Sunday, December 19, 2010

Open Note to God re: Redheads

Dear God,

If I could be assured that every single one of my children would be as cute and redheaded as the little girl I saw across from me at the IHOP today, I would be content to bear girl children until Kingdom come. Otherwise, I think I might like boys, although if you could make them redheaded too, that would be great. Healthy is also good. PS Could you make the boys look like Chris? He's so cute.

Your redheaded daughter

Friday, July 02, 2010

Wisdom from Mario Andretti

If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough
- Mario Andretti

I saw this quote on my Google homepage this morning and smiled. I was a Mario Andretti fan as a child simply because he was famous and Italian and actually alive today (as opposed to all the other dead famous Italians from the Renaissance, etc...), so I was pretty excited to see a little bit of Italian wisdom glowing on my computer today.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do not really want to apply this quote to driving...I think we all know my track record with that, and I don't need to be out of control behind the wheel!

But where I do need to be more out of control is in my life.

I have discovered more and more that my main idol, the main thing that drags we away from God is my own comfort. In America, comfort is King...think all the prescription drug commercials and the invention of the easy chair. If I could control everything in my life so I was living la dolce vita all the time and always full and always warm and always'd bet I would! And I certainly try.

But I don't want comfort to be my king... I want Jesus to be my King.

Hand over the controls. Get a little uncomfortable. Get your butt out there and serve other people and love them all the way to heaven. This is what I hear God saying to me these days.

If everything seems under control...maybe I'm not living as I ought. To steal a phrase from Francis Chan, I need to let a little crazy love into my life and let it permeate the way I see the world.

Haven't you heard? To be a Christian is to be a little crazy.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Solo de Jesus la Sangre

So Chris and I are chillin' at Willow Glen, havin' some church this morning, when Tiffany comes up and says, "So I guess we're having City Church outside today!"


Apparently the janitor that is supposed to let us in (bless his heart) slept in or didn't realize that church is something you do every week or something. We were completely locked out of the building for our second Sunday service in the life of City Church.


So Tiffany and I dutifully copied some lyric sheets in lieu of powerpoint and a projector, and headed over to see what we could see at 10th and Jackson.

The City Church team really gets how to roll with the punches because our entire church service just done moved itself outside! I'm talking amps, guitars, a keyboard on the bed of a pickup truck, communion out in the full sun, the works!! I was blown away at the faithfulness of my brothers and sisters. Pastor Jason just did his thing right out there in the open, prompting passersby to look at us funny, and neighbors to come out of their houses to see what was all the commotion.

Our God is faithful to us, and therefore we try to be faithful to Him. If that means church outside, then so be it! We don't need walls to be a church, dang it! I had a feeling that if we kept quiet today and admitted defeat, the very stones would have cried out in praise to the Father. Can't let them have all the fun!

God is building His church. This is what HE did.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Solo Cristo

Yesterday was a very big day in the life of City Church San Jose.

1.) It was announced to the congregation of Willow Glen Baptist Church that Jason Helveston and Chris Tenny are the candidates for their senior pastors. I am so glad that I can talk about this freely now after so much waiting and nail-biting!!

2.) City Church San Jose held its first official Sunday worship service at Grant Academy. We worshiped through fellowship with the saints, worship in both English and Spanish, holy communion, and hearing of the Word being preached. It was glorious.

I can't believe how gracious and wonderful is the God I serve! Yesterday the Word of God was preached and the name of Jesus worshiped in a place where it probably never has been before. Fifty-five souls filled the seats of the place, and voices raised to heaven to sing praises/alabazos to our God!

To any and all that have sent up a prayer or a good thought concerning City Church, the Lord has heard you and answered in mighty ways. He is building His church.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

I went to a James Taylor and Carole King concert this past week and it was excellent. I cried during "Carolina In My Mind" and teared up in "Sweet Baby James". But one song that I've heard a hundred times before really hit me in a different way, and that was "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"

Carole King wrote the song and a 60s girl group (Shirelles) made it famous. However, I was just hit by the simple question that the song poses. It is very poignant, and who among us hasn't felt this sentiment? I haven't felt it in the same scenario that the song portrays, thank God, but I occasionally get this feeling in other situations and when I'm feeling a little bit insecure.

"I'd like to know that your love/ Is love I can be sure of"

It started me thinking about all the people in life that I feel I can be sure of. I can be sure not only of their love but of their support in so many ways. What a huge blessing! My family, my husband, and my God.

Recently, I have been hearing about a lot of health problems in my family, however. My grandma has a tumor on her spine, rendering her numb from ankles to waist. My grandpa is also having back problems, has developed arthritis, and his high cholesterol has put him at a 25% higher risk of having a heart attack in the coming years. My mom is having continuing health issues that are scary, too. All of this forces me to realize that while my family is a lasting treasure, they won't all be around forever. I could lose them in an instant or over a long period of time, but death is stealing each of us away with every moment we breathe! (Morbid, I know.)And my husband is a wonderful, beautiful man who loves me very much, but what if something should happen to him!? It's all very tenuous, is life.

"But will my heart be broken/ When the night meets the morning sun?"

These are morbid thoughts, and maybe just a bit too heavy for your average daily blog or your average Carole King song. But I couldn't help but think it. Should every comfort I have pass away in some form or another, what will remain? Who will I be? What will I have to believe in?


"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Amen and amen.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Commencing Countdown, Engines On...

Here is the May Update for City Church, which was my responsibility to write this month. For those of you who already receive the City Church Newsletter...well, you get a sneak peek! Lucky you.

"As I write this, I have just stared for a full minute at an e-mail sent to me that says, “Service Launch in 33 days”. Thirty-three days until June 6th, when everything changes for our fledgling church yet again.

For those of you unfamiliar with the what, when, and how of church planting (and I might only half-jokingly include myself in that category!), a service launch is fancy church-planter language for beginning our first Sunday worship gathering. This is a very big deal in the life of a church - its public birth, you might say. This is when we go around putting door-hangers in our target neighborhoods, start talking up City Church with a vengeance all around town, and praying like our lives depended on it. Because it does, really!

A “launch” is as important as it sounds because it establishes so much of our church’s DNA: where we’ll meet, how we’ll meet, how long will the service be, what kind of songs will we sing, will we be bi-lingual, will we offer childcare, will we feed people who come to us, what will we preach?

Of course, most of those things we are able to shift and change as we learn and grow as a church that offers a Sunday service. But that last one must not ever change. The answer to the question, “What will we preach?” is the most important question of all. Will we preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified, or will we go about spouting buzzwords like “hope” and “change”? Will we boldly declare the Gospel, as we should? Or will we be so intimidated that we decide on something safe, like preaching tolerance for everything and everyone until we don’t know what we believe in anymore?

Of course, my prayer and yours for City Church should be that we are bold in the face of the Enemy. Since we crash-landed here eleven months ago, we have not ceased to claim the city of San Jose for Christ, knowing that not even the gates of hell can stand against the Kingdom that God is building; His Church, His Bride.

As the countdown continues, we beg you to be in prayer with us for the souls of this city. In the end, all those other questions are just noise. Be in prayer especially for Pastor Jason, who will be preaching on that Sunday. I leave you with a verse that I’ve heard him repeat over and over, and gives me faith in where our church is going:

“1Cr 9:16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!”

Monday, May 03, 2010

Holding Pattern

You are probably thinking to yourself (four followers of this blog): Cassie is still alive? She is bothering to write on this silly, forgotten thing??

So obviously the answer to both of those questions is YES! I am alive, and in fact, freshly another year older (26 to be exact). Are birthday resolutions a real thing? If so, this sad and lonely blog is one of them.

The main reason I have not been writing a blog is that I have been feeling lately that I have no story to tell. Why litter the internet with more meaninglessness and frivolity? I don't have a baby, I'm not planning a wedding, and I don't have a clever idea about cooking with Julia Child. Nothing is happening, so I can't really write about nothing.

You may be thinking, "But you've moved out to San Jose to plant a church...that's got to be exciting! Why don't you write about that?" And you would be right. It is exciting. But so many exciting things about church planting are very intangible or else really not exciting-sounding when you write them down.

"I talked to someone today." "I invited so and so for coffee." "I talked about Jesus and someone didn't run away and not want to be my friend." "A child whom I had never met ran up and gave me a great big hug on the playground today."

There are two phrases that I feel I may have been overusing in the past ten months, and I will share them with you here: "up in the air" and "holding pattern". Since a nice indie-type movie came out recently with the first phrase as a title, I decided to settle on the second for the title to my great comeback blog. =)

Planting a church is a holding pattern in many long until we kickoff? How long until we start a Gospel Group? How long until someone accepts Jesus as their Savior? How long until we launch a Sunday service?

But it has not been just that in our lives since we got here. There's been: "When will Chris get a job?" "When will my depression lift?" "When will I start enjoying Gymboree again?" "How long will Chris be interim pastor at Willow Glen?" "How long will it then take for him to find another job?" "When will we get our own place and be able to support ourselves somewhat?"

It may sound like whining or impatience when put all together like that, but these have been the questions I've asked of God many times while being here. Thankfully, He has brought us miraculously through many of these questions and into a wonderful new phase of our lives. But there are still many questions. Both my job and Chris' job are up in the air right now. Willow Glen Baptist sounds like they are on the verge of choosing their new pastor and then what for us? My part-time turned full-time job is about to go part-time again...but we only kinda know the whens and hows. Did we make the right decision to move downtown when everything is so unstable?

However, I have realized that our God is sovereign over all things. When I say I believe that, I have to actually believe that ALL means ALL: God over my questions, God over the answers, God over this city, God over our Church, God over our apartment, God over our marriage, God over our families and our futures.

He's got it. But He's not always going to send me a memo in advance about it.

So I wait...

And while you wait with me, you can enjoy some pics of our "new" (hundred year old) apartment: