisfies our soul the way that nothing else can. This incomprehensible love drives out fear and brings freedom from sin.
Desert City Church, God’s affection for you and for His Church is life-changing and real. Let’s meet together on Sunday to pursue this freedom together and be reminded of what He has accomplished through Jesus.