Take The Plunge...

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  Galatians 3:26-27

David getting baptized...an amazing new believer in our church community

David getting baptized...an amazing new believer in our church community

 

As I sat in my seat last Saturday night I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the presence of God’s spirit. One after another, we all watched as people who we have come to know and love got baptized and made a dedication to Christ that is symbolic, simple, and beautiful. 

 

Just like Paul wrote in the verse above, taking that plunge is the equivalent of clothing ourselves in Christ. When you get dunked and you come out, people can tell that you are wet. That’s because you were not merely in the presence of the water, but you were submerged in it. In the same way, being baptized is submerging yourself in the grace, love, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Just as people see the clothes you wear everyday, people will see the the changed you as one who is clothed in the righteousness of our God. 

    

What I feel gets lost so often in baptism though is its effect on those witnessing it happen. Often during a wedding, a pastor will challenge those attending the ceremony to act as witnesses to the vows and promises the two being married are committing to. Baptism works just the same. Baptism, as deeply personal as it is, is also extremely public. These amazing acts of faith build accountability, community and friendships throughout the church. 

 

I was not baptized last weekend, but I felt more moved than most any other time in my life. Being able to see the fruits of the work that God started in each persons’ life and knowing that I got to be a part of it is incredible. Even more exciting is that we each get to partner alongside each other and step forward as the church body, all clothed in Christ Jesus, and bring his light to the dark.  

 

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of age.”  Matthew 28:19-20

Kevin Balzer / Christ Follower / Son / Worship Leader / Friend

Identity...

Graphic design by Sam Paul

Graphic design by Sam Paul

 

Maybe, the main job of a Christian, outside of worshiping and glorifying Jesus Christ for who He is, is relentlessly protecting your identity in Him. Moment by moment, thought by thought, event by event.

If you will protect your identity, God will direct your activity. If you focus on what He said about who you are, He will lead you into what he has called you to do.

But we get caught in other people’s assessments. We find our identity in what other people think of us. Not even what they assess of us, but what we think they think. It’s a messed up person judging another messed up person. Why don’t I, a mess-up in my own right, allow my identity to be described by the perfect God who is all-knowing and all-powerful.

God wants the name that He calls me to be louder in my spirit than my failures and my flawed conceptions of myself. 

 

God wants me to find all I need in Him, not in my flesh. The bible says that Christ’s blessings are in heavenly places for us. That tells me that what God has for me cannot be found in the flesh, it cannot be found in the world. I need to seek the word of God. I need to count on his promises and his perception of me.

 

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:3-10

Kevin Balzer / Christ Follower / Son / Worship Leader / Friend / Writer / Volleyball Expert

Home...

Designed by Abbi Horn

Designed by Abbi Horn

Home: A place where one lives: a dwelling place: an environment providing connection and happiness: a place where people are cared for: a place where something is discovered, developed and founded.

Twenty-Nine Eleven Church is my home.

From the outward eye our building may be quaint, it may be hidden or it may even be a place of questioning. That is until you walk through the doors and your perceptions are altered into realities.


I can say this because I've lived through this exact moment, but for me it was long before the building, the services or even the foundation of the church. For me it happened in a house. On the front porch actually. In 2014 on January 22 to be exact.



Designed by Abbi Horn

Designed by Abbi Horn

I was invited to a worship night hosted by the Rempel family called The Living Room Sessions. I was nervous because I knew nothing of them or the people who would be attending, but I knew God had called me to this house to meet these people. So as I was standing on that porch, I was guilty of thinking the stereotypical judgmental thoughts that go through your mind when you go somewhere new...uncalled for and nitpicky thoughts. But then I knocked on the door and it immediately opened and I was welcomed by our head pastor, Mark. He knew my name and welcomed me in with joy, genuine compassion and I was embraced into the family.

Now fast forward a full year filled with wondrous church services in a packed house. We were looking at our building for the first time, after months of preparation and set up, for our first service in Jeremiahs Coffee Co on January 3, 2015. It was a packed service with wonderful worship and beautiful people, and the vision for 29:11 was moving forward as we officially launched on February 28th, 2015 with a packed house.

We made dreams a reality with glorious series and sermons that supported creativity and pursued toward the Church that we wanted to see.

A church that is alive; active, living,

Breathing as one.

We pursued that church.

And it has indeed become alive.

 

Designed by Abbi Horn

Designed by Abbi Horn

When you walk into this church, you don't just walk into a church, you walk into a home. You walk into a dwelling place for the love and presence of God. Where worship is cultivated and lifted up as not only an offering of praise but a lifestyle. The worship team has pressed and pursued to create the foundation of dwelling in the church and in the community. With the second album on the way, they are paving an innovative trail for worship and for the plans of God.

This is a church where God transforms lives. This is where connection is made through something as simple as a cup of coffee-by our fabulous team of dedicated workers who love to serve- to open the gateway to spiritually lifting and life partnering friendships. This is where the lost continue to flood the doors week after week, searching for God not only in spirit but in people. This is where transparency is celebrated and brokenness is replaced by the joy and love of God. This is where outreach is flowing, and the city always knows we're coming, whether it’s with the future movement; hands out outreaches or even just partnering with foundations against the evils of this world. 2911 church is a place where each and every soul is recognized as royalty and where God meets each individual in their woods instead of at the end of the trail.

 

Designed by Abbi Horn

Designed by Abbi Horn

This is my church. This is my home. This is my family and I cannot be more privileged and honored to be a part of this growing community and of a vision which is spreading and paving a way for the church you should see.

A church of love.

Abbi Horn

Stylist At Glamourous Glamourous / Worshipper / 2911 Leader

 

  

Night To Shine...

Walking into this weekend has already been quite a journey. Our first awesome opportunity is hosting the Night to Shine with the Tim Tebow Foundation right here in our valley. Then we go right into our two Saturday experiences and wrap it up by watching our new Sunday LRS experience grow.  It has certainly put us up for a crazy week, but it is all so worth it! Our team is so looking forward to Night to Shine.

What is Night to Shine? Night to Shine is a prom for students and adults with special needs that will give them a special night to feel like kings and queens. It has been so exciting to watch it become a reality as our building transforms into party-central (so kind of how it already is) and watching people get ready to have an opportunity to change a person's life in one night. Opportunities like this are so great! Why?  Because from the outside we think, as volunteers, we will be watching the heart change in others… but the real truth is the heart change is going to be much greater in ourselves.

In the book of 1Timothy, it gives us this awesome reminder of how Jesus didn't just come to save good people, but he came to save all people. And yes, this includes our friends with special needs. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”

1 Timothy 2:5-6

Although sometimes what we see or perceive says differently, Jesus came for all people, that’s you and me and everybody else.  While we show Christ to these new friends we meet, let's be sure our hearts are prepared also for life change. Needless to say, this weekend is one not to miss at 29:11.

 

Skylar Strawn/ Believer / Son / Husband / Pastor / Volunteer

 

I cannot believe that Night to Shine is tonight! God has truly worked through so many people and everything is starting to work out smoothly! At the beginning, we were uneasy because we had 5 registered guests for about two weeks. But now, we have more than 50! And tonight, who know how many! Being the Buddy Team leader, I have been able to see how excited people are for Night to Shine and it is truly incredible. Our excitement to learn more about people with disabilities and how to get involved with working with them outside of Night to Shine has been absolutely amazing. Another thing that has been happening is that volunteers that do not go to our church are becoming interested in attending, which is truly God's work. It’s amazing to stand back and watch God is answering all of our prayers. Please pray with all of us as tomorrow we go into one of the most amazing nights to show God's love to everyone…

 

Jessi Schilling / Christ Follower / Daughter / Student / Volunteer



You Do Not Complete Me

You do not complete me. - Sam Paul & Christina Swain

When you have Christ, you are complete. - Colossians 2:10 NLV

______________________________



Soul mate. Other half. The one… all names that I cannot call the man I’m marrying. I understand the sentiment of these titles, I do, but no one should be given that much responsibility to make me whole. The void in my heart was never meant to be filled by any one man. No matter how hard he tries to give me everything he can, I will still be empty. - Christina

To preface this, I will say that I am in no way offended by how my fiancé has chosen to express the reality of a relationship involving two entirely incomplete individuals. In my opinion, she’s right. No matter how much she desires to captivate me, complete me, smooth out my rough edges, she’s entirely hopeless in doing so. While at times she may motivate me to make changes in my life, there is a void and a space that ultimately she cannot fill. - Sam

What we’re trying to say is not supposed to be depressing or isolating. Rather, it points to the truth of the matter that only with Christ are we complete. Knowing this should be our greatest joy and comfort. We no longer have to feel the pressure of looking for love and purpose in someone else. We can have freedom in the Father’s love that allows us to have true relationship with another. - Christina

She’s right again folks. God has seen fit however, to gift me with an incredible woman with whom I get to spend the rest of my life. And, believe it or not, I found her on accident. Roughly a year before meeting Christina, I was given a dating philosophy coined by an amazing female mentor of mine. She said, “Chase after Jesus with absolutely everything you have, and when someone comes running up alongside you in pursuit of the same goal, maybe, just maybe invite them out for coffee.” I had come to a point in my life where dating had become exhausting and, in a way, seemed entirely pointless. I stopped dating, fixed my eyes on Jesus, and there she was. - Sam

When our hearts are completely filled by our Maker, they are also fully known by Him. This is the most vulnerable we will ever be, but in the end, results in the most abundance. Before I met Sam, I really did not know what I was looking for. That was because I was attempting to figure it out through my own feelings and reasoning. It wasn’t until I was lying in bed one night with a heavy heart and a confused mind that I surrendered my expectations and desires to God. It was only after that, my surrender, that He brought a man into my life that would best express Christ’s love to me. I could now reciprocate that love because I allowed it to complete me. - Christina

Our spouse is not equipped to complete us. Jesus has designed and crafted our hearts in a way that does not allow us to be complete without allowing Him to invade our hearts so radically that it compels us to live a life that puts Him at the center. I pray that I am pushing and motivating Christina to be the best image of God that she can be and I know she prays the same for me. As He did for Adam so many years ago, He sees that man should not be alone. He brought Eve alongside Adam and a lifelong companionship entered into existence. He wants the same connection for us. I can tell you that neither Christina nor I have all the answers, tips, or details, but our Savior does. If you seek completion, you must seek Him. - Sam

Sam Paul - Christ Follower, Son, Brother, Fiance', Intern, Graphic Designer, Leader

Christina Swain - Christ Follower, Daughter, Sister, Bride-to-Be, College Student, Upcoming Teacher, Leader

I'm proud of you...

Where are the Prevention-ists? That was my thought this morning when I woke up.

 

Last night as we were sitting in the Houston airport preparing for our last leg of the flight to Phoenix, Jaime said to me, “Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day”.  As we sat, thinking about the organizations we have partnered with and looking at how other people, churches, and organizations took the time to acknowledge this travesty, all I could think of was how this is the week God chose for us NOMORE and 29:11 to partner for the 1st NOMORE Orphans event in this area of the country. 

 

In the last few years, human trafficking has become a hot button topic.  And it should be.  The ever increasing opportunity to garner information coupled with the voices of celebrities in both the secular and faith based arenas has increased awareness ten fold and aided in furthering the movement to end slavery in our lifetime.  As incredible as that is, for many, raising awareness and funds for the cause doesn't seem like enough and many people stall out in their passion to create change because they can’t engage in the cause in a personal way.   They see fighting against as the only outlet for action when really there is so much more.

 

Did you know that orphans around the world are the most ‘at risk’ group of individuals for human trafficking?  Did you know that statistics say that within 48 hours of aging out of the foster care system 7 out of 10 girls are approached by traffickers and many find themselves becoming victims?  Did you know that one of the most powerful things we can do to fight human trafficking is prevention?

 

A few years ago I attended a symposium on human trafficking with a dear friend of mine who is a survivor.  For 7 years she was trafficked in almost every major city in the US, including Phoenix.  While we were there one of the audience members asked her a question… ‘why did you choose to stay?’ The whole room was silent as we waited for her reply.  She explained that on her first night out on the streets she was terrified, she made no money and was beaten as a result.  But when she went out the second night she made a little money and the man who had lured her into this life said 4 words she had never heard in her entire 20 years of life, words that would keep her trapped for years to come… ‘I’m proud of you.’ Suffering from abuse and neglect, rifling in and out of the foster care system, and the sheer lack of anyone taking a personal interest in her made her a prime target. And her story is not the exception but rather common when it comes to victims of human trafficking. 

 

Later that afternoon I asked my friend if she thought hearing those words spoken earlier in her life by a mentor, a teacher, or a family friend would have made a difference and she said yes. Could it be that simple? That words spoken with purpose, expressing the plan, hope, and future that God has for each of us could prevent a child from becoming a victim… a slave.  What if we chose to fight human trafficking with our time and our love.  Whether standing as a voice in the justice system as an advocate, tutoring a child in a group home, or opening our home and giving a child the benefit of a family, if we turn our hearts to God and open our eyes to the world around us there is no limit to what we can do.

 

Let’s choose to be more than abolitionists, let’s choose to be prevention-ists!  

 

Tami Kent/The No More Foundation

The Precious Moments of Love...

Created by Stephen Dunegan

Created by Stephen Dunegan

The holidays have always been bittersweet to me. Even as a child I remember there being lonesome and sad undertones as if these moments of joy would soon be overwhelmed by the reality of life and loss. None are more real than the Thanksgiving of 2010. To set the scene I will unpack a period of time of my life that I hold dear because it brought me closer to not only my Savior but helped to shape who I am.

Another pre-cursor I must address is that although I ponder on death and the hereafter more than I think most do (or at least vocalize it more) and am already a very hyper-emotional man, this isn’t to stir up any emotions that aren’t genuine. It’s merely to paint a portrait of what it means to cherish and be thankful for the little things.

On Thanksgiving of 2010 I did what I usually do. I played in the Turkey Bowl that morning (most of the guys know what this is but if you don’t, it’s basically a football game played on the morning of Thanksgiving). The game is always followed by a traditional Dunegan Thanksgiving lunch which is by all means untraditional in that it’s usually consumed just shy of noon. This particular year I was going to make the venture out to Wickenburg to spend it with my then girlfriend Kelsey and her family. I spent many a weekend out there due to practicality and to ensure that effort was given into our relationship.  I arrived around 5pm,  just in time for dessert and games.


We loved playing board games, in particular Balderdash. If you haven’t played this particular game, it’s where you make up an answer to a question in hopes that your faux answer being chosen by other players. We noticed, collectively, after playing this game that there was an underlying game where we would make up the most preposterous fake answers in hopes of making her dad laugh. We would search for humor triggers that only he would find funny because if this occurred… he would struggle to finish the round because tears of joy from the laughter would occur and he couldn’t get past it. Her father was a lot like me. He was quiet; he would get hangry (hungry+angry) and enjoy various elements of silliness. We spent time together talking about life, praying and growing. He welcomed me in with warm arms and we got to talk of our relationship with Christ as I felt we walked in our faith together. Over time we didn’t care about the actual game; it was the fun we had to see if we could make him crack. Needless to say we succeeded and in timeless and perfect fashion. I knew in the moment it was special, I just didn’t know how special.

Five days later I was having breakfast with him and we were discussing my unending love and infatuation for hip-hop which puzzle most. We wrapped up our Trader Joe’s cereal then Kelsey and I got into my car and we went up to Prescott to finish some steps for her college enrollment. We stopped for some lunch and then decided to watch a movie. While waiting for the movie to start, Kelsey received a call from her grandmother that her father was in the hospital. Neither Kelsey nor I received much information in the initial phone call but I knew the atmosphere changed and it was imperative that we get back to Wickenburg. We left the theater and she tried to get in contact with her brother who already lived in Prescott so we could pick him up as we make the hour and half drive back. We eventually connected with him and picked him up at the community college and headed back. Not hing but plaguing ambiguity and confusion were the emotional tracks for all of us and then we received the second and most ominous phone call. The One  that would change all of our lives.  I couldn’t hear the other part of the conversation but what I gathered from the part I could hear was haunting, scary and so very painful. Her dad had passed from a severe heart attack at the same age his father passed away from the same cause. The cries and heartache was so very heavy and all I could do was try and be a pillar of sorts. To show sadness almost felt disrespectful for it wasn’t my dad as much as I loved him and enjoyed our times together - it wasn’t him that gave me life. All I could be was a soundboard for sorrow... to hear these cries; the cries to God for resurrection and for answers. It pained me to hear them.


Still unsure why.
 

Love is the best connection...picture taken by Isaac Taleno

Love is the best connection...picture taken by Isaac Taleno


I had no clue that the previous Thanksgiving would be the last time we would play the unwritten game of Balderdash. The place here his tears of joy and laughter would soon turn to our tears of absolute heartache and grief. I had no idea that when I hugged him in the morning and he saw Kelsey and me off that it would be the last time we would  see  him. I won’t delve into grief or the mourning process because what I learned about grief and mourning is that I will never learn fully about that tandem and that is ok.

Yes, I know this is heavy and I’m not even sure I have a right to jot this down, but I was forever changed and it changed the way I live my life. The way he lived and loved changed my life. Until his last breath he loved ferociously his Savior God and his friends and family.

A posture of gratitude and thankfulness isn’t perfected one day a year; it is based and built on not letting one moment escape where you aren’t taking them for granted. Not letting one hug be lackadaisical or one moment with loved ones never be taken as ritual or tradition. Letting routines dictate our approach to these beautiful memories will forever haunt us if they aren’t handled with care and love. If my legacy is the overly expressive/emotional man with a beard, then so be it … but I will hug like I mean it. I will laugh like I mean it and I will most certainly love like I mean it. I don’t want these moments to pass me by because they are such a gift.

I’m aware of how hard it is to not let life harden us and wear us down, but in the moments where we get to be around those we love is just a glimpse into that blessed reunion in heaven.


Where no tears streak.
Where no pain hinders.
Where no resentment reigns.
Where no distraction can take our eyes off His perfected love.

Please, I implore you. Don’t let these holidays pass us by without us truly and earnestly expressing our love and gratitude to those around us and yes, I’m aware of how cliché this may sound but there is no greater truth than us not knowing when our, or those around us, time will be up on this beautiful sphere we exist on. Let’s not waste energy and time on chasing phantoms.


Whether  it’s a prestigious job, a bigger paycheck, a grand house, reputation or, as silly as this sounds, “love”… to actively pursue love without showing love is redundant. Not that the above are in and of themselves wrong or sinful but if they draw our eyes of off love and Him then they have become a gateway to idolatry. These precious moments we have are invaluable and I will not pawn mine away.


I pray we are reminded of these things this holiday season and truly understand that gratitude isn’t just a fleeting mindset, but a lifestyle we must proactively seek by knowing and fully understanding where our life begins and ends.

Stephen Dunegan/Follower of Christ/Son/Barista/2911 Leader/Writer


God is love...

                                       (photo design by Sam Paul)

                                       (photo design by Sam Paul)

Coming from a society where it is much easier to receive than give, I took a different stand. I learned at an early age that if you are passionate about something, your actions had better show it. One of my greatest passions has always been people. Even before I really knew Jesus, He had been working on my heart. For as long as I could remember, I've said that I just want to love people. Simple. Being loved? It didn't come as easily for me.

I don't have much of an explanation for the reasoning behind my struggle with this, but it took me traveling to the other side of the world to find a solution. I have always considered myself a pretty secure person. I know my identity is found in Christ. I know God loves me. I know that I am His and that the greatest thing I will ever be is His daughter. I also took pride in being independent, though. I didn't care what anyone had to say about me. My identity was not found in that. I didn't need attention from anyone. I didn't need affection from anyone. I didn't need people to ever know that I didn't have my crap together. I never wanted to put that weight on someone else's shoulders. So I kept my mouth shut and my mask on with my back to God's love. This was all okay for me. I just wanted to love and worship Him. To love His people. I never wanted anything in return. God doesn't work like that.

I cannot count the amount of times I have heard I Corinthians 13:4-8 in church sermons. I knew it was true, but it hadn't yet been resolved with me. While sitting in a lecture during my Discipleship Training School (DTS), our speaker for the week had us open up to that exact verse. We read it out loud once, then the room sat in still silence for a moment until she told us to read it again. This time, she wanted us to replace the word "love" with "God," considering I John 4:8 declares that "God is love". It sounds like the most simple concept in the world, but in that moment, it all began to make sense.

God is patient. God is kind. God does not envy, God does not boast, God is not proud. God does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, God keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

The world today is so obsessed with finding love. We reject the love of God while looking for love in the most absurd places and the worst of forms. Why is it so hard for us to realize that He would rather die than live without us? Somewhere along the way, we became fearful of vulnerability. The world glamorizes independence… the idea that you don't need anyone but yourself. That means that at the end of the day, all that you have is you. Don't fall too hard or jump too high. Don't get hurt. Love your neighbor, but don't be loved. That's how you get hurt, right? We are shamed for having emotions, or even worse, allowing people to see them. But once you accept that God is perfect love and wants to give that to you, he takes you even a step deeper. You can't forget that "God created mankind in His own image." (Genesis 1:27) This means:

We are patient. We are kind. We do not envy, do not boast, and are not proud. We do not dishonor others, are not self-seeking, are not easily angered, we keep no record of wrongs. We do not delight in evil, but rejoice with the truth. We always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. The King that is more powerful than death, stronger than the grave, and conquered the cross loves us relentlessly. The first commandment is to love. The second commandment, however, is to be loved - just as important as the first. When we become insecure with this, we become orphans. There are so many orphans in the church. It's time to wake up and let Him love you. To let the love overflow and pour out onto others. Nothing we do matters if it is not rooted in love.

"We love because He first loved us."  I John 4:19 (NIV)

Sierra Hifler/Christ Follower/Daughter/Worship Leader

 

God Is In The Failures...

Father be in the moments now that we share as a family of believers, brother and sisters. Would you move in my thoughts and be echoed in the words you’d have me write, Amen.

As a culture it has come to my attention that we have taken God out of our failures. We choose to see failure(s) as a complete lack of God’s presence, which is a contradiction of who He is and how dare we pick and choose the moments in which we choose to acknowledge him.

When something doesn’t work out we say, “Well God must not have been in it.” And please friends don’t assume I’m attacking the way you speak, how petty that would be of me, talk the way you want, I’m not concerned with the cadence in which you vocalize. What I’m drawing your attention to is that we are making God in our image when we are so clearly and blatantly made in his.

God wishes for us to acknowledge Him in each and every one of our failures. He has created this system in which we fail and fail and fail, and finally we cry out in frustration, “God, I can’t do it, I keep messing up, I keep running, I keep trying, nothing works, I can’t do it on my own!” He whispers back calmly and lovingly. “I know, when did I ever say you had to do it on your own?”

Now, isn’t it just like God to set up a system in which we cannot thrive unless we have a full and complete dependence on him. And how good is this, He also desires that we never blame ourselves for the failures we encounter because, hear me friends, if we blame ourselves for the failures we will award ourselves in the successes. God wants us to have a rested grateful soul, in which we trust him on the peaks, and we trust him in the valleys.

At the end of your life people may applaud you for the way you lived, praising your morals and ethics. You’ll laugh indirectly saying, “It’s not what you think, I’m not into ethics for ethics or morals for morals, for me it was this loving gracious God, who as I grew closer to became increasingly more real to me. And I became more and more aware of his love and his commitment in my life and so when the storms showed up I was able to treat them as if I had just experienced victory because if I’m leaning on God, those waves look so small.”

My prayer for you this week is that you experience complete and utter failure, but I also pray that in those circumstances you find rest for your soul, because you see the workings of God within the failure. Friends the message is clear, there is a Giver, He is generous, He is gracious, His love is expansive, and it’s relentless, and it’s unconditional. And the most important realization that you can make, is that you cannot do it on your own.

Upon His ship, the waves look so small.

Sam Paul / Christ Follower / Son / Brother / Graphic Designer / 29:11 Leader





 

From the Heart of Stephen Wood

Seth Wilkerson & Stephen Wood share a "selfie" moment in New Zealand.

Seth Wilkerson & Stephen Wood share a "selfie" moment in New Zealand.

Five Years ago, that is when I first entered the mission field on my own and ventured out from under the rule of my parents. I was here in beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand for two weeks. While I was here, I was prayed for and told that I would be back in Queenstown as a leader. I’ve remembered that prophecy over the years and now.... I’m Back! I live, FIVE YEARS later, full time in Queenstown discipling the young minds of the world and furthering the Kingdom of our Father. I work as a full time leader on this base dedicated to the reformation of the nations. I am also the leader of the Ski and Snowboard DTS (Discipleship Training School) where we have international students come and study subjects about the God they serve. A couple key courses would be The Father Heart of God or the Lordship of Christ. After this time we have together, they will then go and walk out what they have learned in different countries around the world. God is so good! Currently we have teams in Thailand, Papua New Guinea, and one on their way to China. These teams are working with a lot of children, orphans, homeless kids and broken homes. The outreach teams also work with local projects and churches. His provision over this base and the people here is incredible. We are still in the early stages of development and pioneering and we could use all the prayer we can get. Currently I am preparing for my school coming up. Between sorting out the speaker schedule and planning for the outreaches in September, there is plenty to do. I personally could use prayer for diligence in my day to day work and with discernment in the choices of which students to accept, where to go on outreach and so on. That my Faith increases to believe more and more that God is who he says he is and will fulfill the promises he makes. Also that I will have Humility in remembering it’s God’s plan and he makes it happen, not me. Pray for a greater releasing of finances in my personal life. I am currently struggling to make ends meet between my base fees, keeping gas in the car and my basic human need to eat. But I am confident in my Father’s desire to give His children good gifts. Thank you so much for your prayers. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to being able to join 29:11 again in the future! Until then Brothers and Sisters … GO 29:11!!

My email is stephenwood117@gmail.com

The best way of supporting me is sending a personal check to my physical address in New Zealand:

YWAM-Stephen Wood

P.O. Box 2784

Wakatipu 9349, New Zealand

Stephen Wood / Christ Follower / Son / Brother / Youth With A Mission Director / 29:11 Leader

The Grand Adventure...

Do you ever feel like your life isn’t exciting enough? Me too.

I would dare to say that we seek excitement and adventure as a form of fulfillment. Don’t get me wrong—I love a grand adventure just as much as the next girl. I would way rather explore a new area with my camera and best friend than go grocery shopping. I’m positive you would choose a spontaneous trip out-of-state over working your weekend shifts. The other day, I caught myself wishing I could re-live the day we got engaged. What I wouldn’t give to experience our wedding day a second time…

It is thrilling to truly live in the moment, especially when the moment includes new faces, places, and experiences. But the reality is that our everyday lives do not feel consistently adventurous. We miss the sunrise sleeping in, we purchase toilet paper more often than fireworks, and we scroll through social media feeds while binge-watching our favorite television shows, instead of actually investing in what’s around us.

Then a gap presents itself—a space between your reality as it is and the adventurous life you wish you had (and pretend to have on instagram). It is wildly unfulfilling. We sit around wishing we were other people experiencing different lives. We constantly long for more than we have been given, and we forget to take advantage of what lies within us. While it is good to bring our dreams to God, it is dangerous to live in a near-constant state of dissatisfaction. God’s heart aches when we start to believe a day was useless because nothing post-worthy happened.

We worship an intentional God who has handpicked every moment of our lives. There is nothing useless about you or your ordinary day. Every breath we take is significant. Each moment is an invitation to share a little bit of heaven here on earth. Because, you see, there is nothing ordinary about the God we follow. Useless is not within Christ’s vocabulary.

Have you ever looked back on your life and recognized seasons that felt totally useless in the moment, but later played a clear and intentional role in shaping your soul? It is amazing what we are able to see once we step outside of ourselves. Incredible changes happen when we set aside our discontented souls and choose to live our days as Christ has called us to.

“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart,” (Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV).

I challenge you to this: Shake the devil off your back and do not fall into his trap of lies. You are a beautiful and holy creation, destined to experience God in all moments. Do not let that be taken away from you. Choose the grand adventure that is exploring our LORD and his endless love. None of your days could possibly be useless. You have a plan. This is the plan. Rejoice in it. 

Heather Christy/ Christ Follower / Wife / Daughter / Sister / 29:11 Leader

My Everything...

My Everything.

 "God?” you say.

 "Yes,” I reply.

 "Who is he?” you ask again.  “Another religious figure through the course of time?”

I pause before I respond wondering what to say. “Who is this God? A cross around my neck or hanging from my dashboard? “No,” I finally say, “He is so much more.”

 Jealous, All-knowing, All-powerful, Almighty and the King of Kings.

 He is a Dreamer, a Creator, the Great I Am, Lord of everything.

 My Abba Father, Jehovah, Provider, Lord, Maker and my personal guardian.

 My God is courageous, a protector, He will comfort and heal, He’s merciful, a conqueror, virtuous, the ultimate Victor, my Father in Heaven, my everything.

 He is Lord of all, living and active, loyal, my intercessor. He’s full of truth, love, joy, wisdom and is my friend, my absolute, my everlasting.

 Did I say omnipresent, the Restorer, omniscient, divine and holy? Infinite, matchless, faithful and supreme.

 Majestic, unrivaled, He’s pure, He’s active, dazzling, beautiful and brilliant.

 He is a light in the darkest dark, expensive, glorious, great, immense, yet still humble above all.

 He’s Paramount, unfathomable, boundless, powerful, and complete. Yes, this Lord, my God, He’s my everything.

 He is just, strong, creative, vast and magnificent beyond compare, transcendent, consuming, a blazing fire, bewildering and mystifying everywhere.

 He’s prestigious, radiant, a Shepard to the sheep, internal, incomparable, external and forgiving even the most horrendous of sins.

 He’s eternal, indescribable, unsurpassable, impeccable to say the least. My God is unfailing, incandescent, honoring, a treasure whose worth can’t be measured.

He is compassion, respectful, wondrous and brave above all fears.

 You will find him amazing, wise, bemusing, and kind. He’s friendly, lives with harmony and constant in the most turbulent of times. Yes, conqueror of everything.

 He illuminates, endures, is righteous, lasting and shares his relentless love.

 He is life, unbroken, my refuge and mighty savior.

 He is marvelous, peace in the storm and the answer to all my questions.

 God, my God…yes, this God is my everything

 

Author: Abbi Horn

Additional Writing: Mark Rempel

Once in a while...

But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.- Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

 ______________________________

 Father would you move in my thoughts and be echoed in the words you’d have me write, Amen.

 I admit often times I tie myself to some sort of self bound works salvation program in which I justify my own sin by balancing it with so-called good deeds. I’m not sure if I’m alone in this but I’ve been taught that if I preach from my weakness, I will never lack in material.

 Anyone who has ever experienced a divine moment engineered by God will tell you that it is a feeling that you will always long to find again, and therefore you desire to reach deeper in your relationship with Him. It leaves us with a beautifully haunting experience that is seared into our memory. Much in the same way that Andy Irons (pro surfer) recounts the first time he found himself inside the tube, as surfers so commonly call it. A wave curls over your body and you glide through it. “Once you’ve known the feeling,” he says, “it will be a sensation that you long for every time you take another wave.”

 The curling wave, for me, is like a scripture that I’ve read time and time again, but at some point, because of my soul’s willingness to be awed, it strikes a new chord. God exists, and often speaks, in the whispers.

 For me the most powerful word in the scripture above, and possibly all the Bible is while. Yet while we were still sinners, he died for us. Jesus did not wait for Sam Paul to get his act together before he saved me. He never said to you, get your act together, and then I’ll deliver you. He saved us while we were still buying into what the world had to offer.

 So friends, I feel compelled to tell you, before you bend your knee and cry out to God explaining to him how sorry you are for ‘letting him down,’ ask yourself this question, ‘When was I ever holding him up?’  In this relationship, he holds you up, never the other way around. He has overcome the world, and while we were still of the world, he saved you and he saved me.

Sam Paul / Christ Follower / Son / Brother / Graphic Designer / 29:11 Leader


I can see it in their eyes...

My generation is a people dealing with all different kinds of things. Whether it's depression, sexuality, drugs or something as simple as grades, we all come from different issues. But everyone in my generation wants one thing, to be loved. Who doesn’t want to be loved? Even though we try to hide it at times there is no doubt there is a big hole in our heart we are all trying to fill.

 As I walk the halls of my high school I can see it in my friends eyes. They are looking for something. I see them trying to make something work just to fit in. Just to feel like they matter. Just to feel a sense of…love.

 Love is language that everyone speaks. When it comes without condition it seems to work best. It sees beyond what’s on the outside or even how we feel deep inside. I see my friends trying to find this love but I know it only comes from one place. One source. It is God’s love.

I wish my friends could see that love reaching out to them in the crowded hallways. It doesn’t seem to matter if I give it to them through my words or even if I invite them to my church. What they are looking for is to see it acted out in the everyday of my life. Love is so much more seen through what we do than what we say. So I have to ask myself this question… “What is my life saying?” When I’m walking down those crowded hallways. When I’m out on the soccer field. When I’m sitting next to someone in one of my classes. It’s seen in how I treat my parents. How I respond to my brother. How I talk to my sister. Do I kick my dog or speak with a slander about my neighbor? This is how we define love in my generation. Words aren’t worth much any more. We text, Tweet, email…try to write a million assignments with them. They fade away fast and we are left with what really stands…and that’s who we are when we walk the crowded hallways of life. People can see it in our eyes. They can feel it in our touch. They know it in our voice. So, what are all those things saying to the people around you?

 I hope they keep repeating that God loves you, for real. And there’s nothing you can do to change that. That is love in its truest from. The challenge comes when I try to live it. So, I’m trying to live it…are you?

 Zeke Rempel/Christ follower/Son/Friend/TRIBE student