IMAGINE update 3

Excitement is stirring in our hearts as we IMAGINE the future at 29:11. After weeks of waiting and negotiating, we are finally a few steps away from demolishing and rebuilding. Part of any good project is the PLAN. No doubt our hearts have been stirring as a church to see that unfold. This weekend we took a HUGE step welcoming our architect, Victor, to take on helping us create the plan and leaving us with a guide to see that plan accomplished. It was so awesome to go from room to room with him in the suite next door dreaming and believing for what is ahead. He and his wife, Janet, own an architectural business in the heart of Chicago where he blueprints everything from homes to churches. As we walked and talked it was exciting to hear him talk about what he could see even through the maze of walls. At one point he asked, “Does this church do alter calls? I want to leave enough room from the stage to where we could put the first row of chairs.” We smiled and Danny spoke up - “We have this area called the worship pit.” Victor gave him a look. “You know,” Danny continued, “it’s like a mash pit but for worship. People come forward to step into God’s presence during worship. You just have to experience it.” 

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I’m so thankful that brilliant men and women like Victor and Russell are helping us create a space that fits us and all that God has destined us to be. From Jeremiah’s, to 29:11kids to Engage and so much more, we are hoping to follow a plan that fulfills whatever God has. So, Victor is making sure we have enough room to find a place where we can worship God with all we have. Close your eyes, can you see yourself worshipping there? Hopefully, you will be standing there…soon. 

 

Thanks to all those who are helping us create the space. Imagining with you…

 

Be Encouraged,

 

P. Mark

Imagine- Update 2

"In the mystery of God's exciting actions involving mankind, it is as though He, as a God who prefers infinite diversity, often makes use of people and things that constitute major risks: brilliant and riddled with faults, beautiful and not so beautiful, like with David and Paul."  Izak de Villiers 

 

IMAGINE TEAM…just wanted to encourage you today. Such a beautiful quote about the power of how God uses each one of us. Flawed, messy and struggling more often than it seem like we are winning in life. He finds us where we are - in the middle of the mud - and helps us stand again. Night after night. Day after day. What an amazing God. He has taken a risk to love each one of us and I’m so thankful for that. 

 

I wanted to give this team and church a shout out and say THANK YOU for helping us to execute opportunities of outreach. Just an example of ministry this past weekend at 29:11. Not only did our Hands Out team hit Mill Ave., but we diversified and sent a team to Mesa and then had two cars going up and down the 101 bringing pizza, water and Agape bags to those standing on corners. We took a risk and tried something new…and even if only ONE person was encouraged with food and water that’s ONE person that might have been without if we hadn’t gone. At the same time, our HOPE MEALS team dropped of a third meal this week to a couple (Rich and Kristen) that live close to 2911 (they have visited once) that are both experiencing life altering cancers (Rich has a rare 4th stage blood cancer and Kristen has 3rd stage colon/rectal cancer). Kristen shared that Thursday was one of her worst days ever due to her treatment and she felt so sick. The meal that was provided, the prayer that was provided…this was the HANDS AND FEET of Jesus my friends! May we never tire of providing what we can to help those afflicted and broken. This is the beautiful, diverse Kingdom of God walking on roads that most won’t travel on. What an honor that God has chosen US to be a part of bringing HOPE and LIFE to those who are struggling. So, THANK YOU! Thank you for helping us build a foundation from suicide prevention to putting pizza slices into hungry hands over the last two years. We can’t fix everyone but we can help bridge the gap so someone can get relief for a few moments. So someone has a chance to live another day. So someone can find support amidst their painful struggle. It’s that “cup of cold water” Jesus talked about. God has so much more for us to do! We need to get this 7000 square feet moving, don’t we? Let’s not get weary of doing good my friends! Those of us, “riddled with faults” can be used by God to do amazing things that bring Him glory. 

 

UPDATE: This week we started in our on BLUEPRINT phase. As we finish negotiations with our Lease Management Company, we are working behind the scenes on preparation. Finishing negotiations on a commercial lease is like splitting hairs. There are a few areas we are still tossing back and forth but the goal is to have a working lease by the end of the month. 

 

Working with our project lead, Russell Jones, is always an encouraging experience. He dreams with us and then thinks through how it can happen on paper and then through the hard work of our labor. We walked through the BLUEPRINT of our new 7000 square feet. This week we looked at the building from a “big picture” perspective and what we need room by room. We started to lay our dreams down into actual steps and imagined areas for offices, the recording studio and the larger Experience Room. 

 

FINANCES: We are just beginning to collect monthly pledges and have taken in some one time cash donations. If you have committed to being a part we are so thankful for your faithfulness. Our goal is to create an Imagine fund that can get us started on the initial work and will help us with underwriting our Tenant Improvement reimbursement from our building owner. Every dollar counts! You can give by going to our GIVING tab on our APP or web site and choose the Imagine Campaign. You can also sign up to pledge over the next 4 months as we Imagine for the future.

 

Thank you for coming alongside the broken and helping them mend…love, Pastor Mark and Brenda

IMAGINATION UPDATE 1

Team 29:11…

Yes, that is what we are! An awesome TEAM of individuals coming together to see the city of Tempe and communities all over the East Valley impacted by the power of God’s love. If you are new to our Imagine Campaign, we are hoping to EXPAND the borders of our current space at 29:11 Church and add on the 7000 square feet in the suite next to us to enlarge our meeting space, create an office area for ministries, storage space and a place for Jeremiah’s to expand. So much potential. Our goal is to do things debt free and utilizing the skills of our church and greater community. As we come together there is no end to what God can do. We are partnering with our current lease owner negotiating Tenant Improvement funds to helps us rebuild the suite that was an old charter school as well as raise funds ourselves for additional costs and incidentals. You can check out the electronic version of our Imagine Campaign booklet for more details. We will be posting weekly updates of our progress both financially and physically as we look at a 4 month build time. 

UPDATE: 

Before the weekend gets away from us and we head into another week ahead I wanted to THANK YOU all for being such strong leaders in our greater community and church. But, I am so thankful that each of you continues to step up to the cause of whatever is needed and help every weekend and through the week. You are an absolutely amazing team. The BEST. Step 1 was making our church aware of the need and educating all of us on how we can get involved. That is what this past weekend was all about. I wanted to let you know personally that through pledges and some cash we raised about $34,000 in commitments over the next four months. That is about 70% of our goal! I WAS BLOWN AWAY. Seriously...! Now, pledges take time to collect and all we can do is count on each of you and our community to come through but God really spoke to people this weekend and every age, every kind of person sacrificed to see us move forward. I think that we need to take a few minutes and just THANK GOD for being so awesome to LEAD US. I pray you are ENCOURAGED! If you didn’t get a chance to commit or the even connect on the vision, we will have everything online and on the APP this week and a way to electronically commit to the next FOUR MONTHS as well. GOD IS AWESOME! Can I get a shout out? Pastor Karl and our Apache Junction location collected 30% of their goal as they begin their Imagine project to move into a semi-permanent space as well. 

We are finishing up negotiations at the Tempe location with our building owner and hope to 

get a working in lease in order since we are still negotiating what that all is going to look like. 

 

That will determine our start date for demo and remodeling. We will let you know asap as well as keeping you informed on how you can help and times you can show up to be a part of getting your hands dirty! Thank you for being a part!

The awesome Chris Goldsby and Brenda Rempel will be taking on the financial portion helping keep funds organized for anyone giving as well as overall for the project. If you have any questions, you can connect with them at mailto:2911church@gmail.com. Also, you can give via so many different ways. Here is the link to our one touch APP giving that makes contributing easy and fun. Just make sure you select the Imagine campaign for the Tempe location or if you are giving for the 2911centric location you can click on that. 

 

Imagining…

 

Pastor Mark and Brenda

 

Prayer Needs:

-Wisdom and favor to get a working lease that is fair, honest and helpful in getting 29:11 the space it needs 

-To raise the entire amount needed from our community

-To grow our team of those who can use their skill to help with our build out - we need skilled carpenters, HVAC, electricians, painters, artists, skilled demo workers, floor layers…and so much more!

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD TIPS + TRICKS

There are 3 main categories for every box:

 

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: pens, pencils, paper, art supplies, solar calculators (@Wal-Mart), sharpeners, safety scissors, and so on. 

 

TOILETRIES: washcloths, soap, band-aids, hair supplies, chapstick, toothbrush, toothpaste (expiration date after June ’17)

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FUN STUFF: soccer ball (& pump), jump rope, puzzles, soft dolls, costume jewelry, hats, cards, shoes, shirts, socks, undies, water bottles, sunglasses, yoyo’s, musical instruments, hard candy or gummy bears (expiration date after June ’17) 

*PLEASE AVOID: anything war-related or with weapons, chocolate, food, vitamins, glass, pocketknives, and all liquids. Please keep in mind, these boxes go to multiple countries and other kids may not understand our American culture or language. 

 

*PLEASE INCLUDE: $7 for shipping (you can pay this here and follow your box around the globe)

 

SPECIAL TIPS FOR 10-14 BOXES:

 

GIRLS: sewing kit (@Hobby Lobby), fabric, clothespins, ribbon.

GUYS: tool kit (nails, screws, screwdriver, hammer), fishing supplies, baseball & mitt. 

BOTH: deodorant, flashlight (include extra batteries), gardening tools & gloves, compass, marbles, frisbee. 

PACKING TIPS!

*If you use a shoebox, wrap it in festive paper! 

*Include a personal note and photo!

*Fill a water bottle with school supplies or toiletries to save space!

*Purchase a plastic box to fill so that it can be used for other purposes!

*Have tons of fun! 

*Pray over the box(es) you filled!

*Average shoebox cost with shipping: $20-27

The Birth of a Song

           Have you ever been there to experience the birth of a song?

An amazing night of recording our first LIVE Worship album at The Crescent Ballroom 

An amazing night of recording our first LIVE Worship album at The Crescent Ballroom 

 

There is something so beautiful about the birth of a song. Filled with rich anticipation, it’s that sweet moment you are introduced to something you know will change you. Encourage you. Strengthen you. In a worship culture of songwriting, we know this feeling all too well. I can remember the first time I heard “Tempest,” one of the first songs ever written, as we endeavored to launch 29:11church. I can also recall the first time I heard “Lost” during a Living Room Session in the front room of our house and I sat in awe not at the wander of the song but the way it helped me view my relationship with God. I had one of those moments again recently as we birthed a new song at our weekend Experiences called, “The Father’s Heart.” I had heard the team writing and playing it around the building over the last few weeks and I was excited to get to experience the entire version. We have just come through a season of songs written and recorded that we were singing on a weekly basis and those musical declarations had become like good friends that spur you on day to day. But I was anticipating something fresh and new as our worship team was in a season of writing again. I was wondering what their pens and instruments would be sharing coming out of the past year of being around our 29:11 culture day in and day out. 

 

Our 5:30pm Experience on Saturday is the first place we get to hear or Experience these new things...one of the reasons I love that particular service. It’s an hour and a half of new, fresh moments. The song was the last in the set and when it started I could feel my heart melt. From the moment it began I could tell it was a “response” song and it was up to me to respond accordingly. 

 

Come to me all the lost and the weary

Come to me and find rest for the storm

My embrace will secure all your longing

I will love you and call you my own

 

Come to me all the thieves and the broken

In my love, no longer displaced

Lifted up from the realm of your ashes

Into the light of my glorious grace

 

It immediately took me back to that little chapel I was saved in up north in the heart of Wisconsin at a Young Life ski retreat when I was 17. I was lost, I was weary…there was a storm in my heart. I could see myself in that tender moment.

 

Chorus: 

How lovely you are

No matter how far you fall

I’ll hold you through it all

I’m right by your side

 

Now, I was singing God’s response to me in that moment. He did see me through the eyes of His extravagant love. At 17, what propelled me to give my life to him was knowing he was by my side. 

 

And that’s what these modern day hymns do for us. They help us respond to God’s truth in the deepest parts of our hearts. Music is found there wrapped deep into the emotions of what we have lived and are living. This song was already giving me such a deep appreciation for this God I serve. The initial song lyric was written by Kevin Balzer who penned the lyrics at a baptism service we were having at our church one weekend. He was watching the faces, the hearts, the lives being transformed right before his very eyes. 

 

Come to me all those who wonder and question

Roaming soul, all our burdens made light

For the cost that leads straight to salvation

Was bore by my son, Jesus Christ

 

Now I was starting to think about the lost, the broken…those in our immediate community and those outside of our walls. Those who were struggling to find hope. Those who were needing peace. Those who were taking on counterfeit loves instead of the real thing. It was starting to grow…

 

Chorus: 

How lovely you are

No matter how far you fall

I’ll hold you through it all

I’m right by your side

 

I was starting to see them as Christ did. Lovely. Beautiful. Hopeful. All through the power of Jesus' name. 

 

I just started thanking God for all that He was. All that He is doing in not only my life but the lives of so many. And, I started to praise Him for this glorious grace he has given us that has washed our hearts and lives from the sin that once entangled us!

 

Bridge: 

Oh how glorious

My soul will sing

How great you are

 

Oh how powerful

My life redeemed

In the Father’s heart

 

I am singing it louder and louder. Others around me are too! We are caught in this moment that we didn’t expect. A moment that is birthing something we are reminded of and cannot forget. That our God loves us and finds us no matter where we may find ourselves. Instead of running or hiding, we can run to HIM and find hope and shelter. He is truly GLORIOUS! 

 

And, as I’m standing in this moment of “awe” at the birth of this song, it ends with a few lines I don’t expect. Sort of like that little bit of extra meat you find at the end of your Subway Sandwich you didn’t know was there. Or, that blast of sweet syrup found at the bottom of your favorite coffee drink. Or, that extra hug you get from someone who rarely shows affection at all. 

 

Chorus 2/Closing:

I stand in awe

As you continue to draw me near

Conquering all my fear

You’re right by my side

 

I found my life

In the Father’s Heart

 

The song ends…and we sit in God’s presence responding, the words and lyrics resonating in our hearts. 

 

But the power of the birth of a song isn’t just for the one standing and singing. I can see it on the faces on the stage a few feet away from me. What I love about songwriting in it’s purest from, is that no one person gets the glory. Although someone comes up with the lyrics and the melody, each team member takes it and suddenly something unique is born as well. Hannah hears a line on the electric and plays it. Joe strums the acoustic with what he is hearing in his head. Brandon brings the bass to life and Avery gives the song a heartbeat on the drums. Isaac plays the melody and gets the keys lost in laying a foundation so it all flows together. And the vocalist lead us, the ones standing and singing, on a journey of words that move our spirits along. 

 

But, it’s not just for us. It’s for whoever needs hope. Help. Love. That night, a quiet face slipped in the back of the second Experience we had that started at 7:30pm. She had just been to her weekly AA meeting down in another part of the plaza and came in for a free cup of coffee that was recommended to her. This tired soul found herself in the midst of the song, along with me. Just months ago her daughter had overdosed on Herroine and she sat in the back of the room with the shattered grief spilled everywhere. And, this simple song, written in this house, birthed new hope in her soul. Amidst life’s most unraveling moments, even there, she could find her life in the Father’s Heart. He was right by her side. He was conquering her greatest fears. He was redeeming her soul.

 

Oh, the birth of a song.

 

I found a ghetto version of it that they used to practice for the upcoming services. I can’t stop listening to it. The words getting buried deep in my soul. For now, if you want to hear it, you will have to find yourself at one of the Experiences on a weekend on Saturday night or Sunday morning. It is there, until it is recorded, you can let it birth something special in your soul. 

 

I found my life

In the Father’s Heart

 

Pastor Mark/29:11church

Sent from my iPhone

KINGS and QUEENS

The Tim Tebow Foundation

The Tim Tebow Foundation

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36 NLT

Hey friends, this is one of my favorite verses ever. It speaks of the compassion Jesus had over the multitudes of people. All kinds of individuals. Some needed healing. Some needed resource. Some needed love. Some needed encouragement. There is no doubt there were parents and families with special needs children that needed hope.

When Russell Jones told me about Night to Shine last July, I had no idea what the event was all about. Tim Tebow and his foundation put the incredible idea into action hosting a prom for people with special needs. Last year with just 15 churches that were willing to take the risk and give it a try, this year it has expanded to over 200 worldwide along with over 100,000 volunteers and up to 50,000 guests. That is some crowd, right? And I can see Jesus in the center of it placing crowns and tiaras on the heads of each of them proclaiming that we are his “Kings and Queens.” Everyone wants to be a King and Queen. Or, at least feel like it. You know, that sense that you matter and that your life has purpose and meaning. And, that is what we will be doing at Night to Shine. Past the excitement, the paparazzi, the DJ and the dancing…we will letting every human being know they are valued, loved and matter to the heart of God. We are his KINGS and QUEENS. Let me put it like this, WE ARE HIS SONS AND DAUGHTERS. We are his royalty because he made us royal through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. This weekend, we get to be on the front lines showing Jesus’ compassion. I’m so honored to be a part of NTS and a church like 29:11. I want to learn from Jesus how to have deep, real compassion…compassion that moves me to action to do something. Even if it’s just a smile. Whatever the action is, I want it to learn to have the deep love Jesus had for the human being he saw amidst the crowd. May that sort of genuine love grow in us like never before. My personal mantra this weekend is to be “Jesus with skin on.” As we reach out to love individuals and families like Jesus did that day he had compassion on the crowd, we will see Christ walking the earth again through our hands and feet.

 

Mark Rempel/ Christ Follower/Son/Husband/Father/Compassion Seeker

 

Talk To Chuck

Talk to Chuck, they say. So I did. Well, I read a quote he shared with someone who asked him how to build his financial empire. 

"The way to develop the best, that is, in a person, is by appreciation and encouragement." Charles Schwab

My brain is caught in reflection. That state of mind where my eyes get glassy and I’m caught looking through a memory book of pictures and people. Words that have been spoken ring in my ears. I can see certain words, specific words that have built me up. And, unfortunately, I can also see the ones that have torn me down. The fonts are thick with those words and they can dominate the memory at times. Sometimes my glassy eyes fill with tears. We’ve all been there, thinking about what people have said, or say, about each of us. Things we’ve heard right from the mouths of others or words spoken about us that come from behind closed doors. Oh, the power of words.

Schwab is right. I’ve read a lot of leadership books. As a pastor, I’ve been to my share of conferences. As a church planter, I’ve attended several boot camps. But rarely do leaders talk about the power of appreciation and encouragement. In raising leaders in our culture, from the pulpit to the mighty offices in the skyscraper, we seem to be caught in concepts… Structures. Lists. Point A to Point B. We evaluate human beings by performance and give bonus checks only for achievement. But Schwab is right, the human soul grows stronger and faster when we evaluate it through appreciation and encouragement.

Encouragement is one of the most underestimated gifts of all time. I’m not talking about the flavorful and sugary compliments we give to each other when we don’t know what to say. I’m talking about sitting with someone and looking into the whites of their eyes and speaking life to the soul. There is a lost art out there when it comes to raising leaders through appreciation and encouragement. Maybe it comes down to the simple act of gratitude. It’s funny how most of us can find a million things wrong with others, and even ourselves, but rarely can share a handful of things we appreciate about each other. Yes, every human being can be appreciated. Especially the ones that don’t think like you or act like me. So, at this phase of my life and leadership, I’m trying to live each day with much more gratitude than grumbles. And, believe me, there’s a lot to grumble about.

This morning I woke up to hounding voices of ways I didn’t measure up and then others that don’t meet my measuring stick... Small things, usually. Picks here and there. And then I just started to thank God for these little monkeys in my life. I started to thank God for the people he has placed around me. Those that love me and those that struggle to like me, too. Immediately my spirit started to change. My soul grew three times, sort of like Apple stock. And, I could see why and how Schwab has built a successful empire. Not on dollars but, somewhere along the way, building it with the investments of love and appreciation.

Take some time today to let someone know you value them. Write a note, send a text, make a phone call...let gratitude flow out of your soul. Thanksgiving makes the heart grow stronger.

 

Mark Rempel/Christ Follower/Son/Husband/Father/Pastor/Friend

Me and my Calvins

There was a time in my life when my jeans were too short. Or, what we liked to commonly call as kids - highwaters. At least that's what we called them. You know, when your pants are about an inch too short and it appears that you are walking through life waiting for the tide to come in.

It was in my sixth grade year. If you can believe this, I had just come through a growth spurt and I was a sprawling five foot five. And, I might add, one of the tallest kids in my class. Yes, I did say TALLEST. Have I told you about the time I was the tallest kid on my junior high basketball team? That I led the charge of "giant" intimidation out on the court and that my coach, Mr. Jess, used me as the "secret weapon" as the team's center? Have I told you about that? I'll save it for another time...Anyway, fashionable jeans were coming into style and Brooke Shields was on TV with a controversial add campaign that nothing was going to get in between "me and my Calvins." Looking at my highwaters, my mom insisted I needed new jeans for junior high. Being the fashionable trend setter Canadian that Hilda Rempel was at that time, she insisted we try the Calvin Klein craze. If Brooke Shields could do it, so could we.

I've never waited in line to buy a pair of jeans in my life except for this moment. Standing outside our local Shopko stores in Beloit, Wisconsin, we waited with anticipation for the new shipment to be stocked before we could get our hands on "our" paid for Calvins. Forget Brooke, we wanted to get in on the action, too. Talk about a crowd, this little Wisconsin town had never seen such a fashion frenzy. People were grabbing and clutching onto their Calvins. Taking what we could, there was no chance in this crowd to try on the pants. We found my waist size and booked. Insisting I try them on before the next morning and before I left for school, my mom handed me the denim prize. Pulling them up past my waste, I noticed how much jean fabric was still on the floor. My high waters had turned into an ocean of navy fabric. I walked out of the bathroom dragging the jeans on the floor. Kneeling down, my mom shook her head and said, "You'll grow into them. Just fold them up for now."

Fold them up? All I could feel was awkward. One day I was waiting for the flood of the century and the next day I was drowning in a tide of my Calvins.

Growth is never easy, especially those junior high years. You remember, right? Or, maybe you’re there right now. You know, when your legs grow faster than the rest of your body and you feel like a giant giraffe at the zoo, even at 5 foot 5. It would have been easier to go back to my high waters but they weren't fitting either. They were on the out anyway because I was growing in my waist as well. The only choice I had was my Calvins. I would have to "grow" into them. And you know what? I did…another inch and a half by my 8th grade year.

Growth is always awkward. We are growing as a church. We just added a second service to our Saturday night concept and it would be easier to go back to what felt comfortable, right? But the room was hot. The chairs were full. Several of our services people were sitting on the ground. So, we had to reach for a new pair of Calvins. And, they feel awkward. A bit stiff in the knees, they are longer than we expected and a little loose in the waist. But, to grow we had to make room. We had to get rid of wearing the high waters, even if they felt a little more comfortable. Like my mom said, "you will grow into them." And, if we continue to release a passion for the culture of invitation God is creating, we will do the same. The empty chairs represent the people in our community that haven't heard about the frenzy.

The marginalized.

The outcasts.

The misfits.

The widowed.

The entrepreneurs.

The college students.

The orphaned.

The outsiders.

The freaks.

The creatives.

The poor.

The rich.

The needy.

Those who are hungering and thirsting for something.

Little do they know the living water is right in their community. It's inside of you. It's inside of me. All we have to do is embrace the awkward moment and share our story. Share life. Share love. And before we know it, we'll be trying on another pair of jeans… Trying to fit more chairs in the room… Adding another experience time so more can hear about this life altering man we follow named, Jesus. Nothing can get between him and his love for us.

May we never become too comfortable that it stunts our growth.

 

Mark Rempel/Follower of Christ/Husband/Father/Chaplain/Pastor


Monkey's In Space!

Did you know that the first monkey to survive a successful space flight was in 1959? His name was Baker and he was from Peru. Here’s his story:

 

After many failed attempts at sending animals into space from dogs to mice to fruit flies, Baker and Able, on 28 May 1959, boarded Jupiter IRBM AM-18 and the monkeys rode in the nose cone of the missile to an altitude of 360 miles (579 km) and a distance of 1,700 miles (2,735 km) down the Atlantic Missile Range from Cape Canaveral, Florida. These monkeys withstood forces thirty eight times the normal pull of gravity. Also, they were weightless for about 9 minutes. Close your eyes and imagine that scene, right? They also reached a top speed of 10,000 mph in their 16-minute flight. It’s good to know after all the animal mishaps; these monkeys survived the flight in good condition. In fact, their exploration and survival into space was at the threshold of man’s first flight which would come in the next few years. Although Able died four days after the flight from a reaction to anesthesia while undergoing surgery, Baker lived until November 29th, 1984, at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

 

You’ve got to start somewhere. If you’re going to take on the great commitment to being a frontiersman, you can’t stay in the same place you’ve always been. Even if it means your initial start may be with the monkeys.

 

Words. They fill our minds, flow out of our hearts and then spew out of our mouths. In our age of information, from blogging to sharing our latest tweets, we use words to make points and make promises. And, for most of us, we can use our words to talk about what we hope to accomplish rather than taking the risk of seeing it fail. We are much more apt to commit verbally than take on the step of putting our words to action.

 

If we want to see new frontiers in and across the landscape of the church, then we are going to have to risk the taking of that next step forward. In the book of Acts when the new church was being formed, disciples Paul and Barnabas went to the city of Lystra. At this point in history, they were going wherever they could. These men were frontiersmen when it came to their willingness to see the message of Christ spread everywhere. While speaking there, Paul noticed a lame man in whom he saw “faith to be a healed.” This man was a pioneer himself. Believing at a time in church history when miracles weren’t on the forefront of people’s minds, Paul tells the man to “stand up on your feet” (Acts 14:10) and the guy gets up immediately. Well, let’s just say this created quite a stir. The people in Lystra thought Paul and Barnabas were gods and wanted to offer sacrifices to them. This misunderstanding brought chaos and eventually the Jews got involved because Paul was on “their” turf. It wasn’t long before they stoned Paul after he tried to explain the path to Christ and was left for dead. He was tended to by the disciples, lived through the ordeal and went on to share the message of hope in Christ in many more places. But, Lystra? Many shook their heads and branded that trip a failure.

 

A failure? Well, maybe in the eyes of other believers or those watching from the sidelines, but for the lame man? The trip was a success. He was now walking. He could dance at his daughter’s wedding. He could run a marathon. The truth was that without their visit he would still be sitting by the city gate.

 

The United States’ first attempt to launch a satellite into orbit was also its first failure. Two seconds after leaving the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, this rocket lost thrust and sank back down, rupturing and exploding its fuel tanks. It had reached a height of about four feet. Though the rocket was destroyed, the Vanguard satellite it was carrying was thrown clear, its transmitters still signaling. It is now on display at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum. But, this supposed failure was one of the keys to the success of Baker who would travel into orbit just a few years later. Without an attempt somewhere, somehow, that monkey would have never left the ground. And, without Baker’s flight, man wouldn’t have taken that first step on the moon.

 

When you’re a pioneer, what is deemed as failure is usually a step toward success whether it’s for one lame man or the human race. 

Forward, On!

Forward, ON!

I loved building rocket ships as a kid. There is something about building a spaceship out of an old refrigerator box and launching out into new frontiers.  Cutting out windows so you can see the planets as you sail by. Setting up a command station. Finding the flight suit. Even creating a helmet out of tinfoil to keep your mind clear of any opposing enemy chatter that might be out there floating in space. Then there are the fins and the tail that keep everything moving smoothly as you jet out into  the unknown.

 

Did you know that out of the millions of people that have lived on the planet only 547 of them have been into space? Now, that’s according to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale which states that a person must have a spaceflight that is above 100 kilometers or sixty two miles. Anything under that measurement is just awarded ‘astronaut wings.’ Not bad, right? I wouldn’t mind that crown. But, to be in space? To see the Milky Way, step out onto the moon, pass by the earth and see it from our Creator’s perspective? Most of us would be speechless. The opportunity would be priceless. So, why only 547? Well, that’s a no brainer. The training is rigorous and brutal. The financial investment is mind blowing. And, the ability to step away from the solid ground you’ve always known fearlessly requires a faith most of us only dream of having. It’s easier to stay in a cardboard box pretending to go to new places and imaginatively go to new heights.

 

But, that’s space. Most of us will never become a NASA Astronaut or a NASA Space engineer and that is understood. However, there is another place that all of us do have the power to go. A place most of us have never gone before. It’s the place of ultimate risk. It’s a place of new beginning. It’s a place that cancels out the old and moves us forward into the new. It’s a land that most of us only dream of going. We sit in church settings week after week and hear about. We read books and travel to conferences hoping to find it. We even may set up a cardboard box in our hearts and pretend to fly there. But it’s a place that only real frontier seekers find. It’s that place of new beginnings that is accomplished with a living, fresh, and anointed relationship with Christ. Where we follow is where he leads, even when it gets uncomfortable. Why don’t we go there? Why do most of us stay in the place where we are? Because the training to be like Jesus, really like Jesus, is rigorous and brutal. It requires a willingness to invest our time, talent and treasure into what matters, not what creates a better life for us. Not what makes us seen and heard more. And, it demands a faith to step away from what we’ve always known and be willing to go to new places that the Holy Spirit wants to take us. Places of forgiveness. Places of letting go. Laying down old habits. Pushing past obstacles and holding our stomachs while facing the wildest of fears.

 

That is why the word says that the road is narrow and few walk it.

 

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.” Matthew 7:13-14, msg

 

But for those brave explorers that are willing to step out and take the time, Isaiah promises that the Lord has “so much more.” The impossible can happen. The dead can be raised to life. A heart can be renewed. A healing can take place. The hardest heart can be reached. The prisoner is set free. The impossible becomes more than just looking out the windows of an imaginary box. It becomes a reality.

 

The only way to get to this new frontier is to make a concrete decision. A decision to start the process of training. Investing into what matters. Taking the risk to live with faith. Real. Faith. Whatever may come. Because all that matters is that you’re moving forward…in the Lord.

 

Take that step today and boldly go where you’ve never gone before.  Forward, my friend. Forward, on. 

And The Band Played On...

Music is central to our culture and lives. Most of us could name in a heartbeat a favorite song from our childhood or teen years. Whether you grew up with cd’s, vinyl albums or cassettes music was most likely a part of your life in a huge capacity. I can remember the first 45rpm single I bought at Kmart, “Cold As Ice” by the group Foreigner. And, my first 8 track? Amy Grant’s “My Father’s Eyes.” We jammed to that in my dad’s station wagon for hours picking out our favorite guitar riffs and thinking it was the coolest music ever. Maybe you have a favorite decade of music. I’m still stuck in the 80’s and can literally sing every lyric in a song from that time period that I was into. Blondie, Men At Work, Haircut 100, Michael Jackson and so much more. I love it all. It defined a time in my life that when I hear that genre of music memories flood my mind. Music is a powerful tool and as a church we believe in it, all forms or it and the artistry that creates it. 

The Choir performing at 29:11...

The Choir performing at 29:11...

This past weekend we fulfilled a call for our church by hosting two very different concerts at our facility. On Sunday evening Ben Shirks from This Disco helped us host The Choir, a Christian rock band finding its roots back when Christian rock was just starting out. The house was packed to with fans that had traveled all the way from Canada to support their favorite group. Jeremiah’s was filled with people connecting and reliving their past memories together. It was a great night and gave us the vision for concerts like this for the future. Monday night was a totally different audience. A local favorite Tempe based band with roots in our 29:11 body called Papertowns hosted themselves and five other bands. Our little building was full of teenagers and young adults who came to hear their favorite group and of course, cranked up the volume. Brenda and I loved meeting so many new faces who were exposed to such a unique and different church culture. The best part of the night for me was when a parent of one of the band members pulled me aside to thank me for giving the students of Tempe a “safe place” to play their music. What kind of music? Whatever they want to play. Hosting artists and giving them a chance to share their art is what it’s all about. Both nights I was standing back at the sound board viewing both crowds and thanking God for even getting the chance to host these groups. All of it leading to our Saturday night Experience where 29:11worship leads us every weekend into the presence of God with original music brimming out of their hearts. Again, giving the artists a chance to share about what God is doing in our midst. All of it showing the immense creativity of God and originality of His love for every style of music created. I love being a part of a church that believes in building community and culture. In music and art. In students and leaders. All stemming from the heart of our God. Who is the author of music. From David’s harp to the Elvis’ guitar. 


From the Heart…


Mark / Pastor / Christ Follower / Husband / Father / Friend

This Story...

Easter. This story. This Holiday…it all comes out of the brokenness of our Savior. A story passed down for generations. But is it a story that is relevant for today?

My dad, who is 92, and my mom, who is 87, have a lot of stories they like to tell. But one in particular that they have passed down through the generations has to do with their migration from Germany and Russia/Ukraine. The story is told of their hardship when they arrived. My mother recalls her first few Christmas’ when they received no gifts accept that which they already had been given. She had a doll that her mother refreshed by stitching her a new face and  updated her with a clean dress. That was Christmas for mom. I love that story every time she tells it reminding me of how simple gifts can be.

These stories, so beautifully told, paint a picture on my journey that helps me appreciate them more.

And the interesting thing about this story is it’s no Lifetime movie…it is truth. They know because they lived it.

There was a foretelling of the story we celebrate this time of year ….

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;

It was our sorrows that weighed him down.

And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,

A punishment for his own sins!

But he was pierced for our rebellion,

Crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole.

He was whipped so we could be healed.

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.

We have left God’s paths to follow our own.

Yet the Lord laid on him

The sins of us all.

Isaiah 53:4-6 nlt

God sent His only son to earth. He lived and breathed among us. He touched our bruised skin. Healed our wounds. The lame began to walk. Those who were demon possessed were no longer possessed. And, anyone who wanted to be freed from their sin…all they had to do was believe.

Believe that he was the Savior. Believe that his life was going to set them free.

His message was radical. Unconventional. Inspirational…and they couldn’t take it. Who? It was the church of that day…the Jewish leaders that led him to his death. I think we forget that. And it paints such an interesting picture of our hearts…our sin…our selfishness. None of us are above that. We all have sinned and fallen short of God’s wholeness and purity…Romans 3:23 says. We, together, wanted him dead. What he was doing was killing our pride and making religious leaders deal with their own humility.

Could they? Would they be willing to accept the fact that God wanted to send his son to die for us all?

So they unjustly killed him. They crucified him. You know the story. That cross hangs from our rear view mirrors and around our necks. It’s placed on top of steeples on churches and tattooed on bodies. It’s sewn into fabrics and screen printed on t-shirts. We know the cross but do we value its worth.

Because behind the symbol, a life was given so that we could find worth.

And so Jesus was murdered. Martyred. Beaten to a bloody pile of flesh and bones and then they hung him on a tree. You’ve seen the movies. I’ve seen them too. We set in plush theaters with popcorn in hand watching them rip open the flesh of our Savior and then weeks later we watch as   awards are won for the portrayal.

A few years ago a handful of us gathered in a village of Africans as they watched the story of Jesus for the first time in central Ghana. They clapped through every miracle. They cried when he died on the cross. They cheered when Jesus rose from the dead. The story was as real to them as it had been a few thousand years ago.

But in our Western state do we really understand the story? We find ourselves too busy to listen. Too selfish to commit. And what can happen is if we’re not careful is Jesus just becomes a part of history. Passed down through Easter eggs and ham dinners when it’s really something we should be celebrating every day. Because … the cross isn’t where the story ended.

 

The Resurrection

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

5 Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7 And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. 9 And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

Mathew 28:1-10


People ask me all the time as a pastor how I know that Jesus is real. My answer is always the same. All you have to do is look around you. Lives mended only by the grace of God. Widows rejoicing only by the mercy of God. Hearts healing only by the love of God.

I say it all the time, but even on my best day, I’m still full of me. I can’t do these things for others on my own. It is only by the hand of our great creator.

I’ve seen some of you overcome attempted suicide in your struggle with death. I’ve seen you overcome the fingers of pornography and those who have struggled with their sexual lusts and flesh.

I’ve seen some of you let go of the bottle and some of you overcome your addiction to meth...

That’s how I know it’s more than just a story…it’s living and active and full of truth.

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. In any season. Through every season. Why? Because the X Factor this weekend is that Jesus overcame death. A lot of great religious leaders taught great things. Made a move for peace. Even gave their lives in the process. But only one through the course of history…has overcome death. And when you overcome death, you have bragging rights to overcome it all.

Every sorrow. Every pain. Every fear.

Although we still struggle with those things, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved… can overcome. All we have to do is call.

This story we tell of Christ and the resurrection isn’t just for those who don’t know him on their journey. It’s for all of us to follow him more closely, to live our lives more joyfully…to embrace his love gracefully…and share it with all those around.

And one day, we will be resurrected with Him. What will that look like? What will that feel like? I don’t exactly know, but I do know that we can count on it. God’s Word promises us that. That will be the part of the story to come ... Your story and mine.

 

Mark / Christ Follower / Husband / Father / Son / 29:11 Pioneer

 

The Journey...An Easter Devotional Day 5

The Journey.

To the cross.

To the resurrection. 

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”

Romans 8:11 NLT 

Death has been defeated.

Nothing can hold Jesus Christ back. 

The world can say what it wants but the truth is that his body was not there. The miracle had occurred. Yes, death had been defeated. 

Jesus said that in this life we would experience trouble, hard times, tough moments. But in the midst of these,  we would not be alone. He would come along side us and walk on this journey with us. That can bring us comfort. Knowing that in the heat of the battle Christ fights alongside with us. Defeating darkness when we call on His name. Because of His great love for us we don't walk this life alone. All we have to do is call on His name. 

For when we call on His name, we call on the Father of all creation. All-knowing, all-powerful, almighty, king of kings, dreamer, creator, Great I Am, Abba father, Jehovah, provider, Lord, maker, Yahweh, Master, guardian, courageous, protector, comforter, healer, merciful, conqueror, virtuous, Victor, father in heaven, Lord of all, living, loyal, intercessor, truth, love, joy, wisdom, honest, friend, absolute, everlasting, omnipresent, Restorer, omniscient, divine, holy, infinite, matches, faithful, supreme, ultimate...

Unparalleled.

Yes, death has been defeated.

The Journey...An Easter Devotional Day 4

The Journey.

To the cross.

To the resurrection. 

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.

John 19:28-30 NLT

It was a dark day when they crucified Jesus on the cross. The heavens felt the pain and sorrow as the Son of God gave up his life. The earth felt it too with the creator giving up what was most precious to Him to cover the sin of mankin. And, mankind felt it as well and we still do as we take a moment to reflect on the death of our Savior. Unjustly accused. Whipped. Beaten. Spat on. Nailed to a tree. Hanging above the city for all to see like a criminal. What was his charge? What was his crime to receive such harsh punishment? He was guilty of taking on the payment for the sins of you. The sins of me. 

His mission was now finished. He had done what he set out to do. This final step on his earthly journey was finished. It had cost him everything. Everything. With a crack of thunder and a strike if lightning it was over. Human beings would never be the same. If we are willing to lay down our lives to the one who paid the ultimate price, it could be finished for us, too. No longer could sin hang over our heads if we asked for forgiveness. If we accepted redemption. Nothing we could do would ever be enough because this Jesus, on the cross, was enough. Enough to redeem the darkest place with light. Enough to forgive the ugliest sin if we ask. Enough to cover the deepest of scars with love. 

God’s love. John 15:13 says, "There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” As we stand today in the shadow of this cross, there is no purer truth. Love is always demonstrated when it is challenged to action. No greater love can be found on this earth than the one that gives itself so you can live in freedom. So I can live in peace. So we can live forgiven. 

He can’t take it back. We can’t erase it from the history books. We can’t pull out those pages from the Bible. It happened. This story never grows old because love demonstrated its greatest definition right in front of us. 

It is finished. 

 

 

 

The Journey...An Easter Devotional Day 3

The Journey.

To the cross.

To the resurrection. 

"For everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”

Romans 10:13 NLT 

Surrender.

Surrendering your life is no easy task. In our western culture we glamorize the independent lifestyle and at times despise any sort of dependency on anything other than ourselves. In 1967, Paul Anka heard a song while vacationing in France and knew it was a hit immediately. He negotiated for the rights and re-wrote it for Frank Sinatra. "My Way" was born. The lyrics of "My Way" tell the story of a man who, having grown old, reflecting on his life as death approaches. He is dealing with his mortality and takes responsibility for how he dealt with all the challenges of life. Doing things, "My way."

As we walk on our journey in life we all have to come face to face with our own mortality. Jesus did. You will. I will. What will be said about our lives? That we followed the "my way" creed? Or that we surrendered our lives to something greater, bigger. 

Christ came, lived and died among us so we would not have to face the world all alone. Nails drove through his hands and feet to save us from "us." Because even on our best days, we are still full of our own selfishness. But, as we surrender under the name of Jesus, it's a new day. Because of Christ's sacrificial journey, our lives are impacted...Forever.  When we call on His name, instead of our own, we are freed. We are saved. We are...changed.

Have you called on the name of the Lord? Because that name means is so much more than just a name. In that name is the key to life. Eternal life. All who call on His name will be saved. 

Jesus.

The Journey...An Easter Devotional Day 2

The Journey.

To the cross.

To the resurrection. 

“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”

John 1:4-5 NLT

 

He has overcome the darkness. 

C.S. Lewis once said, "Seeds grow in dark places." Nothing could be more true, especially when it comes to the cross. It was a dark, dark day when they crucified Jesus. There was nothing pretty about the scene. As you read about it in the gospels the scene sets itself up like a movie script. Lies, false accusations, fear, hate, insecurity, jealousy, falsities and human depravity on its deepest level. They took an innocent man. Guilty of the miraculous. Guilty of supernatural love. Guilty of kindness...and nailed him on top of two planks of wood. Despite the darkness though, light was just about to grow. 

Things haven't changed much since that day. There is a deep canyon of sin that stands between us and Jesus as well. We can point out the depravity in those who crucified Christ but we must be honest enough to look at our own. Even on my best day I am still full of...me. If I'm honest I can see the hate, the jealousies, the need to satisfy me. That is the beauty of this seed, this seed of light. Christ died on the cross to overcome all of that filth so my soul could live in the light. Not a light manufactured by me, but the purest light you have ever seen. Out of this dark place my shame, my debt, my sin has been exposed and instead of receiving the repercussions of it through Christ I have been redeemed by this powerful seed of light. 

The canyon between God and me is filled with the love and mercy of what Christ has done. And this light, this seed of light, grows in my heart overcoming the darkest part of my soul. 

So we must rejoice that our darkest places are not dark to Him. Because He overcame through the cross, even there it is light to Him.

Take a few moments today to allow the light of Christ into the darkest of places in your heart. 

The Journey...An Easter Devotional

The Journey.

To the cross.

To the resurrection.

 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23 nlt

Love came first.

In our world, love can appear to be very conditional. Many times love is based on what we can do, or achieve, or show or become. But God's love is so unique and different. He knew mankind was in need of something authentic and real, so he loved us first by sending his Son.

Our heavenly father knew there was no other way. Mankind was in trouble. Sin was rapidly growing and spreading like a disease across our souls. We were trying in our own strength and in our own power to achieve forgiveness. We were following the laws and the lists but in the end coming up empty. What we were crying out for was something beyond us. Something genuine. Something not hidden by a façade. Something that was real. God knew the only way was to send his Son to cover the sin of mankind. Your sin. My sin. And while we were born into a world of sin, the sacrifice that he made by sending Jesus would be enough to free us for eternity.

That sort of love of does not have an expiration date. That sort of love does not have an end. That sort of love does not have a final chapter. That sort of love can find you wherever you are, wrapped itself around your darkest moment and love you all the way through.

Understanding ‘that’ love came first is important on our journey to understanding  the cross. That sort of love connects with your story, and mine. The first step in our journey to the cross is to understand He reached out and loved you first.

Take a moment to think about this amazing love that reached out first. Love is reaching…

The In-N-Out of Launching

I can almost smell the burgers if I close my eyes and think about it. And you ask, “Think about what?” The day In-N-Out launched their first restaurant in Baldwin Park, California on October 22, 1948. It was the first hamburger stand of its kind in the state of California and would lead the way to change the landscape of how people would view take out. They are credited with being pioneers on some of the first drive-thru experiences the public had in the United States. Up to that time, carhops were the latest rage. But founders Harry and Esther Snyder saw a new concept. Not only was food fast, but their goal was to give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy while providing them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment. Yes, I can nearly smell the fresh fries that are made from scratch every single day at each restaurant. The Snyder’s dreamed of something unique that had a sense of excellence. Today, this simple hamburger stand has over 300 locations that are all within a day’s drive of their corporate offices so quality always stays number one. They have over 18,000 employees and are growing faster than they can keep up with. If I could time travel, I would take a ride back to that opening day and sit in wonder knowing what was to come.

Although we aren’t selling hamburgers, one thing we do have in common with his famous food chain is that we can say we have officially launched in the history book of time. On Saturday, February 28th, we opened our doors to the city of Tempe and the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona. Like that day for the Snyder’s in 1948, it was an awesome day to celebrate. The journey has been a long one. From stepping out from where we were comfortable to stepping into the unknown, we were doing something we hadn’t before. From Chandler, Arizona to the hills of Northern California to the streets of Tempe we knew God had been with us every step of the way. Some things felt like we anticipated and some were completely different than what we had pictured in our minds. One thing remained though and that was the heart of the mission – to bring the plan of salvation and the hope of Christ to a broken world.

We asked God to provide a place for us to land in that could be available for twenty-four hour ministry. Together, as a united team, 29:11church opened its doors at Tempe Plaza off Baseline and the 101 in Tempe, Arizona. With the help of an army of people led by true heroes of our day and age, we re-built the inside of a former Walgreens/Safeway and most recently charter high school. We painted close to a hundred gallons of paint on the walls, re-tiled the floors, took out a toilet and cleaned up the rest, scraped paint off walls, refreshed ceilings and installed lights. We created an art hallway to showcase God’s amazing creations, remodeled a place for our kids to run free and installed a streaming camera so all of our new moms could stay with us even if their babies didn’t want to. Created a coffee shop called Jeremiah’s Coffee Co. where we roast our own beans and share an atmosphere where anyone could feel comfortable. It’s perfect for us, for this time in our history, this place. And, someday, like the Snyder’s, we will look back at that first place with wonder and in awe that God was with us every step of the way. With gratitude, we say thank you to everyone that helped us get here. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes ten more villages to plant a church. From finances to critical mass, every person that has supported from a distance, prayed on their knees, showed up in our living room and celebrated with us at our current location…we don’t take any of you for granted. And so it begins, a little different from building a hamburger, we endeavor to help build up people’s lives… Through the love of Christ… Through innovation… Through the arts… Through songwriters… Through dreamers and through doers. We are haven’t arrived but have just been able to get a glimpse of what the future holds. Like In-N-Out, we hope God can use us to change the landscape of what church looks like to someone that might not normally come. That’s always been our heart. It’s the church we see.

We see a church -

That is full of relentless love, grace and power.

Unrestrictive.

Not full of people with personal motives. Filled with people who love to serve.

Where this is no fear to be who you were created to be.

That celebrates the human heart.That leads with humility and confidence rather than insecurity and pride.

We see a church that is ALIVE - with laughter.

With tears.With joy.With kindness and Galations 5:22 functioning through it.

We see a church where - WORSHIP is at the center.

Where the power of the Holy Spirit isn't held back by – Time. Schedules.Boring routines or service orders.

Where creativity is used to see the power of God not the power of man.

This is the church I see.

The Church I See...

Where every Color and diversity...are welcome.Where differences are celebrated rather than diminished.

I see a church where the next generationis WELCOMED, CELEBRATED and put into places of LEADERSHIP.

This is the church I see.

Large.Bountiful.Moving beyond borders and limitations.

Moving...forward.This is the church I see.I see a church of... COMMUNITY.CREATIVITY.FIGHTING SOCIAL INJUSTICE – ACTIVITY.

We see a 29:11 church.


Mark Rempel/Pastor of 29:11church/ Disciple/ Husband/Father/Church Planter

*See below some pictures from our launch experience in February.

2 Days Till' Launch

IMG_0593.JPG

2 Days Till’ Launch

“Welcome Home” Grace.

Grace. Such an elegant word. It seems to fall from our tongues gently. We can’t say it without reflecting on our own lives. God’s grace covering our hearts in ways we will never know. We are reminded of this simple word when we think about launching 29:11church. The vision, the mission…all wrapped up in the grace that God has shown to us and now we get to share with others.

She has visited downtown Detroit only one time before on a bus trip with her church youth group to watch the Tigers play. Because newspapers in Traverse City report in lurid detail the gangs, the drugs and the violence in downtown Detroit, she concludes its the last place her parents will look. On her second day there she meets a man who drives the nicest car she’s ever seen, gives her some pills that make her feel better than she’s ever felt before and convinces her that since she’s underage men will pay a premium for her. She lives in a penthouse, orders room service and occasionally thinks about the folks back home. But, after the first signs of sexual illness appear it amazes her how fast the boss turns means. Before she knows it she’s out on the streets without a penny to her name. Night after night she no longer feels like a woman but a little girl lost in a cold and frightening city. Alone and heartbroken, she leaves three messages on her parents answering machine. “I’m catching a bus up your way and it’ll get there about midnight tomorrow. If you’re not there, well, I guess I’ll just stay on the bus until it hits Canada.” It takes about seven hours for a bus to make its way from Detroit to Traverse City. Her thoughts bounce back and forth between those worries and the speech she is preparing for her father. "Dad, I'm sorry. I know I was wrong. It's not your fault, it's all mine. Dad, can you forgive me?" She says the words over and over, her throat tightening even as she rehearses them. She hasn't apologized to anyone in years.

She walks into the terminal not knowing what to expect, and not one of the thousand scenes that have played out in her mind prepare her for what she sees. There, in the concrete-walls-and-plastic-chairs bus terminal in Traverse City, Michigan, stands a group of 40 brothers and sisters and great-aunts and uncles and cousins and a grandmother and great-grandmother to boot. They are all wearing ridiculous-looking party hats and blowing noisemakers, and taped across the entire wall of the terminal is a computer-generated banner that reads "Welcome home!"

That story was a part of our first 29:11 Living Room Session months ago. We began this journey as a church to be a place of grace and will continue on. As Henri Nouwen points out, "God rejoices. Not because the problems of the world have been solved, not because all human pain and suffering have come to an end, nor because thousands of people have been converted and are now praising him for his goodness. No, God rejoices because one of his children who was lost has been found."

May 29:11 always be about the grace. Believing our church will always feel like “home” to all those who enter through it’s doors.

Prayer Emphasis: Let’s pray that individuals who visit 29:11church feel such a sense of God’s grace wherever they find themselves. Pray that as Christ’s hands and feet we would surround them with unconditional love and mercy. 

(Story taken from Philip Yancey's book, "What So Amazing About Grace")

3 Days Till' Launch

3 Days Till’ Launch

On My Dad's Shoulders...

"The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe." pro.18.10.nlt

One photograph that is burned into the memory of my mind is one of me with my father. I am sitting on his shoulders with a smile on my face looking down at everyone around me. It was as if I was invincible. I was believing that my dad’s shoulders were a fortress for me and nothing could get me down. Nothing…

My dad is 92 today and I probably won’t be swinging around on his shoulders. I’m not the tallest guy in the bunch but even still, the memory of that moment is a strength I still draw from. It reminds me of my heavenly Father. Although I don’t sit on top of his shoulders physically, I can honestly say that I have felt that way at times. He is our strong tower. We can run to him. There is nothing too difficult that he can’t take on when it comes to his shoulders.

Not everyone has that picture in their minds. Broken relationships. Broken dreams. Broken promises. Broken lives. Shoulders? Most people are struggling to even shoulder their struggles and issues on a good day. Jesus gave his life to take those burdens on his shoulders carrying that cross up to Golgatha. There is no more beautiful thing than to see a person let go of the heaviness they are carrying in their heart. It happens at 29:11 all the time. Maybe during worship. Maybe when we help encourage some laughter. Maybe through an encouraging message or a simple cup of coffee and a listening year. Although we can’t literally put most people on our shoulders, through connection we can help them climb up on their heavenly Father’s. And, there is no better place to be. 

That is our mandate at 29:11. Let's create an environment where people can really find the strength of Christ through a relationship with him. There they can find the plan of God for their lives, hope and a future of strength. Will you help create such a place with me?

Prayer Emphasis: Pray that at 29:11 every Saturday through our launch season that people would come and literally feel the burdens lifted off their “shoulders.” Pray they would literally feel their heavenly Father pick them up from where they are to give them a new perspective as they rest on top of his shoulders.